Satire and parody as tools for debate.

Manwë was known for many things, but wisdom and power are two that lead the rest of his attributes. Join the Councils and discuss the more weighty matters of Tolkien Fandom.

Postby Gandalf'sMother » Fri May 08, 2009 9:13 pm

I agree with Hobbituk that the dinosaur thread had veered wildly off course, and as such, it required an intervention from a moderator. However, the type of intervention is what interests me. If the Osgiliation of the thread was the reason for it's closure, would it not have made much more sense to remind posters to please stay on-topic, rather than to lock it? Or is there another, more complicated reason for the thread being locked? And if so, is it a reason that is in any way inversely related to the reasons for why the HOW TO GO TO HEAVEN WHEN YOU DIE thread was kept alive, despite the fact that a number of TORCers identified the poster as someone who posts identical messages on other messageboards - i.e. a troll, or spammer?

In other words, is a satirical thread that veers off-topic due to an apparent offense caused, more likely to be sanctioned than a spam thread that stays on-topic? I think this is a very important question to be answered.

Cerin,

You have explained yourself with great civility, and I thank you for that. I understand what your objections were, and understand that they had nothing to do with the substance of the thread, but rather, the form and placement of the thread. While I do not agree with you, as I feel the dinosaur thread did not belong in frodo's thread (and would be more disrespectful there) I do not disagree with any vehemence.

truehobbit,

I strongly disagree with your characterization of the dinosaur thread as spam, especially in light of the fact that you defended frodo's thread as non-spam. I am afraid I detect a double standard there.

All,

I apologize for the humorlessness of this post. It seems almost petty to me, too, but I think the underlying issues here are not. As a wise man once said, "The politics of a messageboard are especially fierce, because the stakes are so low." How true. The stakes are very low, but somehow, it is all very important!

-GM
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Postby Lee~ » Fri May 08, 2009 10:30 pm

basil wrote:I'm not quite sure what you meant to say here.

But I would definitely not describe Mr. "Curious George" as a use or example of good satire.

...

I wrote "good" when I should have used "effective" instead. I don't admire the guy, even though he made me laugh. I sure as heck wasn't laughing with him.

Gandalf's Mother wrote:I apologize for the humorlessness of this post. It seems almost petty to me, too, but I think the underlying issues here are not. As a wise man once said, "The politics of a messageboard are especially fierce, because the stakes are so low." How true. The stakes are very low, but somehow, it is all very important!


I used to wonder why in the heck my kids would behave perfect at other people's houses, but then act like hooligans at home. Other adults would come to me and say "Oh your children are just so polite and kind and so adorable and good" and I would struggle to keep my eyes from rolling right out of my head. Then one day, watching my youngest flop around on the floor in a screaming fit, I realized the truth of it. They treat me like crap because they trust me, and they love me best.

So think of it as an honor, GM. xfrodo? who? He doesn't deserve the attention. He's beneath our notice. Why even bother? We expect the worst, so hes afforded tepid, unfeeling, or downright sarcastic politeness due to an unwelcome guest. But you? That's a different story altogether. I don't say this is the correct way for people to behave, but it is the natural way.

My short answer to your question: "is a satirical thread that veers off-topic due to an apparent offense caused, more likely to be sanctioned than a spam thread that stays on-topic?' Yes, I think so, in a close knit forum such as this one, where members have been talking for years. Seems like it should be the other way around, I suppose. The spam thread locked and your thread allowed to meander. Humans are contrary beings. Maybe familiarity really does breed contempt. I dunno.

