I’ve been thinking a lot about this Craigslist ad.

I know it’s funny. I certainly laughed.

But isn’t it also a perfect metaphor for male privilege? The fact that the writer specifies that age and gender doesn’t matter and goes on to qualify — “you can be real old or a lady or black” — reveals him to be a young, white male. I don’t know who wrote this, and I don’t know if they thought about it that hard…but how genius is it that not only does the chased person have to get caught to get paid, but they have to congratulate their chaser as well, and praise their physical prowess (“not because I told you to but because  you [actually] think it”).

It’s almost like the rules of the chase, as they’re laid out in the ad, symbolize the greater systems of power and oppression at work. It’s almost like in order to survive in this world (and “get paid”), one has to play by these rules no matter how oppressive they are to certain people (the chased). The metaphor is made more insidious by the fact that just showing up to be chased doesn’t secure a paycheque, and in the end it’s the chaser who will truly be the judge of whether the chased earned their wage.

“you have to be fun to chase.”

What makes someone “fun to chase?” I’m assuming it would be more fun if they are actually afraid/running for their life? Or at least perform their role well?

“I want the chasing to last a long time.”

How about a lifetime?

 

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About Hilary Bergen

Hilary Bergen is a PhD student in Humanities at Concordia University. She has an MA in English Literature (Concordia) and a BA in Modern Dance (U of Winnipeg). Her ongoing collaborations with choreographer Ming Hon incorporate improvised dance with live video feed and projections to explore screen culture, surveillance and the limits of the body. Her SSHRC-funded MA thesis was on the confluence of nostalgia, capitalism and the neo-pastoral in contemporary literature. Her work has been featured in Artciencia Journal, Matrix, Whether Magazine and Briarpatch.

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