Search Results for “Absurd”

March 13, 2017

Absurdism

myth of sisyphus

Absurdism is a type of philosophy centered on the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. The conflict itself is called ‘the absurd,’ by absurdist philosophers.

Absurdists, most notably French philosopher Albert Camus, believe that when human beings realize this fundamental absurdity the most sensible response was to  accept the absurd, and also to keep trying to overcome it. He believed that a human being could become happy by finding meaning in their relationship with the absurdity of their existence. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing meaning from the search alone.

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March 19, 2012

Absurdistan

Absurdistan passport

Absurdistan is a term sometimes used to satirically describe a country in which absurdity is the norm, especially in its public authorities and government. The expression was originally used by Eastern bloc dissidents to refer to parts (or all) of the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Today, the term is most often reserved for Russia and states formerly in the Soviet sphere of influence which have retained Soviet-style authoritarian governments, such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, or Belarus.

The first printed use of the word, in any language, can be found in a 1971 German monthly periodical ‘Politische Studien.’ Later, in Czech, the term was often used by the dissident and later president Václav Havel. This seems to indicate that use of the term began during perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet economy). The first recorded printed use of the term in English was in ‘Spectator’ in 1989, in an article about Czechoslovakia (Czechoslovakians have taken to calling their country ‘Absurdistan’ because everyday life there has long resembled the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’).

October 25, 2011

Theater of the Absurd

godot

The Theatre of the Absurd is a designation for particular plays of absurdist fiction, written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as to the style of theater which has evolved from their work. Their work expressed the belief that, in a godless universe, human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down.

Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence. Plays within this group are absurd in that they focus not on logical acts, realistic occurrences, or traditional character development; they, instead, focus on human beings trapped in an incomprehensible world subject to any occurrence, no matter how illogical. The theme of incomprehensibility is coupled with the inadequacy of language to form meaningful human connections.

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October 6, 2017

Eric Andre

Eric Andre (b. 1983) is an American actor, comedian, and television host. He is the creator, host, and co-writer of ‘The Eric Andre Show,’ a surreal parody of low-budget public-access talk shows that airs on ‘Adult Swim’ (a nighttime programming block on ‘Cartoon Network’). Andre also played ‘Mike’ on the ‘FXX’ comedy series ‘Man Seeking Woman.’

‘The Eric Andre Show’ premiered in 2012. The series is hosted along with comedian Hannibal Buress, who serves as André’s sidekick. The show was influenced, in part, by surreal spoof talk show ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast,’ a series that has previously aired on ‘Cartoon Network’ and later ‘Adult Swim.’

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January 23, 2017

Filthy Frank

filthy frank

George Miller, commonly known by his internet pseudonym ‘Filthy Frank,’ is a musician and YouTube personality. He was born to Australian and Japanese parents, and attended Canadian Academy, where he graduated from in 2012. Aside from the comedic and often rap based music he creates under his ‘Pink Guy’ alias, Miller also creates more serious and traditional music under the stage name ‘Joji.’ He first became known for his absurdist YouTube channel, ‘TVFilthyFrank,’ which features music, rants and a bizarre ‘show’ featured in an alternate universe, with all of the main characters played by him.

Miller’s video titled ‘Do the Harlem Shake (Original)’ has been viewed 57.2 million times and spawned the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme. The earliest known video of Miller is a YouTube video titled ‘2cool4u92,’ uploaded to a channel sharing the same name in 2006 and features a young Miller performing a break dance move in front of the camera. Miller created the ‘Filthy Frank’ character during his time on his ‘Dizasta Music’ channel, where he created other content but started gaining popularity once he conceptualized Frank, who is described as the anti-vlogger of YouTube. The first known video on this particular channel was uploaded in 2011, and was titled ‘Filthy Shit.’

June 23, 2016

Lenin Was A Mushroom

Kuryokhin

Lenin was a mushroom‘ was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast in May 1991 on Leningrad Television. The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program ‘Pyatoe Koleso’ (‘The Fifth Wheel’). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself.

Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various ‘sources’ (such as shamanic author Carlos Castaneda, MIT, and Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain. The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.

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September 19, 2015

Irish Bull

Berra by Seymour Chwast

An Irish bull is a ludicrous, incongruent or logically absurd statement, generally unrecognized as such by its author. The addition of the epithet Irish is a late addition. The ‘Irish bull’ is to the sense of a statement what the dangling participle is to the syntax. A jarring or amusing absurdity is created by hastiness or lack of attention to speech or writing.

Although, strictly speaking, Irish bulls are so structured grammatically as to be logically meaningless, their actual effect upon listeners is usually to give vivid illustrations to obvious truths. Hence, as John Pentland Mahaffy, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, famously observed, ‘an Irish bull is always pregnant,’ i.e. with truthful meaning.

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July 31, 2015

Double Bind

Gregory Bateson by Savina Hopkins

catch-22

A double bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, and one message negates the other. This creates a situation in which a successful response to one message results in a failed response to the other (and vice versa), so that the person will automatically be wrong regardless of response. The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore can neither resolve it nor opt out of the situation.

The classic example given of a negative double bind is of a mother telling her child that she loves him or her, while at the same time turning away in disgust (the words are socially acceptable; the body language is in conflict with it). The child doesn’t know how to respond to the conflict between the words and the body language and, because the child is dependent on the mother for basic needs, he or she is in a quandary. Small children have difficulty articulating contradictions verbally and can neither ignore them nor leave the relationship.

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November 11, 2014

Master Suppression Techniques

withholding information

The Master suppression techniques (also known as domination techniques), articulated in 1945 by Norwegian psychologist and philosopher Ingjald Nissen, is an outline of ways to indirectly suppress and humiliate opponents. In the late 1970s the framework was popularized by Norwegian social psychologist Berit Ås, who reduced Nissen’s original nine means to five, and claimed this was a technique mostly used in the workplace by men against women. Master suppression techniques are defined as strategies of social manipulation by which a dominant group maintains such a position in a (established or unexposed) hierarchy. They are very prominent in Scandinavian scholarly and public debate.

The five master suppression techniques are: Making Invisible (silencing or otherwise marginalizing persons in opposition by ignoring them), Ridiculing (portraying opponents and their arguments as absurd and worthy of mocking), Withholding Information (excluding opponents from the decision making process, or limiting their access to information so as to make them less able to make an informed choice), Double Binding (punishing or otherwise belittling the actions of opponents, regardless of how they act), and Blaming and Shaming (embarrassing opponents by insinuating that they are themselves to blame for their position).

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October 3, 2014

Comic Relief

Faustus

Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene, or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension. It is a narrative technique that momentarily alleviates the stressful emotions and angst building up in a dramatic story. Comic relief often takes the form of a bumbling, wisecracking sidekick of the hero or villain in a work of fiction. The secondary character will often remark on the absurdity of the hero’s situation and make comments that would be inappropriate for a character who is to be taken seriously. Other characters may use comic relief as a means to irritate others or keep themselves confident.

Comic relief can also occur during dramatic moments in comedies. Greek tragedy does not allow any comic relief. Even the Elizabethan critic Sidney following Horace’s ‘Ars Poetic’ pleaded for the exclusion of comic elements from a tragic drama. But in Renaissance England, Marlowe among the University Wits (a group of late-16th-century English playwrights and pamphleteers who were educated at Oxford or Cambridge) introduced comic relief through the presentation of crude scenes in ‘Doctor Faustus’ following the native tradition of Interlude which was usually introduced between two tragic plays. In fact, in the classical tradition the mingling of the tragic and the comic was not allowed.

May 22, 2014

Contemporary Reaction to Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis by Manu Ortega

Dr. Ignaz [ig-nahtsSemmelweis [zem-uhl-vahys] discovered in 1847 that hand-washing with a solution of chlorinated lime reduced the incidence of fatal childbed fever tenfold in maternity institutions. However, the reaction of his contemporaries was not positive; his subsequent mental disintegration led to him being confined to an insane asylum, where he died in 1865. His critics claimed his findings lacked scientific reasoning. The failure of the nineteenth-century scientific community to recognize Semmelweis’s findings, and the nature of the flawed critiques against him helped advance a positivist epistemology, leading to the emergence of evidence-based medicine.

To a modern reader, Semmelweis’s experimental evidence—that chlorine washings reduced childbed fever—seem obvious, and it may seem absurd that his claims were rejected on the grounds of purported lack of ‘scientific reasoning.’ His unpalatable observational evidence was only accepted when seemingly unrelated work by Louis Pasteur in Paris some two decades later offered a theoretical explanation for Semmelweis’s observations: the germ theory of disease.

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March 12, 2014

Goat Simulator

goat simulator

Goat Simulator is a third-person perspective game in which the player controls a goat. There does not appear to be any kind of storyline or plot. The player is free to explore the game’s world as a goat, destroying things in the environment, running, jumping, and biting. According to the developers, Coffee Stain Studios: ‘Goat Simulator is like an old school skating game, except instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing tricks, you wreck stuff.’

The game boasts the fact that various glitches and bugs have been intentionally left in the game, as to add to the light-hearted entertainment value. Another gameplay feature is the ability to ‘lick’ objects with the goat’s absurdly long tongue, which will then stick to the goat’s tongue and can be carried and swung around to provide an alternate method of wreaking havoc on the game environment.

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