After reading Sarma’s article, I was compelled to reflect upon humour and it’s utilization in communicating information and opinion from the otherwise very serious political arena.
Making fun of politics is undeniably a dominant part of the North American and European culture. Political humour can craft serious political/social observation and commentary at the same time. Parody images are widely used in on-line media forums and are often the main source of information for many (Sarma, 2015). When I think back to my days growing up in England, (a country bound together by humour and satire) I have to admit that much of what I remember of politics (the good old days of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives) came from a satirical source; potentially littered with inaccuracies, but engaging and informative nonetheless.
Sarma speaks of anecdotal and accidental knowledge, and the resulting fragmentation of information (Sarma, 2015). While this may be the case, the world of satire made politics accessible to me and many others, and still does today. A Sarma states, parody often constitutes our everyday understanding of and engagement with the world (Sarma, 2015). In other words, we make sense of (world politics) through use of humour. Utilizing collage-making is part of this process. In creating art, we are able to look at serious issues through the lens of humour and thus make sense of it on a level otherwise unavailable to many.
How does this pertain to education? Not only can we share satire and parody I our classrooms to inform students of serious issues in a fun, engaging and accessible way, but we can involve them in the creation of such. We live in a maker-culture, and the use of collage as a means of expressing knowledge and opinion, and tying it to humor, is an excellent vehicle for our students to demonstrate their understanding.
Here are some great resources and source of information for teaching politics through satire:
Sarma, S. (2015). Collage: An Art-inspired Methodology for Studying Laughter in World Politics.
Caso and Hamilton (p.110-119).
We live in a copycat culture.
We live in an inspired time!
We live in a world of imitation.
We live in a climate of originality!
We live in an age of replication and duplication.
We live in a REMIX era!
Which of these assertions is true? Actually, they all are. Take a look around you right now. Everything from the movies you watch and the music you hear, to the literature on your shelves and the art on your walls…we are surrounded by adaptations and re-workings; each and every object piggy-backing off a predecessor of similar design, or a contemporary equivalent. It is undeniable - we live in a culture of remix. BUT…do we live in a world of creativity and continuous improvement? Is REMIX the basis for all creativity or an assault on originality? Are remakes and re-workings lesser forms of creation, or examples of inspired sharing of growth and knowledge? And how does the REMIX culture apply to learning?
When researching this topic I was inspired by the following key points in particular:
REMIX - THE BASIS FOR ALL CREATIVITY
“The potential payoff for using open and discoverable resources, open and transparent licensing, and open and remixable formats is huge: more reuse means that more dynamic content is being produced more economically, even if the reuse happens only within an organization. And when remixing happens in a social context on the open web, people learn from each other's process.”
REMIX - AN ASSAULT ON ORIGINALITY
There are many challenges and concerns of remix in education, including the potential that remix “may not involve critical thinking, celebrates conspicuous consumption and derivitive production, results in shallow engagment with content, remixes are of narrow cultural interest and scope, remix celebrates pop culture trash and confuses or ignores ethical issues.”
ADAPTING TO A WORLD OF ADAPTATIONS
“Remixing is finding its way into the classroom as a way of fostering students’ creativity and helping them learn and express their ideas. It also doesn’t hurt that the medium is second nature to today’s students.”
“[Remixing teaches] systems thinking; connecting ideas, information and experience, as well as collaboration,” Sery says. “In the 21st-century economy, those are the skills you will need to survive.”
In their article DIY Media Creation, Fields et al focus on how digital tools and on-line spaces can shape teaching practices and processes of learning. Grounded in research, the article states that young adults are motivated in educational settings where they believe in their own self-efficacy, are intrinsically motivated and set goals. (Deci & Ryan 1985) Two interesting websites are referenced as examples of online spaces that do exactly that. As well as enhancing creativity by adding technology, the multimodal and interactive design of figment.com and scratch.mit.edu’s on-line spaces encourage collaboration, peer feedback and sharing across various social media tools. Coming together with peers over a shared passion is a great motivator and opportunity for creative growth and learning.
Websites such as scratch and figment encourage creative media production by connecting youth with the same passion over a digital interface. They mirror features of popular social networking programs and make access to peers, a passionate audience and instant feedback possible.
How do we harness the creative and collaborative potential that these sites offer and apply it to the classroom? I don't think the challenge lays in student readiness or the introduction of digital technologies such as these; No, the challenge centres around the teacher. How can we ready our teachers for these new ways of collaborating and creating? How can we build a digital comfort in our educators? Is the integration of social media and DIY creation a case of the student surpassing the teacher? To be effective in today's ever-changing classrooms, teachers have to remain current... and that, to me, is the biggest challenge of all.
Fields, D.A., Magnifico, A. M., Lammers, J.C., Scott-Curwood J.(2014) DIY media creation. Journal of adolescent literacy 58(1), 19-24
With a PR team to rival that of the Kardashians, a knack for bringing a crowd to its feet, and an unparalleled ego that leads him to make outlandish statements and exalt himself to ‘Godlihood’, there is no doubt that Kanye West could convince the general public to believe anything he said.
While his announcement may have been spontaneous and bizarre to say the least, anything that gets the country talking about who should or even more so who shouldn’t be running the country the better.
Trump is a great voice to stir the pot; however I’m not so sure he would be the best senior statesman to give a speech at the UN.
If politics is defined as - Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, definition "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people (Wikipedia.org), then Kanye nailed it!
What a testament to the power of pop culture! If our politicians were half as engaging and enigmatic as Kanye, or had the ability to persuade and entrance an audience as he does, then perhaps more people would be interested in the political climate. Look at the statistics…While many of us, when asked what we value most about living in Canada would say 'freedom' or 'democracy', fact is that in the last election, voter turnout dropped to 61% (down from 75.3% in 1988). What does that say about our political climate and our politicians? Why are Canadians rejecting the opportunity to help shape and grow our great country and lead our youth to be a part of it? Maybe if Kanye was running here in Canada, more people would vote! And if this little guy was his opponent, he’d have to bring his A-Game!