Ep. 26: Mommy, Look How Woke I Am: On Performative Wokeness

EQ: What does it mean to be “woke,” and how can wokeness be performative?

Guest: Amy Young, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Communication and Theatre Department at Pacific Lutheran University and author of Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits: Rhetorical Styles and Public Engagement.  Guest on Nerd Farm Podcast, episode 5 “On Ignoring Calls for Civility.” Find her online: Facebook & Twitter (@Amy_Prof)

Amy brings the noise about political rhetoric and shares her insights on a variety of topics:

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  • Why she was drawn to rhetoric as a field and why it matters
  • The phenomenon of master’s theses and conference titles always including a colon
  • The fact that, when people want to talk about rhetoric (words, media, and timing), they don’t ask rhetoricians.  They ask political scientists or historians instead.
  • Donald Trump appealing only to his base using narrowly targeted rhetoric (and how some things are both authentic and unpalatable)
  • Political correctness getting a bad rap and how it actually serves to foster empathy or connection to audience.  Sometimes thinking about other people is a good idea.
  • Creepy Stephen Miller’s shark eyes and his distinctive lack of exchangeability in politics (could he work in any other administration? No).

Performing wokeness…

  • Appropriation--who gets to lay claim and perform that claim publicly--where’s the line? What’s the difference between being a fan (appreciating) and wearing a woke costume?  Using Black vernacular to construct a public identity when the target identity is marginalized or oppressed. Appropriators are afforded social capital in a way that those who constructed the culture it aren’t .
  • The tension between being clued-in and clueless.  Rachel Dolezal's calendar - 12 months of pictures of her. 

 

Greatest (and by “greatest” we mean the worst) examples…

Guilty Favesies:

  • Hope: Mangoes--manila, dried etc.  Delicious - they’re fruit, so they must be good for you.
  • Annie: cheap makeup. Crap for my skin, probably terrible for the environment. But I want a $2 e.l.f. eyeliner pencil and I won’t back down.
  • Amy: Mister, Mister

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Hope: Woke-check yourself.  Be reflective and authentic.
  • Annie: Go check out a list on Goodreads called “Popular Stay Woke Books.” Read all the books on the list, repeat as needed.  Notable titles include The New Jim Crow and Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.
  • Amy: Amy’s making room in her intro classes to challenge her students by presenting rhetoric around diverse political views. Do the same in your profession (whatever it is).

Ep. 22: That's Pinteresting!

EQ: To what extent has Pinterest influenced the creativity of the modern women/men and specifically educators? When is Pinterest too much or just enough?

Guest: Cat Melaunie (Melani), middle school teacher, education activist, and general badass. She’s a Texas native and Washington transplant with a degree in English LA & Writing and minors in psychology and education from McMurry University.  She currently works in education in Washington and is a freelance writer, including writing for the Nerdfarmer Podcast. She hosts local trivia, emcees events, and volunteers all the time! Also, she has a guinea pig named Obiwan Guinobi who loves to dress up.

Cat’s Story:

  • Her move from Texas to Washington, inspired by her best friend relocating and being RIF’d/laid off from her teaching job (Texas is a “right to work” state) because of her sexual orientation.  SHAME BELL.
  • Everything she loves about her college, small hometown, and Tacoma.
  • Full-time subbing in Tacoma and the differences between teaching in Texas and teaching in Washington: being 100% “on” all the time vs. being herself and “blending her worlds.”
  • Accidentally coming out to students. Spoiler: it’s funny and not awful.
  • Saying “no” for a long time and learning how to say “yes” to beautiful new experiences.
  • Being Hispanic and finding out she was a person of color, including her different experiences in Texas and Washington.
  • Watching Starbelly Sneetches with her students to teach them about how to be kind.

Segway: Pinterest...your favorite thing or your most favorite thing?

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is basically an online corkboard where you collect pictures of things you like from the internet - the pictures are usually connected to a link.  Cat describes it as the ancient art of finding great ideas that other great people found before you. It’s possible to scroll through Pinterest for 1,000 hours and not know what happened.

  • Pinterest board numbers: Hope stopped counting at 30, Cat has 30, and Annie has...102. Hope has cleverly named boards about teaching, working out, and books worth reading.  Cat has a mermaid board, treats board, hair board, and two for Harry Potter - memes and HP stuff. Plus - Star Wars wedding. Annie has so many that it’s hard to pick a fave.
  • Pinterest is renowned for its massive collection of recipes. Hope is doing the keto thing, Annie is vegan, so we decided to try and find something that everyone could eat. Annie made these.  They’re not a total fail!  Hope participated in the adventure, too - coconut milk chocolate mousse. It wouldn’t blend but it was delicious.

Bad advice from Pinterest!

  • Flowery background with “bloom where you’re planted” - worse than “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  • Rustic junk like beach trash with inspirational quotes.
  • The whole fitspo situation. You used to see a lot of “thinspo” or “thinspiration,” now its “fitspo” or “fitness inspiration,” which basically glorifies abs and squat challenges.  Plus the before and after weight loss pictures.
  • Not exactly bad advice, but you can’t go on Pinterest without seeing white women all over the place using Starbucks cups as accessories.  The Starbucks cup is the new tiny dog in a purse.
  • CAT WROTE US SOME POEMS ABOUT PINTEREST, including a limerick and a poem on the spot.  It was impressive.
  • Men also enjoy Pinterest, especially posting pictures of their beards and beards they think are awesome.
  • While it’s a social media platform, Pinterest is also a consumer trap.

Guilty-Favesies:

  • These are things that you make feel “guilty” about but are secretly or not so secretly favesies.
  • Annie: looking for government jobs so she can be like Leslie Knope.
  • Cat: comic books - but not so guilty. Eating fried chicken and drinking cheap beer in a bubble bath. Netflix (laptop on the toilet - not over the tub. Don’t electrocute yourself).
  • Hope: Diet Pepsi with a Twix bar.

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Annie: Google “Pinterest Fails” and remind yourself that no one has a perfectly curated Pinterest life and that FAIL stands for “first attempt in learning.”
  • Cat: say “yes’ to new experiences.  It will change your life.
  • Hope: follow Cat’s guinea pig on Pinterest and make it out to the Black Kettle on Thursdays at 7:30 for trivia.

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