Pastiche and Parody

What is “pastiche”? A word we don’t use every day, it means “a work… that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists.”

A pastiche is a celebration of the work it imitates.

On the other hand, a “parody” is also an imitation in style or character, but portrayed with exaggeration to serve as criticism or mockery.

Where is the line, the line between a tribute, a celebration… and a goof meant to ridicule the target?

When I taught marketing back in grad school, I asked my students to make presentations to the class.

One student asked if he and his team could “goof on me” as part of their presentation.

Of course I said “yes.” That was during my “I’m like your cool uncle” phase of teaching.

To them, goofing on me meant wearing fake glasses, a funny, poorly tied tie, and passing around a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke to whoever was speaking.

Yeah, I generally had a can or bottle (not two-liters, though) of pop with me when I taught.

We were all young and foolish once.

The class laughed. Of course, I was focused on the content of their presentation… they did fine.

Was this pastiche or parody?

Well, at least they asked. I’ve had disrespectful students before, and they never had the courtesy to ask before disrespecting me.

So after a moment of discomfort, I realized that this was their youthful way of demonstrating their comfort with me, their trust in me, that they believed I could share a laugh with the class without any damage… to my feelings or to their grades. A very real possibility.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

That was a long time ago and now, we all see… every day and everywhere… how easily feelings can be hurt.

Snowflakes, Cancel culture. Banned books.

Why are feelings hurt so easily?

And how powerful do we become when we choose not to let our feelings be hurt?

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!