Style Invitational Week 785, a contest for song parodies about the 2008 presidential campaign, Oct. 4, 2008. (Bob Staake)

Inspired wags have been fitting new, funnier words to old songs since Oog and his crazy brother Moog turned the Hymn to the Rain God into a ditty about mammoth poop. But the Invitational’s 13 parody contests embody the genre at its finest — in songs about everything from same-sex marriage to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, set to everything from “The Ride of the Valkyries” to “Walk Like an Egyptian” to the Nokia ring tone.

The Invitational’s hundreds of parodies would fill a heck of a book, but we have room to share only two, both from back in 2004 but, alas, still utterly timely. The contest was for a song whose lyrics better reflect today’s America than the national anthem’s do:

To “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast”:
We’re the best! We’re the best!
From Bombay to Budapest!
If you dare to disagree, we’ll place you under house arrest!
We are strong! We are sure!
Patriotic to the core.
We’re delighted and excited ’cause our states are all united!
Stripes and stars! Stars and stripes!
We will always be the types
To know our destiny is manifest!
So say it long and loudly, sing it strong and proudly,
We’re the best! We’re the best!
(It is France that we detest!)
We’re the best! We’re the best! We’re the best!
(Barbara Sarshik, McLean)

To “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadda”:
Hello Daddy, hello Mommy,
We’re not Nazi, we’re not commie.
All the world thinks we’re a bully.
They don’t seem to want to understand us fully.

Hello Mommy, hello Daddy.
Our great nation’s not the baddie.
Put an end to this idea:
Give the finger to Iran and North Korea.
(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Be sure to check out the many other segments of this 20th-anniversary Style Invitational retrospective: classic limericks; neologisms (new words); horse “breeding” and “joint legislation”; and dozens of other winning entries from the past decade. Plus how to enter this week’s new contest, and a look at the Losers and their remarkable subculture. And more! See the index of articles here.

Next: Two of our biggest perennial contests — “foals” and “joint legislation”