There’s a passage in the documentary The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology where dialectic Marxist superstar Slavoj Žižek goes on a tangent about how to properly satirize institutional power. His point, in essence, is that you can’t successfully erode an institution by attacking the person in charge. [I suppose it’s possible that this wasn’t exactly what he was talking about, because sometimes Žižek can be hard to follow. But this was my takeaway, and my interpretation is valid, even if it’s wrong. Misinterpretations can still be accidentally true.] According to Žižek, attempting to satirize the public image of a powerful person inevitably proves impotent; this is because positions of power are designed to manipulate and displace a high degree of criticism. You can mock the president with impunity—nothing will really happen to him or to you. Part of the presidential job description is the absorption of public vitriol. It’s a rubberized target. A comedic assault doesn’t change perception in any meaningful way....



Meriadoc:

Žižek is a populist derivative hack, and so is Klosterman, but damn if they aren't entertaining as hell.

But they're right. Seinfeld is probably the darkest, most misanthropic, philosophically fulfilling, and most important show that has ever been on television. And it's amazing that it doesn't matter who I show Seinfeld to (and I force a lot of people completely opposed to it to watch it), they all suddenly understand. Like as kids they saw it and there's no way they could grasp it, and it just looked like a shitty sitcom, but there hasn't been one yet to suddenly have it click as to why it was so damn good.

But through all that, despite how much I love the show and respect it, and find it hilarious, I still don't know what about it that I actually find funny. It's just a straight up morbid show, and it shouldn't be funny, but it somehow always works. It's similar to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but there I can derive a lot of the comedy from the ridiculously embarrassing self-deprecation. Seinfeld is just... a class of its own comedy.

I do like the comparison to Always Sunny as well. Calling it Seinfeld vulcanized by PEDs and the Internet is dead on.


posted by thenewgreen: 1576 days ago