Villains, Violence, and Vogue

Thursday August 16: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Event Admission

Aristotle first recognized the paradox of tragic art. Why do we enjoy watching fictional characters suffer when we would be horrified by the same thing in real life? Contemporary pop-culture is full of such apparent paradoxes. Why do we enjoy seeing someone incinerated by a high-powered laser beam in a movie or comic book, but not in real life? Do pro-wrestling fans enjoy seeing a person get a chair smashed over their head more or less if they believe that it really hurts? Why do people often love the bad guys in fiction, finding malicious characters, such as the Joker or Chris Jericho, charming, even admirable?

Why are male villains and heroes both clad in flamboyant, colorful attire, even when they are symbols of a conventional masculinity that traditionally shuns sartorial preoccupation? How might a proclivity for elaborate displays of mayhem be related to one for elaborately tailored attire? Professors Geoff Klock and Ben Abelson will discuss these and related questions, deploying their expertise in literature, film, philosophy, and pop culture in their responses to them.

This will feature multiple professors giving 30-minute, interdisciplinary talks on topics that may or may not relate.