“I was riding down the road one day, someone hit a possum. . .”

That’s the lyric of a Phish tune, and fortunately we have an academic to explain to us who it was who hit that possum: It was one of those binary-objectifier/marginalizers. . . or something. Here’s the article from the Western Journal of Communications, which I think must specialize in Gabby Johnson’s “authentic frontier gibberish”:

Performance, Possums, and Photo-Ops, Too: Marginalizing Binaries at the Wausau Possum Festival

Ashley M. Day, Wayne State University


Performances can shape realities, perceptions, and meanings. Throughout the performance of the Wausau Possum Festival, possums are (mis)used as performative objects. The festival’s live possum auction serves as an exemplar of such performative functions while also demonstrating the “performer metaphor.” Thus, I argue that the festival’s performance perpetuates a human-over-nature hierarchy through social–natural, subject–object binaries that marginalize the possum. These binaries justify the possum’s objectification within the festival, ultimately reifying the binaries. The transhuman, materialist theory of communication is used to ground and situate my analysis. Implications are offered that call for (re)conceptualizations of our relationship with/in nature.

For non-subscribers (heh), you can purchase a 24-hour access pass to the full article for a mere $42.50. Punxsutawney Phil was unavailable for comment.

I hope some enterprising reporter will ask President Trump at the earliest opportunity about what his administration is doing to end the marginalization and objectification of non-binary possums. Meanwhile, we can take in the wisdom of Phish on this subject: “There ain’t no truth in action, ‘Less you believe it anyway. . . Possum!”


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