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.
District B-13 also exhibits elements of pastiche, refusing to take itself seriously, and offering the audience pure spectacle instead. There is a whole tradition of (to speak very generally) Asian martial arts which provides the body language of the actors– a tradition which is never explicitly acknowledged and becomes the basis of flashy moves and posturing. The spiritual dimensions of those traditions are, of course, never invoked.
I’m harder pressed to know what to do with Romper Stomper, which seems to emphasize “gritty” realism over spectacular visual effects. At the same time, however, we could recall the soundtracking of the chase sequence which made me (anachronistically) think of the opening shots of Train-Spotting.
A list of key terms drawn from Jameson’s essay:
“the nostalgia mode”
“the waning of affect”
subjectivity/ the subject
If you’re interested, we could explore some of these concepts using contemporary cultural forms and practices such as the sample, hyperlinking, and the “reality” show.