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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sex, Jokes, and Breast Cancer Awareness

We attended a small-college basketball game this weekend for what appeared to be breast-cancer awareness night; many of the students wore pink t-shirts and several students wore shirts bearing messages such as "I'm Here for the Boobs," "Save the Boobies," and "Great Breasts are Worth Fighting For." I then recalled seeing a student at the law school wearing a pink t-shirt with a breast-cancer ribbon and the slogan "Save Second Base." (Think about it--it took me about 30 seconds)


As it turns out, there is a Philadelphia-based non-profit called Save 2nd Base, formed to raise money and awareness for breast cancer (including promoting monthly self-exams) and research. And you can find a complete line of clothing with variations of the phrase--"Help Save Second Base," "Don't Let Cancer Steal Second Base" (pictured)--here.

I always have believed that humor, including sexually suggestive humor, is an effective way to make important social and political messages. It stands out and sticks in people's minds and, buried in the layers of humor, there is truth. That is why The Daily Show or The Onion work so well; that is why Hustler Magazine v. Falwell was rightly decided. But how well does it work for an issue such as this, where the goal is to get people to take seriously a deadly and tragic disease. Will it get people to open their wallets? Will it get women to change their behavior and how they take care of themselves? Is it really targeting men and trying to pull them on board? Will it be effective only with a younger or less conservative audience?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 10, 2008 at 02:55 PM | Permalink


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For the several survivors among my acquaintances, and the hundreds I've seen wearing similar things at 3-day walks, it comes under the heading of "laughing in the face of something so frightening you can't imagine it". For myself, I take the position that humor is its own social purpose. This, I have noticed, is not the norm among the permanent denizens of law schools.

Posted by: Thomas R. Bruce | Feb 24, 2008 4:16:34 PM

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