Journal articles: 'Molière, Musicals' – Grafiati (2024)

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Relevant bibliographies by topics / Molière, Musicals / Journal articles

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Author: Grafiati

Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 18 February 2022

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1

Beidler,PhilipD. "South Pacific and American Remembering; or, “Josh, We're Going to Buy This Son of a Bitch!”." Journal of American Studies 27, no.2 (August 1993): 207–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0021875800031534.

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For many post-1945 Americans, the title South Pacific does not describe a text so much as a process of remembering. For the cultural historian, it offers an account of production. It is the relationship of these that will be my subject. The pattern of the former will largely depend, of course, on the rememberer – something of a book perhaps, a play, a movie, a song, another song. The latter, albeit complicated, is traceable. It has a literary provenance in a 1947 collection of fictional narratives by James A. Michener entitled Tales of the South Pacific, variously described as short stories or a novel, but always noted as winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In translation to Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1949 Broadway classic, it adds another Pulitzer and a paperback fortune for the original honoree: to one of the most celebrated runs in the golden era of the American musical. It parlays that success into one of the first widely popular 33⅓ RPM long-playing records, memorialized in its dramatic connection by a cover photograph of Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza in the lead roles of U.S. Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and French planter Emile DeBecque. It then reappears as a 1958 movie musical spectacular, leading to another joyride of the Michener narrative on the best-seller lists, and to yet another best-selling LP, now in stereo, with the cover photo of the lovers, here Mitzi Gaynor and Rozzano Brazzi, resituated against a Hollywood backdrop of wide-screen tropical splendors. Along the way, it proliferates into endless road productions and revivals; television showings and VCR rentals; re-recordings and new recordings on LP, tape, and compact disk.

2

MENGOZZI, STEFANO. "The heptachordal basis of hexachordal theory: on the semiotics of musical notation in the Middle Ages." Plainsong and Medieval Music 22, no.2 (September12, 2013): 169–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0961137113000016.

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ABSTRACTBy all appearances, the advent of a full-fledged hexachordal system in the late thirteenth century marked the culmination of a radical reconceptualisation of diatonic space that had begun over two centuries earlier with Guido of Arezzo's introduction of the syllables ut re mi fa sol la as an aid to sight-singing. An early witness of the new diatonic configuration is Johannes de Garlandia's Introductio musicae planae (c.1275), which presents the three proprietates per b quadro, per natura and per b molle as a fundamental articulation of the gamut that is necessary for conveying the intervallic distances between the diatonic pitches.A contextual evaluation of the theory of the proprietates, however, indicates that the hexachordal parsing of the gamut was not meant to establish the major sixth as the regulative paradigm of diatonic space (i.e. as a normative scale), but was rather in line with the earlier understanding of the ut-la syllables as an optional aid for singing. The development of hexachordal theory was in fact an implicit confirmation of the heptachordal structure of the gamut that had been in place since around the year 1000 (and arguably earlier), when the cycle of seven A–G letters was first used to label the constituent pitches of the octave.

3

Lužnik-Jancsary, Nika, Barbara Horejs, Michael Klein, and Christoph Schwall. "Integration and workflow framework for virtual visualisation of cultural heritage. Revisiting the tell of Çukuriçi Höyük, Turkey." Virtual Archaeology Review 11, no.23 (July8, 2020): 63. http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/var.2020.13086.

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<p class="VARKeywords">This article sets a framework for computer-based visualisations of cultural heritage sites. The project focuses on a workflow for a visualisation illustrated on a specific solution for the site of Çukuriçi Höyük, a tell settlement in Turkey. With the virtual presentation, an interdisciplinary research group tries to offer complex scientific results to the general public as well as to experts. The team utilised data acquisition and communication techniques, interpretative approaches, and dissemination methods. The three-dimensional (3D) outcome is based on a large amount of scientific data, usually available only via analogue or digital publications for a specialised audience. The work focused on constructed and personal authenticity to reach the viewer’s feelings. As an interpretative narrative, the daily lives of the inhabitants were selected. A communication plan was constructed, and a video animation with narration and a musical background was selected as the most appropriate communication tool. The movie was divided into four chapters <em>(Introduction, Neolithic Period, Chalcolithic Period </em>and <em>Early Bronze Age Period</em>). A separate webpage was designed to provide additional information when the video is viewed online. The webpage was divided into tabs that describe each chapter and three additional topics (<em>Visualisation Process, Further Reading, </em>and <em>Credits</em>). The video was shared in different settings, e.g. at public talks and on social media. The process resulted in a complex workflow that consists of several stages: data acquisition, first interpretation, 3D model creation, communication plan, second interpretation, 3D model adjustment, and dissemination output. Each stage of the workflow serves as an example to show the types of nodes these parts can include. The result is a flexible framework with predefined process stages, which can be re-used for similar projects.</p><p>Highlights:</p><ul><li><p>Computer-aided visualisations bring hidden cultural heritage to life –an individual outcome for Çukuriçi Höyük, a tell settlement in Turkey.</p></li><li><p>The interdisciplinary team combined data acquisition and communication techniques, interpretative approaches, and dissemination methods for achieving the best result.</p></li><li><p>Integrative framework optimises the information and communication potential of virtual visualisations with the help of pre-defined workflow stages.</p></li></ul>

4

Baarsen,R.J. "Andries Bongcn (ca. 1732-1792) en de Franse invloed op de Amsterdamse kastenmakerij in de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw." Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History 102, no.1 (1988): 22–65. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/187501788x00555.

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AbstractAs was the case with silversmiths (Note 3), many more cabinet-makers were wcrking in Amsterdam during the second half of the 18th century than in any other city in the Dutch Republic, the names of 195 of them being now known as opposed to 57 in The Hague and 32 in Rotterdam (Note 2). Most of those 195 names have been culled from the few surviving documents of the Guild of St. Joseph in Amsterdam, to which the cabinet-makers belonged (Note 4), supplemented by other sources, such as printed registers of craftsmen and shopkeepers (Note 6). Another important source is the newspaper the Amsterdamsche Courant with its advertisem*nts placed by craftsmen themselves, with notices of sales, bankruptcies, lotteries and annual fairs and with advertisem*nts concerning subsidiary or related trades. Since these advertisem*nts were directed at the consumer, they often contain stylistic descriptions such as are not found elsewhere. Moreover, they aford valuable clues to archival material. Hence an investigation of all the advertisem*nts from the years 1751-1800 has formed the basis for a study of Amsterdam cabinet-making, some results of which are presented here. Such a study is doomed largely to remain theoretical. The records can hardly ever be linked with surviving pieces, as these are virtually always anonymous since Amsterdam cabinet-makers were not required to stamp or sign their work. Moreover, only a few pieces of Dutch 18th-century furniture have a known provenance, so that it is only rarely possible to link a piece with a bill or another document and identify its maker. Thus it is not yet possible to form a reliable picture of a local Amsterdam style, let alone embark on attributions to individual makers (Note 8). In this light special importance may be attached to two commodes of the third quarter of the century which are exceptional in that they bear a signature, that of Andries Bongen (Figs. 1, 2, Notes 10, 11). These commodes, being entirely French-inspired, illustrate a specific and little-known aspect of Amsterdam cabinet-making. French furniture was so sought after in Amsterdam at that period that in 1771 a strict ban was imposed on its importation in order to protect local cabinet-makers (Note 12). It had begun to be imitated even before that and the commodes by Bongen exemplify this development. Andries Bongen, who was probably born in Geldern, south of Cleves and just east of the border of the Dutch Republic, is first recorded in Amsterdam in May 1763 on his marriage to Willemina, daughter of the smith Lambert van der Beek. He registered as a citizen on 5 July 1763 and became a master cabinet-maker some time between March 1763 and March 1764 (Note 19), so that, accordirtg to the Guild regulations, he must previously have trained for two years under an Amsterdam master (Note 20). At the time of his marriage he was living in St. Jorisstraat, but by the end of 1766 he had moved to Spui and between 1769 and 1771 he moved again, to Muiderpleinlje. When he and his wife made their will in 1772, their possessions were worth something under 8000 guilders (Note 23). This suggests that the business was quite flourishing, which seems to be confirmed by the fact that Bongen received a commission from the city of Amsterdam in 1771. Two more pieces were made for the city in 1786 and 1789, but in the latter year Bongen was declared bankrupt. The inventory of his possessions drawn up then (see Appeytdix) shows how parlous his conditions had become, his goods being valued at only 300 guilders. The reference to a shop indicates that Bongen sold his own furniture, although he had no stock to speak of at that point. The mention of eight work-benches, however, sugests that his output had previously been quite large. This is confirmed by the extent of his debts, notably that to the timber merchant Jan van Mekeren (Note 27). Other creditors included 'Rudolfeus Eyk', who probably supplied iron trelliszvork for bookcases and the like (Note 28), and the glass merchants Boswel en Zonen (Note 29) No debtors are listed and the only customer who can tentatively be identified is a 'Heer Hasselaar' who might be Pieter Cornelis Hasselaer (1720-95), several times burgomaster of Amsterdam between 1773 and 1794 (Note 30). Bongen died three years after his bankruptcy, at which time he was living in Nieuwe Looiersstraat. He appears to have continued working as a cabiytet-maker up to his death and his widow probably carried on the business until her own death in 1808, but nothing is known of this later period. The clearest insight into the character of part of Bongen's output is aforded by the advertisem*nt he placed in the Amsterdamsehe Courant of 4 December 1766, describing three pieces of furniture 'in the French manner'. This is the first announcement by an 18th-century Amsterdam cabinet-maker of work in the French style. Bongen mentions two commodes decorated with floral marquetry, a technique which had flourished in Amsterdam in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (Note 34), but which had largely fallen into disuse on the advent around 1715 of a more sober type of furniture with plain walnut veneers on the English model (Note 36). In France a form of floral marquetry reappeared in the 1740s, being further developed in the following decade under the influence of Jean-François Oeben (1721-63). From the late 1750s there are indications of the presence of pieces of French marquetry furniture in the new style in Amsterdam (Notes 42, 43). The earliest explicit description of floral marquetry appears in a sale catalogue of 5 June 1765 (Note 44), while in another of 25 March 1766 (Note 46) many French pieces are detailed. Obviously, then, Bongen was endeavouring to capture a share, of this new market. The reappearance of elaborate marquetry on Amsterdam-made furniture was the result of a desire to emulate the French examples. The two commodes described in Bongen's advertisem*nt can be identified with the one now in Amsterdam (Fig.2) and the one sold in London in 1947 (Fig.1). The latter still had more of its original mounts at the time nf the sale (Fig. 4) and the two probably formed a pair originally. The unusual fact that they are signed indicates that Bongen intended them to serve as show-pieces to demonstrate his skill at the beginning of his career (cf. Note 51, for another craftsman from abroad who began his career in Amsterdam by similarly advertising a spectacular piece). The commode in Amsterdam, with all its original mounts, demonstrates most clearly how close Bongen came to French prototypes, although his work has many personal traits nonetheless. In the marquetry the vase on a plinth on the front and the composition of the bouquets on the sides are notable (Fig.5), as are the large, full-blown blooms. The carcase, made entirely of oak, is remarkably well constructed and has a heavy, solid character. The commodes are outstanding for the complete integration of the marquetry and the mounts, in the manner of the finesl French furniture. The mounts presenl a problem, as it is not clear where they were made. They do not appear to be French or English, but one hesitates to attribute them to Amsterdam, as it is clear from documentary material that ornamental furniture-mounts were hardly ever made there in the second half of the 18th century. The mounts advertised by Ernst Meyrink in 1752 (Note 53) were probably still of the plain variety of the early part of the century and there is no further mention of mounts made in Amsterdam in the Amsterdamsche Courant. Once, in 1768, the silversmith J. H. Strixner placed an advertisem*nt which refers to their gilding (Note 55). There is virtually no indication either of French mounts being imported and there is little Dutch furniture of this period that bears mounts which are indisputably French. In contrast to this, a large number of advertisem*nts from as early as 1735 show that many mounts were imported from England, while among English manufacturers who came to sell their wares in Amsterdam were Robert Marshall of London (Note 60), James Scott (Note 61), William Tottie of Rotterdam (Note 62), whose business was continued after his death by Klaas Pieter Sent (Note 64), and H. Jelloly, again of Rotterdam (Notes 66, 67). It seems surprising that in a period when the French style reigned supreme so many mounts were imported from England, but the English manufacturers, mainly working in Birmingham, produced many mounts in the French style, probably often directed expressly at foreign markets. On the two commodes by Bongen only the corner mounts and the handles are of types found in the trade-catalogues of the English manufacturers (Figs. 7, 8, Notes 65, 70). The corner mounts are of a common type also found on French furniture (Note 71), so they doubtless copy a French model. The remaining mounts, however, are the ones which are so well integrated with the marquetry and these are not found elsewhere. Recently a third commode signed by Bongen has come to light, of similar character to the first two (Fig.3). Here all the mounts are of types found in the catalogues (Figs.7-10, Note 72). Apparently Bongen could not, or did not choose to, obtain the special mounts any more, although he clearly wanted to follow the same design (Fig. 6). This third commode was undoubtedly made somewhal later than the other two. The marquetry on it is the best preserved and it is possible to see how Bongen enlivened it with fine engraving. Because this piece is less exceptional, it also allows us to attribute some unsigned pieces to Bongen on the basis of their closeness to it, namely a commode sold in London in 1962 (Fig.11, Note 73) and two smaller, simpler commodes, which may originally have formed a pair, one sold in London in 1967 (Fig.12, Nole 74) and the other in a Dutch private collection (Figs.13, 14). The first one has a highly original marquetry decoration of a basket of flowers falling down. On the sides of this piece, and on the front of the two smaller ones, are bouquets tied with ribbons. These were doubtless influenced by contemporary engravings, but no direct models have been identified. The construction of the commode in the Netherlands tallies completely with tltat of the signed example in Amsterdam. The mounts are probably all English, although they have not all been found in English catalogues (Fig.15, Note 76). A seventh commode attributable to Bongen was sold in Switzerland in 1956 (Fig.16, Note 77). It is unusual in that walnut is employed as the background for the floral marquetry, something virtually unknown in Paris, but not uncommon on German work of French inspiration (Note 78). That commodes constitute the largest group among the furniture in the French style attributable to Bongen should cause no surprise, for the commode was the most sought after of all the pieces produced by the ébénistes not only in France, but all over Europe. Two other pieces which reveal Bongen's hand are two tables which look like side-tables, but which have fold-out tops to transform them into card-tables, a type seldom found in France, but common in England and the Netherlands (Note 80). One is at Bowhill in Scotland (Figs.17, 19, 20), the other was sold in London in 1972 (Fig.18, Note 79). The corner mounts on the Bowhill table, which probably also graced the other one originally, are the same as those on the two small commodes, while the handles are again to be found in an English catalogue (Fig.21, Note 81). What sounds like a similar card-table was sold at auction in Amsterdam in 1772 (Note 82). In Bongen's advertisem*nt of 1766 mention is also made of a secretaire, this being the first appearance of this term in the Amsterdamsche Courant and Bongen finding it necessary to define it. No secretaire is known that can be attributed to him. A medal-cabinet in the form of a secretaire in Leiden (Figs.22, 23) hasfloral marquetry somewhat reminiscent of his work, but lacking its elegance, liveliness and equilibrium. Here the floral marquetry is combined with trompe l'oeil cubes and an interlaced border, early Neo-Classical elements which were first employed in France in the 1750s, so that this piece represents a later stage than those attributable to Bongen, which are all in a pure Louis xvstyle. Virtually identical in form to the medal-cabinet is a secretaire decorated solely with floral marquetry (Fig. 24, Note 87). This also appears not to be by Bongen, but both pieces may have been made under his influence. The picture we can form of Bongen's work on the basis of the signed commodes is clearly incomplete. His secretaire was decorated with '4 Children representing Trade', an exceptionally modern and original idea in 1766 even by French standards (Note 88). His ambitions in marquetry obviously wentfar beyondflowers, but no piece has yet beenfound which evinces this, nor is anything known of the Neo-Classical work which he may have produced after this style was introduced in Amsterdam around 1770. Bongen may perhaps have been the first Amsterdam cabinet-maker to produce marquetry furniture in the French style, but he was not to remain the only one. In 1771 and 1772 furniture in both the Dutch and French mode was advertised for sale at the Kistenmakerspand in Kalverstraat, where all furniture-makers belonging to the Guild of St. Joseph could sell their wares (Note 89). The 'French' pieces were probably decorated with marquetry. Only a small number of cabinet-makers are known to have worked in this style, however. They include Arnoldus Gerritsen of Rheestraat, who became a master in 1769 and sold his stock, including a 'small French inlaid Commode', in 1772, and Johan Jobst Swenebart (c.1747 - active up to 1806 or later), who became a master in 1774 and advertised in 1775 that he made 'all sorts of choice Cabinet- and Flower-works', the last term referring to furniture decorated with floral marquetry. Not only French types of furniture, but also traditional Dutch pieces were now decorated with French-inspired marquetry,for example a collector's cabinet advertised in 1775 by Johan Jacob Breytspraak (c.1739-95), who had become a master in 1769-70; a bureau-bookcase, a form introduced in the first half of the century probably under English influence (Note 100), exhibited in 1772 (Note 99); and a display cabinet for porcelain supplied, though not necessarily made, by Pieter Uylenburg en Zoon in 1775 (Notes 101, 102). Even long-case clocks were enriched with marquetry, witness the one advertised by the clock-maker J. H. Kühn in 1775 and another by him which was sold by auction in Edam in 1777 (Note 104). The latter was, like the bureau-bookcase exhibited in 1772, decorated with musical instruments, again a motif borrowed from France, where it was used increasingly from the 1760s onwards (Note 105). A clock signed by the Amsterdam clock-maker J. George Grüning also has a case with marquetry of musical instruments. This must date from about 1775-80, but its maker is unknown (Fig. 25, Notes 106, 107). All four of the Amsterdam cabinet-makers known to have done marquetry around 1770 came from Germany and all were then only recently established in Amsterdam. In fact half of the 144 Amsterdam cabinet-makers working in the second half of the 18th century whose origins it has been possible to trace came from Germany, so the German element was even stronger there than in Paris, where Germans comprised about a third of the ébénistes (Note 108) and where they had again played an important role in the revival of marquetry. None qf the four in Amsterdam was exclusively concerned with marquetry. Indeed, for some of them it may only have been a secondary aspect of their work. This was not true of Bongen, but he too made plain pieces, witness the four mahogany gueridons he made for the city of Amsterdam in 1771 or the two cupboards also made for the city in 1786 and 1789 (Notes 111, 112).No marquetry is listed in his inventory either. Perhaps fashions had changed by the time of his bankruptcy. Such scant knowledge as we have of Amsterdam cabinet-making between 1775 and 1785 certainly seems to suggest this. In the descriptions of the prizes for furraiture-lotteries, such as took place regularly from 1773 onwards (Note 114), marquetry is mentioned in 1773 and 1775 (Notes 115, 116), but after that there is no reference to itfor about tenyears. Nor is there any mention of marquetry in the very few cabinet-makers' advertisem*nts of this period. When the clock-maker Kühn again advertised long-case clocks in 1777 and 1785, the cases were of carved mahogany (Notes 121, 122). Certainly in France the popularity of marquetry began to wane shortly before 1780 and developments in the Netherlands were probably influenced by this. Towards the end of the 1780s, however, pieces described as French and others decorated with 'inlaid work' again appear as prizes in lotteries, such as those organized by Johan Frederik Reinbregt (active 1785-95 or later), who came from Hanover (Note 128), and Swenebart. The latter advertised an inlaid mahogany secretaire in 1793 (Note 132) and similar pieces are listed in the announcement of the sale of the stock of Jean-Matthijs Chaisneux (c.1734-92), one of a small group of French upholsterers first mentioned in Amsterdam in the 1760s, who played an important part in the spread of French influence there (Note 134). In this later period, however, reference is only made to French furniture when English pieces are also mentioned, so a new juxtaposition is implied and 'French' need not mean richly decorated with marquetry as it did in the 1760s. In fact the marquetry of this period was probably of a much more modest character. A large number of pieces of Dutch furniture in the late Neo-Classical style are known, generally veneered with rosewood or mahogany, where the marquetry is confined to trophies, medallions on ribbons, geometric borders and suchlike. A sideboard in the Rijksmuseum is an exceptionally fine and elaborately decorated example of this light and elegant style (Fig. 26) None of this furniture is known for certain to have been made in Amsterdam, but two tobacco boxes with restrained marquetry decoration (Fig.27, Note 136) were made in Haarlem in 1789 by Johan Gottfried Fremming (c.1753-1832) of Leipzig, who had probably trained in Amsterdam and whose style will not have differed much from that current in the capital. Boxes of this type are mentioned in the 1789 inventory of the Amsterdam cabinet-maker Johan Christiaan Molle (c.1748-89) as the only pieces decorated with inlay (Note 138). In the 1792 inventory of Jacob Keesinger (active 1764-92) from Ziegenhain there are larger pieces of marquetry furniture as well (Note 139), but they are greatly in the minority, as is also the case with a sale of cabinet-makers' wares held in 1794 (Note 141), which included a book-case of the type in Fig.28 (Note 142). Similarly the 1795 inventory of Johan Jacob Breytspraak, one of the most important and prosperous cabinet-makers of the day, contains only a few marquetry pieces (Note 144). The 1793 inventory of Hendrik Melters (1720-93) lists tools and patterns for marquetry, but no pieces decorated with it (Note 145). Melters seems to have specialized in cases for long-case clocks, the Amsterdam clock-maker Rutgerus van Meurs (1738-1800) being one of his clients (Note 146). The cases of clocks signed by Van Meurs bear only simple marquetry motifs (Note 147). The Dutch late Neo-Classical furniture with restrained marquetry decoration has no equivalent in France; it is more reminiscent of English work (Note 148). The pattern-books of Hepplewhite and Sheraton undoubtedly found their way to the Dutch Republic and the 'English' furniture mentioned in Amsterdam sources from 1787 probably reflected their influence. However, the introduction of the late, restrained Neo-Classical style in furniture was not the result of English influence alone. Rather, the two countries witnessed a parallel development. In England, too, marquetry was re-introduced under French influence around 1760 and it gradually became much simpler during the last quarter of the century, French influences being amalgamated into a national style (Notes 150, 151). On the whole, the Frertch models were followed more closely in the Netherlands than in England. Even at the end of the century French proportions still very much influenced Dutch cabinet-making. Thus the typically Dutch late Neo-Classical style sprang from a combirtation of French and English influences. This makes it difficult to understand what exactly was meant by the distinction made between ;French' and 'English' furniture at this time. The sources offer few clues here and this is even true of the description of the sale of the stock of the only English cabinet-maker working in Amsterdam at this period, Joseph Bull of London, who was active between 1787 and 1792, when his goods were sold (Notes 155, 156).

5

McGowan, David. "‘I’ll Get You, Tom and Jerry. And That Little Dog, Too!’: Adaptation, Transmedia, and Franchise Management in the Tom and Jerry and Wizard of Oz Crossovers." Adaptation, August16, 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/adaptation/apab014.

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Abstract This article will offer a close reading of two Warner Bros. direct-to-video animated features—Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz (2011) and Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz (2016)—as an example of the transmedia tendencies of studios in the conglomerate era. Although The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Tom and Jerry were originally MGM productions, the modern distribution of these works provides an insight into the complicated post-‘Golden Age’ trajectories of studio archives. Ted Turner’s brief takeover of MGM in the mid-1980s stripped the studio of many of its assets, while the merger of Turner’s company with Warner Bros. in 1996 brought these MGM properties under Warner control. The Tom and Jerry/Wizard of Oz crossover films heavily reference the 1939 MGM movie (the songs, the ruby slippers, and so on)—something that other adaptations of Baum’s novels have not been permitted to do. This paper will suggest that these new extensions of old brands subtly rewrite MGM’s industrial history in favour of establishing them as Warner Bros. franchises, while also re-establishing the brand identity of the 1939 film at a time where Oz adaptations are facing greater competition, particularly from the successful stage musical Wicked (2003).

6

Furnica, Ioana. "Subverting the “Good, Old Tune”." M/C Journal 10, no.2 (May1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2641.

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“In the performing arts the very absence of a complete score, i.e., of a complete duplicate, enables music, dances and plays to survive. The tension created by the adaptation of a work of yesterday to the style of today is an essential part of the history of the art in progress” (Rudolf Arnheim, “On Duplication”). In his essay “On Duplication”, Rudolf Arnheim proposes the idea that a close look at the life of adaptations indicates that change is not only necessary and inevitable, but also increases our understanding of the adapted work. To Arnheim, the most fruitful approach to adaptations is therefore to investigate the ways in which the various re-interpretations partake of the (initial) work and concretise latent aspects in a new historical and cultural context. This article analyzes how, and to what ends, the re-contextualising of Georges Bizet’s Carmen in other media—flamenco dance and film – changes, distorts and subverts our perception of the opera’s music. The text under analysis is Carlos Saura’s 1983 movie about a flamenco transposition of Bizet’s Carmen. I discuss this film in terms of how flamenco music and dance, on the one hand, and the film camera, on the other hand, gradually demystify the fascinating power of Bizet’s music, as well as its clichéd associations. Although these forms displace and defamiliarise music in many ways, the main argument of the analysis centers on how flamenco dance and the film image foreground the artificiality of the exotic sections from Bizet’s opera, as well as their inadequacy in the Spanish context, and also on how the film translates and self-reflexively comments on the absence of an embodied voice for Carmen. “C’est la Carmen! Non, ce n’est pas celle-là!” As the credits from Carlos Saura’s Carmen are displayed against the backdrop of Gustave Doré’s drawings, we can hear the chorus of the cigarières from Bizet’s opera singing “C’est la Carmen! Non, ce n’est pas celle-là!”. Why did the director choose this particular section of Bizet’s Carmen with which to begin his film? Moreover, what is the significance of combining Doré’s drawings with these words? In a way, we can say that the reality/illusion polarity signified by the sung words informs and gives a preview of one of the movie’s main themes—the futility of an adapter’s attempt at finding a “true” Carmen. The music’s juxtaposition with Doré’s drawings of nineteenth-century espagnolades adds to the idea of artifice and inauthenticity: Saura seems to be dismissing Bizet’s music by pairing it with the work of another one of the creators of a stereotyped (and false) image of Spain. Demystifying the untrue image that foreigners have created of Spain is one of the film director’s main concerns in his adaptation of both Bizet and Mérimée’s Carmen. The movie’s production history reinforces this idea. In his book on the films of Carlos Saura, Marvin D’Lugo notes that in 1981 the French company Gaumont had approached Saura with the project of making a filmed version of Bizet’s Carmen, “with a maximum of fidelity to the original text” (202), an idea which the director clearly rejected. Another important aspect related to the production history is the fact that Antonio Gadés, the film’s choreographer and actor for Don José’s part, had previously created a ballet version of Bizet’s Carmen, based solely on the second act of the opera. The 1983 film production is then the result of Carlos Saura—the film director attempting to reframe the French opera in the Spanish context—and Antonio Gadés—the flamenco troupe director—collaborating to create a Spanish dance version of Carmen. The film’s constant superimposition of its two diegetic levels—the fictional level, consisting in the rehearsal scenes, and the actual level, which coincides with the characters’ lives outside of and in-between rehearsals—and the constant blurring of the lines separating these two worlds, have been the cause of a plethora of varying interpretations. Susan McClary sees the movie as “a brilliant commentary on ‘exoticism’: on the distance between actual ethnic music and the mock-ups Bizet and others produced for their own ideological purposes” (137); to D’Lugo, the film is an illustration and critique of how “the Spaniards, having come under the spell of the foreign, imposter impression of Spain, find themselves seduced by the falsification of their own cultural past” (203). Other notable interpretations come from Marshall H. Leicester, who sees the film as a comment on the fact that Carmen has become a discourse and a cultural artifact, and from Linda M. Willem, who interprets the movie as a metafictional mise en abyme. I will discuss the movie from a somewhat different perspective, bearing in mind, however, McClary and D’Lugo’s readings. Saura’s Carmen is also a story about adaptation, constantly commenting on the failed attempts at perfect fidelity to the source text(s), by the intradiegetic adapter (Antonio) and, at the same time, self-reflexively embedding hints to the presence of the extradiegetic adapter: the filmmaker Saura. On the one hand, as juxtaposed with flamenco music and dance, the opera’s music is made to appear artificial and inadequate; we are presented with an adaptation in the making, in which many of the oddities and difficulties of transposing opera music to flamenco dance are problematised. On the other hand, the film camera, by constantly foregrounding the movie’s materiality—the possibility to cut and edit the images and the soundtrack, its refusal to maintain a realist illusion—displaces and re-codifies music in other contexts, thus bringing to light dormant interpretations of particular sections of Bizet’s opera, or completely altering their significance. One of the film’s most significant departures from Bizet’s opera is the problematised absence of a suitable Carmen character. Bizet’s opera, however revolves around Carmen: it is very hard, if not impossible, to dissociate the opera from the fascinating Carmen personage. Her transgressive nature, her “otherness” and exoticism, are translated in her singing, dancing and bodily presence on the stage, all these leading to the creation of a character that cannot be neglected. The songs that Bizet adapted from the cabaret numéros in order to add exotic flavor to the music, as well as the provocative dances accompanying the Habaňera and the Seguidilla help create this dimension of Carmen’s fascinating power. It is through her singing and dancing that she becomes a true enchantress, inflicting madness or unreason on the ones she chooses to charm. Saura’s Carmen has very few of the charming attributes of her operatic predecessor. Antonio, however, becomes obsessed with her because she is close to his idea of Carmen. The film foregrounds the immense gap between the operatic Carmen and the character interpreted by Laura del Sol. This double instantiation of Carmen has usually been interpreted as a sign of the demystification of the stereotyped and inauthentic image of Bizet’s character. Another way to interpret it could be as a comment on one of the inevitable losses in the transposition of opera to dance: the separation of the body from the voice. Significantly, the recorded music of Bizet’s opera accompanies more the scenes between rehearsals than the flamenco dance sections, which are mostly performed on traditional Spanish music. The re-codification of the music reinforces the gap between Saura and Gadés’ Carmen and Bizet’s character. The character interpreted by Laura del Sol is not a particularly gifted dancer; therefore, her dance translation of the operatic voice fails to convey the charm and self-assuredness that Carmen’s voice and the sung words fully express. Moreover, the musical and dance re-insertion in a Spanish context completely removes the character’s exoticism and alterity. We could say, rather, that in Saura’s movie it is the operatic Carmen who is becoming exotic and distant. In one of the movie’s first scenes, we are shown an image of Paco de Lucia and a group of flamenco singers as they play and sing a traditional Spanish song. This scene is abruptly interrupted by Bizet’s Seguidilla; immediately after, the camera zooms in on Antonio, completely absorbed by the opera, which he is playing on the tape-recorder. The contrast between the live performance of the Spanish song and the recorded Carmen opera reflects the artificiality of the latter. The Seguidilla is also one of the opera’s sections that Bizet adapted so that it would sound authentically exotic, but which was as far from authentic traditional Spanish music as any of the songs that were being played in the cabarets of Paris in the nineteenth century. The contrast between the authentic sound of traditional Spanish music, as played on the guitar by Paco de Lucia, and Bizet’s own version makes us aware, more than ever, of the act of fabrication underlying the opera’s composition. Most of the rehearsal scenes in the movie are interpreted on original flamenco music, Bizet’s opera appearing mostly in the scenes associated with Antonio, to punctuate the evolution of his love for Carmen and to reinforce the impossibility of transposing Bizet’s music to flamenco dance without making significant modifications. This also signifies the mesmerising power the operatic music has on Antonio’s imagination, gradually transposing him in a universe of understanding completely different from that of his troupe, a world in which he becomes unable to distinguish reality from illusion. With Antonio’s delusion, we are reminded of the luring powers of the operatic fabrication. One of the scenes which foregrounds the opera’s charm is when Antonio watches the dancers led by Cristina rehearse some flamenco movements. While watching their bodies reflected in the mirror, Antonio is dissatisfied with their appearance—he doesn’t see any of them as Carmen. The scene ends with an explosion of Bizet’s music heard from off-screen—probably as Antonio keeps hearing it in his head—dramatically symbolising the great distance between flamenco dance and opera music. One of the rehearsal scenes in which Bizet’s music is heard as an accompaniment to the dance is the scene in which the operatic Carmen performs the castaňet dance for Don José. In the Antonio-Carmen interpretation the music that we hear is the Habaňera and not the seductive song that Bizet’s Carmen is singing at this point in the opera. According to Mary Blackwood Collier, the Habaňera song in the opera has the function to define Carmen’s personality as strong, independent, free and enthralling at the same time (119). The purely instrumental Habaňera, combined with the lyrical and tender dance duo of Antonio/José and Carmen in Saura’s film, transforms the former into a sweet love theme. In the opera, this is one of the arias that centralise the image of Carmen in our perception. The dance transposition as a love pas de deux diminishes the impression of freedom and independence connoted by the song’s words and displaces the centrality of Carmen. Our perception of the opera’s music is significantly reshaped by the film camera too. In her book The Hollywood Musical Jane Feuer contends that the use of multiple diegesis in the backstage musical has the function to “mirror within the film the relationship of the spectator to the film. Multiple diegesis in this sense parallels the use of an internal audience” (68). Carlos Saura’s movie preserves and foregrounds this function. The mirrors in which the dancers often reflect themselves hint to an external plane of observation (the audience). The artificial collapse of the boundaries between off-stage and on-stage scenes acts as a reminder of the film’s capacity to compress and distort temporality and chronology. Saura’s film makes full use of its capacity to cut and edit the image and the soundtracks. This allows for the mise-en-scène of meaningful displacements of Bizet’s music, which can be given new significations by the association with unexpected images. One of the sections of Bizet’s opera in the movie is the entr’acte music at the beginning of Act III. Whereas in the opera this part acts as a filler, in Saura’s Carmen it becomes a love motif and is heard several times in the movie. The choice of this particular part as a musical leitmotif in the movie is interesting if we consider the minimal use of Bizet’s music in Saura’s Carmen. Quite significantly however, this tune appears both in association with the rehearsal scenes and the off-stage scenes. It appears at the end of the Tabacalera rehearsal, when Antonio/Don José comes to arrest Carmen; we can hear it again when Carmen arrives at Antonio’s house the night when they make love for the first time and also after the second off-stage love scene, when Antonio gives money to Carmen. In general, this song is used to connote Antonio’s love for Carmen, both on and off stage. This musical bit, which had no particular significance in the opera, is now highlighted and made significant in its association with specific film images. Another one of the operatic themes that recur in the movie is the fate motif which is heard in the opening scene and also at the moment of Carmen’s death. We can also hear it when Carmen visits her husband in prison, immediately after she accepts the money Antonio offers her and when Antonio finds her making love to Tauro. This re-contextualisation alters the significance of the theme. As Mary Blackwood Collier remarks, this motif highlights Carmen’s infidelity rather than her fatality in the movie (120). The repetition of this motif also foregrounds the music’s artificiality in the context of the adaptation; the filmmaker, we are reminded, can cut and edit the soundtrack as he pleases, putting music in the service of his own artistic designs. In Saura’s Carmen, Bizet’s opera appears in the context of flamenco music and dance. This leads to the deconstruction and demystification of the opera’s pretense of exoticism and authenticity. The adaptation of opera to flamenco music and dance also implies a number of necessary alterations in the musical structure that the adapter has to perform so that the music will harmonise with flamenco dance. Saura’s Carmen, if read as an adaptation in the making, foregrounds many of the technical difficulties of translating opera to dance. The second dimension of music re-interpretation is added by the film camera. The embedded camera and the film’s self-reflexivity displace music from its original contexts, thus adding or creating new meanings to the ways in which we perceive it. This way of reframing the music from Bizet’s Carmen adds new dimensions to our perception of the opera. In many of the off-stage scenes, the music seems to appear from nowhere and, then, to inform other sequences than the ones with which it is usually associated in the opera. This produces a momentary disruption in the way we hear Bizet’s music. We could say that it is a very rapid process of de-signification and re-signification—that is, of adaptation—that we undergo almost automatically. Carlos Saura’s adaptation of Carmen self-reflexively puts into play the changes that Bizet’s music has to go through in order to become a flamenco dance and movie. In this process, dance and the film image make us aware of new meanings that we come to associate with Bizet’s score. References Arnheim, Rudolf. “On Duplication”. New Essays on the Psychology of Art. Berkeley: U of California P, 1986: 274-85. Blackwood Collier, Mary. La Carmen Essentielle et sa Réalisation au Spectacle. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1994. D’Lugo, Marvin. The Films of Carlos Saura: The Practice of Seeing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1991. Feuer, Jane. “Dream Worlds and Dream Stages”. The Hollywood Musical. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1993: 67-87. Leicester, Marshall H. Jr. “Discourse and the Film Text: Four Readings of ‘Carmen’”. Cambridge Opera Journal 4.3 (1994): 245-82. McClary, Susan. “Carlos Saura: A Flamenco Carmen”. Georges Bizet: Carmen. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992: 135-7. Willem, Linda M. “Metafictional Mise en Abyme in Saura’s Carmen”. Literature/Film Quarterly 24.3 (1996): 267-73. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Furnica, Ioana. "Subverting the “Good, Old Tune”: Carlos Saura’s Carmen." M/C Journal 10.2 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/10-furnica.php>. APA Style Furnica, I. (May 2007) "Subverting the “Good, Old Tune”: Carlos Saura’s Carmen," M/C Journal, 10(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/10-furnica.php>.

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Hawley, Erin. "Re-imagining Horror in Children's Animated Film." M/C Journal 18, no.6 (March7, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1033.

