Parody and Satire

an introduction

Today’s Digital Literacies Provide New Opportunities for Meaningful Fun

[youtube id=”9BoXAwoPD80″ mode=”normal” align=”left” autoplay=”no”]The “Parody & Satire” galleries in this blog feature the work of some very popular internet artists who specialize in topical humor about various issues in modern society.

Although some of their material is somewhat provocative, it is also representative of current points of view that are widely held among significant numbers of people from all over the world. While the Focus on Learning blog neither endorses nor denounces this content, it is included here because it plays a significant role in the expression and evolution of modern values that are being increasingly shared via Web 2.0 (social network) technologies such as YouTube.

Beneath the “Love the Way You Lie” playlist is a collection of various YouTube channels and playlists that have been curated for presentation and discussion on The Blog. This collection is only a glimpse at Web 2.0 technology’s key role (to paraphrase Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig) in democratizing technology–that formerly could only be utilized by wealthy film-makers and large corporations–and allowing common everyday folks to use their $1500 computers to remix original digital content into mash-ups and, in effect, re-create new, meaningful content and say things differently.

As Professor Lessig says, this new technologically empowered ability to say things differently is a “new literacy” that connects millions of people and, for serious educators, compels much further research and exploration. And that is why it is presented here on Focus on Learning.

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This is a Generic Brand Video

based on a piece written by Kendra Eash
After watching the video, ask yourself the following question:

Is this anything?

Click here if you need help answering the question above:

Is this anything?

The first step to answering this question is to visit the video maker’s website, Dissolve.com. Dissolve.com is in the business of providing “HD footage for today’s visual storyteller.”

The second step is to check out the original writing by Kendra Eash at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is a daily humor website run by a publishing company in San Francisco.

Click here LAST to confirm your answer to that question:

What the video is NOT

This video is not a real advertisement. It is not serious. Watching it is not a life-changing experience and it will not cause you to go out and buy any product because it does not promote any product.

What the video IS

“This is a Generic Brand Video” is a joke.  More specifically, it is a brilliant piece of satire that makes fun of the North American advertising industry and how many large advertising companies promote their clients’ brands and products with important sounding music, words, and images.

It was produced by a company that sells royalty-free  HD video clips to “today’s visual storyteller,” and it was made as a satirical response to a blog post written by another satirist, Kendra Eash at a website called McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

To summarize, “This is a Generic Brand Video” is a perfect example of the anthropology of Web 2.0: people connecting, communicating, and collaborating with other people to create powerful messages through text, imagery, social networks, and the internet meme.

To learn more about the internet meme, watch the digital story below.

My Story of the Internet Meme

from an assignment in ETEC565A in the Master of Educational Technology program at the University of British Columbia

For more information about “the making of My Meme Story,” click here.

How Great Videos Evolve

The 'Love the Way You Lie' Playlist

Check out the following playlist.

The first video is the original content, as recorded by Eminem and Rihanna, then uploaded to YouTube on August 5, 2010. The following 4 videos are all parodies of that original and they are presented in chronological order. It is interesting to note that the first parody (by Barely Political) was uploaded on August 24 and depicts the original Eminem/Rihanna characters as very cute young children, while the Bart Baker parody was uploaded on September 9 and depicts the Rihanna character is a nasty old man who has supposedly undergone some sex-change procedures that didn’t work out so well. Was Baker’s decision to “go old” influenced in any way by Barely Political’s “young” approach? Only Baker himself knows the answer, but current research suggests that the probability is very high. 

[youtube id=”TPAO-lZ4_hU” mode=”normal” align=”right” autoplay=”no”]As vividly demonstrated in his presentation (shown on the right) at the Library of Congress by Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, YouTubers are very social beings who build upon one another’s creations and say things differently to one another and everyone else on the planet who cares to watch.

The last two parodies in the playlist provide an excellent example of this.  Both videos are based on that same 2010 Eminem/Rihanna piece and both videos were recently made in Korea.  유세윤 (Yoo Se Yoon) – 까똑 (KKA TTOK) MV (video #5) was produced by a popular Korean comedian who used some memorable imagery and themes from the original piece to poke fun at people who are hooked on Korea’s favorite free–and addictive–text messaging service called KaKao Talk.

The fifth and final video in the playlist is, in my completely biased and proud opinion, the very best of the lot!  Students from an English Writing with Multimedia class made this video as their final project.  They borrowed some music and ideas from the comedian’s video (which had already borrowed from Eminem and Rihanna) and remixed them with some excellent acting and camera work that was done right here on campus at HYU!

Watching all five of the videos in rapid succession should give you a very strong sense of just how powerful–and important–this “new literacy” really is and the galleries that follow will connect you to see even more of this amazing process in action.

The Playlist:

Parody & Satire

the channels