Difficile est saturam non scribere" – It´s hard not to write satire- Juvenal said already a century after Jesus Christ. We could not resist the temptation either. The Oxford Companion to English Literature defines satire as "a poem, or in modern use sometimes a prose composition, in which prevailing vices or follies are held up ridicule." We enlarged the spectrum and did not only write some prose texts but also designed some caricatures. The "vices or follies" we show refer to the new life-style on Mars. We were inspired by the book "Red Mars" or by our own conception of the life on Mars. "Politics", "Terraforming" and Society" are the categories mainly involved. The lack of consideration as regards the terraforming process as well as the corruption that dominates the politics, the egoism of society and several other subjects are shown. As they "are held up to ridicule", most caricatures and texts are quite funny and can be classified as humour but apart from some nonsense they have a serious background. In this way satire follows the antique and classic concept of drama "delectare et docere" – to amuse and to teach.
Besides there are some caricatures with a rather alarming or surprising character – so they are not satire in the proper sense but covered political criticism. They could have been published in a newspaper that backs a certain political party or current.
Jonathan Swift stated in the 18th century that "satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own", which signifies that it does not always result in a betterment of mankind since the intended self-knowledge and self-improvement is rarely achieved. That’s why in the Age of Enlightenment the two French authors Moličre and Voltaire e.g. used oriental stories ("Zadig") or persons ("Les Lettres Persanes") to illustrate their criticism of society. This exoticism caught the attention of many people and was immune against censorship. Maybe the Martian world can serve us, who have learned about Terrestrial cultures, as a new exoticism that can show us some vices and follies and enlighten us in a new manner. The recipient is confronted with the need (?) to conquer the universe and is forced to think about problems such as ageing and overpopulation. He should lose his naiveté and take into consideration that such a mission will not be a utopia but a question of power. Nobody can flee the future and as Alvin Toffler states: "we can help individuals adapt better [to the future] if we simply provide them with advance information about what lies ahead".
Caricatures and Short Satiric Texts about Mars
caricatures: Michael Ochmann und Eva Prost
satiric texts: Benjamin Toussaint