Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hard Core Satire

Satire - what a wonderful rhetorical device!  So cutting edge, so avaunt guard, so...offensive.

Well, you could play it safe when teaching satire, but what is the fun of that?  If you really want to spice up that "A Modest Proposal" lesson, you'll need to hit students where they are today.  Six months ago, Stephen Colbert gave us the best example of satire since 1729:




Now - here's the tricky part - when you show this video, start at 4:50 to isolate the topic of the Redskins and at 6:27 you may wish to mute the rest (hey, we're hard core, but we still want to keep our jobs).  Once the Ching-Chong character clip is over, turn back up the volume.

Well, satire is offensive, and just like people in Swift's day felt that it was offensive to suggest they eat babies, Twitter responded with the outrage for this clip.  Here is the tweet that the Colbert show had that started the craze:



Without the context, some people really got angry and started the #CancelColbert trend on Twitter.

Not to sit it out over the weekend, Stephen joined in with the outrage:


So, use this to lead your students into making the connection how he makes people find this racist in order to make his point about the Redskins - just like Swift made the British recoil at eating human beings just so he could turn around and say, "Oh, well, if we are to treat them as fellow human beings, why are we treating them like animals in every other instance."

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