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Author: Grafiati

Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 30 January 2023

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1

Dwyer, Simon. "Highlighting the Build: Using Lighting to Showcase the Sydney Opera House." M/C Journal 20, no.2 (April26, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1184.

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IntroductionThe Sydney Opera House is Australia’s, if not the world’s, most recognisable building. It is universally recognised as an architectural icon and as a masterpiece of the built environment, which has captured the imagination of many (Commonwealth of Australia 4). The construction of the Sydney Opera House, between 1959 and 1973, utilised many ground-breaking methods and materials which, together, pushed the boundaries of technical possibilities to the limits of human knowledge at the time (Commonwealth of Australia 36, 45). Typical investigations into the Sydney Opera House focus on its architects, the materials, construction, or the events that occur on its stages. The role of the illumination, in the perception and understanding of Australia’s most famous performing arts centre, is an under-investigated aspect of its construction and its use today (Dwyer Backstage Biography 1; Dwyer “Utzon’s Use” 131).This article examines the illumination of the Sydney Opera House from the perspective of light as a construction material, another element that is used to ‘build’ the structure on Bennelong Point. This article examines the illumination from an historical view as Jørn Utzon’s (1918-2008) concepts for the building, including the lighting design intentions, were not all realised as he did not complete the project. The task of finishing this structure was allocated to the architectural cooperative of Hall, Todd & Littlemore who replaced Utzon in 1966. The Danish-born Utzon was appointed in January 1957 having won an international competition, from a field of over 230 entries, to design a national opera house for Sydney. He quickly began the task of resolving his design, transforming the roughly-sketched concepts presented in his competition entry, into detailed drawings that articulated how the opera house would be realised. The iteration of these concepts can be most succinctly identified in Utzon’s formal design reports to the Opera House Committee which are often referred to based on the colour of their cover design. The first report, the ‘red book’ was issued in 1958 with further developments of the architectural and services designs outlined in the ‘yellow book’ which followed in 1962. The last of the original architects’ publications was the Utzon Design Principles (2002) which was created as part of the reengagement process—between the Government of New South Wales and the Sydney Opera House with the original architect—that commenced in 1999.As with many modern buildings (such as Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center, Richard Meier’s Jubilee Church or Adrian D. Smith’ Burj Khalifa), concrete was selected to form the basic structural element of the Sydney Opera House. Working with the, now internationally-renowned, engineering firm Ove Arup and Partners, Utzon designed some of the most significant shapes and finishes that have become synonymous with the site. The concrete elements range from basic blade walls with lustrous finishes to the complex, shape-changing beams that rise from under the monumental stairs and climb to terminate in the southern foyers. Thus, demonstrating the use of concrete as both a structural element and a high quality architectural finish. Another product used throughout the Sydney Opera House is granite. As a hardwearing stone, it is used in a crushed form as part of the precast panels that line the walls and internal flooring and as setts on the forecourt. As with the concrete the use of the same material inside and out blurs the distinction between interior and exterior. The forecourt forms a wide-open plaza before the building rises like a headland as it meets the harbour. The final, and most recognisable element is that of the shell (or roof) tiles. After many years of research Utzon settled on a simple mix of gloss and matt tiles of approximately 120mm square that, carefully arranged, produced a chevron shaped ‘lid’ and results in an effect likened to snow and ice (Commonwealth of Australia 51).These construction elements would all remain invisible if not illuminated by light, natural or artificial. This paper posits that the illumination reinforces the architecture of the structure and extends the architectural and experiential narratives of the Sydney Opera House across time and space. That, light is—like concrete, granite and tiles—a critical component of the Opera House’s build.Building a Narrative with LightIn creating the Sydney Opera House, Utzon set about harnessing natural and artificial illumination that are intrinsic parts of the human condition. Light shapes every facet of our lives from defining working and leisure hours to providing the mechanism for high speed communications and is, therefore, an obvious choice to reinforce the structure of the building and to link the built environment with the natural world that enveloped his creation. Light was to play a major role in the narrative of the Sydney Opera House starting from a patron’s approach to the site.Utzon’s staged approach to a performance at the Sydney Opera House is well documented, from the opening passages of the Descriptive Narrative (Utzon 1-2) to the Lighting Master Plan (Steensen Varming). The role of artificial light in the preparation of the audience extends beyond the simple visibility necessary to navigate the site. Light provides a linking element that guides an audience member along their ‘journey’ through several phases of transformation from the physicality of the city on the forecourt to “another world–a make believe atmosphere, which will exclude all outside impressions and allow the patrons to be absorbed into the theatre mood, which the actors and the producers wish to create” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2) in the theatres. Utzon conceived of light as part of the storytelling process, expressing the building’s narrative in a way that allows illumination is to be so much more than signposts to points of activity such as cloaking areas, theatre entries and the like. The lighting was intended to delineate various stages on the ‘journey’ noted above, to reinforce the transition from one world to another such that the combination of light and architecture would provide a series of successive stimuli that would build until the crescendo of the performance itself. This supports the transition of the visitor from the world of the everyday into the narrative of the Sydney Opera House and a world of make believe. Yet, in providing a narrative between these two ‘worlds’ the lighting becomes an anchor—or an element held in suspension – a mediator in the tension between the city at the beginning of the ‘journey’ and the ‘other world’ of the performance at the end. There is a balance to be maintained between illuminating the Sydney Opera House so that it remains prominent in its harbour location, easily read as a distinct sculptural structure on the peninsular separate from, but still an essential part of, the city that lies beyond Circular Quay to the south. Utzon alludes to the challenges of crafting the illumination so that it meets these requirements, noting that the illumination of the broardwalks “must be compatible with the lighting on the approach roads” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 68) while maintaining that “the floodlit building will be the first and last impression for [… an audience] to receive” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1). These lighting requirements are also tempered by the desire that the “night time [...] view will be all lights and reflections, [that] stretch all along the harbour for many miles” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1) reinforcing the use of light as an anchor that provides both a point of reference and serves as a mediator of the Sydney Opera House’s place within the city.The narrative of the materials and elements that are combined to give the final, physical form its striking sensory presence is also told through light, in particular colour. Or, perhaps more precisely in an illumination sense, the accurate reproduction of colour and by extension accurate presentation of the construction materials used in the creation of the Sydney Opera House. Expression of the ‘truth’ in the materials he used was important for Utzon and the faithful representation of details such as the fine grains in timber and the smooth concrete finishes required careful lighting to enhance these features. When extended to the human occupants of the Sydney Opera House, there is a short, yet very descriptive instruction: the lighting is to give “life to the skin and hair on the human form in much the same way as the light from candles” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Thus, the narrative of the materials and their quality was as important as the final structure and those who would occupy it. It is the role of light to build upon the story of the materials to contribute to the overall narrative of the Sydney Opera House.Building an Experience through IlluminationUtzon envisaged that light would do much more than provide illumination or tell the narrative of the materials he had selected – light was also to build a unique architectural experience for a patron. The experience of light was to be subtle; the architecture was to retain a position of centre stage, reinforced by, rather than ever replaced by, the illumination. In this way, concealed lighting was proposed which would be “designed in close collaboration with the acoustical engineers as they will become an integral part of overall acoustic design” and “installed in carefully selected places based on knowledge gleaned from experimental work” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Through concealing the light source, the architecture did not become cluttered or over powered by a dazzling array of fixtures and fittings that detracted from the audience’s experiences. For instance, to illuminate the monumental steps, Utzon proposed that the fittings would be recessed into the handrails, while the bar and lounge areas would be lit from discreet fittings installed within the plywood ceiling panels (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 16) to create an experience of light that was unified across the site. In addition to the aesthetical improvements gained from the removal of the light sources from the field of view, unwanted glare is also reduced reinforcing the ‘whole’ of the architectural experience.During the time that Utzon was conceptualising the illumination of the Sydney Opera House, the Major Hall (what is now known as the Concert Hall) was envisaged as what might be considered as a modern multipurpose venue, one that could accommodate among other activities: symphonic concerts; opera; ballet and dance; choral concerts; pageants and mass meetings (NSW Department of Local Government 24). The Concert Hall was the terminus for the ‘journey’—where the actors and audience find themselves in the same space, the ‘other world’—“a make believe atmosphere, which will exclude all outside impressions and allow the patrons to be absorbed into the theatre mood, which the actors and the producers wish to create” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2). This other world was to sumptuously explode with rich colours “which uplift you in that festive mood, away from daily life, that you expect when you go to the theatre, a play, an opera or a concert” (Utzon Utzon Design Principles 34). These highly decorated and colourful finishes contrast with the white shells further highlighting the ‘journey’ that has taken place. Utzon proposed to use the illumination to reinforce this distance and provide the link between the natural colours of the raw materials used outside the theatre and highly decorated colours of the performance spaces.The lighting treatment of the theatres extended into the foyers and their public amenities to ensure that the lighting design contributed to the overall enhancement of a patron’s visit and delivered the experience of the ‘journey’ that was envisaged by Utzon (Dwyer “Utzon’s Use” 130-32). This standardised approach was in concert with Utzon’s architectural philosophy where repetitive systems of construction elements were utilised, for instance, in the construction of the shells. Utzon clearly articulated this approach in The Descriptive Narrative, noting that “standard light fittings will be chosen […] to suit each location” (67), however the standardisation would not compromise other considerations of the space such as the acoustical performance, with Utzon noting that the “fittings for auditoria and rehearsal rooms must be of necessity, designed in close collaboration with the acoustical engineers as they will become an integral part of over acoustic design” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). Another parallel between the architectural development of the Sydney Opera House and Utzon’s approach to the lighting concepts was, uncommon at the time, his preference for prototyping and experimentation with lighting effects and various fittings (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 67). A sharp contrast to the usual practices of the day which relied upon more straightforward procurement processes with generic rather than tailored solutions. Peter Hall, of Hall, Todd & Littlemore, discussed the typical method of lighting design which was prevalent during the construction of the Sydney Opera House, as a method which “amounted to the electrical engineers laying out on a plan sufficient off-the-shelf light fittings to achieve the desired illumination levels […] the resulting effects were dull even if brightly lit” (Hall 180). Thus, Utzon’s careful approach to ensure that light and architecture were in harmony as “nothing is introduced into the scheme, before it has been carefully investigated and has proved to be the right solution to the problem” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 2) was highly innovative for its time.The use of light to provide an experience was not necessarily new, for example RSL Clubs, theme parks and department stores all used light to attract attention to their products and services, however the scale and proposed execution of these concepts was pioneering for Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Utzon’s concepts provided a highly experiential unified design to provide the patron with a unique architectural experience built through the careful use of light.Building the Scenery with LightArchitecture might be considered set design on a grand scale (for example see Raban, Rasmuseen and Read). Both architects and set designers are concerned with the relationship between the creative designs and the viewers and both set up opportunities for interactions between people (as actors or users) and structure. However, without light, the scene remains literally, in the dark, isolated from its surroundings and unperceetable to an audience.Utzon was acutely aware of the relationship between the Sydney Opera House and the city in which it stands. The positioning of the structure on the site is no accident and the interplay between the ‘sails’ and the sun is perhaps the most recognised lighting feature of the Sydney Opera House. By varying the angle of the shells, the reflections and the effects of the sunlight are constantly varying depending on the viewer’s position and focus. More importantly, these subtle variations in the light enhance the sculptural effect of the direct illumination and help create the effect of “matt snow and shining ice” (Commonwealth of Australia 51): the ‘shimmer of life’ so desired by Utzon as the sunlight strikes the ceramic tiles. This ‘shimmer’ is not the only natural lighting effect. The use of the different angles ensures variation in the light, clouds and resulting shadows to heighten interest and create an ever-changing scene that plays out on the shells as the sun moves across the sky, as Utzon notes, “something new goes on all the time and it is so important–this interplay is so important that together with the sun, the light and the clouds, it makes it a living thing” (Utzon Sydney Opera House 49). This scene is enhanced by the changing quality of the sunlight; the shells appear to be deep amber at first light their shadows long and faint before becoming shorter and stronger as the sun moves towards its midday position with the colour changing slowly to ‘pure’ white before the shadows change sides, the process reverses and they again disappear under the cover of darkness. Although the scene replays daily, the relative location of the sun and changing weather patterns ensure infinite variation in the effect.This changing scene, on a grand scale, with light as the central character is just as important as the theatrical performances taking place indoors on the stages. With a mobile audience, the detailing of the visual scene that is the structure becomes more important. The Sydney Opera House competes for attention with shipping movements in the harbour, the adjacent bridge with the ant-like procession of climbers and the activities of the city to the south. Utzon foresaw this noting that the “position on a peninsular, which is overlooked from all angles makes it important to maintain an all-round elevation. There can be no backsides to the building and nothing can be hidden from the view” (Utzon Descriptive Narrative 1). The use of natural light to enhance the sculptural form and reinforce isolation of the structure on the peninsular, centre stage on the harbour is therefore not a coincidence. Utzon has deliberately harnessed the natural light to ensure that the Sydney Opera House is just as vibrant a performer as its surroundings. In this way, Utzon has used light to anchor the Sydney Opera House both in the city it serves and for the performances it houses.It is not just the natural light that is used as such an anchor point. Utzon planned for artificial lighting of the sails and surrounding site to ensure that after dark the ‘shimmer’ of the white tiles would be maintained with an equivalent, if manufactured, effect. For Utzon, the sculptural qualities of structure were important and should be clearly ‘read’ at night, even against a dark harbour on one side and the brighter city on the other. Through the use of artificial lighting, Utzon set the scene on Bennelong Point with the structure clearly centred in the set that is the Sydney skyline. This reinforced the notion that a journey into the Sydney Opera House was something special, a transition from the everyday to the ‘other’ world.ConclusionFor Utzon light was just as essential as concrete and other building materials for the design of the Sydney Opera House. The traditional bright lights of the stage had no place in the architectural illumination, replaced instead by a much more subtle, understated use of light, and indeed its absence. Utzon planned for the lighting to envelope an audience but not to smother them. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete his project and in 1968 J.M. Waldram was eventually appointed to complete the lighting design. Waldram’s lighting solutions—many of which are still in place today—borrowed or significantly drew upon Utzon’s original illumination concepts, thus demonstrating their strength and timeless qualities. In this way light builds on the story of the structure, reinforcing the architecture of the building and extending the narratives of the construction elements used to build the Sydney Opera House.AcknowledgementsThe author acknowledges the assistance of Rachel Franks for her input on an early draft of this article and thanks the blind peer reviewers for their generous feedback and suggestions, of course any remain errors or omissions are my own. ReferencesCommonwealth of Australia. Sydney Opera House Nomination by the Government of Australia for Inscription on the World Heritage List. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2006.Cleaver, Jack. Surface and Textured Finishes for Concrete and Their Impact upon the Environment. Sydney: Steel Reinforcement Institute of Australia, 2005.Dwyer, Simon. A Backstage Biography of the Sydney Opera House. Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ) 2016: 1-10.———. “Utzon’s Use of Light to Influence the Audience’s Perception of the Sydney Opera House”. Inhabiting the Meta Visual: Contemporary Performance Themes. Eds. Helene Gee Markstein and Arthur Maria Steijn. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2016.Hall, Peter. Sydney Opera House: The Design Approach to the Building with Recommendations on Its Conservation. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 1990.NSW Department of Local Government. An International Competition for a National Opera House at Bennelong Point Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: Conditions and Program (“The ‘Brown’ Book”). Sydney: NSW Government Printer, 1957.Raban, Jonathan. Soft City. London: Picador, 2008.Rasmuseen, Steen. Experiencing Architecture. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology P, 1964.Read, Gary. “Theater of Public Space: Architectural Experimentation in the Théâtre de l'Espace (Theater of Space), Paris 1937.” Journal of Architectural Education 58.4 (2005): 53-62.Steensen Varming. Lighting Master Plan. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 2007.Utzon, Jørn. Sydney Opera House: The Descriptive Narrative. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 1965.———. The Sydney Opera House. Zodiac, 1965. 48-93.———. Untitled. (The ‘Red’ Book). Unpublished, 1958.———. Untitled. (The ‘Yellow’ Book). Unpublished, 1962.———. Utzon Design Principles. Sydney: Sydney Opera House Trust, 2002.

2

Toutant, Ligia. "Can Stage Directors Make Opera and Popular Culture ‘Equal’?" M/C Journal 11, no.2 (June1, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.34.

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Cultural sociologists (Bourdieu; DiMaggio, “Cultural Capital”, “Classification”; Gans; Lamont & Foumier; Halle; Erickson) wrote about high culture and popular culture in an attempt to explain the growing social and economic inequalities, to find consensus on culture hierarchies, and to analyze cultural complexities. Halle states that this categorisation of culture into “high culture” and “popular culture” underlined most of the debate on culture in the last fifty years. Gans contends that both high culture and popular culture are stereotypes, public forms of culture or taste cultures, each sharing “common aesthetic values and standards of tastes” (8). However, this article is not concerned with these categorisations, or macro analysis. Rather, it is a reflection piece that inquires if opera, which is usually considered high culture, has become more equal to popular culture, and why some directors change the time and place of opera plots, whereas others will stay true to the original setting of the story. I do not consider these productions “adaptations,” but “post-modern morphologies,” and I will refer to this later in the paper. In other words, the paper is seeking to explain a social phenomenon and explore the underlying motives by quoting interviews with directors. The word ‘opera’ is defined in Elson’s Music Dictionary as: “a form of musical composition evolved shortly before 1600, by some enthusiastic Florentine amateurs who sought to bring back the Greek plays to the modern stage” (189). Hence, it was an experimentation to revive Greek music and drama believed to be the ideal way to express emotions (Grout 186). It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when stage directors started changing the time and place of the original settings of operas. The practice became more common after World War II, and Peter Brook’s Covent Garden productions of Boris Godunov (1948) and Salome (1949) are considered the prototypes of this practice (Sutcliffe 19-20). Richard Wagner’s grandsons, the brothers Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner are cited in the music literature as using technology and modern innovations in staging and design beginning in the early 1950s. Brief Background into the History of Opera Grout contends that opera began as an attempt to heighten the dramatic expression of language by intensifying the natural accents of speech through melody supported by simple harmony. In the late 1590s, the Italian composer Jacopo Peri wrote what is considered to be the first opera, but most of it has been lost. The first surviving complete opera is Euridice, a version of the Orpheus myth that Peri and Giulio Caccini jointly set to music in 1600. The first composer to understand the possibilities inherent in this new musical form was Claudio Monteverdi, who in 1607 wrote Orfeo. Although it was based on the same story as Euridice, it was expanded to a full five acts. Early opera was meant for small, private audiences, usually at court; hence it began as an elitist genre. After thirty years of being private, in 1637, opera went public with the opening of the first public opera house, Teatro di San Cassiano, in Venice, and the genre quickly became popular. Indeed, Monteverdi wrote his last two operas, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea for the Venetian public, thereby leading the transition from the Italian courts to the ‘public’. Both operas are still performed today. Poppea was the first opera to be based on a historical rather than a mythological or allegorical subject. Sutcliffe argues that opera became popular because it was a new mixture of means: new words, new music, new methods of performance. He states, “operatic fashion through history may be a desire for novelty, new formulas displacing old” (65). By the end of the 17th century, Venice alone had ten opera houses that had produced more than 350 operas. Wealthy families purchased season boxes, but inexpensive tickets made the genre available to persons of lesser means. The genre spread quickly, and various styles of opera developed. In Naples, for example, music rather than the libretto dominated opera. The genre spread to Germany and France, each developing the genre to suit the demands of its audiences. For example, ballet became an essential component of French opera. Eventually, “opera became the profligate art as large casts and lavish settings made it the most expensive public entertainment. It was the only art that without embarrassment called itself ‘grand’” (Boorstin 467). Contemporary Opera Productions Opera continues to be popular. According to a 2002 report released by the National Endowment for the Arts, 6.6 million adults attended at least one live opera performance in 2002, and 37.6 million experienced opera on television, video, radio, audio recording or via the Internet. Some think that it is a dying art form, while others think to the contrary, that it is a living art form because of its complexity and “ability to probe deeper into the human experience than any other art form” (Berger 3). Some directors change the setting of operas with perhaps the most famous contemporary proponent of this approach being Peter Sellars, who made drastic changes to three of Mozart’s most famous operas. Le Nozze di Figaro, originally set in 18th-century Seville, was set by Sellars in a luxury apartment in the Trump Tower in New York City; Sellars set Don Giovanni in contemporary Spanish Harlem rather than 17th century Seville; and for Cosi Fan Tutte, Sellars chose a diner on Cape Cod rather than 18th century Naples. As one of the more than six million Americans who attend live opera each year, I have experienced several updated productions, which made me reflect on the convergence or cross-over between high culture and popular culture. In 2000, I attended a production of Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, the very theatre where Mozart conducted the world premiere in 1787. In this production, Don Giovanni was a fashion designer known as “Don G” and drove a BMW. During the 1999-2000 season, Los Angeles Opera engaged film director Bruce Beresford to direct Verdi’s Rigoletto. Beresford updated the original setting of 16th century Mantua to 20th century Hollywood. The lead tenor, rather than being the Duke of Mantua, was a Hollywood agent known as “Duke Mantua.” In the first act, just before Marullo announces to the Duke’s guests that the jester Rigoletto has taken a mistress, he gets the news via his cell phone. Director Ian Judge set the 2004 production of Le Nozze di Figaro in the 1950s. In one of the opening productions of the 2006-07 LA opera season, Vincent Patterson also chose the 1950s for Massenet’s Manon rather than France in the 1720s. This allowed the title character to appear in the fourth act dressed as Marilyn Monroe. Excerpts from the dress rehearsal can be seen on YouTube. Most recently, I attended a production of Ariane et Barbe-Bleu at the Paris Opera. The original setting of the Maeterlinck play is in Duke Bluebeard’s castle, but the time period is unclear. However, it is doubtful that the 1907 opera based on an 1899 play was meant to be set in what appeared to be a mental institution equipped with surveillance cameras whose screens were visible to the audience. The critical and audience consensus seemed to be that the opera was a musical success but a failure as a production. James Shore summed up the audience reaction: “the production team was vociferously booed and jeered by much of the house, and the enthusiastic applause that had greeted the singers and conductor, immediately went nearly silent when they came on stage”. It seems to me that a new class-related taste has emerged; the opera genre has shot out a subdivision which I shall call “post-modern morphologies,” that may appeal to a larger pool of people. Hence, class, age, gender, and race are becoming more important factors in conceptualising opera productions today than in the past. I do not consider these productions as new adaptations because the libretto and the music are originals. What changes is the fact that both text and sound are taken to a higher dimension by adding iconographic images that stimulate people’s brains. When asked in an interview why he often changes the setting of an opera, Ian Judge commented, “I try to find the best world for the story and characters to operate in, and I think you have to find a balance between the period the author set it in, the period he conceived it in and the nature of theatre and audiences at that time, and the world we live in.” Hence, the world today is complex, interconnected, borderless and timeless because of advanced technologies, and updated opera productions play with symbols that offer multiple meanings that reflect the world we live in. It may be that television and film have influenced opera production. Character tenor Graham Clark recently observed in an interview, “Now the situation has changed enormously. Television and film have made a lot of things totally accessible which they were not before and in an entirely different perception.” Director Ian Judge believes that television and film have affected audience expectations in opera. “I think audiences who are brought up on television, which is bad acting, and movies, which is not that good acting, perhaps require more of opera than stand and deliver, and I have never really been happy with someone who just stands and sings.” Sociologist Wendy Griswold states that culture reflects social reality and the meaning of a particular cultural object (such as opera), originates “in the social structures and social patterns it reflects” (22). Screens of various technologies are embedded in our lives and normalised as extensions of our bodies. In those opera productions in which directors change the time and place of opera plots, use technology, and are less concerned with what the composer or librettist intended (which we can only guess), the iconographic images create multi valances, textuality similar to Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of multiplicity of voices. Hence, a plurality of meanings. Plàcido Domingo, the Eli and Edyth Broad General Director of Los Angeles Opera, seeks to take advantage of the company’s proximity to the film industry. This is evidenced by his having engaged Bruce Beresford to direct Rigoletto and William Friedkin to direct Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Gianni Schicchi. Perhaps the most daring example of Domingo’s approach was convincing Garry Marshall, creator of the television sitcom Happy Days and who directed the films Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, to direct Jacques Offenbach’s The Grand duch*ess of Gerolstein to open the company’s 20th anniversary season. When asked how Domingo convinced him to direct an opera for the first time, Marshall responded, “he was insistent that one, people think that opera is pretty elitist, and he knew without insulting me that I was not one of the elitists; two, he said that you gotta make a funny opera; we need more comedy in the operetta and opera world.” Marshall rewrote most of the dialogue and performed it in English, but left the “songs” untouched and in the original French. He also developed numerous sight gags and added characters including a dog named Morrie and the composer Jacques Offenbach himself. Did it work? Christie Grimstad wrote, “if you want an evening filled with witty music, kaleidoscopic colors and hilariously good singing, seek out The Grand duch*ess. You will not be disappointed.” The FanFaire Website commented on Domingo’s approach of using television and film directors to direct opera: You’ve got to hand it to Plàcido Domingo for having the vision to draw on Hollywood’s vast pool of directorial talent. Certainly something can be gained from the cross-fertilization that could ensue from this sort of interaction between opera and the movies, two forms of entertainment (elitist and perennially struggling for funds vs. popular and, it seems, eternally rich) that in Los Angeles have traditionally lived separate lives on opposite sides of the tracks. A wider audience, for example, never a problem for the movies, can only mean good news for the future of opera. So, did the Marshall Plan work? Purists of course will always want their operas and operettas ‘pure and unadulterated’. But with an audience that seemed to have as much fun as the stellar cast on stage, it sure did. Critic Alan Rich disagrees, calling Marshall “a representative from an alien industry taking on an artistic product, not to create something innovative and interesting, but merely to insult.” Nevertheless, the combination of Hollywood and opera seems to work. The Los Angeles Opera reported that the 2005-2006 season was its best ever: “ticket revenues from the season, which ended in June, exceeded projected figures by nearly US$900,000. Seasonal attendance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stood at more than 86% of the house’s capacity, the largest percentage in the opera’s history.” Domingo continues with the Hollywood connection in the upcoming 2008-2009 season. He has reengaged William Friedkin to direct two of Puccini’s three operas titled collectively as Il Trittico. Friedkin will direct the two tragedies, Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica. Although Friedkin has already directed a production of the third opera in Il Trittico for Los Angeles, the comedy Gianni Schicchi, Domingo convinced Woody Allen to make his operatic directorial debut with this work. This can be viewed as another example of the desire to make opera and popular culture more equal. However, some, like Alan Rich, may see this attempt as merely insulting rather than interesting and innovative. With a top ticket price in Los Angeles of US$238 per seat, opera seems to continue to be elitist. Berger (2005) concurs with this idea and gives his rationale for elitism: there are rich people who support and attend the opera; it is an imported art from Europe that causes some marginalisation; opera is not associated with something being ‘moral,’ a concept engrained in American culture; it is expensive to produce and usually funded by kings, corporations, rich people; and the opera singers are rare –usually one in a million who will have the vocal quality to sing opera arias. Furthermore, Nicholas Kenyon commented in the early 1990s: “there is suspicion that audiences are now paying more and more money for their seats to see more and more money spent on stage” (Kenyon 3). Still, Garry Marshall commented that the budget for The Grand duch*ess was US$2 million, while his budget for Runaway Bride was US$72 million. Kenyon warns, “Such popularity for opera may be illusory. The enjoyment of one striking aria does not guarantee the survival of an art form long regarded as over-elitist, over-recondite, and over-priced” (Kenyon 3). A recent development is the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to simulcast live opera performances from the Met stage to various cinemas around the world. These HD transmissions began with the 2006-2007 season when six performances were broadcast. In the 2007-2008 season, the schedule has expanded to eight live Saturday matinee broadcasts plus eight recorded encores broadcast the following day. According to The Los Angeles Times, “the Met’s experiment of merging film with live performance has created a new art form” (Aslup). Whether or not this is a “new art form,” it certainly makes world-class live opera available to countless persons who cannot travel to New York and pay the price for tickets, when they are available. In the US alone, more than 350 cinemas screen these live HD broadcasts from the Met. Top ticket price for these performances at the Met is US$375, while the lowest price is US$27 for seats with only a partial view. Top price for the HD transmissions in participating cinemas is US$22. This experiment with live simulcasts makes opera more affordable and may increase its popularity; combined with updated stagings, opera can engage a much larger audience and hope for even a mass consumption. Is opera moving closer and closer to popular culture? There still seems to be an aura of elitism and snobbery about opera. However, Plàcido Domingo’s attempt to join opera with Hollywood is meant to break the barriers between high and popular culture. The practice of updating opera settings is not confined to Los Angeles. As mentioned earlier, the idea can be traced to post World War II England, and is quite common in Europe. Examples include Erich Wonder’s approach to Wagner’s Ring, making Valhalla, the mythological home of the gods and typically a mountaintop, into the spaceship Valhalla, as well as my own experience with Don Giovanni in Prague and Ariane et Barbe-Bleu in Paris. Indeed, Sutcliffe maintains, “Great classics in all branches of the arts are repeatedly being repackaged for a consumerist world that is increasingly and neurotically self-obsessed” (61). Although new operas are being written and performed, most contemporary performances are of operas by Verdi, Mozart, and Puccini (www.operabase.com). This means that audiences see the same works repeated many times, but in different interpretations. Perhaps this is why Sutcliffe contends, “since the 1970s it is the actual productions that have had the novelty value grabbed by the headlines. Singing no longer predominates” (Sutcliffe 57). If then, as Sutcliffe argues, “operatic fashion through history may be a desire for novelty, new formulas displacing old” (Sutcliffe 65), then the contemporary practice of changing the original settings is simply the latest “new formula” that is replacing the old ones. If there are no new words or new music, then what remains are new methods of performance, hence the practice of changing time and place. Opera is a complex art form that has evolved over the past 400 years and continues to evolve, but will it survive? The underlining motives for directors changing the time and place of opera performances are at least three: for aesthetic/artistic purposes, financial purposes, and to reach an audience from many cultures, who speak different languages, and who have varied tastes. These three reasons are interrelated. In 1996, Sutcliffe wrote that there has been one constant in all the arguments about opera productions during the preceding two decades: “the producer’s wish to relate the works being staged to contemporary circ*mstances and passions.” Although that sounds like a purely aesthetic reason, making opera relevant to new, multicultural audiences and thereby increasing the bottom line seems very much a part of that aesthetic. It is as true today as it was when Sutcliffe made the observation twelve years ago (60-61). My own speculation is that opera needs to attract various audiences, and it can only do so by appealing to popular culture and engaging new forms of media and technology. Erickson concludes that the number of upper status people who are exclusively faithful to fine arts is declining; high status people consume a variety of culture while the lower status people are limited to what they like. Research in North America, Europe, and Australia, states Erickson, attest to these trends. My answer to the question can stage directors make opera and popular culture “equal” is yes, and they can do it successfully. Perhaps Stanley Sharpless summed it up best: After his Eden triumph, When the Devil played his ace, He wondered what he could do next To irk the human race, So he invented Opera, With many a fiendish grin, To mystify the lowbrows, And take the highbrows in. References The Grand duch*ess. 2005. 3 Feb. 2008 < http://www.ffaire.com/duch*ess/index.htm >.Aslup, Glenn. “Puccini’s La Boheme: A Live HD Broadcast from the Met.” Central City Blog Opera 7 Apr. 2008. 24 Apr. 2008 < http://www.centralcityopera.org/blog/2008/04/07/puccini%E2%80%99s- la-boheme-a-live-hd-broadcast-from-the-met/ >.Berger, William. Puccini without Excuses. New York: Vintage, 2005.Boorstin, Daniel. The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination. New York: Random House, 1992.Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984.Clark, Graham. “Interview with Graham Clark.” The KCSN Opera House, 88.5 FM. 11 Aug. 2006.DiMaggio, Paul. “Cultural Capital and School Success.” American Sociological Review 47 (1982): 189-201.DiMaggio, Paul. “Classification in Art.”_ American Sociological Review_ 52 (1987): 440-55.Elson, C. Louis. “Opera.” Elson’s Music Dictionary. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1905.Erickson, H. Bonnie. “The Crisis in Culture and Inequality.” In W. Ivey and S. J. Tepper, eds. Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life. New York: Routledge, 2007.Fanfaire.com. “At Its 20th Anniversary Celebration, the Los Angeles Opera Had a Ball with The Grand duch*ess.” 24 Apr. 2008 < http://www.fanfaire.com/duch*ess/index.htm >.Gans, J. Herbert. Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste. New York: Basic Books, 1977.Grimstad, Christie. Concerto Net.com. 2005. 12 Jan. 2008 < http://www.concertonet.com/scripts/review.php?ID_review=3091 >.Grisworld, Wendy. Cultures and Societies in a Changing World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1994.Grout, D. Jay. A History of Western Music. Shorter ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1964.Halle, David. “High and Low Culture.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. London: Blackwell, 2006.Judge, Ian. “Interview with Ian Judge.” The KCSN Opera House, 88.5 FM. 22 Mar. 2006.Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary. 2001. 19 Nov. 2006 < http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=opera&searchmode=none >.Kenyon, Nicholas. “Introduction.” In A. Holden, N. Kenyon and S. Walsh, eds. The Viking Opera Guide. New York: Penguin, 1993.Lamont, Michele, and Marcel Fournier. Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.Lord, M.G. “Shlemiel! Shlemozzle! And Cue the Soprano.” The New York Times 4 Sep. 2005.Los Angeles Opera. “LA Opera General Director Placido Domingo Announces Results of Record-Breaking 20th Anniversary Season.” News release. 2006.Marshall, Garry. “Interview with Garry Marshall.” The KCSN Opera House, 88.5 FM. 31 Aug. 2005.National Endowment for the Arts. 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Research Division Report #45. 5 Feb. 2008 < http://www.nea.gov/pub/NEASurvey2004.pdf >.NCM Fanthom. “The Metropolitan Opera HD Live.” 2 Feb. 2008 < http://fathomevents.com/details.aspx?seriesid=622&gclid= CLa59NGuspECFQU6awodjiOafA >.Opera Today. James Sobre: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue and Capriccio in Paris – Name This Stage Piece If You Can. 5 Feb. 2008 < http://www.operatoday.com/content/2007/09/ariane_et_barbe_1.php >.Rich, Alan. “High Notes, and Low.” LA Weekly 15 Sep. 2005. 6 May 2008 < http://www.laweekly.com/stage/a-lot-of-night-music/high-notes-and-low/8160/ >.Sharpless, Stanley. “A Song against Opera.” In E. O. Parrott, ed. How to Be Tremendously Tuned in to Opera. New York: Penguin, 1990.Shore, James. Opera Today. 2007. 4 Feb. 2008 < http://www.operatoday.com/content/2007/09/ariane_et_barbe_1.php >.Sutcliffe, Tom. Believing in Opera. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1996.YouTube. “Manon Sex and the Opera.” 24 Apr. 2008 < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiBQhr2Sy0k >.

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Scholfield, Simon Astley. "Newly Desiring and Desired." M/C Journal 2, no.5 (July1, 1999). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1776.

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"... sphincters have no souls."-- Germaine Greer. "Love." The Whole Woman. 222. "Place your hands on my (w?)hole, run your fingers through my soul..." -- Gary Stringer. "Place Your Hands." Glow. A remarkable pseudo-sodomitical sight gag in the Hollywood comedy film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me brings to mainstream discourse two new queer desiring and desired figures: the man-fisting woman and the woman-fisted man. The simulated act of anal fisting occurs in a tent between leading male and female agents Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham). While Powers is on all fours, Shagwell inserts her hand and forearm into his utility bag and removes various objects including an opening umbrella and a gerbil. However, to a posse of astounded males hiding in the bushes, it appears in silhouette that Shagwell has inserted her fist into Power's rectum and is slowly removing the objects from deep inside his anal canal. This subversive heterosexual performance draws upon marginalised visual narratives of female and male sodomites. The queer man-fisting woman comprises a revolutionary feminist figure. Before surfacing to stake her claim in Austin Powers, the figure of the fisting woman gathered representational momentum in underground p*rnographic and erotic visual art discourses. Until recently, queer female sodomites penetrated males by finger or dild*, not by whole hand. For example, an erotic sadomasoch*stic (SM) drawing from the 1930s by Bernard Montorgueil (Néret backflap) depicts several clothed women stimulating the ani of various naked tied-up ejacul*ting men with small mechanical dild*s. A p*rnographic photograph from the 1950s features a bikini-wearing woman with her strapped-on dild* in the anus of a naked reclining spread-legged man (Waugh 20). By the 1990s images of female-in-male fisting acts had appeared in coffee table art monographs. Jacqueline Kennedy's photograph Other Chambers (Salaman 138) depicts such a scene with only the braceleted arm and male torso showing. Andres Serranos' photograph The History of Sex (The Fisting) shows a fully-dressed erect woman with her fist in the anus of a naked man who poses on all fours at the bottom of the picture. One of Doris Kloster's SM photographs shows a man sandwiched between two women. The strapped-on dild* of one woman fills the man's mouth while that of the other woman projects into his rectum. These female sodomites seemingly merge the figures of the SM dominatrix and the female penetrator of males, to form a new creation that could be named the 'penetratrix'. Queer performance artist Annie Sprinkle, who (as "Queen of the Hellfire" SM club) fist-f*cked a man up to her elbow (Heidenry 161), is one such pioneering penetratrix. Another is queer writer Zoë Schramm-Evans, who has documented her fistf*cking relationship with a gay man in British journal, Body Politic. Schramm-Evans probably speaks for other penetratrices when she declares of her desires to fist the male anus: "I like a man who will lie on his back with his legs in the air -- who will offer his secrets in the way I offer mine. I consider this an equilibrium" (cited in Dowsett 28). The man-fisting penetratrix is a queer production that brings narratives of corporeal cross-sexual power relationships full circle: the penetrator is now the penetrated. The inscription of Felicity as 'top' would not work without Austin as 'bottom' -- a heterosexual male persona that embodies the pleasure of being penetrated by a female agent. The image of anal-receptive Austin draws on the pantheon of fisted gay, bisexual and heterosexual men that have featured in representations of the fisting female sodomite, such as those already mentioned. Other influential works might include Andres Serrano's photograph The History of Sex (Christiaan and Rose) (1996), which depicts a woman pressing the dild* worn over her vulva against a man's buttocks. The cover of Enema of the State, a compact disc by all-male heterosexual band Blink-182, contains a photograph of a smiling female nurse pulling a blue glove over her raised hand. The extended Shagwell-in-Powers fisting gag entails from a history of 'red hanky' SM representations of gay male anal erotica which has tested the diametric limits of the most dilatable orifice in the male body. Examples include Robert Mapplethorpe's photograph Helmut and Brooks, N.Y.C., 1978 (Danto plate 107), which shows one man's large forearm in another's anus, and the Mo' Bigga' Butt video which has two male hands in a male anus. One patron of the Hellfire reportedly could take "an entire rack of billiard balls up his rectum" (Heidenry 161). Such inter-male sexual practices produce "intense sexual pleasure while bypassing, to a greater or lesser extent, the genitals themselves" and involve "the eroticisation of non-genital regions of the body" (Halperin 47). In countenance to standard heterosexual productions in which "the phallus is monolithic and absolute", in these gay male productions "attraction to the penis, contextualized in a holistically eroticized body, is not always the focus of sexual desire" (Jackson 147). In hom*osexual Desire, Guy Hocquenghem contended that the gay sauna, a private inter-male consensual sex sphere of the 1970s, would provide a p*rnutopian space for such "primary sexual communism" (111). In the contemporary popular screen production Austin Powers, the fisted man has become a public, post-org*smic, de-phallicised object of heterosexual female desire. Man-fisting females and woman-fisted males con-fuse the modern sex/gender identities deployed this century to categorise desiring agents. At the end of his article "What Is Sexuality?", Gary Dowsett asks of the Schramm-Evans female-in-male fisting relationship, "in being fist-f*cked by a woman is the gay man still hom*osexual? In committing sodomy with her arm, is Schramm-Evans still woman?" (29). We could ask similar questions about the gender identities and sexual desires of the queer women, men, and transgenderists, who have contributed to the imag(in)ing of the 'penetratrix'. The simple answer may be that all are 'bisexual/s'. However, gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual categories of identity hinge upon desires for specific (similar and/or different) genital morphologies. These identities are upset by performances such as anal-fisting which inscribe organs with omnisexual, non-genital morphologies as objects of desire. In lesbian-in-gay fisting performances "not only has gender been exposed as a masquerade in the service of modern heterosexuality, sexuality has become a field of possibilities where the entanglements of bodies and pleasures and the manufacture of meaning are already bursting through their century-long confinement" (Dowsett 29). Feminists such as Germaine Greer have reformulated sexual metaphors to challenge narratives that define woman as castrated lack. In The Whole Woman, Greer explains that her earlier feminist text, The Female Eunuch, "attempted to provide a different version of female receptivity by speaking of the vagin* ... as if it sucked on the penis and emptied it out rather than simply receiving the ejacul*te" (39). She now notes that such "c*nt-power" has "still to manifest itself". Instead, "penetration mania, the outsize dild* and the fist, [and] the world split open" (39) have manifested "in the last third of the twentieth century [when] more women were penetrated deeper and more often than in any preceeding era" (6). On all these accounts Greer is correct but offers only part of the story. Her desire to change (heterosexual) women's views of their (and male) anatomies is admirable, but such new (hetero)sexual metaphors alone may have negligible effects on male viewpoints. Let's also note that, in the last thirty years, more men were penetrated through the anus (and other orifices) deeper, wider, and more often than ever before (in medical and sexual, indeed, any contexts). Also significantly, more women actively penetrated more men (and more women) deeper, wider and more often than ever before. Man's world and body are also splitting open, and women, too, are wielding dild*s and fists and medical equipment to make them split. Queer women who directly act on their desires to infiltrate male bodies (while doing as they desire with their own vulvae) also create c*nt-power. It may be most difficult for theorists, including some queer theorists, who have cast the lesbian feminist "with or without dild*" as "the dreaded figure of castration and lack" (Probyn 46) to so typify a queer woman who twists her fist into a male anus. The potential power of the newly arrived male-fisting penetratrix is palpable for women and men. Thus, the penetratrix, as an image "freed from its post within a structure of law, lack, and signification, can begin to move all over the place. It then causes different ripples and affects, effects of desire and desirous affects. Turning away from the game of matching signifiers to signifieds, we can begin to focus on the movement of images as effecting and affecting movement" (Probyn 59). The moving image of Felicity Shagwell with her forearm supposedly in Austin Power's anus has the potential to unleash a new chain of queer sexual metaphors. It may be most difficult for theorists, including some queer theorists, who have cast the lesbian feminist "with or without dild*" as "the dreaded figure of castration and lack" (Probyn 46) to so typify a queer woman who twists her fist into a male anus. The potential power of the newly arrived male-fisting penetratrix is palpable for women and men. Thus, the penetratrix, as an image "freed from its post within a structure of law, lack, and signification, can begin to move all over the place. It then causes different ripples and affects, effects of desire and desirous affects. Turning away from the game of matching signifiers to signifieds, we can begin to focus on the movement of images as effecting and affecting movement" (Probyn 59). The moving image of Felicity Shagwell with her forearm supposedly in Austin Power's anus has the potential to unleash a new chain of queer sexual metaphors. What better way for men to understand some of the pleasure and pain involved in vagin*l births or deep vagin*l penetrations than to have (at least imagined) a large object going in and out of their rectum? Rather than trying to formulate such rhetoric, Greer claims that men are correct to resist regular ano-digital examinations for prostate problems. Now that heterosexual men have begun to experience physical insertions that rupture their monolithic masculinity, Greer discourages them. Critical reactions to the groundbreaking images of the male-penetrating female in Austin Powers have been mixed. In the national newspaper Evan Williams remarked rather uncomfortably that "the silhouetted extraction of assorted paraphernalia from Austin's backside -- go[es] on much too long". On national youth radio Michael Tunn rather excitedly praised the gag as "the funniest I've seen". At the cinema I attended, several adults giggled during the scene. I was bent over in hysterics while a young woman up behind me laughed most powerfully. Did the sudden stunned silence of a teenage male who had been snigg*ring with desire for Heather Graham's body hide his excited discomfort at the realisation of her phallic desiring power and his desire to be penetrated? Clearly, a chord had been struck deep within him. The positive subversive effects on children exposed to the graphic imaging of reversed bodily sex and gender rôles should also not be underestimated. The queer man-fisting woman reconfigures standard feminist sexual (pre)positions. To the heterocentric paradigm of woman-on-top and man-on-bottom have been added the queer figures of the woman-as-top and the man-as-bottom. The genito-centric anti-penetration agenda espoused in The Whole Woman denies the desires and effects of such man-penetrating female and woman-penetrated male agents. Austin Powers, on the other hand, celebrates these desiring figures in a climactic gender-f*cking pièce de résistance. This Hollywood film only flirts with notions of fistf*cking but is a credit to collaborating heterosexual actors Mike Myers and Heather Graham. Their queer simulated penetration scene comprises the film's most graphic and comedic representation of a (hetero)sexual act. At the end of the millennium, some women are taking matters of queer politics in hand, by raising their clenched feminist fists for a new sexual revolution. Some men are opening their ani wide to them and the pleasures and pains of (pomo)sexual equality, with rippling desires to become fulfilled queer male (w)holes. References Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Dir. M. Jay Roach. New Line Cinema, 1999. Blink-182. Enema of the State. MCA 1999. Danto, Arthur C. Mapplethorpe. New York: Random House, 1992. Dowsett, Gary. "What Is Sexuality?: A Bent Answer to a Straight Question." Meanjin 55.1 (1996): 16-30. Greer, Germaine. The Whole Woman. London: Doubleday. 1999. Halperin, David M. "Becoming hom*osexual: Michel Foucault on the Future of Gay Writing." Island 63 (Winter 1995): 44-51. Heidenry, John. What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution. Port Melbourne, Vic.: William Heinemann, 1997. Hocquenghem, Guy. hom*osexual Desire. 1972. Trans. Daniella Dangoor. Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1993. Jackson, Earl. "Explicit Instruction: Teaching Gay Male Sexuality in Literature Classes." Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature. Ed. George E. Haggerty and Bonnie Zimmerman. New York: MLA, 1995: 136-155. Kloster, Doris. Doris Kloster: Photographs. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1996. Mo' Bigga' Butt. Dir. Steven Scarborough. Plain Wrapped Video, 1997. Néret, Gilles, ed. Erotica Universalis. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1996. Probyn, Elspeth. Outside Belongings. New York: Routledge, 1996. Salaman, Naomi, ed. What She Wants: Women Artists Look at Men. London: Verso, 1994. Schramm-Evans, Zoë. "Internal Politics." Body Politic 4 (1993). Serrano, Andres. The History of Sex (The Fisting). 1996. ---. The History of Sex (Christiaan and Rose). 1996. Stringer, Gary, voc. "Place Your Hands." Glow. By Reef. Sony, 1997. Tunn, Michael. Lunch. Triple J. 4JJJ, Brisbane. 28 June 1999. Waugh, Thomas. Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall. New York: Columbia UP, 1996. Williams, Evan. "Knickers in a Twist." Weekend Australian Review 19-20 June 1999: 21. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Simon-Astley Scholfield. "Newly Desiring and Desired: Queer Man-Fisting Women." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2.5 (1999). [your date of access] <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9907/queer.php>. Chicago style: Simon-Astley Scholfield, "Newly Desiring and Desired: Queer Man-Fisting Women," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2, no. 5 (1999), <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9907/queer.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Simon-Astley Scholfield. (1999) Newly desiring and desired: queer man-fisting women. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2(5). <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9907/queer.php> ([your date of access]).

4

Green, Lelia. "Sex." M/C Journal 5, no.6 (November1, 2002). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2000.

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This paper addresses that natural consort of love: sex. It particularly considers the absence of actual sex from mainstream popular culture and the marginalisation of 'fun' sex as p*rn, requiring its illicit circulation as ‘illegitimate’ videos. The absence of sex from films classified and screened in public venues (even to over-18s) prevents a discourse about actual sex informing the discourse of love and romance perpetuated through Hollywood movies. The value of a variety of representations of sexual practice in the context of a discussion of love, sex and romance in Western cinema was briefly illuminated for the few days that Baise-moi was legitimately screened in Australia. For all that love is one of the great universal themes, Western cinema tends to communicate this ‘finer feeling’ through recourse to romance narratives. Which is not to say that romantic representations of love are devoid of sex, just that that the cinematic convention is to indicate sex, without showing it. Indeed, without the actors 'doing it'. The peculiarity of this situation is not usually clear, however, because there is so little mainstream sex-cinema with which to compare the anodyne gyrations of romantic Hollywood. Which was where Baise-moi came in, briefly. Baise-moi is variously translated for English-speaking cinema audiences as 'f*ck me' (in Australia) and 'Rape me' (in the US, where, astonishingly, Rape me is seen as a less objectionable title than f*ck me.) Of the two titles, f*ck me is by far the cleverer and more authentically related to the meaning and content, whereas Rape me is a travesty, particularly given the shocking power of an extremely graphic and violent rape scene which initiates much of the succeeding violence. An early appeal by the Australian Attorney-General (to the Review Board) against the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s granting of an R rating meant that Baise-moi was hastily removed from Australian cinemas. The movie is, however, heavily reviewed on the web and readers are referred to commentaries such as those by Gary Morris and Frank Vigorito. The grounds on which Classification was refused were given as ‘strong depictions of violence’, ‘sexual violence’, ‘frequent, actual detailed sex scenes’ and ‘scenes which demean both women and men’. Violence, sexual violence and ‘scenes which demean’ are hardly uncommon in films (although it may be unusual that these demean even-handedly). If the amount of violence is nothing new, the sex was certainly different from the usual cinematic fare. Although this was not the first time that ‘unsimulated’ sex had been shown on the art-house big screen, the other major examples were not entirely similar. Romance was wordy, arguably feminist, and a long way from mindless sex-because-they-like-it. Intimacy 's ‘sex scenes are explicit but totally non p*rnographic, they’re painful, needy, unsatisfying except on an org*smic level’, according to Margaret Pomeranz, who reviewed the film for SBS. Baise-moi is different because, as Vigorito says, ‘please make no mistake that the two main characters in this film, the so-called French Thelma and Louise, certainly do want to f*ck’. (They also like to kill.) Baise-moi is often characterised as a quasi-feminist revenge movie where the two protagonists Manu (a p*rn star) and Nadine (a sex worker) seek revenge with (according to Morris) ‘ultimately more nihilism than party-hearty here, with the non-stop killings laid squarely at the doorstep of a society that’s dehumanized its citizens’. While the brutality depicted is mind-blowing (sometimes literally/visually) it is the sex that got the film banned, but not until after some 50,000 Australians had seen it. The elements that separate Baise-moi from Intimacy and Romance (apart from the extreme violence) is that the characters have (heterosexual) sex with a variety of partners, and sometimes do so just for fun. Further, although the Office of Film and Literature Classification ‘considers that the film has significant artistic and cultural merit’ (OFLC), one of the directors wrote the novel on which the film is based while the other director and the two stars are former p*rn industry workers. If Baise-moi had been accepted as cinema-worthy, where would the sex-on-the-screen factor have stopped for future classification of films? The popular culture approach to romance, love and sex moves comparatively smoothly from the first kiss to the rumpled sheets. Although the plot of a romantic film may consist in keeping the love and sex activities apart, the love is (almost invariably) requited. And, as films such as Notting Hill demonstrate, true love these days is communicated less frequently through the willingness of a couple to have sex (which generally goes without saying), and more often through commitment to the having and rearing of a shared child (whereas off-screen this may more usually be the commitment of a shared mortgage). Sex, in short, is popularly positioned as a precursor to love; as not entirely necessary (and certainly not sufficient) but very usually associated with the state of 'being in love'. It is comparatively rare to see any hesitation to engage in sex on the part of a film-portrayed loving couple, other than hurdles introduced through the intervention of outside forces. A rare example of thinking and talking before f*cking is The Other Sister , but this means it rates as an R in the States because of ‘thematic elements involving sex-related material’. In contrast, the film Notting Hill, where the characters played by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant hardly pause for breath once attraction is established, rates a PG-13 (‘for sexual content and brief strong language’). Thus it is all right for producers to have sex in a storyline, but any hesitation, or discussion, makes the film unsuited to younger audiences. Given that characters’ thinking about sex, and talking about sex, as part of (or preliminary to) having sex apparently increases the age at which the audience is allowed to see the film, perhaps it should not be surprising that actually showing sex about which the audience can then think and talk is almost entirely banned. Yet for a culture that associates sex so strongly with love, and celebrates love so thoroughly in film, television and literature (not to mention popular magazines such as Woman's Day, New Idea, New Weekly and Who), to be occasionally challenged by a film that includes actual sex acts seems not unreasonable, particularly when restricted to audiences of consenting adults. Ian McEwan's debut collection of short stories, First love, last rites explores this conundrum of 'the sex that shall only be acted, never performed' in a short story, 'co*cker at the theatre' (McEwan 57). The tale is about a theatrical production where the actors are new, and nude, and the theme of the play is copulation. It is a story of its time, mid-seventies, the resonating-hippie Age of Aquarius, when Hair still rocked. McEwan's naked couples are assembled by the play's director and then pressed together to begin the rhythmic moves required to complement the thumping musical score of GTC: ‘Grand Time Copulation’. The male and female actors are not near enough to each other, so they are spliced closer together: ‘When they began to move again their pubic hair rasped’ (57-8). The director is unimpressed by the result: ‘I know it's hard, but you have to look as if you're enjoying this thing.' (His voice rose.) 'Some people do, you know. It's a f*ck, you understand, not a funeral.' (His voice sank.) 'Let's have it again, with some enthusiasm this time.' However, all is not entirely well, after a good second beginning. ‘Them on the end, they're going too fast, what do you think?' [says the director to the stage manager] They watched together. It was true, the two who had been moving well, they were a little out of time ... 'My God,' said [the director] 'They're f*cking … It's disgusting and obscene … pull them apart.' (58-9). The issue raised here, as in the case of the removal of any classification from Baise-moi that effectively prevented further public screenings, is the double standard of a society that expends so much of its critical and cultural energies in exploring the nature of love, romance and sexual attraction but balks (horrified) at the representation of actual sex. Yet one of the values of a cinematic replay of 'unsimulated sex' is that it acts as a ‘reality check’ for all the mushy renditions of romance that form the mainstream representation of 'love' on-screen. So, if we want to see sex, should we not simply consume p*rnography? In modern-day Australia it is impossible to discuss depictions of live sex without conjuring up connotations of ‘p*rn’. p*rn, however, is not usually consumed in a manner or place that allows it to interrogate media messages from mainstream production houses and distributors. Watching p*rn, for example at home on video, removes it from a context in which it could realistically prompt a re-evaluation of the visual diet of love and sex Hollywood-style, an opportunity that was provided by Baise-moi during its temporary season. The comparative absence of on-screen sexual activity means that there is an absence of texts through which we can interrogate mainstream representations of lovemaking. Whereas the Eros Foundation aims to promote debate leading to ‘logical perspectives on sex and rational law reform of the sex industry’, and avoids using the term 'p*rnography' on its home page, it is hard to find any representations of unsimulated sex that are not classified as p*rn and consequently easily pigeon-holed as 'not relevant' to cultural debate except in general terms regarding (say) 'censorship' or 'the portrayal of women'. It is hard to know what Baise-moi might have said to Australian audiences about the relationship between sex, authenticity (Morris uses the term ‘trashy integrity’) and popular culture since the film was screened for only the briefest of intervals, and throughout that time the ‘hype’ surrounding it distracted audiences from any discussion other than would it/wouldn't it, and should it/shouldn't it, be banned. Hopefully, a future Attorney-General will allow the adults in this country to enjoy the same range of popular cultural inputs available to citizens in more liberal nations, and back the initial (liberal) decision of the OFLC. And what has love got to do with all this? Not much it seems, although doesn't popular culture ‘teach’ that one of the main uses for a love theme is to provide an excuse for some gratuitous sex? Perhaps, after all, it is time to cut to the chase and allow sex to be screened as a popular culture genre in its own right, without needing the excuse of a gratuitous love story. Works Cited McEwan, Ian. First love, last rites. London: Picador, 1975. 56-60. Morris, Gary. “Baise-moi. Feminist screed or fetish-f*ckathon? Best to flip a coin.” Lip Magazine 2001. http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revi... OFLC. Classification Review Board News release, 10 May 2002. http://www.oflc.gov.au/PDFs/RBBaiseMoi.pdf Pomeranz, Margaret. “Intimacy.” The Movie Show: Reviews. http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.... Vigorito, Frank. “Natural p*rn killers.” Offoffofffilm 2001. http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2001/baise... Filmography Baise-moi. Dirs. Virginie Despentes and CoRalie Trinh Thi. Dist. Film Fixx, 2000. Intimacy. Dir. Patrice Chereau. Dist. Palace Films, 2001. Notting Hill. Dir. Roger Michell. Dist. Universal Pictures, 1999. Romance. Dir. Catherine Breillat. Dist. Potential Films, 1999. The other sister. Dir. Gary Marshall. Dist. Touchstone Pictures, 1999. Links http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2001/baisemoi.php3 http://www.eros.com.au http://film.guardian.co.uk/censorship/news/0,11729,713540,00.html http://www.sbs.com.au/movieshow/reviews.php3?id=838 http://www.michaelbutler.com/hair http://www.oflc.gov.au/PDFs/RBBaiseMoi.pdf http://www.movie-source.com/no/othersister.shtml http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revimorris_128.shtml Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Green, Lelia. "Sex" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5.6 (2002). Dn Month Year < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0211/sex.php>. APA Style Green, L., (2002, Nov 20). Sex. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 5,(6). Retrieved Month Dn, Year, from http://www.media-culture.org.au/0211/sex.html

5

Nile, Richard. "Post Memory Violence." M/C Journal 23, no.2 (May13, 2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1613.

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Hundreds of thousands of Australian children were born in the shadow of the Great War, fathered by men who had enlisted between 1914 and 1918. Their lives could be and often were hard and unhappy, as Anzac historian Alistair Thomson observed of his father’s childhood in the 1920s and 1930s. David Thomson was son of a returned serviceman Hector Thomson who spent much of his adult life in and out of repatriation hospitals (257-259) and whose memory was subsequently expunged from Thomson family stories (299-267). These children of trauma fit within a pattern suggested by Marianne Hirsch in her influential essay “The Generation of Postmemory”. According to Hirsch, “postmemory describes the relationship of the second generation to powerful, often traumatic, experiences that preceded their births but that were nevertheless transmitted to them so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right” (n.p.). This article attempts to situate George Johnston’s novel My Brother Jack (1964) within the context of postmemory narratives of violence that were complicated in Australia by the Anzac legend which occluded any too open discussion about the extent of war trauma present within community, including the children of war.“God knows what damage” the war “did to me psychologically” (48), ponders Johnston’s protagonist and alter-ego David Meredith in My Brother Jack. Published to acclaim fifty years after the outbreak of the First World War, My Brother Jack became a widely read text that seemingly spoke to the shared cultural memories of a generation which did not know battlefield violence directly but experienced its effects pervasively and vicariously in the aftermath through family life, storytelling, and the memorabilia of war. For these readers, the novel represented more than a work of fiction; it was a touchstone to and indicative of their own negotiations though often unspoken post-war trauma.Meredith, like his creator, is born in 1912. Strictly speaking, therefore, both are not part of the post-war generation. However, they are representative and therefore indicative of the post-war “hinge generation” which was expected to assume “guardianship” of the Anzac Legend, though often found the narrative logic challenging. They had been “too young for the war to have any direct effect”, and yet “every corner” of their family’s small suburban homes appear to be “impregnated with some gigantic and sombre experience that had taken place thousands of miles away” (17).According to Johnston’s biographer, Garry Kinnane, the “most teasing puzzle” of George Johnston’s “fictional version of his childhood in My Brother Jack is the monstrous impression he creates of his returned serviceman father, John George Johnston, known to everyone as ‘Pop.’ The first sixty pages are dominated by the tyrannical figure of Jack Meredith senior” (1).A large man purported to be six foot three inches (1.9 metres) in height and weighing fifteen stone (95 kilograms), the real-life Pop Johnston reputedly stood head and shoulders above the minimum requirement of five foot and six inches (1.68 metres) at the time of his enlistment for war in 1914 (Kinnane 4). In his fortieth year, Jack Johnston senior was also around twice the age of the average Australian soldier and among one in five who were married.According to Kinnane, Pop Johnston had “survived the ordeal of Gallipoli” in 1915 only to “endure three years of trench warfare in the Somme region”. While the biographer and the Johnston family may well have held this to be true, the claim is a distortion. There are a few intimations throughout My Brother Jack and its sequel Clean Straw for Nothing (1969) to suggest that George Johnston may have suspected that his father’s wartime service stories had been embellished, though the depicted wartime service of Pop Meredith remains firmly within the narrative arc of the Anzac legend. This has the effect of layering the postmemory violence experienced by David Meredith and, by implication, his creator, George Johnston. Both are expected to be keepers of a lie masquerading as inviolable truth which further brutalises them.John George (Pop) Johnston’s First World War military record reveals a different story to the accepted historical account and his fictionalisation in My Brother Jack. He enlisted two and a half months after the landing at Gallipoli on 12 July 1915 and left for overseas service on 23 November. Not quite the imposing six foot three figure of Kinnane’s biography, he was fractionally under five foot eleven (1.8 metres) and weighed thirteen stone (82.5 kilograms). Assigned to the Fifth Field Engineers on account of his experience as an electric tram fitter, he did not see frontline service at Gallipoli (NAA).Rather, according to the Company’s history, the Fifth Engineers were involved in a range of infrastructure and support work on the Western Front, including the digging and maintenance of trenches, laying duckboard, pontoons and tramlines, removing landmines, building huts, showers and latrines, repairing roads, laying drains; they built a cinema at Beaulencourt Piers for “Brigade Swimming Carnival” and baths at Malhove consisting of a large “galvanised iron building” with a “concrete floor” and “setting tanks capable of bathing 2,000 men per day” (AWM). It is likely that members of the company were also involved in burial details.Sapper Johnston was hospitalised twice during his service with influenza and saw out most of his war from October 1917 attached to the Army Cookery School (NAA). He returned to Australia on board the HMAT Kildonian Castle in May 1919 which, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, also carried the official war correspondent and creator of the Anzac legend C.E.W. Bean, national poet Banjo Paterson and “Warrant Officer C G Macartney, the famous Australian cricketer”. The Herald also listed the names of “Returned Officers” and “Decorated Men”, but not Pop Johnston who had occupied the lower decks with other returning men (“Soldiers Return”).Like many of the more than 270,000 returned soldiers, Pop Johnston apparently exhibited observable changes upon his repatriation to Australia: “he was partially deaf” which was attributed to the “constant barrage of explosions”, while “gas” was suspected to have “left him with a legacy of lung disorders”. Yet, if “anyone offered commiserations” on account of this war legacy, he was quick to “dismiss the subject with the comment that ‘there were plenty worse off’” (Kinnane 6). The assumption is that Pop’s silence is stoic; the product of unspeakable horror and perhaps a symptom of survivor guilt.An alternative interpretation, suggested by Alistair Thomson in Anzac Memories, is that the experiences of the vast majority of returned soldiers were expected to fit within the master narrative of the Anzac legend in order to be accepted and believed, and that there was no space available to speak truthfully about alternative war service. Under pressure of Anzac expectations a great many composed stories or remained selectively silent (14).Data gleaned from the official medical history suggest that as many as four out of every five returned servicemen experienced emotional or psychological disturbance related to their war service. However, the two branches of medicine represented by surgeons and physicians in the Repatriation Department—charged with attending to the welfare of returned servicemen—focused on the body rather than the mind and the emotions (Murphy and Nile).The repatriation records of returned Australian soldiers reveal that there were, indeed, plenty physically worse off than Pop Johnston on account of bodily disfigurement or because they had been somatically compromised. An estimated 30,000 returned servicemen died in the decade after the cessation of hostilities to 1928, bringing the actual number of war dead to around 100,000, while a 1927 official report tabled the medical conditions of a further 72,388 veterans: 28,305 were debilitated by gun and shrapnel wounds; 22,261 were rheumatic or had respiratory diseases; 4534 were afflicted with eye, ear, nose, or throat complaints; 9,186 had tuberculosis or heart disease; 3,204 were amputees while only; 2,970 were listed as suffering “war neurosis” (“Enlistment”).Long after the guns had fallen silent and the wounded survivors returned home, the physical effects of war continued to be apparent in homes and hospital wards around the country, while psychological and emotional trauma remained largely undiagnosed and consequently untreated. David Meredith’s attitude towards his able-bodied father is frequently dismissive and openly scathing: “dad, who had been gassed, but not seriously, near Vimy Ridge, went back to his old job at the tramway depot” (9). The narrator-son later considers:what I realise now, although I never did at the time, is that my father, too, was oppressed by intimidating factors of fear and change. By disillusion and ill-health too. As is so often the case with big, strong, athletic men, he was an extreme hypochondriac, and he had convinced himself that the severe bronchitis which plagued him could only be attributed to German gas he had swallowed at Vimy Ridge. He was too afraid to go to a doctor about it, so he lived with a constant fear that his lungs were decaying, and that he might die at any time, without warning. (42-3)During the writing of My Brother Jack, the author-son was in chronically poor health and had been recently diagnosed with the romantic malady and poet’s disease of tuberculosis (Lawler) which plagued him throughout his work on the novel. George Johnston believed (correctly as it turned out) that he was dying on account of the disease, though, he was also an alcoholic and smoker, and had been reluctant to consult a doctor. It is possible and indeed likely that he resentfully viewed his condition as being an extension of his father—vicariously expressed through the depiction of Pop Meredith who exhibits hysterical symptoms which his son finds insufferable. David Meredith remains embittered and unforgiving to the very end. Pop Meredith “lived to seventy-three having died, not of German gas, but of a heart attack” (46).Pop Meredith’s return from the war in 1919 terrifies his seven-year-old son “Davy”, who accompanies the family to the wharf to welcome home a hero. The young boy is unable to recall anything about the father he is about to meet ostensibly for the first time. Davy becomes overwhelmed by the crowds and frightened by the “interminable blaring of horns” of the troopships and the “ceaseless roar of shouting”. Dwarfed by the bodies of much larger men he becomestoo frightened to look up at the hours-long progression of dark, hard faces under wide, turned-up hats seen against bayonets and barrels that are more blue than black ... the really strong image that is preserved now is of the stiff fold and buckle of coarse khaki trousers moving to the rhythm of knees and thighs and the tight spiral curves of puttees and the thick boots hammering, hollowly off the pier planking and thunderous on the asphalt roadway.Depicted as being small for his age, Davy is overwrought “with a huge and numbing terror” (10).In the years that follow, the younger Meredith desires emotional stability but remains denied because of the war’s legacy which manifests in the form of a violent patriarch who is convinced that his son has been rendered effeminate on account of the manly absence during vital stages of development. With the return of the father to the household, Davy grows to fear and ultimately despise a man who remains as alien to him as the formerly absent soldier had been during the war:exactly when, or why, Dad introduced his system of monthly punishments I no longer remember. We always had summary punishment, of course, for offences immediately detected—a cuffing around the ears or a sash with a stick of a strap—but Dad’s new system was to punish for the offences which had escaped his attention. So on the last day of every month Jack and I would be summoned in turn to the bathroom and the door would be locked and each of us would be questioned about the sins which we had committed and which he had not found out about. This interrogation was the merest formality; whether we admitted to crimes or desperately swore our innocence it was just the same; we were punished for the offences which, he said, he knew we must have committed and had to lie about. We then had to take our shirts and singlets off and bend over the enamelled bath-tub while he thrashed us with the razor-strop. In the blind rages of these days he seemed not to care about the strength he possessed nor the injuries he inflicted; more often than not it was the metal end of the strop that was used against our backs. (48)Ironically, the ritualised brutality appears to be a desperate effort by the old man to compensate for his own emasculation in war and unresolved trauma now that the war is ended. This plays out in complicated fashion in the development of David Meredith in Clean Straw for Nothing, Johnston’s sequel to My Brother Jack.The imputation is that Pop Meredith practices violence in an attempt to reassert his failed masculinity and reinstate his status as the head of the household. Older son Jack’s beatings cease when, as a more physically able young man, he is able to threaten the aggressor with violent retaliation. This action does not spare the younger weaker Davy who remains dominated. “My beating continued, more ferociously than ever, … . They ceased only because one day my father went too far; he lambasted me so savagely that I fell unconscious into the bath-tub, and the welts across my back made by the steel end of the razor-strop had to be treated by a doctor” (53).Pop Meredith is persistently reminded that he has no corporeal signifiers of war trauma (only a cough); he is surrounded by physically disabled former soldiers who are presumed to be worse off than he on account of somatic wounding. He becomes “morose, intolerant, bitter and violently bad-tempered”, expressing particular “displeasure and resentment” toward his wife, a trained nurse, who has assumed carer responsibilities for homing the injured men: “he had altogether lost patience with her role of Florence Nightingale to the halt and the lame” (40). Their marriage is loveless: “one can only suppose that he must have been darkly and profoundly disturbed by the years-long procession through our house of Mother’s ‘waifs and strays’—those shattered former comrades-in-arms who would have been a constant and sinister reminder of the price of glory” (43); a price he had failed to adequately pay with his uncompromised body intact.Looking back, a more mature David Meredith attempts to establish order, perspective and understanding to the “mess of memory and impressions” of his war-affected childhood in an effort to wrest control back over his postmemory violation: “Jack and I must have spent a good part of our boyhood in the fixed belief that grown-up men who were complete were pretty rare beings—complete, that is, in that they had their sight or hearing or all of their limbs” (8). While the father is physically complete, his brooding presence sets the tone for the oppressively “dark experience” within the family home where all rooms are “inhabited by the jetsam that the Somme and the Marne and the salient at Ypres and the Gallipoli beaches had thrown up” (18). It is not until Davy explores the contents of the “big deep drawer at the bottom of the cedar wardrobe” in his parents’ bedroom that he begins to “sense a form in the shadow” of the “faraway experience” that had been the war. The drawer contains his father’s service revolver and ammunition, battlefield souvenirs and French postcards but, “most important of all, the full set of the Illustrated War News” (19), with photographs of battlefield carnage. These are the equivalent of Hirsch’s photographs of the Holocaust that establish in Meredith an ontology that links him more realistically to the brutalising past and source of his ongoing traumatistion (Hirsch). From these, Davy begins to discern something of his father’s torment but also good fortune at having survived, and he makes curatorial interventions not by becoming a custodian of abjection like second generation Holocaust survivors but by disposing of the printed material, leaving behind artefacts of heroism: gun, the bullets, the medals and ribbons. The implication is that he has now become complicit in the very narrative that had oppressed him since his father’s return from war.No one apparently notices or at least comments on the removal of the journals, the images of which become linked in the young boys mind to an incident outside a “dilapidated narrow-fronted photographer’s studio which had been deserted and padlocked for as long as I could remember”. A number of sun-damaged photographs are still displayed in the window. Faded to a “ghostly, deathly pallor”, and speckled with fly droppings, years earlier, they had captured young men in uniforms before embarkation for the war. An “agate-eyed” boy from Davy’s school joins in the gazing, saying nothing for a long time until the silence is broken: “all them blokes there is dead, you know” (20).After the unnamed boy departs with a nonchalant “hoo-roo”, young Davy runs “all the way home, trying not to cry”. He cannot adequately explain the reason for his sudden reaction: “I never after that looked in the window of the photographer’s studio or the second hand shop”. From that day on Davy makes a “long detour” to ensure he never passes the shops again (20-1). Having witnessed images of pre-war undamaged young men in the prime of their youth, he has come face-to-face with the consequences of war which he is unable to reconcile in terms of the survival and return of his much older father.The photographs of the young men establishes a causal connection to the physically wrecked remnants that have shaped Davy’s childhood. These are the living remains that might otherwise have been the “corpses sprawled in mud or drowned in flooded shell craters” depicted in the Illustrated News. The photograph of the young men establishes Davy’s connection to the things “propped up our hallway”, of “Bert ‘sobbing’ in the backyard and Gabby Dixon’s face at the dark end of the room”, and only reluctantly the “bronchial cough of my father going off in the dawn light to the tramways depot” (18).That is to say, Davy has begun to piece together sense from senselessness, his father’s complicity and survival—and, by association, his own implicated life and psychological wounding. He has approached the source of his father’s abjection and also his own though he continues to be unable to accept and forgive. Like his father—though at the remove—he has been damaged by the legacies of the war and is also its victim.Ravaged by tuberculosis and alcoholism, George Johnston died in 1970. According to the artist Sidney Nolan he had for years resembled the ghastly photographs of survivors of the Holocaust (Marr 278). George’s forty five year old alcoholic wife Charmian Clift predeceased him by twelve months, having committed suicide in 1969. Four years later, in 1973, George and Charmian’s twenty four year old daughter Shane also took her own life. Their son Martin drank himself to death and died of organ failure at the age of forty three in 1990. They are all “dead, you know”.ReferencesAWM. Fifth Field Company, Australian Engineers. Diaries, AWM4 Sub-class 14/24.“Enlistment Report”. Reveille, 29 Sep. 1928.Hirsch, Marianne. “The Generation of Postmemory.” Poetics Today 29.1 (Spring 2008): 103-128. <https://read.dukeupress.edu/poetics-today/article/29/1/103/20954/The-Generation-of-Postmemory>.Johnston, George. Clean Straw for Nothing. London: Collins, 1969.———. My Brother Jack. London: Collins, 1964.Kinnane, Garry. George Johnston: A Biography. Melbourne: Nelson, 1986.Lawler, Clark. Consumption and Literature: the Making of the Romantic Disease. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.Marr, David, ed. Patrick White Letters. Sydney: Random House, 1994.Murphy, Ffion, and Richard Nile. “Gallipoli’s Troubled Hearts: Fear, Nerves and Repatriation.” Studies in Western Australian History 32 (2018): 25-38.NAA. John George Johnston War Service Records. <https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1830166>.“Soldiers Return by the Kildonan Castle.” Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1919: 18.Thomson, Alistair. Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend. Clayton: Monash UP, 2013.

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Marshall,P.David. "Seriality and Persona." M/C Journal 17, no.3 (June11, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.802.

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No man [...] can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true. (Nathaniel Hawthorne Scarlet Letter – as seen and pondered by Tony Soprano at Bowdoin College, The Sopranos, Season 1, Episode 5: “College”)The fictitious is a particular and varied source of insight into the everyday world. The idea of seriality—with its variations of the serial, series, seriated—is very much connected to our patterns of entertainment. In this essay, I want to begin the process of testing what values and meanings can be drawn from the idea of seriality into comprehending the play of persona in contemporary culture. From a brief overview of the intersection of persona and seriality as well as a review of the deployment of seriality in popular culture, the article focuses on the character/ person-actor relationship to demonstrate how seriality produces persona. The French term for character—personnage—will be used to underline the clear relations between characterisation, person, and persona which have been developed by the recent work by Lenain and Wiame. Personnage, through its variation on the word person helps push the analysis into fully understanding the particular and integrated configuration between a public persona and the fictional role that an actor inhabits (Heinich).There are several qualities related to persona that allow this movement from the fictional world to the everyday world to be profitable. Persona, in terms of origins, in and of itself implies performance and display. Jung, for instance, calls persona a mask where one is “acting a role” (167); while Goffman considers that performance and roles are at the centre of everyday life and everyday forms and patterns of communication. In recent work, I have use persona to describe how online culture pushes most people to construct a public identity that resembles what celebrities have had to construct for their livelihood for at least the last century (“Persona”; “Self”). My work has expanded to an investigation of how online persona relates to individual agency (“Agency”) and professional postures and positioning (Barbour and Marshall).The fictive constructions then are intensified versions of what persona is addressing: the fabrication of a role for particular directions and ends. Characters or personnages are constructed personas for very directed ends. Their limitation to the study of persona as a dimension of public culture is that they are not real; however, when one thinks of the actor who takes on this fictive identity, there is clearly a relationship between the real personality and that of the character. Moreover, as Nayar’s analysis of highly famous characters that are fictitious reveals, these celebrated characters, such as Harry Potter or Wolverine, sometime take on a public presence in and of themselves. To capture this public movement of a fictional character, Nayar blends the terms celebrity with fiction and calls these semi-public/semi-real entities “celefiction”: the characters are famous, highly visible, and move across media, information, and cultural platforms with ease and speed (18-20). Their celebrity status underlines their power to move outside of their primary text into public discourse and through public spaces—an extra-textual movement which fundamentally defines what a celebrity embodies.Seriality has to be seen as fundamental to a personnage’s power of and extension into the public world. For instance with Harry Potter again, at least some of his recognition is dependent on the linking or seriating the related books and movies. Seriality helps organise our sense of affective connection to our popular culture. The familiarity of some element of repetition is both comforting for audiences and provides at least a sense of guarantee or warranty that they will enjoy the future text as much as they enjoyed the past related text. Seriality, though, also produces a myriad of other effects and affects which provides a useful background to understand its utility in both the understanding of character and its value in investigating contemporary public persona. Etymologically, the words “series” and seriality are from the Latin and refer to “succession” in classical usage and are identified with ancestry and the patterns of identification and linking descendants (Oxford English Dictionary). The original use of the seriality highlights its value in understanding the formation of the constitution of person and persona and how the past and ancestry connect in series to the current or contemporary self. Its current usage, however, has broadened metaphorically outwards to identify anything that is in sequence or linked or joined: it can be a series of lectures and arguments or a related mark of cars manufactured in a manner that are stylistically linked. It has since been deployed to capture the production process of various cultural forms and one of the key origins of this usage came from the 19th century novel. There are many examples where the 19th century novel was sold and presented in serial form that are too numerous to even summarise here. It is useful to use Dickens’ serial production as a defining example of how seriality moved into popular culture and the entertainment industry more broadly. Part of the reason for the sheer length of many of Charles Dickens’ works related to their original distribution as serials. In fact, all his novels were first distributed in chapters in monthly form in magazines or newspapers. A number of related consequences from Dickens’ serialisation are relevant to understanding seriality in entertainment culture more widely (Hayward). First, his novel serialisation established a continuous connection to his readers over years. Thus Dickens’ name itself became synonymous and connected to an international reading public. Second, his use of seriality established a production form that was seen to be more affordable to its audience: seriality has to be understood as a form that is closely connected to economies and markets as cultural commodities kneaded their way into the structure of everyday life. And third, seriality established through repetition not only the author’s name but also the name of the key characters that populated the cultural form. Although not wholly attributable to the serial nature of the delivery, the characters such as Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge or David Copperfield along with a host of other major and minor players in his many books become integrated into everyday discourse because of their ever-presence and delayed delivery over stories over time (see Allen 78-79). In the same way that newspapers became part of the vernacular of contemporary culture, fictional characters from novels lived for years at a time in the consciousness of this large reading public. The characters or personnages themselves became personalities that through usage became a way of describing other behaviours. One can think of Uriah Heep and his sheer obsequiousness in David Copperfield as a character-type that became part of popular culture thinking and expressing a clear negative sentiment about a personality trait. In the twentieth century, serials became associated much more with book series. One of the more successful serial genres was the murder mystery. It developed what could be described as recognisable personnages that were both fictional and real. Thus, the real Agatha Christie with her consistent and prodigious production of short who-dunnit novels was linked to her Belgian fictional detective Hercule Poirot. Variations of these serial constructions occurred in children’s fiction, the emerging science fiction genre, and westerns with authors and characters rising to related prominence.In a similar vein, early to mid-twentieth century film produced the film serial. In its production and exhibition, the film serial was a déclassé genre in its overt emphasis on the economic quality of seriality. Thus, the film serial was generally a filler genre that was interspersed before and after a feature film in screenings (Dixon). As well as producing a familiarity with characters such as Flash Gordon, it was also instrumental in producing actors with a public profile that grew from this repetition. Flash Gordon was not just a character; he was also the actor Buster Crabbe and, over time, the association became indissoluble for audiences and actor alike. Feature film serials also developed in the first half-century of American cinema in particular with child actors like Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland often reprising variations of their previous roles. Seriality more or less became the standard form of delivery of broadcast media for most of the last 70 years and this was driven by the economies of production it developed. Whether the production was news, comedy, or drama, most radio and television forms were and are variation of serials. As well as being the zenith of seriality, television serials have been the most studied form of seriality of all cultural forms and are thus the greatest source of research into what serials actually produced. The classic serial that began on radio and migrated to television was the soap opera. Although most of the long-running soap operas have now disappeared, many have endured for more than 30 years with the American series The Guiding Light lasting 72 years and the British soap Coronation Street now in its 64th year. Australian nighttime soap operas have managed a similar longevity: Neighbours is in its 30th year, while Home and Away is in its 27th year. Much of the analyses of soap operas and serials deals with the narrative and the potential long narrative arcs related to characters and storylines. In contrast to most evening television serials historically, soap operas maintain the continuity from one episode to the next in an unbroken continuity narrative. Evening television serials, such as situation comedies, while maintaining long arcs over their run are episodic in nature: the structure of the story is generally concluded in the given episode with at least partial closure in a manner that is never engaged with in the never-ending soap opera serials.Although there are other cultural forms that deploy seriality in their structures—one can think of comic books and manga as two obvious other connected and highly visible serial sources—online and video games represent the other key media platform of serials in contemporary culture. Once again, a “horizon of expectation” (Jauss and De Man 23) motivates the iteration of new versions of games by the industry. New versions of games are designed to build on gamer loyalties while augmenting the quality and possibilities of the particular game. Game culture and gamers have a different structural relationship to serials which at least Denson and Jahn-Sudmann describe as digital seriality: a new version of a game is also imagined to be technologically more sophisticated in its production values and this transformation of the similitude of game structure with innovation drives the economy of what are often described as “franchises.” New versions of Minecraft as online upgrades or Call of Duty launches draw the literal reinvestment of the gamer. New consoles provide a further push to serialisation of games as they accentuate some transformed quality in gameplay, interaction, or quality of animated graphics. Sports franchises are perhaps the most serialised form of game: to replicate new professional seasons in each major sport, the sports game transforms with a new coterie of players each year.From these various venues, one can see the centrality of seriality in cultural forms. There is no question that one of the dimensions of seriality that transcends these cultural forms is its coordination and intersection with the development of the industrialisation of culture and this understanding of the economic motivation behind series has been explored from some of the earliest analyses of seriality (see Hagedorn; Browne). Also, seriality has been mined extensively in terms of its production of the pleasure of repetition and transformation. The exploration of the popular, whether in studies of readers of romance fiction (Radway), or fans of science fiction television (Tulloch and Jenkins; Jenkins), serials have provided the resource for the exploration of the power of the audience to connect, engage and reconstruct texts.The analysis of the serialisation of character—the production of a public personnage—and its relation to persona surprisingly has been understudied. While certain writers have remarked on the longevity of a certain character, such as Vicky Lord’s 40 year character on the soap opera One Life to Live, and the interesting capacity to maintain both complicated and hidden storylines (de Kosnik), and fan audience studies have looked at the parasocial-familiar relationship that fan and character construct, less has been developed about the relationship of the serial character, the actor and a form of twinned public identity. Seriality does produce a patterning of personnage, a structure of familiarity for the audience, but also a structure of performance for the actor. For instance, in a longitudinal analysis of the character of Fu Manchu, Mayer is able to discern how a patterning of iconic form shapes, replicates, and reiterates the look of Fu Manchu across decades of films (Mayer). Similarly, there has been a certain work on the “taxonomy of character” where the serial character of a television program is analysed in terms of 6 parts: physical traits/appearance; speech patterns, psychological traits/habitual behaviours; interaction with other characters; environment; biography (Pearson quoted in Lotz).From seriality what emerges is a particular kind of “type-casting” where the actor becomes wedded to the specific iteration of the taxonomy of performance. As with other elements related to seriality, serial character performance is also closely aligned to the economic. Previously I have described this economic patterning of performance the “John Wayne Syndrome.” Wayne’s career developed into a form of serial performance where the individual born as Marion Morrison becomes structured into a cultural and economic category that determines the next film role. The economic weight of type also constructs the limits and range of the actor. Type or typage as a form of casting has always been an element of film and theatrical performance; but it is the seriality of performance—the actual construction of a personnage that flows between the fictional and real person—that allows an actor to claim a persona that can be exchanged within the industry. Even 15 years after his death, Wayne remained one of the most popular performers in the United States, his status unrivalled in its close definition of American value that became wedded with a conservative masculinity and politics (Wills).Type and typecasting have an interesting relationship to seriality. From Eisenstein’s original use of the term typage, where the character is chosen to fit into the meaning of the film and the image was placed into its sequence to make that meaning, it generally describes the circ*mscribing of the actor into their look. As Wojcik’s analysis reveals, typecasting in various periods of theatre and film acting has been seen as something to be fought for by actors (in the 1850s) and actively resisted in Hollywood in 1950 by the Screen Actors Guild in support of more range of roles for each actor. It is also seen as something that leads to cultural stereotypes that can reinforce the racial profiling that has haunted diverse cultures and the dangers of law enforcement for centuries (Wojcik 169-71). Early writers in the study of film acting, emphasised that its difference from theatre was that in film the actor and character converged in terms of connected reality and a physicality: the film actor was less a mask and more a sense of “being”(Kracauer). Cavell’s work suggested film over stage performance allowed an individuality over type to emerge (34). Thompson’s semiotic “commutation” test was another way of assessing the power of the individual “star” actor to be seen as elemental to the construction and meaning of the film role Television produced with regularity character-actors where performance and identity became indissoluble partly because of the sheer repetition and the massive visibility of these seriated performances.One of the most typecast individuals in television history was Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek: although the original Star Trek series ran for only three seasons, the physical caricature of Spock in the series as a half-Vulcan and half-human made it difficult for the actor Nimoy to exit the role (Laws). Indeed, his famous autobiography riffed on this mis-identity with the forceful but still economically powerful title I am Not Spock in 1975. When Nimoy perceived that his fans thought that he was unhappy in his role as Spock, he published a further tome—I Am Spock—that righted his relationship to his fictional identity and its continued source of roles for the previous 30 years. Although it is usually perceived as quite different in its constitution of a public identity, a very similar structure of persona developed around the American CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. With his status as anchor confirmed in its power and centrality to American culture in his desk reportage of the assassination and death of President Kennedy in November 1963, Cronkite went on to inhabit a persona as the most trusted man in the United States by the sheer gravitas of hosting the Evening News stripped across every weeknight at 6:30pm for the next 19 years. In contrast to Nimoy, Cronkite became Cronkite the television news anchor, where persona, actor, and professional identity merged—at least in terms of almost all forms of the man’s visibility.From this vantage point of understanding the seriality of character/personnage and how it informs the idea of the actor, I want to provide a longer conclusion about how seriality informs the concept of persona in the contemporary moment. First of all, what this study reveals is the way in which the production of identity is overlaid onto any conception of identity itself. If we can understand persona not in any negative formulation, but rather as a form of productive performance of a public self, then it becomes very useful to see that these very visible public blendings of performance and the actor-self can make sense more generally as to how the public self is produced and constituted. My final and concluding examples will try and elucidate this insight further.In 2013, Netflix launched into the production of original drama with its release of House of Cards. The series itself was remarkable for a number of reasons. First among them, it was positioned as a quality series and clearly connected to the lineage of recent American subscription television programs such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Madmen, The Wire, Deadwood, and True Blood among a few others. House of Cards was an Americanised version of a celebrated British mini-series. In the American version, an ambitious party whip, Frank Underwood, manoeuvres with ruthlessness and the calculating support of his wife closer to the presidency and the heart and soul of American power. How the series expressed quality was at least partially in its choice of actors. The role of Frank Underwood was played by the respected film actor Kevin Spacey. His wife, Clare, was played by the equally high profile Robin Warren. Quality was also expressed through the connection of the audience of viewers to an anti-hero: a personnage that was not filled with virtue but moved with Machiavellian acuity towards his objective of ultimate power. This idea of quality emerged in many ways from the successful construction of the character of Tony Soprano by James Gandolfini in the acclaimed HBO television series The Sopranos that reconstructed the very conception of the family in organised crime. Tony Soprano was enacted as complex and conflicted with a sense of right and justice, but embedded in the personnage were psychological tropes and scars, and an understanding of the need for violence to maintain influence power and a perverse but natural sense of order (Martin).The new television serial character now embodied a larger code and coterie of acting: from The Sopranos, there is the underlying sense and sensibility of method acting (see Vineberg; Stanislavski). Gandolfini inhabited the role of Tony Soprano and used the inner and hidden drives and motivations to become the source for the display of the character. Likewise, Spacey inhabits Frank Underwood. In that new habitus of television character, the actor becomes subsumed by the role. Gandolfini becomes both over-determined by the role and his own identity as an actor becomes melded to the role. Kevin Spacey, despite his longer and highly visible history as a film actor is overwhelmed by the televisual role of Frank Underwood. Its serial power, where audiences connect for hours and hours, where the actor commits to weeks and weeks of shoots, and years and years of being the character—a serious character with emotional depth, with psychological motivation that rivals the most visceral of film roles—transforms the actor into a blended public person and the related personnage.This blend of fictional and public life is complex as much for the producing actor as it is for the audience that makes the habitus real. What Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood inhabit is a blended persona, whose power is dependent on the constructed identity that is at source the actor’s production as much as any institutional form or any writer or director connected to making House of Cards “real.” There is no question that this serial public identity will be difficult for Kevin Spacey to disentangle when the series ends; in many ways it will be an elemental part of his continuing public identity. This is the economic power and risk of seriality.One can see similar blendings in the persona in popular music and its own form of contemporary seriality in performance. For example, Eminem is a stage name for a person sometimes called Marshall Mathers; but Eminem takes this a step further and produces beyond a character in its integration of the personal—a real personnage, Slim Shady, to inhabit his music and its stories. To further complexify this construction, Eminem relies on the production of his stories with elements that appear to be from his everyday life (Dawkins). His characterisations because of the emotional depth he inhabits through his rapped stories betray a connection to his own psychological state. Following in the history of popular music performance where the singer-songwriter’s work is seen by all to present a version of the public self that is closer emotionally to the private self, we once again see how the seriality of performance begins to produce a blended public persona. Rap music has inherited this seriality of produced identity from twentieth century icons of the singer/songwriter and its display of the public/private self—in reverse order from grunge to punk, from folk to blues.Finally, it is worthwhile to think of online culture in similar ways in the production of public personas. Seriality is elemental to online culture. Social media encourage the production of public identities through forms of repetition of that identity. In order to establish a public profile, social media users establish an identity with some consistency over time. The everydayness in the production of the public self online thus resembles the production and performance of seriality in fiction. Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn encourage the consistency of public identity and this is very important in understanding the new versions of the public self that are deployed in contemporary culture. However, much like the new psychological depth that is part of the meaning of serial characters such as Frank Underwood in House of Cards, Slim Shady in Eminem, or Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, social media seriality also encourages greater revelations of the private self via Instagram and Facebook walls and images. We are collectively reconstituted as personas online, seriated by the continuing presence of our online sites and regularly drawn to reveal more and greater depths of our character. In other words, the online persona resembles the new depth of the quality television serial personnage with elaborate arcs and great complexity. Seriality in our public identity is also uncovered in the production of our game avatars where, in order to develop trust and connection to friends in online settings, we maintain our identity and our patterns of gameplay. At the core of this online identity is a desire for visibility, and we are drawn to be “picked up” and shared in some repeatable form across what we each perceive as a meaningful dimension of culture. Through the circulation of viral images, texts, and videos we engage in a circulation and repetition of meaning that feeds back into the constancy and value of an online identity. Through memes we replicate and seriate content that at some level seriates personas in terms of humour, connection and value.Seriality is central to understanding the formation of our masks of public identity and is at least one valuable analytical way to understand the development of the contemporary persona. This essay represents the first foray in thinking through the relationship between seriality and persona.ReferencesBarbour, Kim, and P. David Marshall. “The Academic Online Constructing Persona.” First Monday 17.9 (2012).Browne, Nick. “The Political Economy of the (Super)Text.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 9.3 (1984): 174-82. Cavell, Stanley. “Reflections on the Ontology of Film.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Wojcik and Pamela Robertson. 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Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.Heinrich, Nathalie. “Personne, Personnage, Personalité: L'acteur a L'ère De Sa Reproductibilité Technique.” Personne/Personnage. Eds. Thierry Lenain and Aline Wiame. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2011. 77-101.Jauss, Hans Robert, and Paul De Man. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Brighton: Harvester, 1982.Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.Jung, C. G., et al. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. 2nd ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966.Kracauer, Siegfried. “Remarks on the Actor.” Movie Acting, the Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1960). 19-27.Leonard Nimoy & Pharrell Williams: Star Trek & Creating Spock. Ep. 12. Reserve Channel. December 2013. Lenain, Thierry, and Aline Wiame (eds.). Personne/Personnage. Librairie Philosophiques J. VRIN, 2011.Lotz, Amanda D. “House: Narrative Complexity.” How to Watch TV. Ed. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 22-29.Marshall, P. David. “The Cate Blanchett Persona and the Allure of the Oscar.” The Conversation (2014). 4 April 2014.Marshall, P. David “Persona Studies: Mapping the Proliferation of the Public Self.” Journalism 15.2 (2014): 153-70.Marshall, P. David. “Personifying Agency: The Public–Persona–Place–Issue Continuum.” Celebrity Studies 4.3 (2013): 369-71.Marshall, P. David. “The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media.” Celebrity Studies 1.1 (2010): 35-48.Marshall, P. David. Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture. 2nd Ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.Martin, Brett. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. London: Faber and Faber, 2013.Mayer, R. “Image Power: Seriality, Iconicity and the Mask of Fu Manchu.” Screen 53.4 (2012): 398-417.Nayar, Pramod K. Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society, and Celebrity Culture. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2009.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Not Spock. Milbrae, California: Celestial Arts, 1975.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Spock. 1st ed. New York: Hyperion, 1995.Radway, Janice A. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.Stanislavski, Constantin. Creating a Role. New York: Routledge, 1989 (1961).Thompson, John O. “Screen Acting and the Commutation Test.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1978). 37-48.Tulloch, John, and Henry Jenkins. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. London; New York: Routledge, 1995.Vineberg, Steve. Method Actors: Three Generations of an American Acting Style. New York; Toronto: Schirmer Books, 1991.Wills, Garry. John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.Wojcik, Pamela Robertson. “Typecasting.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004. 169-89.

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Kibby, Marjorie Diane. "Monument Valley, Instagram, and the Closed Circle of Representation." M/C Journal 19, no.5 (October13, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1152.

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Abstract:

IntroductionI spent five days on the Arizona Utah border, photographing Monument Valley and the surrounding areas as part of a group of eight undertaking a landscape photography workshop under the direction of a Navajo guide. Observing where our guide was taking us, and watching and talking to other tourist photographers, I was reminded of John Urry’s concept of the “tourist gaze” and the idea that tourists see destinations in terms of the promotional images they are familiar with (Urry 1). It seemed that tourists re-created images drawn from the popular imaginary, inserting themselves into familiar narratives of place. The goal of the research was to look specifically at the tourist gaze, that is, the way that tourists see view destinations and then represent that vision in their images. Circle of Representation Urry explained the tourist gaze as a particular way of seeing the world as a series of images created by the tourism industry; images which were then consumed or collected through tourist photography. He saw this as constituting a “closed circle of representation” where the images employed by the tourism industry to attract tourists to particular destinations were reproduced in tourists’ own holiday snaps, and as more tourists sought out these locations, they were increasingly used to represent the destination. Susan Sontag saw travel employed as “a strategy for accumulating photographs” (9) suggesting that the images were the culmination of the journey. Urry also saw the end point of tourism as travellers to a destination “demonstrating that they have really been there by showing their version of the images that they had seen originally before they set off” (140).Talking to the guide, my group, and other tourists about the images we were recording, and reviewing images tagged Monument Valley on Instagram revealed that digital and network technologies had altered tourists’ photographic practices. Tourist impressions of destinations come from a wide range of popular culture sources. They have, even on smartphones, fairly sophisticated tools for creating images; and they have diverse networks for distributing their images. Increasingly, the images that tourists see as representative of Monument Valley came from popular culture and social media, and not simply from tourism promotions. People are posting their travel images online, and are in turn looking to posts from others in their search for travel information (Akehurst 55). The current circle of representation in tourist photography is not simply a process of capturing promotional imagery, but an interaction between tourists that draws upon films, television, and other popular culture forms. Tourist photographs are less a matter of “consuming places” (Urry 259) and more an identity performance through which they create ongoing personal narratives of place by inserting themselves into pre-existing stories about the destination and circulating the new narratives.Jenkins analysed brochures on Australia available to potential tourists in Vancouver, Canada, and determined that the key photographic images used to promote Australia were Uluru and the Sydney Opera House, followed by sandy beaches alongside tropical blue waters. Interviews with Canadian backpackers travelling around Australia, and an examination of the images these backpackers took with the disposable cameras they were given, found a correlation between the brochure images and the personal photographs. Jenkins concluded that the results supported Urry’s theory of a closed circle of representation, in that the images from the brochures were “tracked down and recaptured, and the resulting photographs displayed upon return home by the backpackers as evidence of the trip” (Jenkins 324).Garrod randomly selected 25 tourists along the seafront of Aberystwyth, Wales, and gave them a single-use camera, a brief socio-demographic questionnaire, a photo log, and a reply-paid envelope in which they could return these items. The tourists were asked to take 12 photos and log the reason they took each photograph and what they tried to capture in terms of their visit to Aberystwyth. Nine females and four males returned their cameras, providing 164 photographs, which were compared with 70 postcards depicting Aberystwyth. While an initial comparison revealed similarities in the content of tourist photographs and the picture postcards of the town, Garrod’s analysis revealed two main differences: postcards featured wide angle or panoramic views, while tourist photos tended to be close up or detail shots and postcards included natural features, particularly bodies of water, while tourist photographs were more often of buildings and man-made structures. Garrod concluded that the relationship between tourism industry images and tourist photographs “might be more subtle and complex than simply for the two protagonists in the relationship to mimic one other” (356).MethodIdentifying a tourist’s motivation for taking a particular photograph, the source of inspiration for the image, and the details of what the photographer was attempting to capture involves the consideration of a range of variables, many of which cannot be controlled. The ability of the photographer and the sophistication of their equipment will have an impact on the type of images captured; for example this may explain the absence of panoramas in Aberystwyth tourist photos. The length of the stay and the level of familiarity with the location may also have an impact; on a first visit a tourist may look for the major landmarks and on subsequent visits photograph the smaller details. The personal history of the tourist, the meaning the location has for them, their reasons for visiting and their mood at the time, will all influence their selection of photo subjects. Giving tourists a camera and then asking them to photograph the destination may influence the choice of subject and the care taken with composition, however this does ensure a direct link between the tourist opinions gathered and the images analysed. An approach that depends on seeing the images taken independently by the tourists who were interviewed has logistical problems that significantly reduce sample size.Fourteen randomly selected tourists at the visitors centre in Monument Valley, a random sampling of 500 Instagram images hash tagged Monument Valley, and photographs taken by seven photographers in the author’s group were studied by the author. The tourists were asked what they wanted to take photographs of while in Monument Valley, and why of those particular subjects. The images taken by these tourists were not available for analysis for logistical reasons, and 500 Instagram images tagged #MonumentValley were collected as generally representative of tourist images. Members of the photography workshop group were all serious amateur photographers with digital SLR cameras, interchangeable lenses, and tripods. Motivations, decisions and the evaluation of images were discussed with this group, and their images reviewed in terms of the extent to which the image was felt to be representative of the location.Monument ValleyMonument Valley can be considered a mythic space in that it is a real place that has taken on mythic meanings that go beyond physical characteristics and lived experiences (Slotkin 11). Located on the Navajo Tribal Park on the Arizona Utah border, it is known by the Navajo as Tse'Bii'Ndzisgaii or “Valley of the Rocks.” Monument Valley is emblematic of the Wild West, the frontier beyond which civilization vanishes, a mythology originally derived from the Western Films of director John Ford. Ford's film, Stagecoach, was shot in Monument Valley and Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns here, even when films (such as The Searchers, set in Texas) were not set in Arizona or Utah. The spectacular desert scenery with its towering rock formations combine epic grandeur with brutal conditions, providing an appropriate backdrop for dramatic oppositions: civilization versus barbarity, community versus wilderness, freedom versus domestication. The mythological meanings attached to Monument Valley were extended in the films, novels, television programs, and advertising that followed. Footage of Monument Valley is used to represent a blend of freedom and danger in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Easy Rider, Thelma & Louise, Marlborough and Chevrolet advertising, the television series Airwolf and episodes of Doctor Who. Monument Valley was the culmination of Forrest Gump's exhaustive run, and the setting for music videos by Kanye West, Madonna and Michael Jackson, each drawing on the themes of alienation and the displacement of the hero. While Westerns are on one level uniquely American, they are consistent with widely known romantic myths and stories, and the universal narratives evoked by Monument Valley have appeal far outside the USA. The iconic images of Monument Valley have been circulated well beyond tourist informational material, permeating a breadth of popular culture forms.Photographing the ValleyPhotography is intrinsically linked with tourism, fulfilling a number of roles. Travel can have as its purpose the collection of images, and as such, photography can function to structure the travel experience, and to evaluate its success (Schroeder; Sontag). Recognisable images of the location provide evidence that travel was undertaken, places were visited, and the traveller has experienced some form of authentic or exotic experience (Chalfen 435). Sharing images is an essential part of the process. The various roles of photography are to an extent dependent on having a shared mental image of what photographs from the travel location would look like. This mental image is derived, in part, from tourism sources such as postcards, brochures, and websites, but also from popular culture, and increasingly from photographs taken by other tourists. Travel images are shared online on sites such as Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist, as well as travel blogs and photo sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram. People who post images online are likely to look to the same sites to search for travel information from others (Akehurst 55), reinforcing specific images as representative of the place and the experience.At the beginning of our photography-based tour we were asked which locations we wanted to photograph. There was a general consensus, with people looking for vistas and panoramas, “golden hour” light on the rock formations of buttes and mesas, sunrises and sunsets with silhouetted landscape forms, and close-ups of shadow patterns and textures. Our guide added that one day had been set aside for the iconic images, which were described as the “Forest Gump” shot from Highway 163, the Mittens at sunrise, John Ford Point (as most recently seen in The Lone Ranger movie posters), and the vista from Artist’s Point or North Window. When I asked tourists at the visitor information centre the same question about the images they wanted to capture, the responses were uniform with all of them saying the view of The Mittens, which was immediately before them. Seventy-eight percent (N=11) said that they were after a general panorama with the distinctive landforms, and Highway 163 was named by 57 percent (N=8). Few gave more than these three sites. Forty-two percent (N=6) described the John Ford Point image with the Navajo rider as a goal, and the same number said they would like to take some sunrise or sunset images. Twenty-eight percent (N=4) were looking to take images of themselves or their friends and family, with the distinctive landscape as a backdrop. There was a high level of consistency between the images described by the guide as “iconic” and the photographs that tourists wished to capture.Categorising five hundred Instagram images with the hashtag Monument Valley revealed 195 pictures (39 percent) of the Mittens, 58 of which were taken at sunrise or sunset. There were 88 images (18 percent) taken of Highway 163. John Ford Point featured in 26 images (five percent) of images and Artist’s Point was the location in 20 (four percent). Seventy-nine photographs (16 percent) were of other landmarks such as the Three Sisters, Elephant Butte, and Rain God Mesa, all visible from the self-drive circuit. Landmarks which could only be visited accompanied by a Navajo guide, accounted for 48 (nine percent) of the Instagram images. There were 16 images (three percent) of people, meals, and cars without any recognisable landmarks in the frame. The remaining 28 images (five percent) were of landmarks in the Southwest, but not in Monument Valley, although they were tagged as such.As expected, the photography tour group had a fairly wide range of images, which included close-ups of rocks, images of juniper trees, and images taken in places that were accessible only with a high clearance vehicle and a Navajo guide, such as the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei, the Valley of the Gods, and the slickrock formations of Mystery Valley. However, in the images selected at the end of the workshop as representative of their experience of Monument Valley, all participants included the iconic images of Highway 163, the Mittens, and the Artist’s Point vista.Very few images were of the Navajo people. Tourists are requested not to photograph the Navajo unless they were at a sign-posted location where a mechanism was available for paying for the privilege. Here the Navajo posed in traditional dress, engaged in customary activities, or as foreground interest in the desert landscape. The few tourists availing themselves of these opportunities seemed self-conscious, hurriedly taking the snap and paying the fee. Gillespie explains this as the effect of the “reverse gaze” where the photographed positions the photographer “as an ignorant and superficial tourist” (349). At the time, only one of the iconic images was featured on one of the official tourist sites, with the Mittens forming the banner image on the Visit Utah Monument Valley page. The Visit Arizona Monument Valley page had a single image (of the Ear of the Wind natural arch), and the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Monument Valley page also had a single image, that of the Three Sisters formation.Image and MeaningThe dominant subject in both tourist and tourism industry images is the Mittens. This image is also prominent in popular culture beginning with John Ford's film Stagecoach, through to Kanye West’s Bound 2 music video. This suggests that there is a closed circle of representation in tourist photography, with visitors capturing the images they have previously seen as representative of the destination. However, there may be an additional, more prosaic, explanation. The Mittens can be photographed from the terrace at the visitors centre, from the rooms at the View Hotel, or they can be captured from the car park, meaning that tourists do not have to leave their cars to attach this image to their travel narrative. The second most photographed landscape was that of Highway 163, an image that can be taken without even having to pay the fee and enter the Navajo Park.Garrod’s study of tourist and professional images of Aberystwyth noted that tourists did not have photographs taken from the top of the hill, and while no explanation for this was given, it could be that ease of access was a consideration. While the number of visitors to America’s national parks and recreation areas is increasing each year, the amount of time each visitor spends at the attraction is in decline. The average visit to Yosemite lasts just under five hours, visitors stay for just under two hours in Saguaro National Park in Arizona, and at the Grand Canyon National Park, most visitors spend just 17 minutes looking at the magnificent landscape (Bernstein; de Graaf). In Yosemite National Park many visitors “simply rolled by slowly in their cars, taking photos out the windows” (de Graaf np). So, ease of access to locations familiar from popular culture images is a factor in tourist representations of their destinations.Our photography tour group stayed five days in Monument Valley and travelled further afield to locations only accessible with a Navajo guide, however the images selected as representative of Monument Valley were of the same easily reached landmarks. This suggests that the process around the perpetuation of iconic tourist images is more complex than simple ease of access, or first impressions.What is apparent in looking at both the Instagram images and those photographs selected as representative by the tour group, is that what is depicted is not necessarily contemporary tourist experience, but rather a way of seeing the experience in terms of personal and cultural stories. Photography involves the selection, structuring and shaping of what is to be captured (Urry 260), so that the image is as much the representation of a perception, as a snapshot of experienced reality. In a guide to photographing the southwest of the USA, Matrés regrets the greater restrictions on movement and the increased commercialisation in Monument Valley (170), which reduce the possibility of photographing under good light conditions, and of capturing images without tourist buses, sales booths, and consequent crowds. However, almost all of the photographs studied avoided these. Photographers seemed to have expended considerable effort to produce an idealised image of a Western landscape that would have been familiar to John Ford, as the photographs were not of a commercialised, crowded tourist destination. When someone paid the horseman to ride out to the end of John Ford Point, groups of tourists would walk out too, fussing over the horse, however having people in the image led to those on the photography tour rejecting the image as representative of Monument Valley. For the most part, the landscape images highlighted the isolation and remoteness, depicting the frontier beyond which civilization ceases to exist.ConclusionPhotography is one of the performances through which people establish personal realities (Crang 245), and the reality for Monument Valley tourists is that it is still a remote destination. It is in the driest and least populated part of the US, and receives only 350,000 visitors a year compared, with the five million people who visit the nearby Grand Canyon. On a prosaic level, tourist photographs verify that the location was visited (Sontag 9), so the images must be able to be readily associated with the destination. They are evidence that the tourist has experienced some form of authentic, exotic, place (Chalfen 435), and so must depict scenes that differ from the everyday landscape. They also play a role in constructing an identity based in being a particular type of tourist, so they need to contribute to the narrative constructed from a blend of mythologies, memories and experiences. The circle of representation in tourist images is still closed, though it has broadened to constitute a narrative derived from a range of sources. By capturing the iconic landmarks of Monument Valley framed to emphasise the grandeur and isolation, tourists insert themselves into a narrative that includes John Wayne and Kanye West at the edge of civilization.References2001: A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.Airwolf. Dir. Donald P. Bellisario, CBS, 1984–1986.Akehurst, Gary. “User Generated Content: The Use of Blogs for Tourism Organisations and Tourism Consumers.” Service Business 3.1 (2009): 51-61.Bernstein, Danny. “The Numbers behind National Park Visitation.” National Parks Traveller, 2010. 5 Aug. 2016 <http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/04/numbers-behind-national-park-visitation/>.Kanye West. Bound 2. Nick Knight Good Music, 2013.Chalfen, Richard M. “Photography’s Role in Tourism: Some Unexplored Relationships.” Annals of Tourism Research 6.4 (1979): 435–447Crang, Mike. “Knowing, Tourism and Practices of Vision.” Leisure/Tourism Geographies: Practices and Geographical Knowledge. Ed. David Crouch. London: Routledge, 1999. 238–56.De Graaf, John. “Finding Time for Our Parks.” Earth Island Journal, 2016. 5 Aug. 2016 <http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/finding_time_for_our_parks/>.Doctor Who. Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, Donald Wilson. BBC One, 1963–present.Easy Rider. Dir. Dennis Hopper. Columbia Pictures, 1969.Garrod, Brian. “Understanding the Relationship between Tourism Destination Imagery and Tourist Photography.” Journal of Travel Research 47.3 (2009): 346-358Gillespie, Alex. "Tourist Photography and the Reverse Gaze." Ethos 34.3 (2006): 343-366.Jenkins, Olivia. “Photography and Travel Brochures: The Circle of Representation.” Tourism Geographies 5.3 (2003): 305-328.Matrés, Laurent. Photographing the Southwest. Alta Loma, CA: Graphie Publishers, 2006.Schroeder, Jonathan E. Visual Consumption. London: Routledge, 2002.Slotkin, Richard. The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. Sontag, Susan. On Photography. London: Penguin Books, 1977 Stagecoach. Dir. John Ford. United Artists, 1937.The Searchers. Dir. John Ford. Warner Bros, 1956.Thelma & Louise. Dir. Ridley Scott. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1991.Urry, John. The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage, 1992.

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Stewart, Jonathan. "If I Had Possession over Judgment Day: Augmenting Robert Johnson." M/C Journal 16, no.6 (December16, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.715.

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augmentvb [ɔːgˈmɛnt]1. to make or become greater in number, amount, strength, etc.; increase2. Music: to increase (a major or perfect interval) by a semitone (Collins English Dictionary 107) Almost everything associated with Robert Johnson has been subject to some form of augmentation. His talent as a musician and songwriter has been embroidered by myth-making. Johnson’s few remaining artefacts—his photographic images, his grave site, other physical records of his existence—have attained the status of reliquary. Even the integrity of his forty-two surviving recordings is now challenged by audiophiles who posit they were musically and sonically augmented by speeding up—increasing the tempo and pitch. This article documents the promulgation of myth in the life and music of Robert Johnson. His disputed photographic images are cited as archetypal contested artefacts, augmented both by false claims and genuine new discoveries—some of which suggest Johnson’s cultural magnetism is so compelling that even items only tenuously connected to his work draw significant attention. Current challenges to the musical integrity of Johnson’s original recordings, that they were “augmented” in order to raise the tempo, are presented as exemplars of our on-going fascination with his life and work. Part literature review, part investigative history, it uses the phenomenon of augmentation as a prism to shed new light on this enigmatic figure. Johnson’s obscurity during his lifetime, and for twenty-three years after his demise in 1938, offered little indication of his future status as a musical legend: “As far as the evolution of black music goes, Robert Johnson was an extremely minor figure, and very little that happened in the decades following his death would have been affected if he had never played a note” (Wald, Escaping xv). Such anonymity allowed those who first wrote about his music to embrace and propagate the myths that grew around this troubled character and his apparently “supernatural” genius. Johnson’s first press notice, from a pseudonymous John Hammond writing in The New Masses in 1937, spoke of a mysterious character from “deepest Mississippi” who “makes Leadbelly sound like an accomplished poseur” (Prial 111). The following year Hammond eulogised the singer in profoundly romantic terms: “It still knocks me over when I think of how lucky it is that a talent like his ever found its way to phonograph records […] Johnson died last week at precisely the moment when Vocalion scouts finally reached him and told him that he was booked to appear at Carnegie Hall” (19). The visceral awe experienced by subsequent generations of Johnson aficionados seems inspired by the remarkable capacity of his recordings to transcend space and time, reaching far beyond their immediate intended audience. “Johnson’s music changed the way the world looked to me,” wrote Greil Marcus, “I could listen to nothing else for months.” The music’s impact originates, at least in part, from the ambiguity of its origins: “I have the feeling, at times, that the reason Johnson has remained so elusive is that no one has been willing to take him at his word” (27-8). Three decades later Bob Dylan expressed similar sentiments over seven detailed pages of Chronicles: From the first note the vibrations from the loudspeaker made my hair stand up … it felt like a ghost had come into the room, a fearsome apparition …When he sings about icicles hanging on a tree it gives me the chills, or about milk turning blue … it made me nauseous and I wondered how he did that … It’s hard to imagine sharecroppers or plantation field hands at hop joints, relating to songs like these. You have to wonder if Johnson was playing for an audience that only he could see, one off in the future. (282-4) Such ready invocation of the supernatural bears witness to the profundity and resilience of the “lost bluesman” as a romantic trope. Barry Lee Pearson and Bill McCulloch have produced a painstaking genealogy of such a-historical misrepresentation. Early contributors include Rudi Blesch, Samuel B Charters, Frank Driggs’ liner notes for Johnson’s King of the Delta Blues Singers collection, and critic Pete Welding’s prolific 1960s output. Even comparatively recent researchers who ostensibly sought to demystify the legend couldn’t help but embellish the narrative. “It is undeniable that Johnson was fascinated with and probably obsessed by supernatural imagery,” asserted Robert Palmer (127). For Peter Guralnick his best songs articulate “the debt that must be paid for art and the Faustian bargain that Johnson sees at its core” (43). Contemporary scholarship from Pearson and McCulloch, James Banninghof, Charles Ford, and Elijah Wald has scrutinised Johnson’s life and work on a more evidential basis. This process has been likened to assembling a complicated jigsaw where half the pieces are missing: The Mississippi Delta has been practically turned upside down in the search for records of Robert Johnson. So far only marriage application signatures, two photos, a death certificate, a disputed death note, a few scattered school documents and conflicting oral histories of the man exist. Nothing more. (Graves 47) Such material is scrappy and unreliable. Johnson’s marriage licenses and his school records suggest contradictory dates of birth (Freeland 49). His death certificate mistakes his age—we now know that Johnson inadvertently founded another rock myth, the “27 Club” which includes fellow guitarists Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain (Wolkewitz et al., Segalstad and Hunter)—and incorrectly states he was single when he was twice widowed. A second contemporary research strand focuses on the mythmaking process itself. For Eric Rothenbuhler the appeal of Johnson’s recordings lies in his unique “for-the-record” aesthetic, that foreshadowed playing and song writing standards not widely realised until the 1960s. For Patricia Schroeder Johnson’s legend reveals far more about the story-tellers than it does the source—which over time has become “an empty center around which multiple interpretations, assorted viewpoints, and a variety of discourses swirl” (3). Some accounts of Johnson’s life seem entirely coloured by their authors’ cultural preconceptions. The most enduring myth, Johnson’s “crossroads” encounter with the Devil, is commonly redrawn according to the predilections of those telling the tale. That this story really belongs to bluesman Tommy Johnson has been known for over four decades (Evans 22), yet it was mistakenly attributed to Robert as recently as 1999 in French blues magazine Soul Bag (Pearson and McCulloch 92-3). Such errors are, thankfully, becoming less common. While the movie Crossroads (1986) brazenly appropriated Tommy’s story, the young walking bluesman in Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) faithfully proclaims his authentic identity: “Thanks for the lift, sir. My name's Tommy. Tommy Johnson […] I had to be at that crossroads last midnight. Sell my soul to the devil.” Nevertheless the “supernatural” constituent of Johnson’s legend remains an irresistible framing device. It inspired evocative footage in Peter Meyer’s Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl? The Life and Music of Robert Johnson (1998). Even the liner notes to the definitive Sony Music Robert Johnson: The Centennial Edition celebrate and reclaim his myth: nothing about this musician is more famous than the word-of-mouth accounts of him selling his soul to the devil at a midnight crossroads in exchange for his singular mastery of blues guitar. It has become fashionable to downplay or dismiss this account nowadays, but the most likely source of the tale is Johnson himself, and the best efforts of scholars to present this artist in ordinary, human terms have done little to cut through the mystique and mystery that surround him. Repackaged versions of Johnson’s recordings became available via Amazon.co.uk and Spotify when they fell out of copyright in the United Kingdom. Predictable titles such as Contracted to the Devil, Hellbound, Me and the Devil Blues, and Up Jumped the Devil along with their distinctive “crossroads” artwork continue to demonstrate the durability of this myth [1]. Ironically, Johnson’s recordings were made during an era when one-off exhibited artworks (such as his individual performances of music) first became reproducible products. Walter Benjamin famously described the impact of this development: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art […] the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. (7) Marybeth Hamilton drew on Benjamin in her exploration of white folklorists’ efforts to document authentic pre-modern blues culture. Such individuals sought to preserve the intensity of the uncorrupted and untutored black voice before its authenticity and uniqueness could be tarnished by widespread mechanical reproduction. Two artefacts central to Johnson’s myth, his photographs and his recorded output, will now be considered in that context. In 1973 researcher Stephen LaVere located two pictures in the possession of his half–sister Carrie Thompson. The first, a cheap “dime store” self portrait taken in the equivalent of a modern photo booth, shows Johnson around a year into his life as a walking bluesman. The second, taken in the Hooks Bros. studio in Beale Street, Memphis, portrays a dapper and smiling musician on the eve of his short career as a Vocalion recording artist [2]. Neither was published for over a decade after their “discovery” due to fears of litigation from a competing researcher. A third photograph remains unpublished, still owned by Johnson’s family: The man has short nappy hair; he is slight, one foot is raised, and he is up on his toes as though stretching for height. There is a sharp crease in his pants, and a handkerchief protrudes from his breast pocket […] His eyes are deep-set, reserved, and his expression forms a half-smile, there seems to be a gentleness about him, his fingers are extraordinarily long and delicate, his head is tilted to one side. (Guralnick 67) Recently a fourth portrait appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in Vanity Fair. Vintage guitar seller Steven Schein discovered a sepia photograph labelled “Old Snapshot Blues Guitar B. B. King???” [sic] while browsing Ebay and purchased it for $2,200. Johnson’s son positively identified the image, and a Houston Police Department forensic artist employed face recognition technology to confirm that “all the features are consistent if not identical” (DiGiacomo 2008). The provenance of this photograph remains disputed, however. Johnson’s guitar appears overly distressed for what would at the time be a new model, while his clothes reflect an inappropriate style for the period (Graves). Another contested “Johnson” image found on four seconds of silent film showed a walking bluesman playing outside a small town cinema in Ruleville, Mississippi. It inspired Bob Dylan to wax lyrical in Chronicles: “You can see that really is Robert Johnson, has to be – couldn’t be anyone else. He’s playing with huge, spiderlike hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar” (287). However it had already been proved that this figure couldn’t be Johnson, because the background movie poster shows a film released three years after the musician’s death. The temptation to wish such items genuine is clearly a difficult one to overcome: “even things that might have been Robert Johnson now leave an afterglow” (Schroeder 154, my italics). Johnson’s recordings, so carefully preserved by Hammond and other researchers, might offer tangible and inviolate primary source material. Yet these also now face a serious challenge: they run too rapidly by a factor of up to 15 per cent (Gibbens; Wilde). Speeding up music allowed early producers to increase a song’s vibrancy and fit longer takes on to their restricted media. By slowing the recording tempo, master discs provided a “mother” print that would cause all subsequent pressings to play unnaturally quickly when reproduced. Robert Johnson worked for half a decade as a walking blues musician without restrictions on the length of his songs before recording with producer Don Law and engineer Vincent Liebler in San Antonio (1936) and Dallas (1937). Longer compositions were reworked for these sessions, re-arranging and edited out verses (Wald, Escaping). It is also conceivable that they were purposefully, or even accidentally, sped up. (The tempo consistency of machines used in early field recordings across the South has often been questioned, as many played too fast or slow (Morris).) Slowed-down versions of Johnson’s songs from contributors such as Angus Blackthorne and Ron Talley now proliferate on YouTube. The debate has fuelled detailed discussion in online blogs, where some contributors to specialist audio technology forums have attempted to decode a faintly detectable background hum using spectrum analysers. If the frequency of the alternating current that powered Law and Liebler’s machine could be established at 50 or 60 Hz it might provide evidence of possible tempo variation. A peak at 51.4 Hz, one contributor argues, suggests “the recordings are 2.8 per cent fast, about half a semitone” (Blischke). Such “augmentation” has yet to be fully explored in academic literature. Graves describes the discussion as “compelling and intriguing” in his endnotes, concluding “there are many pros and cons to the argument and, indeed, many recordings over the years have been speeded up to make them seem livelier” (124). Wald ("Robert Johnson") provides a compelling and detailed counter-thesis on his website, although he does acknowledge inconsistencies in pitch among alternate master takes of some recordings. No-one who actually saw Robert Johnson perform ever called attention to potential discrepancies between the pitch of his natural and recorded voice. David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Robert Lockwood Jr. and Johnny Shines were all interviewed repeatedly by documentarians and researchers, but none ever raised the issue. Conversely Johnson’s former girlfriend Willie Mae Powell was visibly affected by the familiarity in his voice on hearing his recording of the tune Johnson wrote for her, “Love in Vain”, in Chris Hunt’s The Search for Robert Johnson (1991). Clues might also lie in the natural tonality of Johnson’s instrument. Delta bluesmen who shared Johnson’s repertoire and played slide guitar in his style commonly used a tuning of open G (D-G-D-G-B-G). Colloquially known as “Spanish” (Gordon 2002, 38-42) it offers a natural home key of G major for slide guitar. We might therefore expect Johnson’s recordings to revolve around the tonic (G) or its dominant (D) -however almost all of his songs are a full tone higher, in the key of A or its dominant E. (The only exceptions are “They’re Red Hot” and “From Four Till Late” in C, and “Love in Vain” in G.) A pitch increase such as this might be consistent with an increase in the speed of these recordings. Although an alternative explanation might be that Johnson tuned his strings particularly tightly, which would benefit his slide playing but also make fingering notes and chords less comfortable. Yet another is that he used a capo to raise the key of his instrument and was capable of performing difficult lead parts in relatively high fret positions on the neck of an acoustic guitar. This is accepted by Scott Ainslie and Dave Whitehill in their authoritative volume of transcriptions At the Crossroads (11). The photo booth self portrait of Johnson also clearly shows a capo at the second fret—which would indeed raise open G to open A (in concert pitch). The most persuasive reasoning against speed tampering runs parallel to the argument laid out earlier in this piece, previous iterations of the Johnson myth have superimposed their own circ*mstances and ignored the context and reality of the protagonist’s lived experience. As Wald argues, our assumptions of what we think Johnson ought to sound like have little bearing on what he actually sounded like. It is a compelling point. When Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, and other surviving bluesmen were “rediscovered” during the 1960s urban folk revival of North America and Europe they were old men with deep and resonant voices. Johnson’s falsetto vocalisations do not, therefore, accord with the commonly accepted sound of an authentic blues artist. Yet Johnson was in his mid-twenties in 1936 and 1937; a young man heavily influenced by the success of other high pitched male blues singers of his era. people argue that what is better about the sound is that the slower, lower Johnson sounds more like Son House. Now, House was a major influence on Johnson, but by the time Johnson recorded he was not trying to sound like House—an older player who had been unsuccessful on records—but rather like Leroy Carr, Casey Bill Weldon, Kokomo Arnold, Lonnie Johnson, and Peetie Wheatstraw, who were the big blues recording stars in the mid–1930s, and whose vocal styles he imitated on most of his records. (For example, the ooh-well-well falsetto yodel he often used was imitated from Wheatstraw and Weldon.) These singers tended to have higher, smoother voices than House—exactly the sound that Johnson seems to have been going for, and that the House fans dislike. So their whole argument is based on the fact that they prefer the older Delta sound to the mainstream popular blues sound of the 1930s—or, to put it differently, that their tastes are different from Johnson’s own tastes at the moment he was recording. (Wald, "Robert Johnson") Few media can capture an audible moment entirely accurately, and the idea of engineering a faithful reproduction of an original performance is also only one element of the rationale for any recording. Commercial engineers often aim to represent the emotion of a musical moment, rather than its totality. John and Alan Lomax may have worked as documentarians, preserving sound as faithfully as possible for the benefit of future generations on behalf of the Library of Congress. Law and Liebler, however, were producing exciting and profitable commercial products for a financial gain. Paradoxically, then, whatever the “real” Robert Johnson sounded like (deeper voice, no mesmeric falsetto, not such an extraordinarily adept guitar player, never met the Devil … and so on) the mythical figure who “sold his soul at the crossroads” and shipped millions of albums after his death may, on that basis, be equally as authentic as the original. Schroeder draws on Mikhail Bakhtin to comment on such vacant yet hotly contested spaces around the Johnson myth. For Bakhtin, literary texts are ascribed new meanings by consecutive generations as they absorb and respond to them. Every age re–accentuates in its own way the works of its most immediate past. The historical life of classic works is in fact the uninterrupted process of their social and ideological re–accentuation [of] ever newer aspects of meaning; their semantic content literally continues to grow, to further create out of itself. (421) In this respect Johnson’s legend is a “classic work”, entirely removed from its historical life, a free floating form re-contextualised and reinterpreted by successive generations in order to make sense of their own cultural predilections (Schroeder 57). As Graves observes, “since Robert Johnson’s death there has seemed to be a mathematical equation of sorts at play: the less truth we have, the more myth we get” (113). The threads connecting his real and mythical identity seem so comprehensively intertwined that only the most assiduous scholars are capable of disentanglement. Johnson’s life and work seem destined to remain augmented and contested for as long as people want to play guitar, and others want to listen to them. Notes[1] Actually the dominant theme of Johnson’s songs is not “the supernatural” it is his inveterate womanising. Almost all Johnson’s lyrics employ creative metaphors to depict troubled relationships. Some even include vivid images of domestic abuse. In “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues” a woman threatens him with a gun. In “32–20 Blues” he discusses the most effective calibre of weapon to shoot his partner and “cut her half in two.” In “Me and the Devil Blues” Johnson promises “to beat my woman until I get satisfied”. However in The Lady and Mrs Johnson five-time W. C. Handy award winner Rory Block re-wrote these words to befit her own cultural agenda, inverting the original sentiment as: “I got to love my baby ‘til I get satisfied”.[2] The Gibson L-1 guitar featured in Johnson’s Hooks Bros. portrait briefly became another contested artefact when it appeared in the catalogue of a New York State memorabilia dealership in 2006 with an asking price of $6,000,000. The Australian owner had apparently purchased the instrument forty years earlier under the impression it was bona fide, although photographic comparison technology showed that it couldn’t be genuine and the item was withdrawn. “Had it been real, I would have been able to sell it several times over,” Gary Zimet from MIT Memorabilia told me in an interview for Guitarist Magazine at the time, “a unique item like that will only ever increase in value” (Stewart 2010). References Ainslie, Scott, and Dave Whitehall. Robert Johnson: At the Crossroads – The Authoritative Guitar Transcriptions. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Publishing, 1992. Bakhtin, Mikhail M. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982. Banks, Russell. “The Devil and Robert Johnson – Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings.” The New Republic 204.17 (1991): 27-30. Banninghof, James. “Some Ramblings on Robert Johnson’s Mind: Critical Analysis and Aesthetic in Delta Blues.” American Music 15/2 (1997): 137-158. Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008. Blackthorne, Angus. “Robert Johnson Slowed Down.” YouTube.com 2011. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.youtube.com/user/ANGUSBLACKTHORN?feature=watch›. Blesh, Rudi. Shining Trumpets: A History of Jazz. New York: Knopf, 1946. Blischke, Michael. “Slowing Down Robert Johnson.” The Straight Dope 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=461601›. Block, Rory. The Lady and Mrs Johnson. Rykodisc 10872, 2006. Charters, Samuel. The Country Blues. New York: De Capo Press, 1959. Collins UK. Collins English Dictionary. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 2010. DiGiacomo, Frank. “A Disputed Robert Johnson Photo Gets the C.S.I. Treatment.” Vanity Fair 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/10/a-disputed-robert-johnson-photo-gets-the-csi-treatment›. DiGiacomo, Frank. “Portrait of a Phantom: Searching for Robert Johnson.” Vanity Fair 2008. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/11/johnson200811›. Dylan, Bob. Chronicles Vol 1. London: Simon & Schuster, 2005. Evans, David. Tommy Johnson. London: November Books, 1971. Ford, Charles. “Robert Johnson’s Rhythms.” Popular Music 17.1 (1998): 71-93. Freeland, Tom. “Robert Johnson: Some Witnesses to a Short Life.” Living Blues 150 (2000): 43-49. Gibbens, John. “Steady Rollin’ Man: A Revolutionary Critique of Robert Johnson.” Touched 2004. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.touched.co.uk/press/rjnote.html›. Gioia, Ted. Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionised American Music. London: W. W. Norton & Co, 2008. Gioia, Ted. "Robert Johnson: A Century, and Beyond." Robert Johnson: The Centennial Collection. Sony Music 88697859072, 2011. Gordon, Robert. Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters. London: Pimlico Books, 2002. Graves, Tom. Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson. Spokane: Demers Books, 2008. Guralnick, Peter. Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the "King of the Delta Blues Singers". London: Plume, 1998. Hamilton, Marybeth. In Search of the Blues: Black Voices, White Visions. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007. Hammond, John. From Spirituals to Swing (Dedicated to Bessie Smith). New York: The New Masses, 1938. Johnson, Robert. “Hellbound.” Amazon.co.uk 2011. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hellbound/dp/B0063S8Y4C/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1376605065&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=robert+johnson+hellbound›. ———. “Contracted to the Devil.” Amazon.co.uk 2002. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Contracted-The-Devil-Robert-Johnson/dp/B00006F1L4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1376830351&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Contracted+to+The+Devil›. ———. King of the Delta Blues Singers. Columbia Records CL1654, 1961. ———. “Me and the Devil Blues.” Amazon.co.uk 2003. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-Devil-Blues-Robert-Johnson/dp/B00008SH7O/ref=sr_1_16?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376604807&sr=1-16&keywords=robert+johnson›. ———. “The High Price of Soul.” Amazon.co.uk 2007. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Price-Soul-Robert-Johnson/dp/B000LC582C/ref=sr_1_39?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376604863&sr=1-39&keywords=robert+johnson›. ———. “Up Jumped the Devil.” Amazon.co.uk 2005. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.amazon.co.uk/Up-Jumped-Devil-Robert-Johnson/dp/B000B57SL8/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1376829917&sr=1-2&keywords=Up+Jumped+The+Devil›. Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. London: Plume, 1997. Morris, Christopher. “Phonograph Blues: Robert Johnson Mastered at Wrong Speed?” Variety 2010. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.varietysoundcheck.com/2010/05/phonograph-blues-robert-johnson-mastered-at-wrong-speed.html›. Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? DVD. Universal Pictures, 2000. Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago’s South Side to the World. London: Penguin Books, 1981. Pearson, Barry Lee, and Bill McCulloch. Robert Johnson: Lost and Found. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003. Prial, Dunstan. The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Rothenbuhler, Eric W. “For–the–Record Aesthetics and Robert Johnson’s Blues Style as a Product of Recorded Culture.” Popular Music 26.1 (2007): 65-81. Rothenbuhler, Eric W. “Myth and Collective Memory in the Case of Robert Johnson.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 24.3 (2007): 189-205. Schroeder, Patricia. Robert Johnson, Mythmaking and Contemporary American Culture (Music in American Life). Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Segalstad, Eric, and Josh Hunter. The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock and Roll. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009. Stewart, Jon. “Rock Climbing: Jon Stewart Concludes His Investigation of the Myths behind Robert Johnson.” Guitarist Magazine 327 (2010): 34. The Search for Robert Johnson. DVD. Sony Pictures, 1991. Talley, Ron. “Robert Johnson, 'Sweet Home Chicago', as It REALLY Sounded...” YouTube.com 2012. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHod3_yEWQ›. Wald, Elijah. Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues. London: HarperCollins, 2005. ———. The Robert Johnson Speed Recording Controversy. Elijah Wald — Writer, Musician 2012. 1 Aug. 2013. ‹http://www.elijahwald.com/johnsonspeed.html›. Wilde, John . “Robert Johnson Revelation Tells Us to Put the Brakes on the Blues: We've Been Listening to the Immortal 'King of the Delta Blues' at the Wrong Speed, But Now We Can Hear Him as He Intended.” The Guardian 2010. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/may/27/robert-johnson-blues›. Wolkewitz, M., A. Allignol, N. Graves, and A.G. Barnett. “Is 27 Really a Dangerous Age for Famous Musicians? Retrospective Cohort Study.” British Medical Journal 343 (2011): d7799. 1 Aug. 2013 ‹http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d7799›.

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Neilsen Glenn, Lorri. "The Loseable World: Resonance, Creativity, and Resilience." M/C Journal 16, no.1 (March19, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.600.

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[Editors’ note: this lyric essay was presented as the keynote address at Edith Cowan University’s CREATEC symposium on the theme Catastrophe and Creativity in November 2012, and represents excerpts from the author’s publication Threading Light: Explorations in Loss and Poetry. Regina, SK: Hagios Press, 2011. Reproduced with the author’s permission].Essay and verse and anecdote are the ways I have chosen to apprentice myself to loss, grief, faith, memory, and the stories we use to tie and untie them. Cat’s cradle, Celtic lines, bends and hitches are familiar: however, when I write about loss, I find there are knots I cannot tie or release, challenging both my imagination and my craft. Over the last decade, I have been learning that writing poetry is also the art of tying together light and dark, grief and joy, of grasping and releasing. Language is a hinge that connects us with the flesh of our experience; it is also residue, the ash of memory and imagination. (Threading Light 7) ———Greek katastrophé overturning, sudden turn, from kata down + strophe ‘turning” from strephein to turn.Loss and catastrophe catapult us into the liminal, into a threshold space. We walk between land we have known and the open sea. ———Mnemosyne, the mother of the nine Muses, the personification of memory, makes anthropologists of us all. When Hermes picked up the lyre, it was to her—to Remembrance —that he sang the first song. Without remembrance, oral or written, we have no place to begin. Stone, amulet, photograph, charm bracelet, cufflink, fish story, house, facial expression, tape recorder, verse, or the same old traveling salesman joke—we have places and means to try to store memories. Memories ground us, even as we know they are fleeting and flawed constructions that slip through our consciousness; ghosts of ghosts. One cold winter, I stayed in a guest room in my mother’s apartment complex for three days. Because she had lost her sight, I sat at the table in her overheated and stuffy kitchen with the frozen slider window and tried to describe photographs as she tried to recall names and events. I emptied out the dusty closet she’d ignored since my father left, and we talked about knitting patterns, the cost of her mother’s milk glass bowl, the old clothes she could only know by rubbing the fabric through her fingers. I climbed on a chair to reach a serving dish she wanted me to have, and we laughed hysterically when I read aloud the handwritten note inside: save for Annette, in a script not hers. It’s okay, she said; I want all this gone. To all you kids. Take everything you can. When I pop off, I don’t want any belongings. Our family had moved frequently, and my belongings always fit in a single box; as a student, in the back of a car or inside a backpack. Now, in her ninth decade, my mother wanted to return to the simplicity she, too, recalled from her days on a small farm outside a small town. On her deathbed, she insisted on having her head shaved, and frequently the nursing staff came into the room to find she had stripped off her johnny shirt and her covers. The philosopher Simone Weil said that all we possess in the world is the power to say “I” (Gravity 119).Memory is a cracked bowl, and it fills endlessly as it empties. Memory is what we create out of what we have at hand—other people’s accounts, objects, flawed stories of our own creation, second-hand tales handed down like an old watch. Annie Dillard says as a life’s work, she’d remember everything–everything against loss, and go through life like a plankton net. I prefer the image of the bowl—its capacity to feed us, the humility it suggests, its enduring shape, its rich symbolism. Its hope. To write is to fashion a bowl, perhaps, but we know, finally, the bowl cannot hold everything. (Threading Light 78–80) ———Man is the sire of sorrow, sang Joni Mitchell. Like joy, sorrow begins at birth: we are born into both. The desert fathers believed—in fact, many of certain faiths continue to believe—that penthos is mourning for lost salvation. Penthus was the last god to be given his assignment from Zeus: he was to be responsible for grieving and loss. Eros, the son of Aphrodite, was the god of love and desire. The two can be seen in concert with one another, each mirroring the other’s extreme, each demanding of us the farthest reach of our being. Nietzsche, through Zarathustra, phrased it another way: “Did you ever say Yes to one joy? O my friends, then you have also said Yes to all Woe as well. All things are chained, entwined together, all things are in love.” (Threading Light 92) ———We are that brief crack of light, that cradle rocking. We can aspire to a heaven, or a state of forgiveness; we can ask for redemption and hope for freedom from suffering for ourselves and our loved ones; we may create children or works of art in the vague hope that we will leave something behind when we go. But regardless, we know that there is a wall or a dark curtain or a void against which we direct or redirect our lives. We hide from it, we embrace it; we taunt it; we flout it. We write macabre jokes, we play hide and seek, we walk with bated breath, scream in movies, or howl in the wilderness. We despair when we learn of premature or sudden death; we are reminded daily—an avalanche, an aneurysm, a shocking diagnosis, a child’s bicycle in the intersection—that our illusions of control, that youthful sense of invincibility we have clung to, our last-ditch religious conversions, our versions of Pascal’s bargain, nothing stops the carriage from stopping for us.We are fortunate if our awareness calls forth our humanity. We learn, as Aristotle reminded us, about our capacity for fear and pity. Seeing others as vulnerable in their pain or weakness, we see our own frailties. As I read the poetry of Donne or Rumi, or verse created by the translator of Holocaust stories, Lois Olena, or the work of poet Sharon Olds as she recounts the daily horror of her youth, I can become open to pity, or—to use the more contemporary word—compassion. The philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues that works of art are not only a primary means for an individual to express her humanity through catharsis, as Aristotle claimed, but, because of the attunement to others and to the world that creation invites, the process can sow the seeds of social justice. Art grounds our grief in form; it connects us to one another and to the world. And the more we acquaint ourselves with works of art—in music, painting, theatre, literature—the more we open ourselves to complex and nuanced understandings of our human capacities for grief. Why else do we turn to a stirring poem when we are mourning? Why else do we sing? When my parents died, I came home from the library with stacks of poetry and memoirs about loss. How does your story dovetail with mine? I wanted to know. How large is this room—this country—of grief and how might I see it, feel the texture on its walls, the ice of its waters? I was in a foreign land, knew so little of its language, and wanted to be present and raw and vulnerable in its climate and geography. Writing and reading were my way not to squander my hours of pain. While it was difficult to live inside that country, it was more difficult not to. In learning to know graveyards as places of comfort and perspective, Mnemosyne’s territory with her markers of memory guarded by crow, leaf, and human footfall, with storehouses of vast and deep tapestries of stories whispered, sung, or silent, I am cultivating the practice of walking on common ground. Our losses are really our winter-enduring foliage, Rilke writes. They are place and settlement, foundation and soil, and home. (Threading Light 86–88) ———The loseability of our small and larger worlds allows us to see their gifts, their preciousness.Loseability allows us to pay attention. ———“A faith-based life, a Trappistine nun said to me, aims for transformation of the soul through compunction—not only a state of regret and remorse for our inadequacies before God, but also living inside a deeper sorrow, a yearning for a union with the divine. Compunction, according to a Christian encyclopaedia, is constructive only if it leads to repentance, reconciliation, and sanctification. Would you consider this work you are doing, the Trappistine wrote, to be a spiritual journey?Initially, I ducked her question; it was a good one. Like Neruda, I don’t know where the poetry comes from, a winter or a river. But like many poets, I feel the inadequacy of language to translate pain and beauty, the yearning for an embodied understanding of phenomena that is assensitive and soul-jolting as the contacts of eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin. While I do not worship a god, I do long for an impossible union with the world—a way to acknowledge the gift that is my life. Resonance: a search for the divine in the everyday. And more so. Writing is a full-bodied, sensory, immersive activity that asks me to give myself over to phenomena, that calls forth deep joy and deep sorrow sometimes so profound that I am gutted by my inadequacy. I am pierced, dumbstruck. Lyric language is the crayon I use, and poetry is my secular compunction...Poets—indeed, all writers—are often humbled by what we cannot do, pierced as we are by—what? I suggest mystery, impossibility, wonder, reverence, grief, desire, joy, our simple gratitude and despair. I speak of the soul and seven people rise from their chairs and leave the room, writes Mary Oliver (4). Eros and penthos working in concert. We have to sign on for the whole package, and that’s what both empties us out, and fills us up. The practice of poetry is our inadequate means of seeking the gift of tears. We cultivate awe, wonder, the exquisite pain of seeing and knowing deeply the abundant and the fleeting in our lives. Yes, it is a spiritual path. It has to do with the soul, and the sacred—our venerating the world given to us. Whether we are inside a belief system that has or does not have a god makes no difference. Seven others lean forward to listen. (Threading Light 98–100)———The capacity to give one’s attention to a sufferer is a rare thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. – Simone Weil (169)I can look at the lines and shades on the page clipped to the easel, deer tracks in the snow, or flecks of light on a summer sidewalk. Or at the moon as it moves from new to full. Or I can read the poetry of Paul Celan.Celan’s poem “Tenebrae” takes its title from high Christian services in which lighting, usually from candles, is gradually extinguished so that by the end of the service, the church is in total darkness. Considering Celan’s—Antschel’s—history as a Romanian Jew whose parents were killed in the Nazi death camps, and his subsequent years tortured by the agony of his grief, we are not surprised to learn he chose German, his mother’s language, to create his poetry: it might have been his act of defiance, his way of using shadow and light against the other. The poet’s deep grief, his profound awareness of loss, looks unflinchingly at the past, at the piles of bodies. The language has become a prism, reflecting penetrating shafts of shadow: in the shine of blood, the darkest of the dark. Enlinked, enlaced, and enamoured. We don’t always have names for the shades of sorrows and joys we live inside, but we know that each defines and depends upon the other. Inside the core shadow of grief we recognise our shared mortality, and only in that recognition—we are not alone—can hope be engendered. In the exquisite pure spot of light we associate with love and joy, we may be temporarily blinded, but if we look beyond, and we draw on what we know, we feel the presence of the shadows that have intensified what appears to us as light. Light and dark—even in what we may think are their purest state—are transitory pauses in the shape of being. Decades ago my well-meaning mother, a nurse, gave me pills to dull the pain of losing my fiancé who had shot himself; now, years later, knowing so many deaths, and more imminent, I would choose the bittersweet tenderness of being fully inside grief—awake, raw, open—feeling its walls, its every rough surface, its every degree of light and dark. It is love/loss, light/dark, a fusion that brings me home to the world. (Threading Light 100–101) ———Loss can trigger and inspire creativity, not only at the individual level but at the public level, whether we are marching in Idle No More demonstrations, re-building a shelter, or re-building a life. We use art to weep, to howl, to reach for something that matters, something that means. And sometimes it may mean that all we learn from it is that nothing lasts. And then, what? What do we do then? ———The wisdom of Epictetus, the Stoic, can offer solace, but I know it will take time to catch up with him. Nothing can be taken from us, he claims, because there is nothing to lose: what we lose—lover, friend, hope, father, dream, keys, faith, mother—has merely been returned to where it (or they) came from. We live in samsara, Zen masters remind us, inside a cycle of suffering that results from a belief in the permanence of self and of others. Our perception of reality is narrow; we must broaden it to include all phenomena, to recognise the interdependence of lives, the planet, and beyond, into galaxies. A lot for a mortal to get her head around. And yet, as so many poets have wondered, is that not where imagination is born—in the struggle and practice of listening, attending, and putting ourselves inside the now that all phenomena share? Can I imagine the rush of air under the loon that passes over my house toward the ocean every morning at dawn? The hot dust under the cracked feet of that child on the outskirts of Darwin? The gut-hauling terror of an Afghan woman whose family’s blood is being spilled? Thich Nhat Hanh says that we are only alive when we live the sufferings and the joys of others. He writes: Having seen the reality of interdependence and entered deeply into its reality, nothing can oppress you any longer. You are liberated. Sit in the lotus position, observe your breath, and ask one who has died for others. (66)Our breath is a delicate thread, and it contains multitudes. I hear an echo, yes. The practice of poetry—my own spiritual and philosophical practice, my own sackcloth and candle—has allowed me a glimpse not only into the lives of others, sentient or not, here, afar, or long dead, but it has deepened and broadened my capacity for breath. Attention to breath grounds me and forces me to attend, pulls me into my body as flesh. When I see my flesh as part of the earth, as part of all flesh, as Morris Berman claims, I come to see myself as part of something larger. (Threading Light 134–135) ———We think of loss as a dark time, and yet it opens us, deepens us.Close attention to loss—our own and others’—cultivates compassion.As artists we’re already predisposed to look and listen closely. We taste things, we touch things, we smell them. We lie on the ground like Mary Oliver looking at that grasshopper. We fill our ears with music that not everyone slows down to hear. We fall in love with ideas, with people, with places, with beauty, with tragedy, and I think we desire some kind of fusion, a deeper connection than everyday allows us. We want to BE that grasshopper, enter that devastation, to honour it. We long, I think, to be present.When we are present, even in catastrophe, we are fully alive. It seems counter-intuitive, but the more fully we engage with our losses—the harder we look, the more we soften into compassion—the more we cultivate resilience. ———Resilience consists of three features—persistence, adaptability transformability—each interacting from local to global scales. – Carl FolkeResilent people and resilient systems find meaning and purpose in loss. We set aside our own egos and we try to learn to listen and to see, to open up. Resilience is fundamentally an act of optimism. This is not the same, however, as being naïve. Optimism is the difference between “why me?” and “why not me?” Optimism is present when we are learning to think larger than ourselves. Resilience asks us to keep moving. Sometimes with loss there is a moment or two—or a month, a year, who knows?—where we, as humans, believe that we are standing still, we’re stuck, we’re in stasis. But we aren’t. Everything is always moving and everything is always in relation. What we mistake for stasis in a system is the system taking stock, transforming, doing things underneath the surface, preparing to rebuild, create, recreate. Leonard Cohen reminded us there’s a crack in everything, and that’s how the light gets in. But what we often don’t realize is that it’s we—the human race, our own possibilities, our own creativity—who are that light. We are resilient when we have agency, support, community we can draw on. When we have hope. ———FortuneFeet to carry you past acres of grapevines, awnings that opento a hall of paperbarks. A dog to circle you, look behind, point ahead. A hip that bends, allows you to slidebetween wire and wooden bars of the fence. A twinge rides with that hip, and sometimes the remnant of a fall bloomsin your right foot. Hands to grip a stick for climbing, to rest your weight when you turn to look below. On your left hand,a story: others see it as a scar. On the other, a newer tale; a bone-white lump. Below, mist disappears; a nichein the world opens to its long green history. Hills furrow into their dark harbours. Horses, snatches of inhale and whiffle.Mutterings of men, a cow’s long bellow, soft thud of feet along the hill. You turn at the sound.The dog swallows a cry. Stays; shakes until the noise recedes. After a time, she walks on three legs,tests the paw of the fourth in the dust. You may never know how she was wounded. She remembers your bodyby scent, voice, perhaps the taste of contraband food at the door of the house. Story of human and dog, you begin—but the wordyour fingers make is god. What last year was her silken newborn fur is now sunbleached, basket dry. Feet, hips, hands, paws, lapwings,mockingbirds, quickening, longing: how eucalypts reach to give shade, and tiny tight grapes cling to vines that align on a slope as smoothlyas the moon follows you, as intention always leans toward good. To know bones of the earth are as true as a point of light: tendernesswhere you bend and press can whisper grace, sorrow’s last line, into all that might have been,so much that is. (Threading Light 115–116) Acknowledgments The author would like to thank Dr. Lekkie Hopkins and Dr. John Ryan for the opportunity to speak (via video) to the 2012 CREATEC Symposium Catastrophe and Creativity, to Dr. Hopkins for her eloquent and memorable paper in response to my work on creativity and research, and to Dr. Ryan for his support. The presentation was recorded and edited by Paul Poirier at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My thanks go to Edith Cowan and Mount Saint Vincent Universities. ReferencesBerman, Morris. Coming to Our Senses. New York: Bantam, 1990.Dillard, Annie. For the Time Being. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.Felstiner, John. Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.Folke, Carl. "On Resilience." Seed Magazine. 13 Dec. 2010. 22 Mar. 2013 ‹http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/on_resilience›.Franck, Frederick. Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness. Boston: Beacon Press, 1976.Hausherr, Irenee. Penthos: The Doctrine of Compunction in the Christian East. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982.Neilsen Glenn, Lorri. Threading Light: Explorations in Loss and Poetry. Regina, SK: Hagios Press, 2011. Nietzsche, Frederick. Thus Spake Zarathustra. New York: Penguin, 1978. Nussbaum, Martha. Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Oliver, Mary. “The Word.” What Do We Know. Boston: DaCapo Press, 2002.Rilke, Rainer Maria. Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus. (Tenth Elegy). Ed. Stephen Mitchell. New York: Random House/Vintage Editions, 2009.Weil, Simone. The Need for Roots. London: Taylor & Francis, 2005 (1952).Weil, Simone. Gravity and Grace. London: Routledge, 2004.Further ReadingChodron, Pema. Practicing Peace in Times of War. Boston: Shambhala, 2006.Cleary, Thomas (trans.) The Essential Tao: An Initiation into the Heart of Taoism through Tao de Ching and the Teachings of Chuang Tzu. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 1993.Dalai Lama (H H the 14th) and Venerable Chan Master Sheng-yen. Meeting of Minds: A Dialogue on Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism. New York: Dharma Drum Publications, 1999. Hirshfield, Jane. "Language Wakes Up in the Morning: A Meander toward Writing." Alaska Quarterly Review. 21.1 (2003).Hirshfield, Jane. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching. Trans. Arthur Waley. Chatham: Wordsworth Editions, 1997. Neilsen, Lorri. "Lyric Inquiry." Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research. Eds. J. Gary Knowles and Ardra Cole. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2008. 88–98. Ross, Maggie. The Fire and the Furnace: The Way of Tears and Fire. York: Paulist Press, 1987.

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Kincheloe, Pamela. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Speech? The Construction of Cochlear Implant Identity on American Television and the “New Deaf Cyborg”." M/C Journal 13, no.3 (June30, 2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.254.

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Cyborgs already walk among us. (“Cures to Come” 76) This essay was begun as a reaction to a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie called Sweet Nothing in My Ear (2008), which follows the lives of two parents, Dan, who is hearing (played by Jeff Daniels), and Laura, who is deaf (Marlee Matlin), as they struggle to make a decision about whether or not to give their 11-year-old son, Adam (late-deafened), a cochlear implant. Dan and Laura represent different perspectives, hearing and deaf perspectives. The film dramatizes the parents’ conflict and negotiation, exposing audiences to both sides of the cochlear implant debate, albeit in a fairly simplistic way. Nevertheless, it represents the lives of deaf people and gives voice to debates about cochlear implants with more accuracy and detail than most film and television dramas. One of the central scenes in the film is what I call the “activation scene”, quite common to cochlear implant narratives. In the scene, the protagonists witness a child having his implant activated or turned on. The depiction is reminiscent of the WATER scene in the film about Helen Keller, The Miracle Worker, employing a sentimental visual rhetoric. First, the two parents are shown seated near the child, clasping their hands as if in prayer. The audiologist, wielder of technology and therefore clearly the authority figure in the scene, types away furiously on her laptop. At the moment of being “turned on,” the child suddenly “hears” his father calling “David! David!” He gazes angelically toward heaven as piano music plays plaintively in the background. The parents all but fall to their knees and the protagonist of the film, Dan, watching through a window, weeps. It is a scene of cure, of healing, of “miracle,” a hyper-sentimentalised portrait of what is in reality often a rather anti-climactic event. It was certainly anti-climactic in my son, Michael’s case. I was taken aback by how this scene was presented and dismayed overall at some of the inaccuracies, small though they were, in the portrayal of cochlear implants in this film. It was, after all, according to the Nielsen ratings, seen by 8 million people. I began to wonder what kinds of misconceptions my son was going to face when he met people whose only exposure to implants was through media representations. Spurred by this question, I started to research other recent portrayals of people with implants on U.S. television in the past ten years, to see how cochlear implant (hereafter referred to as CI) identity has been portrayed by American media. For most of American history, deaf people have been portrayed in print and visual media as exotic “others,” and have long been the subject of an almost morbid cultural fascination. Christopher Krentz suggests that, particularly in the nineteenth century, scenes pairing sentimentality and deafness repressed an innate, Kristevan “abject” revulsion towards deaf people. Those who are deaf highlight and define, through their ‘lack’, the “unmarked” body. The fact of their deafness, understood as lack, conjures up an ideal that it does not attain, the ideal of the so-called “normal” or “whole” body. In recent years, however, the figure of the “deaf as Other” in the media, has shifted from what might be termed the “traditionally” deaf character, to what Brenda Jo Brueggeman (in her recent book Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places), calls “the new deaf cyborg” or the deaf person with a cochlear implant (4). N. Katharine Hailes states that cyborgs are now “the stage on which are performed contestations about the body boundaries that have often marked class, ethnic, and cultural differences” (85). In this essay, I claim that the character with a CI, as portrayed in the media, is now not only a strange, “marked” “Other,” but is also a screen upon which viewers project anxieties about technology, demonstrating both fascination fear. In her book, Brueggeman issues a call to action, saying that Deaf Studies must now begin to examine what she calls “implanting rhetorics,” or “the rhetorical relationships between our technologies and our identity” and therefore needs to attend to the construction of “the new deaf cyborg” (18). This short study will serve, I hope, as both a response to that injunction and as a jumping-off point for more in-depth studies of the construction of the CI identity and the implications of these constructions. First, we should consider what a cochlear implant is and how it functions. The National Association of the Deaf in the United States defines the cochlear implant as a device used to help the user perceive sound, i.e., the sensation of sound that is transmitted past the damaged cochlea to the brain. In this strictly sensorineural manner, the implant works: the sensation of sound is delivered to the brain. The stated goal of the implant is for it to function as a tool to enable deaf children to develop language based on spoken communication. (“NAD Position”) The external portion of the implant consists of the following parts: a microphone, which picks up sound from the environment, which is contained in the behind-the-ear device that resembles the standard BTE hearing aid; in this “hearing aid” there is also a speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone. The processor transmits signals to the transmitter/receiver, which then converts them into electric impulses. Part of the transmitter sits on the skin and attaches to the inner portion of the transmitter by means of a magnet. The inner portion of the receiver/stimulator sends the impulses down into the electrode array that lies inside the cochlea, which in turn stimulates the auditory nerve, giving the brain the impression of sound (“Cochlear Implants”). According to manufacturer’s statistics, there are now approximately 188,000 people worldwide who have obtained cochlear implants, though the number of these that are in use is not known (Nussbaum). That is what a cochlear implant is. Before we can look at how people with implants are portrayed in the media, before we examine constructions of identity, perhaps we should first ask what constitutes a “real” CI identity? This is, of course, laughable; pinning down a hom*ogeneous CI identity is no more likely than finding a blanket definition of “deaf identity.” For example, at this point in time, there isn’t even a word or term in American culture for someone with an implant. I struggle with how to phrase it in this essay - “implantee?” “recipient?” - there are no neat labels. In the USA you can call a person deaf, Deaf (the “D” representing a specific cultural and political identity), hearing impaired, hard of hearing, and each gradation implies, for better or worse, some kind of subject position. There are no such terms for a person who gets an implant. Are people with implants, as suggested above, just deaf? Deaf? Are they hard of hearing? There is even debate in the ASL community as to what sign should be used to indicate “someone who has a cochlear implant.” If a “CI identity” cannot be located, then perhaps the rhetoric that is used to describe it may be. Paddy Ladd, in Understanding Deaf Culture, does a brilliant job of exploring the various discourses that have surrounded deaf culture throughout history. Stuart Blume borrows heavily from Ladd in his “The Rhetoric and Counter-Rhetoric of a 'Bionic' Technology”, where he points out that an “essential and deliberate feature” of the history of the CI from the 60s onward, was that it was constructed in an overwhelmingly positive light by the mass media, using what Ladd calls the “medical” rhetorical model. That is, that the CI is a kind of medical miracle that promised to cure deafness. Within this model one may find also the sentimental, “missionary” rhetoric that Krentz discusses, what Ladd claims is a revival of the evangelism of the nineteenth-century Oralist movement in America. Indeed, newspaper articles in the 1980s and 90s hailed the implant as a “breakthrough”, a “miracle”; even a quick survey of headlines shows evidence of this: “Upton Boy Can Hear at Last!”, “Girl with a New Song in Her Heart”, “Children Head Queue for Bionic Ears” (Lane). As recently as January 2010, an issue of National Geographic featured on its cover the headline Merging Man and Machine: The Bionic Age. Sure enough, the second photograph in the story is of a child’s bilateral cochlear implant, with the caption “within months of the surgery (the child) spoke the words his hearing parents longed for: Mama and Dada.” “You’re looking at a real bionic kid,” says Johns Hopkins University surgeon John Niparko, proudly (37). To counter this medical/corporate rhetoric of cure, Ladd and Blume claim, the deaf community devised a counter-rhetoric, a discourse in which the CI is not cast in the language of miracle and life, but instead in terms of death, mutilation, and cultural oppression. Here, the implant is depicted as the last in a long line of sad*stic experiments using the deaf as guinea pigs. Often the CI is framed in the language of Nazism and genocide as seen in the title of an article in the British Deaf News: “Cochlear Implants: Oralism’s Final Solution.” So, which of these two “implanting rhetorics” is most visible in the current construction of the CI in American television? Is the CI identity presented by rendering people with CIs impossibly positive, happy characters? Is it delineated using the metaphors of the sentimental, of cure, of miracle? Or is the CI identity constructed using the counter-rhetorical references to death, oppression and cultural genocide? One might hypothesize that television, like other media, cultivating as it does the values of the hearing hegemony, would err on the side of promulgating the medicalised, positivist rhetoric of the “cure” for deafness. In an effort to find out, I conducted a general survey of American television shows from 2000 to now that featured characters with CIs. I did not include news shows or documentaries in my survey. Interestingly, some of the earliest television portrayals of CIs appeared in that bastion of American sentimentality, the daytime soap opera. In 2006, on the show “The Young and the Restless”, a “troubled college student who contracted meningitis” received an implant, and in 2007 “All My Children” aired a story arc about a “toddler who becomes deaf after a car crash.” It is interesting to note that both characters were portrayed as “late-deafened”, or suddenly inflicted with the loss of a sense they previously possessed, thus avoiding any whiff of controversy about early implantation. But one expects a hyper-sentimentalised portrayal of just about everything in daytime dramas like this. What is interesting is that when people with CIs have appeared on several “reality” programs, which purport to offer “real,” unadulterated glimpses into people’s lives, the rhetoric is no less sentimentalized than the soaps (perhaps because these shows are no less fabricated). A good example of this is the widely watched and, I think, ironically named show “True Life” which appears on MTV. This is a series that claims to tell the “remarkable real-life stories of young people and the unusual subcultures they inhabit.” In episode 42, “ True Life: I’m Deaf”, part of the show follows a young man, Chris, born deaf and proud of it (his words), who decides to get a cochlear implant because he wants to be involved in the hearing world. Through an interpreter Chris explains that he wants an implant so he can communicate with his friends, talk with girls, and ultimately fulfill his dreams of having a job and getting married (one has to ask: are these things he can’t do without an implant?). The show’s promo asks “how do you go from living a life in total silence to fully understanding the spoken language?” This statement alone contains two elements common to the “miracle” rhetoric, first that the “tragic” deaf victim will emerge from a completely lonely, silent place (not true; most deaf people have some residual hearing, and if you watch the show you see Chris signing, “speaking” voluminously) to seamlessly, miraculously, “fully” joining and understanding the hearing world. Chris, it seems, will only come into full being when he is able to join the hearing world. In this case, the CI will cure what ails him. According to “True Life.” Aside from “soap opera” drama and so-called reality programming, by far the largest dissemination of media constructions of the CI in the past ten years occurred on top-slot prime-time television shows, which consist primarily of the immensely popular genre of the medical and police procedural drama. Most of these shows have at one time or another had a “deaf” episode, in which there is a deaf character or characters involved, but between 2005 and 2008, it is interesting to note that most, if not all of the most popular of these have aired episodes devoted to the CI controversy, or have featured deaf characters with CIs. The shows include: CSI (both Miami and New York), Cold Case, Law and Order (both SVU and Criminal Intent), Scrubs, Gideon’s Crossing, and Bones. Below is a snippet of dialogue from Bones: Zach: {Holding a necklace} He was wearing this.Angela: Catholic boy.Brennan: One by two forceps.Angela {as Brennan pulls a small disc out from behind the victim’s ear} What is that?Brennan: Cochlear implant. Looks like the birds were trying to get it.Angela: That would set a boy apart from the others, being deaf.(Bones, “A Boy in the Tree”, 1.3, 2005) In this scene, the forensics experts are able to describe significant points of this victim’s identity using the only two solid artifacts left in the remains, a crucifix and a cochlear implant. I cite this scene because it serves, I believe, as a neat metaphor for how these shows, and indeed television media in general, are, like the investigators, constantly engaged in the business of cobbling together identity: in this particular case, a cochlear implant identity. It also shows how an audience can cultivate or interpret these kinds of identity constructions, here, the implant as an object serves as a tangible sign of deafness, and from this sign, or clue, the “audience” (represented by the spectator, Angela) immediately infers that the victim was lonely and isolated, “set apart from the others.” Such wrongheaded inferences, frivolous as they may seem coming from the realm of popular culture, have, I believe, a profound influence on the perceptions of larger society. The use of the CI in Bones is quite interesting, because although at the beginning of the show the implant is a key piece of evidence, that which marks and identifies the dead/deaf body, the character’s CI identity proves almost completely irrelevant to the unfolding of the murder-mystery. The only times the CI character’s deafness is emphasized are when an effort is made to prove that the he committed suicide (i.e., if you’re deaf you are therefore “isolated,” and therefore you must be miserable enough to kill yourself). Zak, one of the forensics officers says, “I didn’t talk to anyone in high school and I didn’t kill myself” and another officer comments that the boy was “alienated by culture, by language, and by his handicap” (odd statements, since most deaf children with or without implants have remarkably good language ability). Also, in another strange moment, the victim’s ambassador/mother shows a video clip of the child’s CI activation and says “a person who lived through this miracle would never take his own life” (emphasis mine). A girlfriend, implicated in the murder (the boy is killed because he threatened to “talk”, revealing a blackmail scheme), says “people didn’t notice him because of the way he talked but I liked him…” So at least in this show, both types of “implanting rhetoric” are employed; a person with a CI, though the recipient of a “miracle,” is also perceived as “isolated” and “alienated” and unfortunately, ends up dead. This kind of rather negative portrayal of a person with a CI also appears in the CSI: New York episode ”Silent Night” which aired in 2006. One of two plot lines features Marlee Matlin as the mother of a deaf family. At the beginning of the episode, after feeling some strange vibrations, Matlin’s character, Gina, checks on her little granddaughter, Elizabeth, who is crying hysterically in her crib. She finds her daughter, Alison, dead on the floor. In the course of the show, it is found that a former boyfriend, Cole, who may have been the father of the infant, struggled with and shot Alison as he was trying to kidnap the baby. Apparently Cole “got his hearing back” with a cochlear implant, no longer considered himself Deaf, and wanted the child so that she wouldn’t be raised “Deaf.” At the end of the show, Cole tries to abduct both grandmother and baby at gunpoint. As he has lost his external transmitter, he is unable to understand what the police are trying to tell him and threatens to kill his hostages. He is arrested in the end. In this case, the CI recipient is depicted as a violent, out of control figure, calmed (in this case) only by Matlin’s presence and her ability to communicate with him in ASL. The implication is that in getting the CI, Cole is “killing off” his Deaf identity, and as a result, is mentally unstable. Talking to Matlin, whose character is a stand-in for Deaf culture, is the only way to bring him back to his senses. The October 2007 episode of CSI: Miami entitled “Inside-Out” is another example of the counter-rhetoric at work in the form of another implant corpse. A police officer, trying to prevent the escape of a criminal en route to prison, thinks he has accidentally shot an innocent bystander, a deaf woman. An exchange between the coroner and a CSI goes as follows: (Alexx Woods): “This is as innocent as a victim gets.”(Calleigh Duquesne): “How so?”AW: Check this out.”CD: “I don’t understand. Her head is magnetized? Steel plate?”AW: “It’s a cochlear implant. Helps deaf people to receive and process speech and sounds.”(CSI dramatization) AW VO: “It’s surgically implanted into the inner ear. Consists of a receiver that decodes and transmits to an electrode array sending a signal to the brain.”CD: “Wouldn’t there be an external component?”AW: “Oh, she must have lost it before she was shot.”CD: “Well, that explains why she didn’t get out of there. She had no idea what was going on.” (TWIZ) Based on the evidence, the “sign” of the implant, the investigators are able to identify the victim as deaf, and they infer therefore that she is innocent. It is only at the end of the program that we learn that the deaf “innocent” was really the girlfriend of the criminal, and was on the scene aiding in his escape. So she is at first “as innocent” as they come, and then at the end, she is the most insidious of the criminals in the episode. The writers at least provide a nice twist on the more common deaf-innocent stereotype. Cold Case showcased a CI in the 2008 episode “Andy in C Minor,” in which the case of a 17-year-old deaf boy is reopened. The boy, Andy, had disappeared from his high school. In the investigation it is revealed that his hearing girlfriend, Emma, convinced him to get an implant, because it would help him play the piano, which he wanted to do in order to bond with her. His parents, deaf, were against the idea, and had him promise to break up with Emma and never bring up the CI again. His body is found on the campus, with a cochlear device next to his remains. Apparently Emma had convinced him to get the implant and, in the end, Andy’s father had reluctantly consented to the surgery. It is finally revealed that his Deaf best friend, Carlos, killed him with a blow to the back of the head while he was playing the piano, because he was “afraid to be alone.” This show uses the counter-rhetoric of Deaf genocide in an interesting way. In this case it is not just the CI device alone that renders the CI character symbolically “dead” to his Deaf identity, but it leads directly to his being literally executed by, or in a sense, excommunicated from, Deaf Culture, as it is represented by the character of Carlos. The “House Divided” episode of House (2009) provides the most problematic (or I should say absurd) representation of the CI process and of a CI identity. In the show, a fourteen-year-old deaf wrestler comes into the hospital after experiencing terrible head pain and hearing “imaginary explosions.” Doctors Foreman and Thirteen dutifully serve as representatives of both sides of the “implant debate”: when discussing why House hasn’t mocked the patient for not having a CI, Thirteen says “The patient doesn’t have a CI because he’s comfortable with who he is. That’s admirable.” Foreman says, “He’s deaf. It’s not an identity, it’s a disability.” 13: “It’s also a culture.” F: “Anything I can simulate with $3 earplugs isn’t a culture.” Later, House, talking to himself, thinks “he’s going to go through life deaf. He has no idea what he’s missing.” So, as usual, without permission, he orders Chase to implant a CI in the patient while he is under anesthesia for another procedure (a brain biopsy). After the surgery the team asks House why he did it and he responds, “Why would I give someone their hearing? Ask God the same question you’d get the same answer.” The shows writers endow House’s character, as they usually do, with the stereotypical “God complex” of the medical establishment, but in doing also they play beautifully into the Ladd and Blume’s rhetoric of medical miracle and cure. Immediately after the implant (which the hospital just happened to have on hand) the incision has, miraculously, healed overnight. Chase (who just happens to be a skilled CI surgeon and audiologist) activates the external processor (normally a months-long process). The sound is overwhelming, the boy hears everything. The mother is upset. “Once my son is stable,” the mom says, “I want that THING out of his head.” The patient also demands that the “thing” be removed. Right after this scene, House puts a Bluetooth in his ear so he can talk to himself without people thinking he’s crazy (an interesting reference to how we all are becoming cyborgs, more and more “implanted” with technology). Later, mother and son have the usual touching sentimental scene, where she speaks his name, he hears her voice for the first time and says, “Is that my name? S-E-T-H?” Mom cries. Seth’s deaf girlfriend later tells him she wishes she could get a CI, “It’s a great thing. It will open up a whole new world for you,” an idea he rejects. He hears his girlfriend vocalize, and asks Thirteen if he “sounds like that.” This for some reason clinches his decision about not wanting his CI and, rather than simply take off the external magnet, he rips the entire device right out of his head, which sends him into shock and system failure. Ultimately the team solves the mystery of the boy’s initial ailment and diagnoses him with sarcoidosis. In a final scene, the mother tells her son that she is having them replace the implant. She says it’s “my call.” This show, with its confusing use of both the sentimental and the counter-rhetoric, as well as its outrageous inaccuracies, is the most egregious example of how the CI is currently being constructed on television, but it, along with my other examples, clearly shows the Ladd/Blume rhetoric and counter rhetoric at work. The CI character is on one hand portrayed as an innocent, infantilized, tragic, or passive figure that is the recipient of a medical miracle kindly urged upon them (or forced upon them, as in the case of House). On the other hand, the CI character is depicted in the language of the counter-rhetoric: as deeply flawed, crazed, disturbed or damaged somehow by the incursions onto their Deaf identity, or, in the worst case scenario, they are dead, exterminated. Granted, it is the very premise of the forensic/crime drama to have a victim, and a dead victim, and it is the nature of the police drama to have a “bad,” criminal character; there is nothing wrong with having both good and bad CI characters, but my question is, in the end, why is it an either-or proposition? Why is CI identity only being portrayed in essentialist terms on these types of shows? Why are there no realistic portrayals of people with CIs (and for that matter, deaf people) as the richly varied individuals that they are? These questions aside, if these two types of “implanting rhetoric”, the sentimentalised and the terminated, are all we have at the moment, what does it mean? As I mentioned early in this essay, deaf people, along with many “others,” have long helped to highlight and define the hegemonic “norm.” The apparent cultural need for a Foucauldian “marked body” explains not only the popularity of crime dramas, but it also could explain the oddly proliferant use of characters with cochlear implants in these particular shows. A person with an implant on the side of their head is definitely a more “marked” body than the deaf person with no hearing aid. The CI character is more controversial, more shocking; it’s trendier, “sexier”, and this boosts ratings. But CI characters are, unlike their deaf predecessors, now serving an additional cultural function. I believe they are, as I claim in the beginning of this essay, screens upon which our culture is now projecting repressed anxieties about emergent technology. The two essentialist rhetorics of the cochlear implant, the rhetoric of the sentimental, medical model, and the rhetoric of genocide, ultimately represent our technophilia and our technophobia. The CI character embodies what Debra Shaw terms a current, “ontological insecurity that attends the interface between the human body and the datasphere” (85). We are growing more nervous “as new technologies shape our experiences, they blur the lines between the corporeal and incorporeal, between physical space and virtual space” (Selfe). Technology either threatens the integrity of the self, “the coherence of the body” (we are either dead or damaged) or technology allows us to transcend the limitations of the body: we are converted, “transformed”, the recipient of a happy modern miracle. In the end, I found that representations of CI on television (in the United States) are overwhelmingly sentimental and therefore essentialist. It seems that the conflicting nineteenth century tendency of attraction and revulsion toward the deaf is still, in the twenty-first century, evident. We are still mired in the rhetoric of “cure” and “control,” despite an active Deaf counter discourse that employs the language of the holocaust, warning of the extermination of yet another cultural minority. We are also daily becoming daily more “embedded in cybernetic systems,” with our laptops, emails, GPSs, PDAs, cell phones, Bluetooths, and the likes. We are becoming increasingly engaged in a “necessary relationship with machines” (Shaw 91). We are gradually becoming no longer “other” to the machine, and so our culturally constructed perceptions of ourselves are being threatened. In the nineteenth century, divisions and hierarchies between a white male majority and the “other” (women, African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans) began to blur. Now, the divisions between human and machine, as represented by a person with a CI, are starting to blur, creating anxiety. Perhaps this anxiety is why we are trying, at least in the media, symbolically to ‘cure’ the marked body or kill off the cyborg. Future examinations of the discourse should, I believe, use these media constructions as a lens through which to continue to examine and illuminate the complex subject position of the CI identity, and therefore, perhaps, also explore what the subject position of the post/human identity will be. References "A Boy in a Tree." Patrick Norris (dir.), Hart Hanson (by), Emily Deschanel (perf.). Bones, Fox Network, 7 Sep. 2005. “Andy in C Minor.” Jeannete Szwarc (dir.), Gavin Harris (by), Kathryn Morris (perf.). Cold Case, CBS Network, 30 March 2008. Blume, Stuart. “The Rhetoric and Counter Rhetoric of a “Bionic” Technology.” Science, Technology and Human Values 22.1 (1997): 31-56. Brueggemann, Brenda Jo. Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places. New York: New York UP, 2009. “Cochlear Implant Statistics.” ASL-Cochlear Implant Community. Blog. Citing Laurent Le Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Gallaudet University, 18 Mar. 2008. 29 Apr. 2010 ‹http:/ /aslci.blogspot.com/2008/03/cochlear-implant-statistics.html›. “Cures to Come.” Discover Presents the Brain (Spring 2010): 76. Fischman, Josh. “Bionics.” National Geographic Magazine 217 (2010). “House Divided.” Greg Yaitanes (dir.), Matthew V. Lewis (by), Hugh Laurie (perf.). House, Fox Network, 22 Apr. 2009. “Inside-Out.” Gina Lamar (dir.), Anthony Zuiker (by), David Caruso (perf.). CSI: Miami, CBS Network, 8 Oct. 2007. Krentz, Christopher. Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Chapel Hill: UNC P, 2007. Ladd, Paddy. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Limited, 2002. Lane, Harlan. A Journey Into the Deaf-World. San Diego: DawnSignPress, 1996. “NAD Position Statement on the Cochlear Implant.” National Association of the Deaf. 6 Oct. 2000. 29 April 2010 ‹http://www.nad.org/issues/technology/assistive-listening/cochlear-implants›. Nussbaum, Debra. “Manufacturer Information.” Cochlear Implant Information Center. National Deaf Education Center. Gallaudet University. 29 Apr. 2010 < http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu >. Shaw, Debra. Technoculture: The Key Concepts. Oxford: Berg, 2008. “Silent Night.” Rob Bailey (dir.), Anthony Zuiker (by), Gary Sinise (perf.). CSI: New York, CBS Network, 13 Dec. 2006. “Sweet Nothing in My Ear.” Joseph Sargent (dir.), Stephen Sachs (by), Jeff Daniels (perf.). Hallmark Hall of Fame Production, 20 Apr. 2008. TWIZ TV scripts. CSI: Miami, “Inside-Out.” “What Is the Surgery Like?” FAQ, University of Miami Cochlear Implant Center. 29 Apr. 2010 ‹http://cochlearimplants.med.miami.edu/faq/index.asp›.

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Losh, Elizabeth. "Artificial Intelligence." M/C Journal 10, no.5 (October1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2710.

