The genre of Menippean [meh-nip-pee-uhn] satire is a form of satire (ridicule of foolishness and moral failings), usually in prose, which has a length and structure similar to a novel and is characterized by attacking mental attitudes instead of specific individuals. Other features found in Menippean satire are different forms of parody and mythological burlesque (humorous caricatures of the gods), a critique of the myths inherited from traditional culture, a rhapsodic nature, a fragmented narrative, the combination of many different targets, and the rapid moving between styles and points of view.
The term is used by classical grammarians and by philologists mostly to refer to satires in prose. Typical mental attitudes attacked and ridiculed by Menippean satires are ‘pedants, bigots, cranks, parvenus, virtuosi, enthusiasts, rapacious and incompetent professional men of all kinds,’ which are treated as diseases of the intellect. The term Menippean satire distinguishes it from the earlier satire pioneered by Aristophanes, which was based on personal attacks.read more »
Ichthys [ik-thees], from the Koine Greek word for fish, is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish, used by early Christians as a secret Christian symbol and now known colloquially as the ‘sign of the fish’ or the ‘Jesus fish.’
It is sometimes a subject of satire, especially when adorning the bumpers or trunks of automobiles. The most notable is the ‘Darwin Fish,’ an ichthys symbol with ‘evolved’ legs and feet attached. Rhetorical scholar Thomas Lessl conducted a survey of users of the Darwin fish emblem. Based on their responses, he interprets the symbol as scientific ‘blackface,’ a parody that is one part mockery and one part imitation. While users frequently explain the symbol as a rebuke against Creationism, Lessl suggests that the emblem represents a metaphor for cultural progress.read more »
Spike Jonze (b. 1969) is an American filmmaker best known for his collaborations with writer Charlie Kaufman, which include the 1999 film ‘Being John Malkovich’ and the 2002 film ‘Adaptation,’ and as the co-writer and director of the 2009 film ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ He is also well known for his music video collaborations with Fatboy Slim, Weezer, Beastie Boys, and Björk.
He was also a co-creator and executive producer of ‘MTV’s Jackass.’ Since 2007, he has been the creative director at VBS.tv, an online television network supplied by Vice and funded by MTV. He is also part owner of skateboard company Girl Skateboards with riders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. He also co-founded Directors Label, with filmmakers Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry, and the Palm Pictures companyread more »
‘The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)’ is a 2013 electronic dance music song and viral video by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis. Brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker produced the song and music video to promote the upcoming season of their television talk show ‘Tonight with Ylvis.’ Vegard was initially skeptical about making a song about a fox, but soon relented, saying in an interview: ‘The way we work is we just sit around and talk about things and get ideas and take some notes. I guess we must have been talking about what sound a fox makes. And then we had a chance to work with Stargate, a production company in New York City… We actually did a favor for them and we asked them if they could produce a song for the new season in exchange.’
Tris McCall of the ‘Star-Ledger’ describes ‘The Fox’ as ‘a parody of the excesses and absurdities of contemporary club music’: the brothers ‘take turns singing preposterous lyrics about animal noises’ over ‘typically vainglorious synthpop,’ with the proposed fox sounds ‘mimic[king] the car-alarm synthesizers of contemporary dubstep.’ He compares it to Ylvis’ ‘Someone Like Me,’ which mocked the insertion of dubstep breaks into pop songs.
Balrog is a character from Capcom’s Street Fighter fighting game series depicted as an African American boxer wearing blue trunks with white trim and a torn white shirt under a blue tank top. He wears red boxing gloves and boxing shoes. His hairstyle consists of short hair cut in an odd pointing style in the front, similar to Mike Tyson’s haircuts from the time ‘Street Fighter II’ was made. A character named Mike, who was also an African-American boxer, appears in the original ‘Street Fighter.’ Although recognized as a separate character, Mike is considered to be a prototype of Balrog.
In Japan, the character of Balrog is named M. Bison, with the letter being an initial for ‘Mike,’ and is intended as a parody of real-life boxer Mike Tyson. However, to avoid litigation, the names of the three boss characters were rotated for international releases. Capcom executives felt the name ‘Vega’ was better suited for the androgynous bullfighter, so they gave his name, ‘Balrog,’ to the boxer character. In ‘Street Fighter Alpha 3,’ Balrog tells some of his defeated opponents that he’s going to ‘bite [their] ear off,’ a reference to Tyson’s infamous biting of Evander Holyfield.read more »
Women have been portrayed in comic books since the medium’s beginning, and their portrayals are often the subject of controversy. Sociologists with an interest in gender roles and stereotyping have outlined the role of women as both supporting characters and as potential leaders finding limited success at being accepted as equals.
