The Serious Side of Sarcasm

Is sarcastic, rather than bitch, the new black? To build on our discussions of the image of women in politics (see John's post about Michelle Obama's halo and Tim's recent post about Hillary and/as the Devil), I find the discussion of the two women's "edgy" humor to be quite interesting and I think it affects the way that their images are produced and read.

Recontextualizing images

The blog garfield minus garfield contains some wonderful examples of the ways in which images can be recontextualized to create new meanings. According to the site

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?

Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Garfield minus Garfield: I'm an empty grocery sack

Garfield minus Garfield: It was horrible I barely escaped with my life

Garfield the strip is mostly lame; but, by removing the dull main character, the strip is completely transformed. I particularly enjoy the empty panels, and the effect their silence has on the meaning of each strip.

The Stuff White People Like problem

The person pictured below is Christian Lander, one of the authors of the much-discussed blog, Stuff White People Like.

guy eating Asian food at restaurantSome love the blog, some find it offensive. I fall into the latter category because I think to write about "Stuff White People Like" (which feels grammatically wrong somehow), even satirically, is to exclude non-whites from the things that the titular white people like, like recycling, pricey sandwiches, dogs, kitchen gadgets, and Mos Def (?). While I admire the project of poking fun at the Gen X and Y Brooklyn- and Echo Park-dwelling hipsterati who have more money than actual sense, I do think it's a bit irresponsible to present such a limited view of whiteness and declare it ALL whiteness. What does it mean to the white person who rejects the Prius or can't afford a $300 Kitchenaid waffle iron (or never learned to ride a bicycle as a kid because their family couldn't afford one)? What about the person of color who practices alternative medicine, or lives by the water? Or the white woman who loathed Juno?

Yes we can/no we can't

By now, you've probably seen the moving and (I assume) influential video by the Black-Eyed Peas' "Yes We Can" video in support of Barack Obama, which sets Obama's New Hampshire primary speech to a stripped-down tune, the words voiced by a coterie of A- and B-list celebrities:

God's Eye View

Israelites crossing red sea doctored Google earth image

Back in July, the Creative Review blog posted an entry regarding an art exhibit that imagines scenes from the bible as seen via Google Earth.

Watch out, Marty McFly

The image below, from the March, 1936, edition of Science And Mechanics, shows how you can rig up your car so that it will shock anyone who tries to hang onto the bumper to hitch a ride.

Anti-hitch kink shocks people who want a ride

Such a device would surely have prevented this tragic waste of fertilizer.

Mustache blog

I’ve spent the past hour trying to think of an educational or theoretical reason for posting this link, but I can’t come up with anything. Here it is anyway.

image from Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century

The pixelator

Following up on Nate’s post about retouched photos, The Daily Show has revealed some contemporary presidential image-retouching:

Lawnmower People, Part III

With the summer recreation season fast approaching I wanted to put the Lawnmower People to work this week with a public service announcement. If you golf, take stock:

don't tip over your golf cart

golf cart collision warning

In what is perhaps more of a testament to my simplicity than anything else, I have to admit that these goofy lawnmower people crack me up. I would like to point out though that not all visual texts make arguments. I find when teaching Visual Rhetoric units that students initially want to see ALL images as arguments, whereas images like these really depend on the accompanying text to make any warning/argument clear, at least in the case of more complex warnings.

Kurt Vonnegut, author of "Slaughterhouse Five" and "Breakfast of Champions" and a hand-drawn Asshole, Dies

With Vonnegut's recent passing it seems worth noting that his books almost always featured a simple hand-drawn image at least once per novel. I'm not exactly sure how to describe the rhetorical effect of these drawings, but someone with more time could do a fascinating study of how these drawings operate within Vonnegut's texts.

I am happy to note that at Vonnegut's official website, , the favicon is a replication of the asshole drawing from, if my memory serves, "Breakfast of Champions".

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