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11/23/2017, 23:20, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH




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Satire on the Couch

Author: Sabrina Zehetner (TVP)

(03/01/2017)
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Dear Readers!

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST is pleased to present today the first article written by o
ur editor Sabrina Zehetner.

Enjoy reading!

In an age of political conflicts and intense, public scrutiny on the internet, satire as Enfant Terrible has become ubiquitous. Looking back on a long history of ridicule and political dissent, satire - like psychoanalysis - discusses social taboos and human agency – satire on the couch.


Satire 2.0

The John Oliver Show, SNL, The Stephen Colbert Report, The Onion und Kate Beaton’s cartoons, the New Yorker and Charlie Hebdo – the list of modern satire is inexhaustible and multifaceted while the satirists’ motives are as diverse as their targets. It is not surprising that satire as a genre – as is the case with the majority of European cultural history – happens to be another child of ancient Greek poetry. At the English court, it was aristocrats such as the notorious John Wilmot (The 2nd Earl of Rochester) who could afford making fun of English royalty and its lifestyle. In its obscenity, however, these satirical works were in no way inferior to their modern successors. In France, the birthplace of the caricature, satirists the likes of Charles Philipon faced imprisonment for expressing dissent and criticizing royal agency. Later, during the French revolution, the genre played a significant role in empowering citizens through political engagement. As the court ceased to be the cultural center and the readership became increasingly heterogeneous, satire evolved into an independent art form. Finally part of the mainstream media, satire enjoyed great popularity and regular publication. The golden age of grand-scale satire written by the likes of Swift, Pope or Molière belongs to the past and gave way to Memes and Late-night-TV. In the digital age, where politicians find themselves under public scrutiny 24/7, leaders present the perfect target for satirists – paradoxically, the virtual reality both demands and persecutes authenticity. Good satire combines humor with informed critique. An audience only derives pleasure from satire when the irony is understood as such – if not due to opposing political views or misleading social critique, the genre ceases to be effective and even runs the risk of representing the very thing it set out to criticize. Why do we derive pleasure from an art form known for its obscenity and hostility? A number of modern critics refer to Freud, according to whom, the sadistic pleasure is gained through rhetoric violence while others link the release of aggression to the source of pleasure. Surprisingly, psychoanalysis has never properly addressed satire despite its topicality....





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