The Postmodern Politics of the Sanity Rally

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Ollie says:

    It’s almost as though if the politicians are going to behave like children, they are going to suffer just as much when they get picked on. Silly tea-party, they have cooties and they smell like horseshit.

  2. Ed Heath says:

    There was a potentially interesting debate on Sociological Images about who attended this rally and why. One person described the attendees as over-privileged but apathetic white people, another protested that some of the mockery could be seen as directed at the protests of minorities against racism and economic oppression.

    The thing is (or should be) that the Tea Party is using overheated language to protest the manner in which government is attempting to address our current economic problems. Members of the Tea Party are attempting to suggest that they are hurt by stimulus spending (and the resulting debt), as well as by the advancement of the government into healthcare and a return to financial regulation. Since members of the Tea Party are statistically mostly white, older and well off, I do not believe that most are currently suffering in this economy. We know that the unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degree is 4.5% right now.

    By contrast, people who do not have high school degrees suffer an unemployment rate of more than 10%, and high school graduates I think are around 10%. I would be perfectly happy to hear these groups scream about the situation they find themselves in.

    Now, I suspect Jon Stewart’s audience is mostly white, affluent, educated and also very liberal. Stewart himself makes fun of his own whiteness using black members of his cast. I want to, and do believe that Stewart would encourage minorities and/or the very poor to yell and scream about their misfortune, and I would hope he would avoid being condescending by making jokes at the expense (so to speak) of the poor.

    So what makes the Rally for Sanity interesting is that it is supposed to counter the fake pain that Tea Party members scream about, but the Rally is taking some heat from some quarters because it might suppress the expression of the real pain being felt by the voiceless in our society

    • Ollie says:

      You should actually watch the rally. Jon’s closing remarks aren’t apathetic. There is no lack of outrage for the unemployment situation.

      Also I don’t think it is fair to say that because the rally attendee’s were mostly white that they must also not care about unemployment.

  3. Ed, yes, very interesting. I tried to follow the Soc Images discussion in the comments, but was a bit overwhelmed. I noticed the fundamental debate that seems to follow this rally: do you think that (postmodern) activism on the level of signs/symbols/humor/irony is right and/or efficacious or not? Sort of the old materialism/idealism debate.

    What you are pointing to is an issue I did not take up very much in my post that deals with the race/class issues at Beck’s and Stewart’s rallies. What about the Sanity Rally kept non-whites away?

    I think it makes sense that ironic politics would be more associated by those whose stakes are lower (whites). For liberal/progressive whites, structural inequalities are largely symbolic, something imagined but not lived in a real, material sense. But those subordinate groups who live inequalites in a that very real, material way might favor protest that reflects clear positions and activities.

    [all of this is not to say that humor/dance/etc have not been tools wielded by the disenfranchised. they certainly have. but the Sanity Rally was a space for ONLY this. it was so overwhelmingly ironic that those favoring material (modern?) forms of activism might have stayed away] ~nathan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *