Thursday, February 14, 2019
The Theatrical and Ritual Aesthetics of Signifying :: essays research papers
Signifying is a representation commonwealth (usually in a weak position) use coded language to fool a person (usually in a position of power) who doesnt understand the defend on contrives. The origin of signifying goes back to the African tale of the Signifying Monkey. The Signifying Monkey is a trickster figure of Yoruba mythology also called Esu-Elegbara in Nigeria and Legaba among the Fon in Dahomey. Signifying uses one word, conserve its original meaning, but puts another oppositional layer of meaning over it. The word is both literal and figurative. Here is how Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interprets the Signifying Monkey talesThe signifying potter around invariable repeats to his friend, the Lion, some insult purportedly generated by their mutual friend, the Elephant. The Monkey, however, speaks figuratively. The Lion, indignant and outraged, de domainds an apology of the Elephant, who refuses and then trounces the Lion. The Lion, realizing that his mistake was to take the Mon key literally, returns to trounce the Monkey. It is this kin between the literal and the figurative, and the dire consequences of their confusion, which is the most striking repeated particle of these tales. The Monkeys trick depends on the Lions unfitness to mediate between these two poles of signification, of meaning. (p.55)The Signifying Monkey is an embodiment of the poor mans values and dreams He is weak and only has his speaking skills (slang lip) to survive on, and he uses it to play the powers of the jungle against one another. The same way a pimp survives on his mouthpiece by using loyal talk, sweet talk, jive, and jaw-blockin. The term signifying refers to the playful, humorous indirection or innuendo, the talking around an implied meaning, the equivocal metaphor, the invective that only works if the opponent lacks humor and responds in a literal fashion. Signifying is an attitude toward language, but it is also a social stratagem signifying enables the man and the wo man of words to challenge and criticize without becoming affiliated to any particular claim or meaning for only the resolution will tell. For instance, if I say, Yo mama so old, her social security yield is 1, and you say, Fuck you, man, youve lost, you took what was in the figurative and put it in the literal thus committing yourself to the fact that your mom is old. Now, if you reply, well YO mama so old, when she was in school there was no history class, or yo mama so old, when God said let there be light she hit the switch then the signifying can continue.