Concentration: Film Studies

Title of Project:¬†Ha, ha! Made You Look…at Yourself: The “Animated Mockumentary” Manufactures Dissent

Inspiration Behind the Project:
“Ha, ha, Made You Look…” praises the “animated mockumentary” (AM) form for its social and political potential. The thesis demonstrates the subversive engineering of the AM form through criticism and textual analysis of several television examples, including The Boondocks and Fonejacker. The paper additionally explains how the AM subverts the concept of “engineering of consent,” and instead “manufactures dissent.”

The thesis’ theoretical framework consists of Marxism, Aeshetics (a branch of philosophy), Semiotics, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis, as it relates to the Engineering of Consent. The paper reappropriates the intention and meaning of “engineering of consent,” as first proposed and applied by the inventor of Public Relations, and Dr. Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays.

Moreover, the paper argues that AM can embody and critique taboos; simulaneously speak the voices of distraction and of enlightenment; dissolve social tensions and stratifications; and unite international audiences through laughter. The thesis argues how the AM achieves goals that are better reached through, or are only possible via animation. In critical ways, with respect to improving the social reality of society, the AM succeeds where live-action productions would and do often fail.