And thanks Alys, I really like everybody here. (Yep, everybody) And Rose, I think my town is similar to yours-but we're not to the point of burning books yet. Crazy midwestern hicks! Not much different from the Bible belt, really. Just lots of snow. Jadeval, I'll never get tired of reading your posts-so long as you remember to use paragraphs. I must say, you've been doing splendidly lately. Tuor, I have no idea. I think that was before my time, or I'm just stoopfid. It's quite likely. Cerin, I laughed at your "outing" joke, but thought it might sound too patronizing if I told you so. I've decided to throw caution to the wind and let you know I found it amusing. Vison, I agree with you a lot, but "I agree" posts junk up a thread, so I'll post it now-consider this my "I agree" and "Me too" ad infinitum. Jewel, I would rather laugh with myself than at myself. Laughing at people is mean. I wouldn't want to hurt my feelings. I would make me feel bad.

Whew-there. You know how you think of answers sometimes but they don't get posted, and then the moment just...passes?

Forgive me. I believe I've entered an alternate universe. I saw Star Trek a little while ago, and I'm still coming down. It was so much FUN!
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Postby Hobbituk » Sat May 09, 2009 2:25 am

I agree with Hobbituk that the dinosaur thread had veered wildly off course, and as such, it required an intervention from a moderator. However, the type of intervention is what interests me. If the Osgiliation of the thread was the reason for it's closure, would it not have made much more sense to remind posters to please stay on-topic, rather than to lock it? Or is there another, more complicated reason for the thread being locked? And if so, is it a reason that is in any way inversely related to the reasons for why the HOW TO GO TO HEAVEN WHEN YOU DIE thread was kept alive, despite the fact that a number of TORCers identified the poster as someone who posts identical messages on other messageboards - i.e. a troll, or spammer?

In other words, is a satirical thread that veers off-topic due to an apparent offense caused, more likely to be sanctioned than a spam thread that stays on-topic? I think this is a very important question to be answered.


Yeah, I didn't really fancy posting to say "Be more funny!"

As for your question, the dinosaur thread was also accused of being "spam". Outrageous isn't it? :)
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Postby JewelSong » Sat May 09, 2009 3:13 am

Hobbituk wrote:Yeah, I didn't really fancy posting to say "Be more funny!"


Humor is a very serious business, indeed. :D

And GM, you know, you could have closed with a joke... ;)
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Postby basil » Sat May 09, 2009 7:39 am

Cenedril_Gildinaur wrote:I.
Don't
Believe.
It.

We finally found a joke basil doesn't think is funny.

Well it was a really bad joke ...
No, he likes really bad jokes ...
Well it was racist and it was aimed at his messiah ...

Come on, basil, where's your sense of humor?


Sorry, but I simply cannot get all giggly like some can when cute cuddly references are made to the dehumanization of an entire section of the population in this country.

Dehumanization replete with a full laundry list of crimes against humanity.

Just.
Cannot.
Do.
It.

..
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Sat May 09, 2009 3:08 pm

Yeah.. 'jokes' about a race of people being less than human make me cringe.. be they black, Jewish, Ukrainian.. or what have you.

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Postby Tuor, » Sat May 09, 2009 3:10 pm

Since it looks like the bonus point thing isn't going to work, I'll give the answer to the first question:

Stirring with his spoon: Runes

The others I'm afraid must be left in the dark.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Sat May 09, 2009 3:33 pm

basil wrote:
Cenedril_Gildinaur wrote:I.
Don't
Believe.
It.

We finally found a joke basil doesn't think is funny.

Well it was a really bad joke ...
No, he likes really bad jokes ...
Well it was racist and it was aimed at his messiah ...

Come on, basil, where's your sense of humor?


Sorry, but I simply cannot get all giggly like some can when cute cuddly references are made to the dehumanization of an entire section of the population in this country.


You mean like how you get giggly about juokes that dehumanize anyone who isn't a liberal? A whole section of the population of this country?

I don't believe you.

basil wrote:Dehumanization replete with a full laundry list of crimes against humanity.

Just.
Cannot.
Do.
It.

..


You don't like your humor applied to your side.

Get a sense of humor will you?
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Postby Alys » Sat May 09, 2009 4:24 pm

GM, I'm the mod responsible for the non-locking of "How to get to Heaven" thread and I can tell you exactly why it was allowed to carry on. Alas, there are no complicated underlying reasons, no messageboard politics or indeed anything related, inversely or otherwise, to anything but the thread itself.

