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: