Literature and Netprov in Social Media: A Travesty, or, in Defense of Pretension

Critical Writing
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What motivates games of make-believe—collaborative creative play—is not the overcom- ing of an unnecessary obstacle, but the resolution of unavoidable and intolerable tension. Like seismic forces in the earth’s crust, inner wars among our own sub-personalities with their conflicting motivations, as well as outer social tensions among members of social hier- archies, we find rebalancing in the earthquake of laughter. A core piece of advice from the renowned Chicago theatrical improv company Second City is: “There is a wealth of humor available through status differences and the playing thereof. Realize it and play with it. The changes and shifts that are inherent are ripe for the taking” (Libera 2004). Satirization of status and the status quo through travesty, impersonation, and formal mimicry is a long tra- dition in literature and theater. This play of mimicry, parody, and satire is vital to reveal and rebalance relationships of power. An un-satirized world is unlivable. For me the goals of each netprov are: laughter, insight, and empathy. Therefore here is my reformulation of Suits, the flag under which I play: Netprov is the voluntary attempt to heal necessary relationships.

When serious communications are made silly, the world goes cuckoo. Cuckoo birds are brood parasites. They lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Cuckoo chicks hatch earlier and grow faster than the others, often kicking them out of the nest. We netprov players are cuckoo birds: we lay our eggs in other birds’ nests; we hijack available media for our own nefar . . . er, I mean . . . hilarious purposes. We come from a proud line of cuckoo birds. Like the London riverbank players who took the crazy tradition of court- yard morality plays and hijacked them by asking: could these become as good as the clas- sical tragedies and comedies? Let’s look at some other of our cuckoo ancestors.

Platforms referenced:

Title Developers Year initiated
Twitter 2006

Databases/Archives referenced:

Titlesort descending Organization responsible
I Love E-Poetry
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Davin Heckman