Saturday, February 7, 2015

Judging Society

Judge Dredd, originally a British comic book character, has starred in two movies since his creation, one in 1995 and one in 2012. He is a law enforcement officer in a massive city called Mega-City One. Sounds pretty commonplace at first, other than the overly unoriginal name given to the city in which he works-yes, it is very large, and yes, it is a city, hence the name "Mega-City". However, Dredd is not an everyday type of law enforcement officer, unless you live in this fictional dystopian universe. He is a street judge-hence the name "Judge Dredd"-and he, along with the other members of law enforcement, has the powers of judge, jury, and executioner all in one. No trial. No outside input. The decision is purely in the hands of the law enforcement members, whether it be jail time or the death penalty. Aside from the cops, the megapolis itself is extreme, as well. It is huge and dirty and decayed. Democratic government just doesn't work anymore.

The law enforcement system in Mega-City One is a satire of the extremes of police and government authority. The judges have the authority to make the judgments normally taking days or months all in the span of a few seconds. Dredd, especially, has a zero-tolerance policy on any and all crimes, of which there are many.  Within the city itself, a number of current societal issues are represented, such as rising obesity rates - the Fatties, who judge celebrity status on their girth in a mockery of today's obsession over weight loss and looking thinner - and racism, with the Ape Gang, who are Italian (kind of) second generation ape immigrants, which could be seen as poking fun at the way people perceive foreigners.

Trailer for the 2012 movie:

This is Satire

This is Spinal Tap is a classic movie full every type of irony and sarcasm you could imagine.

Spinal Tap shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on the charts, including everything from its complicated history of ups and downs, gold albums, name changes and undersold concert dates. This movie satirizes the wild personal behavior and musical pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal stars, while also over playing the awful and extremely cheesy tendencies of all rock documentaries of the time.

Although this entire movie is golden, one of the greatest parts in my opinion, is when the lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel (played by the brilliant comedian Christopher Guest), is given a plate of bread and cold cuts backstage before a show. This piece is absolutely ridiculous and outrageous, which is what makes it so incredibly funny. “He can’t fathom who in the world he would be able to eat this food provided”. “The bread is not even big enough for the meat. “He would have to fold the bread and it would be a crime to do that!”

This movie takes the little things that to the everyday person would not even be an issue, and honestly to most rock stars wouldn’t be a problem either, and they stretch it to the extreme which makes us roll our eyes at rock stars, and feel just a little bit more normal inside.

This movie is literally(appropriate usage) 100% satire throughout the whole thing and its is brilliantly executed. This classic is definitely a must see!

Here is some footage below of the most famous scenes throughout the movie.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Key and Peele - "Black Ice"

The show Key and Peele, featuring Kegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele is one of the most popular comedy shows in America. The mixed race duo is in an interesting position, as they understand the cultures of white Americana as well as black Americans. Because of this they criticize both cultures in ways that that are both very clever, as well as extremely funny. I their skit “Black Ice” a newscast covering the weather describe the inclement weather including, black ice. The white people on the show put an emphasis on the black when they say black ice. The skit pretty much made the parallel to black ice and black people, as the ice is described the same way some people describe black people.

“Keep your loved ones safe and warn them to stay off the street tonight because of menacing, life-robbing black, black Ice.”, and “It’s scary, tricky, ruthless stuff, that black ice. A perfectly safe neighborhood can be suddenly terrorized by the appearance of black ice.” are just a few examples of the news people comparing black ice to black people. The use of verbal irony is all over this skit, as the white newscasters are completely oblivious to the connections they are making, while the black newscaster understands what is going on. The two black newscasters then start an argument about why white ice (white people) is bad, which turns into an argument about why black ice (black people) is oppressed. The argument goes back and forth and when it concludes, the white newscaster says, “Okay. Next up, why is America being ruined by black people?”

This skit really touches on how black people are portrayed in the media. Black people are constantly portrayed as dangerous, violent thieves that are preying on the innocent white people. In the skit, the black newscasters are trying to explain that white people also do bad things and make it hard for black people to prosper in America, especially in terms of law enforcement. The white newscasters brush that off and say “But let’s be honest — black ice is the real menace”, ignoring the points that the black men are making. This skits shows that people flood the media with stories about violent black people and brush off violent acts that white people commit and pretty much justify it by saying what the newscaster said, let’s be honest — black ice is the real menace.

Satire in The Office

Hit comedy show, The Office, has received a plethora of positive reception for its impressive and interesting mix of comedy, drama, and unique personal feel. Most who have seen the show agree on its excellent use of satirical techniques, specifically those of one of the central characters, office manager Michael Scott. Michael is a middle aged manager of a small-tier paper company, and as far as his personal character, a rather ignorant(though well intentioned) individual.

Throughout the show's 9 season run, Michael promotes a variety of stereotypes, including those of: homosexuality, race, gender, and age. Michael's insensitivity and blunt ignorance rarely creates an uncomfortable feel to the parts of the show where he displays them, and overall, his use of stereotypes, in my opinion, does not cross the line between comedic and offensive.

What struck me most about the scenes in which Michael illustrates his lack of sensitivity and awareness, was the responses of the other characters in the show. Despite Michael's wild conceptions of whatever subject was being tested, the writers of the show were clearly sending the message of the absurdity of the stereotypes, and just how ridiculous they truly are.

Monty Python and the Holy Satire

Masters of humor, the classic comedy troupe Monty Python made their debut into the Broadway scene with the fantastic musical Spamalot. The show is an absurd parody of the original King Arthur legends, heavily inspired by the classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Unlike Holy Grail, Spamalot refines its humor into sharp satire. The entire show is rife with satirical moments, but one segment that I find particularly excellent is the song "His Name is Lancelot."

In the movie, they make slight jokes about Sir. Lancelot being gay (at one point he rescues Sir. Gallahad from the clutches of beautiful young women, completely unaffected by their feminine charms, which of course results in a passing humorous jab at his sexuality) but in the musical, they take this concept to incredible satirical heights.

Prince Herbert, a minor character in the original movie, becomes Sir. Lancelot's love interest (and later husband, in the show's mass-wedding finale). He stars in an over-the-top disco number about Lancelot's sexuality, which just tips the scale from offensive to satirical.

One of Monty Python's most used numerous tactics is hyperbole, of which this song is an excellent example. It uses nearly every classic "gay man" stereotype there is (sequins, disco, fruit hats, glitter, etc). At first, the song is just the smallest bit uncomfortable - Really? Are they really going to sing a song about this? Isn't this pretty offensive? - but by the end of the song, the message Monty Python is sending is clear: the stereotypes are ridiculous. By portraying these stereotypes in such an utterly absurd way, it sheds light on the false logic behind them.

They also address the discomfort some people feel while talking about LGBTQIA people. Throughout the song, the word "gay" is never mentioned - only alluded to through euphemisms - until the end, when they all practically shout it. It's a very interesting commentary on how some people will be so quick to make fun of queer people and then still be uncomfortably talking about the topics in seriousness. People laugh about the stereotypes addressed in this song, but start to shift uncomfortably in their seats when actually confronted with a real live queer person. This song plays along with that "teasing through euphemisms" idea until the very end, when they instantly drop it and start saying things frankly.

