Posts Tagged ‘satire’

The Drawing Board: Plagiarism

Is plagiarism bad? People have discussed it before, but I can’t exactly tell you what they said, now can I? I guess I could, if I put it in my own words. But I don’t have any words. I got mine from a dictionary written by this guy—I don’t want to say his name because you bastards will probably tip him off that I’m stealing his words. Or I could cite the source, but I don’t have my own system of citation, and I’m not about to just rip off the Modern Lang…er, I mean, no one.

That first paragraph is what’s called satire. We learned about it in 10th grade. It’s when you say something really smart, but then you trick people into thinking you want to eat babies for food. I’ll spare you that part and just tell you: The really smart thing I was trying to say is that plagiarism isn’t easy to understand, and it’s not necessarily bad. I bet we’ve all benefited from plagiarism at some point in our lives. I know I have. Let’s just say that without plagiarism, this would be my very first column.

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Deborah Solomon Interviews NPI

QUESTIONS FOR NO PUN INTENDED

Discourse on Culture

By DEBORAH SOLOMON

Why “No Pun Intended”? It was a phrase we liked. Plus we could see “NPI” on a shirt.

Isn’t that an embarrassing way of coming up with a name? Shouldn’t the title of your blog stand for some deeper philosophical meaning, or raison d’etre? Well, we don’t intend puns, if that’s what you’re looking for.

It’s not. I read your first post. Don’t you think it’s a little immodest to use the same opening lines as the Bible? Or are you trying to be that big? We think it’s unfair for the Bible to claim monopoly over prepositional phrases.

And what is “humorous and intellectual discourse on culture”? Aren’t those just a bunch of buzz words strung together as a pretense of a mission and a cover-all for “We’re writing whatever the hell we want”? That’s perceptive of you.

Thank you. Is it perceptive if I say I don’t find your blog to be humorous or intellectual, or even all that discursive on culture? No, not really.

Well, I don’t. That’s too bad. Continue reading

The Problem With Brüno: What Is This a “Satire” of?

Josh points out that Sacha Baron Cohen is being held to an unfair standard in many reviews of Brüno: Why is a comedian obligated to perform social commentary? The goal of Brüno is not to end homophobia, it’s to be funny. 

The fact is that Cohen has never really been a social commentator: Even his work as Borat never had the exaggerated social implications that some people claimed. The people featured in the film were generally marginal, or their prejudices came as no surprise. What does come as a surprise, and is more often mined for laughs by Cohen, is tolerance and social manners.

In Brüno, this is even more obvious. The jokes in the film don’t often come from highlighting homophobia, but from what exactly Cohen can get away with. Can he talk on the phone while he’s getting his anus bleached? Yes. Can he get Paula Abdul to sit on a Mexican worker posing as furniture? Yes. Can he show his penis to a focus group, and then make it talk? Yes. Can he pretend to fellate a ghost in front of a psychic? Yes. Continue reading

In Defense of Brüno

bruno-movie-poster-500x740Brüno’s been getting mixed reviews, many of which are unjustified. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post reflects the critical reviews well by claiming: “In Borat, Cohen created a weird but mostly likable naif, whose bumbling travels revealed the roots of fear and ignorance that grow into larger and more dangerous hatreds. Brüno is no Borat. His narcissism, combined with the fact that the scenes in ‘Brüno’ are far more obviously staged than in the previous movie, give the entire enterprise a nasty and, worse, irrelevant tone… ‘Brüno’ could have been a flawlessly timed satiric contribution to the conversation about gay civil rights.”
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Ra-ra-ra-raaaaaaaandy: Aziz Ansari’s Brilliant Balance of Parody

For those of you not yet aware, Judd Apatow has a new movie, Funny People, about comedians in Los Angeles coming out in a few weeks. As part of the promotional material for the movie, the fictional projects of the fictional comedians in the film have become, well, slightly less fictional. Clips from nonexistent movies starring Adam Sandler’s character “George Simmons” (who seems to be a fictional version of Sandler himself) are available on YouTube, NBC.com has clips of a fake show called “Yo Teach!”, and Aziz Ansari has been doing stand up as his character, “Randy”.

Now, all of these projects are essentially parodies: The fictional films seem a lot like send-ups of actual lowbrow comedies, the fictional show lampoons “Welcome Back, Kotter”-style shows (“Do you guys know who the greatest rapper of all-time is? William Shakespeare!”), and “Randy” seems to be a parody of Dane Cook: 

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