| Assignment | Examples | Key Terms | Commentary | FAQ
In this assignment, you'll create a parody of some digital genre--for example, an eBay auction page, a personal Web site, a blog--in the voice and style of a character who is not you.
As this fictitious author (or multiple authors) speaks through the words, images and design of this work, however, the author reveals more about him/herself than he/she realizes.
Basically, you'll use the page or site to reveal the facade of the character, and bring the reader to an understanding that undercuts or enlarges the meaning intended by the fictitious author(s).
In each of these pages/sites, see how the creators of the parody allow the "facade" to slip, revealing some truer face beneath.
- genre: a type of writing or communication, distinguished by its characteristic features, styles, audience, and use (collectively known as conventions). Examples: house renovation blogs, Amazon music page.
- conventions: the features and styles that compose a genre.
- parody: an imitation of a serious work for satirical or comic purposes
- target: in a satire or parody, the particular social or cultural phenomenon being revealed or criticized, especially pretenses, subtexts, or concealed agendas.
- façade: the literary effect of writing/designing in the "voice" of a character to make that character reveal more to the reader than he/she realizes. On a Web site, the facade is often created through "consistent inconsistencies" that the
- pretense, subtext, concealed agenda: in a satire or parody, the gap between the character as publicly presented and the who or what character actually is.
- (sub)culture: sets of social practices that constitute shared ways of seeing, acting, and being.
- satirical intention: the ridicule of a social phenomenon, practice, or type, ideally to criticize and reform some representative vice or weakness for the general benefit of human society.
- literary intention: the aesthetic presentation of character(s) and situation(s) to tell or suggest a story.
- story: a set of cause-and-effect conditions presented to move a reader/viewer emotionally and intellectually.
Why the Commentary is Important
The commentary for this project will be especially necessary since many of your Parody (Facade) pieces will be adapting some features of existing pages while leaving many features as is, and satirizing social phenomena that I may not be familiar with.
This means I will be depending on your commentaries to point out:
- what you have changed to create the parody/satire,
- why you made those changes,
- how those changes express your satirical/literary intention,
- how they amount to a single satirical point or create a unified sense of character
- what observation or criticism of society (e.g., social roles, status, money, gender, race, styles, etc.) your Parody (Facade) ultimately presents
In the commentary, please bold any of the key terms you use from the assignment. Try to use them appropriately and thoughtfully.
Q: Would the phenomenon of myspace or facebook count as a genre?
A: Yes, Myspace or Facebook is a good place to start. The more specific the type of Myspace profile, the clearer what your target and intention are.
Q: Could I do a myspace profile of a cartoon character or of someone like Paris Hilton? Would that work?
A: Paris Hilton seems ripe (maybe too ripe?) for satirizing. What about Paris Hilton do you think needs to be criticized? Her personally or the people who like her (her appeal, what the idea of her does for them in their lives)? You could do somebody's "Paris Hilton Tribute Site" or a Myspace profile of a big Paris Hilton fan. There, the facade concerns what's really going on with this fan.
The cartoon character idea raises some interesting challenges. Can you see through the "facade" of a character who's already comic? Can we, for example, see through Homer Simpson any more than The Simpsons already lets us see through him? Often, cartoon characters don't have inner lives, which means they are, well, like cartoon characters (that is, one dimensional), and harder to make into facades where we're seeing through the surface.