An analytical framework of parody and satire: Mel Brooks and his world
Parodic and satiric films hold great amusement potential, but as highly rhetorical texts, they also have great rhetorical power. As such, the enlightened viewer can and should be able to decipher the amount of parody versus satire that the film uses, and even more importantly, how the filmmaker uses satire to target the object of criticism. To that end, this study proposes a framework for analyzing parodic and satiric films using Kenneth Burke's poetic categories and Mikhail Bakhtin's idea of the carnival(esque). In using this framework, the study posits that satiric texts may operate either through a comic frame of acceptance, which makes them carnivalesque and ultimately as close to parody as satire, or through a burlesque frame of rejection, which makes them less parodic and more satiric and condemning of their target. The goal of this study is to empower viewers and critics with a set of tools for understanding how power and criticism is at work in otherwise funny films. As a case study, the framework is applied to four of filmmaker Mel Brooks' films. Two research methods are utilized. The first part of the study textually analyzes the films, applying the framework to understand how each film is operating. The second part of the study takes the framework to audiences, and attempts to understand if audiences view parodic and satiric films in the same way as the author, and/or if they may be taught to use the framework proposed.
0708: Mass communications
0900: Film studies