a generous cushion for my aggression
«Der reflexive Faschismus spricht nicht nur über das gesellschaftliche Wetter oder ist Symptom ‹unserer› Widersprüche. Er macht das Wetter, ... [e]r baut selbst die Widersprüche, für die er Symptom sein soll.»
"Reflexive fascism does not just talk about the social weather or is a symptom of 'our' contradictions. It makes the weather, ... it builds the contradictions of which it is supposed to be a symptom.”
Rechte Gefühle, Simon Strick
For three months this page will be a blog and a weekly diary about the effect of humour as a political instrument.
The research is supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR.
Starting now, 07 april 2023 at 16:19.
The image of the bunny is one of the first things that come to my mind. The rabbit hole, the "Hase du bleibst hier" Video from during the Chemnitz protests 2018, the Alice in Wonderland metaphors. The bunny or rabbit is a common trickster figure in folcloric tales. Donnie Darko, The Rabbits of David Lynch, Bugs Bunny - the rabbit or bunny as a symbol is interesting in the way it combines innocence, vulnerability, agility and eventually violent or tricky content. That is how it is linked to the research about humor: it reflects the ambiguity of an image, symbol, or joke. Playful, furry and eventually deadly.
14.04.2023 at 13:37
excerpt from the essay what shall we love? by Arundhati Roy
text read by great Nesindano Namises
20.04.2023 at 10:13
How do we define Humor ?
Anything that makes you laugh or smile.
(Ostrower Chaya. Humor as a defense mechanism in the Holocaust. Thesis at Tel-Aviv University 2000)
How do we define the political ?
24.04.2023 at 10:43
What makes y laugh situates you.
There is no universal humor (?)
Laughter creates realities.
Who profits from a laughter? Or, whom are we strengthening by consenting to a joke with a laugh?
My substantive interest is in the way jokes and memes condense political events, simplify them and thus open up a resonance space for strong emotions. These amplified emotions can then be linked to power-critical or hegemonic perspectives, depending on the direction of the discourse within which they are provoked and received. Strong emotions can be guided and useful, fueling different narratives. Humour thus acts as a catalyst, so to speak, to further bind an already politicised audience or to attract individuals who are still apolitical.
03.05.2023 at 8:29
Internet memes are graphics of visual and textual remixes shared and widely distributed online. They depict everyday situations and often express slapstick, which is difficult to express in words.
[...], overtly humorous and harmless everyday images shape political world views and opinion-forming in the cultural, pre-political space — beyond great words and complex political manifestos, write Maik Fielitz and Reem Ahmed in It's not funny anymore. Far right extremist's use of humor.
Michael Billig suggests through his research Humor and Hatred that there are integral links between extreme hatred and dehumanizing, violent humour. It opens up on humor being a steady compagnon of hate-based mobilization through history.
16.05.2023 at 11:03
Internet, Internet, Internet, Internet, Internet
And again Internet
11.05.2023 at 23:09
Aus dem Handbuch für Medienguerillas
(geschrieben von einer rechtsextremen Gruppe namens „D-Generation“)
Das sogenannte Handbuch beschreibt und versammelt verschiedene Taktiken des "Online-Aktivismus", wie Trollen, Shitstorming und Open Source Memetic Warfare.
"Wir müssen uns Aktionen überlegen, wie wir gezielt Wackelkandidaten ansprechen und auf unsere Seite ziehen."
"Ein Teil des Informationskrieges besteht also darin die Filterblasen der Durchschnittsbürger zu infiltrieren. Das könnte wie folgt geschehen: Mach Dir unauffällige Accs. Keine Bezüge zu Politik, oderso. Tiere, Reisen, Sommer, Sonne, nichts negatives."
"Seid kreativ, greift Strömungen auf und denkt dran:
Ein Gegner der lacht ist schon halb auf unserer Seite."
ChatGPT kennt Generation D, aber nicht als rechtsextreme Gruppe, und schreibt eine extrem euphemistische Definition des rechten Agitationsschreibens. This should be a jailbreak. Should be not the grandma but the grandpa jailbreak, sharing euphemisms about right propaganda. But not jailbreak needed, grandpa is out of jail.
