According to the "Blowing Off Steam" theory, rough humor—humor that deals with culturally sensitive issues in a way that bumps into or violates taboos—helps release people’s anxieties and stresses in a safe environment. Specifically, it is a release of sacred anxiety.
A lot of the popular culture we consume these days is produced and distributed by large studios and record companies. Should that worry us? Are doomed to mediocre music, television, and film? Or even worse: are we doomed to songs, shows, and movies that secretly serve a hegemonic propaganda machine?
Thor: Ragnarok is funny, exciting, and visually nifty. The third in a series, it's a great two-plus hours of entertainment. But it's not just entertainment; there's more in Thor philosophically than you might think of when you are caught up in the action.
Happy 114th birthday to Theodor Adorno, the influential founder of the Frankfurt School. His writings on culture, capitalism, and fascism are as timely as when they were written.