Critical Analyses of Visual Event Planning Jokes
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
– Edgar Degas
Event planners are a bunch of super-smart, level-headed, tough-as-nails people, and you tend to have a wicked sense of humor. I know this. I talk to you guys every day. To misquote a classic office poster: You don’t have to be crazy to be an event planner… but it helps!
Searching around the web for fun visualizations of the event planning life was a mixed bag. There are a lot of lame cartoons out there.
So let’s review the most passed-around event planning jokes, images and memes. Are the web’s visual event planning jokes funny? Do they accurately sum up the état d’être that is the event planner? Is there room for a new revolution of event planning jokes?
Put on your beret and follow me.
1. Space Party
While the origin of this work is unclear (the artist represents herself with an impenetrable scribble), its style indicates a keen understanding of the heart of an event planner. The bright use of color and confident brushstrokes indicate that the artist felt a childlike glee at the time of creation: perhaps the glee that only comes from closing out on a successful (aerospace industry?) event, then having two-and-a-half glasses of celebratory Merlot before passing out for sixteen well-deserved hours.
Also, did you peep that cute little sad blue planet in the corner? Is that Pluto? Was he not invited??? IT’S SO PERCEPTIVELY RENDERED.
Grade: A, like realizing when you show up for your venue walk-through that you’ve somehow landed an incredible deal, the weather is perfect, the staff all respond to your texts, and you find a $20 bill on the show floor.
2. Adoration of Spontaneity
While it’s less of a visual challenge and gives no clues whatsoever to its creator, “Spontaneity” is nonetheless provocative. Using a sort of neo-ekphrasis technique, the stark words on fake-Polaroid background create in the imagination of the viewer a vivid picture of the person who said this, almost as if she were physically present. The viewer can see, in his mind’s eye, the woman with just a touch of tiredness around the eyes, reading glasses dangling from a chain, hands busily unwrapping a peppermint Lifesaver, wryly delivering the line and then laughing gaily. You see it, don’t you? You feel like you know her? MAYBE YOU ARE HER.
The sentiment is one we have all felt, and it is delivered effectively by this elusive, imaginary event planning angel. While the piece doesn’t do much to move the Polaroid style forward, well, the medium is the message.
Grade: C, like your budget is cut and the only place you can book is a casino that smells like there is a Purina factory nearby, because there is, but at least your cell phone stays charged all night and no one throws up this time.
3. Keep Calm
This piece, part of a collection thousands strong, falls firmly into the style of ‘mindless appropriation art’. While the original ‘Keep Calm’ posters were created to pacify the British populace in the event of war, the design’s purpose has shifted to cheering up college girls and encouraging lukewarm Pinterest enthusiasm. (It’s a little spooky, isn’t it? Do people know the origin?) This particular rendering is just a tired trope to which a noble profession has been attached, with duct tape that’s a little dried out and not that sticky.
Come on, planners, we can do better than this. Let’s create our OWN meme! Let’s break the shackles of oppression!
Grade: F, like you find out that your event in this small-town convention center has been booked in a tight slot between two rodeos, so you’re rushed setting up while the venue team is sweeping away horse manure, and your thanks-for-coming speech is drowned out by cowgirls next door practicing their trick shooting.
4. Bang Head Here
An interactive piece, “Bang” asks the audience to move beyond the two dimensions of the piece of paper and really collaborate with the art. If Monet’s Water Lilies makes you feel calm, this piece will be a real knockout.
Grade: C, for the concussion you get from a falling speaker that at least gets you a flight upgrade on the way to your next conference.
5. Ninja Convention
A philosophical work that arrests a viewer with a scene that is, to an event planner, immediately frightening: did no one show up? What will we do with all this food? Is everyone hanging out without me?
But as the eye travels to the text (clearly digitally added using a web meme-generator tool, a style that supports the whimsical message), the viewer is relieved. It’s just a silly joke. And kind of a funny one, if you’re into ninjas?!
Grade: B, the musical talent accidentally tweets the secret details of your announcement and you have an hour of facepalm horror, but it ends up being a huge source of buzz and you are ultimately rewarded.
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