Distracted from COVID-19...
by Tiffany Midge
Workshop Title: Controversy
Tell your students, “Listen to the following clip from the satirical news program, The Onion. When it’s done, briefly discuss the “controversy” that the clip is mocking and why The Onion felt the need to mock this issue.” Then give them time to discuss.
Watch the embedded clip to give your students a bit of context to the poem.
Then read “Distracted from COVID-19, Attention Shifts to MIA Maiden from Land O’Lakes Butter Box” by Tiffany Midge. Have them pay attention to the satirical techniques she uses to mock the “butter” controversy. Then discuss.
Have your students take some time to think of other “controversies” that really had no right to even exist. Some examples may include the controversies behind the “holiday cups” at Starbucks, the mask controversy satirized in the clips, the removal of Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima, etc. Then write down what made those controversies so asinine.
Ask your students to write a poem like “Distracted from COVID-19, Attention Shifts to MIA Maiden from Land O’Lakes Butter Box” in which they mock a stupid controversy. Reiterate that the poem is meant to be satirical in nature, using absurdity and exaggeration to illustrate their point.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: diction, selection of detail, and tone.
Play the following clip from The Onion for your students. While they’re listening, have them try to determine the “issue” or group of people that the satirical clip is mocking. Then briefly discuss. If needed, you can show them the following clip to introduce them to the concept of satire.
Show the following clip to give your students some context behind the poem they are about to read.
Read “Distracted from COVID-19, Attention Shifts to MIA Maiden from Land O’Lakes Butter Box” by Tiffany Midge, paying close attention to the satirical intent behind the piece. Then briefly discuss when done.
Have your students open the following document and go over the introduction and directions with them. In this assignment, the students are going to analyze the satiric intent behind the poet’s language and then create a visual representation that further underscores the absurdity of the so-called “controversy.”
When the students are done, briefly go over their responses aloud. Then show them the following sample response.
- Community / Culture
- Death / Grief
- Food / Hunger
- Home / Homelessness
- Race / Ethnicity / Racism
- Social Movements / Protest
- Selection of Detail