A parody has been defined as “a work created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work, its subject, or author, by means of humorous or satiric imitation”. Its roots go back at least to Aristophanes in ancient Greece, from whose language the word comes.
There is a long history of parody in English culture from Chaucer to Jonathan Swift to Hogarth to Spitting Image. Canadian contemporary culture is also rich in parody and satire including SCTV, The Newsroom, Adbusters and This Hour has 22 Minutes – not to mention our many exports south of the border.
There is an equally long history of the rich and powerful being unamused at parodies and seeking to punish their creators. That is what we are dealing with in this case.
The creators of the parody maintain that it was an exercise of the fundamental freedom guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom of “thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and mother media of communication.”
Canada, unlike most G8 countries, has no specific protection for parody and satire in its laws. (For example, the Australian Copyright Act states that: “an adaptation of a literary, dramatic or musical work, does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the work if it is for the purpose of parody or satire.”)
However, the Supreme Court of Canada has moved in the right direction with its June 2008 unanimous decision about freedom of expression: “the law must accommodate commentators such as the satirist or the cartoonist who… exercise a democratic right to poke fun at those who huff and puff in the public arena.”
Download the full text of the parody here. It was retyped from a hard copy of the parody by a committee volunteer.
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