Return of the Satire Essay

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Return of the Satire Essay
By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 01:19 am: Edit

So I can call this the revised version, but in two seconds I will have more criticisms than ever before - not that I'm complaining, thats what I'm here for! Anyways, if its not funny, just tell me - it's hard to go for satire in a college admissions essay about satire without sounding like a jerk/idiot/not funny.

The reason for the foundation of our newspaper was fairly evident to most students. Our school newspaper, “The Rag”, as it is appropriately named, never seemed to hit on any topics worth discussing; instead focusing their attention on petty accomplishments such as the production of NY State Lacrosse Championships and Westinghouse winners. What the students demanded was something worth reading. So that is what we tried to produce.

Before anything could be done, we had to win the blessing of the administration. More importantly, though, we needed their money. We solicited our peers and teachers for words of recommendation and even put together a sample newspaper all in hopes of garnering their fiscal assistance. But our brazen decision to stay true to our goal of creating a truly witty and satirical paper lead the administration to any involvement in a newspaper that could possibly poke fun at such esteemed figures as the President, the principal, the security guard, etc. Apparently, this would have to be an independent operation.

Our first step, similar to that of the Howard Dean campaign, was initiating a grass roots campaign. Our venture, however, was not fortunate enough to receive million dollar donations so instead we had to resort to the lowly activity of begging. Ice cream stores, gas stations, and adult video stores were all solicited in hopes of financial help, but it was only a local publishing house who could actually deliver. Believe it or not, the fellows who manned the presses at a local publisher’s office decided that our humor was worthy of their blood, sweat, and tears and they cut us a break by printing our paper for free.

The day our newspaper finally reached the students, my staff and I found it nearly impossible to make it into the school. As flashbulbs exploded in my face and preteen girls asked for my autograph, I finally realized that I had become a Johnson High School “instant-celebrity”. The day our broadsheet was distributed has been documented in a certain satire periodical as “the finest hour Johnson High School has ever seen”.

My proudest achievement in high school was not only founding a successful student newspaper, however, but was gaining the acceptance and absolute support of the administration as well. While we started out trying to be edgy and alternative, and part of that plan was to polarize ourselves from the administration, we quickly realized that having an entire group of people dislike us no true benefit. While we never changed our style or toned down the themes, we made a general effort to appeal to every facet of the school community. When the first issue came out, it was revered by students, faculty, and yes, even the administration. Showing that they too were willing to display a little light humor, they even collectively purchased an advertisement in our newspaper announcing that they would be holding a “Peasant Bashing Festival” in retribution for our mockery. Through this subtle change in our paper, we realized that poking fun in good nature is just as enjoyable as the “bitter satire” for which we were hoping.

By Editrix (Editrix) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 07:19 am: Edit

I haven't seen other versions of this, so this may be a stupid question--but is this the acctual essay? If so, it reads more like a summary: I think it needs specific examples of what constituted "something worth reading" and what you wrote that "appeal[ed] to every facet of the school community." You need to show us, not merely tell us, what made your paper brazen and witty and satirical.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit

I honestly don't have the time to edit essays online so I am not going to do that with the whole essay. I think Editrix's feedback is one that you might heed.

One part that struck me that I would redo is the way you say that the regular school newspaper covered "petty" things that were not worth reading, such as the state lacrosse championship or the Westinghouse winners. That really is a put down. Those are not petty accomplishments and some find such recognition or announcements appropriate to school papers. Perhaps you could have talked of having a light hearted newspaper that did not deal with announcements or student accomplishments but speaks to "insert whatever it was you were hoping to accomplish" as an alternative to regular news.

Sorry to not tackle the rest of your essay.


By Ilcapo (Ilcapo) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 11:32 am: Edit

Hmm...yea so it definately isn't working.

When I said that those things were "petty" I meant that in a satirical way- obviously winning Intel is pretty important!

But if you don't get it, neither will the adcom - so I'll scratch it.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

I did not think the essay itself appeared to be satire, so no, that did not work. I would not write it as satire either. I think you mostly told a story of the process. I agree with the other poster that you could have SHOWED us the kind of materials that the paper included. Like what was witty and unique about the paper and so forth.

Even if your line to do with other kids' accomplishments in the school newspaper was meant as satire, it still is making a joke of them. Does not work for me. Your paper was meant as an alternative or satirical publication, which in itself can be a great thing without bashing the decent journalism paper that your school has.


By Editrix (Editrix) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

P.S. The Editrix does know how to spell "actual." It's embarrassing to find a typo in my own advice about essay-writing, but I suppose I could turn it into a lecture on the importance of proofreading. (For example, take another look at this sentence: "But our brazen decision to stay true to our goal of creating a truly witty and satirical paper lead the administration to any involvement...." I would also reread the first two sentences of the last paragraph, which seem grammatically awkward.)

Again, though, my chief concerns about the essay are that it's too general and might come across as a bit self-congratulatory. (Was your newspaper genuinely "revered" throughout the school?) Aside from some mild quips about Howard Dean and begging, it reports on your wit without really demonstrating it. I agree with Susan's point that it isn't impressive to denigrate the "pettiness" of regular student newspapers; show us some specific examples of what made yours so funny and interesting.

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