Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Satire

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a 40-minute long 3-act musical miniseries published online in 2008. Despite being rather low-budget, the production boasts big names like Nathan Fillion, Joss Whedon and Neil Patrick Harris. The dramatic comedy has become a cult classic over the years. It depicts the life of Dr. Horrible, a down-to-earth, relatable, generally adorable supervillain.

Yes, that's right. The protagonist is a supervillain. Not an anti-hero, not a morally ambiguous veteran who has to make compromises for the greater good, just a straight-up bad guy. The antagonist, Dr. Horrible's nemesis, is a superhero by the name of Captain Hammer- an obnoxious, chauvinistic beefcake who only saves the day to get the glory. Dr. Horrible, to contrast, is polite and witty, and it becomes incredibly easy to root for him and his half-baked malicious schemes wholeheartedly.

In this regard, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog is an excellent example of multiple forms of satire. First, there is situational irony- the villain is the hero, and the hero is the villain. This is very important since it serves as a deconstruction of tropes in American culture. American media likes to tell stories as simply as possible. According to most TV shows, there is a force for good and a force for evil, and everyone should want the former to win. In reality, questions of morality and justice are much more complicated and difficult to rationalize. If Horrible's intentions are good but his actions are evil, how does that compare to Captain Hammer, whose actions are good but intentions are selfish?

Additionally, the musical serves as a hyperbolic parody of several superhero movies. One of the frequent complaints of superhero movies is that the characters are not well-rounded. For example, the hero is often portrayed as brave and heroic, without much else going into his personality. Captain Hammer parodies that idea by taking it to the extreme- making him completely superficial and shallow to the point where it's ridiculous. Similarly, Dr. Horrible's sidekick Moist, whose only superpower is to constantly be sweaty, seems to mock the uselessness of supporting characters in superhero movies. To quote Moist himself, "at my most badass I make people want to take a shower."

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog accomplishes all of this and at the same time manages to be extremely funny and surprisingly emotional. Its clever dialogue and interesting characters stand out as excellent examples of satire. The entire thing is in HD on Youtube and watched in under an hour, which I highly suggest you do.

Monday, November 23, 2015

21 Jump Street

The film 21 Jump Street tells the story of two young adult males who both desire to be police. The boys attended the same high school when they were growing up, but were in very different social groups at the time. When aspiring to be police men, the two males offer each other help in the category that the other one lacks in, so that they can both succeed. In one of the first scenes of this film, the boys stop a drug deal between bikers. While the two guys are very proud of themselves, the cops are unable to keep the bikers captive due to the fact that the boys forgot to read the men their Miranda Rights. When asked what they were, the new cop was unable to recite the rights. This demonstrates situational irony because everyone would expect a policeman to know the Miranda Rights and when to apply them. It also makes fun of the police system.

Another act of situational irony is shown when the two main characters are assigned the roles that they are to play when they go to a high school for an investigation with drugs. The less athletic and nerdier of the two boys is given the role of a cool jock, while the more athletic one is forced into acting like a nerd. This unexpected plot twist is quite funny, and draws attention to the hierarchy in high school and how easy it is to manipulate it depending on social status.


The cartoon, Boondocks, follows an African American family and their daily lives. One character by the name of "Uncle Ruckus" is African American male who constantly bashes and degrades other African Americans. Uncle Ruckus is a dark skinned, African American male. Physically, he fits the description of an African American but, mentally, he feel that he is too sophisticated to be classified as an African American.

He feels that he is too superior to be classified as an African American. Boondocks depicts this by using situational irony. This is situational irony because he is an African American and he down talks other African Americans. He feels that African Americans do not fit the criteria to be accepted in society.

Boondocks criticizes society because it shows the possible mindset of some African Americans. Some African Americans may feel that the actions of other African Americans may separate them. Others may feel that they are too educated or superior to be classified with other African Americans. In today's society, African Americans still face many stereotypes. Some feel that they can rise above this, while others cannot.

A High School of Satire

From humble beginnings the web series Video Game High School has received quite the cult following since its inception in May of 2012. The show follows a group of friends that all attend a video game high school due to their skill at gaming. The characters go through average high school scenarios like having a crush, falling in love, struggling between work and play, and bullies. The show is described as an action/comedy, but satire is also a genre the show can fall in.

The satire of VGHS comes from the world the show's creators have made. The show is set in a futuristic world where professional gamers are giant celebrities and the video game industry is running the world. The over exaggerated actions of the characters and the ridiculous norms of the society are made to make fun of the way the world sees gamers.

Every character is really a caricature of a type of gamer. For example, The Law is a very skilled gamer who constantly tries to prove he is the best by challenging others to games. Jenny is a "pretty girl" who also happens to be a hardcore gamer. And Brian D, the casual gamer sucked into a larger gaming world. All of the actors over-play their roles for comedic effect, but it also illustrates the ridiculous stereotypes society has of the gaming world. Society has been limiting the gaming community to a bunch of "nerds" playing games in their mom's basement, but that is not the case.

Gaming has become more mainstream in modern culture than ever. Games like Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty: Black Ops have broken entertainment records surpassing film, music, and television. Anyone these days can become a gamer, the access is there and may take the opportunity. Although gaming has become such a staple in our communities there is still a stereotype to overcome. The stereotype is the one society has of gamers being odd recluses living in their mother's basement, which isn't the case. Today, a gaming system is a part of most households, so th think that everyone who plays games will fall into society's stereotypes is crazy.

VGHS uses satire to fight that stereotype. The creators try to show people how the world would be if everyone who plays video games tried to fit that stereotype. A strong use of hyperbole put the characters into wild situations, poking fun at gaming stereotypes.

VGHS is a perfect example of using satire to enlighten you're audience to their own prejudices and stereotypes.

Link to find out more about VGHS, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2170584/?ref_=nv_sr_2

A completely serious announcement.

