Dialogic Absurdity
TV News Parody as a Critique of Genre

by Zoë Druick (Simon Fraser University)

This article examines the popular phenomenon of news parodies using the concept of
genre. While genre is often used as a category of industrial production and marketing,
the author argues that Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of genre as a socially embedded aes-
thetic form allows us to understand the proliferation of news parodies as a commentary
on the social authority of the news. Comparing examples from Canada, the UK, and the
United States, the article argues that the political significance of intertextual social
communication resides in the doubleness of texts that ask an audience to recognize the
problems of official forms of culture while simultaneously possibly reinscribing their
dominance. The article offers a comparison of shows that merely parody the news with
those that actually satirize politics, and ends with a discussion of The Daily Show and
The Colbert Report and their particular significance as daily news parodies. (download)