minstrel: Something interesting.

Heather Rose Jones hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Aug 22 11:24:44 PDT 1997


On the topic of covering you a** while criticizing the Powers That Be, I'd
like to offer my own method.

Make the _target_ of the song anonymous, not the _author_.

In addition to the esoteric ethical considerations, this has several very
practical advantages.

- If large and important people get mad at you, you can always note that
you only made the shoes -- they're the ones who put them on and said they
fit.

- The song is much less likely to become dated quickly. Political
situations usually have larger issues at their heart -- you can get a
pointed song out of those larger issues that will still be singable after
the surface situation has died down. (Did anyone know that "Black Widows
in the Privy" was written for an extremely specific SCA political
situation?  Did you know that "What News" was? Ditto half a dozen of my
other SCA poems and songs, and another half dozen or so of my non-SCA
ones?) 

- By masking the immediate situation in symbols and allegories, it is
easier to dress the critique in period guise as well. (Witness the poem I
posted here during the Western fencing whoop-de-do that was nominally
<ahem> about Wales and the Act of Union.)

- By structuring your satire/critique in more general symbolic terms
(while still leaving enough clues that those involved in the current mess
have no doubt what you're talking about) you are forced to examine and
analyze the larger picture and the overall dynamics. Maybe _you_, too,
will gain a wider perspective in the process.

Anyway, it may not work for everyone, but I've found the the authored,
indirect satire is, on the whole, a far more satisfying product than the
anonymous, direct satire -- and even than the authored, direct satire.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn


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