Recap (HUM415)

Just to recapitulate. I’d welcome any additional points.

We live in the midst of an endlessly circulating traffic of narratives. Because language is not a neutral medium, stories (common sense, gossip, infotainment, journalism, etc.) usually push us in a particular direction– i.e., they are, in the crudest sense, ideological. The value of close-reading is that it allows us to see beyond the surface meaning of a text and address its connotative dimensions in order to assess its ideological commitments. This skill-set travels well and is indispensable for anybody interested in understanding the world.

The zombie performs various ideological functions. We can extend this general claim to other pop cultural or mythological figures such as the Wendigo, vampires, ghosts, mutants, and other monstrous characters. What each of these creatures may represent is unstable; they don’t simply mean one thing. In our discussion it was argued that the Wendigo could be said to embody an imperial Manifest Destiny. It was also suggested that the zombie might have some connection to the kind of totally autonomous and self-interested subject that capitalist society tends to produce. Working your way through either of these claims would be useful.

In general, nobody in corporate media ever talks about imperialism. If this is part of an effort, unconscious or otherwise, to suppress knowledge, then we have to ask the same question Zizek asked in his discussion of the Paris attacks.

By now everybody knows what that questions is.