There is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly butchering of a man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body, and leaves it standing in its place…. Neither is it true that this fineness of raillery is offensive. A witty man is tickled while he is hurt in this manner, and a fool feels it not.
- John Dryden, “A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire”
From the ancient Greeks to 18th-century writers such as Jonathan Swift to filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, satire has long been an established part of our ability as a society to analyze itself, make social commentary a matter of public concern and even to cause change. But it seems that self-serious figures like George W. Bush and Michael Moore have perpetuated a culture of fear toward satirical hallmarks such as wit and subtlety, and that true satire is fast becoming an endangered species in mainstream entertainment.
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