What do Catch-22, The Colbert Report, and The Onion have in frequent?

They’re all examples of satire.

Satire presents political and social commentary, utilizing exaggeration, irony, humor, allegory, and extra to make some extent.

It’s a robust literary gadget — although it’s a rhetorical gadget too, as it may be utilized in an try to steer individuals to see your perspective.

Whereas most writers aren’t engaged in full-on satire, loads of tales (and even non-fiction articles) use parts of satire to make some extent.

So what’s satire, the place did it come from, and how are you going to give it a strive your self?

What’s Satire?

Satire is the usage of exaggeration, irony, humor, or ridicule to level out the shortcomings and even vices of society.

It’s a approach to criticize and expose flaws in concepts, people, and teams of individuals. Profitable satire is commonly political in focus, however this isn’t a requirement.

Origins of Satire

The phrase “satire” was utilized by historical Roman critics and writers.

Aristophanes was a Greek poet who wrote the earliest satires. His most well-known work is Lysistrata, a satirical comedy the place the protagonist, Lysistrata, convinces girls to withhold intercourse till the Peloponnesian Struggle (a struggle between the Greek states of Athens and Sparta) is over.

It ridicules the political order answerable for the struggle: the concept of ladies having the ability to finish a struggle would have appeared ludicrous.

The three Varieties of Satire

Satire is available in completely different varieties. Some satires are light-hearted and deal with being humorous; others are a lot darker and extra biting.

Listed here are the three key sorts of satire:


Horatian satire (named for the Roman satirist Horace) is playful.

It criticizes social vice via delicate, light-hearted humor. It’s centered on figuring out folly somewhat than outright evil. The narrative voice tends to be tolerant and witty.

Instance: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884), pokes enjoyable at faith, for example, with the feud between the Grangerfods and Shepardsons.


Juvenalian satire (named for the Roman satirist Juvenal) is far more bitter and ironic than Horatian satire.

Instance: A Modest Proposal (1729), by Jonathan Swift. This essay prompt consuming infants to resolve famine in Eire. It was meant to mock the heartless attitudes of the wealthy in direction of the poor and likewise the best way by which some real proposals appeared to treat the poor as commodities.


Menippean satire (named for the Greek Cynic thinker Menippus) assaults psychological attitudes and biases somewhat than particular people or teams. It tends to contain cheerful, mental humor and delicate ridicule.

Instance: Alice in Wonderland (1865), by Lewis Caroll, subtly pokes enjoyable in any respect types of concepts. As an illustration, the half the place Alice struggles along with her multiplication tables is definitely having enjoyable on the expense of summary arithmetic — her sums could be appropriate in base-18 as a substitute of the base-10 we use.

15 Extra Satire Examples

We’ve already seen three satire examples, however let’s check out some additional examples of satire in motion so you’ll be able to see simply how various it may be.

We’ll be overlaying every little thing from up to date TV reveals to basic novels.

Satire Examples in Movie & TV

Person watching television with "Satire" displayed on the screen

1. The Simpsons (1989 onwards)

The Simpsons could not seem to be a hotbed for satire at first look, but it surely deftly satirizes on a regular basis life.

Its satire takes on household, TV, faith, politics, and the American way of life basically. Numerous episodes deal with particular points like gun management, environmentalism, corruption, and far more.

Take a look at the “Standardized Assessments” clip for a satire on the testing of youngsters, with quotes like Superintendent Chalmers saying, “Your scores on this take a look at will decide how a lot cash this suck-shack will get for years to come back.”

2. South Park (1997 onwards)

This animated sitcom collection is well-known for its profanity, darkish and surreal humor, and its no-holds-barred criticism of controversial points.

It satirizes a variety of subjects, together with a variety of religions, politics, and particular topical points like immigration, the right-to-die, on-line gaming, the legalization of marijuana, the absurdity of social media and far more.

The visible type led to some individuals considering it was a baby’s cartoon in its early years, but it surely’s very a lot meant for a mature viewers.

3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

This black comedy, directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, satirizes the Chilly Struggle fears of a nuclear struggle between the US and the Soviet Union. Like loads of satire, it has absurdist parts.

4. Battle Membership (1999)

Primarily based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Battle Membership takes intention at poisonous masculinity, consumerism, capitalism, and a sure nihilistic Gen-X perspective.

The movie includes the unnamed narrator plus his mysterious good friend Tyler Durden establishing an underground combat membership.

For those who’ve by no means seen the movie (or learn the e-book), remember that there’s a giant twist towards the top — watch it earlier than you come throughout any spoilers.

Right here’s a (spoiler-free) clip of Tyler Durden describing what he sees as flawed with the trendy world, displaying the movie taking up consumerism:

5. The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

This comedy/horror movie from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard appears to stay blindly to horror stereotypes.

However all isn’t because it appears, and it quickly turns into clear that the movie is satirizing all-too-common horror tropes (and even our love for horror). I received’t spoil the movie for you, however when you haven’t seen it, it’s effectively value a watch — whether or not or not you’re a horror fan.

Satire Examples in Literature

A book surrounded by books

6. Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift, 1726)

This standard novel, nonetheless learn right this moment, is a mock journey journal.

The eponymous Gulliver travels via numerous unusual lands, beginning with Lilliput, the place he’s held prisoner by tiny individuals lower than 6 inches tall.

Swift mocks politics and faith specifically — taking intention at schisms within the church by depicting a bitter battle between “Large-Endians” who persist in opening their boiled eggs on the giant finish, and “Little-Endians” who’ve switched to opening eggs on the small finish. This satirized the Protestant-Catholic divide within the UK.

7. Courageous New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932)

This dystopian science fiction novel has a futuristic society that exaggerates and satirizes parts of the true world: Huxley imagined how a extremely state-controlled futuristic world would possibly look. It depicts conformity, a caste system with genetically engineered infants, and a drugged, compliant inhabitants.

8. Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945)

An anti-utopian satire, Animal Farm is a novella based mostly on the Russian Bolshevik revolution.

It depicts a bunch of farmyard animals who overthrow their masters — however who finally find yourself being dominated by an oppressive dictatorship of pigs.

9. Slaughterhouse-5 (Kurt Vonnegut, 1969)

This science fiction, anti-war, novel makes use of black humor, satire, and absurdity to cowl broad themes just like the second world struggle, the philosophical query of whether or not free will exists, and the inevitability of loss of life.

10. American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis, 1991)

This novel, advised within the first particular person by serial killer Patrick Bateman, makes use of satire to critique capitalism and consumerism, in an identical approach to Battle Membership.

Resulting from its violence and express material, it turned one of the crucial banned books of all time. The 2000 movie model established Patrick Bateman as a popular culture icon.

Political Satire Examples

A debate but the politicians are clowns

11. Saturday Evening Stay (US)

This late-night comedy present contains loads of sketches that use satire to mock or touch upon present occasions, up to date politics, and society’s flaws. Not all their sketches are strictly talking satire, some are simply plain humorous.

Right here’s their memorable sketch satirizing Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, and political discourse basically in 2013:

12. The Late Present with Stephen Colbert (US)

This late-night speak present contains satirical information firstly with a run-through of current headlines (much like The Colbert Report, the present’s precursor or The Every day Present with Trevor Noah).

13. The Onion (US)

This satirical on-line newspaper contains loads of political satire examples, with articles like  “L.A. Mayor Prevents His Child From Lazing About By Putting in Spikes on Household Sofa” — a reference to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s hostile structure insurance policies. There are additionally numerous articles that satirize human nature and folks’s stupidity.

14. Sure Minister (UK)

This basic political satire collection ran from 1980 – 1982 and remains to be loved right this moment. It offers with the interior workings of a (fictional) authorities division, satirizing the best way by which central authorities works.

15. US Information’s political cartoons

Like many newspapers, US Information publishes satirical political cartoons. These take intention at present occasions, distinguished politicians, and the dealing with of points like Covid.

The Distinction Between Satire & Parody

Satire vs Parody

Though they’re related literary phrases, satire and parody have distict distinction:

A satire pokes enjoyable at or criticizes a person, group, or mind-set. It’s typically political. It’s designed to deliver to mild a broader problem or downside in society.

A parody pokes enjoyable at a specific literary work, artist, or style.

Like satire, it makes use of hyperbole and humor. Nevertheless it doesn’t try and touch upon deeper themes or wider implications.

Parody doesn’t typically make a social or political level. As an illustration, the e-book (and movie) Satisfaction and Prejudice with Zombies is an (affectionate) parody of Jane Austen’s Satisfaction and Prejudice.

After all, there’s some overlap between satire and parody.

The movie Cabin within the Woods may very well be seen as a parody (of horror movies basically) in addition to being classed as a satirical horror movie. However you’ll be able to have parody with out satire, and satire with out parody.

How Can You Apply These Satire Examples to Your Writing?

Satire may be a good way to make a memorable level. It may push house an essential message with out sounding preachy or boring.

What sorts of satire would you experiment inside your individual writing?

Possibly you’re drawn to mild Horatian satire — or maybe you’d somewhat write an incisive Juvenalian satire.

You could possibly take intention at a much-disliked pattern in your area of interest via a satirical information story, for example. Or you would use mild satire to assist your readers perceive what they’re doing flawed.

You don’t have to jot down a full-on satirical submit, like The Onion. As an alternative, you would possibly take a look at methods to incorporate exaggeration, witty humor, or ridicule in your writing.

Why not give it a strive in your subsequent submit?

The submit 18 Satire Examples Spoofing Politics, Movie, & Literature appeared first on Sensible Blogger.


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