The message of this song is not just that these stereotypes and social codes are wrong, but ridiculous. Once people are forced to confront a live version of their prejudices, amped up and covered in ruffles, they are forced to confront the fact that the prejudices themselves are silly and not at all based in reality.

If this song wasn't enough of a sharp satirical comment on the absurdity of queer stereotypes, Lancelot's last line in the show (after finally wedding his beloved) really hits the point home: "Just think, Herbert - in a thousand year's time, this will still be controversial."

Hogan's Heros

In the 60's the world was still recovering from the second world war. People still had the idea in their heads that all German people were Nazis that hated any unpure white person. To lighten to mood of the post war world many Tv stations made satiricale shows poking fun at the war while still making the point clear that war was awe full and unnecessary. One of the greatest examples of Satire in the meadia of the time was the show Hogans Hero's.

Hogans Heros was a TV show that was aired on Tv from 1965 to 1971. It followed the lives of P.O.W officers captured by the Nazis. The only difference with this camp compared to the others was that Stalag 13 was ran by a incompetent fool Col. Willhelm Klink. Under Klinks nose Hogan and his crew were running  a escape agency through the prison camp Stalag 13. What made this show so sitiracle was the mockery it made of the Nazi army. It showed the war in a way never seen before, not the factual truth of it being a bloody massacar of millions of people but a goofy life where prisoners and a prison camp basically ran the camp and ran the Nazi officers who were in charge. This show was important to the time because it lifted the sad vail of depression over everyones head and encouraged people to laugh again.

SNL's Satirical Response to Ebola

For decades now one of the greatest examples of satire in entertainment has been Saturday Night Live (SNL). The show has commented on almost every major social and political event, and although now there are many comedy shows that seek to comment of the flaws of modern society Saturday Night Live was somewhat groundbreaking when it first aired in 1975. For those who aren't familiar with the show, SNL does sketch comedy and has a rotating cast and hosts. Most weeks they begin with a satirical sketch about a political event happening today. Whether it is in the form of a presidential address or a parody of a Miley Cyrus song SNL usually does a great job mocking American politics.

One of my favorite examples was a sketch that aired a few months ago in October. This time was really the peak of the ebola scare in the United States, as well as the midterm elections. The sketch is parodying a C-SPAN speech given by president Obama and Ron Klain, who was hired to deal with the disease in the country. While Klain makes many passing jokes the journalists that make up his audience ask some questions that many americans really had and were concerned about when it came to ebola. Such as “do you have any actual medical training” which he responds that he does not, although he “did work for Joe Biden so he is familiar with foot-in-mouth disease”. As well as American concerns with a travel ban coming back from West Africa. Klain says people should be more worried about the flu” the journalist then goes on to say that 0.01% of people die from the flu, 50% of people die after getting ebola. The sketch also mentions the upcoming elections by saying “you actually may want to avoid any large, public spaces, like, say, a polling booth.” Unless you’re a Latino, of course: “We believe Latinos in red states may actually have an immunity to Ebola, so they’re good to go.”

This sketch is not just trying to be funny, I believe that it really serves to bring up some important points, including actual concerns Americans are having about the disease as well as many people’s lack of knowledge about the impact of ebola. It also forces the watcher to consider if Ron Klain was hired only for looks and not to serve any real purpose. 

Click here to watch video.

Blackie Sack Episode 19

Leon Sugarfoot, an African American pro Hacky Sacker, is not a successful rapper. Upon realizing his failure as a rapper, he decides that he should start a rock band. Blackie Sack Commonly uses and exaggerates stereotypes of African Americans to show their audience how ridiculous the stereotypes are.

The video uses hyperbole to portray Leon as a very awful rock artist, most likely hinting that black people don't "belong" in rock music. This impression is given when Leon is at the bar, or "Club" as he refers to it, and his black friends complain and have disapproving reactions to his performance, while the white people in the bar are going crazy for his music.

This video attempts to make viewers conscious of the stereotype that music produced by blacks in the present is all rap, and that rock music is a "white" genre. The audience hopefully will see through the comedy aspect of the video and realize that music genres have no race.

South Park: With Apologies to Jesse Jackson

In a the first episode of season 11 of South Park, show creators took on the touchy subject of race in "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson." The episode begins with Randy Marsh, the dad of main character Stan, appears on Wheel of Fortune and is asked to solve the puzzle of "somebody who annoys you" when the letters given are "n_gger." With some hesitation, Randy eventually proclaims the n-word on TV, to which there is general gasp. This is followed, of course, by the host revealing the answer to be "nagger". This causes a bizarre series of events in which Randy must apologize to blacks everywhere by literally kissing Jesse Jackson's butt, and after which he is ostracized by whites everywhere as a "n*gger guy," or someone who uses the n-word.
The whole episode contains satire on racial conflict in general, the way its solved, and the use of the n-word in society. For example, the day after Randy says the word on television when Stan goes to school, the insensitive fat kid, Cartman, makes it a big deal when Stan and the the school's token black kid, "Token," meet in the hall. Cartman shouts, "RACEWAR! Racewar everybody! C'mon Token and Stan are about to fight about Stan's dad saying the n-word!" A crowd gathers, and when Token says, "This is stupid, you don't get it," to Stan, and walks away, Cartman yells, "Token forfeits! Whites win again!" This is a comment on the publicity and competitiviness that is involved in racial conflicts in our society. That is not to say that such conflicts do not exist, but it does feel sometimes as though people are trying to start a race war, even if they do not say it so explicitly.
Also, the issue of apologies for racial wrongdoings is addressed with the apology to Jesse Jackson in which Randy kisses his ass. A picture of it it then put on the front of the newspaper with the headline, "N*ggerguy Apologizes." This is just a literalization of the line kissing someone's ass. It refers to the meaningless apologies given by those who are publicly recorded doing things that are condemned. Celebrities give public apologies to meaningless figures to apologize for saying the n-word, "faggot," and other slurs and hurtful phrases. Obviously they are only apologizing because they were caught, and even though the apology is meaningless it just continues everytime a well-viewed person makes such a statement.
Finally, there are the red necks at the end of the episode who say they don't take to kindly to "n*gger guys." What follows is Stan being chased in a lynch-type scenario that an African-American could find themselves in at anytime in America. He then finds solidarity with other celebrities that have accidentally said the n-word in public. Together they bond and pass a law banning people from saying "n*gger guy" though the actual n-word is not banned. This is a comment on how things only really change when white people, even a minority of white people, want something change. On the whole the episode is a fantastic satire of race relations in America.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Satire in The Interview

Recently released, a movie that has sparked much controversy, the Interview takes us where no American has gone before. Seth Rogen and James Franco set out to take on Kim Jong Un in an exclusive "Skylark Tonight" interview. But the masterminds behind the film had something to say in their mockery of the North Korean government.

The movie, while amusing its viewers with many comical acts, also touches on many deeper points. In the same way Mark Twain uses humor to make a point, the Interview highlights some flaws in North Korea. This method has the viewer laughing, then drops in a heavy point, such that Huck Finn is beaten by his father. In the Interview, this is shown when Kim reaches a breaking point, angrily shouting about all of the citizens he puts through harsh work camp conditions. The movie is generally light hearted and funny up until this point, when we realize that this actually happens. Another point the movie brings up is the point that a lot of the propaganda that the North Korean government sends out to itself and other countries, should not be believed. Now many people in the U.S. would not have a difficult time figuring out that North Korea fakes its harmonious state, but perhaps the film was intended to reach larger audiences.