Sky Williams is a YouTube star and comedian, specializing in video game humor, providing reviews, commentaries, guides and announcements within his channel, all while exercising his comedic talent. In this particular video, he speaks out on Riot Games, the developers of the worldwide phenomenon League of Legends, and their marketing/advertising decisions. Williams poses as Riot Games' CEO, talking about the changes made to the game, and why they were made.

Part of what makes this video funny and satirical is that you don't have to entirely understand how the game works to find it funny, as the points he makes apply to a lot of the decisions that CEO's make in regards of their companies. A lot of it revolves around how companies don't truly care about their community and how happy they are, and if they don't like it, they can "fight me." Williams also touches on the fact that part of what Riot Games is doing by releasing a set of "chroma packs," which are just the recoloring of in-game models. "We're releasing chroma packs just to distract you from the things that have a negative effect on the game," the video at this point cuts to pictures of sad children.

The Notebook

The Notebook , a movie based off of a Nicholas Sparks book, seems to be one big satire. In the film, an elderly man, Noah, reads a diary to Allie, a woman in a nursing home. While he reads his "story" to her, the movie switches to two young lovers who go through life together, also by the names of Allie and Noah. As the story goes on, it becomes evident that Allie is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in her later years, leaving Noah to try and trigger her memory by telling her details about her life. At this point, Allie is the only one unaware of the fact that she and Noah are the characters in his diary. This dramatic irony really helps with the emotional effect the movie has. The watcher is drawn in, hoping that Allie will realize that the man in front of her is not just a stranger, but her lifelong lover and husband to her children, who she also does not remember.

There is a scene in which Allie momentarily connects the diary to her life, realizing who Noah really is. The two dance together in the nursing home, making Noah very happy and proving Allie's doctors wrong, who said that it was impossible to trigger any memories in her. This section of the movie ends in a heartbreaking way, when Allie's Alzheimer's takes over and she is left to think that she is dancing with a stranger which freaks her out. Throughout the majority of the movie, the watcher and Noah are the only ones who know everything about Noah and Allie's lives together. It is only in the end where Allie remembers again, saying that she never wants to forget her life with Noah. The extreme use of dramatic irony is the only way that Nicholas Sparks and the producers of the film are able to achieve the heart throb that the watchers feel for Noah as he tries to save the love of his life.

The Satire Island

A continuous highlight of Saturday night live, has been their satirical band, The Lonely Island. The Lonely Island is comprised of former SNL cast member Andy Samberg, and SNL writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, along with numerous celebrity features, most commonly Justin Timberlake. They not only do parodies but mostly original comedic compositions. They mostly take ironic viewpoints of the male mind and ideologies through songs such as "3-way", "No Homo", and "I Just Had Sex". Exaggerated hyperboles come in "Motherlover", "Yolo", and "Shy Ronnie" with parodies in songs such as "Jack Sparrow" in which Michael Bolton is a major cinephile. They express this in outrageous comedic fashions representing irony, parody, and hyperbole. They're songs of extreme ridiculousness mixed in with and accurate representation of crazy thoughts inside a catchy tune. 

The Office's Use of Satire

The Office is a comedy series that ran for nine seasons on NBC. The television show is centered around the employees of the Scranton, PA branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The Office is emblematic for its satire which is used to bring attention to the problems that occur in real corporate offices. Several characters in the show experience sexism, racism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Pam Beesly, the receptionist at Dunder Mifflin is often overlooked and used as the punchline for sexist jokes. In "The Beach Games", an episode in the third season of the series, Michael Scott, the boss at the Scranton branch, had received an offer for a bigger job at corporate headquarters. In order to find a suitable replacement, Michael has the employees go to the beach and compete in a series of competitions. He splits the group into teams and assigns four team leaders, which are obviously the four men that he is considering for his replacement. Michael overlooks Pam as a prospect and assigns her the task of "note-taker". Throughout the episode, Pam acts as a valuable source of insight and demonstrates her effective leadership as she is cooperative and shares her great ideas with Michael, whom then presents the ideas as his own. While Pam is shown as the obvious best choice for the new boss, she is instead overlooked for her male peers.

Racism is also prevalent in the show. In an episode titled "Diversity Day" Michael decides to have a seminar hoping to "educate" his colleagues about different cultures. He hands each character a card with a different race written on it to place on their foreheads. Michael urges the employees to treat each other based on the race that is on their foreheads. The seminar does not go well and pokes fun at offensive stereotypes and devastating parts of some cultures' history, like slavery and the Holocaust. In Michael's interview, he states that he opted not to make a note card with Arab on it "so the meeting wouldn't be explosive." Several characters on the show regularly deal with racist remarks, including Kelly Kapoor, a Indian-American woman, and Stanley Hudson, an African-American man.

Along with sexism and racism, there is also a homophobic culture in the Scranton branch. Oscar
Martinez is a gay character on the show, and in the episode "Gay Witch Hunt" Michael finds out that Oscar is gay after calling him a derogatory word. Michael is curious if any other office members are homosexual and searches online for a "gaydar" after Jim jokingly mentions that they are available online. Angela, another character on the show, is open about her disapproval of homosexuality. Meanwhile, Kelly approaches Oscar and tells him that he is "so cool" for being gay. Kelly's comment, which may have had the intentions of supporting Oscar, may also be seen as offensive as it suggests that Oscar is following with some sort of trend, that he is choosing to be gay.

