Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject (individuals, organisations, states) often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. Satire is not exclusive to any viewpoint. Parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it.
There are several types of satire:
- Diminution: Reduces the size of something in order that it may be made to appear ridiculous or in order to be examined closely and have its faults seen close up. For example, treating the Canadian Members of Parliament as a squabbling group of little boys is an example of diminution. Gulliver's Travels is a diminutive satire.
- Inflation: A common technique of satire is to take a real-life situation and exaggerate it to such a degree that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen, and thus satirical. For example, two boys arguing over a possession of a car can be inflated into an interstellar war. The Rape of the Lock is an example of inflation.
- Juxtaposition: Places things of unequal importance side by side. It brings all the things down to the lowest level of importance on the list. For example, if a guy says his important subjects in school include Calculus, Computer Science, Physics, and girl-watching, he has managed to take away some of the importance of the first three. The Rape of the Lock is also an example of juxtaposition.
- Parody: Imitates the techniques and style of some person, place, or thing. Parody is used for mocking or mocking its idea of the person, place, or thing. Monty Python is an example of parody.
- A Tale of a Tub, Gulliver's Travels and "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift, harsh views of the world
- Candide by Voltaire, satirizing optimism
- Erewhon by Samuel Butler II, a utopia, a form that is common in satire.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a dystopia, also common in satire.
- Ubu Roi (or King Turd), by Alfred Jarry, cacotopia
- Penguin Island by Anatole France, utopia
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, dystopia
- Mark Twain's later works, notably The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg
- C. Northcote Parkinson was a British 20th century writer of satire on bureaucracy.
- Thomas Nast's political cartoons against Boss Tweed
- The Landover Baptist Church an internet parody of Christian fundamentalism
- Stanley Kubrick's motion pictures Doctor Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange.
- The Monty Python opus, satirizing British character types.
- Private Eye magazine
- The Onion's parody of journalism
- Chris Morris's Brass Eye - a parody of TV news programmes
- The Daily Show - parody of TV news
- 'Hot Shots' (parody of 'Top Gun' and 'Hot Shots 2' (parody of the 'Rambo' films)
- The Austin Powers trilogy parodies several other movies
- The Capitol Steps musical performances satires politics from both sides of the political spectrum and day-to-day life
- The Scary Movie films parodying horror flicks
On occasion, satire can cause social change when used to make a political or social point. For instance, the comic strip Doonesbury satirized a Florida county that had a racist law that minorities had to have a passcard in the area; the law was soon repealed with an act nicknamed the Doonesbury Act. In the 2000 Canadian federal election campaign, a Canadian Alliance proposal for a mechanism to require a referendum in response to a petition of sufficient size was satirized by the television show This Hour Has 22 Minutes so effectively that it was discredited and soon dropped.
Satire enjoyed a renaissance in the UK in the early 1960s with the Satire Boom, led by such luminaries as Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, David Frost, Eleanor Bron and Dudley Moore and the television programme That Was The Week That Was.