Is Satire a Form of Cultural Imperialism?


Have a look at Will Self’s stance on satire in the context of the events at Charlie Hebdo and join me on a thought experiment:

The paradox is this: if satire aims at the moral reform of a given society it can only be effective within that particular society; and furthermore only if there’s a commonly accepted ethical hierarchy to begin with. A satire that demands of the entire world that it observe the same secularist values as the French state is a form of imperialism like any other.

The same claim could be extended to what happened in Copenhagen just this past weekend by simply replacing “French” with “Danish” or “Swedish.”

If Will Self’s stance immediately reads like a leap of faith, you can listen to the full but short radio broadcast here and make up your own mind before continuing. There are far worse ways to spend 10 minutes of your life … and I am curious to hear what you think about Will Self’s claims. Differences in opinion are welcome, absolute truths (and bullets) are best left at the coat check.

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