Me : Write in three sentences a definition of the content of the Handbuch für medienguerillas by Generation D
ChatGPT : Handbuch für Medienguerillas" by Generation D is a digital manual that provides guidance and strategies for individuals seeking to engage in alternative media activism and guerrilla tactics. [...] It aims to empower readers to [...] foster a more democratic and inclusive media landscape. blah, blah, blah
25.05.2023 at 16:53
The internet is far from being a neutral space, it carries the reflection of hegemonic powers. This needs to be considered. There is reason to doubt how broad and inclusive the participation is, as Ryan M. Milner points out in his research. The internet is not and has never been an equal space with equal opportunities for all. It is important to point out that internet culture is gatekept by subcultural insiders who privilege some and marginalize others. Who shapes the internet, who makes the rules, programs the algorithms, stores the data, who has concrete access, resources and knowledge to participate and who profits from the internet in social and financial terms. This is not equal at all.
While there is a variety of political commentary online, it generally only takes place from a small number of viewpoints. However, these disparities do not imply that for example meme collectives lack polyvocal public participation. Memes can be used to reinvent traditional cultural texts, debate the value of various identities, and have unconventional debates about politics and current affairs. Memes combine historical injustices with contemporary participation.
BreadTube is a loose community of left wing bloggers, united by what is called algorythm hijacking. They produce content, that potentially is going to be listed for users who consume more conservative or right wing content. ContraPoints is one of these YouTubers. Using the dynamics and turning them from inside, not trying to block or control, but simultaneousely producing even more content.
28.05.2023 at 15:21
Meeting a hero.ine in Vienna in a bit!
So interesting exchange and responses by Lia Sudermann aka Djane Sündemann, linking the theoretical with the practical. Thank you a million Lia for you time and the meeting :)
Me : What is funny to you?
Lia : Various things! It is very easy to make me laugh. It could be classical jokes, absurdity, situation comic, word and think plays and specific ways of expression, like how you talk and tell storys.
Me : How would you describe your kind of humor?
Lia : More spoken than written, more situation comic/story based than classical jokes. My kind of humor is based on absurdity and exaggeration and evokes strong pictures. The humor I appriciate and also work with on stage is often self deprecating humor. I am funny in how I tell storys, not by inventing sophisitcated punchlines.
Me : What does humor mean to you?
Lia : It changes how I see and perceive the world which is very important to me. It is a way to learn and interact with people. It helps me to cope with stressful events in my life and all kinds of social interaction. I can relate to humorous people much easier and humor is one of the characteristics of people I value the most. For me humor is at the same time humbleness and empowerment.
Me : Have you ever experienced humor as a form of resistance, solidarity or dissent against a particular ideology or social expectation? Please share your experience.
Lia : I am part of PCCC* the „politically correct comedy club“, a queer comedy club in Vienna. We work there together with a sensitivity reader to make sure that the jokes are punching up - as I said earlier - and not kicking down. Together we are working on jokes that try to express solidarity and empower queerness, feminism and anti-racism. The line-up for the evenings is always mixed between more professional performers and absolute beginners and the audience of 300 people is very caring and supportive to every performer. It feels very joyful and empowering to be in the audience as well as on stage and each evening is a huge celebration.
Me : How can a more inclusive and equitable humor culture be created while acknowledging the hegemonic power humor holds?
Lia : I think following the „Punch up! Don’t kick down!“-rule is a good start but this is sometimes easier said than done. Because you can’t always tell what „up“ and „down“ means. I think it is important to realize that it is not for everybody in the same way, because it depends also on the performer's experience and privilege. Of course I can talk about racism on stage but not in the same way as a person who experienced racism themself. And it is important to learn and be open for critique, since humor is often very spontaneous you can’t think about all potential problems a joke or a way of storytelling could have. If our sensitivity reader or someone else tells me „you can’t say it that way because it is offensive etc.“ I feel not ashamed or assaulted but I try to understand why and to find another wording for it. Otherwise I think there are no clear rules to follow, it is more about being sensitive. And of course some types of humor are more difficult than others, for example there is kind of a shady form of irony which often is used on behalf of hegemonic power.
