Monday, 19 May 2014

The Angel of High Satire

I seem to spend my life between identities.

What do I mean by that beyond trying to sound profound? I suppose I mean: I don’t know what I am. So many people seem to define themselves by their jobs or their religion or their marital status and number of children. I don’t really have any identity in those respects. I don’t think of myself as ‘a writer’ and even when I had a book in bookshops, to say ‘I’m a writer’ felt hollow and not entirely truthful. I never say 'I’m a cartoonist’ because I haven’t had any cartoons published and I refuse to spend the rest of my life being Private Eye’s least successful would-be cartoonist. I’m not an illustrator, though I occasionally provide people with illustrations. I’m not a web designer though I sometimes build websites. Nor am I an animator, though I’ve made a few animated shorts. I can’t even say that I’m an academic because my PhD never led me into any academic post of significance. Now that I’m programming again, I am reluctant to call myself a programmer because the programming is only serving an end as far as another of my non-descriptors, that is, the cartoonist part of me.

cherubI’ve spent two months (or is it now three?), building a game which is little more than a very large satirical sketch or (more accurately) oafish cartoon. It's taken as much efforts drawing the graphics as it has programming the code. I’m part proud of it as I am part ashamed of it. The whole thing is meant to be satire, which is why, over the weekend, I added the following character to the game. At the moment, he flies onto the screen at random moments to add a little difficulty (and some reward) to the challenges. Yet I suppose my ‘Angel of High Satire’ (is the minuscule penis too much?) is a way of my
acknowledging that everything I do is really directed towards satire. I suppose I might call myself ‘a devil of low satire’ because I think it’s always been the closest description I would recognise of myself had I actually achieved anything of note in that field.

I don’t think my game will change that, though I hope it will have a enough edge that people might share it and laugh for all of the few moments they play it before deleting it forever. The humour might not be up to quality demanded by the real High Angel of Satire, on whom I modeled my version, but it has amused me. And that’s the problem. My worry now is that the game contains too many of the things that amuse me such as the thought of a naked Ian Hislop providing the game's hardest challenge. I wish I could have created something playable by somebody other than that person I see in the mirror. Next time, perhaps.

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