I wrote a post on Friday https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2023/01/20/anything-can-happen-friday-unlikable-female-protagonist/ that talked about a trigger warning in the Hulu streamed film Not Okay. After one of my blog friends pointed out that the film was supposed to be a satire, (which I disagree with completely) there was discussion that the trigger warning was satirical. So lets talk about this.
WARNING- THERE WILL BE SPOILER SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW PARTICULARS ABOUT NOT OKAY, READ NO FURTHER. I’LL FORGIVE YOU
What is SATIRE?
Per New Oxford American Dictionary– the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize stupidity or vices
Does Not Okay fit that definition of satire?
I don’t think so. I think the opening scene does show an ignorant character. She does say some stupid things. However, I did not view it as the filmmakers being satirical- I found it to be a judgement more than anything else, more of a mock than a satire.
What is to mock?
Per New Oxford American Dictionary– tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner
Is there a difference between mock and satire?
I think to satirize is to exaggerate something so people can see how ridiculous something is- I don’t necessarily think it is done with spite or malice. I think mocking is mean spirited and passive aggressive nasty.
Why do I think the movie is not a satire?
The character says stupid things and is ignorant of many things, including her own privilege. You do chuckle at her in the beginning, but her behavior after that is more contemptuous. You don’t like her and it’s no longer funny- it’s just not a character that you want to like. Not liking a character because she makes poor life choices and decisions is not satire.
If a movie is a satire, does the theme need to carry through from start to finish?
When I think of Dr. Strangelove or more recently Don’t Look Up or The Menu, the theme is carried through from start to finish. There is no doubt what you are watching is satire, and at least in the case of Dr., hilariously funny. The movies end in the most ridiculous ways possible. In Not Okay, the ending is sad. There is no funny or satirical overtone- it is straight up contempt for the main character, the unlikable female protagonist. Can it be a satire if it doesn’t end satirically?
If the content warning was supposed to be a joke, should they have included TRAUMA in the warning?
This is why I think it was done intentionally: trauma is something that would be put in a content advisory, because there are people who really want to know this. If the unlikable protagonist was supposed to be funny, wouldn’t it have been in bad taste to include them in the warning together?
- How do you define satire?
- What are the best satires you’ve seen/read?
- Do you think because someone says that something is satire, that it really is satire, or does it have to pass the smell test?