Contributing writer for The Artifice.
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18th Century Satire
We often think of Satire as being a "modern" invention. Or, at least, that is what our minds usually jump to. For instance, the satirical Chandler Bing from Friends, who constantly uses second-degree humor to articulate his points or arguments.
By analyzing Satirical works from earlier periods of our history, we might be able to understand Satire better. A good place to start could be Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting! It gives advice to people in positions of power on how to torment their servants, companions, or even husbands, better. In short, what we nowadays would call emotional abuse.
Is there power in writing Satire? Is it more effective than using first-degree?
As someone studying English Literature at the University level, I’ve had a lot of encounters with Medieval Literature. It is truly fascinating how we can better understand past societies by looking at their stories, myths and legends.
What always fascinated me the most was their portrayal of the Heroic conduct. Beowulf, for example, is one of the first English epics, and it is PACKED with action. The hero fights monsters and dragons for glory, receives treasures and fame, takes part in massive feasts and celebration, and eventually dies in an Heroic manner. A story that you would think might be boring because it came out in the Middle Ages is actually the basis for most of our Romanticized ideas of what the Middle Ages were like. Knights, Queens, love affairs, betrayal, deceptions… Medieval Literature often reads like a soap opera drama.
Who would’ve thought that a social media platform would rekindle a fire that was being extinguished, ironically, because of social media’s influence on our perception of ‘good’ entertainment?
I mean that social media — and especially Tiktok — has influenced our brains into seeking instant gratification. Reading a book is perhaps the exact opposite of instant gratification. It requires patience and a calm environment. Yet, as mentoned in the article, Tiktok actually brought reading back into the mainstream.
I find it fascinating how we’re continually influenced by the internet. A lot of people – especially Millenials – were kind of skeptical about Tiktok at first. It’s a kid’s app, it’s stupid, I’ll never download it… but once things like Booktop started popping up, it became all the more apparent that it was not merely a kid’s app. It was a chance to build community.
There is definitely something to be said about how formative Disney movies can be for children’s development. Media productions are indeed part of our history, and they act like a mirror to our society.
It makes me think about this essay I wrote for school last year, where I highlighted how Snow White and The Seven Dwarves is framed by the patriarchal and heteronormative world in which it exists. Targeted at children, the movie aims to reinforce traditional gender norms; that is, the woman as mother, and the man as worker.
Nowadays, Disney aims to influence in the other direction. We can clearly discern an attempt to empower visible and invisible minorities, include racial as well as sexual diversity, create plotlines that are not totally centered around romantic relationships, and moral lessons that are less problematic (or at least more nuanced) than what we can get out of their earliest works.