How To Tell If Stories Like “I’m the Woman from the Peloton Commercial…” Are Satire Or Not
Or, handy tips for fact-checking stuff you read on the internet
Let’s face it: writing comedy is hard. But reading it shouldn’t be. It should flow with ease, as if the person behind the pen didn’t actually spend forty hours editing, revising, cursing at, and ultimately scrapping & rewriting the whole damn thing. (Not that I’d have any experience with this, mind you.) And, when a writer’s specific brand of comedy happens to jell with your specific sense of humor, it should leave you feeling like you have a new ‘BFF’ — even if only in your imagination.
With the many different types of comedic writing, there’s something for everyone. Self-deprecation — or, the art of making fun of yourself — is another example of comedy that, if written well, is golden. Especially if you can manage heckling the unique quirks that make you you, while simultaneously conveying how universal those things are. This “ordinary” type of humor ends up resonating with so many that it qualifies as neither “unique” nor “quirky,” yet, somehow, still embodies both.
Satire, though. Ugh. That’s a whole other animal. In fact, it’s a beast. Especially when it’s political in nature, and appears online in this era of so-called “fake news;” which really, I’ve found, is just a climate brimming with folks who are hyper-skeptical, who can no longer collectively agree on what a ‘fact’ is, and are always on the defensive. But, I digress.
Unlike other types of comedic writing, satire isn’t always easy to read and understand. It requires a closer level of scrutiny. And that’s intentional. When done well, satire can mimic the thing it’s making fun of in such an honest way that readers fall into places of almost getting duped, or they get duped temporarily, forgetting — for a moment — that the story isn’t actually real, until they come back to their senses.
Unfortunately, though, there are some cases where people don’t understand they were being duped at all. And that’s how we ended up with a lying, sexist, racist, cheating con man (and not even a good one) as the 45th President… (oops, I digressed. Again. Sorry.)