the law of being sat ‘ere (cogitating satire)

The worse the world gets, the more important it is to know what you really think.

There are no words to describe how I feel about this.  Even so, I shall try to fashion some kind of response to how I think.

There must be a universal law of satire, which nevertheless inscribes two possible associated positions:

  1. The more it hurts, the more unfair it is becoming.
  2. The more it hurts, the worse the world is becoming.

Almost everything we see in satire and its ecosystems revolves around these two points of view.

Yesterday, for example, it was @ThomasPride’s turn, once again, to face the ire of those who hold with point 1:

I’d argue with this one not to its accuracy or not: the “it can’t get any worse” attitudes which I’m sure Nazi policies provoked in many in the 1930s gave space and time – led inexorably – to the concentration camp depicted.

We could, therefore, arguably be at the start of a similar historical process, as reactions from the still privileged in society who ignore the pain and suffering of the disabled, sick, unemployed and working-poor are hardly unlike those expressed in one of the 20th century’s darkest periods.  (We have, after all, recently had an elected representative bemoaning the loss of the workhouses …)

Only history – the history we are making right now – can tell on this one; that, and our own ability to fight its apparent inexorability.

Where I’d take issue with the tweet in question is whether – in the name of satire – it’s right to use such imagery right now: more than any entity in Europe, Germany is fighting and facing down its racist demons with a degree of admirable political aplomb.  Britain, meanwhile, certainly isn’t.

So it’s not bad satire; it just uses the wrong history at the moment to criticise the right target.

That’s how I feel anyhow; that, and my innate reluctance to run any risk of ever trivialising the untrivialisable.

Nevertheless, it’s a point of view on each side.  And the point is well made on his, especially as warning shots are needed whilst our homegrown politicians seem incapable of putting down any kind of markers in the sand with the necessary clarity.

Our satirists flourish – need to flourish – when politicians, and leaders of all classes, choose to obfuscate reality.

The problem being that reality has – in many respects – overtaken satire.  You just have to look at British satirists’ attempts over the past three or four years or so to surprise us by stretching reality to ludicrous extents to realise that in many cases the politicos have already stretched it far more ludicrously.


There may also be yet another position to be held on the law of satire:

The more it hurts, the more we’re simply sat here, cogitating.

Satire … or is that sat-ire?  An ire which observes and does little more.  Supremely suited to a clicktivist age, maybe.

Well.  I don’t know.

As the brave proponents of satirical content face down awful realities on our behalf, perhaps it’s time we literally stood up and understood what’s really at stake: the terrorism of a supremely conditional love – that terrorism which supposedly acts out of altruistic attachment to a higher being and which, in truth, only does so in the expectation of eternal blessings in exchange – can only take down the “freedom of expression fighters” that satirists everywhere represent, if the latter must be allowed to present their content unsupported by the rest of us.

The best thing we can do, then, is to explain calmly, on our own terms, and with as much wisdom as we can summon, why sat ‘ere, reading satire, we will not allow our sat-ire to bubble over into a replicating violence.

And that, instead, our cogitation, our intelligence, our desire to explore without frontiers all sorts of concepts, is no corrupting passivity but the strongest signal we can possibly send out that what we really value out here, you cannot destroy.

Our need for, ability around and love of words and ideas will know no boundaries – not even the violent ones you wish to impose.

So anyways.  That’s what I think.  That’s what I think today.

What I feel – better left for another day.


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