I’ve written a few parodies in my day, usually something short as in a blog post. Parodies can be fun and they can be very effective.
A well-written parody can be an extremely effective way of making a point in a way that moves people to action, brings them to tears, fills them with anger. A column in our local newspaper last February used Valentine’s Day to poke fun at those ultra-conservative religious folks who see “satanic attacks” and other forms of deviltry in celebrating such widely accepted holidays as Christmas. In this case, the writer made up and elaborate history of St. Valentine, of the original intent of the holiday being one of honoring God, but condemning modern Valentine’s Day observers for “taking St. Valentine out of St. Valentine’s Day,” a broad shot at all who sound the alarm over “taking Christ out of Christmas.”
Whatever your “beliefs” about St. Valentine or Christmas, the parody was written well and did an effective job. In fact, over a three week period following that publication, the newspaper carried a couple of letters from angry readers who were passionately angry at the mockery the column made of Valentine’s Day — they never “got it” that the whole thing was a parody.
Any subject that generates widespread interest, especially if it engenders strong emotion, is fair game for a good parody. You can poke fun at social institutions, such as religion and politics. You can poke fun at self-help gurus, self-help programs, AA, drug treatment centers or any sort of drug rehab, AAA, colleges, customs, sports — the list of targets is endless.
Have any of you written successful parodies you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment and tell us about it. What are some of your tips for writing parody?