Posted in : Writings:
  • On : Dec 05, 2011

What is a parody? Are all parodies funny? Are they all supposed to be funny? Are people in love with Parodies? How many horses will fit into a mini-van? The answer is maybe.

The art of parody is a difficult art to master. It is both difficult and funny and it is not easy. For this reason we leave it to geniuses such as Mel Brooks and The Simpsons. To truly understand parody, a person must really know how to parody and to know how to parody, you must know what to parody and how to distribute a parody.

The dictionary can define a parody as such:
A piece of writing or music that deliberately copies another work in a comical or satirical way.
Parodies as a literary or musical style
An attempt that is so poor that it seems ridiculous

Entertainers and cartoon characters should be careful what they do because younger siblings, fans, impressionables and other folk who think we are special are often parodying us. Like a filthy scarecrow that lives where your eyes don’t go. He waves his broomstick arms and does a parody of each unconscious thing you do. When you turn around to look, he’s gone behind you again. On its face it’s wearing your confused expression.

One must also keep in mind that parody and satire are not the same thing. A satire is aimed at ridiculing society and its problems. While many movies that fall into the parody genre, also satirize, a true satire is quite a different beast from a parody: just as a warthog and a platypus are quite different beasts.

In Space Balls, brought to us by Mel Brooks, there is a clever moment in which Yogurt (played by Mel Brooks) shows all the merchandise available for the movie. Which is an obvious satire of the outrageous marketing that accompanies Hollywood films.

Now we move on to the difficulty of actually concocting a parody. Parodies usually have a feeling of respect and admiration for their subjects, (pp302 Is Nothing Sacred, by Homie McCloud). This is the reason that I, of all people, should be parodied. I feel that I have earned the love and respect of several people over the past twenty-something years. Both of them are my little brothers.

This brings me to my brother, Thomas. While he has the same first name as a famous propagandist, he is not the same person, nor is he a parody of him. He is a parody of me. While I am not saying that he would not parody Thomas Paine, but the inherent humor of parodying a 18th century revolutionary would be lost on most jerks. But he probably could if he wanted to, because of the landmark Supreme Court ruling (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569, 1994 on the right to parody as fair use) which extends to the entertainment community at large, which should include Tom.

Parodies also must be funny even if the audience knows nothing of the subject being parodied. (pp75. Film Parody, Michael Holmgren) That is the perfect description of my brother. Well, that, or:

Blonde hair
Blue eyes
Athletic build
Lazy and inconsiderate
Wants to drop cheese off tall buildings for a living

The beach
Smelling peanut butter
Building replicas of his ex-girlfriends out of Legos and setting them afire
Gangsta’ rap
Bottle Rocket
(And it goes on like this.)
All of which is very similar to my own personal aspirations and general preferences. Also, he is very funny just like me. Even to those who haven’t grown to know and love my own special brand of asinine jackassery. When they meet me, the parodied, they appreciate his humor even more.

He has been “riding my groove” since high school. Thomas took all of my appellations upon himself with a humorous twist. Like I was Joe Monkey, he became Monkey Tom Bastard. I was El Magnifico, or The Magnificent, and he became The Magnificent Bastard. I was Grandpa Joe. He became Grandpa Joe Bastard. Not that he was trying to bastardize my names; he was trying to parody me out of a sense of brotherly adulation. He also parodied my motto, “Push out the jive, bring in the love” with, “Iraq is a nation of diversity, you capitalist bastard.”

Another point in which he rode my groove was in taking all of my clothes while I was away for several years finding my way in life. When I got home he left on a similar quest and I took all of his clothes. Take that you bastard parodist. I came home markedly changed and began to influence my other brother even more. Thomas is a perfect parody of the younger angrier me, while my younger brother who is a parody of the older, smellier, more forgetful me.

My youngest and most impressionable brother is Cameron. Sometimes we call him Joe Jr., Little Joe and sometimes, even Cameron. He started his life out doing everything that I had ever done: crying, being naked, and to top it all off, he even looked like me, but with a mullet. As he grew older he kept on parodying me with humorous results. He ate food, slept and talked too. We all laughed at this.

More recent examples include, his numerous attempts at wearing my serious hats, moving back in with my parents, and joining the circus only to be thrown out for exceeding normality. In a feeble attempt to regain the respect of the circurs, he dressed up as an artichoke and began pummeling the eastern European acrobats. Which was quite similar to my walking around naked hurling guacamole at the horse janitors, but clearly a parody and clearly much funnier.

Luckily we have both found gainful employment with the government, pretending to be un-passed bills and pummeling congressmen. Lately everything seems to be going right for “team parody,” we have won sixteen annual parody contests this year alone and have written a duo-biography entitled Parodies, With a Vengeance, to be published posthumously or after we both die, whichever comes first.

In summation, people love parodies and isn’t love what’s important in this world? The answer is no. Or is it? Yes. What is really important is being funny. And parodies have that too, so I guess life is good for Mel and The Simpsons and of course, the Supreme Court.