By The Right-Wing Teen
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, is a historical novel that contrasts the social and political events taking place in Paris and London during the French Revolution. “A Tale of Two Parodies” is an article that compares two parodies written for the current political moment.
According to LegalZoom, “Comedians, YouTubers, bloggers, and everyday people regularly make fun of governments, politicians, and other public figures. Doing so is a common way to communicate messages or personal points of view to the world at large. Many of these instances fall under the umbrella of parody or satire, two forms of creative expression.”
Parody and satire are very similar types of humor. A parody specifically mimics the style of a well-known person or composition. (Weird Al Yankovic is known for his song parodies.) A satire mocks its subject in an exaggerated way. (Don Quixote is a satire of the romantic chivalrous quest.). Sometimes it can be hard to make a distinction between parody and satire as they may they overlap.
However, when comparing two parodies or satires, it’s easy to tell the difference between a mean-spirited one that’s being purposely spiteful and one that’s done either in good-natured fun or for editorial purposes (like a political cartoon). You can often determine the author’s intent based on their tone of voice and choice of illustration.
The way I see it, there’s a slight difference between “poking fun” and “making fun.” When you poke fun at someone, you tease them or laugh at them in a playful manner, like friends do when they’re being silly. But when you make fun of someone, you sneer at them in a scornful way or make jokes about them with the intent of hurting their feelings or causing them to seem ridiculous.
Two Parodies: Liberal vs. Conservative
Here we will compare two parodies. Each is a recently published book, on opposite ends of the political spectrum. One was written by a best-selling conservative author, and the other by an unknown writer known by only the pen name “Faye Kanouse.” (Which sounds like “fake a noose” or “fake news” when said out loud.)
Parody #1: If You Give a Pig the White House
If You Give a Pig the White House: A Parody, written by Faye Kanouse and illustrated by Amy Zhing, is based on the popular children’s book If You Give a Pig a Pancake, written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. Numeroff’s original stories are cautionary tales full of chain reaction events meant to teach children lessons on cause and effect.
The illustrations in If You Give a Pig the White House are very similar to If You Give a Pig a Pancake. It looks very much like a children’s book, but it is meant for adults. If You Give a Pig the White House is a parody because it mimics the style of If You Give a Pig a Pancake; it is also a satire because it mocks the current President of the United States.
“A coiffed and blustery pig has shoved his way into the White House! Watch in dismay as the presidential pig gets into trouble, binges on too much Fox News and fast food, and cavalierly threatens national security. If You Give a Pig the White House both lovingly caricatures the beloved children’s book and shows just what can happen when a greedy anti-hero tracks his hooves all over America.”
The book, published October 1st, greatly disrespects President Donald Trump. Each page disparagingly mocks at least one of his behaviors, from tweeting to gorging on junk food. Sometimes mockery is intended to be funny, but this is just a shameful attempt to make him look bad. Obviously the author has a bad case of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). For a brief glimpse into the insulting parody, click here.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this level of contempt and mockery has ever been given to any other U.S. President. Seriously, reading If You Give a Pig the White House is like watching Saturday Night Live. Such inflammatory political garbage only fuels hate and creates more divisiveness in our nation. I can’t believe St. Martin’s Press (owned by Macmillan) decided to publish this book, as it’s not even very well-written.
If You Give a Pig the White House is not meant to be a children’s book. But it would be terrible if a child saw the colorful pictures and did happen to read this book, because what is it teaching? It’s basically saying that if you don’t like someone, you should belittle them. I’m all for free speech, but such childish ridicule of our President – or anyone – is totally unnecessary and displays poor manners. Constant criticism and negativity are destructive, like someone with a bad attitude that drags everyone down.
Parody #2: Donald Drains the Swamp
Now here is a parody that’s much easier to stomach. National bestselling author/ humorist Eric Metaxas and award-winning artist Tim Raglin teamed up to create a whimsical — and hilarious — parable titled Donald Drains the Swamp. Released on October 16th, this book is based on the true story of, you guessed it, President Donald Trump. A caveman named Donald who drains a swamp made of money and influence is the main character. I suppose the primitive cave people are the “deplorables.”
The cavemen need help. Their King has forgotten all about them, thanks to the swamp creatures who surround the castle.
Donald is just a caveman. But when the people ask for his help, he realizes there’s only one way to save the day, and it’s YUUUUUUGE…
DRAIN… THE… SWAMP!
Donald Drains the Swamp is a mashup of political humor, serious lessons about liberty, and the good things Metaxas sees happening in America under this president. With its colorful illustrations and “Fred Flintstone” looking characters, some may mistake it for a children’s book.
“When I wrote this book originally I was really thinking of a humor book for adults,” said Metaxas during an interview with CBN News at his radio studio in New York City. “Donald the Caveman, he drains the swamp and there’s a lot of political humor in here that’s specifically for adults – kids aren’t going to get it but if you do it just right you do it in a way that doesn’t exclude kids, you do it in a way that’s sweet and innocent.”
Metaxas has the right idea: “This book is not nasty, it’s not mean, it’s meant to be light-hearted and fun,” he says.
So why did he portray the president as a caveman?
The caveman represents the effective simplicity of a leader driven by his gut. “Sometimes we think he’s a little bit of a caveman, this president, but he’s our caveman. He’s working for us. That’s the key, he’s working for us,” Metaxas said. “This presidency, there’s something about it. He has a folk hero quality. It’s like an American folk hero – who is this guy?”
Metaxas hopes many copies of Donald Drains the Swamp end up under Christmas trees to help Americans better understand the substance beneath this president’s rhetoric. “We’re living in such divided times we need to laugh. We need to be able to celebrate the good things that are happening so that’s why I wrote the book,” he explains.
Now THAT’S the right attitude to have – keep it upbeat, look for the good, and everyone will be happier!
Have you read either of these two parodies, or perhaps both? Which of these two parodies do you think is better, and why?