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Sight Gag: American (Gothic) Nightmare


Credit: Marco Lanzagorta, Dread Reckoning, American Gothic

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 Jon 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 such moments on display in what we call “sight gags,” democracy’s nod to the ironic and/or 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. Sometimes the images will be pure silliness, but sometimes they will point to ironies, poignant and otherwise. 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.


Sight Gag: American (Gothic) Nightmare


1 Response

  1. J Edwards says

    I am somewhat disappointed that you have chosen to name this feature “sight gags.” If they are, indeed, gags, predictated on nothing more than humor or entertainment, that’s one thing. But many forms of parody are predicated on moral instruction and other more serious grounds. Political cartoons, for example, suffer continously from being trivialized in this way, although they serve an impoartnt rhetorical function. Even the NYT lsist cartoons under the heading “laugh lines.” No wonder editors find them expendable in budget squeezes.

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