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Introduction It is very common for children’s films to adapt, rework, or otherwise re-imagine existing cultural material. Such re-imaginings are potential candidates for fidelity criticism: a mode of analysis whereby an adaptation is judged according to its degree of faithfulness to the source text. Indeed, it is interesting that while fidelity criticism is now considered outdated and problematic by adaptation theorists (see Stam; Leitch; and Whelehan) the issue of fidelity has tended to linger in the discussions that form around material adapted for children. In particular, it is often assumed that the re-imagining of cultural material for children will involve a process of “dumbing down” that strips the original text of its complexity so that it is more easily consumed by young audiences (see sem*nza; Kellogg; Hastings; and Napolitano). This is especially the case when children’s films draw from texts—or genres—that are specifically associated with an adult readership. This paper explores such an interplay between children’s and adult’s culture with reference to the re-imagining of the horror genre in children’s animated film. Recent years have seen an inrush of animated films that play with horror tropes, conventions, and characters. These include Frankenweenie (2012), ParaNorman (2012), Hotel Transylvania (2012), Igor (2008), Monsters Inc. (2001), Monster House (2006), and Monsters vs Aliens (2009). Often diminishingly referred to as “kiddie horror” or “goth lite”, this re-imagining of the horror genre is connected to broader shifts in children’s culture, literature, and media. Anna Jackson, Karen Coats, and Roderick McGillis, for instance, have written about the mainstreaming of the Gothic in children’s literature after centuries of “suppression” (2); a glance at the titles in a children’s book store, they tell us, may suggest that “fear or the pretence of fear has become a dominant mode of enjoyment in literature for young people” (1). At the same time, as Lisa Hopkins has pointed out, media products with dark, supernatural, or Gothic elements are increasingly being marketed to children, either directly or through product tie-ins such as toys or branded food items (116-17). The re-imagining of horror for children demands our attention for a number of reasons. First, it raises questions about the commercialisation and repackaging of material that has traditionally been considered “high culture”, particularly when the films in question are seen to pilfer from sites of the literary Gothic such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) or Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). The classic horror films of the 1930s such as James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) also have their own canonical status within the genre, and are objects of reverence for horror fans and film scholars alike. Moreover, aficionados of the genre have been known to object vehemently to any perceived simplification or dumbing down of horror conventions in order to address a non-horror audience. As Lisa Bode has demonstrated, such objections were articulated in many reviews of the film Twilight, in which the repackaging and simplifying of vampire mythology was seen to pander to a female, teenage or “tween” audience (710-11). Second, the re-imagining of horror for children raises questions about whether the genre is an appropriate source of pleasure and entertainment for young audiences. Horror has traditionally been understood as problematic and damaging even for adult viewers: Mark Jancovich, for instance, writes of the long-standing assumption that horror “is moronic, sick and worrying; that any person who derives pleasure from the genre is moronic, sick and potentially dangerous” and that both the genre and its fans are “deviant” (18). Consequently, discussions about the relationship between children and horror have tended to emphasise regulation, restriction, censorship, effect, and “the dangers of imitative violence” (Buckingham 95). As Paul Wells observes, there is a “consistent concern […] that horror films are harmful to children, but clearly these films are not made for children, and the responsibility for who views them lies with adult authority figures who determine how and when horror films are seen” (24). Previous academic work on the child as horror viewer has tended to focus on children as consumers of horror material designed for adults. Joanne Cantor’s extensive work in this area has indicated that fright reactions to horror media are commonly reported and can be long-lived (Cantor; and Cantor and Oliver). Elsewhere, the work of Sarah Smith (45-76) and David Buckingham (95-138) has indicated that children, like adults, can gain certain pleasures from the genre; it has also indicated that children can be quite media savvy when viewing horror, and can operate effectively as self-censors. However, little work has yet been conducted on whether (and how) the horror genre might be transformed for child viewers. With this in mind, I explore here the re-imagining of horror in two children’s animated films: Frankenweenie and ParaNorman. I will consider the way horror tropes, narratives, conventions, and characters have been reshaped in each film with a child’s perspective in mind. This, I argue, does not make them simplified texts or unsuitable objects of pleasure for adults; instead, the films demonstrate that the act of re-imagining horror for children calls into question long-held assumptions about pleasure, taste, and the boundaries between “adult” and “child”. Frankenweenie and ParaNorman: Rewriting the Myth of Childhood Innocence Frankenweenie is a stop-motion animation written by John August and directed by Tim Burton, based on a live-action short film made by Burton in 1984. As its name suggests, Frankenweenie re-imagines Shelley’s Frankenstein by transforming the relationship between creator and monster into that between child and pet. Burton’s Victor Frankenstein is a young boy living in a small American town, a creative loner who enjoys making monster movies. When his beloved dog Sparky is killed in a car accident, young Victor—like his predecessor in Shelley’s novel—is driven by the awfulness of this encounter with death to discover the “mysteries of creation” (Shelley 38): he digs up Sparky’s body, drags the corpse back to the family home, and reanimates him in the attic. This coming-to-life sequence is both a re-imagining of the famous animation scene in Whale’s film Frankenstein and a tender expression of the love between a boy and his dog. The re-imagined creation scene therefore becomes a site of negotiation between adult and child audiences: adult viewers familiar with Whale’s adaptation and its sense of electric spectacle are invited to rethink this scene from a child’s perspective, while child viewers are given access to a key moment from the horror canon. While this blurring of the lines between child and adult is a common theme in Burton’s work—many of his films exist in a liminal space where a certain childlike sensibility mingles with a more adult-centric dark humour—Frankenweenie is unique in that it actively re-imagines as “childlike” a film and/or work of literature that was previously populated by adult characters and associated with adult audiences. ParaNorman is the second major film from the animation studio Laika Entertainment. Following in the footsteps of the earlier Laika film Coraline (2009)—and paving the way for the studio’s 2014 release, Boxtrolls—ParaNorman features stop-motion animation, twisted storylines, and the exploration of dark themes and spaces by child characters. The film tells the story of Norman, an eleven year old boy who can see and communicate with the dead. This gift marks him as an outcast in the small town of Blithe Hollow, which has built its identity on the historic trial and hanging of an “evil” child witch. Norman must grapple with the town’s troubled past and calm the spirit of the vengeful witch; along the way, he and an odd assortment of children battle zombies and townsfolk alike, the latter appearing more monstrous than the former as the film progresses. Although ParaNorman does not position itself as an adaptation of a specific horror text, as does Frankenweenie, it shares with Burton’s film a playful intertextuality whereby references are constantly made to iconic films in the horror genre (including Halloween [1978], Friday the 13th [1980], and Day of the Dead [1985]). Both films were released in 2012 to critical acclaim. Interestingly, though, film critics seemed to disagree over who these texts were actually “for.” Some reviewers described the films as children’s texts, and warned that adults would likely find them “tame and compromised” (Scott), “toothless” (McCarthy) or “sentimental” (Bradshaw). These comments carry connotations of simplification: the suggestion is that the conventions and tropes of the horror genre have been weakened (or even contaminated) by the association with child audiences, and that consequently adults cannot (or should not) take pleasure in the films. Other reviewers of ParaNorman and Frankenweenie suggested that adults were more likely to enjoy the films than children (O’Connell; Berardinelli; and Wolgamott). Often, this suggestion came together with a warning about scary or dark content: the films were deemed to be too frightening for young children, and this exclusion of the child audience allowed the reviewer to acknowledge his or her own enjoyment of and investment in the film (and the potential enjoyment of other adult viewers). Lou Lumenick, for instance, peppers his review of ParaNorman with language that indicates his own pleasure (“probably the year’s most visually dazzling movie so far”; the climax is “too good to spoil”; the humour is “deliciously twisted”), while warning that children as old as eight should not be taken to see the film. Similarly, Christy Lemire warns that certain elements of Frankenweenie are scary and that “this is not really a movie for little kids”; she goes on to add that this scariness “is precisely what makes ‘Frankenweenie’ such a consistent wonder to watch for the rest of us” (emphasis added). In both these cases a line is drawn between child and adult viewers, and arguably it is the film’s straying into the illicit area of horror from the confines of a children’s text that renders it an object of pleasure for the adult viewer. The thrill of being scared is also interpreted here as a specifically adult pleasure. This need on the part of critics to establish boundaries between child and adult viewerships is interesting given that the films themselves strive to incorporate children (as characters and as viewers) into the horror space. In particular, both films work hard to dismantle the myths of childhood innocence—and associated ideas about pleasure and taste—that have previously seen children excluded from the culture of the horror film. Both the young protagonists, for instance, are depicted as media-literate consumers or makers of horror material. Victor is initially seen exhibiting one of his home-made monster movies to his bemused parents, and we first encounter Norman watching a zombie film with his (dead) grandmother; clearly a consummate horror viewer, Norman decodes the film for Grandma, explaining that the zombie is eating the woman’s head because, “that’s what they do.” In this way, the myth of childhood innocence is rewritten: the child’s mature engagement with the horror genre gives him agency, which is linked to his active position in the narrative (both Norman and Victor literally save their towns from destruction); the parents, meanwhile, are reduced to babbling stereotypes who worry that their sons will “turn out weird” (Frankenweenie) or wonder why they “can’t be like other kids” (ParaNorman). The films also rewrite the myth of childhood innocence by depicting Victor and Norman as children with dark, difficult lives. Importantly, each boy has encountered death and, for each, his parents have failed to effectively guide him through the experience. In Frankenweenie Victor is grief-stricken when Sparky dies, yet his parents can offer little more than platitudes to quell the pain of loss. “When you lose someone you love they never really leave you,” Victor’s mother intones, “they just move into a special place in your heart,” to which Victor replies “I don’t want him in my heart—I want him here with me!” The death of Norman’s grandmother is similarly dismissed by his mother in ParaNorman. “I know you and Grandma were very close,” she says, “but we all have to move on. Grandma’s in a better place now.” Norman objects: “No she’s not, she’s in the living room!” In both scenes, the literal-minded but intelligent child seems to understand death, loss, and grief while the parents are unable to speak about these “mature” concepts in a meaningful way. The films are also reminders that a child’s first experience of death can come very young, and often occurs via the loss of an elderly relative or a beloved pet. Death, Play, and the Monster In both films, therefore, the audience is invited to think about death. Consequently, there is a sense in each film that while the violent and sexual content of most horror texts has been stripped away, the dark centre of the horror genre remains. As Paul Wells reminds us, horror “is predominantly concerned with the fear of death, the multiple ways in which it can occur, and the untimely nature of its occurrence” (10). Certainly, the horror texts which Frankenweenie and ParaNorman re-imagine are specifically concerned with death and mortality. The various adaptations of Frankenstein that are referenced in Frankenweenie and the zombie films to which ParaNorman pays homage all deploy “the monster” as a figure who defies easy categorisation as living or dead. The othering of this figure in the traditional horror narrative allows him/her/it to both subvert and confirm cultural ideas about life, death, and human status: for monsters, as Elaine Graham notes, have long been deployed in popular culture as figures who “mark the fault-lines” and also “signal the fragility” of boundary structures, including the boundary between human and not human, and that between life and death (12). Frankenweenie’s Sparky, as an iteration of the Frankenstein monster, clearly fits this description: he is neither living nor dead, and his monstrosity emerges not from any act of violence or from physical deformity (he remains, throughout the film, a cute and lovable dog, albeit with bolts fixed to his neck) but from his boundary-crossing status. However, while most versions of the Frankenstein monster are deliberately positioned to confront ideas about the human/machine boundary and to perform notions of the posthuman, such concerns are sidelined in Frankenweenie. Instead, the emphasis is on concerns that are likely to resonate with children: Sparky is a reminder of the human preoccupation with death, loss, and the question of why (or whether, or when) we should abide by the laws of nature. Arguably, this indicates a re-imagining of the Frankenstein tale not only for child audiences but from a child’s perspective. In ParaNorman, similarly, the zombie–often read as an articulation of adult anxieties about war, apocalypse, terrorism, and the deterioration of social order (Platts 551-55)—is re-used and re-imagined in a childlike way. From a child’s perspective, the zombie may represent the horrific truth of mortality and/or the troublesome desire to live forever that emerges once this truth has been confronted. More specifically, the notion of dealing meaningfully with the past and of honouring rather than silencing the dead is a strong thematic undercurrent in ParaNorman, and in this sense the zombies are important figures who dramatise the connections between past and present. While this past/present connection is explored on many levels in ParaNorman—including the level of a town grappling with its dark history—it is Norman and his grandmother who take centre stage: the boundary-crossing figure of the zombie is re-realised here in terms of a negotiation with a presence that is now absent (the elderly relative who has died but is still remembered). Indeed, the zombies in this film are an implicit rebuke to Norman’s mother and her command that Norman “move on” after his grandmother’s death. The dead are still present, this film playfully reminds us, and therefore “moving on” is an overly simplistic and somewhat disrespectful response (especially when imposed on children by adult authority figures.) If the horror narrative is built around the notion that “normality is threatened by the Monster”, as Robin Wood has famously suggested, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie re-imagine this narrative of subversion from a child’s perspective (31). Both films open up a space within which the child is permitted to negotiate with the destabilising figure of the monster; the normality that is “threatened” here is the adult notion of the finality of death and, relatedly, the assumption that death is not a suitable subject for children to think or talk about. Breaking down such understandings, Frankenweenie and ParaNorman strive not so much to play with death (a phrase that implies a certain callousness, a problematic disregard for human life) but to explore death through the darkness of play. This is beautifully imaged in a scene from ParaNorman in which Norman and his friend Neil play with the ghost of Neil’s recently deceased dog. “We’re going to play with a dead dog in the garden,” Neil enthusiastically announces to his brother, “and we’re not even going to have to dig him up first!” Somewhat similarly, film critic Richard Corliss notes in his review of Frankenweenie that the film’s “message to the young” is that “children should play with dead things.” Through this intersection between “death” and “play”, both films propose a particularly child-like (although not necessarily child-ish) way of negotiating horror’s dark territory. Conclusion Animated film has always been an ambiguous space in terms of age, pleasure, and viewership. As film critic Margaret Pomeranz has observed, “there is this perception that if it’s an animated film then you can take the little littlies” (Pomeranz and Stratton). Animation itself is often a signifier of safety, fun, nostalgia, and childishness; it is a means of addressing families and young audiences. Yet at the same time, the fantastic and transformative aspects of animation can be powerful tools for telling stories that are dark, surprising, or somehow subversive. It is therefore interesting that the trend towards re-imagining horror for children that this paper has identified is unfolding within the animated space. It is beyond the scope of this paper to fully consider what animation as a medium brings to this re-imagining process. However, it is worth noting that the distinctive stop-motion style used in both films works to position them as alternatives to Disney products (for although Frankenweenie was released under the Disney banner, it is visually distinct from most of Disney’s animated ventures). The majority of Disney films are adaptations or re-imaginings of some sort, yet these re-imaginings look to fairytales or children’s literature for their source material. In contrast, as this paper has demonstrated, Frankenweenie and ParaNorman open up a space for boundary play: they give children access to tropes, narratives, and characters that are specifically associated with adult viewers, and they invite adults to see these tropes, narratives, and characters from a child’s perspective. Ultimately, it is difficult to determine the success of this re-imagining process: what, indeed, does a successful re-imagining of horror for children look like, and who might be permitted to take pleasure from it? Arguably, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie have succeeded in reshaping the genre without simplifying it, deploying tropes and characters from classic horror texts in a meaningful way within the complex space of children’s animated film. References Berardinelli, James. “Frankenweenie (Review).” Reelviews, 4 Oct. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=2530›. Bode, Lisa. “Transitional Tastes: Teen Girls and Genre in the Critical Reception of Twilight.” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 24.5 (2010): 707-19. Bradshaw, Peter. “Frankenweenie: First Look Review.” The Guardian, 11 Oct. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/oct/10/frankenweenie-review-london-film-festival-tim-burton›. Buckingham, David. Moving Images: Understanding Children’s Emotional Responses to Television. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1996. Cantor, Joanne. “‘I’ll Never Have a Clown in My House’ – Why Movie Horror Lives On.” Poetics Today 25.2 (2004): 283-304. Cantor, Joanne, and Mary Beth Oliver. “Developmental Differences in Responses to Horror”. The Horror Film. Ed. Stephen Prince. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2004. 224-41. Corliss, Richard. “‘Frankenweenie’ Movie Review: A Re-Animated Delight”. Time, 4 Oct. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://entertainment.time.com/2012/10/04/tim-burtons-frankenweenie-a-re-animated-delight/›. Frankenweenie. Directed by Tim Burton. Walt Disney Pictures, 2012. Graham, Elaine L. Representations of the Post/Human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002. Hastings, A. Waller. “Moral Simplification in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.” The Lion and the Unicorn 17.1 (1993): 83-92. Hopkins, Lisa. Screening the Gothic. Austin: U of Texas P, 2005. Jackson, Anna, Karen Coats, and Roderick McGillis. “Introduction.” The Gothic in Children’s Literature: Haunting the Borders. Eds. Anna Jackson, Karen Coats, and Roderick McGillis. New York: Routledge, 2008. 1-14. Jancovich, Mark. “General Introduction.” Horror: The Film Reader. Ed. Mark Jancovich. London: Routledge, 2002. 1-19. Kellogg, Judith L. “The Dynamics of Dumbing: The Case of Merlin.” The Lion and the Unicorn 17.1 (1993): 57-72. Leitch, Thomas. “Twelve Fallacies in Contemporary Adaptation Theory.” Criticism 45.2 (2003): 149-71. Lemire, Christy. “‘Frankenweenie’ Review: Tim Burton Reminds Us Why We Love Him.” The Huffington Post, 2 Oct. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/frankenweenie-review-tim-burton_n_1935142.html›. Lumenick, Lou. “So Good, It’s Scary (ParaNorman Review)”. New York Post, 17 Aug. 2012. 3 Jun. 2015 ‹http://nypost.com/2012/08/17/so-good-its-scary/›. McCarthy, Todd. “Frankenweenie: Film Review.” The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Sep. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/frankenweenie/review/372720›. Napolitano, Marc. “Disneyfying Dickens: Oliver & Company and The Muppet Christmas Carol as Dickensian Musicals.” Studies in Popular Culture 32.1 (2009): 79-102. O’Connell, Sean. “Middle School and Zombies? Awwwkward!” Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2012. 3 Jun. 2015 ‹http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/paranorman,1208210.html›. ParaNorman. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell. Focus Features/Laika Entertainment, 2012. Platts, Todd K. “Locating Zombies in the Sociology of Popular Culture”. Sociology Compass 7 (2013): 547-60. Pomeranz, Margaret, and David Stratton. “Igor (Review).” At the Movies, 14 Dec. 2008. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2426109.htm›. Scott, A.O. “It’s Aliiiive! And Wagging Its Tail: ‘Frankenweenie’, Tim Burton’s Homage to Horror Classics.” New York Times, 4 Oct. 2012. 6 Aug. 2014 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/movies/frankenweenie-tim-burtons-homage-to-horror-classics.html›. sem*nza, Gregory M. Colón. “Teens, Shakespeare, and the Dumbing Down Cliché: The Case of The Animated Tales.” Shakespeare Bulletin 26.2 (2008): 37-68. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 1993 [1818]. Smith, Sarah J. Children, Cinema and Censorship: From Dracula to the Dead End Kids. London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. Stam, Robert. “Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation.” Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation. Eds. Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 1-52. Wells, Paul. The Horror Genre: From Beelzebub to Blair Witch. London: Wallflower, 2000. Whelehan, Imelda. “Adaptations: the Contemporary Dilemmas.” Adaptations: From Text to Screen, Screen to Text. Eds. Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan. London: Routledge, 1999. 3-19. Wolgamott, L. Kent. “‘Frankenweenie’ A Box-Office Bomb, But Superior Film.” Lincoln Journal Star, 10 Oct. 2012. 18 Aug. 2014 ‹http://journalstar.com/entertainment/movies/l-kent-wolgamott-frankenweenie-a-box-office-bomb-but-superior/article_42409e82-89b9-5794-8082-7b5de3d469e2.html›. Wood, Robin. “The American Nightmare: Horror in the 70s.” Horror: The Film Reader. Ed. Mark Jancovich. London: Routledge, 2002. 25-32.

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Piatti-Farnell, Lorna, and Lloyd Carpenter. "Intersections of History, Media, and Culture." M/C Journal 20, no.5 (October13, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1323.

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For many, the very idea of ‘history’ calls into question narratives of the past, distant and disconnected from our contemporary moment, and out of tune with the media-centred world of our post-2000 popular culture. This approach to history, however, is based on profound misconceptions, and does not take into account the fact that the present is history: we experience our historical moment via multiple and multi-faceted media practices, from using social media to watching movies, from watching television to consuming food. The past is, in turn, never far removed from our contemporary and everyday experiences, informing not only the way we live now, but the ways in which our futures are cemented. Ever cogniscant of this, history is changing and evolving. As Anthony Grafton put it in 2007, the function of history is “giving multiple methods and practices a place to meet, as antiquarianism intersected with ecclesiastical history, both collided with law, and all of them in turn experienced the shock of the new as travellers described unknown worlds to the east and, even more surprising, to the west” (122).There is a dictum invoked by historians to remind ourselves and others that History is, by its very nature, a construction: history is what we want it to be. As soon as we set to writing history, what we write is already in the thrall of distorting influences and culture. From the writer’s bias to the publisher’s constraints, History is always flawed. For the twenty-first century reader, our view on History is written, presented, read and critiqued, then revised and re-written, to be argued further in what can appear to be a continuous loop of publication. Within History, conflicts can be headlined by weighty semiotics like The History Wars, or by evolutions in historiography, from the simplistic dichotomy of Political vs Economic to ‘turns’ tracing the Sociological turn of the 1960s, the linguistic or cultural turn of the 1970s and 1980s and the material turn of the 2000s, or even the recent embracing of post-modern, indigenous, gender, and queer methodologies. But we hold that the culture of history itself is changing, partly through the immediacy of media and the embrace of online platforms, and partly through the ubiquitous presence of anonymous-but-informed readers, users and subscribers questioning, challenging and revising some of what has been held to be true for centuries. As Maria Grever and Sipe Stuurman and contend, “the citizens of the twenty-first century need a history that addresses their concerns as citizens of a particular nation, but also as world citizens” (3). In looking at ‘media and culture’ through the lens of ‘history’, it is possible to see and confront how History itself is changing before our eyes. We take history to be a lived-in subject. This issue of M/C Journal seeks to redress the critical balance by re-evaluating and re-visioning the notion of history in connection to media and culture. The intention is to see history as intersecting with all parts of life, in an open refusal of the often-reductive view that has long-surrounded history as an area of interest, both in and out of the academy. This critical stance answers the cultural shifts that we see intrinsic not only to history as a discipline, but also to the ways in which, in the cultural sense, history is shaped and adapted into the narrative of the everyday. The interaction of history, media, and culture evokes the principle that “in a globalizing world, an inward looking…canon” for the historical paradigm “will become less and less convincing. In the end, it might make history simply irrelevant” (Grever and Stuurman 3). The notion of history becoming irrelevant is something that, naturally, we fervently wish to avoid. The articles in this issue collectively aim to show the directions that research in history in taking in the 21st century. The approach to ‘history’ we take is, overall, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transnational, as we see history itself as an entity shifting boundaries and registers. The articles show distinctive ways in which history intersects with our media and cultural practices in the contemporary moment, as we simultaneously engage with critical exercises of re-discovery and re-evaluation, as well as indicative and diagnostic scholarly prerogatives. The issue draws strength from the points of intersection between articles, while maintaining a critical awareness of their different approaches to ‘history’, both as a critical entity and a disciplinary standpoint. After this editorial, this issue opens with a feature article by Adele Wessell, entitled “‘We Will Show the Country’: Bringing History to Life”. Here, Wessell provides an overview of the important concerns that historians are presented with as far as recording national chronicles is concerned, and the tendency over time to privilege written accounts. With a particular focus on the Australian context, Wessell considers the different and differing accounts of recording the past, and places food at the centre of the historical question, providing a tangible and cultural coordinate for the exploration of the national past, and its contemporary repercussions. Paul Ryder and Jonathan Foye’s article “Whose Speech Is It Anyway? Ownership, Authorship, and the Redfern Address” considers themes of ownership, authorship, and acknowledgement as they relate to the crafting, delivery, and reception of political speeches. In light of an ongoing debate over the authorship of the now well-known Redfern address, Ryder and Foye focus on the difficulty of identifying notions of creativity and colaboration as far as political speeches are concerned, and how this impacts on the historical and cultural relevance of political realities over time. The relationship between artistry, ownership, and memory is also the focus of Christina Chau in her article “Remediating Destroyed Human Bodies”. Chau investigates the connection between art and digital culture, by placing an empahsis on the relationship between the past and what she terms contemporaneity. In particular, Chau focuses on artists who ‘remediate’ news media and motifs within the broader popular culture scope, with an intent to monumentalise and historicise contemporary digital culture. The impact of digitisation of historical research is the focus of Rob Allen’s article, entitled “Lost and Found: The SEARCH for the Hidden and Forgotten”. Allen’s argument is foregrounded by the contention that much of the 19th century ‘disappeared’ from view in the 20th century. Considering the change in archival practices in the 21st century, Allen argues that digitisation has revolution the ways in which historical traces are accessed and re-evaluated, allowing for the re-discovery of previously (potentially) forgotten historical figures. Using the Victorian figure of John De Morgan as a primary example, this article considers the uses of digital sources to recover and reclaim the past. In “Blood on Boylston: Digital Memory and the Dramatisation of Recent History in Patriots Day”, Melanie Piper examines the movie phenomenon whereby historic events are offered as movie recreations within months of the event which they purport to re-present, asking questions like ‘when is too soon?’ when it comes to on-screen death and disaster sanitised for public viewing. Constructing the re-creation through the merging of social media representations and media files, actual footage and dramatised recreation in Patriots Day forces us to question the place of ‘crowd-sourced’ investigations, of online sense-making of events, and what Landsberg termed ‘prosthetic memory’ for mass culture. Patriots Day sits at what Piper calls “a somewhat uncomfortable intersection of fact and fiction, of docudrama and popcorn action movie”, requiring that we consider the history/media/culture nexus in such mediated dramatisations, concluding that our digital memories of the present will help make the prosthetic memories of the future. “‘The Blood Never Stops Flowing and the Party Never Ends’: The Originals and the Afterlife of New Orleans as a Vampire City” is authored by the issue’s own editor, Lorna Piatti-Farnell. Here, the discussion provides an analysis of New Orleans as a ‘vampire city’ as put forward in The Originals, a contemporary television series where vampires are the protagonists. Piatti-Farnell contends that, alongside New Orleans’ well-cemented reputation as tourism centre for hedonistic and carnivaleque pleasures, the historical folds of the city’s urban mythology also hold a distinctive narrative populated by vampire sightings. With this in mind, the article explores how, in The Originals, the historical narratives of New Orleans become entangled with – and are, at times, almost inseparable from – the fictional chronicles of the vampire in both aesthetic and conceptual terms.The historical and cultural connections to urban spaces, specially in relation to specific landmark venues, continues to be the focus of attention in Ailsa Brackley du Bois’s article “Repairing the Disjointed Narrative of Ballarat’s Theatre Royal”. In her analysis, du Bois explores the history of the Ballarat’s Theatre Royal, and aims to take some initial critical steps towards retrieving lost knowledge from fragmented archival records and what she terms cultural silence. Taking a look at the evolving history of the Theatre itself, form its construction to its later renovations, this article specifically suggests that many forces converged to affect the venue’s own historical popularity. Ultimately, du Bois offers the beginning of an investigation into the prospects for telling of the ‘real story’ behind the rise and fall of the Ballarat’s Theatre Royal as a cultural entity.Music can stimulate, placate and induce nostalgia; it can construct what some people call a ‘soundtrack for their lives’ or it can soothe hurts and create inter-personal connections. Kris Vavasour, in “Pop Songs and Solastalgia in a Broken City” examines how explicitly local pop songs and their ability to evoke memory meets Glenn Albrecht’s ‘solastalgia’, the disaster-created homesickness in people still at home, to restore hope for post-earthquake Christchurch people. For those who lived through the seismic upheavals of 2010 and 2011, memories of culture and media which provided a level inter-personal ‘glue’ are key to understanding how they endured such trying times. Music is revealed to be more than an historic soundtrack to this process; it is one of the key components to the re-emergence of the people and city. Music is also the focus of Jack Ellis’s article, “Material History: Record Collecting in the Digital Age”, which examines the improbable death-then-rise track of vinyl records in the twenty-first century. Once consigned to music history, vinyl records and vinyl record collections have recently emerged to become cultural icons, measures of taste and the semiotic of musical engagement and even counter[digital]-culture in an oppositional narrative to the convenience and usefulness of download files. Music collectors reveal their reasons for accumulating shelves of records instead of computer files of digital downloads in a series of interviews emphasising materiality, the embedding of legacy and a gradual redefinition of media history through vinyl record ownership. The intersections between gender studies, film studies, and history are the focus of Jay Daniel Thompson and Erin Reardon’s article, entitled “‘Mommy Killed Him’: Gender, Family and History in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)”. Here, Thompson and Reardon evaluate the nuanced representations of gender in Craven's well-known film, in order to situate it within the context of the historical period in which it was produced. Taking a particular look at the impact of 1980s Reaganite politics on the narrative, Thompson and Reardon contend that the families in Craven’s film are purposefully presented as dysfunctional. Ultimately, this article argues that the kind of patriarchal family structure endorsed by Reagan is thoroughly ridiculed in Nightmare. In the final article of the issue, Kate Warner plunges into the infamous decades-long ‘History Wars’ debate between revisionists and post-revisionists examining Australia’s Indigenous narrative, to discuss four recent seminal television drama shows. The depiction of, or engagement with, Aboriginal stories and story-telling emerges as critical to the nature of who owns the narrative, who holds the power and therefore, who owns the histories. Contrasting the fantastic fictions of Glitch and Cleverman is the realist The Secret River and Redfern Now, but also pared back is the nature of Aboriginal ownership and television show direction versus the traditional colonial hegemonies, each taking on aspects of the ‘History Wars’ debate to raise new questions and to create a new view on the past. In a journal of media and culture, history transcends both aspects. Yet, as our contributors have shown, both in their breadth and depth of engagement with, and definitions of history, easy ‘pigeonholing’ or typing of history falls apart as soon as analysis begins. As several writers have noted, issues of hegemony, colonialism and post-colonialism, indigenous voices and ways of looking at our own chronicles, all combine to determine how we see the past, how we view the future, and how we live in the present. The power of the media in the digital age has changed how we engage with history; the traditional culture of history residing with academic experts who produce weighty tomes surveying the past is revealed by these media-savvy cultural historians to show the past in an entirely new light.ReferencesGrafton, Anthony. What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007.Grever, Maria, and Siep Stuurman. Beyond the Canon: History for the 21st Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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Cuningham, Phillip Lamarr, and Melinda Lewis. "“Taking This from This and That from That”: Examining RZA and Quentin Tarantino’s Use of Pastiche." M/C Journal 16, no.4 (August11, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.669.

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In his directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), RZA not only evokes the textual borrowing techniques he has utilised as a hip-hop producer, but also reflects the influence of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who has built a career upon acknowledging mainstream and cult film histories through mise-en-scene, editing, and deft characterisation. The Man with the Iron Fists was originally to coincide with Tarantino’s rebel slave narrative Django Unchained (2012), which Tarantino has discussed openly as commentary regarding race in contemporary America. In 2011, Variety reported that RZA had joined the cast of Tarantino’s anticipated Django Unchained, playing “Thaddeus, a violent slave working on a Mississippi plantation” (Sneider, “Rza Joins ‘Django Unchained’ Cast”). Django Unchained follows Tarantino’s pattern of generic and trope mixology, combining elements of the Western, blaxploitation, and buddy/road film. He famously stated: “[If] my work has anything it's that I'm taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together… I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don't do homages” (“The Directors of Our Lifetime: In Their Own Words”). He sutures iconography from multiple films in numerous genres to form new texts that stand alone, albeit as amalgamations of references. In considering meanings attached particularly to exploitation films, this article addresses the significance of combining influences within The Man with the Iron Fists and Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and the ideological threads that emerge in fusing exploitation film aesthetics. Ultimately, these films provide a convergence not only of texts, but also of the collective identities associated with and built upon those texts, feats made possible through the filmmakers’ use of pastiche. Pastiche in Identity Formation as Subversive A reflection of the postmodern tendency towards appropriation and borrowing, pastiche is often considered less meaningful than its counterpart, parody. Fredric Jameson suggests that though pastiche and parody share commonalities (most notably the mimicry of style and mannerisms), they do so to different effects. Jameson asserts that parody mimics in an effort to mock the idiosyncrasies within a text, whereas pastiche is “neutral parody” of “dead styles” (114). In short, as Susan Hayward writes, “In its uninventiveness, pastiche is but a shadow of its former thing” (302). For Jameson, the most ubiquitous form of pastiche is the nostalgia film, which attempts to recapture the essence of the past. As examples, he points to the George Lucas films American Graffiti (1973), which is staged in the United States of the 1950s, and Star Wars (1977), which reflects the serials of the 1930s-1950s (114-115). Though scholars such as Jameson and Hayward are contemptuous of pastiche, a growing number see its potential for the subversion and critique that the aforementioned suggest it lacks. For instance, Sarah Smith reminds us that pastiche films engage in “complicitous critique”: the films maintain the trappings of original texts, yet do so in order to advance critique (209). For Smith and other scholars, such as Judith Butler and Richard Dyer, Jameson’s criticism of pastiche is dismissive, for while these scholars largely agree that pastiche is a form of mimicry in which the distance between original and copy is minimal, they recognise that a space still exists for it to be critical. Smith writes: “[W]hile there may be greater distance between the parody and its target text than there is between the pastiche and the text it imitates, a prescribed degree of distance is not a prerequisite for critical engagement with the ur-text” (210). In this regard, fidelity to the original texts is not only required but to be revered, for these likenesses to the original “act as a guarantee of the critique of those origins and provide an opportunity for the filmmaker to position [himself or herself] in relation to them” (Smith 211). Essentially, pastiche is a useful technique in which to construct hybrid identities. Keri E. Iyall Smith suggests that hybrid identities emerge from “a reflexive relationship between local and global” (3). According to popular music scholar Brett Lashua, hybrid identities “make and re-make culture through appropriating the cultural ‘raw materials’ of life in order to construct meaning in their own specific cultural localities. In a sense, they are ‘sampling’ from broader popular culture and reworking what they can take into their own specific local cultures” (“The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap”). As will be evidenced here, Tarantino utilises pastiche as an unabashed genre poacher; similarly, as a self-avowed Tarantino student and hip-hop producer known for his sampling acumen, RZA invokes pastiche to reflect mastery of his craft and a hybridised identity his multifaceted persona. Plagiarism, Poaching, and Pastiche: Tarantino Blurs Boundaries As a filmmaker, Tarantino is known for indulging in excess: violence, language, and aesthetics. Edward Gallafent characterised the director’s work as having a preoccupation with settings and journeys, violence (both emotional and physical), complicated chronological structures, and dissatisfying conclusions (3-4). Additionally, pieces of Tarantino’s cinematic fandom are inserted into his own films. Academic and popular critics continually note Tarantino’s rise as an obsessive video store clerk turned respected and eccentric auteur. Tarantino’s authorship lies mostly in his ability to borrow (or in his words, steal) narrative arcs, characterisations, and camera work from other filmmakers, and use them in ways that feel innovative and different from those past works. It is not that he borrows generally from movements, films, and filmmakers, but that he conscientiously lifts segments from works to incorporate into his text. In Postmodern Hollywood: What’s New in Film and Why It Makes Us Feel So Strange, Keith M. Booker contends that Tarantino’s work often straddles lines between simplistic reference for reference’s sake and meditations upon the roles of cinema (90). Booker dismisses claims for the latter, citing Tarantino’s unwillingness to contextualise the references in Pulp Fiction, such that the film is best described not an act of citation so much as a break with the historical. Tarantino’s lack of reverence provides him freedom to intermingle texts and tropes to fit his goals as a filmmaker, rather than working within the confines of generic narratives. Each film feels both apart and distinct from genre categories. Jackie Brown, for example, has many of the traits attached to blaxploitation, from its focus on drug culture, the casting of Pam Grier who gained status playing female leads in blaxploitation films, and extreme violence. Tarantino’s use of humour throughout, particular in his treatment of character types, plot twists, and self-aware musical cues distances the film from easy characterisation. It is, but isn’t. What is gained is a remediated conception of cinematic reality. The fictions created in films of the past are noted in Tarantino’s play with tropes. His mixes produce an extreme form of mediated reality – one that is full of excess, highly exaggerated, and completely composed of stolen frameworks. Tarantino continues his generic play in Django Unchained. While much of it does borrow heavily from 1960s and 1970s Western filmmakers like Leone, Corbucci, and Peckinpah (the significance of desolate landscapes, long takes, extreme violence), it also incorporates strands of buddy cop (partners with different backgrounds working together to correct wrongs), early blaxploitation (Broomhilda’s last name is von Shaft suggesting that she is an ancestor of blaxploitation icon John Shaft, the characterisation of Django as black antihero enacting revenge on white racists in power), and kung fu (revenge narrative, in addition to the extensive training moments between Dr. Schultz and Django). The familiar elements highlight the transgressions of genre adherence. The comfort of the western genre and its tropes eases the audience, only for Tarantino to incorporate those elements from outside the genre to spark interest, to shock, to remind audiences of the mediated reality onscreen. Tarantino has been criticised for his lack of depth and understanding regarding women and people of colour, despite his attempts to provide various leading and supporting roles for both. Django Unchained was particularly criticised for Tarantino’s use of the term nigg*r - over 100 instances in the film. Tarantino defended his decision by claiming historical accuracy, poetic license, and his desire to confront audiences with various levels of racism. Many, including Spike Lee, disagreed, arguing Tarantino had no claim to making a film about slavery. Lee stated through Twitter: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them” (“Spike Lee on Django Unchained: Filmmaker Calls Movie ‘Disrespectful’”). Not only does Lee evoke the tragedy of the American slave trade and the significance of race within contemporary filmmaking, but he uses genre to underscore what he perceives is Tarantino’s lack of reverence to the issue of slavery and its aftermath in American culture. Django Unchained is both physically and emotionally brutal. The world created by Tarantino is culturally messy, as Italian composers rub elbows with black hip-hop artists, actors from films’ referenced in Django Unchained interact with new types of heroes. The amounts of references, people, and spectacles in his films have created a brand that is both hyperaware, but often critiqued as ambivalent. This is due in part to the perception of Tarantino as a filmmaker with no filter. His brand as a filmmaker is action ordered, excessive, and injected with his own fandom. He is an ultimate poacher of texts and it is this aesthetic, which has also made him a fan favourite amongst young cinephiles. Not only does he embrace the amount of play film offers, but he takes the familiar and makes it strange. The worlds he creates are hazier, darker, and unstable. Creating such a world in Django Unchained provides a lot of potential for reading race in film and American culture. He and his defenders have discussed this film as an “honest” portrayal of the effects of slavery and racial tension in the United States. This is also the world which acts as context for RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fists. Though a reference abandoned in Django Unchained, the connection between both films and both filmmakers pleasure in pastiche provide further insight to connections between film and race. Doing the Knowledge: RZA Pays Homage As a filmmaker, RZA utilises Tarantino’s filmmaking brand techniques to build his own homage and add to the body of kung-fu films. Doing so furnishes him the opportunity to rehash and reform narratives and tropes in ways that change familiar narrative structures and plot devices. In creating a film which relies on cinematic allusions to kung fu, RZA—as a fan, practitioner, and author—reconfigures kung fu from being an exploitative genre and reshapes its potential for representational empowerment. While Tarantino considers himself an unabashed thief of genre tropes, RZA envisions himself more as a student who pays homage to masters—among whom he includes Tarantino. Indeed, in an interview with MTV, RZA refers to Tarantino as his Sifu (a Chinese term for master or teacher) and credits him not only for teaching RZA about filmmaking, but also for providing him with his blessing to make his first feature length film (Downey, “RZA Recalls Learning from ‘The Master’ Quentin Tarantino”). RZA implies that mastery of one’s craft comes from incorporating influences while creating original work, not theft. For instance, he states that the Pink Blossom brothel—the locus for most of the action in the film—was inspired by the House of Blue Leaves restaurant, which functions in a similar capacity in Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (“RZA Talks Sampling of Kung Fu Films for Movie & The Difference Between Biting vs. Influence”). Hip-hop is an art form in which its practitioners “partake of a discursive universe where skill at appropriating the fragments of a rapidly-changing world with verbal grace and dexterity is constituted as knowledge” (Potter 21). This knowledge draws upon not only the contemporary moment but also the larger body of recorded music and sound, both of which it “re-reads and Signifies upon through a complex set of strategies, including samplin’, cuttin’ (pastiche), and freestylin’ (improvisation)” (Potter 22). As an artist who came of age in hip-hop’s formative years and whose formal recording career began at the latter half of hip-hop’s Golden Age (often considered 1986-1993), RZA is a particularly adept cutter and sampler – indeed, as a sampler, RZA is often considered a master. While RZA’s samples run the gamut of the musical spectrum, he is especially known for sampling obscure, often indeterminable jazz and soul tracks. Imani Perry suggests that this measure of fidelity to the past is borne out of hip-hop’s ideological respect for ancestors and its inherent sense of nostalgia (54). Hallmarks of RZA’s sampling repertoire include dialog and sound effects from equally obscure kung fu films. RZA attributes his sampling of kung fu to an affinity for these films established in his youth after viewing noteworthy examples such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) and Five Deadly Venoms (1978). These films have become a key aspect of his identity and everyday life (Gross, “RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films”). He speaks of his decision to make kung fu dialog an integral part of Wu-Tang Clan’s first album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): “My fantasy was to make a one-hour movie that people were just going to listen to. They would hear my movie and see it in their minds. I’d read comic books like that, with sonic effects and kung fu voices in my head. That makes it more exciting so I try to create music in the same way” (Gross, ““RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films”). Much like Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and his other musical endeavours, The Man with the Iron Fists serves as further evidence of RZA’s hybrid identity., which sociologist Keri E. Iyall Smith suggests emerges from “a reflexive relationship between local and global” (3). According to popular music scholar Brett Lashua, hybrid identities “make and re-make culture through appropriating the cultural ‘raw materials’ of life in order to construct meaning in their own specific cultural localities. In a sense, they are ‘sampling’ from broader popular culture and reworking what they can take into their own specific local cultures” (“The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap”). The most overt instance of RZA’s hybridity is in regards to names, many of which are derived from the Gordon Liu film Shaolin and Wu-Tang (1983), in which the competing martial arts schools come together to fight a common foe. The film is the basis not only for the name of RZA’s group (Wu-Tang Clan) but also for the names of individual members (for instance, Master Killer—after the series to which the film belongs) and the group’s home base of Staten Island, New York, which they frequently refer to as “Shaolin.” The Man with the Iron Fists is another extension of this hybrid identity. Kung fu has long had meaning for African Americans particularly because these films frequently “focus narratively on either the triumph of the ‘little guy’ or ‘underdog’ or the nobility of the struggle to recognise humanity and virtue in all people, or some combination of both” (Ongiri 35). As evidence, Amy Obugo Ongiri points to films such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, a film about a peasant who learns martial arts at the Shaolin temple in order to avenge his family’s murder by the Manchu rulers (Ongiri 35). RZA reifies this notion in a GQ interview, where he speaks about The 36th Chamber of Shaolin specifically, noting its theme of rebellion against government oppression having relevance to his life as an African American (Pappademus, “This Movie Is Rated Wu”). RZA appropriates the humble origins of the peasant San Te (Gordon Liu), the protagonist of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, in Thaddeus (whom RZA plays in the film), whose journey to saviour of Jungle Village begins with his being a slave in America. Indeed, one might argue that RZA’s construction of and role as Thaddeus is the ultimate realisation of the hybrid identity he has developed since becoming a popular recording artist. Just as Tarantino’s acting in his own films often reflects his identity as genre splicer and convention breaker (particularly since they are often self-referential), RZA’s portrayal of Thaddeus—as an African American, as a martial artist, and as a “conscious” human being—reflects the narrative RZA has constructed about his own life. Conclusion The same amount of play Tarantino has with conventions, particularly in characterisations and notions of heroism, is present in RZA’s Man with the Iron Fists. Both filmmakers poach from their favourite films and genres in order to create interpretations that feel both familiar and new. RZA follows Tarantino’s aesthetic of borrowing scenes directly from other films. Both filmmakers poach from films for their own devices, but in those mash-ups open up avenues for genre critique and identity formation. Tarantino is right to say that they are not solely homages, as homages honour the films in which they borrow. Tarantino and RZA do more through their poaching to stretch the boundaries of genres and films’ abilities to communicate with audiences. References “The Directors of Our Lifetime: In Their Own Words.” Empire Online. N.d. 8 May 2013 ‹http://www.empireonline.com/magazine/250/directors-of-our-lifetime/5.asp›. Booker, Keith M. Postmodern Hollywood: What’s New in Film and Why It Makes Us Feel So Strange. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007. Downey, Ryan J. “RZA Recalls Learning from ‘The Master’ Quentin Tarantino.” MTV. 30 August 2012. 14 July 2013 ‹http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1692872/rza-man-with-the-iron-fists-quentin-tarantino.jhtml›. Gallefent, Edward. Quentin Tarantino. London: Longman. 2005. Gross, Jason. “RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films.” Film Comment. N.d. 5 June 2013 ‹http://www.filmcomment.com/article/rzas-edge-the-rzas-guide-to-kung-fu-films›. Iyall Smith, Keri E. “Hybrid Identities: Theoretical Examinations.” Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations. Ed. Keri E. Iyall Smith and Patricia Leavy. Leiden: Brill, 2008. 3-12. Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. London: Pluto, 1985. 111-125. Lashua, Brett. “The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap.” Anthropology Matters 8.2 (2006). 6 June 2013 ‹http://www.anthropologymatters.com›. “The Man with the Iron Fists – Who in the Cast Can F-U Up?” IronFistsMovie 21 Sep. 2012. YouTube. 8 May 2013 ‹http://youtu.be/bhJOQZFJfqA›. Pappademus, Alex. “This Movie Is Rated Wu.” GQ Nov. 2012. 6 June 2013 ‹http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201211/the-rza-man-with-the-iron-fists-wu-tang-clan›. Perry, Imani. Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2004. Potter, Russell. Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 1995. “RZA Talks Sampling of Kung Fu Films for Movie & The Difference between Biting vs. Influence.” The Well Versed. 2 Nov. 2012. 5 June 2013 ‹http://thewellversed.com/2012/11/02/video-rza-talks-sampling-of-kung-fu-films-for-movie-the-difference-between-biting-vs-influence/›. Smith, Sarah. “Lip and Love: Subversive Repetition in the Pastiche Films of Tracey Moffat.” Screen 49.2 (Summer 2008): 209-215. Snedier, Jeff. “Rza Joins 'Django Unchained' Cast.” Variety 2 Nov. 2011. 14 June 2013 ‹http://variety.com/2011/film/news/rza-joins-django-unchained-cast-1118045503/›. “Spike Lee on Django Unchained: Filmmaker Calls Movie ‘Disrespectful.’” Huffington Post 24 Dec. 2012. 14 June 2013 ‹http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/23/spike-lee-django-unchained-movie-disrespectful_n_2356729.html›. Wu-Tang Clan. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Loud, 1993. Filmography The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Dir. Chia-Liang Lui. Perf. Chia Hui Lui, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Lui. Shaw Brothers, 1978. Django Unchained. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz. Miramax, 2012. Five Deadly Venoms. Dir. Cheh Chang. Perf. Sheng Chiang, Philip Kwok, Feng Lu. Shaw Brothers, 1978. Jackie Brown. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster. Miramax, 1997. Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Darryl Hannah. Miramax, 2003. The Man with the Iron Fists. Dir. RZA. Perf. RZA, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu. Arcade Pictures, 2012. Pulp Fiction. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson. Miramax, 1994. Shaolin and Wu-Tang. Dir. Chiu Hui Liu. Perf. Chiu Hui Liu, Adam Cheng, Li Ching.

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Rimbaud, Robin. "Scan and Deliver." M/C Journal 8, no.4 (August1, 2005). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2390.

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As I sit here, the radio announcer announces a feature on the forthcoming Big Brother series, another chance to engage in this collective shared experience, another opportunity to revel in your very own voyeuristic impulse, what once was private is now made public. Curiously it’s almost fifteen years ago since I released the first Scanner recordings Scanner 1 [1992] and Scanner 2 [1993] featuring the intercepted cellular phone conversations of unsuspecting talkers, which I edited into minimalist musical settings as if they were instruments, bringing into focus issues of privacy and the dichotomy between the public and the private spectrum. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss. Intercepted in the data stream, transmissions would blend, blurring the voices and rupturing the light, creating audio transparencies of dreamy, cool ambience. In many ways they pre-empted our reality culture as it exists today. Having the technology to peel open virtually any zone of information and consume the contents, I used the scanner device itself – a modestly sophisticated radio receiver – to explore the relationship between the public and private spheres. Working with sound in this manner suggested a means of mapping the city, in which the scanner device provided an anonymous window into reality, cutting and pasting information to structure an alternative vernacular. It was a rare opportunity to record experience and highlight the threads of desire and interior narrative that we weave into our everyday lives. The sounds of an illicit affair, a liaison with a prostitute, a drug deal or a simple discussion of “what’s for dinner” all exist within an indiscriminate ocean of signals flying overhead, but just beyond our reach. Applying the tools in this manner, I was able to twist state-of-the-art technology in unconventional ways to intercept highly personalised and voyeuristic forms of info food: sound recordings, phone scans, modem and Net intercepts, all of which became material for my multi-layered soundscapes. Every live performance, recording or mix that has followed is still in its way a “true” representation of that moment in time and in that way relates to performance art in the temporality of its data – a “Sound Polaroid” – a way of capturing the moment in sound similar to that of a Polaroid camera, which seizes an image and immediately exposes it to permanence of interception. Is there an innate desire to remain invisible and yet hear the world, scanning it for its stories and secrets? Today for our media saturated culture, this almost fetishistic desire to know all, is expressed in the publishing of private communications, of letters, faxes or telephone conversations, giving rise to all kinds of debate on the nature of privacy and the extent to which its protection can be legislated for. Images come to mind from Wim Wender’s film Wings of Desire where the lead character is a fallen angel left on earth to try and understand the madness of mortal behaviour. At various points he is able to pass through public spaces, the library, an underground train, people’s innermost thoughts and concerns become audible to him while he remains invisible to them. It is here that these Scanner CDs mirror this fantasy of the 20th century: to know everything and to have access to all secrets without being observed. This desire continues to inform our entertainment and cultural channels and looks to continue to do so for some years yet. This listening-in and scanning of the private channels has a clear relationship to surveillance, and connects to an aesthetic explored in works such as the seminal video piece, Der Riese – The Giant (1983) where the artist collaged the contents of surveillance cameras from German supermarkets, subway platforms, traffic crossings and shopping centres, using the tools of commercial voyeurism. Without a director, nor actors nor script, this is a dehumanised exploration of a contemporary history of our post-modern times. Connecting the invisible dots between Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera and the Rodney King TV footage, this detached work resonates and celebrates new technology’s ability to film and map everything, scanning our landscape for future reference. We watch with a constant anticipation of resolution, of catching a moment, yet the suspension finally gives way to an exquisite boredom, the true revelation of watching others. The film closes with an alien landscape, unmarked by any human presence, moving over a simulated environment, a toy-town yet still patrolled by the power of surveillance. This corporate datasphere, revealed as a kind of digital fingerprint through its storage and distribution, has moved from security and surveillance to entertainment consumption. For me, zooming in on these spaces in between – between language and understanding, between the digital fallout of ones and zeros, between the redundant and undesired flotsam and jetsam of environmental acoustic space, led to a focus towards the cityscape. Scanning technology led towards an understanding and reading of the environment and city in a fresh manner. If an accent suggested a certain class, age or attitude, then how suggestive was the raw sound around these conversations, how influential was the location where each conversation was held? Sound is ever-present, sometimes as a constantly shifting whir, as a damp grain of footsteps, as the drone-like spangle of distant traffic, as the seemingly motionless air that ripples past our ears, or as the elegant stuttering trill of a bird overhead. How influential was this common envelope of space, the environment in which we consume sound and music? How does one define the spaces between music and sound? When we listen to a Walkman, how do we distinguish between that which is intended – the sound carrier – and that which is incidental: passing traffic, the roar of a plane, the screech of a train door, your own footsteps? Whether active (creator) or passive (listener) we set up a virtual space in which we are each free to explore the sonorous and acoustic strata of what is an intimate yet global expression of space, a simple translation of the social transformations wrought by new technologies. Projects that have followed since then have expanded upon these notions. In 1998 Liverpool became this cityscape of focus, where I produced a project, Stopstarting, which explored the acoustic debris of the city, premiering at the International Symposion on Electronic Art (ISEA) conference in September of that year. For this project I chose significant points of sound located in the city, partly based on random questions in interviewing local people, partly out of self-interest. From these I mapped out a walk that took me from one point to another, minidisc in hand, recording the acoustic data in that place, mapping out the city in sound, teasing out the language that the city speaks. I wanted to create, in a sense, a sound work similar to the opening scene in Robert Altman’s movie Short Cuts (1993), in which a helicopter hovers gently over the densely packed city landscape and the film scans into moments in the daily lives of its inhabitants. It is a motion across a city, an architectural electronic scanning of an almost invisible sound wave. Liverpool, like most cities, has its very own unique sound dialect. Historically one can recall the sound of the docks, the railway station, the Cavern Club where the Beatles played their earliest live shows, their brittle tunes floating through the air of memory. As in Der Riese, voices, traffic lights, announcement speakers, buses, building work, footsteps, telephones and cash machines became the key subjects, the lead players, and were manipulated and transformed into a composition that captured this Sound Polaroid of Liverpool at this particular point in 1998. The following year Surface Noise (1999) which explored the wow and flutter of my own city, London; taking people on a red Routemaster bus journey across the city from Big Ben to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the sheet music of “London Bridge Is Falling Down” became the score and A-Z for both musical and geographical direction following a Cageian use of indeterminacy. Where each note fell onto the map of the city between these two points not only suggested a location at which to record but also a route that the bus would later follow with the public aboard. Performances followed this routing every night for three nights, at intervals throughout the evening, each re-assembling fragments of the city in terms of sound and image, suggesting the slight shifts in tone and shape in similar places but at very different hours, so that a busy West End street at 18:00 would transform into a ghostly emptiness at 21:00. Surface Noise became a form of alternative film soundtrack, where the film was simply the view through the dusty window of a double-decker bus. Through the brief space of a bus journey the work drew upon many of our common reserves of sonic recognition, mingling the folk memory of the nursery rhyme, the background roar of traffic and the private sounds we make, secure in the knowledge that no one else is listening. Most recently I was commissioned to create a work to celebrate Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni’s 90th birthday. 52 Space (2002) uses sounds of the city of Rome and elements of his movie The Eclipse (1962) to create a soundtrack of an image of a city suspended in time, anonymous and surreal. The resulting work is a distilled narrative of seductive conversation, musical fragments and scanned city soundscapes. Selecting a series of 52 framed images from the closing moments of the film slowed down to a kind of mnemonic slide show and accompanied by audio culled from the movie, processed with twinkling elements from the soundtrack’s original melody, the live performance conveys a complex and mysterious chronicle, offering up a space for contemplation and reflection as the soundtrack weaves an imaginary narrative. It’s almost as if you are gently floating through the city, experiencing this dream-like state. All of my works have explored the hidden resonances and meanings within memory and, in particular, the subtle traces that people and their actions leave behind. My role has often been to discover and reveal these layers of history, scanning across the mediums, so the works are part urban guide, part urban geography and part detective fiction, raising questions about public and private space. Engaging with the tools of surveillance and scanning technology has given rise to an understanding of communication that was otherwise hidden. Revelation followed from a discovery of the possibilities of these devices. Recording and redirecting these moments back into the public stream has enabled me to construct an archaeology of loss, pathos and missed connections, a momentary forgotten past in our digital future, radioactive fossils of sound, image and the imagination. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Rimbaud, Robin. "Scan and Deliver." M/C Journal 8.4 (2005). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0508/05-rimbaud.php>. APA Style Rimbaud, R. (Aug. 2005) "Scan and Deliver," M/C Journal, 8(4). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0508/05-rimbaud.php>.

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Campanioni, Chris. "How Bizarre: The Glitch of the Nineties as a Fantasy of New Authorship." M/C Journal 21, no.5 (December6, 2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1463.

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As the ball dropped on 1999, is it any wonder that No Doubt played, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. live on MTV? Any discussion of the Nineties—and its pinnacle moment, Y2K—requires a discussion of both the cover and the glitch, two performative and technological enactments that fomented the collapse between author-reader and user-machine that has, twenty years later, become normalised in today’s Post Internet culture. By staging failure and inviting the audience to participate, the glitch and the cover call into question the original and the origin story. This breakdown of normative borders has prompted the convergence of previously demarcated media, genres, and cultures, a constellation from which to recognise a stochastic hybrid form. The Cover as a Revelation of Collaborative MurmurBefore Sean Parker collaborated with Shawn Fanning to launch Napster on 1 June 1999, networked file distribution existed as cumbersome text-based programs like Internet Relay Chat and Usenet, servers which resembled bulletin boards comprising multiple categories of digitally ripped files. Napster’s simple interface, its advanced search filters, and its focus on music and audio files fostered a peer-to-peer network that became the fastest growing website in history, registering 80 million users in less than two years.In harnessing the transgressive power of the Internet to force a new mode of content sharing, Napster forced traditional providers to rethink what constitutes “content” at a moment which prefigures our current phenomena of “produsage” (Bruns) and the vast popularity of user-generated content. At stake is not just the democratisation of art but troubling the very idea of intellectual property, which is to say, the very concept of ownership.Long before the Internet was re-routed from military servers and then mainstreamed, Michel Foucault understood the efficacy of anonymous interactions on the level of literature, imagining a culture where discourse would circulate without any need for an author. But what he was asking in 1969 is something we can better answer today, because it seems less germane to call into question the need for an author in a culture in which everyone is writing, producing, and reproducing text, and more effective to think about re-evaluating the notion of a single author, or what it means to write by yourself. One would have to testify to the particular medium we have at our disposal, the Internet’s ultimate permissibility, its provocations for collaboration and co-creation. One would have to surrender the idea that authors own anything besides our will to keep producing, and our desire for change; and to modulate means to resist without negating, to alter without omitting, to enable something new to come forward; the unfolding of the text into the anonymity of a murmur.We should remind ourselves that “to author” all the way down to its Latin roots signifies advising, witnessing, and transferring. We should be reminded that to author something means to forget the act of saying “I,” to forget it or to make it recede in the background in service of the other or others, on behalf of a community. The de-centralisation of Web development and programming initiated by Napster inform a poetics of relation, an always-open structure in which, as Édouard Glissant said, “the creator of a text is effaced, or rather, is done away with, to be revealed in the texture of his creation” (25). When a solid melts, it reveals something always underneath, something at the bottom, something inside—something new and something that was always already there. A cover, too, is both a revival and a reworking, an update and an interpretation, a retrospective tribute and a re-version that looks toward the future. In performing the new, the original as singular is called into question, replaced by an increasingly fetishised copy made up of and made by multiples.Authorial Effacement and the Exigency of the ErrorY2K, otherwise known as the Millennium Bug, was a coding problem, an abbreviation made to save memory space which would disrupt computers during the transition from 1999 to 2000, when it was feared that the new year would become literally unrecognisable. After an estimated $300 billion in upgraded hardware and software was spent to make computers Y2K-compliant, something more extraordinary than global network collapse occurred as midnight struck: nothing.But what if the machine admits the possibility of accident? Implicit in the admission of any accident is the disclosure of a new condition—something to be heard, to happen, from the Greek ad-cadere, which means to fall. In this drop into non-repetition, the glitch actualises an idea about authorship that necessitates multi-user collaboration; the curtain falls only to reveal the hidden face of technology, which becomes, ultimately, instructions for its re-programming. And even as it deviates, the new form is liable to become mainstreamed into a new fashion. “Glitch’s inherently critical moment(um)” (Menkman 8) indicates this potential for technological self-insurgence, while suggesting the broader cultural collapse of generic markers and hierarchies, and its ensuing flow into authorial fluidity.This feeling of shock, this move “towards the ruins of destructed meaning” (Menkman 29) inherent in any encounter with the glitch, forecasted not the immediate horror of Y2K, but the delayed disasters of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Indian Ocean tsunami, Sichuan Province earthquake, global financial crisis, and two international wars that would all follow within the next nine years. If, as Menkman asserts, the glitch, in representing a loss of self-control “captures the machine revealing itself” (30), what also surfaces is the tipping point that edges us toward a new becoming—not only the inevitability of surrender between machine and user, but their reversibility. Just as crowds stood, transfixed before midnight of the new millennium in anticipation of the error, or its exigency, it’s always the glitch I wait for; it’s always the glitch I aim to re-create, as if on command. The accidental revelation, or the machine breaking through to show us its insides. Like the P2P network that Napster introduced to culture, every glitch produces feedback, a category of noise (Shannon) influencing the machine’s future behaviour whereby potential users might return the transmission.Re-Orienting the Bizarre in Fantasy and FictionIt is in the fantasy of dreams, and their residual leakage into everyday life, evidenced so often in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, where we can locate a similar authorial agency. The cult Nineties psycho-noir, and its discontinuous return twenty-six years later, provoke us into reconsidering the science of sleep as the art of fiction, assembling an alternative, interactive discourse from found material.The turning in and turning into in dreams is often described as an encounter with the “bizarre,” a word which indicates our lack of understanding about the peculiar processes that normally happen inside our heads. Dreams are inherently and primarily bizarre, Allan J. Hobson argues, because during REM sleep, our noradrenergic and serotonergic systems do not modulate the activated brain, as they do in waking. “The cerebral cortex and hippocampus cannot function in their usual oriented and linear logical way,” Hobson writes, “but instead create odd and remote associations” (71). But is it, in fact, that our dreams are “bizarre” or is it that the model itself is faulty—a precept premised on the normative, its dependency upon generalisation and reducibility—what is bizarre if not the ordinary modulations that occur in everyday life?Recall Foucault’s interest not in what a dream means but what a dream does. How it rematerialises in the waking world and its basis in and effect on imagination. Recall recollection itself, or Erin J. Wamsley’s “Dreaming and Offline Memory Consolidation.” “A ‘function’ for dreaming,” Wamsley writes, “hinges on the difficult question of whether conscious experience in general serves any function” (433). And to think about the dream as a specific mode of experience related to a specific theory of knowledge is to think about a specific form of revelation. It is this revelation, this becoming or coming-to-be, that makes the connection to crowd-sourced content production explicit—dreams serve as an audition or dress rehearsal in which new learning experiences with others are incorporated into the unconscious so that they might be used for production in the waking world. Bert O. States elaborates, linking the function of the dream with the function of the fiction writer “who makes models of the world that carry the imprint and structure of our various concerns. And it does this by using real people, or ‘scraps’ of other people, as the instruments of hypothetical facts” (28). Four out of ten characters in a dream are strangers, according to Calvin Hall, who is himself a stranger, someone I’ve never met in waking life or in a dream. But now that I’ve read him, now that I’ve written him into this work, he seems closer to me. Twin Peak’s serial lesson for viewers is this—even the people who seem strangers to us can interact with and intervene in our processes of production.These are the moments that a beginning takes place. And even if nothing directly follows, this transfer constitutes the hypothesised moment of production, an always-already perhaps, the what-if stimulus of charged possibility; the soil plot, or plot line, for freedom. Twin Peaks is a town in which the bizarre penetrates the everyday so often that eventually, the bizarre is no longer bizarre, but just another encounter with the ordinary. Dream sequences are common, but even more common—and more significant—are the moments in which what might otherwise be a dream vision ruptures into real life; these moments propel the narrative.Exhibit A: A man who hasn’t gone outside in a while begins to crumble, falling to the earth when forced to chase after a young girl, who’s just stolen the secret journal of another young girl, which he, in turn, had stolen.B: A horse appears in the middle of the living room after a routine vacuum cleaning and a subtle barely-there transition, a fade-out into a fade-in, what people call a dissolve. No one notices, or thinks to point out its presence. Or maybe they’re distracted. Or maybe they’ve already forgotten. Dissolve.(I keep hitting “Save As.” As if renaming something can also transform it.)C: All the guests at the Great Northern Hotel begin to dance the tango on cue—a musical, without any music.D: After an accident, a middle-aged woman with an eye patch—she was wearing the eye patch before the accident—believes she’s seventeen again. She enrolls in Twin Peaks High School and joins the cheerleading team.E: A woman pretending to be a Japanese businessman ambles into the town bar to meet her estranged husband, who fails to recognise his cross-dressing, race-swapping wife.F: A girl with blond hair is murdered, only to come back as another girl, with the same face and a different name. And brown hair. They’re cousins.G: After taking over her dead best friend’s Meals on Wheels route, Donna Hayward walks in to meet a boy wearing a tuxedo, sitting on the couch with his fingers clasped: a magician-in-training. “Sometimes things can happen just like this,” he says with a snap while the camera cuts to his grandmother, bed-ridden, and the appearance of a plate of creamed corn that vanishes as soon as she announces its name.H: A woman named Margaret talks to and through a log. The log, cradled in her arms wherever she goes, becomes a key witness.I: After a seven-minute diegetic dream sequence, which includes a one-armed man, a dwarf, a waltz, a dead girl, a dialogue played backward, and a significantly aged representation of the dreamer, Agent Cooper wakes up and drastically shifts his investigation of a mysterious small-town murder. The dream gives him agency; it turns him from a detective staring at a dead-end to one with a map of clues. The next day, it makes him a storyteller; all the others, sitting tableside in the middle of the woods become a captive audience. They become readers. They read into his dream to create their own scenarios. Exhibit I. The cycle of imagination spins on.Images re-direct and obfuscate meaning, a process of over-determination which Foucault says results in “a multiplication of meanings which override and contradict each other” (DAE 34). In the absence of image, the process of imagination prevails. In the absence of story, real drama in our conscious life, we form complex narratives in our sleep—our imaginative unconscious. Sometimes they leak out, become stories in our waking life, if we think to compose them.“A bargain has been struck,” says Harold, an under-5 bit player, later, in an episode called “Laura’s Secret Diary.” So that she might have the chance to read Laura Palmer’s diary, Donna Hayward agrees to talk about her own life, giving Harold the opportunity to write it down in his notebook: his “living novel” the new chapter which reads, after uncapping his pen and smiling, “Donna Hayward.”He flips to the front page and sets a book weight to keep the page in place. He looks over at Donna sheepishly. “Begin.”Donna begins talking about where she was born, the particulars of her father—the lone town doctor—before she interrupts the script and asks her interviewer about his origin story. Not used to people asking him the questions, Harold’s mouth drops and he stops writing. He puts his free hand to his chest and clears his throat. (The ambient, wind-chime soundtrack intensifies.) “I grew up in Boston,” he finally volunteers. “Well, actually, I grew up in books.”He turns his head from Donna to the notebook, writing feverishly, as if he’s begun to write his own responses as the camera cuts back to his subject, Donna, crossing her legs with both hands cupped at her exposed knee, leaning in to tell him: “There’s things you can’t get in books.”“There’s things you can’t get anywhere,” he returns, pen still in his hand. “When we dream, they can be found in other people.”What is a call to composition if not a call for a response? It is always the audience which makes a work of art, re-framed in our own image, the same way we re-orient ourselves in a dream to negotiate its “inconsistencies.” Bizarreness is merely a consequence of linguistic limitations, the overwhelming sensory dream experience which can only be re-framed via a visual representation. And so the relationship between the experience of reading and dreaming is made explicit when we consider the associations internalised in the reader/audience when ingesting a passage of words on a page or on the stage, objects that become mental images and concept pictures, a lens of perception that we may liken to another art form: the film, with its jump-cuts and dissolves, so much like the defamiliarising and dislocating experience of dreaming, especially for the dreamer who wakes. What else to do in that moment but write about it?Evidence of the bizarre in dreams is only the evidence of the capacity of our human consciousness at work in the unconscious; the moment in which imagination and memory come together to create another reality, a spectrum of reality that doesn’t posit a binary between waking and sleeping, a spectrum of reality that revels in the moments where the two coalesce, merge, cross-pollinate—and what action glides forward in its wake? Sustained un-hesitation and the wish to stay inside one’s self. To be conscious of the world outside the dream means the end of one. To see one’s face in the act of dreaming would require the same act of obliteration. Recognition of the other, and of the self, prevents the process from being fulfilled. Creative production and dreaming, like voyeurism, depend on this same lack of recognition, or the recognition of yourself as other. What else is a dream if not a moment of becoming, of substituting or sublimating yourself for someone else?We are asked to relate a recent dream or we volunteer an account, to a friend or lover. We use the word “seem” in nearly every description, when we add it up or how we fail to. Everything seems to be a certain way. It’s not a place but a feeling. James, another character on Twin Peaks, says the same thing, after someone asks him, “Where do you want to go?” but before he hops on his motorcycle and rides off into the unknowable future outside the frame. Everything seems like something else, based on our own associations, our own knowledge of people and things. Offline memory consolidation. Seeming and semblance. An uncertainty of appearing—both happening and seeing. How we mediate—and re-materialise—the dream through text is our attempt to re-capture imagination, to leave off the image and better become it. If, as Foucault says, the dream is always a dream of death, its purpose is a call to creation.Outside of dreams, something bizarre occurs. We call it novelty or news. We might even bestow it with fame. A man gets on the wrong plane and ends up halfway across the world. A movie is made into the moment of his misfortune. Years later, in real life and in movie time, an Iranian refugee can’t even get on the plane; he is turned away by UK immigration officials at Charles de Gaulle, so he spends the next sixteen years living in the airport lounge; when he departs in real life, the movie (The Terminal, 2004) arrives in theaters. Did it take sixteen years to film the terminal exile? How bizarre, how bizarre. OMC’s eponymous refrain of the 1996 one-hit wonder, which is another way of saying, an anomaly.When all things are counted and countable in today’s algorithmic-rich culture, deviance becomes less of a statistical glitch and more of a testament to human peculiarity; the repressed idiosyncrasies of man before machine but especially the fallible tendencies of mankind within machines—the non-repetition of chance that the Nineties emblematised in the form of its final act. The point is to imagine what comes next; to remember waiting together for the end of the world. There is no need to even open your eyes to see it. It is just a feeling. ReferencesBruns, Axel. “Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production.” Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication 2006: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference, eds. Fay Sudweeks, Herbert Hrachovec, and Charles Ess. Murdoch: School of Information Technology, 2006. 275-84. <https://eprints.qut.edu.au/4863/1/4863_1.pdf>.Foucault, Michel. “Dream, Imagination and Existence.” Dream and Existence. Ed. Keith Hoeller. Pittsburgh: Review of Existential Psychology & Psychiatry, 1986. 31-78.———. “What Is an Author?” The Foucault Reader: An Introduction to Foucault’s Thought. Ed. Paul Rainbow. New York: Penguin, 1991.Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Trans. Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997.Hall, Calvin S. The Meaning of Dreams. New York: McGraw Hill, 1966.Hobson, J. Allan. The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered State of Conscious­ness. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001.Menkman, Rosa. The Glitch Moment(um). Amsterdam: Network Notebooks, 2011.Shannon, Claude Elwood. “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” The Bell System Technical Journal 27 (1948): 379-423.States, Bert O. “Bizarreness in Dreams and Other Fictions.” The Dream and the Text: Essays on Literature and Language. Ed. Carol Schreier Rupprecht. Albany: SUNY P, 1993.Twin Peaks. Dir. David Lynch. ABC and Showtime. 1990-3 & 2017. Wamsley, Erin. “Dreaming and Offline Memory Consolidation.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 14.3 (2014): 433. “Y2K Bug.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 18 July 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/technology/Y2K-bug>.

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Mathur, Suchitra. "From British “Pride” to Indian “Bride”." M/C Journal 10, no.2 (May1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2631.

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The release in 2004 of Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice marked yet another contribution to celluloid’s Austen mania that began in the 1990s and is still going strong. Released almost simultaneously on three different continents (in the UK, US, and India), and in two different languages (English and Hindi), Bride and Prejudice, however, is definitely not another Anglo-American period costume drama. Described by one reviewer as “East meets West”, Chadha’s film “marries a characteristically English saga [Austen’s Pride and Prejudice] with classic Bollywood format “transforming corsets to saris, … the Bennetts to the Bakshis and … pianos to bhangra beats” (Adarsh). Bride and Prejudice, thus, clearly belongs to the upcoming genre of South Asian cross-over cinema in its diasporic incarnation. Such cross-over cinema self-consciously acts as a bridge between at least two distinct cinematic traditions—Hollywood and Bollywood (Indian Hindi cinema). By taking Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as her source text, Chadha has added another dimension to the intertextuality of such cross-over cinema, creating a complex hybrid that does not fit neatly into binary hyphenated categories such as “Asian-American cinema” that film critics such as Mandal invoke to characterise diaspora productions. An embodiment of contemporary globalised (post?)coloniality in its narrative scope, embracing not just Amritsar and LA, but also Goa and London, Bride and Prejudice refuses to fit into a neat East versus West cross-cultural model. How, then, are we to classify this film? Is this problem of identity indicative of postmodern indeterminacy of meaning or can the film be seen to occupy a “third” space, to act as a postcolonial hybrid that successfully undermines (neo)colonial hegemony (Sangari, 1-2)? To answer this question, I will examine Bride and Prejudice as a mimic text, focusing specifically on its complex relationship with Bollywood conventions. According to Gurinder Chadha, Bride and Prejudice is a “complete Hindi movie” in which she has paid “homage to Hindi cinema” through “deliberate references to the cinema of Manoj Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Karan Johar” (Jha). This list of film makers is associated with a specific Bollywood sub-genre: the patriotic family romance. Combining aspects of two popular Bollywood genres, the “social” (Prasad, 83) and the “romance” (Virdi, 178), this sub-genre enacts the story of young lovers caught within complex familial politics against the backdrop of a nationalist celebration of Indian identity. Using a cinematic language that is characterised by the spectacular in both its aural and visual aspects, the patriotic family romance follows a typical “masala” narrative pattern that brings together “a little action and some romance with a touch of comedy, drama, tragedy, music, and dance” (Jaikumar). Bride and Prejudice’s successful mimicry of this language and narrative pattern is evident in film reviews consistently pointing to its being very “Bollywoodish”: “the songs and some sequences look straight out of a Hindi film” says one reviewer (Adarsh), while another wonders “why this talented director has reduced Jane Austen’s creation to a Bollywood masala film” (Bhaskaran). Setting aside, for the moment, these reviewers’ condemnation of such Bollywood associations, it is worthwhile to explore the implications of yoking together a canonical British text with Indian popular culture. According to Chadha, this combination is made possible since “the themes of Jane Austen’s novels are a ‘perfect fit’ for a Bollywood style film” (Wray). Ostensibly, such a comment may be seen to reinforce the authority of the colonial canonical text by affirming its transnational/transhistorical relevance. From this perspective, the Bollywood adaptation not only becomes a “native” tribute to the colonial “master” text, but also, implicitly, marks the necessary belatedness of Bollywood as a “native” cultural formation that can only mimic the “English book”. Again, Chadha herself seems to subscribe to this view: “I chose Pride and Prejudice because I feel 200 years ago, England was no different than Amritsar today” (Jha). The ease with which the basic plot premise of Pride and Prejudice—a mother with grown-up daughters obsessed with their marriage—transfers to a contemporary Indian setting does seem to substantiate this idea of belatedness. The spatio-temporal contours of the narrative require changes to accommodate the transference from eighteenth-century English countryside to twenty-first-century India, but in terms of themes, character types, and even plot elements, Bride and Prejudice is able to “mimic” its master text faithfully. While the Bennets, Bingleys and Darcy negotiate the relationship between marriage, money and social status in an England transformed by the rise of industrial capitalism, the Bakshis, Balraj and, yes, Will Darcy, undertake the same tasks in an India transformed by corporate globalisation. Differences in class are here overlaid with those in culture as a middle-class Indian family interacts with wealthy non-resident British Indians and American owners of multinational enterprises, mingling the problems created by pride in social status with prejudices rooted in cultural insularity. However, the underlying conflicts between social and individual identity, between relationships based on material expediency and romantic love, remain the same, clearly indicating India’s belated transition from tradition to modernity. It is not surprising, then, that Chadha can claim that “the transposition [of Austen to India] did not offend the purists in England at all” (Jha). But if the purity of the “master” text is not contaminated by such native mimicry, then how does one explain the Indian anglophile rejection of Bride and Prejudice? The problem, according to the Indian reviewers, lies not in the idea of an Indian adaptation, but in the choice of genre, in the devaluation of the “master” text’s cultural currency by associating it with the populist “masala” formula of Bollywood. The patriotic family romance, characterised by spectacular melodrama with little heed paid to psychological complexity, is certainly a far cry from the restrained Austenian narrative that achieves its dramatic effect exclusively through verbal sparring and epistolary revelations. When Elizabeth and Darcy’s quiet walk through Pemberley becomes Lalita and Darcy singing and dancing through public fountains, and the private economic transaction that rescues Lydia from infamy is translated into fisticuff between Darcy and Wickham in front of an applauding cinema audience, mimicry does smack too much of mockery to be taken as a tribute. It is no wonder then that “the news that [Chadha] was making Bride and Prejudice was welcomed with broad grins by everyone [in Britain] because it’s such a cheeky thing to do” (Jha). This cheekiness is evident throughout the film, which provides a splendid over-the-top cinematic translation of Pride and Prejudice that deliberately undermines the seriousness accorded to the Austen text, not just by the literary establishment, but also by cinematic counterparts that attempt to preserve its cultural value through carefully constructed period pieces. Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice, on the other hand, marries British high culture to Indian popular culture, creating a mimic text that is, in Homi Bhabha’s terms, “almost the same, but not quite” (86), thus undermining the authority, the primacy, of the so-called “master” text. This postcolonial subversion is enacted in Chadha’s film at the level of both style and content. If the adaptation of fiction into film is seen as an activity of translation, of a semiotic shift from one language to another (Boyum, 21), then Bride and Prejudice can be seen to enact this translation at two levels: the obvious translation of the language of novel into the language of film, and the more complex translation of Western high culture idiom into the idiom of Indian popular culture. The very choice of target language in the latter case clearly indicates that “authenticity” is not the intended goal here. Instead of attempting to render the target language transparent, making it a non-intrusive medium that derives all its meaning from the source text, Bride and Prejudice foregrounds the conventions of Bollywood masala films, forcing its audience to grapple with this “new” language on its own terms. The film thus becomes a classic instance of the colony “talking back” to the metropolis, of Caliban speaking to Prospero, not in the language Prospero has taught him, but in his own native tongue. The burden of responsibility is shifted; it is Prospero/audiences in the West that have the responsibility to understand the language of Bollywood without dismissing it as gibberish or attempting to domesticate it, to reduce it to the familiar. The presence in Bride and Prejudice of song and dance sequences, for example, does not make it a Hollywood musical, just as the focus on couples in love does not make it a Hollywood-style romantic comedy. Neither The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) nor You’ve Got Mail (Nora Ephron, 1998) corresponds to the Bollywood patriotic family romance that combines various elements from distinct Hollywood genres into one coherent narrative pattern. Instead, it is Bollywood hits like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (Aditya Chopra, 1995) and Pardes (Subhash Ghai, 1997) that constitute the cinema tradition to which Bride and Prejudice belongs, and against which backdrop it needs to be seen. This is made clear in the film itself where the climactic fight between Darcy and Wickham is shot against a screening of Manoj Kumar’s Purab Aur Paschim (East and West) (1970), establishing Darcy, unequivocally, as the Bollywood hero, the rescuer of the damsel in distress, who deserves, and gets, the audience’s full support, denoted by enthusiastic applause. Through such intertextuality, Bride and Prejudice enacts a postcolonial reversal whereby the usual hierarchy governing the relationship between the colony and the metropolis is inverted. By privileging through style and explicit reference the Indian Bollywood framework in Bride and Prejudice, Chadha implicitly minimises the importance of Austen’s text, reducing it to just one among several intertextual invocations without any claim to primacy. It is, in fact, perfectly possible to view Bride and Prejudice without any knowledge of Austen; its characters and narrative pattern are fully comprehensible within a well-established Bollywood tradition that is certainly more familiar to a larger number of Indians than is Austen. An Indian audience, thus, enjoys a home court advantage with this film, not the least of which is the presence of Aishwarya Rai, the Bollywood superstar who is undoubtedly the central focus of Chadha’s film. But star power apart, the film consolidates the Indian advantage through careful re-visioning of specific plot elements of Austen’s text in ways that clearly reverse the colonial power dynamics between Britain and India. The re-casting of Bingley as the British Indian Balraj re-presents Britain in terms of its immigrant identity. White British identity, on the other hand, is reduced to a single character—Johnny Wickham—which associates it with a callous duplicity and devious exploitation that provide the only instance in this film of Bollywood-style villainy. This re-visioning of British identity is evident even at the level of the film’s visuals where England is identified first by a panning shot that covers everything from Big Ben to a mosque, and later by a snapshot of Buckingham Palace through a window: a combination of its present multicultural reality juxtaposed against its continued self-representation in terms of an imperial tradition embodied by the monarchy. This reductionist re-visioning of white Britain’s imperial identity is foregrounded in the film by the re-casting of Darcy as an American entrepreneur, which effectively shifts the narratorial focus from Britain to the US. Clearly, with respect to India, it is now the US which is the imperial power, with London being nothing more than a stop-over on the way from Amritsar to LA. This shift, however, does not in itself challenge the more fundamental West-East power hierarchy; it merely indicates a shift of the imperial centre without any perceptible change in the contours of colonial discourse. The continuing operation of the latter is evident in the American Darcy’s stereotypical and dismissive attitude towards Indian culture as he makes snide comments about arranged marriages and describes Bhangra as an “easy dance” that looks like “screwing in a light bulb with one hand and patting a dog with the other.” Within the film, this cultural snobbery of the West is effectively challenged by Lalita, the Indian Elizabeth, whose “liveliness of mind” is exhibited here chiefly through her cutting comebacks to such disparaging remarks, making her the film’s chief spokesperson for India. When Darcy’s mother, for example, dismisses the need to go to India since yoga and Deepak Chopra are now available in the US, Lalita asks her if going to Italy has become redundant because Pizza Hut has opened around the corner? Similarly, she undermines Darcy’s stereotyping of India as the backward Other where arranged marriages are still the norm, by pointing out the eerie similarity between so-called arranged marriages in India and the attempts of Darcy’s own mother to find a wife for him. Lalita’s strategy, thus, is not to invert the hierarchy by proving the superiority of the East over the West; instead, she blurs the distinction between the two, while simultaneously introducing the West (as represented by Darcy and his mother) to the “real India”. The latter is achieved not only through direct conversational confrontations with Darcy, but also indirectly through her own behaviour and deportment. Through her easy camaraderie with local Goan kids, whom she joins in an impromptu game of cricket, and her free-spirited guitar-playing with a group of backpacking tourists, Lalita clearly shows Darcy (and the audience in the West) that so-called “Hicksville, India” is no different from the so-called cosmopolitan sophistication of LA. Lalita is definitely not the stereotypical shy retiring Indian woman; this jean-clad, tractor-riding gal is as comfortable dancing the garbha at an Indian wedding as she is sipping marguerites in an LA restaurant. Interestingly, this East-West union in Aishwarya Rai’s portrayal of Lalita as a modern Indian woman de-stabilises the stereotypes generated not only by colonial discourse but also by Bollywood’s brand of conservative nationalism. As Chadha astutely points out, “Bride and Prejudice is not a Hindi film in the true sense. That rikshawallah in the front row in Patna is going to say, ‘Yeh kya hua? Aishwarya ko kya kiya?’ [What did you do to Aishwarya?]” (Jha). This disgruntlement of the average Indian Hindi-film audience, which resulted in the film being a commercial flop in India, is a result of Chadha’s departures from the conventions of her chosen Bollywood genre at both the cinematic and the thematic levels. The perceived problem with Aishwarya Rai, as articulated by the plaintive question of the imagined Indian viewer, is precisely her presentation as a modern (read Westernised) Indian heroine, which is pretty much an oxymoron within Bollywood conventions. In all her mainstream Hindi films, Aishwarya Rai has conformed to these conventions, playing the demure, sari-clad, conventional Indian heroine who is untouched by any “anti-national” western influence in dress, behaviour or ideas (Gangoli,158). Her transformation in Chadha’s film challenges this conventional notion of a “pure” Indian identity that informs the Bollywood “masala” film. Such re-visioning of Bollywood’s thematic conventions is paralleled, in Bride and Prejudice, with a playfully subversive mimicry of its cinematic conventions. This is most obvious in the song-and-dance sequences in the film. While their inclusion places the film within the Bollywood tradition, their actual picturisation creates an audio-visual pastiche that freely mingles Bollywood conventions with those of Hollywood musicals as well as contemporary music videos from both sides of the globe. A song, for example, that begins conventionally enough (in Bollywood terms) with three friends singing about one of them getting married and moving away, soon transforms into a parody of Hollywood musicals as random individuals from the marketplace join in, not just as chorus, but as developers of the main theme, almost reducing the three friends to a chorus. And while the camera alternates between mid and long shots in conventional Bollywood fashion, the frame violates the conventions of stylised choreography by including a chaotic spill-over that self-consciously creates a postmodern montage very different from the controlled spectacle created by conventional Bollywood song sequences. Bride and Prejudice, thus, has an “almost the same, but not quite” relationship not just with Austen’s text but also with Bollywood. Such dual-edged mimicry, which foregrounds Chadha’s “outsider” status with respect to both traditions, eschews all notions of “authenticity” and thus seems to become a perfect embodiment of postcolonial hybridity. Does this mean that postmodern pastiche can fulfill the political agenda of postcolonial resistance to the forces of globalised (neo)imperialism? As discussed above, Bride and Prejudice does provide a postcolonial critique of (neo)colonial discourse through the character of Lalita, while at the same time escaping the trap of Bollywood’s explicitly articulated brand of nationalism by foregrounding Lalita’s (Westernised) modernity. And yet, ironically, the film unselfconsciously remains faithful to contemporary Bollywood’s implicit ideological framework. As most analyses of Bollywood blockbusters in the post-liberalisation (post-1990) era have pointed out, the contemporary patriotic family romance is distinct from its earlier counterparts in its unquestioning embrace of neo-conservative consumerist ideology (Deshpande, 187; Virdi, 203). This enthusiastic celebration of globalisation in its most recent neo-imperial avatar is, interestingly, not seen to conflict with Bollywood’s explicit nationalist agenda; the two are reconciled through a discourse of cultural nationalism that happily co-exists with a globalisation-sponsored rampant consumerism, while studiously ignoring the latter’s neo-colonial implications. Bride and Prejudice, while self-consciously redefining certain elements of this cultural nationalism and, in the process, providing a token recognition of neo-imperial configurations, does not fundamentally question this implicit neo-conservative consumerism of the Bollywood patriotic family romance. This is most obvious in the film’s gender politics where it blindly mimics Bollywood conventions in embodying the nation as a woman (Lalita) who, however independent she may appear, not only requires male protection (Darcy is needed to physically rescue Lakhi from Wickham) but also remains an object of exchange between competing systems of capitalist patriarchy (Uberoi, 207). At the film’s climax, Lalita walks away from her family towards Darcy. But before Darcy embraces the very willing Lalita, his eyes seek out and receive permission from Mr Bakshi. Patriarchal authority is thus granted due recognition, and Lalita’s seemingly bold “independent” decision remains caught within the politics of patriarchal exchange. This particular configuration of gender politics is very much a part of Bollywood’s neo-conservative consumerist ideology wherein the Indian woman/nation is given enough agency to make choices, to act as a “voluntary” consumer, within a globalised marketplace that is, however, controlled by the interests of capitalist patriarchy. The narrative of Bride and Prejudice perfectly aligns this framework with Lalita’s project of cultural nationalism, which functions purely at the personal/familial level, but which is framed at both ends of the film by a visual conjoining of marriage and the marketplace, both of which are ultimately outside Lalita’s control. Chadha’s attempt to appropriate and transform British “Pride” through subversive postcolonial mimicry, thus, ultimately results only in replacing it with an Indian “Bride,” with a “star” product (Aishwarya Rai / Bride and Prejudice / India as Bollywood) in a splendid package, ready for exchange and consumption within the global marketplace. All glittering surface and little substance, Bride and Prejudice proves, once again, that postmodern pastiche cannot automatically double as politically enabling postcolonial hybridity (Sangari, 23-4). References Adarsh, Taran. “Balle Balle! From Amritsar to L.A.” IndiaFM Movie Review 8 Oct. 2004. 19 Feb. 2007 http://indiafm.com/movies/review/7211/index.html>. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. New Delhi: Rupa and Co., 1999. Bhabha, Homi. “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse.” The Location of Culture. Routledge: New York, 1994. 85-92. Bhaskaran, Gautam. “Classic Made Trivial.” The Hindu 15 Oct. 2004. 19 Feb. 2007 http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2004/10/15/stories/ 2004101502220100.htm>. Boyum, Joy Gould. Double Exposure: Fiction into Film. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1989. Bride and Prejudice. Dir. Gurinder Chadha. Perf. Aishwarya Ray and Martin Henderson. Miramax, 2004. Deshpande, Sudhanva. “The Consumable Hero of Globalized India.” Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens. Eds. Raminder Kaur and Ajay J. Sinha. New Delhi: Sage, 2005. 186-203. Gangoli, Geetanjali. “Sexuality, Sensuality and Belonging: Representations of the ‘Anglo-Indian’ and the ‘Western’ Woman in Hindi Cinema.” Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens. Eds. Raminder Kaur and Ajay J. Sinha. New Delhi: Sage, 2005. 143-162. Jaikumar, Priya. “Bollywood Spectaculars.” World Literature Today 77.3/4 (2003): n. pag. Jha, Subhash K. “Bride and Prejudice is not a K3G.” The Rediff Interview 30 Aug. 2004. 19 Feb. 2007 http://in.rediff.com/movies/2004/aug/30finter.htm>. Mandal, Somdatta. Film and Fiction: Word into Image. New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2005. Prasad, M. Madhava. Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Construction. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 1998. Sangari, Kumkum. Politics of the Possible: Essays on Gender, History, Narratives, Colonial English. New Delhi: Tulika, 1999. Uberoi, Patricia. Freedom and Destiny: Gender, Family, and Popular Culture in India. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2006. Virdi, Jyotika. The Cinematic Imagination: Indian Popular Films as Social History. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003. Wray, James. “Gurinder Chadha Talks Bride and Prejudice.” Movie News 7 Feb. 2005. 19 Feb. http://movies.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_4163.php/ Gurinder_Chadha_Talks_Bride_and_Prejudice>. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Mathur, Suchitra. "From British “Pride” to Indian “Bride”: Mapping the Contours of a Globalised (Post?)Colonialism." M/C Journal 10.2 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php>. APA Style Mathur, S. (May 2007) "From British “Pride” to Indian “Bride”: Mapping the Contours of a Globalised (Post?)Colonialism," M/C Journal, 10(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php>.

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Chapman, Owen. "Mixing with Records." M/C Journal 4, no.2 (April1, 2001). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1900.

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Introduction "Doesn't that wreck your records?" This is one of the first things I generally get asked when someone watches me at work in my home or while spinning at a party. It reminds me of a different but related question I once asked someone who worked at Rotate This!, a particularly popular Toronto DJ refuge, a few days after I had bought my first turntable: DJO: "How do you stop that popping and crackling sound your record gets when you scratch back and forth on the same spot for a while?" CLERK: "You buy two copies of everything, one you keep at home all wrapped-up nice and never use, and the other you mess with." My last $150 had just managed to pay for an old Dual direct drive record player. The precious few recently-released records I had were gifts. I nodded my head and made my way over to the rows of disks which I flipped through to make it look like I was maybe going to buy something. Lp cover after lp cover stared back at me all with names I had absolutely never heard of before, organised according to a hyper- hybridised classification scheme that completely escaped my dictionary-honed alphabetic expectations. Worst of all, there seemed to be only single copies of everything left! A sort of outsider's vertigo washed over me, and 3 minutes after walking into unfamiliar territory, I zipped back out onto the street. Thus was to begin my love/hate relationship with the source of all DJ sounds, surliness and misinformation--the independent record shop. My query had (without my planning) boldly pronounced my neophyte status. The response it solicited challenged my seriousness. How much was I willing to invest in order to ride "the wheels of steel"? Sequence 1 Will Straw describes the meteoric rise to prominence of the CD format, If the compact disk has emerged as one of the most dazzlingly effective of commodity forms, this has little to do with its technical superiority to the vinyl record (which we no longer remember to notice). Rather, the effectiveness has to do with its status as the perfect crossover consumer object. As a cutting-edge audiophile invention, it seduced the technophilic, connoisseurist males who typically buy new sound equipment and quickly build collections of recordings. At the same time, its visual refinement and high price rapidly rendered it legitimate as a gift. In this, the CD has found a wide audience among the population of casual record buyers.(61) Straw's point has to do with the fate of musical recordings within contemporary commodity culture. In the wake of a late 70's record industry slump, music labels turned their attention toward the recapturing of casual record sales (read: aging baby boomers). The general shape of this attempt revolved around a re-configuring of the record- shopping experience dedicated towards reducing "the intimidation seen as endemic to the environment of the record store."(59) The CD format, along with the development of super-sized, general interest (all-genre) record outlets has worked (according to Straw) to streamline record sales towards more-predictable patterns, all the while causing less "selection stress."(59) Re-issues and compilations, special-series trademarks, push-button listening stations, and maze-like display layouts, combined with department store-style service ("Can I help you find anything?") all work towards eliminating the need for familiarity with particular music "scenes" in order to make personally gratifying (and profit engendering) musical choices. Straw's analysis is exemplary in its dissatisfaction with treating the arena of personal musical choice as unaffected by any constraints apart from subjective matters of taste. Straw's evaluation also isolates the vinyl record as an object eminently ready (post-digital revolution) for subcultural appropriation. Its displacement by the CD as the dominant medium for collecting recorded music involved the recasting of the turntable as outdated and inferior, thereby relegating it to the dusty attic, basem*nt or pawn shop (along with crates upon crates upon crates of records). These events set the stage for vinyl's spectacular rise from the ashes. The most prominent feature of this re-emergence has to do not simply with possession of the right kind of stuff (the cachet of having a music collection difficult for others to borrow aside), but with what vinyl and turntable technology can do. Bridge In Subculture: The Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige claims that subcultures are, cultures of conspicuous consumption...and it is through the distinctive rituals of consumption, through style, that the subculture at once reveals its "secret identity" and communicates its forbidden meanings. It is basically the way in which commodities are used in subculture which mark the subculture off from more orthodox cultural formations.(103 Hebdige borrows the notion of bricolage from Levi Strauss in order to describe the particular kind of use subcultures make of the commodities they appropriate. Relationships of identity, difference and order are developed from out of the minds of those who make use of the objects in question and are not necessarily determined by particular qualities inherent to the objects themselves. Henceforth a safety pin more often used for purposes like replacing missing buttons or temporarily joining pieces of fabric can become a punk fashion statement once placed through the nose, ear or torn Sex Pistols tee-shirt. In the case of DJ culture, it is the practice of mixing which most obviously presents itself as definitive of subcultural participation. The objects of conspicuous consumption in this case--record tracks. If mixing can be understood as bricolage, then attempts "to discern the hidden messages inscribed in code"(18) by such a practice are not in vain. Granting mixing the power of meaning sets a formidable (semiotic) framework in place for investigating the practice's outwardly visible (spectacular) form and structure. Hebdige's description of bricolage as a particularly conspicuous and codified type of using, however, runs the risk of privileging an account of record collecting and mixing which interprets it entirely on the model of subjective expression.(1.) What is necessary is a means of access to the dialogue which takes place between a DJ and her records as such. The contents of a DJ's record bag (like Straw's CD shopping bag) are influenced by more that just her imagination, pocket book and exposure to different kinds of music. They are also determined in an important way by each other. Audio mixing is not one practice, it is many, and the choice to develop or use one sort of skill over another is intimately tied up with the type and nature of track one is working with. Sequence 2 The raw practice of DJing relies heavily on a slider integral to DJ mixers known as the _cross-fader_(ital). With the standard DJ set up, when the cross-fader is all the way to the left, the left turntable track plays through the system; vice versa when the fader is all the way to the right. In between is the "open" position which allows both inputs to be heard simultaneously. The most straightforward mixing technique, "cutting," involves using this toggle to quickly switch from one source to another--resulting in the abrupt end of one sound- flow followed by its instantaneous replacement. This technique can be used to achieve a variety of different effects--from the rather straightforward stringing together of the final beat of a four bar sequence from one track with a strong downbeat from something new in order to provide continuous, but sequential musical output, to the thoroughly difficult practice of "beat juggling," where short excerpts of otherwise self-contained tracks ("breaks") are isolated and then extended indefinitely through the use of two copies of the same record (while one record plays, the DJ spins the other back to the downbeat of the break in question, which is then released in rhythm). In both cases timing and rhythm are key. These features of the practice help to explain DJ predilections for tracks which make heavy, predictable use of their rhythm sections. "Blending" is a second technique which uses the open position on the cross-fader to mix two inputs into a live sonic collage. Tempo, rhythm and "density" of source material have an enormous impact on the end result. While any two tracks can be layered in this way, beats that are not synchronized are quick to create cacophony, and vocals also tend to clash dramatically. Melodic lines in general pose certain challenges here since these are in particular keys and have obvious starts and finishes. This is one reason why tracks produced specifically for DJing often have such long, minimal intros and exits. This makes it much easier to create "natural" sounding blends. Atmospheric sounds, low-frequency hums, speech samples and repetitive loops with indeterminate rhythm structures are often used for these segments in order to allow drawn-out, subtle transitions when moving between tracks. If an intro contains a fixed beat (as is the case often with genres constructed specifically for non-stop dancing like house, techno and to some extent drum and bass), then those who want seamless blends need to "beat match" if they want to maintain a dancer's groove. The roots of this technique go back to disco and demand fairly strict genre loyalty in order to insure that a set's worth of tracks all hover around the same tempo, defined in beats-per- minute, or BPMs. The basic procedure involves finding the downbeat of the track one wishes to mix through a set of headphones, releasing that beat in time with the other record while making fine tempo- adjustments via the turntable's pitch control to the point where the track coming through the earphones and the track being played over the system are in synch. The next step is "back-spinning" or "needle dropping" to the start of the track to be mixed, then releasing it again, this time with the cross-fader open. Volume levels can then be adjusted in order to allow the new track to slowly take prominence (the initial track being close to its end at this point) before the cross-fader is closed into the new position and the entire procedure is repeated. Scratching is perhaps the most notorious mixing technique and involves the most different types of manipulations. The practice is most highly developed in hip hop (and related genres like drum and bass) and is used both as an advanced cutting technique for moving between tracks as well as a sonic end-in-itself. It's genesis is attributed to a South Bronx DJ known as Grand Wizard Theodore who was the first (1977) to try to make creative use of the sound associated with moving a record needle back and forth over the same drumbeat, a phenomena familiar to DJs used to cueing-up downbeats through headphones. This trick is now referred to as the "baby scratch," and it along with an ever-increasing host of mutations and hybrids make- up the skills that pay the bills for hip hop DJs. In the case of many of these techniques, the cross-fader is once again used heavily in order to remove unwanted elements of particular scratches from the mix, as well as adding certain staccato and volume-fading effects. Isolated, "pure" sounds are easiest to scratch with and are therefore highly sought after by this sort of DJ--a pastime affectionately referred to as "digging in the crates." Sources of such sounds are extremely diverse, but inevitably revolve around genre's which use minimal orchestration (like movie-soundtracks), accentuated rhythms with frequent breakdowns (like funk or jazz), or which eschew musical form all together (like sound-effects, comedy and children's records). Exit To answer the question which started this investigation, in the end, how wrecked my records get depends a lot on what I'm using them for. To be sure, super-fast scratching patterns and tricks that use lots of back-spinning like beat-juggling will eventually "burn" static into spots on one's records. But with used records costing as little as $1 for three, and battle records (2.) widely available, the effect of this feature of the technology on the actual pursuit of the practice is negligible. And most techniques don't noticeably burn records at all, especially if a DJ's touch is light enough to allow for minimal tone-arm weight (a parameter which controls a turntable's groove-tracking ability). This is the kind of knowledge which comes from interaction with objects. It is also the source of a great part of the subcultural bricoleur's stylistic savvy. Herein lies the essence of the intimidating power of the indie record shop--its display of intimate, physical familiarity with the hidden particularities of the new vinyl experience. Investigators confronted with such familiarity need to find ways to go beyond analyses which stop at the level of acknowledgment of the visible logic displayed by spectacular subcultural practices if they wish to develop nuanced accounts of subcultural life. Such plumbing of the depths often requires listening in the place of observing--whether to first-hand accounts collected through ethnography or to the subtle voice of the objects themselves. (1.) An example of such an account: "DJ-ing is evangelism; a desire to share songs. A key skill is obviously not just to drop the popular, well-known songs at the right part of the night, but to pick the right new releases, track down the obscurer tunes and newest imports, get hold of next month's big tune this month; you gather this pile, this tinder, together, then you work the records, mix them, drop them, cut them, scratch them, melt them, beat them all together until they unite. Voilà; disco inferno." Dave Haslam, "DJ Culture," p. 169. (2.) Records specifically designed by and for scratch DJs and which consist of long strings of scratchable sounds. References Haslam, David. "DJ Culture." The Clubcultures Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. 1997 Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Melvin and Co. Ltd.. 1979 Straw, Will. "Organized Disorder: The Changing Space of the Record Shop." The Clubcultures Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. 1997

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Stewart, Jonathan. "If I Had Possession over Judgment Day: Augmenting Robert Johnson." M/C Journal 16, no.6 (December16, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.715.

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augmentvb [ɔːgˈmɛnt]1. to make or become greater in number, amount, strength, etc.; increase2. Music: to increase (a major or perfect interval) by a semitone (Collins English Dictionary 107) Almost everything associated with Robert Johnson has been subject to some form of augmentation. His talent as a musician and songwriter has been embroidered by myth-making. Johnson’s few remaining artefacts—his photographic images, his grave site, other physical records of his existence—have attained the status of reliquary. Even the integrity of his forty-two surviving recordings is now challenged by audiophiles who posit they were musically and sonically augmented by speeding up—increasing the tempo and pitch. This article documents the promulgation of myth in the life and music of Robert Johnson. His disputed photographic images are cited as archetypal contested artefacts, augmented both by false claims and genuine new discoveries—some of which suggest Johnson’s cultural magnetism is so compelling that even items only tenuously connected to his work draw significant attention. Current challenges to the musical integrity of Johnson’s original recordings, that they were “augmented” in order to raise the tempo, are presented as exemplars of our on-going fascination with his life and work. Part literature review, part investigative history, it uses the phenomenon of augmentation as a prism to shed new light on this enigmatic figure. Johnson’s obscurity during his lifetime, and for twenty-three years after his demise in 1938, offered little indication of his future status as a musical legend: “As far as the evolution of black music goes, Robert Johnson was an extremely minor figure, and very little that happened in the decades following his death would have been affected if he had never played a note” (Wald, Escaping xv). Such anonymity allowed those who first wrote about his music to embrace and propagate the myths that grew around this troubled character and his apparently “supernatural” genius. Johnson’s first press notice, from a pseudonymous John Hammond writing in The New Masses in 1937, spoke of a mysterious character from “deepest Mississippi” who “makes Leadbelly sound like an accomplished poseur” (Prial 111). The following year Hammond eulogised the singer in profoundly romantic terms: “It still knocks me over when I think of how lucky it is that a talent like his ever found its way to phonograph records […] Johnson died last week at precisely the moment when Vocalion scouts finally reached him and told him that he was booked to appear at Carnegie Hall” (19). The visceral awe experienced by subsequent generations of Johnson aficionados seems inspired by the remarkable capacity of his recordings to transcend space and time, reaching far beyond their immediate intended audience. “Johnson’s music changed the way the world looked to me,” wrote Greil Marcus, “I could listen to nothing else for months.” The music’s impact originates, at least in part, from the ambiguity of its origins: “I have the feeling, at times, that the reason Johnson has remained so elusive is that no one has been willing to take him at his word” (27-8). Three decades later Bob Dylan expressed similar sentiments over seven detailed pages of Chronicles: From the first note the vibrations from the loudspeaker made my hair stand up … it felt like a ghost had come into the room, a fearsome apparition …When he sings about icicles hanging on a tree it gives me the chills, or about milk turning blue … it made me nauseous and I wondered how he did that … It’s hard to imagine sharecroppers or plantation field hands at hop joints, relating to songs like these. You have to wonder if Johnson was playing for an audience that only he could see, one off in the future. (282-4) Such ready invocation of the supernatural bears witness to the profundity and resilience of the “lost bluesman” as a romantic trope. Barry Lee Pearson and Bill McCulloch have produced a painstaking genealogy of such a-historical misrepresentation. Early contributors include Rudi Blesch, Samuel B Charters, Frank Driggs’ liner notes for Johnson’s King of the Delta Blues Singers collection, and critic Pete Welding’s prolific 1960s output. Even comparatively recent researchers who ostensibly sought to demystify the legend couldn’t help but embellish the narrative. “It is undeniable that Johnson was fascinated with and probably obsessed by supernatural imagery,” asserted Robert Palmer (127). For Peter Guralnick his best songs articulate “the debt that must be paid for art and the Faustian bargain that Johnson sees at its core” (43). Contemporary scholarship from Pearson and McCulloch, James Banninghof, Charles Ford, and Elijah Wald has scrutinised Johnson’s life and work on a more evidential basis. This process has been likened to assembling a complicated jigsaw where half the pieces are missing: The Mississippi Delta has been practically turned upside down in the search for records of Robert Johnson. So far only marriage application signatures, two photos, a death certificate, a disputed death note, a few scattered school documents and conflicting oral histories of the man exist. Nothing more. (Graves 47) Such material is scrappy and unreliable. Johnson’s marriage licenses and his school records suggest contradictory dates of birth (Freeland 49). His death certificate mistakes his age—we now know that Johnson inadvertently founded another rock myth, the “27 Club” which includes fellow guitarists Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain (Wolkewitz et al., Segalstad and Hunter)—and incorrectly states he was single when he was twice widowed. A second contemporary research strand focuses on the mythmaking process itself. For Eric Rothenbuhler the appeal of Johnson’s recordings lies in his unique “for-the-record” aesthetic, that foreshadowed playing and song writing standards not widely realised until the 1960s. For Patricia Schroeder Johnson’s legend reveals far more about the story-tellers than it does the source—which over time has become “an empty center around which multiple interpretations, assorted viewpoints, and a variety of discourses swirl” (3). Some accounts of Johnson’s life seem entirely coloured by their authors’ cultural preconceptions. The most enduring myth, Johnson’s “crossroads” encounter with the Devil, is commonly redrawn according to the predilections of those telling the tale. That this story really belongs to bluesman Tommy Johnson has been known for over four decades (Evans 22), yet it was mistakenly attributed to Robert as recently as 1999 in French blues magazine Soul Bag (Pearson and McCulloch 92-3). Such errors are, thankfully, becoming less common. While the movie Crossroads (1986) brazenly appropriated Tommy’s story, the young walking bluesman in Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) faithfully proclaims his authentic identity: “Thanks for the lift, sir. My name's Tommy. Tommy Johnson […] I had to be at that crossroads last midnight. Sell my soul to the devil.” Nevertheless the “supernatural” constituent of Johnson’s legend remains an irresistible framing device. It inspired evocative footage in Peter Meyer’s Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl? The Life and Music of Robert Johnson (1998). Even the liner notes to the definitive Sony Music Robert Johnson: The Centennial Edition celebrate and reclaim his myth: nothing about this musician is more famous than the word-of-mouth accounts of him selling his soul to the devil at a midnight crossroads in exchange for his singular mastery of blues guitar. It has become fashionable to downplay or dismiss this account nowadays, but the most likely source of the tale is Johnson himself, and the best efforts of scholars to present this artist in ordinary, human terms have done little to cut through the mystique and mystery that surround him. Repackaged versions of Johnson’s recordings became available via Amazon.co.uk and Spotify when they fell out of copyright in the United Kingdom. Predictable titles such as Contracted to the Devil, Hellbound, Me and the Devil Blues, and Up Jumped the Devil along with their distinctive “crossroads” artwork continue to demonstrate the durability of this myth [1]. Ironically, Johnson’s recordings were made during an era when one-off exhibited artworks (such as his individual performances of music) first became reproducible products. Walter Benjamin famously described the impact of this development: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art […] the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. (7) Marybeth Hamilton drew on Benjamin in her exploration of white folklorists’ efforts to document authentic pre-modern blues culture. Such individuals sought to preserve the intensity of the uncorrupted and untutored black voice before its authenticity and uniqueness could be tarnished by widespread mechanical reproduction. Two artefacts central to Johnson’s myth, his photographs and his recorded output, will now be considered in that context. In 1973 researcher Stephen LaVere located two pictures in the possession of his half–sister Carrie Thompson. The first, a cheap “dime store” self portrait taken in the equivalent of a modern photo booth, shows Johnson around a year into his life as a walking bluesman. The second, taken in the Hooks Bros. studio in Beale Street, Memphis, portrays a dapper and smiling musician on the eve of his short career as a Vocalion recording artist [2]. Neither was published for over a decade after their “discovery” due to fears of litigation from a competing researcher. A third photograph remains unpublished, still owned by Johnson’s family: The man has short nappy hair; he is slight, one foot is raised, and he is up on his toes as though stretching for height. There is a sharp crease in his pants, and a handkerchief protrudes from his breast pocket […] His eyes are deep-set, reserved, and his expression forms a half-smile, there seems to be a gentleness about him, his fingers are extraordinarily long and delicate, his head is tilted to one side. (Guralnick 67) Recently a fourth portrait appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in Vanity Fair. Vintage guitar seller Steven Schein discovered a sepia photograph labelled “Old Snapshot Blues Guitar B. B. King???” [sic] while browsing Ebay and purchased it for $2,200. Johnson’s son positively identified the image, and a Houston Police Department forensic artist employed face recognition technology to confirm that “all the features are consistent if not identical” (DiGiacomo 2008). The provenance of this photograph remains disputed, however. Johnson’s guitar appears overly distressed for what would at the time be a new model, while his clothes reflect an inappropriate style for the period (Graves). Another contested “Johnson” image found on four seconds of silent film showed a walking bluesman playing outside a small town cinema in Ruleville, Mississippi. It inspired Bob Dylan to wax lyrical in Chronicles: “You can see that really is Robert Johnson, has to be – couldn’t be anyone else. He’s playing with huge, spiderlike hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar” (287). However it had already been proved that this figure couldn’t be Johnson, because the background movie poster shows a film released three years after the musician’s death. The temptation to wish such items genuine is clearly a difficult one to overcome: “even things that might have been Robert Johnson now leave an afterglow” (Schroeder 154, my italics). Johnson’s recordings, so carefully preserved by Hammond and other researchers, might offer tangible and inviolate primary source material. Yet these also now face a serious challenge: they run too rapidly by a factor of up to 15 per cent (Gibbens; Wilde). Speeding up music allowed early producers to increase a song’s vibrancy and fit longer takes on to their restricted media. By slowing the recording tempo, master discs provided a “mother” print that would cause all subsequent pressings to play unnaturally quickly when reproduced. Robert Johnson worked for half a decade as a walking blues musician without restrictions on the length of his songs before recording with producer Don Law and engineer Vincent Liebler in San Antonio (1936) and Dallas (1937). Longer compositions were reworked for these sessions, re-arranging and edited out verses (Wald, Escaping). It is also conceivable that they were purposefully, or even accidentally, sped up. (The tempo consistency of machines used in early field recordings across the South has often been questioned, as many played too fast or slow (Morris).) Slowed-down versions of Johnson’s songs from contributors such as Angus Blackthorne and Ron Talley now proliferate on YouTube. The debate has fuelled detailed discussion in online blogs, where some contributors to specialist audio technology forums have attempted to decode a faintly detectable background hum using spectrum analysers. If the frequency of the alternating current that powered Law and Liebler’s machine could be established at 50 or 60 Hz it might provide evidence of possible tempo variation. A peak at 51.4 Hz, one contributor argues, suggests “the recordings are 2.8 per cent fast, about half a semitone” (Blischke). Such “augmentation” has yet to be fully explored in academic literature. Graves describes the discussion as “compelling and intriguing” in his endnotes, concluding “there are many pros and cons to the argument and, indeed, many recordings over the years have been speeded up to make them seem livelier” (124). Wald ("Robert Johnson") provides a compelling and detailed counter-thesis on his website, although he does acknowledge inconsistencies in pitch among alternate master takes of some recordings. No-one who actually saw Robert Johnson perform ever called attention to potential discrepancies between the pitch of his natural and recorded voice. David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Robert Lockwood Jr. and Johnny Shines were all interviewed repeatedly by documentarians and researchers, but none ever raised the issue. Conversely Johnson’s former girlfriend Willie Mae Powell was visibly affected by the familiarity in his voice on hearing his recording of the tune Johnson wrote for her, “Love in Vain”, in Chris Hunt’s The Search for Robert Johnson (1991). Clues might also lie in the natural tonality of Johnson’s instrument. Delta bluesmen who shared Johnson’s repertoire and played slide guitar in his style commonly used a tuning of open G (D-G-D-G-B-G). Colloquially known as “Spanish” (Gordon 2002, 38-42) it offers a natural home key of G major for slide guitar. We might therefore expect Johnson’s recordings to revolve around the tonic (G) or its dominant (D) -however almost all of his songs are a full tone higher, in the key of A or its dominant E. (The only exceptions are “They’re Red Hot” and “From Four Till Late” in C, and “Love in Vain” in G.) A pitch increase such as this might be consistent with an increase in the speed of these recordings. Although an alternative explanation might be that Johnson tuned his strings particularly tightly, which would benefit his slide playing but also make fingering notes and chords less comfortable. Yet another is that he used a capo to raise the key of his instrument and was capable of performing difficult lead parts in relatively high fret positions on the neck of an acoustic guitar. This is accepted by Scott Ainslie and Dave Whitehill in their authoritative volume of transcriptions At the Crossroads (11). The photo booth self portrait of Johnson also clearly shows a capo at the second fret—which would indeed raise open G to open A (in concert pitch). The most persuasive reasoning against speed tampering runs parallel to the argument laid out earlier in this piece, previous iterations of the Johnson myth have superimposed their own circ*mstances and ignored the context and reality of the protagonist’s lived experience. As Wald argues, our assumptions of what we think Johnson ought to sound like have little bearing on what he actually sounded like. It is a compelling point. When Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, and other surviving bluesmen were “rediscovered” during the 1960s urban folk revival of North America and Europe they were old men with deep and resonant voices. Johnson’s falsetto vocalisations do not, therefore, accord with the commonly accepted sound of an authentic blues artist. Yet Johnson was in his mid-twenties in 1936 and 1937; a young man heavily influenced by the success of other high pitched male blues singers of his era. people argue that what is better about the sound is that the slower, lower Johnson sounds more like Son House. Now, House was a major influence on Johnson, but by the time Johnson recorded he was not trying to sound like House—an older player who had been unsuccessful on records—but rather like Leroy Carr, Casey Bill Weldon, Kokomo Arnold, Lonnie Johnson, and Peetie Wheatstraw, who were the big blues recording stars in the mid–1930s, and whose vocal styles he imitated on most of his records. (For example, the ooh-well-well falsetto yodel he often used was imitated from Wheatstraw and Weldon.) These singers tended to have higher, smoother voices than House—exactly the sound that Johnson seems to have been going for, and that the House fans dislike. So their whole argument is based on the fact that they prefer the older Delta sound to the mainstream popular blues sound of the 1930s—or, to put it differently, that their tastes are different from Johnson’s own tastes at the moment he was recording. (Wald, "Robert Johnson") Few media can capture an audible moment entirely accurately, and the idea of engineering a faithful reproduction of an original performance is also only one element of the rationale for any recording. Commercial engineers often aim to represent the emotion of a musical moment, rather than its totality. John and Alan Lomax may have worked as documentarians, preserving sound as faithfully as possible for the benefit of future generations on behalf of the Library of Congress. Law and Liebler, however, were producing exciting and profitable commercial products for a financial gain. Paradoxically, then, whatever the “real” Robert Johnson sounded like (deeper voice, no mesmeric falsetto, not such an extraordinarily adept guitar player, never met the Devil … and so on) the mythical figure who “sold his soul at the crossroads” and shipped millions of albums after his death may, on that basis, be equally as authentic as the original. Schroeder draws on Mikhail Bakhtin to comment on such vacant yet hotly contested spaces around the Johnson myth. For Bakhtin, literary texts are ascribed new meanings by consecutive generations as they absorb and respond to them. Every age re–accentuates in its own way the works of its most immediate past. The historical life of classic works is in fact the uninterrupted process of their social and ideological re–accentuation [of] ever newer aspects of meaning; their semantic content literally continues to grow, to further create out of itself. (421) In this respect Johnson’s legend is a “classic work”, entirely removed from its historical life, a free floating form re-contextualised and reinterpreted by successive generations in order to make sense of their own cultural predilections (Schroeder 57). As Graves observes, “since Robert Johnson’s death there has seemed to be a mathematical equation of sorts at play: the less truth we have, the more myth we get” (113). The threads connecting his real and mythical identity seem so comprehensively intertwined that only the most assiduous scholars are capable of disentanglement. Johnson’s life and work seem destined to remain augmented and contested for as long as people want to play guitar, and others want to listen to them. Notes[1] Actually the dominant theme of Johnson’s songs is not “the supernatural” it is his inveterate womanising. Almost all Johnson’s lyrics employ creative metaphors to depict troubled relationships. Some even include vivid images of domestic abuse. In “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues” a woman threatens him with a gun. In “32–20 Blues” he discusses the most effective calibre of weapon to shoot his partner and “cut her half in two.” In “Me and the Devil Blues” Johnson promises “to beat my woman until I get satisfied”. However in The Lady and Mrs Johnson five-time W. C. Handy award winner Rory Block re-wrote these words to befit her own cultural agenda, inverting the original sentiment as: “I got to love my baby ‘til I get satisfied”.[2] The Gibson L-1 guitar featured in Johnson’s Hooks Bros. portrait briefly became another contested artefact when it appeared in the catalogue of a New York State memorabilia dealership in 2006 with an asking price of $6,000,000. The Australian owner had apparently purchased the instrument forty years earlier under the impression it was bona fide, although photographic comparison technology showed that it couldn’t be genuine and the item was withdrawn. “Had it been real, I would have been able to sell it several times over,” Gary Zimet from MIT Memorabilia told me in an interview for Guitarist Magazine at the time, “a unique item like that will only ever increase in value” (Stewart 2010). References Ainslie, Scott, and Dave Whitehall. Robert Johnson: At the Crossroads – The Authoritative Guitar Transcriptions. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Publishing, 1992. Bakhtin, Mikhail M. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982. Banks, Russell. “The Devil and Robert Johnson – Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings.” The New Republic 204.17 (1991): 27-30. Banninghof, James. “Some Ramblings on Robert Johnson’s Mind: Critical Analysis and Aesthetic in Delta Blues.” American Music 15/2 (1997): 137-158. Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008. Blackthorne, Angus. “Robert Johnson Slowed Down.” YouTube.com 2011. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.youtube.com/user/ANGUSBLACKTHORN?feature=watch›. Blesh, Rudi. Shining Trumpets: A History of Jazz. New York: Knopf, 1946. Blischke, Michael. “Slowing Down Robert Johnson.” The Straight Dope 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=461601›. Block, Rory. The Lady and Mrs Johnson. Rykodisc 10872, 2006. Charters, Samuel. The Country Blues. New York: De Capo Press, 1959. Collins UK. Collins English Dictionary. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 2010. DiGiacomo, Frank. “A Disputed Robert Johnson Photo Gets the C.S.I. Treatment.” Vanity Fair 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/10/a-disputed-robert-johnson-photo-gets-the-csi-treatment›. DiGiacomo, Frank. “Portrait of a Phantom: Searching for Robert Johnson.” Vanity Fair 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/11/johnson200811›. Dylan, Bob. Chronicles Vol 1. London: Simon & Schuster, 2005. Evans, David. Tommy Johnson. London: November Books, 1971. Ford, Charles. “Robert Johnson’s Rhythms.” Popular Music 17.1 (1998): 71-93. Freeland, Tom. “Robert Johnson: Some Witnesses to a Short Life.” Living Blues 150 (2000): 43-49. Gibbens, John. “Steady Rollin’ Man: A Revolutionary Critique of Robert Johnson.” Touched 2004. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.touched.co.uk/press/rjnote.html›. Gioia, Ted. Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionised American Music. London: W. W. Norton & Co, 2008. Gioia, Ted. "Robert Johnson: A Century, and Beyond." Robert Johnson: The Centennial Collection. Sony Music 88697859072, 2011. Gordon, Robert. Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters. London: Pimlico Books, 2002. Graves, Tom. Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson. Spokane: Demers Books, 2008. Guralnick, Peter. Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the "King of the Delta Blues Singers". London: Plume, 1998. Hamilton, Marybeth. In Search of the Blues: Black Voices, White Visions. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007. Hammond, John. From Spirituals to Swing (Dedicated to Bessie Smith). New York: The New Masses, 1938. Johnson, Robert. “Hellbound.” Amazon.co.uk 2011. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hellbound/dp/B0063S8Y4C/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1376605065&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=robert+johnson+hellbound›. ———. “Contracted to the Devil.” Amazon.co.uk 2002. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Contracted-The-Devil-Robert-Johnson/dp/B00006F1L4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1376830351&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Contracted+to+The+Devil›. ———. King of the Delta Blues Singers. Columbia Records CL1654, 1961. ———. “Me and the Devil Blues.” Amazon.co.uk 2003. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-Devil-Blues-Robert-Johnson/dp/B00008SH7O/ref=sr_1_16?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376604807&sr=1-16&keywords=robert+johnson›. ———. “The High Price of Soul.” Amazon.co.uk 2007. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Price-Soul-Robert-Johnson/dp/B000LC582C/ref=sr_1_39?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376604863&sr=1-39&keywords=robert+johnson›. ———. “Up Jumped the Devil.” Amazon.co.uk 2005. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Up-Jumped-Devil-Robert-Johnson/dp/B000B57SL8/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376829917&sr=1-2&keywords=Up+Jumped+The+Devil›. Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. London: Plume, 1997. Morris, Christopher. “Phonograph Blues: Robert Johnson Mastered at Wrong Speed?” Variety 2010. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.varietysoundcheck.com/2010/05/phonograph-blues-robert-johnson-mastered-at-wrong-speed.html›. Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? DVD. Universal Pictures, 2000. Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago’s South Side to the World. London: Penguin Books, 1981. Pearson, Barry Lee, and Bill McCulloch. Robert Johnson: Lost and Found. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003. Prial, Dunstan. The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Rothenbuhler, Eric W. “For–the–Record Aesthetics and Robert Johnson’s Blues Style as a Product of Recorded Culture.” Popular Music 26.1 (2007): 65-81. Rothenbuhler, Eric W. “Myth and Collective Memory in the Case of Robert Johnson.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 24.3 (2007): 189-205. Schroeder, Patricia. Robert Johnson, Mythmaking and Contemporary American Culture (Music in American Life). Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Segalstad, Eric, and Josh Hunter. The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock and Roll. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009. Stewart, Jon. “Rock Climbing: Jon Stewart Concludes His Investigation of the Myths behind Robert Johnson.” Guitarist Magazine 327 (2010): 34. The Search for Robert Johnson. DVD. Sony Pictures, 1991. Talley, Ron. “Robert Johnson, 'Sweet Home Chicago', as It REALLY Sounded...” YouTube.com 2012. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHod3_yEWQ›. Wald, Elijah. Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues. London: HarperCollins, 2005. ———. The Robert Johnson Speed Recording Controversy. Elijah Wald — Writer, Musician 2012. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.elijahwald.com/johnsonspeed.html›. Wilde, John . “Robert Johnson Revelation Tells Us to Put the Brakes on the Blues: We've Been Listening to the Immortal 'King of the Delta Blues' at the Wrong Speed, But Now We Can Hear Him as He Intended.” The Guardian 2010. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/may/27/robert-johnson-blues›. Wolkewitz, M., A. Allignol, N. Graves, and A.G. Barnett. “Is 27 Really a Dangerous Age for Famous Musicians? Retrospective Cohort Study.” British Medical Journal 343 (2011): d7799. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d7799›.

15

Tregoning, William. "'Very Solo'." M/C Journal 7, no.5 (November1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2411.

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This article treads a fine line. I want to discuss the way that particular contemporary pop soloists talk about, and are talked about in terms of, authentic identity. And I want to use this to make an argument about the significance of those claims within a broader cultural dialogue about identity; specifically: that they demonstrate the persistent popular desirability of “authentic identity” in the face of its perceived theoretical indefensibility and supposed loss of significance. But I want to do all this without perpetuating the tendency for popular music scholarship to engage “authenticity” as the basis for assessing the relative merits of different musical forms. Rather than adjudicating on competing claims to authenticity, I want to ask: when specifically attached to identity, what does the claim to authenticity do? This paper investigates popular ways of speaking about the identities of three soloists: Britney Spears; Christina Aguilera; and Jennifer Lopez. All three combine aurally undemanding mass-market pop with a public persona organised under a rubric of authenticity. Irrespective of whether the claims made about the authenticity of their identities could be judged illegitimate, the repeated references to authenticity within this context engenders a taken-for-grantedness about its significance with regard to identity. As a way of describing this operation it seems useful to liberally adapt ideas advanced by Meaghan Morris and describe pop celebrities as operating like sites where anecdotes accumulate to establish a specific discursive context for identity. Morris writes that anecdotes are ‘functional’ in that they are: orientated futuristically towards the construction of a precise, local and social discursive context, of which the anecdote then functions as a mise en abyme (Morris 150). This is complex and parts of it require some re-engineering before it can be usefully adapted as a model for discussing celebrity. The “future orientation” operates somewhat differently in this context from how it operates within the kind of writing practice that Morris was seeking to promote. For Morris, the anecdote grounds an academic writing practice by smuggling in a day-to-day way of conceiving of the workings of the world. The “future orientation” is an invitation for a writing practice to engage in the kind of explication that could draw currently marginal or impossible ideas and experiences into a precise discursive context. This is different from the kind of operation that I want to describe. In the stories told about the authenticity of these pop celebrities there is similarly a “future orientation” but here it is one where constant evocation works toward amassing significance around a particular idea. Specifically, I am arguing that constant repetition of “authentic” and its cognates in thinking and speaking of these pop soloists makes that term appear crucial for identity. So this is a situation where very many anecdotes, derived from a common model of the way that identity could be said to be working, construct by virtue of their similarity a particular discursive context for identity. They work to actually form that context rather than simply inviting it. While each alone can serve as that discursive context’s mise en abyme, their role is not restricted to that. Each anecdote is less important in its singularity than it is as part of an accumulation. Spears, Aguilera and Lopez are repeatedly the subjects of anecdotes themed around the idea of authenticity — anecdotes which regularly employ the terms “real” or “realness.” The examples which I am about to give I am using advisedly, being aware of popular music scholarship’s repeated warnings about the dangers of the kind of scholarly analysis that gives too much regard to what musicians sing or say. I am not using these examples in order to seek to challenge or verify the truthfulness of the claims made in lyrics or interviews. My interest is more in examining the kinds of claims that are made. A Rolling Stone profile of Spears reveals that: “Real” is very important to Britney. Her upcoming movie, tentatively titled Not a Girl [released as Crossroads], is, in her estimation, “really real.” Sarandon is one of Britney’s favourite actresses because she “has a realness about her.” And one of her biggest pet peeves, she says after a moment’s thought, is “fake people.” (Eliscu 58) Similarly, Aguilera has observed of the content of her song “I’m OK” (2002) — which seems to address the domestic abuse she suffered in childhood — that ‘everything’s really real’ (quoted in Heath 55). In fact, she introduces her album with the part spoken, part sung “Stripped – Part One” (2002), which begins: Allow me to introduce myself I want you to come a little closer I’d like you to get to know me a little bit better Meet the real me. And Lopez has commented, while discussing her debut album On The 6 (1999): Someone said to me: “it’s so you. It couldn’t be anything but that. It’s natural – you’re not faking anything. This is who you are.” (Jennifer Lopez: Feelin’ So Good 2000) Whether or not each woman speaks or sings these words in earnest — irrespective of whether the words represent what she “really” thinks or feels — there is a persistent and significant reiteration of the idea of the “real” self. Morris observes that ‘anecdotes need not be true stories’ in order to operate but it is necessary that they ‘be functional in a given exchange’ (150). Adopting this idea, it is possible to circumvent the question of the truthfulness of these claims to being “real.” This is useful because it enables a description of how each anecdote need not itself be a true story in order to posit the “real” or the “authentic.” It is precisely this somewhat paradoxical potential that makes the anecdote so versatile a tool for the celebrity to claim “authentic” identity. Lopez, for example, sings in “Jenny From the Block” (2002) that staying real is so effortless for her that ‘it’s like breathing.’ She is simply asserting that she embodies a qualitatively better, more authentic way of being a person. At one level it is a patently ridiculous statement. But at another it is quite an effective mobilisation of “real” as a self-descriptive term, coming as it does in a context where there is no scope to argue the point. Had she written a philosophical paper on how real she was, there would be a clearer basis on which to challenge her claim. But instead she is using a medium — pop music — with obvious links neither to veracity nor “realness.” The supposed “inauthenticity” of the context is no bar on her claim and in fact has the effect of making it difficult to challenge. To claim, as Morris does, that ‘anecdotes need not be true stories’ (150) is, however, somewhat disingenuous. Certainly an anecdote can function allegorically even if its truthfulness is doubtful, but it is precisely a sense of the possibility that “it actually happened” that differentiates an anecdote from overtly fictional kinds of story. It is this possibility that enables anecdotes to function as what Morris describes as ‘allegorical expositions of a model of the way that the world can be said to be working’ (150). The actual person associated with the pop soloist’s story about authenticity enables that story to appear as an allegorical exposition of the real workings of the world. There is, for example, an actual person “Jennifer Lopez” who at least appears to embody “Jenny from the block.” This actual person is the guarantee of the allegory’s potential applicability to other actual people — people who might potentially include ourselves. I have chosen to focus on pop music soloists because they seem specially equipped to engender these kinds of anecdotes that work to allegorise what an identity might be. Their individuation is a constantly present and pressing issue. The appearance of unique identity is felt to be commercially necessary as a means for differentiating between the work of different soloists. Elaborate individuation is employed to guarantee this differentiation, encouraging the prevalence of anecdotes of authentically distinct identity. In addition to this, the lack of the group identity that a band might provide means that there is relatively little apparent mediation between the soloist’s personal identity and their music’s form and content. Lopez has described how: The music is just you. It’s you out there on your own… As a solo artist it’s you – very solo. (Jennifer Lopez: Feelin’ So Good 2000) While her comment is rather circular, that circularity usefully expresses how the ‘music’, the ‘you’ and the ‘artist’ appear indivisible when she is ‘out there’ on her own. The singularity of the source of the voice — it at least appears to come from just one person — adds to the hyper-individuation of the pop star; it makes her appear ‘very solo.’ This means that the songs do not even have to be explicitly about the self in order to appear as symptomatic of singular identity. The anecdotes told about the authentic identities of Spears, Aguilera and Lopez tend to associate authenticity either with their own control over their representation or with the lifelong persistence of childhood characteristics. These aspects are encapsulated in an interview in Esquire magazine, which is worth quoting extensively, in which Lopez describes how: People always ask me, “Have you changed from what you were?” And I’m always like, “No way!” And they find it so hard to believe. And I go, “Look, I’m not saying my life hasn’t changed. But I am still the person I started off as.” Has it affected me? Do things get weird? Yes. But I am still Jennifer. I did grow up poor… And now it’s different. It’s different because I worked hard to get here. And I never take it for granted. I really do realize, like, oh my gosh, I wanted to do this my whole life and now I’m able to do it. It feels amazing, you know what I mean? (Lopez in Sager 60) The implication of this kind of anecdote is that being authentic has made Lopez successful and now, her dreams having come true, she can revel in her success. Authenticity promises enviable kinds of pleasure. Even if this is a myth, it is a powerful and powerfully attractive one. This puts these anecdotes quite clearly at odds with a general tendency within cultural theory, where “authentic” has lost favour as a descriptive term and an alternative set of terms have been developed for describing identity as, variously; mobile, flexible, changeable, or performative. At the risk of dangerously complicating my argument at this late stage, it appears that these anecdotes about authentic identity serve for this academic tendency a function not dissimilar to Morris’s original intention for anecdotes. What I mean by this is that they invite the attempt to develop a discursive context for identity that could incorporate an account of what appears to be a persistent cultural attachment to authenticity. In serving this function, these anecdotes raise a series of questions with which I will conclude: Does the persistent desirability of authentic identity mean that the shift toward avowedly postmodern identities has been less pervasive than has been suggested elsewhere (that stopping to be certain kinds of selves is not happening all that quickly)? Or does it mean that despite the shift toward avowedly postmodern identities, ideals of identity are still imagined in ‘outdated’ terms (that the ways of describing things hasn’t caught up to the way things are)? Or is the maintenance of a mythical ideal of authenticity necessary to make palatable an existence within a changeable, temporary or mobile identity? Footnote What I am avoiding is the unproductive question: is the music “authentic”? Popular music scholarship has been profoundly influenced — haunted, perhaps — by the work of Theodor Adorno, who was profoundly antithetical towards popular music. Adorno’s main bone of contention was that, despite its regular and varied claims to authenticity, popular music was invariably — even inevitably — inauthentic (1976). Due in no small part to Adorno’s influence, the question of the relative authenticity of different musicians or musical forms has operated as a kind of touchstone in writing about popular music (Leppert 346-47). Charles Hamm provides a useful history and an explicit critique of the discourse of authenticity within writing about popular music (1995). The creation of hierarchies of authenticity serve partly, he writes, as a means of differentiating the author’s taste from the relative ignorance in which mass taste is seen to be formed (15). Hamm views this theoretical preoccupation as the result of the persistence of modernist narratives — particularly neo-Marxism — within popular music scholarship (23-27), underpinned by an assumption that ‘capitalist production negates “authentic” expression by certain groups’ (25). Popular music scholarship, he observes, has consequently privileged ‘marginal, oppositional, or so-called authentic genres or repertoires… Commercially viable music, if studied at all, is usually placed in an oppositional context’ (36). References Adorno, Theodor W. Introduction to the Sociology of Music. New York: Seabury Press, 1976. Aguilera, Christina. “Stripped – Part One.” Stripped. New York: RCA, 2002. —. “I’m OK.” Stripped. New York: RCA, 2002. Eliscu, Jenny. “Britney’s Just like a Woman But She Breaks Just like a Little Girl.” Rolling Stone, 13 Sep. 2001: 56. Hamm, Charles. Putting Popular Music in Its Place. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995. Heath, Chris. “Has Anyone Seen Christina?” Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2002, 50-5. Leppert, Richard. Essays on Music / Theodor W. Adorno. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. Lopez, Jennifer. “Jenny from The Block.” This Is Me… Then. New York: Epic, 2002. Lopez, Jennifer. On the 6. New York: Sony, 1999. Morris, Meaghan. “Banality in Cultural Studies.” What is Cultural Studies?: A Reader. Ed. John Storey. London: Arnold, 1997. 147-67. Sager, Mike. “What Does It Feel Like to Be Jennifer Lopez?” Esquire Aug. 2003: 60. Jennifer Lopez: Feelin’ So Good. Videorecording. Dir. Benny Medina. New York: Sony, 2000. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Tregoning, William. "'Very Solo': Anecdotes of Authentic Identity." M/C Journal 7.5 (2004). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/04-tregoning.php>. APA Style Tregoning, W. (Nov. 2004) "'Very Solo': Anecdotes of Authentic Identity," M/C Journal, 7(5). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/04-tregoning.php>.

16

Green, Lelia. "Sex." M/C Journal 5, no.6 (November1, 2002). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2000.

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This paper addresses that natural consort of love: sex. It particularly considers the absence of actual sex from mainstream popular culture and the marginalisation of 'fun' sex as p*rn, requiring its illicit circulation as ‘illegitimate’ videos. The absence of sex from films classified and screened in public venues (even to over-18s) prevents a discourse about actual sex informing the discourse of love and romance perpetuated through Hollywood movies. The value of a variety of representations of sexual practice in the context of a discussion of love, sex and romance in Western cinema was briefly illuminated for the few days that Baise-moi was legitimately screened in Australia. For all that love is one of the great universal themes, Western cinema tends to communicate this ‘finer feeling’ through recourse to romance narratives. Which is not to say that romantic representations of love are devoid of sex, just that that the cinematic convention is to indicate sex, without showing it. Indeed, without the actors 'doing it'. The peculiarity of this situation is not usually clear, however, because there is so little mainstream sex-cinema with which to compare the anodyne gyrations of romantic Hollywood. Which was where Baise-moi came in, briefly. Baise-moi is variously translated for English-speaking cinema audiences as 'f*ck me' (in Australia) and 'Rape me' (in the US, where, astonishingly, Rape me is seen as a less objectionable title than f*ck me.) Of the two titles, f*ck me is by far the cleverer and more authentically related to the meaning and content, whereas Rape me is a travesty, particularly given the shocking power of an extremely graphic and violent rape scene which initiates much of the succeeding violence. An early appeal by the Australian Attorney-General (to the Review Board) against the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s granting of an R rating meant that Baise-moi was hastily removed from Australian cinemas. The movie is, however, heavily reviewed on the web and readers are referred to commentaries such as those by Gary Morris and Frank Vigorito. The grounds on which Classification was refused were given as ‘strong depictions of violence’, ‘sexual violence’, ‘frequent, actual detailed sex scenes’ and ‘scenes which demean both women and men’. Violence, sexual violence and ‘scenes which demean’ are hardly uncommon in films (although it may be unusual that these demean even-handedly). If the amount of violence is nothing new, the sex was certainly different from the usual cinematic fare. Although this was not the first time that ‘unsimulated’ sex had been shown on the art-house big screen, the other major examples were not entirely similar. Romance was wordy, arguably feminist, and a long way from mindless sex-because-they-like-it. Intimacy 's ‘sex scenes are explicit but totally non p*rnographic, they’re painful, needy, unsatisfying except on an org*smic level’, according to Margaret Pomeranz, who reviewed the film for SBS. Baise-moi is different because, as Vigorito says, ‘please make no mistake that the two main characters in this film, the so-called French Thelma and Louise, certainly do want to f*ck’. (They also like to kill.) Baise-moi is often characterised as a quasi-feminist revenge movie where the two protagonists Manu (a p*rn star) and Nadine (a sex worker) seek revenge with (according to Morris) ‘ultimately more nihilism than party-hearty here, with the non-stop killings laid squarely at the doorstep of a society that’s dehumanized its citizens’. While the brutality depicted is mind-blowing (sometimes literally/visually) it is the sex that got the film banned, but not until after some 50,000 Australians had seen it. The elements that separate Baise-moi from Intimacy and Romance (apart from the extreme violence) is that the characters have (heterosexual) sex with a variety of partners, and sometimes do so just for fun. Further, although the Office of Film and Literature Classification ‘considers that the film has significant artistic and cultural merit’ (OFLC), one of the directors wrote the novel on which the film is based while the other director and the two stars are former p*rn industry workers. If Baise-moi had been accepted as cinema-worthy, where would the sex-on-the-screen factor have stopped for future classification of films? The popular culture approach to romance, love and sex moves comparatively smoothly from the first kiss to the rumpled sheets. Although the plot of a romantic film may consist in keeping the love and sex activities apart, the love is (almost invariably) requited. And, as films such as Notting Hill demonstrate, true love these days is communicated less frequently through the willingness of a couple to have sex (which generally goes without saying), and more often through commitment to the having and rearing of a shared child (whereas off-screen this may more usually be the commitment of a shared mortgage). Sex, in short, is popularly positioned as a precursor to love; as not entirely necessary (and certainly not sufficient) but very usually associated with the state of 'being in love'. It is comparatively rare to see any hesitation to engage in sex on the part of a film-portrayed loving couple, other than hurdles introduced through the intervention of outside forces. A rare example of thinking and talking before f*cking is The Other Sister , but this means it rates as an R in the States because of ‘thematic elements involving sex-related material’. In contrast, the film Notting Hill, where the characters played by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant hardly pause for breath once attraction is established, rates a PG-13 (‘for sexual content and brief strong language’). Thus it is all right for producers to have sex in a storyline, but any hesitation, or discussion, makes the film unsuited to younger audiences. Given that characters’ thinking about sex, and talking about sex, as part of (or preliminary to) having sex apparently increases the age at which the audience is allowed to see the film, perhaps it should not be surprising that actually showing sex about which the audience can then think and talk is almost entirely banned. Yet for a culture that associates sex so strongly with love, and celebrates love so thoroughly in film, television and literature (not to mention popular magazines such as Woman's Day, New Idea, New Weekly and Who), to be occasionally challenged by a film that includes actual sex acts seems not unreasonable, particularly when restricted to audiences of consenting adults. Ian McEwan's debut collection of short stories, First love, last rites explores this conundrum of 'the sex that shall only be acted, never performed' in a short story, 'co*cker at the theatre' (McEwan 57). The tale is about a theatrical production where the actors are new, and nude, and the theme of the play is copulation. It is a story of its time, mid-seventies, the resonating-hippie Age of Aquarius, when Hair still rocked. McEwan's naked couples are assembled by the play's director and then pressed together to begin the rhythmic moves required to complement the thumping musical score of GTC: ‘Grand Time Copulation’. The male and female actors are not near enough to each other, so they are spliced closer together: ‘When they began to move again their pubic hair rasped’ (57-8). The director is unimpressed by the result: ‘I know it's hard, but you have to look as if you're enjoying this thing.' (His voice rose.) 'Some people do, you know. It's a f*ck, you understand, not a funeral.' (His voice sank.) 'Let's have it again, with some enthusiasm this time.' However, all is not entirely well, after a good second beginning. ‘Them on the end, they're going too fast, what do you think?' [says the director to the stage manager] They watched together. It was true, the two who had been moving well, they were a little out of time ... 'My God,' said [the director] 'They're f*cking … It's disgusting and obscene … pull them apart.' (58-9). The issue raised here, as in the case of the removal of any classification from Baise-moi that effectively prevented further public screenings, is the double standard of a society that expends so much of its critical and cultural energies in exploring the nature of love, romance and sexual attraction but balks (horrified) at the representation of actual sex. Yet one of the values of a cinematic replay of 'unsimulated sex' is that it acts as a ‘reality check’ for all the mushy renditions of romance that form the mainstream representation of 'love' on-screen. So, if we want to see sex, should we not simply consume p*rnography? In modern-day Australia it is impossible to discuss depictions of live sex without conjuring up connotations of ‘p*rn’. p*rn, however, is not usually consumed in a manner or place that allows it to interrogate media messages from mainstream production houses and distributors. Watching p*rn, for example at home on video, removes it from a context in which it could realistically prompt a re-evaluation of the visual diet of love and sex Hollywood-style, an opportunity that was provided by Baise-moi during its temporary season. The comparative absence of on-screen sexual activity means that there is an absence of texts through which we can interrogate mainstream representations of lovemaking. Whereas the Eros Foundation aims to promote debate leading to ‘logical perspectives on sex and rational law reform of the sex industry’, and avoids using the term 'p*rnography' on its home page, it is hard to find any representations of unsimulated sex that are not classified as p*rn and consequently easily pigeon-holed as 'not relevant' to cultural debate except in general terms regarding (say) 'censorship' or 'the portrayal of women'. It is hard to know what Baise-moi might have said to Australian audiences about the relationship between sex, authenticity (Morris uses the term ‘trashy integrity’) and popular culture since the film was screened for only the briefest of intervals, and throughout that time the ‘hype’ surrounding it distracted audiences from any discussion other than would it/wouldn't it, and should it/shouldn't it, be banned. Hopefully, a future Attorney-General will allow the adults in this country to enjoy the same range of popular cultural inputs available to citizens in more liberal nations, and back the initial (liberal) decision of the OFLC. And what has love got to do with all this? Not much it seems, although doesn't popular culture ‘teach’ that one of the main uses for a love theme is to provide an excuse for some gratuitous sex? Perhaps, after all, it is time to cut to the chase and allow sex to be screened as a popular culture genre in its own right, without needing the excuse of a gratuitous love story. Works Cited McEwan, Ian. First love, last rites. London: Picador, 1975. 56-60. Morris, Gary. “Baise-moi. Feminist screed or fetish-f*ckathon? Best to flip a coin.” Lip Magazine 2001. http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revi... OFLC. Classification Review Board News release, 10 May 2002. http://www.oflc.gov.au/PDFs/RBBaiseMoi.pdf Pomeranz, Margaret. “Intimacy.” The Movie Show: Reviews. http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.... Vigorito, Frank. “Natural p*rn killers.” Offoffofffilm 2001. http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2001/baise... Filmography Baise-moi. Dirs. Virginie Despentes and CoRalie Trinh Thi. Dist. Film Fixx, 2000. Intimacy. Dir. Patrice Chereau. Dist. Palace Films, 2001. Notting Hill. Dir. Roger Michell. Dist. Universal Pictures, 1999. Romance. Dir. Catherine Breillat. Dist. Potential Films, 1999. The other sister. Dir. Gary Marshall. Dist. Touchstone Pictures, 1999. Links http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2001/baisemoi.php3 http://www.eros.com.au http://film.guardian.co.uk/censorship/news/0,11729,713540,00.html http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.php3?id=838 http://www.michaelbutler.com/hair http://www.oflc.gov.au/PDFs/RBBaiseMoi.pdf http://www.movie-source.com/no/othersister.shtml http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revimorris_128.shtml Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Green, Lelia. "Sex" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5.6 (2002). Dn Month Year < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0211/sex.php>. APA Style Green, L., (2002, Nov 20). Sex. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 5,(6). Retrieved Month Dn, Year, from http://www.media-culture.org.au/0211/sex.html

17

King, Ben. "It's a Scream." M/C Journal 1, no.5 (December1, 1998). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1733.

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Why do so many horror films feature the young, pretty and prosperous at the business end of a carving knife? A few examples include Scream 2 (1998), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Scream (1997), and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992). In fact, the propensity for Hollywood to portray the narcissistic bourgeoisie being deprived of their pretensions has been around since Murnau sent a real estate agent to a vampire's house in 1922. But there are fundamental differences between horror films like Nosferatu (1922) or Psycho (1961) and the films mentioned above. The purpose of this essay is to suggest that in recent years Hollywood horror narratives have moved away from the tradition of legitimising violence for the viewer who wishes to participate in a world of aggression without feelings of remorse or guilt (Tudor), in favour of attending to the fears associated with a struggling middle class and dwindling American Puritanism. This feature of the modern horror narrative involves identical characterisation of both the victims and the stalkers: they are young, affluent, attractive, and completely desensitised to trauma though hyper-sensitive to materialism and mass media flippancy. In a modern sub-genre of the horror film, defined by Barry Keith Grant as 'yuppie horror' (288), we are seeing narrative representations of economic success and physical beauty involved in the time honoured murderous passage from Order->Disorder->Order. Exaggerated portrayals of economic and physical superiority is a staple of the horror genre -- it helps to establish a veneer of safety which exists only to be shattered. The distinguishing feature of films such as Wes Craven's Scream is that the killers are not hideous misfits, they are in fact equal in beauty and social stature to their victims. The other quality which defines the yuppie horror is a visual and narrative attention to material wealth and contrived suburban perfection and the ineffectuality of this world at preventing the cathartic violent acts from occurring. In both Scream and Pacific Heights typical symbols of post-modern affluence such as cars, wide screen televisions and plush interior design get destroyed during the bloody process of re-establishing a tenuous order. Prior to the unfolding of this crucial aspect of the plot, important relations and similarities in lifestyle are established between the victims' way of life and that of the killer(s). This is a dramatic shift away from the old school tactic of gradually revealing a dark past which emphatically distances the heroes from the stalkers in a way that preserves the sanctity of the American suburban dream defined by films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street. The modern horror relies on the audience's understanding that the killers occupy the same exaggeratedly cosy space that the victims do. In most cases the means through which films such as Scream 'address the anxieties of an affluent culture in a period of prolonged recession' (Grant 280) involves the young and beautiful being stripped of their material shelter not by blue collar hicks or monsters but by other yuppies turned playfully psychotic. This revamping of the horror genre plays on strong, new concerns about capitalist ideology and media culture, and informs the audience about what effect this ideology is having on contemporary Western emotional life. The 'playfulness' mentioned above operates on various levels in most films of the genre; typically the yuppie-killers simply make it obvious they are enjoying a kind of selfish revelry in a rare immaterial act. Scream, on the other hand, is the best example of a new movement in the yuppie horror sub-genre which maintains a discreet distance from traditional horror via an unnerving joviality which pervades the script, performances and look of the film. The film is simultaneously satirical and diegetically faithful to the genre it debunks. Scream involves well off high school students treating the advent of mass murder in their leafy town as an opportunity to playfully act out clichéd roles which they also fulfil as legitimate victims. One perky cynic remarks: 'I see myself as sort of a young Meg Ryan, but with my luck I'll get Tori Spelling'. The film makes continual references to other films of the genre including those made by Craven himself. Scream has a narrative quality akin to the grim pleasures pursued by Patrick Bateman in the notorious novel by Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho (1991). In the same manner as Ellis's psycho fetishises his possessions to disavow (justify?) the horrifying brutality of his favourite pastime of indiscriminate slaying, so too do both the victims and the killers of Scream fetishise horror films and media representations of thrill killing. Make no mistake, Scream is a horror film and extremely gory. Its appeal depends on its self-referential and dichotomous relationship with the viewer who is encouraged to reject the conventions of horror via the playfulness of its tone, as well as be horrified by the frequent disembowelling of innocents. In this way, the film cheats us: there is something transcendental about the graphic violence which makes it impossible for Scream to detach itself from the conventions of the horror genre. The playful behaviour of both the protagonists and the director is a very dark message that illustrates the vanishing potential of film to resolve tensions between conscious and unconscious attitudes towards media saturation and trash culture. Extremely violent representations of affluent American society during a period of both economic and moral recession in Scream promote the notion that the sanctimonious, puritanical institutions of the middle class are at risk of being exposed due to the desensitising nature of television media, personified in the film by the aggressive and bloodthirsty reporter Courtney Cox. It is partially her jocular disavowal of the threat that makes Scream such an interesting film, much more so than similar representations of media in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1996) due to Cox's clever intertextual link to yuppie heaven in the huge television sit com, Friends. This idea of symbolising or disguising threats to the American Way has always been a driving force in Hollywood production. The Western is perhaps the most conspicuous, where staunchly defended pastoral values serve to undermine a perceived social threat posed by the industrial revolution (Wark 10). Other examples include the textualisation of a 'red menace' from Mars in SF films to reinforce Cold War paranoia, and the use of the musical during the thirties distracted audiences from the harsh realities of the Depression. Horror films have traditionally drawn on trauma from the stalker's childhood which is commemorated in the act of killing, and according to revisionist Freudian criticism this representation acts on the predominantly adolescent viewers' voyeuristic desires for psychosexual empowerment over childhood (Tudor 130). The advent of the yuppie horror has corrupted this crucial distinction between the killer and the victim, due to the killer's participation in the same affluent and material world which dominates their lives. This materialism includes the media and their dangerously superficial retelling of tragic events. The anxieties encoded in Scream and its spin-offs activate, through the violence adopted by psychologically identical characters, a new regression similar to the Freudian one mentioned above. The crucial difference is that the trauma stems from a desensitisation to media representation of real events, ultimately realised in the apparent emotional stability of the affluent and beautiful who playfully slaughter the inhabitants of their own, false world. References Grant, B. K. "Rich and Strange: The Yuppie Horror Film." Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. Eds. Steve Neale and Murray Smith. New York: Routledge, 1988. Tudor, A. Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Monster Movie. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Wark, M. "Technofear 2." 21·C 8 (1992): 10. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Ben King. "It's a Scream: Playful Murder and the Ideology of Yuppie Horror." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 1.5 (1998). [your date of access] <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9812/scream.php>. Chicago style: Ben King, "It's a Scream: Playful Murder and the Ideology of Yuppie Horror," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 1, no. 5 (1998), <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9812/scream.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Ben King. (1998) It's a scream: playful murder and the ideology of yuppie horror. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 1(5). <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9812/scream.php> ([your date of access]).

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Kellner, Douglas. "Engaging Media Spectacle." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2202.

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In the contemporary era, media spectacle organizes and mobilizes economic life, political conflict, social interactions, culture, and everyday life. My recently published book Media Spectacle explores a profusion of developments in hi-tech culture, media-driven society, and spectacle politics. Spectacle culture involves everything from film and broadcasting to Internet cyberculture and encompasses phenomena ranging from elections to terrorism and to the media dramas of the moment. For ‘Logo’, I am accordingly sketching out briefly a terrain I probe in detail in the book from which these examples are taken.1 During the past decades, every form of culture and significant forms of social life have become permeated by the logic of the spectacle. Movies are bigger and more spectacular than ever, with high-tech special effects expanding the range of cinematic spectacle. Television channels proliferate endlessly with all-day movies, news, sports, specialty niches, re-runs of the history of television, and whatever else can gain an audience. The rock spectacle reverberates through radio, television, CDs, computers networks, and extravagant concerts. The Internet encircles the world in the spectacle of an interactive and multimedia cyberculture. Media culture excels in creating megaspectacles of sports championships, political conflicts, entertainment, "breaking news" and media events, such as the O.J. Simpson trial, the Death of Princess Diana, or the sex or murder scandal of the moment. Megaspectacle comes as well to dominate party politics, as the political battles of the day, such as the Clinton sex scandals and impeachment, the 36 Day Battle for the White House after Election 2000, and the September 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent Terror War. These dramatic media passion plays define the politics of the time, and attract mass audiences to their programming, hour after hour, day after day. The concept of "spectacle" derives from French Situationist theorist Guy Debord's 1972 book Society of the Spectacle. "Spectacle," in Debord's terms, "unifies and explains a great diversity of apparent phenomena" (Debord 1970: #10). In one sense, it refers to a media and consumer society, organized around the consumption of images, commodities, and spectacles. Spectacles are those phenomena of media culture which embody contemporary society's basic values, and dreams and nightmares, putting on display dominant hopes and fears. They serve to enculturate individuals into its way of life, and dramatize its conflicts and modes of conflict resolution. They include sports events, political campaigns and elections, and media extravaganzas like sensational murder trials, or the Bill Clinton sex scandals and impeachment spectacle (1998-1999). As we enter a new millennium, the media are becoming ever more technologically dazzling and are playing an increasingly central role in everyday life. Under the influence of a postmodern image culture, seductive spectacles fascinate the denizens of the media and consumer society and involve them in the semiotics of a new world of entertainment, information, a semiotics of a new world of entertainment, information, and drama, which deeply influence thought and action. For Debord: "When the real world changes into simple images, simple images become real beings and effective motivations of a hypnotic behavior. The spectacle as a tendency to make one see the world by means of various specialized mediations (it can no longer be grasped directly), naturally finds vision to be the privileged human sense which the sense of touch was for other epochs; the most abstract, the most mystifiable sense corresponds to the generalized abstraction of present day society" (#18). Today, however, I would maintain it is the multimedia spectacle of sight, sound, touch, and, coming to you soon, smell that constitutes the multidimensional sense experience of the new interactive spectacle. For Debord, the spectacle is a tool of pacification and depoliticization; it is a "permanent opium war" (#44) which stupefies social subjects and distracts them from the most urgent task of real life -- recovering the full range of their human powers through creative praxis. The concept of the spectacle is integrally connected to the concept of separation and passivity, for in passively consuming spectacles, one is separated from actively producing one's life. Capitalist society separates workers from the products of their labor, art from life, and consumption from human needs and self-directing activity, as individuals passively observe the spectacles of social life from within the privacy of their homes (#25 and #26). The situationist project by contrast involved an overcoming of all forms of separation, in which individuals would directly produce their own life and modes of self-activity and collective practice. Since Debord's theorization of the society of the spectacle in the 1960s and 1970s, spectacle culture has expanded in every area of life. In the culture of the spectacle, commercial enterprises have to be entertaining to prosper and as Michael J. Wolf (1999) argues, in an "entertainment economy," business and fun fuse, so that the E-factor is becoming major aspect of business.2 Via the "entertainmentization" of the economy, television, film, theme parks, video games, casinos, and so forth become major sectors of the national economy. In the U.S., the entertainment industry is now a $480 billion industry, and consumers spend more on having fun than on clothes or health care (Wolf 1999: 4).3 In a competitive business world, the "fun factor" can give one business the edge over another. Hence, corporations seek to be more entertaining in their commercials, their business environment, their commercial spaces, and their web sites. Budweiser ads, for instance, feature talking frogs who tell us nothing about the beer, but who catch the viewers' attention, while Taco Bell deploys a talking dog, and Pepsi uses Star Wars characters. Buying, shopping, and dining out are coded as an "experience," as businesses adopt a theme-park style. Places like the Hard Rock Cafe and the House of Blues are not renowned for their food, after all; people go there for the ambience, to buy clothing, and to view music and media memorabilia. It is no longer good enough just to have a web site, it has to be an interactive spectacle, featuring not only products to buy, but music and videos to download, games to play, prizes to win, travel information, and "links to other cool sites." To succeed in the ultracompetitive global marketplace, corporations need to circulate their image and brand name so business and advertising combine in the promotion of corporations as media spectacles. Endless promotion circulates the McDonald’s Golden Arches, Nike’s Swoosh, or the logos of Apple, Intel, or Microsoft. In the brand wars between commodities, corporations need to make their logos or “trademarks” a familiar signpost in contemporary culture. Corporations place their logos on their products, in ads, in the spaces of everyday life, and in the midst of media spectacles like important sports events, TV shows, movie product placement, and wherever they can catch consumer eyeballs, to impress their brand name on a potential buyer. Consequently, advertising, marketing, public relations and promotion are an essential part of commodity spectacle in the global marketplace. Celebrity too is manufactured and managed in the world of media spectacle. Celebrities are the icons of media culture, the gods and goddesses of everyday life. To become a celebrity requires recognition as a star player in the field of media spectacle, be it sports, entertainment, or politics. Celebrities have their handlers and image managers to make sure that their celebrities continue to be seen and positively perceived by publics. Just as with corporate brand names, celebrities become brands to sell their Madonna, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, or Jennifer Lopez product and image. In a media culture, however, celebrities are always prey to scandal and thus must have at their disposal an entire public relations apparatus to manage their spectacle fortunes, to make sure their clients not only maintain high visibility but keep projecting a positive image. Of course, within limits, “bad” and transgressions can also sell and so media spectacle contains celebrity dramas that attract public attention and can even define an entire period, as when the O.J. Simpson murder trials and Bill Clinton sex scandals dominated the media in the mid and late 1990s. Entertainment has always been a prime field of the spectacle, but in today's infotainment society, entertainment and spectacle have entered into the domains of the economy, politics, society, and everyday life in important new ways. Building on the tradition of spectacle, contemporary forms of entertainment from television to the stage are incorporating spectacle culture into their enterprises, transforming film, television, music, drama, and other domains of culture, as well as producing spectacular new forms of culture such as cyberspace, multimedia, and virtual reality. For Neil Gabler, in an era of media spectacle, life itself is becoming like a movie and we create our own lives as a genre like film, or television, in which we become "at once performance artists in and audiences for a grand, ongoing show" (1998: 4). On Gabler’s view, we star in our own "lifies," making our lives into entertainment acted out for audiences of our peers, following the scripts of media culture, adopting its role models and fashion types, its style and look. Seeing our lives in cinematic terms, entertainment becomes for Gabler "arguably the most pervasive, powerful and ineluctable force of our time--a force so overwhelming that it has metastasized into life" to such an extent that it is impossible to distinguish between the two (1998: 9). As Gabler sees it, Ralph Lauren is our fashion expert; Martha Stewart designs our sets; Jane Fonda models our shaping of our bodies; and Oprah Winfrey advises us on our personal problems.4 Media spectacle is indeed a culture of celebrity who provide dominant role models and icons of fashion, look, and personality. In the world of spectacle, celebrity encompasses every major social domain from entertainment to politics to sports to business. An ever-expanding public relations industry hypes certain figures, elevating them to celebrity status, and protects their positive image in the never-ending image wars and dangers that a celebrity will fall prey to the machinations of negative-image and thus lose celebrity status, and/or become figures of scandal and approbation, as will some of the players and institutions that I examine in Media Spectacle (Kellner 2003). Sports has long been a domain of the spectacle with events like the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowl, World Soccer Cup, and NBA championships attracting massive audiences, while generating sky-high advertising rates. These cultural rituals celebrate society's deepest values (i.e. competition, winning, success, and money), and corporations are willing to pay top dollar to get their products associated with such events. Indeed, it appears that the logic of the commodity spectacle is inexorably permeating professional sports which can no longer be played without the accompaniment of cheerleaders, giant mascots who clown with players and spectators, and raffles, promotions, and contests that feature the products of various sponsors. Sports stadiums themselves contain electronic reproduction of the action, as well as giant advertisem*nts for various products that rotate for maximum saturation -- previewing environmental advertising in which entire urban sites are becoming scenes to boost consumption spectacles. Arenas, like the United Center in Chicago, America West Arena in Phoenix, on Enron Field in Houston are named after corporate sponsors. Of course, after major corporate scandals or collapse, like the Enron spectacle, the ballparks must be renamed! The Texas Ranger Ballpark in Arlington, Texas supplements its sports arena with a shopping mall, office buildings, and a restaurant in which for a hefty price one can watch the athletic events while eating and drinking.5 The architecture of the Texas Rangers stadium is an example of the implosion of sports and entertainment and postmodern spectacle. A man-made lake surrounds the stadium, the corridor inside is modeled after Chartes Cathedral, and the structure is made of local stone that provides the look of the Texas Capitol in Austin. Inside there are Texas longhorn cattle carvings, panels of Texas and baseball history, and other iconic signifiers of sports and Texas. The merging of sports, entertainment, and local spectacle is now typical in sports palaces. Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, for instance, "has a three-level mall that includes places where 'fans can get a trim at the barber shop, do their banking and then grab a cold one at the Budweiser brew pub, whose copper kettles rise three stories. There is even a climbing wall for kids and showroom space for car dealerships'" (Ritzer 1998: 229). Film has long been a fertile field of the spectacle, with "Hollywood" connoting a world of glamour, publicity, fashion, and excess. Hollywood film has exhibited grand movie palaces, spectacular openings with searchlights and camera-popping paparazzi, glamorous Oscars, and stylish hi-tech film. While epic spectacle became a dominant genre of Hollywood film from early versions of The Ten Commandments through Cleopatra and 2001 in the 1960s, contemporary film has incorporated the mechanics of spectacle into its form, style, and special effects. Films are hyped into spectacle through advertising and trailers which are ever louder, more glitzy, and razzle-dazzle. Some of the most popular films of the late 1990s were spectacle films, including Titanic, Star Wars -- Phantom Menace, Three Kings, and Austin Powers, a spoof of spectacle, which became one of the most successful films of summer 1999. During Fall 1999, there was a cycle of spectacles, including Topsy Turvy, Titus, Cradle Will Rock, Sleepy Hollow, The Insider, and Magnolia, with the latter featuring the biblical spectacle of the raining of frogs in the San Fernando Valley, in an allegory of the decadence of the entertainment industry and deserved punishment for its excesses. The 2000 Academy Awards were dominated by the spectacle Gladiator, a mediocre film that captured best picture award and best acting award for Russell Crowe, thus demonstrating the extent to which the logic of the spectacle now dominates Hollywood film. Some of the most critically acclaimed and popular films of 2001 are also hi-tech spectacle, such as Moulin Rouge, a film spectacle that itself is a delirious ode to spectacle, from cabaret and the brothel to can-can dancing, opera, musical comedy, dance, theater, popular music, and film. A postmodern pastiche of popular music styles and hits, the film used songs and music ranging from Madonna and the Beatles to Dolly Parton and Kiss. Other 2001 film spectacles include Pearl Harbor, which re-enacts the Japanese attack on the U.S. that propelled the country to enter World War II, and that provided a ready metaphor for the September 11 terror attacks. Major 2001 film spectacles range from David Lynch’s postmodern surrealism in Mulholland Drive to Steven Spielberg’s blending of his typically sentimental spectacle of the family with the formalist rigor of Stanley Kubrick in A.I. And the popular 2001 military film Black-Hawk Down provided a spectacle of American military heroism which some critics believed sugar-coated the actual problems with the U.S. military intervention in Somalia, causing worries that a future U.S. adventure by the Bush administration and Pentagon would meet similar problems. There were reports, however, that in Somalian cinemas there were loud cheers as the Somalians in the film shot down the U.S. helicopter, and pursued and killed American soldiers, attesting to growing anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world against Bush administration policies. Television has been from its introduction in the 1940s a promoter of consumption spectacle, selling cars, fashion, home appliances, and other commodities along with consumer life-styles and values. It is also the home of sports spectacle like the Super Bowl or World Series, political spectacles like elections (or more recently, scandals), entertainment spectacle like the Oscars or Grammies, and its own spectacles like breaking news or special events. Following the logic of spectacle entertainment, contemporary television exhibits more hi-tech glitter, faster and glitzier editing, computer simulations, and with cable and satellite television, a fantastic array of every conceivable type of show and genre. TV is today a medium of spectacular programs like The X-Files or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and spectacles of everyday life such as MTV's The Real World and Road Rules, or the globally popular Survivor and Big Brother series. Real life events, however, took over TV spectacle in 2000-2001 in, first, an intense battle for the White House in a dead-heat election, that arguably constitutes one of the greatest political crimes and scandals in U.S. history (see Kellner 2001). After months of the Bush administration pushing the most hardright political agenda in memory and then deadlocking as the Democrats took control of the Senate in a dramatic party re-affiliation of Vermont’s Jim Jeffords, the world was treated to the most horrifying spectacle of the new millennium, the September 11 terror attacks and unfolding Terror War that has so far engulfed Afghanistan and Iraq. These events promise an unending series of deadly spectacle for the foreseeable future.6 Hence, we are emerging into a new culture of media spectacle that constitutes a novel configuration of economy, society, politics, and everyday life. It involves new cultural forms, social relations, and modes of experience. It is producing an ever-proliferating and expanding spectacle culture with its proliferating media forms, cultural spaces, and myriad forms of spectacle. It is evident in the U.S. as the new millennium unfolds and may well constitute emergent new forms of global culture. Critical social theory thus faces important challenges in theoretically mapping and analyzing these emergent forms of culture and society and the ways that they may contain novel forms of domination and oppression, as well as potential for democratization and social justice. Works Cited Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red, 1967. Gabler, Neil. Life the Movie. How Entertainment Conquered Reality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. Kellner, Douglas. Grand Theft 2000. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001. Kellner, Douglas. From 9/11 to Terror War: Dangers of the Bush Legacy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003. Kellner, Douglas. Media Spectacle. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. Ritzer, George. The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions. Thousand Oaks, Cal. and London: Sage, 1998. Wolf, Michael J. Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces are Transforming Our Lives. New York: Times Books, 1999. Notes 1 See Douglas Kellner, Media Spectacle. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. 2 Wolf's book is a detailed and useful celebration of the "entertainment economy," although he is a shill for the firms and tycoons that he works for and celebrates them in his book. Moreover, while entertainment is certainly an important component of the infotainment economy, it is an exaggeration to say that it drives it and is actually propelling it, as Wolf repeatedly claims. Wolf also downplays the negative aspects of the entertainment economy, such as growing consumer debt and the ups and downs of the infotainment stock market and vicissitudes of the global economy. 3 Another source notes that "the average American household spent $1,813 in 1997 on entertainment -- books, TV, movies, theater, toys -- almost as much as the $1,841 spent on health care per family, according to a survey by the US Labor Department." Moreover, "the price we pay to amuse ourselves has, in some cases, risen at a rate triple that of inflation over the past five years" (USA Today, April 2, 1999: E1). The NPD Group provided a survey that indicated that the amount of time spent on entertainment outside of the home –- such as going to the movies or a sport event – was up 8% from the early to the late 1990s and the amount of time in home entertainment, such as watching television or surfing the Internet, went up 2%. Reports indicate that in a typical American household, people with broadband Internet connections spend 22% more time on all-electronic media and entertainment than the average household without broadband. See “Study: Broadband in homes changes media habits” (PCWORLD.COM, October 11, 2000). 4 Gabler’s book is a synthesis of Daniel Boorstin, Dwight Macdonald, Neil Poster, Marshall McLuhan, and other trendy theorists of media culture, but without the brilliance of a Baudrillard, the incisive criticism of an Adorno, or the understanding of the deeper utopian attraction of media culture of a Bloch or Jameson. Likewise, Gabler does not, a la cultural studies, engage the politics of representation, or its economics and political economy. He thus ignores mergers in the culture industries, new technologies, the restructuring of capitalism, globalization, and shifts in the economy that are driving the impetus toward entertainment. Gabler does get discuss how new technologies are creating new spheres of entertainment and forms of experience and in general describes rather than theorizes the trends he is engaging. 5 The project was designed and sold to the public in part through the efforts of the son of a former President, George W. Bush. Young Bush was bailed out of heavy losses in the Texas oil industry in the 1980s by his father's friends and used his capital gains, gleaned from what some say as illicit insider trading, to purchase part-ownership of a baseball team to keep the wayward son out of trouble and to give him something to do. The soon-to-be Texas governor, and future President of the United States, sold the new stadium to local taxpayers, getting them to agree to a higher sales tax to build the stadium which would then become the property of Bush and his partners. This deal allowed Bush to generate a healthy profit when he sold his interest in the Texas Rangers franchise and to buy his Texas ranch, paid for by Texas tax-payers (for sources on the scandalous life of George W. Bush and his surprising success in politics, see Kellner 2001 and the further discussion of Bush Jr. in Chapter 6). 6 See Douglas Kellner, From 9/11 to Terror War: Dangers of the Bush Legacy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Kellner, Douglas. "Engaging Media Spectacle " M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/09-mediaspectacle.php>. APA Style Kellner, D. (2003, Jun 19). Engaging Media Spectacle . M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/09-mediaspectacle.php>

19

Hill, Wes. "Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers: From Alternative to Hipster." M/C Journal 20, no.1 (March15, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1192.