The Office reflects on societal issues that are present in work environments. The show uses the technique of parody to criticize today's culture and how it translates into the workplace. Although the show may seem like it is moving society backwards by decades, it is actually very progressive. The show uses parody by demonstrating the ridiculousness of discriminating by sex, race, and sexual orientation, in a comedic manner. When a character is faced with discrimination, the "jokes" come off as funny instead of offensive. The Office successfully brings attention to major problems that occur in a real life office.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mean Girls: Satire in the Burn Book

Mean Girls is a popular movie that made its debut in 2004. The movie follows Cady Heron as she navigates the world of high school. Cady is supposed to be spying on the "plastics", the mean popular girls at her school, but she soon becomes caught up in that life that she forgets about her real friends. The idolization of the "plastics", mostly the leader Regina George, in the movie is a satirical tool. Regina George is seen as the girl that every girl wants to be friends with as the queen bee of the school. The movie uses verbal irony to show the satirical motives behind girls in the movie idolizing Regina George. When the "plastics" are introduced there is a section of girls from the school talking about Regina George. A girl talks about how Regina George punched her in the face once and how it was awesome. This is verbal irony because it is clear that no one likes being punched in the face but it is awesome to this girl because of who punched her. 

The movie also uses situational irony in the form of the "burn book". The "burn book" is a book that the "plastics" have where the write mean stuff about all the girls that they go to school with. The book ends up being seen by all the girls that are talked about in the book. This is situational irony because in reality people know that it is wrong to have a book made specifically to bash people that you go to school with.

The movie Mean Girls is a genius satirical work that targets how girls treat each other in high school. The movie as a whole is an over exaggeration of how girl treat each other once the reach high school. It is an attempt to open the eyes of society of how the way some girls behave is acceptable because they are popular. The movie exposes the idea of what it means to be a popular girl in high school society and what you have to be to make that happen.

I'm Afraid of the Dark

Throughout our lives, we are afraid. It starts off as monsters under the bed, that one weird neighbor, falling off your bike, and translates into failure, terror, fear for and of others, death. One of the biggest fears is fear of the dark. When we are younger it is what could be lurking within but, as we get older it is what, who is darker. Coherently is taught racism although usually subconsciously, it's still there. A perfect example, is of Disney Villains. They're big, bold, clever, and in my opinion people to look up to. They are also dark. They are surrounded by black fire with thick green flames. They are followed by black cats, ravens, rats, and bats. They lurk in the after hours, through the streets their shadows cover and everything scurries inside. They're purple. They're red. They're green. They're blue. 

They're black.

Though their skin may be white, their hearts are coal and our minds see black. Black as night. Night brings fright. Fright isn't bright. White is bright, white is pure. Pink and yellow and orange and baby blue speak true. They are nice and kind. The deep, rich purples and blues loom over to terrorize your neighborhood. Terror is bad. Bad is dark. Light is good. Dark is night. Night is black. Black is bad. 
Who says?

Austin Powers Successfully Depicts Sexism with Satire

Austin Powers is a classic 90's comedy that was released in 1997. Austin Powers is an example of a satirical work of popular culture, which comments on sexism towards women. The movie portrays women as sexual beings, almost as objects. Austin Powers also makes sexual comments equivalent to "cat calls" throughout the entire movie. Austin Powers uses satire to help expose the un-canniness of sexism.

In the theme song for Austin Powers he is walking down the sidewalk dancing and randomly comes upon a trio of models. He takes pictures of them posing, and also hits on them while doing so. While taking pictures he says, "Come on babies, work with me," and "Show me love!". He is obviously cat calling, and the girls go along with, almost flattered by it. This is an example of satire, pointing out how ridiculous men calling out women is, which in reality a women would be disgusted by and not entertained by.

After Austin takes the pictures of the women he hollers, "Oh, behave!". This speaks to the idea in society that a man "wants a lady in the street, but a freak in the bed" (as Ludacris would say). It uses satire to make fun of women needing to be tamed sexually by having Austin comment on their behavior. Austin Powers successfully uses satire in a creative and humorous way by secretly acknowledging how absurd cat-calling is, as well as sexism towards women.

The Onion Criticizes SeaWorld

The Onion is a Chicago-based, American news satire organization. The Onion reports on real and fictional current events and reports on all events with a satirical tone. The Onion’s hilarious and often shocking posts always have a deeper meaning and insight on national and international issues.

The Onion is no stranger to poking fun at SeaWorld, a chain of animal theme parks who have often been criticized for their treatment of their animals. Some of The Onion’s SeaWorld posts include, “New SeaWorld Show - Just Elephant Drowning In Large Tank Of Water With No Explanation”, “SeaWorld Responds To California Drought By Draining Animal Tanks Halfway”, and “SeaWorld Debuts New Controversial Orca Whale Burlesque Show.”

One of The Onion’s most recent posts about SeaWorld is titled, “SeaWorld Employees Place Orcas In Plastic Bags Of Water While Cleaning Tanks”. The post is a tweet and has no article, just a simple picture of orcas waiting for their tanks to be cleaned. The orcas are photoshopped to look like they are waiting in plastic bags barely filled with water, similar to the bags goldfish are placed in after they are purchased at a pet store, so the fish can be transported home.

This picture uses the satirical technique of parody to mimic the classic scene when a new pet fish is brought home in a bag. One of the saddest facts of this post is that some people actually believed it was true - that SeaWorld really put their orcas in confining plastic bags. When searching this post online, there are related posts confirming that The Onion post is fake.

The post uses parody to open the American people’s eyes to the terrible abuse SeaWorld inflicts on orcas and other marine and land animals that they use in various park attractions. The plastic bags are almost more funny because of the fact that they are far too similar to the confining temporary tanks that SeaWorld orcas are forced to stay in during tank cleanings and non-performance hours.

This post also opens the American people’s eyes to the strange traditions regarding certain domesticated pets. Putting a fish in a plastic bag seems harmless until it is perceived on a large scale. Seeing a large whale in a plastic bag seems cruel and wrong, though it is the exact same things Americans do each time they purchase a fish at the pet store. The Onion post opens American’s eyes to the the potentially abusive and cruel aspects of confining and owning certain pets.