Another point of study has been the depiction of women in comics, in which, as in other forms of popular culture, body types are unrealistically portrayed.read more »
Slim Jim is a brand of jerky snacks or dried sausage manufactured by ConAgra Foods, Inc., the food conglomerate based in Omaha. They are popular in the United States. More than 500 million are produced annually in at least 20 varieties. The Slim Jim itself has been transformed in the years since Adolph Levis invented it in 1928. He sold the company in 1967 for about 20 million dollars to General Mills, who moved the operations to Raleigh, N.C., and merged them into other meatpacking operations that it renamed Goodmark Foods. It sold Goodmark in 1982 to a group led by Ron Doggett, who sold it to ConAgra in 1998.
The product Levis created is different from the one known today. Lon Adams developed the current Slim Jim recipe while working for Goodmark. Slim Jim is one example of a food product which is listed as containing mechanically separated chicken in its ingredients by requirement of the USDA. Production was interrupted after an explosion and fire in 2009 destroyed the packaging operations of the formerly-sole Garner, North Carolina manufacturing facility, but has since resumed there and in Troy, Ohio. On May 20, 2011 the facility in Garner, N.C. closed, the same day that former spokesperson ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage died.read more »
A howler is a glaring blunder, typically an amusing one. Eric Partridge’s ‘A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English’ (1951) defined it in part as: ‘… A glaring (and amusing) blunder: from before 1890; … also, a tremendous lie … Literally something that howls or cries for notice, or perhaps … by way of contracting howling blunder.’ Another common interpretation of this usage is that a howler is a mistake fit to make one howl with laughter.
All over the world, probably in all natural languages, there are many informal terms for blunders; the English term ‘howler’ occurs in many translating dictionaries. There are other colloquial English words for howler, in particular the mainly United States and Canadian slang term ‘boner’ which has various interpretations, including that of blunder. Like howler, boner can be used in any sense to mean an ignominious and usually laughable blunder, and also like howler, it has been used in the titles of published collections of largely schoolboy blunders since at least the 1930s.read more »
Poe’s law is an Internet adage reflecting the idea that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism. A corollary of Poe’s law is the reverse phenomenon: sincere fundamentalist beliefs can be mistaken for a parody of those beliefs. The statement was formulated in 2005 by Nathan Poe on the website christianforums.com in a debate about creationism. The original sentence read: ‘Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake [it] for the genuine article.’
The sentiments expressed by Poe date back much earlier – at least to 1983, when Jerry Schwarz in a post on Usenet wrote: ‘Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks. Without the voice inflection and body language of personal communication these are easily misinterpreted. A sideways smile, :-), has become widely accepted on the net as an indication that ‘I’m only kidding.’ If you submit a satiric item without this symbol, no matter how obvious the satire is to you, do not be surprised if people take it seriously.’ Another precedent posted on Usenet dates to 2001. Following the well-known schema of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law (any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic), Alan Morgan wrote: ‘Any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.’
Signifyin’ (vernacular) is a practice in African-American culture, involving a verbal strategy of indirection that exploits the gap between the denotative and figurative meanings of words. According to African-American literary scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., the practice derived from the Trickster archetype found in much African mythology, folklore, and religion: a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and societal norms. In practice, signifyin’ often takes the form of quoting from subcultural vernacular, while extending the meaning at the same time through a rhetorical figure.
The expression itself derives from the numerous tales about the Signifying Monkey, a folk trickster figure said to have originated during slavery in the United States. In most of these narratives, the Monkey manages to dupe the powerful Lion by signifying. Signifyin(g) directs attention to the connotative, context-bound significance of words, which is accessible only to those who share the unique cultural values of a given speech community.read more »
Oscar the Grouch is a Muppet character on the television program ‘Sesame Street.’ He has a green body (during the first season he was orange), has no visible nose, and lives in a trash can. His favorite thing in life is trash, as evidenced by the song ‘I Love Trash.’ A running theme is his compulsive hoarding of seemingly useless items.
‘The Grouch’ aptly describes his misanthropic interaction with the other characters, but also refers to his species. The character is performed by Caroll Spinney, and has been performed by him since the show’s first episode.read more »
Captain Marvel, also known as ‘Shazam,’ is a fictional comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and later by DC. Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, the character first appeared in 1940 in ‘Whiz Comics’ #2. With a premise that taps adolescent fantasy, Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a youth who works as a radio news reporter and was chosen to be a champion of good by the wizard Shazam.
Whenever Billy speaks the wizard’s name, he is struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six archetypal, historical figures. Several friends and family members, most notably Marvel Family cohorts Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., can share Billy’s power and become ‘Marvels’ themselves.read more »