Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Pedagogical Value of Parody

This exceddingly entertaining time capsule is excerpted from B.L. Ullman's Hints for Teachers (CJ 19.5, p. 330):

In the "Hints" for June, 1922, I pointed out that parodies had a distinct teaching value, in addition to that gained from the interest created by them, because they presupposed a thorough knowledge of the passages parodied and thus encouraged reading for thought. Miss Helen S. Conover of the Hillsboro, Ohio, High School sends the following Ciceronian parody by a junior in her school:
How long, O flapper, will you try our patience? How long will your wildness elude us? For what purpose do you display your lip stick so publicly? Do the laments of your mother, the growls of your father, the horrified countenance of your grandmother, and the bold glances of many men move you not at all? Do you not see that your tricks are known and your wishes are made harmless by the knowledge of all who know you? Do you think any one of us is ignorant of what dance hall you visited night before last, what time you came home last night, where you were, who was with you and what exciting lark you planned?

O the times, O the customs! The town knows these things, the families see them, yet they continue. Do they continue? Nay, they even grow worse and worse. Chic flappers draw flasks from wondrous corsages and mark with their eyes what man they are going to lure to ruin. But the brave fathers and mothers lift not one finger to prevent and think they have done enough for their children's souls if they give them more money than they ask for and more clothes than they can wear.
With a few changes it might be relevant today.

No comments: