Our primary goal with this blog is to talk about the ways in which photojournalism contributes to a vital democratic public culture. Much of the time that means we are focusing on what purport to be more or less serious matters. But as John Stewart and Stephen Colbert often remind us, democracy needs irony, parody, and pure silliness as much as it needs serious contemplation. For our part, we will dedicate our Sunday posts to putting some of that silliness on display in what we call “sight gags,” democracy’s nod to the carnivalesque. Sometimes we will post pictures we’ve taken, or that have been contributed by others, or that we just happen to stumble across as we navigate our very visual public culture. And we won’t just be limited to photography, as a robust democratic visual culture consists of much more. We typically will not comment beyond offering an identifying label, leaving the images to “speak” for themselves as much as possible. Of course we invite you to comment … and to send us images that you think capture the carnival of contemporary democratic public culture.
Photo Credit: Cybergag 3000
One person’s carnivalesque silliness is sometimes another person’s point for seriious contemplation. While the ad is surely humorous, it’s also the expression of an attitude toward non-humans (e.g. what they’re “for”) as well as toward vegetarians and vegans, who have a different view of ideal human relations with the rest of the world. The photo is a little masterpiece in that it so economically posits the contention. While I’m firmly established on the “other” side of the issue, I have to acknowledge the wit of the ad, even while, for me, the world view it encapsulates is an anathema.
I don’t know Katie. I fail to see the humor or the wit of the advertisement because three things bother me. First, how does an elk eating grass by a lake represent “STEAKS – FISH – WILD GAME”? (Why not a fish jumping from the river? Why not a cow grazing grass instead?) Second, why is the address on the advertisement so small? Wouldn’t drivers have to stop their car to catch the address? Third, according to the Bible, aren’t humans part of God’s creatures as well?
If anything, this photo mocks this advertisement.
Surely part of the wit is that it is an elk, rather than a humble cow or fish. Although it’s definitely ‘game’ as in killed for sport, even committed meat eaters would balk, in these days of film-wrapped and superprocessed, wouldn’t they?
Not to nitpick, but the creature of god depicted on that sign is a moose, not an elk…