Editor’s Note: Here’s the thing with satire: Not everybody gets it. And you know what, that’s usually a good thing. Take for instance the time we here at the City Paper ran a cover story defending the right to “bust a sag.” Oddly enough — but not altogether surprisingly — several people were apparently duped by our very apparent piece of BS. Of course, we thought that was hilarious.
However, satire and parody is a tricky little bugger, and it’ll turn around and kick you in the bum if you aren’t careful. There are a few rules.
For starters, you don’t just come out and disclose that it’s satire. Nope. But you have to provide some sort of intro, the more outlandish the better, whereby any sensible reader will pick up that the writer of the piece fully intends to pull his or her leg.
This is especially true of columnists who normally do not write satirical pieces. Now, if you normally talk smack with your writing, very little work needs to be done. But let’s say you’re a paleoconservative columnist who writes a serious, serious column, then you’re going to need to write a pretty significant setup.
Another good pointer is to not pass off a piece as coming from a reputable or known source. Not good. It’s got to come from an imaginary publication if the joke needs a source.
While Jack fully intended to write a satirical piece — and admittedly there were some really choice parts — the piece simply didn’t adhere to our standards when it comes to satire and parody. And for that reason, it was pulled. —Chris Haire, managing editor