Satire Essay

Topics: Reductio ad absurdum, Satire, Comedy Pages: 3 (953 words) Published: January 14, 2013
EssaySatire Essay Latham


‘Successful satirists achieve a balance between amusement and criticism.’ Discuss. The balance between amusement and critique is a central dynamic of successful satire, as it is through humour that the satire may censure its target, prompting the respondent to revaluate their own perspective with that of the satirist. Through his hyperbolic depiction of the nepotism inherent in the diplomatic posting system in The Ambassador, Sitch’s series The Hollowmen reveals the malleability of political values. Sitch furthers his satire of such political expediency through his ironic depiction of the policy making process in Rear Vision in which he exposes the artifices that characterise the modern Australian political landscape. Similarly, Moir’s reductio ad absurdum critique of Australian immigration policy in his cartoon Australian Values Test challenges the exclusivism entrenched in facile notions of Australian identity. Ultimately both texts emphasise the distinction between parody and satire, suggesting that whilst both forms rouse amusement satire has the additional function of critiquing the prevailing facades of society. Through his depiction of the nepotistic machinations of the Central Policy Unit in The Ambassador, Sitch exposes the tension that exists between political necessity and the self-serving agendas of politicians. In highlighting the dilemma presented by the Prime Minister’s eagerness to appear non-partisan by stopping “clapped-out party hacks getting plum overseas postings” and the need to “make one more”, Sitch establishes the quintessential political conflict between an idealistic desire for transparency with the practical necessity for deception. Such a conflict is evident in Sitch’s use of Warren and Phillip, preeminent caricatures of political naivety, as foils to the dissembling pragmatists Tony and Murph. Sitch heightens this conflict through the scene-cut from the scrupulousness...
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