I had already locked/deleted some two or three identical threads by the same poster when it was requested that I allow this last one to stand. I was reluctant to do so but said something along the lines of "I'll give it another day but then I'll delete it if it doesn't turn into something more interesting than spam." And what do you know it but these pesky Manwe posters went and made it into something more interesting...

I hope that answers at least part of your important question? :)
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Postby Minardil » Sat May 09, 2009 4:37 pm

Hmm,

Using racially charged epithets against the President (ie monkey dolls) are certainly in extremely bad taste, and fall under the category of racism rather than political satire (being Black is not a political position).

Referring to President Obama as the "Dear Leader" - in reference of course to the North Korean dictator - is at least a "political" comment, though of course Mr. Kim and Mr. Obama are not at all similar. However, calling the President a communist dictator seems to be the best idea the Republicans have, and while it is sure to appeal to the Sean Hannity/Rush Limbaugh wing of the party (or rather, the rump remainder of the party), I seriously doubt that this tactic will win many converts to the GOP. Well, not many SANE converts anyway, it might well woo some disgruntled Libertarian tea baggers out of their survivalist cabins and into the voting booth. Good luck with that.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Sat May 09, 2009 6:47 pm

That wooshing sound is the point flying over your head again.
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Postby JewelSong » Sun May 10, 2009 3:48 am

I loved this!

God's Facebook Page

:D
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Postby Minardil » Sun May 10, 2009 5:05 am

That wooshing sound is the point flying over your head again.


No, I got your point; you think some folks can dish out the political humor and personal attacks but can't take it.

That's certainly valid in many circumstances, and you probably want to look in the mirror while making that charge. Actually, forget that, you attack everyone, but you have no sense of humor as far as I can tell. Indeed, you may well be the single most humorless poster here. Unless your "character" here is just a lampoon of extremists nutbars in the vein of Stephen Colbert, in which case you might just be a comic genius.

That said, I don't think that calling the president a "monkey", a common racial epithet used by certain whites against blacks, falls within the bounds of acceptable "humor".

So, I got your point, I just disagreed with it.
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Postby JewelSong » Sun May 10, 2009 5:32 am

Minardil wrote: Indeed, you may well be the single most humorless poster here.


Now, now...there's a LOT of competition for that title.

Unless your "character" here is just a lampoon of extremists nutbars in the vein of Stephen Colbert, in which case you might just be a comic genius.
.


I have never thought of that possibility. How cool would that be?

C'mon, C_G, 'fess up! Are you having us all on? Are you really a comic genius? :D
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Postby Alys » Sun May 10, 2009 6:19 am

Some posters here are definitely crossing over the line into personal attack which we all know is against our TOS. I'd be grateful if we'd get back onto the subject of the thread please.

That would be satire and parody as debating tools, just in case anyone had forgotten.
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Postby Lee~ » Sun May 10, 2009 8:59 am

JewelSong wrote:
Minardil wrote: Indeed, you may well be the single most humorless poster here.


Now, now...there's a LOT of competition for that title.

Unless your "character" here is just a lampoon of extremists nutbars in the vein of Stephen Colbert, in which case you might just be a comic genius.
.


I have never thought of that possibility. How cool would that be?

C'mon, C_G, 'fess up! Are you having us all on? Are you really a comic genius? :D


Jewel, I sometimes have the same thought about every member here-including myself! Maybe we're all just lampooning ourselves, and we're not even aware of it. I certainly thought that about the curious george monkey guy. If ever a person parodied himself, he's it.
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Postby basil » Sun May 10, 2009 2:31 pm

One much-used schtick of comedy and satire is to take a foible, mistake, flaw, personal mannerism and to exaggerate to the limits of the envelope.

And beyond of course. Sudeikis at SNL has been making a nice living off that for the past several months. It works in political cartoons too.

