Monthly Archives: January 2011

Keywords (HUM415)

Screen violence:

Excellent work today. Nothing’s more gratifying than when people step up and engage with the substance of the course. Some really savvy readings of the clips we screened as well. We could even attempt to plug them into the concepts in Jameson’s essay. For example, the Call of Duty advert operates within the mode of pastiche: it references cultural texts such as The Rolling Stones (part of the “soundtrack” to what Jameson identifies as “the first postmodern war”); The Matrix (the highly-stylized movements of some of the on-screen figures such as the guy in the paper hat); Black Hawk Down; and a number of familiar celebrities. In addition, the advert of necessity (I think) but perhaps unwittingly evokes the so-called War on Terror.

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Parody and Pastiche (HUM415)

According to Adam Roberts, the difference between parody and pastiche can be seen by juxtaposing the Sex Pistols’ and Nirvana:

As another example [of the difference between parody and pastiche] we might want to compare the actual, directed anger of ‘punk rock’ as manifested in an album such as the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks with the postmodern directionless emotion of Nirvana’s album Nevermind (an album whose very title seems a laconic, wearied shortening of the Pistols’ original). Kurt Cobain layers the ‘raging’ of punk-influenced guitar noise underneath an ironically detatched vocal persona, ‘ah well, whatever, never mind’. The Sex Pistols parodied British patriotism (‘God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime’), where Nirvana are all about pastiche. (Fredric Jameson 126).

Another Version (HUM415)

Here’s an earlier version of “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” titled “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” The arguments are not as developed as in the later essay, but it contains many of the same fundamental insights. I encourage you to read POTCLOLC– in part because it is so demanding for the uninitiated. But should you feel completely at sea, lost beyond reclamation, then put aside that text and read the other. Here’s a pdf version:


Tweak (HUM415)

We tweaked the reading schedule today. Drop Kaplan’s “Coming Anarchy” (though those interested in global politics might look it over anyway, given its influence not only with the Clinton administration but Obama’s) and push Jameson’s “Postmodernism” to Monday. That means next Wednesday we’ll discuss “Picaresque” and Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface to Wretched of the Earth. All these changes have been made to the course information page.

Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (HUM415)

First, here’s a web version of the essay with links to the visual art Jameson discusses.

Next, here are some of those same images. While the more labyrinthine passages of Jameson’s essay need not detain us, I do want to focus on his discussion of the difference between the Modern and the Postmodern in terms of Van Gogh’s “A Pair of Boots” and Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes.” I also want us to pay careful attention to his reading of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

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