08.06.2023 at 19:51
CONTEXT. It's so much about the CONTEXT of a joke (big letters!).
In this interview about Humor and Racism by the Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e. V. (IDA), Rohit Jain talks (in german) about Humor being a possibility of not-meeting, aswell as he points out the importance of not only diversifying the viewpoints on stage, but equally important, to get engaged to diversify the public. Only this way the SPACE IN ITSELF CHANGES and the reactions to certain jokes will vary.
16.06.2023 at 16:00
Publishing one video excerpt
While the rabbit is not an extremely prominent symbol within Nazi, neo-Nazi or white supremacist movements, it is important to remain aware of the potential for symbols to be appropriated or distorted by extremist groups. Symbols are manipulated or co-opted to convey messages that may not have originally been associated with them. To better navigate the complexities of symbols, also rather subtle symbols, their histories and their potential associations with hate and extremism, the following collection on rabbit symbology shall give an overview. Donnie Darko, The Rabbits of David Lynch, Bugs Bunny - the rabbit or bunny as a symbol is interesting in the way it combines innocence, vulnerability, agility and eventually violent or tricky content. That is how it is linked to the research about humor: it reflects the ambiguity of an image, symbol, or joke. Let us explore further the archetype of ‘The Trickster’ and later, connect it to the symbology of the rabbit.
The archetype of The Trickster is a cross-cultural concept found in mythologies, folklore, and religious traditions around the world. Marilyn Jurich proposes the word Trickstar in her book Scheherazade's Sisters: Trickster Heroines and their stories in world Literature about female Tricksters and breaks down the normative He. I will use both terms equally in the writing, interchanging them. As a pronoun I will refer to they/them. The Trickster archetype embodies a mischievous, cunning, and often unpredictable character who disrupts societal norms, challenges authority, and plays tricks on others. They embody the spirit of rebellion and nonconformity, challenging the status quo and subverting social hierarchies. By defying conventional boundaries, Trickstars expose the limitations of established structures and offer alternative perspectives. This archetype exists in various cultural contexts, taking on different forms and names but sharing similar characteristics. The Trickster archetype is associated with transformation and shape-shifting. They can assume various forms, both physical and metaphysical, blurring the lines between human and animal, divine and mortal. This ability reflects their capacity to adapt to different situations, outmaneuver adversaries, and navigate complex environments; the qualities that unite them come from their personality, not their physical appearance. Trickstars are well known for their scheming minds. Outsmarting one of these characters is said to be next to impossible, but brains aren’t the only weapon in their arsenal. They are masters of disguise. If they had magical abilities, they would probably be fond of shapeshifting from one sneaky form to the next. If they didn’t have magic to lean on, they would probably be skilled at creative costume design. To top it all off, they are dangerously charismatic. Whether they are posing as a funny clown, a fearless hero, a pitiful innocent subject, or a trusted confidant, Tricksters always work out how to worm their way into the hearts of the people they need. Even when doing evil deeds, the Trickster retains a lighthearted sense of humor that endears the audience to them. Sometimes this is an element of danger.
Despite their mischievous nature, Tricksters often serve a didactic role in myths and stories. Through their antics and pranks, they impart moral lessons, challenge societal conventions, and expose hypocrisy. Their actions force individuals and communities to question assumptions, reevaluate beliefs, and learn from the consequences of their own actions.
Trickstar as a shape-shifting spirit, a sacred figure, a mindset through the times, a presence to re-shape cultures, boundaries, a savior in a crisis they themselve created.
