Current Happeings in Comedy

July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

A news story I saw at Feministing this morning ties into my earlier post: this is why we still need to talk about the social context of humor.

Three things:

1. What the woman in the audience did was not “heckling” – this is what heckling sounds like. Okay not exactly, but the Muppets are pretty awesome.

2. Trying to shut down discussion of social concerns by dismissing valid criticism as an uptight overreaction is a crap tactic. In fact it’s a craptastic crap tactic. Yuuup.

3. I think that there are ways of making jokes about the awful things that exist in the world, but this definitely wasn’t one of them.



The more things change…

July 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

the more things do not stay the same. At least that’s how it should work with cultural shifts. Maybe the original truism is relevant for personal reflections on relationships or life courses, but not so much with social movements. I hope.

So how can mainstream norms regarding gender, sexuality, inequality, race, class, and so on shift? Or be completely reworked? Or just thrown out altogether? How does change happen?

Attitudes change in response to things like persuasive communication, cognitive dissonance, or social influence. Classical or operant conditioning are more structured ways of actively trying to change behavior. (If you aren’t way too wrapped up in The Office and haven’t had a change to watch Jim classically condition Dwight, it’s a pretty entertaining demonstration of psychology.)

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Considering Evolutionary Psychology

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

As a female psychology student, I had mixed feelings about evolutionary psychology while in college. It would pop up in lectures every now and then, though always with the caveat that some of the work in the field was fairly controversial and not necessarily embraced by the psychology community at large. Media coverage of evolutionary psychology tends to run with the more sensational aspects of stories (completely unexpected, I know) but ultimately I think there are both useful and harmful interpretations of work in this area so far.

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Living with Dissonance: My Hope for Mollie and Mary

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I read The Laramie Project five years ago. The play was written about Matthew Shepard, a young gay man whose murder in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming drew national attention and led to efforts to address American intolerance toward gay and lesbian people. Moises Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project, a New York theater company, traveled to Laramie to interview members of the small town over the year following Matthew’s death. The play uses the words of Laramie’s citizens to show the aftermath of the hate crime in all its complexity, as people try to understand what happened and why. It is one of the most powerful things I have read to this day.

Portland, TX is likely grappling with similar questions, after two young women in a relationship were shot and left to die in a park there. One of the teens, Mollie Judith Olgin, has died, and the other, Mary Christine Chapa, is in “serious but stable” condition in the hospital. No one has been connected to the attack, but it does not seem to be a random event. Although police have not yet identified this as a hate crime, the girls’ relationship will remain a factor in the investigation as it moves forward.

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Starting (to) Shift Matters

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Shift Matters is a blog written by Kate Sackett about the current state of American culture, with a particular focus on gender and related topics. I am a recent graduate from a large public university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I am interested in social justice issues, psychology, sociology, the media, and how discourse shapes perception.

I plan to discuss current events, intersections and intersectionality, reviews of movies/television/books, and personal experiences and dialogues around gender. The occasional picture of a dog standing on its hind legs while holding a purse may also surface…

Please leave comments/feedback/links whenever the mood strikes, as my purpose is not only to start dialogues with those around me but also with the online community.

This blog is my first concerted effort to publicly air my thoughts on gender and culture to shift popular norms and values as they continue to influence life in America today. Because shift matters.

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