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Today we have Kom Kunyosying and Carter Soles on to discuss their 2012 article “Postmodern Geekdom as Simulated Ethnicity”. This article is very dense and has a lot of different ideas making up its thesis, so we didn’t feel we could contain the discussion within a single episode. Therefore it’s a two-part episode, with this being the second part. Both parts are free and not bonus premium episodes. Subscribers to Patreon will have access to a combined version of this episode with the full two hour interview as one file however.
Dr. Kom Kunyosying completed a Ph.D. in English at the University of Oregon where he studied the overlap between iconic and ethnic representation in U.S. comics in relation to other visual and prose media. He has published essays on the rise of geek culture for Jump Cut (with Carter Soles) and on metonymy and ecology in Charles Burns’s Black Hole for Interdisciplinary Studies Literature Environment. His essay with Carter Soles, “The Walking Dead’s Hyperreal Hillbilly: Horror, Melodrama, and Backwoods White Protagonists,” is in the forthcoming anthology, “There’s Us and the Dead”: Identity Politics in The Walking Dead (McFarland). He teaches Writing and Literature at Nashua Community College. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Dr. Carter Soles completed a Ph.D. at University of Oregon. Carter Soles is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English Department at The College at Brockport (SUNY). His research interests include geek studies, gender and identity studies, film authorship, and the comedy and horror genres. He has published articles on the queerness of the independent film Chuck&Buck (2000) for Jump Cut and on the figure of the hillbilly in 1970’s horror cinema for The Eco-Cinema Reader(Routledge, 2012). His profile can be found here: https://www.brockport.edu/academics/english/directory/soles_carter.html. He can be contacted on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cartersoles
Discussed in this Part 2 episode:
- “Postmodern Geekdom as Simulated Ethnicity” by Kom Kunyosying and Carter Soles https://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/jc54.2012/SolesKunyoGeedom/
- Robert Crumb’s “Whiteman” comic strip: http://img.eastfist.com/whitemanbyRCrumb.jpg
- Robert Crumb’s “Whiteman Meets BigFoot” http://champagnesharks.blubrry.net/whiteman-meets-bigfoot/
- Frank Chin’s concept of “Racist Love.” https://chintalks.blogspot.com/2008/08/racist-love.html
- Contrast the scenes with Kyle the geek and Rhonda from Road Trip to Crumb’s “Whiteman Meets Bigfoot”. As Kyle becomes increasingly uninhibited and less geeky, he at the same time is shown embracing stereotypical blackness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz3SOdEw0LY. This culminates with nerdy Kyle bedding a large, very sensual black woman, interestingly shown in animal print, as the final step in conquering his repression and reclaiming his manhood. Note the animal print the black woman is wearing (nature, animalistic). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=281lLnMhKVI Like Crumb’s Whiteman, sex with the primal, primitive, hyper sexual black woman is transformative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-Ly36Bdmcw. This is taken further when we see how much more masculine Kyle is portrayed in the afterglow of the sexual encounter. Also note his friend explicitly asks if he had sex with an animal, a subtle dehumanization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnjGj3rx1N0. The Postmodern Geekdom article has more examples of this trope of geeks using black slumming as a way to reclaim primal masculinity.
- Tony Harris’s rant against conventionally hot women infiltrating geek culture, especially in cosplay and comic convention culture: https://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/11/13/hey-quasi-pretty-not-hot-girl-you-are-more-pathetic-than-the-real-nerds-tony-harris/
- Black Skin, White Masks by Franz Fanon http://amzn.to/2ze0Z5E. Also, What Fanon Said by Lewis Gordon http://amzn.to/2zsZe5s
- “Incoherent Icon” by Noah Berlatsky, about Milestone Comics’ Icon comic and the lack of political imagination of its black creators regarding its Black Superman. http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/03/incoherent-icon/. Also, discussing Milestone comics is “Diverse Mediocre Genre Product” by Noah Berlatsky http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/02/diverse-mediocre-genre-product/ and “J. Lamb on Why Superhero Diversity Isn’t Enough,” also by Noah Berlatsky http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/02/j-lamb-on-why-superhero-diversity-isnt-enough/.
- Sexual Politics and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond by Robin Wood, a collection where the essay “Mandingo: The Vindication of an Abused Masterpiece” first appears.http://amzn.to/2ysSeqI
- Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class by Eric Lott http://amzn.to/2ze4hGg
- Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr. http://amzn.to/2xLJUne