December 22, 2011

Horizontal Hostility

This post is actually meant to be a performance.  I've been planning a piece that should illustrate the concept much better than I can type.  Still, since I am a conceptual artist mostly because I love CONCEPTS, not execution, I'll go ahead and froth here.

This is more than just an earworm or one of my daughter's top jams.  I like to read this as an exercise in horizontal hostility or lateral oppression*.

The two main puppets want to sing a good song, but need another voice.  YAY!  Another puppet shows up ready to join the party!  The two original puppets sing backup.

But notice--this is an instance of topping from the bottom.  The "backup" singers' puppet faces wrinkle to indicate disapproval when the "lead" singer freaks out too much.  They are subtly enforcing their group norms:  IF YOU WANT TO BELONG, DO WHAT WE WANT.

And mostly, that's what happens: knuckle under or get out.  It's hard being a creative genius, even when you're a puppet.

*OMG WTF FYI!  When I googled "lateral oppression," hoping for something useful or hilarious I could link to, one of the first hits was from The Dartmouth, student newspaper of Dartmouth College.  This is extra-hilarious to me because in the mid-to-late 1990s, word had it that ALL the punks and queers at Dartmouth lived in an old frat house, Panarchy.  This was not out of choice, but out of concern for physical safety.

Also!  Google hits for "horizontal hostility" are mostly about nurses.  Oh, Internet!


  1. Your daughter and I have the same musical taste! See also: Yo Gabba Gabba. - a lok

  2. Well, you know, all the cool kids are cool. PARTY IN MY TUMMY!