One of the dearest-held values in our society is humility. And not only that: genuine humility. If I thought it was just plain ol’ humility it probably wouldn’t be so hard. Genuine humility is tough. You can’t just do humble things and have people admire you for it. Most of us are highly skeptical of such things. We have to be able to sniff out the genuineness. Someone serving at a soup kitchen might just be hoping people are noticing. Someone who dresses very modestly might suffer more from a low self-image than humility. How do we know they really are humble?
When someone has the ability to laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously, we tend to be more accepting of their humility as genuine. Yet it can be so difficult to incorporate in our own lives. Back in college, my cousin used to keep all of us entertained in our dorm room by telling stories of his misadventures. We would laugh hysterically at tales of mistakes and unfortunate circumstances. I loved hearing those stories and not for a second did I deduce that he was somehow less of a person for them. Quite the opposite. Yet, ironically, any of these stories happening to me would somehow magically become unfunny (in my mind anyway). In my brain the story now becomes more about me being weak, not admiringly funny. Happens to my cousin: he’s a funny guy. Happens to me: What’s wrong with me??
Spoofs are wonderful for this reason. It’s like they hold a mirror in front of our faces so we can see how silly we look and act. And the choice is ours to either laugh or cry.
Mel Brooks spoofed horror movies with Young Frankenstein; silent films with Silent Movie; westerns with Blazing Saddles and space epics with Spaceballs. Weird Al spoofed so many artists from Nirvana to Lady Gaga, but not all of them chose to laugh at themselves and be ok with his parody. Prince was especially guilty of this. Some, like Coolio, were upset at first but later apologized for their behaviour.
At some point you’re going to look in a mirror today. Will you be able to smile at the wrinkles, dark circles, pimples, extra chins or disproportionate nose/ears/forehead/etc? Will you take yourself just serious enough to appreciate what you see? The rest of us do when we look at you, you know.
Congratulations Blazing Saddles. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles.
Best Actor: Tie between Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet in Spaceballs and Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun.
Best Quote: “Doctors say that Nordberg has a 50/50 chance of living, though there’s only a 10 percent chance of that.”
My favourite movie spoofs:
10. Blazing Saddles
9. The Naked Gun (series)
7. Young Frankenstein
6. History of the World, Part I
4. Team America: World Police (This is not a recommendation!)
3. Shaun of the Dead
2. This Is Spinal Tapp
1. Austin Powers (series)
Movie of the Week