Our fictional satire article caused 21,000 outraged people to sign a petition

Meanwhile in Ireland’s satirical article about a new Bullfighting ring in Kilkenny caused a furore.

In July this year, Meanwhile in Ireland published a satirical article which has caused a certain amount of controversy and received a massive amount of commentary from readers.

Most comments were from those who read the complete article and saw it for what it was — a satirical piece aimed at poking fun at the Kilkenny hurling team. 

However, others read it and didn’t get the humour and mistakenly took it as being factual. So much so that a petition calling on the President of Ireland to intervene and stop the “proposal” has been launched online.

The petition has reached more than 21,000 signatures.

Background

The article was titled Ireland’s First Bullfighting Arena to be opened in Kilkenny.

The plot of the article was that in an attempt to “toughen up” the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Squad their management team intended to hire two Spanish matadors and introduce bullfighting techniques as a new training method along with building a new publicly-funded bullfighting stadium in Kilkenny.

This article was clearly labelled as ‘satire’ and ‘craic’ at the top of the article.

While Meanwhile in Ireland is grateful and acknowledges the response from the thousands of readers who have read and enjoyed the article, we really don’t want to waste the President’s time.

The petition

As mentioned above the online petition has upwards of 21,000 signatures and Change.org has put a banner on it saying they have “received flags from our users that the statements in this petition may be contested. You should consider researching this issue before signing or sharing.”

Some people took it far too seriously — however, it does go to show how some people do not read beyond the headlines or digest satire as it is meant to be digested.

The comments made to Meanwhile in Ireland’s social media sites are mixed.

Examples of those who saw the funny side:

“Arlene Foster first in, with Leo as the matador.”

“Can’t wait for the running of the bulls through town!”

“If you’re getting upset I suggest you Read…”

While some readers took the issue seriously and commented:

“Shame on u my homeland. So disappointed to learn this.” And other statements in that vein.

Commentary on the petition was vastly different and written by readers who didn’t grasp the satirical intent of the original article.

Statements such as, “This is so cruel and barbaric. Please have humanity and don’t spoil the beauty of Ireland and its name,” and “legalized torture, abuse and murder, stop all bullfighting!” would be typical of those who took the article seriously and perhaps missed the satirical point.

Satire: what is it?

Satire — which incidentally dates back to the early Greek playwright Aristophanes — can be defined as “the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

A unique sense of humour

Irish people are renowned for having a very unique and black sense of humour and political or social satire has long held a special place among the things that make us laugh.

One need only take the following Irish/British productions to illustrate this. Not the Nine O’clock News, Spitting Image, Scrap Saturday and so many more up to and including the BBC’s contemporary Mash Report.

Our view on Bullfighting

Meanwhile in Ireland is strongly opposed to bullfighting and all blood sports.

The writer of the original article, Ger Leddin, is a retired Irish journalist who has lived in both Spain and Portugal and has written numerous factual pieces opposing this practice and has actively been involved in animal rescue in both countries.

While Meanwhile in Ireland is sorry that the article was misinterpreted by some readers, we are however pleased that the controversy will go in some way to help in highlighting the barbaric practice of bullfighting on the Iberian Peninsula and raise awareness against the ‘sport’ in Ireland and for this reason the piece as published will remain on our site.

Meanwhile in Ireland prides itself on the use of satire not only to entertain but also perhaps in our small way to enlighten — and always in a spirit of good fun.

Read the article in question

You can read the satire article in question here: Ireland’s First Bullfighting Arena to be opened in Kilkenny