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Abstract:

On the morning of Thursday, 4 May 2006, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing entitled “Terrorist Use of the Internet.” The Intelligence committee meeting was scheduled to take place in Room 1302 of the Longworth Office Building, a Depression-era structure with a neoclassical façade. Because of a dysfunctional elevator, some of the congressional representatives were late to the meeting. During the testimony about the newest political applications for cutting-edge digital technology, the microphones periodically malfunctioned, and witnesses complained of “technical problems” several times. By the end of the day it seemed that what was to be remembered about the hearing was the shocking revelation that terrorists were using videogames to recruit young jihadists. The Associated Press wrote a short, restrained article about the hearing that only mentioned “computer games and recruitment videos” in passing. Eager to have their version of the news item picked up, Reuters made videogames the focus of their coverage with a headline that announced, “Islamists Using US Videogames in Youth Appeal.” Like a game of telephone, as the Reuters videogame story was quickly re-run by several Internet news services, each iteration of the title seemed less true to the exact language of the original. One Internet news service changed the headline to “Islamic militants recruit using U.S. video games.” Fox News re-titled the story again to emphasise that this alert about technological manipulation was coming from recognised specialists in the anti-terrorism surveillance field: “Experts: Islamic Militants Customizing Violent Video Games.” As the story circulated, the body of the article remained largely unchanged, in which the Reuters reporter described the digital materials from Islamic extremists that were shown at the congressional hearing. During the segment that apparently most captured the attention of the wire service reporters, eerie music played as an English-speaking narrator condemned the “infidel” and declared that he had “put a jihad” on them, as aerial shots moved over 3D computer-generated images of flaming oil facilities and mosques covered with geometric designs. Suddenly, this menacing voice-over was interrupted by an explosion, as a virtual rocket was launched into a simulated military helicopter. The Reuters reporter shared this dystopian vision from cyberspace with Western audiences by quoting directly from the chilling commentary and describing a dissonant montage of images and remixed sound. “I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in Blackhawk helicopters,” a narrator’s voice said as the screen flashed between images of street-level gunfights, explosions and helicopter assaults. Then came a recording of President George W. Bush’s September 16, 2001, statement: “This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.” It was edited to repeat the word “crusade,” which Muslims often define as an attack on Islam by Christianity. According to the news reports, the key piece of evidence before Congress seemed to be a film by “SonicJihad” of recorded videogame play, which – according to the experts – was widely distributed online. Much of the clip takes place from the point of view of a first-person shooter, seen as if through the eyes of an armed insurgent, but the viewer also periodically sees third-person action in which the player appears as a running figure wearing a red-and-white checked keffiyeh, who dashes toward the screen with a rocket launcher balanced on his shoulder. Significantly, another of the player’s hand-held weapons is a detonator that triggers remote blasts. As jaunty music plays, helicopters, tanks, and armoured vehicles burst into smoke and flame. Finally, at the triumphant ending of the video, a green and white flag bearing a crescent is hoisted aloft into the sky to signify victory by Islamic forces. To explain the existence of this digital alternative history in which jihadists could be conquerors, the Reuters story described the deviousness of the country’s terrorist opponents, who were now apparently modifying popular videogames through their wizardry and inserting anti-American, pro-insurgency content into U.S.-made consumer technology. One of the latest video games modified by militants is the popular “Battlefield 2” from leading video game publisher, Electronic Arts Inc of Redwood City, California. Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Electronic Arts, said enthusiasts often write software modifications, known as “mods,” to video games. “Millions of people create mods on games around the world,” he said. “We have absolutely no control over them. It’s like drawing a mustache on a picture.” Although the Electronic Arts executive dismissed the activities of modders as a “mustache on a picture” that could only be considered little more than childish vandalism of their off-the-shelf corporate product, others saw a more serious form of criminality at work. Testifying experts and the legislators listening on the committee used the video to call for greater Internet surveillance efforts and electronic counter-measures. Within twenty-four hours of the sensationalistic news breaking, however, a group of Battlefield 2 fans was crowing about the idiocy of reporters. The game play footage wasn’t from a high-tech modification of the software by Islamic extremists; it had been posted on a Planet Battlefield forum the previous December of 2005 by a game fan who had cut together regular game play with a Bush remix and a parody snippet of the soundtrack from the 2004 hit comedy film Team America. The voice describing the Black Hawk helicopters was the voice of Trey Parker of South Park cartoon fame, and – much to Parker’s amusem*nt – even the mention of “goats screaming” did not clue spectators in to the fact of a comic source. Ironically, the moment in the movie from which the sound clip is excerpted is one about intelligence gathering. As an agent of Team America, a fictional elite U.S. commando squad, the hero of the film’s all-puppet cast, Gary Johnston, is impersonating a jihadist radical inside a hostile Egyptian tavern that is modelled on the cantina scene from Star Wars. Additional laughs come from the fact that agent Johnston is accepted by the menacing terrorist cell as “Hakmed,” despite the fact that he utters a series of improbable clichés made up of incoherent stereotypes about life in the Middle East while dressed up in a disguise made up of shoe polish and a turban from a bathroom towel. The man behind the “SonicJihad” pseudonym turned out to be a twenty-five-year-old hospital administrator named Samir, and what reporters and representatives saw was nothing more exotic than game play from an add-on expansion pack of Battlefield 2, which – like other versions of the game – allows first-person shooter play from the position of the opponent as a standard feature. While SonicJihad initially joined his fellow gamers in ridiculing the mainstream media, he also expressed astonishment and outrage about a larger politics of reception. In one interview he argued that the media illiteracy of Reuters potentially enabled a whole series of category errors, in which harmless gamers could be demonised as terrorists. It wasn’t intended for the purpose what it was portrayed to be by the media. So no I don’t regret making a funny video . . . why should I? The only thing I regret is thinking that news from Reuters was objective and always right. The least they could do is some online research before publishing this. If they label me al-Qaeda just for making this silly video, that makes you think, what is this al-Qaeda? And is everything al-Qaeda? Although Sonic Jihad dismissed his own work as “silly” or “funny,” he expected considerably more from a credible news agency like Reuters: “objective” reporting, “online research,” and fact-checking before “publishing.” Within the week, almost all of the salient details in the Reuters story were revealed to be incorrect. SonicJihad’s film was not made by terrorists or for terrorists: it was not created by “Islamic militants” for “Muslim youths.” The videogame it depicted had not been modified by a “tech-savvy militant” with advanced programming skills. Of course, what is most extraordinary about this story isn’t just that Reuters merely got its facts wrong; it is that a self-identified “parody” video was shown to the august House Intelligence Committee by a team of well-paid “experts” from the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a major contractor with the federal government, as key evidence of terrorist recruitment techniques and abuse of digital networks. Moreover, this story of media illiteracy unfolded in the context of a fundamental Constitutional debate about domestic surveillance via communications technology and the further regulation of digital content by lawmakers. Furthermore, the transcripts of the actual hearing showed that much more than simple gullibility or technological ignorance was in play. Based on their exchanges in the public record, elected representatives and government experts appear to be keenly aware that the digital discourses of an emerging information culture might be challenging their authority and that of the longstanding institutions of knowledge and power with which they are affiliated. These hearings can be seen as representative of a larger historical moment in which emphatic declarations about prohibiting specific practices in digital culture have come to occupy a prominent place at the podium, news desk, or official Web portal. This environment of cultural reaction can be used to explain why policy makers’ reaction to terrorists’ use of networked communication and digital media actually tells us more about our own American ideologies about technology and rhetoric in a contemporary information environment. When the experts come forward at the Sonic Jihad hearing to “walk us through the media and some of the products,” they present digital artefacts of an information economy that mirrors many of the features of our own consumption of objects of electronic discourse, which seem dangerously easy to copy and distribute and thus also create confusion about their intended meanings, audiences, and purposes. From this one hearing we can see how the reception of many new digital genres plays out in the public sphere of legislative discourse. Web pages, videogames, and Weblogs are mentioned specifically in the transcript. The main architecture of the witnesses’ presentation to the committee is organised according to the rhetorical conventions of a PowerPoint presentation. Moreover, the arguments made by expert witnesses about the relationship of orality to literacy or of public to private communications in new media are highly relevant to how we might understand other important digital genres, such as electronic mail or text messaging. The hearing also invites consideration of privacy, intellectual property, and digital “rights,” because moral values about freedom and ownership are alluded to by many of the elected representatives present, albeit often through the looking glass of user behaviours imagined as radically Other. For example, terrorists are described as “modders” and “hackers” who subvert those who properly create, own, legitimate, and regulate intellectual property. To explain embarrassing leaks of infinitely replicable digital files, witness Ron Roughead says, “We’re not even sure that they don’t even hack into the kinds of spaces that hold photographs in order to get pictures that our forces have taken.” Another witness, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and International Affairs, Peter Rodman claims that “any video game that comes out, as soon as the code is released, they will modify it and change the game for their needs.” Thus, the implication of these witnesses’ testimony is that the release of code into the public domain can contribute to political subversion, much as covert intrusion into computer networks by stealthy hackers can. However, the witnesses from the Pentagon and from the government contractor SAIC often present a contradictory image of the supposed terrorists in the hearing transcripts. Sometimes the enemy is depicted as an organisation of technological masterminds, capable of manipulating the computer code of unwitting Americans and snatching their rightful intellectual property away; sometimes those from the opposing forces are depicted as pre-modern and even sub-literate political innocents. In contrast, the congressional representatives seem to focus on similarities when comparing the work of “terrorists” to the everyday digital practices of their constituents and even of themselves. According to the transcripts of this open hearing, legislators on both sides of the aisle express anxiety about domestic patterns of Internet reception. Even the legislators’ own Web pages are potentially disruptive electronic artefacts, particularly when the demands of digital labour interfere with their duties as lawmakers. Although the subject of the hearing is ostensibly terrorist Websites, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) bemoans the difficulty of maintaining her own official congressional site. As she observes, “So we are – as members, I think we’re very sensitive about what’s on our Website, and if I retained what I had on my Website three years ago, I’d be out of business. So we know that they have to be renewed. They go up, they go down, they’re rebuilt, they’re – you know, the message is targeted to the future.” In their questions, lawmakers identify Weblogs (blogs) as a particular area of concern as a destabilising alternative to authoritative print sources of information from established institutions. Representative Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) compares the polluting power of insurgent bloggers to that of influential online muckrakers from the American political Right. Hastings complains of “garbage on our regular mainstream news that comes from blog sites.” Representative Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico) attempts to project a media-savvy persona by bringing up the “phenomenon of blogging” in conjunction with her questions about jihadist Websites in which she notes how Internet traffic can be magnified by cooperative ventures among groups of ideologically like-minded content-providers: “These Websites, and particularly the most active ones, are they cross-linked? And do they have kind of hot links to your other favorite sites on them?” At one point Representative Wilson asks witness Rodman if he knows “of your 100 hottest sites where the Webmasters are educated? What nationality they are? Where they’re getting their money from?” In her questions, Wilson implicitly acknowledges that Web work reflects influences from pedagogical communities, economic networks of the exchange of capital, and even potentially the specific ideologies of nation-states. It is perhaps indicative of the government contractors’ anachronistic worldview that the witness is unable to answer Wilson’s question. He explains that his agency focuses on the physical location of the server or ISP rather than the social backgrounds of the individuals who might be manufacturing objectionable digital texts. The premise behind the contractors’ working method – surveilling the technical apparatus not the social network – may be related to other beliefs expressed by government witnesses, such as the supposition that jihadist Websites are collectively produced and spontaneously emerge from the indigenous, traditional, tribal culture, instead of assuming that Iraqi insurgents have analogous beliefs, practices, and technological awareness to those in first-world countries. The residual subtexts in the witnesses’ conjectures about competing cultures of orality and literacy may tell us something about a reactionary rhetoric around videogames and digital culture more generally. According to the experts before Congress, the Middle Eastern audience for these videogames and Websites is limited by its membership in a pre-literate society that is only capable of abortive cultural production without access to knowledge that is archived in printed codices. Sometimes the witnesses before Congress seem to be unintentionally channelling the ideas of the late literacy theorist Walter Ong about the “secondary orality” associated with talky electronic media such as television, radio, audio recording, or telephone communication. Later followers of Ong extend this concept of secondary orality to hypertext, hypermedia, e-mail, and blogs, because they similarly share features of both speech and written discourse. Although Ong’s disciples celebrate this vibrant reconnection to a mythic, communal past of what Kathleen Welch calls “electric rhetoric,” the defence industry consultants express their profound state of alarm at the potentially dangerous and subversive character of this hybrid form of communication. The concept of an “oral tradition” is first introduced by the expert witnesses in the context of modern marketing and product distribution: “The Internet is used for a variety of things – command and control,” one witness states. “One of the things that’s missed frequently is how and – how effective the adversary is at using the Internet to distribute product. They’re using that distribution network as a modern form of oral tradition, if you will.” Thus, although the Internet can be deployed for hierarchical “command and control” activities, it also functions as a highly efficient peer-to-peer distributed network for disseminating the commodity of information. Throughout the hearings, the witnesses imply that unregulated lateral communication among social actors who are not authorised to speak for nation-states or to produce legitimated expert discourses is potentially destabilising to political order. Witness Eric Michael describes the “oral tradition” and the conventions of communal life in the Middle East to emphasise the primacy of speech in the collective discursive practices of this alien population: “I’d like to point your attention to the media types and the fact that the oral tradition is listed as most important. The other media listed support that. And the significance of the oral tradition is more than just – it’s the medium by which, once it comes off the Internet, it is transferred.” The experts go on to claim that this “oral tradition” can contaminate other media because it functions as “rumor,” the traditional bane of the stately discourse of military leaders since the classical era. The oral tradition now also has an aspect of rumor. A[n] event takes place. There is an explosion in a city. Rumor is that the United States Air Force dropped a bomb and is doing indiscriminate killing. This ends up being discussed on the street. It ends up showing up in a Friday sermon in a mosque or in another religious institution. It then gets recycled into written materials. Media picks up the story and broadcasts it, at which point it’s now a fact. In this particular case that we were telling you about, it showed up on a network television, and their propaganda continues to go back to this false initial report on network television and continue to reiterate that it’s a fact, even though the United States government has proven that it was not a fact, even though the network has since recanted the broadcast. In this example, many-to-many discussion on the “street” is formalised into a one-to many “sermon” and then further stylised using technology in a one-to-many broadcast on “network television” in which “propaganda” that is “false” can no longer be disputed. This “oral tradition” is like digital media, because elements of discourse can be infinitely copied or “recycled,” and it is designed to “reiterate” content. In this hearing, the word “rhetoric” is associated with destructive counter-cultural forces by the witnesses who reiterate cultural truisms dating back to Plato and the Gorgias. For example, witness Eric Michael initially presents “rhetoric” as the use of culturally specific and hence untranslatable figures of speech, but he quickly moves to an outright castigation of the entire communicative mode. “Rhetoric,” he tells us, is designed to “distort the truth,” because it is a “selective” assembly or a “distortion.” Rhetoric is also at odds with reason, because it appeals to “emotion” and a romanticised Weltanschauung oriented around discourses of “struggle.” The film by SonicJihad is chosen as the final clip by the witnesses before Congress, because it allegedly combines many different types of emotional appeal, and thus it conveniently ties together all of the themes that the witnesses present to the legislators about unreliable oral or rhetorical sources in the Middle East: And there you see how all these products are linked together. And you can see where the games are set to psychologically condition you to go kill coalition forces. You can see how they use humor. You can see how the entire campaign is carefully crafted to first evoke an emotion and then to evoke a response and to direct that response in the direction that they want. Jihadist digital products, especially videogames, are effective means of manipulation, the witnesses argue, because they employ multiple channels of persuasion and carefully sequenced and integrated subliminal messages. To understand the larger cultural conversation of the hearing, it is important to keep in mind that the related argument that “games” can “psychologically condition” players to be predisposed to violence is one that was important in other congressional hearings of the period, as well one that played a role in bills and resolutions that were passed by the full body of the legislative branch. In the witness’s testimony an appeal to anti-game sympathies at home is combined with a critique of a closed anti-democratic system abroad in which the circuits of rhetorical production and their composite metonymic chains are described as those that command specific, unvarying, robotic responses. This sharp criticism of the artful use of a presentation style that is “crafted” is ironic, given that the witnesses’ “compilation” of jihadist digital material is staged in the form of a carefully structured PowerPoint presentation, one that is paced to a well-rehearsed rhythm of “slide, please” or “next slide” in the transcript. The transcript also reveals that the members of the House Intelligence Committee were not the original audience for the witnesses’ PowerPoint presentation. Rather, when it was first created by SAIC, this “expert” presentation was designed for training purposes for the troops on the ground, who would be facing the challenges of deployment in hostile terrain. According to the witnesses, having the slide show showcased before Congress was something of an afterthought. Nonetheless, Congressman Tiahrt (R-KN) is so impressed with the rhetorical mastery of the consultants that he tries to appropriate it. As Tiarht puts it, “I’d like to get a copy of that slide sometime.” From the hearing we also learn that the terrorists’ Websites are threatening precisely because they manifest a polymorphously perverse geometry of expansion. For example, one SAIC witness before the House Committee compares the replication and elaboration of digital material online to a “spiderweb.” Like Representative Eshoo’s site, he also notes that the terrorists’ sites go “up” and “down,” but the consultant is left to speculate about whether or not there is any “central coordination” to serve as an organising principle and to explain the persistence and consistency of messages despite the apparent lack of a single authorial ethos to offer a stable, humanised, point of reference. In the hearing, the oft-cited solution to the problem created by the hybridity and iterability of digital rhetoric appears to be “public diplomacy.” Both consultants and lawmakers seem to agree that the damaging messages of the insurgents must be countered with U.S. sanctioned information, and thus the phrase “public diplomacy” appears in the hearing seven times. However, witness Roughhead complains that the protean “oral tradition” and what Henry Jenkins has called the “transmedia” character of digital culture, which often crosses several platforms of traditional print, projection, or broadcast media, stymies their best rhetorical efforts: “I think the point that we’ve tried to make in the briefing is that wherever there’s Internet availability at all, they can then download these – these programs and put them onto compact discs, DVDs, or post them into posters, and provide them to a greater range of people in the oral tradition that they’ve grown up in. And so they only need a few Internet sites in order to distribute and disseminate the message.” Of course, to maintain their share of the government market, the Science Applications International Corporation also employs practices of publicity and promotion through the Internet and digital media. They use HTML Web pages for these purposes, as well as PowerPoint presentations and online video. The rhetoric of the Website of SAIC emphasises their motto “From Science to Solutions.” After a short Flash film about how SAIC scientists and engineers solve “complex technical problems,” the visitor is taken to the home page of the firm that re-emphasises their central message about expertise. The maps, uniforms, and specialised tools and equipment that are depicted in these opening Web pages reinforce an ethos of professional specialisation that is able to respond to multiple threats posed by the “global war on terror.” By 26 June 2006, the incident finally was being described as a “Pentagon Snafu” by ABC News. From the opening of reporter Jake Tapper’s investigative Webcast, established government institutions were put on the spot: “So, how much does the Pentagon know about videogames? Well, when it came to a recent appearance before Congress, apparently not enough.” Indeed, the very language about “experts” that was highlighted in the earlier coverage is repeated by Tapper in mockery, with the significant exception of “independent expert” Ian Bogost of the Georgia Institute of Technology. If the Pentagon and SAIC deride the legitimacy of rhetoric as a cultural practice, Bogost occupies himself with its defence. In his recent book Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Bogost draws upon the authority of the “2,500 year history of rhetoric” to argue that videogames represent a significant development in that cultural narrative. Given that Bogost and his Watercooler Games Weblog co-editor Gonzalo Frasca were actively involved in the detective work that exposed the depth of professional incompetence involved in the government’s line-up of witnesses, it is appropriate that Bogost is given the final words in the ABC exposé. As Bogost says, “We should be deeply bothered by this. We should really be questioning the kind of advice that Congress is getting.” Bogost may be right that Congress received terrible counsel on that day, but a close reading of the transcript reveals that elected officials were much more than passive listeners: in fact they were lively participants in a cultural conversation about regulating digital media. After looking at the actual language of these exchanges, it seems that the persuasiveness of the misinformation from the Pentagon and SAIC had as much to do with lawmakers’ preconceived anxieties about practices of computer-mediated communication close to home as it did with the contradictory stereotypes that were presented to them about Internet practices abroad. In other words, lawmakers found themselves looking into a fun house mirror that distorted what should have been familiar artefacts of American popular culture because it was precisely what they wanted to see. References ABC News. “Terrorist Videogame?” Nightline Online. 21 June 2006. 22 June 2006 http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2105341>. Bogost, Ian. Persuasive Games: Videogames and Procedural Rhetoric. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. Game Politics. “Was Congress Misled by ‘Terrorist’ Game Video? We Talk to Gamer Who Created the Footage.” 11 May 2006. http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/285129.html#cutid1>. Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006. julieb. “David Morgan Is a Horrible Writer and Should Be Fired.” Online posting. 5 May 2006. Dvorak Uncensored Cage Match Forums. http://cagematch.dvorak.org/index.php/topic,130.0.html>. Mahmood. “Terrorists Don’t Recruit with Battlefield 2.” GGL Global Gaming. 16 May 2006 http://www.ggl.com/news.php?NewsId=3090>. Morgan, David. “Islamists Using U.S. Video Games in Youth Appeal.” Reuters online news service. 4 May 2006 http://today.reuters.com/news/ArticleNews.aspx?type=topNews &storyID=2006-05-04T215543Z_01_N04305973_RTRUKOC_0_US-SECURITY- VIDEOGAMES.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc= NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2>. Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London/New York: Methuen, 1982. Parker, Trey. Online posting. 7 May 2006. 9 May 2006 http://www.treyparker.com>. Plato. “Gorgias.” Plato: Collected Dialogues. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1961. Shrader, Katherine. “Pentagon Surfing Thousands of Jihad Sites.” Associated Press 4 May 2006. SonicJihad. “SonicJihad: A Day in the Life of a Resistance Fighter.” Online posting. 26 Dec. 2005. Planet Battlefield Forums. 9 May 2006 http://www.forumplanet.com/planetbattlefield/topic.asp?fid=13670&tid=1806909&p=1>. Tapper, Jake, and Audery Taylor. “Terrorist Video Game or Pentagon Snafu?” ABC News Nightline 21 June 2006. 30 June 2006 http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Technology/story?id=2105128&page=1>. U.S. Congressional Record. Panel I of the Hearing of the House Select Intelligence Committee, Subject: “Terrorist Use of the Internet for Communications.” Federal News Service. 4 May 2006. Welch, Kathleen E. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and the New Literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Losh, Elizabeth. "Artificial Intelligence: Media Illiteracy and the SonicJihad Debacle in Congress." M/C Journal 10.5 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0710/08-losh.php>. APA Style Losh, E. (Oct. 2007) "Artificial Intelligence: Media Illiteracy and the SonicJihad Debacle in Congress," M/C Journal, 10(5). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0710/08-losh.php>.

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Schlotterbeck, Jesse. "Non-Urban Noirs: Rural Space in Moonrise, On Dangerous Ground, Thieves’ Highway, and They Live by Night." M/C Journal 11, no.5 (August21, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.69.

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Abstract:

Despite the now-traditional tendency of noir scholarship to call attention to the retrospective and constructed nature of this genre— James Naremore argues that film noir is best regarded as a “mythology”— one feature that has rarely come under question is its association with the city (2). Despite the existence of numerous rural noirs, the depiction of urban space is associated with this genre more consistently than any other element. Even in critical accounts that attempt to deconstruct the solidity of the noir genre, the city is left as an implicit inclusion, and the country, an implict exclusion. Naremore, for example, does not include the urban environment in a list of the central tenets of film noir that he calls into question: “nothing links together all the things described as noir—not the theme of crime, not a cinematographic technique, not even a resistance to Aristotelian narratives or happy endings” (10). Elizabeth Cowie identifies film noir a “fantasy,” whose “tenuous critical status” has been compensated for “by a tenacity of critical use” (121). As part of Cowie’s project, to revise the assumption that noirs are almost exclusively male-centered, she cites character types, visual style, and narrative tendencies, but never urban spaces, as familiar elements of noir that ought to be reconsidered. If the city is rarely tackled as an unnecessary or part-time element of film noir in discursive studies, it is often the first trait identified by critics in the kind of formative, characteristic-compiling studies that Cowie and Naremore work against.Andrew Dickos opens Street with No Name: A History of the Classic American Film Noir with a list of noir’s key attributes. The first item is “an urban setting or at least an urban influence” (6). Nicholas Christopher maintains that “the city is the seedbed of film noir. […] However one tries to define or explain noir, the common denominator must always be the city. The two are inseparable” (37). Though the tendencies of noir scholars— both constructive and deconstructive— might lead readers to believe otherwise, rural locations figure prominently in a number of noir films. I will show that the noir genre is, indeed, flexible enough to encompass many films set predominantly or partly in rural locations. Steve Neale, who encourages scholars to work with genre terms familiar to original audiences, would point out that the rural noir is an academic discovery not an industry term, or one with much popular currency (166). Still, this does not lessen the critical usefulness of this subgenre, or its implications for noir scholarship.While structuralist and post-structuralist modes of criticism dominated film genre criticism in the 1970s and 80s, as Thomas Schatz has pointed out, these approaches often sacrifice close attention to film texts, for more abstract, high-stakes observations: “while there is certainly a degree to which virtually every mass-mediated cultural artifact can be examined from [a mythical or ideological] perspective, there appears to be a point at which we tend to lose sight of the initial object of inquiry” (100). Though my reading of these films sidesteps attention to social and political concerns, this article performs the no-less-important task of clarifying the textual features of this sub-genre. To this end, I will survey the tendencies of the rural noir more generally, mentioning more than ten films that fit this subgenre, before narrowing my analysis to a reading of Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948), Thieves’ Highway (Jules Dassin, 1949), They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1949) and On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, 1952). Robert Mitchum tries to escape his criminal life by settling in a small, mountain-side town in Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947). A foggy marsh provides a dramatic setting for the Bonnie and Clyde-like demise of lovers on the run in Gun Crazy (Joseph Lewis, 1950). In The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston, 1950), Sterling Hayden longs to return home after he is forced to abandon his childhood horse farm for a life of organised crime in the city. Rob Ryan plays a cop unable to control his violent impulses in On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, 1952). He is re-assigned from New York City to a rural community up-state in hopes that a less chaotic environment will have a curative effect. The apple orchards of Thieves’ Highway are no refuge from networks of criminal corruption. In They Live By Night, a pair of young lovers, try to leave their criminal lives behind, hiding out in farmhouses, cabins, and other pastoral locations in the American South. Finally, the location of prisons explains a number of sequences set in spare, road-side locations such as those in The Killer is Loose (Budd Boetticher, 1956), The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino, 1953), and Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948). What are some common tendencies of the rural noir? First, they usually feature both rural and urban settings, which allows the portrayal of one to be measured against the other. What we see of the city structures the definition of the country, and vice versa. Second, the lead character moves between these two locations by driving. For criminals, the car is more essential for survival in the country than in the city, so nearly all rural noirs are also road movies. Third, nature often figures as a redemptive force for urbanites steeped in lives of crime. Fourth, the curative quality of the country is usually tied to a love interest in this location: the “nurturing woman” as defined by Janey Place, who encourages the protagonist to forsake his criminal life (60). Fifth, the country is never fully crime-free. In The Killer is Loose, for example, an escaped convict’s first victim is a farmer, whom he clubs before stealing his truck. The convict (Wendell Corey), then, easily slips through a motorcade with the farmer’s identification. Here, the sprawling countryside provides an effective cover for the killer. This farmland is not an innocent locale, but the criminal’s safety-net. In films where a well-intentioned lead attempts to put his criminal life behind him by moving to a remote location, urban associates have little trouble tracking him down. While the country often appears, to protagonists like Jeff in Out of the Past or Bowie in They Live By Night, as an ideal place to escape from crime, as these films unfold, violence reaches the countryside. If these are similar points, what are some differences among rural noirs? First, there are many differences by degree among the common elements listed above. For instance, some rural noirs present their location with unabashed romanticism, while others critique the idealisation of these locations; some “nurturing women” are complicit with criminal activity, while others are entirely innocent. Second, while noir films are commonly known for treating similar urban locations, Los Angeles in particular, these films feature a wide variety of locations: Out of the Past and Thieves’ Highway take place in California, the most common setting for rural noirs, but On Dangerous Ground is set in northern New England, They Live by Night takes place in the Depression-era South, Moonrise in Southern swampland, and the most dynamic scene of The Asphalt Jungle is in rural Kentucky. Third, these films also vary considerably in the balance of settings. If the three typical locations of the rural noir are the country, the city, and the road, the distribution of these three locations varies widely across these films. The location of The Asphalt Jungle matches the title until its dramatic conclusion. The Hitch-hiker, arguably a rural noir, is set in travelling cars, with just brief stops in the barren landscape outside. Two of the films I analyse, They Live By Night and Moonrise are set entirely in the country; a remarkable exception to the majority of films in this subgenre. There are only two other critical essays on the rural noir. In “Shadows in the Hinterland: Rural Noir,” Jonathan F. Bell contextualises the rural noir in terms of post-war transformations of the American landscape. He argues that these films express a forlorn faith in the agrarian myth while the U.S. was becoming increasingly developed and suburbanised. That is to say, the rural noir simultaneously reflects anxiety over the loss of rural land, but also the stubborn belief that the countryside will always exist, if the urbanite needs it as a refuge. Garry Morris suggests the following equation as the shortest way to state the thematic interest of this genre: “Noir = industrialisation + (thwarted) spirituality.” He attributes much of the malaise of noir protagonists to the inhospitable urban environment, “far from [society’s] pastoral and romantic and spiritual origins.” Where Bell focuses on nine films— Detour (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Out of the Past (1947), Key Largo (1948), Gun Crazy (1949), On Dangerous Ground (1952), The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Split Second (1953), and Killer’s Kiss (1955)— Morris’s much shorter article includes just The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and Gun Crazy. Of the four films I discuss, only On Dangerous Ground has previously been treated as part of this subgenre, though it has never been discussed alongside Nicholas Ray’s other rural noir. To further the development of the project that these authors have started— the formation of a rural noir corpus— I propose the inclusion of three additional films in this subgenre: Moonrise (1948), They Live by Night (1949), and Thieves’ Highway (1949). With both On Dangerous Ground and They Live by Night to his credit, Nicholas Ray has the distinction of being the most prolific director of rural noirs. In They Live by Night, two young lovers, Bowie (Farley Granger) and Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), attempt to escape from their established criminal lives. Twenty-three year old Bowie has just been released from juvenile prison and finds rural Texas refreshing: “Out here, the air smells different,” he says. He meets Keechie through her father, a small time criminal organiser who would be happy to keep her secluded for life. When one of Bowie’s accomplices, Chicamaw (Howard DaSilva), shoots a policeman after a robbing a bank with Bowie, the young couple is forced to run. Foster Hirsch calls They Live by Night “a genre rarity, a sentimental noir” (34). The naïve blissfulness of their affection is associated with the primitive settings they navigate. Though Bowie and Keechie are the most sympathetic protagonists of any rural noir, this is no safeguard against an inevitable, characteristically noir demise. Janey Place writes, “the young lovers are doomed, but the possibility of their love transcends and redeems them both, and its failure criticises the urbanised world that will not let them live” (63). As indicated here, the country offers the young lovers refuge for some time, and their bond is depicted as wonderfully strong, but it is doomed by the stronger force of the law.Raymond Williams discusses how different characteristics are associated with urban and rural spaces:On the country has gathered the idea of a natural way of life: of peace, innocence, and simple virtue. On the city has gathered the idea of an achieved center: of learning, communication, light. Powerful hostile associations have also developed: on the city as a place of noise, worldliness and ambition; on the country as a place of backwardness, ignorance, limitation. (1) They Live By Night breaks down these dichotomies, showing the persistence of crime rooted in rural areas.Bowie desires to “get squared around” and live a more natural life with Keechie. Williams’ country adjectives— “peace, innocence, and simple virtue”— describe the nature of this relationship perfectly. Yet, criminal activity, usually associated with the city, has an overwhelmingly strong presence in this region and their lives. Bowie, following the doomed logic of many a crime film character, plans to launch a new, more honest life with cash raised in a heist. Keechie recognises the contradictions in this plan: “Fine way to get squared around, teaming with them. Stealing money and robbing banks. You’ll get in so deep trying to get squared, they’ll have enough to keep you in for two life times.” For Bowie, crime and the pursuit of love are inseparably bound, refuting the illusion of the pure and innocent countryside personified by characters like Mary Malden in On Dangerous Ground and Ann Miller in Out of the Past.In Ray’s other rural noir, On Dangerous Ground, a lonely, angry, and otherwise burned out cop, Wilson (Rob Ryan), finds both love and peace in his time away from the city. While on his up-state assignment, Wilson meets Mary Walden (Ida Lupino), a blind woman who lives a secluded life miles away from this already desolate, rural community. Mary has a calming influence on Wilson, and fits well within Janey Place’s notion of the archetypal nurturing woman in film noir: “The redemptive woman often represents or is part of a primal connection with nature and/or with the past, which are safe, static states rather than active, exciting ones, but she can sometimes offer the only transcendence possible in film noir” (63).If, as Colin McArthur observes, Ray’s characters frequently seek redemption in rural locales— “[protagonists] may reject progress and modernity; they may choose to go or are sent into primitive areas. […] The journeys which bring them closer to nature may also offer them hope of salvation” (124) — the conclusions of On Dangerous Ground versus They Live By Night offer two markedly different resolutions to this narrative. Where Bowie and Keechie’s life on the lam cannot be sustained, On Dangerous Ground, against the wishes of its director, portrays a much more romanticised version of pastoral life. According to Andrew Dickos, “Ray wanted to end the film on the ambivalent image of Jim Wilson returning to the bleak city,” after he had restored order up-state (132). The actual ending is more sentimental. Jim rushes back north to be with Mary. They passionately kiss in close-up, cueing an exuberant orchestral score as The End appears over a slow tracking shot of the majestic, snow covered landscape. In this way, On Dangerous Ground overturns the usual temporal associations of rural versus urban spaces. As Raymond Williams identifies, “The common image of the country is now an image of the past, and the common image of the city an image of the future” (297). For Wilson, by contrast, city life was no longer sustainable and rurality offers his best means for a future. Leo Marx noted in a variety of American pop culture, from Mark Twain to TV westerns and magazine advertising, a “yearning for a simpler, more harmonious style of life, and existence ‘closer to nature,’ that is the psychic root of all pastoralism— genuine and spurious” (Marx 6). Where most rural noirs expose the agrarian myth as a fantasy and a sham, On Dangerous Ground, exceptionally, perpetuates it as actual and effectual. Here, a bad cop is made good with a few days spent in a sparsely populated area and with a woman shaped by her rural upbringing.As opposed to On Dangerous Ground, where the protagonist’s movement from city to country matches his split identity as a formerly corrupt man wishing to be pure, Frank Borzage’s B-film Moonrise (1948) is located entirely in rural or small-town locations. Set in the fictional Southern town of Woodville, which spans swamps, lushly wooded streets and aging Antebellum mansions, the lead character finds good and bad within the same rural location and himself. Dan (Dane Clark) struggles to escape his legacy as the son of a murderer. This conflict is irreparably heightened when Dan kills a man (who had repeatedly teased and bullied him) in self-defence. The instability of Dan’s moral compass is expressed in the way he treats innocent elements of the natural world: flies, dogs, and, recalling Out of the Past, a local deaf boy. He is alternately cruel and kind. Dan is finally redeemed after seeking the advice of a black hermit, Mose (Rex Ingram), who lives in a ramshackle cabin by the swamp. He counsels Dan with the advice that men turn evil from “being lonesome,” not for having “bad blood.” When Dan, eventually, decides to confess to his crime, the sheriff finds him tenderly holding a search hound against a bucolic, rural backdrop. His complete comfortability with the landscape and its creatures finally allows Dan to reconcile the film’s opening opposition. He is no longer torturously in between good and evil, but openly recognises his wrongs and commits to do good in the future. If I had to select just a single shot to illustrate that noirs are set in rural locations more often than most scholarship would have us believe, it would be the opening sequence of Moonrise. From the first shot, this film associates rural locations with criminal elements. The credit sequence juxtaposes pooling water with an ominous brass score. In this disorienting opening, the camera travels from an image of water, to a group of men framed from the knees down. The camera dollies out and pans left, showing that these men, trudging solemnly, are another’s legal executioners. The frame tilts upward and we see a man hung in silhouette. This dense shot is followed by an image of a baby in a crib, also shadowed, the water again, and finally the execution scene. If this sequence is a thematic montage, it can also be discussed, more simply, as a series of establishing shots: a series of images that, seemingly, could not be more opposed— a baby, a universal symbol of innocence, set against the ominous execution, cruel experience— are paired together by virtue of their common location. The montage continues, showing that the baby is the son of the condemned man. As Dan struggles with the legacy of his father throughout the film, this opening shot continues to inform our reading of this character, split between the potential for good or evil.What a baby is to Moonrise, or, to cite a more familiar reference, what the insurance business is to many a James M. Cain roman noir, produce distribution is to Jules Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway (1949). The apple, often a part of wholesome American myths, is at the centre of this story about corruption. Here, a distribution network that brings Americans this hearty, simple product is connected with criminal activity and violent abuses of power more commonly portrayed in connection with cinematic staples of organised crime such as bootlegging or robbery. This film portrays bad apples in the apple business, showing that no profit driven enterprise— no matter how traditional or rural— is beyond the reach of corruption.Fitting the nature of this subject, numerous scenes in the Dassin film take place in the daylight (in addition to darkness), and in the countryside (in addition to the city) as we move between wine and apple country to the market districts of San Francisco. But if the subject and setting of Thieves’ Highway are unusual for a noir, the behaviour of its characters is not. Spare, bright country landscapes form the backdrop for prototypical noir behaviour: predatory competition for money and power.As one would expect of a film noir, the subject of apple distribution is portrayed with dynamic violence. In the most exciting scene of the film, a truck careens off the road after a long pursuit from rival sellers. Apples scatter across a hillside as the truck bursts into flames. This scene is held in a long-shot, as unscrupulous thugs gather the produce for sale while the unfortunate driver burns to death. Here, the reputedly innocent American apple is subject to cold-blooded, profit-maximizing calculations as much as the more typical topics of noir such as blackmail, fraud, or murder. Passages on desolate roads and at apple orchards qualify Thieves’ Highway as a rural noir; the dark, cynical manner in which capitalist enterprise is treated is resonant with nearly all film noirs. Thieves’ Highway follows a common narrative pattern amongst rural noirs to gradually reveal rural spaces as connected to criminality in urban locations. Typically, this disillusioning fact is narrated from the perspective of a lead character who first has a greater sense of safety in rural settings but learns, over the course of the story, to be more wary in all locations. In Thieves’, Nick’s hope that apple-delivery might earn an honest dollar (he is the only driver to treat the orchard owners fairly) gradually gives way to an awareness of the inevitable corruption that has taken over this enterprise at all levels of production, from farmer, to trucker, to wholesaler, and thus, at all locations, the country, the road, and the city.Between this essay, and the previous work of Morris and Bell on the subject, we are developing a more complete survey of the rural noir. Where Bell’s and Morris’s essays focus more resolutely on rural noirs that relied on the contrast of the city versus the country— which, significantly, was the first tendency of this subgenre that I observed— Moonrise and They Live By Night demonstrate that this genre can work entirely apart from the city. From start to finish, these films take place in small towns and rural locations. As opposed to Out of the Past, On Dangerous Ground, or The Asphalt Jungle, characters are never pulled back to, nor flee from, an urban life of crime. Instead, vices that are commonly associated with the city have a free-standing life in the rural locations that are often thought of as a refuge from these harsh elements. If both Bell and Morris study the way that rural noirs draw differences between the city and country, two of the three films I add to the subgenre constitute more complete rural noirs, films that work wholly outside urban locations, not just in contrast with it. Bell, like me, notes considerable variety in rural noirs locations, “desert landscapes, farms, mountains, and forests all qualify as settings for consideration,” but he also notes that “Diverse as these landscapes are, this set of films uses them in surprisingly like-minded fashion to achieve a counterpoint to the ubiquitous noir city” (219). In Bell’s analysis, all nine films he studies, feature significant urban segments. He is, in fact, so inclusive as to discuss Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss as a rural noir even though it does not contain a single frame shot or set outside of New York City. Rurality is evoked only as a possibility, as alienated urbanite Davy (Jamie Smith) receives letters from his horse-farm-running relatives. Reading these letters offers Davy brief moments of respite from drudgerous city spaces such as the subway and his cramped apartment. In its emphasis on the centrality of rural locations, my project is more similar to David Bell’s work on the rural in horror films than to Jonathan F. Bell’s work on the rural noir. David Bell analyses the way that contemporary horror films work against a “long tradition” of the “idyllic rural” in many Western texts (95). As opposed to works “from Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman to contemporary television shows like Northern Exposure and films such as A River Runs Through It or Grand Canyon” in which the rural is positioned as “a restorative to urban anomie,” David Bell analyses films such as Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that depict “a series of anti-idyllic visions of the rural” (95). Moonrise and They Live By Night, like these horror films, portray the crime and the country as coexistent spheres at the same time that the majority of other popular culture, including noirs like Killer’s Kiss or On Dangerous Ground, portray them as mutually exclusive.To use a mode of generic analysis developed by Rick Altman, the rural noir, while preserving the dominant syntax of other noirs, presents a remarkably different semantic element (31). Consider the following description of the genre, from the introduction to Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide: “The darkness that fills the mirror of the past, which lurks in a dark corner or obscures a dark passage out of the oppressively dark city, is not merely the key adjective of so many film noir titles but the obvious metaphor for the condition of the protagonist’s mind” (Silver and Ward, 4). In this instance, the narrative elements, or syntax, of film noir outlined by Silver and Ward do not require revision, but the urban location, a semantic element, does. Moonrise and They Live By Night demonstrate the sustainability of the aforementioned syntactic elements— the dark, psychological experience of the leads and their inescapable criminal past— apart from the familiar semantic element of the city.The rural noir must also cause us to reconsider— beyond rural representations or film noir— more generally pitched genre theories. Consider the importance of place to film genre, the majority of which are defined by a typical setting: for melodramas, it is the family home, for Westerns, the American west, and for musicals, the stage. Thomas Schatz separates American genres according to their setting, between genres which deal with “determinate” versus “indeterminate” space:There is a vital distinction between kinds of generic settings and conflicts. Certain genres […] have conflicts that, indigenous to the environment, reflect the physical and ideological struggle for its control. […] Other genres have conflicts that are not indigenous to the locale but are the results of the conflict between the values, attitudes, and actions of its principal characters and the ‘civilised’ setting they inhabit. (26) Schatz discusses noirs, along with detective films, as films which trade in “determinate” settings, limited to the space of the city. The rural noir slips between Schatz’s dichotomy, moving past the space of the city, but not into the civilised, tame settings of the genres of “indeterminate spaces.” It is only fitting that a genre whose very definition lies in its disruption of Hollywood norms— trading high- for low-key lighting, effectual male protagonists for helpless ones, and a confident, coherent worldview for a more paranoid, unstable one would, finally, be able to accommodate a variation— the rural noir— that would seem to upset one of its central tenets, an urban locale. Considering the long list of Hollywood standards that film noirs violated, according to two of its original explicators, Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton— “a logical action, an evident distinction between good and evil, well-defined characters with clear motives, scenes that are more spectacular than brutal, a heroine who is exquisitely feminine and a hero who is honest”— it should, perhaps, not be so surprising that the genre is flexible enough to accommodate the existence of the rural noir after all (14). AcknowledgmentsIn addition to M/C Journal's anonymous readers, the author would like to thank Corey Creekmur, Mike Slowik, Barbara Steinson, and Andrew Gorman-Murray for their helpful suggestions. ReferencesAltman, Rick. “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre.” Film Genre Reader III. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 27-41.The Asphalt Jungle. Dir. John Huston. MGM/UA, 1950.Bell, David. “Anti-Idyll: Rural Horror.” Contested Countryside Cultures. Eds. Paul Cloke and Jo Little. London, Routledge, 1997. 94-108.Bell, Jonathan F. “Shadows in the Hinterland: Rural Noir.” Architecture and Film. Ed. Mark Lamster. New York: Princeton Architectural P, 2000. 217-230.Borde, Raymond and Etienne Chaumeton. A Panorama of American Film Noir. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2002.Christopher, Nicholas. Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.Cowie, Elizabeth. “Film Noir and Women.” Shades of Noir. Ed. Joan Copjec. New York: Verso, 1993. 121-166.Dickos, Andrew. Street with No Name: A History of the Classic American Film Noir. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2002.Hirsch, Foster. Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir. New York: Limelight Editions, 1999.Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden. New York: Oxford UP, 1964.McArthur, Colin. Underworld U.S.A. London: BFI, 1972.Moonrise. Dir. Frank Borzage. Republic, 1948.Morris, Gary. “Noir Country: Alien Nation.” Bright Lights Film Journal Nov. 2006. 13. Jun. 2008 http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/54/noircountry.htm Muller, Eddie. Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1998.Naremore, James. More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkeley, C.A.: U of California P, 2008.Neale, Steve. “Questions of Genre.” Film Genre Reader III. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 160-184.On Dangerous Ground. Dir. Nicholas Ray. RKO, 1951.Out of the Past. Dir. Jacques Tourneur. RKO, 1947.Place, Janey. “Women in Film Noir.” Women in Film Noir. Ed. E. Ann Kaplan. London: BFI, 1999. 47-68.Schatz, Thomas. Hollywood Genres. New York: Random House, 1981.Schatz, Thomas. “The Structural Influence: New Directions in Film Genre Study.” Film Genre Reader III. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 92-102.Silver, Alain and Elizabeth Ward. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. London: Bloomsbury, 1980.They Live by Night. Dir. Nicholas Ray. RKO, 1949.Thieves’ Highway. Dir. Jules Dassin. Fox, 1949.Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford UP, 1973.

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Lowes, Elanna Herbert. "Transgressive Women, Transworld Women." M/C Journal 8, no.1 (February1, 2005). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2319.

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This paper will discuss the way in which the creative component of my thesis Hannah’s Place uses a style of neo-historical fiction to find ‘good’ narratives in (once) ‘bad’ women, keeping with the theme, here paraphrased as: The work of any researcher in the humanities is to…challenge what is simply thought of as bad or good, to complicate essentialist categories and question passively accepted thinking. As a way of expanding this statement, I would like to begin by considering the following quote from Barthes on the nature of research. I believe he identifies the type of research that I have been involved with as a PhD candidate producing a ‘creative’ thesis in the field of Communications. What is a piece of research? To find out, we would need to have some idea of what a ‘result’ is. What is it that one finds? What is it one wants to find? What is missing? In what axiomatic field will the fact isolated, the meaning brought out, the statistical discovery be placed? No doubt it depends each time on the particular science approached, but from the moment a piece of research concerns the text (and the text extends very much further than the literary work) the research itself becomes text, production: to it, any ‘result’ is literally im-pertinent. Research is then the name which prudently, under the constraint of certain social conditions, we give to the activity of writing: research here moves on the side of writing, is an adventure of the signifier. (Barthes 198) My thesis sits within the theoretical framework of postmodern literature as a new form of the genre that has been termed ‘historical fiction’. Although the novel breaks away from and challenges the concept of the traditional ‘saga’ style of narrative, or ‘grand narrative’ within historical fiction, it is no less concerned with events of the past and the idea of past experience. It departs from traditional historical fiction in that it foregrounds not only an imagined fictional past world created when the novel is read, but also the actual archival documents, the pieces of text from the past from which traditional history is made, and which here have been used to create that world–‘sparking points’ for the fictional narrative. These archival documents are used within the work as intertextual elements that frame, and, in turn, are framed by the transworld characters’ hom*odiegetic narrations. The term ‘transworld character’ has been attributed to Umberto Eco and refers to any real world personages found within a fictional text. Eco defines it as the ‘identity of a given individual through worlds (transworld identity)…where the possible world is a possible state of affairs expressed by a set of relevant propositions [either true or untrue which] outlines a set of possible individuals along with their properties’ (219). Umberto Eco also considers that a problem of transworld identity is ‘to single out something as persistent through alternative states of affairs’ (230). In Postmodernist Fiction, Brian McHale also puts forward a number of definitions for ‘transworld identity’. For my purposes, I take it to mean both that defined by Eco but also the literary device, as defined by McHale, of ‘borrowing a character from another text’ (57). It is McHale who elaborates on the concept as it relates to historical fiction when he states: All historical novels, even the most traditional, typically involve some violation of ontological boundaries. For instance they often claim ‘transworld identity’ between characters in their projected worlds and real-world historical figures (16-17). Interestingly for the type of fiction that I am attempting to write, McHale also takes the idea into another area when he discusses the ontological levels of the historical dimension that transworld identities may undergo. Entities can change their ontological status in the course of history, in effect migrating from one ontological realm or level to another. For instance, real world entities and happenings can undergo ‘mythification’, moving from the profane realm to the realm of the sacred (36). For transworld identities, such as those within my novel, this may mean a change in status between the past, where they were stereotyped and categorised as ‘bad’ in contemporary newspapers (my intertext elements), to something in the present approaching ‘good’, or at least a more rounded female identity within a fictional world. The introduced textual elements which I foreground in my novel are those things most often hidden from view within the mimetic and hermeneutic worlds of traditional historical fiction. The sources re-textualised within my novel are both ‘real’ items from our past, and representations and interpretations of past events. The female transworld characters’ stories in this novel are imaginative re-interpretations. Therefore, both the fictional stories, as well as their sources, are textual interpretations of prior events. In this way, the novel plays with the idea of historical ‘fact’ and historical ‘fiction’. It blurs their boundaries. It gives textual equality to each in order to bring a form of textual agency to those marginalised groups defined by PF Bradley as the ‘host of jarring witnesses, [of history] a chaos of disjoined and discrepant narrations’ (Bradley in Holton 11): In the past in Australia these were lower class women, Aboriginals, the Irish, the illiterate, and poor agricultural immigrants whose labour was excess to Britain’s needs. Hannah’s Place – A Brief Synopsis Six individual women’s stories, embedded in or ‘framed’ by a fictional topographic artist’s journal, recount ‘real’ events from Australia’s colonial past. The journal is set in 1845; a few years after convict transportation to Australia’s eastern states ceased, and the year of the first art exhibition held in the colony. That same year, Leichhardt’s expedition arrived at Port Essington in Australia’s far north, after 12 months inland exploration, while in the far south the immigrant ship Cataraqui was wrecked one day short of arrival at Melbourne’s Port Phillip with the drowning of all but one of the 369 immigrants and 38 of the 46 sailors on board. Each chapter title takes the form of the title of a topographic sketch as a way of placing the text ‘visually’ within the artist’s journal narrative. The six women’s stories are: New South Wales at Last (Woman on a Boat): A woman arrives with a sick toddler to tent accommodation for poor immigrants in Sydney, after a three month sea voyage and the shipboard birth, death, and burial at sea of her baby daughter. Yarramundi Homestead, as Seen from the East: An ill-treated Irish servant girl on a squatter’s run awaits the arrival of her fiancée, travelling on board the immigrant ship Cataraqui. In the Vale of Hartley: In the Blue Mountains, an emancipist sawyer who previously murdered three people, violently beats to death his lover, Caroline Collitts, the seventeen-year-old sister of Maria, his fifteen-year-old wife. She Being Dead Yet Speaketh: In Goulburn, Annie Brownlow, a pretty 24-year-old mother of three is executed by a convict executioner for the accidental ‘murder’, while drunk, of her adulterous husband. The Eldest Daughter: The isolated wife of a small settler gives birth, assisted by Lottie, her eldest daughter, and Merrung, an Aboriginal midwife. On Wednesday Last, at Mr Ley’s Coach and Horses Hotel: In Bathurst, a vagrant alcoholic, Hannah Simpson, dies on the floor of a dodgy boarding house after a night and a day of falling into fits and ranting about her lifetime of 30 years migration. Historiographic Metafiction Has been defined by Linda Hutcheon as ‘Fiction which keeps distinct its formal auto-representation from its historical context and in so doing problematises the very possibility of historical knowledge… There is no reconciliation, no dialectic…just unresolved contradiction’ (106). Unresolved contradiction is one of the themes that surfaces in my novel because of the juxtaposition of archival documents (past text ‘facts’) alongside fictional narrative. Historiographic metafiction can usefully be employed as a means of challenging prior patriarchal narratives written about marginalised women. It allows the freedom to create a space for a new understanding of silenced women’s lives. My novel seeks to illuminate and problematise the previously ‘seamless’ genre of hical fiction by the use of (narrative) techniques such as: collage and juxtaposition, intertextuality, framing, embedded narrative, linked stories, and footnote intertext of archival material. Juxtaposition of the fiction against elements from prior non-fiction texts, clearly enunciated as being those same actual historical sources upon which the fiction is based, reinforces this novel as a work of fiction. Yet this strategy also reminds us that the historical narrative created is provisional, residing within the fictional text and in the gaps between the fictional text and the non-fictional intertext. At the same time, the clear narrativity, the suspenseful and sensationalised text of the archival non-fiction, brings them into question because of their place alongside the fiction. A reading of the novel questions the truthfulness or degree of reliability of past textual ‘facts’ as accurate records of real women’s life events. It does this by the use of a parallel narrative, which articulates characters whose moments of ‘breaking frame’ challenge those same past texts. Their ‘fiction’ as characters is reinforced by their existence as ‘objects’ of narration within the archival texts. Both the archival texts and the fiction can be seen as ‘unreliable’. The novel uses ex-centric transworld characters and embedded intertextual ‘fragments’ to create a covert self-reflexivity. It also confuses and disrupts narrative temporality and linearity of plot in two ways. It juxtaposes ‘real’ (intertextual element) dates alongside conflicting or unknown periods of time from the fictional narrative; and, within the artist’s journal, it has a minimal use of expected temporal ‘signposts’. These ‘signposts’ of year dates, months, or days of the week are those things that would be most expected in an authentic travel narrative. In this way, the women’s stories subvert the idea, inherent in previous forms of ‘historical’ fiction, of a single point of view or ‘take’ on history that one or two main characters may hold. The use of intertext results in a continued restating of multiple, conflicting (gender, race, and class) points of view. Ultimately no one ‘correct’ reading of the past gains in supremacy over any other. This narrative construct rearticulates the idea that the past, as does the present, comprises different points of view, not all of which conform to the ‘correct’ view created by the political, social and economic ‘factors’ dominant at the time those events happen. For colonial Australia, this single point of view gave us the myth of heroic (white male) pioneers and positioned women such as some of those within my fiction as ‘bad’. The fictional text challenges that of the male ‘gaze’, which constructed these women as ‘objects’. Examples of this from the newspaper articles are: A younger sister of Caroline Collit, married John Walsh, the convict at present under sentence of death in Bathurst gaol, and, it appears, continued to live with him up till the time of her sister’s murder; but she, as well as her sister Caroline, since the trial, have been ascertained to have borne very loose characters, which is fully established by the fact, that both before and after Walsh had married the younger sister, Caroline cohabited with him and had in fact been for a considerable time living with him, under the same roof with her sister, and in a state of separation from her own husband (Collit). Sydney Morning Herald, April 27, 1842, The Mount Victoria Murder. About twelve months after her marriage, her mother who was a notorious drunkard hanged herself in her own house… Sydney Morning Herald, April 27, 1842, The Mount Victoria Murder. And when we further reflect that the perpetrator of that deed of blood was a woman our horror is, if possible, much augmented. Yes! A woman and one who ought to have been in as much as the means were assuredly in the power of her family-an ornament to her sex and station. She has been cut off in the midst of her days by the hands of the common executioner. And to add to our distress at this sad event she to whose tragic end I am referring was a wife and a mother. It was her hand which struck the blow that rendered her children orphans and brought her to an ignominious end… The Goulburn Herald, October 20, 1855, Funeral sermon on Mary Ann Brownlow. His wife had been drinking and created an altercation on account of his having sold [her] lease; she asked him to drink, but he refused, when she replied “You can go and drink with your fancywoman”. She came after him as he was going away and stabbed him…..she did it from jealousy, although he had never given her any cause for jealousy. The Goulburn Herald, Saturday, September 15, 1855, Tuesday, September 11, Wilful Murder. She was always most obedient and quiet in her conduct, and her melancholy winning manners soon procured her the sympathy of all who came in contact with her. She became deeply impressed with the sinfulness of her previous life… The Goulburn Herald, October 13, 1855, Execution of Mary Ann Brownlow. [Police] had known the deceased who was a confirmed drunkard and an abandoned woman without any home or place of abode; did not believe she had any proper means of support…The Bathurst Times, November 1871. It is the oppositional and strong narrative ‘voice’ that elicits sympathies for and with the women’s situations. The fictional narratives were written to challenge unsympathetic pre-existing narratives found within the archival intertexts. This male ‘voice’ was one that narrated and positioned women such that they adhered to pre-existing notions of morality; what it meant to be a ‘good’ woman (like Mary Ann Brownlow, reformed in gaol but still sentenced to death) or a ‘bad’ woman (Mary Ann again as the murdering drunken vengeful wife, stabbing her husband in a jealous rage). ‘Reading between the lines’ of history in this way, creating fictional stories and juxtaposing them against the non-fiction prior articulations of those same events, is an opportunity to make use of narrative structure in order to destabilise established constructs of our colonial past. For example, the trope of Australia’s colonial settler women as exampled in the notion of Anne Summers of colonial women as either God’s police or damned whor*s. ‘A Particularly rigid dualistic notion of women’s function in colonial society was embodied in two stereotypes….that women are either good [God’s police] or evil [Damned whor*s]’ (67). With this dualism in mind, it is also useful here to consider the assumption made by Veeser in laying the ground work for New Historicism, that ‘no discourse imaginative or archival, gives access to unchanging truths or expresses unalterable human nature’ (2). In a discussion of the ideas of Brian McHale, Middleton and Woods acknowledge McHale’s point of view that readers do recognise the degree to which all knowledge of the past is a construction. They make the claim that ‘the postmodern novelist answers that sense of dislocation and loss…by wrapping ruins of earlier textualities around the narrative’ (66). This to my mind is a call for the type of intertextuality that I have attempted in my thesis. The senses of dislocation and loss found when we attempt to narrativise history are embodied in the structure of the creative component of my thesis. Yet it could also be argued that the cultural complexity of colonial Australia, with women as the subjugated ‘other’ of a disempowered voice has only been constructed by and from within the present. The ‘real’ women from whose lives these stories are imagined could not have perceived their lives within the frames (class, gender, post coloniality) that we now understand in the same way that we as educated westerners cannot totally perceive a tribal culture’s view of the cosmos as a real ‘fact’. However, a fictional re-articulation of historical ‘facts’, using a framework of postmodern neo-historical fiction, allows archival documents to be understood as the traces of women to whom those documented facts once referred. The archival record becomes once again a thing that describes a world of women. It is within these archival micro-histories of illiterate lower-class women that we find shards of our hidden past. By fictionally imagining a possible narrative of their lives we, as the author/reader nexus which creates the image of who these transworld characters were, allow for things that existed in the past as possibility. The fictionalised stories, based on fragments of ‘facts’ from the past, are a way of invoking what could have once existed. In this way the stories partake of the Bernstein and Morson concept of ‘sideshadowing’. Sideshadowing admits, in addition to actualities and impossibilities, a middle realm of real possibilities that could have happened even if they did not. Things could have been different from the way they were, there are real alternatives to the present we know, and the future admits of various possibilities… sideshadowing deepens our sense of the openness of time. It has profound implications for our understanding of history and of our own lives (Morson 6). The possibilities that sideshadowing their lives invokes in these stories ‘alters the way that we think about earlier events and the narrative models used to describe them’ (Morson 7). We alter our view of the women, as initially described in the archival record, because we now perceive the narrative through which these events and therefore ‘lives’ of the women were written, as merely ‘one possibility’ of many that may have occurred. Sideshadowing alternate possibilities gives us a way out of that patriarchal hegemony into a more multi-dimensional and non-linear view of female lives in 19th Century Australia. Sideshadowing allows for the ‘non-closure’ within female narratives that these fragments of women’s lives represent. It is this which is at the core of the novel—an historiographic metafictional challenging by the fictional ‘voices’ of female transworld characters. In this work, they narrate from a female perspective the might-have-been alternative of that previously considered as an historical, legitimate account of the past. Barthes and Bakhtin Readers of this type of historiographic metafiction have the freedom to recreate an historical fictional world. By virtue of the use of self-reflexivity and intertext they participate in a fictional world constructed by themselves from the author(s) of the text(s) and the intertext, and the original women’s voices used as quotations by the intertext’s (male) author. This world is based upon their construction of a past created from the author’s research, the author’s subjectivity (from within and by disciplinary discourse), by the author(s) choice of ‘signifiers’ and the meanings that these choices create within the reader’s subjectivity (itself formed out of their individual cultural and social milieu). This idea echoes Barthes concept of the ‘death of the author’, such that: As soon as a fact is narrated no longer with a view to acting directly on reality but intransitively, that is to say, finally outside of any function other than that of the very practice of the symbol itself; this disconnection occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins. (142) When entering into the world created by this style of historical fiction the reader also enters into a world of previous ‘texts’ (or intertexts) and the multitude of voices inherent in them. This is the Bakhtinian concept of heteroglossia, that ‘every utterance contains within it the trace of other utterances, both in the past and in the future’ (263). The narrative formed thus becomes one of multiple ‘truths’ and therefore multiple histories. Once written as ‘bad’, the women are now perceived as ‘good’ characters and the ‘bad’ events that occurred around them and to them make up ‘good’ elements of plot, structure, characterisation and voice for a fictionalised version of a past possibility. Bad women make good reading. Conclusion This type of narrative structure allows for the limits of the silenced ‘voice’ of the past, and therefore an understanding of marginalised groups within hegemonic grand narratives, to be approached. It seems to me no surprise that neo-historical fiction is used more when the subjects written about are members of marginalised groups. Silenced voices need to be heard. Because these women left no written account of their experiences, and because we can never experience the society within which their identities were formed, we will never know their ‘identity’ as they experienced it. Fictional self-narrated stories of transworld characters allows for a transformation of the women away from an identity created by the moralising, stereotyped descriptions in the newspapers towards a more fully developed sense of female identity. Third-hand male accounts written for the (then) newspaper readers consumption (and for us as occupiers of the ‘future’) are a construct of one possible identity only. They do not reflect the women’s reality. Adding another fictional ‘identity’ through an imagined self-narrated account deconstructs that limited ‘identity’ formed through the male ‘gaze’. It does so because of the ability of fiction to allow the reader to create a fictional world which can be experienced imaginatively and from within their own subjectivity. Rather than something passively recorded, literature offers history as a permanent reactivation of the past in a critique of the present, and at the level of content offers a textual anamnesis for the hitherto ignored, unacknowledged or repressed pasts marginalised by the dominant histories. (Middleton and Woods 77) References Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans. Michael Holquist. Ed. Caryl Emerson. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981. Barthes, Roland, and Stephen Heath, eds. Image, Music, Text. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. Eco, Umberto. The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts. Bloomington and London: Indiana UP, 1979. Holton, Robert. Jarring Witnesses: Modern Fiction and the Representation of History. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994. Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: Routledge, 1988. McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction. New York and London: Methuen, 1987. Middleton, Peter, and Tim Woods. Literatures of Memory: History, Time and Space in Postwar Writing. Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 2000. Morson, Gary Saul. Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time. New Haven: Yale UP, 1994. Summers, Anne. Damned whor*s and God’s Police. Ringwood Vic: Penguin Books, 1994. Veeser, H. Aram. The New Historicism. London: Routledge, 1989. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Lowes, Elanna Herbert. "Transgressive Women, Transworld Women: The Once ‘Bad’ Can Make ‘Good’ Narratives." M/C Journal 8.1 (2005). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0502/04-herbertlowes.php>. APA Style Lowes, E. (Feb. 2005) "Transgressive Women, Transworld Women: The Once ‘Bad’ Can Make ‘Good’ Narratives," M/C Journal, 8(1). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0502/04-herbertlowes.php>.

