Laughing With vs. Laughing At: Seeing satire through a marginalized lens

To be presented in Panel: ““Funny Feminists: Comedy and/as Resistance.” Presented at the National Communication Association (NCA). Dallas, TX.

Satire is the use of humor, irony, or exaggeration to expose and criticize social absurdities. By its very nature, satire requires an audience knowledgeable of these absurdities, but the hegemonic dominance of a White, Christian, heterosexual, middle class, male lens, inhibits the ability of marginalized satire to affect audience attitudes, despite an increase in user-generated satire via digital media (e.g., Reductress, Black Twitter). The current research provides a timeline of satire, both mainstream and marginalized, across different platforms to describe effective
satirical strategies, or content patterns that encourage audiences to better understand the experiences of others.
(96 words)

Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize absurdities, particularly in contemporary politics or other topical issues. By its very nature, satire requires audiences to come to the joke with an an awareness of reality’s absurdities, and a willingness to mock them. However, much of our satire comes from the lens of White heterosexual, Christian, middle class men, the same group that has historical defined the consensus American audience for years, making it difficult for mainstream audiences to understand and appreciate content that satirizes marginalized experiences.

The effects of asynchronous meanings between the satirist and the audience is a common refrain in the experiences of prominent comedians from marginalized
groups (e.g., Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, Amy Shumer) and drastically inhibits the ability of satire to inspire productive conversations around issues of diversity. Interestingly, in the face of this disconnect, there is a rise in independent satire using digital media; user generated content on social media
platforms provide spaces for marginalized satire (e.g., Black Twitter, Flama, Randy Rainbow, Reductress), but the effectiveness of this satire in public discourse is not yet evident.

The current research will describe the experiences of teaching satire as a diversity class in fall 2016 and strategies of effective satire, or satire that encourages audiences to see the world through a marginalized lens in order to understand the experiences of others with a focus on representations of gender, sexuality, and race. (242 Words)

About charisselpree

The Media Made Me Crazy
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