The Onion post reminds readers to rethink their decisions next time they go to the pet store, buy a ticket to SeaWorld, or other places that use the domestication of animals to promote amusement. Not all of these places promote proper animal care and trapping these poor animals in small confined places is often unnatural and cruel. This post promotes animals rights and shames the domestication of certain animals with just the use of a simple picture.

Stupid Girls Aren't Stupid

In 2006, P!nk released a new song, Stupid Girls, on her I'm Not Dead album. This song was awarded the MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video and nominated for many other awards, such as a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. An example of the lyrics include:

"What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?"

P!nk uses satire to mock society's sexualization and objectification of women. She explicitly points out the women in music videos. She targets the all-too-familiar image that the women in many music videos, especially rap, hardly wear any clothing while dancing provocatively. These said women are seen as the rapper's trophies and accomplishments which he then praises in his song. Their value consists only of their beauty and their ability to satisfy a man's wishes. While male rap videos are an extreme example referenced by P!nk, she also targets societal pressures on a woman as a whole. She sings, "Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back/ Baby if I act like that, flipping my blond hair back/ Push up my bra like that, I don't wanna be a stupid girl" depicting that women do these things to be accepted in our society. While she's criticizing the women who act like this, P!nk still describes having to face the pressure to conform and act the same way.

P!nk's larger motive isn't to criticize these women, but to criticize our society that shoves these "ideals" onto women to be accepted. Our society's image of a woman is a docile, sexual object whose interests and skills have no influence on her value, just her physical appearance. P!nk's bigger picture is how our media depicts a limited view of women which in turn influences young girls to believe that this is how they need to shape themselves to be. The media places a huge pressure on females to abide by the images that represent the gender. By P!nk creating this song and getting it out there, she is taking action on changing and questioning society's image of women.

Key and Peele Show Truth in Teachers

The popular comedy show Key and Peele never ceases to entertain its audience. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele create hilarious sketches that, while funny, also reveal some rather depressing truths about American culture. One such sketch is called TeachingCenter. The short video shows two men talking heatedly about teachers and their salaries, similar to the popular TV show SportsCenter. The men go on to describe how certain teachers are "first-round picks", and even analyze a "game changing" play that a teacher makes.

The satire is a parody of popular sports review shows like SportsCenter. By using "footage" of the annual "teacher draft", the sketch mocks the amount of attention given to sports, while simultaneously pointing out the fact that teachers are not given enough recognition for their work. The video even uses a parody of a car commercial (with a teacher in place of an athlete), to draw attention to the huge imbalance of attention given to sports and teachers.

The satire also uses hyperbole within the parody. It is a widely known fact that most teachers get paid very little; in the video, however, the teachers are paid millions of dollars. At one point, the announcers describe a teacher who was very successful despite being raised by a father who "lived paycheck to paycheck on a pro-footballer salary". This overstatement of reality again emphasizes the fact that teachers are rarely justly rewarded for their hard work and dedication. The satire is trying to get people to realize the amount of commitment and devotion that it takes to be a good teacher.

Hell not Large Enough for Society's Ills: Examples of Satire in The Onion

The Onion, "America's finest news source," is a a media and news company based in Chicago that mocks conventional media and news sources. The website itself mimics that of a traditional news source. For example there are various headings for topics on sport, business, politics, entertainment, etc. There is even a division of the news source called "After Birth" that calls itself a "definitive guide to parenting, providing every answer you need from the greatest moment in your life to the ensuing 18 worst years of your life." The Onion also has videos, political cartoons, and a section where voices of the American public make insightful comments.

Satire can be found throughout almost every facet in the Onion; in its articles, videos, reviews, etc. One example of one of many satirical articles is, "Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell."
This article makes fun of American corporate and business high level workers. The article describes Hell, and its previous nine layers adapted from Dante's Inferno, as a real entity, similar to a country with a government. The proposed plan of Hell is to create a new level to help contain the exponential growth of those damned to this inferno.

The article employs a lot of hyperbole and parody. Hyperbole is used when describing the outlandish punishments that "demographers, advertising executives, and tobacco lobbyists," have to endure. For example, as one Disney lawyer said, "I'm being boiled upside down in lard while jackals gnaw at the soles of my feet. If I could just reach the fax machine on the nearby rock, I could contact some well placed associates and work something out, but it's just out of my grasp, and it's out of ink and constantly blinking the message, 'replace toner cartridge, replace toner cartridge...'"

The overall parody of the article also adds to its satirical effect. The idea of Hell being portrayed as an actual country with leaders, in this case Satan, and political parties, such as the Hell purists, makes fun of American government, in addition to making fun of corporate society. Overall, the article brings to light the corruption of the corporate sector, with workers who deserve to be in the lowest pits of Hell. The article ends with a bit of irony with a quote from Grogar Malefic (a captain from Hell's elite Demon Corps), saying that, "Hell's future looks bright," and that "'We're are really on the grow down here, this is an exciting time to be in Hell." While based on a conventional definition, Hell cannot be 'bright' nor grow upwards, but this irony adds to the overall parody that the article attempts to bring across.

The (Satirical) Daily Show

     The Daily Show, originally hosted by Jon Stewart but recently taken over by Trevor Noah, is a prime example of how satire is used to make a point about the debauched society we live in today. The beginning of the show uses the most satirical approaches, because it covers the news for the day in a way where it mocks policy makers, newscasters, criminals, and more. The show does a good job of getting news across to people, but in an entertaining way. In the following video, Jon Stewart covers the story of the missing Malaysian Airline flight that went missing about a year ago. Stewart is able to make fun of everyone's countless absurd ideas about how the plane could have gone missing.
     In this video, Stewart uses a lot of dramatic irony by using clips of newscasters stating their preposterous ideas of what could have happened to the plane, even though Stewart and the audience both know that these things such as the plane getting sucked into a black hole could not have possible happened. Although this video shows a lot of dramatic irony, Stewart also uses a lot of verbal irony to get his point across. In most cases, he uses verbal irony in the form of sarcasm. 
      Stewart is not intending to make fun of the newscasters, but instead he is trying to make fun of Republicans in general. Not as much in the video above, but especially during presidential elections, Stewart is seen using his satirical techniques to make fun of the Republican candidates. The overall agenda of the show is to poke fun at people, usually Republicans, using his satirical techniques. 

