Satirical or Ironic: Political Essays Have Power

A Whackadoodle lesson about the difference between Satirical and Ironic essays, with political examples of each. Including The Garlic’s Exclusive Interview with the Governor.

“I’m supposed to write a satirical essay for my English 101 class,” she told me as soon as our lesson began.

“Zowy,” I said. “Your teacher is quite ambitious.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, when I was in English 101, I remember having to write an argumentative essay, an expository, a narrative, and a descriptive essay. Heck, she even had us write a mock research paper, just to make sure we knew how to submit research papers, but she never had us write a satirical essay. Satirical essays were not on English 101’s curriculum.”

“I think my professor has an unusual sense of humor.”

“I think I like her,” I smiled. “Or is it a him?”

“Does it matter?” she grinned.

“Probably not,” I grinned back. “So have you got an idea for your essay?”

“I was thinking of doing a kind of comparison contrast essay entitled Hilary’s Emails v. Drumpf’s Boxes.


“It’s apparently Forty-five’s original family name before they changed it during one if the world wars. It evidently meant drummer. I think it fits him, and adds to the satire.”

“Okay,” I agreed tentatively. “So how are you planning to organize your essay?”

“Well, I was thinking,” she scratched her head. “I begin by pointing out how often Drumpf accused Hillary of breaking the law by mishandling federal documents while she was Secretary of State. He kept yelling that she need to be locked up and should never be allowed to be President. Then I point out that she was never indicted, and she was never subpoenaed. In fact, she cooperated at every level of the investigation, but still lost the Presidency.”

“Sounds good so far.”

“Then I point out,” her eyes kept sparkling, “that when he was yelling about locking Hillary up, the mishandling of federal documents was only a misdemeanor. Drumpf signed a law during his presidency that made the mishandling of federal documents into a federal felony punishable by ten years in jail.”

“Love that.”

“Finally, I point out that he is under investigation for the very mishandling of federal documents that he used to yell that Hillary be locked up for.”

“Sounds like the beginnings of a brilliant comparison contrast essay,” I told her. “I only see one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s not satire.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have a great comparison contrast outline based on irony and hypocrisy,” I told her. “It is ironic that the very law that Drumpf was demanding get ‘Hillary locked up for’ is now endangering him. But irony is not the same as satire.”

“So what am I missing?” she asked distressed.

“Satire is more like reductio ad absurdum,” I tried to explain. “You accept your opponents arguments initially, in order to show how ridiculous their argument is.” I could she that she was still not sure, so I tried again. “You take their argument and reduce it to its most ridiculous.”

She took a deep breath. “So I have to rethink everything,” she admitted sadly.

“Not necessarily,” I assured her. “What statements have you heard people make lately that you would like to reduce to ridiculousness?”

“I’m gonna need to think about it.”

“Fine,” I said. “Shall we move on to a different subject? Maybe a little ancient history.”

She scowled, and reached for her books.

A few days later, she sent me an email with the subject heading: How is this for a satirical essay?


Women, Teachers, Doctors, and Librarians Flee the Southern States:

Garlic’s Exclusive Interview with the Governor

Our Garlic reporter caught up with the Governor last Thursday between his gun range photo shoot and his ten thousand dollar a ticket black tie fundraiser. Lucky for The Garlic, we were able to bribe our way onto his chartered jet, and were able to sit down for an exclusive interview:

“Governor, you have been able to pass a number of bills recently that have created quite a controversy in your state.”

“True, but I personally think that controversy can be a positive thing. After all, you can’t get yourself on the cable news shows if all you do is go around kissing kittens at animal shelters. No, you need controversy to get noticed. You’ve got to get people worked up, excited, angry. You’ve got to give them something to fight against. That’s the only way to get noticed these days, and it’s the best way to raise funds.”

“So you don’t worry that the country has become dangerously divided?”

“Sure it’s divided, but that’s why we need a strong leader able to take control, and make sure people start thinking the right way.”

“Speaking of thinking, it’s been reported that your schools are opening up with a severe teacher shortage. That the new laws regarding subjects that teachers can’t teach have caused many teachers to either retire, or flee to other states.”

“No, no, the fake news has completely misrepresented the situation. Our teachers and parents are thrilled with the change. Besides the teachers who are leaving our state, we are better without.”

“How so?”

“We don’t need those woke teachers infecting our kids with their dangerous ideas about sex, and race, and history. We need teachers who teach the right way.”

“But there is a teacher shortage, isn’t there?”

“We got that covered just fine. I have called in the National Guard, so we got most of the basic classes covered, and we are working with hundreds of local Sunday schools to have them take over science classes and history. Even better, we are expanding our charter school system. That’s the answer. Let parents pick their own charter schools, so we don’t even need the public school system.”

“I see. And what are your thoughts regarding reports that women in general are fleeing your state because of the newly restrictive reproductive rights laws?”

“Those ladies should not be living here in the first place; best they move to where they fit in. Ladies here should know how to keep their knees closed until God gives them the right to have kids though matrimony.”

“But that seems to be a simplistic answer.”

“What’s wrong with simple? Life used to be simple, and we can make it simple again. We know who’s right. We know who’s wrong. We know who should be in charge, and we know how everybody should act. I call that the good life. Our people don’t need any of your B*ll Sh*t woke context to confuse them.”

“And who are your people?”

“God’s people.”

“And do you have any thoughts regarding allegations that your state has some of the most restrictive voting rights laws and gerrymandering in the country?”

“We’ve got to make make sure that people can’t cheat, don’t we? If that means that certain people can’t vote because they can’t afford a State ID, or come out to vote on the actual day, so be it. Some people just need to leave the governing to us.”

“But we have heard credible reports of pole workers, doctors, and even librarians, who are resigning due to threats of violence.”

“Sometimes the only way to stop the Devil’s work, is by threatening violence.”

“But don’t some of your new laws go against the first amendment protections regarding freedom of speech, and the government not creating laws regarding religion?”

“Hey, that amendment says the government can’t make no laws regarding religion, but it doesn’t say we can’t make no laws against them.”

“Any thoughts on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission?”

“Best ruling the courts have ever made. Wouldn’t be where I am without it.”


I think that I if I were her English 101 professor, I would give her satirical essay an A+. What do you think?


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