Fake news, alternative facts, lame media, the list goes on and on. Nowadays everything has some alternative name or spin on it. Right and wrong are blurred more and more in the age of social media and smart phones. However, one thing still remains the same. Satire, the need to make fun of something in a skewed fashion. If you want to see how free a country is, find out what they can make fun of. If it’s not much or definitely taboo to make fun of those in charge, chances are, it’s not that free. Despite Dictators, Despots and Presidentes the world over wanting to make everyone believe that they are beloved and cherished by their people. If no one cracks a joke about them, their administration or their eccentricities. They are feared and not loved. Regardless of how much Sean Penn likes them.
Right and wrong are made up daily. Am I saying there’s no such thing? No I’m saying like little kids playing tag, we change their meaning whenever it suits us. Given the choice we always want to be right, on the right side and make the right choice. It makes us feel like, lets us know we’re justified in our actions and are with other righteous people. Better to change the rules then be caught in the wrong. It’s always worked for the elected or already established. The world has never known it to not be the standard behavior of politicians and Popes alike. It is a fundamental human trait to want it to be this way. No one likes being laughed at. Especially if they’re the ones who like to laugh.
Making fun of each other, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us, is absolutely essential to living in a free society. We often forget ourselves or are surrounded by people who echo our thoughts and opinions. In these echo chambers we cannot separate fact from pure stupidity. In ancient Persia in order for an idea to be considered valued it had to be debated twice, first sober and then drunk. Only if it made sense when talked about in both states could its truthfulness be determined. Even in the ancient world it was understood that what might sound good to some doesn’t sound good to others. If only we applied this logic to our laws.
Comedians are truth tellers. We need them to be. If there wasn’t someone to show us how we sound or look during our worst moments, how would we ever achieve our greatest moments. Nothing justifies being cruel for cruelties sake. The importance of satire is not to mock or belittle our enemies or those we hate but to remind us what a slave would remind a glorious Roman General during his triumphal parade. Remember thou art mortal. In the end this is the true distilled truth of the matter that it too often forgotten. We are all mortal beings. We all make mistakes but we are not fatally flawed and evil things. We are people, we just need to be reminded more often than not.
But satire, ever moral, ever new, Delights the reader and instructs him, too. She, if good sense refine her sterling page, Oft shakes some rooted folly of the age.– Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Photo by J. Santiago Photography