Rigoberta FuManchu: Mysticism, Orientalism(s), and Cultural Appropriation in the Kino-Matic Borderlands, a Screening
One of the more energy-intensive of this year's papers, Phredd's insistence on an old-timey cinema feel appropriated "The Necking Hill," a shallow bank at the south edge of this year's venue, which forms something of an amphitheater. The colonization of great cultures was hereby mirrored by the colonization of our students' favorite make-out spot, serendipity on a half-hill.
Vag-Jealous: Freud, Envy, and the Enduring Gender Politics of Chariots of Fire
Originally planned as a presentation in which all present would be running on treadmills, this year's location allowed for a presentation on a makeshift track. Half the participants dropped out, but for those of us who stuck it out, there was little left wanting. For the zipless among us (this correspondent included), penis envy seems to have morphed into the bodily thrill of gaining ground.
Chariots of Fire Island: Fitness, Phatness, and the Hipness of the Gaycation, a Deep Map
Fyrestones, surprisingly, not the source of this year's conflagration (He told her to write that – Ed.), explores body-shaping, body-shaming, and the physicality of gay culture in the form of Geertzian thick description and images of thinness that add up to what even straight people seem to think is a good time. As a guidebook, it has its issues, but as running commentary, it is right on.
A Snausage Full of Secrets: Pink Floyd, Online Marketing, and Puppylove, a Memefest
Rina and Ration's presentation was certainly one of the loudest, and the white canvas of their tent actually enhanced the lightshow, mixed as it was with ‘net-age pictures of doggo-oriented memes, which kind of harshed our mellow. Little reminds us more starkly of how far from the promise of the Age of Aquarius the Age of Acquisition has gone.
I'm a Bereaver: Mourning, The Monkees, and the Death of a Decade, a Timeline in TV Guide Synopses
Conference downers included this one, a paper presented as a series of epitaphs and eulogies. Yet Condolanz's metamorphosis of TV Guide evinces a dark brilliance; in the pauses between descriptions, a heft, the massive silence of the grave.
Eudaimoania: Expressions of Pleasure and the Ecstasy of the Good Life, an Instagram Filter
We all have that one friend, the one who seems so rational in real life but who just goes nuts on Instagram and Twitter, filling her feed with highly stylized shots of suppers and shoes, impossibly cute kids and vacations in impossibly beautiful locales. Torres and Reyes explore this phenomenon as a quasi-sexualized kind of exhibitionism, fantasy writ large across the web, where the thrill of fantasy is played out in likes and reshares. In disturbing ways, we are all caught in continuing and encouraging these friends' most private acts.
Snack, Crapple, and Pock: Junk Food, Regularity, and the Marketing of Dietary Disease
For those of us who view recent ad trends' movement away from a faux modesty over bodily functions as a long-awaited relief, Quisp's paper releases a heavy load. From red cartoon bears happily wiping to casts drawn directly from “my Kiester" to prescription digestive-tract drug spots unabashedly showing toilets and CGI turds, the message, as they say, is alimentary.
Hamiltonne: Musical Theatre, Metrical Assumptions, and the History of Standard Measures, a Revue
Condorcet's highly structured paper was punctuated by show-stopping numbers—both literal ones and those of the song-and-dance variety—such that the assumptions that the study of metrics should be boring just didn't stack up. But the real revelation here is that the numbers lurked there all along, in musical scales and metrical feet. Ours couldn't stop moving.