quotations about satire
Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.
LORD BYRON, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
JONATHAN SWIFT, preface, The Battle of the Books
A single satire will sometimes effect more good than a hundred sermons.
PIETRO ARETIN, attributed, Day's Collacon
You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.
ALAN MOORE, interview, "The Craft", Engine Comics, January 2005
Satire is protected speech even if the object of satire doesn't get it.
AL FRANKEN, interview, The Austin Chronicle, September 23, 2017
Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, Spring 1967
A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible to get relief.
JOHN DOS PASSOS, Esquire, 1936
A man is angry at a libel because it is false, but at a satire because it is true.
G. K. CHESTERTON, Five Types: A Book of Essays
Satire is a composition of salt and mercury; and it depends upon the different mixture and preparation of these ingredients, that it comes out a noble medicine or a rank poison.
F. JEFFREY, attributed, Day's Collacon
Political satire loosens the belt of those who need it tightened the most.
RACHEL FLYNN, "We should not be laughing at dangerous politicians", The Student Newspaper, September 28, 2017
Satire is one of the most powerful weapons of speech in a free society. It stirs the collective consciousness against oppressive governments and laws, rulers, the rich and powerful (look at Voltaire and the rich tradition of political cartoons in the modern world, all the way to the biting social commentary of freedom of speech warriors like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin), and moreover points a mirror at we ourselves as individuals: exposing the hypocrisies and frailties of our individual positions on issues -- hopefully getting us to see where others are coming from in how they view the world. Thus, satire also takes tremendous steps to opening up dialogue on the issues where it had otherwise been stifled -- penetrating that wall through a universal language of humor: if we are only willing to give a little introspection and laugh at ourselves.
WESS HAUBRICH, "In defense of Truly Free Speech: 'South Park' at 21", The 405, September 17, 2017
If we cannot establish fundamental common sense and basic expression, then "satire" is nothing but emoji packs. Our lives will be full of it.
YOUSHANDABU, "Online Group Rules No Joking Matter", China Digital Times, September 26, 2017
But satire, ever moral, ever new,
Delights the reader and instructs him, too.
She, if good sense refine her sterling page,
Oft shakes some rooted folly of the age.
NICOLAS BOILEAU-DESPRÉAUX, Satires
There is parody, when you make fun of people who are smarter than you; satire, when you make fun of people who are richer than you; and burlesque, when you make fun of both while taking your clothes off.
P. J. O'ROURKE, Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut
Wherever there is objective truth, there is satire.
WYNDHAM LEWIS, Rude Assignment
Satire must not be a kind of superfluous ill will, but ill will from a higher point of view ... hatred against the bogged-down vileness of average man as against the possible heights that humanity might attain.
PAUL KLEE, The Diaries of Paul Klee
Satire is a prompt recipe for making bitter enemies.
CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos
Satire is an abuse of wit. It corrects few evils.
CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
Satire has a great big glaring target. If successful, it blasts a great big hole in the center. Directness there must be and singleness of aim: it is all aim, all trajectory.
WYNDHAM LEWIS, notes to Kenneth Allott, Contemporary Verse
Satire is a glass in which the beholder sees everybody's face but his own.
ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust