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Conditions for an Anti-Oppression Joke (via Bitch)
May 15, 2010, 1:37 am
Filed under: comedy | Tags: , , , , , ,

Rachel McCarthy James (RJM) over at the Bitch blog TelevIsm has a great post up on how comedy can expose and work against oppression. Here’s a brief cut from her introduction:

Conditions for an Anti-Oppression Joke

IF a character on a television reflects or reinforces the kyriarchy through problematic/loaded language or actions.

AND the action/language is critiqued or rebutted by another character

AND said rebuttal/critique is framed as reasonable and valid

THEN the joke constitutes critique of kyriarchy in society.

These are, of course, not the only kind of jokes that can be critical of the kyriarchy. This applies to jokes on shows like The Office that are not rhetorically anti-oppression the way that shows like, say, Treme or The Boondocks are.

She then moves to an analysis of a scene from The Office to demonstrate how this can work. Really nicely broken down and useful criteria for thinking about comedy and oppression. Dig.

1 Comment so far
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How ’bout Dominarchy. Yes, people who like fast food pizza may object, but it’s a bit more instantly get-able that Kyriarchy, don’t you think?

Having taken Greek, I see what she means by the etimology of the words. On the other hand, in ancient Greek you greet people by saying “kaire file,” So even knowing Greek this word to me sounds like the “rulers of greetings” vs. what’s intended.

But speaking of old school patriarchy. 90% of my male students in my composition courses did NOT even know what the word patriarchy meant. (Yikes!) I don’t know, maybe we need to bring the old school word back to life before we go guns a-blazing with the new word.

Comment by leeyanne

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