Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forms of Satire by Bachelder

Describe 3 modes of satire used by Bachelder in U.S.! about Upton Sinclair that you think would be useful for your tactical media project:
  1. On page 67, Bachelder writes about an university class Upton Sinclair (visiting professor) is teaching, where he uses farce with sarcasm as the form of satire  Farce is where an exaggerated and improbable situation is created to excite laughter: in this case, the English 684 class. In this class, students have to "research, write, and self-publish four novels." Course objectives include using "journalistic techniques and sexual repression to write social engaged, morally outraged fiction with unambiguous endings." This is written with a very sarcastic undertone that makes it obvious that Bachelder does not support or like Sinclair's writing or writing style. I could use sarcasm to create an obviously unrealistic humorous situation in my tactical media project where I have people as acting and making sarcastic comments after reading out offensive Yaks. This would make light of the situation so this wouldn't be realistic to use for the whole project, but it could be used to show how false and generalized some of the Yaks are, providing propaganda against Yik Yak.
  2. Around page 150, Bachelder talks about Huntley, one of Sinclair's many assassins. He uses hyperbole in a Horatian tone as the form of satire. The book states that Huntley is "the most recognized Sinclair assassin internationally. He receives thousands of an letters everyday." It also discusses the way Huntley witnessed "the horrors caused by nondemocratic forms of governance" which uses exaggeration to prove a point against Sinclair. Although the point is very clear, the tone remains light hearted and even a little humorous at times when Dodge verifies, "And so [Huntley] assassinated Sinclair," and Peebles replies, "Nailed him." I could use this form of satire in my tactical media project by getting actors who pretend like they are supportive of Yik Yak saying very obviously offensive things like, "Lol so what if Yik Yak cyberbullies people, if people are getting talked about they probably deserve it, and if they can't take it and want to kill themselves, then they aren't strong enough to deal with life anyway" in a light-hearted tone, demonizing the side supporting Yik Yak, creating propaganda against Yik Yak.
  3. On page 192, there's a picture of a response survey given by Red Shovel Press for buying the Upton Sinclair book with very explicitly mean responses that uses invective as the form of satire. Invective is harsh, abusive language directed against a person or cause; it is used as a vehicle of anger and is usually bitter. To the question, "Would you recommend Upton Sinclair novels and RSP to a friend?" He answers, "No, I like my friends." I could use this form of satire in my tactical media project by recording interviews of people explicitly expressing very exaggerated negative opinions of Yik Yak. It would be a straightforward way of expressing disapproval and hatred towards the app that could also be good propaganda by shocking the audience through the use of such blunt disapproval towards Yik Yak.


  1. Jenny describes the use of sarcasm, invective language, and a horatian tone in US! Which she could use as a parody in her own media project against Yik Yak. I learned about Bachelder's use of farce, or "an exaggerated and improbable situation (that) is created to excite laughter:" Bachelder's entire book is a farce, as it is based on the continual resurrection of a socialist ideologue, but the author uses realism to downplay the improbability of Sinclair's zombie resurrection. In fact, his resurrection seems to be the least unrealistic part of the book, what with the fantastical and various murderers, the socialist movements run by quickly dissuaded ideologues, and the nationwide hatred of Sinclair. I think Jenny could use farce in her yik yak media project. In fact, I think Jenny could explore the idea that much of yik yak is a farce, where students make up funny anecdotes or one-liners that may or may not be true. They have the ability to create an amusing situation out of thin air, and there is no way to verify whether it is true or not. A student can respond with an up vote or down vote, but will never be able to verify that the story about the fraternity or about the drunken night actually happened. I think Jenny could explore Yik Yak as a large farce, and look into why it exists (pure amusement? students hoping to gain attention/recognition in the group?) and what purpose this farcical treatment of college life serves.

  2. From reading Jenny's post, it seems like she really focuses on the sarcastic elements of Bachelder's novel, and I do think those would fit well into her Yik Yak project. I think that Jenny is drawn to the same lines in the novel that I was. The single statements that are simple, yet effective, and draw together an entire parody in one line. These types of statements are especially useful relating to Yik Yak. I also thought Laura made a really really interesting point about the use of farce in Yik Yak. I think this fits perfectly into Jenny's project. A lot of the posts I've read on Yik Yak seem absolutely ridiculous. They have a sarcastic tone, and the funniest ones are not only unbelievable, but after a few months they get reposted by someone else. So even if it was true the first time, the people that repost it just think it's funny, and that's the only reason they say it.


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