Key and Peele: The Substitute Teacher

In Key's and Peele's satirical episode of "Substitute Teacher" (seen below), Keegan-Michael Key plays the role of a black substitute teacher to a classroom of white students. Immediately, Key is seen establishing strict order in the classroom, and takes attendance. Key repeatedly mispronounces the students' names, for example, stating that 'Jaqueline' is 'Jac-qually,' 'Blake' is 'Bla-lack-ay,' 'Denise' is 'Dee-nice,' and 'A-a-ron' is 'Aaron.' This example in the clip may also apply to how white individuals may pronounce the names of black individuals. This element of the sketch suggests the difference between the 'standard English' and 'black English' dialect. The language is similar, but the way the language is said varies. This exaggerated distinction in the clip represents how dialect should not matter when discussing/referencing superiority over another race. Additionally, the way the names are said may be different (but are not incorrect) for different people due to one's cultural background.

Key increasingly gets angry when the students are hesitant to correct him (in their eyes what they believe is the correct way) or to reply, 'here.' He claims that the next person to say some silly name 'will feel his wrath.' The clip uses an element of satire, hyperbole, to exaggerate the substitute's aggressive response of when the student corrects him. Key continues to disregard what the student says, assuming what he says is always right. Furthermore, when Key hears how Blake speaks his name, Key becomes wildly irritated. Key says, 'Do you want to go to war, Bla-lack-ay? Because we could go to war, I'm for real. I'm for real.' The form of irony used, dramatic, is shown through Key's statement of war, and how we, as the audience, know the war he claims may be the civil war (given him being black and the students white). This usage of dramatic irony demonstrates how ridiculous people may seem when they become too obsessed with the many versions (dialects) there are to express words. Additionally, how absurd that the little differences may be the ultimate concerns that divide us among different races.

Satire Within Heathers (1988)

Heathers (1988) is a dark comedy depicting the lives of teenagers in the 1980's. Screenwriter Daniel Walters bitterly and hilariously uses satire to exaggerate the dramas of teenage life-- including sexuality, eating disorders, self esteem issues, social status, and drug use.
While intertwining each of these aspects of “teen life,” the central subject of Heathers is teenage suicide. The somewhat controversial film appears to be in favor of teen suicide-- or at least, doesn’t seem to look down upon it. However, the film is arguably an expert work of sarcastic satire against suicide. Main characters Veronica and J.D. are two teenagers, both deeply cynical and profoundly thoughtful, who are placed in a contrastingly dull Midwestern setting. J.D. a subtly placed contraction for “juvenile delinquent,” proves also to be a psychopathic killer. When he purposely gives Heather, the head of the most powerful clique in the high school, a “hangover cure” of pipe cleaner, Veronica thinks it was an accident, and helps him stage the murder to look like a suicide. This soon becomes a sort of hobby for the two-- killing the most popular kids in school, and making it look like suicide.
The casual, sarcastic, and blunt language that takes place throughout the film bitterly mock the very real issue of teen suicide. This language is seen among most all of the characters, whether they are reacting to the suicide or planning it. Some examples are shown when Veronica writes in her diary: "Dear Diary, suicide gave Heather depth, Kurt a soul, and Ram a brain. I don't know what it's given me, but I have no control over myself when I'm with J.D. Are we going to prom or to hell?... Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count... J.D. asked me if I wanted to go out tonight for miniature golf. I was thinking more along the lines of slitting Heather Duke's wrists open, making it look like suicide." Suicide seems to be a sort of "taboo" in today's culture. However, by so bluntly addressing it, Walters is able to temporarily erase that taboo, and force the audience to really think about the role that suicide plays in today’s culture, and how important it is to acknowledge as an emerging problem.

Satirical Impersonation of Sarah Palin by Tina Fey

Saturday Night Live is an American sketch comedy and variety show. After its debut in 1975, this show has been successful in American culture for over three decades. This success is largely due to effective cast members such as Tina Fey. In one particular episode, Fey and costar Amy Poehler impersonate politician Sarah Palin in an interview.

Aside from dresssing and talking like Sarah Palin to make fun of her, Tina Fey uses satire to make fun of Palin as a person and politician. When asked about her recent trip to New York, Fey as Palin mentions how her family went to a "goofy evolution museum" and how she had 30 false alarms because she thought she saw Osama bin Laden driving taxis. While American citizens are laughing, their opinions of Palin are being shifted negatively due to Fey's satirical impression of her.

Also mentioned in the interview was Palin's thoughts on foreign policy. Fey was able to make fun of Palin's political views on foreign policy in her mock interview with Poehler. When asked about her views on foreign policy, Fey as Palin would repeat questions into answers and not finish sentences. FOr example, when asked how she would specifically spread democracy, Fey answered, "Specifically we will spread democracy abroad to those who want it." This creates an opportunity to make Palin seem unknowledgeable on the topic of foreign policy. When Palin is given another opportunity to explain her claim of her expertise on foreign policy with respects to Alaska and Russia, Palin dumbfoundedly says that people in Alaska are only separated from Alaska by a mere boarder of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, Fey and Poehler are presenting Palin as an imbecile not only because she named the wrong ocean and finds it to be a "mere boarder," but Poehler's facial expressions and tone of voice also hint at the satire being portrayed.

While Fey and Poehler's intentions here were for mostly comic relief, the satire presented in this mock interview shapes American citizens to look at Palin differently when considering her ethos and how effective she would be in office.

Black Widow: Age of Me

When Scarlett Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live on May 2nd, 2015, the audience knew there had to be a Black Widow skit in store. Her faux movie trailer for a Black Widow movie was set up like a classic romantic comedy: Black Widow is a secretary at a fashion magazine in New York who is simultaneously battling her evil boss and seeking a true love. The "trailer" makes the claim that Marvel truly understands women by creating this new trope of female stereotypes.

This work of satire is clearly a parody of 27 Dresses and Devil Wears Prada due to the imitation of the plot and characters of both movies, but it isn't necessarily making fun of romantic comedies. The SNL skit is making a point about women heroes in popular movies. Marvel and DC just cannot seem to get women superheroes right; the movie interpretations of comic books seem to treat female superheroes not as they would treat Batman or Spider-man, but as super-sexualized sidekicks.

This parody, however, garnered huge media attention eleven days after its appearance on SNL due to DC's show Supergirl. Although Johansson's social commentary on female superheroes was released prior to the first look of Supergirl, it seemed as though Black Widow: Age of Me was a direct parody of the new television show.

Not only is Supergirl a secretary at a fashion magazine, but she is also very concerned with her love life. It seems as if the creators stole the soundtrack of 27 Dresses, and then added in an awkward male friend that thinks the only explanation for his rejection is that Supergirl must be homosexual. If the trailer wasn't released by CBS, I would have thought it was a parody as well. Sadly, Supergirl is, indeed, a real show.

Scarlett Johansson's statement about the portrayal of women heroes in movies and television shows might have reached Marvel, however. The new Netflix series Jessica Jones does not perpetuate the sexist representation of female superheroes and captures the same mood as the male superhero show Daredevil. Hopefully CBS will recreate Supergirl in the near future and focus on her super-strength instead of her love of clothes and men.

American Psycho: A Satirical Look into the Life of an Urban Professional

American Psycho (2000) is a film adaptation of the book by Bret Easton Ellis. The film is labeled as a "Black Comedy" and a "Psychological Thriller" because the main character, Patrick Bateman, is a Wall Street professional during the day but a sadistic killer in the night but Christian Bale plays this role in a hilariously over-the-top fashion. Most people remember this movie for its confusing ending, gruesome deaths, or funny faces of Christian Bale, but many overlook the message the movie tries to tell about the nation's elite.
American Psycho Movie Poster
Bateman is characterized as compulsive; he constantly maintains a high level of quality to his appearance and nearly physically injures himself out of anger when he realizes some of his co-workers have better business cards than himself. This exaggeration of his character lets us see how meaningless everything a highly-paid businessman worries about is. Although the audience might laugh at Bateman's reaction to the cards, this scene is presented as if it is not far from the truth. The audience now knows that Bateman values the appearance of his card over a human life.
Bateman murders several people throughout the course of the film. Killing is a bad habit that he seems to have ironically picked up to keep from going insane from being so alone in his life. This lonelyness is the second critique of the nation's elite: They don't listen to others and only care about themselves. The audience learns this after Bateman exploits this fact in most of his conversations. He often interjects with comments on how he can't stop killing people or how he doesn't care about whatever his co-workers or spouse are thinking or talking about but the person on the other end of the conversation never notices; They are completely self-obsessed to the point where they only hear what they want to hear.
American Psycho is a great movie to watch with friends for laughs and scares but, when looked at more closely, is really a message about the sad, corrupt lives being led by Wall Street professionals.

American Psycho (Business Card Scene)

Key and Peele's Comment on Sports

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, of the hit comedic television show Key and Peele, are known to satirize various elements of American culture, focusing on race in particular. In their sketch “Racist Sports Commentator”, Key, Peele and Timothy Omundson all pose as football commentators in the studio. Key and Peele ask Omundson (the only white person in the sketch) his opinion on various football players, and Omundson’s responses become increasingly divided based off the race of the player in question. Omundson repeatedly identifies black players as “physically gifted… athletic” eventually progressing to “voodoo… magical powers he learned from his grandma”. In comparison, Omundson describes the white players as “hardworking” and “keenly analytical”.

Key and Peele make clear use of hyperbole to expose the mild racism prevalent in sports today. While no real sports caster would describe a black athlete with words like “voodoo”, black players are often praised for brawn over brains, even when this is clearly not the case. By overdoing the subtle racism of sportscasters, Key and Peele cause their viewers to be more aware of it in real life. This bias of focusing on the physical traits of black athletes may stem from the “brute” stereotype from when slavery still existed in the United States. In both cases (although definitely to differing degrees) African-Americans are portrayed as stupider and stronger than their white counterparts. Modern commentators should seek to eliminate this holdover from one of the darkest times in American history

SNL: Satirical Night Live

Saturday Night Live has been a very popular T.V. show since its debut in 1975. The show is an hour and a half long and consists of many comedians performing a variety of skits. Said skits are very funny and often satirical. One segment on SNL, which is particularly satirical, is the Weekend Update. Many of the past Weekend Update hosts have risen to stardom due to their role on the TV program. Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and Cecily Strong (an OPRF alum), are just a few of the famous comedians who have contributed to the segment's greatness.

The Weekend Update is a satirical version of your typical news broadcast. The host brings up a current event and finds a way to make it funny. The current hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che have hosted since 2014. This Saturday during the Weekend Update, Colin said, “Jeb Bush said he would be willing to send ground troops into Syria and Iraq to stop ISIS, because you never want to be the one guy at Thanksgiving who hasn’t sent troops to the Middle East.” Colin ties in factual information with his own satirical analysis. This particular situation is an example of situational irony. As an audience we expected some sort of political viewpoint while in reality Colin made a stab at the Bushes and their love for sending troops to the Middle East. The point of this joke isn’t purely to make fun of the Bushes but also makes a point about politics and war. Presidents in the past have used War to be elected and reelected. SNL is trying to make the point that voting for a war happy candidate isn’t always the right solution.

