Is satire constructive?

Does satire actually help make tangible improvements to the topic being satirized, or is it just preaching to the choir? To me, it seems that satire is its funniest when you previously agree with all of the points being made. It also seems unlikely to me that someone would have their opinion on a polarizing topic be changed via a piece of satire. Satire’s purpose more seems like a tool to just let people who already hold one opinion mock the apparent absurdity of the other side’s opinion. It is in human nature to be stubborn and not want to be wrong, so I can see why satire that criticizes (or outright mocks) your opinions could push you to more aggressively defend them. This of course is the basis of a lot of what we have talked about in class, in terms of Trump actually gaining a much bigger and more aggressive following due to the constant mocking of him by his opposition. Then again, really good satire should be able to illustrate points in such a way that makes someone who wouldn’t normally agree with something see it in a different light, or point out the flaws in their opinions.

Then there is the occasional problem of satire causing confusion. More often than I would expect, I see people getting upset over “the Onion” headlines or otherwise reposting Onion articles because they believe them (or want them) to be legitimate news. I personally love the Onion, however the spread of misinformation also does no good for either side (in terms of politics), as it just further divides people and causes pointless arguments. I don’t actually blame the Onion for spreading misinformation, as their articles are usually clearly satire, but for people who are unfamiliar with their work I can see why that would not be immediately clear in this day and age of increasingly absurd real life headlines.




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