Our video, The Reagans Speak Out On Drugs, uses clips of Ronald and Nancy Reagan discussing the War on drugs, with only slight edits to make them instead supporting drug use.
This video is making the argument by use of satire that the War on Drugs is futile and lacks seriousness in general. The idea that the president and his first lady are preaching the importance of drug use rather than the importance of abstinence from drug use is so absurd that it provides comic relief on a topic often looked at with an incredibly serious approach. The chopping of clips from the original video helps to give this parody an authentic aura about it, the edits are seamless and the only way the audience knows that the video isn’t real comes from prior historical knowledge. This video is also making the argument that a pro-drug speech would have the same effectiveness, in essence none, as the original that discourages it.
The Reagans Speak Out On Drugs constructs an effective argument by utilizing humor and hyperbole. The humor of watching the Reagans very earnestly expressing their support of drug use helps make this video an effective satire. But beyond the humor, the video has a more important message: that the real joke is the war on drugs. Instead of simply having the Reagans criticize the war on drugs, however, the video has the couple go as far to argue in support of drug use and abuse. The use of hyperbole helps drive the point in, making it impossible to miss the video’s message. By having the Reagans argue a ridiculously exaggerated argument pokes fun at the original video, and the humor of it all makes the couple look silly, calling to attention the absurdity of the original broadcast.
This work is transformative since it makes a completely opposite argument than the original does. Although it contains a large amount of the original video without interruption, the changes that are made are important enough to completely change the context of the video. Instead of being advocates against drugs, Ronald and Nancy Reagan are transformed into advocates of “smokable cocaine”. The clips are not transformed much, but the purpose is completely flipped. This means that in spite of a very small amount of edits, the video is completely transformative.
The main two things we could take away from this video were the uses of humor and hyperbole. Humor helps keep the audience’s attention, and keeps the argument from being dull and dry. Hyperbole drives the point home, making it impossible to overlook the purpose of the video. The combination of the two is the perfect recipe for satire. This video also shows how much you can achieve with only a few changes, and how it’s really all about making the right edits, quality over quantity. The only flaw with this video is at times the humor can be distracting, its easy to laugh at Nancy Reagan expressing her solemn support for crack cocaine, forgetting that the purpose of the video is the futility of the war on drugs.
The Reagans Speak Out On Drugs Dir. Cliff Roth. YouTube. YouTube, 1988. Web. 21 Oct 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1tC9Xu1yKo&feature=youtu.be>