Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not Cool, Not Funny

Anti - gun - violence artwork
by Ethel Gilmour (1940 - 2008) ~ Medellin, Colombia
Non - Fiction Series, 1995
Colombia Certified
There is no Elephant in this Picture
I Cannot See the Sea
I Want to Walk and See the Flowers

[vs Pro - gun - violence movie posters]

First, some bad news. My friend and colleague Rebecca requested that everyone read this article, and I second her request:

"Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings:
How Toxic Masculinity is Killing Us"

by Jennifer Wright
From the article: "So let’s start talking about the culture of toxic masculinity that makes men believe they should get a gun and shoot people with it.

We live in a culture that worships men with guns. You can probably think of many off the top of your head—John Wayne, Indiana Jones or James Bond come immediately to mind. They’re all men who get what they want. Women are all eager to have sex with them. They have the respect of their peers and their communities."
Why it is that guys with guns are seen as cool?

If you ask me: No, not cool!


Second, more bad news. Right after reading the above article, which is mostly about anger, I read this one about humor:

"The World's Funniest Joke
(According To Science)"

by Michael Taylor

Taylor saves the "best" joke for last, and it's about one man shooting another one with a gun. What? No, not funny! But apparently that's what the what the survey respondents voted as funniest joke. Go figure.

I've taken classes on the theory of humor and satire, right? I know about context, timing, frustrated expectation (Aristotle) and derision (Plato). Despite all that, guess what? This joke is not even remotely funny.
From the article: "If you didn’t fall over laughing, don’t feel too bad. In an interview, Wiseman says he doesn’t think it’s all that great either. 'It’s terrible. I think we found the world’s cleanest, blandest, most internationally accepted joke. It’s the color beige in joke form.'"
Clean, bland, acceptable, beige?

Well if by "beige" he means "unimaginative," okay.

But definitely not funny!


Third, even more bad news: the NRA has its own television station:

"Why the NRA Always Wins
It’s not the money. It’s the culture."

By Bill Scher
From the article: "NRATV is a new piece of the puzzle, having been launched only in late 2016. But it’s a window into the culture that the NRA has nurtured for decades. Every minute, the network pumps out a message that can be delivered regardless of external events: Liberal elites want to take away your guns and freedom. Terrorists and criminals lurk everywhere and you need to know how to defend yourself. And by the way, look how cool guns are and how powerful they make you feel!"
Let me repeat: No, not cool!

The article starts out gloomy, but actually has a pro - active ending. Please read:
"Gun control proponents don’t necessarily have to emulate the NRA and, say, launch a TV network. But they might consider marshaling the financial resources of Bloomberg, and other multimillionaires, and emulating one of the most successful public service advertising campaigns in history: the anti-tobacco “truth” campaign.

Hundreds of millions have been spent since 2000 by what is now called the “Truth Initiative” on edgy ads that turned teenage perception of what smoking represents from cool rebellion to corporate dishonesty. The ad campaign is not the sole reason, but it is widely credited for helping drive smoking levels among teens down from from 23 percent to 6 percent.

Like the tobacco industry, the NRA has been cultivating an image of guns as a source of freedom and cool, with the extra value of protection from grievous harm. A large-scale countercampaign could help reverse that image, highlighting the damage guns do every day: the depressed never getting another chance for mental health services, the children dying from home accidents, the domestic abuse victims who never could escape. Other spots could depict life where guns are controlled around the world, to show what is possible. A partnership with Hollywood could bring gun issues into more TV shows and movies, similar to how Hollywood was successfully pressured to stop making cigarettes look cool. [Of course, Hollywood isn't exactly doing a great job when it comes to smoking either; shame on them.]

Such a campaign would have two main objectives: In the short run, keep the gun control majority engaged on a daily basis, and in the long run, reduce the demand for guns in areas where the NRA exerts political influence.

As heartwarming as it is to see high school students organize anti-gun marches, they are no more likely to be successful in busting the NRA narrative, or separating politicians from NRA money, than the parents of Columbine and Sandy Hook. The gun rights community is steeled against succumbing to sympathetic victims, as they have convinced themselves that they are above the politics of knee-jerk emotion.

Social conservatives are fond of the insight, “Politics is downstream from culture.” There is a big gun-rights culture that has a grip on our politics. Until there is a gun-free culture that can rival what the NRA has cultivated over decades, no national trauma, no matter how searing, is going to move the political needle."

Yet another discussion on the topic.
And my answer to an annoying rhetorical question:
"Of course it is NEVER okay to shoot kids with any kind of gun.
And if every kind of gun ever used in any kind of school
(or similar) shooting is banned forever from the face of the earth,
then that is A - OKAY with me."

As displayed at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellin

See More Ethel Gilmour

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

February 28 ~ Yellow Gold Guayacan

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