Once upon a time in ancient Wales, it was believed that if a truly inspired bard made you the target of a satire, you were done for. The satire would come true–literally true. Or it might stop short of that and make you the laughing-stock of Britain.
It was a serious hardship, to get satirized. Bards did it for only a few reasons. The most important ones were these:
*To punish a king or chieftain who had been unjust, cowardly, or cruel. The more severe the punishment, the more it would serve as a warning to others.
*To shame a wrongdoer into repenting and making restitution. I mean, who wants to get the raspberry whenever he shows his face?
*You could also incur a satire by defying, insulting, or injuring a bard. Few kings dared risk it.
Maybe a satire might not turn you into stone; but it might make you sick. Your hair and beard might fall out. People would see that and know you’d done something to deserve it.
I don’t believe there were many lords in ancient Wales who’d go as far down the highway of idiocy as many of our country’s big shots do today. Maybe we need sharper satires.
But for those to work, the target has to have a sense of shame.
Good luck trying to find that in Washington, D.C.