“Except nothing about it indicates it’s a satire. Everyone’s acting completely serious and no one’s treating it like a joke. If it’s supposed to be a satire, then it’s a poorly written one.”

– a redditor, watching “Airplane!”

I’m getting real tired of seeing “Poe’s Law” cited whenever the internet misinterprets a piece of satire (unintentionally or otherwise) as a sincere expression of one’s belief.

Slightly related, there’s another criticism I often see levied at satires: “But who is this supposed to convince?” And I don’t know if that’s really a good metric by which to measure satirical works. Did A Modest Proposal really lead elites in England to treat the Irish with less contempt? The governments and churches mocked by Voltaire in Candide certainly didn’t change their minds after being ridiculed – they just decried it as vulgar and banned it. The Colbert Report even had a number of conservative fans who wholeheartedly believed Stephen Colbert was one of them! Yet, in light of satire’s impotence in winning over its opponents hearts and minds, people continue to suggest it’s a fault of a satirist if they simply “preach to the choir.”

Then again, I’ve never in my life seen a real person slip on a banana peel, so maybe mockery has caused people to be more careful around them.

– James