Tactical Bodies

Melia is an aspiring academic. She has a graduate degree in the history of American dance and she has been invited to make a presentation about Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) at a national academic conference.

Now the world of academia is guarded and exclusive, especially among the social sciences. They don’t let just anyone in. You first have to incur a huge debt by going to graduate school, where they teach you the specialized nomenclature to talk like an academic. You learn arcane terms like “idealized commodity” and “opportunity for influence” and “Max Weber.”

Melia got an A in Nomenclature class. This is one of the densest Kickstarter project descriptions I’ve read, and I think the average browser is going to have some trouble with it. Fortunately, while I’m not an academic myself, I’m hip to their jive. So here are some annotated passages from Melia’s project:

My presentation focuses on the non-moving spectator – participating via their power over another dancing body.

non-moving spectators = people sitting at home on their butts, watching Dancing With The Stars

The brilliance in reality television … is that it can require an immediate investment and commitment of its participants (dancers, judges, and spectators) to build the show’s foundation without obligation to guarantee reciprocation.

Translation: Reality television is vacuous and unfulfilling, but people watch it anyway.

DWTS alternate reality relies on identifying participants willing to project, even idealize, romantic and sexual fantasies on the dancing bodies … as it offers inclusion in a physical, emotional experience for the participator and viewer.

Translation: Another name for Melia’s presentation might be, “Where do They Find People to Watch This Crap?”

It’s a good question, and one I hope Melia has a chance to address at the Dance-Con, or whatever. She needs a plane ticket. Chip in.