Monday, December 15, 2014

Laugh And Think





First make them laugh and then make them think.

Sarcasm, they say is the lowest form of wit. But satire, an indirect form of critique makes the point without offending, um, err...almost. A friend of mine masters the art of writing satire. Distinct from sarcasm, he is able to draw attention to the ridiculousness of the situation with his wit. Given our politicians, there is no dearth of ridiculous situations, is there? Also, given the thin skin of our politicians, satire works for writers like me who itch to direct their outrage towards more enjoyable form of critique. While most readers get the point, there are those who get offended. They are either too self-righteous, or too pompous, or too self-obsessed, or too angry, or too prissy. Or plain ignorant. There is little point in writing satire if you have to offer explanations to those who have Ms M Bannerjee's sense of humor. Or  Ms R Sawant's taste in literature.
Regardless, I am learning the nuances by writing more such wonderful articles, because I am a modest  person with much to be modest about.

The problem of self-righteousness, among other things, is not exclusive to India. Despite mastering the art of mocking without ridiculing (Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show), not everyone in the west is able to grab this genre. This reminds me of a recent example when internet humorist Jay Branscomb posted the following picture on Facebook with the caption: “Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.” 


These reactions will give you a glimpse of what I am saying.

Steven Spielberg, I’m disappointed in you. I’m not watching any of your movies again ANIMAL KILLER.”
“Disgraceful. No wonder dinosaurs became extinct…He should be in prison.”
“I don’t care who he is, he should not have shot that animal.” 


Back home, when Alia Bhatt featured in a spoof called Genius of The Year, reactions to her spoof proved that appreciating comedy is not everyone’s cup of tea. 
 Going by the comments, the video was "all scripted...so she knew the answers. Alia is otherwise still dumb.”
One brainy soul said that the video "takes her stupidity to a whole new level”.
It is obvious that there is a huge demand for Brain Enlargement Therapy institutes in our country for those who are better never than late when it comes to spoofs or satire.

On a personal note, writing satire has its own drawbacks. The other day my mother called me for the nth time to know about what she wanted to cook or wear (I don’t remember). And I don’t remember what I said in a bout of irritation, but what I do remember is that she said: Writing satire is making you sarcastic. Her words stayed with me.
So I asked my son. “Granny thinks lampooning politicians has made me acerbic. Is it true?”
He shrugged. “Why don’t you ask dad?”
This boy should have joined politics, I tell you.
“Is writing satire reflecting in my communication?” I asked my husband. "Please be honest. Dinner shall be served regardless."
“Not always," he said. "Sometimes.”
Either these people don’t appreciate humor or this blog has made me a cynical person. I was not sure. Because I caught the father-son exchange smiles.

Today, on a Sunday morning, I presented myself with clinching evidence. When asked  how I was feeling after an uneasy night, I said, " I would say that I am feeling fine. But that would be a lie. " 

Mocking a situation, it seems, works beyond the confines of the family. Within the family, lampooning will NOT make anyone laugh. Or  think. 

56 comments:

  1. I can't remember the last time the husband laughed while reading my so called hilarious articles. All he sees is my grammatical mistakes. So rely on strangers and their waos, 2 gud, naice to keep myself in good spirits.

    Btw, this one was a winner!

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    1. Thank heavens for sanity at home. I cant imagine him ROFL-ling.
      Thank you.

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    2. Specially the waos Purba. Sigh!

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  2. 'Does writing satire make you a satirical person?' - Probably not :) And we love your blog. And your writing.

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    1. That is very reassuring. Did I unconsciously write this post for some sort of validation?
      Maybe. :)

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  3. I like to keep things simple. If you can write in a particular way and if you are comfortable, you should do it. If not, stick to what you like doing best. I cannot be sarcastic or witty, so I tend to stick to my basics. Also, it's so funny when people say something (satire) and people take it out of context and take offense!

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    1. We all have our own style we are comfortable with.
      Thank you for reading.

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  4. hehe Alka! You are quite the effortless person while writing satire, making it so natural. Yeah! The world is too small for Mr and Ms offended to run away and so by hitting at satire, they are the victims ever ready to jump into the fray as we whip a storm:)

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  5. Brain Enlargement Therapy ?? Lol !! You do it beautifully Alka ( satire not the therapy!! ) .... :)

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  6. I love satire, as long as the joke is not on ME :)

    Destination Infinity

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    1. You said it. I am not proud of my thin skin either.

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  7. Dinner will be served regardless? Haha... you are absolutely delightful Alka! Love this!

