Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An Example of Satire: "Stallmate in House"

Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie

What's Satire?

Oxford Dictionaries defines satire as follows: "The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

The satirist journalist's purpose or goal, then, is to help heal the wrongs in society by pointing them out.  By bringing awareness to an issue, sometimes with absurdity, satirists can help folks find places where agreement can happen; more specifically, places where people can agree change needs to happen.

Take a look at the following bit of satire.  Do you believe it adheres to the given definition?  What about fulfilling the purpose of pointing to a place where there may be some wrongs that need healing? Where are those places?  What needs to change?

Stallmate in House: Republicans and Democrats Cannot Agree on New "If You Tinkle When You Sprinkle, Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie" Bill

Louisa Hilke was only 12 years old the first time she fell victim to sprinkle in a public restroom. Jackie Spinoza was only 6.  It was her first day in the first grade.  Now are both well into their 40's, but the experience left them shaken and determined to end public restroom sprinkle.

"There's just no reason for sprinkle in public restrooms," Hilke states firmly as she sips on an espresso during our interview.  "Why should we have to worry about our pants getting wet or try to do that weird squaty-thing over the bowl?  It's just not right."

Nodding at Spinoza, Hilke continues, "A few years ago I met Jackie, and we agreed on this issue. Firmly.  So, we started a petition, and our politicians noticed."

"Finally," Spinoza adds.

Finally, indeed.

Hilke and Spinoza were not the first to act.  The first petition was signed by 678 women in 1790 in Philadelphia.  The second was left on the doorstep to New York City Hall in 1830.  It had been signed by 1290 women.  A third was submitted to Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009.  It had been signed by 45,000 women and men.   Hilke and Spinoza's petition is the fourth.

After the petition was signed, liked, and commented on by 67,000 social media users, the two women phoned their representative, and he said they were right and there should be a law. He then wrote out a draft and introduced it to a congressional committee.  According to an expert we found sitting on the steps outside Capitol Hill, who identified himself as "Just Bill," most bills never even get into committee, so this bill should consider itself lucky.

However, here is where the story turns: Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on key points of the bill, referred to as the "If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle, Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie" bill.
An anonymous representative claims the bill would simply cost taxpayers too much money.  A second states it would cost business owners too much money.  Another believes the bill doesn't go far enough to punish wrong-doers.  Still a fourth anonymous representative asks rhetorically when interviewed, "If the executive branch isn't going to bother to enforce the sprinkle laws we have already passed, what makes these guys think he'll bother to enforce new laws?"  When each is asked why he wants to remain anonymous, each exhibits signs of slight discomfort.

What do Hilke and Spinoza think of these issues?  "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be," says Hilke, speaking again for both women.  "I mean, I exercise and all, but my legs get all shaky when I do that squaty-thing, and if I get some sort of disease from sprinkle, which is no laughing matter, I'll sue somebody -  law or not."

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.
Originally published Jan 31, 2013 by Amy Lynn Hess.

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