The short story, “How I Edited an Agricultural Paper” by Mark Twain, is a form of optimistic satire. Optimistic satire thinks people are foolish and wants to correct their foolishness. Optimistic satire is usually comical and people get pleasure from reading satire. This is an example of satire for a couple reasons. It is satire because the story seems to be realistic because of its story nature. Also, people are foolish when it comes to their points of view. Twain satirizes the idea that you need to know a lot about a subject to be able to criticize something. He does this when the original editor of the paper criticizes the editorial work of the narrator. The editor calls the work of the narrator “a disgrace to journalism.” This is satire because the narrator criticizes agriculture when he knows nothing about agriculture to begin with. He makes up information just to make it sound interesting and so that it attracts to many audiences. The ironic part of this satire is that the narrator brought in a lot of revenue and did it without having a farmer or a person who knew anything about agriculture as a reader.
Twain also satirizes the idea that people do not care about interesting news. The editor of the newspaper criticizes the narrator’s editorial and talks about how “Nothing disturbs clams. Clams always lie quiet. Clams care nothing whatever about music.” This is satire because clams are not interested in things such as music and people are not interested in things that attract attention to themselves. The clams would like things that are normal and things that don’t disturb them, like people when it comes to news.
The last thing that Twain satirizes is the fact that absences can turn out for the worst. The original editor leaves the narrator in charge of writing an agricultural editorial. The narrator writes an editorial that does not please the original editor. The original editor thinks that the editorial is not up to his standards and “Nothing on earth could persuade me to take another holiday.” The ironic part of this satire is that the narrator ends up going on a leave of absence at the end because of the original editor and leaves by saying, “You are the loser by this rupture, not me, Pie-plant. Adios.”