Parody (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A form of speech protected by the FIRST AMENDMENT as a "distorted imitation" of an original work for the purpose of commenting on it.
The use of parody as a means to express political and social views has a long history in the United States. Every president of the United States, including GEORGE WASHINGTON, has been the subject of satire and parody, often in the form of political cartoons. The cartoons, caricatures, and other forms of parody and satire typically distort and overly emphasize certain aspects of the subject's physical characteristics, such as ABRAHAM LINCOLN's lanky posture, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT's jutting jaw and cigarette holder, RONALD REAGAN's long face and slick, black hair, and BILL CLINTON's large nose and red cheeks. Although often comical, political cartoons and other forms of satire and parody have often immortalized the individuals portrayed.
Parody and satire can be used for purposes beyond lighthearted comic intent. Many political cartoons, for example, have influenced the course of national debate. For instance, Thomas Nast, the famous nineteenth-century political cartoonist, published a series of postivil War cartoons in Harper's Weekly characterizing the activities of William M. "Boss" Tweed and other corrupt politicians in New York City's TAMMANY HALL political machine....
(The entire section is 820 words.)
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