Later on in the sketch, Colin and Michael bring up the argument about Syrian immigrants and immigration in general. Colin makes his point by saying, “America is a nation of immigrants but once we get here, we get really suspicious about any new immigrants. It’s kind of like America is this giant awesome roller coaster and you wait in line forever to ride it, then when we finally get to the front we ride it and it’s awesome then it finishes and we are like ok, shut it down. “But wait there are all these other people in line,” no no i just want it for me and my ethnicity, you have to stand on the other side of that fence and watch us go weeeeeeeee.” Colin’s immigration analogy is a great example of situational irony. The way he ended by saying, “ok shut it down” was very blunt and unexpected. Even though this is very funny it also makes a very good point about society. This sketch shows that new immigration laws excluding Syrian immigrants are ridiculous. America is portrayed as this exclusive club in which only a select few can enter.

After that, Michael gave his take on immigration. He said, “you know this whole country was stolen by immigrants, so I would get why Americans would be skeptical of other immigrants. If I steal your car and get away with it, the first thing I’m going to do is buy a better security system for my new car, because there are thieves out there.” Michael’s last line is an example of verbal irony. He says he would buy a new security system for his hypothetical stolen car because there are thieves out there, even though he was the thief to begin with. Just like Colin’s, Michael’s analogy shows how ridiculous this new policy is. Basically, America is trying to protect its stolen property from new potential thieves. An idea that sounds absurd because America prides itself on having the best army in the world. Without fail, the Weekend Update is consistently chock full of irony and satire.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Key & Peele- Racial stereotypes

In the video done by Key & Peele, called ¨Alien imposters,¨ they bring up the issue of racial stereotypes and how they define how people relate to one another. In the video, the world is taken over by aliens who can make themselves appear to be human and have some sort of superficial human knowledge. There are two human survivors, who are both black males. They use common racial stereotypes to guess who is human and who is an alien that appears to be human 
Their first interaction is with white male redneck, who appears beyond a pile a trash, saying they created a community of survivors and he inquires if they want to join. They both look at each other as one of them was confused as to what they should do, but the other slowly turns to face the red neck again and lifts up his semi-automatic gun and fires several times. As the creature falls, it turns into its true alien form. The first man, Keegan, asked, "How did you know!?" in a very confused manner. The man who shot the alien, Jordan, says in sarcastic tone, ¨A redneck wants us to join his community of survivors, really, us?" Here he is referencing to the stereotype that all why rednecks hate black people. This comes from the before and after the civil war.  Southerners, or ¨Rednecks,¨ wanted to keep slavery alive; they thought very little of black people, as if they were animals, and they treated them accordingly. By bringing this stereotype, they are challenging us to let go of the past and not make assumptions about someone, just because of their heritage or where they are from.  

Their third encounter is with a white female. As they turned the corner with their guns ready, the girl seems them and immediately tosses her hands up saying ¨Don't hurt me, uh uh, my best friend is black and I uh love JayZ, and my favorite movie is think like a man.¨ Clearly she not scared just because two men have guns, but because two black men have guns. They turn their heads to faces each other and sit there for a second, before Jordan says ¨She´s good.¨ They ask what her name is and she responds with Emily. You hear a slight laughter in their voices as they say simultaneously, ¨Of course it is.¨ This stereotype determines who is dangerous and who is not. They convey this stereotype through the fact that Emily is scared that there are two black men in front of her. My guess is that if someone were in an apocalyptic scenario, they would be glad to see other humans, specifically those carrying guns, that could provide safety. They are challenging the stereotype, that someone can be deemed dangerous or not, sole based on their skin color. We all have reflags that warn us about certain person or situation, but skin color should not be one of those flags.   

I believe the point of this video, was challenge and destroy stereotype that involves race in America. There are several more examples of this in the video, but these two strongly portray their idea that stereotypes need to be broken down and taken out of our society  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2 Broke Girls - Cultural Analysis

One of America’s biggest problems is racism, and that’s because we’re a country full of people from all over the world with different histories and backgrounds. In America, a typical racist remark is broadly known as against a person whose Black, Mexican, or even White. There are tons of other minorities living in the U.S. who face the same type of racism everyday, but it’s as noticeable to others or they don’t find it as offensive. People coming from an Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Middle-Eastern, etc. receive the same kinds of backlash from those of other races but it’s not as talked about compared to other races. 
The hit sit-com, 2 Broke Girls, is one of those popular T.V. shows that people are oblivious to the racism it holds. Han Lee is portrayed by Matthew Moy, an American actor who was born in San Fransisco, California. His English is as well spoke as any other American, but in the show his accent makes it seem like he just finished learning English. Not only is it his dialect, but he’s the typical workaholic nerd. The two could not be more different, but because he’s Asian he’s shown as the stereotypical type in the show.

Although 2 Broke Girls is widely love for the blunt humor, it doesn’t stop there with the racist remarks. Each character on the show gets their share of comments whether it’s to the rich white Caroline Channigns, trashy white Max, polish hottie Sophie, the old black Earl, and of course the geeky Asian Han Lee. It’s a show that should only be watched by those with good, light humor.

Rubio Recognizes Real Issues

The Moderator questions Marco Rubio stating, "The economy is undergoing a transformation through inflammation technology, Americans are anxious that the new economy isn't producing higher paying jobs. Many are concerned that the new world seems to be going, mainly to innovators and investors. Meanwhile with factories run by robots, and shopping done increasingly on smartphones, many traditional jobs are just going away... How do you reassure American workers that their jobs are not being steadily stolen from them?"

To this question, Marco Rubio responds with logos, sharing numbers that the audience can certainly comprehend. He compares two different America's in stating, "This economy is nothing like what it looked like five years ago, not to mention 15 or 20 years ago... and it isn't just a different economy, it's changing faster than ever. You know it took the telephone 75 years to reach one hundred million users, it took candy crush one year to reach one hundred million users." This comparison not only makes the audience laugh and applaud, but it also makes the audience see what Rubio is illustrating. Rubio is opening the audience's eyes to the fact that America can not be run in the same traditional style considering that we are not that same traditional America. Rubio displays the importance that we recognize that America is changing and that there are a lot of things that not only as a politician, but as a country, that we need to do to change our system.

Rubio then uses ethos to strengthen his stance on the country's education system, reverting back to one of our country's core problems. Rubio passionately defends his stance in saying, "Because we have an outdated higher education system, our higher education system is completely outdated. It is too expensive, too hard to access, and it doesn't teach 21st century skills. If we do what needs to be done: tax reform, regulatory reform, fully utilize our energy resources, repeal and replace Obama Care, and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy. And we won't just save the American dream, we will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before, and then truly this new century can be a new American century." With delicate word choice, he uses "promise" and "potential" to create trust in his politics. He also criticizes the education system, pointing out each variable that needs to be changed, and even suggesting in which ways his plan will benefit this "new American century".

I appreciate Rubio recognizing that our country is not stagnate. I find that some of the older generations in today's society will compare what life was like when they were growing up and use words such as "easier" and "better" to describe the type of times that our youth's generation is growing up in. I believe that in some regards such as integration, diversity, and encouraging laws against child labor we are an extremely lucky generation. However, just as the elder generation underwent their own problems, our generation undergoes a different set of issues. Yes, as a technologically advanced generation we are given unbelievable opportunities(such as those of us growing up in Oak Park), but our generation also has huge gaps in our education system. The difference between schools in higher taxed areas and in poverty replicates the difference between squares and circles. Education is a human right and I support Rubio's efforts to modernize the education system.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Inside Generations

Comedian Amy Schumer has been no stranger to sketch and stand-up comedy, as well as starring in her own film. But, recently she may have created her most relatable sketch ever. Period. On her television show Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central, she aired the amazing sketch, Generations. It depicts a painfully accurate desire for our elderly relatives to stop being so blatantly racist. In the sketch, you can send said relatives to a special class called Generations to teach them the ins and outs of being politically correct in our modern society.
It's always a dilemma of just letting it go because they grew up in a different time, as said in the video, or calling them out on their blatant racism. Whether they should be held accountable for being a dog who can't learn new tricks. Throughout history, propaganda, pop culture, and influences from older generations have always been a huge part of how we perceive things as children as well as how they transfer into adulthood. Today, we are able to brush a lot of this off and laugh at the absurdity of these ideologies when in reality that generation is still in power. They are the head executives of major networks, our political leaders, and so on and so on. There isn't time for us to wait for the all to die out, we have to take control of what we as the majority of citizens, the youth, want and believe in our oh so progressive and liberal society.

The "Human" Approach

One rhetorical strategy that seems to be extremely successful, specifically within the presidential debates, is making connections with the audience. In doing this, a speaker is able to evoke sympathy, agreement, and support from audience members. By relating to the audience, one can break down the distant, almost dreamlike representation that comes with being a celebrity, and actively capture the support and attention of the audience. Bernie Sanders does this in a number of ways. One example is when he says he wouldn't tax 90 percent as Eisenhower did, and jokes that he is "not as much of a Socialist as Eisenhower." By poking fun at politics, he comes off as a more friendly and relatable candidate-- more "human," even, than some of his opponents. He also distinguishes himself from the other candidates by explaining how his campaign is funded by individual donors, rather than large corporations. By doing this, he takes another step away from the distant political figure, and towards the actual voters themselves. Sanders uses pathos to connect to the audience when he brings about a sense of determination and hope by again explaining the need to 'break down the big banks' and even out the distribution of wealth in America. He refers to this as a "political revolution," which alone is enough to stir up some motivation and support. In the past Sanders has also made himself a more real, "human" figure by mentioning his children and grandchildren, and how it is important to leave behind a better world for them. By connecting to the audience, and specifically members of the middle class, on so many levels, Sanders is able to gain a large amount of support.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Democratic Debate on College

College tuition is a roadblock for millions of kids in the United States. Many kids don't get the chance to reach their full potential and goals because of the high price of universities throughout America. The chance to start living on their own and starting to adulthood is also affected because of those who choose to stay at a community college so they won't hurt themselves of family with large debt. The "dream college" is really only a dream for most graduates because of these reasons.
Once the idea of college debt gets brought up in the Democratic Debate, Sanders is the first to add in his opinion. Sanders expressed his belief that college should become free, with the states having to pay for 1/3 of the plan. Apparently, those states who fail to do so will be fined a heavy penalty. If college could be free, it would lead to a huge change in our society. For those who cannot afford college, would get a chance to become something more. With a college degree, a thousand more doors of opportunity can open up for them. Although there are thousands who are living extremely successful lives without going to college, there are also thousands who can't make ends meet because their options are more limited and they just weren't as lucky or privileged.
On a more realistic side, O'Malley thinks America should evolve into having debt free colleges by having more grants and crating more state block grants. This idea is a little more realistic because as Clinton adds in, taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for college for Donald Trump's kids. With free college, comes higher taxes and brings around not being able to afford their taxes and forcing people to move. But, the options for college and careers ahead would still open up more. More kids would be able to attend their dream school, or any school that can help them advance their future.
If it didn't somehow come around to nip the American's in the butt, everyone would wish for free college. The employment rate would go up, social classes would shift, and many lives would be changed. If Sanders has a realistic, fair plan than why not help out those who can't always help themselves.