In 1729, A Modest Proposal shocked a staid and stiff England. Readers were immediately repulsed by the anonymous author’s suggestion that people eat children in order to stop children from starving. They rose up and demanded that action be taken to stop the immense poverty sweeping Ireland. Aristocrats and scholars, the primary targets of A Modest Proposal, quickly threw money and workable solutions at the problem. That satire, one of Jonathon Swift’s many masterpieces, produced sweeping changes.
We’ve had a three-hundred-year drought since then.
So why do we keep reading satire?