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Comer: 'Together soon enough': Melbourne’s affective-discursive landscape during and since lockdown
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Joseph Comer
Jun 15, 2021
Thanks Louis! I could present an entire paper about the Mashd N Kutcher remix and the 'get on the beers' meme – I'll just attach too more images of it here, both from the LL, one with the potential to be a very mobile part of the LL (following Jackie Lou and Adam Jaworski on wearable texts). It's fascinating to see how this silly meme about Daniel Andrews' turn of phrase – originating in March 2020 – has morphed into a much larger, more complex phenomenon as Melbourne was plunged back into lockdown and then made its way out of it. It's affectively quite complex ... especially when it comes to explaining how a humorous meme about drinking beer became a song that packed dancefloors across Australia, and then not one but two epic Christmas light shows in two distant suburbs with very different socio-economic profiles! Your tip about the song by The Twilight Sad is such a good one, thank you! That image was actually sent to me by a colleague who found it in an inner north suburb – I had honestly just assumed it related to covid. It makes me wonder how much it really constitutes data for the study? I had honestly just cast a very wide net for all instances of love, support, etc. but it seems clear that this must actually date from before the pandemic. There's certainly a lot of love in the landscape and there are lots of varying reasons for that. I lacked the time to cover this but I'd really like to engage with these questions of time/space a bit more, perhaps with reference to the notion of 'chronoscape' that Gilles Baro has written about. I'm not really sure what to say about how these kinds of signs are emplaced, enregistered, reentextualised and recirculated. It's especially interesting that the affective resonance of these words can shift so much, from dour to hopeful (in my interpretation at least). Lots to think about! I have been thinking a little bit about rainbows, too. Maybe I'm an outlier in the LGBTQ community for saying this, but I think it would be really INappropriate to argue that children could be 'appropriating' a sign that indexes a natural wonder that has existed since the dawn of time? To my mind it's a somewhat nasty idea of ownership, with regard to a symbol less than a century old, for a pride movement that has existed for far longer. However (getting off my queer high-horse) I think there's a lot to be unpacked about how the rainbow is seen as an almost universal sign of hope and overcoming adversity – a way to index LGBTQ pride, but also to reassure kids that this tough time will end one day. Like Dolly Parton once said in a song for children, "to make a rainbow you must have rain"! Thanks again for your comments :-)
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Comer: 'Together soon enough': Melbourne’s affective-discursive landscape during and since lockdown
In Welcome to the Forum
Joseph Comer
Jun 15, 2021
Janine, thanks very much for the great question. Truth be told, yes I have noticed a lot more fatigue setting in during our (brief but intense) 3rd lockdown and then our two-week circuit breaker lockdown in early June (which we are still making our way out of). The enthusiasm for coming together as a community and showing love is still there – as the 1800 Lasagne examples show. But my anecdotal data from online discussions, media, etc (and as a Melburnian myself) really seem to indicate that we are beginning to feel less proud of our capacity to stay locked down because lockdowns are a punitive and last-resort public health measure that we shouldn't really need, at least while we have a 'fortress' approach to our borders (shamefully enough). So I think a big part of that is growing discontent with Australia's inadequate vaccine rollout and unreliable hotel quarantine system – both federal responsibilities that Victoria has now been very negatively impacted by the failures of. Victorians are really starting to show a bit more discontent online about lockdowns: some of this directed at the state government, but a LOT more (as I try to leave my filter bubble at least) is directed at Scott Morrison's government for being lazy/inactive. One thing I didn't mention much is the way 'Victoria' has itself become a figure of discourse during the course of the pandemic – I have really been looking out for this in the LL but have yet to see many signs of it. Although Melbourne has always talked a lot about itself, it's been interesting to see a cultural-political shift whereby Victoria is presented as a place quite apart from the rest of Australia more (or differently) than it used to be, due to the experience of the 2nd wave. It will be interesting to track. Thanks again for your question!
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Comer: 'Together soon enough': Melbourne’s affective-discursive landscape during and since lockdown
In Welcome to the Forum
 

Joseph Comer

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