And the best way for a satirist to disarm any anger directed back at himself, is obviously to satirize himself.

Here's a good satirist at work.

Starts at 14 mins. in or make a selection from the "hub".

In the next hundred days our bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democrat. After all we have a lot in common. He is a person of color--although not a color that appears in the natural world.


Lee~ wrote:I certainly thought that about the curious george monkey guy. If ever a person parodied himself, he's it.


And beauty, as well as comedy and offense, is in the eye of the beholder.

..
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Postby Lee~ » Sun May 10, 2009 5:39 pm

Basil, I have no quibble with you. I said on this very thread

I wrote: Perhaps the question we've been wrangling over is-what constitutes acceptable satire, and when does it go too far? Since humor is a matter of opinion, the answers will be varied. It will be difficult to reach a consensus.


(do I get points for quoting myself? :D)
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Postby basil » Sun May 10, 2009 10:24 pm

Welllll now, I did add "beauty", didn't I?

:)

Since humor is a matter of opinion . . .


It could also be a matter of what the satirist's audience is packing.

Waleed Hassan's "Caricature" sketch show was an inseparable part of weekend Fridays for Iraqis seeking a release in laughter from the blood and chaos around them. Hassan poked fun at sectarian violence, bickering politicians, power blackouts and all aspects of the turmoil that is daily life in Iraq.

He was found in west Baghdad with three bullet wounds to the head, said the Sharkiya channel. Hassan was a director of the station and also produced a political interview show for it.


I would imagine that there are many places on the world's stage where the satirist could literally fear bombing and hecklers shooting something 'sides their mouths off.

Another old saw:

Comedy's not easy.

....
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Postby vison » Mon May 11, 2009 7:33 am

basil, why are we getting Bonnie and Clyde? I like the music, though. Are you into bluegrass at all? Howsabout The Original Carter Family?

Not that I'm Osgiliating the thread or anything.
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Osama bin Laden is dead.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Mon May 11, 2009 8:35 am

Minardil wrote:No, I got your point; you think some folks can dish out the political humor and personal attacks but can't take it.


For you that wooshing sound would be background noise, you hear it so often.

Basil loves to joke, except when the joke is directed towards him or those he likes. A photo montage put up one time that included describing his home as the redneck mansion had him suddenly turn completely serious and say "please take those down." Suddenly he wasn't the joker but the joke, and he absolutely positively did not appreciate it in any way. He hated it very much. Jokes are his weapon, not to be used against him. Ever.

And if you don't like it when he wields jokes as weapons, it is because you don't have a sense of humor, obviously.

Yeah, the joke in the example under discussion is very low. But that's never stopped him. It's in very poor taste. But that's never stopped him. It denigrates whole groups of people. But that's never stopped him. It denigrates them based on race. Yeah, that crosses a line, but basil has never shown any awareness of lines before - unless the line is that the joke is directed his way.
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Postby vison » Mon May 11, 2009 11:47 am

Cenedril_Gildinaur wrote:
Minardil wrote:No, I got your point; you think some folks can dish out the political humor and personal attacks but can't take it.


For you that wooshing sound would be background noise, you hear it so often.

Basil loves to joke, except when the joke is directed towards him or those he likes. A photo montage put up one time that included describing his home as the redneck mansion had him suddenly turn completely serious and say "please take those down." Suddenly he wasn't the joker but the joke, and he absolutely positively did not appreciate it in any way. He hated it very much. Jokes are his weapon, not to be used against him. Ever.

And if you don't like it when he wields jokes as weapons, it is because you don't have a sense of humor, obviously.

Yeah, the joke in the example under discussion is very low. But that's never stopped him. It's in very poor taste. But that's never stopped him. It denigrates whole groups of people. But that's never stopped him. It denigrates them based on race. Yeah, that crosses a line, but basil has never shown any awareness of lines before - unless the line is that the joke is directed his way.


