A parody religion or mock religion is an imitation belief system that challenges spiritual convictions of others, often through humor, satire, and/or burlesque (literary ridicule). They are frequently created to address specific religions, sects, gurus, cults, and or new religious movements, but may also be a parody of no particular religion, instead parodying the concept of religious belief itself. In some parody religions, emphasis is on making fun and being a convenient excuse for pleasant social interaction among like-minded, e.g. the Church of the SubGenius. Other parody religions target a specific religion, sect, cult, or new religious movement.
Several religions that are classified as parody religions have a number of relatively serious followers who embrace the perceived absurdity of these religions as spiritually significant, a decidedly postmodern approach to religion. For instance, in Discordianism (begun in 1965), it may be hard to tell if even these ‘serious’ followers are not just taking part in an even bigger joke. This joke, in turn, may be part of a greater path to enlightenment, and so on ad infinitum.read more »
Bloom County is an American comic strip by Berkeley Breathed which ran from 1980 until 1989. It examined events in politics and culture through the viewpoint of a fanciful small town in Middle America, where children often have adult personalities and vocabularies and where animals can talk.
The fictional setting of ‘Bloom County’ served as a recurring backdrop for the comic and its sequels, although the nature of the setting was frequently altered. In the comics, the county is presented as a stereotypical American midwestern small town. The small town setting was frequently contrasted with the increasing globalization taking place in the rest of the world; though Bloom County contained the likes of farmers and wilderness creatures by default, it was frequented by Hare Krishnas, feminists, and rock stars.read more »
‘Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)’ was a work of endurance performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, conducted as her senior thesis during the final year of her visual arts degree at Columbia University in New York City.
Begun in September 2014, the piece involved her carrying a 50-lb mattress – of the kind Columbia uses in its dorms – wherever she went on campus. She said the piece would end when a student she alleges raped her in her dorm room in 2012 was expelled from or otherwise left the university. Sulkowicz carried the mattress until the end of the Spring semester as well as to her graduating ceremony in May 2015.read more »
Product placement is form of advertising where brands appear in media such as film, television, and video games. Product placement stands out as a marketing strategy because it is the most direct attempt to derive commercial benefit from ‘the context and environment within which the product is displayed or used.’ The technique can be beneficial for viewers, since interruptive advertising removes them from the entertainment.
According to PQ Media, a consulting firm that tracks alternative media spending, 2014 product placement expenditures were estimated at $10.58 billion, rising 13.6% year-over-year, and global branded entertainment growth reached $73.27 billion. The firm noted that brand marketers are seeking improved methods to engage younger audiences used to ad-skipping and on-demand media usage, and branded entertainment provides omnichannel possibilities to more effectively engage post-boomers, particularly Millennials.read more »
A shared universe is a set of creative works where more than one writer (or other artist) independently contributes a work that can stand alone but fits into the joint development of the storyline, characters, or world of the overall project. It is common in genres like science fiction. It differs from ‘collaborative writing’ where multiple artists are working together on the same work, and from ‘crossovers’ where the works and characters are independent except for a single meeting.
The term shared universe is also used within comics to reflect the overall milieu created by the comic book publisher in which characters, events, and premises from one product line appear in other product lines in a media franchise. The term has also been used in a wider, non-literary sense to convey interdisciplinary or social commonality, often in the context of a ‘shared universe of discourse.’read more »
Super Bowl ads are commercials run during the National Football League (NFL) championship game, among the United States’ most watched television broadcasts, with Nielsen having estimated that Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was seen by at least 114.4 million domestic viewers, surpassing the previous year’s game as the highest-rated television broadcast in US history. As such, advertisers have typically used commercials during the Super Bowl as a means of building awareness for their products and services among this wide audience, while also trying to generate buzz around the ads themselves so they may receive additional exposure, such as becoming a viral video.
Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon of their own alongside the game itself with some viewers reporting that they are more interested in the commercials than the game. In 2015, Dish Network went as far as allowing the ‘commercial skipping’ features on its Hopper digital video recorder to function in reverse and allow users to view a recording of the Super Bowl that skips over the game itself and only shows the commercials.read more »
Catvertising is the use of cats in advertising. The tongue-in-cheek portmanteau was coined in the late 1990s, and enjoyed a spike in popularity beginning 2011 as a result of a parody of commercialization of cat viral videos by the advertising agency st. john in Toronto.
The video was part of a series of spoofs beginning with ‘Pink Ponies: A Case Study,’ then ‘Catvertising,’ and finally ‘Buyral’ (a blend of ‘buy’ and ‘viral’). A University of Arizona marketing team competes under the name ‘Catvertising.’
A pastiche [pa-steesh] is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates. The word pastiche is a French cognate of the Italian noun ‘pasticcio,’ which is a pâté or pie-filling mixed from diverse ingredients.
Metaphorically, pastiche and pasticcio describe works that are either composed by several authors, or that incorporate stylistic elements of other artists’ work. They are examples of eclecticism in art. Pastiche is sometimes confused with allusion, but a literary allusion may refer to another work, but it does not reiterate it. Moreover, allusion requires the audience to share in the author’s cultural knowledge. Both allusion and pastiche are mechanisms of intertextuality (the shaping of a text’s meaning by another text).read more »
Edisonade is a modern term, coined in 1993 by John Clute in his and Peter Nicholls’ ‘The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction,’ for fictional stories about a brilliant young inventor and his inventions. This subgenre started in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and had its apex of popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was common in ‘scientific romance,’ an archaic term for the genre of fiction now known as ‘science fiction.’
The term ‘Edisonade’ originated in the 1850s to describe both fiction and elements of scientific writing, but has since come to refer to the science fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, primarily that of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle. In recent years, the term has come to be applied to science fiction written in a deliberately anachronistic style, as a homage to or pastiche of the original scientific romances.read more »
Male Restroom Etiquette is a 2006 American short subject created by humorist Phil R. Rice and produced by his company Zarathustra Studios. The film is a mockumentary about unwritten rules of behavior in male restrooms and is intended to be a parody of educational and social guidance films. The film was made using the machinima technique of recording video footage from computer games, namely ‘The Sims 2’ and ‘SimCity 4.’ In the short, the narrator states that increased cultural diversity has necessitated the exposition of previously unwritten rules regarding the use of malerestrooms.
According to these rules, males should use restrooms as quickly as possible, maximize physical separation from each other when using urinals, flush urinals when they contain concentrated urine, avoid stalls with unflushed toilets, and avoid eye contact and communication with others. The film depicts a scenario in which excess communication leads to a mess in the restroom and thus deficient hygiene and homeostasis, the latter of which is in the lowest tier in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As the scenario continues, the restroom occupants turn to violence, leading to police and biological hazard team involvement that closes the restroom. Forced to go elsewhere, other men repeat the scenario, eventually leading to complete societal breakdown.
An anti-proverb or a ‘perverb’ is the transformation of a standard proverb for humorous effect. Paremiologist (proverb scholar) Wolfgang Mieder defines them as ‘parodied, twisted, or fractured proverbs that reveal humorous or satirical speech play with traditional proverbial wisdom.’ They have also been defined as ‘an allusive distortion, parody, misapplication, or unexpected contextualization of a recognized proverb, usually for comic or satiric.’
To have full effect, an anti-proverb must be based on a known proverb. For example, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, quit’ is only funny if the hearer knows the standard proverb ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’ Anti-proverbs are used commonly in advertising, such as ‘Put your burger where your mouth is’ from Red Robin. Anti-proverbs are also common on T-shirts, such as ‘Taste makes waist’ and ‘If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.’read more »