For my project I would like to look at the idea of negative stigma leading to the marginalization of those with disease. I would like to focus on how disease was portrayed in Warm Bodies as oppose to another zombie performance like the Walking Dead. These two performances have very different views of zombies and also how they should be treated. I would like to compare these two and how the stigma attached to zombies relates to how the non-infected view them and interact with them, and the idea of crossing the boundary between infected and non-infected.  I may possibly look into the the Steven Pokornowski article and his idea about “isolation and marginalization”, and compare this to the two zombie performances.

The podcast “Live” with Tig Notaro is an example of how someone can react to having an illness in a unique way. The podcast features her talking about her experience of just discovering she has cancer and the ways in which this has changed her life. Although this is a comedy routine, she decides to talk about the fact that she was just diagnosed with breast cancer, which some might find unusual. Notaro seems to use comedy as a way of coping with her diagnosis, which is something that allows people to get rid of the negativity surrounding disease.

One of the first thing she brings up is what it is like discovering that you have a disease, in her case it is breast cancer. She jokingly tells the story of how she found out her diagnosis, and even though it is a very serious matter, she decides to approach it with humor. Discovering you have an illness is a traumatic experience for people, especially when it comes to life-threatening illnesses. Although Nortaro was diagnosed with a very serious illness and it seemed to be a difficult moment in her life, she still jokes about the story and tries to make a more depressing situation have some comedy to it.

A second topic that she brings up is how people’s behavior towards her changed when they found out about her diagnosis. She mentions how people will no longer have normal conversations because they feel as though they have to talk to her differently now. This seems to be an aspect of illness that can be very difficult for someone to deal with, because they want to be treated normally. She felt as though people could no longer say what they were thinking to her because their problems didn’t seem important compared to her illness, but she wanted them to continue to talk to her the same.

Not only do people’s behaviors towards someone change when they are diagnosed with an illness, but also their ability to have normal relationships with others changes. Notaro discusses this by talking about how she wasn’t sure how dating would work for her anymore. She can no longer see herself being able to have a normal relationship without her illness getting in the way or making it more complicated. Again she approaches this subject with humor, but this can be a serious issue for someone with a serious illness who feels as though they may never be able to have a normal relationship.

Another topic she mentions is how someone begins to think differently after they have been diagnosed with an illness, an example is how she isn’t able to tell the same jokes anymore. She talked about how she had different jokes written, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell them. Instead she decides to face the issues going on in her life through her comedy routine, and this seems to be a very good way of dealing with the situation for her. It helps her to maintain a positive attitude and outlook about her diagnosis, instead of falling into some type of depression.

Comedy seems to definitely be her way of making her situation better and keeping her attitude positive. Although she was just recently diagnosed with this very serious and life-threatening illness that changed her life dramatically, she refuses to look at it negatively. Notaro acknowledges that this is a bad situation and talks about all the negative things that are associated with illness, but there is always a joke told with every topic. Making jokes about her illness is the way in which she is able to process her diagnosis and deal with this information.

Comedy helps to make the situation less dramatic, which can make it easier to deal with the reality of the disease. This creates another outlook towards illness for the listener; it makes us look at disease as a whole differently. Instead of viewing cancer as a devastating thing, Notaro make it seem as though it is just a part of life. She realizes that it is something terrible that has happened to her, but also that she cannot let it change her life completely. She continues to approach things with humor, even difficult situations such as her breast cancer diagnosis. Comedy is what allows her to able to make it through the hardship of cancer and all the challenges that go along with it.

Notaro, Tig. “Live.” 2012. Grooveshark. Web. 2014.