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IntroductionThe 2009 American film Trash Humpers, directed by Harmony Korine, was released at a time when the hipster had become a ubiquitous concept, entering into the common vernacular of numerous cultures throughout the world, and gaining significant press, social media and academic attention (see Žižek; Arsel and Thompson; Greif et al.; Stahl; Ouellette; Reeve; Schiermer; Maly and Varis). Trash Humpers emerged soon after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis triggered Occupy movements in numerous cities, aided by social media platforms, reported on by blogs such as Gawker, and stylized by multi-national youth-subculture brands such as Vice, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and a plethora of localised variants.Korine’s film, which is made to resemble found VHS footage of old-aged vandals, epitomises the ironic, retro stylizations and “counterculture-meets-kitsch” aesthetics so familiar to hipster culture. As a creative stereotype from 1940s and ‘50s jazz and beatnik subcultures, the hipster re-emerged in the twenty-first century as a negative embodiment of alternative culture in the age of the Internet. As well as plumbing the recent past for things not yet incorporated into contemporary marketing mechanisms, the hipster also signifies the blurring of irony and authenticity. Such “outsiderness as insiderness” postures can be regarded as a continuation of the marginality-from-the-centre logic of cool capitalism that emerged after World War Two. Particularly between 2007 and 2015, the post-postmodern concept of the hipster was a resonant cultural trope in Western and non-Western cultures alike, coinciding with the normalisation of the new digital terrain and the establishment of mobile social media as an integral aspect of many people’s daily lives. While Korine’s 79-minute feature could be thought of as following in the schlocky footsteps of the likes of Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects (2006), it is decidedly more arthouse, and more attuned to the influence of contemporary alternative media brands and independent film history alike – as if the love child of Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1963) and Vice Video, the latter having been labelled as “devil-may-care hipsterism” (Carr). Upon release, Trash Humpers was described by Gene McHugh as “a mildly hip take on Jackass”; by Mike D’Angelo as “an empty hipster pose”; and by Aaron Hillis as either “the work of an insincere hipster or an eccentric provocateur”. Lacking any semblance of a conventional plot, Trash Humpers essentially revolves around four elderly-looking protagonists – three men and a woman – who document themselves with a low-quality video camera as they go about behaving badly in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, where Korine still lives. They cackle eerily to themselves as they try to stave off boredom, masturbating frantically on rubbish bins, defecating and drinking alcohol in public, fellating foliage, smashing televisions, playing ten-pin bowling, lighting firecrackers and telling gay “hate” jokes to camera with no punchlines. In one purposefully undramatic scene half-way through the film, the humpers are shown in the aftermath of an attack on a man wearing a French maid’s outfit; he lies dead in a pool of blood on their kitchen floor with a hammer at his feet. The humpers are consummate “bad” performers in every sense of the term, and they are joined by a range of other, apparently lower-class, misfits with whom they stage tap dance routines and repetitively sing nursery-rhyme-styled raps such as: “make it, make it, don’t break it; make it, make it, don’t fake it; make it, make it, don’t take it”, which acts as a surrogate theme song for the film. Korine sometimes depicts his main characters on crutches or in a wheelchair, and a baby doll is never too far away from the action, as a silent and Surrealist witness to their weird, sinister and sometimes very funny exploits. The film cuts from scene to scene as if edited on a video recorder, utilising in-house VHS titling sequences, audio glitches and video static to create the sense that one is engaging voyeuristically with a found video document rather than a scripted movie. Mainstream AlternativesAs a viewer of Trash Humpers, one has to try hard to suspend disbelief if one is to see the humpers as genuine geriatric peeping Toms rather than as hipsters in old-man masks trying to be rebellious. However, as Korine’s earlier films such as Gummo (1997) attest, he clearly delights in blurring the line between failure and transcendence, or, in this case, between pretentious art-school bravado and authentic redneck ennui. As noted in a review by Jeannette Catsoulis, writing for the New York Times: “Much of this is just so much juvenile posturing, but every so often the screen freezes into something approximating beauty: a blurry, spaced-out, yellow-green landscape, as alien as an ancient photograph”. Korine has made a career out of generating this wavering uncertainty in his work, polarising audiences with a mix of critical, cinema-verité styles and cynical exploitations. His work has consistently revelled in ethical ambiguities, creating environments where teenagers take Ritalin for kicks, kill cats, wage war with their families and engage in acts of sexual deviancy – all of which are depicted with a photographer’s eye for the uncanny.The elusive and contradictory aspects of Korine’s work – at once ugly and beautiful, abstract and commercial, pessimistic and nostalgic – are evident not just in films such as Gummo, Julien Donkey Boy (1999) and Mister Lonely (2007) but also in his screenplay for Kids (1995), his performance-like appearances on The Tonight Show with David Letterman (1993-2015) and in publications such as A Crackup at the Race Riots (1998) and Pass the Bitch Chicken (2001). As well as these outputs, Korine is also a painter who is represented by Gagosian Gallery – one of the world’s leading art galleries – and he has directed numerous music videos, documentaries and commercials throughout his career. More than just update of the traditional figure of the auteur, Korine, instead, resembles a contemporary media artist whose avant-garde and grotesque treatments of Americana permeate almost everything he does. Korine wrote the screenplay for Kids when he was just 19, and subsequently built his reputation on the paradoxical mainstreaming of alternative culture in the 1990s. This is exemplified by the establishment of music and film genres such “alternative” and “independent”; the popularity of the slacker ethos attributed to Generation X; the increased visibility of alternative press zines; the birth of grunge in fashion and music; and the coining of “cool hunting” – a bottom-up market research phenomenon that aimed to discover new trends in urban subcultures for the purpose of mass marketing. Key to “alternative culture”, and its related categories such as “indie” and “arthouse”, is the idea of evoking artistic authenticity while covertly maintaining a parasitic relationship with the mainstream. As Holly Kruse notes in her account of the indie music scenes of the 1990s, which gained tremendous popularity in the wake of grunge bands such as Nirvana: without dominant, mainstream musics against which to react, independent music cannot be independent. Its existence depends upon dominant music structures and practices against which to define itself. Indie music has therefore been continually engaged in an economic and ideological struggle in which its ‘outsider’ status is re-examined, re-defined, and re-articulated to sets of musical practices. (Kruse 149)Alternative culture follows a similar, highly contentious, logic, appearing as a nebulous, authentic and artistic “other” whose exponents risk being entirely defined by the mainstream markets they profess to oppose. Kids was directed by the artist cum indie-director Larry Clark, who discovered Korine riding his skateboard with a group of friends in New York’s Washington Square in the early 1990s, before commissioning him to write a script. The then subcultural community of skating – which gained prominence in the 1990s amidst the increased visibility of “alternative sports” – provides an important backdrop to the film, which documents a group of disaffected New York teenagers at a time of the Aids crisis in America. Korine has been active in promoting the DIY ethos, creativity and anti-authoritarian branding of skate culture since this time – an industry that, in its attempts to maintain a non-mainstream profile while also being highly branded, has become emblematic of the category of “alternative culture”. Korine has undertaken commercial projects with an array skate-wear brands, but he is particularly associated with Supreme, a so-called “guerrilla fashion” label originating in 1994 that credits Clark and other 1990s indie darlings, and Korine cohorts, Chloë Sevigny and Terry Richardson, as former models and collaborators (Williams). The company is well known for its designer skateboard decks, its collaborations with prominent contemporary visual artists, its hip-hop branding and “inscrutable” web videos. It is also well known for its limited runs of new clothing lines, which help to stoke demand through one-offs – blending street-wear accessibility with the restricted-market and anti-authoritarian sensibility of avant-garde art.Of course, “alternative culture” poses a notorious conundrum for analysis, involving highly subjective demarcations of “mainstream” from “subversive” culture, not to mention “genuine subversion” from mere “corporate alternatives”. As Pierre Bourdieu has argued, the roots of alternative culture lie in the Western tradition of the avant-garde and the “aesthetic gaze” that developed in the nineteenth century (Field 36). In analysing the modernist notion of advanced cultural practice – where art is presented as an alternative to bourgeois academic taste and to the common realm of cultural commodities – Bourdieu proposed a distinction between two types of “fields”, or logics of cultural production. Alternative culture follows what Bourdieu called “the field of restricted production”, which adheres to “art for art’s sake” ideals, where audiences are targeted as if like-minded peers (Field 50). In contrast, the “field of large-scale production” reflects the commercial imperatives of mainstream culture, in which goods are produced for the general public at large. The latter field of large-scale production tends to service pre-established markets, operating in response to public demand. Furthermore, whereas success in the field of restricted production is often indirect, and latent – involving artists who create niche markets without making any concessions to those markets – success in the field of large-scale production is typically more immediate and quantifiable (Field 39). Here we can see that central to the branding of “alternative culture” is the perceived refusal to conform to popular taste and the logic of capitalism more generally is. As Supreme founder James Jebbia stated about his brand in a rare interview: “The less known the better” (Williams). On this, Bourdieu states that, in the field of restricted production, the fundamental principles of all ordinary economies are inversed to create a “loser wins” scenario (Field 39). Profit and cultural esteem become detrimental attributes in this context, potentially tainting the integrity and marginalisation on which alternative products depend. As one ironic hipster t-shirt puts it: “Nothing is any good if other people like it” (Diesel Sweeties).Trash HipstersIn abandoning linear narrative for rough assemblages of vignettes – or “moments” – recorded with an unsteady handheld camera, Trash Humpers positions itself in ironic opposition to mainstream filmmaking, refusing the narrative arcs and unwritten rules of Hollywood film, save for its opening and closing credits. Given Korine’s much publicized appreciation of cinema pioneers, we can understand Trash Humpers as paying homage to independent and DIY film history, including Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, William Eggleston’s Stranded in Canton (1973), Andy Warhol’s and Paul Morrissey’s Lonesome Cowboys (1967) and Trash (1970), and John Waters’s Pink Flamingos (1972), all of which jubilantly embraced the “bad” aesthetic of home movies. Posed as fantasized substitutions for mainstream movie-making, such works were also underwritten by the legitimacy of camp as a form of counter-culture critique, blurring parody and documentary to give voice to an array of non-mainstream and counter-cultural identities. The employment of camp in postmodern culture became known not merely as an aesthetic subversion of cultural mores but also as “a gesture of self-legitimation” (Derrida 290), its “failed seriousness” regarded as a critical response to the specific historical problem of being a “culturally over-saturated” subject (Sontag 288).The significant difference between Korine’s film and those of his 1970s-era forbears is precisely the attention he pays to the formal aspects of his medium, revelling in analogue editing glitches to the point of fetishism, in some cases lasting as long as the scenes themselves. Consciously working out-of-step with the media of his day, Trash Humpers in imbued with nostalgia from its very beginning. Whereas Smith, Eggleston, Warhol, Morrissey and Waters blurred fantasy and documentary in ways that raised the social and political identities of their subjects, Korine seems much more interested in “trash” as an aesthetic trope. In following this interest, he rightfully pays homage to the tropes of queer cinema, however, he conveniently leaves behind their underlying commentaries about (hetero-) normative culture. A sequence where the trash humpers visit a whor*house and amuse themselves by smoking cigars and slapping the ample bottoms of prostitutes in G-strings confirms the heterosexual tenor of the film, which is reiterated throughout by numerous deadpan gay jokes and slurs.Trash Humpers can be understood precisely in terms of Korine’s desire to maintain the aesthetic imperatives of alternative culture, where formal experimentation and the subverting of mainstream genres can provide a certain amount of freedom from explicated meaning, and, in particular, from socio-political commentary. Bourdieu rightly points out how the pleasures of the aesthetic gaze often manifest themselves curiously as form of “deferred pleasure” (353) or “pleasure without enjoyment” (495), which corresponds to Immanuel Kant’s notion of the disinterested nature of aesthetic judgement. Aesthetic dispositions posed in the negative – as in the avant-garde artists who mined primitive and ugly cultural stereotypes – typically use as reference points “facile” or “vulgar” (393) working-class tropes that refer negatively to sensuous pleasure as their major criterion of judgment. For Bourdieu, the pleasures provided by the aesthetic gaze in such instances are not sensual pleasures so much as the pleasures of social distinction – signifying the author’s distance from taste as a form of gratification. Here, it is easy to see how the orgiastic central characters in Trash Humpers might be employed by Korine for a similar end-result. As noted by Jeremiah Kipp in a review of the film: “You don't ‘like’ a movie like Trash Humpers, but I’m very happy such films exist”. Propelled by aesthetic, rather than by social, questions of value, those that “get” the obscure works of alternative culture have a tendency to legitimize them on the basis of the high-degree of formal analysis skills they require. For Bourdieu, this obscures the fact that one’s aesthetic “‘eye’ is a product of history reproduced by education” – a privileged mode of looking, estranged from those unfamiliar with the internal logic of decoding presupposed by the very notion of “aesthetic enjoyment” (2).The rhetorical priority of alternative culture is, in Bourdieu’s terms, the “autonomous” perfection of the form rather than the “heteronomous” attempt to monopolise on it (Field 40). However, such distinctions are, in actuality, more nuanced than Bourdieu sometimes assumed. This is especially true in the context of global digital culture, which makes explicit how the same cultural signs can have vastly different meanings and motivations across different social contexts. This has arguably resulted in the destabilisation of prescriptive analyses of cultural taste, and has contributed to recent “post-critical” advances, in which academics such as Bruno Latour and Rita Felski advocate for cultural analyses and practices that promote relationality and attachment rather than suspicious (critical) dispositions towards marginal and popular subjects alike. Latour’s call for a move away from the “sledge hammer” of critique applies as much to cultural practice as it does to written analysis. Rather than maintaining hierarchical oppositions between authentic versus inauthentic taste, Latour understands culture – and the material world more generally – as having agency alongside, and with, that of the social world.Hipsters with No AlternativeIf, as Karl Spracklen suggests, alternativism is thought of “as a political project of resistance to capitalism, with communicative oppositionality as its defining feature” (254), it is clear that there has been a progressive waning in relevance of the category of “alternative culture” in the age of the Internet, which coincides with the triumph of so-called “neoliberal individualism” (258). To this end, Korine has lost some of his artistic credibility over the course of the 2000s. If viewed negatively, icons of 1990s alternative culture such as Korine can be seen as merely exploiting Dada-like techniques of mimetic exacerbation and symbolic détournement for the purpose of alternative, “arty” branding rather than pertaining to a counter-hegemonic cultural movement (Foster 31). It is within this context of heightened scepticism surrounding alternative culture that the hipster stereotype emerged in cultures throughout the world, as if a contested symbol of the aesthetic gaze in an era of neoliberal identity politics. Whatever the psychological motivations underpinning one’s use of the term, to call someone a hipster is typically to point out that their distinctive alternative or “arty” status appears overstated; their creative decisions considered as if a type of bathos. For detractors of alternative cultural producers such as Korine, he is trying too hard to be different, using the stylised codes of “alternative” to conceal what is essentially his cultural and political immaturity. The hipster – who is rarely ever self-identified – re-emerged in the 2000s to operate as a scapegoat for inauthentic markers of alternative culture, associated with men and women who appear to embrace Realpolitik, sincerity and authentic expressions of identity while remaining tethered to irony, autonomous aesthetics and self-design. Perhaps the real irony of the hipster is the pervasiveness of irony in contemporary culture. R. J Magill Jnr. has argued that “a certain cultural bitterness legitimated through trenchant disbelief” (xi) has come to define the dominant mode of political engagement in many societies since the early 2000s, in response to mass digital information, twenty-four-hour news cycles, and the climate of suspicion produced by information about terrorism threats. He analyses the prominence of political irony in American TV shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Simpsons, South Park, The Chappelle Show and The Colbert Report but he also notes its pervasiveness as a twenty-first-century worldview – a distancing that “paradoxically and secretly preserves the ideals of sincerity, honesty and authenticity by momentarily belying its own appearance” (x). Crucially, then, the utterance “hipster” has come to signify instances when irony and aesthetic distance are perceived to have been taken too far, generating the most disdain from those for whom irony, aesthetic discernment and cultural connoisseurship still provide much-needed moments of disconnection from capitalist cultures drowning in commercial hyperbole and grave news hype. Korine himself has acknowledged that Spring Breakers (2013) – his follow-up feature film to Trash Humpers – was created in response to the notion that “alternative culture”, once a legitimate challenge to mainstream taste, had lost its oppositional power with the decentralization of digital culture. He states that he made Spring Breakers at a moment “when there’s no such thing as high or low, it’s all been exploded. There is no underground or above-ground, there’s nothing that’s alternative. We’re at a point of post-everything, so it’s all about finding the spirit inside, and the logic, and making your own connections” (Hawker). In this context, we can understand Trash Humpers as the last of the Korine films to be branded with the authenticity of alternative culture. In Spring Breakers Korine moved from the gritty low-fi sensibility of his previous films and adopted a more digital, light-filled and pastel-coloured palette. Focussing more conventionally on plot than ever before, Spring Breakers follows four college girls who hold up a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation. Critic Michael Chaiken noted that the film marks a shift in Korine’s career, from the alternative stylings of the pre-Internet generation to “the cultural heirs [of] the doomed protagonists of Kids: nineties babies, who grew up with the Internet, whose sensibilities have been shaped by the sweeping technological changes that have taken place in the interval between the Clinton and Obama eras” (33).By the end of the 2000s, an entire generation came of age having not experienced a time when the obscure films, music or art of the past took more effort to track down. Having been a key participant in the branding of alternative culture, Korine is in a good position to recall a different, pre-YouTube time – when cultural discernment was still caught up in the authenticity of artistic identity, and when one’s cultural tastes could still operate with a certain amount of freedom from sociological scrutiny. Such ideas seem a long way away from today’s cultural environments, which have been shaped not only by digital media’s promotion of cultural interconnection and mass information, but also by social media’s emphasis on mobilization and ethical awareness. ConclusionI should reiterate here that is not Korine’s lack of seriousness, or irony, alone that marks Trash Humpers as a response to the scepticism surrounding alternative culture symbolised by the figure of the hipster. It is, rather, that Korine’s mock-documentary about juvenile geriatrics works too hard to obscure its implicit social commentary, appearing driven to condemn contemporary capitalism’s exploitations of youthfulness only to divert such “uncool” critical commentaries through unsubtle formal distractions, visual poetics and “bad boy” avant-garde signifiers of authenticity. Before being bludgeoned to death, the unnamed man in the French maid’s outfit recites a poem on a bridge amidst a barrage of fire crackers let off by a nearby humper in a wheelchair. Although easily overlooked, it could, in fact, be a pivotal scene in the film. Spoken with mock high-art pretentions, the final lines of the poem are: So what? Why, I ask, why? Why castigate these creatures whose angelic features are bumping and grinding on trash? Are they not spawned by our greed? Are they not our true seed? Are they not what we’ve bought for our cash? We’ve created this lot, of the ooze and the rot, deliberately and unabashed. Whose orgiastic elation and one mission in creation is to savagely fornicate TRASH!Here, the character’s warning of capitalist overabundance is drowned out by the (aesthetic) shocks of the fire crackers, just as the stereotypical hipster’s ethical ideals are drowned out by their aesthetic excess. The scene also functions as a metaphor for the humpers themselves, whose elderly masks – embodiments of nostalgia – temporarily suspend their real socio-political identities for the sake of role-play. It is in this sense that Trash Humpers is too enamoured with its own artifices – including its anonymous “boys club” mentality – to suggest anything other than the aesthetic distance that has come to mark the failings of the “alternative culture” category. In such instances, alternative taste appears as a rhetorical posture, with Korine asking us to gawk knowingly at the hedonistic and destructive pleasures pursued by the humpers while factoring in, and accepting, our likely disapproval.ReferencesArsel, Zeynep, and Craig J. Thompson. “Demythologizing Consumption Practices: How Consumers Protect Their Field-Dependent Identity Investments from Devaluing Marketplace Myths.” Journal of Consumer Research 37.5 (2011): 791-806.Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.Bourdieu, Pierre. The Field of Cultural Production Essays on Art and Literature. Edited by Randal Johnson. London: Polity Press, 1993.Carr, David. “Its Edge Intact, Vice Is Chasing Hard News.” New York Times 24 Aug. 2014. 12 Nov. 2016 <https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/business/media/its-edge-intact-vice-is-chasing-hard-news-.html>.Catsoulis, Jeannette. “Geriatric Delinquents, Rampaging through Suburbia.” New York Times 6 May 2010. 1` Nov. 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/movies/07trash.html>.Chaiken, Michael. “The Dream Life.” Film Comment (Mar./Apr. 2013): 30-33.D’Angelo, Mike. “Trash Humpers.” Not Coming 18 Sep. 2009. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.notcoming.com/reviews/trashhumpers>.Derrida, Jacques. Positions. London: Athlone, 1981.Diesel Sweeties. 1 Nov. 2016 <https://store.dieselsweeties.com/products/nothing-is-any-good-if-other-people-like-it-shirt>.Felski, Rita. The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.Greif, Mark. What Was the Hipster? A Sociological Investigation. New York: n+1 Foundation, 2010.Hawker, Philippa. “Telling Tales Out of School.” Sydney Morning Herald 4 May 2013. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/telling-tales-out-of-school-20130503-2ixc3.html>.Hillis, Aaron. “Harmony Korine on Trash Humpers.” IFC 6 May 2009. 12 Nov. 2016 <http://www.ifc.com/2010/05/harmony-korine-2>.Jay Magill Jr., R. Chic Ironic Bitterness. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007.Kipp, Jeremiah. “Clean Off the Dirt, Scrape Off the Blood: An Interview with Trash Humpers Director Harmony Korine.” Slant Magazine 18 Mar. 2011. 1 Nov. 2016 <http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/clean-off-the-dirt-scrape-off-the-blood-an-interview-with-trash-humpers-director-harmony-korine>.Latour, Bruno. “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30.2 (2004): 225-248.Maly, Ico, and Varis, Piia. “The 21st-Century Hipster: On Micro-Populations in Times of Superdiversity.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 19.6 (2016): 637–653.McHugh, Gene. “Monday May 10th 2010.” Post Internet. New York: Lulu Press, 2010.Ouellette, Marc. “‘I Know It When I See It’: Style, Simulation and the ‘Short-Circuit Sign’.” Semiotic Review 3 (2013): 1–15.Reeve, Michael. “The Hipster as the Postmodern Dandy: Towards an Extensive Study.” 2013. 12 Nov. 2016. <http://www.academia.edu/3589528/The_hipster_as_the_postmodern_dandy_towards_an_extensive_study>.Schiermer, Bjørn. “Late-Modern Hipsters: New Tendencies in Popular Culture.” Acta Sociologica 57.2 (2014): 167–181.Sontag, Susan. “Notes on Camp.” Against Interpretation. New York: Octagon, 1964/1982. 275-92. Stahl, Geoff. “Mile-End Hipsters and the Unmasking of Montreal’s Proletaroid Intelligentsia; Or How a Bohemia Becomes BOHO.” Adam Art Gallery, Apr. 2010. 12 May 2015 <http://www.adamartgallery.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/adamartgallery_vuwsalecture_geoffstahl.pdf>.Williams, Alex. “Guerrilla Fashion: The Story of Supreme.” New York Times 21 Nov. 2012. 1 Nov. 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/fashion/guerrilla-fashion-the-story-of-supreme.html>.Žižek, Slavoj. “L’Etat d’Hipster.” Rhinocerotique. Trans. Henry Brulard. Sep. 2009. 3-10.

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Fletcher, Gordon. "An Index of Fame?" M/C Journal 7, no.5 (November1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2418.

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Abstract:

This paper discusses the presentation of fame that can be identified through popular search terms. These terms reveal how the rapidly shifting interest in individual identities of ‘fame’ are cast against a continuous sequence of expected and unexpected events including movie releases, annual holidays, murders and terrorist attacks. The central claim of this paper is that fame is continuously reconstituted across a wide spectrum of cultural experiences and actions. Fame is attached to individuals as a personification of mainstream cultural fascination with specific events – whether manufactured or unexpected – and artefacts. This paper takes up the argument of Tyler (204) and Tomas (31) that promotes the potential of the Internet, and particularly the Web, as a ‘social laboratory’ that offers the means to rapidly and continuously identify the activities and interest of contemporary ‘everyday life’. This contrasts with positions that argue for the significance of the Internet in distinction and as a distinct space (Stone; Stallabrass; cf. Liff, Steward & Watts 97). However, this paper is not ‘another’ paper about the Internet or the Web. The data used in its discussion is admittedly gathered from this realm but is used as evidence into a wider framework of contemporary culture(s) that is media obsessed. This obsession both shapes and draws upon the transitory fame of individuals to frame and structure a form (or an illusion) of cultural continuity through a continuous presentation of events relating to ‘their’ fame. Fame is culturally achieved (Rojek 18) (manufactured) at various historical intersections of events and artefacts with their expression as a search term being just one indicator. Fame is not something that can be individually self-assumed as the (desperate) efforts in the UK of glamour model Jodie Marsh (Befuddle) (and others) often prove. Considered individually, the realisation of one’s fame can be seen as providence and the identification of ‘luck’ is an often cited basis for the possession of fame (Rojek 37). This is certainly a common explanation given by ‘famous people’ in ‘candid’ interviews. However, clear parallels can be seen in the analysis of invention (Boorstin 11). Inventions do not appear unexpectedly or in the absence of a need, they are a cultural response that occurs irrespective of the individual ‘genius’ of an inventor. The achievement of fame fulfills a similar cultural need at a particular historical moment. If Pamela Anderson had not achieved fame then – inevitably – another woman who could offer the contemporary idealised artefact of the female body would be available to be heavily represented through popular Web searches. The lists of search terms were gathered from wordtracker’s “Top 500 Search Terms” newsletter and represent the most popular search terms from September 2001 to February 2003. The terms that are found consistently at the top of the lists tend to be generic, for example ‘sex’, ‘autos’, ‘free music’ and ‘films’. Another predominant set of terms that repeatedly appear are the partial or full address of the most popular Web sites such as hotmail.com, yahoo.com and ebay.com. The lists of search terms also reveals the continuous importance of file sharing technologies, the commodification of women’s bodies through p*rnographic Web sites (MacKinnon in Mehta & Plaza 55) and the use of the Internet to gather copyrighted or even illicit goods for free such as music, software, warez and serialz. Fame – in the form that it can be identified through popular Web search terms – is heavily represented by individual media figures of either television or film. However, these people are not exclusively ‘mainstream’ actors. This is revealed through the public expression of ‘private’ cultural knowledges of ‘adult’ actors such as Tawny Kitaen or Tera Patrick. For the majority of these individuals who can be identified through popular search terms few receive a sustained level of interest beyond a few weeks blurring the observation of fleeting fame with that of momentary popularity. These brief expressions of interest are mechanical and even predictable forms of fame. Tera Patrick’s single appearance as a popular search terms occurred the day after she re-signed to host a Playboy Television program, “Nightcalls 411”. The surge of interest in Tawny Kitaen paralleled her arrest for spousal abuse and battery on her professional baseball playing husband. Interest in Natalie Portman and Orlando Bloom, two of the most popular ‘conventional’ actors observed in the lists of popular search terms (with Bloom as one of the few men regularly included in the lists) is more mundanely linked with the release of the films in which they appear. Outside of these specific events interest in these ‘younger’ actors does not rise to a significant level that is sufficient to appear within the lists of popular search terms. It is Pamela Anderson, however, who solely achieves sustained long-term individual search engine popularity. Anderson’s life (rather than her career) provides a continuous stream of moments and events that sustain attention in her as a popular search term. In November 2001, Anderson had a miscarriage and received a surge of interest as a search term; in March 2002 she announced that she had contracted Hepatitis C after sharing a tattoo needle with her former husband this was followed by a surge of interest as a search term. One month later she announced her engagement to Kid Rock which provoked another spike of interest. By June 2002 Anderson’s V.I.P. television series had been dropped by her network while she simultaneously announced involvement with a animation project called Stripperella, a combination that again peaked interest in her as a search term. Fame, in this context of celebrity and drawing upon these examples, can be seen as being as much related to negative moments in these individual’s lives as it is to success in their chosen field. This suggests that one parameter of search engine interest in fame revolves around revelations of the ‘normality’ of individuals such as Anderson. Bloom and Portman, in contrast, do not attract this attention possibly through their lack of ‘history’ but more plausibly by their adherence to the script of events manufactured ‘for them’ regarding their careers rather than ‘by them’ and about their ‘real’ lives. Baudrillard (41) observed that “in earlier time an event was something that happened – now it is something that is designed to happen. It occurs, therefore as a virtual artefact, as a reflection of pre-existing media-defined forms.” This observation is a harbinger to bin Laden’s spectacular manipulation of western mainstream media by bringing an apparently spontaneous event to the public gaze. The terms gathered from the Web search engine offer an alternative parameter for fame – achieved through the spectacle of unexpected public events. Most prominently is the identity (and misspellings) of Osama bin Laden however others also obtain fame through equally unexpected events (unexpected at least for those who experience it and for the mainstream media who act as an accomplice). Unexpected events, and arguably infamy or notoriety (Rojek 12), do not, however, necessarily ensure any greater persistence of fame. Osama bin Laden, perhaps the exception, as a consequence of his general identification as the architect of the 11 September 2001 bombings, is evident in popular search terms for a period of months after the attacks. This fame is evident in a different form to that of television, film or musically oriented fame. Osama bin Laden became an instant and dominating search term immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks. After this, interest in this event, and arguably bin Laden’s individual fame, gradually dropped away over a number of weeks until disappearing completely – echoing what Rojek observes as the inevitable evanescence of fame The notoriety of bin Laden was eventually subsumed and extinguished by mainstream US politics which encouraged a shift towards its own hegemonic agendas including – most notably – the political regime of Iraq. Other unexpected forms of fame are also related to specific moments of conflict, tension or aggression. Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, experienced a brief posthumous form of fame in May 2002 when he was beheaded in Afghanistan after being accused of spying. However, it was not the execution or the death of Pearl that primarily contributed to this sudden and unexpected interest. More significantly – for a Web enabled culture – was the relatively ready availability online of a video recording of the beheading. The motivation for the video being placed online, despite being formally banned by the US government, was a political action that defended the American belief in the right to freedom of speech. However, popular interest in this video is arguably more closely related to the perverse and voyeuristic cultural traits of contemporary mainstream culture (that is proved so regularly through many of the most popular search terms). The discovery of Chandra Levy’s body in a Washington D.C. park in May 2002 also offered brief posthumous fame. However, the interest in ‘Klingle Mansion’ – one of the last things Levy searched for on the Web before she disappeared 13 months earlier – suggests a perverse interest in the details of the murder, its peculiarities and Levy’s relationship to a Democrat senator rather than an expression of sympathy or grief for the murdered woman or her family. DeBord (thesis 60) claims that “media stars are spectacular representations of living human beings, distilling the essence of the spectacle’s banality into images of possible roles. Stardom is a diversification in the semblance of life.” In many respects identifying the difference between unexpected, ‘lived’ or manufactured fame offers little for extending the critical understanding of fame itself. Regular and unexpected events are not the sole determinant of fame, however, the close association between ‘being’ a popular search term and moments in one’s life suggests that this articulation of fame is closely driven by an ever-changing pastiche of personal, local and global events. Increasingly, these events are articulated through popular search terms revealing the role of the Web as a guide to broader mainstream cultural attitudes. “Our” interest with fame is a product of contemporary event-driven culture in all its variations. “Our” construction of fame is also produced by this same culture. The popular identification of individual fame shifts to meet prevailing cultural “needs”. These needs are expressed as, among other things, tabloid articles, ‘candid’ television interviews and Web search terms. References Baudrillard, J. The Transparency of Evil. Trans. J. Benedict. London: Verso, 1993. Befuddle. “Jodie Marsh Drunk Collection.” http://www.befuddle.co.uk/celebs/celebs_jodie_marsh.html>. Boorstin, D. Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past. New York: Vintage, 1989. DeBord, G. Society of the Spectacle. Trans. D.Nicholson-Smith. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Liff, S, F. Steward and P. Watts. “From the Social to the Virtual … and Back Again.” Virtual Society? Get Real! Ed. S Woolgar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. McLaren, C. “Celebs, Freaks, Media Lit: Interview with Joshua Gamson.” Stay Free! 15 (1998). http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/archives/15/josh.html>. Mehta, M., and D. Plaza. “A Content Analysis of p*rnographic Images on the Internet.” The Information Society 13.2 (1997): 153-61. Rojek, C. Celebrity. London: Reaktion Books, 2001. Stallabrass, J. “Empowering Technology: The Exploration of Cyberspace.” New Left Review 211 (1995): 3-32. Stone, A. “Will the Real Body Please Stand Up: Boundary Stories about Virtual Cultures.” Cyberspace: First Steps. Ed. M. Benedikt. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Tomas, D. “Old Ritual for New Spaces.” Cyberspace: First Steps. Ed. M. Benedikt. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Tyler, T. “Is the Internet Changing Social Life? It Seems the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.” Journal of Social Issues 58.1 (2002): 195-205. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Fletcher, Gordon. "An Index of Fame?: Critical Identifications of Fame in the 'Social Laboratory'." M/C Journal 7.5 (2004). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/06-fletcher.php>. APA Style Fletcher, G. (Nov. 2004) "An Index of Fame?: Critical Identifications of Fame in the 'Social Laboratory'," M/C Journal, 7(5). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/06-fletcher.php>.

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Bruns, Axel. "Fight for Survival." M/C Journal 6, no.1 (February1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2142.

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All we hear is radio gaga, radio googoo, radio blahblah Radio, what’s new? Radio, someone still loves you Queen, “Radio Gaga” Someone still loves radio—and more people are beginning to discover its online form, Webcasting, as an alternative to terrestrial radio stations. Online radio allows listeners to swap local radio fare for more exotic programming, turning everyday PCs into world receivers, and offers a large variety of special-interest Webcasts catering to very genre-specific tastes. (Spinner.com, one of the largest commercial Webcasters, offers some 175 channels from Abstract Beats to Zydeco, for example.) For independent music labels whose content would never be played on mainstream terrestrial radio, Webcasting has become a major source of exposure. Unlike filesharing, however, Webcasts remain largely ephemeral: no permanent copy of radio content can be created on the user’s computer unless authorised by the Webcaster, or unless users specifically seek out software like Streambox VCR which circumvents such restrictions. Yet in the U.S. the year 2002 saw a protracted battle for the future of webcasting, waged between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and its royalty collection agency SoundExchange on one side, and a loose coalition of Webcasters on the other. Mirroring the sustained attack on filesharing services, the battle over Webcasting demonstrates once again the hardline position the RIAA has adopted in its dealings with new media music services. In the filesharing arena, we have seen the demise of early services such as Napster and their replacement with deliberately crippled, recording industry-run alternatives or more powerful underground services. In its approach to Webcasting, the RIAA similarly attempted to push through a solution that would have made Internet radio unaffordable to any but the major players in the industry. Its involvement in this fight provides a useful illustration of the shortcomings of the music industry’s strategy for dealing with new, Internet-based media. Casus Belli Prior to 2002, the battlelines had been drawn already. When the grandly named Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became law in the U.S. in late October 1998, it introduced a requirement for royalties to be paid by online stations. Rates for such fees were to be determined according to a ‘willing buyer/willing seller’ model—in other words, they were expected to reflect what would be ‘standard’ fees in an established digital media market, as determined by an independent Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP). Once set, royalties dating back to the date of passage of the DMCA were then to be paid retroactively by Webcasters. While agreements over performing rights (royalties due to the authors of copyrighted material) resulted in a requirement for Webcasters to pay an average rate of around 3% of their annual revenue, no decision had yet been made about royalties for sound recordings (due to the actual performers of a specific piece) as late as 2001, raising fears of a significant backlog of accumulated fees for at least three years suddenly burdening an industry which had yet to prove its profitability. Some Webcasters even pre-emptively began pulling the plug on their channels (see e.g. Borland). The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) on Webcasting held its deliberations on a royalty fee structure during the second half of 2001, with submissions by the key parties. The RIAA demanded a payment of around 0.4¢ per song/ per listener. By contrast the Digital Media Association, on behalf of Webcasters, offered 0.14¢ per song/per hour (regardless of the number of listeners). The CARP recommendation markedly reduced the RIAA’s proposed fees, but retained the suggested per song/per listener royalty structure. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington rejected this recommendation but replaced it with a virtually identical model of 0.07¢ per song/per listener for commercial Webcasters, or about 18% of the original RIAA rate (Copyright Office). This still meant significant royalty fees for Webcasters: assuming an average of 10 songs per hour and 100 listeners per channel at any one time, Webcasters broadcasting only one channel, 24 hours a day, would have to pay around $6,100 per year (and this retroactively back to 1998), even though this small audience would be unlikely to generate any income. This fee punished stations for becoming moderately popular, as increasing average audience to 1000 would increase payable royalties to $61,000, while profit might still prove elusive. This was prohibitively expensive for smaller, start-up players, and contributed to a growing list of Webcasters switching off their streams in the belief that they had lost their fight for survival. By contrast U.S. terrestrial radio stations are exempt altogether from paying any royalties to the RIAA because their work is seen as providing a ‘promotional service’ to the music industry. Examining the RIAA Strategy and Its Motives Any negotiator worth their salt will make an opening offer aimed at maximising the eventual outcome of the negotiation, so the initial RIAA demand of 0.4¢ per song/per listener should perhaps be seen as ambitious. Nonetheless, the RIAA’s entire strategy in this conflict seemed geared more towards the terminal frustration of hopeful Webcaster aspirations. The strongest evidence to suggest that the RIAA never negotiated in good faith stems from June 2002 comments by erstwhile Broadcast.com founder Mark Cuban, who in 1999 was involved in negotiating a deal between his company (then newly acquired by Yahoo!) and the RIAA to set royalty rates for Broadcast.com streams. Cuban revealed that buyer and seller in this case were willing first and foremost to price out of the market any potential competition to Broadcast.com from smaller, start-up Webcast operators—this was the reason for choosing the per-song/per-listener fee structure over a percentage-of-revenue approach: I hated the [per-song/listener] price points and explained why they were too high. HOWEVER, … I, as Broadcast.com, didn’t want percent-of-revenue pricing. Why? Because it meant every “Tom, Dick, and Harry” webcaster could come in and undercut our pricing because we had revenue and they didn’t. … The Yahoo! deal I worked on, if it resembles the deal the CARP ruling was built on, was designed so that there would be less competition, and so that small webcasters who needed to live off of a “percentage-of-revenue” to survive, couldn’t. (qtd. in Maloney & Hanson) Therefore, the RIAA consciously presented to the CARP a pricing structure which was not representative of an agreement between willing buyer and seller, but rather an agreement designed to achieve specific objectives: to punish very small operators for becoming more popular, hence discouraging hobbyists from turning professional; make Webcasting unaffordable for independent, small to medium operations; open the market only to major players with significant revenue streams; encourage amalgamation of independent stations into larger networks, and incorporate networks into the bigger media organisations. Indeed, Levy cites the “testimony of an RIAA-backed economist who told the government fee panel [CARP] that a dramatic shakeout in Webcasting is ‘inevitable and desirable because it will bring about market consolidation’”—and ‘consolidation’ (thus excluding small business from the Webcasting market) was clearly the underlying motive of RIAA strategy during the fights of 2002. Reasons for such anti-competitive policies are speculative but the conduct suggests that it represents the interests of an oligopoly of major entertainment producers, defending their interests from independent and alternative upstarts emerging with the information age, whilst claiming to protect the entire music community from exploitation by digital media operators. For three years running music industry sales have been in decline, and “forecasts see sales sliding another six percent in 2003—a fall felt most by the big five music giants—Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI and BMG—which account for 70 percent of sales” (Warner & Marr). The transnationals have consistently attributed this decline to the impact of CD burning, filesharing and other Internet technologies for music transmission. Yet the RIAA was successful in shutting down Napster, and there are a host of other reasons for the downturn: There have been no major musical trends to emerge as major drivers of music sales since the advent of grunge in the early 1990s--“while record sales are dropping, they are also spreading into diverse genres” (Childress), Western economies have continued to skirt recession with a marked decrease in consumer spending, 15 years after the introduction of the CD medium, the initial waves of listeners replacing their vinyl records with CD re-releases and remasters (once a major source of income for labels) have subsided, CD prices remain high, even compared to DVD movie releases, and There is a growing backlash against the practices of an “industry founded on exploitation, oiled by deceit, riven with theft and fuelled by greed” (Fripp 9) and there are calls to boycott major labels altogether, and increased political scrutiny. Hence some observers have read the RIAA’s attacks on filesharing and Webcasts as the actions of an industry fighting for its own survival. Wired quotes former Billboard editor Timothy White as saying that 2003 “could determine whether the music business as we know it survives” (reported in Maloney, “Wired”), and this sentiment is echoed in other reports on the state of the music industry. Alternatively, analysts have noted “the industry released around 27,000 titles in 2001, down from a peak of 38,900 in 1999. Since year-on-year unit sales have dropped a mere 10.3 per cent, it’s clear that demand has held up extremely well: despite higher prices, consumers retain the CD buying habit” (Orlowski). Whether signs of an industry in decline or not, the RIAA’s uncompromising policies in its fight against unpoliced Internet music technologies have caused headaches amongst its own supporters. (A recent Wired article speaks of “civil war inside Sony” over such issues—see Rose.) The Time-Warner-Netscape-AOL conglomerate might find the benefits from its support of the RIAA will be negated by the new royalty fees required of Spinner.com in its new incarnation as ‘Radio@Netscape Plus’, or by the downturn in AOL Broadband’s ability to sign up customers as incentives such as access to filesharing and Web radio dry up. Postscript: Conflict Resolution in the Webcast Wars (?) Without significant policy shifts by the RIAA it has fallen to U.S. politicians to force an uneasy truce in the Webcast conflict. This intervention was prompted by dissatisfaction with the industry’s disregard for the stated aim of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to cultivate not hinder business in new Internet technologies and the view that CARP had been tricked into accepting a flawed Yahoo!/RIAA deal as the basis for its fee structure recommendations. Following several attempts at legislation and emergency negotiations small Webcasters won a reprieve from the per song/per listener royalty structure which they had been threatened with, and will now pay a percentage of their revenue. This agreement is built on the “Small Webcaster Settlement Act,” which acknowledges that small Webcasters “have expressed their desire for a fee based on a percentage of revenue,” it rejects the CARP recommendations and the Librarian’s rulings as unsuitable for small operators, and instead requires the RIAA and small commercial Webcasters to develop their own structures in the spirit of this bill. While this solution generates division of the Webcast market into smaller and larger operators (and possibly makes the move from the first to the second group, who do pay per song/per listener royalties, all the more daunting), the new structure should be able to ensure its aim of protecting content diversity in Webcasting. That is until the industry finds a new battleground on which to engage Internet-based music technologies. Works Cited Borland, John. “Ad Disputes Tune Web Radio Out.” CNET News.com 11 April 2001. 9 Jan. 2003 <http://news.com.com/2100-1023-255673.htm...>. Childress, Donna J. “Boomers Key to Record Sales.” AARP: The Magazine Mar.-Apr. 2003. 12 Feb. 2003 <http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/Ar...>. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, USA. “Summary of the Determination of the Librarian of Congress on Rates and Terms for Webcasting and Ephemeral Recordings.” 8 July. 2002. 9 Jan. 2003 <http://www.copyright.gov/carp/webcasting...>. Fripp, Robert. “Discipline Global Mobile: A Small, Mobile and Independent Record Company.” CD booklet. Space Groove. ProjeKct Two. Discipline Global Mobile, 1998. 9-10. Levy, Steven. “Labels to Net Radio: Die Now.” Newsweek 15 July 2002: 51. Lieberman, David. “States Settle CD Price-Fixing Case.” USA Today 1 Oct. 2002. 18 Jan. 2003 <http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/...>. Love, Courtney. “Courtney Love Does the Math.” Salon Magazine 14 June 2000. 18 Jan. 2003 <http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/20...>. Maloney, Paul. “CARP, Congress, & Compromise: Radio and the Internet in 2002.” RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, 6, 7, 8, and 13 Jan. 2003. 18 Jan. 2003 <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>, <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>, <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>, and <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>. ---. “Wired Examines Music Industry Woes in Four-Article Feature.” RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, 15 Jan. 2003. 18 Jan. 2003 <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>. Maloney, Paul, and Kurt Hanson. “Cuban Says Yahoo!’s RIAA Deal Was Designed to Stifle Competition!” RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, 24 June 2002. 9 Jan. 2003 <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/0...>. Orlowski, Andrew. “Missing RIAA Figures Shoot Down ‘Piracy’ Canard.” The Register 16 Dec. 2002. 12 Feb. 2003 <http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/2...>. Rose, Frank. “The Civil War inside Sony.” Wired 11.02 (Feb. 2003). 12 Feb. 2003 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.02...>. Sidelsky, Barry. “Internet Radio Basics: Copyright Primer and Update.” RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, 28/29 Oct. 2002. 9 Jan. 2003 <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/1...> and <http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/1...>. “Small Webcaster Settlement Act.” U.S. Congress, 14 Nov. 2002. 9 Jan. 2003 <http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/...>. Warner, Bernhard, and Merissa Marr. “Battered Record Execs Set to Face the Music.” Reuters 17 Jan. 2003. 18 Jan. 2003 <http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml...> Links http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=musicNews&amp;amp;storyID=2065414 http://www.spinner.com/ http://www.boycott-riaa.com/ http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/010603/index.asp http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/010803/index.asp http://www.soundexchange.com/ http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/28588.html http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/062402/index.asp#story1 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi- in/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_bills&amp;amp;docid=f:h5469eas.txt.pdf http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/011303/index.asp#story2 http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/102802/index.asp http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/Articles/a2003-01-08-recordsales http://www.broadcast.com/ http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/010703/index.asp http://www.kurthanson.com/silenced.asp http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2002-09-30-cd-settlement_x.htm http://www.riaa.org/ http://www.digmedia.org/ http://www.yahoo.com/ http://www.google.com/search?q=streambox+vcr&amp;amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;amp;hl=en&amp;amp;meta= http://radio.netscape.com/ http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/102902/index.asp http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.02/sony.html http://www.napster.com/ http://news.com.com/2100-1023-255673.html?legacy=cnet http://www.wired.com/ http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/ http://www.copyright.gov/carp/webcasting_rates_final.html Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Bruns, Axel. "Fight for Survival" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 6.1 (2003). Dn Month Year < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0302/07-fightforsurvival.php>. APA Style Bruns, A., (2003, Feb 26). Fight for Survival. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,(1). Retrieved Month Dn, Year, from http://www.media-culture.org.au/0302/07-fightforsurvival.html

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Denisova, Anastasia. "How Vladimir Putin’s Divorce Story Was Constructed and Received, or When the President Divorced His Wife and Married the Country Instead." M/C Journal 17, no.3 (June7, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.813.

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A politician’s political and personal selves have been in the spotlight of academic scholarship for hundreds of years, but only in recent years has a political ‘persona’ obtained new modes of mediation via networked media. New advancements in politics, technology, and media brought challenges to the traditional politics and personal self-representation of major leaders. Vladimir Putin’s divorce announcement in June 2013, posed a new challenge for his political self-mediation. A rather reserved leader (Loshak), he nonetheless broadcast his personal news to the large audience and made it in a very peculiar way, causing the media professionals and public to draw parallels with Soviet-era mediated politics and thereby evoke collective memories. This paper studies how Vladimir Putin’s divorce announcement was constructed and presented and also what response and opinion threads—satirical and humorous, ignorant and informed feedback—it achieved via media professionals and the general Twitter audience. Finally, this study aims to evaluate how Vladimir Putin’s political ‘persona’ was represented and perceived via these mixed channels of communication.According to classic studies of mediated political persona (Braudy; Meyrowitz; Corner), any public activity of a political persona is considered a part of their political performance. The history of political marketing can be traced back to ancient times, but it developed through the works of Renaissance and Medieval thinkers. Of particular prominence is Machiavelli’s The Prince with its famous “It is unnecessary for the prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them” (cited in Corner 68). All those centuries-built developments and patterns of political self-representation have now taken on new forms as a result of the development of media industry and technology. Russian mediated politics has seen various examples of new ways of self-representation exercised by major politicians in the 2010s. For instance, former president Dmitry Medvedev was known as the “president with an iPad” (Pronina), as he was advocating technology and using social networks in order to seem more approachable and appear to be responsive to collecting feedback from the nation. Traditional media constantly highlighted Medvedev’s keen interest in Facebook and Twitter, which resulted in a growing public assumption that this new modern approach to self-representation may signify a new approach to governance (see Asmolov).Goffman’s classic study of the distinction between public and private life helps in linking political persona to celebrity persona. In his view the political presentation of self differs from the one in popular culture because politicians as opposed to entertainers have to conform to a set of ideals, projections, social stereotypes and cultural/national archetypes for their audience of voters (Goffman; Corner). A politician’s public persona has to be constantly reaffirming and proving the values he or she is promoting through their campaigns. Mediations of a political personhood can be projected in three main modes: visual, vocal, and kinetic (Ong; Mayhew; Corner). Visual representation follows the iconic paintings and photography in displaying the position, attitude, and associative contexts related to that. Vocal representation covers both content and format of a political speech, it is not only the articulated message, but also more important the persona speaking. Ong describes this close relation of the political and personal along with the interrelation of the message and the medium as “secondary orality”—voice, tone and volume make the difference. The third mode is kinetic representation and means the political persona in action and interaction. Overlapping of different strategies and structures of political self-representation fortifies the notion of performativity (Corner and Pels) in politics that becomes a core feature of the multidimensional representation of a mediated political self.The advancement of electronic media and interactive platforms has influenced political communication and set the new standard for the convergence of the political and personal life of a politician. On its own, the President Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair raised the level of public awareness of the politician’s private life. It also allowed for widely distributed, contested, and mediated judgments of a politician’s personal actions. Lawrence and Bennett in their study of Lewinsky case’s academic and public response state that although the majority of American citizens did not expect the president to be the moral leader, they expressed ambivalence in their rendition of the importance of “moral leadership” by big politicians (438). The President Clinton/Lewinsky case adds a new dimension to Goffman and Corner’s respective discussions on the significance of values in the political persona self-representation. This case proves that values can not only be reinforced by one’s public persona, but those values can be (re)constructed by the press or public opinion. Values are becoming a contested trait in the contemporary mediated political persona. This view can be supported by Dmitry Medvedev’s case: although modern technology was known as his personal passion, it was publicised only with reference to his role as a public politician and specifically when Medvedev appeared with an iPad talking about modernisation at major meetings (Pronina). However, one can argue that one’s charisma can affect the impact of values in public self-representation of the politician. In addition, social networks add a new dimension to personified publicity. From Barack Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ networked campaign in 2008 and through many more recent examples, we are witnessing the continuing process of the personalisation of politics (Corner and Pels). From one point of view, audiences tend to have more interest and sympathy in political individuals and their lifestyles rather than political parties and their programmes (Lawrence and Bennett; Corner and Pels). It should be noted that the interest towards political individuals does not fall apart from the historical logics of politics; it is only mediated in a new way. Max Weber’s notion of “leadership democracy” proves that political strategy is best distributed through the charismatic leadership imposing his will on the audience. This view can be strengthened by Le Bon’s concept of emotive connection of the leader and his crowd, and Adorno’s writings on the authoritarian personality also highlight the significance of the leader’s own natural and mediated persona in politics. What is new is the channels of mediation—modern audiences’ access to a politician’s private life is facilitated by new forms of media interactivity (Corner and Pels). This recent development calls for the new understanding of “persona” in politics. On one hand, the borderline between private and public becomes blurred and we are more exposed to the private self of a leader, but on the other hand, those politicians aware of new media literacy can create new structures of proximity and distance and construct a separate “persona” online, using digital media for their benefit (Corner and Pels). Russian official politics has developed a cautious attitude towards social networks in the post-Medvedev era - currently, President Vladimir Putin is not known for using social networks personally and transmits his views via his spokesperson. However, his personal charisma makes him overly present in digital media - through the images and texts shared both by his supporters and rivals. As opposed to Medvedev’s widely publicised “modernisation president” representation, Putin’s persona breaks the boundaries of limited traditional publicity and makes him recognised not only for his political activity, but looks, controversial expression, attitude to employees, and even personal life. That brings us back to Goffman, Corner and Lawrence and Bennett’s discussions on the interrelation of political values and personal traits in one’s political self-representation, making it evident that one’s strong personality can dominate over his political image and programme. Moreover, an assumption can be made that a politician’s persona may be more powerful than the narrative suggested by the constructed self-representation and new connotations may arise on the crossroads of this interaction.Russian President Divorce Announcement and Collective MemoryVladimir Putin’s divorce announcement was broadcast via traditional media on 6 June 2013 as a simple news story. The state broadcasting company Vesti-24 sent a journalist Polina Yermolayeva from their news bulletin to cover Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putin’s visit to a ballet production, Esmeralda, at the state Kremlin theatre. The news anchor’s introduction to the interview was ordinarily written and had no hints of the upcoming sensation. After the first couple and the journalist had discussed their opinion of the ballet (“beautiful music,” “flawless and light moves”), the reporter Yermolayeva suddenly asked: “You and Lyudmila are rarely seen together in public. Rumour has it that you do not live together. It is true?” Vladimir Putin and his wife exchanged a number of rather pre-scripted speeches stating that the first couple was getting a divorce as the children had grown old enough, and they would still stay friends and wished each other the best of luck. The whole interview lasted 3:25 minutes and became a big surprise for the country (Loshak; Sobchak).When applying the classification of three modes of political personhood (Corner; Ong) to Vladimir Putin’s divorce announcement, it becomes evident that all three modes—visual, vocal, and kinetic—were used. Television audiences watched their president speak freely to the unknown reporter, explain details of his life in his own words so that body language also was visible and conveyed additional information. The visual self-representation harkens back to classic, Soviet-style announcements: Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Putina are dressed in classic monochrome suit and costume with a skirt respectively. They pose in front of the rather dull yet somewhat golden decorations of the Kremlin Theatre Hall, the walls themselves reflecting the glory and fanfare of the Soviet leadership and architecture. Vladimir Putin and his wife both talk calmly while Lyudmila appears even more relaxed than her husband (Sobchak). Although the speech looks prepared in advance (Loshak), it uses colloquial expressions and is delivered with emotional pauses and voice changes.However, close examination of not only the message but the medium of the divorce announcement reveals a vast number of intriguing symbols and parallels. First, although living in the era of digital media, Vladimir Putin chose to broadcast his personal news through a traditional television channel. Second, it was broadcast in a news programme making the breaking news of the president’s divorce, paradoxically, quite a mundane news event. Third, the semiotic construction of the divorce announcement bore a lot of connotations and synergies to the conservative, Soviet-style information distribution patterns. There are a few key symbols here that evoke collective memories: ballet, conservative political report on the government, and the stereotype of a patriarchal couple with a submissive wife (see Loshak; Rostovskiy). For example, since the perestroika of the 1990s, ballet has been widely perceived as a symbol of big political change and cause of public anxiety (Kachkaeva): this connotation was born in the 1990s when all channels were broadcasting Swan Lake round the clock while the White House was under attack. Holden reminds us that this practice was applied many times during major crises in Soviet history, thus creating a short link in the public subconscious of a ballet broadcast being symbolic of a political crisis or turmoil.Vladimir Putin Divorce: Traditional and Social Media ReceptionIn the first day after the divorce announcement Russian Twitter generated 180,000 tweets about Vladimir Putin’s divorce, and the hashtag #развод (“divorce”) became very popular. For the analysis that follows, Putin divorce tweets were collected by two methods: retrieved from traditional media coverage of Twitter talk on Putin’s divorce and from Twitter directly, using Topsy engine. Tweets were collected for one week, from the divorce announcement on 6 June to 13 June when the discussion declined and became repetitive. Data was collected using Snob.ru, Kommersant.ru, Forbes.ru, other media outlets and Topsy. The results were then combined and evaluated.Some of those tweets provided a satirical commentary to the divorce news and can be classified as “memes.” An “Internet meme” is a contagious message, a symbolic pattern of information spread online (Lankshear and Knobel; Shifman). Memes are viral texts that are shared online after being adjusted/altered or developed on the way. Starting from 1976 when Richard Dawkins coined the term, memes have been under media scholarship scrutiny and the term has been widely contested in various sciences. In Internet research studies, memes are defined as “condensed images that stimulate visual, verbal, musical, or behavioral associations that people can easily imitate and transmit to others” (Pickerel, Jorgensen, and Bennett). The open character of memes makes them valuable tools for political discourse in a modern highly mediated environment.Qualitative analysis of the most popular and widely shared tweets reveals several strong threads and themes round Putin’s divorce discussion. According to Burzhskaya, many users created memes with jokes about the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. For instance, “He should have tied up his relationship with Dmitry Anatolyevich long ago” or “So actually Medvedev is the case?” were among popular memes generated. Another collection of memework contained a comment that, according to the Russian legislation, Putin’s ex-wife should get half of their wealth, in this case—half of the country. This thread was followed by the discussion whether the separation/border of her share of Russia should use the Ural Mountains as the borderline. Another group of Twitter users applied the Russian president’s divorce announcement to other countries’ politics. Thus one user wrote “Take Yanukovich to the ballet” implying that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich (who was still a legitimate president in June 2013) should also be taken to the ballet to trigger changes in the political life in Ukraine. Twitter celebrity and well-known Russian actress and comedian Tatiana Lazareva wrote “In my opinion, it is a scam”, punning on the slang meaning of the word “razvod” (“divorce”) in Russian that can also mean “fraud” or “con”. Famous Russian journalist Dmitry Olshansky used his Twitter account to draw a historical parallel between Putin and other Russian and Soviet political leaders’ marital life. He noted that such Russian leaders as Tsar Nikolay the Second and Mikhail Gorbachev who loved their wives and were known to be good husbands were not successful managers of the state. In contrast, lone rulers of Russia such as Joseph Stalin proved to be leaders who loved their country first and gained a lot of support from their electorate because of that lonely love. Popular print and online journalist Oleg Kashin picked up on that specific idea: he quoted Vladimir Putin’s press secretary who explained that the president had declared that he would now spend more time working for the prosperity of the country.Twitter users were exchanging not only 140 symbol texts but also satirical images and other visual memes based on the divorce announcement. Those who suggested that Vladimir Putin should have divorced the country instead portrayed Lyudmila Putina and Vladimir holding candles and wearing funereal black with various taglines discussing how the country would now be split. Other users contributed visual memes jamming the television show Bachelor imagery and font with Vladimir Putin’s face and an announcement that the most desirable bachelor in the country is now its president. A similar idea was put into jammed images of the Let’s Get Married television show using Vladimir Putin’s face or name linked with a humorous comment that he could try those shows to find a new wife. One more thread of Twitter memes on Putin’s divorce used the name of Alina Kabaeva, Olympic gymnast who is rumoured by the press to be in relationship with the leader (Daily Mail Reporter). She was mentioned in plenty of visual and textual memes. Probably, the most popular visual meme (Burzhskaya; Topsy) used the one-liner from a famous Soviet comedy Ivan Vasylievich Menyaet Professiyu: it uses a joyful exclamation of an actress who learns that her love interest, a movie director, is leaving his wife so that the lovers can now fly to a resort together. Alina Kabaeva, the purported love interest of Putin, was jammed to be that actress as she announced the “triumphal” resort vacation plan to a girlfriend over the phone.Vladimir Putin’s 2013 divorce announcement presented new challenges for his personal and political self-representation and revealed new traits of the Russian president’s interaction with the nation. As the news of Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin’s divorce was broadcast via traditional media in a non-interactive television format, commentary on the event advanced only through the following week’s media coverage and the massive activity on social networks. It has still to be examined whether Vladimir Putin’s political advisors intentionally included many symbols of collective memory in the original and staid broadcast announcement. However, the response from traditional and social media shows that both Russian journalists and regular Twitter users were inclined to use humour and satire when discussing the personal life of a major political leader. Despite this appearance of an active counter-political sphere via social networks, the majority of tweets retrieved also revealed a certain level of respect towards Vladimir Putin’s privacy as few popular jokes or memes were aggressive, offensive or humiliating. Most popular memes on Vladimir Putin’s divorce linked this announcement to the political life of Russia, the political situation in other countries, and television shows and popular culture. Some of the memes, though, advanced the idea that Vladimir Putin should have divorced the country instead. The analysis also shows how a charismatic leader can affect or reconstruct the “values” he represents. In Vladimir Putin’s divorce event, his personality is the main focus of discussion both by traditional and new media. However, he is not judged for his personal choices as the online social media users provide rather mild commentary and jokes about them. The event and the subsequent online discourse, images and texts not only identify how Putin’s politics have become personified, the research also uncovers how the audience/citizenry online often see the country as a “persona” as well. Some Internet users suggested Putin’s marriage to the country; this mystified, if not mythologised view reinforces Vladimir Putin’s personal and political charisma.Conclusively, Vladimir Putin’s divorce case study shows how political and private persona are being mediated and merged via mixed channels of communication. The ever-changing nature of the political leader portrayal in the mediated environment of the 2010s opens new challenges for further research on the modes and ways for political persona representation in modern Russia.References Adorno, Theodor W. The Authoritarian Personality. New York, 1969 (1950).Ankersmit, Franklin R. Aesthetic Politics: Political Philosophy beyond Fact and Value. Stanford University Press, 1996.Asmolov, Gregory. “The Kremlin’s Cameras and Virtual Potemkin Villages: ICT and the Construction of Statehood.” Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood (2014): 30.Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. University of Texas Press, 1981.Braudy, Leo. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame & Its History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.Burzhskaya, Kseniya. “Galochka, Ti Seichas Umryosh!” [“Galochka, You Are Going to Die!”]. Snob.ru 7 June 2013. April 2014 ‹http://www.snob.ru/profile/9947/blog/61372›.Corner, John, and Dick Pels. “Introduction: The Re-Styling of Politics.” Media and the Restyling of Politics. Ed. John Corner and Dick Pels. London: Sage, 2003: 1-19.Corner, John. “Mediated Persona and Political Culture.” Media and the Restyling of Politics. Ed. John Corner and Dick Pels. London: Sage, 2003: 67-85.Daily Mail Reporter. “Has President Putin Married Former Olympic Gymnast? Alina Kabayeva Flashes ‘Wedding Ring’ at TV Cameras.” DailyMail.co.uk 15 Feb. 2014. April 2014 ‹http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560278/Has-President-Putin-married-former-Olympic-gymnast-Alina-Kabayeva-flashes-wedding-ring-TV-cameras.html›.Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, 2006.Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.Holden, Stephen. “Through the Looking Glass of History.” New York Times 22 Mar. 2011. April 2014 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/movies/my-perestroika-about-growing-up-in-russia-review.html?_r=0›. Kavanagh, Dennis. Election Campaigning: The New Marketing of Politics. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.Kotova, Yulia. “‘Otstoyala Vakhtu’: Vladimir I Lyudmila Putiny Ob’yavili o Razvode” [“‘Fulfilled the Duty’: Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin Announced a Divorce”]. Forbes.ru. April 2014 ‹http://www.forbes.ru/news/240295-vladimir-putin-razvelsya-s-zhenoi-lyudmiloi›.Lankshear, Colin, and Michele Knobel. “Sampling ‘the New’ in New Literacies.” A New Literacies Sampler. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. 1-24.Lawrence, Regina G., and W. Lance Bennett. “Rethinking Media Politics and Public Opinion: Reactions to the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal.” Political Science Quarterly 116.3 (2001): 425-446.Le Bon, Gustave. The Crowd. New York: Viking, 1960 (1895).Loshak, Viktor. “Vyvody Nuzhno Delat’ Iz Togo, Kak Zhivet Strana, a Ne Semya, Pust’ Dazhe Samaya Pervaya” [“You need to make conclusions on the life of the country, not of the family even though of the highest range”]. Kommersant.ru 7 June 2013. April 2014 ‹http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2206093›.Mayhew, Leon H. The New Public: Professional Communication and the Means of Social Influence. Cambridge University Press, 1997.Medvedev, Dmitry. “Interview to The Times [Russian transcript].” Government of the Russian Federation 30 July 2012. May 2014 ‹http://government.ru/docs/19842›.Meywrowitz, Joshua. No Sense of Place. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy. London: Methuen, 1982.Pickerel, Wendi, Helena Jorgensen, and Lance Bennett. "Culture Jams and Meme Warfare: Kalle Lasn, Adbusters, and Media Activism." Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, 2002.Pronina, Lyubov. “Dreams of an iPad Economy for Russia.” BloombergBusinessWeek 3 Feb. 2011. May 2014 ‹http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_07/b4215011283273.htm›.Rostovskiy, Mikhail. “Razvod Po-Prezidentski” [“Divorce President-Style”]. Mk.ru 7 June 2013. April 2014 ‹http://www.mk.ru/politics/russia/article/2013/06/07/865979-razvod-poprezidentski.html›.Shifman, Limor. “Memes in a Digital World: Reconciling with a Conceptual Troublemaker.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 18.3 (2013): 362-77.Sobchak, Kseniya. “Razvod Pod Lupoj” [“Divorce under Magnifyin Glass”]. Snob.ru 7 June 2013. April 2013 http://www.snob.ru/profile/24691/blog/61395›.Sokolov, Mikhail. “Russkiy Facebook o Razvode Chety Putinykh” [“Russian Facebook on Putin Divorce”]. Radio Svoboda 7 June 2013. May 2014 ‹http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/25009616.html›.Swanson, David L., and Paolo Mancini, eds. Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy: An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996.Thompson, John B. Political Scandal. Cambridge: Polity, 2000.Vesti.ru. “Vladimir I Lyudmila Putiny: Razvod Byl Nashim Obschim Resheniem” [“Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin: Divorce Was Our Joint Decision”]. 6 June 2013. April 2014 ‹http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1092091›. Weber, Max. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Routledge, 2009.

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Bartlett, Alison. "Business Suit, Briefcase, and Handkerchief: The Material Culture of Retro Masculinity in The Intern." M/C Journal 19, no.1 (April6, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1057.

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Abstract:

IntroductionIn Nancy Meyers’s 2015 film The Intern a particular kind of masculinity is celebrated through the material accoutrements of Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro). A retired 70-year-old manager, Ben takes up a position as a “senior” Intern in an online clothing distribution company run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Jules’s company, All About Fit, is the embodiment of the Gen Y creative workplace operating in an old Brooklyn warehouse. Ben’s presence in this environment is anachronistic and yet also stylishly retro in an industry where “vintage” is a mode of dress but also offers alternative ethical values (Veenstra and Kuipers). The alternative that Ben offers is figured through his sartorial style, which mobilises a specific kind of retro masculinity made available through his senior white male body. This paper investigates how and why retro masculinity is materialised and embodied as both a set of values and a set of objects in The Intern.Three particular objects are emblematic of this retro masculinity and come to stand in for a body of desirable masculine values: the business suit, the briefcase, and the handkerchief. In the midst of an indie e-commerce garment business, Ben’s old-fashioned wardrobe registers a regular middle class managerial masculinity from the past that is codified as solidly reliable and dependable. Sherry Turkle reminds us that “material culture carries emotions and ideas of startling intensity” (6), and these impact our thinking, our emotional life, and our memories. The suit, briefcase, and handkerchief are material reminders of this reliable masculine past. The values they evoke, as presented in this film, seem to offer sensible solutions to the fast pace of twenty-first century life and its reconfigurations of family and work prompted by feminism and technology.The film’s fetishisation of these objects of retro masculinity could be mistaken for nostalgia, in the way that vintage collections elide their political context, and yet it also registers social anxiety around gender and generation amid twenty-first century social change. Turner reminds us of the importance of film as a social practice through which “our culture makes sense of itself” (3), and which participates in the ongoing negotiation of the meanings of gender. While masculinity is often understood to have been in crisis since the advent of second-wave feminism and women’s mass entry into the labour force, theoretical scrutiny now understands masculinity to be socially constructed and changing, rather than elemental and stable; performative rather than innate; fundamentally political, and multiple through the intersection of class, race, sexuality, and age amongst other factors (Connell; Butler). While Connell coined the term “hegemonic masculinity,” to indicate “masculinity which occupies the hegemonic position in a given pattern of gender relations” (76), it is always intersectional and contestable. Ben’s hegemonic position in The Intern might be understood in relation to what Buchbinder identifies as “inadequate” or “incompetent” masculinities, which offer a “foil for another principal character” (232), but this movement between margin and hegemony is always in process and accords with the needs that structure the story, and its attendant social anxieties. This film’s fetishising of Ben’s sartorial style suggests a yearning for a stable and recognisable masculine identity, but in order to reinstall these meanings the film must ignore the political times from which they emerge.The construction of retro masculinity in this case is mapped onto Ben’s body as a “senior.” As Gilleard notes, ageing bodies are usually marked by a narrative of corporeal decline, and yet for men of hegemonic privilege, non-material values like seniority, integrity, wisdom, and longevity coalesce to embody “the accumulation of cultural or symbolic capital in the form of wisdom, maturity or experience” (1). Like masculinity, then, corporeality is understood to be a set of unstable signifiers produced through particular cultural discourses.The Business SuitThe business suit is Ben Whittaker’s habitual work attire, so when he comes out of retirement to be an intern at the e-commerce company he re-adopts this professional garb. The solid outline of a tailored and dark-coloured suit signals a professional body that is separate, autonomous and impervious to the outside world, according to Longhurst (99). It is a body that is “proper,” ready for business, and suit-ed to the professional corporate world, whose values it also embodies (Edwards 42). In contrast, the costuming code of the Google generation of online marketers in the film is defined as “super cas[ual].” This is a workplace where the boss rides her bicycle through the open-space office and in which the other 219 workers define their individuality through informal dress and decoration. In this environment Ben stands out, as Jules comments on his first day:Jules: Don’t feel like you have to dress up.Ben: I’m comfortable in a suit if it’s okay.Jules: No, it’s fine. [grins] Old school.Ben: At least I’ll stand out.Jules: I don’t think you’ll need a suit to do that.The anachronism of a 70-year-old being an intern is materialised through Ben’s dress code. The business suit comes to represent Ben not only as old school, however, but as a “proper” manager.As the embodiment of a successful working woman, entrepreneur Jules Ostin appears to be the antithesis of the business-suit model of a manager. Consciously not playing by the book, her company is both highly successful, meeting its five-year objectives in only nine months, and highly vulnerable to disasters like bedbugs, delivery crises, and even badly wrapped tissue. Shaped in her image, the company is often directly associated with Jules herself, as Ben continually notes, and this comes to include the mix of success, vulnerability, and disaster. In fact, the success of her company is the reason that she is urged to find a “seasoned” CEO to run the company, indicating the ambiguous, simultaneous guise of success and disaster.This relationship between individual corporeality and the corporate workforce is reinforced when it is revealed that Ben worked as a manager for 40 years in the very same warehouse, reinforcing his qualities of longevity, reliability, and dependability. He oversaw the printing of the physical telephone book, another quaint material artefact of the past akin to Ben, which is shown to have literally shaped the building where the floor dips over in the corner due to the heavy printers. The differences between Ben and Jules as successive generations of managers in this building operate as registers of social change inflected with just a little nostalgia. Indeed, the name of Jules’s company, All About Fit, seems to refer more to the beautifully tailored “fit” of Ben’s business suit than to any of the other clothed bodies in the company.Not only is the business suit fitted to business, but it comes to represent a properly managed body as well. This is particularly evident when contrasted with Jules’s management style. Over the course of the film, as she endures a humiliating series of meetings, sends a disastrous email to the wrong recipient, and juggles her strained marriage and her daughter’s school schedule, Jules is continuously shown to teeter on the brink of losing control. Her bodily needs are exaggerated in the movie: she does not sleep and apparently risks “getting fat” according to her mother’s research; then when she does sleep it is in inappropriate places and she snores loudly; she forgets to eat, she cries, gets drunk and vomits, gets nervous, and gets emotional. All of these outpourings are in situations that Ben remedies, in his solid reliable suited self. As Longhurst reminds us,The suit helps to create an illusion of a hard, or at least a firm and “proper,” body that is autonomous, in control, rational and masculine. It gives the impression that bodily boundaries continually remain intact and reduce potential embarrassment caused by any kind of leakage. (99)Ben is thus suited to manage situations in ways that contrast to Jules, whose bodily emissions and emotional dramas reinforce her as feminine, chaotic, and emotionally vulnerable. As Gatens notes of our epistemological inheritance, “women are most often understood to be less able to control the passions of the body and this failure is often located in the a priori disorder or anarchy of the female body itself” (50). Transitioning these philosophical principles to the 21st-century workplace, however, manifests some angst around gender and generation in this film.Despite the film’s apparent advocacy of successful working women, Jules too comes to prefer Ben’s model of corporeal control and masculinity. Ben is someone who makes Jules “feel calm, more centred or something. I could use that, obviously,” she quips. After he leads the almost undifferentiated younger employees Jason, Davis, and Lewis on a physical email rescue, Jules presents her theory of men amidst shots at a bar to celebrate their heist:Jules: So, we were always told that we could be anything, do anything, and I think guys got, maybe not left behind but not quite as nurtured, you know? I mean, like, we were the generation of You go, Girl. We had Oprah. And I wonder sometimes how guys fit in, you know they still seem to be trying to figure it out. They’re still dressing like little boys, they’re still playing video games …Lewis: Well they’ve gotten great.Davis: I love video games.Ben: Oh boy.Jules: How, in one generation, have men gone from guys like Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to … [Lewis, Davis, and Jason look down at themselves]Jules: Take Ben, here. A dying breed. Look and learn boys, because if you ask me, this is what cool is.Jules’s excessive drinking in this scene, which is followed by her vomiting into a rubbish bin, appears to reinforce Ben’s stable sobriety, alongside the culture of excess and rapid change associated with Jules through her gender and generation.Jules’s adoption of Ben as the model of masculinity is timely, given that she consistently encounters “sexism in business.” After every meeting with a potential CEO Jules complains of their patronising approach—calling her company a “chick site,” for example. And yet Ben echoes the sartorial style of the 1960s Mad Men era, which is suffused with sexism. The tension between Ben’s modelling of old-fashioned chivalry and those outdated sexist businessmen who never appear on-screen remains linked, however, through the iconography of the suit. In his book Mediated Nostalgia, Lizardi notes a similar tendency in contemporary media for what he calls “presentist versions of the past […] that represent a simpler time” (6) where viewers are constructed as ”uncritical citizens of our own culture” (1). By heroising Ben as a model of white middle-class managerial masculinity that is nostalgically enduring and endearing, this film betrays a yearning for such a “simpler time,” despite the complexities that hover just off-screen.Indeed, most of the other male characters in the film are found wanting in comparison to the retro masculinity of Ben. Jules’s husband Matt appears to be a perfect modern “stay-at-home-dad” who gives up his career for Jules’s business start-up. Yet he is found to be having an affair with one of the school mums. Lewis’s clothes are also condemned by Ben: “Why doesn’t anyone tuck anything in anymore?” he complains. Jason does not know how to speak to his love-interest Becky, expecting that texting and emailing sad emoticons will suffice, and Davis is unable to find a place to live. Luckily Ben can offer advice and tutelage to these men, going so far as to house Davis and give him one of his “vintage” ties to wear. Jules endorses this, saying she loves men in ties.The BriefcaseIf a feature of Ben’s experienced managerial style is longevity and stability, then these values are also attached to his briefcase. The association between Ben and his briefcase is established when the briefcase is personified during preparations for Ben’s first day: “Back in action,” Ben tells it. According to Atkinson, the briefcase is a “signifier of executive status […] entwined with a ‘macho mystique’ of concealed technology” (192). He ties this to the emergence of Cold War spy films like James Bond and traces it to the development of the laptop computer. This mix of mobility, concealment, glamour, and a touch of playboy adventurousness in a mass-produced material product manifested the values of the corporate world in latter 20th-century work culture and rendered the briefcase an important part of executive masculinity. Ben’s briefcase is initially indicative of his anachronistic position in All About Fit. While Davis opens his canvas messenger bag to reveal a smartphone, charger, USB drive, multi-cable connector, and book, Ben mirrors this by taking out his glasses case, set of pens, calculator, fliptop phone, and travel clock. Later in the film he places a print newspaper and leather bound book back into the case. Despite the association with a pre-digital age, the briefcase quickly becomes a product associated with Ben’s retro style. Lewis, at the next computer console, asks about its brand:Ben: It’s a 1973 Executive Ashburn Attaché. They don’t make it anymore.Lewis: I’m a little in love with it.Ben: It’s a classic Lewis. It’s unbeatable.The attaché case is left over from Ben’s past in executive management as VP for sales and advertising. This was a position he held for twenty years, during his past working life, which was spent with the same company for over 40 years. Ben’s long-serving employment record has the same values as his equally long-serving attaché case: it is dependable, reliable, ages well, and outlasts changes in fashion.The kind of nostalgia invested in Ben and his briefcase is reinforced extradiagetically through the musical soundtracks associated with him. Compared to the undifferentiated upbeat tracks at the workplace, Ben’s scenes feature a slower-paced sound from another era, including Ray Charles, Astrud Gilberto, Billie Holiday, and Benny Goodman. These classics are a point of connection with Jules, who declares that she loves Billie Holiday. Yet Jules is otherwise characterised by upbeat, even frantic, timing. She hates slow talkers, is always on the move, and is renowned for being late for meetings and operating on what is known as “Jules Standard Time.” In contrast, like his music, Ben is always on time: setting two alarm clocks each night, driving shorter and more efficient routes, seeing things at just the right time, and even staying at work until the boss leaves. He is reliable, steady, and orderly. He restores order both to the office junk desk and to the desk of Jules’s personal assistant Becky. These characteristics of order and timeliness are offered as an alternative to the chaos of 21st-century global flows of fashion marketing. Like his longevity, time is measured and managed around Ben. Even his name echoes that veritable keeper of time, Big Ben.The HandkerchiefThe handkerchief is another anachronistic object that Ben routinely carries, concealed inside his suit rather than flamboyantly worn on the outside pocket. A neatly ironed square of white hanky, it forms a notable part of Ben’s closet, as Davis notices and enquires about:Davis: Okay what’s the deal with the handkerchief? I don’t get that at all.Ben: It’s essential. That your generation doesn’t know that is criminal. The reason for carrying a handkerchief is to lend it. Ask Jason about this. Women cry Davis. We carry it for them. One of the last vestiges of the chivalrous gent.Indeed, when Jules’s personal assistant Becky bursts into tears because her skills and overtime go unrecognised, Ben is able to offer the hanky to Jason to give her as a kind of white flag, officially signaling a ceasefire between Becky and Jason. This scene is didactic: Ben is teaching Jason how to talk to a woman with the handkerchief as a material prop to prompt the occasion. He also offers advice to Becky to keep more regular hours, and go out and have fun (with Jason, obviously). Despite Becky declaring she “hates girls who cry at work,” this reaction to the pressures of a contemporary work culture that is irregular, chaotic, and never-ending is clearly marking gender, as the handkerchief also marks a gendered transaction of comfort.The handkerchief functions as a material marker of the “chivalrous gent” partly due to the number of times women are seen to cry in this film. In one of Ben’s first encounters with Jules she is crying in a boardroom, when it is suggested that she find a CEO to manage the company. Ben is clearly embarrassed, as is Jules, indicating the inappropriateness of such bodily emissions at work and reinforcing the emotional currency of women in the workplace. Jules again cries while discussing her marriage crisis with Ben, a scene in which Ben comments it is “the one time when he doesn’t have a hanky.” By the end of the film, when Jules and Matt are reconciling, she suggests: “It would be great if you were to carry a handkerchief.” The remaking of modern men into the retro style of Ben is more fully manifested in Davis who is depicted going to work on the last day in the film in a suit and tie. No doubt a handkerchief lurks hidden within.ConclusionThe yearning that emerges for a masculinity of yesteryear means that the intern in this film, Ben Whittaker, becomes an internal moral compass who reminds us of rapid social changes in gender and work, and of their discomfits. That this should be mapped onto an older, white, heterosexual, male body is unsurprising, given the authority traditionally invested in such bodies. Ben’s retro masculinity, however, is a fantasy from a fictional yesteryear, without the social or political forces that render those times problematic; instead, his material culture is fetishised and stripped of political analysis. Ben even becomes the voice of feminism, correcting Jules for taking the blame for Matt’s affair. Buchbinder argues that the more recent manifestations in film and television of “inadequate or incomplete” masculinity can be understood as “enacting a resistance to or even a refusal of the coercive pressure of the gender system” (235, italics in original), and yet The Intern’s yearning for a slow, orderly, mature, and knowing male hero refuses much space for alternative younger models. Despite this apparently unerring adulation of retro masculinity, however, we are reminded of the sexist social culture that suits, briefcases, and handkerchiefs materialise every time Jules encounters one of the seasoned CEOs jostling to replace her. The yearning for a stable masculinity in this film comes at the cost of politicising the past, and imagining alternative models for the future.ReferencesAtkinson, Paul. “Man in a Briefcase: The Social Construction of the Laptop Computer and the Emergence of a Type Form.” Journal of Design History 18.2 (2005): 191-205. Buchbinder, David. “Enter the Schlemiel: The Emergence of Inadequate of Incompetent Masculinities in Recent Film and Television.” Canadian Review of American Studies 38.2 (2008): 227-245.Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge, 1990.Connell, R.W. Masculinities. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005.Edwards, Tim. Fashion in Focus: Concepts, Practices and Politics. London: Routledge, 2010.Gatens, Moira. Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality. New York: Routledge, 1996.Gilleard, Chris, and Paul Higgs. Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment. London: Anthem, 2014.Lizardi, Ryan. Mediated Nostalgia: Individual Memory and Contemporary Mass Media. London: Lexington Books, 2015.Longhurst, Robyn. Bodies: Exploring Fluid Boundaries. London: Routledge, 2001.Meyers, Nancy, dir. The Intern. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2015.Turkle, Sherry. “The Things That Matter.” Evocative Objects: Things We Think With. Ed. Sherry Turkle. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2007.Turner, Graeme. Film as Social Practice. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2002.Veenstra, Aleit, and Giselinde Kuipers. “It Is Not Old-Fashioned, It Is Vintage: Vintage Fashion and the Complexities of 21st Century Consumption Practices.” Sociology Compass 7.5 (2013): 355-365.

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Kaur, Jasleen. "Allure of the Abroad: Tiffany & Co., Its Cultural Influence, and Consumers." M/C Journal 19, no.5 (October13, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1153.

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Introduction Tiffany and Co. is an American luxury jewellery and specialty retailer with its headquarters in New York City. Each piece of jewellery, symbolically packaged in a blue box and tied with a white bow, encapsulates the brand’s unique diamond pieces, symbolic origin story, branded historical contributions and representations in culture. Cultural brands are those that live and thrive in the minds of consumers (Holt). Their brand promise inspires loyalty and trust. These brands offer experiences, products, and personalities and spark emotional connotations within consumers (Arvidsson). This case study uses Tiffany & Co. as a successful example to reveal the importance of understanding consumers, the influential nature of media culture, and the efficacy of strategic branding, advertising, and marketing over time (Holt). It also reveals how Tiffany & Co. earned and maintained its place as an iconic cultural brand within consumer culture, through its strong association with New York and products from abroad. Through its trademarked logo and authentic luxury jewellery, encompassed in the globally recognised “Tiffany Blue” boxes, Tiffany & Co.’s cultural significance stems from its embodiment of the expected makings of a brand (Chernatony et al.). However, what propels this brand into what Douglas Holt terms “iconic territory” is that in its one hundred and seventy-nine years of existence, Tiffany’s has lived exclusively in the minds of its consumers.Tiffany & Co.’s intuitive prowess in reaching its target audience is what allows it to dominate the luxury jewellery market (Halasz et al.). This is not only a result of product value, but the alluring nature of the “Tiffany's from New York” brand imagery and experience (Holt et al.), circulated and celebrated in consumer culture through influential depictions in music, film and literature over time (Knight). Tiffany’s faithfully participates in the magnetic identity myth embodied by the brand and city, and has become globally sought after by consumers near and far, and recognised for its romantic connotations of love, luxury, and New York (Holt). An American Dream: New York Affiliation & Diamond OriginsIt was Truman Capote’s characterisation of Holly Golightly in his book (1958) and film adaption, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) that introduced the world to New York as the infatuating “setting,” upon which the Tiffany’s diamond rested. It was a place, that enabled the iconic Holly Golightly to personify the feeling of being abroad in New York and to demonstrate the seductive nature of a Tiffany’s store experience, further shaping the identity myth encompassed by the brand and the city for their global audience (Holt). Essentially, New York was the influential cultural instigator that propelled Tiffany & Co. from a consumer product, to a cultural icon. It did this by circulating its iconography via celebrity affiliations and representations in music, film, and literature (Knight), and by guiding strong brand associations in the minds of consumers (Arvidsson). However, before Tiffany’s became culturally iconic, it established its place in American heritage through historical contributions (Tiffany & Co.) and pledged an association to New York by personifying the American Dream (Mae). To help achieve his dream in a rapidly evolving economy (Elliott), Charles Lewis Tiffany purportedly brought the first substantial gemstones into America from overseas, and established the first American jewellery store to sell them to the public (Halasz et al.). The Tiffany & Co. origin story personifies the alluring nature of products from abroad, and their influence on individuals seeking an image of affluence for themselves. The ties between New York, Tiffany’s, and its consumers were further strengthened through the established, invaluable and emblematic nature of the diamond, historically launched and controlled by South African Diamond Cartel of De Beers (Twitchell). De Beers manipulated the demand for diamonds and instigated it as a status symbol. It then became a commoditised measurement of an individual’s worth and potential to love (Twitchell), a philosophy, also infused in the Tiffany & Co. brand ideology (Holt). Building on this, Tiffany’s further ritualised the justification of the material symbolisation of love through the idealistic connotations surrounding its assorted diamond ring experiences (Lee). This was projected through a strategic product placement and targeted advertising scheme, evident in dominant culture throughout the brand’s existence (Twitchell). Idealistically discussed by Purinton, this is also what exemplified, for consumers, the enticing cultural symbolism of the crystal rock from New York (Halasz et al.). Brand Essence: Experience & Iconography Prior to pop culture portraying the charming Tiffany’s brand imagery in mainstream media (Balmer et al.), Charles Tiffany directed the company’s ascent into luxury jewellery (Phillips et al.), fashioned the enticing Tiffany’s “store experience”, and initiated the experiential process of purchasing a diamond product. This immediately intertwined the imagery of Tiffany’s with New York, instigating the exclusivity of the experience for consumers (Holt). Tiffany’s provided customers with the opportunity to participate in an intricately branded journey, resulting in the diamond embodiment which declared their love most accurately; a token, packaged and presented within an iconic “Tiffany Blue” box (Klara). Aligning with Keller’s branding blueprint (7), this interactive process enabled Tiffany & Co. to build brand loyalty by consistently connecting with each of its consumers, regardless of their location in the world. The iconography of the coveted “blue box” was crafted when Charles Tiffany trademarked the shade Pantone No. 1837 (Osborne), which he coined for the year of Tiffany’s founding (Klara). Along with the brand promise of containing quality luxury jewellery, the box and that particular shade of blue instantly became a symbol of exclusivity, sophistication, and elegance, as it could only be acquired by purchasing jewellery from a Tiffany’s store (Rawlings). The exclusive packaging began to shape Tiffany’s global brand image, becoming a signifier of style and superiority (Phillips et al.), and eventually just as iconic as the jewellery itself. The blue box is still the strongest signifier of the brand today (Osborne). Ultimately, individuals want to participate in the myth of love, perfection and wealth (Arvidsson), encompassed exclusively by every Tiffany’s “blue box”. Furthermore, Tiffany’s has remained artistically significant within the luxury jewellery landscape since introducing its one-of-a-kind Tiffany Setting in 1886. It was the first jewellery store to fully maximise the potential of the natural beauty possessed of diamonds, while connotatively reflecting the natural beauty of every wearer (Phillips et al.). According to Jeffrey Bennett, the current Vice President of Tiffany & Co. New York, by precisely perching the “Tiffany Diamond” upon six intricately crafted silver prongs, the ring shines to its maximum capacity in a lit environment, while being closely secured to the wearer’s finger (Lee). Hence, the “Tiffany Setting” has become a universally sought after icon of extravagance and intricacy (Knight), and, as Bennett further describes, even today, the setting represents uncompromising quality and is a standard image of true love (Lee). Alluring Brand Imagery & Influential Representations in CultureEmpirical consumer research, involving two focus groups of married and unmarried, ethnically diverse Australian women and conducted in 2015, revealed that even today, individuals accredit their desire for Tiffany’s to the inspirational imagery portrayed in music, movies and television. Through participating in the Tiffany's from New York store experience, consumers are able to indulge in their fantasies of what it would feel like to be abroad and the endless potential a city such as New York could hold for them. Tiffany’s successfully disseminated its brand ideology into consumer culture (Purinton) and extended the brand’s significance for consumers beyond the 1960s through constant representation of the expensive business of love, lust and marriage within media culture. This is demonstrated in such films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Legally Blonde (2001), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Great Gatsby (2013), and in the influential television shows, Gossip Girl (2007—2012), and Glee (2009—2015).The most important of these was the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), and the iconic embodiment of Capote’s (1958) Holly Golightly by actress Audrey Hepburn (Wasson). Hepburn’s (1961) portrayal of the emotionally evocative connotations of experiencing Tiffany’s in New York, as personified by her romantic dialogue throughout the film (Mae), produced the image that nothing bad could ever happen at a Tiffany’s store. Thus began the Tiffany’s from New York cultural phenomenon, which has been consistently reiterated in popular media culture ever since.Breakfast at Tiffany’s also represented a greater struggle faced by women in the 1960s (Dutt); that of gender roles, women’s place in society, and their desire for stability and freedom simultaneously (Sheehan). Due to Hepburn’s accurate characterisation of this struggle, the film enabled Tiffany & Co. to become more than just jewellery and a symbol of support (Torelli). Tiffany’s also allowed filming to take place inside its New York flagship store to which Capote’s narrative so idealistically alludes, further demonstrating its support for the 1960s women’s movement at an opportune moment in history (Torelli). Hence, Tiffany’s from New York became a symbol for the independent materialistic modern woman (Wasson), an ideal, which has become a repeated motif, re-imagined and embodied by popular icons (Knight) such as, Madonna in Material Girl (1985), and the characterisations of Carrie Bradshaw by Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlotte York by Kristin Davis (Sex and the City), and Donna Paulsen by Sarah Rafferty (Suits). The iconic television series Sex and the City, set in New York, boldly represented Tiffany’s as a symbol of friendship when a fellow female protagonist parted with her lavish Tiffany’s engagement ring to help her friend financially (Sex and the City). This was similarly reimagined in the popular television series Suits, also set in New York, where a protagonist is gifted two Tiffany Boxes from her female friend, as a token of congratulations on her engagement. This allowed Tiffany & Co. to add friendship to its symbolic repertoire (Manning), whilst still personifying a symbol of love in the minds of its consumers who were tactically also the target audiences of these television shows (Wharton).The alluring Tiffany’s image was presented specifically to a male audience through the first iconic Bond Girl named Tiffany Case in the novel Diamonds Are Forever (Fleming). The film adaption made its cultural imprint in 1971 with Sean Connery portraying James Bond, and paired the exaggerated brand of “007” with the evocative imagery of Tiffany’s (Spilski et al.). This served as a reminder to existing audiences about the powerful and seductive connotations of the blue box with the white ribbon (Osborne), as depicted by the enticing Tiffany Case in 1956.Furthermore, the Tiffany’s image was similarly established as a lyrical status symbol of wealth and indulgence (Knight). Portrayed most memorably by Marilyn Monroe’s iconic performance of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). Even though the song only mentions Tiffany’s lyrically twice (Vito et al.), through the celebrity affiliation, Monroe was introduced as a credible embodiment of Tiffany’s brand essence (Davis). Consequently, she permanently attached her image to that of the alluring Tiffany Diamonds for the target audience, male and female, past and present (Vito et al.). Exactly thirty-two years later, Monroe’s 1953 depiction was reinforced in consumer culture (Wharton) through an uncanny aesthetic and lyrical reimagining of the original performance by Madonna in her music video Material Girl (1985). This further preserved and familiarised the Tiffany’s image of glamour, luxury and beauty by implanting it in the minds of a new generation (Knight). Despite the shift in celebrity affiliation to a current cultural communicator (Arvidsson), the influential image of the Tiffany Diamond remains constant and Tiffany’s has maintained its place as a popular signifier of affluence and elegance in mainstream consumer culture (Jansson). The main difference, however, between Monroe’s and Madonna’s depictions is that Madonna aspired to be associated with the Tiffany’s brand image because of her appreciation for Marilyn Monroe and her brand image, which also intrinsically exuded beauty, money and glamour (Vito et al.). This suggests that even a musical icon like Madonna was influenced by Tiffany & Co.’s hold on consumer culture (Spilski et al.), and was able to inject the same ideals into her own loyal fan base (Fill). It is evident that Tiffany & Co. is thoroughly in tune with its target market and understands the relevant routes into the minds of its consumers. Kotler (113) identifies that the brand has demonstrated the ability to reach its separate audiences simultaneously, with an image that resonates with them on different levels (Manning). For example, Tiffany & Co. created the jewellery that featured in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 cinematic adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). Through representing a signifier of love and lust induced by monetary possessions (Fitzgerald), Tiffany’s truthfully portrayed its own brand image and persuaded audiences to associate the brand with these ideals (Holt). By illustrating the romantic, alluring and powerful symbolism of giving or obtaining love, armed with a Tiffany’s Diamond (Mae), Tiffany’s validated its timeless, historical and cultural contemporary relevance (Greene).This was also most recently depicted through Tiffany & Co.’s Will You (2015) advertising campaign. The brand demonstrated its support for marriage equality, by featuring a real life same-sex couple to symbolise that love is not conditional and that Tiffany’s has something that signifies every relationship (Dicker). Thus, because of the brand’s rooted place in central media culture and the ability to appeal to the belief system of its target market while evolving with, and understanding its consumers on a level of metonymy (Manning), Tiffany & Co. has transitioned from a consumer product to a culturally relevant and globally sought-after iconic brand (Holt). ConclusionTiffany & Co.’s place-based association and representational reflection in music, film, and literature, assisted in the formation of loyal global communities that thrive on the identity building side effects associated with luxury brand affiliation (Banet-Weiser et al.). Tiffany’s enables its global target market to revel in the shared meanings surrounding the brand, by signifying a symbolic construct that resonates with consumers (Hall). Tiffany’s inspires consumers to eagerly exercise their brand trust and loyalty by independently ritualising the Tiffany’s from New York brand experience for themselves and the ones they love (Fill). Essentially, Tiffany & Co. successfully established its place in society and strengthened its ties to New York, through targeted promotions and iconographic brand dissemination (Nita).Furthermore, by ritualistically positioning the brand (Holt), surrounding and saturating it in existing cultural practices, supporting significant cultural actions and becoming a symbol of wealth, luxury, commitment, love and exclusivity (Phillips et al.), Tiffany’s has steadily built a positive brand association and desire in the minds of consumers near and far (Keller). As a direct result, Tiffany’s earned and kept its place as a culturally progressive brand in New York and around the world, sustaining its influence and ensuring its survival in today’s contemporary consumer society (Holt).Most importantly, however, although New York has become the anchor in every geographically exemplified Tiffany’s store experience in literature, New York has also become the allegorical anchor in the minds of consumers in actuality (Arvidsson). Hence, Tiffany & Co. has catered to the needs of its global target audience by providing it with convenient local stores abroad, where their love can be personified by purchasing a Tiffany Diamond, the ultimate symbol of authentic commitment, and where they can always experience an allusive piece of New York. ReferencesArvidsson, Adam. Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. New York: Routledge, 2006.Balmer, John M.T., Stephen A. Greyser, and Mats Urde. “Corporate Brands with a Heritage.” Journal of Brand Management 15.1 (2007): 4–17.Banet-Weiser, Sarah, and Charlotte Lapsansky. “RED Is the New Black: Brand Culture, Consumer Citizenship and Political Possibility.” International Journal of Communication 2 (2008): 1248–64. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Blake Edwards. Paramount Pictures, 1961.Capote, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. New York: Random House, 1958.Chernatony, Leslie D, and Francesca Dall'Olmo Riley. “Defining a 'Brand': Beyond the Literature with Experts' Interpretations.” Journal of Marketing Management 14.5 (1998): 413–38.Material Girl. Performed by Madonna. Mary Lambert. Warner Bros, 1985. Music Video. Davis, Aeron. Promotional Cultures. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013.Diamonds Are Forever. Guy Hamilton. United Artists, 1971.Dicker, Ron. “Tiffany Ad Features Gay Couple, Rings in New Year in a Big Way.” The Huffington Post Australia, 11 Jan. 2015. Dutt, Reema. “Behind the Curtain: Women’s Representations in Contemporary Hollywood.” Department of Media and Communications (2014): 2–38. Elliott, Alan. A Daily Dose of the American Dream: Stories of Success, Triumph, and Inspiration. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1998.Fill, Chris. Marketing Communications: Interactivity, Communities and Content. 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2009.Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.Fleming, Ian. Diamonds Are Forever, London: Jonathan Cape, 1956.Gemological Institute of America, “Diamond History and Lore.” GIA, 2002–2016. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Howard Hawks. 20th Century Fox, 1953.Glee. Prod. Ryan Murphy. 20th Century Fox. California, 2009–2015. Television.Gossip Girl. Prod. Josh Schwartz. Warner Bros. California, 2007–2012. Television.Greene, Lucie. “Luxury Brands and ‘The Great Gatsby’ Movie.” Style Magazine. 11 May. 2013.Halasz, Robert, and Christina Stansell. “Tiffany & Co.” International Directory of Company Histories, 8 Oct. 2006. Hall, Stuart. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: SAGE, 1997. Holt, Douglas B., and Douglas Cameron. Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.Holt, Douglas B. How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding. Boston: Harvard Business P, 2004.Jansson, Andre. “The Mediatization of Consumption Towards an Analytical Framework of Image Culture.” Journal of Consumer Culture 2.1 (2002): 5–27.Keller, Kevin L. “Building Customer-Based Brand Equity: A Blueprint for Creating Strong Brands.” Marketing Science Institute (2001): 3–30.Klara, Robert. “How Tiffany’s Iconic Box Became the World’s Most Popular Package.” Adweek, 22 Sep. 2014. Knight, Gladys L. Pop Culture Places: An Encyclopedia of Places in American Popular Culture. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014.Kotler, Philip. Principles of Marketing. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1983.Lee, Jane. “Deconstructing the Tiffany Setting.” Forbes video clip. YouTube, 3 Oct. 2012.Legally Blonde. Robert Luketic. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2001.Mae, Caity. “A Love Letter to Tiffany & Co.” Blog post. Thought Catalogue, 7 May. 2014.Manning, Paul. “The Semiotics of Brand.” The Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (2010): 33–46.Nita, Catalina. “Tiffany & Co: Brand Image Linked with American Cinema.” Blog post. Impressive Magazine, 11 Aug. 2013.Osborne, Neil. “Bling in a Blue Box: How an Iconic Brand Delivers Its Promise.” Professional Beauty Magazine: Business Feature, Mar/Apr. 2015: 152–53.Phillips, Clare, and Tiffany and Company. Bejewelled by Tiffany. Connecticut: Yale UP, 2006.Purinton, Elizabeth F. “An Analysis of Consumers' Attitudes about Artificial Diamonds and Artificial Love.” Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences 24.3 (2012): 68–76.Rawlings, Nate. “All–TIME 100 Fashion Icons: Designers & Brands: Tiffany & Co.” Time, 2 Apr. 2012. Sex and the City. TV Series. Prod. Darren Star. Warner Bros. California, 1998–2004.Sheehan, Kim B. Controversies in Contemporary Advertising: Gender and Advertising. 2nd ed. New York: SAGE, 2013.Sleepless in Seattle. Dir. Nora Ephron. TriStar, 1993.Spilski, Anja, and Andrea Groeppel-Klein. “The Persistence of Fictional Character Images beyond the Program and Their Use in Celebrity Endorsem*nt: Experimental Results from a Media Context Perspective.” Advances in Consumer Research 35 (2008): 868–70.Suits. TV series. Prod. Aaron Korsh. New York: NBC Universal, 2011-2016.Sweet Home Alabama. Dir. Andy Tennant. Touchstone, 2002. The Great Gatsby. Dir. Baz Luhrmann. Village Roadshow, 2013.Tiffany & Co. “The World of Tiffany: The Tiffany Story.” T&CO, 2016.Torelli, Carlos, J. Globalization, Culture, and Branding: How to Leverage Cultural Equity for Building Iconic Brands in the Era of Globalization. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.Twitchell, James B. 20 Ads That Shook the World: The Century’s Most Ground-Breaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All. New York: Three Rivers P, 2000.Vito, John D., and Frank Tropea. The Immortal Marilyn: The Depiction of an Icon. Maryland: Scarecrow P, 2006.Wasson, Sam. “How Holly Golightly Changed the World.” Harpers Bazaar, 14 Oct. 2011. Wharton, Chris. Advertising Critical Approaches. New York: Routledge, 2015.Will You. Advertisem*nt. Tiffany & Co. New York: Ogilvy & Mather, 2015.

