Intersectional Future – Where I’m At

This post is a little catch up on where I’m at with my project Intersectional Future. So far there is definite room for improvement, in which I have outlined a few ways I have addressed some issues that were highlighted by myself and by my peers. I hope to continue my work in highlighting the many intersecting forms of oppression that many people face, how they overcome it, how it’s shown in the media 10 years ago, how those facing oppression are reported on in the present, how those facing oppression will be reported on 10 years into the future and if we are on the right path towards equality (Carastathis, 2014).

@intersectional_future


References

Carastathis, A. (2014). The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory. Philosophy Compass, 9(5), pp.304-314.

 Crenshaw, K. (1989). [online] Chicagounbound.uchicago.edu. Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1052&context=uclf [Accessed 3 May. 2019].

News about digital Marketing applications on Facebook. (2019). How to create a hashtag for Twitter and Instagram campaigns. [online] Available at: https://www.easypromosapp.com/blog/en/2015/01/how-to-create-a-hashtag-for-your-twitter-and-instagram-campaigns/ [Accessed 3 May 2019].

The future of satire in a politically divided public

During the course of one of my university subjects, BCM312: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication, we were asked to select and research an issue that interests us. I have selected “The Politician” due to emerging trends concerning media and communication and how it is used and abused by politicians. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between satire and its place in politics and how it has affected the current political leaderships and the consequential societal polarisation.

There has been a long history of political satire being used throughout the society with roots called back to the Old Comedies of Aristophanes in order to separate genuine political advocates from the frauds (Hall, 2015). According to Jamie Noelle Smith (2018), there are four prominent functions of political satire, which include the purposes of teaching, discipline and ridicule, news-gathering, and as a democratic practice. However, the aspect of satire that proves the most interesting, yet most dangerous, is it’s argued normalising effect.

As we live in the current ‘Trump era” of politics, tensions are highly strung as societal polarisation has hit a peak in a ‘left-wing’ versus ‘right-wing’ showdown. A question arises in how the media, and satire programs in particular, affected Trump’s 2016 election win and the moral implications of making light of his inflammatory comments and hate speech. Late night programs such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and more all played a hand in giving Donald Trump an arguably undeserved spotlight to spew his hateful opinions as fact in the name of comedy and satire. Although these programs are not the only perpetrators in giving Trump a disproportionate platform, there are those creating memes and tweets with the goal of normalising Trump’s bigotry. However, for the purposes of my research I am much more interested in the relationship between Saturday Night Live, Donald Trump, and his 2016 presidential election win.

Saturday Night Live is an American late night sketch programme that has been a long running point of reference for everything pop-culture. It’s an upheld rite of passage for the American politician to be mocked on the show or to appear on SNL themselves since 1976 (Smith, 2018). Politics in general has always been an ever-giving source of content and the 2016 election cycle was no exception.

Donald Trump’s long history under the limelight as a high profile New York businessman, means he was no stranger to Saturday Night Live or it’s show-runner, Lorne Michaels. Trump has been impersonated, mentioned and lampooned on Saturday Night Live for more than 30 years and had a seemingly civil if not friendly relationship with the show. So much so that on April 3, 2014 Trump went on to host Saturday Night Live when his show The Apprentice was just beginning and it was a hit in the ratings. He went on to host again on November 17, 2015 as a fierce contender for the Republican presidential nomination, a decision that resulted in a Latin-American lead protest running down 5th Ave from Trump Tower to the doors of NBC Universal Studios. Considering Trump had previously made inflammatory and fascist comments against Mexican people in his 2016 presidential bid this was unsurprising and long foreshadowed since the announcement that Trump would be hosting.

