The Flames of Satire

It used to be you had to wait for a traveling performer or make a visit to the theater to hear your favorite comedian. Now, when anyone can make and share satire from the comfort of his or her own home, satire spreads like wildfire. The development and growth of the internet has generously sponsored this phenomenon, allowing us to be endlessly entertained assuming we have Wi-Fi, and redefining our expectations on what is funny and when being funny is appropriate.

With web developments like YouTube, Reddit, Imgur, and numerous other sites, we can both access and actively respond to satire. The main importance here is the factor of access (although we can also see that those who actively post comments to satires are often creating satires of their own, creating an endless chain of the satirization of satire). Because satire has become so accessible, people are expecting to see it everywhere. If I just read an article, and it didn’t make me laugh, then in the end didn’t I just waste a valuable portion of my mindlessly-browsing-on-the-web time? Satire isn’t something that people are just delighted to see anymore, it’s become an expectation.

While browsing Reddit, I found a link to a post on Linkedin that is titled “Interesting lifehacks: Use a wooden spoon to block part of your screen.” If this isn’t satire, then I don’t know what is. The post is created by Joachim Bauernberger, who is “linked in” as an open source advocate, future-tech recruiter, and tech writer, and suggests a seemingly simple solution for pop-ups: use a wooden spoon to block the portion of your screen you don’t want to see. The post satirizes the annoying pop-ups we are all too accustomed to seeing on the web, and the plug-ins we use to block those ads (which often track our information themselves). The spoon “works much better than any browser plug-in (e.g. ad-block+) and with surprising accuracy. Although not as fast, it does so entirely without false positives,” Bauernberger writes. This post appears funny to us because it expresses the ridiculousness behind developing new technology to smother the old technology (pop-ups) that tends to get on our nerves. Furthermore, the piece also works to satirize the common posts we see called Lifehacks. The spoon, being a “lifehack,” seems to be making fun of other posts that attempt to offer easy solutions for problems we experience in daily life.

What is most interesting to me, however, is the fact that Bauernberger would choose to post his witty and satirical piece to Linkedin, a site that was originally designed for networking and maintaining relations in the business world. Furthermore, the fact that his piece on spoons is well liked by the Linkedin community (as we can see by the number of views, likes, and comments), seems to say something interesting about our current society. Even on a site with an underlying business purpose, satire is well accepted and humor seems to be expected almost anywhere. Perhaps his humorous remarks allow Bauernberger to be more liked in the business community, which could never be a bad thing if he were looking for a job.

With the way our society seems to expect satire from us these days, it’s hardly surprising to find a perfectly good example of it on Linkedin; these examples appear everywhere. Reddit, the site that originally led me to the spoon post on Linkedin, has its own page specifically dedicated to creating posts that satirize what people hate most about Reddit. The only rules are: “be funny, be original, and satirize the f*** out of Reddit.” All the posts are jokes, of course, but seem to say something critical about posts just like them that aren’t. Because Reddit knows that in the end nothing is perfect. Even a site that allows people to create and share satire from the comforts of their own homes is bound to have something those very same people need to criticize, and Reddit embraces this. Reddit knows that it, along with a mass of other websites, has created a wildfire by giving people such easy access to satire. Go on then, it says, be funny…be critical, as it gives us another match.


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