Thursday, December 11, 2014

Modes of Satire in Bachelder

     One running gag that Bachelder uses in satire of Sinclair is playing with his excessive use of the exclamation point.  The exclamation point appears in the title itself, just as it appears in the title of Sinclair books like Oil!, and is also mentioned countless times by characters in the novel.  To top it off, on one page the author places all 1539 exclamation points from Oil! in a box on one page.  Since my parody is a music video, there are no exclamation points to parody--OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" video doesn't have subtitles.  However, the exclamation point is representative of something that certainly is present in music videos: excessive emotion.  Therefore, I can imitate the impassioned facial expressions and intense vocals that are so familiar in music videos.
     A second way Bachelder pokes fun at Sinclair is by having a chapter of jokes that are told about him.  The idea is that Sinclair is so well known for constantly being shot and for writing such bad novels that these traits can be incorporated into jokes about him (the one about the genie is particularly funny.)  Since there is nothing too widely familiar about carp, I can't exactly make fun of any of their well known traits.  However, the song I am parodying is familiar enough that I can manage some humor by subverting some of it's most famous lines.  Rather than saying "hope is a four-letter word," for example, I say "carp is a four-letter word."
      Third, he emphasizes the futility of Sinclair's attempts to get his socialist message across, both in the way he lists off the incredible number of poorly received novels he's penned, and in the way he includes letters Sinclair writes to try to get the attention of people like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the NFL commissioner.  The impression of the more and more desperate attempts to convey his message seems to lampoon not only Sinclair, who seems to be beating a dead horse, but also the people to continue to ignore his fairly simple advice, which would probably help a great deal of people.  I try to convey a similar sense of futile urgency in my music video, as I repeatedly say "no more eating [insert popular 2-syllable food fish], we'll be eating carp."  The repetition in the song reflects the fact that researchers have been calling for us to eat invasive Asian carp for years, but it still hasn't happened, just as Sinclair has tried to hard to promote socialism, with so little success.


  1. In his modes of parody, Joey discusses how he can use excessive emotion, humorous and desperate attempts at propaganda, and jokes like Bachelder did in his book to create emotionality through humor in his music video about carp. Although Joey has some great ideas about using humor, I think he should explore why it is humor should be used to make people more invested in his cause. Is humor really the best way to get people to understand the environmental crisis of the carp? Should he use different forms of emotionality, such as pity or hope to promote his cause? I like how Joey is using the same type of desperation as Sinclair uses to get his point across. However, clearly Bachelder believes there is something, be it the will of the American people or Sinclair's own inability to relate to them, that prevents Americans from making real socialist change, which is why any attempt to do so comes off as desperate. Is there something preventing Americans from eating the correct fish? Is it lack of knowledge? A general lack of caring? Joey should explore how to use the failure of Sinclair's techniques to improve his own campaign.

  2. The forms of satire Joey points out are definitely very obvious in U.S.! but the way he plans on using it in his tactical media project makes me question the effectiveness. I feel like the facial expressions are a good plan, but do you really not want to use closed captions? The whole point of a music video is that you want to get across the new lyrics and without closed captions, people might mishear things or not notice all the differences (especially if you're choosing such a popular song). Also, the use of humor is great in a parody video, but I don't see how "carp is a four-letter word" is funny. Are there other lines that are really obviously hilarious and going to make the audience l-o-l like Bachelder does in U.S.!? Obviously, the use of repetition is essential in a song since you are going to be singing a chorus 3 to 4 times over again, so I would just say make sure you write the chorus really well. Avoid trying to force rhymes by using half a word or something at the end of the line cause that might sound good but that might make people confuse your lyrics: e.g. People think Taylor Swift is saying "Starbucks lovers" instead of "long list of ex lovers" in Blank Space. You don't want that.

  3. I actually read Joey's post after watching his music video, and it seems like he took the ideas from U.S.! and implemented them very well in his project. I thought his video was hilarious and the song was very well written. The lines he talks about in this post are the lines that run through my head when I think about the song. I think that he really understands the way Bachelder uses humor and desperation in his novel, and it comes across in Joey's music video. For example, I recognize certain lines from the real song that he slightly changed to fit the carp theme. So the song isn't just random lyrics written to the music of Counting Stars. It's actually a parody with lines and rhymes that play off the real song lyrics. This is similar to the way that Bachelder mimics Sinclair in his novel.

  4. In response to Laura's comment, I feel that Joey is consciously making a humorous video in order to get the point across that we need to stop asian Carp. My guess is that Joey knows how ridiculous his video must come off to people, especially to students outside of our class. But that's the beauty of the video. The ridiculous, hilarious, and lovable nature of both Joey and his video is exactly what will call people's attention. Joey writes about integrating exaggerated emotion into his project, which is exactly what he does. He creates an extreme sense of emotion and passion for a national issue that most people don't even know about. This sense of urgency makes viewers want to keep listening.

  5. Just like Natalie, I watched Joey's music video before reading his post and I thought it was hilarious which made me watch the entire video. I think as he mentioned one of the best ways he could do something similar to Sinclaire's excessive uses of exclamation points--with a somewhat similar effect--was using "impassioned facial expressions and intense vocals" to evoke his desired emotions in his audience. The only thing that I was worried about was that even though the video did a great job of raising awareness in regards to eating Asian Carp, it does not provide a good enough rationale behind it. For example even though Bachelder is makes extensive use of satire in his book, he also subtly provides his readers with different reasons why Socialism can still be useful in modern society.

  6. In response to Philip's post, I agree. The video definitely caught my attention and held it through out it's entirety and although I did understand the point of the video very well, I wonder if maybe some statistics would have helped to bolster the argument. But at the same time, I wonder if adding more rationale would take away from the more humorous aspect of the film.


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