When I think about satire, when I think about my satire, when, in fact, I think about making my satire, I don’t talk about it. The process of creating a satirical illustration is clunky, an idea comes in waves – goes and comes and goes again, then I usually doze off – until, in a true “Eureka!” moment, I find my quid and jump at the desk. Or I simply draw a shitty cartoon, frustrated by my own lack of inspiration.
And still I don’t, and won’t, talk about it. I remember inquiring about ideas over a certain topic, asking my mother what she thought about a specific issue. Then leaving the room in anger. The she says “Why do you come asking me every time??” I dunno, she’s my mom ❤️
But I’m a cartoonist, so I’m not a good specimen to be tested to understand if and why we do or don’t talk about satire. Do we? We’ve never been more surrounded by satirical illustration, simply because of the social media and its democratization of creativity. Anybody can draw anything and get pretty much anywhere, especially with a little money to bid.
Satire is: the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues – Google.com
Not only we’ve got plenty of sources to get satire from and talk about it. We’ve also got plenty of topics to be tackled through satire.
But We Don’t Talk About Satire
It seems, from what I’m writing, that I’m implying we don’t talk about satire, in the end. But we happen to care about it quite a lot. One draws a cartoon that steps over someone’s line and that person gets insulted, banned, hated, even killed. So yes we happen to talk about it, at times. Does it mean we care?
Or we care about ourselves and our pride? So we talk about satire only to complain about the existence of satire as an mean of slander. We talk about Charlie Hebdo because they sometimes exaggerate; we talk about cartoons against Islam because they show no respect toward other cultures. But we don’t talk about the issues that good humor tackles.
Nah, We Do Talk About Satire
But instead no, we talk about satire! Now I’m just trying to work dyalectically, as I am not really sure we do have anything to say about political or editorial cartoons other than undergoing the pure experience of seeing them and considering, in our private brains, the truth they bear.
Maybe the answer is that we don’t really need to talk about any satirical illustration because “Fruitful is only the mute dialogue with our enemies” Cioran said. Therefore, when we “read” a cartoon what we do is challenging a certain reality simply by letting another truth, the one of a subverted satirical universe, get in and talk to us.
We Should Talk About Satire
Unfortunately that’s not good enough to me. A subverted universe can only present a metaphorical truth, hint to something, wink, if you want, to us. But a satirical work doesn’t actually give any specific info about a topic and implies, instead, to be understood, that we know what the issue at hand is. Therefore, the less informed we are, the less we can understand satire.
So what is needed is a way to present an audience, many audiences, with something more “fleshy”, something that will inspire them, that can be used because it gives knowledge. That can be passed on.
We Should Not Talk About Satire
So we should not talk about satire – as I am doing now. The real success of a satirical cartoon must be, in fact, to disappear behind the truth it reveals about a certain topic. The very moment of understaing is the emotion it brings, be it anger or delight, or both at the same time – even better.
We should not talk about satire and we should talk about the subject of satire. And to do so we need to know what we are talking about when we talk about what satire talks about. So what are we talking about when we talk about satire? We are talking about nothing.
Humor belongs to the people.