We talked a lot about affect in class today, and when Barbara mentioned laughter and taboo, this scene from the Mary Tyler Moore Show came directly too mind. It’s more “exam-time levity” than “profound STS ruminations,” but I wanted to share it, because in addition to being an important part of the TV canon, it’s very relatable and full of affect. 😉
Very quickly, for people who aren’t familiar with MTM, the show follows Mary Richards and friends as they work at a poorly-regarded TV news station (and, importantly for its time, the show is not especially interested in Mary’s romantic or family life). This episode follows the untimely demise of Chuckles the Clown, who was dressed as a peanut and shelled by a rogue elephant. Naturally, this prompts a series of jokes from the people who knew Chuckles, and Mary is quick to chide these people for their insensitivity. The following is the depiction of Chuckles’ funeral. So please, take a brief study break and enjoy some affect and some taboo, and the social codes with which these things clash, rolled into one:
(the scene stands alone well, but plays even better in context, so if anybody wants a longer study break, I’ll always recommend this classic ;))
Tonight, as I was bouncing around the Twitterverse instead of working productively toward completing end-of-term projects, I came across an interesting Twitter-sized response to a New York Times piece that seems relevant to some of what we have talked about in class, in terms of what is going on at Yale and broader themes. And since 140-characters is very digestible during this mentally exhausting time of year, I thought I’d share.
love that as soon as college becomes dominated by women and women's concerns it is framed as infantile + ridiculous https://t.co/v8nIw9RMm2
And she also makes some good 140-character points about generational divides, Humanism vs. Liberalism, and the way that the media treats psychological issues. None of that is radically new or different from what we’ve discussed as a group, but it was the following responses to Soraiya’s first tweet that flagged this conversation as one to share:
@soniasaraiya anthro, for example, used to be for "super macho manly explorers" now that it is largely a feminine field it is dismissed
This is not a connection that I’d explicitly made between the current debates happening ABOUT debates happening on campus, and I don’t think that a criticism of the margins is something that comes across very clearly in many of these [infuriating] conversations, but it’s definitely a connection that I’d like to explore in more detail.
Looking forward to class tomorrow,
P.S. Obligatory STSy plug about the fact that these ideas are being shared over Twitter and the implications of that medium/medium-based-community.
This isn’t necessarily as directly related to justice as the readings this week, but it does have some interesting ethical and legal implications. Reading all about genes this week made me think back to high school, when I was reading Practical Horseman and came across this Viagen (“Multiply Success”) ad:
“Olympic equestrian Mark Watring preserved the genetic potential of Grand Prix Jumper, Sapphier, by cloning the grey Holsteiner gelding. Watring plans to stand Sapphire’s genetic twin as a stallion when he reaches breeding age, an option that would never have existed for the gelding without cloning technology”
(one of the ideas being that having a clone can increase the reproductive potential of an animal, and create reproductive potential for an active performance animal who wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce genetic offspring; see also: genes as insurance (“Making the irreplaceable…..replaceable.”))
At that point, it was mind-blowing to me that the technology was sufficient to do that regularly and commercially, and that I could (theoretically, given more money than my breeding program of one would allow) pay for it like any other service. High School Megann was also fairly convinced that if you could clone a horse, you could clone a human.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who found this week’s reading enormously compelling – I wanted to share a few relevant pieces from my non-academic library, because I think these are things that may come up in discussion.
2) The article “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” stuck with me after it circulated a few years ago. It makes what I think is a compelling point about the way that people project a carefully crafted image on social media, and I thought of it again with the stories currently going around about social media “star” Essena O’Neill’s deconstruction of some of these images.