Some things just lend themselves to ridicule. When these things start to become extremely popular, the forward momentum follows a predictable path to satire and parody – and their hillbilly cousin spoof.
Each of these styles can be taken as humorous or insulting, depending on the audience. Satire is so often misread. Just look at the uproar over The New Yorker’s recent article about Arizona. This clearly satirical take on an outrageously ridiculous bill threw people into a tizzy. And in the end, even with these misreading, it brought attention to the bill, exactly as it intended. I’m a fan of satire, even though I, too, have been a victim of her cruel humor.
Bigger problems come from parody and spoof. The latter often being passed off as the former. These phrases are often used interchangeably, but I think they’re different things.
Parody uses the source material to make serious points in an outwardly humorous way.
Spoofs simply make fun of their source material. It’s about insults. I’m not a fan and I typically don’t find them funny. This was the case with today’s awful read.
Nightlight: A Parody by the Harvard Lampoon
Making fun of the highly popular Twilight franchise, it’s a good idea for a book. I was excited. The Harvard Lampoon? This is going to be good. And it certainly started that way.
Parts of the book were quite funny, particularly the parts making fun of Meyer’s writing style, but overall I was not impressed. It was the “Scary Movie” approach to comedy. The parody strayed away from the storyline too far, became vague, and lost its way.
This could have been a great look at this persistent culture of literary women swooning for the male hero. The obsessive teen love that is flaunted as the only option. Instead, it was heavy handed and ridiculous and said nothing.
What could have been really good, ended up being just okay.