What is the nature and purpose of satire?

Will Self’s essay is worth reading.
A Point of View: The Purpose of Satire

The following is from the BBC site:
Will Self finds himself driven to reconsider the nature and purpose of satire in the wake of the murders at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. “The paradox is this: if satire aims at the moral reform of a given society it can only be effective within that particular society; and furthermore only if there’s a commonly accepted ethical hierarchy to begin with. A satire that demands of the entire world that it observe the same secularist values as the French state is a form of imperialism like any other.”

Of course, all this assumes that Muslims are the target audience and that the goal is to reform the Muslim world. If we assume that the goal of the satire was to “reform” France, then that changes everything. (I put “reform” in quotes because I don’t want to take sides on internal French politics–I won’t pretend to have any expertise there).