The Elements of Satire
Satire should, like a polished razor keen, Wound
with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.
-Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
What is satire?
• Comes from the latin word satura, meaning “dish
of mixed ingredients”.
• A technique in which a writer ridicules or
criticizes a person, group, institution or event
using certain literary devices.
• Usually witty.
• Almost always sarcastic or ironic.
• Usually has a tone of “mock-approval” –
sarcastically supporting the very thing it is
How does the definition of satire relate to its latin
Forms of Satire
• Drama (Tartuffe – Moliere, The Importance of
Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde )
• Journalism (The Onion)
• Fiction (A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift,
The Lowest Animal – Mark Twain)
• Poetry (The Rape of the Locke – Alexander
• Graphic Arts (editorial cartoons)
• Television programs (Saturday Night Live, The
• Music (With God on Our Side – Bob Dylan,
Examples of Satire in Pop Culture
Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update
The Daily Show
This is Spinal Tap
Songs by Weird Al Yankovich (White and
• Elevated word choice
Methods of Satire
Pun: play on words
Hyperbole: overstatement often used to show how ridiculous a situation is.
Burlesque is an imitation of a person or subject by exaggeration or distortion.
a frivolous subject may be treated with mock dignity
a weighty subject might be handled in a trivial style
character who should use formal, intelligent language speaks like a fool
or a character who is portrayed as uneducated uses highly
sophisticated, intelligent language. Ex: Princess Bride – “Marriage,
marriage”, giant who rhymes
Parody mocks not a person or subject, but a specific literary work or style,
by imitating features and applying them to trivial or incongruous materials.
Weird Al song, Beat it ---Eat it.
By definition, satire is _____________.
One technique utilized to create satire is
_______________. One example of satire
I have seen, read or heard is
Apple Hard At Work Making iPhone Obsolete
FEBRUARY 12, 2007
CUPERTINO, CA—Only a month after the much-heralded announcement
of the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs confirmed that his engineers were
already working around-the-clock on the touchscreen smartphone's far-
superior replacement. "We looked at [the iPhone's] innovative user
interface, the paradigm-shifting voicemail, the best-in-class mobile browser,
and we realized we could make all that seem ridiculously outdated by the
time the product becomes available to customers in June," said Jobs, who
described the project as "Apple reinventing the iPhone." "When the second-
generation iPhone comes out this fall, we want iPhone users to feel not just
jealous, but downright foolish for owning such laughably primitive
technology." Jobs also hinted that the second iPhone device would not be
compatible with existing Mac computers, third-party peripherals, or any
future Apple products.
In order to mock/ ridicule technology
companies, this article utilizes sarcasm
and irony. For example, Jobs supposedly
states that apple wants “users to feel not just
jealous, but downright foolish for owning such
laughably primitive technology."
Factual Error Found On Internet
May 22, 2002 |
LONGMONT, CO—The Information Age was
dealt a stunning blow Monday, when a factual
error was discovered on the Internet. The error
was found on TedsUltimateBradyBunch.com,
a Brady Bunch fan site that incorrectly listed
the show's debut year as 1968, not 1969.
Caryn Wisniewski, a Pueblo, CO, legal secretary
and diehard Brady Bunch fan, came across the
mistake while searching for information about
the show's first-season cast.
Attempts to contact the webmaster of "Ted's Ultimate
Brady Bunch Site," identified as Ted Crewes of
Naugatuck, CT, were unsuccessful. The page has
been taken offline by its host, Cheaphost.net, which
released a statement Tuesday.
"We at Cheaphost were deeply saddened and disturbed
to learn that one of the millions of pages we host
contained a factual discrepancy," the web-posted
statement read. "Please be assured that we are doing
everything within our power to ensure that nothing of
the sort happens again. We will not rest until the
Internet's once-sterling reputation as the world's
leading source for 100 percent reliable information is
Paul Boutin, senior editor of Wired, said the error is
likely to have a profound effect on how the Internet is
"Will we ever fully trust the Web again?"
Boutin asked. "We may well be witnessing the
dawn of a new era of skepticism in which we
no longer accept everything we read online at
face value. But regardless of what the future
holds, one thing is clear: The Internet's status
as the world's definitive repository of
incontrovertible fact has been jeopardized."
In order to mock/ ridicule __________, this
article utilizes ____________. For
Now that you know the elements of satire,
what do you think makes satire effective?
Why do writers use satire instead of
criticizing the person, group or institution
Read the letter to Puff Daddy and find
examples of satirical devices. What group
or type of people is the writer of the letter