Parody cancels out the law. This is not to be taken literally. Parody does not really cancel out the law but – let’s face it – parody cancels out the law.
Here is a prime specimen:
Bart Simpson taught us (and is arguably still teaching us and our children) that parody cancels out the law. By making light of situations, the seriousness of them is neutralized, or at least minimized. Often the extremity of them is also uncovered, depending on what law and what crime we are talking about. Add technology into the mix and things can get pretty wacky pretty quick. Besides, if we are criminals who get away with it long enough, we become revered by our very same, risk-averse, albeit schizophrenic, culture.
Kids don’t know it but they understand this better than most grownups. That’s why they respond to it. Wisdom embedded in silliness gets through to them better than a serious lecture. The best teachers know this, too, especially where the linguistic, stylistic, and anthropological juxtapositions of the currency of cool are concerned. For example, letting go of the stuff we make – ideas should be open sourced – knowing and not sharing is equal to not knowing at all and in this age of consent, it is essential we prove what we know. Why are we afraid to allow something we make to become someone else’s? This guy isn’t.
Meanwhile, relinquishing our desire to own things sets us free. This may be one of the ultimate manifestations of parody canceling out the law. To emulate this requires parts popular comedian, part benevolent savior (when it’s time let’s talk to our kids about ego, though, won’t we?) and equal parts dark horse and stone-cold-Hollywood pimp.
Meanwhile, are some grownups generally working at being uncool by swimming against this current rather than with it, even as they may know their risk-averse cultures alienate them further and further from their own children? Who cares? Somebody does.
So, some interesting questions might be:
How can we preserve our sense of humor without turning it into a floppy, heavy, wet blanket of faux slapstick (nowhere even as good as the real McCoy) while at the same time cultivating the better parts of it that deliver wisdom in silliness?
What ripples are made from a rock of parody thrown into a lake of the law?
What long-term implications are impressed on a culture that values order but, at the same time, values irreverence, even just to gain our attention, in the context of breaking the mold of tradition or the expected (even if just to be unexpected)?
How are marketing and advertising cultures reinforcing or working against this?
Would this approach sell more schwack for their clients while simultaneously entertaining and arguably educating a listening audience?
What hidden machinery does parody power for a culture that prides itself on innovation?