Jump to navigation Jump to search Not to be confused with satyr or Saltire. 1867 edition of Punch, a ground-breaking British magazine of popular humour, including a great deal of satire of the contemporary, social, and political scene. Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of satire essays, including internet memes, literature, plays, commentary, television shows, and media such as lyrics.
The word satire comes from the Latin word satur and the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant «full» but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to «miscellany or medley»: the expression lanx satura literally means «a full dish of various kinds of fruits». The word satura as used by Quintilian, however, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be later intended as satire. To Quintilian, the satire was a strict literary form, but the term soon escaped from the original narrow definition. The word satire derives from satura, and its origin was not influenced by the Greek mythological figure of the satyr.
The rules of satire are such that it must do more than make you laugh. No matter how amusing it is, it doesn’t count unless you find yourself wincing a little even as you chuckle. Even light-hearted satire has a serious «after-taste»: the organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize describe this as «first make people laugh, and then make them think». Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study. Historically, satire has satisfied the popular need to debunk and ridicule the leading figures in politics, economy, religion and other prominent realms of power. For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions.