Political humor and satire are, perhaps, as old as comedy itself, and they are crucial to our society and our collective sense of self. Satire is confrontational. It’s about pushback, dissent, discord, disappointment, and demonstrating the absurdity of the status quo. This book is an attempt to explore how these aspects of satire help secure our sanity.
Aristotle famously said that humans are naturally political animals. We need political community to flourish and live good lives. But politics also entails unpopular decisions, oppression, and power struggles. Satire is a vehicle through which we reflect on and challenge the irrational, incomprehensible, and intolerable nature of our lives without becoming totally despondent or depressed.
In a poignant, pithy, but not ponderous manner, Al Gini and Abraham Singer delve into the history of satire to rejoice in its triumphs and watch its development from ancient graffiti to the latest late-night TV talk show.
Al Gini is a professor of business ethics at Loyola University Chicago. For over twenty-seven years, he was the resident philosopher on National Public Radio’s Chicago affiliate, WBEZ-FM.
Abraham Singer is assistant professor of business ethics at Loyola University Chicago. He thinks he’s funny.
PrologueChapter 1: Trumping Trump
Chapter 2: The Satirical Imperative
Chapter 3: Satirical Animals
Chapter 4: The Fairer and Funnier Sex
Chapter 5: Why Are Jews So Funny?
Chapter 6: A Debate on the Ethics of Offensive Comedy
Chapter 7: Why Do We Joke So Much?
Punch lines and favorite riffs, interspersed with a more academic discussion of political satire, all in about 175 pages before endnotes, make this an interesting but not overbearing choice for humor collections.
It’s hard to be funny right now. But leave it to Al Gini and Abe Singer to not only be funny, but to write about why it’s needed now more than ever.
In times like this, we need satire to make sense of the world and fortunately we now have Gini and Singer to make sense of satire. As amusing as it is insightful, The Sanity of Satire may not make these crazy times less crazy, but at least now you know what to laugh at...and why.
A remarkable book. It shows the pertinence of satire to actual events as much as its efficacy in politics in general.
The Sanity of Satire is a fun and fascinating read, and just when we needed it. I’ve known Al Gini for my entire life, which makes me think that Abraham Singer must have written MOST OF THIS BOOK. It’s just that good.