A demonic-looking goat person with a long tongue carries a giant salt shaker on their back. It is ostensibly a depiction of a satyr.
Just because it's funny doesn't mean it's satire. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

By: Sara Brinkac, Peak Associate

For centuries people have carelessly thrown the word “satire” around to describe everything and I can’t take it anymore. Satire and parody are not the same thing! It seems modern humanity’s definitions are as loose as their morals and the burden has come upon me to set our species straight. So here it goes.

Parody: “an imitation of a particular writer, artist, or genre, exaggerating it deliberately to produce a comic effect.”

Satire: “a way of using humour to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc.: humour that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.”

No longer will I stand for someone telling me how The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It is a great satirical film that’s just my kind of humour. It’s not, it never was. It’s just a blatant imitation of original ideas that inject slapstick humour where actual thought might be.

No longer will I stand idly by while every humourous political reference is praised as satirical gold. Satire does not equal politics. Just because you can put on a wig and repeat the actions of a person doesn’t make you insightful. Satire has the ability to make us think critically about societal absurdities by getting us to laugh at particular situations. Political parodies, on the other hand, make me want to crawl into a corner and die.

So please, next time you’re about to describe something as satire, ask yourself: does it make fun of something deeply rooted in humanity or is it the Starving Games?