14

Clyne, Michael. "Saving Us From Them." M/C Journal 5, no.5 (October1, 2002). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1980.

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The public discourse on asylum seekers in the past year or so and the generation of hatred against them contains a strong linguistic element marking clear boundaries between 'ourselves' and the asylum seekers. I will discuss this linguistic dimension, which calls for vigilance and critical awareness in future discourses of exclusion. One of John Howard's political platforms in the victorious campaign, in which he replaced Paul Keating as Prime Minister was to liberate Australia of the 'political correctness' imposed by his opponents. In this respect, at least, he came close to the far right in Australian politics. For instance, he said of far right ex-Labor Independent Graeme Campbell: 'His attacks on political correctness echo many of the attacks I made on political correctness' (The Age, 18 June 1996). 'Political correctness' is a negative term for 'inclusive language' -- avoiding or being encouraged by stylistic or policy guidelines to avoid the choice of lexical items that may be offensive to sections of the population. The converse is the discourse of exclusion. Whether it excludes on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender or any other basis, the discourse of exclusion creates a division between 'us' and 'them', partly on the basis of different lexical items for the two groups (Clyne, Establishing Linguistic Markers of Racism). Asylum seekers have been projected by politicians (especially those in the government) as not only different from the Australian people and therefore not belonging, but also as a threat to the Australian people. To demonstrate this projection it is worth considering some of the terms and formulations of exclusion and division that have been used. As Mungo MacCallum (41) argues, 'The first step was to get rid of the term 'refugee'; it has a long and honourable history and is generally used to describe people forced to flee from their homelands.' It might be more accurate to say that the government limited its use so that no honourable associations could be made with the current group of asylum seekers. There had been newspaper columns which had focused on the achievements and contributions to the nation of previous vintages of refugees; some communities consisted largely or entirely of refugees and their descendants, including some who had given longstanding support to the Liberal Party. The semantic narrowing of 'refugee' was illustrated in the Prime Minister's pronouncement (Herald-Sun, 8 Oct. 2001) when it was alleged that asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard: 'Genuine refugees don't do that'. Thus, refugee status in the public discourse was being related to their moral representation and not to any consideration of the threat of persecution in their homeland. While refugee status was officially a legal issue, when the Prime Minister interacted with the media and the voters, the asylum seekers were already excluded by guided popular opinion, for 'I don't want people like that in Australia'. The exclusionary line based on moral grounds was echoed by Alexander Downer (The Age, 8 Oct. 2001), who described the asylum seekers as lacking the civilized behaviour to be worthy to live in Australia: 'Any civilized person wouldn't dream of treating their own children that way'. So what could the asylum seekers be called? MacCallum (2002: 43) attributes to Philip Ruddock the verbal masterstroke' of reducing the identification of the asylum seekers to a 'one word label': 'unlawful'. However, this identification came in a number of facets. They were described on both sides of parliament as 'illegals', illegal arrivals', 'illegal immigrants' (e.g. Hansard, 29 Aug. 2001). All of these terms encourage the view of intrusion. In actual fact, whether people's arrival had been authorized by the government or not, there is no such thing as an 'illegal refugee'. Other descriptions ranged from 'occasional tourists' (Gary Hardgrave, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs; House of Representatives, 30 Aug. 2001) '; to 'café latte poor' (Senator Robert Ray, former Labor Minister for Immigration), which assumes that only the poor can be refugees. Such descriptions suggested that the asylum seekers were dishonest imposters. But the term 'illegals' lowers asylum seekers to the status of 'non-people' and this gives others the licence to treat them in a way that may be different to those who are 'people'. This is reinforced by the fact that the asylum seekers are neither nice nor poor, and therefore cannot expect to attract support from the government (and, to a large extent from the opposition). The 'bully' image of the asylum seekers was propagated by comments on the behaviour of those allegedly harming their children, described by Ruddock as 'carefully planned and premeditated' (The Age, 14 Feb. 2002). It was reinforced by Peter Reith, who described the action as a 'premeditated attempt to force their way into the country' (The Age, 8 Aug. 2001). When Kim Beazley said: 'It is not unhumanitarian (sic) to try to deter criminals' (The Age, 8 Nov. 2001), he left it to our imagination or choice whether, in supporting the government's position, he wanted to defend us from the asylum seekers or from the 'people smugglers' of whom they are victims. However he put the asylum seekers directly or by association into the criminal category. The suggestion that the asylum seekers might be economic migrants masquerading as refugees enabled the government to differentiate them from 'battlers', who are likely to support action against any 'crooks' who will take the little the battlers have away from them. So far asylum seekers as 'bad cruel people' have been differentiated from 'genuine refugees' of the past, from a nation of 'civilized', gentle, child-loving people, and from Aussie 'battlers'. 'Queue-jumper' is a term that differentiates asylum seekers from both the 'mainstream' and the succession of migrants who have come at various times. This term occurs in several debates (used e.g. by Senator Ron Boswell and Kay Ellison, 29 Aug. 2001). Firstly, it invokes the twin cultural concepts of fairness and orderliness. The 'destruction' of 'political correctness' and especially Pauline Hanson's expressed views regenerated the notion that the needy were unfairly getting something for nothing that others had to work for. This included Aborigines, recently arrived migrants or refugees, single mothers, and even the disabled. The fact that there were no queues in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or the Palestinian Territories in which people could stand to fill in immigration applications was not taken into account. Queuing is very much an Anglo concept of orderliness, reflecting the strong linear emphasis in British-derived cultures, even in academic discourse and school essays and in formal meetings as I have discussed elsewhere (e.g. Clyne, Inter-cultural Communication at Work). In another sense, the 'queue jumper' is a repugnant person to migrants of all backgrounds. The impression is gained from the designation that asylum seekers are taking the place in a tight quota of their relatives (or people like them) waiting to be admitted under the family reunion scheme. In actual fact, the number of asylum seekers recognized as refugees does not affect other categories such as family reunion, and in fact, the quota for the humanitarian category wasn't nearly filled in 2001. The government's handling of asylum seekers is thus underpinned by two types of moral principles -- the schoolmaster principle -- They have to behave themselves, otherwise they will be punished, and the schoolchild principle (based on the perception)-- It ain't fair; he pushed in. Another term that has played an important role in the asylum seeker discourse is 'border protection'. This term featured prominently in the 2001 election campaign, when both major parties vied to persuade voters that they were best equipped to protect Australia. It lives on in the public discourse and relates both to contemporary international politics and to traditional Australian xenophobia. The 2001 federal election was fought in the context of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers and the American-led coalition against international terrorism. Thus, the term 'border protection' was necessarily ambiguous. Was it terrorists or asylum seekers who were being kept out? Or were they perhaps the same people? Even though many of the asylum seekers were claiming to be escaping from persecution by the terrorists or those who were harbouring them. Maybe the linking association is with Islam? It is possible that 'border protection' (like the Liberal Party's 1998 election slogan 'For all of us') is also ambiguous enough to attract opponents of multiculturalism without alienating its supporters.2 Boat-loads of new arrivals have long caused fear among Australians. For much of Australia's British history, we were terrified of invasions from our north -- not just the 'yellow peril', it even included the Russians and the French, from whom Australians were protected by fortresses along the coast. This was immortalized in the final verse of the politically incorrect early version of Advance Australia Fair: Should foreign foe e'er sight our coast Or dare a foot to land, We'll rouse to arms like siers of yore To guard our native strand; Brittania then shall surely know, Beyond wide oceans roll Her sons in fair Australia's land Still keep a British soul, In joyful strains, etc. In fact, the entire original version of Advance Australia Fair has a predominantly exclusionist theme which contrasts with the inclusive values embodied in the present national anthem. While our 'politically correct' version has 'boundless plains to share' with 'those who've come across the seas', they are only open to 'loyal sons' in the original, which is steeped in colonial jingoism. The gender-inclusive 'Australians all' replaces 'Australia's sons' as the opening appellation. Are our politicians leading us back from an inclusive and open identity? I do not have space to go into the opposing discourse, which has come largely from academic social scientists, former prime ministers, and ministers of both major parties, current politicians of the minor parties, and journalists from the broadsheet press and the ABC. Objections are often raised against the 'demonisation' and 'dehumanisation' of the asylum seekers. In this short article, I have tried to demonstrate the techniques used to do this. The use of 'illegal' and 'queue jumper' to represent asylum seekers differentiates them from 'refugees' and 'migrants' and has removed them from any category with whom existing Australians should show solidarity. What makes them different is that they are cruel, even to their children, dishonest and imposters, badly behaved, unfair and disorderly – enemies of the Australian people, who want to deprive them of their sovereignty. It is interesting to see this in contrast to the comment of a spokesperson from Rural Australians for Refugees (AM, Radio National, 26 Jan. 2002): 'We can't recognise our country anymore which was based on fairness and fair go'. Notes This is based on 'When the discourse of hatred becomes respectable – does the linguist have a responsibility?', a paper presented at the Australian Linguistic Society conference at Macquarie University, July 2001. Some of the same data was discussed in 'The discourse excluding asylum seekers – have we been brainwashed?' Australian Language Matters 10: 3-10, by the same author. Research assistance from Felicity Grey is gratefully acknowledged. 2 I thank Felicity Meakins for this suggestion. References Clyne, Michael. Inter-Cultural Communication at Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Clyne, Michael. 'Establishing Linguistic Markers of Racism.' Language and Peace. Ed. C. Schäffner and A.Wenden. Dartmouth: Aldershot, 1995. 111-18. MacCallum, Mungo. Girt by Sea (Quarterly Essay). Melbourne: Black, 2002. Markus, Andrew. 'John Howard and the Naturalization of Bigotry.' The Resurgence of Racism. Ed. G.Gray and C.Winter. Clayton: Monash University, Department of History (Monash Publications in History 24), 1997. 79-86. Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Clyne, Michael. "Saving Us From Them" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5.5 (2002). [your date of access] < http://www.media-culture.org.au/mc/0210/Clyne.html &gt. Chicago Style Clyne, Michael, "Saving Us From Them" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5, no. 5 (2002), < http://www.media-culture.org.au/mc/0210/Clyne.html &gt ([your date of access]). APA Style Clyne, Michael. (2002) Saving Us From Them. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5(5). < http://www.media-culture.org.au/mc/0210/Clyne.html &gt ([your date of access]).

15

Flew, Terry. "Right to the City, Desire for the Suburb?" M/C Journal 14, no.4 (August18, 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.368.

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The 2000s have been a lively decade for cities. The Worldwatch Institute estimated that 2007 was the first year in human history that more people worldwide lived in cities than the countryside. Globalisation and new digital media technologies have generated the seemingly paradoxical outcome that spatial location came to be more rather than less important, as combinations of firms, industries, cultural activities and creative talents have increasingly clustered around a select node of what have been termed “creative cities,” that are in turn highly networked into global circuits of economic capital, political power and entertainment media. Intellectually, the period has seen what the UCLA geographer Ed Soja refers to as the spatial turn in social theory, where “whatever your interests may be, they can be significantly advanced by adopting a critical spatial perspective” (2). This is related to the dynamic properties of socially constructed space itself, or what Soja terms “the powerful forces that arise from socially produced spaces such as urban agglomerations and cohesive regional economies,” with the result that “what can be called the stimulus of socio-spatial agglomeration is today being assertively described as the primary cause of economic development, technological innovation, and cultural creativity” (14). The demand for social justice in cities has, in recent years, taken the form of “Right to the City” movements. The “Right to the City” movement draws upon the long tradition of radical urbanism in which the Paris Commune of 1871 features prominently, and which has both its Marxist and anarchist variants, as well as the geographer Henri Lefebvre’s (1991) arguments that capitalism was fundamentally driven by the production of space, and that the citizens of a city possessed fundamental rights by virtue of being in a city, meaning that political struggle in capitalist societies would take an increasingly urban form. Manifestations of contemporary “Right to the City” movements have been seen in the development of a World Charter for the Right to the City, Right to the City alliances among progressive urban planners as well as urban activists, forums that bring together artists, architects, activists and urban geographers, and a variety of essays on the subject by radical geographers including David Harvey, whose work I wish to focus upon here. In his 2008 essay "The Right to the City," Harvey presents a manifesto for 21st century radical politics that asserts that the struggle for collective control over cities marks the nodal point of anti-capitalist movements today. It draws together a range of strands of arguments recognizable to those familiar with Harvey’s work, including Marxist political economy, the critique of neoliberalism, the growth of social inequality in the U.S. in particular, and concerns about the rise of speculative finance capital and its broader socio-economic consequences. My interest in Harvey’s manifesto here arises not so much from his prognosis for urban radicalism, but from how he understands the suburban in relation to this urban class struggle. It is an important point to consider because, in many parts of the world, growing urbanisation is in fact growing suburbanisation. This is the case for U.S. cities (Cox), and it is also apparent in Australian cities, with the rise in particular of outer suburban Master Planned Communities as a feature of the “New Prosperity” Australia has been experiencing since the mid 1990s (Flew; Infrastructure Australia). What we find in Harvey’s essay is that the suburban is clearly sub-urban, or an inferior form of city living. Suburbs are variously identified by Harvey as being:Sites for the expenditure of surplus capital, as a safety valve for overheated finance capitalism (Harvey 27);Places where working class militancy is pacified through the promotion of mortgage debt, which turns suburbanites into political conservatives primarily concerned with maintaining their property values;Places where “the neoliberal ethic of intense possessive individualism, and its cognate of political withdrawal from collective forms of action” are actively promoted through the proliferation of shopping malls, multiplexes, franchise stores and fast-food outlets, leading to “pacification by cappuccino” (32);Places where women are actively oppressed, so that “leading feminists … [would] proclaim the suburb as the locus of all their primary discontents” (28);A source of anti-capitalist struggle, as “the soulless qualities of suburban living … played a critical role in the dramatic events of 1968 in the US [as] discontented white middle-class students went into a phase of revolt, sought alliances with marginalized groups claiming civil rights and rallied against American imperialism” (28).Given these negative associations, one could hardly imagine citizens demanding the right to the suburb, in the same way as Harvey projects the right to the city as a rallying cry for a more democratic social order. Instead, from an Australian perspective, one is reminded of the critiques of suburbia that have been a staple of radical theory from the turn of the 20th century to the present day (Collis et. al.). Demanding the “right to the suburb” would appear here as an inherently contradictory demand, that could only be desired by those who the Australian radical psychoanalytic theorist Douglas Kirsner described as living an alienated existence where:Watching television, cleaning the car, unnecessary housework and spectator sports are instances of general life-patterns in our society: by adopting these patterns the individual submits to a uniform life fashioned from outside, a pseudo-life in which the question of individual self-realisation does not even figure. People live conditioned, unconscious lives, reproducing the values of the system as a whole (Kirsner 23). The problem with this tradition of radical critique, which is perhaps reflective of the estrangement of a section of the Australian critical intelligentsia more generally, is that most Australians live in suburbs, and indeed seem (not surprisingly!) to like living in them. Indeed, each successive wave of migration to Australia has been marked by families seeking a home in the suburbs, regardless of the housing conditions of the place they came from: the demand among Singaporeans for large houses in Perth, or what has been termed “Singaperth,” is one of many manifestations of this desire (Lee). Australian suburban development has therefore been characterized by a recurring tension between the desire of large sections of the population to own their own home (the fabled quarter-acre block) in the suburbs, and the condemnation of suburban life from an assortment of intellectuals, political radicals and cultural critics. This was the point succinctly made by the economist and urban planner Hugh Stretton in his 1970 book Ideas for Australian Cities, where he observed that “Most Australians choose to live in suburbs, in reach of city centres and also of beaches or countryside. Many writers condemn this choice, and with especial anger or gloom they condemn the suburbs” (Stretton 7). Sue Turnbull has observed that “suburbia has come to constitute a cultural fault-line in Australia over the last 100 years” (19), while Ian Craven has described suburbia as “a term of contention and a focus for fundamentally conflicting beliefs” in the Australian national imaginary “whose connotations continue to oscillate between dream and suburban nightmare” (48). The tensions between celebration and critique of suburban life play themselves out routinely in the Australian media, from the sun-lit suburbanism of Australia’s longest running television serial dramas, Neighbours and Home and Away, to the pointed observational critiques found in Australian comedy from Barry Humphries to Kath and Kim, to the dark visions of films such as The Boys and Animal Kingdom (Craven; Turnbull). Much as we may feel that the diagnosis of suburban life as a kind of neurotic condition had gone the way of the concept album or the tie-dye shirt, newspaper feature writers such as Catherine Deveny, writing in The Age, have offered the following as a description of the Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne’s eastern suburbChadstone is a metastasised tumour of offensive proportions that's easy to find. You simply follow the line of dead-eyed wage slaves attracted to this cynical, hermetically sealed weatherless biosphere by the promise a new phone will fix their punctured soul and homewares and jumbo caramel mugachinos will fill their gaping cavern of disappointment … No one looks happy. Everyone looks anaesthetised. A day spent at Chadstone made me understand why they call these shopping centres complexes. Complex as in a psychological problem that's difficult to analyse, understand or solve. (Deveny) Suburbanism has been actively promoted throughout Australia’s history since European settlement. Graeme Davison has observed that “Australia’s founders anticipated a sprawl of homes and gardens rather than a clumping of terraces and alleys,” and quotes Governor Arthur Phillip’s instructions to the first urban developers of the Sydney Cove colony in 1790 that streets shall be “laid out in such a manner as to afford free circulation of air, and where the houses are built … the land will be granted with a clause that will prevent more than one house being built on the allotment” (Davison 43). Louise Johnson (2006) argued that the main features of 20th century Australian suburbanisation were very much in place by the 1920s, particularly land-based capitalism and the bucolic ideal of home as a retreat from the dirt, dangers and density of the city. At the same time, anti-suburbanism has been a significant influence in Australian public thought. Alan Gilbert (1988) drew attention to the argument that Australia’s suburbs combined the worst elements of the city and country, with the absence of both the grounded community associated with small towns, and the mental stimuli and personal freedom associated with the city. Australian suburbs have been associated with spiritual emptiness, the promotion of an ersatz, one-dimensional consumer culture, the embourgeoisment of the working-class, and more generally criticised for being “too pleasant, too trivial, too domestic and far too insulated from … ‘real’ life” (Gilbert 41). There is also an extensive feminist literature critiquing suburbanization, seeing it as promoting the alienation of women and the unequal sexual division of labour (Game and Pringle). More recently, critiques of suburbanization have focused on the large outer-suburban homes developed on new housing estates—colloquially known as McMansions—that are seen as being environmentally unsustainable and emblematic of middle-class over-consumption. Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss’s Affluenza (2005) is a locus classicus of this type of argument, and organizations such as the Australia Institute—which Hamilton and Denniss have both headed—have regularly published papers making such arguments. Can the Suburbs Make You Creative?In such a context, championing the Australian suburb can feel somewhat like being an advocate for Dan Brown novels, David Williamson plays, Will Ferrell comedies, or TV shows such as Two and a Half Men. While it may put you on the side of majority opinion, you can certainly hear the critical axe grinding and possibly aimed at your head, not least because of the association of such cultural forms with mass popular culture, or the pseudo-life of an alienated existence. The art of a program such as Kath and Kim is that, as Sue Turnbull so astutely notes, it walks both sides of the street, both laughing with and laughing at Australian suburban culture, with its celebrity gossip magazines, gourmet butcher shops, McManisons and sales at Officeworks. Gina Riley and Jane Turner’s inspirations for the show can be seen with the presence of such suburban icons as Shane Warne, Kylie Minogue and Barry Humphries as guests on the program. Others are less nuanced in their satire. The website Things Bogans Like relentlessly pillories those who live in McMansions, wear Ed Hardy t-shirts and watch early evening current affairs television, making much of the lack of self-awareness of those who would simultaneously acquire Buddhist statues for their homes and take budget holidays in Bali and phu*ket while denouncing immigration and multiculturalism. It also jokes about the propensity of “bogans” to loudly proclaim that those who question their views on such matters are demonstrating “political correctness gone mad,” appealing to the intellectual and moral authority of writers such as the Melbourne Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. There is also the “company you keep” question. Critics of over-consuming middle-class suburbia such as Clive Hamilton are strongly associated with the Greens, whose political stocks have been soaring in Australia’s inner cities, where the majority of Australia’s cultural and intellectual critics live and work. By contrast, the Liberal party under John Howard and now Tony Abbott has taken strongly to what could be termed suburban realism over the 1990s and 2000s. Examples of suburban realism during the Howard years included the former Member for Lindsay Jackie Kelly proclaiming that the voters of her electorate were not concerned with funding for their local university (University of Western Sydney) as the electorate was “pram city” and “no one in my electorate goes to uni” (Gibson and Brennan-Horley), and the former Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Garry Hardgrave, holding citizenship ceremonies at Bunnings hardware stores, so that allegiance to the Australian nation could co-exist with a sausage sizzle (Gleeson). Academically, a focus on the suburbs is at odds with Richard Florida’s highly influential creative class thesis, which stresses inner urban cultural amenity and “buzz” as the drivers of a creative economy. Unfortunately, it is also at odds with many of Florida’s critics, who champion inner city activism as the antidote to the ersatz culture of “hipsterisation” that they associate with Florida (Peck; Slater). A championing of suburban life and culture is associated with writers such as Joel Kotkin and the New Geography group, who also tend to be suspicious of claims made about the creative industries and the creative economy. It is worth noting, however, that there has been a rich vein of work on Australian suburbs among cultural geographers, that has got past urban/suburban binaries and considered the extent to which critiques of suburban Australia are filtered through pre-existing discursive categories rather than empirical research findings (Dowling and Mee; McGuirk and Dowling; Davies (this volume). I have been part of a team engaged in a three-year study of creative industries workers in outer suburban areas, known as the Creative Suburbia project.[i] The project sought to understand how those working in creative industries who lived and worked in the outer suburbs maintained networks, interacted with clients and their peers, and made a success of their creative occupations: it focused on six suburbs in the cities of Brisbane (Redcliffe, Springfield, Forest Lake) and Melbourne (Frankston, Dandenong, Caroline Springs). It was premised upon what has been an inescapable empirical fact: however much talk there is about the “return to the city,” the fastest rates of population growth are in the outer suburbs of Australia’s major cities (Infrastructure Australia), and this is as true for those working in creative industries occupations as it is for those in virtually all other industry and occupational sectors (Flew; Gibson and Brennan-Horley; Davies). While there is a much rehearsed imagined geography of the creative industries that points to creative talents clustering in dense, highly agglomerated inner city precincts, incubating their unique networks of trust and sociality through random encounters in the city, it is actually at odds with the reality of where people in these sectors choose to live and work, which is as often as not in the suburbs, where the citizenry are as likely to meet in their cars at traffic intersections than walking in city boulevards.There is of course a “yes, but” response that one could have to such empirical findings, which is to accept that the creative workforce is more suburbanised than is commonly acknowledged, but to attribute this to people being driven out of the inner city by high house prices and rents, which may or may not be by-products of a Richard Florida-style strategy to attract the creative class. In other words, people live in the outer suburbs because they are driven out of the inner city. From our interviews with 130 people across these six suburban locations, the unequivocal finding was that this was not the case. While a fair number of our respondents had indeed moved from the inner city, just as many would—if given the choice—move even further away from the city towards a more rural setting as they would move closer to it. While there are clearly differences between suburbs, with creative people in Redcliffe being generally happier than those in Springfield, for example, it was quite clear that for many of these people a suburban location helped them in their creative practice, in ways that included: the aesthetic qualities of the location; the availability of “headspace” arising from having more time to devote to creative work rather than other activities such as travelling and meeting people; less pressure to conform to a stereotyped image of how one should look and act; financial savings from having access to lower-cost locations; and time saved by less commuting between locations.These creative workers generally did not see having access to the “buzz” associated with the inner city as being essential for pursuing work in their creative field, and they were just as likely to establish hardware stores and shopping centres as networking hubs as they were cafes and bars. While being located in the suburbs was disadvantageous in terms of access to markets and clients, but this was often seen in terms of a trade-off for better quality of life. Indeed, contrary to the presumptions of those such as Clive Hamilton and Catherine Deveny, they could draw creative inspiration from creative locations themselves, without feeling subjected to “pacification by cappuccino.” The bigger problem was that so many of the professional associations they dealt with would hold events in the inner city in the late afternoon or early evening, presuming people living close by and/or not having domestic or family responsibilities at such times. The role played by suburban locales such as hardware stores as sites for professional networking and as elements of creative industries value chains has also been documented in studies undertaken of Darwin as a creative city in Australia’s tropical north (Brennan-Horley and Gibson; Brennan-Horley et al.). Such a revised sequence in the cultural geography of the creative industries has potentially great implications for how urban cultural policy is being approached. The assumption that the creative industries are best developed in cities by investing heavily in inner urban cultural amenity runs the risk of simply bypassing those areas where the bulk of the nation’s artists, musicians, filmmakers and other cultural workers actually are, which is in the suburbs. Moreover, by further concentrating resources among already culturally rich sections of the urban population, such policies run the risk of further accentuating spatial inequalities in the cultural realm, and achieving the opposite of what is sought by those seeking spatial justice or the right to the city. An interest in broadband infrastructure or suburban university campuses is certainly far more prosaic than a battle for control of the nation’s cultural institutions or guerilla actions to reclaim the city’s streets. Indeed, it may suggest aspirations no higher than those displayed by Kath and Kim or by the characters of Barry Humphries’ satirical comedy. But however modest or utilitarian a focus on developing cultural resources in Australian suburbs may seem, it is in fact the most effective way of enabling the forms of spatial justice in the cultural sphere that many progressive people seek. ReferencesBrennan-Horley, Chris, and Chris Gibson. “Where Is Creativity in the City? Integrating Qualitative and GIS Methods.” Environment and Planning A 41.11 (2009): 2595–614. Brennan-Horley, Chris, Susan Luckman, Chris Gibson, and J. Willoughby-Smith. “GIS, Ethnography and Cultural Research: Putting Maps Back into Ethnographic Mapping.” The Information Society: An International Journal 26.2 (2010): 92–103.Collis, Christy, Emma Felton, and Phil Graham. “Beyond the Inner City: Real and Imagined Places in Creative Place Policy and Practice.” The Information Society: An International Journal 26.2 (2010): 104–12.Cox, Wendell. “The Still Elusive ‘Return to the City’.” New Geography 28 February 2011. < http://www.newgeography.com/content/002070-the-still-elusive-return-city >.Craven, Ian. “Cinema, Postcolonialism and Australian Suburbia.” Australian Studies 1995: 45-69. Davies, Alan. “Are the Suburbs Dormitories?” The Melbourne Urbanist 21 Sep. 2010. < http://melbourneurbanist.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/are-the-suburbs-dormitories/ >.Davison, Graeme. "Australia: The First Suburban Nation?” Journal of Urban History 22.1 (1995): 40-75. Deveny, Catherine. “No One Out Alive.” The Age 29 Oct. 2009. < http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/no-one-gets-out-alive-20091020-h6yh.html >.Dowling, Robyn, and K. Mee. “Tales of the City: Western Sydney at the End of the Millennium.” Sydney: The Emergence of World City. Ed. John Connell. Melbourne: Oxford UP, 2000. 244–72.Flew, Terry. “Economic Prosperity, Suburbanization and the Creative Workforce: Findings from Australian Suburban Communities.” Spaces and Flows: Journal of Urban and Extra-Urban Studies 1.1 (2011, forthcoming).Game, Ann, and Rosemary Pringle. “Sexuality and the Suburban Dream.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology 15.2 (1979): 4–15.Gibson, Chris, and Chris Brennan-Horley. “Goodbye Pram City: Beyond Inner/Outer Zone Binaries in Creative City Research.” Urban Policy and Research 24.4 (2006): 455–71. Gilbert, A. “The Roots of Australian Anti-Suburbanism.” Australian Cultural History. Ed. S. I. Goldberg and F. B. Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. 33–39. Gleeson, Brendan. Australian Heartlands: Making Space for Hope in the Suburbs. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2006.Hamilton, Clive, and Richard Denniss. Affluenza. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2005.Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review 53 (2008): 23–40.Infrastructure Australia. State of Australian Cities 2010. Infrastructure Australia Major Cities Unit. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. 2010.Johnson, Lesley. “Style Wars: Revolution in the Suburbs?” Australian Geographer 37.2 (2006): 259–77. Kirsner, Douglas. “Domination and the Flight from Being.” Australian Capitalism: Towards a Socialist Critique. Eds. J. Playford and D. Kirsner. Melbourne: Penguin, 1972. 9–31.Kotkin, Joel. “Urban Legends.” Foreign Policy 181 (2010): 128–34. Lee, Terence. “The Singaporean Creative Suburb of Perth: Rethinking Cultural Globalization.” Globalization and Its Counter-Forces in South-East Asia. Ed. T. Chong. Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2008. 359–78. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.McGuirk, P., and Robyn Dowling. “Understanding Master-Planned Estates in Australian Cities: A Framework for Research.” Urban Policy and Research 25.1 (2007): 21–38Peck, Jamie. “Struggling with the Creative Class.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29.4 (2005): 740–70. Slater, Tom. “The Eviction of Critical Perspectives from Gentrification Research.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30.4 (2006): 737–57. Soja, Ed. Seeking Spatial Justice. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2010.Stretton, Hugh. Ideas for Australian Cities. Melbourne: Penguin, 1970.Turnbull, Sue. “Mapping the Vast Suburban Tundra: Australian Comedy from Dame Edna to Kath and Kim.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 11.1 (2008): 15–32.

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Brabazon, Tara. "Welcome to the Robbiedome." M/C Journal 4, no.3 (June1, 2001). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1907.

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One of the greatest joys in watching Foxtel is to see all the crazy people who run talk shows. Judgement, ridicule and generalisations slip from their tongues like overcooked lamb off a bone. From Oprah to Rikki, from Jerry to Mother Love, the posterior of pop culture claims a world-wide audience. Recently, a new talk diva was added to the pay television stable. Dr Laura Schlessinger, the Mother of Morals, prowls the soundstage. attacking 'selfish acts' such as divorce, de facto relationships and voting Democrat. On April 11, 2001, a show aired in Australia that added a new demon to the decadence of the age. Dr Laura had been told that a disgusting video clip, called 'Rock DJ', had been televised at 2:30pm on MTV. Children could have been watching. The footage that so troubled our doyenne of daytime featured the British performer Robbie Williams not only stripping in front of disinterested women, but then removing skin, muscle and tissue in a desperate attempt to claim their gaze. This was too much for Dr Laura. She was horrified: her strident tone became piercing. She screeched, "this is si-ee-ck." . My paper is drawn to this sick masculinity, not to judge - but to laugh and theorise. Robbie Williams, the deity of levity, holds a pivotal role in theorising the contemporary 'crisis' of manhood. To paraphrase Austin Powers, Williams returned the ger to singer. But Williams also triumphed in a captivatingly original way. He is one of the few members of a boy band who created a successful solo career without regurgitating the middle of the road mantras of boys, girls, love, loss and whining about it. Williams' journey through post-war popular music, encompassing influences from both Sinatra and Sonique, forms a functional collage, rather than patchwork, of masculinity. He has been prepared to not only age in public, but to discuss the crevices and cracks in the facade. He strips, smokes, plays football, wears interesting underwear and drinks too much. My short paper trails behind this combustible masculinity, focussing on his sorties with both masculine modalities and the rock discourse. My words attack the gap between text and readership, beat and ear, music and men. The aim is to reveal how this 'sick masculinity' problematises the conservative rendering of men's crisis. Come follow me I'm an honorary Sean Connery, born '74 There's only one of me … Press be asking do I care for sodomy I don't know, yeah, probably I've been looking for serial monogamy Not some bird that looks like Billy Connolly But for now I'm down for ornithology Grab your binoculars, come follow me. 'Kids,' Robbie Williams Robbie Williams is a man for our age. Between dating supermodels and Geri 'Lost Spice' Halliwell [1], he has time to "love … his mum and a pint," (Ansen 85) but also subvert the Oasis co*ck(rock)tail by frocking up for a television appearance. Williams is important to theories of masculine representation. As a masculinity to think with, he creates popular culture with a history. In an era where Madonna practices yoga and wears cowboy boots, it is no surprise that by June 2000, Robbie Williams was voted the world's sexist man [2]. A few months later, in the October edition of Vogue, he posed in a British flag bikini. It is reassuring in an era where a 12 year old boy states that "You aren't a man until you shoot at something," (Issac in Mendel 19) that positive male role models exist who are prepared to both wear a frock and strip on national television. Reading Robbie Williams is like dipping into the most convincing but draining of intellectual texts. He is masculinity in motion, conveying foreignness, transgression and corruption, bartering in the polymorphous economies of sex, colonialism, race, gender and nation. His career has spanned the boy bands, try-hard rock, video star and hybrid pop performer. There are obvious resonances between the changes to Williams and alterations in masculinity. In 1988, Suzanne Moore described (the artist still known as) Prince as "the pimp of postmodernism." (165-166) Over a decade later, the simulacra has a new tour guide. Williams revels in the potency of representation. He rarely sings about love or romance, as was his sonic fodder in Take That. Instead, his performance is fixated on becoming a better man, glancing an analytical eye over other modes of masculinity. Notions of masculine crisis and sickness have punctuated this era. Men's studies is a boom area of cultural studies, dislodging the assumed structures of popular culture [3]. William Pollack's Real Boys has created a culture of changing expectations for men. The greater question arising from his concerns is why these problems, traumas and difficulties are emerging in our present. Pollack's argument is that boys and young men invest energy and time "disguising their deepest and most vulnerable feelings." (15) This masking is difficult to discern within dance and popular music. Through lyrics and dancing, videos and choreography, masculinity is revealed as convoluted, complex and fragmented. While rock music is legitimised by dominant ideologies, marginalised groups frequently use disempowered genres - like country, dance and rap genres - to present oppositional messages. These competing representations expose seamless interpretations of competent masculinity. Particular skills are necessary to rip the metaphoric pacifier out of the masculine mouth of popular culture. Patriarchal pop revels in the paradoxes of everyday life. Frequently these are nostalgic visions, which Kimmel described as a "retreat to a bygone era." (87) It is the recognition of a shared, simpler past that provides reinforcement to heteronormativity. Williams, as a gaffer tape masculinity, pulls apart the gaps and crevices in representation. Theorists must open the interpretative space encircling popular culture, disrupting normalising criteria. Multiple nodes of assessment allow a ranking of competent masculinity. From sport to business, drinking to sex, masculinity is transformed into a wired site of ranking, judgement and determination. Popular music swims in the spectacle of maleness. From David Lee Roth's skied splits to Eminem's beanie, young men are interpellated as subjects in patriarchy. Robbie Williams is a history lesson in post war masculinity. This nostalgia is conservative in nature. The ironic pastiche within his music videos features motor racing, heavy metal and Bond films. 'Rock DJ', the 'sick text' that vexed Doctor Laura, is Williams' most elaborate video. Set in a rollerdrome with female skaters encircling a central podium, the object of fascination and fetish is a male stripper. This strip is different though, as it disrupts the power held by men in phallocentralism. After being confronted by Williams' naked body, the observing women are both bored and disappointed at the lack-lustre deployment of masculine genitalia. After this display, Williams appears embarrassed, confused and humiliated. As Buchbinder realised, "No actual penis could every really measure up to the imagined sexual potency and social or magical power of the phallus." (49) To render this banal experience of male nudity ridiculous, Williams then proceeds to remove skin and muscle. He finally becomes an object of attraction for the female DJ only in skeletal form. By 'going all the way,' the strip confirms the predictability of masculinity and the ordinariness of the male body. For literate listeners though, a higher level of connotation is revealed. The song itself is based on Barry White's melody for 'It's ecstasy (when you lay down next to me).' Such intertextuality accesses the meta-racist excesses of a licentious black male sexuality. A white boy dancer must deliver an impotent, but ironic, rendering of White's (love unlimited) orchestration of potent sexuality. Williams' iconography and soundtrack is refreshing, emerging from an era of "men who cling … tightly to their illusions." (Faludi 14) When the ideological drapery is cut away, the male body is a major disappointment. Masculinity is an anxious performance. Fascinatingly, this deconstructive video has been demeaned through its labelling as p*rnography [4]. Oddly, a man who is prepared to - literally - shave the skin of masculinity is rendered offensive. Men's studies, like feminism, has been defrocking masculinity for some time. Robinson for example, expressed little sympathy for "whiny men jumping on the victimisation bandwagon or playing cowboys and Indians at warrior weekends and beating drums in sweat lodges." (6) By grating men's identity back to the body, the link between surface and depth - or identity and self - is forged. 'Rock DJ' attacks the new subjectivities of the male body by not only generating self-surveillance, but humour through the removal of clothes, skin and muscle. He continues this play with the symbols of masculine performance throughout the album Sing when you're winning. Featuring soccer photographs of players, coaches and fans, closer inspection of the images reveal that Robbie Williams is actually every character, in every role. His live show also enfolds diverse performances. Singing a version of 'My Way,' with cigarette in tow, he remixes Frank Sinatra into a replaying and recutting of masculine fabric. He follows one dominating masculinity with another: the Bond-inspired 'Millennium.' Some say that we are players Some say that we are pawns But we've been making money Since the day we were born Robbie Williams is comfortably located in a long history of post-Sinatra popular music. He mocks the rock ethos by combining guitars and drums with a gleaming brass section, hailing the lounge act of Dean Martin, while also using rap and dance samples. Although carrying fifty year's of crooner baggage, the spicy scent of hom*osexuality has also danced around Robbie Williams' career. Much of this ideology can be traced back to the Take That years. As Gary Barlow and Jason Orange commented at the time, Jason: So the rumour is we're all gay now are we? Gary: Am I gay? I am? Why? Oh good. Just as long as we know. Howard: Does anyone think I'm gay? Jason: No, you're the only one people think is straight. Howard: Why aren't I gay? What's wrong with me? Jason: It's because you're such a fine figure of macho manhood.(Kadis 17) For those not literate in the Take That discourse, it should come as no surprise that Howard was the TT equivalent of The Beatle's Ringo Starr or Duran Duran's Andy Taylor. Every boy band requires the ugly, shy member to make the others appear taller and more attractive. The inference of this dialogue is that the other members of the group are simply too handsome to be heterosexual. This ambiguous sexuality has followed Williams into his solo career, becoming fodder for those lads too unappealing to be hom*osexual: Oasis. Born to be mild I seem to spend my life Just waiting for the chorus 'Cause the verse is never nearly Good enough Robbie Williams "Singing for the lonely." Robbie Williams accesses a bigger, brighter and bolder future than Britpop. While the Gallagher brothers emulate and worship the icons of 1960s British music - from the Beatles' haircuts to the Stones' psychedelia - Williams' songs, videos and persona are chattering in a broader cultural field. From Noel Cowardesque allusions to the ordinariness of pub culture, Williams is much more than a pretty-boy singer. He has become an icon of English masculinity, enclosing all the complexity that these two terms convey. Williams' solo success from 1999-2001 occurred at the time of much parochial concern that British acts were not performing well in the American charts. It is bemusing to read Billboard over this period. The obvious quality of Britney Spears is seen to dwarf the mediocrity of British performers. The calibre of Fatboy Slim, carrying a smiley backpack stuffed with reflexive dance culture, is neither admitted nor discussed. It is becoming increasing strange to monitor the excessive fame of Williams in Britain, Europe, Asia and the Pacific when compared to his patchy career in the United States. Even some American magazines are trying to grasp the disparity. The swaggering king of Britpop sold a relatively measly 600,000 copies of his U.S. debut album, The ego has landed … Maybe Americans didn't appreciate his songs about being famous. (Ask Dr. Hip 72) In the first few years of the 2000s, it has been difficult to discuss a unified Anglo-American musical formation. Divergent discursive frameworks have emerged through this British evasion. There is no longer an agreed centre to the musical model. Throughout 1990s Britain, blackness jutted out of dance floor mixes, from reggae to dub, jazz and jungle. Plied with the coldness of techno was an almost too hot hip hop. Yet both were alternate trajectories to Cool Britannia. London once more became swinging, or as Vanity Fair declared, "the nerve centre of pop's most cohesive scene since the Pacific Northwest grunge explosion of 1991." (Kamp 102) Through Britpop, the clock turned back to the 1960s, a simpler time before race became 'a problem' for the nation. An affiliation was made between a New Labour, formed by the 1997 British election, and the rebirth of a Swinging London [5]. This style-driven empire supposedly - again - made London the centre of the world. Britpop was itself a misnaming. It was a strong sense of Englishness that permeated the lyrics, iconography and accent. Englishness requires a Britishness to invoke a sense of bigness and greatness. The contradictions and excesses of Blur, Oasis and Pulp resonate in the gap between centre and periphery, imperial core and colonised other. Slicing through the arrogance and anger of the Gallaghers is a yearning for colonial simplicity, when the pink portions of the map were the stable subjects of geography lessons, rather than the volatile embodiment of postcolonial theory. Simon Gikandi argues that "the central moments of English cultural identity were driven by doubts and disputes about the perimeters of the values that defined Englishness." (x) The reason that Britpop could not 'make it big' in the United States is because it was recycling an exhausted colonial dreaming. Two old Englands were duelling for ascendancy: the Oasis-inflected Manchester working class fought Blur-inspired London art school chic. This insular understanding of difference had serious social and cultural consequences. The only possible representation of white, British youth was a tabloidisation of Oasis's behaviour through swearing, drug excess and violence. Simon Reynolds realised that by returning to the three minute pop tune that the milkman can whistle, reinvoking parochial England with no black people, Britpop has turned its back defiantly on the future. (members.aol.com/blissout/Britpop.html) Fortunately, another future had already happened. The beats per minute were pulsating with an urgent affirmation of change, hybridity and difference. Hip hop and techno mapped a careful cartography of race. While rock was colonialisation by other means, hip hop enacted a decolonial imperative. Electronic dance music provided a unique rendering of identity throughout the 1990s. It was a mode of musical communication that moved across national and linguistic boundaries, far beyond Britpop or Stateside rock music. While the Anglo American military alliance was matched and shadowed by postwar popular culture, Brit-pop signalled the end of this hegemonic formation. From this point, English pop and American rock would not sail as smoothly over the Atlantic. While 1995 was the year of Wonderwall, by 1996 the Britpop bubble corroded the faces of the Gallagher brothers. Oasis was unable to complete the American tour. Yet other cultural forces were already active. 1996 was also the year of Trainspotting, with "Born Slippy" being the soundtrack for a blissful journey under the radar. This was a cultural force that no longer required America as a reference point [6]. Robbie Williams was able to integrate the histories of Britpop and dance culture, instigating a complex dialogue between the two. Still, concern peppered music and entertainment journals that British performers were not accessing 'America.' As Sharon Swart stated Britpop acts, on the other hand, are finding it less easy to crack the U.S. market. The Spice Girls may have made some early headway, but fellow purveyors of pop, such as Robbie Williams, can't seem to get satisfaction from American fans. (35 British performers had numerous cultural forces working against them. Flat global sales, the strength of the sterling and the slow response to the new technological opportunities of DVD, all caused problems. While Britpop "cleaned house," (Boehm 89) it was uncertain which cultural formation would replace this colonising force. Because of the complex dialogues between the rock discourse and dance culture, time and space were unable to align into a unified market. American critics simply could not grasp Robbie Williams' history, motives or iconography. It's Robbie's world, we just buy tickets for it. Unless, of course you're American and you don't know jack about soccer. That's the first mistake Williams makes - if indeed one of his goals is to break big in the U.S. (and I can't believe someone so ambitious would settle for less.) … Americans, it seems, are most fascinated by British pop when it presents a mirror image of American pop. (Woods 98 There is little sense that an entirely different musical economy now circulates, where making it big in the United States is not the singular marker of credibility. Williams' demonstrates commitment to the international market, focussing on MTV Asia, MTV online, New Zealand and Australian audiences [7]. The Gallagher brothers spent much of the 1990s trying to be John Lennon. While Noel, at times, knocked at the door of rock legends through "Wonderwall," he snubbed Williams' penchant for pop glory, describing him as a "fat dancer." (Gallagher in Orecklin 101) Dancing should not be decried so summarily. It conveys subtle nodes of bodily knowledge about men, women, sex and desire. While men are validated for bodily movement through sport, women's dancing remains a performance of voyeuristic attention. Such a divide is highly repressive of men who dance, with gayness infiltrating the metaphoric masculine dancefloor [8]. Too often the binary of male and female is enmeshed into the divide of rock and dance. Actually, these categories slide elegantly over each other. The male pop singers are located in a significant semiotic space. Robbie Williams carries these contradictions and controversy. NO! Robbie didn't go on NME's cover in a 'desperate' attempt to seduce nine-year old knickerwetters … YES! He used to be teenybopper fodder. SO WHAT?! So did the Beatles the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, etc blah blah pseudohistoricalrockbollocks. NO! Making music that gurlz like is NOT a crime! (Wells 62) There remains an uncertainty in his performance of masculinity and at times, a deliberate ambivalence. He grafts subversiveness into a specific lineage of English pop music. The aim for critics of popular music is to find a way to create a rhythm of resistance, rather than melody of credible meanings. In summoning an archaeology of the archive, we begin to write a popular music history. Suzanne Moore asked why men should "be interested in a sexual politics based on the frightfully old-fashioned ideas of truth, identity and history?" (175) The reason is now obvious. Femininity is no longer alone on the simulacra. It is impossible to separate real men from the representations of masculinity that dress the corporeal form. Popular music is pivotal, not for collapsing the representation into the real, but for making the space between these states livable, and pleasurable. Like all semiotic sicknesses, the damaged, beaten and bandaged masculinity of contemporary music swaddles a healing pedagogic formation. Robbie Williams enables the writing of a critical history of post Anglo-American music [9]. Popular music captures such stories of place and identity. Significantly though, it also opens out spaces of knowing. There is an investment in rhythm that transgresses national histories of music. While Williams has produced albums, singles, video and endless newspaper copy, his most important revelations are volatile and ephemeral in their impact. He increases the popular cultural vocabulary of masculinity. [1] The fame of both Williams and Halliwell was at such a level that it was reported in the generally conservative, pages of Marketing. The piece was titled "Will Geri's fling lose its fizz?" Marketing, August 2000: 17. [2] For poll results, please refer to "Winners and Losers," Time International, Vol. 155, Issue 23, June 12, 2000, 9 [3] For a discussion of this growth in academic discourse on masculinity, please refer to Paul Smith's "Introduction," in P. Smith (ed.), Boys: Masculinity in contemporary culture. Colorado: Westview Press, 1996. [4] Steve Futterman described Rock DJ as the "least alluring p*rn video on MTV," in "The best and worst: honour roll," Entertainment Weekly 574-575 (December 22-December 29 2000): 146. [5] Michael Bracewell stated that "pop provides an unofficial cartography of its host culture, charting the national mood, marking the crossroads between the major social trends and the tunnels of the zeitgeist," in "Britpop's coming home, it's coming home." New Statesman .(February 21 1997): 36. [6] It is important to make my point clear. The 'America' that I am summoning here is a popular cultural formation, which possesses little connection with the territory, institution or defence initiatives of the United States. Simon Frith made this distinction clear, when he stated that "the question becomes whether 'America' can continue to be the mythical locale of popular culture as it has been through most of this century. As I've suggested, there are reasons now to suppose that 'America' itself, as a pop cultural myth, no longer bears much resemblance to the USA as a real place even in the myth." This statement was made in "Anglo-America and its discontents," Cultural Studies 5 1991: 268. [7] To observe the scale of attention paid to the Asian and Pacific markets, please refer to http://robbiewilliams.com/july13scroll.html, http://robbiewilliams.com/july19scroll.html and http://robbiewilliams.com/july24scroll.html, accessed on March 3, 2001 [8] At its most naïve, J. Michael Bailey and Michael Oberschneider asked, "Why are gay men so motivated to dance? One hypothesis is that gay men dance in order to be feminine. In other words, gay men dance because women do. An alternative hypothesis is that gay men and women share a common factor in their emotional make-up that makes dancing especially enjoyable," from "Sexual orientation in professional dance," Archives of Sexual Behaviour. 26.4 (August 1997). Such an interpretation is particularly ludicrous when considering the pre-rock and roll masculine dancing rituals in the jive, Charleston and jitterbug. Once more, the history of rock music is obscuring the history of dance both before the mid 1950s and after acid house. [9] Women, gay men and black communities through much of the twentieth century have used these popular spaces. For example, Lynne Segal, in Slow Motion. London: Virago, 1990, stated that "through dancing, athletic and erotic performance, but most powerfully through music, Black men could express something about the body and its physicality, about emotions and their cosmic reach, rarely found in white culture - least of all in white male culture,": 191 References Ansen, D., Giles, J., Kroll, J., Gates, D. and Schoemer, K. "What's a handsome lad to do?" Newsweek 133.19 (May 10, 1999): 85. "Ask Dr. Hip." U.S. News and World Report 129.16 (October 23, 2000): 72. Bailey, J. Michael., and Oberschneider, Michael. "Sexual orientation in professional dance." Archives of Sexual Behaviour. 26.4 (August 1997):expanded academic database [fulltext]. Boehm, E. "Pop will beat itself up." Variety 373.5 (December 14, 1998): 89. Bracewell, Michael. "Britpop's coming home, it's coming home." New Statesman.(February 21 1997): 36. Buchbinder, David. Performance Anxieties .Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1998. Faludi, Susan. Stiffed. London: Chatto and Windus, 1999. Frith, Simon. "Anglo-America and its discontents." Cultural Studies. 5 1991. Futterman, Steve. "The best and worst: honour roll." Entertainment Weekly, 574-575 (December 22-December 29 2000): 146. Gikandi, Simon. Maps of Englishness. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. Kadis, Alex. Take That: In private. London: Virgin Books, 1994. Kamp, D. "London Swings! Again!" Vanity Fair ( March 1997): 102. Kimmel, Michael. Manhood in America. New York: The Free Press, 1996. Mendell, Adrienne. How men think. New York: Fawcett, 1996. Moore, Susan. "Getting a bit of the other - the pimps of postmodernism." In Rowena Chapman and Jonathan Rutherford (ed.) Male Order .London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1988. 165-175. Orecklin, Michele. "People." Time. 155.10 (March 13, 2000): 101. Pollack, William. Real boys. Melbourne: Scribe Publications, 1999. Reynolds, Simon. members.aol.com/blissout/britpop.html. Accessed on April 15, 2001. Robinson, David. No less a man. Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University, 1994. Segal, Lynne. Slow Motion. London: Virago, 1990. Smith, Paul. "Introduction" in P. Smith (ed.), Boys: Masculinity in contemporary culture. Colorado: Westview Press, 1996. Swart, S. "U.K. Showbiz" Variety.(December 11-17, 2000): 35. Sexton, Paul and Masson, Gordon. "Tips for Brits who want U.S. success" Billboard .(September 9 2000): 1. Wells, Steven. "Angst." NME.(November 21 1998): 62. "Will Geri's fling lose its fizz?" Marketing.(August 2000): 17. Woods, S. "Robbie Williams Sing when you're winning" The Village Voice. 45.52. (January 2, 2001): 98.

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Edmundson, Anna. "Curating in the Postdigital Age." M/C Journal 18, no.4 (August10, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1016.

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Abstract:

It seems nowadays that any aspect of collecting and displaying tangible or intangible material culture is labeled as curating: shopkeepers curate their wares; DJs curate their musical selections; magazine editors curate media stories; and hipsters curate their coffee tables. Given the increasing ubiquity and complexity of 21st-century notions of curatorship, the current issue of MC Journal, ‘curate’, provides an excellent opportunity to consider some of the changes that have occurred in professional practice since the emergence of the ‘digital turn’. There is no doubt that the internet and interactive media have transformed the way we live our daily lives—and for many cultural commentators it only makes sense that they should also transform our cultural experiences. In this paper, I want to examine the issue of curatorial practice in the postdigital age, looking some of the ways that curating has changed over the last twenty years—and some of the ways it has not. The term postdigital comes from the work of Ross Parry, and is used to references the ‘tipping point’ where the use of digital technologies became normative practice in museums (24). Overall, I contend that although new technologies have substantially facilitated the way that curators do their jobs, core business and values have not changed as the result of the digital turn. While, major paradigm shifts have occurred in the field of professional curatorship over the last twenty years, these shifts have been issue-driven rather than a result of new technologies. Everyone’s a Curator In a 2009 article in the New York Times, journalist Alex Williams commented on the growing trend in American consumer culture of labeling oneself a curator. “The word ‘curate’,’’ he observed, “has become a fashionable code word among the aesthetically minded, who seem to paste it onto any activity that involves culling and selecting” (1). Williams dated the origins of the popular adoption of the term ‘curating’ to a decade earlier; noting the strong association between the uptake and the rise of the internet (2). This association is not surprising. The development of increasingly interactive software such as Web 2.0 has led to a rapid rise in new technologies aimed at connecting people and information in ways that were previously unimaginable. In particular the internet has become a space in which people can collect, store and most importantly share vast quantities of information. This information is often about objects. According to sociologist Jyri Engeström, the most successful social network sites on the internet (such as Pinterest, Flickr, Houzz etc), use discrete objects, rather than educational content or interpersonal relationships, as the basis for social interaction. So objects become the node for inter-personal communication. In these and other sites, internet users can find, collate and display multiple images of objects on the same page, which can in turn be connected at the press of a button to other related sources of information in the form of text, commentary or more images. These sites are often seen as the opportunity to virtually curate mini-exhibitions, as well as to create mood boards or sites of virtual consumption. The idea of curating as selective aesthetic editing is also popular in online markets places such as Etsy where numerous sellers offer ‘curated’ selections from home wares, to prints, to (my personal favorite) a curated selection of cat toys. In all of these exercises there is an emphasis on the idea of connoisseurship. As part of his article on the new breed of ‘curators’, for example, Alex Williams interviewed Tom Kalendrain, the Fashion Director of a leading American department store, which had engaged in a collaboration with Scott Schuman of the fashion blog, the Sartorialist. According to Kalendrain the store had asked Schuman to ‘curate’ a collection of clothes for them to sell. He justified calling Schuman a curator by explaining: “It was precisely his eye that made the store want to work with him; it was about the right shade of blue, about the cut, about the width of a lapel” (cited in Williams 2). The interview reveals much about current popular notions of what it means to be a curator. The central emphasis of Kalendrain’s distinction was on connoisseurship: exerting a privileged authoritative voice based on intimate knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to discern the very best examples from a plethora of choices. Ironically, in terms of contemporary museum practice, this is a model of curating that museums have consciously been trying to move away from for at least the last three decades. We are now witnessing an interesting disconnect in which the extra-museum community (represented in particular by a postdigital generation of cultural bloggers, commentators and entrepreneurs) are re-vivifying an archaic model of curating, based on object-centric connoisseurship, just at the point where professional curators had thought they had successfully moved on. From Being about Something to Being for Somebody The rejection of the object-expert model of curating has been so persuasive that it has transformed the way museums conduct core business across all sectors of the institution. Over the last thirty to forty years museums have witnessed a major pedagogical shift in how curators approach their work and how museums conceptualise their core values. These paradigmatic and pedagogical shifts were best characterised by the museologist Stephen Weil in his seminal article “From being about something to being for somebody.” Weil, writing in the late 1990s, noted that museums had turned away from traditional models in which individual curators (by way of scholarship and connoisseurship) dictated how the rest of the world (the audience) apprehended and understood significant objects of art, science and history—towards an audience centered approach where curators worked collaboratively with a variety of interested communities to create a pluralist forum for social change. In museum parlance these changes are referred to under the general rubric of the ‘new museology’: a paradigm shift, which had its origins in the 1970s; its gestation in the 1980s; and began to substantially manifest by the 1990s. Although no longer ‘new’, these shifts continue to influence museum practices in the 2000s. In her article, “Curatorship as Social Practice’” museologist Christina Kreps outlined some of the developments over recent decades that have challenged the object-centric model. According to Kreps, the ‘new museology’ was a paradigm shift that emerged from a widespread dissatisfaction with conventional interpretations of the museum and its functions and sought to re-orient itself away from strongly method and technique driven object-focused approaches. “The ‘new museum’ was to be people-centered, action-oriented, and devoted to social change and development” (315). An integral contributor to the developing new museology was the subjection of the western museum in the 1980s and ‘90s to representational critique from academics and activists. Such a critique entailed, in the words of Sharon Macdonald, questioning and drawing attention to “how meanings come to be inscribed and by whom, and how some come to be regarded as ‘right’ or taken as given” (3). Macdonald notes that postcolonial and feminist academics were especially engaged in this critique and the growing “identity politics” of the era. A growing engagement with the concept that museological /curatorial work is what Kreps (2003b) calls a ‘social process’, a recognition that; “people’s relationships to objects are primarily social and cultural ones” (154). This shift has particularly impacted on the practice of museum curatorship. By way of illustration we can compare two scholarly definitions of what constitutes a curator; one written in 1984 and one from 2001. The Manual of Curatorship, written in 1994 by Gary Edson and David Dean define a curator as: “a staff member or consultant who is as specialist in a particular field on study and who provides information, does research and oversees the maintenance, use, and enhancement of collections” (290). Cash Cash writing in 2001 defines curatorship instead as “a social practice predicated on the principle of a fixed relation between material objects and the human environment” (140). The shift has been towards increased self-reflexivity and a focus on greater plurality–acknowledging the needs of their diverse audiences and community stakeholders. As part of this internal reflection the role of curator has shifted from sole authority to cultural mediator—from connoisseur to community facilitator as a conduit for greater community-based conversation and audience engagement resulting in new interpretations of what museums are, and what their purpose is. This shift—away from objects and towards audiences—has been so great that it has led some scholars to question the need for museums to have standing collections at all. Do Museums Need Objects? In his provocatively titled work Do Museums Still Need Objects? Historian Steven Conn observes that many contemporary museums are turning away from the authority of the object and towards mass entertainment (1). Conn notes that there has been an increasing retreat from object-based research in the fields of art; science and ethnography; that less object-based research seems to be occurring in museums and fewer objects are being put on display (2). The success of science centers with no standing collections, the reduction in the number of objects put on display in modern museums (23); the increasing phalanx of ‘starchitect’ designed museums where the building is more important than the objects in it (11), and the increase of virtual museums and collections online, all seems to indicate that conventional museum objects have had their day (1-2). Or have they? At the same time that all of the above is occurring, ongoing research suggests that in the digital age, more than ever, people are seeking the authenticity of the real. For example, a 2008 survey of 5,000 visitors to living history sites in the USA, found that those surveyed expressed a strong desire to commune with historically authentic objects: respondents felt that their lives had become so crazy, so complicated, so unreal that they were seeking something real and authentic in their lives by visiting these museums. (Wilkening and Donnis 1) A subsequent research survey aimed specifically at young audiences (in their early twenties) reported that: seeing stuff online only made them want to see the real objects in person even more, [and that] they felt that museums were inherently authentic, largely because they have authentic objects that are unique and wonderful. (Wilkening 2) Adding to the question ‘do museums need objects?’, Rainey Tisdale argues that in the current digital age we need real museum objects more than ever. “Many museum professionals,” she reports “have come to believe that the increase in digital versions of objects actually enhances the value of in-person encounters with tangible, real things” (20). Museums still need objects. Indeed, in any kind of corporate planning, one of the first thing business managers look for in a company is what is unique about it. What can it provide that the competition can’t? Despite the popularity of all sorts of info-tainments, the one thing that museums have (and other institutions don’t) is significant collections. Collections are a museum’s niche resource – in business speak they are the asset that gives them the advantage over their competitors. Despite the increasing importance of technology in delivering information, including collections online, there is still overwhelming evidence to suggest that we should not be too quick to dismiss the traditional preserve of museums – the numinous object. And in fact, this is precisely the final argument that Steven Conn reaches in his above-mentioned publication. Curating in the Postdigital Age While it is reassuring (but not particularly surprising) that generations Y and Z can still differentiate between virtual and real objects, this doesn’t mean that museum curators can bury their heads in the collection room hoping that the digital age will simply go away. The reality is that while digitally savvy audiences continue to feel the need to see and commune with authentic materially-present objects, the ways in which they access information about these objects (prior to, during, and after a museum visit) has changed substantially due to technological advances. In turn, the ways in which curators research and present these objects – and stories about them – has also changed. So what are some of the changes that have occurred in museum operations and visitor behavior due to technological advances over the last twenty years? The most obvious technological advances over the last twenty years have actually been in data management. Since the 1990s a number of specialist data management systems have been developed for use in the museum sector. In theory at least, a curator can now access the entire collections of an institution without leaving their desk. Moreover, the same database that tells the curator how many objects the institution holds from the Torres Strait Islands, can also tell her what they look like (through high quality images); which objects were exhibited in past exhibitions; what their prior labels were; what in-house research has been conducted on them; what the conservation requirements are; where they are stored; and who to contact for copyright clearance for display—to name just a few functions. In addition a curator can get on the internet to search the online collection databases from other museums to find what objects they have from the Torres Strait Islands. Thus, while our curator is at this point conducting the same type of exhibition research that she would have done twenty years ago, the ease in which she can access information is substantially greater. The major difference of course is that today, rather than in the past, the curator would be collaborating with members of the original source community to undertake this project. Despite the rise of the internet, this type of liaison still usually occurs face to face. The development of accessible digital databases through the Internet and capacity to download images and information at a rapid rate has also changed the way non-museum staff can access collections. Audiences can now visit museum websites through which they can easily access information about current and past exhibitions, public programs, and online collections. In many cases visitors can also contribute to general discussion forums and collections provenance data through various means such as ‘tagging’; commenting on blogs; message boards; and virtual ‘talk back’ walls. Again, however, this represents a change in how visitors access museums but not a fundamental shift in what they can access. In the past, museum visitors were still encouraged to access and comment upon the collections; it’s just that doing so took a lot more time and effort. The rise of interactivity and the internet—in particular through Web 2.0—has led many commentators to call for a radical change in the ways museums operate. Museum analyst Lynda Kelly (2009) has commented on the issue that: the demands of the ‘information age’ have raised new questions for museums. It has been argued that museums need to move from being suppliers of information to providing usable knowledge and tools for visitors to explore their own ideas and reach their own conclusions because of increasing access to technologies, such as the internet. Gordon Freedman for example argues that internet technologies such as computers, the World Wide Web, mobile phones and email “… have put the power of communication, information gathering, and analysis in the hands of the individuals of the world” (299). Freedman argued that museums need to “evolve into a new kind of beast” (300) in order to keep up with the changes opening up to the possibility of audiences becoming mediators of information and knowledge. Although we often hear about the possibilities of new technologies in opening up the possibilities of multiple authors for exhibitions, I have yet to hear of an example of this successfully taking place. This doesn’t mean, however, that it will never happen. At present most museums seem to be merely dipping their toes in the waters. A recent example from the Art Gallery of South Australia illustrates this point. In 2013, the Gallery mounted an exhibition that was, in theory at least, curated by the public. Labeled as “the ultimate people’s choice exhibition” the project was hosted in conjunction with ABC Radio Adelaide. The public was encouraged to go online to the gallery website and select from a range of artworks in different categories by voting for their favorites. The ‘winning’ works were to form the basis of the exhibition. While the media spin on the exhibition gave the illusion of a mass curated show, in reality very little actual control was given over to the audience-curators. The public was presented a range of artworks, which had already been pre-selected from the standing collections; the themes for the exhibition had also already been determined as they informed the 120 artworks that were offered up for voting. Thus, in the end the pre-selection of objects and themes, as well as the timing and execution of the exhibition remained entirely in the hand of the professional curators. Another recent innovation did not attempt to harness public authorship, but rather enhanced individual visitor connections to museum collections by harnessing new GPS technologies. The Streetmuseum was a free app program created by the Museum of London to bring geotagged historical street views to hand held or portable mobile devices. The program allowed user to undertake a self-guided tour of London. After programing in their route, users could then point their device at various significant sites along the way. Looking through their viewfinder they would see a 3D historic photograph overlayed on the live site – allowing user not only to see what the area looked like in the past but also to capture an image of the overlay. While many of the available tagging apps simply allow for the opportunity of adding more white noise, allowing viewers to add commentary, pics, links to a particular geo tagged site but with no particular focus, the Streetmuseum had a well-defined purpose to encourage their audience to get out and explore London; to share their archival photograph collection with a broader audience; and to teach people more about London’s unique history. A Second Golden Age? A few years ago the Steven Conn suggested that museums are experiencing an international ‘golden age’ with more museums being built and visited and talked about than ever before (1). In the United States, where Conn is based, there are more than 17,500 accredited museums, and more than two million people visit some sort of museum per day, averaging around 865 million museum visits per year (2). However, at the same time that museums are proliferating, the traditional areas of academic research and theory that feed into museums such as history, cultural studies, anthropology and art history are experiencing a period of intense self reflexivity. Conn writes: At the turn of the twenty-first century, more people are going to more museums than at any time in the past, and simultaneously more scholars, critics, and others are writing and talking about museums. The two phenomena are most certainly related but it does not seem to be a happy relationship. Even as museums enjoy more and more success…many who write about them express varying degrees of foreboding. (1) There is no doubt that the internet and increasingly interactive media has transformed the way we live our daily lives—it only makes sense that it should also transform our cultural experiences. At the same time Museums need to learn to ride the wave without getting dumped into it. The best new media acts as a bridge—connecting people to places and ideas—allowing them to learn more about museum objects and historical spaces, value-adding to museum visits rather than replacing them altogether. As museologust Elaine Gurian, has recently concluded, the core business of museums seems unchanged thus far by the adoption of internet based technology: “the museum field generally, its curators, and those academic departments focused on training curators remain at the core philosophically unchanged despite their new websites and shiny new technological reference centres” (97). Virtual life has not replaced real life and online collections and exhibitions have not replaced real life visitations. Visitors want access to credible information about museum objects and museum exhibitions, they are not looking for Wiki-Museums. Or if they are are, they are looking to the Internet community to provide that service rather than the employees of state and federally funded museums. Both provide legitimate services, but they don’t necessarily need to provide the same service. In the same vein, extra-museum ‘curating’ of object and ideas through social media sites such as Pinterest, Flikr, Instagram and Tumblr provide a valuable source of inspiration and a highly enjoyable form of virtual consumption. But the popular uptake of the term ‘curating’ remains as easily separable from professional practice as the prior uptake of the terms ‘doctor’ and ‘architect’. An individual who doctors an image, or is the architect of their destiny, is still not going to operate on a patient nor construct a building. While major ontological shifts have occurred within museum curatorship over the last thirty years, these changes have resulted from wider social shifts, not directly from technology. This is not to say that technology will not change the museum’s ‘way of being’ in my professional lifetime—it’s just to say it hasn’t happened yet. References Cash Cash, Phillip. “Medicine Bundles: An Indigenous Approach.” Ed. T. Bray. The Future of the Past: Archaeologists, Native Americans and Repatriation. New York and London: Garland Publishing (2001): 139-145. Conn, Steven. Do Museums Still Need Objects? Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Edson, Gary, and David Dean. The Handbook for Museums. New York and London: Routledge, 1994. Engeström, Jyri. “Why Some Social Network Services Work and Others Don’t — Or: The Case for Object-Centered Sociality.” Zengestrom Apr. 2005. 17 June 2015 ‹http://www.zengestrom.com/blog/2005/04/why-some-social-network-services-work-and-others-dont-or-the-case-for-object-centered-sociality.html›. Freedman, Gordon. “The Changing Nature of Museums”. Curator 43.4 (2000): 295-306. Gurian, Elaine Heumann. “Curator: From Soloist to Impresario.” Eds. Fiona Cameron and Lynda Kelly. Hot Topics, Public Culture, Museums. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. 95-111. Kelly, Lynda. “Museum Authority.” Blog 12 Nov. 2009. 25 June 2015 ‹http://australianmuseum.net.au/blogpost/museullaneous/museum-authority›. Kreps, Christina. “Curatorship as Social Practice.” Curator: The Museum Journal 46.3 (2003): 311-323. ———, Christina. Liberating Culture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Museums, Curation, and Heritage Preservation. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. Macdonald, Sharon. “Expanding Museum Studies: An Introduction.” Ed. Sharon MacDonald. A Companion to Museum Studies. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011. Parry, Ross. “The End of the Beginning: Normativity in the Postdigital Museum.” Museum Worlds: Advances in Research 1 (2013): 24-39. Tisdale, Rainey. “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?” History News (2011): 19-24. 18 June 2015 ‹http://aaslhcommunity.org/historynews/files/2011/08/RaineySmr11Links.pdf›. Suchy, Serene. Leading with Passion: Change Management in the Twenty-First Century Museum. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2004. Weil, Stephen E. “From Being about Something to Being for Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum.” Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 128.3 (1999): 229–258. Wilkening, Susie. “Community Engagement and Objects—Mutually Exclusive?” Museum Audience Insight 27 July 2009. 14 June 2015 ‹http://reachadvisors.typepad.com/museum_audience_insight/2009/07/community-engagement-and-objects-mutually-exclusive.html›. ———, and Erica Donnis. “Authenticity? It Means Everything.” History News (2008) 63:4. Williams, Alex. “On the Tip of Creative Tongues.” New York Times 4 Oct. 2009. 4 June 2015 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/fashion/04curate.html›.

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James, Sara. "Finding Your Passion: Work and the Authentic Self." M/C Journal 18, no.1 (February9, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.954.

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Abstract:

IntroductionThe existential question today is not whether to be or not to be, but how one can become what one truly is. (Golomb 200)In contemporary Western culture the ideal of living authentically, of being “true to yourself,” is ubiquitous. Authenticity is “taken for granted” as an absolute value in a multitude of areas, from music, to travel to identity (Lindholm 1). A core component of authentic selfhood is to find an occupation that is a “passion:” work that is “really you.” This article draws on recent qualitative interviews with Australians from a range of occupations about work, identity and meaning (James). It will demonstrate that for these contemporary individuals, occupation is often closely linked to perceptions of authentic selfhood. I begin by overviewing the significance and presence of authenticity as a value in contemporary culture through discussions of reality television and self-help literature focussed on careers. This is followed by a discussion of sociological theories of authenticity, drawing out the connections between the authentic self, modernity and work. The final section uses examples from the interviews to argue that the ideal of work being an extension of the authentic self is compelling because in providing direction and purpose, it helps the individual avoid anomie, disenchantment and other modern malaises (Taylor).The Authentic Self and Career Guidance in Contemporary Popular CultureThe prevalence of authenticity in contemporary Western popular culture can be seen in reality television programs like Master Chef (a cooking competition) and The Voice (a singing competition). Generally, contestants take part in the show in order to “follow their dreams” and pursue the career they feel they were “destined” for. When elimination is immanent, those at risk of departure are given one last chance to tell the judges what being in the competition means to them. This usually takes the form of a tearful monologue in which the contestant explains that the past few weeks have been the best of their life, that they finally feel “alive” and that they have found their “passion.” In these shows, finding work that is “really you”—that is an extension of your authentic-self—is portrayed as being a fundamental component of fulfillment and self-actualization.The same message is delivered in self-help media and texts. Since the 1970s, “finding your passion” and “finding yourself” have been popular subjects for the genre. The best known of these books is perhaps Richard Bolles’s What Color is Your Parachute?: a job-hunting manual aimed primarily at people looking for a career change. First published in 1970, a new edition has been released every year and there are over 10 million copies in print. In 1995 it was included in the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book’s 25 Books That Have Shaped Readers’ Lives, placing Bolles in the company of Cervantes and Tolstoy (Bolles).Bolles’s book and similar career guidance titles generally follow a pattern of providing exercises for the reader to help them discover the “real you,” which then becomes the basis for choosing the “right” occupation, or as Bolles puts it, “first deciding who you are before deciding the kind of work you want to pursue.” Another best-selling self-help writer is Phil McGraw or “Dr. Phil,” better known for his television program than his books. In his Self Matters—Creating Your Life from the Inside Out, McGraw begins bytelling the story of his own search for his authentic “passion.” Before moving into television, McGraw spent ten years working as a practicing psychiatrist. He recalls:So much of what I did—while totally okay if it had been what I had a passion for—was as unnatural for me as it would be for a dog. It didn’t come from the heart. It wasn’t something that sprang from who I really was ... I wasn’t doing what was meaningful for me. I wasn’t doing what I was good at and therefore was not pursuing my mission in life, my purpose for being here … You and everyone else has a mission, a purpose in life that cannot be denied if you are to live fully. If you have no purpose, you have no passion. If you have no passion, you have sold yourself out (7–12).McGraw connects living authentically with living meaningfully. Working in an occupation that is in accordance with the authentic self gives one’s life purpose. This is the same message Oprah Winfrey chose to deliver in the final episode of the The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was watched by more than 16 million viewers in the U.S. alone. Rather than following the usual pattern of the show and interview celebrity guests, Winfrey chose to talk directly to her viewers about what matters in life:Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing [...] Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself.Like McGraw, Winfrey draws a link between living authentically—living “from the heart”—and finding a “calling.” The message here is that the person whose career is in accordance with their authentic self can live with certainty, direction and purpose. Authenticity may act as a buffer against the anomie and disenchantment that arguably plague individuals in late modernity (Elliott & du Gay).Disenchantment, Modernity and Authenticity For many sociologists, most famously Max Weber, finding something that gives life purpose is the great challenge for individuals in the modern West. In a disenchanted society, without religion or other “mysterious incalculable forces” to provide direction, individuals may struggle to work out what they should do with their lives (149). For Weber the answer is to find your calling. Each individual must discover the “demon who holds the fibers of his very life” and obey its demands (156).Following Weber, John Carroll has argued that in modern secular societies, individuals must draw on their inner resources to find answers to life’s “fundamental questions” (Ego 3–4). As Carroll stresses, it is not that the religious impulse has disappeared from contemporary society, but it is expressed in new ways. Individuals still yearn for a sense of purpose but they are “more likely to pursue their quests for meaning on their own, in experimental ways and with their main resource being their ontological qualities” (Carroll, Beauty 221).Other Australian academics, like Gary Bouma and David Tacey, argue that rather than a decline in religiosity in Australia, what we are seeing is a change in the way people pursue the spiritual. Tacey suggests that while many Australians may “slink away” from the idea of God as something external to our lives, they may find more resonance with a conception of God as a “core dimension” of the person (167). Contemporary Australians continue to yearn for guidance, but they are more likely to look within to find it.There is a clear link between this process of turning inward to pursue the spiritual, the prevalence of authenticity in contemporary Western culture, and modernity. With the breakdown of traditional structures, individuals become more “free to self-create” (Bauman, Identity 3). As Charles Lindholm describes it: “The inclination toward a spontaneous mode of expressive self-revelation correlates with the collapse of reliable and sacralised institutional frameworks that once offered meaning and succour” (65–66).For Charles Taylor, the origins of this “massive subjective turn of modern culture” (26) lie in the 18th-century romantic period with the idea that each individual has an intuitive moral sense. To determine what is right, the individual must be in touch with their “inner voice” and act in accordance with it. It is in this notion that Taylor identifies the background to the belief, which is so prominent today, that “There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s” (28–29). Lindholm points to Rousseau as the “inventor” of this ideal, with his revelatory Confessions becoming “the harbinger of a new ideal in which exploring and revealing one’s essential nature was taken as an absolute good” (8). According to Rousseau, social norms suppress the individual’s true nature, and so it is only possible for one to be authentic if they break these chains and act in accordance with their inner depths. For employees in today’s service-oriented knowledge economy, there are significant risks involved in following Rousseau’s advice and expressing one’s “true feelings.” As many researchers have noted, in the new capitalism, workers are increasingly required to regulate their emotions and present themselves as calm, agreeable and above all positive (Hochschild; Sennett; Ehrenreich). To offer criticism or express frustration, to drop the “mask of cooperativeness” (Sennett 112), may mean risking one’s employment.Nevertheless, while it is arguably becoming more difficult to express authentic feeling at work, for contemporary workers, choice of occupation is still often closely linked to perceptions of authentic selfhood. In fact, in a time of increasingly fragmented careers and short-term, episodic work, it becomes more necessary to create a meaningful narrative to link numerous and varied jobs to a core sense of self. As Richard Sennett argues, today’s flexible employees—frequently moving from one workplace to the next—are at risk of “drift:” a sensation of aimless movement (30). To counter this, individuals must create a convincing story that provides a rationale for career changes and can thereby “form their characters into sustained narratives” (31).In the next section, drawing on recent empirical research, I argue that linking authentic selfhood to work provides individuals with a way to make sense of the trajectory of their work lives and to accept change. Today’s employees are able to interpret even the most unexpected career changes as a beneficial occurrence—something that was “meant to be”—by rationalising that such changes are part of a process of finding work that is an expression of the authentic self.The Authentic Self at Work: Being True to Your EssenceThe following discussion focuses on how authenticity as an ideal influences individuals’s work identity and career aspirations. It draws examples from recent qualitative interviews with Australian workers from a range of occupations (James 2012). A number of interviewees described a search for an occupation that was authentically “them,” a task that was well-suited to their capabilities and came “naturally:”I have a feeling that I was sort of a natural teacher. (Teacher, 60)Medical is what I like, that’s me. (Paramedic, 49)I found my thing, I stick to it. (Farrier, 27) These beliefs are quite clearly influenced by the idea of vocation, in that there is a particular task the individual is most suited to, but they do not invoke the sense of duty that a religious “calling” entails. Often, the interviewees had discovered the occupation that was “really them” by working in other jobs that were not their “true passion.” Realising that performing a particular role felt inauthentic helped them to define their authentic self and encouraged them to pursue more fulfilling work. This process often required experimentation, since “one knows what one is only after realising what one is not” (Golomb 201).For instance, Olivia, a 33-year old lawyer had begun her career in a corporate law firm. She had never felt comfortable in the corporate environment: “I always thought, ‘They know I don’t belong here’.” Her performance at work felt inauthentic: “I was never good at smiling and saying yes.” This experience led her to move into human rights, which she found more fulfilling. Similarly Hazel, a 50 year-old social worker, had started her career in what she described as “boring administration jobs.” Although she had “always wanted” to work in the “caring sector” her family’s expectations and her low self-confidence had stopped her from applying for university. When she finally quit the administration work and began to study it was liberating: “a weight had come out off my shoulders.” In her occupation as a social worker she felt that her work fitted with her authentic self: “the kind of person I am,” and for the first time in her life she looked forward to going to work. Both of these women, and many of the other interviewees, rationalised their decision to work in a particular field by appealing to narratives of authentic selfhood.Similarly, in explaining why they enjoyed their work, a number of interviewees looked back to their childhood for signs of what was “meant to be.” For instance, Tim, a 27 year-old farrier, justified his work with horses: “Mum came from a farming background, every school holidays I was up there…I followed my grandpa around like a little dog, annoyed and pestered him and asked him ‘Why’ and How?’ I’ve always been like that … So I think from an early age I was destined to do something like this.” Ken, a 50 year-old electrician, had a similar explanation for his choice of occupation: “Even as a little kid I was always mucking around with batteries and getting lights to work and things like that, so I think it was just a natural progression.”This tendency to associate childhood interests with authentic selfhood is perhaps due to the belief that childhood is a time of innocence and freedom, where the individual had not yet been moulded by society. As Duschinsky argues, childhood is often connected with an “originary natural essence.” We are close here to Rousseau’s “sentiment of being,” or its contemporary manifestation the “real you.” Of course, the idea that the child is free from external influence is problematised by ideas of socialisation. From birth the infant learns by copying “significant others” and self-conception is formed through interaction (Cooley; Mead). Therefore, from the very beginning, an individual’s interests, dispositions and tastes are influenced by family and culture.Shane, a 29 year-old real estate agent, had resisted working in property because it was the family business and he “didn’t want to be as boring as to follow in Dad’s footsteps.” He saw himself as “academic” and “creative” and for a number of years worked as a writer. Eventually though he decided that writing was not his calling: it was “not actually me … I categorise myself as someone who has the ability to write but not naturally.” When Shane began working in real-estate however, it felt almost automatic. Like the other members of his family he had the right skills and traits to thrive in the business and was immediately successful. Interestingly, Shane’s conception of his authenticity includes both a belief in an essential, pre-social “true” self and at the same time an understanding of the importance of the influence of family in the formation of the self.Regardless of whether the idea of a natural, inner-essence discernable in childhood pastimes can be disproven, it is clear that the understanding of authentic selfhood as an “immediate expression of our essence” continues to influence how individuals conceive of their work identities. However, at the same time, the interviewees’ accounts of authenticity also acknowledged the role of parents in influencing traits and dispositions. In these narratives of the self, authenticity encompasses opposing understandings of childhood as being both free from social influences and highly influenced by primary agents of socialisation. That individuals are willing to do the necessary mental and emotional work to maintain these contradictory beliefs suggests that there is a strong incentive to frame work identity as an expression of authentic selfhood.Authenticity Provides PurposeThe great benefit of being able to convincingly rationalise one’s work as a manifestation of the true self is that it gives the individual direction and purpose. Work then provides answers to Carroll’s fundamental questions: “who am I?” and “What should I do with my life?” A number of the interviewees recalled their attempts to secure a sense of purpose by linking their current occupation to their inner essence. As Greg, a 36-year-old fitness consultant described it:You just gotta think ‘What do you really wanna do, what makes you happy, what are you about?’ … I guess the strengthening and conditioning work, the fitness, has been the constant right the way through. It’s probably the core of what I’ve done over the years, seeing individuals and teams get fit. It’s what I do. That’s my role, if you put it in a nutshell. That’s what I’m about … I was sort of floating around a little bit … I need to go ‘This is what I am.’ By identifying his authentic self and linking it to his work, Greg was able to make sense of his past. He had once been a professional runner and after an injury was forced to redefine himself. He now rationalised that his ability to run had led him into the fitness field: You look at what is your life mission and basically what are you out here for … with athletics it’s allowed me to deal with any sport, made me flexible in my career … if I was, therefore born to run? Yeah, quite possibly, there had to be a reason. Like many of the interviewees, Greg had been forced to change his plans, but he was able to rationalise that this change was positive by forming a narrative that connected both his current and previous occupations to his perception of his authentic self. As Sennett describes it, he is able to from his character into a “sustained narrative” (31). Similarly, Trish, a 42 year-old retail coordinator, connected both her work as a chef and her job in a hardware store back to her sense of authentic self. Both occupations, she thought, were “down and dirty” and she linked this to her family “roots” and her identity as a “country girl.” In interpreting these two substantially different occupations as an expression of her true self, Trish is able to create a narrative in which unexpected career changes are as seen as something beneficial that was “meant to be.” These accounts of career trajectories suggest that linking authenticity to work identity is a strategy individuals employ to cope with the disorienting effects of fragmented work lives. Even jobs that are unfulfilling and feel inauthentic can be made meaningful by interpreting them as necessary steps leading towards the discovery of one’s “ true passion”. This is quite different to the ideal of a life-long calling in one occupation, which as Bauman has noted, has become a “privilege of the few” in late-modernity (Work 34). In an era of insecure and fragmented work, the narrative of an authentic self becomes particularly appealing as it allows the individual to create a meaningful work-narrative that can accommodate the numerous twists and turns of contemporary “liquid” existence (Bauman, Identity 5) and avoid “drift” (Sennett). Conclusion Drawing on qualitative research, this paper has analysed the connections between authenticity, work and modern selfhood. I have shown that in an era of flexible and fragmented working lives, work-identities are often closely tied to understandings of authentic selfhood. Interpreting particular kinds of work as being expressions of the authentic self provides individuals with a sense of purpose and in some cases assists them in coming to terms with unexpected career changes. A meaningful career narrative acts as a buffer against disorientation, disenchantment and anomie. It is therefore no wonder that authentic selfhood is such a prominent theme in reality television, self-help and other forms of popular culture, since it is taps into an existential need for a sense of purpose that becomes increasingly elusive in late-modernity. It is clear from the accounts presented in this paper that the pursuit of authenticity is not merely a narcissistic endeavor, and is employed by individuals to work through fundamental existential questions. Future work in this area should continue to make use of empirical research to add depth and complexity to theoretical accounts of authentic selfhood. References Bauman, Zygmunt. “Identity in the Globalizing World.” Identity in Question. Ed. Anthony Elliott and Paul du Gay. London: Sage, 2009. 1–12. Bauman, Zygmunt. Work, Consumerism and the New Poor. Buckingham: Open UP, 1998. Bolles, Richard. What Colour Is Your Parachute 2015. 23 Jan. 2015 ‹http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/books/view/what-color-is-your-parachute-2015›. Bolles, Richard. What Colour Is Your Parachute. Berkley: Ten Speed, 1970. Bouma, Gary. Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the 21st Century. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Carroll, John. “Beauty contra God: Has Aesthetics Replaced Religion in Modernity?” Journal of Sociology 48.2 (2012): 206–23. Carroll, John. Ego and Soul: The Modern West in Search of Meaning. Melbourne: Scribe, 2008. Cooley, Charles Horton. Human Nature and the Social Order. New York: Scribner’s, 1902. Duschinsky, Robbie. “Childhood Innocence: Essence, Education, and Performativity.” Textual Practice 27.5 (2013): 763–81. Elliott, Anthony, and Paul du Gay. “Editors’ Introduction.” Identity in Question. Eds. Anthony Elliott and Paul du Gay. London: Sage, 2009. xi–xxi. Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bright-Sided : How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. New York: Henry Holt, 2009. Golomb, Jacob. In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus. London: Routledge, 1995. Hochschild, Arlie Russell. The Managed Heart: Commercialization Human Feeling. Berkeley: U of California P, 1983. James, Sara. “Making a Living, Making a Life: Contemporary Narratives of Work, Vocation and Meaning.” PhD Thesis. La Trobe U, 2012. Lindholm, Charles. Culture and Authenticity. Malden: Blackwell, 2008. McGraw, Phil. Self Matters—Creating Your Life from the Inside Out. London: Simon and Schuster, 2001. Mead, George Herbert. Mind, Self and Society. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1934. Sennett, Richard. The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, New York: WW Norton, 1998. Tacey, David. Edge of the Sacred: Jung, Psyche, Earth. Sydney: Daimon, 2008. Taylor, Charles. Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1991. Weber, Max. “Science as a Vocation.” From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Ed. Hans Heinrich Gerth and Charles Wright Mills. London: Routledge, 1991. 129–56. Winfrey, Oprah. The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale. 23 Jan. 2015 ‹http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Oprah-Winfrey-Show-Finale_1#ixzz3PbhBrdBs›.

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Quinan,C.L., and Hannah Pezzack. "A Biometric Logic of Revelation: Zach Blas’s SANCTUM (2018)." M/C Journal 23, no.4 (August12, 2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1664.

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Abstract:

Ubiquitous in airports, border checkpoints, and other securitised spaces throughout the world, full-body imaging scanners claim to read bodies in order to identify if they pose security threats. Millimetre-wave body imaging machines—the most common type of body scanner—display to the operating security agent a screen with a generic body outline. If an anomaly is found or if an individual does not align with the machine’s understanding of an “average” body, a small box is highlighted and placed around the “problem” area, prompting further inspection in the form of pat-downs or questioning. In this complex security regime governed by such biometric, body-based technologies, it could be argued that nonalignment with bodily normativity as well as an attendant failure to reveal oneself—to become “transparent” (Hall 295)—marks a body as dangerous. As these algorithmic technologies become more pervasive, so too does the imperative to critically examine their purported neutrality and operative logic of revelation and readability.Biometric technologies are marketed as excavators of truth, with their optic potency claiming to demask masquerading bodies. Failure and bias are, however, an inescapable aspect of such technologies that work with narrow parameters of human morphology. Indeed, surveillance technologies have been taken to task for their inherent racial and gender biases (Browne; Pugliese). Facial recognition has, for example, been critiqued for its inability to read darker skin tones (Buolamwini and Gebru), while body scanners have been shown to target transgender bodies (Keyes; Magnet and Rodgers; Quinan). Critical security studies scholar Shoshana Magnet argues that error is endemic to the technological functioning of biometrics, particularly since they operate according to the faulty notion that bodies are “stable” and unchanging repositories of information that can be reified into code (Magnet 2).Although body scanners are presented as being able to reliably expose concealed weapons, they are riddled with incompetencies that misidentify and over-select certain demographics as suspect. Full-body scanners have, for example, caused considerable difficulties for transgender travellers, breast cancer patients, and people who use prosthetics, such as artificial limbs, colonoscopy bags, binders, or prosthetic genitalia (Clarkson; Quinan; Spalding). While it is not in the scope of this article to detail the workings of body imaging technologies and their inconsistencies, a growing body of scholarship has substantiated the claim that these machines unfairly impact those identifying as transgender and non-binary (see, e.g., Beauchamp; Currah and Mulqueen; Magnet and Rogers; Sjoberg). Moreover, they are constructed according to a logic of binary gender: before each person enters the scanner, transportation security officers must make a quick assessment of their gender/sex by pressing either a blue (corresponding to “male”) or pink (corresponding to “female”) button. In this sense, biometric, computerised security systems control and monitor the boundaries between male and female.The ability to “reveal” oneself is henceforth predicated on having a body free of “abnormalities” and fitting neatly into one of the two sex categorisations that the machine demands. Transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, particularly those who do not have a binary gender presentation or whose presentation does not correspond to the sex marker in their documentation, also face difficulties if the machine flags anomalies (Quinan and Bresser). Drawing on a Foucauldian analysis of power as productive, Toby Beauchamp similarly illustrates how surveillance technologies not only identify but also create and reshape the figure of the dangerous subject in relation to normative configurations of gender, race, and able-bodiedness. By mobilizing narratives of concealment and disguise, heightened security measures frame gender nonconformity as dangerous (Beauchamp, Going Stealth). Although national and supranational authorities market biometric scanning technologies as scientifically neutral and exact methods of identification and verification and as an infallible solution to security risks, such tools of surveillance are clearly shaped by preconceptions and prejudgements about race, gender, and bodily normativity. Not only are they encoded with “prototypical whiteness” (Browne) but they are also built on “grossly stereotypical” configurations of gender (Clarkson).Amongst this increasingly securitised landscape, creative forms of artistic resistance can offer up a means of subverting discriminatory policing and surveillance practices by posing alternate visualisations that reveal and challenge their supposed objectivity. In his 2018 audio-video artwork installation entitled SANCTUM, UK-based American artist Zach Blas delves into how biometric technologies, like those described above, both reveal and (re)shape ontology by utilising the affectual resonance of sexual submission. Evoking the contradictory notions of oppression and pleasure, Blas describes SANCTUM as “a mystical environment that perverts sex dungeons with the apparatuses and procedures of airport body scans, biometric analysis, and predictive policing” (see full description at https://zachblas.info/works/sanctum/).Depicting generic mannequins that stand in for the digitalised rendering of the human forms that pass through body scanners, the installation transports the scanners out of the airport and into a queer environment that collapses sex, security, and weaponry; an environment that is “at once a prison-house of algorithmic capture, a sex dungeon with no genitals, a weapons factory, and a temple to security.” This artistic reframing gestures towards full-body scanning technology’s germination in the military, prisons, and other disciplinary systems, highlighting how its development and use has originated from punitive—rather than protective—contexts.In what follows, we adopt a methodological approach that applies visual analysis and close reading to scrutinise a selection of scenes from SANCTUM that underscore the sadomasoch*stic power inherent in surveillance technologies. Analysing visual and aural elements of the artistic intervention allows us to complicate the relationship between transparency and recognition and to problematise the dynamic of mandatory complicity and revelation that body scanners warrant. In contrast to a discourse of visibility that characterises algorithmically driven surveillance technology, Blas suggests opacity as a resistance strategy to biometrics' standardisation of identity. Taking an approach informed by critical security studies and queer theory, we also argue that SANCTUM highlights the violence inherent to the practice of reducing the body to a flat, inert surface that purports to align with some sort of “core” identity, a notion that contradicts feminist and queer approaches to identity and corporeality as fluid and changing. In close reading this artistic installation alongside emerging scholarship on the discriminatory effects of biometric technology, this article aims to highlight the potential of art to queer the supposed objectivity and neutrality of biometric surveillance and to critically challenge normative logics of revelation and readability.Corporeal Fetishism and Body HorrorThroughout both his artistic practice and scholarly work, Blas has been critical of the above narrative of biometrics as objective extractors of information. Rather than looking to dominant forms of representation as a means for recognition and social change, Blas’s work asks that we strive for creative techniques that precisely queer biometric and legal systems in order to make oneself unaccounted for. For him, “transparency, visibility, and representation to the state should be used tactically, they are never the end goal for a transformative politics but are, ultimately, a trap” (Blas and Gaboury 158). While we would simultaneously argue that invisibility is itself a privilege that is unevenly distributed, his creative work attempts to refuse a politics of visibility and to embrace an “informatic opacity” that is attuned to differences in bodies and identities (Blas).In particular, Blas’s artistic interventions titled Facial Weaponization Suite (2011-14) and Face Cages (2013-16) protest against biometric recognition and the inequalities that these technologies propagate by making masks and wearable metal objects that cannot be detected as human faces. This artistic-activist project contests biometric facial recognition and their attendant inequalities by, as detailed on the artist’s website,making ‘collective masks’ in workshops that are modelled from the aggregated facial data of participants, resulting in amorphous masks that cannot be detected as human faces by biometric facial recognition technologies. The masks are used for public interventions and performances.One mask explores blackness and the racist implications that undergird biometric technologies’ inability to detect dark skin. Meanwhile another mask, which he calls the “fa*g Face Mask”, points to the heteronormative underpinnings of facial recognition. Created from the aggregated facial data of queer men, this amorphous pink mask implicitly references—and contests—scientific studies that have attempted to link the identification of sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques.Building on this body of creative work that has advocated for opacity as a tool of social and political transformation, SANCTUM resists the revelatory impulses of biometric technology by turning to the use and abuse of full-body imaging. The installation opens with a shot of a large, dark industrial space. At the far end of a red, spotlighted corridor, a black mask flickers on a screen. A shimmering, oscillating sound reverberates—the opening bars of a techno track—that breaks down in rhythm while the mask evaporates into a cloud of smoke. The camera swivels, and a white figure—the generic mannequin of the body scanner screen—is pummelled by invisible forces as if in a wind tunnel. These ghostly silhouettes appear and reappear in different positions, with some being whipped and others stretched and penetrated by a steel anal hook. Rather than conjuring a traditional horror trope of the body’s terrifying, bloody interior, SANCTUM evokes a new kind of feared and fetishized trope that is endemic to the current era of surveillance capitalism: the abstracted body, standardised and datafied, created through the supposedly objective and efficient gaze of AI-driven machinery.Resting on the floor in front of the ominous animated mask are neon fragments arranged in an occultist formation—hands or half a face. By breaking the body down into component parts— “from retina to fingerprints”—biometric technologies “purport to make individual bodies endlessly replicable, segmentable and transmissible in the transnational spaces of global capital” (Magnet 8). The notion that bodies can be seamlessly turned into blueprints extracted from biological and cultural contexts has been described by Donna Haraway as “corporeal fetishism” (Haraway, Modest). In the context of SANCTUM, Blas illustrates the dangers of mistaking a model for a “concrete entity” (Haraway, “Situated” 147). Indeed, the digital cartography of the generic mannequin becomes no longer a mode of representation but instead a technoscientific truth.Several scenes in SANCTUM also illustrate a process whereby substances are extracted from the mannequins and used as tools to enact violence. In one such instance, a silver webbing is generated over a kneeling figure. Upon closer inspection, this geometric structure, which is reminiscent of Blas’s earlier Face Cages project, is a replication of the triangulated patterns produced by facial recognition software in its mapping of distance between eyes, nose, and mouth. In the next scene, this “map” breaks apart into singular shapes that float and transform into a metallic whip, before eventually reconstituting themselves as a penetrative douche hose that causes the mannequin to spasm and vomit a pixelated liquid. Its secretions levitate and become the webbing, and then the sequence begins anew.In another scene, a mannequin is held upside-down and force-fed a bubbling liquid that is being pumped through tubes from its arms, legs, and stomach. These depictions visualise Magnet’s argument that biometric renderings of bodies are understood not to be “tropic” or “historically specific” but are instead presented as “plumbing individual depths in order to extract core identity” (5). In this sense, this visual representation calls to mind biometrics’ reification of body and identity, obfuscating what Haraway would describe as the “situatedness of knowledge”. Blas’s work, however, forces a critique of these very systems, as the materials extracted from the bodies of the mannequins in SANCTUM allude to how biometric cartographies drawn from travellers are utilised to justify detainment. These security technologies employ what Magnet has referred to as “surveillant scopophilia,” that is, new ways and forms of looking at the human body “disassembled into component parts while simultaneously working to assuage individual anxieties about safety and security through the promise of surveillance” (17). The transparent body—the body that can submit and reveal itself—is ironically represented by the distinctly genderless translucent mannequins. Although the generic mannequins are seemingly blank slates, the installation simultaneously forces a conversation about the ways in which biometrics draw upon and perpetuate assumptions about gender, race, and sexuality.Biometric SubjugationOn her 2016 critically acclaimed album HOPELESSNESS, openly transgender singer, composer, and visual artist Anohni performs a deviant subjectivity that highlights the above dynamics that mark the contemporary surveillance discourse. To an imagined “daddy” technocrat, she sings:Watch me… I know you love me'Cause you're always watching me'Case I'm involved in evil'Case I'm involved in terrorism'Case I'm involved in child molestersEvoking a queer sexual frisson, Anohni describes how, as a trans woman, she is hyper-visible to state institutions. She narrates a voyeuristic relation where trans bodies are policed as threats to public safety rather than protected from systemic discrimination. Through the seemingly benevolent “daddy” character and the play on ‘cause (i.e., because) and ‘case (i.e., in case), she highlights how gender-nonconforming individuals are predictively surveilled and assumed to already be guilty. Reflecting on daddy-boy sexual paradigms, Jack Halberstam reads the “sideways” relations of queer practices as an enactment of “rupture as substitution” to create a new project that “holds on to vestiges of the old but distorts” (226). Upending power and control, queer art has the capacity to both reveal and undermine hegemonic structures while simultaneously allowing for the distortion of the old to create something new.Employing the sublimatory relations of bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM), Blas’s queer installation similarly creates a sideways representation that re-orientates the logic of the biometric scanners, thereby unveiling the always already sexualised relations of scrutiny and interrogation as well as the submissive complicity they demand. Replacing the airport environment with a dark and foreboding mise-en-scène allows Blas to focus on capture rather than mobility, highlighting the ways in which border checkpoints (including those instantiated by the airport) encourage free travel for some while foreclosing movement for others. Building on Sara Ahmed’s “phenomenology of being stopped”, Magnet considers what happens when we turn our gaze to those “who fail to pass the checkpoint” (107). In SANCTUM, the same actions are played out again and again on spectral beings who are trapped in various states: they shudder in cages, are chained to the floor, or are projected against the parameters of mounted screens. One ghostly figure, for instance, lies pinned down by metallic grappling hooks, arms raised above the head in a recognisable stance of surrender, conjuring up the now-familiar image of a traveller standing in the cylindrical scanner machine, waiting to be screened. In portraying this extended moment of immobility, Blas lays bare the deep contradictions in the rhetoric of “freedom of movement” that underlies such spaces.On a global level, media reporting, scientific studies, and policy documents proclaim that biometrics are essential to ensuring personal safety and national security. Within the public imagination, these technologies become seductive because of their marked ability to identify terrorist attackers—to reveal threatening bodies—thereby appealing to the anxious citizen’s fear of the disguised suicide bomber. Yet for marginalised identities prefigured as criminal or deceptive—including transgender and black and brown bodies—the inability to perform such acts of revelation via submission to screening can result in humiliation and further discrimination, public shaming, and even tortuous inquiry – acts that are played out in SANCTUM.Masked GenitalsFeminist surveillance studies scholar Rachel Hall has referred to the impetus for revelation in the post-9/11 era as a desire for a universal “aesthetics of transparency” in which the world and the body is turned inside-out so that there are no longer “secrets or interiors … in which terrorists or terrorist threats might find refuge” (127). Hall takes up the case study of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (infamously known as “the Underwear Bomber”) who attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while onboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December 2009. Hall argues that this event signified a coalescence of fears surrounding bodies of colour, genitalia, and terrorism. News reports following the incident stated that Abdulmutallab tucked his penis to make room for the explosive, thereby “queer[ing] the aspiring terrorist by indirectly referencing his willingness … to make room for a substitute phallus” (Hall 289). Overtly manifested in the Underwear Bomber incident is also a desire to voyeuristically expose a hidden, threatening interiority, which is inherently implicated with anxieties surrounding gender deviance. Beauchamp elaborates on how gender deviance and transgression have coalesced with terrorism, which was exemplified in the wake of the 9/11 attacks when the United States Department of Homeland Security issued a memo that male terrorists “may dress as females in order to discourage scrutiny” (“Artful” 359). Although this advisory did not explicitly reference transgender populations, it linked “deviant” gender presentation—to which we could also add Abdulmutallab’s tucking of his penis—with threats to national security (Beauchamp, Going Stealth). This also calls to mind a broader discussion of the ways in which genitalia feature in the screening process. Prior to the introduction of millimetre-wave body scanning technology, the most common form of scanner used was the backscatter imaging machine, which displayed “naked” body images of each passenger to the security agent. Due to privacy concerns, these machines were replaced by the scanners currently in place which use a generic outline of a passenger (exemplified in SANCTUM) to detect possible threats.It is here worth returning to Blas’s installation, as it also implicitly critiques the security protocols that attempt to reveal genitalia as both threatening and as evidence of an inner truth about a body. At one moment in the installation a bayonet-like object pierces the blank crotch of the mannequin, shattering it into holographic fragments. The apparent genderlessness of the mannequins is contrasted with these graphic sexual acts. The penetrating metallic instrument that breaks into the loin of the mannequin, combined with the camera shot that slowly zooms in on this action, draws attention to a surveillant fascination with genitalia and revelation. As Nicholas L. Clarkson documents in his analysis of airport security protocols governing prostheses, including limbs and packies (silicone penis prostheses), genitals are a central component of the screening process. While it is stipulated that physical searches should not require travellers to remove items of clothing, such as underwear, or to expose their genitals to staff for inspection, prosthetics are routinely screened and examined. This practice can create tensions for trans or disabled passengers with prosthetics in so-called “sensitive” areas, particularly as guidelines for security measures are often implemented by airport staff who are not properly trained in transgender-sensitive protocols.ConclusionAccording to media technologies scholar Jeremy Packer, “rather than being treated as one to be protected from an exterior force and one’s self, the citizen is now treated as an always potential threat, a becoming bomb” (382). Although this technological policing impacts all who are subjected to security regimes (which is to say, everyone), this amalgamation of body and bomb has exacerbated the ways in which bodies socially coded as threatening or deceptive are targeted by security and surveillance regimes. Nonetheless, others have argued that the use of invasive forms of surveillance can be justified by the state as an exchange: that citizens should willingly give up their right to privacy in exchange for safety (Monahan 1). Rather than subscribing to this paradigm, Blas’ SANCTUM critiques the violence of mandatory complicity in this “trade-off” narrative. Because their operationalisation rests on normative notions of embodiment that are governed by preconceptions around gender, race, sexuality and ability, surveillance systems demand that bodies become transparent. This disproportionally affects those whose bodies do not match norms, with trans and queer bodies often becoming unreadable (Kafer and Grinberg). The shadowy realm of SANCTUM illustrates this tension between biometric revelation and resistance, but also suggests that opacity may be a tool of transformation in the face of such discriminatory violations that are built into surveillance.ReferencesAhmed, Sara. “A Phenomenology of Whiteness.” Feminist Theory 8.2 (2007): 149–68.Beauchamp, Toby. “Artful Concealment and Strategic Visibility: Transgender Bodies and U.S. State Surveillance after 9/11.” Surveillance & Society 6.4 (2009): 356–66.———. Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices. 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Rutherford, Amanda, and Sarah Baker. "The Disney ‘Princess Bubble’ as a Cultural Influencer." M/C Journal 24, no.1 (March15, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2742.

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The Walt Disney Company has been creating magical fairy tales since the early 1900s and is a trusted brand synonymous with wholesome, family entertainment (Wasko). Over time, this reputation has resulted in the Disney brand’s huge financial growth and influence on audiences worldwide. (Wohlwend). As the largest global media powerhouse in the Western world (Beattie), Disney uses its power and influence to shape the perceptions and ideologies of its audience. In the twenty-first century there has been a proliferation of retellings of Disney fairy tales, and Kilmer suggests that although the mainstream perception is that these new iterations promote gender equity, new cultural awareness around gender stereotypes, and cultural insensitivity, this is illusory. Tangled, for example, was a popular film selling over 10 million DVD copies and positioned as a bold new female fairy tale character; however, academics took issue with this position, writing articles entitled “Race, Gender and the Politics of Hair: Disney’s Tangled Feminist Messages”, “Tangled: A Celebration of White Femininity”, and “Disney’s Tangled: Fun, But Not Feminist”, berating the film for its lack of any true feminist examples or progressiveness (Kilmer). One way to assess the impact of Disney is to look at the use of shape shifting and transformation in the narratives – particularly those that include women and young girls. Research shows that girls and women are often stereotyped and sexualised in the mass media (Smith et al.; Collins), and Disney regularly utilises body modification and metamorphosis within its narratives to emphasise what good and evil ‘look’ like. These magical transformations evoke what Marina Warner refers to as part of the necessary surprise element of the fairy tale, while creating suspense and identity with storylines and characters. In early Disney films such as the 1937 version of Snow White, the queen becomes the witch who brings a poison apple to the princess; and in the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty the ‘bad’ fairy Maleficent shapeshifts into a malevolent dragon. Whilst these ‘good to evil’ (and vice versa) tropes are easily recognised, there are additional transformations that are arguably more problematic than those of the increasingly terrifying monsters or villains. Disney has created what we have coined the ‘princess bubble’, where the physique and behaviour of the leading women in the tales has become a predictor of success and good fortune, and the impression is created of a link between their possession of beauty and the ‘happily-ever-after’ outcome received by the female character. The value, or worth, of a princess is shown within these stories to often increase according to her ability to attract men. For example, in Brave, Queen Elinor showcases the extreme measures taken to ‘present’ her daughter Merida to male suitors. Merida is preened, dressed, and shown how to behave to increase her value to her family, and whilst she manages to persuade them to set aside their patriarchal ideologies in the end, it is clear what is expected from Merida in order to gain male attention. Similarly, Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White are found to be of high ‘worth’ by the princes on account of their beauty and form. We contend, therefore, that the impression often cast on audiences by Disney princesses emphasises that beauty = worth, no matter how transgressive Disney appears to be on the surface. These princesses are flawlessly beautiful, capable of winning the heart of the prince by triumphing over their less attractive rivals – who are often sisters or other family members. This creates the illusion among young audiences that physical attractiveness is enough to achieve success, and emphasises beauty as the priority above all else. Therefore, the Disney ‘princess bubble’ is highly problematic. It presents a narrow range of acceptability for female characters, offers a distorted view of gender, and serves to further engrain into popular culture a flawed stereotype on how to look and behave that negates a fuller representation of female characters. In addition, Armando Maggi argues that since fairy tales have been passed down through generations, they have become an intrinsic part of many people’s upbringing and are part of a kind of universal imaginary and repository of cultural values. This means that these iconic cultural stories are “unlikely to ever be discarded because they possess both a sentimental value and a moral ‘soundness’” (Rutherford 33), albeit that the lessons to be learnt are at times antiquated and exclusionary in contemporary society. The marketing and promotion of the Disney princess line has resulted in these characters becoming an extremely popular form of media and merchandise for young girls (Coyne et al. 2), and Disney has received great financial benefit from the success of its long history of popular films and merchandise. As a global corporation with influence across multiple entertainment platforms, from its streaming channel to merchandise and theme parks, the gender portrayals therefore impact on culture and, in particular, on how young audiences view gender representation. Therefore, it could be argued that Disney has a social responsibility to ensure that its messages and characters do not skew or become damaging to the psyche of its young audiences who are highly impressionable. When the representation of gender is examined, however, Disney tends to create highly gendered performances in both the early and modern iterations of fairy tales, and the princess characters remain within a narrow range of physical portrayals and agency. The Princess Bubble Although there are twelve official characters within the Disney princess umbrella, plus Elsa and Anna from the Disney Frozen franchise, this article examines the eleven characters who are either born or become royalty through marriage, and exhibit characteristics that could be argued to be the epitome of feminine representation in fairy tales. The characters within this ‘princess bubble’ are Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Elsa, and Anna. The physical appearance of those in the princess bubble also connects to displays around the physical aspects of ethnicity. Nine out of eleven are white skinned, with Jasmine having lightened in skin tone over time, and Tiana now having a tanned look rather than the original dark African American complexion seen in 2009 (Brucculieri). This reinforces an ideology that being white is superior. Every princess in our sample has thick and healthy long hair, the predominant colour being blonde. Their eyes are mostly blue, with only three possessing a dark colour, a factor which reinforces the characteristics and representation of white ethnic groups. Their eyes are also big and bulbous in shape, with large irises and pupils, and extraordinarily long eyelashes that create an almost child-like look of innocence that matches their young age. These princesses have an average age of sixteen years and are always naïve, most without formal education or worldly experience, and they have additional distinctive traits which include poise, elegance and other desired feminine characteristics – like kindness and purity. Ehrenreich and Orenstein note that the physical attributes of the Disney princesses are so evident that the creators have drawn criticism for over-glamorising them, and for their general passiveness and reliance on men for their happiness. Essentially, these women are created in the image of the ultimate male fantasy, where an increased value is placed on the virginal look, followed by a perfect tiny body and an ability to follow basic instructions. The slim bodies of these princesses are disproportionate, and include long necks, demure shoulders, medium- to large-sized perky breasts, with tiny waists, wrists, ankles and feet. Thus, it can be argued that the main theme for those within the princess bubble is their physical body and beauty, and the importance of being attractive to achieve success. The importance of the physical form is so valued that the first blessing given by the fairies to Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is the gift of physical beauty (Rutherford). Furthermore, Tanner et al. argue that the "images of love at first sight in the films encourage the belief that physical appearance is the most important thing", and these fairy tales often reflect a pattern that the prince cannot help but to instantly fall in love with these women because they are so striking. In some instances, like the stories of Cinderella and Snow White, these princesses have not uttered a single word to their prince before these men fall unconditionally and hopelessly in love. Cinderella need only to turn up at the ball as the best dressed (Parks), while Snow White must merely “wait prettily, because someday her prince will come" (Inge) to reestablish her as royalty. Disney emphasises that these princesses win their man solely on the basis that they are the most beautiful girls in the land. In Sleeping Beauty, the prince overhears Aurora’s singing and that sets his heart aflame to the point of refusing to wed the woman chosen for him at birth by the king. Fortunately, she is one and the same person, so the patriarchy survives, but this idea of beauty, and of 'love at first sight', continues to be a central part of Disney movies today, and shows that “Disney Films are vehicles of powerful gender ideologies” (Hairianto). These princesses within the bubble of perfection have priority placed on their physical and sexual beauty (Dietz), formulating a kind of ‘beauty contest motif’. Examples include Gaston, who does not love Belle in Beauty and the Beast, but simply wants her as his trophy wife because he deems her to be the most beautiful girl in the town. Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, looks as if she "was modeled after a slightly anorexic Barbie doll with thin waist and prominent bust. This representation portrays a dangerous model for young women" (Zarranz). The sexualisation of the characters continues as Jasmine has “a delicate nose and small mouth" (Lacroix), with a dress that can be considered as highly sexualised and unsuitable for a girl of sixteen (Lacroix). In Tangled, Rapunzel is held hostage in the tower by Mother Gothel because she is ‘as fragile as a flower’ and needs to be ‘kept safe’ from the harms in the world. But it is her beauty that scares the witch the most, because losing Rapunzel would leave the old woman without her magical anti-aging hair. She uses scare tactics to ensure that Rapunzel remains unseen to the world. These examples are all variations of the beauty theme, as the princesses all fall within narrow and predictable tropes of love at first sight where the woman is rescued and initiated into womanhood by being chosen by a man. Disney’s Progressive Representation? At times Disney’s portrayal of princesses appears illusively progressive, by introducing new and different variations of princesses into the fold – such as Merida in the 2012 film Brave. Unfortunately, this is merely an illusion as the ‘body-perfect’ image remains an all-important ideal to snare a prince. Merida, the young and spirited teenage princess, begins her tale determined not to conform to the desired standards set for a woman of her standing; however, when the time comes for her to be married, there is no negotiating with her mother, the queen, on dress compliance. Merida is clothed against her will to re-identify her in the manner which her parents deem appropriate. Her ability to express her identity and individuality removed, now replaced by a masked version, and thus with the true Merida lost in this transformation, her parents consider Merida to be of renewed merit and benefit to the family. This shows that Disney remains unchanged in its depiction of who may ‘fit’ within the princess bubble, because the rubric is unchanged on how to win the heart of the man. In fact, this film is possibly more troublesome than the rest because it clearly depicts her parents to deem her to be of more value only after her mother has altered her physical appearance. It is only after the total collapse of the royal family that King Fergus has a change of patriarchal heart, and in fact Disney does not portray this rumpled, ripped-sleeved version of the princess in its merchandising campaign. While the fantasy of fairy tales provides enthralling adventures that always end in happiness for the pretty princesses that encounter them, consideration must be given to all those women who have not met the standard and are left in their wake. If women do not conform to the standards of representation, they are presented as outcasts, and happiness eludes them. Cinderella, for example, has two ugly stepsisters, who, no matter how hard they might try, are unable to match her in attractiveness, kindness, or grace. Disney has embraced and not shunned Perrault’s original retelling of the tale, by ensuring that these stepsisters are ugly. They have not been blessed with any attributes whatsoever, and cannot sing, dance, or play music; nor can they sew, cook, clean, or behave respectably. These girls will never find a suitor, let alone a prince, no matter how eager they are to do so. On the physical comparison, Anastasia and Drizella have bodies that are far more rounded and voluptuous, with feet, for example, that are more than double the size of Cinderella’s magical slipper. These women clearly miss the parameters of our princess bubble, emphasising that Disney is continuing to promote dangerous narratives that could potentially harm young audience conceptions of femininity at an important period in their development. Therefore, despite the ‘progressive’ strides made by Disney in response to the vast criticism of their earlier films, the agency afforded to their new generation of princesses does not alter the fact that success comes to those who are beautiful. These beautiful people continue to win every time. Furthermore, Hairianto has found that it is not uncommon for the media to directly or indirectly promote “mental models of how a woman should look, speak and interact with others”, and that Disney uses its pervasive princess influence “to shape perceptions of female identity and desirability. Females are made to measure themselves against the set of values that are meted out by the films” (Hairianto). In the 2017 film Beauty and the Beast, those outside of the princess bubble are seen in the characters of the three maidens from the village who are always trying to look their very best in the hope of attracting Gaston (Rutherford). Gaston is not only disinterested but shows borderline contempt at their glances by permitting his horse to spray mud and dirt all over their fine clothing. They do not meet the beauty standard set, and instead of questioning his cruelty, the audience is left laughing at the horse’s antics. Interestingly, the earlier version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast portrays these maidens as blonde, slim, and sexy, closely fitting the model of beauty displayed in our princess bubble; however, none match the beauty of Belle, and are therefore deemed inferior. In this manner, Disney is being irresponsible, placing little interest in the psychological ‘safety’ or affect the messages have upon young girls who will never meet these expectations (Ehrenreich; Best and Lowney; Orenstein). Furthermore, bodies are shaped and created by culture. They are central to self-identity, becoming a projection of how we see ourselves. Grosz (xii) argues that our notions of our bodies begin in physicality but are forever shaped by our interactions with social realities and cultural norms. The media are constantly filled with images that “glorify and highlight some kinds of bodies (for example, the young, able-bodied and beautiful) while ignoring or condemning others” (Jones 193), and these influences on gender, ethnicity, sexuality, race, and religion within popular culture therefore play a huge part in identity creation. In Disney films, the princess bubble constantly sings the same song, and “children view these stereotypical roles as the right and only way to behave” (Ewert). In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana’s friend Charlotte is so desperate to ‘catch’ a prince that "she humorously over-applies her makeup and adjusts her ball gown to emphasize her cleavage" (Breaux), but the point is not lost. Additionally, “making sure that girls become worthy of love seems central to Disney’s fairy tale films” (Rutherford 76), and because their fairy tales are so pervasive and popular, young viewers receive a consistent message that being beautiful and having a tiny doll-like body type is paramount. “This can be destructive for developing girls’ views and images of their own bodies, which are not proportioned the way that they see on screen” (Cordwell 21). “The strongly gendered messages present in the resolutions of the movies help to reinforce the desirability of traditional gender conformity” (England et al. 565). Conclusion The princess bubble is a phenomenon that has been seen in Disney’s representation of female characters for decades. Within this bubble there is a narrow range of representation permitted, and attempts to make the characters more progressive have instead resulted in narrow and restrictive constraints, reinforcing dangerous female stereotypes. Kilmer suggests that ultimately these representations fail to break away from “hegemonic assumptions about gender norms, class boundaries, and Caucasian privileging”. Ultimately this presents audiences with strong and persuasive messages about gender performance. Audiences conform their bodies to societal ‘rules’: “as to how we ‘wear’ and ‘use’ our bodies” (Richardson and Locks x), including for example how we should dress, what we should weigh, and how to become popular. In our global hypermediated society, viewers are constantly exposed to princesses and other appropriate bodies. These become internalised ideals and aid in positive and negative thoughts and self-identity, which in turn creates additional pressure on the female body in particular. The seemingly innocent stories with happy outcomes are therefore unrealistic and ultimately excluding of those who cannot or will not ‘fit into the princess bubble’. The princess bubble, we argue, is therefore predictable and restrictive, promoting female passiveness and a reliance of physical traits over intelligence. The dominance of beauty over all else remains the road to female success in the Disney fairy tale film. References Beauty and the Beast. Dirs. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Walt Disney Productions, 1991. Film. Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Bill Condon. Walt Disney Pictures, 2017. Film. Best, Joel, and Kathleen S. Lowney. “The Disadvantage of a Good Reputation: Disney as a Target for Social Problems Claims.” The Sociological Quarterly 50 (2009): 431–449. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01147.x. Brave. Dirs. Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. Walt Disney Pictures, 2012. Film. Breaux, Richard, M. “After 75 Years of Magic: Disney Answers Its Critics, Rewrites African American History, and Cashes in on Its Racist Past.” Journal of African American Studies 14 (2010): 398-416. Cinderella. Dirs. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. Walt Disney Productions, 1950. Film. Collins, Rebecca L. “Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go?” Sex Roles 64 (2011): 290–298. doi:10.1007/s11199-010-9929-5. Cordwell, Caila Leigh. The Shattered Slipper Project: The Impact of the Disney Princess Franchise on Girls Ages 6-12. Honours thesis, Southeastern University, 2016. Coyne, Sarah M., Jennifer Ruh Linder, Eric E. Rasmussen, David A. Nelson, and Victoria Birkbeck. “Pretty as a Princess: Longitudinal Effects of Engagement with Disney Princesses on Gender Stereotypes, Body Esteem, and Prosocial Behavior in Children.” Child Development 87.6 (2016): 1–17. Dietz, Tracey, L. “An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior.” Sex Roles 38 (1998): 425–442. doi:10.1023/a:1018709905920. England, Dawn Elizabeth, Lara Descartes, and Melissa A. Collier-Meek. "Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses." Sex Roles 64 (2011): 555-567. Ewert, Jolene. “A Tale as Old as Time – an Analysis of Negative Stereotypes in Disney Princess Movies.” Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences 13 (2014). Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies. London, Routledge, 1994. Inge, M. Thomas. “Art, Adaptation, and Ideology: Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 32.3 (2004): 132-142. Jones, Meredith. “The Body in Popular Culture.” Being Cultural. Ed. Bruce M.Z. Cohen. Auckland University, 2012. 193-210. Kilmer, Alyson. Moving Forward? Problematic Ideology in Twenty-First Century Fairy Tale Films. Central Washington University, 2015. Lacroix, Celeste. “Images of Animated Others: The Orientalization of Disney's Cartoon Heroines from The Little Mermaid to The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Popular Communications 2.4 (2004): 213-229. Little Mermaid, The. Dirs. Ron Clements and John Musker. Walt Disney Pictures, 1989. Film. Maggi, Armando. Preserving the Spell: Basile's "The Tale of Tales" and Its Afterlife in the Fairy-Tale Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Orenstein, Peggy. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. New York: HarperCollins, 2011. Parks, Kari. Mirror, Mirror: A Look at Self-Esteem & Disney Princesses. Honours thesis. Ball State University, 2012. Pinocchio. Dirs. Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Norm Ferguson, Bill Roberts, and T. Lee. Walt Disney Productions, 1940. Film. Princess and the Frog, The. Dirs. Ron Clements and John Musker. Walt Disney Pictures, 2009. Film. Richardson, Niall, and Adam Locks. Body Studies: The Basics. Routledge, 2014. Rutherford, Amanda M. Happily Ever After? A Critical Examination of the Gothic in Disney Fairy Tale Films. Auckland University of Technology, 2020. Sleeping Beauty. Dirs. Clyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Les Clark. Walt Disney Productions, 1959. Film. Smith, Stacey L., Katherine M. Pieper, Amy Granados, and Mark Choueite. “Assessing Gender-Related Portrayals in Topgrossing G-Rated Films.” Sex Roles 62 (2010): 774–786. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Dirs. David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell, Perce Pearce, and Larry Morey. Walt Disney Productions, 1937. Film. Tangled. Dirs. Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Walt Disney Pictures, 2010. Film. Tanner, Litsa RenÉe, Shelley A. Haddock, Toni Schindler Zimmerman, and Lori K. Lund. “Images of Couples and Families in Disney Feature-Length Animated Films.” The American Journal of Family Therapy 31 (2003): 355-373. Warner, Marina. Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds. London: Oxford UP, 2002. Wasko, Janet. Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy. Polity Press, 2001. Wohlwend, Karen E. “Damsels in Discourse: Girls Consuming and Producing Identity Texts through Disney Princess Play.” Reading Research Quarterly 44.1 (2009): 57-83. Zarranaz, L. Garcia. “Diswomen Strike Back? The Evolution of Disney's Femmes in the 1990s.” Atenea 27.2 (2007) 55-65.

