Social Commentary can take on many forms. From talk radio and editorial TV shows to single frame cartoon images in newspapers or floating around the internet, taking a stand on social issues is what it’s all about. Often times this process devolves into baseless propaganda, but not always. For this site, I can assure you, we will stick to facts. Junk science and nonsensical rhetoric have no place here. So then, just what is social commentary exactly?
Dictionary.com defines it as:
Social Commentary – noun – a spoken or written act of rebellion toward an individual or group; commentary on social issues or society
Wikipedia has a slightly different take:
Social commentary is the act of using rhetorical means to provide commentary on issues in a society.
Whether it is done out of a sense of rebellion, or if the intent is simply to point out behaviors, there is one common thread. Social Commentary is an outspoken objection to issues or behaviors in the current society.
Over the Top
I did a search for images pertaining to Social Commentary, and to be honest, it only made me want to go on a rant about rhetoric and propaganda. Holy cow there is a lot of nonsense out there. From images depicting politicians as demons to a school girl in her plaid skirt, complete with backpack and gas mask. I get it, they are trying to use powerful imagery to illustrate a point, but is it really effective when most people are appalled by your choice of images?
Shocking people can be effective, in the right circumstance. Ask Howard Stern, Ozzy Osbourne or Marylin Manson and they will tell you that shocking their audience helped to make their careers what they are today. All these are examples of entertainers. For those who are trying to be serious commentators, who honestly hope to make a change in the world, should stick to more sociably palatable content.
My Brand of Commentary
So, what should you expect from my brand of Social Commentary? I’m sure to use some humor, a heavy dose of sarcasm, and maybe a tad of satire that some will find off-putting, but there has to be a line. Images of world leaders being burned in effigy have no place here. Such outrageous acts are intended to influence the thinking of others, and that is not my intent. I do not propose to ever tell someone what to think. Quite the opposite is true. I want people to learn to apply a little common sense and think for them selves.
To borrow a phrase from an organization I used to work with, Mentoring For Free,
Where you learn how to think, not what to think
I always loved that one. It reminds me of the proverb about teaching a man to fish. You know the one:
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day
Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat drinking beer all day
Responsible Social Commentary
But in all seriousness, My true desire with this Average Joe movement is to educate and inform while entertaining. A great deal of the content you will find on here has less to do with the actual issues of the day and more to do with the rhetoric being plastered all over every media source known to man. Although, I do have an opinion on most topics, as I’m sure you would guess, and I have no trouble letting you know where I stand.
Anytime you touch on controversial topics, there are going to be people who disagree. I”m good with that. In fact, I’m GREAT with that. I would love the chance to have an open dialogue with anyone who wants to do so in a respectful manner. If you just want to argue, there are plenty of posts elsewhere for that.
I also know that there are people who will be offended by my opinions. I cannot be held responsible for that. If I said something particularly offensive to that person it would be one thing. But, to be enraged simply because my opinion differs from theirs, well that says a lot more about them than it does me. I cannot be held responsible for how others may want to react.
That being said, It should be abundantly clear by now that social commentary is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you find anything on this site, or in any of the Average Joe books or the podcast, feel free to let me know. I can’t guarantee I will make a change, but at least we can discuss it.
So get down below and leave me a comment to let me know your opinion on the topic. Know if any outrageous examples of Social commentary? Let me know.