Comedy is a prime weapon for devaluing and belittling marginalized bodies. Laughter aimed at an oppressed person because of their oppression intensifies and isolates the victim, and emphasizes their status as an outsider. I don't have to tell you this – if you're interested in feminism, you've probably had these jokes aimed at you and your body. Oppression is a serious topic, and jokes about it must be carefully thought out.
In analyzing comedy shows, how do I differentiate between actions that reinforce the ism at hand, and actions that superficially reinforce but actually subvert or critique the cultural assumptions the characters live with? When is a show making fun of oppression, and when is it making fun of oppressed bodies? Is there a difference? How do you tell?
Now, Ludacris is doing his part to spread more of the large latex love by teaming up with the company for its very first ad campaign, a contest where people can create their own paeans to the brand. The winner gets $5,000 and a trip to the hip-hop festival Birthday Bash, to be held in Atlanta in June, and personal congrats from the rapper/actor himself.
A photograph from Shadi Ghadirian's "Qajar" series.
I planned to write only about Sara Rahbar today, but in researching her and her work I found a few more amazing Iranian artists highlighted in the Saatchi Gallery's 2009 exhibition "Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East". This post will only feature Rahbar and Shadi Ghadirian, but I urge you to check out the work of Shirin Fakhim, Tala Madani, Laleh Khorramian and the other very talented artists from that exhibit.
The other night, I found myself sitting in a concert hall with a thousand other people having an absolutely A+ time at one of the few North American dates on the farewell tour for Euro pop icons a-ha. Yes, a-ha. No matter that I'm not old enough to have fully appreciated their short-lived American heyday (although they've never ceased to be a presence on the other side of the Atlantic) in the mid-80s. I learned about them via the Pop-up Video treatment ( I'm sure there are even readers who are too young to appreciate that show) of "Take on Me" and more seriously, their concert participation in Live 8.
As I sang along with "The Living Daylights" and "The Sun Always Shines on TV," I started thinking about nostalgia. Specifically, Gen Y's relationship to nostalgia. I can't be the only one to see that the proximity of what counts as bygone days has been increasing dramatically in recent years.