The recent disagreement in the now-locked thread "What Dinosaur Would Jesus Ride" got me thinking about this and wondering if some people simply did not understand the value of satire in literature and debate...or if some people mistakenly assume that satire is designed solely to make fun of a person and miss the larger point, which is to hold an idea up to the light so people may see it for what it really is.
Sometimes satire is gentle and almost kind; sometimes it is biting and almost cruel. It partly depends upon the egregiousness of the fault being pointed out. The definition of satire (from the Random House Dictionary) is as follows:
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.
1500–10; < L satira, var. of satura medley, perh. fem. deriv. of satur sated (see saturate )
See irony, burlesque, caricature, parody, travesty. Satire, lampoon refer to literary forms in which vices or follies are ridiculed. Satire, the general term, often emphasizes the weakness more than the weak person, and usually implies moral judgment and corrective purpose: Swift's satire of human pettiness and bestiality. Lampoon refers to a form of satire, often political or personal, characterized by the malice or virulence of its attack: lampoons of the leading political figures.
Here is a list (with links) of some notable examples of satire starting from almost 2,000 years ago and continuing to the present day.
http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/satire ... atire.html
I believe that the locked thread was a wonderful example of light and humorous satire and that it was a shame that some people were unable to appreciate the mechanism being used. Therefore, I am opening this thread to discuss the general use of satire as a tool for debate.
Have at it.