This is an analysis of two writings that I wrote for a college class back in 2016. I have only changed some grammatical errors.
One group that Jonathan Swift places blame upon in “A Modest Proposal,” is the Catholic population who Swift explains as having a large number of children in the nine months preceding the holiday of Lent (8). I am sure there is a piece of satire in this line somewhere, but being a non-religious fellow, I am not privy to it. One of my favorite things about Swift’s piece is the statement that he has spoken to an “American,” who is knowledgeable on the matters (7). It is a common thing in politics to use a nameless credentialed individual to appeal to a higher authority, in this case, someone who is experienced in eating the flesh of children; I would probably want to remain nameless at that point as well.
The art of satire is defined as “a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc” (Satire). In short, it is making a product that would appear to be factual, but when observed in the proper context, it is clear (usually) that there is a joke hidden within the text.
One of my favorite satire movies of all time is “Idiocracy.” In brief, the movie is about an Army soldier who is defined as “average in every way,” who, along with a prostitute who was given up by her pimp, “Upgrayedd,” Spelled, as he says, with two “d’s,” for a “double dose of him pimping pleasure.” The two characters are intended to be frozen for the length of a single year, how storing soldiers in a frozen state, to be thawed out when their nation calls upon them. Our two characters are left abandoned for hundreds of years as the military project was shut down due to the commanding officer being caught up in a prostitution ring along with Upgrayedd. When they are finally released from their extended sleep, they emerge into a world where the intelligence level of the human race has plummeted to nearly non-existent levels. From mountains of trash to medical care hijinks, a President, the former WWE champion named after a popular soft drink, and finally to Starbucks serving more than just coffee for adult consumers, this movie points out how a degrading population intelligence level could mean disaster for our country.
I will break down the Declaration of Independence (US 1776) into the three topics of reason, passion, and authority.
Reason. The reasoning behind the Declaration of Independence is something that most American’s are vaguely familiar with, I say vaguely because most people I have encountered have not actually read the document. It states the reasons why the colonies in the North American continent feel they have been abused, placed in dangerous situations, and do not receive the care and treatment that is supposed to be afforded the colonies the King of England overseas. The document states the way the grievances of the colonist have been addressed, is with either utter neglect, or in such a way to make things as uncomfortable, and unproductive as possible.
Passion: One aspect of the passion of the document I believe also correlates strongly with authority as well. The statement that most American’s are indeed aware of is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For this we will set aside the truth that the founders had a much different idea then we hold today with the statement about “all men,” being created equally. The meaning of this statement is simple, the people will not tolerate the grievances and failures that are laid out in the documentation. The people are in charge of the government and no one should take away the fact that all citizens should be allowed to pursue life as they wish.
Authority: this topic is very simple, by the very fact that the colonist have decided to come out with the documentation, stating they are breaking off all ties with their home country, dissolving all bonds between them. They did this, knowing the odds, knowing that there would indeed be retaliation that would result in a war. The signers, knowing full well, that placing their signatures on that document constituted a death sentence if their rebellious act failed to rise to victory,
The Declaration of Independence is a rather short document, and I believe it is very balanced between the three topics, reason, passion, and authority. Even reading it today, with the few words that have fallen out of common use, it is easy for the reader to understand exactly what the creators of the document intended. They presented numerous complaints and the actions they took to try and resolve the complaints, and exactly the reasoning that led to the documentation as well as the movement behind it.
“Satire.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 7 July 2016.
Idiocracy. Dir. Mike Judge. Perf. Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 2006. DVD.
Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal. San Diego: Icon Group International, Inc, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 5 July 2016.