on satire

terry lindvall’s mirror

Am adding a new satire tag to the green and blue house. Satire is needed to season an essay collection so I thought practicing here might help this arduous laborious unwelcome difficult endeavor. I’ve had the FUN tag include satire but now, with the new tag, the crafting of satire might be encouraged.

I’ve written elsewhere that satire is tricky and can be misleadingly deceptive: If it’s too dry it can be seen by some as straightforwardly serious, not satire. So the writer has to label it, then reader and writer both suffer complete devastation.  Come right out in the style: yes this is satire! To be effective in our culture it must be close to the edge, even crazy, extreme. Then every type of intellect can recognize it as satire. We should be able to say this is satire, yes, and what does this particular piece of satire mean?


I’m not an intellectual, no acuity or retention, not much insight or verbal explication. But I’m very interested in satire. I like what Samuel James said about parody: “what parody is: A genre that illustrates rather than explicates” sometimes while mimicking style.

I’ve read Terry Lindvall’s academic God Mocks through and have notes, but there’s almost nothing left in my head. We received from the Portland library on interlibrary loan, and I read fast to return timely. It would be neat if he could make it lay-friendly, like authors did with Bandersnatch and the Narnia Code. When I told him this he suggested I try:A Mirror for Fools: An Illustrated Alphabet of Religious Satire.

For Maine satire today, one can’t read better than Mark LaFlamme’s columns in the Sun Journal. But, as related in a previous post, everything’s in transition. Maine humor changes, but is still often dry. Mark’s not so much.

Here’s an excellent conversation about satire with the ultra smart Karen Swallow Prior and others I admire: Mere Fidelity: On Satire, with Karen Swallow Prior.

Expect to see more satire here from time to time.

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