Teacher: Lise Brody
Extra Help: Thursdays, room 302 or by appointment.


Satire has been around for as long as the world has been imperfect. Are satirists wisecracking troublemakers, or anguished souls trying to fix what's wrong? What makes satire work? Can you speak the unspeakable if you make it funny? Can satire go too far? We will explore these questions and others. By the end, we might even answer the hardest one: What is satire?

Unit I. Elements of Satire

Swift, Jonathan, “A Modest Proposal”

Lu Xun, “The True Story of Ah Q”
Gogol, Nikolai, “The Nose”

Churchill, Caryl, Softcops

The Onion
– selected articles

The Simpsons
– selected episodes

The Colbert Report/The Daily Show
– selected clips

Unit II. Try This at Home: A Creative Writing Project

In this unit, you will write an original satirical short story.

Unit III. Film

The Great Dictator

Dr. Strangelove
Exit Through the Gift Shop (tentative)

Bamboozled (tentative)

Skills Assessed

Analysis (30%); Composition (25%); Oral Expression (this includes participation in class discussions) (25%); Work Habits (20%)


In order for this course to be a fun and meaningful experience for all of us, please:

  • Come on time and prepared. Always bring your book or reading material, notebook, pen or pencil.

  • Listen to others in class with engagement and respect.

  • Don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts!

  • Ask for help when you need it.

  • Complete assignments on time.

  • Do NOT bring phones or electronics of any sort into class (except by special arrangement). If I see one, I will ask you to take it to Tina.

Risk taking and respect

You will be sharing your creative work in this class.. That means that everybody needs to feel safe and respected. It is important that we give both others and ourselves permission to take risks, and that we be enthusiastically, critically, supportively engaged in one another's process.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That means:

  • copying/ pasting something from the internet or another source without quote marks and citation

  • paraphrasing something from any source without citation

When in doubt, CITE! If it’s in the gray area, it IS plagiarism. I take this very seriously.

Part of engaging in lively, meaningful conversation is building upon one another’s thoughts. If we do this without giving credit to other thinkers, no matter whether they died 200 years ago or are sitting in class with us, we are not participating in this collective process in a constructive, respectful way.

For more information on the Academic Honesty policy, please refer to the student handbook. Please know that I will take cases of plagiarism to Mr. Orpen with the first offense.

Late Work Policy

In order for an assignment to be eligible for revision, it must be turned in on time. If you would like an extension, you must ask for it before the end of the school day at least two school days before the assignment is due. If you do not have an extension, I will accept late work up to one week after the due date, but the grade will suffer. If you are failing the course due to missing work, please do not ask me to design special extra credit assignments for you.


Honors work for this course is TBD.

Extra Help

Please come see me! My extra help is on Thursday afternoons or by appointment. You can reach me at

Saving work for Exhibition Night, POLs, and college recs

I will only approve work for exhibition night or POLs if you bring me the original version with the original rubric and notes. Do not just save it on the computer. Likewise, if you think you might ask me for a college rec, please save any work you are especially proud of with my comments. Much as I always believe I'll never forget a thing about your beautiful paper, sadly, I very well might. Bringing it without the notes and rubric is asking me to do my job twice.