I recall that little exchange, C_G, and must say that your version is a tad at odds with my recollections.

I think that humour is not your forte. So why not leave it at that?
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 11, 2009 1:12 pm

There is a fine line between satire, parody, and just plain cruelty. I've been pondering this and it isn't easy to define (at least it isn't easy for ME to define) just where that line is crossed. It is one thing (especially in political cartoon) to exaggerate/make fun of a candidates appearance, mannerisms, foibles. That is something that has been done to every political candidate since.. well, probably since their have been politics! And it is another to imply that a candidate is less than human due to his Nationality or race.
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Postby portia » Mon May 11, 2009 6:10 pm

I think the piece on the Eployee Free Choice Act, quoted by C_G in the "Republican" thread is a pretty good example of satire.

It takes a fairly light touch, and no visible meanness, to make good satire.
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Postby basil » Mon May 11, 2009 6:19 pm

vison wrote:basil, why are we getting Bonnie and Clyde? I like the music, though. Are you into bluegrass at all? Howsabout The Original Carter Family?

Not that I'm Osgiliating the thread or anything.


A couple's thing. I had Richard Sharpe & Teresa, Ming and Aura ( not really a couple, but they did look good together ) and now B&C.

And maybe we could use a bit of B&C's influence in today's world. I've had enough of banks robbing us.

Obviously, I'd prefer an updated, kinder and gentler B&C myself. :wink:
Bonnie was a bit of a poet, and not a bad one, IMO.

My choice in BlueGrass is eclectic, but yeah, the Carter Family always good.

C_G wrote: . . .


What can I say?

Whooooosh.

....
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Tue May 12, 2009 8:05 am

Lee,

Well said. I am rather touched by your response, actually. In the end, all of us regular TORCers are riding the same dinosaur. The Tolkienodon, maybe? Thought to have gone extinct after the Battle of Hastings, but gloriously resurrected in the middle of the 20th century.

Alys wrote:GM, I'm the mod responsible for the non-locking of "How to get to Heaven" thread and I can tell you exactly why it was allowed to carry on. Alas, there are no complicated underlying reasons, no messageboard politics or indeed anything related, inversely or otherwise, to anything but the thread itself.

I had already locked/deleted some two or three identical threads by the same poster when it was requested that I allow this last one to stand. I wasreluctant to do so but said something along the lines of "I'll give it another day but then I'll delete it if it doesn't turn into something more interesting than spam." And what do you know it but these pesky Manwe posters went and made it into something more interesting...

I hope that answers at least part of your important question? :)


Works for me!

Hobbi,

As for your question, the dinosaur thread was also accused of being "spam". Outrageous isn't it?


Oh, I know! But as far as I can tell, you all did not agree with that assessment, and locked the thread for entirely different reasons.

In any event, water under the bridge.

And now, as per JewelSong's request, a joke:

What did the man say when he bumped into the wizard?

Saruman, I didn’t see you there.

-GM
Last edited by Gandalf'sMother on Wed May 13, 2009 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Tue May 12, 2009 10:03 pm

Gandalf'sMother wrote:And now, as per JewleSong's request, a joke:

What did the man say when he bumped into the wizard?

Saruman, I didn’t see you there.

-GM
*groan* ahahahahahahahahahaha (it took me a minute to get that) :rofl:
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Postby JewelSong » Wed May 13, 2009 1:20 am

Gandalf'sMother wrote:
What did the man say when he bumped into the wizard?

Saruman, I didn’t see you there.


Ba-da-bing! :roll:

:D

I think a sense of humor is mandatory in life...and that humor has more power than we realize. It can be a coping mechanism, a mood defuser, a way to think outside the box, a tension reliever and many other things.

He who laughs, lasts.
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Wed May 13, 2009 6:53 am

A joke like that could only be read aghast.
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Wed May 13, 2009 7:10 am

I always deliver horrific jokes when prompted to say something funny. So beware.

-GM
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