The Department of Communication Studies is hosting a book launch for Casey Kelly's book, Caught on Tape: White Masculinity and Obscene Enjoyment, on October 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Francie & Finch Bookshop. The event is free and open to the public and will feature an armchair conversation between Kelly and colleague Justin Kirk.
The book was published by Oxford University Press in May. Copies of the book will be available for signing and purchase.
Kelly is a professor of rhetoric and public culture and director of graduate studies in the department. Read more about him on his faculty webpage.
In a surveillance culture, the ubiquity of audio-visual recording devices has enabled the unprecedented documentation of private indiscretions, scandalous conversations, and obscene behaviors performed by both ordinary and high-profile people. From former President Donald J. Trump's lewd banter on the infamous Access Hollywood video and leaked audio of celebrity racist tirades to outburst of violent hate speech posted daily to YouTube, contemporary media culture is awash in obscene performances of transgressive white masculinity. Such exposés are screened and viewed under the assumption that revealing secret prejudices will necessarily realize the promises of democracy and bring about a postracial and postfeminist future. This book addresses why the culture of public revelations has failed to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Caught on Tape illustrates how public revelations constitute a symbolic and imaginary world for the public that is preoccupied with the obscene enjoyment of transgressive white masculinity: a compulsively repetitive experience of ecstatic and excessive pleasure-in-pain that arises from encounters with that which disturbs, traumatizes, and interrupts illusory notions of our coherent selves and reality. Caught on Tape argues that addressing race and gender inequality with the promise of scandalous hot mics and obscene private videos transforms antiracism and gender justice into disempowering forms of spectatorship that ultimately conceal the structural nature of whiteness, white supremacy, and patriarchy. The central argument of this book is that the spectators are the ones really caught on tape.