Satire – Funny or Too Far?

Giving my age away a lot in this but I was a young high schooler when Southpark hit the screens. It was all everyone could talk about and the cries of, ‘you killed Kenny,’ sounded down the halls to be point it was annoying. People were discussing it a lot and at that impressionable age it makes you curious as to what all the fuss is about. I checked out the episodes and at the time the toilet humour didn’t impress me. I didn’t find it in the least bit funny and with many other things I began to believe it was me that had something wrong with me. I spent a great deal of my youth feeling like an alien outsider so this was nothing new. I still feel like an alien outsider some days but that’s a story for a different time.

Many years later I watched Southpark again. Suddenly it all clicked. What I perceived as toilet humour was a satirical jest at the idea people would buy literal shit if it was sold to them the way most things are (looking at you Mr Hanky). I began to realise that it wasn’t just edgy comedy, it was a tongue in cheek look at how this world of ours can be ridiculous at times. With that in mind I now can’t get enough of satire. The world can be ridiculous. There are some terrible things happening around us that deserve ridicule. Which brings me to my point.

Some argue that satire can take the joke too far. I use Southpark as an example because the have been in the media lately for their portrayal of what would be Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Admittedly I haven’t watched the episode myself. I have only seen clips of the taunting. However, I have read a lot of the outrage (and snickering) it caused which led me to wonder, is satire funny or is it too far? By its nature it often pushes boundaries. Looking back at the pandemic special there were moments where I emitted a very audible, ‘oh dear God!’ In my view we, collectively, had just been through one of the most difficult times in living memory. Maybe the pangolin was a bit much but surely we could laugh together as we began to pick up the pieces. As far as H and M go, should that have been left alone? Personally, I don’t think so. The point of satire is taking a look at the world through a different lens. They wanted their side of their story to be told. Unfortunately they don’t get to filter the response.

This isn’t a review on Southpark. As stated I’m just using that as an example. For me satire is a great way of looking at contemporary topics. There are plenty of things for us to be serious about and with that I prefer to lighten the mood. I find it much easier to cope that way. I’d love to hear some thoughts on those who feel it’s too far. Where does your humour lie?

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