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    1. Mwah, thanks Dagny. So good to see you here.

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  8. Modesty is my greatest vice, too.

    I've written a couple of snarky posts that were so subtle that people found it hard to ignore them. But they did manage it somehow and now I take credit for enhancing their willpower.

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  9. I understand, Alka. When I try to be sarcastic I always end up at the wrong end of the stick.

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    1. You end up the wrong end of the stick or your readers use the stick to thrash you?

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  10. Mothers always have a way of saying just the thing, don't they? ;) And then of course there are husbands! Enjoyed this (satirical?) take on writing satires :)

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    1. They do. You are so right.
      Thanks Beloo.

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  11. Family reaction was the best. :) Alka, what have you done? You mockingbird! As long as you are not cracking jokes on me, I am fine to join in the laughter.

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    1. I was such a sweet person before I began writing this blog. Promise.
      Love you.

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  12. You're the sweetest soul I have ever met and I love your wit and satire on the blog - you do it beautifully! And as long as dinner is being server irrespective of the answers, I think you're doing it just right. ;-)

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  13. Priceless reaction from the family :) I think you are fine...I think we need some amount of wit and satire to get us through life these days :D

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  14. I love the satires when it comes from you or Purba.. Yes, the joke should not be on me, of course :D My husband never laughs at my jokes. Others really do ROFL at the same joke.

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    1. Thank you Anita for mentioning my name along Purba. She is right there on the top when it comes to humor and satire.
      And not everyone can take a joke. I am not proud of my thin skin either.

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  15. Like I said on the last post I read on your blog - no one does it like you do it.
    This here is proof.

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    1. That is so kind of you Sakshi. Makes me grin like a ten year old.

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  16. I love wit and satires. The only thing is I fail miserably when I try to be witty. And wit seems to flow out effortlessly when you write. I am so in awe of you for that!
    I don’t think your blog makes you cynical. You are one of the gentlest and non-cynical person I have had the privilege to know !

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    1. If you were not that tall, I could hug you right now, real tight. Thanks.
      This post was inspired by Rickie Khosla's status update where his wit was misunderstood by some readers.

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    2. Oh I know what you mean. Wit is easily misunderstood and sarcasm usually lost on a lot of people :-P

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  17. When you write it, it's no another level, sans the insult which some people indulge in. :)

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  18. It is not easy to write satire...ask me! :) We all need some laughs, don't we? Keep up the good work, you drive the point home ;)

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    1. Thank you Jankai. So happy to see you here.

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  19. I love witty posts but satire, as you say, is not everybody. Its just like ..if you have to explain a joke, it isnt a joke anymore :) Cant imagine people not understanding the Alia Bhatt spoof, but then there are so many people on whom a spoof is completely lost ! I love your posts and I think the satire you pepper it with is just right :)

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    1. Thank you. We have all kinds on the internet, I guess.

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  20. Alka! If it has made you a prone to being satirical, more power to you - as long as dinner will be served regardless :)

    NOW, I can rest content. the reason why people do not laugh at my posts is because THEY require brain enlargement :)

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    1. On an honest note, I wouldn't mind a Brain Enlargement Therapy session. I am a bit dense too.

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    2. Oops! NOW I need to worry about whether I am being really funny after all

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  21. I love your satirised approach and the way you add current events in that.

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    1. Thank you Jyoti. So good to see you here after a long time.

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    2. Yep it's been long. Good to be back :)

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  22. You are not sarcastic, are you? I don't find you writing sarcastically. And your son is a smart man. LOL. Along with yours, Purba's is another blog I love her sattire/wit. You should have a skill to write sattire...and you have that plenty :)

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    1. Oops...a correction...not sattire...*satire

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    2. Purba is too good. Her wit flows effortlessly, seamlessly.
      Thanks Prudhvi.

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  23. There's an old saying "घर का जोगी जोगडा, आन गांव का सिद्ध"

    But there's a certain thing about cynicism and doubt, which is more severe than smelly socks. They linger, even after assiduous scrubbing.
    :-)

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. On that note, I look forward to reading a post on your blog in chaste Hindi.

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  24. Your kind of slapstick humor and satire is seen rarely now! So regardless of what anyone at home or elsewhere say just 'bash on' Alka! The hectic routines sometimes resuts in delays in response!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

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  25. What is more difficult that writing... Being married to one who writes. Enjoy reading your blogs. Always. If your son is a politician, your husband... Is he a diplomat? Lol.

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    1. Ha ha, you said it. Poor guy, diplomacy was the only choice he had.

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