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Kirkwood, Katherine. "Tasting but not Tasting: MasterChef Australia and Vicarious Consumption." M/C Journal 17, no.1 (March18, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.761.

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IntroductionCroquembouche, blast chillers, and plating up—these terms have become normal to ordinary Australians despite Adriano Zumbo’s croquembouche recipe taking more than two hours to complete and blast chillers costing thousands of dollars. Network Ten’s reality talent quest MasterChef Australia (MCA) has brought fine dining and “foodie” culture to a mass audience who have responded enthusiastically. Vicariously “tasting” this once niche lifestyle is empowering viewers to integrate aspects of “foodie” culture into their everyday lives. It helps them become “everyday foodies.” “Everyday foodies” are individuals who embrace and incorporate an appreciation of gourmet food culture into their existing lifestyles, but feel limited by time, money, health, or confidence. So while a croquembouche and blast chiller may be beyond a MCA viewer’s reach, these aspects of “foodie” culture can still be enjoyed via the program. The rise of the “everyday foodie” challenges criticisms of vicarious consumption and negative discourses about reality and lifestyle television. Examining the very different and specific ways in which three MCA-viewing households vicariously experience gourmet food in their adoption of the “everyday foodie” lifestyle will demonstrate the positive value of vicarious consumption through reality and lifestyle programming. A brief background on the MCA phenomenon will be provided before a review of existing literature regarding vicarious consumption and tensions in the reality and lifestyle television field. Three case studies of MCA-viewing households who use vicarious consumption to satisfy “foodie” cravings and broaden their cultural tastes will be presented. Adapted from the United Kingdom’s MasterChef, which has aired since 1990, MCA has proven to be a catalyst for the “cheffing up” of the nation’s food culture. Twenty-odd amateur cooks compete in a series of challenges, guided, and critiqued by judges George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, and Matt Preston. Contestants are eliminated as they move through a series of challenges, until one cook remains and is crowned the Master Chef of that series. Network Ten’s launch of MCA in 2009 capitalised on the popularity of reality talent quests that grew throughout the 2000s with programs such as Popstars (2000–2002), Australian Idol (2003–2009), X Factor (2005, 2010–) and Australia’s Got Talent (2007–). MCA also captures Australian viewers’ penchant for lifestyle shows including Better Homes and Gardens (1995–), Burke’s Backyard (1987-2004), The Living Room (2012–) and The Block (2003–2004, 2010–). The popularity of these shows, however, does not match the heights of MCA, which has transformed the normal cooking show audience of 200,000 into millions (Greenwood). MCA’s 2010 finale is Australia’s highest rating non-sporting program since OzTAM ratings were introduced in 2001 (Vickery). Anticipating this episode’s popularity, the 2010 Federal Election debate was moved to 6.30pm from its traditional Sunday 7.30pm timeslot (Coorey; Malkin). As well as attracting extensive press coverage and attention in opinion pieces and blogs, the level of academic attention MCA has already received underscores the show’s significance. So far, Lewis (Labours) and Seale have critiqued the involvement of ordinary people as contestants on the show while Phillipov (Communicating, Mastering) explores tensions within the show from a public health angle. While de Solier (TV Dinners, Making the Self, Foodie Makeovers) and Rousseau’s research does not focus on MCA itself, their investigation of Australian foodies and the impact of food media respectively provide relevant discussion about audience relationships with food media and food culture. This article focuses on how audiences use MCA and related programs. Vicarious consumption is presented as a negative practice where the leisure class benefit from another’s productivity (Veblen). Belk presents the simple example that “if our friend lives in an extravagant house or drives an extravagant car, we feel just a bit more extravagant ourselves” (157). Therefore, consuming through another is viewed as a passive activity. In the context of vicariously consuming through MCA, it could be argued that audiences are gaining satisfaction from watching others develop culinary skills and produce gourmet meals. What this article will reveal is that while MCA viewers do gain this satisfaction, they use it in a productive way to discipline their own eating and spending habits, and to allow them to engage with “foodie” culture when it may not otherwise be possible. Rather than embrace the opportunity to understand a new culture or lifestyle, critics of reality and lifestyle television dismiss the empowering qualities of these programs for two reasons. The practice of “advertainment” (Deery 1)—fusing selling and entertainment—puts pressure on, or excludes, the aspirational classes who want, but lack the resources to adopt, the depicted lifestyle (Ouellette and Hay). Furthermore, such programs are criticised for forcing bourgeois consumption habits on its viewers (Lewis, Smart Living) Both arguments have been directed at British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Oliver’s latest cookbook Save with Jamie has been criticised as it promotes austerity cooking, but costs £26 (approx. 48AUD) and encourages readers to purchase staple ingredients and equipment that total more than £500 (approx. 919AUD) (Ellis-Petersen). Ellis-Petersen adds that the £500 cost uses the cheapest available options, not Oliver’s line of Tefal cooking equipment, “which come at a hefty premium” (7). In 2005, Oliver’s television series Jamie’s School Dinners, which follows his campaign for policy reform in the provision of food to students was met with resistance. 2008 reports claim students preferred to leave school to buy junk food rather than eat healthier fare at school (Rousseau). Parents supported this, providing money to their children rather than packing healthy lunches that would pass school inspections (Rousseau). Like the framing of vicarious consumption, these criticisms dismiss the potential benefits of engaging with different lifestyles and cultures. These arguments do not recognise audiences as active media consumers who use programs like MCA to enhance their lifestyles through the acquisition of cultural capital. Ouellette and Hay highlight that audiences take advantage of a multitude of viewing strategies. One such strategy is playing the role of “vicarious expert” (Ouellette and Hay 117) who judges participants and has their consumption practices reinforced through the show. While audiences are invited to learn, they can do this from a distance and are not obliged to feel as though they must be educated (Ouellette and Hay). Viewers are simply able to enjoy the fantasy and spectacle of food shows as escapes from everyday routines (Lewis, Smart Living). In cases like Emeril Live where the host and chef, Emeril Lagasse “favors [sic] showmanship over instruction” (Adema 115–116) the vicarious consumption of viewing a cooking show is more satisfying than cooking and eating. Another reason vicarious consumption provides pleasure for audiences is because “culinary television aestheticises food,” transforming it “into a delectable image, a form of ‘gastro-p*rn’ […] designed to be consumed with the eyes” (de Solier, TV Dinners 467). Audiences take advantage of these viewing strategies, using a balance of actual and vicarious consumption in order to integrate gourmet food culture into their pre-existing lifestyle, budget, and cooking ability. The following case studies emerged from research conducted to understand MCA’s impact on households. After shopping with, and interviewing, seven households, the integration of vicarious and actual food consumption habits was evident across three households. Enjoying food images onscreen or in cookbooks is a suitable substitute when actual consumption is unhealthy, too expensive, time consuming, or daunting. It is this balance between adopting consumption habits of a conventional “foodie” and using vicarious consumption in contexts where the viewer sees actual consumption as unreasonable or uncomfortable that makes the “everyday foodie.” Melanie—Health Melanie is 38 years old and works in the childcare industry. She enjoys the “gastro-p*rn” of MCA and other food media. Interestingly she says food media actually helps her resist eating sumptuous and rich foods: Yeah, like my house is just overrun by cookbooks, cooking magazines. I have Foxtel primarily for the Food Network […] But I know if I cooked it or baked it, I would eat it and I’ve worked too hard to get where I am physically to do that. So I just, I read about it and I watch it, I just don’t do it. This behaviour supports Boulos et al.’s finding that while the Food Network promotes irresponsible consumption habits, these programs are considered a “window into a wider social and cultural world” rather than food preparation guides (150). Using vicarious consumption in this way means Melanie feels she does not “cook as much as what a true foodie would cook,” but she will “have low fat and healthy [options] whenever I can so I can go out and try all the fancy stuff cooked by fancy people.” MCA and food media for Melanie serves a double purpose in that she uses it to restrict, but also aid in her consumption of gourmet food. In choosing a chef or restaurant for the occasions where Melanie wants to enjoy a “fancy” dining experience, she claims food media serves as an educational resource to influence her consumption of gourmet food: I looked up when I was in Sydney where Adriano Zumbo’s shop was to go and try macarons there […] It [MCA] makes me aware of chefs that I may not have been aware of and I may go and … seek that [their restaurants/establishments] out […] Would Adriano Zumbo be as big as he is without MasterChef? No. And I’m a sucker, I want to go and try, I want to know what everyone’s talking about. Melanie’s attitudes and behaviour with regards to food media and consumption illustrates audiences’ selective nature. MCA and other food media influence her to consume, but also control, her consumption. Curtis and Samantha—Broadening Horizons Time and money is a key concern for many “everyday foodies” including Curtis’ family. Along with his wife Samantha they are raising a one-year-old daughter, Amelia. Curtis expressed a fondness for food that he ate while on holiday in the United States: I guess in the last few weeks I’ve been craving the food that we had when we were in America, in particular stuff like pulled pork, ribs, stuff like that. So I’ve replicated or made our own because you can’t get it anywhere around Brisbane like from a restaurant. When talking about cooking shows more generally, Curtis speaks primarily about cooking shows he watches on Foxtel that have a food tourism angle. Curtis mentions programs including Cheese Slices, The Layover and Man v. Food. The latter of these shows follows Adam Richman around the United States attempting to conquer eating challenges set at famous local establishments. Curtis describes his reaction to the program: I say woah that looks good and then I just want to go back to America. But instead of paying thousands of dollars to go, it’s cheaper to look up a recipe and give it a go at home. Cookbooks and food television provide their viewers not only with a window through which they can escape their everyday routines but, as Curtis points out, inspiration or education to cook new dishes themselves. For money conscious “everyday foodies”, the cooking demonstration or mere introduction of a dish broadens viewers’ culinary knowledge. Curtis highlights the importance of this: Otherwise [without food media] you’d be stuck cooking the same things your mum and dad taught you, or your home economics teacher taught you in high school. You’d just be doing the same thing every day. Unless you went out to a restaurant and fell in love with something, but because you don’t go out to restaurants every day, you wouldn’t have that experience every day […] TV gives you the ability—we could flick over to the food channel right now and watch something completely amazing that we’ve never done before. His wife Samantha does not consider herself an adventurous eater. While she is interested in food, her passion lies in cakes and desserts and she jokes that ordering Nando’s with the medium basting is adventurous for her. Vicarious consumption through food media allows Samantha to experience a wider range of cuisines without consuming these foods herself: I would watch a lot more variety than I would actually try. There’s a lot of things that I would happily watch, but if it was put in front of me I probably wouldn’t eat it. Like with MasterChef, I’m quite interested in cooking and stuff, but the range of things [ingredients and cuisines] […] I wouldn’t go there. Rose and Andrew—Set in Their Ways Rose and her husband Andrew are a “basically retired” couple and the parents of Samantha. While they both enjoy MCA and feel it has given them a new insight on food, they find it easier to have a mediated engagement with gourmet food in some instances. Andrew believes MCA is: Taking food out of this sort of very conservative, meat, and three vegetables thing into […] something that is more exotic, for the want of a better word. And I guess that’s where we’ve—we follow it, I follow it. And saying, ‘Oh, geez it’d be nice to do that or to be able to do that,’ and enjoy a bit of creativity in that, but I think it’s just we’re probably pretty set in our ways probably and it’s a bit hard to put that into action sometimes. Andrew goes on to suggest that a generational gap makes their daughters, Samantha and Elle more likely to cook MCA-inspired meals than they are: See Samantha and Elle probably cook with that sort of thing [herbs] more and I always enjoy when they do it, but we probably don’t […] We don’t think about it when we go shopping. We probably shop and buy the basic things and don’t think about the nicer things. Andrew describes himself as “an extremely lazy reader” who finds following a recipe “boring.” Andrew says if he were tempted to cook an MCA-inspired dish, it is unlikely that the required ingredients would be on-hand and that he would not shop for one meal. Rose says she does buy the herbs, or “nicer things” as Andrew refers to them, but is hesitant to use them. She says the primary barrier is lacking confidence in her cooking ability, but also that she finds cooking tiring and is not used to cooking with the gas stove in her new home: Rose: I also think that I probably leave my run late and by night time I’m really tired and my feet are hurting and I tend to think ‘Oh I’ll just get something ready’ […] I know that probably sounds like a lame excuse, but yeah, it’s probably more the confidence thing I think. I often even buy the things [ingredients] to do it and then don’t make it. I’m not confident with my stovetop either. Researcher: Oh why—can you please explain more about that?Rose: Well it’s a gas stovetop and I used to have the electric. I felt like I could main—I could control the setting—the heat—better on it. Rose, in particular, does not let her lack of confidence and time stop her from engaging with gourmet food. Cookbooks and cooking shows like MCA are a valuable channel for her to appreciate “foodie” culture. Rose talks about her interest in MCA: Rose: I’m not a keen cook, but I do enjoy buying recipe books and looking at lovely food and watching—and I enjoyed watching how they did these beautiful dishes. As for the desserts, yes they probably were very fancy, but it was sort of nice to think if you had a really special occasion, you know […] and I would actually get on the computer afterwards and look for some of the recipes. I did subscribe to their magazine […] because I’m a bit of a magazine junkie.Researcher: What do you get out of the recipe books and magazines if you say you’re not a keen cook?Rose: I’d just dream about cooking them probably. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But, and also probably inspire my daughters […] I like to show them “oh, look at this and this” or, you know, and probably quite often they will try it or—and one day I think I will try it, but whether I ever do or not, I don’t know. Rose’s response also treats the generation gap as a perceived barrier to actual consumption. But while the couple feel unable to use the knowledge they have gained through MCA in their kitchen, they credit the show with broadening the range of cuisines they would eat when dining out: Andrew: You know, even when we’ve been to—I like Asian food in Australia, you know, Chinese, Thai, any of those sorts of foods.Rose: Indian. Andrew: Indian, yeah I like that in Australia.Rose: Which we have probably tried more of since the likes of MasterChef.Andrew: Yeah.Rose: You know, you—and even sushi, like you would never have ever […]Andrew: Gone to sushi previously. And I won’t eat sashimi, but the sushi bar is all right. Um […] but [I] did not enjoy Chinese food in places like Hong Kong or Singapore. As the couple does not seek educational information from the show in terms of cooking demonstration, they appear more invested in the progress of the contestants of the show and how they respond to challenges set by the judges. The involvement of amateur cooks makes the show relatable as they identify with contestants who they see as potential extensions of themselves. Rose identifies with season one winner, Julie Goodwin who entered the program as a 38-year-old mother of three and owner of an IT consulting business: Rose: Well Julie of course is a—I don’t like to use the word square, but she’s sort of like a bit of an old fashioned lady, but you know, more like basic grandma cooking. But […]Andrew: She did it well though.Rose: Yes, yeah. Andrew: And she, she probably—she progressed dramatically, you know, from the comments from when she first started […] to winning. In how she presented, how she did things. She must have learnt a lot in the process is the way I would look at it anyway. Rose: And I’ve seen her sort of on things since then and she is very good at like […] talking about and telling you what she’s doing and—for basic sort of cook—you know what I mean, not basic, but […] for a basic person like me. Although Rose and Andrew feel that their life stage prevents has them from changing long established consumption habits in relation to food, their choices while dining out coupled with a keen interest in food and food media still exemplifies the “everyday foodie” lifestyle. Programs like MCA, especially with its focus on the development of amateur cooks, have allowed Rose and Andrew to experience gourmet food more than they would have otherwise. Conclusion Each viewer is empowered to live their version of the “everyday foodie” lifestyle through adopting a balance of actual and vicarious consumption practices. Vicariously tasting “foodie” culture has broadened these viewers’ culinary knowledge and to some extent has broadened their actual tastes. This is evident in Melanie’s visit to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie, and Rose and Andrew’s sampling of various Asian cuisines while dining out, for example. It also provides pleasure in lieu of actual consumption in instances like Melanie using food images as a disciplinary mechanism or Curtis watching Man v. Food instead of travelling overseas. The attitudes and behaviours of these MCA viewers illustrate that vicarious consumption through food media is a productive and empowering practice that aids audiences to adopt an “everyday foodie” lifestyle. References Adema, Pauline. “Vicarious Consumption: Food, Television and the Ambiguity of Modernity.” Journal of American and Comparative Cultures 23.3 (2000): 113–23. Belk, Russell. “Possessions and the Extended Self.” Journal of Consumer Research 15.2 (1988): 139–68. Boulous, Rebecca, Emily Kuross Vikre, Sophie Oppenheimer, Hannah Chang, and Robin B. Kanarek. “ObesiTV: How Television is influencing the Obesity Epidemic.” Physiology & Behavior 107.1 (2012): 146–53. Coorey, Phillip. “Chefs Win in Ratings Boilover.” Sydney Morning Herald 20 Jul. 2010: n. pag. Deery, June. “Reality TV as Advertainment.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture 2.1 (2005): 1–20. Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. “Jamie’s Idea of Cooking on a Budget—First Buy £500 of Kitchen Utensils and ‘Basics’ (And Yes Most Of Them DO Come From His Own Range).” Mail Online 31 Aug. 2013: n. pag. Greenwood, Helen. “From TV to Table.” Sydney Morning Herald 3 Jul. 2010: n. pag. Lewis, Tania. Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. -----. “You’ve Put Yourselves on a Plate: The Labours of Selfhood on MasterChef Australia.” Reality Television and Class. Eds. Helen Wood, and Beverly Skeggs. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 104–6. Malkin, Bonnie. “Australian Election Debate Makes Way for MasterChef Final.” The Telegraph 20 Jul. 2010: n. pag. Ouellette, Laurie, and James Hay. Better Living through Reality TV. Malden: Blackwell, 2008. Phillipov, Michelle. “Communicating Health Risks via the Media: What can we learn from MasterChef Australia?” The Australasian Medical Journal 5.11 (2012): 593–7. -----. “Mastering Obesity: MasterChef Australia and the Resistance to Public Health Nutrition.” Media, Culture & Society 35.4 (2013): 506–15. Rousseau, Signe. Food Media: Celebrity Chefs and the Politics of Everyday Interference. London: Berg, 2012. Seale, Kirsten. “MasterChef’s Amateur Makeovers.” Media International Australia 143 (2012): 28–35. de Solier, Isabelle. “Foodie Makeovers: Public Service Television and Lifestyle Guidance.” Exposing Lifestyle Television: The Big Reveal. Ed. Gareth Palmer. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. 65–81. -----. “Making the Self in a Material World: Food and Moralities of Consumption.” Cultural Studies Review 19.1 (2013): 9–27. -----. “TV Dinners: Culinary Television, Education and Distinction.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 19.4 (2005): 465–81. Vickery, Colin. “Adam Liaw Wins MasterChef as Ratings Soar for Channel 10.” Herald Sun 25 Jul. 2010: n. pag. Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

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Ibrahim, Yasmin. "Commodifying Terrorism." M/C Journal 10, no.3 (June1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2665.

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Abstract:

Introduction Figure 1 The counter-Terrorism advertising campaign of London’s Metropolitan Police commodifies some everyday items such as mobile phones, computers, passports and credit cards as having the potential to sustain terrorist activities. The process of ascribing cultural values and symbolic meanings to some everyday technical gadgets objectifies and situates Terrorism into the everyday life. The police, in urging people to look out for ‘the unusual’ in their normal day-to-day lives, juxtapose the everyday with the unusual, where day-to-day consumption, routines and flows of human activity can seemingly house insidious and atavistic elements. This again is reiterated in the Met police press release: Terrorists live within our communities making their plans whilst doing everything they can to blend in, and trying not to raise suspicions about their activities. (MPA Website) The commodification of Terrorism through uncommon and everyday objects situates Terrorism as a phenomenon which occupies a liminal space within the everyday. It resides, breathes and co-exists within the taken-for-granted routines and objects of ‘the everyday’ where it has the potential to explode and disrupt without warning. Since 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings Terrorism has been narrated through the disruption of mobility, whether in mid-air or in the deep recesses of the Underground. The resonant thread of disruption to human mobility evokes a powerful meta-narrative where acts of Terrorism can halt human agency amidst the backdrop of the metropolis, which is often a metaphor for speed and accelerated activities. If globalisation and the interconnected nature of the world are understood through discourses of risk, Terrorism bears the same footprint in urban spaces of modernity, narrating the vulnerability of the human condition in an inter-linked world where ideological struggles and resistance are manifested through inexplicable violence and destruction of lives, where the everyday is suspended to embrace the unexpected. As a consequence ambient fear “saturates the social spaces of everyday life” (Hubbard 2). The commodification of Terrorism through everyday items of consumption inevitably creates an intertextuality with real and media events, which constantly corrode the security of the metropolis. Paddy Scannell alludes to a doubling of place in our mediated world where “public events now occur simultaneously in two different places; the place of the event itself and that in which it is watched and heard. The media then vacillates between the two sites and creates experiences of simultaneity, liveness and immediacy” (qtd. in Moores 22). The doubling of place through media constructs a pervasive environment of risk and fear. Mark Danner (qtd. in Bauman 106) points out that the most powerful weapon of the 9/11 terrorists was that innocuous and “most American of technological creations: the television set” which provided a global platform to constantly replay and remember the dreadful scenes of the day, enabling the terrorist to appear invincible and to narrate fear as ubiquitous and omnipresent. Philip Abrams argues that ‘big events’ (such as 9/11 and 7/7) do make a difference in the social world for such events function as a transformative device between the past and future, forcing society to alter or transform its perspectives. David Altheide points out that since September 11 and the ensuing war on terror, a new discourse of Terrorism has emerged as a way of expressing how the world has changed and defining a state of constant alert through a media logic and format that shapes the nature of discourse itself. Consequently, the intensity and centralisation of surveillance in Western countries increased dramatically, placing the emphasis on expanding the forms of the already existing range of surveillance processes and practices that circ*mscribe and help shape our social existence (Lyon, Terrorism 2). Normalisation of Surveillance The role of technologies, particularly information and communication technologies (ICTs), and other infrastructures to unevenly distribute access to the goods and services necessary for modern life, while facilitating data collection on and control of the public, are significant characteristics of modernity (Reiman; Graham and Marvin; Monahan). The embedding of technological surveillance into spaces and infrastructures not only augment social control but also redefine data as a form of capital which can be shared between public and private sectors (Gandy, Data Mining; O’Harrow; Monahan). The scale, complexity and limitations of omnipresent and omnipotent surveillance, nevertheless, offer room for both subversion as well as new forms of domination and oppression (Marx). In surveillance studies, Foucault’s analysis is often heavily employed to explain lines of continuity and change between earlier forms of surveillance and data assemblage and contemporary forms in the shape of closed-circuit television (CCTV) and other surveillance modes (Dee). It establishes the need to discern patterns of power and normalisation and the subliminal or obvious cultural codes and categories that emerge through these arrangements (Fopp; Lyon, Electronic; Norris and Armstrong). In their study of CCTV surveillance, Norris and Armstrong (cf. in Dee) point out that when added to the daily minutiae of surveillance, CCTV cameras in public spaces, along with other camera surveillance in work places, capture human beings on a database constantly. The normalisation of surveillance, particularly with reference to CCTV, the popularisation of surveillance through television formats such as ‘Big Brother’ (Dee), and the expansion of online platforms to publish private images, has created a contradictory, complex and contested nature of spatial and power relationships in society. The UK, for example, has the most developed system of both urban and public space cameras in the world and this growth of camera surveillance and, as Lyon (Surveillance) points out, this has been achieved with very little, if any, public debate as to their benefits or otherwise. There may now be as many as 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain (cf. Lyon, Surveillance). That is one for every fourteen people and a person can be captured on over 300 cameras every day. An estimated £500m of public money has been invested in CCTV infrastructure over the last decade but, according to a Home Office study, CCTV schemes that have been assessed had little overall effect on crime levels (Wood and Ball). In spatial terms, these statistics reiterate Foucault’s emphasis on the power economy of the unseen gaze. Michel Foucault in analysing the links between power, information and surveillance inspired by Bentham’s idea of the Panopticon, indicated that it is possible to sanction or reward an individual through the act of surveillance without their knowledge (155). It is this unseen and unknown gaze of surveillance that is fundamental to the exercise of power. The design and arrangement of buildings can be engineered so that the “surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action” (Foucault 201). Lyon (Terrorism), in tracing the trajectory of surveillance studies, points out that much of surveillance literature has focused on understanding it as a centralised bureaucratic relationship between the powerful and the governed. Invisible forms of surveillance have also been viewed as a class weapon in some societies. With the advancements in and proliferation of surveillance technologies as well as convergence with other technologies, Lyon argues that it is no longer feasible to view surveillance as a linear or centralised process. In our contemporary globalised world, there is a need to reconcile the dialectical strands that mediate surveillance as a process. In acknowledging this, Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari have constructed surveillance as a rhizome that defies linearity to appropriate a more convoluted and malleable form where the coding of bodies and data can be enmeshed to produce intricate power relationships and hierarchies within societies. Latour draws on the notion of assemblage by propounding that data is amalgamated from scattered centres of calculation where these can range from state and commercial institutions to scientific laboratories which scrutinise data to conceive governance and control strategies. Both the Latourian and Deleuzian ideas of surveillance highlight the disparate arrays of people, technologies and organisations that become connected to make “surveillance assemblages” in contrast to the static, unidirectional Panopticon metaphor (Ball, “Organization” 93). In a similar vein, Gandy (Panoptic) infers that it is misleading to assume that surveillance in practice is as complete and totalising as the Panoptic ideal type would have us believe. Co-optation of Millions The Metropolitan Police’s counter-Terrorism strategy seeks to co-opt millions where the corporeal body can complement the landscape of technological surveillance that already co-exists within modernity. In its press release, the role of civilian bodies in ensuring security of the city is stressed; Keeping Londoners safe from Terrorism is not a job solely for governments, security services or police. If we are to make London the safest major city in the world, we must mobilise against Terrorism not only the resources of the state, but also the active support of the millions of people who live and work in the capita. (MPA Website). Surveillance is increasingly simulated through the millions of corporeal entities where seeing in advance is the goal even before technology records and codes these images (William). Bodies understand and code risk and images through the cultural narratives which circulate in society. Compared to CCTV technology images, which require cultural and political interpretations and interventions, bodies as surveillance organisms implicitly code other bodies and activities. The travel bag in the Metropolitan Police poster reinforces the images of the 7/7 bombers and the renewed attempts to bomb the London Underground on the 21st of July. It reiterates the CCTV footage revealing images of the bombers wearing rucksacks. The image of the rucksack both embodies the everyday as well as the potential for evil in everyday objects. It also inevitably reproduces the cultural biases and prejudices where the rucksack is subliminally associated with a specific type of body. The rucksack in these terms is a laden image which symbolically captures the context and culture of risk discourses in society. The co-optation of the population as a surveillance entity also recasts new forms of social responsibility within the democratic polity, where privacy is increasingly mediated by the greater need to monitor, trace and record the activities of one another. Nikolas Rose, in discussing the increasing ‘responsibilisation’ of individuals in modern societies, describes the process in which the individual accepts responsibility for personal actions across a wide range of fields of social and economic activity as in the choice of diet, savings and pension arrangements, health care decisions and choices, home security measures and personal investment choices (qtd. in Dee). While surveillance in individualistic terms is often viewed as a threat to privacy, Rose argues that the state of ‘advanced liberalism’ within modernity and post-modernity requires considerable degrees of self-governance, regulation and surveillance whereby the individual is constructed both as a ‘new citizen’ and a key site of self management. By co-opting and recasting the role of the citizen in the age of Terrorism, the citizen to a degree accepts responsibility for both surveillance and security. In our sociological imagination the body is constructed both as lived as well as a social object. Erving Goffman uses the word ‘umwelt’ to stress that human embodiment is central to the constitution of the social world. Goffman defines ‘umwelt’ as “the region around an individual from which signs of alarm can come” and employs it to capture how people as social actors perceive and manage their settings when interacting in public places (252). Goffman’s ‘umwelt’ can be traced to Immanuel Kant’s idea that it is the a priori categories of space and time that make it possible for a subject to perceive a world (Umiker-Sebeok; qtd. in Ball, “Organization”). Anthony Giddens adapted the term Umwelt to refer to “a phenomenal world with which the individual is routinely ‘in touch’ in respect of potential dangers and alarms which then formed a core of (accomplished) normalcy with which individuals and groups surround themselves” (244). Benjamin Smith, in considering the body as an integral component of the link between our consciousness and our material world, observes that the body is continuously inscribed by culture. These inscriptions, he argues, encompass a wide range of cultural practices and will imply knowledge of a variety of social constructs. The inscribing of the body will produce cultural meanings as well as create forms of subjectivity while locating and situating the body within a cultural matrix (Smith). Drawing on Derrida’s work, Pugliese employs the term ‘Somatechnics’ to conceptualise the body as a culturally intelligible construct and to address the techniques in and through which the body is formed and transformed (qtd. in Osuri). These techniques can encompass signification systems such as race and gender and equally technologies which mediate our sense of reality. These technologies of thinking, seeing, hearing, signifying, visualising and positioning produce the very conditions for the cultural intelligibility of the body (Osuri). The body is then continuously inscribed and interpreted through mediated signifying systems. Similarly, Hayles, while not intending to impose a Cartesian dichotomy between the physical body and its cognitive presence, contends that the use and interactions with technology incorporate the body as a material entity but it also equally inscribes it by marking, recording and tracing its actions in various terrains. According to Gayatri Spivak (qtd. in Ball, “Organization”) new habits and experiences are embedded into the corporeal entity which then mediates its reactions and responses to the social world. This means one’s body is not completely one’s own and the presence of ideological forces or influences then inscribe the body with meanings, codes and cultural values. In our modern condition, the body and data are intimately and intricately bound. Outside the home, it is difficult for the body to avoid entering into relationships that produce electronic personal data (Stalder). According to Felix Stalder our physical bodies are shadowed by a ‘data body’ which follows the physical body of the consuming citizen and sometimes precedes it by constructing the individual through data (12). Before we arrive somewhere, we have already been measured and classified. Thus, upon arrival, the citizen will be treated according to the criteria ‘connected with the profile that represents us’ (Gandy, Panoptic; William). Following September 11, Lyon (Terrorism) reveals that surveillance data from a myriad of sources, such as supermarkets, motels, traffic control points, credit card transactions records and so on, was used to trace the activities of terrorists in the days and hours before their attacks, confirming that the body leaves data traces and trails. Surveillance works by abstracting bodies from places and splitting them into flows to be reassembled as virtual data-doubles, and in the process can replicate hierarchies and centralise power (Lyon, Terrorism). Mike Dee points out that the nature of surveillance taking place in modern societies is complex and far-reaching and in many ways insidious as surveillance needs to be situated within the broadest context of everyday human acts whether it is shopping with loyalty cards or paying utility bills. Physical vulnerability of the body becomes more complex in the time-space distanciated surveillance systems to which the body has become increasingly exposed. As such, each transaction – whether it be a phone call, credit card transaction, or Internet search – leaves a ‘data trail’ linkable to an individual person or place. Haggerty and Ericson, drawing from Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the assemblage, describe the convergence and spread of data-gathering systems between different social domains and multiple levels (qtd. in Hier). They argue that the target of the generic ‘surveillance assemblage’ is the human body, which is broken into a series of data flows on which surveillance process is based. The thrust of the focus is the data individuals can yield and the categories to which they can contribute. These are then reapplied to the body. In this sense, surveillance is rhizomatic for it is diverse and connected to an underlying, invisible infrastructure which concerns interconnected technologies in multiple contexts (Ball, “Elements”). The co-opted body in the schema of counter-Terrorism enters a power arrangement where it constitutes both the unseen gaze as well as the data that will be implicated and captured in this arrangement. It is capable of producing surveillance data for those in power while creating new data through its transactions and movements in its everyday life. The body is unequivocally constructed through this data and is also entrapped by it in terms of representation and categorisation. The corporeal body is therefore part of the machinery of surveillance while being vulnerable to its discriminatory powers of categorisation and victimisation. As Hannah Arendt (qtd. in Bauman 91) had warned, “we terrestrial creatures bidding for cosmic significance will shortly be unable to comprehend and articulate the things we are capable of doing” Arendt’s caution conveys the complexity, vulnerability as well as the complicity of the human condition in the surveillance society. Equally it exemplifies how the corporeal body can be co-opted as a surveillance entity sustaining a new ‘banality’ (Arendt) in the machinery of surveillance. Social Consequences of Surveillance Lyon (Terrorism) observed that the events of 9/11 and 7/7 in the UK have inevitably become a prism through which aspects of social structure and processes may be viewed. This prism helps to illuminate the already existing vast range of surveillance practices and processes that touch everyday life in so-called information societies. As Lyon (Terrorism) points out surveillance is always ambiguous and can encompass genuine benefits and plausible rationales as well as palpable disadvantages. There are elements of representation to consider in terms of how surveillance technologies can re-present data that are collected at source or gathered from another technological medium, and these representations bring different meanings and enable different interpretations of life and surveillance (Ball, “Elements”). As such surveillance needs to be viewed in a number of ways: practice, knowledge and protection from threat. As data can be manipulated and interpreted according to cultural values and norms it reflects the inevitability of power relations to forge its identity in a surveillance society. In this sense, Ball (“Elements”) concludes surveillance practices capture and create different versions of life as lived by surveilled subjects. She refers to actors within the surveilled domain as ‘intermediaries’, where meaning is inscribed, where technologies re-present information, where power/resistance operates, and where networks are bound together to sometimes distort as well as reiterate patterns of hegemony (“Elements” 93). While surveillance is often connected with technology, it does not however determine nor decide how we code or employ our data. New technologies rarely enter passive environments of total inequality for they become enmeshed in complex pre-existing power and value systems (Marx). With surveillance there is an emphasis on the classificatory powers in our contemporary world “as persons and groups are often risk-profiled in the commercial sphere which rates their social contributions and sorts them into systems” (Lyon, Terrorism 2). Lyon (Terrorism) contends that the surveillance society is one that is organised and structured using surveillance-based techniques recorded by technologies, on behalf of the organisations and governments that structure our society. This information is then sorted, sifted and categorised and used as a basis for decisions which affect our life chances (Wood and Ball). The emergence of pervasive, automated and discriminatory mechanisms for risk profiling and social categorising constitute a significant mechanism for reproducing and reinforcing social, economic and cultural divisions in information societies. Such automated categorisation, Lyon (Terrorism) warns, has consequences for everyone especially in face of the new anti-terror measures enacted after September 11. In tandem with this, Bauman points out that a few suicidal murderers on the loose will be quite enough to recycle thousands of innocents into the “usual suspects”. In no time, a few iniquitous individual choices will be reprocessed into the attributes of a “category”; a category easily recognisable by, for instance, a suspiciously dark skin or a suspiciously bulky rucksack* *the kind of object which CCTV cameras are designed to note and passers-by are told to be vigilant about. And passers-by are keen to oblige. Since the terrorist atrocities on the London Underground, the volume of incidents classified as “racist attacks” rose sharply around the country. (122; emphasis added) Bauman, drawing on Lyon, asserts that the understandable desire for security combined with the pressure to adopt different kind of systems “will create a culture of control that will colonise more areas of life with or without the consent of the citizen” (123). This means that the inhabitants of the urban space whether a citizen, worker or consumer who has no terrorist ambitions whatsoever will discover that their opportunities are more circ*mscribed by the subject positions or categories which are imposed on them. Bauman cautions that for some these categories may be extremely prejudicial, restricting them from consumer choices because of credit ratings, or more insidiously, relegating them to second-class status because of their colour or ethnic background (124). Joseph Pugliese, in linking visual regimes of racial profiling and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in the aftermath of 7/7 bombings in London, suggests that the discursive relations of power and visuality are inextricably bound. Pugliese argues that racial profiling creates a regime of visuality which fundamentally inscribes our physiology of perceptions with stereotypical images. He applies this analogy to Menzes running down the platform in which the retina transforms him into the “hallucinogenic figure of an Asian Terrorist” (Pugliese 8). With globalisation and the proliferation of ICTs, borders and boundaries are no longer sacrosanct and as such risks are managed by enacting ‘smart borders’ through new technologies, with huge databases behind the scenes processing information about individuals and their journeys through the profiling of body parts with, for example, iris scans (Wood and Ball 31). Such body profiling technologies are used to create watch lists of dangerous passengers or identity groups who might be of greater ‘risk’. The body in a surveillance society can be dissected into parts and profiled and coded through technology. These disparate codings of body parts can be assembled (or selectively omitted) to construct and represent whole bodies in our information society to ascertain risk. The selection and circulation of knowledge will also determine who gets slotted into the various categories that a surveillance society creates. Conclusion When the corporeal body is subsumed into a web of surveillance it often raises questions about the deterministic nature of technology. The question is a long-standing one in our modern consciousness. We are apprehensive about according technology too much power and yet it is implicated in the contemporary power relationships where it is suspended amidst human motive, agency and anxiety. The emergence of surveillance societies, the co-optation of bodies in surveillance schemas, as well as the construction of the body through data in everyday transactions, conveys both the vulnerabilities of the human condition as well as its complicity in maintaining the power arrangements in society. Bauman, in citing Jacques Ellul and Hannah Arendt, points out that we suffer a ‘moral lag’ in so far as technology and society are concerned, for often we ruminate on the consequences of our actions and motives only as afterthoughts without realising at this point of existence that the “actions we take are most commonly prompted by the resources (including technology) at our disposal” (91). References Abrams, Philip. Historical Sociology. Shepton Mallet, UK: Open Books, 1982. Altheide, David. “Consuming Terrorism.” Symbolic Interaction 27.3 (2004): 289-308. Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. London: Faber & Faber, 1963. Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Fear. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2006. Ball, Kristie. “Elements of Surveillance: A New Framework and Future Research Direction.” Information, Communication and Society 5.4 (2002): 573-90 ———. “Organization, Surveillance and the Body: Towards a Politics of Resistance.” Organization 12 (2005): 89-108. Dee, Mike. “The New Citizenship of the Risk and Surveillance Society – From a Citizenship of Hope to a Citizenship of Fear?” Paper Presented to the Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia, 22 Nov. 2002. 14 April 2007 http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00005508/02/5508.pdf>. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987. Fopp, Rodney. “Increasing the Potential for Gaze, Surveillance and Normalization: The Transformation of an Australian Policy for People and Homeless.” Surveillance and Society 1.1 (2002): 48-65. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Allen Lane, 1977. Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1991. Gandy, Oscar. The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997. ———. “Data Mining and Surveillance in the Post 9/11 Environment.” The Intensification of Surveillance: Crime, Terrorism and War in the Information Age. Eds. Kristie Ball and Frank Webster. Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2003. Goffman, Erving. Relations in Public. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971. Graham, Stephen, and Simon Marvin. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. New York: Routledge, 2001. Hier, Sean. “Probing Surveillance Assemblage: On the Dialectics of Surveillance Practices as Process of Social Control.” Surveillance and Society 1.3 (2003): 399-411. Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999. Hubbard, Phil. “Fear and Loathing at the Multiplex: Everyday Anxiety in the Post-Industrial City.” Capital & Class 80 (2003). Latour, Bruno. Science in Action. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1987 Lyon, David. The Electronic Eye – The Rise of Surveillance Society. Oxford: Polity Press, 1994. ———. “Terrorism and Surveillance: Security, Freedom and Justice after September 11 2001.” Privacy Lecture Series, Queens University, 12 Nov 2001. 16 April 2007 http://privacy.openflows.org/lyon_paper.html>. ———. “Surveillance Studies: Understanding Visibility, Mobility and the Phonetic Fix.” Surveillance and Society 1.1 (2002): 1-7. Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA). “Counter Terrorism: The London Debate.” Press Release. 21 June 2006. 18 April 2007 http://www.mpa.gov.uk.access/issues/comeng/Terrorism.htm>. Pugliese, Joseph. “Asymmetries of Terror: Visual Regimes of Racial Profiling and the Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in the Context of the War in Iraq.” Borderlands 5.1 (2006). 30 May 2007 http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol15no1_2006/ pugliese.htm>. Marx, Gary. “A Tack in the Shoe: Neutralizing and Resisting the New Surveillance.” Journal of Social Issues 59.2 (2003). 18 April 2007 http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/tack.html>. Moores, Shaun. “Doubling of Place.” Mediaspace: Place Scale and Culture in a Media Age. Eds. Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy. Routledge, London, 2004. Monahan, Teri, ed. Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life. Routledge: London, 2006. Norris, Clive, and Gary Armstrong. The Maximum Surveillance Society: The Rise of CCTV. Oxford: Berg, 1999. O’Harrow, Robert. No Place to Hide. New York: Free Press, 2005. Osuri, Goldie. “Media Necropower: Australian Media Reception and the Somatechnics of Mamdouh Habib.” Borderlands 5.1 (2006). 30 May 2007 http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol5no1_2006 osuri_necropower.htm>. Rose, Nikolas. “Government and Control.” British Journal of Criminology 40 (2000): 321–399. Scannell, Paddy. Radio, Television and Modern Life. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. Smith, Benjamin. “In What Ways, and for What Reasons, Do We Inscribe Our Bodies?” 15 Nov. 1998. 30 May 2007 http:www.bmezine.com/ritual/981115/Whatways.html>. Stalder, Felix. “Privacy Is Not the Antidote to Surveillance.” Surveillance and Society 1.1 (2002): 120-124. Umiker-Sebeok, Jean. “Power and the Construction of Gendered Spaces.” Indiana University-Bloomington. 14 April 2007 http://www.slis.indiana.edu/faculty/umikerse/papers/power.html>. William, Bogard. The Simulation of Surveillance: Hypercontrol in Telematic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. Wood, Kristie, and David M. Ball, eds. “A Report on the Surveillance Society.” Surveillance Studies Network, UK, Sep. 2006. 14 April 2007 http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/ practical_application/surveillance_society_full_report_2006.pdf>. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Ibrahim, Yasmin. "Commodifying Terrorism: Body, Surveillance and the Everyday." M/C Journal 10.3 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0706/05-ibrahim.php>. APA Style Ibrahim, Y. (Jun. 2007) "Commodifying Terrorism: Body, Surveillance and the Everyday," M/C Journal, 10(3). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0706/05-ibrahim.php>.

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Michael, Rose. "Out of Time: Time-Travel Tropes Write (through) Climate Change." M/C Journal 22, no.6 (December4, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1603.

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“What is the point of stories in such a moment”, asks author and critic James Bradley, writing about climate extinction: Bradley emphasises that “climatologist James Hansen once said being a climate scientist was like screaming at people from behind a soundproof glass wall; being a writer concerned with these questions often feels frighteningly similar” (“Writing”). If the impact of climate change asks humans to think differently, to imagine differently, then surely writing—and reading—must change too? According to writer and geographer Samuel Miller-McDonald, “if you’re a writer, then you have to write about this”. But how are we to do that? Where might it be done already? Perhaps not in traditional (or even post-) Modernist modes. In the era of the Anthropocene I find myself turning to non-traditional, un-real models to write the slow violence and read the deep time that is where we can see our current climate catastrophe.At a “Writing in the Age of Extinction” workshop earlier this year Bradley and Jane Rawson advocated changing the language of “climate change”—rejecting such neutral terms—in the same way that I see the stories discussed here pushing against Modernity’s great narrative of progress.My research—as a reader and writer, is in the fantastic realm of speculative fiction; I have written in The Conversation about how this genre seems to be gaining literary popularity. There is no doubt that our current climate crisis has a part to play. As Margaret Atwood writes: “it’s not climate change, it’s everything change” (“Climate”). This “everything” must include literature. Kim Stanley Robinson is not the only one who sees “the models modern literary fiction has are so depleted, what they’re turning to now is our guys in disguise”. I am interested in two recent examples, which both use the strongly genre-associated time-travel trope, to consider how science-fiction concepts might work to re-imagine our “deranged” world (Ghosh), whether applied by genre writers or “our guys in disguise”. Can stories such as The Heavens by Sandra Newman and “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” by Ted Chiang—which apply time travel, whether as an expression of fatalism or free will—help us conceive the current collapse: understand how it has come to pass, and imagine ways we might move through it?The Popularity of Time TravelIt seems to me that time as a notion and the narrative device, is key to any idea of writing through climate change. “Through” as in via, if the highly contested “cli-fi” category is considered a theme; and “through” as entering into and coming out the other side of this ecological end-game. Might time travel offer readers more than the realist perspective of sweeping multi-generational sagas? Time-travel books pose puzzles; they are well suited to “wicked” problems. Time-travel tales are designed to analyse the world in a way that it is not usually analysed—in accordance with Tim Parks’s criterion for great novels (Walton), and in keeping with Darko Suvin’s conception of science fiction as a literature of “cognitive estrangement”. To read, and write, a character who travels in “spacetime” asks something more of us than the emotional engagement of many Modernist tales of interiority—whether they belong to the new “literary middlebrow’” (Driscoll), or China Miéville’s Booker Prize–winning realist “litfic” (Crown).Sometimes, it is true, they ask too much, and do not answer enough. But what resolution is possible is realistic, in the context of this literally existential threat?There are many recent and recommended time-travel novels: Kate Atkinson’s 2013 Life after Life and Jenny Erpenbeck’s 2014 End of Days have main characters who are continually “reset”, exploring the idea of righting history—the more literary experiment concluding less optimistically. For Erpenbeck “only the inevitable is possible”. In her New York Times review Francine Prose likens Life after Life to writing itself: “Atkinson sharpens our awareness of the apparently limitless choices and decisions that a novelist must make on every page, and of what is gained and lost when the consequences of these choices are, like life, singular and final”. Andrew Sean Greer’s 2013 The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells also centres on the WorldWar(s), a natural-enough site to imagine divergent timelines, though he draws a different parallel. In Elan Mastai’s 2017 debut All Our Wrong Todays the reality that is remembered—though ultimately not missed, is more dystopic than our own time, as is also the way with Joyce Carol Oates’s 2018 The Hazards of Time Travel. Oates’s rather slight contribution to the subgenre still makes a clear point: “America is founded upon amnesia” (Oates, Hazards). So, too, is our current environment. We are living in a time created by a previous generation; the environmental consequence of our own actions will not be felt until after we are gone. What better way to write such a riddle than through the loop of time travel?The Purpose of Thought ExperimentsThis list is not meant to be comprehensive. It is an indication of the increasing literary application of the “elaborate thought experiment” of time travel (Oates, “Science Fiction”). These fictional explorations, their political and philosophical considerations, are currently popular and potentially productive in a context where action is essential, and yet practically impossible. What can I do? What could possibly be the point? As well as characters that travel backwards, or forwards in time, these titles introduce visionaries who tell of other worlds. They re-present “not-exactly places, which are anywhere but nowhere, and which are both mappable locations and states of mind”: Margaret Atwood’s “Ustopias” (Atwood, “Road”). Incorporating both utopian and dystopian aspects, they (re)present our own time, in all its contradictory (un)reality.The once-novel, now-generic “novum” of time travel has become a metaphor—the best possible metaphor, I believe, for the climatic consequence of our in/action—in line with Joanna Russ’s wonderful conception of “The Wearing out of Genre Materials”. The new marvel first introduced by popular writers has been assimilated, adopted or “stolen” by the dominant mode. In this case, literary fiction. Angela Carter is not the only one to hope “the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode”. This must be what Robinson expects: that Ken Gelder’s “big L” literature will be unable to contain the wine of “our guys”—even if it isn’t new. In the act of re-use, the time-travel cliché is remade anew.Two Cases to ConsiderTwo texts today seem to me to realise—in both senses of that word—the possibilities of the currently popular, but actually ancient, time-travel conceit. At the Melbourne Writers Festival last year Ted Chiang identified the oracle in The Odyssey as the first time traveller: they—the blind prophet Tiresias was transformed into a woman for seven years—have seen the future and report back in the form of prophecy. Chiang’s most recent short story, “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom”, and Newman’s novel The Heavens, both of which came out this year, are original variations on this re-newed theme. Rather than a coherent, consistent, central character who travels and returns to their own time, these stories’ protagonists appear diversified in/between alternate worlds. These texts provide readers not with only one possible alternative but—via their creative application of the idea of temporal divergence—myriad alternatives within the same story. These works use the “characteristic gesture” of science fiction (Le Guin, “Le Guin Talks”), to inspire different, subversive, ways of thinking and seeing our own one-world experiment. The existential speculation of time-travel tropes is, today, more relevant than ever: how should we act when our actions may have no—or no positive, only negative—effect?Time and space travel are classic science fiction concerns. Chiang’s lecture unpacked how the philosophy of time travel speaks uniquely to questions of free will. A number of his stories explore this theme, including “The Alchemist’s Gate” (which the lecture was named after), where he makes his thinking clear: “past and future are the same, and we cannot change either, only know them more fully” (Chiang, Exhalation). In “Story of Your Life”, the novella that the film Arrival is based on, Chiang’s main character-narrator embraces a future that could be seen as dystopic while her partner walks away from it—and her, and his daughter—despite the happiness they will offer. Gary cannot accept the inevitable unhappiness that must accompany them. The suggestion is that if he had had Louise’s foreknowledge he might, like the free-willing protagonist in Looper, have taken steps to ensure that that life—that his daughter’s life itself—never eventuated. Whether he would have been successful is suspect: according to Chiang free will cannot foil fate.If the future cannot be changed, what is the role of free will? Louise wonders: “what if the experience of knowing the future changed a person? What if it evoked a sense of urgency, a sense of obligation to act precisely as she knew she would?” In his “story notes” Chiang says inspiration came from variational principles in physics (Chiang, Stories); I see the influence of climate calamity. Knowing the future must change us—how can it not evoke “a sense of urgency, a sense of obligation”? Even if events play out precisely as we know they will. In his talk Chiang differentiated between time-travel films which favour free will, like Looper, and those that conclude fatalistically, such as Twelve Monkeys. “Story of Your Life” explores the idea that these categories are not mutually exclusive: exercising free will might not change fate; fatalism may not preclude acts of free will.Utopic Free Will vs. Dystopic Fate?Newman’s latest novel is more obviously dystopic: the world in The Heavens is worse each time Kate wakes from her dreams of the past. In the end it has become positively post-apocalyptic. The overwhelming sadness of this book is one of its most unusual aspects, going far beyond that of The Time Traveler’s Wife—2003’s popular tale of love and loss. The Heavens feels fatalistic, even though its future is—unfortunately, in this instance—not set but continually altered by the main character’s attempts to “fix” it (in each sense of the word). Where Twelve Monkeys, Looper, and The Odyssey present every action as a foregone conclusion, The Heavens navigates the nightmare that—against our will—everything we do might have an adverse consequence. As in A Christmas Carol, where the vision of a possible future prompts the protagonist to change his ways and so prevent its coming to pass, it is Kate’s foresight—of our future—which inspires her to act. History doesn’t respond well to Kate’s interventions; she is unable to “correct” events and left more and more isolated by her own unique version of a tortuous Cassandra complex.These largely inexplicable consequences provide a direct connection between Newman’s latest work and James Tiptree Jr.’s 1972 “Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket”. That tale’s conclusion makes no “real” sense either—when Dovy dies Loolie’s father’s advisers can only say that (time) paradoxes are proliferating—but The Heavens is not the intellectual play of Tiptree’s classic science fiction: the wine of time-travel has been poured into the “depleted” vessel of “big L” literature. The sorrow that seeps through this novel is profound; Newman apologises for it in her acknowledgements, linking it to the death of an ex-partner. I read it as a potent expression of “solastalgia”: nostalgia for a place that once provided solace, but doesn’t any more—a term coined by Australian philosopher Glen Albrecht to express the “psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change” (Albrecht et al.). It is Kate’s grief, for a world (she has) destroyed that drives her mad: “deranged”.The Serious Side of SpeculationIn The Great Derangement Ghosh laments the “smaller shadow” cast by climate change in the landscape of literary fiction. He echoes Miéville: “fiction that deals with climate change is almost by definition not the kind that is taken seriously by serious literary journals; the mere mention of the subject is often enough to relegate a novel or short story to the genre of science fiction” (Ghosh). Time-travel tales that pose the kind of questions handled by theologians before the Enlightenment and “big L” literature after—what does it mean to exist in time? How should we live? Who deserves to be happy?—may be a way for literary fiction to take climate change “seriously”: to write through it. Out-of-time narratives such as Chiang and Newman’s pose existential speculations that, rather than locating us in time, may help us imagine time itself differently. How are we to act if the future has already come to pass?“When we are faced with a world whose problems all seem ‘wicked’ and intractable, what is it that fiction can do?” (Uhlmann). At the very least, should writers not be working with “sombre realism”? Science fiction has a long and established tradition of exposing the background narratives of the political—and ecological—landscapes in which we work: the master narratives of Modernism. What Anthony Uhlmann describes here, as the “distancing technique” of fiction becomes outright “estrangement” in speculative hands. Stories such as Newman and Chiang’s reflect (on) what readers might be avoiding: that even though our future is fixed, we must act. We must behave as though our decisions matter, despite knowing the ways in which they do not.These works challenge Modernist concerns despite—or perhaps via—satisfying genre conventions, in direct contradiction to Roy Scranton’s conviction that “Narrative in the Anthropocene Is the Enemy”. In doing so they fit Miéville’s description of a “literature of estrangement” while also exemplifying a new, Anthropocene “literature of recognition” (Crown). These, then, are the stories of our life.What Is Not ExpectedChiang’s 2018 lecture was actually a PowerPoint presentation on how time travel could or would “really” work. His medium, as much as his message, clearly showed the author’s cross-disciplinary affiliations, which are relevant to this discussion of literary fiction’s “depleted” models. In August this year Xu Xi concluded a lecture on speculative fiction for the Vermont College of Fine Arts by encouraging attendees to read—and write—“other” languages, whether foreign forms or alien disciplines. She cited Chiang as someone who successfully raids the riches of non-literary traditions, to produce a new kind of literature. Writing that deals in physics, as much as characters, in philosophy, as much as narrative, presents new, “post-natural” (Bradley, “End”) retro-speculations that (in un- and super-natural generic traditions) offer a real alternative to Modernism’s narrative of inevitable—and inevitably positive—progress.In “What’s Expected of Us” Chiang imagines the possible consequence of comprehending that our actions, and not just their consequence, are predetermined. In what Oates describes as his distinctive, pared-back, “unironic” style (Oates, “Science Fiction”), Chiang concludes: “reality isn’t important: what’s important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way to avoid a waking coma. Civilisation now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has”. The self-deception we need is not America’s amnesia, but the belief that what we do matters.ConclusionThe visions of her “paraself” that Nat sees in “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom” encourage her to change her behaviour. The “prism” that enables this perception—a kind of time-tripped iPad that “skypes” alternate temporal realities, activated by people acting in different ways at a crucial moment in their lives—does not always reflect the butterfly effect the protagonist, or reader, might expect. Some actions have dramatic consequences while others have minimal impact. While Nat does not see her future, what she spies inspires her to take the first steps towards becoming a different—read “better”—person. We expect this will lead to more positive outcomes for her self in the story’s “first” world. The device, and Chiang’s tale, illustrates both that our paths are predetermined and that they are not: “our inability to predict the consequences of our own predetermined actions offers a kind of freedom”. The freedom to act, freedom from the coma of inaction.“What’s the use of art on a dying planet? What’s the point, when humanity itself is facing an existential threat?” Alison Croggon asks, and answers herself: “it searches for the complex truth … . It can help us to see the world we have more clearly, and help us to imagine a better one”. In literary thought experiments like Newman and Chiang’s artful time-travel fictions we read complex, metaphoric truths that cannot be put into real(ist) words. In the time-honoured tradition of (speculative) fiction, Chiang and Newman deal in, and with, “what cannot be said in words … in words” (Le Guin, “Introduction”). These most recent time-slip speculations tell unpredictable stories about what is predicted, what is predictable, but what we must (still) believe may not necessarily be—if we are to be free.ReferencesArrival. Dir. Dennis Villeneuve. Paramount Pictures, 2016.Albrecht, Glenn, et al. “Solastalgia: The Distress Caused by Environmental Change.” Australasian Psychiatry (Feb. 2007): 41–55. Atwood, Margaret. “The Road to Ustopia.” The Guardian 15 Oct. 2011 <https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/14/margaret-atwood-road-to-ustopia>.———. “It’s Not Climate Change, It’s Everything Change.” Medium 27 July 2015. <https://medium.com/matter/it-s-not-climate-change-it-s-everything-change-8fd9aa671804>.Bradley, James. “Writing on the Precipice: On Literature and Change.” City of Tongues. 16 Mar. 2017 <https://cityoftongues.com/2017/03/16/writing-on-the-precipice-on-literature-and-climate-change/>.———. “The End of Nature and Post-Naturalism: Fiction and the Anthropocene.” City of Tongues 30 Dec. 2015 <https://cityoftongues.com/2015/12/30/the-end-of-nature-and-post-naturalism-fiction-and-the-anthropocene/>.Bradley, James, and Jane Rawson. “Writing in the Age of Extinction.” Detached Performance and Project Space, The Old Mercury Building, Hobart. 27 July 2019.Chiang, Ted. Stories of Your Life and Others. New York: Tor, 2002.———. Exhalation: Stories. New York: Knopf, 2019.Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber. London: Gollancz, 1983. 69.Croggon, Alison. “On Art.” Overland 235 (2019). 30 Sep. 2019 <https://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-235/column-on-art/>.Crown, Sarah. “What the Booker Prize Really Excludes.” The Guardian 17 Oct. 2011 <https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/oct/17/science-fiction-china-mieville>.Driscoll, Beth. The New Literary Middlebrow: Tastemakers and Reading in the Twenty-First Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.Erpenbeck, Jenny. Trans. Susan Bernofsky. The End of Days. New York: New Directions, 2016.Gelder, Ken. Popular Fiction: The Logics and Practices of a Literary Field. London: Routledge, 2014.Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. India: Penguin Random House, 2018.Le Guin, Ursula K. “Introduction.” The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace Books, 1979. 5.———. “Ursula K. Le Guin Talks to Michael Cunningham about Genres, Gender, and Broadening Fiction.” Electric Literature 1 Apr. 2016. <https://electricl*terature.com/ursula-k-le-guin-talks-to-michael- cunningham-about-genres-gender-and-broadening-fiction-57d9c967b9c>.Miller-McDonald, Samuel. “What Must We Do to Live?” The Trouble 14 Oct. 2018. <https://www.the-trouble.com/content/2018/10/14/what-must-we-do-to-live>.Oates, Joyce Carol. Hazards of Time Travel. New York: Ecco Press, 2018.———. "Science Fiction Doesn't Have to be Dystopian." The New Yorker 13 May 2019. <https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/13/science-fiction-doesnt-have-to-be-dystopian>.Prose, Francine. “Subject to Revision.” New York Times 26 Apr. 2003. <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/books/review/life-after-life-by-kate-atkinson.html>.Robinson, Kim Stanley. “Kim Stanley Robinson and the Drowning of New York.” The Coode Street Podcast 305 (2017). <http://www.jonathanstrahan.com.au/wp/the-coode-street-podcast/>.Russ, Joanna. “The Wearing Out of Genre Materials.” College English 33.1 (1971): 46–54.Scranton, Roy. “Narrative in the Anthropocene Is the Enemy.” Lithub.com 18 Sep. 2019. <https://lithub.com/roy-scranton-narrative-in-the-anthropocene-is-the-enemy/>.Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Walton, James. “Fascinating, Fearless, and Distinctly Odd.” The New York Review of Books 9 Jan. 2014: 63–64.Uhlmann, Anthony. “The Other Way, the Other Truth, the Other Life: Simpson Returns.” Sydney Review of Books. 2 Sep. 2019 <https://sydneyreviewofbooks.com/macauley-simpson-returns/>. Xu, Xi. “Speculative Fiction.” Presented at the International MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Vermont, 15 Aug. 2019.

