Satire, Sarcasm, and Irony- Why can’t the Conservative Right do it intentionally?
Meta-Irony and my Infinite Gladness
So this graphic popped up on my Facebook feed today:
I commented on the irony of it all, which prompted one of my conservative friends to ask me if I couldn’t recognize satire. Oh, I recognize satire alright. Only, this isn’t it.
See, satire is supposed to be ridiculing an opposing position. It is supposed to make the plain reading of the text absurd. I don’t get that here. I get that it is supposed to be sarcastic (clue: a reference to “gay ideology”)- I also think it misses the mark. There is nothing particularly absurd about telling Christian kids that their bible based views are not sacrosanct.
In this case the author of this graphic attempted to use sarcasm as a tool to ridicule people who refuse to give special privilege to ideas because they stem from fundamental Christianity. They attempted to use satire by mocking the It Gets Better campaign launched by Dan Savage. It may seem to be sarcastic (and satire) to a fundamentalist Christian, but it strikes me as a form of meta-irony, where the sarcasm actually paints a relatively positive spin on the very issue (s)he was trying to skewer. So if it is satire, it is horribly ineffective. Even as sarcasm it misses the mark to a non-myopic audience.
It is ironic because the author meant to use sarcasm and instead ended up coming up with a pretty good idea. It is probably in the interests of everyone to educate young Christians that once they exit the bubble of a public school system that walks on egg shells and a social circle their parents have some control over- they will be mocked, vilified, marginalized and ridiculed. It would be positive for all of us if they went into the world understanding that religion is no excuse for sloppy logic, gross generalizations, and Bronze-Age morality.
“But I only said ‘God doesn’t suffer a woman to teach’!- I’m just following the bible“- is not going to cut it in the real world. “Any man who lies with a man as he does with a woman is an abomination and should be put to death” – is totes fine if you happen to be with your fellow Christian brothers, but it won’t win you brownie points in the office staff room. The real world is waiting. The rational world is waiting…..
Maybe we ought to think about telling them that “It Gets Worse”