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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Political satire is a significant part of satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where political speech and dissent are forbidden by a regime, as a method of advancing political arguments where such arguments are expressly forbidden. Historically, the public opinion in the Athenian democracy was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters.[1]

Political satire is usually distinguished from political protest or political dissent, as it does not necessarily carry an agenda nor seek to influence the political process. While occasionally it may, it more commonly aims simply to provide entertainment. By its very nature, it rarely offers a constructive view in itself; when it is used as part of protest or dissent, it tends to simply establish the error of matters rather than provide solutions.

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Origins and genres

Satire can be traced back throughout history; wherever organized government has existed, so has satire. The oldest example that has survived till today is Aristophanes. The Roman period, for example, gives us the satirical poems and epigrams of Martial while some social satire exists in the writings of Paul of Tarsus in the New Testament of the Bible. Cynic philosophers often engaged in political satire. Due to lack of political freedom of speech in many ancient civilizations, covert satire is more usual than overt satire in ancient literatures of political liberalism. During the 20th century, satire moved from print to other forms of media (in cartoons as political cartoons with heavy caricature and exaggeration, and in political magazines) and the parallel exposure of political scandals to performances (including television shows). Examples include musicians such as Tom Lehrer, live performance groups like the Capitol Steps, and public television and live performer Mark Russell. Additional subgenres include such literary classics as Gulliver's Travels and Animal Farm, and more recently, internet Ezine and website sources such as The Onion, the Humor Times, ArnoldSpeaks.com, and the Happening Happy Hippy Party. Some websites exist solely to poke fun at politicians, per the examples below.

19th century

France

One example is Maurice Joly's 1864 pamphlet entitled The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu), which attacks the political ambitions of Napoleon III. It was first published in Brussels in 1864. The piece used the literary device of a dialogue between two diabolical plotters in Hell, the historical characters of Machiavelli and Montesquieu, to cover up a direct, and illegal, attack on Napoleon's rule. The noble baron Montesquieu made the case for liberalism; the Florentine political writer Machiavelli presented the case for cynical despotism. In this manner, Joly communicated the secret ways in which liberalism might spawn a despot like Napoleon III. However, The Prince itself has also been sometimes understood as political satire.

Germany

According to Santayana, Nietzsche was actually "a keen satirist".[2] "Nietzsche's satire" was aimed at Lutheranism.[3]

References

  1. ^ Henderson, J. (1993) Comic Hero versus Political Elite pp.307-19 in Sommerstein, A.H.; S. Halliwell, J. Henderson, B. Zimmerman, ed (1993). Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis. Bari: Levante Editori.  
  2. ^ George Santayana : Egotism in German Philosophy. 1915. chapter 13.
  3. ^ Christa Davis Acampora & Ralph R. Acampora : A Nietzchean Bestiary. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. p. 109

External links

Examples of Political Satire on the web:








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