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Reading list, December 2023

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Miranda July's celebration of everyday heroism with quirky characters; Robert Downey Sr.'s satirical critique in "Putney Swope." Quentin Dupieux, aka Mr Oizo’s deadpan humour and surreal narratives. Published works by Joseph Campbell, Maureen Murdock, and Zeno Franco explore universal hero journeys, feminist perspectives, and the psychology of heroism. Iconic characters like Liz Lemon and Deadpool add humour to their heroic narratives. While businesses, including Old Spice, Snickers, and Poo-Pourri, define themselves as hero brands through humorous campaigns.


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Archetype → Hero

Rasa → Hāsyam


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December 2023


Artistic expressions channelling archetype in rasa

  • Everyday heroism: Miranda July, an American filmmaker, artist, and writer whose work often explores quirky and unconventional characters. Her work often celebrates the quirks of everyday life. July's characters often engage in acts of everyday heroism, such as breaking out of social norms, expressing vulnerability, or challenging the status quo in small but meaningful ways. The way her characters navigate challenges and interact with the world often involves a whimsical and comedic sensibility, providing a unique lens through which to explore heroism.

  • Humour as social commentary: "Putney Swope" is a 1969 American satirical comedy film written and directed by Robert Downey Sr. The film is known for its irreverent and provocative commentary on race, advertising, and corporate culture. The film serves as a vehicle for social commentary and satire, with Putney's character embodying a critique of racial stereotypes, consumerism, and corporate greed. As a token African American executive who unexpectedly becomes the leader of an advertising agency. Despite the absurd circumstances of his appointment, he seizes the opportunity to make significant changes within the agency, reflecting a sense of personal agency and empowerment.

  • Deadpan humour: Quentin Dupieux, under his alias Mr. Oizo, is known for his surreal and unconventional music videos that often align with the unique and absurd narratives found in his films. Many Mr. Oizo music videos feature protagonists who are unconventional or defy traditional expectations. The use of deadpan humour and satire, present in both Dupieux's films and music videos, creates a distinctive tone.


Published ideas of archetype in rasa

  • Hero's journey: Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." This work, published in 1949, explores the concept of the hero's journey as a universal mythological motif found in various cultures throughout history. Joseph Campbell, a comparative mythologist, identified common stages and archetypes that appear in the stories of heroes across diverse cultures and religions. Campbell outlines the monomyth of hero's journey, a narrative pattern that involves a hero leaving their ordinary world, facing trials and challenges, undergoing transformation, and returning with newfound wisdom or a boon for their community.

  • The Heroine’s Journey: Maureen Murdock's work provides a feminist perspective on the Hero's Journey. In "The Heroine’s Journey," she explores the unique challenges and narratives of female protagonists and critiques traditional hero narratives from a gender perspective.

  • The Banality of Heroism: Co-authored by Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo, This article explores the psychology of heroism in everyday life. It discusses the factors that lead individuals to engage in heroic acts and challenges simplistic notions of heroism by examining the complexities involved.


Characters channelling archetype in rasa

  • Liz Lemon in "30 Rock" (TV series, 2006-2013): Liz Lemon, portrayed by Tina Fey, is the head writer of a comedy sketch show. Her character's quirks and comedic situations add humour to her attempts at managing work and relationships, making her a relatable and comedic hero.

  • Juno MacGuff in "Juno" (film, 2007): Juno, played by Elliot Page, is a teenage girl dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Her wit and humour, combined with a sense of responsibility, make her a modern comedic heroine navigating complex life decisions.

  • Deadpool in the "Deadpool" film series (2016-present): Deadpool, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds, is an unconventional and irreverent superhero known for breaking the fourth wall. His humour, anti-hero antics, and self-awareness add a comedic twist to the superhero genre.


Channelling the archetype in rasa for business

  • Old Spice: "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" (2010): Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign features Isaiah Mustafa in a humorous and over-the-top portrayal of a confident and suave character. The campaign became a viral sensation, using humour to redefine the brand's image.

  • Snickers: "You're Not You When You're Hungry" (2010-present): Snickers' ongoing campaign revolves around the idea that people become different personalities when hungry. It often features celebrities in humorous situations, and the central message is that eating a Snickers can return you to your normal self.

  • Poo-Pourri: "Girls Don't Poop" (2013): Poo-Pourri's humorous campaign challenges taboos around bathroom-related topics. The "Girls Don't Poop" commercial features a confident and unapologetic character, presenting the product as a hero in awkward situations.




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