#JeSuisSatire : Satire in Islam

Cihan Kaan responds to the shootings on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Bad day for france, sad day for satire. #JeSuisCharlie

— Cihan Kaan (@Cihankaan) January 7, 2015

There's a fine line between satire and juvenile humor. Let's start there. Satire is specifically suited for adult minds. One needs to understand nuanced dialectics of satire to get any satisfaction from it. It's a thinking mans style. It requires cultural context and knowledge of tone. Whereas jokes or comedy for the sake of laughs, let's say fart jokes or slapstick, are for the easily entertained. Juvenile humor serves cheap reactions. Juvenile humor is suited for the minds of children. Satire is a different animal.

It is a mechanism of free journalism intended to suggest inherent breaks in institutional or ideological thinking. At it's best, satire is the only way to a free self-examining society and at its worst, like in the case of #CharlieHebdo, it's the catalyst that sparks a reform in the broken institution or ideology it satirized.

John Stewart says of satire, "The real outcome of satire is typically catharsis and whether that's positive or negative I don't know. The difference between a satirist and a demagogue is we're observers, we don't have the confidence to take the next step." The satirist lives somewhere between Mount Hope and the cliché tar pits of culture always trying not to get too high to fall too low. The mechanism they use to get back and forth, whether a pen, a guitar or newsrooms determine the type of satire. At least this was the explanation of satire pre‐millennium. We are so inundated with it from all sides that desensitization may be settling in. Nowadays, the heights are raised and the lows are deepened. When half of us speak in double meanings and the other half literally, miscommunication of this advanced satire is inevitable. I reckon some folks have no idea what is true and what isn't. The satire radar is out of batteries.

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Cihan Kaan was born at the height of the disco era in Dallas, Texas. Some time in the eighties he was moved to Brooklyn, New York where he was raised in Bensonhurst. His parents were 1st generation Turkish hippies who followed Maharishi Yogi and introduced him to astral travel, psychic phenomenon and transcendental meditation via sufism at a very young age.

He began releasing techno music under the alias 8Bit in the nineties but eventually fell into making music videos out of college. He directed a trilogy of music videos for early techno acts the aired on MTV. His short film She’s Got an Atomic Bomb (2004) won Best Short Film for the Evil City Festival and toured underground film festivals such as the Coney Island Film Festival, the B-Movie Film Festival (winner of the Audience Award), and the Lost Film Festival. His second short film, Shuffle Mode (2006) won Best Short Film at the Sin Cine NYC Erotic Film Festival.

His first book of short stories, Halal Pork and Other Stories, was published in Spring 2011 from UpSet Press and is distributed by University of Arkansas Press. He is the first American fiction author of Crimean Tatar descent, enjoys a good spinach salad and writes code in his off time.