Five days in and we’re still going strong with the anniversary celebration!
For our anniversary month, we decided that we would like all our evil guests to grant us their wisdom on a theme. As this website is dedicated to keeping writers from being douchebags, we thought something along educational lines would be appropriate for our guests to enlighten us with.
ELEW: Hail Andrew, full of snark! The ELEW is again honored by your presence, O Patron Saint of Snarkdom, in this, our 5th anniversary month. You are renowned for your evil humor. We ask that you bestow upon us your wisdom on the subject of satire vs. parody. In Your Name We Flay, The ELEW
Parody v Satire: Dawn of Snark
What is “parody”?
Here’s what Google says: Parody (n): An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
Parodies—also called “pastiches”—are stylistic imitations of another creative work, exaggerated for humorous effect. A parodist may limit themselves to mimicking a single writer or artist, or go broader and mimic an entire genre. Examples of parodies include the Scary Movie and Austin Powers films, which parody Scream and spy movies, respectively.
My parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey mimics the characters, tone, and plot of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (or at least the first two books—I never did get around to reading the third one). I’ve also parodied Edgar Allan Poe and am currently serializing a parody of The Great Gatsby (Catsby: A Novel) on Wattpad.
What is “satire”?
Here’s what Google says: Satire (n): The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Satire is an essential component of any Social Justice Warrior’s toolbox. It makes the medicine go down easier. Even when satires aren’t political, they’re often more biting in their ridicule than parodies. Satirists are trying to do more than make people laugh—they’re trying to make people think. Republicans are stupid. Democrats are stupid. People are stupid. Examples include Dr. Strangelove and Idiocracy.
Satires are rarely as laugh-out-loud funny as parodies. They can certainly have moments of hilarity—Bulworth has several moments of slapstick humor, and The Interview was every bit as funny as the rest of Seth Rogen’s oeuvre. However, in my experience, most satires operate on a different level than parody. They sacrifice some of the humor in order to drive home a message. There’s a trade-off involved.
And, incidentally, humorous ridicule minus the political or topical angle is called “snark” (a portmanteau of “snide remark”).
Can parody and satire be combined?
Absolutely! There’s a book sitting on my desk right now that combines the two styles (The Dick Cheney Code by Henry Beard, which parodies The Da Vinci Code in order to satirize the vice president). The Onion and The Colbert Report are two more examples, both of which parody real news formats for satirical purposes.
In my parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, you could say I used satire to criticize the faults I saw in Fifty Shades of Grey when ridiculed James’s stereotypical portrayal of Latinos, her regressive portrayal of women, and the casually homophobic comments sprinkled throughout the series.
Wait. That doesn’t sound very evil of me, does it? Next time I visit the Evil League, I promise to bring more snark!
Much, much appreciation, St. Andrew of Snarkdom! You are always welcome here!
For more eviltry from Andrew, read his latest story, Catsby: A Novel—a serialized parody [see what we did there?] of The Great Gatsby—at www.greatcatsby.com.
Don’t forget we still have giveaways going on! Head over here to enter!