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Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject (individuals, organisations, states) often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. Satire is not exclusive to any viewpoint. Parody is a form of satire that imitates another work of art in order to ridicule it.

There are several types of satire:

Some examples of satire are: The line between parody and satire is often blurred. Satires need not be humorous, indeed they are often tragic, while parodies are almost inevitably humorous. Some parodies with heavy elements of satire include: Some works of satire are subtle enough in their exaggeration that they still seem believable to many people. The comedic intent of these works of satire may be lost on the public at large, and there have been instances where the author or producers of a satirical work have been harshly criticized as a result. In 2002 the British network Channel Four aired a satiric "mockumentary" entitled Paedogeddon, which was intended to mock and satirize the fascination of modern journalism with child molestors and paedophiless. The TV network received an enormous number of complaints from members of the public, who were outraged that the show would mock a subject considered by many to be too "serious" to be the subject of humor.

On occasion, satire can cause social change when used to make a political or social point. For instance, the comic strip Doonesbury satirized a Florida county that had a racist law that minorities had to have a passcard in the area; the law was soon repealed with an act nicknamed the Doonesbury Act. In the 2000 Canadian federal election campaign, a Canadian Alliance proposal for a mechanism to require a referendum in response to a petition of sufficient size was satirized by the television show This Hour Has 22 Minutes so effectively that it was discredited and soon dropped.

Satire enjoyed a renaissance in the UK in the early 1960s with the Satire Boom, led by such luminaries as Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, David Frost, Eleanor Bron and Dudley Moore and the television programme That Was The Week That Was.