A Modest…Satire

After having read the article titled “A Modest Proposal On Gun Violence In Our Schools” I had to sit back for a moment and digest. It was very clever. At the beginning of the article I had believed that the author was legitimately proposing that American citizens let their children and their children’s teachers bring firearms to school. I was completely flabbergasted at the thought that Daniel Akst was seriously proposing such an irresponsible idea. However, as I finished the last line I also read the bold text, which informs the reader that Daniel Akst was writing in satire. That is what was so clever about it. It waited for you to finish. If you did not completely read the post, Akst’s point of view would seem real.

Satire is nothing new. It has existed far beyond the time of computers and it will certainly never fade away any time soon. Stephen Colbert is the perfect example of this. He is an actor but stays in character as a right wing Republican.

The idea of believing satire to be real is the problem at hand. If you can believe that Akst truly wanted children to bring firearms to school, what does that say about the real people who exist? Alex Jones is the perfect example. Not only does he propose a rather ridiculous stance on gun control, but he also represents the type of people that make Akst’s satire seem real.

The problem is not the satire or even obnoxious people like Alex Jones, but the fact that people nowadays take information out of context. We do not read entire articles anymore. We are a generation that has been raised and adapted to writing status updates and tweets that we cannot comprehend and process long forms of information. It could easily be why the United States is falling behind academically compared to the rest of the world. We are constantly connected and with that brings about a short attention span, inability to process information, and to retain information. A push toward breaking that addiction and need to have all that information at your fingertips needs to happen or else sooner or later truth will fade into the background and things that were not meant to be taken seriously are used to fight legitimate battles.

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2 thoughts on “A Modest…Satire

  1. That is a really good point you make about needing to put things into context because we constantly being bombarded by so much information that rarely do we take the time to throughly investigate a point being made. such who is saying it? or why? what is the story behind it and what is the real message being conveyed? what is agenda or motivation behind the writing or statement? The real problem truly is that we as a society no longer think critically about what we are encounter in our daily lives. We have the time to play mindless games and go on social media sites, but we are lacking in time when it comes to researching. But then again, how would you go about researching a statement when on the internet anyone can say anything about it and the motivation behind it or result of it. Are we just being lazy people or do we just not have the tools to investigate any further than what is right before us?

  2. This post reminds of an anecdote from high school. We were sitting in my AP English class, reading Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A Burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.” (Most likely, this is where the article takes its name.) Like Mr. Akst’s “suggestion,” the conclusion one drew from Swift’s essay was unbelievable. Simply put, he suggested that the Irish eat their babies to avid sinking deeper into poverty. I cannot imagine how many people during that time took this seriously. Hopefully they were horrified, rather than considering the idea.

    You are absolutely right that many people do not read for context anymore. People tend to gloss over the details in order to find the exact answer they are looking for. We want instant gratification, and lengthy passages seem like colossal wastes of time. In the case of satire, taking something out of context would completely change the meanings and thoughts the satirists put behind their words.

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