Perhaps the most striking quality of satiric literature is its freshness,its originality of perspective. Satire rarely offers original ideas. Instead, it presents the familiar in a new form.
Satirists do not offer the world new philosophies. What they do is to look at familiar conditions from a perspective that makes these conditions seem foolish,harmful, or affected.
Satire jars us out of complacence into a pleasantly shocked realization that many of the values we unquestioningly accept are false. Don Quixote derides the stupidity of knights Brave New World ridicules the pretensions of science; A Modest Proposal dramatizes starvation by advocating cannibalism. None of these ideas is original. Chivalry was suspect before Cervantes, humanists objected to the claims of pure science before Aldous Huxley, and people were aware of famine before Swift.It was not the originality of the idea that made these satires popular. It was the manner of expression, the satiric method that made them interesting and entertaining. Satires are read because they are aesthetically satisfying works of art, not because they are morally wholesome or ethically instructive.
They are stimulating and refreshing because with commonsense briskness they brush away illusions and secondhand opinions.With spontaneous irreverence,satire rearranges perspectives, scrambles familiar objects into incongruous juxtaposition, and speaks in a personal idiom instead of abstract platitude.
Satire exists because there is need for it. It has lived because readers appreciate a refreshing stimulus,an irreverent reminder that they live in a world of platitudinous thinking,cheap moralizing, and foolish philosophy. Satire serves to prod people into an awareness of truth, though rarely to any action on behalf of truth. Satire tends to remind people that much of what they see, hear, and read in popular media is sanctimonious, sentimental, and only partially true. Life resembles in only a slight degree the popular image of it. Soldiers rarely hold the ideals that movies attribute to them, nor do ordinary citizens devote their lives to unselfish service of humanity. Intelligent people know these things but tend to forget them when they do not hear them