A practice whereby the moving lips of a person or thing are synchronized with the voice of another person or thing, often a person-shaped thing. Popularized in the Vaudevillian period, during which mostly male ventriloquists performed with mostly male-gendered wooden dummies with moveable jaws. Often used as a metaphor for power relations (i.e. Dick Cheney was often accused of acting as Dubya’s ventriloquist, and Dubya accused of serving as Cheney’s puppet). Also used as a metaphor for synch sound film (Altman). Ventriloquism’s frequent metaphoric usage despite its mythological cultural anachronism bespeaks a desire to ascribe a source to every voice (or other expression of power). Many Lacanian thinkers (Chion, Mladen Dolar, Zizek) have asserted that all vocalization is ventriloquism.

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