Monday, August 14, 2006

Confusion over satire

Since the posting of her essay, The Shylock Code, at The American Prospect Online (now featured at CBS News Online), your blogstress has received some very interesting e-mail. As expected, the piece certainly has smoked out some hard-core anti-Semites, as well as a couple of appreciative readers and one truly confused one. Let us begin with the perplexed:

Your article on Mel Gibson leaves me cold.  I really don't understand the flip-flopping you were doing.  One minute you denounce that, God forbid you were taken as being Jewish, then the next minute you refer to Mel as speaking the truth.  Do you like Jews or do you hate Jews?  Which is it?  I am totally confused.
You seem to know all the Shylock words and what they mean.  Do you speak them often?
What are you trying to prove?
I have a lot of questions here but I don't think I will get one answered.

Fear not, Flokay; your cybertrix is here to answer your questions. "The Shylock Code" essay is written in a form known as satire. On his excellent Web site, one Professor Wheeler of Carson-Newman College offers this definition:
SATIRE: An attack on or criticism of any stupidity or vice in the form of scathing humor, or a critique of what the author sees as dangerous religious, political, moral, or social standards. Satire became an especially popular technique used during the Enlightenment, in which it was believed that an artist could correct folly by using art as a mirror to reflect society. When people viewed the satire and saw their faults magnified in a distorted reflection, they could see how ridiculous their behavior was and then correct that tendency in themselves. The tradition of satire continues today. Popular cartoons such as The Simpsons and televised comedies like The Daily Show make use of it in modern media. Conventionally, formal satire involves a direct, first-person-address, either to the audience or to a listener mentioned within the work. An example of formal satire is Alexander Pope's Moral Essays.
For reference, dear Flowkay, your Webwench refers you to that mother of all satirical essays, "A Modest Proposal." Although your écrivaine could never hope to equal the genius of Swift, she nonetheless occasionally dares to execute an opus in that form.

As for your other questions, no, your net-tête does not know all the Shylock words -- only those that have been divulged to her by certain anti-Semites who, by virtue of our common ancestry or faith tradition, presumed your blogstress to be of like mind.

Note that your cyberscribe never wrote that Mel Gibson was speaking the truth; she wrote only that, in his anti-Semitic diatribe, he was being true to himself.

As for what she is trying to prove, your écrivaine simply hopes to expose the anti-Semitism of those who are permitted to spout hatred via the mass media through the use of socially acceptable code.


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