marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

stage and satire

I have written, in general, about the folly of bringing your god on stage.  I have observed, recently a particularly silly form.

Bringing the god on stage to smack down a particular righteous crusader with a line such as "I don't mind role-playing games at all" is particularly lame.  Overwhelmingly done jocularly -- har har har -- but it never manages to rise to funny in my experience.  Gods who exists to endorse the author's shibboleths and quirks are particularly weak.  Perhaps it's the puppet-like nature, or the striking coincidences of a god in a far-off world who would just happen to look with benign approval on the writer with all the quirks and flaws of his era and pronounce him good beyond improvement that the god could suggest.

Which, come to think of it, a special case of a general rule:  Comedy may be hard, but satire's really hard.  Most attempts at satire are, in fact, wish-fulfillment fantasies, written for the choir, in which the author belabors something he finds stupid as stupid.  Hatred not being the best of guides to knowledge, he frequently misses its intelligent points, or that the stupidity depends entirely on a premise of his that, in fact, is not shared by the people he's satirizing.  Or perhaps he eliminates the point and then jeers at the thing for having no point.  Lapped up by the audience of people who agree with the author already, but rather pathetic for the people he's actually satirizing.

Or perhaps he just sticks horns and a tail on any character he dislikes.  There's a certain pillar-of-the-community character who, on first introduction, always has me thinking, Yup, wife-beater or child-molester, not because of anything he does but because the author clearly thinks that being a pillar of the community is a loathsome thing.

It's a lot harder to strike a nerve with satire than it looks.
Tags: theme, world-building: deities, writing audience

  • a reflection

    On reading and dragons

  • so that's the problem

    figuring out the weakness of the opening: it's two scenes, and the first is mostly info-dumping. It should start in the forest, talking about…

  • weaving another thread

    Oh, my. This story bursts past in outlines in New and Unusual Ways. The entire -- long -- episode where she gets taken on a journey and shown a lot…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded