SMF 215 - Winter 2018 - University of Waterloo
Dr. Jane Nicholas
Lecture 1: Jan 4, 2018
Lecture 2: Jan 9, 2018
Popular culture is not an object, it's a place we're usd to living in.
Definitions are descriptive and include a sexual aspect.
Sexy is hard to define. They're your tastes and proclivities. Are they true reflections of your tastes and feelings? Is it programmed?
Mass/pop culture and sexy.
The study of pop culture is a study of power.
We're surrounded by sex and sexuality. Celebrity culture, magazines, talk shows, etc.
It works in advertising as it plays on modern concepts of sexuality. From the 1830s to today.
Sexuality is an essential piece of identity. It's a critical part of who people are.We draw on categories to make sense of who we are. Sexuality almost never stands alone in identity, it intersects with age, gender, race, etc. We take an intersectional approach - the categories often meet.
18th-19th century - new emphasis on sexuality. Started in Europe, colonialism. There are still languages that don't have a term for "sexuality". But people have always been engaging in sexual activities. We're not talking about sex. Sexuality refers to identity, how people make sense of erotic experiences. As much about culture as it is about society. It's shaped by social and political forces. Sexuality, sex, and gender are closely interwined. It forms a matrix that defines norms.
It's not a fixed thing. Popular is a contested field of products and practices. It's taste. People have debates about it. It includes morals, judgements, and values. Forces and processes shape our understanding of what pop culture is.
It reflects an experience of culture. Emerges in a capitalist consumer society (where we don't produce what we need, but we buy what we need). It's also shaped by the technology of mass media (newspaper, radio, television, internet). It blurs the two meanings of pop culture. It's not high or folk, it's a combination of all of these things together. Pop culture is a (contested) sight of meaning-making practice.
Cultural studies is a wider umbrella. Can't avoid culture. Richard von Krafft-Ebing - sexologist. Wrote a book on sexual disorders - Psychopathia sexualis - for medical and legal professions. A quote from the book describes lesbianism, and basically defines homesexuality.
Studying pop culture is like studying capitalism. The economic system is based on private ownership of the means of production and distrubtion. It's geared towards profit. The economy and culture linked. The goal is to sell you things. When you watch an ad and you didn't know you needed it until you saw the ad. Culture and economy share the examination of cultural practices as they relate to power.
Mass Culture - synonymous with popular culture. But they're not the same. Mass culture is derogatory. If you like mass culture, it means you're boring. Popular culture is a shared experience. Mass culture is culture provided for profit by a vertically integrated factory system (company owns the entire supply chain) for a large and diverse audience. Mass culture started breaking down with Market segmentation - markets used to be a whole, but now there are different segments. Cater to the child, soccer mom, ethnic consumer, etc.
Identity politics is the practice of basing one's politics on a sense of personal identity. Female or male, gay or straight.A tool to build a cohesive political community. It's identity with a political movement. You need to claim the identity. Pros: it encourages new political groupings and new visiblity (disabilities). Cons: Fractured, hard to merge different groups. There's stunded analysis if it's just a statement as opposed to an interrogation. Problematic essentialism - the experience only speaks for itself.
Lecture 3: Jan 10, 2018
Discussion - reactions to text in general and stuff to discuss. Issue around generational conflict - textbook doesn't cover. Shakespeare vs. Madonna. Third spaces - Starbucks. Coffee. Go for the experience. Sense of agency. Paradynamics. Anything can be a text - even a store. Popular culture vs. art. More education -> more likely you are to attend an art gallery - an elite space. There's a price on culture. Cost. Opera house - intimidating - I'm not this person. Class hierarchy that mimics culture hierarchy. Popular defined as homogenous, more common, lower brow - all class judgements. Americanization of popular culture. Stereotypes become part of culture. The hockey thing.
Popular culture: Whatever is popular is profitable. Internet - it's free, but you give up privacy, data. Free for the user - democratization of culture. Spinoffs from the media - toys, clothing, jewelry. Authenticity - pop culture is superficial - I don't wanna buy jewelry from mall, wanna buy from local artisan -> more authentic - tastes and money. If you have a folk culture, and it's popularized, you lose the authenticity. We're tools of the industry - we take what we get and we're thankful for it - we think it's our own choice. Culture industry thesis - other side - culture has to resonate with the poeple who its directed towards. Popular culture x Creativity x Economy - file sharing.
Napster - first big filesharing system. Filesharing came from changes in systems. Introduction of CDs - required new systems - said price will come down, but it didn't. Interplay between consumers and industry - two way street, not just top-down.
Another element of popular culture: Intersectional between political and pop culture. Pride events - tied to popular culture. Trump - from reality TV - The Apprentice - how people become household names. Oprah - Golden Globes. Brian Adams - Canadian musician - crossed over to American markets - movie with Kevin Costner - Brian Adams sang themesong - did not count as Canadian Content - because you needed Canadian producers/writers. Nationalism - national identity.
Popular culture is a wave - starts small, goes up, down. Caught up with it. Easy to swim with than against. Ex. Toronto - cosmopolitan now. Basic if with wave, or hipster if against. Subcultures get taken in with the wave.
What's "folk" culture? Tied to a particular community. In opposition to mass culture. Folk culture is seen as being expressed or relayed generationally. You have to be part of the culture to have it passed down to it. Not a faceless mass. Folk culture is internal and small. Folk culture -> mass culture - rap music - emerging from South Bronx - now a billion dollar industry. Cultural appropriation - take folk culture, strip of location, and absorb into mass. Some say folk culture is better, but that's a debate. "The culture of everyday life." The definition of pop culture now relies on anthropology - more anthropological than capitalistical, literary, morality. 3 important things of pop uclture as everyday life: 1. mass media - a part of it, not split, 2. meaning-making - make things meaningful, production of sense and social value - taste. 3. Highlights the issue of power.
Why we should study popular culture. Criticism - we all consume blindly. pop culture helps you denaturalize processes we're caught up in every day by making them meaningful. Cultural appropriation. Fashion - tied to what people think makes them sexy or "exotic." Some criticism - you're just training people to be better consumers. Frankfurt school - people are mindless consumers and that's what's wrong with the world. Others - people can buy things and be thoughtful about it.
Commodity fetish - Coffee. Karl Marx. Meanings on material objects. Objects imbued with magical qualities. Fetish is a fixation, something that will give you pleasure. Particular commodities are imbued with same magical qualities. Shoes. Followers, likes, hashtags. Barbecueing. Children looking like adults. "This will make things correct" Make up - brow gel is $80, but the actual product is not worth that much - no logical connection.
Tim HOrtons vs. Starbucks - brand is close with identity. Tim Hortons person or a Starbucks person - cosmopolitan, international.
Lecture 4: Jan 16, 2018
Ideology - difficult to define. The background ideas that we possess about the way the world must function and how we must function within it. It's just the way things are. These ideas have a material existence. They directly connect to our lives and how we operate.
Goldstein's definition: ideology is a system possessing its logic and proper rigour of representations, image,s smyths, ideas or concepts endowed with an exisence and a historical role at the heart of a given society. A system of representations at the heart of a given society. Values and asusmptions are implicit, and form a shared heart to society. Origins - Marx and Ingles - Marxism - philosophy was broad - ideology itself represents the production of ideas, conceptions, and consciousness. Ideology is all that men say, imagine, and conceive. Ideology was very broad - laws, politics, morality, and religion. It is a Superstructure - the critical piece of the functioning of an entire society. If society is a house, ideology is the frame of the house, not a piece of it, but the entire essential part of it. The dominant ideology of any period/era was always the ideology of the ruling class - the ruling ideas, the dominant ideas - whoever controls the means of production are the ones who have their ideology broadened across society. False consciousness - ideology is a means of social control. It's a way that the ruling class socially controls the working class (classes beneath them). The subordinate classes have false consciousness because they believ ein the world view of the ruling class, even though that world view is not in their benefit. Religion was the opium of the masses. Religion was this drug. Protestantism - industrialism -> protestant work ethic - if you work really hard in this life, you will be rewarded in heaven. Life will be terrible for you, but heaven will be great. Workers are taking on their worldview against their own needs.
Heteronormativity - can be seen as ideology. When did you decide you were heterosexual? When did you start telling people. When did you sit down with your parents and say "I'm heterosexual." It's the assumed norm. It's common sense. Homosexuality was illegal until 1969 in Canada. Adrian Rich - compulsory heterosexuality - is the presumed sexual preference, has cultural dominance, if you don't identify - you're in a deviant other. They are institutionalized. Heterosexuality is something that has to be imposed, managed, organized, propragandized and maintained by force.
Heteronormativity is broader than who you seek sexual activity with. The received wisdom in straight culture, is that all of its different norms line up, that one is synonymous with the others. If you are born with male genitalia, the logic goes, you will behave in masculine ways, desire women, desire feminine women, desire them exclusively, have sex in what are thought to be normally active and insertive ways and within officially sanctioned contexts, think of yourself as heterosexual, identify with other heterosexuals no matter how tolerant you might wish to be, and never change any part of this package from childhood to senescence. Heterosexuality is often a name for this entire package, even though attachment to the other sex is only one element. If you deviate at any point from this program, you do so at your own cost. And one of the things straight culture hates most is a sign that the different parts of the package might be recombined in an infinite number of ways. But experience shows that this is just what tends to happen. If heterosexuality requires the entire sequence, then it is very fragile. No wonder it needs so much terror to induce compliance. - Michael Warner (The Trouble with Normal) Not just about sex. Wider in terms of sexuality. How you identify, who you identify with, who you settle down with, what types of sex you have. This whole package is never supposed to change. The privileging of a particular relationship - manogamous heterosexual marriage - normal and natural. Myths and mythologies. Disney princesses. Religion. Rom coms. His and hers. One token representation in a tv show. Children - son: "who you gonna marry when you grow up?" - only ever a little girl. "By the time you grow up, marriage will be dead anyways. Dont worry." Children's clothing. "no homo" - complement a man and instantly reaffirm your sexuality.
Honeymoon. HG Wells toured Niagara Falls 1905. The spot for honeymoons. Described the falls as an alibi for honeymooners. a thunderous impressive accessory to the artless love-making that fills the surrounding hotels
Origins of the honeymoon - a trip after marriage. Alone together. First critical time together. Cement relationship through various sexual practices. Come home expecting a child. In the 1800s: "A bridal tour" - largely an upper class custom, you needed money. The bride and groom and some relatives would travel around to various relatives who couldn't get to the wedding. Concern: too rigorous of travel, for the bride who was responsible for planning, too much stress, too much public attention for that new couple.
Idea developed: private honeymoon. The need to get away from prying eyes - need to go somewhere in nature - distant and less public. Natural, beautiful spots for honeymoons. Reconcile the public embarassment of becoming sexual beings - not supposed to flaunt sex. 1920s - Niagara + honeymoon gets mass marketed - little bits. Big marketing post WW2. Lots of heteronormativity - return to normal after the war. And a need to honeymoon to cement your relationship. Celebrities coming to visit, etc. The meaning of the falls - a religious baptism and there's excitement. Cleansing propertis of water and enticing excitement with all of the water. Nagara was gendered and sexualized as female. "Doing Niagara." Sexualization of a place.
Film - Marilyn Monroe - Niagara (1952) - about two couples - marilyn monroe is having an affair on her husband while she's at Niagara with him. She's seducitively posed, as one finds themselves on a stone wall. [Marilyn Monroe - movie trailer] Overlapping of her body, sex, suspense, with honeymoon and the space. A rising rate of marriages. Inspired people to go on their honeymoon at the Falls. 1 year after movie released, 10 million people visited the Falls. With Travel boom - cheaper to travel, people are getting married younger.
There's a wider ideological investment in this type of relationship. You had to have a normal honeymoon to have a proper marriage. Heterosexual marriages produced children, and children are the future. Doctors, psychiatrists, marriage counselors/experts. Sexual compatibility - cement of a marriage. Honeymoons were a foundation point for sexual compatibility - give people the right script for a good honeymoon. "A bad honeymoon may cause lifelong impotence for men, especially for men who are mama's boys who fear women." Lysol - initially sold as a liquid preperation for feminine hygiene. Douche with Lysol. The natural you was a you that used this concentrated germ killer as a douche. You had to have every preparation. "A bad honeymoon wrecked 3 out of 5 marriages." Bad honeymoons cause nervous/mental disorders. There's not enough therapy afterwards to pull you out of this deficit. Innocent -> sexual person. Assumption that people were showing up at Niagara as virgins. Script giveen to people to avoid a tragedy of marriage. Long and healthy marriage -> healthy societies and nation. Men were supposed to be oversexed and overinterested in sex. Women supposed to be disinterested but willing to do their duty. Men told that this was their hour.
Problem with script: rapey. Popular image: men were to act like cavemen, supposed to act like brutes. And women are supposed to be willing to give in. Dangerous script. According to modern sex experts of the period - women were responsible for men's brutality. Lois Pemberton - after hearing about honeymoon rape - didn't know who to pity more. This is the script developed by experts at the time. Other side of problem: if the roles were reversed - timid man and oversexed woman - allegedly there could be problems. Ralph and Laura - ralph had insecurity, laura took over during sex - slept as fat apart as possible - 10 yrs later, psychiatrist sees -> script must be followed.
Women told not to refuse sex. "She has not to do, but to merely exist." Lie there. Lay down and have sex for the queen (make babies).
New disease: vaginismus. Honeymoon shock. 1950s. Husbands not providing a proper atmosphere. Medicalizaiton of the honeymoon. Both should have a medical examination pre-honeymoon. 70% of men and 50% of women acquired a book on sex life for their honeymoon. Idea: heterosexuality is natural and normal. It's clearly not common sense if you have experts trying to find out what the proper script is. Compulsory heterosexuality rises. In this period, you're supposed to return to normal. Appropriate heterosexual behaviour - important building block for the nation - sex education in post-war period. Lots of emphasis on heterosexuality. Honeymoon - important for everyone - to produce proper families.
Lecture 5: Jan 18, 2018
Text - general overview.
Ideology - Ideas and values sahred bt a common population. Often not conscious. Just the way things are - just common sense. Usually a dominant class - dominant ideology comes from this class - morals and values. Dominant ideology is connected to the dominant class. False consciousness - people will take on this dominant ideology and believe in something that is contradicting their own interests - work hard and you will go to heaven. Religion is the opium for the people.
Antonio Gramsci revised ideology - one of the floors of ideology is common sense, other is philosophy. It's so naturalized and normalized through the process of history. Human beings are forgetful beings. Hegemony - top down and bottom up force. Coercion and consent. Soft power and also consent to it.
British History - Conformity of dancing - heteronormativity. Pubs as community spaces. Why is the pub so important? Public and private. Inbetween space. A place where lower class could become middle class for a cheap price. Beer in the pub was of a better quality than the water you could drink.
Why was class needed? Recognition of a need for leisure. They needed it to make better workers. You can't work them to death. Give them a break and they will come back refreshed. Rational recreation. Enclosure of public lands - used to have wide spots, enclosured -> less and less space. Then places like pubs were good.
Rational Recreation - had a working class street culture - loafing. Blood sports - animals. Vagrancy, trespassing, etc. Removed the culture form the streets and put it somewhere more reasonable. Matthew Arnold - expose people to the best that has been thought nd known in the world - but this was middle class values - imposed down.
The shift of popular culture is the shift in the economy - shift encapsulated in the industrialization. Mass industry in factroies in urban centres. City pops up around the factory. Fordism - people not manufacturing an entire product - whole assembly line is broken down - do I care about this product? No. It makes goods faster to produce, cheaper to sell to the people. Relationship of worker and thing has changed. Thus, leisure time is really important to keep you going. Stop people from drinking on the job. Modes of production - changed. Rising middle-class - capitalist class that owns/controls the modes of the production.
O Doll Divine
Mary Pickford - America's sweetheart, Canadian. Child actress, grows up but her roles don't grow up. Childlike, adolescent-like. Adolescence is a new category. She was powerful in Hollywood. Part of the film industry - business side. She was mature. Multiple marriages.
What does Studler argue about Mary Pickford? "New Woman" - a certain type of woman that appeared in 1910s - demanded education, right to vote -> Flapper - flighty young woman who's sexually out there. Here is a woman, but not a contemporary. Cultural pedophelia. Nostalgia for the victorian period - all of the attractive qualities of a child in a woman. Pedophelic gaze - it doesn't go away. Birth of youth culture in this time.
Children/girlhood and power - freedom, free of family, etc. Escapist. Orphan. Child outside of the family.
Cultural pedophilia - 386. Child-woman - nostalgic idea of feminity. What women were in the good old days. Carries onto the 20th century - youthful/child-looking people. Beauty pageants. Flipper - fake teeth - adult-like teeth - high heels, bathing suit, etc. Daddies and little girls.
361 - eroticization of female innocence. taking away the innocence. Being someone's first time. Back then, children were wicked. New formulation of childhood innocence. Origins of child-woman. James Cincaved - sacred chiild was also an eroticization - hugely controversial - you are promoting pedophilia - innocence gets sexuality.
Write a multiple choice question -
Discussion day - Chapter 2: critical info. Studtler -
How was Mary Pickford's role in her family different from the role of women in family at that time? a) She was the breadwinner b) She had more power, say, and status than her husband did c) She took care of her mother d) All of the above
What's the diff between pedophilic gaze and cultural pedophelia.
Advertisement - tween - suggestion she's naked. You know you're not the first, but do you really care. Pre-owned BMW cars.
Lecture 6: Jan 23, 2018
Postmodernism added a serious challenge when it emerged in the 1970s and has shaped the social sciences and humanities. It's an odd subject - broad rubric that includes any number of theories and thinkers under a broad umbrella category. Lots of ideas from theorists. It's often conflated with poststructuralism (especially in angloamerican literature). They overlap but do reference separate things. Heterogenous group. Poststructuralism affected many streams - philosophy, literary theory. Serious debate - poststructuralism vs. marxism. Poststructuralism has a focus on language - discourse and representation. There's no independent reality beyond discourse and representation. At the very basis, according to prostructuralists, we are always held at the surface of representation, and this is where all meaning is made - there's nothing deeper than that. Discourse - expressed in a system of language, including both words and images. A system of representation - it conveys meaning and produces knowledge. "Taking under a discourse of ____" - how power operates through linguistic constructions. The critical piece: the meaning of a text is always uncertain and unstable. You can have no definitive reading/truth. There's only many small T truths as opposed to one large bit T truth.
To understand poststructuralism, have to understand structuralism.
Postmodernity. Theory cards. Romeo and Juliet - postmodern tape of R+J. Grand theories/ideas get critiqued from within. After modernity or late modernity? Different from PS. PM is a broader category - focus is on representation, not reality. PM is a time period. Post WW2 (or a little later) - prior, people believed in things like scitinfic progress, things would get better, we are slowly climbing, science and technology will get us there. PM - skepticism of universal getting there - but science/tech was evil - nuclear bomb, holocaust. PM was originally used in architecture.
Modern architecture - skyscrapers, mass housing, machine asthetic. Postmodern architecture - juxtaposed dichotimies - jumbled it all up - opposites thrown together. Outsides and insides blurring together, old and new. Difficulty of reading architecture. We see images everywhere - our world is just a jumble of things and images - not clear. Postmodernism describes a rejection of art. Modernism was based on the premise that artists had a special gifted standing in society and could use special skills to access hidden truths about the human condition - the impressionists could give you the feeling of the landscape. Postmodernist artists - do not believe it's possible to undercover these deep meanings - we are constantly at the surface, at the level of representation (as opposed to somewhere deeper). Barbara Kruger - magazines and advertisements. Taking what she's criticizing and using it in her criticism. Criticizing advertising and womens magazines. You are not yourself. Your body is a battleground. A critique using what it is critiquing. Sociologists and philosophers extended the term to cover all of contemporary society.
Jean Francois Leotard - The Postmodern Condition - book - modern phase of history had given way to postmodernity - because of changes in capitalism. The nature of capitalism was different - capitalism under modernity produced useful things like cars and food. Post modern capitalism produces images. Shift from producing useful things to images. Not because they're useful, but because of their cultural meaning. Brand shoes. Television. Unboxing videos. Beer - A Guinness a Day - Guinness is Good for you - early 20th century guinness beer - selling you the product and that it's good for you. Different style - green with envy - not selling a product that is useful/good, if people see you drinking it, they will be jealous.
French philopspher Jean Baudrillard - Postmodernist capitalism overproduces images. Reality is always inaccessible. We can never get below an overproduction of images. Perceptions are shaped by television, advertisements, computer screens. Because of tech advances, the X war was exclusively images for Americans - constant bombardment of images. Can never actually get to reality. See 100 images, have a tiny amount of information. Severing between representation and reality.
|Rationality - just need to rationalize through it||Irrationality|
|Progress||Eclecticism - fuzzy|
|Order - everything perfectly in line||Disorder/discontinuity/chaos|
|Humanism - humans are at the center of the world||Death of the subject - displacement of humans at the center of all narratives|
|Historicism - workign through human history to get to a better place||end of history - end of all conflict|
Last 25 years, post-structuralism. Dash - the post doesn't necessarily mean rejecting structuralism - after structuralism. Semiotics - the reading of signs. Advertising - semiotics helps us understand that there's a literal meaning and a connotative/implied ucltural meaning. "Green with envy" - is the literal meaning. Green = jealousy. The one is in the center.Read on a number of different levels. Ferdinand Saussure 1913 (death) 2 key points: He wrote his major work and then died on us.
Words associated with masculinity: stoic, strong, dominant, handsome, tall. Femininity - nurturer, beautiful, gentle, petite, fragile, dependant. Opposite. Only in there opposition are they made meaningful.
Brought into study of culture - through Clade Levi Strauss. Anthropologist - Structural Anthropology, The Savage Mind.
Comes along Jacques Derrida - "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of Human Scineces" 1966. 'Of Grammatology" - 1967. Song - Read a page and know what I need to Take apart my baby's heart. The father of deconstruction. End of structuralism. In 1966, JD gave a paper called "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences" (kept on talking even though it should only be 20mins). Critique @ Levi Strauss. Argued that you can't understand a text through structural analysis - it gives a false sense of perminence, stability. Nature vs. Culture - some things belong to each - LS - bumped into a wall trying to explain incest taboo - every culture had one, but what it exactly was ranged from culture to culture. This contradiction undermines the entire foundation of structuralism. Through analysis of deconstruction - taking an analysis to pieces.
Stuart Hall and how people read pop culture. Hegemonic - reading with the grain. Counterhegemonic - read against the grain. Semiotics, the moral panic (students, milennials). All of these relate to this theory. No questions related to Derrida.
Lecture 7: Jan 30, 2018
Cultural production of Images. Our relationship to images.
The Eye: the optic nerve has 18 times more nerve endings than ear. Cones and rods. 1 million different colour combinations. Last sense developed. Constant motion. Eyes are never static. Eyes totally still means you're dead. Two eyes fill in the blind spot where the retina connects to the optical nerve. Brain fills in blind spot. Still capable of 3D Depth. We see less of the spectrum of light. Often fool by sight. If we see but don't know if real, we want to touch it. Eye-witness testimonies that conflict. Most believed, but least accurate. Intensity of looks. Eyes communicate stuff. Cultural cliches - eyes are the window to the soul - stare into their soul. Eyes, images, technology. How technology has shaped/changed the way we see things. Tech has developed different means of spreading images - rapid means, so that we can see without being conscious of it. See images of inside of body - x-ray, ultrasound, endoscopes.
Up until 18th century where people believed that the eyes emitted rays - control things with eyes. Still believe in some cultures. Mesmerized. The evil eye - protection against evil eye - charms to protect. Until 1920s - debated whether or not you could move objects w/ your eyes. One side: I could move hanging object with eye. Other side: You can't move objects, but you can move people. Doctor: people might feel uncomfortable. Our culture has become a culture of the eye. That we live in a profoudnly visual world. Visual culture.
Visual culture: the way we see things is affected by what we know and what we believe in. You can have any number of eyewitnesses see the same thing and come up with different testimony. Back then, sight of fire was a symbol of fire.
An ##Image## is a sight has been recreated or reproduced. (Image of marilyn monroe.) An appearance or set of appearances is detached from place and time. Marilyn - this image appears globally, regardless of when it was taken. Images get dislocated from their site of production. They outlast what's representing in them. MM is dead now, yet we have so many images of her that still exist. Images have a life of their own. Photography has dramatically shifted of what we see and the way we see.
Photography and painting. Images before photography opened up the world to images. Before, you had to transport yourself to see the image - to the museum that has the image. The image comes to you. Theorist: Walter Benjamin - what the camera did was destroy the uniqueness of the image. You no longer have one photograph. Internet. Photocopiers. Changed the way we see things and the way we udnerstand the visual world.
EX: How many have seen Mona Lisa? How many have been to the L at the mona lisa? How many was it the first time at the L? Rather than having to go to see it, we see it first on a screen that's surrounded by all of our things. The first time you saw Mona Lisa on TV screen - surrounded by all of YOUR things. Brought to you. Hey, I'd love to see that in real life - then yeah. You saw the copy before original. The original will aways be in reference to the copy you saw. Not that spectacular.
In these travels (internet), the meaning is diversified. In newspaper, "I fell in love so I stole it" then you go - disoriented. When you see it becaus eyou don't see the first image you just saw, you're overwhelmed/disoriented - so many people. Reaction: hold up our camera to reproduce the first image we saw. Our experiences are referring back to images that we saw.
[Leonarrdo Da Vinci's The Rocks] If you haven't seen it before, this will be your first reference. Dislocated from place. Reproduction via posters so you can tkae the image home. A work of art like this is defined by its rarity - only one original - there are lots of copies. John Berger - art is now surrounded by a bogous religiousity - that original works of art take the same status as relics - when people put them on the market/galleries, they make sure they're genuine + ceritified. High art becomes sacred. Other types of visual culture, like porn, are not scared. "You can take a screenshot from a porn and try to sell it." Market Value - assume that someone has a higher market value, then sacred.
[Sexually explicit] Art or porn? Jeff Koons. Famous. "Made in Heaven". Wife - pornstar. "Dirty Ejaculation" Low culture of pornography and high culture of art - blended together - the line doesn't work. Criticism: It is our relaitonship on how we see this that is most profound. The machine change sart. Always conversation between high and low.
Walter dvdmvmvm - with age of camera, art no longer exists in the same way as before. There aren't individual pieces of art, not tied to a specific/sacrred spot/time. Art has become ubiquitous. Art loses its individual power. Technology + art: this is a good time, a democratization of culture - we don't have to travel to art. Gallery attendance is tied to education level. The idea we lost capital C culture because of democratization doesn't hold true(??) This religiosity is not that art is sacred, but exclusively tied to how much someone would pay for it. Value based on how much something is worth, someeone is willing to pay for it. Capitalistic way of understanding. Jeff Koonts vs. screenshot pornography - the mark of capitalistic value vs. mark of aesthetics - not necessarily higher aesthetic, spiritiual, value.
Our relationship to images is usually tied to words we use around them. Images float freely and change and swift base don how they're introduced to you. [We field with crows - vincent van gogh] This is the last picture Va Gogh painted before he killed himself.
Lady Gaga - Michel Foucalt. "I was born this way." No, you're a product of power relations." You can take an image and shift its meaning with a few words - Meme. Cats don't speak, but they speak a lot on the internet. User technology - much easier. Internet can shape all of this. Image now illustrates the sentence opposed to sentence capturing image.
Rising gender theory and the gaze Schroeder: "to gaze implies more than to look at - it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze." The intersection of looking and sexual pleasure. Power relationships - different gazes, different practices of looking. Staring and disability. Casual looking - scanning. Staring - intense. Gazing - not jus tlooking, but it's engaged in power relations. The object of the gaze doesn't necessarily know that they're being looked at. A sense of anonymity. The person doing gazing is in position of power, object doesn't know or is mostly unaware and have less power or no power. Building off of Laura Mulvey - film studies - read from film types of gazing - built from Freudian psychoanalysis - subject and the object - agency vs not - active/male (subject) and passive/female(object). One has a higher status. Subject > object. Freud had a term called ##scopophilia## - pleasure derived from looking at bodies as objects - out of infantile sexuality - mother becomes object of child. Broadens past infant development into the movie theatre - darkness of cinema - gazing - your relationship to the screen - annoying when people chomp, come in late, etc. FAcilitates a condition of looking. In movie house - particular scripts/ideas. Argued that: in film script: active male subjects and the position you are to take on in the film house is the active/male subject, the passive/female object which is the object of pleasure that you watch. Encouraged to identify with the active male subject and see repersentations of women as the passive/female object --> The Male Gaze. Women have turned into images to be looked at. Woman as image. Not just that protagonist is male, bu tthe visual clues set up a male gaze. You take on that male gaze.
John Berger - Ways of Seeing book - "A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself." One is supposed to be an object, looking at themselves as if they are the object of the gaze. "Women watch themselves being looked at... Thus she turns herself into an object - and most particularly an object of vision: a sight." In images and film, men act, they are the subjects, women appear, and they are the objects.
Mulvey - two types of gazes: ##Voyeristic## - controlling - sadism, male protagonist gets to be the judge - ascertaing uilt, punish someone, give an act of forgiveness. You see everything, judge someone, but they don't know you're in that position. and ##Fetishistic looking## - In the object, becomes something that could be dangerous and instead becomes reassuring. Castration anxiety. The stiletto - often fetishized - dangeorus object, but sexualizing it makes it reassuring and seductive. Erotic becomes a place of safety. Very controversial - not a lot of female agency, essentialist - drive in biology, that all men will appear this way, and all women appear this way. Deeply heterosexual - what about gay spectators? Is it possible for women to derive pleasure from the male gaze? Formulation is too neat - doesn't account for some of the messiness. Whether or not our tases/ideas/gazing are driven by the producer. You will see things the way producers see them.
Oprah yelling you're all basic. Adorno and Horkheimer (1947) - German theorists - post WW2 - the culture-industry thesis. The frankfurt school - Critical theory. Artists tapped into society - creative geniuses - could see into society. They rejected this idea. culture is not the creation of artisans. Culture is a commodity produced through an industrial process of mass production - sounds like Marx. They're marxists. The products of culture reflect only the logic of profit. All of culture is simply designed to make a profit. To make a profit, needs to be easily reproduced and fairly standard - basic. Standardiztion have to fit the modes of production. Produce for everyone, not individuals. Easier to mass produce clothing a set number of sizes and fit into them instead of getting it measured, custom made. Easier to sell lot sof tihngs at a low price than tailro to individuals. Culture becomes something bought and sold - a commodity. Reality TV - Kim Kardashian - what is she famous for? She's famous for being famous. She is herself, a commodity. Cultural production is marked by superifcial novelty. She was preceded by Paris Hilton. Essential repetition - things need to be different enough to spark consumption but not so different to be challenging. Sweaters - sort sweaters - baggy, chunky, cardigan, etc. They're just small changes. Needs to keep selling us stuff. Minor things to get us to buy more. Down in economy, lipstick sales go up - cheap small thing - you can make a new look.
Reality TV - new season of the Bachelor - I wonder if anything will be different. Rom Coms. Girl bands/boy bands. Big machine. The values we all hold are only the values of capitlaism. Important: accumulation of watlh, spendign as a sign of status, financial status is equivalent of human value. Creepy thing: people who are beautiful in contemporary ways often have attributes s being kinder, being better employees. It mines folk culture and high culture and mines them to pieces - destroys them.
People say: this is really elitist. That you can buy your way into culture. Too deterministic. Elitist frontL: it will take great thinkers/people to rip people out of this thing. But maybe people are happy with this. Are we all dupes? If you derive pleasure from it, then who is it to say you're a udpe in the machine?
Lecture 8: Feb 1, 2018
Production of Popular Culture + Nicki Minaj.
Nicki Minaj Music Videos. [Nicki Minaj - Anaconda, SuperBass]
Article - short references to theory. Text - bigger issues around production. Article - production of identity, and production of people.
Black female artists - lifespan of 2 years. Production of Nicki Minajs' identity. She's managed to outlast many women that have come before her. Relationship with Barbie. Diversification of Barbie dolls - the ideal, original barbie, everything is just a variation off of her. Barbie is designed after a German Sex doll, created into a child's toy. Women have reclaimed the word "bitch" - but not really. Politics of words - insider/outsider context - friend callign you a bitch vs. outsider. Is reclamation empowering? Girl power, wear a tube top - is it power or feeding into the system? Barbie - system puts women at a disadvantage, looks, not good at math. Stereotyping. Makes women conform to beauty standards - but you can do anything with them. Producers don't match what consumers do with it. Deface Barbie, or played with barbie with a script that Mattel did not want. Nicki Minaj - big booty - not standard Barbie. Record Companies - a thread that works - just have to follow that one thread - the formula that works - is she part of that formula or is it her own talent? Shifting image vs. playing into it. RIpping heaad off teeth - ozzy osbourne rips head of bat off - freakshow - geek performers - rip heads off of things as a part of their performance. Nicki is also shaming skinny bitches - opposing rather than empowering - skinny-shaming. But it doesn't displace the profoundness of thinness- attacks it but doesn't displace it. Bratz dolls. Ok to call yourself bitch, but not ok to call yourself barbie. Minaj - why can't I? What's so wrong. Postmodern reading - nicki minaj - fabricated this identity to play off of all of these issues - race, gender, sexuality - she's in control even though she's part of the machine. Who has the power in pop culture?
##The Culture Industry Thesis## - a slightly different variation of a formula. Lady Gaga - madonna, david bowie. A machine that spits out modestly different things. Totalizing - reading backwards, just finding similarities - finding connections. "They're the new X" Reading backwards vs. forwards. Culture is standardized. Clothing. Fashion can't cycle too quickly because people will still have the clothes - has to cycle slow enough so you can decide to throw out current clothes. Celebrity Culture - is different now - market has changed - rather than just selling the film, all of material goods that go with it. Wider market of stuff - an obsession. Artists play off of old songs. Copyrighting - sampling, etc. Keeps lawyers busy.
We are all dupes of this culture machine vs. no. We know what they're doing, but doesn't mean we enjoy it. Adventure Time - everything repeats over and over again, but no one lives long enough to learn anything. Generatiional change - Vanilla Ice - Under Pressure - horrific thing generation had done to music vs. this is the greatest thing. Easier to conform. Geek culture - wasn't cool before, now appropriated. We have to conform. How do you step outside of the machine. Can you drop out of consumer culture/society? Even if you try to take yourself out, you're still proving the original point. Are things being popular because we enjoy them, or because they want us to enjoy them? Is it what we want or what they want we want? Not just the machine pushing out stuff, others will say they will demand and producers will react. Nicki Minaj fans pushed for barbie for her. Consumer backlash, advocacy. Is it top down or in conversation.
American culture comes up here, but some things aren't allowed. Madonna pretending masturbating on stage - toronto police banned. Superhero movies - started out for late youth, now for children - onesies for infants. CocaCola opening up the market to 3 year olds.
We like what we're familiar with.
Opening new markets - uniformity - body ideals, etc. Big Western media pushes outwards. Dove - soap - black women to white woman - colonialism - racism. It wasn't until consumers pushed back did they realize. Anne McClintock - commodity racism - how racism gets carried through goods - soap. LGBTQ in media, but others will say that they're pushing to a new market, publicity. Corporations are not require to care, only respoinsible for making money.
Production needs consumers.
It's not just there, it's a message.
Lecture 9: Feb X, 2018
Lecture 10: Feb X, 2018