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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Clearly, a lot of people do not understand the real meaning of "satire." 
24th-Sep-2009 05:28 pm
For the record, Kealey's piece on "Lust" in the academy was not satire--for the same reason that controversial cover of Barack and Michelle Obama on The New Yorker was not satire. No, it was just someone's lame-brained, ill-advised attempt to be funny.

Why wasn't it satire? Because satire takes ordinary, everyday people and beliefs--mainstream people and mainstream views of the sort that don't normally merit comment or criticism--and reveal them to be ridiculous/offensive/self-contradictory/etc. In other words, Stephen Colbert's show on Comedy Central is satire because he is parodying pundits on mainstream television and talk radio who are taken seriously by quite a large portion of their audience.

Last I checked, male professors openly oogling their female students and assuming that any interest in their studies is a sexual come-on isn't everyday, normal, or acceptable. If the key to biting satire is to tear down the powerful, then Kealey's article doesn't even come close. All it does is reinforce patriarchal hierarchies of domination, and it's as tasteful as a racist joke.

Put another way: You know satire is working if the people it purports to address take deep and instant offense. Thus, right-wing bloviators obviously hate Colbert...and so do a lot of political journalists. Kealey was addressing married, heterosexual males who lust after their students--and that contingent, if the comments on The Guardian are any indication, are cheering. Since it's the women and "girls" who are out for his head, you know he got the satire dangerously wrong. It would be like left-wingers blogging death threats to Colbert every time a new episode of The Colbert Report airs.

(Sadly, explicating comedy is never nearly as fun as consuming it.)
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