 Now this is satire because the movie's point is that the North Korean government is very flawed, and pokes fun at the way Kim Jong Un is treated as a deity (people believe he neither defecates nor urinates, and can speak to dolphins). Whatever the motives behind making the film were, this form of satire was so powerful, it actually did invoke a strong response in many of its viewers.

Not So Happy Ever After

In his video, "After Ever After", YouTube star John Cozart takes the innocent tunes of Disney movies and morphs them into a dark, eye-opening tune. This song tells the stories of Ariel, Jasmine, Belle and Pocahontas after they have reached their "happily ever after". The twist is that their fairy tale endings are the opposite, by applying contemporary and realistic issues to their stories, Cozart points out the flaws in our society.

John Cozart carefully selected issues which are relevant today, terrorism, pollution, immigration, and marriage rights.  Taking these classic stories which the majority of our generation is familiar with and displaying this dark quality is the largest part of the satire, these stories which are providing all these unrealistic goals only fulfilled in fantasies now are equated to situations which you would never want to be in. Possibly the most striking portion of the video is Jasmine's story because terrorism is a large concern of today's society. It emphasizes racial profiling without stating it blatantly, because he has similar characteristics to those in terrorists groups like al-Queda he is undergoing "interrogation from the nation of the 'free'", this line specifically drips with sarcasm. The nation that is always emphasizing freedom of all people is throwing innocents into camps which torture them on the justification that they look like a terrorist. The entire medley has many instances of satire but it is easy to only listen to the tune and be caught off guard by the lyrics, a brilliant strategy, shocking you and causing you to listen more closely and contemplate the situations further. 

Parks and Recreation: Soda Sizes

On the show Parks and Recreation, there are many continuous jokes about the unhealthy habits of the citizens of Pawnee. This is one example of such a joke, but it is also a good example of satire. The scene I am analyzing, "Soda Sizes", Leslie is attempting to put a tax on soda, in an attempt to make the town healthier. There is a large amount of backlash from the citizens as well as the supplier of the soda, Paunch Burger, but Leslie is determined. This scene uses hyperbole to really emphasize how ridiculous the sizes are.

She shows Mrs. Pinewood Paunch Burger's "small" soda, trying to prove that it should really be considered large. Mrs. Pinewood informs her that there is a smaller size, and what they show her is a minuscule cup that barely holds any soda at all. The next sizes are the "regular" which is literally a gallon of soda, and the "Child Size", which is, "roughly the size of a two year old child if the child were liquified." By using these extreme examples of the smallest of the small and the largest of the large, the show really gets the point across.

It's pointing out how ridiculous fast food is in this day and age. Where it's just more convenient to pay a cheap amount of money for a large amount of unhealthy food, than to pay more/eat healthier. It delves into the mind of these fast food company's, with lines like "are we putting bargains on trial here?". It's so exaggerated, to the point where Leslie even puts the "Child Size" cup on her head.

The Blanket

Some of the best youtube videos made are parody's of commercialized products. One product that is often made fun of through the use of satire is the snuggie. In the video I have linked down below the main satirical strategies used are parody and verbal irony. The main one of the two satirical devices used in the skit is parody. This is because they are promoting their new product the blanket and show all the benefits it has compared to the snuggie, The use of verbal irony mainly comes into play during comparison scenes. This can be when they are saying how confusing it is to put on the snuggie or comparing the prices of blankets. In the end they are trying to get the point across that why would you spend money on a blankets with holes when a blanket can do everything it does and more.

The Greatest Sketch Comedian of All Time

It is hard to argue that a sketch comedian better than Dave Chappelle has ever lived. When presented with this assignment I instantly knew exactly what piece of culture I was going to analyze, and after some short research I found out that this sketch has been named the best skit ever to air on the Chappelle Show. This skit is called "Frontline"-Clayton Bigsby (part 2), and is based on a black man, named Clayton Bigsby, who was born blind and was lied to about the fact that he was black. Clayton then goes on to become a white supremacist leader and the backbone of the white supremacist movement.

From the very beginning to literally second-to-last sentence of the sketch, it is chocked full of irony and satire; with the journalist at one point actually saying how ironic the situation is at one point in the sketch. Clayton proceeds to go on throughout the sketch explaining his hatred for black people in a way that is absolutely hilarious to the audience; and is so ironic that you begin to question how Chappelle pulls it off.

The humor of the sketch is that the character Clayton passionately fights for one thing, while simultaneously being the thing that he hates the most. I'm not sure that I have ever encountered any media that so thoroughly and masterfully employs all three types of irony, and I don't think that I will ever encounter anything better.

Esurance Satire

Super Bowl 49 had everything from lucky catches, misses, interceptions, fights, and a halftime show performed by Katy Perry. However if the Super Bowl is known for anything it is the amazing commercials that are filled with both laughter and empathy. My favorite commercial that I saw this year was a advertisement for Esurance, an insurance company. They aired more than one commercial, however they all had the same motto “sorta you isn't you”. In these commercials Esurance used satire to make you understand that you shouldn't stand for insurance companies that only cover you for what you kinda need and not what you really need.

One of the commercials takes place inside of a drug store at the pharmaceuticals department. A women walks up to the counter and rings a bell to get someones attention. As soon as she rings the bell Bryan Cranston gets up wearing a yellow hazard suit and a mask, like he would where in Breaking Bad. After they start talking the lady points out that he is not the normal person doing this and is not helping her at all. He finally giver her medicine, that looks like the famous blue meth, and tells her to take it, even though it is not what she needed.

The whole commercial uses satire to make you understand what Esurance will do that other insurance companies will not. They use parody throughout the commercial by having Bryan Cranston play the role of “Walter White” from the widely popular T.V. series Breaking Bad.

Weekend Update: Romantic Comedy Expert

Saturday Night Live is a hilarious satirical show that mocks and questions many stereotypes and current events or trends. Sometimes. A weekly sketch they include is Weekend Update, in which "newscasters" give us the news, frequently bringing on "experts" to elaborate on a particular topic. In one episode they interviewed the "Romantic Comedy Expert," on the premise that she would be giving her opinion on the new romantic comedy style television shows of 2014.

What ended up happening, as became quickly apparent during the sketch, was the expert, a sweet smiling woman named Daisy Rose, trying to create a romantic comedy with the newscaster. She uses many of the romantic comedy cliches to try to set herself up with the interviewer. She uses cliche lines (e.g. saying she hasn't laughed since she broke up with her ex boyfriend, but the interviewer got her to laugh again, she has to run and catch her plane and the interviewer has to decide whether he will run after her, that they should meet in their "special spot," etc.) and general rom com setups, such as giggling and looking down and then at the interviewer, having acoustic guitar music playing in the background that gradually swells as things get more intense. The interviewer is, of course, perplexed about the whole thing. 

