Satire as the Comic Public Sphere book cover
James Caron

Popular prime-time comedians such as Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel channel their satirical humor through current events and politics. It’s a genre that intrigues University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of English Professor Emeritus James Caron, so much so that he recently published a 284-page hardcover book about it, Satire as the Comic Public Sphere: Postmodern “Truthiness” and Civic Engagement.

“I have been doing research and writing on satire for some years now. The book is a culmination of that work to frame contemporary satire’s postmodern aesthetic as a comic supplement to civic discourse,” Caron explained.

Caron discusses how satire based on headline news reporting can trigger audiences to reflect and possibly take public sphere action. He credits pupils from one of his courses for providing inspiration.

“Much of the intellectual energy for the book started with an honors class that I taught on satire at UH Mānoa. So…mahalo to those students, who were all very, very good,” Caron said.

The book is available for purchase online. Caron has also authored Mark Twain, Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter and coedited Refocusing Chaplin: A Screen Icon Through Critical Lenses and Sut Lovingood’s Nat’ral Born Yarnspinner: Essays on George Washington Harris.