During SNL‘s 42nd season, cast member Kate McKinnon and guest star Alec Baldwin played the presidential frontrunners Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Smith (2018) asks if the mockery of the obvious portrayed on Saturday Night Live was devoid of the crucial “underlying thread of social criticism and consciousness.” In contrast to more politically invested contemporary programs, the genre of fake news on Saturday Night Live has been largely emptied to serve the needs of the larger show, maintaining its status as just topical, hip, and unthreatening enough to attract celebrities and politicians, as well as a mass audience (Day & Thompson, 2012). This rather neutral mockery that SNL has historically portrayed could be seen as striving for an objective satire in an attempt to retain viewership (it is a tv show after all). SNL features impersonations and guest appearances from across the political spectrum whether the politician reflects the viewpoints of the program’s cast and crew or not. 

Satire is a slippery slope and trying to appeal with the widest audience possible when the views are so violently polarised can be dangerous – such is the case with President Trump. This then leads me into my proposed research question: Is there a future for so-called ‘objective satire’ and where do we, as a society, draw the line?


References:

Hall, E. (2015, June). The birth of comedy. History Today, 65(6), 10-17.

Day,A & Thompson, E (2012), “Live From New York, It’s the Fake News! Saturday Night Live and the (Non)Politics of Parody”, Popular Communication, 10:1-2, 170-182, DOI: 10.1080/15405702.2012.638582

Smith, J.N (2018), “No Laughing Matter: Failures of Satire During the 2016 Presidential Election” Honors Theses and Capstones. 381, 21-40, https://scholars.unh.edu/honors/381

Would you prefer your queers centrefield or in the outfield?

My proposed research project will explore how positioning LGBTQIA+ exclusive campus spaces in universities could potentially further isolate and marginalize LGBTQIA+ identifying students from the ‘mainstream’ society. It is well known that there is stigma attached to gender identity and sexual orientation. Thus LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals may experience multiple additional forms of marginalisation along with homophobia and/or transphobia such as sexism or racism (Subhrajit, 2014). In order to combat this added marginalisation, universities are opting for implementing LGBTQIA+ exclusive safer spaces that functions as both a social outlet and support system for said students. The vast benefits of providing LGBTQIA+ exclusive spaces in differing communities have been well explored, however very few researchers look into where they position the space and how that may affect a student’s feeling of isolation (Subhrajit, 2014).  My question is could LGBTQIA+ students feel that they are further isolated from a socially rich university experience if placed centrally on campus or more on the outskirts of the campus?

 Richard Greggory Johnson III stated when talking about LGBT+ exclusive living spaces, that in most American universities attempt to ensure the safety of their LGBTQIA+ student population and by doing this, further segregating these students from their cis/heterosexual student counterparts creating more divide and friction. However, they also argue that having a visible and more centralised LGBTQIA+ exclusive space could heighten the risk of targeted violence or vandalism as well as everyone who enters and exits the doors to that LGBT+ space would be forced to come out to anyone who happens to be in the near vicinity (Johnson III, 2017).

 The AllSorts Queer Collective is the University of Wollongong’s on campus collective for LGBTQIA+ identifying students residing in an autonomous space in Building 19, Room G039. My project will focus on the people involved with the collective and how they feel the LGBTQIA+ exclusive space they use on a regular basis has affected their feeling of marginalization or fear of isolation within the university environment. The queer space was previously on a less centralized portion of the campus and so I would be able to gain a comparative outlook on the effects that both have on the student’s wellbeing.

 This project is timely as with each passing year, there is more and more interest in queer holistic wellbeing and experiences, as more acceptance shining through more people are embracing queer lifestyles as a norm, there are still prominent feelings of isolation and marginalisation within ‘mainstream’ society. This year, a record number of students signed up and wished to be a part of the collective and researching how the size and location of a LGBTQIA+ exclusive space could affect a student’s university experience as a queer member of society.

 This project will also be relevant as I am an active member of the AllSorts Queer Collective and have a deep interest in the queer community and how we function within society. I find this topic interesting and I am excited to delve into how seemingly insignificant factors of how an LGBTQIA+ exclusive space functions can impact a student’s university experience.