As silly and light as the premise of this sketch is, I think the satire and satirical point is interesting and worth noting. The use of dramatic irony- the romantic comedy expert has no idea how ridiculous and out of place everything she's saying is- has two purposes. First of all, just to lay bare just how similar and silly most romantic comedies are. The lines she uses can all be found, in some form, in nearly every rom com. The second purpose, though, is a tad more serious. I think it makes an interesting comment on fans of romantic comedies (such as myself) and their tendency to sometimes look for the movie moment and movie setup and movie relationship instead actually creating unique situations. The romantic comedy expert, despite saying emotional and intense lines one would assume were directed at a love interest, is merely speaking to a man she met not even a minute earlier. I think it's supposed to make those fans think about their idea of what falling in love is. 

"Clayton Bigsby" - A Black White Supremacist

Comedy Central is full of shows that are loaded with satirical comedy sketches. One show that has been around a long time is The Chappelle Show. The Chappelle Show is a popular satirical sketch based show that usually aims its focus towards race related issues. In one of the most absurd and funny sketches we meet a character named Clayton Bigsby. Clayton is an older man who is black, but also happens to be a leader in the KKK. Yes, you heard it here, the twist however is that he was born blind. Taking that information, growing up he always thought he was white. Bigsby being brought up in what seems to be a southern racist community becomes a white supremacists. This video is extremely satirical in a way that makes fun of the KKK perfectly. Chappelle crafted this sketch to show that the KKK's beliefs are so stupid, he shows the audience this by having the members in the crowd at this rally cheers for him. Showing the audience that white people associated with the KKK cheered for what was already revealed to us as a black man tells people that there really is no difference between whites and blacks. This is also interesting because it also shows that just like Bigsby getting brain washed so can white people into thinking theres something wrong with another race.

Here is the video, enjoy it, but know there is a lot of use of the N-Word:

See More Kim- Save the Data

The Super Bowl is known to air funny and memorable commercials during breaks. It’s the one day of the year where companies step up their game to make the best commercial possible. This year, T-Mobile released a commercial featuring Kim Kardashian. The commercial is a parody of the ones made to raise awareness for things like animal abuse and the destruction of the rainforest. Kim talks seriously about how each month, millions of gigs of unused data are taken back by wireless companies. Sad piano music plays in the background while she explains how everyone will miss out on seeing her makeup, her backhand, her outfits, her vacations, and, her outfits. Tragic.

This ad is funny because it’s making fun of something that is actually a huge part of our society, and although it’s not meant to be taken seriously, many people really do care that much about social media. Kim Kardashian is a cultural icon, and is famous for, well, being famous. She is huge on social media with 28.5 million followers on twitter and the majority of her tweets are exactly what she said we would be missing. In this commercial, Kim pokes fun at not only her own selfie obsession, but the world’s. The sad thing is, this ad will probably get more attention than any other ad for a genuine cause that needs the help. But hey, it’s 2015, and social media is the most important thing in our lives right? So please, answer Kim’s pleas, and save the data.

Yung Lean: Satirical Success

With a name like Yung Lean, being taken seriously as a musician is a struggle from step one. This is now mistake however; the young (no pun intended) Lean is a Swedish alternative hip-hop artist who uses satire of mainstream music to augment his outlandish yet beautifully crafted works of auditory art. The name itself is a reference to an opiate, codeine cough syrup, that has been recently glorified by hip-hop music. Although he may initially come off as a joke, Yung Lean's methodology has utilized satire to launch an incredibly lucrative career as a mere teenager.

Most heavily used in his creations is the satirical strategy of exaggeration. Almost parody-ing hip-hop as well, Lean's exaggerated antics paint a vivid picture that, although not in line with his real life, intrigues the listener and offers a new palette to even the most seasoned ears. In one instance, Lean declares, "Poppin' pills like zits/ While someone vomits on your mosquito t*ts." Grotesque? Yes. Exaggerated? Certainly, Yung Lean was a 16 year old at the time, crafting ridiculous inflations of the most eccentric situations he could imagine. Effective? Yes. While the aforementioned quote might make you a bit queasy, it demonstrates how Lean used satire to garner the audience he needed to launch his successful career. Hyperbole proves to be an effective technique with Lean; one cannot simply listen to his music and not be drawn in but the unearthly descriptions of such prophetic or absurd descriptions.

His use of exaggeration goes hand in hand with his parody usage. Much of the time, his overly inflated preachings mock the lavish and materialistic life styles that have been glorified by famous people for so long. Parody is probably the most commonly perceived satirical strategy Lean uses; other artists (shout out Lil B the BasedGod) have been known to employ similar strategies. In a recent video, rather than pay thousands for an expensive professional shoot, Lean released a song with a rather home-brew accompanying visual; for the entirety of the three minute banger, the only visual provided was a single clip of Yung Lean smoking what appears to be a blunt in slow motion. Satirizing and parodying the effusive drug use and reference in pop culture, Lean once again creates a humorous and effective product that goes over most peoples heads.

Through satire, Lean has created music that you can't help but light heartedly enjoy. Although his work remains at the highest caliber, there is a certain humor to some of it that cannot be pinpointed. That humor is provided through satire, and this unplaceable spark has led to greatness for Lean.

Listen to and watch one of Yung Lean's pieces, "Kyoto," below:

Key and Peele: Carlito es Loco

This Key and Peele bit satirically jabs at Mexican gangs, Mexican-American dialect, and the "Loco Mexican" stereotype. The bit opens up with the gang in a very excited mood, for they have just met Eduardo, new member of their gang. They praise him for his craziness after he smashes a bottle on his head. As the gang is celebrating their new member's triumphant craziness, Carlito, a timid gangster with low self-esteem, walks over and apprehensively checks what the gang is up to. They introduce Eduardo and his trick to Carlito, but Carlito is not impressed. Carlito believes he is the "loco" part of the gang. Carlito goes on to showcase immature jokes, that he believes are loco, such as his tilikum underpants and his duck voice. The gang rebukes most of Carlito's attempts for recognition as kindly as possible. Carlito goes on and on, eventually hitting himself in the head with a bottle and failing to break it, and then accidentally shooting Eduardo, who bites the bullet to save his own life.

Carlito's insecurity is contrary to the typical Mexican gangster. He is timid and referred to as the "quiet guy" in the gang, and he doesn't seem like he would harm a fly. The gang's approach to his insecurity is also ironic. Instead of insulting Carlito, as would be typical, they politely and apprehensively let him know that he, in fact, is not loco. Their apprehension isn't caused by fear of Carlito himself, but by a fear of hurting his feelings.

Carlito's desperate attempt for praise from his fellow gang-members, and Eduardo's wild actions can also be seen as a satire on cliques in general. It is poking fun at the way people often feel the need to impress their friends in order to stay close to them, and to maintain or build their reputations.

Last but not least, the accents taken up by the actors poke fun at the Mexican-American dialect, through the use of slang like "holmes". Key and Peele do an outstanding job of satirizing the tough, violent, and loco Mexican gang.

John Oliver: Employees Are More Than Robots

John Oliver, a former correspondent for The Daily Show, has recently established himself as one of the top satirists on television. His show, Last Week Tonight, works hard to take down established culture through investigative journalism and humor. Because the show airs without commercials, Oliver does not have to worry about insulting his sponsors, so every corporation and event has to be ready for his attacks.

Recently, Oliver satirized Lowes' new idea: robot assistants. He began the clip by showing other network's coverage of the hardware stores' commercial, pausing for comic relief after the actors smile oddly at the robots. As the actor in the commercial mentions that he might be friends with the robot, Oliver stops the clip and says, "That sentence may be the single saddest sentiment ever spoken". Oliver uses sarcasm repeatedly to convey that using robots in place of human workers is an idiotic idea.

John Oliver then presents his idea for a commercial for Home Depot, which shows why human employees are so valuable. Oliver decides that the most important job of a hardware store employee is to stop couples from arguing. He presents a valid argument that hardware stores create marital problems, as they involve making long term decisions, spending money, and arguing over tastes. However, he includes fluorescent lighting as a problem with hardware shopping to create humor, adding that nobody leaves one of these stores happy.

The fake commercial is really where the irony begins, as the hypothetical worker, played by Nick Offerman uses both physical comedy and verbal irony as he tries to help a couple. Every item creates tension between the couple, hyperbolizing the potential for conflict at a store. Offerman simply fixes every problem by suggesting another product, or praising the product, showing that the couples don't need much to be distracted. At Offerman's suggestion, they forget about all of their problems, which range from house size to marital infidelity. The couple appears to be arguing as if they were at a psychiatrist, which creates situational irony.

Oliver's larger point is to critique the digitilization of modern life. Although it is obvious that he takes the role of the employee to an extreme, Oliver appreciates the role that human interactions play in our lives, and that employees are more than robots who follow orders. Oliver's critique is positive, because it argues for greater valuation of store employee, and doesn't take down another society while doing so.
(Video is explicit)

McDonald's is oh, so funny!!

This recently released McDonald's commercial satirically ridicules healthy food and health food enthusiasts. The commercial tells all vegetarians and "foodies" to avert their eyes, as they would totally want to eat the Big Mac. The camera begins to pan over the Big Mac, saying that quinoa and soy will never be as juicy. It's funny because neither of those things are supposed to be juicy. The commercial then says the lettuce in the burger will never be Kale.
I find this satirical because McDonald's is ridiculing and mocking the small health kick that the nation is on that is slowly growing. McDonald's is saying "we know your healthy food isn't as good or as juicy as this McDonald's Big Mac, so look away, or you may be tempted."
I disagree with this though, as I think healthy food is usually much more delicious and satisfying than McDonald's "food".

John Stewart "Blizzapocalypsegeddon"

John Stewart uses comedic satire to reveal the ridiculous hype coming from the media. News reporters over the years have added more and more drama when reporting news. Reporters will over embellish the news in order to grab attention and gain viewers. Stewart focuses on the weather reports on the blizzard that was suppose to break snowfall records for the city of New York. In days leading up to the blizzard, news channels, especially weather channels, gave reports of the weather that were simply untrue and exaggerated. While New York was shutting down schools and expecting massive snowfall, they only got a light snow which was far from what the public was told. There were reporters driving around in a so called "blizzardmobile" while the snowfall was simply at a moderate amount. John stewart makes fun of these weather reporters by making jokes such as, "Really? Battering? Your windshield wipers are set to intermittent!" There were also clips of news reporters attempting to make the few inches seem like a lot more. One lady is shown in front of a road talking about the huge storm when there is only a dusting on the ground. There is also a man who makes an analogy of the weight of the snow on a roof to several cars being on top of it. Stewart makes fun of these weather reports and states that they're starting to look like a directed action movie.

These clips show how the news really has no reason to report the moderate weather and that the media is trying to show whatever will get viewers to tune in. In cases like this, the media does not care whether the information is completely true or not, but rather the attention their programs get. Overall, John Stewart does a great job making fun of the reporters by using satire in his arguments

The Washington Redskins and South Park Satire

The Washington Redskins is a nation football team that has gone through problems with their name as well as logo. The TV show south park does a great job at making fun of them and the team’s owner, Dan Snyder. The episode took aim not just at Snyder and the Redskins, but at a Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, and the NFL which is plagued by domestic violence as well as Kickstarter and crowdfunding.  The premise of the episode is the gang decides to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a start-up company that does nothing. But their problem is that even a company that does nothing needs a great name.  And by chance the Redskins just had lost its trademark over concerns that their name is too offensive.  The gang eagerly uses that name for their start-up.  There company’s motto is, “Go f–k yourself.” Later in the episode, Synder shows up to plead for his name back.  Synder says, “I know I can’t legally make you stop using our name, but won’t you just do it out of decency?” What people have been saying to the redskins lately. This is making a satirical point. Cartman then says in response, “We can’t just change the name of our company because it’s, like, super-hard. But, hey from one Redskin to another, go f–k yourself.”  Snyder then cries and it makes fun of the crying indian commercial.  Also making a satirical point that synder is just like the Native Americans that are talking to him.  Snyder complains to NFL Commissioner Goodell, who offers platitudes about “getting it right.”  The episode uses actual sound clips culled from press conference Goodell held about domestic violence. Goodell does nothing to help Synder so he sends the Redskins to destroy Kickstarter to end the South Park-based Redskins funding. They do so, bloodily. Then later in the episode before a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Snyder gives a pep talk to his discouraged team. He says, “We cannot give up, We have been through too much together. We have fought Eagle and Bear. And the Eagles only beat us by 3 points! … Don’t let them break you — don’t let them win!”  The Dallas Cowboys then play a lone Redskin which is Snyder in an Indian headband. Alone on the field, he is repeatedly crushed by Dallas squad, as the crowd says, “Just stay down, for the love of god!” This episode uses satire frequently and it uses it to make a point that the Redskins should change their name and logo and give it back to the Native Americans. It is satire because it is making a joke of it, but at the same time, pointing out a huge flaw in the NFL team and saying we need to make them change it. Click here to watch the full episode.

Teenage Girls... Of Course

Strangely enough my dad was the one to show me this TV show. The name of it is Ja'mie: Private School Girl. This show aired on HBO (not sure if it still does) and was the epitome of the stereotypical high school/teenage girl. It's very funny how much I actually agreed with it.

In this Episode, Ja'mie (Chris Lilley) is walking with her group of friends and her "service project". Her project for school is to help the less fortunate and she chose to take an African kid from her town in Australia. First off, how shallow is that? As I watched the whole season I learned that he is not needy. He might be less fortunate than Ja'mie, but so is every one.

This is the perfect scene to give the show's message. The show is to flat out make a mockery of high school girls by embracing the stereotypes and tendencies; Tendencies such as using the works like and literally to a fault, playing with their hair, constantly judging people, and so so many other things.

For one the show really makes me laugh because I know people who act like this. Sad and funny, yes I know. The scene revolves around the one group of "popular" or maybe Quiche, as Ja'mie would say, girl who are trying to show Quamie around their school. Ja'mie continues to make for of every one in and out of sight, asking ignorant questions and making HUGE generalizations.

This whole show, every episode, is a hyperbole. I think that yes this show is to enjoy and laugh at, but since the exaggeration it so immense, it aims to show others how dumb and ignorant some high school girls actually can be.

All I have to say is three words: I. Can't. Even.

The Onion: Man Reserving Judgement On Best Actress Nominees Until Looking at all 5 Pictures

This article in the satirical news website, The Onion, tells of how “Kurt Holden told reporters Thursday that he would postpone any judgments on the best actress Oscar nominees until he looked at all five pictures.” The article goes on to say things like how this man from Ohio rejected Reese Witherspoon for his choice of best actress because he got bored of looking at her picture after a few seconds. Many rhetorical techniques were used in this article like irony and hyperbole. The message the onion is trying to get across is how ridiculous people would sound if they said these kind of things out loud. This hyperbole is there to merely exaggerate what is already happening today- people subconsciously, if not on purpose, get impressions of people by how they look. By using the faceless, non recognizable man by the name of Kurt Holden, he serves as a symbol for our society who base talent off of looks. It’s ironic though, because although this man is comfortable enough rating women on how they look, we never see what he looks like, which is a very accurate portrayal of this real life issue. Men expect women to be flawless, yet they aren’t critical of what them, or other men look like for that matter.

SNL's Street Corner Satire

Saturday Night Live is one of the most popular comedy shows. Every week, the show is hosted by a celebrity and features a popular musical group. One of the recent episodes was hosted by Kevin Hart, a stand-up comedian/actor who draws upon his racial background for most of his humor.

One of the skits contained several topics which being discussed in class at the moment, including race, satire, and code-switching. The skit features Kevin Hart, Kenan Thompson, and Jay Pharoah, all of whom are black. They are 'shadily' standing on a street corner, talking about what they've done recently. What they talk about, however, would not normally be expected from their appearances. They include, visiting mayonnaise shops, attending to spin classes, going to brunches, getting gelato, and going shopping. Kevin Hart's character then begins to say how he was "Out walking with his b*tches", but it turns out he was referring to his dog-walking business. He continues to tell how he then shot someone. The other two don't even react to this; instead, they ask about the mayo. 

The skit is satirical, because it draws upon the established racial stereotypes. It's humorous, because we don't expect to see these 'thugish' looking characters getting gelato and walking dogs. The humor and satire are clearly brought into light when the one character describes shooting someone, by drawing upon the racist brute stereotype in contrast to the other actions. 


     SNL has long been the king of satirical sketch comedy, and with their recent skit The Jay Z Story, they have truly outdone themselves. In the sketch, Jay Z is played by Mike O'brien, who wanders around New York on his road to rap stardom.

     The funniest and most obvious form or satire in the sketch is that all of the black characters are played by white people. Kanye West is played by Jason Sudiekas and Nas is played by J.K. Simmons. This leads to an incredibly funny effect, seeing white actors purposefully turn up their whiteness to completely butcher the reenactment of Jay Z's come up. Not only is the awkward portrayal of the story funny, but also the astounding inaccuracy of the script which claims to be "100% accurate". I think it's safe to say that you don't usually hear rappers say "Holy Guacamole" very often.

      Not only is the sketch hilarious but also telling. This sketch takes on a form of the Chappelle complex in where it so aggressively throws stereotypes in your face that you can't help but realize that the sketch itself is poking fun of stereotypes. It creates a side splitting-ly funny dichotomy of a black story portrayed in white face.  It tells the completely wrong tale of Jay Z, depicting a fast and cheery road to the top of the charts, leaving out all of the hardships and struggles that not only Jay Z faced but that Black Americans face everyday when trying to be accepted in a society that has been constructed to oppress minorities.

Luck Health Plan

Situational irony means that the appearance of things is the opposite of reality. An Illinois health care company has created ads and commercials that use situational irony to convince their audience that they need to get covered. The "Luck Health Plan" that the ads seem to be advertising is not a plan at all. It appears to be encouraging viewers to have no health care. The actors in the commercials are wearing home made bandages and casts and at first seem to be happy as they are hanging out and playing in the sun. However it becomes clear that the ad is actually advertising for the opposite once the happy people in cardboard casts display discomfort and the over head voice excitingly exclaims, "No doctors. No prescriptions. No real care of any kind." Although the "Luck Health Plan" is displayed under a seemingly positive light, it really shows the audience that they need health care and they would be safer and happier if they didn't rely on luck.

Infant Safety Satire

The Onion, a news satire organization, recently posted an article satirizing home baby-proofing techniques. It was structured as a bulleted list of advice for new parents, but instead of giving genuine suggestions, the article mocks the tips given to parents regarding the safety of their children. Click here to view the article.

The article consists almost entirely of irony. For example, it says, “If your home has medications or cleaning supplies lying around, place your baby on a hard-to-reach shelf where he can’t get to them.” This statement is ironic because placing a baby high up would just be endangering it; the medications or cleaning supplies should be placed out of reach, not the infant. Another example of this irony is when the article suggests, “Before giving your child something to play with, make sure it’s not a choking hazard by pushing it down your own esophagus for a few minutes and seeing if it obstructs your airway.” Testing for hazards in such a manner as this is obviously ridiculous and dangerous, and is counterintuitive to the safety of the baby by compromising the safety of its guardian.

The first part of the article points to the issue seriously. It says, “Babies spend the first year of life exploring their surroundings by tasting and touching, which is why it’s essential for parents to be diligent in protecting them.” This introduction emphasizes the importance of parental attentiveness and precautions to ensure, or at least improve, the safety of their children. The article pokes fun at the safety advice taught to new parents in order to point out the shortcomings of infant protection and also to encourage parents to do more to protect their babies.

SNL "39 cents" parody

I was watching SNL one night and came across the skit “39 cents”. This skit is a parody on infomercial ads for third world countries. These ads try to encourage the audience watching to donate a miniscule amount of money that they say provides fresh water, food, and shelter for those in need.

In the skit, a man named Charles Daniel, is an infomercial aid specialist for raising money for the “Help fund in Africa”. The skit is setup in a nameless village where he walks amongst the locals and persuades the audience that only 39 cents will provide all of the necessities that the village in is desperate need of. He compares the price of 39 cents to “The price of a cup of coffee”. This comment brings up situational irony because the price of coffee way more expensive than 39 cents. Before long, a crowd of villagers gather around him and starts questioning him as to why he is only asking for 39 cents and not more.

The sketch continues to satirize the international aid industry, culminating in Daniels acknowledging he has no idea what country he's actually in, other than "Africa."

SNL Nicki Minaj

When the reality TV star, Kim Kardashian literally broke the Internet with her infamous nude photo shoot, many people were absolutely stunned. It gave them opportunities to poke fun at the pictures. On December 6th, Saturday Night Live had a musical guest; Nicki Minaj. The skit showed  Minaj posing as Kim Kardashian while James Franco was interviewing her about the photo shoot. She then explains the "real" reasons why the pictures were shot the way they were.

In the beginning of the skit, Nicki was explaining that the entire photo shoot was completely misinterpreted and that the pictures didn't have the correct back round. The bum bearing photo appears and is soon replaced with the original Kardashian body, Nicki's face, and a gynaecologist's office as the back round. "Seeee it was actually a public service announcement about getting regular check ups from your gynaecologist." Then the popular champagne photo appears and Franco's eyes bulged in size. But of course Kim had an excuse for that picture as well. The new photo quickly popped up and instead of champagne in the air, it was replaced by a parabola and a chalk board. "Seeee it was actually a math competition for high school seniors." This skit was amusing because it came up with ridiculous fake excuses why Kim Kardashian's rear end was exposed.

Satire Addresses Sexism

The Saturday night before the Super Bowl, Saturday Night Live performed a pretty great satirical skit. This skit addressed a sexist view of women during the Super Bowl. Times have changed quite a bit, but there are still some upholding stereotypes in our society. In this skit, we have a good wife, who is catering to her husband and his Super Bowl-watching friends. As her husband wants, she bring Totino's Pizza Rolls to him, and then she goes straight back to the kitchen, to play with her Totino's women's Super Bowl activity pack. This small dumb kit is supposed to keep this wife happy for the duration of the Super Bowl.

Watching this skit, although I thought it was funny, I still got a little offended. This parody of women is exploiting the long lived stereotype that women belong in the kitchen, and they are not interested in sports. This sexist skit was showing how ridiculous that stereotype is. All women do not want to be in the kitchen, and a lot of women love to watch sports. Its an outrageous thought to think that women are simple-minded and would be satisfied with a kit something like what a child would play with, over watching a sport being played on the television.

Like I said earlier, the parody was funny, but offensive to think that people might still believe that this is how women should act. They should bow down to their husband, and do everything they want. But thanks SNL for showing everyone how ridiculous that idea might be.

SNL has 28 Reasons and Slavery is All Of Them!

SNL did this very funny and unique sketch called "28 reasons" awhile ago, and its stuck in my head. Though it is a funny sketch, there is a lot more to it. This sketch brings up a interesting topic of how we should treat somewhat sensitive history.

The actors start off by talking about historical figures in history and then begin to list the reasons "Why you should give a black guy a hug" or basically why people should feel sympathetic toward Black people. An 2-28 are slavery, which is very terrible and very unexpected make it hysterical. But The thing I found interesting was when they start talking about slavery all the white people in the room become very awkward.

This awkwardness when talking about race is very important issue, especially when talking about it in class. When we talk about race, there is always this apologetic and cautious tone all white people have to have. Though in our very recent past, white people have treated other races very poorly, through many constructions like slavery, society is trying to improve. Though we could try harder and have a much farther way to go, we can can find ways to improve through our history. So there is a problem that not everyone can talk about our past. Because, event hough history is ruff, we can find ways to learn from our previous mistakes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Key and Peele "Al Qaeda Meeting"

We all know and love Key and Peele. They're master satirists, without a doubt.

My analysis is the "Al Qaeda Meeting." See it with this link. Here, they're kinda killing two birds with one stone-- Al Qaeda and, more clearly, the great & mighty Transportation Security Agency of the United States of America. The setting: Osama Bin Laden's cave, 13 years after 9-11. Bin Laden wants to know why nothing has happened in that time. The others in the meeting all say that it's the "prophetic and mighty T.. S.. A!" and then go into detail all the ways that they have curtailed their further slaughter. Restricting 5 inch blades (sounds like a good plan,) using a laptop that blows up when you take it out of the case (they make you do that in screening,) 3.6 ounces of liquid, and a large toothpaste bottle, among other things. Quite simple satire here but it's also poking fun at Al Qaeda-- they're saying "Ha! The TSA just does this and you still haven't done anything."

Key and Peele - "Proud Thug"

Key and Peele is one of the best examples of satire currently on television. Every episode Keagan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele put together short, comical skits that focus on a wide variety of subjects; some outlandish and some that hit very close to home. While the show is known for its many skits about black issues, I would like to discuss a skit that focuses on another ethnic group. In "Proud Thug" many components of Latino culture are exaggerated to a comical degree to bring them into the spotlight.

In the very beginning of the skit, a gang enters an empty warehouse to have a meeting about business and later the leader says, "We gotta sell more drugs and we gotta make more crimes happen". This is clearly an oversimplification of the inner workings of a gang and makes the ideas of gangs seem ridiculous. 

The real plot begins when they realize there aren't enough chairs so one of the gang members has to stand. Even when someone else fetches a chair Carlito, the standing gang member, refuses to sit down and even says, "I ain't never sit in no chair esse" while leaning on a table. The table Carlito is sitting on then breaks and leaves him sprawled across the ground, where he still refuses to get up and sit in a chair. It is discovered that Carlito was stabbed by a sliver of wood and proceeds to die. The skit ends with Carlito refusing to go back into his body and then refusing to go to heaven saying, "Heaven is for pussies". 

This skit really exhibits the extreme amount of pride present in latino culture as well as in gangs. In many places asking for any sort of assistance is seen as weak or looked down upon. Key and Peele took this characteristic and blew it out of proportion to show us how crazy it is to refuse simple things based on pride.

Is Luck Really a Health Plan?

Super Bowl commercials are renowned for being some of the most comedic commercials in American history. Their use of irony as well as other satirical elements appeals the the audience, giving commercials a reason for watching, for once. During the Super Bowl last Sunday, a commercial aired for the "Luck Health Plan." This commercial exhibits extreme satire. The "Luck Health Plan" is a parody of a health care plan, displaying both situational and verbal irony. The "Luck Health Plan" also has a website filled with hyperboles and irony as well. Through its satirical comedy, the "Luck Health Plan" makes viewers aware of the true need for health coverage.

The "Luck Health Plan" commercial is anything but lacking irony. In the commercial, the narrator introduces by stating, "now here's a health plan..." He later states, "a plan with no health care of any kind." This is an example of situational irony because when first introduced to the "Luck Health Plan," the audience assumes that this plan must include health care, which is the opposite of what the plan truly is. Its catchphrase, "You'll be okay. Probably," is an instance of verbal irony as although the commerical appears to be in support of the "Luck Health Plan," it is truly aimed at showing the need for every American to have a health care plan. The commercial is not enforcing that, "You'll be okay." It is enforcing the exact opposite: without health care, one is helpless. Another instance of situational irony is present throughout the commercial as the participants of the "Luck Health Plan" are wrapped in homemade neck braces and eyepatches. This is ironic because the commercial is an ad for a health care plan, yet it shows people who have the plan with horrible health.

The "Luck Health Plan" website is equally as satirical as the commercial. On the website, it encourages viewers to, "choose one of these smiley spokespeople to represent you!" This is satirical as it is an example of situational irony: the people enforcing the health care plan have horrible health themselves. This is additionally an instance of hyperbole as the injuries are exaggerated and appear to be severe or rare incidents.

The "Luck Health Plan" is not for pure amusement. The plan is aimed for a specific goal. Through its use of irony and hyperbole, "Get Covered Illinois," the creator of the commercial, attracts viewers. This, in turn, persuades viewers to get a true health care plan. "Get Cover Illinois" specifically states on the website that, "luck is not a health plan. It’s time to get real, quality health coverage you can actually afford." By showing a comedic commercial of people relying solely on luck for health coverage, "Get Covered Illinois" portrays the idea that not having health care is an unimaginable act, therefore persuading America to buy a health care plan, creating a better America. 

Luck Health Care Plan -- Commercial

Jon Stewart on Measles

Jon Stewart recently covered the issue of the growing measles virus in America. He discusses how measles was eradicated decades ago but it is returning due to parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children. Stewart blames the issue on “affluent liberals in California” who deny scientific evidence of the benefits of vaccination. It is clear Jon Stewart thinks it is absolutely ridiculous that wealthy Americans who could easily get vaccinated, mindfully deny it.

Jon Stewart uses sarcasm to express his anger against Americans who are refusing vaccines. He uses sarcastic phrases to describe the stupidity of the Californian liberals, as well as members of the government who want to give parents the right to refuse vaccines. He uses the phrase “Obama can pry measles out of my cold dead hands. achoo achoo,” as an imitation of a person who wants to maintain their “right” to not get vaccinated. When speaking about Californians, he states, “'They’re not rednecks. They’re not ignorant. They practice a mindful stupidity,” to exemplify their pretentious attitude on the issue.

Clearly, Jon Stewart thinks that all Americans should get their kids vaccinated so the virus does not continue to spread. He uses the sarcasm to demonstrate how ridiculous he thinks Americans are in passing up an opportunity for health. Stewart critiques how Americans come up with all these disagreements even on the most obvious matters, and in this case it brought back a disease that hasn’t been prevalent in decades.

Watch the video.

A Satirical Starbucks

Nathan Fielder, a comedian, is the star of the hilariously awkward show Nathan For You. It's perfectly scripted show that's meant to seem like a reality show. Nathan Fielder plays himself and helps struggling small business owners with their evidently bad career ideas. About two years ago, he created a parody of Starbucks, and called it Dumb Starbucks. This parody coffee shop, also satirical, gained a surprising amount of popularity in its short lived time open. It became even more popular once the Dumb Starbucks Nathan For You episode aired. His business was the exact same as a regular Starbucks, selling all the same products, except with 'dumb' in front of the names. A satire is defined as "a form of literature that uses irony, sarcasm, parody, hyperbole, and other methods of ridicule and humor to criticize human institutions and human folly." The creation of Dumb Starbucks most definitely used humor and ridicule ("dumb") to strengthen its satirical punch.

The business, after about two weeks of being open, was closed due to not having the proper food management licenses. After all, it was open on a parody/museum permit, not fit for handling food. On the show, in order to create such a big parody that was Dumb Starbucks, Nathan wanted to gain some credibility in the visual art of parody world first. So, he opened a 'parody museum' and included many [disparaging] satirical alterations to well-known brands/logos. Again, hitting at consumerism and America's sense of brand loyalty. There's the obvious question of how this was ever legal- and the Dumb Starbucks corporation answered it simply in their FAQ. Q: "How is that legal?" A: "Short answer- parody law." Brilliant.

I believe that Nathan is creating a satire against American consumerism and brand-loyalty. Starbucks is so expensive, and there are probably better coffee shops out there, yet we all continue going because it is such a popular name-brand. And then when the parody of this brilliant brand opened, there were hour long waits to even get inside the store at times. Not only was the creation of Dumb Starbucks a satire, the entire show Nathan For You is arguably a satire. The show deals with popular topics,current politics, and corporations. The plot of Nathan For You is basically Nathan just making people uncomfortable and pushing these outrageous business ideas, which could easily be poking fun at dumb things and businesses that are big in our country.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jon Stewart Takes On CNN

One of the intentions of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is to understand how the media covers the news. More often than not, Steward finds the media incompetent. Stewart argues the media focuses on unnecessary and inconsequential aspects of the story. Stewart points out that news anchors tend to exaggerate and inflate the truth and scope of the story. Most times Stewart takes on Fox for using newsworthy events as an avenue to push conservative agendas, but more recently Stewart has torn apart CNN as a network devoid of substantial commentary on news.

Last year after the Malaysian airline flight went missing, CNN spent day after day discussing in meticulous detail the intricacies of the situation, as well as any possible solutions. They covered everything from the size of the plane to the possibility of black holes being the cause of the missing flight. Jon Stewart, in response, began to poke holes in the reporting of CNN. After playing a clip of a CNN reporter talking about the size of the plane, Stewart asked incredulously if the reporter had just described an airplane to a viewing public located at an airport. Stewart uses the incredulity of talking about black holes as a relation to newsworthy topics as a way to inform his audience of good reporting.  

Stewart picks at CNN for blowing reporting into an opportunity to expound, and, in doing so, insulting and stupefying media that perpetuates insubstantial reporting devoid of factual observation. Stewart comments on the inferences and inferences CNN seems to be discussing only to fill the "23 hours and 59 minutes" of airtime they dedicate to news. 

Stewart also retaliates against Fox news for reporting about how CNN is only using Malaysian airlines as a way to boost their ratings. Stewart uses this as a way to convey that news reporting is only about the ratings. 

Jon Stewart uses his show as a medium to exploit the media for what it is- a money hungry conjecture abusing way to discuss important subjects in an insubstantial way. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Stephen Colbert's Political Satire

Stephen Colbert is one of America's most prominent modern satirists. He employs devises such as understatement, irony, and hyperbole on a daily basis to charm and entertain his mainly liberal audience. As the former host of The Colbert Report, Colbert's entire show amounted to a parody of Fox News programming such as Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor. Colbert presents his true opinions and attempts to shape the opinion of his audience by perpetually speaking from the viewpoint of an extreme conservative. This template creates the opportunity for bountiful dramatic irony, in which Colbert expresses exaggerated conservative opinions to an audience that recognizes his folly and is further convinced of the validity of their own political views.

A particularly interesting instance of Stephen Colbert's satire was his speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner, see below for a full video. Colbert was presumably invited by President George W. Bush's administration to deliver a pro-Bush comedic speech. Colbert's style of adopting conservative viewpoints and then ridiculing them seems to have gone straight over the heads of the members of the Bush administration. The speech was filled with interesting satirical devices and jabs at the uncomfortably close President Bush.

An early instance of satire in the speech occurred when Colbert insulted the president via understatement: "We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol." This quotation illustrates how understatement conveys Colbert's ultimate message that President Bush has a low level of intelligence. Colbert used understatement again later on: "Now there may be an energy crisis." This mild statement illuminated the underlying truth that there was a horrible energy crisis.

Colbert also included verbal irony in his speech when he observed that "I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq." This conclusion is contrary to Colbert's actual belief, and served not only to insult the Bush administration's work in Iraq, but also undermine the popular conservative notion that small government is best.

Another instance of verbal irony betrayed Colbert's true feelings for the Bush administration: "Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, 'Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.'...This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!" The assertion that the administration is soaring carries opposite connotations of the Hindenburg, which, like the Titanic, proved a massive disaster.

Colbert's strategy at the dinner ultimately created an intense atmosphere of dramatic irony. The politicians sitting mere feet away from Colbert were unaware of the insults they were about to endure, while the audience at large was aware of Colbert's true political orientation and motive. This dramatic irony was both hilarious and bold on the part of Stephen Colbert.

Colbert's work qualifies as true satire because he does in fact wish to reform the world. He has a very clear agenda that supports liberal politicians and attacks conservative ones. He does not simply wish to slander and destroy conservative policies, but rather to replace them with the liberal ones he finds to be more suitable.