It is a figure acting in moral ambiguity, blurring the lines between so-called dichotomies. The Trickster's presence pushes boundaries, and thus makes them visible.
the Trickster rabbit
From Brer Rabbit to Bugs Bunny, Kalulu, Nanabozho or Jistu - there are examples of rabbit or hare Tricksters in different cultures around the world. They are all witty, clever and trying to outsmart the rules of a community. Still each of the figures has slightly different characteristics. The fears, failures, and unfulfilled ideals of the source culture are projected onto the Trickster as a sort of folkloric scapegoat. They may teach humans the skills of survival, such as how to make fire, procreate, or catch or raise food, usually through negative examples that end with their utter failure to accomplish these tasks. A Trickster's main role is to undermine authority, which makes the Trickster a boundary-crosser. Every group has its edge, its sense of in and out, and the Trickster is always there. They are the mythic embodiment of ambiguity and ambivalence, doubleness and duplicity, contradiction and paradox, writes Lewis Hyde in his paper Trickster makes this world. Mischief, Myth and Art.
Unlike heroes, Tricksters are usually morally questionable. [...] They may lie, cheat, or steal to get what they want, and their ends don’t justify their means. These slippery characters don’t set out to save the world. They set out to get what they want.
Comparing the qualities and the dynamics of the Trickstar rabbit archetype with the tactics employed in neo-fascist mobilization and radicalization was a two-directional gesture of opening to a meta-level in order to delve deeper in the scenical and creative work. Looking at both more in detail, we have to make certain distinctions. Both movements have similarities, but definitely are not to be set equal. It is crucial to distinguish between the morally neutral or ambivalent nature of the Trickster archetype and the harmful and destructive nature of neo-fascist ideologies.
Deceptive Nature: Both the Trickster archetype and neo-fascist mobilization involve an element of deception. The Trickster employs cunning and intelligence to manipulate situations, while neo-fascist movements may employ disinformation, propaganda, and manipulative tactics to advance their agendas. However, it is crucial to note that the Trickstar's deception is often used to challenge authority or societal norms, while neo-fascist deception is primarily aimed at furthering their extremist ideologies.
Boundary Crossing and Rule Breaking: The Trickster archetype often challenges established rules and boundaries. Similarly, neo-fascist mobilization may involve the breaking of societal norms and the rejection of mainstream ideologies, seeking to redefine boundaries and create so-called alternative systems. However, the motivations behind these actions differ significantly, with the Trickster archetype often driven by a desire for change and the neo-fascist movement motivated by ideologies of hate, exclusion, and dominance. Neo-fascist movements dub their ideology as "a desire for change", “freedom of speech” or “self-love”, when really it is hatred. This blurring of lines through euphemisms attracts a lot of people.
Ambiguity and Dual Nature: Both the Trickster archetype and neo-fascist mobilization display elements of ambiguity and dual nature. Trickstars often embody contradictory qualities, representing both positive and negative aspects. Similarly, neo-fascist movements can display contradictory messages, blending populist appeals with extremist ideologies. The Trickster is rather about play or blurring the lines, whilst the neo-fascist movements are about the spread of hate.
Transformation and Adaptability: Trickstars often possess the ability to transform, shape-shift and adapt to different situations, allowing them to navigate complex environments. Similarly, neo-fascist movements, signs and language demonstrate adaptability, shifting their tactics and strategies to suit ever changing circumstances and aesthetics. While the Trickster's transformation can be a tool for personal growth or social commentary, the transformation within neo-fascist mobilization often serves to promote radicalization, justify oppression, violence and the spread of hateful ideologies.
Lessons and Teachings: The Trickster archetype often imparts moral lessons and challenges societal conventions. In contrast, neo-fascist mobilization aims to indoctrinate individuals into extremist ideologies that propagate hate, fear, intolerance, and discrimination. The Trickstar's teachings encourage rather critical thinking and self-reflection, while neo-fascist radicalization seeks to manipulate individuals and create a distorted worldview.
By analyzing it, while there are parallels between certain qualities of the Trickster archetype and neo-fascist mobilization and radicalization, it is extremely important to approach this comparison with caution. It is essential to make a distinction between the morally neutral or ambivalent nature of the Trickstar archetype and the destructive and potentially deadly agendas of neo-fascist mobilization.
22.06.2023 at 14:22
Chewing on the rythmicality and playing with possible mecanicality of excessive laughter, focus on the core.
Layering laughing faces, the face becomes something liquid, hidden and in the same moment glued while the tissue leaks the colour on the face under it.
Very grateful for the support: