Ridicule has wide appeal in all humor and comedy; it appeals to something basic in human beings, whether we are proud of that baseness or not. Even those who don't agree with the message of a satire may enjoy it when it's well done: Bob Dole claims to have enjoyed Saturday Night Live's spoofs of various Republicans, and even appeared in one of them along with the man who usually played him. (He did this, however, after he had already lost his Presidential bid.)
The esthetics of ridicule are similar to the esthetics of invective. Making fun of "Yo mama" is not considered as impressive as a more subtle approach can be.
As a persuasive tool, ridicule is much more effective than invective is. It is one of the most powerful tools of the common citizen against those in power.
Ridicule has some of the same drawbacks as invective. The excuse that makes most ridicule acceptable ("it was just a joke") backfires: it is usually not taken seriously as a persuasive argument. It is also discounted as argument on the basis that you wouldn't be throwing insults if you had any facts to hand.
Ridicule is most effective in a cumulative psychological effect, like that of the annoying commercial jingle that still makes you remember the brand name the next time you go to the store, and buy it. It one of the most common tools used to reinforce power and the stereotypes that support the status quo. Consider the effect of jokes about "welfare queens", "homeless drunks", immigrants who can't speak English, or illiterate blacks.
|Rant||Parody||Technique||Satire||Old Forms & New|
|Invective||Burlesque||Irony||Juvenalian Satire||The Novel of Manners|
|Ridicule||Travesty||Hyperbole||Bardic Satire||The Picaresque Novel|
|Mock Epic||Understatement||Lampoon||The Wessitur|
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