Can comedy save us in the “post-truth” era?

In her fascinating, comprehensive new book “The Girl in the Show: Three Generations of Comedy, Culture, & Feminism,” author Anna Fields reveals the audacious women who shaped modern comedy — and the obstacles they overcame just to get a place on the stage to make audiences laugh. Culled from both exhaustive research and interviews with luminaries like Abbi Jacobson and  Molly Shannon, it’s a tribute to the power of women standing up.

Fields spoke recently with Salon.com about comedy and the “girls” in the rooms where it happened.

On the presumed masculinity of humor:

We do think of men when we think of comedy, and we do think of maleness when we think of a comedian. So many of the women I interviewed talked to me about how they have to “trick the audience into thinking they’re men” in order for the audience to feel comfortable laughing at them but also loving them.

It’s so fascinating — what is a comedian supposed to look like?

On how gender fluidity is changing comedy:

What is to be a female comedian? What is it to be a male comedian? What if you are a comedian of either, both, or no gender? What does that mean in terms of how you present yourself to the audience, what you are allowed to joke about, and whether your audience will feel comfortable joking with you about that thing?

On the political power of laughter

I’ve always asked myself if, given that we live in an era in which so many of our leaders are abdicating their role as truth tellers, if comedians, by telling us the truth, become our new national leaders?

**Watch the video for the full interview. Click here to be redirected to salon.com

**Feature image credit: Salon.com

Can Comedy Save Us? What Do You Think?

Interview: Brooklyn Designer David Yun On A Post-Post Truth World And Streetwear Brand

Misinformation campaigns by Russia toward western countries; journalists jailed in Turkey; the spread of hoax news in 2016; the Trump administration’s ongoing game to blame the press for Trump’s woes. These kinds of events are causing the creative class in places such as Brooklyn, Berlin and Portland to appreciate the free and independent press.

Brooklyn designers David Yun, Zak Klauck and their team at Wax Studios came up with “an evolving streetwear/advocacy initiative” called Post-Post Truth. “We are deeply concerned about the future of journalism in the US and worldwide,” they write. “How do you fight disinformation in an age when all information is suspect — if facts are tailored to your own personal perspective and reason is seen as suspect?”

To help support a robust, independent media landscape with high ethical standards, the PPT project has pledged to donate 50 percent of profits from their product sales to independent, nonprofit news organizations that support non-partisan investigative journalism. They point to ProPublicaPew Research CenterThe Center for Public IntegrityReveal News and The Associated Press as some of the good guys they want to support. “Post-Post-Truth looks toward a new era when public discourse and debate is framed by observed, corroborated, and reported facts; when the loudest person in the room is one who upholds journalistic standards, crafts arguments with process-based research and employs objective reason,” they write.

Read more on forbes.com

Featured Image Credit: Scott Haven / http://postposttruth.us

 

How we got here: The origins of post-truth anti-environmentalism

“I grew up in the Long Island suburbs of New York and have vivid memories of running behind the “fog trucks”. These trucks went through the neighbourhoods spraying DDT for mosquito control until it was banned in 1972.

I didn’t know it until much later, but that experience, and exposure, was extended due to the pesticide industry’s lies and tactics – what is now labelled “post-truth”.

Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962. It was a beautifully written, if distressing, bit of what we today call “research translation”. The “silent spring” was the impact of DDT as songbird species were killed off.

Carson tried to expose the chemical industry’s disinformation. For doing so, she was roundly and untruthfully attacked as a communist and an opponent of progress. Silent Spring was one of the most popular and vetted overviews of environmental science of all time. Yet lies and bullshit prevented a decent policy response for a decade.

And the lies won’t go away. In 2007, one of the think-tanks responsible for climate science misinformation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, began reiterating one of the main refuted claims about Carson. She was said to be responsible for millions of deaths due to the ban on DDT to control mosquitoes that spread malaria.

The reality is that while DDT was banned for agriculture in the US – and spraying on kids in suburban neighbourhoods – it was never banned for anti-malarial use. Even now. But the political right and the dirtiest chemical industry players in all of industrial capitalism have long painted environmentalists as killers – of people, progress and jobs.

Read more on Business Insider

Featured Image taken as a screen grab from Silent Spring

Will the Lies Continue?

‘Post-truth is an intellectual label for bulls**t’ – Nish Kumar on The Mash Report

We are living in a ‘post-truth’ era of fake news, we keep being told. British and American politics are becoming more and more like a South Park episode in real life. Enter stand-up comedian Nish Kumar and master satirists The Daily Mash. Written in the week of broadcast, The Mash Report is a new TV show from the minds behind the website whose Onion-style take on the British news cycle has won it 600,000 fans on Facebook and millions of daily readers. Joined by comedic talents Ellie Taylor, Steve N Allen and Rachel Parris, presenter Kumar will report on everything that happened – or didn’t happen – that week.

Read more: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/television/nish-kumar-the-mash-report-post-truth-satire/

Photo credit: Nish Kumar fronts the new topical show The Mash Report (Photo: BBC)

What’s your opinion?

Writing Wikipedia articles teaches information literacy skills, study finds

“As educators worldwide grapple with how to teach information literacy in the digital age, Wikipedia has emerged as one answer to the post-truth era. New research results confirm that writing Wikipedia articles as a class assignment can be a key part of teaching students critical information literacy skills.

Instructors in more than 90 countries worldwide assign their students to edit Wikipedia as a class assignment. Today, the Wiki Education Foundation (Wiki Ed) is releasing the results from the most comprehensive study ever undertaken to evaluate student learning outcomes from Wikipedia assignments. The study concludes that Wikipedia assignments provide students valuable digital/information literacy, critical research, teamwork, and technology skills, and students are more motivated by these assignments than they are by traditional writing assignments.”

Is this the future of literary education in the post-truth era?

Full story – https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/06/19/wikipedia-information-literacy-study/

Feature photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

Post-truth? “It’s pure nonsense”

“For as long as there have been politicians, they have lied, fabricated and deceived. The manufacture of falsehood has changed over time, as the machinery becomes more sophisticated. Straight lies give way to sinuous spin, and open dishonesty disappears behind Newspeak and Doublethink. However, even if honesty is sometimes the best policy, politics is addressed to people’s opinions, and the manipulation of opinion is what it is all about. Plato held truth to be the goal of philosophy and the ultimate standard that disciplines the soul. But even he acknowledged that people cannot take very much of it, and that peaceful government depends on ‘the noble lie’.” –  / Spectator.co.uk

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a noble lie? 

Read more here – https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/post-truth-its-pure-nonsense/

Photo credit: Spectator.co.uk

 

The Post-Truth World – Why Have We Had Enough Of Experts?

We are living in a post-truth world, where alternative facts and fake news compete on an equal footing with peer-reviewed research and formerly-authoritative sources such as the United Kingdom’s global news and current affairs service, the BBC.

Read more:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lbsbusinessstrategyreview/2017/05/22/the-post-truth-world-why-have-we-had-enough-of-experts/#15b8140754e6