Parody 101

Ok's lesson is going to be over the concept of parody! Class, does anyone know what parody is? Class? Class?

Bueller? Bueller?

Oh, good-- Sammy Smartypants, what is parody?

[par-uh-dee] Any humorous or satirical imitation of a person, event, way of thinking, etc.

Excellent Sammy. understand the definition of parody we need to define and understand what satire and humor are, so class, what is satire?

Betty Brainiac, I see your hand raised. Please share your answer with the class.

[sāt'īr'] Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose

Excellent Betty.

Now we need a definition of humor. Anyone? Bobby Butthead, pull that pencil out from your nose and give us the definiton for humor.

[hyoo-mer] a comic quality causing

Excellent Bobby.

Well this is going very well. Next we need to define folly and amusement in order to understand what satire and humor means. Ginny Government, what is folly?

[fol-ee] A foolish action, a foolish practice, or a foolish idea.

Excellent Ginny.

Ok class, let's all just answer this last one together: What is amusement?

[uh-myooz-muhnt] the state of being amused-- to hold the attention of (someone) pleasantly; entertain or divert in an enjoyable or cheerful manner

Excellent class, all those missed recesses are starting to really pay off.

So basically class, a parody is a humorous (a funny entertainment that is pleasant and cheerful) portrayal of a person's folly (an action or idea they have that is foolish) You are pleasantly and cheerfully, without rancor or hatred, poking fun of something silly a person says or believes.

Parody of the idea behind the artwork "American Gothic"

Here class is a wonderful example of satire. It is a pleasant and entertaining skit that pokes fun at some of Hillary Clinton's silly actions or ideas of the past and pokes fun at some of Sarah Palin's silly actions or ideas of the past.

Now class sometimes people say and create some things that are not pleasant and cheerful nor do they entertain; they are filled with rancor and hatred and poke fun at things that people can't control, like the color of their skin. If someone says that these ideas or images are wrong the people that created them will claim that they were just having fun and didn't hurt anyone because it was a parody, just a little joke. Ha Ha Ha...cantcha' take a little joke?

Obama Waffles

The 2008 Values Voter Summit, Co-sponsored by Gary Bauer’s American Values, Dr. James Dobson's Focus On the Family Action, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Rev. Harry Jackson’s High Impact Leadership Coalition was held September 12 through 14 at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C. At the summit guests and speakers snapped up $10.00 "Obama Waffles" mix in boxes that featured stereotype caricatures of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sporting big lips and bulging eyes on the front of the box and wearing what appears to be a Muslim or Arab headdress on the top.

The box was meant as political satire, said Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, writers from Franklin, Tenn. Obama Waffles play off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, widely considered a demeaning stereotype. Placing Obama in an Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is Muslim. He is Christian.

On the back of the box, Obama is depicted in Mexican dress, including a sombrero, above a recipe for "Open Border Fiesta Waffles" that says it can serve "4 or more illegal aliens." The recipe includes a tip: "While waiting for these zesty treats to invade your home, why not learn a foreign language?"The Obama Waffles are the brainchild of Bob DeMoss and Mark Whitlock, both of Franklin, Tennessee. Whitlock's links to Focus on the Family are described in the sidebar of his blog. The "Confirmed Speakers" Web page for the 2008 Values Voter Summit lists Newt Gingrich, Gary Bauer, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Bill Bennett, Ken Blackwell, Chuck Colson, Tom DeLay, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Gov. Mitt Romney, Phyllis Schlafly, and many others. John McCain and Sarah Palin did not attend the conference.

Asked if he considered the pictures of Obama on the box to be racial stereotypes, Whitlock said: "We had some people mention that to us, but think of Newman's Own or Emeril's there are tons and tons of personality-branded food products on the market
." CNN talker Lou Dobbs reportedly bought a box of racially-charged Obama Waffles. He was said to have exclaimed "My wife will love this!" Here is a wonderful photo for CNN to put on his webpage biography:

Media inquiries about the racist implications of the imagery on the boxes of Obama Waffles seem to have been behind Summit organizers' decision to finally halt sales of the product at the convention, but Whitlock and DeMoss are still selling the item via the Website of their company, West Wing Waffles, LLC. At the site, they claim that the Obama Waffles mix is "selling... like hot cakes!" .

"The issue is not the thick lips and the skin" we put on the picture of Obama on the box. Of course not! Bless your pure-as-the-driven-snow's heart let's hear how ALL of your closest, "bestest" friends are black and how you don't have a racist bone in your little body.

So class, what do we call a parody that is lacking humor, is not pleasant nor cheerful, is filled with rancor and hatred, and pokes fun at things that people can't control, like the color of their skin?


  1. Wonderful post... people are using satire as an excuse to thinly cloak their racism... it's not working.

  2. Hi Shae...nothing gets my blood boiling faster than when someone says something completely asshatish and then follows it up with "Just kidding" Makes me want to plant my size 7 platform disco shoes up their butts.