Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Social Matter - Weimerica Weekly - Obama-Era Art

This week's Weimerica Weekly is up at Social Matter. This podcast starts what I hope becomes a series of sorts of reviewing the Obama era in different areas. This episode the lack of art inspired by the Obama Era. I plan on reviewing some things not just the symbolism of the man himself.


Gwoobus Harmon said...

There was a tremendous shift in how mass media treated the Obama era. In years past, political leaders were always subject to a certain level of ridicule or lampooning, even if only light hearted and playful.

I don't recall any such treatment of Obama, not even one instance, particularly where comedy is concerned. Instead what occurred was the role of comedy transitioning into ridicule not of the power structure, but rather that of opposition to the power structure. Comedy more or less lost its edge and became a de facto defender of status quo instead of critic. Just look at any of the late night talk shows, the Daily Show, comedians like Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Louie CK, etc... and even then the ridicule was pretty direct and biting, not humorous.

Perhaps it is because of race and sensitivities that Obama was spared? Is it possible to be a critic of a prominent non-white? Even Ben Carson was treated lightly.

Essentially in culture wars, the side that is seen as uptight, strident, and easily offended will lose as they are always in the position of being constantly serious - and that isn't any fun for the youth.

The modern left are in fact "church ladies." They have to obsessively enforce standards of decency and morality. They spend a large portion of their time being outraged and passing judgment upon those within society that are not sufficiently pious. For them, this is no laughing matter. They see vulgarity everywhere. Within that kind of righteousness and strict adherence, it has a stifling effect on creativity though. There is a reason that the "stick up the ass" boring Puritan or old southern "Footloose town" type Baptist stereotypes exist.

The morally righteous are by default somber, tense, and reverent - the very things that stifle art and culture. That prevailing social mood has had a suppressing effect on art and entertainment.

It is one of the lasting legacies of the Obama era - stale art.

Random Dude on the Internet said...

> Perhaps it is because of race and sensitivities that Obama was spared? Is it possible to be a critic of a prominent non-white? Even Ben Carson was treated lightly.

It is definitely race based. Yesterday's liberals are today's conservatives and tomorrow's shitlords. Comedians in our modern age are definitely aware that they will be judged 20 years from now much like how they are judged for their work 20 years ago. In the wrong context, any joke on Obama could be interpreted as racist. They lose nothing by belittling the opposition and lose everything by belittling the black President. As you pointed out, even jokes about people like Herman Cain and Ben Carson were muted because again, it may be kosher to make a joke about Carson in the current zeitgeist but in 2026 they will be seen on the record as making fun of a black man.

Also there's a generation gap in play. Generation X was cynical about almost everything so everything could be skewered, even the left wing sacred cows of the 80s and 90s. Generation Y is almost the exact opposite where they are proud foot soldiers of maintaining the narrative. While many of these comedians are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, their target audience is Generation Y who are still in their teens, 20s, and early 30s. They want to be known as the cool entertainer who is down with modern pop culture. A Generation X comedian would lambast the likes of Drake and Lady Gaga but a Generation Y comedian would want to be retweeted by the likes of Drake and Lady Gaga.

Will be interesting to see how Generation Z will play out.