Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Satire; It's Not Just For Ph.D.s Any More

In keeping with the title of this blog, I have been searching for any proof to the contrary of my assertion. Happily, I have found many blogs of uncommon uniqueness, urbanity and poignancy (High fiving those who have proven me wrong...you know who you are. Bravo!). I am, though not convinced that these are representative of any real majority, encouraged.

What I wish to discuss today is my discovery of a distressing trend within a trend.

Seriously folks, Satire is an art form. Not every blockhead who fancies himself the next Juvenal can master it. And bad satire is not like bad sex, which, even at its most disappointing, cannot help but excite and gratify. An orgasm is an orgasm after all, no matter how objectionable or regrettable the means of achieving it. Not so, Satire. Bad Satire inspires only ignominy and embarassment on behalf of both author and reader. Like a grievous human tragedy, the horror is so great, the calamity so profound, that one cannot help but read on in abject slack-jawed disbelief, if only to convince oneself that a literary perversion of such magnitude is actually possible.

Some believe the ability to satirize is a gift, bestowed by the Cosmos upon only a few privileged and worthy souls, the likes of which dot our history with tomes of such wit, sophistication and insight as to have altered the fabric of human consciousness. Some believe it can be cultivated, with careful attention to form and function, and studious instruction in affecting the delicate balance between humor, irony and rancor. I do not know which is true; though it could well be both, existing in a wholesale heirarchy of competency, signifigance, and worth.

What I do know is that bad Satire is to be avoided at all costs. Its damages the psyche of the reader and impugns the intelligence of the writer. It is ignoble, depressing and sad. Since the dawn of time man has sought to give meaning to his existence through artistic expression, so I do understand the all consuming need to create through a medium for which one feels an affinity. If the medium of choice is anything bearing the Crayola logo, the repercussions stemming from gross ineptitude are negligible. But Satire is a literary vehicle of singular complexity and beauty. It should not be bastardized by those without the skill or intelligence to do it justice. If that applies to you, please, for the sake of all that is good and right with this world....

JUST SAY NO.

Failing that, at least take the time to educate yourself upon the finer points of composition and execution. Here are a few suggestions:


Satire in Narrative: Petronius, Swift, Gibbon, Melville, and Pynchon
by Frank Palmieri

Satire; A Critical Reintroduction
by Dustin Griffin

The Malcontents: The Best Bitter, Cynical, and Satirical Writing in the World
by Joe Queenan

Now, I go in search of the literary Holy Grail...really good Satire. I'll let you know what I find. Or more likely, what I don't.

(Dedicated to those who are fundamentally unable to distinguish satire from schtick or create either of any quality. May they see the error of their ways and repent.)

9 Comments:

  • At 4:57 AM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    Here here. Repent indeed. There is nothing worse than bad sattire. Except someone who is not even writing sattire at all (just being nasty and calling it sattire). If you find any GOOD ones I'd love to know. I've only seen some bad ones. And those blogs ARE stupid :)

     
  • At 8:37 AM, Anonymous H.A.Page said…

    Nice piece, especially providing links that might help those who want to be satorical. With the biggest publishing phenonenon ever as a new medium, the 41.9 million blogs are turning writing on its head. And other forms of content production, too.

    Keep the pulse.
    Cheers.

     
  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    Thank you. I am so tired of reading sneering that poses as art.

     
  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous mothergoosemouse said…

    That third book looks particularly interesting to me - thanks for the link! I will add it to my wish list.

    I stick to the schtick myself.

     
  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    I may know what you're referring to or maybe this just happens to be a perfect answer to a proported (but failed) online satirist that I've come across. Either way, excellent point, excellent recos.

    And then, there's always M*A*S*H.

     
  • At 11:04 AM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    Why do I always have no clue what people are talking about when everyone else knows what's going on!!! Gar. I feel like Charlie Brown.

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Brad Munson said…

    What, is this some kind of JOKE? Actually, seriously -- good links, good thoughts, and what, about one in a thousand know the difference between fart jokes and Rabelais (okay, maybe that was a bad example, but YOU know what I mean...).

    Great blog! MORE, please!

    Brad Munson

     
  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger ~m~ said…

    just popping in say hello babe.

     
  • At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    http://julia.typepad.com/julia/

     

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