Satire, humor and ecological thought

Abstract

Despite several claims on the political inconsequence and moral ambivalence of humor and satire, I contend that satire can be employed to raise environmental awareness, which requires ethical and political responsibility, and foreground environmental concerns among people and policy makers. South Park is investigated to illustrate how an alliance between satire and environmentalism can further environmental causes. The show’s environmental satire happens at three levels: direct environmental satire aiming to promote environmental ethics and encourage change; satire directed against environmentalists; and satire linking environmental issues with other adjacent concerns including politics, economy, culture, race, ethnicity, science and religion.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    I use satire as an umbrella term and humor as one of its subcategories (see Zekavat 2017, 29, 30, 39, 50; Zekavat 2014).

  2. 2.

    For a discussion of racism and anti-immigrant sentiments and their relationships to place in this episode see Frim (2014, 160–162).

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Professor Scott Slovic and Professor Brennan Thomas for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this essay.

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Correspondence to Massih Zekavat.

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Zekavat, M. Satire, humor and ecological thought. Neohelicon 46, 369–386 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11059-018-00471-0

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Keywords

  • Ecocriticism
  • Environmental justice
  • Otherness
  • Satire
  • Humor
  • South Park