Some thoughts on Parody

All great works have ‘suffered’ this fate: being parodied is as unavoidable as our Sun’s collapse and death. This should come as no surprise: everything is subject to ridicule, from great works of  art, to important people, even religions have been targeted by satirists throughout the centuries.

It should be noted, though, that a parody is not necessarily a piece of  satirical work. While satire’s aim is to expose our social flaws by the means of humour and laughter, a parody is more focused on entertainment itself. Parody does have its uses in satire (look no further than Aristophanes’ “Frogs”, for instance), and it provides a handy tool in the hands of a skilled satirist.

As a separate literary genre, parody is mainly a grotesque and overexaggerated presentation of a previous work, character or theme. This might seem to some as an attempt to mock the original work, but this is a misconception. While some artists do exactly that (be it  because of a personal grudge or out of jealousy), the goal of parody is to entertain. That is why parodies should be considered as something different from satire.

Examples of parody can be found in many different forms of art. Take all the ‘Scary Movies’, for instance: they are a series of films, all based on other known movies, and they do precisely  what parody is supposed to do: draw out all those things that were dominant aspects of the parodied movies, overtone them and create this comedic effect we seek from this genre (whether they qualify as ‘good’ or  ‘bad’, that’s for you to decide!). Another good example would be the first chapter of Julian Barnes’ ‘A History of the World in 10 and a half Chapters’. There, we can read a very different account of the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, as narrated by a woodworm. And a last example (this is a personal favourite, and I simply could not resist):  Martin ‘Littlekuriboh’ Billany’s ‘Yugioh The Abridged Series’, an internet parody of the well-known anime series ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’, which you can find at YouTube.

I believe parodies are essential to our culture. When times are grim, a good laugh is sometimes all you need to cheer you on. And, it does not always have to be about ‘sending a message’ now, does it? Laugh from the bottom of your hearts, readers! Until next time!

 

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