Norm Violation: Puppetry is a lost art (Kim Alvarado)

For my social norm violation I had a lot of ideas: wearing blooded and torn clothes and asking people if they’ve seen my pet Velociraptor, using the boys restroom, etc.

However, I wanted to violate a norm in a way which was very subtle and not so over the top. So I decided to bring two of the Harry Potter Puppet pals on campus with me!

(If you don’t know what a “Harry Potter Puppet Pal” is then watch this video)

My goal was to act as casual as possible, like it was no big deal that I had a puppet on my hand. I figured that if I acted like nothing was out of place then other people would do that as well.

I brought them to class with me and then afterwards I walked around on campus asking people, “Will you take a picture of us?”  This was really funny because EVERY TIME that I asked that, the person would say ,”Sure.” and then look around for other people. Then they would look at the puppet on my hand and then look at me with a really confused look on their face.

At first I felt really self-conscious and had my sunglasses on and ear buds in. After a while I relaxed and just didn’t care anymore and I took off my sunglasses and ear buds and just walked around smiling. I find that there was a sense of freedom in not caring what strangers thought. Carrying a toy around made me really miss when I was a child and I would make a doll from a bunch of grass or a grenade from a seed pod and played freely (with sound effects) in public. When a full grown adult is doing this kind of behavior it isn’t a huge norm violation or elicits a big response but it still  catches people off guard because adults are supposed to be more mature and self-censoring.

In class I took out my puppets and set them on my desk

To attract the attention of my professor I turned the puppets towards him. At one point I picked both of them up and started playing with them, I even silently reenacted the last battle scene between Harry and Voldemort. He looked over a couple of times but didn’t say anything, same with my classmates. When they tried to catch my eye I pointedly looked at the board and ignored them as if I didn’t notice they were looking so nobody said anything.

I woke up a girl who was sleeping and asked her to take a picture of us. She said sure and then looked around for another person. When she saw that I meant Harry she laughed and took the picture.

Because she was being a good sport, I asked her to take another one with Voldemort in it.

In the Harold B Lee library:
Me: “Can you take a picture of us ?”
Cute guy: “Who’s “us”?”
Me: “Me and my puppet pal!”
Cute guy: O_0  (takes picture)

JAMBA JUICE!!!! The girl I asked turned in a complete circle looking for other people when I asked her to take a picture of “us”

I sat down near this lady in the cafeteria until she noticed me and I asked her to take a picture.  “I’m not crazy I promise,” I said when she gave the camera back. She didn’t seem very convinced…. so I stayed there until she finished her food,  playing with the puppets and even holding the straw up to the puppets mouths so that they could drink.

Giving Harry a piggyback ride. The girl who took this one thought I only wanted a picture of myself until she noticed the puppet.

The guy who took this picture was awesome! He recognized the puppet from the video and was more than happy to take a picture.

Smile and wave boys, smile and wave..

The girl I asked said, “Well, this is weird….but it’s made my day interesting!”

Home at last!! Awwww…Voldy and Harry are holding hands!

  1. #1 by yellowgirl28 on June 5, 2012 - 11:01 AM

    Hahaha this is awesome! I really liked how you went the extra mile and had people take pictures of you and the puppets instead of just walking around with them. My favorite was when you were eating at the table and continued to play with the puppets after you told the lady you were not crazy. Well done!

    Liz Ammons

  2. #2 by Laura on June 5, 2012 - 6:55 PM

    craziness achieved!!! JUST kidding 😉 i love that you went with puppets and this is hilarious!!! wish i saw you on campus 🙂

  3. #3 by haydnmj on June 7, 2012 - 6:42 PM

    First of all…way to go! Potter Puppet Pals is the best. Your social norm project was very well done. I liked how it was not so over-the-top that people would maybe think that it was a project or a dare of some kind. I also think a great thing you displayed is that not all social norms are useful (like we talked in class). The social norm that you shouldn’t walk around with puppets on our hands serves no purpose except to protect people from feeling as though others are judging them. We should all be more outgoing and learn not to care what people think. I know that I saw a kid playing star wars in front of the JFSB one night and I thought he was weird. But the more I think about it, the fact that he had a light up lightsaber was pretty dang neat. I think I judged him out of jealously. Anyway…good job and thanks for helping me realize that we should all be a little more outgoing!
    -Haydn Jensen

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