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Usmar, Patrick. "Born To Die: Lana Del Rey, Beauty Queen or Gothic Princess?" M/C Journal 17, no.4 (July24, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.856.

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Closer examination of contemporary art forms including music videos in addition to the Gothic’s literature legacy is essential, “as it is virtually impossible to ignore the relationship the Gothic holds to popular culture” (Piatti-Farnell ii). This article critically examines how Gothic themes and modes are used in the music videos of Lana Del Rey; particularly the “ways in which Gothic is dispersed through contemporary non-literary media” (Spooner and McEvoy 2). This work follows the argument laid down by Edwards and Monnet who describe Gothic’s assimilation into popular culture —Pop Gothic— as a powerful pop cultural force, not merely a subcultural or cult expression. By interpreting Del Rey’s work as a both a component of, and a contributor to, the Pop Gothic advance, themes of social climate, consumer culture, gender identity, sexuality and the male gaze can be interrogated. Indeed the potential for a collective crisis of these issues in early 21st Century western culture is exposed, “the façade of carnivalised surfaces is revealed to hide the chaos and entropy of existential emptiness.” (Yeo 17). Gothic modes have been approximated by Pop Gothic into the mainstream (Edwards and Monnet) as a driving force behind these contradictions and destabilisations. The Gothic has become ubiquitous within popular culture and continues to exert influence. This is easily reflected in the $392 million the first Twilight movie grossed at the box office (Edwards and Monnet). Examples are abundant in pop culture across music, film and television. Edwards and Monnet cite the movies Zombieland and Blade in the Pop Gothic march, along with TV shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Being Human, True Blood as well as Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster music album. Edwards and Monnet observe that the Gothic aesthetics of the 1980s and 1990s, “melancholy and imagery associated with death, dying and the undead” (3), shifted from the corners of subculture to the mainstream of millennial popular culture. With this shift comes the rebelliousness and melancholy that characterises Gothic texts. This is evident when a pop star of Lana Del Rey’s popularity —her Summertime Sadness video alone has over 160 million views on youtube.com (YouTube)— narratively represents themes of death and suicide repeatedly in her videos. In two of Lana Del Rey’s music videos —Blue Jeans and Born to Die— either she or a representation of her persona dies. In a third video, Summertime Sadness, her companion takes her own life and Lana ultimately follows suit. Themes of death and loss are just the most obvious of Gothic elements present in Del Rey’s work. Del Rey’s songs and videos speak of the American dream, of aestheticised beauty, of being immaculately presented, well dressed and having hair “beauty queen style”, as in Summertime Sadness. She depicts an excess of hedonistic consumption and love that knows no bounds, not even death. Much of the delivery has resonance with the Gothic; performatively, visually and musically, and shows a subversion and fatalism that juxtaposes, contests and contradicts pop cultural tropes (Macfarlane). This contrary nature of the Gothic, as characterised by Botting, can provoke a sense of otherness; the uncanny, including “displays of uncontrolled passion, violent emotion or flights of fancy to portrayals of perversion or obsession” (Gothic 2). It is argued that these characteristics have been commodified into merchandisable and mainstream stylistic representations (Edwards and Monnet). Del Rey’s visual work uses this otherness and representation of repressed darkness as subversion or contestation to the bubble gum consumerist, fairy tale sexualisation of the Katy Perry brand of neo-liberal pop music that floods the mainstream (Macfarlane). Del Rey also harnesses the Gothic mode in her music, underscoring social anxieties through moments of sound which act as “a sonic imp, this music enters perception through the back door, and there it does its destabilising work” (van Elferen 137). As potential psychosocial sources of this otherness in the Gothic (Botting, Gothic), Jung argued that as a collective consciousness by repressing our darkest side, we can be dislocated from it. Further he argued that many modern ills —conflict, war, disenfranchisem*nt, poverty— stem from culturally rationalised divisions of ‘good vs evil’ (Tacey). Providing a space for these dark sides to surface, Swirski comments that cultural product can act "as a social barometer and a cultural diagnostic tool. It identifies social trends and cultural patterns and weaves elaborate counterfactuals- literary fictions- that hang human faces on large-scale human abstractions such as society and culture" (1). Jung proposes the large-scale social abstraction; that to truly live with ourselves we need embrace the otherness inside us— to learn to live with it (Tacey). The Gothic may enable this living with, rather than living without. Jung asserts that we now rely so much on what we can touch, taste and own, that western culture has become a “creed without substance” (Tacey 32). In more concrete terms, Hoffie argues that popular media today tells stories: in terms of disaster and crisis: weather patterns: disastrous. Climate Change: disastrous. Global Financial Crisis: disastrous. Political situations: disastrous. Unemployment: disastrous. And so on. The high-pitched wail of this lament corrodes the peaks and troughs of potential emotional responsiveness; the vapours of benumbing apathy steam upwards like a bewitching spell. All stands still. Action, like in a bad dream, seems impossible. (14) This apathy in the face of crisis or disaster is well expressed in Del Rey’s work through the Gothic influenced lyrics and videos; she describes her partner as so good looking as to be “sick as cancer” in Blue Jeans and that her lover left her because he was “chasing paper”. Represented here is the social current that the need to acquire goods in late capitalism’s climate “of unrestrained consumerism” (Heine and Thakur 2) is her lover’s priority over companionship. Revealing more of the Gothic aesthetic is that her videos and songs represent this loss, they depict “disturbances of sanity and security” (Botting, Gothic 2) and thematically reflect the social climate of “disaster and crisis” (Hoffie 14). This sense of otherness through Gothic influences of the uncanny, death and melancholy have a significant impact on creative expression creating music videos that play like a kind of half remembered nightmare (Botting, Love Your Zombie; Macfarlane). In the black and white video for Blue Jeans the opening shot shows an image of Del Rey rippling and blurred, framed by circular waves of water as black as oil. The powerful Gothic aesthetic of the abyss is rendered here, “to convey the figurative meaning of a catastrophic situation seen as likely to occur whereby the individual will sink to immeasurable intellectual, ethical or moral depths” (Edwards and Monnet 9). This abyss is represented as Del Rey sings to her ghostly tattooed lover that she will love him until “the end of time” and climaxes in the suggestion that he drowns her. As in Edwards and Monnet‘s description of zombie films, Del Rey’s videos narratively “suggest that the postmodern condition is itself a form of madness that disseminates cultural trauma and erases historical memory” (8). This view is evident in contrasting Del Rey’s interview comment that she finds conversations about feminism boring (Cooper). Yet in her song delivery and lyrics she retains an ironic tone regards feminine power. This combination helps “produce a darkly funny and carnivalesque representation of sex and waste under late capitalism” (Edwards and Monnet 8). Further evidence of these ironies and distorted juxtapositions of loss and possession are evident in the song Radio. The video —a bricolage of retrospective fashion imagery— and lyrics hint at the persistent desire for goods in US western culture (Heine and Thakur). Simultaneously in her song Radio, she is corruptibly engorged by consumption and being consumed (Mulvey) as she sings that life is “sweet like cinnamon, a f*cking dream on Ritalin”. The video itself represents distorted dreams hyper-real on Ritalin. Del Rey’s work speaks of an excess; the overflow of sensations, sexual excess, of buying, of having, of owning, and at the same time the absence; of loss or not knowing what to have (Botting, Love Your Zombie). Exemplified by the lyrics in What Makes Us Girls, “do I know what I want?” and again in Radio “American dreams came true somehow, I swore I’d chase until I was dead”. Increasingly it is evident that Del Rey sings “as a woman who does not know what she wants” (Vigier 5). She illustrates the “endemic narcissism” (Hoffie 15) of contemporary western culture. Del Rey therefore clearly delineates much of “the loneliness, emptiness, and alienation that results from rampant consumerism and materialism under advanced capitalism” (Edwards and Monnet 8). As a theme of this representation, Del Rey implies a sense of commodified female sexual energy through the male gaze (Mulvey), along with a sense of wasted youth and opportunity in the carnivalesque National Anthem. The video, shot as if on Super 8 film, tells the story of Del Rey’s ‘character’ married to a hedonistic style of president. It is reminiscent of the JFK story including authentic and detailed presentation of costume —especially Del Rey’s Jackie Onassis fashions— the couple posing in presidential gardens with handsome mixed-race children. Lavish lifestyles are depicted whilst the characters enjoy drinking, gambling and consumerist excess, Del Rey sings "It's a love story for the new age, For the six page, We're on a quick sick rampage, Wining and dining, Drinking and driving, Excessive buying, Overdose and dyin'". In National Anthem sexual excess is one of the strongest themes communicated. Repeatedly depicted are distinct close up shots of his hand on her thigh, and vice versa. Without being sexually explicit in itself, it is an overtly sexual reference, communicating something of sexual excess because of the sheer number of times it is highlighted in close-up shots. This links to the idea of the Gothic use of jouissance, a state of: excessive energies that burst in and beyond circuits of pleasure: intensities are read in relation to a form of subjectivity that finds itself briefly and paradoxically in moments of extreme loss. (Botting, Love Your Zombie 22) Del Rey represents these moments of loss —of herself, of her man, of her power, of her identity being subsumed by his— as intense pleasure, indicated in the video through sexual referencing. Botting argues that these excesses create anxieties; that in the pursuit of postmodern excess, of ownership, of consumption: the subject internalises the inconsistencies and contradictions of capitalism, manifesting pathologies not of privation but overabundance: stress, eating disorders, self-harming, and a range of anxieties. (Love Your Zombie 22) These anxieties are further expressed in National Anthem. Del Rey sings to her lover that he cannot keep his “pants on” and she must “hold you like a python”. The python in this tale simultaneously symbolises the exotic, erotic and dangerous entrapment by her male suitor. Edwards and Monnet argue for the Gothic monster, whose sign is further referenced as Del Rey swims with crocodiles in Blue Jeans. Here the male power, patriarchy and dominance is represented as monstrous. In the video she shares the pool with her beau yet we only see Del Rey swim and writhe with the crocodiles. Analogous of her murderous lover, this adds a powerful otherness to the scene and reinforces the symbols of threatening masculinity and impeding disaster. This expression of monstrousness creates a cathartic tension as it “puts the ‘pop’ in Pop Goth: its popularity is based on the frisson of selling simultaneous aversion from and attraction to self-destruction and cultural taboo” (Edwards and Monnet 9). In a further representation of anxieties Del Rey conforms to the sexual object persona in large part through her retro pin-up iconography —meticulous attention to costume, continuous posing and pouting— and song lyrics (Buszek). As in National Anthem her lyrics talk of devotion and male strength to protect and to “keep me safe in his bell tower”. Her videos, whilst they may show some of her strength, ultimately reside in patriarchal resolution (Mulvey). She is generally confounded by the male figures in her videos appearing to be very much alone and away from them: most notably in Blue Jeans, Born to Die and Video Games. In two cases it is suggested she is murdered by the male figures of her love. Her costume and appearance —iconic 1960’s swimsuits, pantsuits and big hairstyles in National Anthem— portray something of the retro pin-up. Buszek argues that at one time “young feminists may poke fun at the pin-up, but they do so in ways that betray affinities with, even affection for, the genre itself” (3). Del Rey simultaneously adheres to and confronts these normative gender roles, as is characteristic of the Gothic mode (Botting, Gothic). These very Gothic contradictions are also evident in Del Rey’s often ironic or mocking song delivery, undermining apparent heteronormative sexual and gender positioning. In National Anthem she sings, as if parodying women who might sincerely ask, “do you think he’ll buy me lots of diamonds?”. Her conformity is however, subverted. In Del Rey’s videos, clear evidence exists in her facial expressions where she consistently portrays Gothic elements of uncertainty, sorrow, grief and a pervading sense that she does not belong in this world (Botting, Gothic). Whilst depicted as a brooding and mourning widow —simultaneously playing the mistress luxuriating on a lion skin rug— in National Anthem Del Rey sings, “money is the anthem of success” without a smile or sense of any attachment to the lyrics. In the same song she sings “God you’re so handsome” without a trace of glee, pleasure or optimism. In the video for Blue Jeans she sings, “I will love you til the end of time” staring sorrowfully into the distance or directly at the camera. This confident yet ‘dead stare’ emphasises the overall juxtaposition of the largely positive lyrical expression, with the sorrowful facial expression and low sung notes. Del Rey signifies repeatedly that something is amiss; that the American dream is over and that even with apparent success within this sphere, there exists only emptiness and isolation (Botting, Love Your Zombie). Further contradictions exist as Lana Del Rey walks this blurred line —as is the Gothic mode— between heteronormative and ambiguous gender roles (Botting, Gothic; Edwards and Monnet). Lana Del Rey oscillates between positions of strength and independence —shown in her deadpan to-camera delivery— to that of weakness and subjugation. As she plays narrator, Del Rey symbolically reclaims some power as she retells the tragic story of Born to Die from her throne. Represented here Del Rey’s persona exerts a troubled malevolence, with two tigers calmly sat by her side: her benevolent pets, or symbols of contrived excess. She simultaneously presents the angelic —resplendent in sheer white dress and garland ‘crown’ headdress of the spurned bride in the story— and the stoic as she stares down the camera. Del Rey is powerful and in many senses threatening. At one point she draws a manicured thumbnail across her neck in a cut-throat gesture; a movement echoed later by her lover. Her character ultimately walks symbolically —and latently— to her death. She neither remedies her position as subservient, subordinate female nor revisits any kind of redemption for the excessive male dominance in her videos. The “excess is countered by greater excess” (Botting Love Your Zombie 27) and leads to otherness. In this reading of Del Rey’s work, there are representations that remain explicitly Pop Gothic, eliciting sensations of paranoia and fear, overloading her videos with these signs (Yeo). These signs elicit the otherness of the Gothic mode; expressed in visual symbols of violence, passion or obsession (Botting, Gothic). In our digital visual age, subjecting an eager viewer to this excess of signs creates the conditions for over-reading of a growing gender or consumerist paranoia, enabled by the Gothic, “paranoia stems from an excessive over-reading of signs and is a product of interpretation, misinterpretation and re-interpretation based on one’s knowledge or lack of it” (Yeo 22). Del Rey stimulates these sensations of paranoia partly through interlaying intertextual references. She does this thematically —Gothic melancholy— and pop culturally channelling Marilyn Monroe and other fashion iconography, as well as through explicit textual references, as in her most recent single Ultraviolence. In Ultraviolence, Del Rey sings “He hit me and it felt like a kiss”. Effortlessly and simultaneously she celebrates and lays bare her pain; however the intertextual reference to the violent controversy of the film A Clockwork Orange serves to aestheticise the domestic violence she describes. With Del Rey it may be that as meaning is sought amongst the texts as Macfarlane wrote about Lady Gaga, Del Rey’s “truth is ultimately irrelevant in the face of its interlayed performance” (130). Del Rey’s Gothic mode of ambiguity, of transgressed boundaries and unclear lines, shows “this ambience of perpetually deferred climax is no stranger to contemporary culture” (Hoffie 15) and may go some way to expressing something of the “lived experience of her audience” (Vigier 1). Hermes argues that in post-feminist pop culture, strong independent post-feminist women can be characterised by their ability to break traditional taboos, question or hold up for interrogation norms and traditions, but that ultimately narrative arches tend to restore the patriarchal norm. Edwards and Monnet assert that the Gothic in Pop Gothic cultural representation can become “post-race, post-sexuality, post-gender” (6). In places Del Ray exhibits this postmodernism but through the use of Gothic mode goes outside political debates and blurs clear lines of feminist discourse (Botting, Love Your Zombie). Whilst a duality in the texts exists; comments on consumerism, the emptiness of capitalist society and a suicidal expression of hopelessness, are undermined as she demonstrates conformity to subservient gender roles and her ambiguously ironic need to be “young and beautiful”. To be consumed by her man thus defines her value as an object within a consumerist neo-liberal trope (Jameson). This analysis goes some way to confirming Hermes’ assertion that in this post-feminist climate there has been a “loss of a political agenda, or the foundation for a new one, where it signposts the overcoming of unproductive old distinctions between feminist and feminine” (79). Hermes further argues, with reference to television shows Ally McBeal and Sex and the City, that presentation of female characters or personas has moved forward; the man is no longer the lone guarantor of a woman’s happiness. Yet many of the tropes in Del Rey’s work are familiar; overwhelming love for her companion equal only to the emphasis on physical appearance. Del Rey breaks taboos —she is powerful, sexual and a romantic predator, without being a demon seductress— and satirises consumerist excess and gender inequality; yet she remains sexually and politically subservient to the whim and sometimes violently expressed or implied male gaze (Mulvey). Del Rey may well represent something of Vigier’s assertion that whilst society has clear direction for the ‘success’ of women, “that real liberation and genuine satisfaction elude them” (1). In closing, there is no clear answer as to whether Del Rey is a Beauty Queen or Gothic Princess; she is neither and she is both. In Vigier’s words, “self-exploitation or self-destruction cannot be the only choices open to young women today” (13). Del Rey’s work is provocative on multiple levels. It hints at the pull of rampant consumerism and the immediacy of narcissistic desires, interlinked with contradictions which indicate the potential for social crises. This is shown in Del Rey’s use of the Gothic — otherness, the monstrous, darkness and death— and its juxtaposition with heteronormative gender representations which highlights the persistent commodification of the female body, its subjugation to male power and the potential for deep anxieties in 21st-century identity. References Blue Jeans. Dir. Yoann Lemoine. Perf. Lana Del Rey. Interscope Records, 2012. Botting, Fred. Gothic. New York: Routledge, 2014. Botting, Fred. "Love Your Zombie." The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Ed. Edwards, Justin and Agnieszka Monnet. New York: Routledge, 2012. 19-36. Buszek, Maria. Pin-Up Grrrls Feminism, Sexuality and Popular Culture. London: Duke University Press, 2006. Cooper, Duncan. "Lana Del Rey Cover Interview." Fader, June 2014. Edwards, Justin, and Agnieszka Monnet. "Introduction." The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Eds. Justin Edwards and A. Monnet. New York: Routledge, 2012. 1-18. Heine, Jorge, and Ramesh Thakur. The Dark Side of Globalisation. New York: UN UP, 2011. Hermes, Joke. "The Tragic Success of Feminism." Feminism in Popular Culture. Eds. Joanne Hollows and Rachel Moseley. New York: Berg, 2006. 79-95. Hoffie, Pat. "Deadly Ennui." Artlink Magazine 32.4 (2012): 15-16. Jameson, Fredric. "Globalisation and Political Strategy." New Left Review 2.4 (2000): 49-68. Lana Del Rey. "Radio." Born To Die. Interscope Records, 2012. "Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness" YouTube, n.d. 12 June 2014 ‹http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVjsGKrE6E8›. Lana Del Rey. "This Is What Makes Us Girls." Born To Die. Interscope Records, 2012. Macfarlane, K. "The Monstrous House of Gaga." The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Ed. Justin Edwards and A. Monnet. New York: Routledge, 2012. 114-134. Mestrovic, Stjepan. Postemotional Society. London: Sage, 1997. Mulvey, Laura. Visual and other Pleasures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. National Anthem. Dir. Anthony Mandler. Perf. Lana Del Rey. Interscope Records, 2012. Paglia, Camille. Lady Gaga and the Death of Sex. 12 Sep. 2010. 2 June 2014 ‹http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/magazine/article389697.ece›. Piatti-Farnell, Lorna. "Introduction: a Place for Contemporary Gothic." Aeternum: the Journal of Contemporary Gothic Studies 1.1 (2014): i-iv. Spooner, Catherine, and Emma McEvoy. The Routledge Companion to Gothic. New York: Routledge, 2007. Summertime Sadness. Dir. Chris Sweeney. Perf. Lana Del Rey. Interscope Records, 2013. Swirski, Peter. American Utopia and Social Engineering in Literature, Social Thought, and Political History. New York: Routledge, 2011. Tacey, David. The Jung Reader. New York: Routledge, 2012. Van Elferen, Isabella. "Spectural Liturgy, Transgression, Ritual and Music in Gothic." The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Eds. Justin Edwards and A. Monnet. New York: Routledge, 2012. 135-147. Vigier, Catherine. "The Meaning of Lana Del Rey." Zeteo: The Journal of Interdisciplinary Writing Fall (2012): 1-16. Yeo, David. "Gothic Paranoia in David Fincher's Seven, The Game and Fight Club." Aeternum: The Journal Of Contemporary Gothic Studies 1.1 (2014): 16-25. Young and Beautiful. Dir. Chris Sweeney. Perf. Lana Del Rey. Interscope Records, 2013.

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Starrs,D.Bruno. "Enabling the Auteurial Voice in Dance Me to My Song." M/C Journal 11, no.3 (July2, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.49.

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Abstract:

Despite numerous critics describing him as an auteur (i.e. a film-maker who ‘does’ everything and fulfils every production role [Bordwell and Thompson 37] and/or with a signature “world-view” detectable in his/her work [Caughie 10]), Rolf de Heer appears to have declined primary authorship of Dance Me to My Song (1997), his seventh in an oeuvre of twelve feature films. Indeed, the opening credits do not mention his name at all: it is only with the closing credits that the audience learns de Heer has directed the film. Rather, as the film commences, the viewer is informed by the titles that it is “A film by Heather Rose”, thus suggesting that the work is her singular creation. Direct and uncompromising, with its unflattering shots of the lead actor and writer (Heather Rose Slattery, a young woman born with cerebral palsy), the film may be read as a courageous self-portrait which finds the grace, humanity and humour trapped inside Rose’s twisted body. Alternatively, it may be read as yet another example of de Heer’s signature interest in foregrounding a world view which gives voice to marginalised characters such as the disabled or the disadvantaged. For example, the developmentally retarded eponyme of Bad Boy Bubby (1993) is eventually able to make art as a singer in a band and succeeds in creating a happy family with a wife and two kids. The ‘mute’ girl in The Quiet Room (1996) makes herself heard by her squabbling parents through her persistent activism. In Ten Canoes (2006) the Indigenous Australians cast themselves according to kinship ties, not according to the director’s choosing, and tell their story in their own uncolonised language. A cursory glance at the films of Rolf de Heer suggests he is overtly interested in conveying to the audience the often overlooked agency of his unlikely protagonists. In the ultra-competitive world of professional film-making it is rare to see primary authorship ceded by a director so generously. However, the allocation of authorship to a member of a marginalized population re-invigorates questions prompted by Andy Medhurst regarding a film’s “authorship test” (198) and its relationship to a subaltern community wherein he writes that “a biographical approach has more political justification if the project being undertaken is one concerned with the cultural history of a marginalized group” (202-3). Just as films by gay authors about gay characters may have greater credibility, as Medhurst posits, one might wonder would a film by a person with a disability about a character with the same disability be better received? Enabling authorship by an unknown, crippled woman such as Rose rather than a famous, able-bodied male such as de Heer may be cynically regarded as good (show) business in that it is politically correct. This essay therefore asks if the appellation “A film by Heather Rose” is appropriate for Dance Me to My Song. Whose agency in telling the story (or ‘doing’ the film-making), the able bodied Rolf de Heer or the disabled Heather Rose, is reflected in this cinematic production? In other words, whose voice is enabled when an audience receives this film? In attempting to answer these questions it is inevitable that Paul Darke’s concept of the “normality drama” (181) is referred to and questioned, as I argue that Dance Me to My Song makes groundbreaking departures from the conventions of the typical disability narrative. Heather Rose as Auteur Rose plays the film’s heroine, Julia, who like herself has cerebral palsy, a group of non-progressive, chronic disorders resulting from changes produced in the brain during the prenatal stages of life. Although severely affected physically, Rose suffered no intellectual impairment and had acted in Rolf de Heer’s cult hit Bad Boy Bubby five years before, a confidence-building experience that grew into an ongoing fascination with the filmmaking process. Subsequently, working with co-writer Frederick Stahl, she devised the scenario for this film, writing the lead role for herself and then proactively bringing it to de Heer’s attention. Rose wrote of de Heer’s deliberate lack of involvement in the script-writing process: “Rolf didn’t even want to read what we’d done so far, saying he didn’t want to interfere with our process” (de Heer, “Production Notes”). In 2002, aged 36, Rose died and Stahl reports in her obituary an excerpt from her diary: People see me as a person who has to be controlled. But let me tell you something, people. I am not! And I am going to make something real special of my life! I am going to go out there and grab life with both hands!!! I am going to make the most sexy and honest film about disability that has ever been made!! (Stahl, “Standing Room Only”) This proclamation of her ability and ambition in screen-writing is indicative of Rose’s desire to do. In a guest lecture Rose gave further insights into the active intent in writing Dance Me to My Song: I wanted to create a screenplay, but not just another soppy disability film, I wanted to make a hot sexy film, which showed the real world … The message I wanted to convey to an audience was “As people with disabilities, we have the same feelings and desires as others”. (Rose, “ISAAC 2000 Conference Presentation”) Rose went on to explain her strategy for winning over director de Heer: “Rolf was not sure about committing to the movie; I had to pester him really. I decided to invite him to my birthday party. It took a few drinks, but I got him to agree to be the director” (ibid) and with this revelation of her tactical approach her film-making agency is further evidenced. Rose’s proactive innovation is not just evident in her successfully approaching de Heer. Her screenplay serves as a radical exception to films featuring disabled persons, which, according to Paul Darke in 1998, typically involve the disabled protagonist struggling to triumph over the limitations imposed by their disability in their ‘admirable’ attempts to normalize. Such normality dramas are usually characterized by two generic themes: first, that the state of abnormality is nothing other than tragic because of its medical implications; and, second, that the struggle for normality, or some semblance of it in normalization – as represented in the film by the other characters – is unquestionably right owing to its axiomatic supremacy. (187) Darke argues that the so-called normality drama is “unambiguously a negation of ascribing any real social or individual value to the impaired or abnormal” (196), and that such dramas function to reinforce the able-bodied audience’s self image of normality and the notion of the disabled as the inferior Other. Able-bodied characters are typically portrayed positively in the normality drama: “A normality as represented in the decency and support of those characters who exist around, and for, the impaired central character. Thus many of the disabled characters in such narratives are bitter, frustrated and unfulfilled and either antisocial or asocial” (193). Darke then identifies The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980) and Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989) as archetypal films of this genre. Even in films in which seemingly positive images of the disabled are featured, the protagonist is still to be regarded as the abnormal Other, because in comparison to the other characters within that narrative the impaired character is still a comparatively second-class citizen in the world of the film. My Left Foot is, as always, a prime example: Christy Brown may well be a writer, relatively wealthy and happy, but he is not seen as sexual in any way (194). However, Dance Me to My Song defies such generic restrictions: Julia’s temperament is upbeat and cheerful and her disability, rather than appearing tragic, is made to look healthy, not “second class”, in comparison with her physically attractive, able-bodied but deeply unhappy carer, Madelaine (Joey Kennedy). Within the first few minutes of the film we see Madelaine dissatisfied as she stands, inspecting her healthy, toned and naked body in the bathroom mirror, contrasted with vision of Julia’s twisted form, prostrate, pale and naked on the bed. Yet, in due course, it is the able-bodied girl who is shown to be insecure and lacking in character. Madelaine steals Julia’s money and calls her “spastic”. Foul-mouthed and short-tempered, Madelaine perversely positions Julia in her wheelchair to force her to watch as she has perfunctory sex with her latest boyfriend. Madelaine even masquerades as Julia, commandeering her voice synthesizer to give a fraudulently positive account of her on-the-job performance to the employment agency she works for. Madelaine’s “axiomatic supremacy” is thoroughly undermined and in the most striking contrast to the typical normality drama, Julia is unashamedly sexual: she is no Christy Brown. The affective juxtaposition of these two different personalities stems from the internal nature of Madelaine’s problems compared to the external nature of Julia’s problems. Madelaine has an emotional disability rather than a physical disability and several scenes in the film show her reduced to helpless tears. Then one day when Madelaine has left her to her own devices, Julia defiantly wheels herself outside and bumps into - almost literally - handsome, able-bodied Eddie (John Brumpton). Cheerfully determined, Julia wins him over and a lasting friendship is formed. Having seen the joy that sex brings to Madelaine, Julia also wants carnal fulfilment so she telephones Eddie and arranges a date. When Eddie arrives, he reads the text on her voice machine’s screen containing the title line to the film ‘Dance me to my song’ and they share a tender moment. Eddie’s gentleness as he dances Julia to her song (“Kizugu” written by Bernard Huber and John Laidler, as performed by Okapi Guitars) is simultaneously contrasted with the near-date-rapes Madelaine endures in her casual relationships. The conflict between Madeline and Julia is such that it prompts Albert Moran and Errol Vieth to categorize the film as “women’s melodrama”: Dance Me to My Song clearly belongs to the genre of the romance. However, it is also important to recognize it under the mantle of the women’s melodrama … because it has to do with a woman’s feelings and suffering, not so much because of the flow of circ*mstance but rather because of the wickedness and malevolence of another woman who is her enemy and rival. (198-9) Melodrama is a genre that frequently resorts to depicting disability in which a person condemned by society as disabled struggles to succeed in love: some prime examples include An Affair to Remember (Leo McCarey, 1957) involving a paraplegic woman, and The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) in which a strong-spirited but mute woman achieves love. The more conventional Hollywood romances typically involve attractive, able-bodied characters. In Dance Me to My Song the melodramatic conflict between the two remarkably different women at first seems dominated by Madelaine, who states: “I know I’m good looking, good in bed ... better off than you, you poor thing” in a stream-of-consciousness delivery in which Julia is constructed as listener rather than converser. Julia is further reduced to the status of sub-human as Madelaine says: “I wish you could eat like a normal person instead of a bloody animal” and her erstwhile boyfriend Trevor says: “She looks like a f*ckin’ insect.” Even the benevolent Eddie says: “I don’t like leaving you alone but I guess you’re used to it.” To this the defiant Julia replies; “Please don’t talk about me in front of me like I’m an animal or not there at all.” Eddie is suitably chastised and when he treats her to an over-priced ice-cream the shop assistant says “Poor little thing … She’ll enjoy this, won’t she?” Julia smiles, types the words “f*ck me!”, and promptly drops the ice-cream on the floor. Eddie laughs supportively. “I’ll just get her another one,” says the flustered shop assistant, “and then get her out of here, please!” With striking eloquence, Julia wheels herself out of the shop, her voice machine announcing “f*ck me, f*ck me, f*ck me, f*ck me, f*ck me”, as she departs exultantly. With this bold statement of independence and defiance in the face of patronising condescension, the audience sees Rose’s burgeoning strength of character and agency reflected in the onscreen character she has created. Dance Me to My Song and the films mentioned above are, however, rare exceptions in the many that dare represent disability on the screen at all, compliant as the majority are with Darke’s expectations of the normality drama. Significantly, the usual medical-model nexus in many normality films is ignored in Rose’s screenplay: no medication, hospitals or white laboratory coats are to be seen in Julia’s world. Finally, as I have described elsewhere, Julia is shown joyfully dancing in her wheelchair with Eddie while Madelaine proves her physical inferiority with a ‘dance’ of frustration around her broken-down car (see Starrs, "Dance"). In Rose’s authorial vision, audience’s expectations of yet another film of the normality drama genre are subverted as the disabled protagonist proves superior to her ‘normal’ adversary in their melodramatic rivalry for the sexual favours of an able-bodied love-interest. Rolf de Heer as Auteur De Heer does not like to dwell on the topic of auteurism: in an interview in 2007 he somewhat impatiently states: I don’t go in much for that sort of analysis that in the end is terminology. … Look, I write the damn things, and direct them, and I don’t completely produce them anymore – there are other people. If that makes me an auteur in other people’s terminologies, then fine. (Starrs, "Sounds" 20) De Heer has been described as a “remarkably non-egotistical filmmaker” (Davis “Working together”) which is possibly why he handed ownership of this film to Rose. Of the writer/actor who plied him with drink so he would agree to back her script, de Heer states: It is impossible to overstate the courage of the performance that you see on the screen. … Heather somehow found the means to respond on cue, to maintain the concentration, to move in the desired direction, all the myriad of acting fundamentals that we take for granted as normal things to do in our normal lives. (“Production NHotes”) De Heer’s willingness to shift authorship from director to writer/actor is representative of this film’s groundbreaking promotion of the potential for agency within disability. Rather than being passive and suffering, Rose is able to ‘do.’ As the lead actor she is central to the narrative. As the principle writer she is central to the film’s production. And she does both. But in conflict with this auteurial intent is the temptation to describe Dance Me to My Song as an autobiographical documentary, since it is Rose herself, with her unique and obvious physical handicap, playing the film’s heroine, Julia. In interview, however, De Heer apparently disagrees with this interpretation: Rolf de Heer is quick to point out, though, that the film is not a biography.“Not at all; only in the sense that writers use material from their own lives.Madelaine is merely the collection of the worst qualities of the worst carers Heather’s ever had.” Dance Me to My Song could be seen as a dramatised documentary, since it is Rose herself playing Julia, and her physical or surface life is so intense and she is so obviously handicapped. While he understands that response, de Heer draws a comparison with the first films that used black actors instead of white actors in blackface. “I don’t know how it felt emotionally to an audience, I wasn’t there, but I think that is the equivalent”. (Urban) An example of an actor wearing “black-face” to portray a cerebral palsy victim might well be Gus Trikonis’s 1980 film Touched By Love. In this, the disabled girl is unconvincingly played by the pretty, able-bodied actress Diane Lane. The true nature of the character’s disability is hidden and cosmeticized to Hollywood expectations. Compared to that inauthentic film, Rose’s screenwriting and performance in Dance Me to My Song is a self-penned fiction couched in unmediated reality and certainly warrants authorial recognition. Despite his unselfish credit-giving, de Heer’s direction of this remarkable film is nevertheless detectable. His auteur signature is especially evident in his technological employment of sound as I have argued elsewhere (see Starrs, "Awoval"). The first distinctly de Heer influence is the use of a binaural recording device - similar to that used in Bad Boy Bubby (1993) - to convey to the audience the laboured nature of Julia’s breathing and to subjectively align the audience with her point of view. This apparatus provides a disturbing sound bed that is part wheezing, part grunting. There is no escaping Julia’s physically unusual life, from her reliance on others for food, toilet and showering, to the half-strangled sounds emanating from her ineffectual larynx. But de Heer insists that Julia does speak, like Stephen Hawkings, via her Epson RealVoice computerized voice synthesizer, and thus Julia manages to retain her dignity. De Heer has her play this machine like a musical instrument, its neatly modulated feminine tones immediately prompting empathy. Rose Capp notes de Heer’s preoccupation with finding a voice for those minority groups within the population who struggle to be heard, stating: de Heer has been equally consistent in exploring the communicative difficulties underpinning troubled relationships. From the mute young protagonist of The Quiet Room to the aphasic heroine of Dance Me to My Song, De Heer’s films are frequently preoccupied with the profound inadequacy or outright failure of language as a means of communication (21). Certainly, the importance to Julia of her only means of communication, her voice synthesizer, is stressed by de Heer throughout the film. Everybody around her has, to varying degrees, problems in hearing correctly or understanding both what and how Julia communicates with her alien mode of conversing, and she is frequently asked to repeat herself. Even the well-meaning Eddie says: “I don’t know what the machine is trying to say”. But it is ultimately via her voice synthesizer that Julia expresses her indomitable character. When first she meets Eddie, she types: “Please put my voice machine on my chair, STUPID.” She proudly declares ownership of a condom found in the bathroom with “It’s mine!” The callous Madelaine soon realizes Julia’s strength is in her voice machine and withholds access to the device as punishment for if she takes it away then Julia is less demanding for the self-centred carer. Indeed, the film which starts off portraying the physical superiority of Madelaine soon shows us that the carer’s life, for all her able-bodied, free-love ways, is far more miserable than Julia’s. As de Heer has done in many of his other films, a voice has been given to those who might otherwise not be heard through significant decision making in direction. In Rose’s case, this is achieved most obviously via her electric voice synthesizer. I have also suggested elsewhere (see Starrs, "Dance") that de Heer has helped find a second voice for Rose via the language of dance, and in doing so has expanded the audience’s understandings of quality of life for the disabled, as per Mike Oliver’s social model of disability, rather than the more usual medical model of disability. Empowered by her act of courage with Eddie, Julia sacks her uncaring ‘carer’ and the film ends optimistically with Julia and her new man dancing on the front porch. By picturing the couple in long shot and from above, Julia’s joyous dance of triumph is depicted as ordinary, normal and not deserving of close examination. This happy ending is intercut with a shot of Madeline and her broken down car, performing her own frustrated dance and this further emphasizes that she was unable to ‘dance’ (i.e. communicate and compete) with Julia. The disabled performer such as Rose, whether deliberately appropriating a role or passively accepting it, usually struggles to placate two contrasting realities: (s)he is at once invisible in the public world of interhuman relations and simultaneously hyper-visible due to physical Otherness and subsequent instantaneous typecasting. But by the end of Dance Me to My Song, Rose and de Heer have subverted this notion of the disabled performer grappling with the dual roles of invisible victim and hyper-visible victim by depicting Julia as socially and physically adept. She ‘wins the guy’ and dances her victory as de Heer’s inspirational camera looks down at her success like an omniscient and pleased god. Film academic Vivian Sobchack writes of the phenomenology of dance choreography for the disabled and her own experience of waltzing with the maker of her prosthetic leg, Steve, with the comment: “for the moment I did displace focus on my bodily immanence to the transcendent ensemble of our movement and I really began to waltz” (65). It is easy to imagine Rose’s own, similar feeling of bodily transcendence in the closing shot of Dance Me to My Song as she shows she can ‘dance’ better than her able-bodied rival, content as she is with her self-identity. Conclusion: Validation of the Auteurial OtherRolf de Heer was a well-known film-maker by the time he directed Dance Me to My Song. His films Bad Boy Bubby (1993) and The Quiet Room (1996) had both screened at the Cannes International Film Festival. He was rapidly developing a reputation for non-mainstream representations of marginalised, subaltern populations, a cinematic trajectory that was to be further consolidated by later films privileging the voice of Indigenous Peoples in The Tracker (2002) and Ten Canoes (2006), the latter winning the Special Jury prize at Cannes. His films often feature unlikely protagonists or as Liz Ferrier writes, are “characterised by vulnerable bodies … feminised … none of whom embody hegemonic masculinity” (65): they are the opposite of Hollywood’s hyper-masculine, hard-bodied, controlling heroes. With a nascent politically correct worldview proving popular, de Heer may have considered the assigning of authorship to Rose a marketable idea, her being representative of a marginalized group, which as Andy Medhurst might argue, may be more politically justifiable, as it apparently is with films of gay authorship. However, it must be emphasized that there is no evidence that de Heer’s reticence about claiming authorship of Dance Me to My Song is motivated by pecuniary interests, nor does he seem to have been trying to distance himself from the project through embarrassment or dissatisfaction with the film or its relatively unknown writer/actor. Rather, he seems to be giving credit for authorship where credit is due, for as a result of Rose’s tenacity and agency this film is, in two ways, her creative success. Firstly, it is a rare exception to the disability film genre defined by Paul Darke as the “normality drama” because in the film’s diegesis, Julia is shown triumphing not simply over the limitations of her disability, but over her able-bodied rival in love as well: she ‘dances’ better than the ‘normal’ Madelaine. Secondly, in her gaining possession of the primary credits, and the mantle of the film’s primary author, Rose is shown triumphing over other aspiring able-bodied film-makers in the notoriously competitive film-making industry. Despite being an unpublished and unknown author, the label “A film by Heather Rose” is, I believe, a deserved coup for the woman who set out to make “the most sexy and honest film about disability ever made”. As with de Heer’s other films in which marginalised peoples are given voice, he demonstrates a desire not to subjugate the Other, but to validate and empower him/her. He both acknowledges their authorial voices and credits them as essential beings, and in enabling such subaltern populations to be heard, willingly cedes his privileged position as a successful, white, male, able-bodied film-maker. In the credits of this film he seems to be saying ‘I may be an auteur, but Heather Rose is a no less able auteur’. References Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993. Capp, Rose. “Alexandra and the de Heer Project.” RealTime + Onscreen 56 (Aug.-Sep. 2003): 21. 6 June 2008 ‹http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue56/7153›. Caughie, John. “Introduction”. Theories of Authorship. Ed. John Caughie. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981. 9-16. Darke, Paul. “Cinematic Representations of Disability.” The Disability Reader. Ed. Tom Shakespeare. London and New York: Cassell, 1988. 181-198. Davis, Therese. “Working Together: Two Cultures, One Film, Many Canoes.” Senses of Cinema 2006. 6 June 2008 ‹http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/06/41/ten-canoes.html›. De Heer, Rolf. “Production Notes.” Vertigo Productions. Undated. 6 June 2008 ‹http://www.vertigoproductions.com.au/information.php?film_id=10&display=notes›. Ferrier, Liz. “Vulnerable Bodies: Creative Disabilities in Contemporary Australian Film.” Australian Cinema in the 1990s. Ed. Ian Craven. London and Portland: Frank Cass and Co., 2001. 57-78. Medhurst, Andy. “That Special Thrill: Brief Encounter, hom*osexuality and Authorship.” Screen 32.2 (1991): 197-208. Moran, Albert, and Errol Veith. Film in Australia: An Introduction. Melbourne: Cambridge UP, 2006. Oliver, Mike. Social Work with Disabled People. Basingstoke: MacMillan, 1983. Rose Slattery, Heather. “ISAAC 2000 Conference Presentation.” Words+ n.d. 6 June 2008 ‹http://www.words-plus.com/website/stories/isaac2000.htm›. Sobchack, Vivian. “‘Choreography for One, Two, and Three Legs’ (A Phenomenological Meditation in Movements).” Topoi 24.1 (2005): 55-66. Stahl, Frederick. “Standing Room Only for a Thunderbolt in a Wheelchair,” Sydney Morning Herald 31 Oct. 2002. 6 June 2008 ‹http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/10/30/1035683471529.html›. Starrs, D. Bruno. “Sounds of Silence: An Interview with Rolf de Heer.” Metro 152 (2007): 18-21. ———. “An avowal of male lack: Sound in Rolf de Heer’s The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2003).” Metro 156 (2008): 148-153. ———. “Dance Me to My Song (Rolf de Heer 1997): The Story of a Disabled Dancer.” Proceedings Scopic Bodies Dance Studies Research Seminar Series 2007. Ed. Mark Harvey. University of Auckland, 2008 (in press). Urban, Andrew L. “Dance Me to My Song, Rolf de Heer, Australia.” Film Festivals 1988. 6 June 2008. ‹http://www.filmfestivals.com/cannes98/selofus9.htm›.

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