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4.1 and satire

From: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 08:15:17 -0500
Message-ID: <6AC4E20EED49D411941400D0B77E52F0074B91A3@forum.cc.utexas.edu>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Is it possible for satire to satisfy 4.1?

In 1720 or so, the Irish writer Jonathan Swift published "A Modest
Proposal."   This text appeared to be addressed to the English Parliament.
If offered
what appeared to be a straightforward, sober proosal for solving the
problems of poverty and hunger in Ireland.  The proposal was that Irish
children should
be bred and sold for food.  Swift presented all sorts of seemingly rational
arguments in favor of this idea.

Publication of this "Modest Proposal" raised a storm of controversy.  Not

This was exactly what Swift had intended: he also knew that at least some of
his readers would recognize his text for what it was: an angry, satiric
on Parliament and the Crown over England's treatment of Ireland, which was
appalling even back then.  But he also knew that many people would not
the satire, and that too was in some way part of his satiric point.  That
is, anyone who took his text at "face value" and attempted to debate the
on its "merits" immediately became a savage fool, by virtue of the failure
to recognize the satire.

This text is often discussed in English lit classes as one of the great
examples of satire.  There's nothing in it, except the sheer outrageousness
of the
proposed "solution" itself, to mark Swift's language as ironic or his intent
as satiric.

In fact, the very definition of irony involves statements that mean the
opposite of what they say.

Would it be possible to make a conformance claim for this text under any
variant of 4.1 we've been discussing? 

John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Technology & Learning
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C, Mail code G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu <mailto:jslatin@mail.utexas.edu> 
web http://www.ital.utexas.edu <http://www.ital.utexas.edu> 
Received on Friday, 7 June 2002 09:15:21 UTC

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