This morning I ran across a Bad Lip Reading Poetry Slam Satire of the second presidential debate. And setting aside the fact that Bad Lip Reading is pretty much the best thing to happen to the internet since "Leave Britney Alone" (arguably the greatest slam poem of 2007!), watching this new Bad Lip Reading video has me thinking a lot about slam satire, and our ability to laugh at ourselves.
Most of us have seen the "Poultry Slam" cartoon pictured at left. It makes the rounds on social media every few months--sometimes shared by slammers, and sometimes by pretty much anyone who appreciates the rather low-brow wordplay. I also ran across this item on eBay recently, which is a slam satire DVD that I have never heard of, but sounds like a pretty biting satire of the slam scene. I shared the link to this eBay item with some members of the Board, wondering if anyone had ever heard of it. Nobody had. I got a bit of a tepid response in my idea that maybe this video would be a good addition to the P4 collection. Is poetry slam satire a worthwhile thing for P4 to be collecting?
Sometimes it's easy to throw some shade at people who poke fun at an art form we love, a means of expression we find transformative, and a community that many of us call home. But rather than brushing it aside or taking offense, it's good to remember how flattering it is that slam itself has risen to a level worthy of wide-spread cultural satire. I'd contend that no social or artistic movement ever achieves widespread cultural satire if it isn't important and meaningful. As a general rule, we don't waste our time satirizing things that don't have power and cultural impact. And Marc Smith should be very proud that the term "slam poetry" is something that pretty much everyone knows, whether or not they are involved with it in any way at all. That's cultural relevance!
So I decided to go ahead and buy that DVD off eBay for the P4 collection. The satire might be good natured, or it might be mean spirited. It might be skillful, or it might be clumsy. But the very fact that it exists seems culturally relevant, and a tribute to slam's importance. I can't wait to watch this thing and see how bad (or good!) it is. Stay tuned...
If any of you have other great finds of slam satire, let us know! And feel free to send us such finds for the P4 collection!