Posts Tagged ‘absurdity’

This was taken, in part, from my other blog.

I read this morning about someone who made a physics rap song its huge on Youtube.”Rap and physics are culturally miles apart,” McAlpine, a science writer at CERN, wrote to the Lansing State Journal in an e-mail last week, “and I find it amusing to try and throw them together.”

And on one hand, I felt her 100%. Cute. On the other, I felt that there was sort of a cascade of meaning, if that makes any sense. If physics and rap are culturally far apart, does that not also imply that rappers and physicists are worlds apart? Does that also imply that rap fans and physicists are worlds apart? Is the humor, which stems from the juxtaposition of 2 concepts that seem to be polar opposites, a bit arrogant and racist?

I listen to reggaeton. I used to listen to rap. I am a female. I have a degree in Computer Science and I, while certainly no physicist, am rather science oriented. As is my architect, hiphop loving brother. And my pool playing, “motherfucker” spouting, engineer father. Perhaps one of us would find it intriguing to make a rap about architecture or engineering- computer or otherwise. But to fill a niche, to combine our interests, NOT to make it a Talking Dog sort of spectacle. You know- the content is forgettable, the delivery nothing special, but ITS A TALKING DOG? That’s FUNNY!!!

I love the absurd. I love Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. I am, though rather droll, often amusing. Children, in particular, find me intriguing.There is nothing to improbable or impossible for me to discuss.I will take any premise and treat it as if it were possible and we will often discuss the logic of certain things.

I’m rather droll. Children find that part very amusing. That I am fully capable of having an intelligent discussion with them about their talking cats, flying dolls etc just KILLS them. Adults often have doubts, they wonder if I am perhaps insane or maybe merely ignorant. They need a wink or a nod to understand that, yes! I am aware.

So, I am not a humorless crank. I’m enjoy parody and satire. I’m very fond of the absurd, the tongue in cheek, the droll.

But, what makes the absurd so funny is the impossibility (or improbability) of certain things happening. Why is it so funny=absurd=unlikely that a rap would be about physics? What does this say about OUR perceptions of :


the rap audience

writers of papers on physics

the readers of such papers

If it is funny because no one would ever think to combine rap and physics, because of the ABSURDITY of a rapper rapping about physics OR a physicists discussing his science in rap I sort of find it a tiny bit offensive. It um, it feels like blackface to me. And I don’t like it. If she hadn’t made that comment, I probably would be merely amused. “Look, someone likes rap and physics and combined the two”. But because she framed it as if the idea of the 2 things occuring together in nature were sooooo strange- meh. I dislike it. By extension, I hear her saying that I am not the intended audience for physics theory. That I could be, is ludicrous- absurd. I dont like what that implies.

I’ll end this here.


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