A MAPACA I go (hopefully)…

So, trying something less ambitious…

I’ve just finished the next-to-final draft of my abstract for my mostly  still unwritten paper “It’s Not Funny Until It Hurts: The Great Recession and Modern R-Rated Comedy,” which I’ll be submitting for acceptance to the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association (or MAPACA, not to be confused with the Alpaca-breeding organization) Conference being held in Philadelphia this fall.  I’ve had very strong showings the past two years so I’m strongly optimistic about my chances at attending again.  Since my aspirations of going any farther in academic circles has been completely blunted due to the apparently very poor standing I had with my former professors, I see this really as little more than an opportunity to flex my intellectual muscles somewhat and hopefully just have some fun with other down to Earth intellectuals.

Last year’s conference weekend was really one of the lone highlights of what may have, overall, been the worst year of my life, and though it would be impossible for this year’s to top last year’s (since I’m guessing Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will NOT be hosting another “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” let alone holding it in Philly), I’m going to try to go three in a row for well-received papers.

Below is the my present Abstract, which had to be limited to 150 words.

“This paper’s purpose is to analyze how the Great Recession has influenced two of the more significant and successful film comedies of recent years, The Hangover (2009) and Bridesmaids (2011).   Each film demonstrates a marked trend in mainstream comedy toward darker, deglamorized humor derived from humiliation, abjection, failure, and sufferings both emotional and physical.  Subverting the phrase ‘laugh until it hurts,’ the films reflect in their content the disillusionment, frustration, and cynicism currently prevalent in society at large in the wake of a stagnant economy.  The Hangover, about amnesiac groomsmen taking stock after showing atrociously bad judgment, and Bridesmaids, detailing a woman ‘running out of rope’ while her more successful friend is getting married, embody a certain comedic tone generated by this particular moment in history – one based on an empathetic variation on jouissance: where the audience’s pleasure derives from their own perceived pain being reflected back at them. ”

The good news is, this means I get to read up on my  Žižek.  The bad news is…it also means I have to read up on my Lacan.  C’est la vie…

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