[Rector]

Satire

 

Last week, in a comedy sketch on TV, a comedian actually made fun of the socialist left; he cracked a joke at the expense of a left-wing politician. This was only one joke, so we shouldn't read a national trend into it. The conservatives still got most of the stick, but it was, none-the-less, a momentous occasion.

Like many people, I await the re-emergence of that most wonderful of art forms, satire. Not wit as such, or even worse, sarcasm. I await the defrocking of sacred cows.

In Australia, in my lifetime, the best example of satire was found in a magazine called OZ. This magazine was produced in the late 1960's by Richard Neville and unceremoniously laid bare every sacred cow that we had ever held dear. In those days conservatism reigned supreme. The post-war years were stable, satisfied, secure ....... We were so self-assured, so convinced of our right-mindedness, and therefore, a perfect target for satire. The targets for OZ ranged from conservatism, the church, royalty, "Victorian" sexual morality........, all the way through to modern art. The magazine was so blatant, so determined to expose our nakedness, our vanity, that one edition was even banned. The established order was not amused.

The humour of OZ is still with us, but sadly it is no longer satire, just sarcasm. Oft repeated, stale humour about the same old subjects, about the same old sacred cows that were sacrificed twenty years ago. There is really nothing very funny in digging up the carcass of a dead cow. Ho-hum, yawn-yawn, poo-poo..... For ageing baby-boomers, sarcasm gives some sense of security in the midst of the unfulfilled dreams of a bygone era. The dreams of social equity have long since been sacrificed at the altar of financial security.

What we need now is a bit of satire that gets the blood circulating, satire that prods our sacred cows, a bit of windmill-tilting that prompts a call for censorship. We need to hear again the demand, "material like this should be banned." Our political correctness is so precious, so vain, it cries out to be deflated. Such hands-off subjects as: multiculturalism, feminism, "gayism", racism, ..... immigration, the "true believers", education, land rights...... The list of present sacred cows provides an immense quarry for satirical humour. The difficulty lies in finding a person willing to tilt at such windmills.

I am reminded of Jesus. We well remember the venom directed at Jesus when he exposed the hypocrisy of the religious establishment or questioned such sacred cows as Sabbath observance. He would be willing to poke at today's precious piety.