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).
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].
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?
Hall, E. (2015, June). The birth of comedy. History Today, 65(6), 10-17.
(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,
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
In my last blog post I discussed a research project I was interested in undertaking which concerned the prevalence of the queer or LGBTQIA+ community in online spaces with a focus on Tumblr. Specifically, my research question is why queer identifying persons are drawn to such online social spaces such as Tumblr. In order to do this as an ethnographer I will need to use both primary and secondary sources in order to back up my hypotheses and gather a more informative and holistic viewpoint.
I can use the primary sources in order to address the more specific questions I have concerning Tumblr use that I can tailor to elicit the data that I need to help me with my study (Institute for Work & Health, 2015). In order to collect this data, I plan on conducting a survey with queer users of Tumblr through a recruitment post via Tumblr as well as my direct observations of the LGBTQIA+ community on the site.
As my study takes place in an online setting, there will be certain adjustments I will need to make on my research technique concerning approaching and interacting with research subjects. My subjects will be from an online environment I will need to adequately incorporate computer-mediated communication in order to accommodate the social change online spaces create (Garcia, Standlee, Bechkoff, and Cui, 2009, 53). Additionally, as an experienced user of Tumblr, I already possess the skillset in order to navigate the site expertly, communicate with users effectively, and use all functions of the site to my advantage when undertaking my research project (Garcia et al., 2009, 59-60). Also worthy of noting, there are ethical issues raised surrounding the blurred lines between public and private content and the confidentiality issues surrounding the access to that data. However, to combat this issue, I will only be using data collected from those of whom have consented as well as concealing identities as subject names are insignificant to the research I am trying to conduct. I may also have to alter my presentation of self through a creation of an additional Tumblr blog as I feel my personal blog would be inappropriate to use for such purpose (Garcia et al., 2009, 73). With these adjustments I hope to conduct both an ethical and informative study.
I will use this information gathered in conjunction with the secondary research I will be conducting as such sources will provide me with readily available, helpful and informative material that I can easily obtain to assist back up my findings (Institute for Work & Health, 2015). Looking at both quantitative and qualitative research that directly relates to the study I am conducting, the information gathered from sources such as There’s Something Queer About Tumblr (Byron and Robards, 2017) and Queer Lives: The Construction of Queer Self and Community on Tumblr (Zamanian, 2014), will provide me with a basis into answering my question of why queers are so drawn to Tumblr as a social networking site.
Hopefully through the combination of these methods I will be able to provide an answer my question, effectively studying the interactions and intentions behind the queer users of Tumblr.
Byron, P. and Robards, B. (2018). There’s something queer about Tumblr. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/theres-something-queer-about-tumblr-73520 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
Garcia, A., Standlee, A., Bechkoff, J. and Cui, Y. (2009). Ethnographic Approaches to the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1), pp.52-84.
Institute for Work & Health (2015). Primary data and secondary data [online] Available at: https://www.iwh.on.ca/what-researchers-mean-by/primary-data-and-secondary-data [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
Zimanian, P. (2014). Queer Lives: The Construction of Queer Self and Community on Tumblr. Postgraduate. Sarah Lawrence College.