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Vavasour, Kris. "Pop Songs and Solastalgia in a Broken City." M/C Journal 20, no.5 (October13, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1292.

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IntroductionMusically-inclined people often speak about the soundtrack of their life, with certain songs indelibly linked to a specific moment. When hearing a particular song, it can “easily evoke a whole time and place, distant feelings and emotions, and memories of where we were, and with whom” (Lewis 135). Music has the ability to provide maps to real and imagined spaces, positioning people within a larger social environment where songs “are never just a song, but a connection, a ticket, a pass, an invitation, a node in a complex network” (Kun 3). When someone is lost in the music, they can find themselves transported somewhere else entirely without physically moving. This can be a blessing in some situations, for example, while living in a disaster zone, when almost any other time or place can seem better than the here and now. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand was hit by a succession of damaging earthquakes beginning with a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the early hours of 4 September 2010. The magnitude 6.3 earthquake of 22 February 2011, although technically an aftershock of the September earthquake, was closer and shallower, with intense ground acceleration that caused much greater damage to the city and its people (“Scientists”). It was this February earthquake that caused the total or partial collapse of many inner city buildings, and claimed the lives of 185 people. Everybody in Christchurch lost someone or something that day: their house or job; family members, friends, or colleagues; the city as they knew it; or their normal way of life. The broken central city was quickly cordoned off behind fences, with the few entry points guarded by local and international police and armed military personnel.In the aftermath of a disaster, circ*mstances and personal attributes will influence how people react, think and feel about the experience. Surviving a disaster is more than not dying, “survival is to do with quality of life [and] involves progressing from the event and its aftermath, and transforming the experience” (Hodgkinson and Stewart 2). In these times of heightened stress, music can be a catalyst for sharing and expressing emotions, connecting people and communities, and helping them make sense of what has happened (Carr 38; Webb 437). This article looks at some of the ways that popular songs and musical memories helped residents of a broken city remember the past and come to terms with the present.BackgroundExisting songs can take on new significance after a catastrophic event, even without any alteration. Songs such as Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? and Prayer for New Orleans have been given new emotional layers by those who were displaced or affected by Hurricane Katrina (Cooper 265; Sullivan 15). A thirty year-old song by Randy Newman, Louisiana, 1927, became something of “a contemporary anthem, its chorus – ‘Louisiana, they’re trying to wash us away’ – bearing new relevance” (Blumenfeld 166). Contemporary popular songs have also been re-mixed or revised after catastrophic events, either by the original artist or by others. Elton John’s Candle in the Wind and Beyonce’s Halo have each been revised twice by the artist after tragedy and disaster (Doyle; McAlister), while radio stations in the United States have produced commemorative versions of popular songs to mark tragedies and their anniversaries (Beaumont-Thomas; Cantrell). The use and appreciation of music after disaster is a reminder that popular music is fluid, in that it “refuses to provide a uniform or static text” (Connell and Gibson 3), and can simultaneously carry many different meanings.Music provides a soundtrack to daily life, creating a map of meaning to the world around us, or presenting a reminder of the world as it once was. Tia DeNora explains that when people hear a song that was once heard in, and remains associated with, a particular time and place, it “provides a device for unfolding, for replaying, the temporal structure of that moment, [which] is why, for so many people, the past ‘comes alive’ to its soundtrack” (67). When a community is frequently and collectively casting their minds back to a time before a catastrophic change, a sense of community identity can be seen in the use of, and reaction to, particular songs. Music allows people to “locate themselves in different imaginary geographics at one and the same time” (Cohen 93), creating spaces for people to retreat into, small ‘audiotopias’ that are “built, imagined, and sustained through sound, noise, and music” (Kun 21). The use of musical escape holes is prevalent after disaster, as many once-familiar spaces that have changed beyond recognition or are no longer able to be physically visited, can be easily imagined or remembered through music. There is a particular type of longing expressed by those who are still at home and yet cannot return to the home they knew. Whereas nostalgia is often experienced by people far from home who wish to return or those enjoying memories of a bygone era, people after disaster often encounter a similar nostalgic feeling but with no change in time or place: a loss without leaving. Glenn Albrecht coined the term ‘solastalgia’ to represent “the form of homesickness one experiences when one is still at home” (35). This sense of being unable to find solace in one’s home environment can be brought on by natural disasters such as fire, flood, earthquakes or hurricanes, or by other means like war, mining, climate change or gentrification. Solastalgia is often felt most keenly when people experience the change first-hand and then have to adjust to life in a totally changed environment. This can create “chronic distress of a solastalgic kind [that] would persist well after the acute phase of post-traumatic distress” (Albrecht 36). Just as the visible, physical effects of disaster last for years, so too do the emotional effects, but there have been many examples of how the nostalgia inherent in a shared popular music soundtrack has eased the pain of solastalgia for a community that is hurting.Pop Songs and Nostalgia in ChristchurchIn September 2011, one year after the initial earthquake, the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) announced a collaboration with Christchurch hip hop artist, Scribe, to remake his smash hit, Not Many, for charity. Back in 2003, Not Many debuted at number five on the New Zealand music charts, where it spent twelve weeks at number one and was crowned ‘Single of the Year’ (Sweetman, On Song 164). The punchy chorus heralded Scribe as a force to be reckoned with, and created a massive imprint on New Zealand popular culture with the line: “How many dudes you know roll like this? Not many, if any” (Scribe, Not Many). Music critic, Simon Sweetman, explains how “the hook line of the chorus [is now] a conversational aside that is practically unavoidable when discussing amounts… The words ‘not many’ are now truck-and-trailered with ‘if any’. If you do not say them, you are thinking them” (On Song 167). The strong links between artist and hometown – and the fact it is an enduringly catchy song – made it ideal for a charity remake. Reworded and reworked as Not Many Cities, the chorus now asks: “How many cities you know roll like this?” to which the answer is, of course, “not many, if any” (Scribe/BNZ, Not Many Cities). The remade song entered the New Zealand music charts at number 36 and the video was widely shared through social media but not all reception was positive. Parts of the video were shot in the city’s Red Zone, the central business district that was cordoned off from public access due to safety concerns. The granting of special access outraged some residents, with letters to the editor and online commentary expressing frustration that celebrities were allowed into the Red Zone to shoot a music video while those directly affected were not allowed in to retrieve essential items from residences and business premises. However, it is not just the Red Zone that features: the video switches between Scribe travelling around the broken inner city on the back of a small truck and lingering shots of carefully selected people, businesses, and groups – all with ties to the BNZ as either clients or beneficiaries of sponsorship. In some ways, Not Many Cities comes across like just another corporate promotional video for the BNZ, albeit with more emotion and a better soundtrack than usual. But what it has bequeathed is a snapshot of the city as it was in that liminal time: a landscape featuring familiar buildings, spaces and places which, although damaged, was still a recognisable version of the city that existed before the earthquakes.Before Scribe burst onto the music scene in the early 2000s, the best-known song about Christchurch was probably Christchurch (in Cashel St. I wait), an early hit from the Exponents (Mitchell 189). Initially known as the Dance Exponents, the group formed in Christchurch in the early 1980s and remained local and national favourites thanks to a string of hits Sweetman refers to as “the question-mark songs,” such as Who Loves Who the Most?, Why Does Love Do This to Me?, and What Ever Happened to Tracey? (Best Songwriter). Despite disbanding in 1999, the group re-formed to be the headline act of ‘Band Together’—a multi-artist, outdoor music event organised for the benefit of Christchurch residents by local musician, Jason Kerrison, formerly of the band OpShop. Attended by over 140,000 people (Anderson, Band Together), this nine-hour event brought joy and distraction to a shaken and stressed populace who, at that point in time (October 2010), probably thought the worst was over.The Exponents took the stage last, and chose Christchurch (in Cashel St. I Wait) as their final number. Every musician involved in the gig joined them on stage and the crowd rose to their feet, singing along with gusto. A local favourite since its release in 1985, the verses may have been a bit of a mumble for some, but the chorus rang out loud and clear across the park: Christchurch, In Cashel Street I wait,Together we will be,Together, together, together, One day, one day, one day,One day, one day, one daaaaaay! (Exponents, “Christchurch (in Cashel St. I Wait)”; lyrics written as sung)At that moment, forming an impromptu community choir of over 100,000 people, the audience was filled with hope and faith that those words would come true. Life would go on and people would gather together in Cashel Street and wait for normality to return, one day. Later the following year, the opening of the Re:Start container mall added an extra layer of poignancy to the song lyrics. Denied access to most of the city’s CBD, that one small part of Cashel Street now populated with colourful shipping containers was almost the only place in central Christchurch where people could wait. There are many music videos that capture the central city of Christchurch as it was in decades past. There are some local classics, like The Bats’ Block of Wood and Claudine; The Shallows’ Suzanne Said; Moana and the Moahunters’ Rebel in Me; and All Fall Down’s Black Gratten, which were all filmed in the 1980s or early 1990s (Goodsort, Re-Live and More Music). These videos provide many flashback moments to the city as it was twenty or thirty years ago. However, one post-earthquake release became an accidental musical time capsule. The song, Space and Place, was released in February 2013, but both song and video had been recorded not long before the earthquakes occurred. The song was inspired by the feelings experienced when returning home after a long absence, and celebrates the importance of the home town as “a place that knows you as well as you know it” (Anderson, Letter). The chorus features the line, “streets of common ground, I remember, I remember” (Franklin, Mayes, and Roberts, Space and Place), but it is the video, showcasing many of the Christchurch places and spaces only recently lost to the earthquakes, that tugs at people’s heartstrings. The video for Space and Place sweeps through the central city at night, with key heritage buildings like the Christ Church Cathedral, and the Catholic Basilica lit up against the night sky (both are still damaged and inaccessible). Producer and engineer, Rob Mayes, describes the video as “a love letter to something we all lost [with] the song and its lyrics [becoming] even more potent, poignant, and unexpectedly prescient post quake” (“Songs in the Key”). The Arts Centre features prominently in the footage, including the back alleys and archways that hosted all manner of night-time activities – sanctioned or otherwise – as well as many people’s favourite hangout, the Dux de Lux (the Dux). Operating from the corner of the Arts Centre site since the 1970s, the Dux has been described as “the city’s common room” and “Christchurch’s beating heart” by musicians mourning its loss (Anderson, Musicians). While the repair and restoration of some parts of the Arts Centre is currently well advanced, the Student Union building that once housed this inner-city social institution is not slated for reopening until 2019 (“Rebuild and Restore”), and whether the Dux will be welcomed back remains to be seen. Empty Spaces, Missing PlacesA Facebook group, ‘Save Our Dux,’ was created in early March 2011, and quickly filled with messages and memories from around the world. People wandered down memory lane together as they reminisced about their favourite gigs and memorable occasions, like the ‘Big Snow’ of 1992 when the Dux served up mulled wine and looked more like a ski chalet. Memories were shared about the time when the music video for the Dance Exponents’ song, Victoria, was filmed at the Dux and the Art Deco-style apartment building across the street. The reminiscing continued, establishing and strengthening connections, with music providing a stepping stone to shared experience and a sense of community. Physically restricted from visiting a favourite social space, people were converging in virtual hangouts to relive moments and remember places now cut off by the passing of time, the falling of bricks, and the rise of barrier fences.While waiting to find out whether the original Dux site can be re-occupied, the business owners opened new venues that housed different parts of the Dux business (live music, vegetarian food, and the bars/brewery). Although the fit-out of the restaurant and bars capture a sense of the history and charm that people associate with the Dux brand, the empty wasteland and building sites that surround the new Dux Central quickly destroy any illusion of permanence or familiarity. Now that most of the quake-damaged buildings have been demolished, the freshly-scarred earth of the central city is like a child’s gap-toothed smile. Wandering around the city and forgetting what used to occupy an empty space, wanting to visit a shop or bar before remembering it is no longer there, being at the Dux but not at the Dux – these are the kind of things that contributed to a feeling that local music writer, Vicki Anderson, describes as “lost city syndrome” (“Lost City”). Although initially worried she might be alone in mourning places lost, other residents have shared similar experiences. In an online comment on the article, one local resident explained how there are two different cities fighting for dominance in their head: “the new keeps trying to overlay the old [but] when I’m not looking at pictures, or in seeing it as it is, it’s the old city that pushes its way to the front” (Juniper). Others expressed relief that they were not the only ones feeling strangely homesick in their own town, homesick for a place they never left but that had somehow left them.There are a variety of methods available to fill the gaps in both memories and cityscape. The Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HITLab), produced a technological solution: interactive augmented reality software called CityViewAR, using GPS data and 3D models to show parts of the city as they were prior to the earthquakes (“CityViewAR”). However, not everybody needed computerised help to remember buildings and other details. Many people found that, just by listening to a certain song or remembering particular gigs, it was not just an image of a building that appeared but a multi-sensory event complete with sound, movement, smell, and emotion. In online spaces like the Save Our Dux group, memories of favourite bands and songs, crowded gigs, old friends, good times, great food, and long nights were shared and discussed, embroidering a rich and colourful tapestry about a favourite part of Christchurch’s social scene. ConclusionMusic is strongly interwoven with memory, and can recreate a particular moment in time and place through the associations carried in lyrics, melody, and imagery. Songs can spark vivid memories of what was happening – when, where, and with whom. A song shared is a connection made: between people; between moments; between good times and bad; between the past and the present. Music provides a soundtrack to people’s lives, and during times of stress it can also provide many benefits. The lyrics and video imagery of songs made in years gone by have been shown to take on new significance and meaning after disaster, offering snapshots of times, people and places that are no longer with us. Even without relying on the accompanying imagery of a video, music has the ability to recreate spaces or relocate the listener somewhere other than the physical location they currently occupy. This small act of musical magic can provide a great deal of comfort when suffering solastalgia, the feeling of homesickness one experiences when the familiar landscapes of home suddenly change or disappear, when one has not left home but that home has nonetheless gone from sight. The earthquakes (and the demolition crews that followed) have created a lot of empty land in Christchurch but the sound of popular music has filled many gaps – not just on the ground, but also in the hearts and lives of the city’s residents. ReferencesAlbrecht, Glenn. “Solastalgia.” Alternatives Journal 32.4/5 (2006): 34-36.Anderson, Vicki. “A Love Letter to Christchurch.” Stuff 22 Feb. 2013. <http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/art-and-stage/christchurch-music/8335491/A-love-letter-to-Christchurch>.———. “Band Together.” Supplemental. The Press. 25 Oct. 2010: 1. ———. “Lost City Syndrome.” Stuff 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/blogs/rock-and-roll-mother/6600468/Lost-city-syndrome>.———. “Musicians Sing Praises in Call for ‘Vital Common Room’ to Reopen.” The Press 7 Jun. 2011: A8. Beaumont-Thomas, Ben. “Exploring Musical Responses to 9/11.” Guardian 9 Sep. 2011. <https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2011/sep/09/musical-responses-9-11>. Blumenfeld, Larry. “Since the Flood: Scenes from the Fight for New Orleans Jazz Culture.” Pop When the World Falls Apart. Ed. Eric Weisbard. Durham: Duke UP, 2012. 145-175.Cantrell, Rebecca. “These Emotional Musical Tributes Are Still Powerful 20 Years after Oklahoma City Bombing.” KFOR 18 Apr. 2015. <http://kfor.com/2015/04/18/these-emotional-musical-tributes-are-still-powerful-20-years-after-oklahoma-city-bombing/>.Carr, Revell. ““We Never Will Forget”: Disaster in American Folksong from the Nineteenth Century to September 11, 2011.” Voices 30.3/4 (2004): 36-41. “CityViewAR.” HITLab NZ, ca. 2011. <http://www.hitlabnz.org/index.php/products/cityviewar>. Cohen, Sara. Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles. Hampshire: Ashgate, 2007. Connell, John, and Chris Gibson. Soundtracks: Popular Music, Identity and Place. London: Routledge, 2003.Cooper, B. Lee. “Right Place, Wrong Time: Discography of a Disaster.” Popular Music and Society 31.2 (2008): 263-4. DeNora, Tia. Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000. Doyle, Jack. “Candle in the Wind, 1973 & 1997.” Pop History Dig 26 Apr. 2008. <http://www.pophistorydig.com/topics/candle-in-the-wind1973-1997/>. Goodsort, Paul. “More Music Videos Set in Pre-Quake(s) Christchurch.” Mostly within Human Hearing Range. 3 Dec. 2011. <http://humanhearingrange.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/more-music-videos-set-in-pre-quakes.html>.———. “Re-Live the ‘Old’ Christchurch in Music Videos.” Mostly within Human Hearing Range. 7 Nov. 2011. <http://humanhearingrange.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/re-live-old-christchurch-in-music.html>. Hodgkinson, Peter, and Michael Stewart. Coping with Catastrophe: A Handbook of Disaster Management. London: Routledge, 1991. Juniper. “Lost City Syndrome.” Comment. Stuff 19 Mar. 2012. <http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/blogs/rock-and-roll-mother/6600468/Lost-city-syndrome>.Kun, Josh. Audiotopia. Berkeley: U of California P, 2005. Lewis, George H. “Who Do You Love? The Dimensions of Musical Taste.” Popular Music and Communication. Ed. James Lull. London: Sage, 1992. 134-151. Mayes, Rob. “Songs in the Key-Space and Place.” Failsafe Records. Mar. 2013. <http://www.failsaferecords.com/>.McAlister, Elizabeth. “Soundscapes of Disaster and Humanitarianism.” Small Axe 16.3 (2012): 22-38. Mitchell, Tony. “Flat City Sounds Redux: A Musical ‘Countercartography’ of Christchurch.” Home, Land and Sea: Situating Music in Aotearoa New Zealand. Eds. Glenda Keam and Tony Mitchell. Auckland: Pearson, 2011. 176-194.“Rebuild and Restore.” Arts Centre, ca. 2016. <http://www.artscentre.org.nz/rebuild---restore.html>.“Scientists Find Rare Mix of Factors Exacerbated the Christchurch Quake.” GNS [Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited] Science 16 Mar. 2011. <http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/News-and-Events/Media-Releases/Multiple-factors>. Sullivan, Jack. “In New Orleans, Did the Music Die?” Chronicle of Higher Education 53.3 (2006): 14-15. Sweetman, Simon. “New Zealand’s Best Songwriter.” Stuff 18 Feb. 2011. <http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/blogs/blog-on-the-tracks/4672532/New-Zealands-best-songwriter>.———. On Song. Auckland: Penguin, 2012.Webb, Gary. “The Popular Culture of Disaster: Exploring a New Dimension of Disaster Research.” Handbook of Disaster Research. Eds. Havidan Rodriguez, Enrico Quarantelli and Russell Dynes. New York: Springer, 2006. 430-440. MusicAll Fall Down. “Black Gratten.” Wallpaper Coat [EP]. New Zealand: Flying Nun, 1987.Bats. “Block of Wood” [single]. New Zealand: Flying Nun, 1987. ———. “Claudine.” And Here’s Music for the Fireside [EP]. New Zealand: Flying Nun, 1985. Beyonce. “Halo.” I Am Sacha Fierce. USA: Columbia, 2008.Charlie Miller. “Prayer for New Orleans.” Our New Orleans. USA: Nonesuch, 2005. (Dance) Exponents. “Christchurch (in Cashel St. I Wait).” Expectations. New Zealand: Mushroom Records, 1985.———. “Victoria.” Prayers Be Answered. New Zealand: Mushroom, 1982. ———. “What Ever Happened to Tracy?” Something Beginning with C. New Zealand: PolyGram, 1992.———. “Who Loves Who the Most?” Something Beginning with C. New Zealand: PolyGram, 1992.———. “Why Does Love Do This to Me?” Something Beginning with C. New Zealand: PolyGram, 1992.Elton John. “Candle in the Wind.” Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. United Kingdom: MCA, 1973.Franklin, Leigh, Rob Mayes, and Mark Roberts. “Space and Place.” Songs in the Key. New Zealand: Failsafe, 2013. Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans.” New Orleans Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. USA: Giants of Jazz, 1983 (originally recorded 1947). Moana and the Moahunters. “Rebel in Me.” Tahi. New Zealand: Southside, 1993.Randy Newman. “Louisiana 1927.” Good Old Boys. USA: Reprise, 1974.Scribe. “Not Many.” The Crusader. New Zealand: Dirty Records/Festival Mushroom, 2003.Scribe/BNZ. “Not Many Cities.” [charity single]. New Zealand, 2011. The Shallows. “Suzanne Said.” [single]. New Zealand: self-released, 1985.

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Arnold, Bruce, and Margalit Levin. "Ambient Anomie in the Virtualised Landscape? Autonomy, Surveillance and Flows in the 2020 Streetscape." M/C Journal 13, no.2 (May3, 2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.221.

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Abstract:

Our thesis is that the city’s ambience is now an unstable dialectic in which we are watchers and watched, mirrored and refracted in a landscape of iPhone auteurs, eTags, CCTV and sousveillance. Embrace ambience! Invoking Benjamin’s spirit, this article does not seek to limit understanding through restriction to a particular theme or theoretical construct (Buck-Morss 253). Instead, it offers snapshots of interactions at the dawn of the postmodern city. That bricolage also engages how people appropriate, manipulate, disrupt and divert urban spaces and strategies of power in their everyday life. Ambient information can both liberate and disenfranchise the individual. This article asks whether our era’s dialectics result in a new personhood or merely restate the traditional spectacle of ‘bright lights, big city’. Does the virtualized city result in ambient anomie and satiation or in surprise, autonomy and serendipity? (Gumpert 36) Since the steam age, ambience has been characterised in terms of urban sound, particularly the alienation attributable to the individual’s experience as a passive receptor of a cacophony of sounds – now soft, now loud, random and recurrent–from the hubbub of crowds, the crash and grind of traffic, the noise of industrial processes and domestic activity, factory whistles, fire alarms, radio, television and gramophones (Merchant 111; Thompson 6). In the age of the internet, personal devices such as digital cameras and iPhones, and urban informatics such as CCTV networks and e-Tags, ambience is interactivity, monitoring and signalling across multiple media, rather than just sound. It is an interactivity in which watchers observe the watched observing them and the watched reshape the fabric of virtualized cities merely by traversing urban precincts (Hillier 295; De Certeau 163). It is also about pervasive although unevenly distributed monitoring of individuals, using sensors that are remote to the individual (for example cameras or tag-readers mounted above highways) or are borne by the individual (for example mobile phones or badges that systematically report the location to a parent, employer or sex offender register) (Holmes 176; Savitch 130). That monitoring reflects what Doel and Clark characterized as a pervasive sense of ambient fear in the postmodern city, albeit fear that like much contemporary anxiety is misplaced–you are more at risk from intimates than from strangers, from car accidents than terrorists or stalkers–and that is ahistorical (Doel 13; Scheingold 33). Finally, it is about cooption, with individuals signalling their identity through ambient advertising: wearing tshirts, sweatshirts, caps and other apparel that display iconic faces such as Obama and Monroe or that embody corporate imagery such as the Nike ‘Swoosh’, Coca-Cola ‘Ribbon’, Linux Penguin and Hello Kitty feline (Sayre 82; Maynard 97). In the postmodern global village much advertising is ambient, rather than merely delivered to a device or fixed on a billboard. Australian cities are now seas of information, phantasmagoric environments in which the ambient noise encountered by residents and visitors comprises corporate signage, intelligent traffic signs, displays at public transport nodes, shop-window video screens displaying us watching them, and a plethora of personal devices showing everything from the weather to snaps of people in the street or neighborhood satellite maps. They are environments through which people traverse both as persons and abstractions, virtual presences on volatile digital maps and in online social networks. Spectacle, Anomie or Personhood The spectacular city of modernity is a meme of communication, cultural and urban development theory. It is spectacular in the sense that of large, artificial, even sublime. It is also spectacular because it is built around the gaze, whether the vistas of Hausmann’s boulevards, the towers of Manhattan and Chicago, the shopfront ‘sea of light’ and advertising pillars noted by visitors to Weimar Berlin or the neon ‘neo-baroque’ of Las Vegas (Schivelbusch 114; Fritzsche 164; Ndalianis 535). In the year 2010 it aspires to 2020 vision, a panoptic and panspectric gaze on the part of governors and governed alike (Kullenberg 38). In contrast to the timelessness of Heidegger’s hut and the ‘fixity’ of rural backwaters, spectacular cities are volatile domains where all that is solid continues to melt into air with the aid of jackhammers and the latest ‘new media’ potentially result in a hypereality that make it difficult to determine what is real and what is not (Wark 22; Berman 19). The spectacular city embodies a dialectic. It is anomic because it induces an alienation in the spectator, a fatigue attributable to media satiation and to a sense of being a mere cog in a wheel, a disempowered and readily-replaceable entity that is denied personhood–recognition as an autonomous individual–through subjection to a Fordist and post-Fordist industrial discipline or the more insidious imprisonment of being ‘a housewife’, one ant in a very large ant hill (Dyer-Witheford 58). People, however, are not automatons: they experience media, modernity and urbanism in different ways. The same attributes that erode the selfhood of some people enhance the autonomy and personhood of others. The spectacular city, now a matrix of digits, information flows and opportunities, is a realm in which people can subvert expectations and find scope for self-fulfillment, whether by wearing a hoodie that defeats CCTV or by using digital technologies to find and associate with other members of stigmatized affinity groups. One person’s anomie is another’s opportunity. Ambience and Virtualisation Eighty years after Fritz Lang’s Metropolis forecast a cyber-sociality, digital technologies are resulting in a ‘virtualisation’ of social interactions and cities. In post-modern cityscapes, the space of flows comprises an increasing number of electronic exchanges through physically disjointed places (Castells 2002). Virtualisation involves supplementation or replacement of face-to-face contact with hypersocial communication via new media, including SMS, email, blogging and Facebook. In 2010 your friends (or your boss or a bully) may always be just a few keystrokes away, irrespective of whether it is raining outside, there is a public transport strike or the car is in for repairs (Hassan 69; Baron 215). Virtualisation also involves an abstraction of bodies and physical movements, with the information that represents individual identities or vehicles traversing the virtual spaces comprised of CCTV networks (where viewers never encounter the person or crowd face to face), rail ticketing systems and road management systems (x e-Tag passed by this tag reader, y camera logged a specific vehicle onto a database using automated number-plate recognition software) (Wood 93; Lyon 253). Surveillant Cities Pervasive anxiety is a permanent and recurrent feature of urban experience. Often navigated by an urgency to control perceived disorder, both physically and through cultivated dominant theory (early twentieth century gendered discourses to push women back into the private sphere; ethno-racial closure and control in the Black Metropolis of 1940s Chicago), history is punctuated by attempts to dissolve public debate and infringe minority freedoms (Wilson 1991). In the Post-modern city unprecedented technological capacity generates a totalizing media vector whose plausible by-product is the perception of an ambient menace (Wark 3). Concurrent faith in technology as a cost-effective mechanism for public management (policing, traffic, planning, revenue generation) has resulted in emergence of the surveillant city. It is both a social and architectural fabric whose infrastructure is dotted with sensors and whose people assume that they will be monitored by private/public sector entities and directed by interactive traffic management systems – from electronic speed signs and congestion indicators through to rail schedule displays –leveraging data collected through those sensors. The fabric embodies tensions between governance (at its crudest, enforcement of law by police and their surrogates in private security services) and the soft cage of digital governmentality, with people being disciplined through knowledge that they are being watched and that the observation may be shared with others in an official or non-official shaming (Parenti 51; Staples 41). Encounters with a railway station CCTV might thus result in exhibition of the individual in court or on broadcast television, whether in nightly news or in a ‘reality tv’ crime expose built around ‘most wanted’ footage (Jermyn 109). Misbehaviour by a partner might merely result in scrutiny of mobile phone bills or web browser histories (which illicit content has the partner consumed, which parts of cyberspace has been visited), followed by a visit to the family court. It might instead result in digital viligilantism, with private offences being named and shamed on electronic walls across the global village, such as Facebook. iPhone Auteurism Activists have responded to pervasive surveillance by turning the cameras on ‘the watchers’ in an exercise of ‘sousveillance’ (Bennett 13; Huey 158). That mirroring might involve the meticulous documentation, often using the same geospatial tools deployed by public/private security agents, of the location of closed circuit television cameras and other surveillance devices. One outcome is the production of maps identifying who is watching and where that watching is taking place. As a corollary, people with anxieties about being surveilled, with a taste for street theatre or a receptiveness to a new form of urban adventure have used those maps to traverse cities via routes along which they cannot be identified by cameras, tags and other tools of the panoptic sort, or to simply adopt masks at particular locations. In 2020 can anyone aspire to be a protagonist in V for Vendetta? (iSee) Mirroring might take more visceral forms, with protestors for example increasingly making a practice of capturing images of police and private security services dealing with marches, riots and pickets. The advent of 3G mobile phones with a still/video image capability and ongoing ‘dematerialisation’ of traditional video cameras (ie progressively cheaper, lighter, more robust, less visible) means that those engaged in political action can document interaction with authority. So can passers-by. That ambient imaging, turning the public gaze on power and thereby potentially redefining the ‘public’ (given that in Australia the community has been embodied by the state and discourse has been mediated by state-sanctioned media), poses challenges for media scholars and exponents of an invigorated civil society in which we are looking together – and looking at each other – rather than bowling alone. One challenge for consumers in construing ambient media is trust. Can we believe what we see, particularly when few audiences have forensic skills and intermediaries such as commercial broadcasters may privilege immediacy (the ‘breaking news’ snippet from participants) over context and verification. Social critics such as Baudelaire and Benjamin exalt the flaneur, the free spirit who gazed on the street, a street that was as much a spectacle as the theatre and as vibrant as the circus. In 2010 the same technologies that empower citizen journalism and foster a succession of velvet revolutions feed flaneurs whose streetwalking doesn’t extend beyond a keyboard and a modem. The US and UK have thus seen emergence of gawker services, with new media entrepreneurs attempting to build sustainable businesses by encouraging fans to report the location of celebrities (and ideally provide images of those encounters) for the delectation of people who are web surfing or receiving a tweet (Burns 24). In the age of ambient cameras, where the media are everywhere and nowhere (and micro-stock photoservices challenge agencies such as Magnum), everyone can join the paparazzi. Anyone can deploy that ambient surveillance to become a stalker. The enthusiasm with which fans publish sightings of celebrities will presumably facilitate attacks on bodies rather than images. Information may want to be free but so, inconveniently, do iconoclasts and practitioners of participatory panopticism (Dodge 431; Dennis 348). Rhetoric about ‘citizen journalism’ has been co-opted by ‘old media’, with national broadcasters and commercial enterprises soliciting still images and video from non-professionals, whether for free or on a commercial basis. It is a world where ‘journalists’ are everywhere and where responsibility resides uncertainly at the editorial desk, able to reject or accept offerings from people with cameras but without the industrial discipline formerly exercised through professional training and adherence to formal codes of practice. It is thus unsurprising that South Australia’s Government, echoed by some peers, has mooted anti-gawker legislation aimed at would-be auteurs who impede emergency services by stopping their cars to take photos of bushfires, road accidents or other disasters. The flipside of that iPhone auteurism is anxiety about the public gaze, expressed through moral panics regarding street photography and sexting. Apart from a handful of exceptions (notably photography in the Sydney Opera House precinct, in the immediate vicinity of defence facilities and in some national parks), Australian law does not prohibit ‘street photography’ which includes photographs or videos of streetscapes or public places. Despite periodic assertions that it is a criminal offence to take photographs of people–particularly minors–without permission from an official, parent/guardian or individual there is no general restriction on ambient photography in public spaces. Moral panics about photographs of children (or adults) on beaches or in the street reflect an ambient anxiety in which danger is associated with strangers and strangers are everywhere (Marr 7; Bauman 93). That conceptualisation is one that would delight people who are wholly innocent of Judith Butler or Andrea Dworkin, in which the gaze (ever pervasive, ever powerful) is tantamount to a violation. The reality is more prosaic: most child sex offences involve intimates, rather than the ‘monstrous other’ with the telephoto lens or collection of nastiness on his iPod (Cossins 435; Ingebretsen 190). Recognition of that reality is important in considering moves that would egregiously restrict legitimate photography in public spaces or happy snaps made by doting relatives. An ambient image–unposed, unpremeditated, uncoerced–of an intimate may empower both authors and subjects when little is solid and memory is fleeting. The same caution might usefully be applied in considering alarms about sexting, ie creation using mobile phones (and access by phone or computer monitor) of intimate images of teenagers by teenagers. Australian governments have moved to emulate their US peers, treating such photography as a criminal offence that can be conceptualized as child p*rnography and addressed through permanent inclusion in sex offender registers. Lifelong stigmatisation is inappropriate in dealing with naïve or brash 12 and 16 year olds who have been exchanging intimate images without an awareness of legal frameworks or an understanding of consequences (Shafron-Perez 432). Cameras may be everywhere among the e-generation but legal knowledge, like the future, is unevenly distributed. Digital Handcuffs Generations prior to 2008 lost themselves in the streets, gaining individuality or personhood by escaping the surveillance inherent in living at home, being observed by neighbours or simply surrounded by colleagues. Streets offered anonymity and autonomy (Simmel 1903), one reason why heterodox sexuality has traditionally been negotiated in parks and other beats and on kerbs where sex workers ply their trade (Dalton 375). Recent decades have seen a privatisation of those public spaces, with urban planning and digital technologies imposing a new governmentality on hitherto ambient ‘deviance’ and on voyeuristic-exhibitionist practice such as heterosexual ‘dogging’ (Bell 387). That governmentality has been enforced through mechanisms such as replacement of traditional public toilets with ‘pods’ that are conveniently maintained by global service providers such as Veolia (the unromantic but profitable rump of former media & sewers conglomerate Vivendi) and function as billboards for advertising groups such as JC Decaux. Faces encountered in the vicinity of the twenty-first century pissoir are thus likely to be those of supermodels selling yoghurt, low interest loans or sportsgear – the same faces sighted at other venues across the nation and across the globe. Visiting ‘the mens’ gives new meaning to the word ambience when you are more likely to encounter Louis Vuitton and a CCTV camera than George Michael. George’s face, or that of Madonna, Barack Obama, Kevin 07 or Homer Simpson, might instead be sighted on the tshirts or hoodies mentioned above. George’s music might also be borne on the bodies of people you see in the park, on the street, or in the bus. This is the age of ambient performance, taken out of concert halls and virtualised on iPods, Walkmen and other personal devices, music at the demand of the consumer rather than as rationed by concert managers (Bull 85). The cost of that ambience, liberation of performance from time and space constraints, may be a Weberian disenchantment (Steiner 434). Technology has also removed anonymity by offering digital handcuffs to employees, partners, friends and children. The same mobile phones used in the past to offer excuses or otherwise disguise the bearer’s movement may now be tied to an observer through location services that plot the person’s movement across Google Maps or the geospatial information of similar services. That tracking is an extension into the private realm of the identification we now take for granted when using taxis or logistics services, with corporate Australia for example investing in systems that allow accurate determination of where a shipment is located (on Sydney Harbour Bridge? the loading dock? accompanying the truck driver on unauthorized visits to the pub?) and a forecast of when it will arrive (Monmonier 76). Such technologies are being used on a smaller scale to enforce digital Fordism among the binary proletariat in corporate buildings and campuses, with ‘smart badges’ and biometric gateways logging an individual’s movement across institutional terrain (so many minutes in the conference room, so many minutes in the bathroom or lingering among the faux rainforest near the Vice Chancellery) (Bolt). Bright Lights, Blog City It is a truth universally acknowledged, at least by right-thinking Foucauldians, that modernity is a matter of coercion and anomie as all that is solid melts into air. If we are living in an age of hypersocialisation and hypercapitalism – movies and friends on tap, along with the panoptic sorting by marketers and pervasive scrutiny by both the ‘information state’ and public audiences (the million people or one person reading your blog) that is an inevitable accompaniment of the digital cornucopia–we might ask whether everyone is or should be unhappy. This article began by highlighting traditional responses to the bright lights, brashness and excitement of the big city. One conclusion might be that in 2010 not much has changed. Some people experience ambient information as liberating; others as threatening, productive of physical danger or of a more insidious anomie in which personal identity is blurred by an ineluctable electro-smog. There is disagreement about the professionalism (for which read ethics and inhibitions) of ‘citizen media’ and about a culture in which, as in the 1920s, audiences believe that they ‘own the image’ embodying the celebrity or public malefactor. Digital technologies allow you to navigate through the urban maze and allow officials, marketers or the hostile to track you. Those same technologies allow you to subvert both the governmentality and governance. You are free: Be ambient! References Baron, Naomi. Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. Bauman, Zygmunt. 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Castells, Manuel. “The Urban Ideology.” The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory. Ed. Ida Susser. Malden: Blackwell, 2002. 34-70. Cossins, Anne, Jane Goodman-Delahunty, and Kate O’Brien. “Uncertainty and Misconceptions about Child Sexual Abuse: Implications for the Criminal Justice System.” Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law 16.4 (2009): 435-452. Dalton, David. “Policing Outlawed Desire: ‘hom*ocriminality’ in Beat Spaces in Australia.” Law & Critique 18.3 (2007): 375-405. De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California P, 1984. Dennis, Kingsley. “Keeping a Close Watch: The Rise of Self-Surveillance and the Threat of Digital Exposure.” The Sociological Review 56.3 (2008): 347-357. Dodge, Martin, and Rob Kitchin. “Outlines of a World Coming into Existence: Pervasive Computing and the Ethics of Forgetting.” Environment & Planning B: Planning & Design 34.3 (2007): 431-445. Doel, Marcus, and David Clarke. “Transpolitical Urbanism: Suburban Anomaly and Ambient Fear.” Space & Culture 1.2 (1998): 13-36. Dyer-Witheford, Nick. Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism. Champaign: U of Illinois P, 1999. Fritzsche, Peter. Reading Berlin 1900. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998. Gumpert, Gary, and Susan Drucker. “Privacy, Predictability or Serendipity and Digital Cities.” Digital Cities II: Computational and Sociological Approaches. Berlin: Springer, 2002. 26-40. Hassan, Robert. The Information Society. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008. Hillier, Bill. “Cities as Movement Economies.” Intelligent Environments: Spatial Aspects of the Information Revolution. Ed. Peter Drioege. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1997. 295-342. Holmes, David. “Cybercommuting on an Information Superhighway: The Case of Melbourne’s CityLink.” The Cybercities Reader. Ed. Stephen Graham. London: Routledge, 2004. 173-178. Huey, Laura, Kevin Walby, and Aaron Doyle. “Cop Watching in the Downtown Eastside: Exploring the Use of CounterSurveillance as a Tool of Resistance.” Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life. Ed. Torin Monahan. London: Routledge, 2006. 149-166. Ingebretsen, Edward. At Stake: Monsters and the Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2001. iSee. “Now More Than Ever”. 20 Feb 2010 ‹http://www.appliedautonomy.com/isee/info.html›. Jackson, Margaret, and Julian Ligertwood. "Identity Management: Is an Identity Card the Solution for Australia?” Prometheus 24.4 (2006): 379-387. Jermyn, Deborah. Crime Watching: Investigating Real Crime TV. London: IB Tauris, 2007. Kullenberg, Christopher. “The Social Impact of IT: Surveillance and Resistance in Present-Day Conflicts.” FlfF-Kommunikation 1 (2009): 37-40. Lyon, David. Surveillance as Social Sorting: Privacy, Risk and Digital Discrimination. London: Routledge, 2003. Marr, David. 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Cities in a Time of Terror: Space, Territory and Local Resilience. Armonk: Sharpe, 2008. Scheingold, Stuart. The Politics of Street Crime: Criminal Process and Cultural Obsession. Philadephia: Temple UP, 1992. Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: U of California Press, 1995. Shafron-Perez, Sharon. “Average Teenager or Sex Offender: Solutions to the Legal Dilemma Caused by Sexting.” John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law 26.3 (2009): 431-487. Simmel, Georg. “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” Individuality and Social Forms. Ed. Donald Levine. Chicago: University of Chicago P, 1971. Staples, William. Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. Steiner, George. George Steiner: A Reader. New York: Oxford UP, 1987. Thompson, Emily. The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2004. Wark, Mackenzie. Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994. Wilson, Elizabeth. The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, the Control of Disorder and Women. Berkeley: University of California P, 1991. Wood, David. “Towards Spatial Protocol: The Topologies of the Pervasive Surveillance Society.” Augmenting Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Eds. Allesandro Aurigi and Fiorella de Cindio. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. 93-106.

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Sears, Cornelia, and Jessica Johnston. "Wasted Whiteness: The Racial Politics of the Stoner Film." M/C Journal 13, no.4 (August19, 2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.267.

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Abstract:

We take as our subject what many would deem a waste of good celluloid: the degraded cultural form of the stoner film. Stoner films plot the experiences of the wasted (those intoxicated on marijuana) as they exhibit wastefulness—excessiveness, improvidence, decay—on a number of fronts. Stoners waste time in constantly hunting for pot and in failing to pursue more productive activity whilst wasted. Stoners waste their minds, both literally, if we believe contested studies that indicate marijuana smoking kills brains cells, and figuratively, in rendering themselves cognitively impaired. Stoners waste their bodies through the dangerous practice of smoking and through the tendency toward physical inertia. Stoners waste money on marijuana firstly, but also on such sophom*oric accoutrements as the stoner film itself. Stoners lay waste to convention in excessively seeking pleasure and in dressing and acting outrageously. And stoners, if the scatological humour of so many stoner films is any index, are preoccupied with bodily waste. Stoners, we argue here, waste whiteness as well. As the likes of Jesse and Chester (Dude, Where’s My Car?), Wayne and Garth (Wayne’s World), Bill and Ted (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and Jay and Silent Bob (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) make clear, whiteness looms large in stoner films. Yet the genre, we argue, disavows its own whiteness, in favour of a post-white hybridity that lavishly squanders white privilege. For all its focus on whiteness, filmic wastedness has always been an ethnically diverse and ambiguous category. The genre’s origins in the work of Cheech Marin, a Chicano, and Tommy Chong, a Chinese-European Canadian, have been buttressed in this regard by many African American contributions to the stoner oeuvre, including How High, Half Baked and Friday, as well as by Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and its Korean-American and Indian-American protagonists. Cheech and Chong initiated the genre with the release of Up in Smoke in 1978. A host of films have followed featuring protagonists who spend much of their time smoking and seeking marijuana (or—in the case of stoner films such as Dude, Where’s My Car? released during the height of the War on Drugs—acting stoned without ever being seen to get stoned). Inspired in part by the 1938 anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness, and the unintended humour such propaganda films begat amongst marijuana smokers, stoner films are comedies that satirise both marijuana culture and its prohibition. Self-consciously slapstick, the stoner genre excludes more serious films about drugs, from Easy Rider to Shaft, as well as films such as The Wizard of Oz, Yellow Submarine, the Muppet movies, and others popular amongst marijuana smokers because of surreal content. Likewise, a host of films that include secondary stoner characters, such as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, are commonly excluded from the genre on the grounds that the stoner film, first and foremost, celebrates stonerism, that is “serious commitment to smoking and acquiring marijuana as a lifestyle choice.” (Meltzer). Often taking the form of the “buddy film,” stoner flicks generally feature male leads and frequently exhibit a decidedly masculinist orientation, with women, for the most part reduced to little more than the object of the white male gaze.The plot, such as it is, of the typical stoner film concerns the search for marijuana (or an accessory, such as junk food) and the improbable misadventures that ensue. While frequently represented as resourceful and energetic in their quest for marijuana, filmic stoners otherwise exhibit ambivalent attitudes toward enterprise that involves significant effort. Typically represented as happy and peaceable, filmic stoners rarely engage in conflict beyond regular clashes with authority figures determined to enforce anti-drug laws, and other measures that stoners take to be infringements upon happiness. While Hollywood’s stoners thus share a sense of entitlement to pleasure, they do not otherwise exhibit a coherent ideological orthodoxy beyond a certain libertarian and relativistic open-mindedness. More likely to take inspiration from comic book heroes than Aldous Huxley or Timothy Leary, stoners are most often portrayed as ‘dazed and confused,’ and could be said to waste the intellectual tradition of mind expansion that Leary represents. That stoner films are, at times, misunderstood to be quintessentially white is hardly suprising. As a social construct that creates, maintains and legitimates white domination, whiteness manifests, as one of its most defining features, an ability to swallow up difference and to insist upon, at critical junctures, a universal subjectivity that disallows for difference (hooks 167). Such universalising not only sanctions co-optation of ethnic cultural expression, it also functions to mask whiteness’s existence, thus reinforcing its very power. Whiteness, as Richard Dyer argues, is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. It obfuscates itself and its relationship to the particular traits it is said to embody—disinterest, prudence, temperance, rationality, bodily restraint, industriousness (3). Whiteness is thus constructed as neither an ethnic nor racial particularity, but rather the transcendence of such positionality (Wiegman 139). While non-whites are raced, to be white is to be “just human” and thus to possess the power to “claim to speak for the commonality of humanity” whilst denying the accrual of any particular racial privilege (Dyer 2). In refuting its own advantages—which are so wide ranging (from preferential treatment in housing loans, to the freedom to fail without fear of reflecting badly on other whites) that they are, like whiteness itself, both assumed and unproblematic—whiteness instantiates individualism, allowing whites to believe that their successes are in no way the outcome of systematic racial advantage, but rather the product of individual toil (McIntosh; Lipsitz). An examination of the 1978 stoner film Up in Smoke suggests that whatever the ethnic ambiguity of the figure of the stoner, the genre of the stoner film is all about the wasting of whiteness. Up in Smoke opens with two alternating domestic scenes. We first encounter Pedro De Pacas (Cheech Marin) in a cluttered and shadowy room as his siblings romp affectionately upon his back, waking him from his slumber on the couch. Pedro rises, stepping into a bowl of cereal on the floor. He stumbles to the bathroom, where, sleepy and disoriented, he urinates into the laundry hamper. The chaos of Pedro’s disrupted sleep is followed in the film by a more metaphoric awakening as Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) determines to leave home. The scene takes place in a far more orderly, light and lavish room. The space’s overpowering whiteness is breached only by the figure of Anthony and his unruly black hair, bushy black beard, and loud Hawaiian shirt, which vibrates with colour against the white walls, white furnishings and white curtains. We watch as Anthony, behind an elaborate bar, prepares a banana protein shake, impassively ignoring his parents, both clothed in all-white, as they clutch martini glasses and berate their son for his lack of ambition. Arnold Stoner [father]: Son, your mother and me would like for you to cozy up to the Finkelstein boy. He's a bright kid, and, uh... he's going to military school, and remember, he was an Eagle Scout. Tempest Stoner [mother]: Arnold…Arnold Stoner: [shouts over/to his wife] Will you shut up? We’re not going to have a family brawl!Tempest Stoner: [continues talking as her husband shouts]…. Retard.Arnold Stoner: [to Anthony] We've put up with a hell of a lot.[Anthony starts blender] Can this wait? ... Build your goddamn muscles, huh? You know, you could build your muscles picking strawberries.You know, bend and scoop... like the Mexicans. sh*t, maybe I could get you a job with United Fruit. I got a buddy with United Fruit. ... Get you started. Start with strawberries, you might work your way up to these goddamn bananas! When, boy? When...are you going to get your act together?Anthony: [Burps]Tempest Stoner: Gross.Arnold Stoner: Oh, good God Almighty me. I think he's the Antichrist. Anthony, I want to talk to you. [Anthony gathers his smoothie supplements and begins to walk out of the room.] Now, listen! Don't walk away from me when I'm talking to you! You get a goddamn job before sundown, or we're shipping you off to military school with that goddamn Finkelstein sh*t kid! Son of a bitch!The whiteness of Anthony’s parents is signified so pervasively and so strikingly in this scene—in their improbable white outfits and in the room’s insufferably white décor—that we come to understand it as causative. The rage and racism of Mr. Stoner’s tirade, the scene suggests, is a product of whiteness itself. Given that whiteness achieves and maintains its domination via both ubiquity and invisibility, what Up in Smoke accomplishes in this scene is notable. Arnold Stoner’s tortured syntax (“that goddamn Finkelstein sh*t kid”) works to “mak[e] whiteness strange” (Dyer 4), while the scene’s exaggerated staging delineates whiteness as “a particular – even peculiar – identity, rather than a presumed norm” (Roediger, Colored White 21). The belligerence of the senior Stoners toward not only their son and each other, but the world at large, in turn, functions to render whiteness intrinsically ruthless and destructive. Anthony’s parents, in all their whiteness, enact David Roediger’s assertion that “it is not merely that ‘Whiteness’s is oppressive and false; it is that ‘Whiteness’s is nothing but oppressive and false” (Toward the Abolition 13).Anthony speaks not a word during the scene. He communicates only by belching and giving his parents the finger as he leaves the room and the home. This departure is significant in that it marks the moment when Anthony, hereafter known only as “Man,” flees the world of whiteness. He winds up taking refuge in the multi-hued world of stonerism, as embodied in the scene that follows, which features Pedro emerging from his home to interact with his Chicano neighbours and to lovingly inspect his car. As a lowrider, a customised vehicle that “begin[s] with the abandoned materials of one tradition (that of mainstream America), … [and is] … then transformed and recycled . . . into new and fresh objects of art which are distinctly Chicano,” Pedro’s car serves as a symbol of the cultural hybridisation that Man is about to undergo (quoted in Ondine 141).As Man’s muteness in the presence of his parents suggests, his racial status seems tentative from the start. Within the world of whiteness, Man is the subaltern, silenced and denigrated, finding voice only after he befriends Pedro. Even as the film identifies Man as white through his parental lineage, it renders indeterminate its own assertion, destabilising any such fixed or naturalised schema of identity. When Man is first introduced to Pedro’s band as their newest member, James, the band’s African American bass player, looks at Man, dressed in the uniform of the band, and asks: “Hey Pedro, where’s the white dude you said was playing the drums?” Clearly, from James’s point of view, the room contains no white dudes, just stoners. Man’s presumed whiteness becomes one of the film’s countless gags, the provocative ambiguity of the casting of a Chinese-European to play a white part underscored in the film by the equally implausible matter of age. Man, according to the film’s narrative, is a high school student; Chong was forty when the film was released. Like his age, Man’s whiteness is never a good fit. That Man ultimately winds up sleeping on the very couch upon which we first encounter Pedro suggests how radical and final the break with his dubious white past is. The “Mexicans” whom his father would mock as fit only for abject labour are amongst those whom Man comes to consider his closest companions. In departing his parents’ white world, and embracing Pedro’s dilapidated, barrio-based world of wastedness, Man traces the geographies narrated by George Lipsitz in The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. Historically, Lipsitz argues, the development of affluent white space (the suburbs) was made possible by the disintegration of African American, Chicano and other minority neighbourhoods disadvantaged by federal, state, and corporate housing, employment, health care, urban renewal, and education policies that favoured whites over non-whites. In this sense, Man’s flight from his parents’ home is a retreat from whiteness itself, and from the advantages that whiteness conveys. In choosing the ramshackle, non-white world of stonerism, Man performs an act of racial treachery. Whiteness, Lipsitz contends, has “cash value,” and “is invested in, like property, but it is also a means of accumulating property and keeping it from others,” which allows for “intergenerational transfers of inherited wealth that pass on the spoils of discrimination to succeeding generations” (vii-viii). Man’s disavowal of the privileges of whiteness is a reckless refusal to accept this racial birthright. Whiteness is thus wasted upon Man because Man wastes his whiteness. Given the centrality of prudence and restraint to hegemonic constructions of whiteness, Man’s willingness to squander the “valuable asset” that is his white inheritance is especially treasonous (Harris 1713). Man is the prodigal son of whiteness, a profligate who pours down the drain “the wages of whiteness” that his forbearers have spent generations accruing and protecting (Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness). His waste not only offends the core values which whiteness is said to comprise, it also denigrates whiteness itself by illuminating the excess of white privilege, as well as the unarticulated excess of meanings that hover around whiteness to create the illusion of transcendence and infinite variety. Man’s performance, like all bad performances of whiteness, “disrupt[s] implicit understandings of what it means to be white” (Hartigan 46). The spectre of seeing white domination go ‘up in smoke’—via wasting, as opposed to hoarding, white privilege—amounts to racial treason, and helps not only to explicate why whites in the film find stonerism so menacing, but also to explain the paradox of “pot [making] the people who don’t smoke it even more paranoid than the people who do” (Patterson). While Tommy Chong’s droll assertion that "what makes us so dangerous is that we're harmless" ridicules such paranoia, it ultimately fails to account for the politics of subversive squandering of white privilege that characterise the stoner film (“Biographies”). Stoners in Up in Smoke, as in most other stoner films, are marked as non-white, through association with ethnic Others, through their rejection of mainstream ideas about work and achievement, and/or through their lack of bodily restraint in relentlessly seeking pleasure, in dressing outrageously, and in refusing to abide conventional grooming habits. Significantly, the non-white status of the stoner is both voluntary and deliberate. While stonerism embraces its own non-whiteness, its Otherness is not signified, primarily, through racial cross-dressing of the sort Eric Lott detects in Elvis, but rather through race-mixing. Stoner collectivity practices an inclusivity that defies America’s historic practice of racial and ethnic segregation (Lott 248). Stonerism further reveals its unwillingness to abide constrictive American whiteness in a scene in which Pedro and Man, both US-born Americans, are deported. The pair are rounded up along with Pedro’s extended family in a raid initiated when Pedro’s cousin “narcs” on himself to la migra (the Immigration and Naturalization Service) in order to get free transport for his extended family to his wedding in Tijuana. Pedro and Man return to the US as unwitting tricksters, bringing back to the US more marijuana than has ever crossed the Mexican-US border at one time, fusing the relationship between transnationalism and wastedness. The disrespect that stoners exhibit for pregnable US borders contests presumed Chicano powerlessness in the face of white force and further affronts whiteness, which historically has mobilised itself most virulently at the threat of alien incursion. Transgression here is wilful and playful; stoners intend to offend normative values and taste through their actions, their dress, and non-white associations as part of the project of forging a new hybridised, transnational subjectivity that threatens to lay waste to whiteness’s purity and privilege. Stoners invite the scrutiny of white authority with their outrageous attire and ethnically diverse composition, turning the “inevitability of surveillance” (Borrie 87) into an opportunity to enact their own wastedness—their wasted privilege, their wasted youth, their wasted potential—before a gaze that is ultimately confounded and threatened by the chaotic hybridity with which it is faced (Hebdige 26). By perpetually displaying his/her wasted Otherness, the stoner makes of him/herself a “freak,” a label cops use derisively throughout Up in Smoke to denote the wasted without realising that stoners define themselves in precisely such terms, and, by doing so, obstruct whiteness’s assertion of universal subjectivity. Pedro’s cousin Strawberry (Tom Skerritt), a pot dealer, enacts freakishness by exhibiting a large facial birthmark and by suffering from Vietnam-induced Post Traumatic Stress disorder. A freak in every sense of the word, Strawberry is denied white status by virtue of physical and mental defect. But Strawberry, as a stoner, ultimately wants whiteness even less than it wants him. The defects that deny him membership in the exclusive “club” that is whiteness prove less significant than the choice he makes to defect from the ranks of whiteness and join with Man in the decision to waste his whiteness wantonly (“Editorial”). Stoner masculinity is represented as similarly freakish and defective. While white authority forcefully frustrates the attempts of Pedro and Man to “score” marijuana, the duo’s efforts to “score” sexually are thwarted by their own in/action. More often than not, wastedness produces impotence in Up in Smoke, either literally or figuratively, wherein the confusion and misadventures that attend pot-smoking interrupt foreplay. The film’s only ostensible sex scene is unconsummated, a wasted opportunity for whiteness to reproduce itself when Man sleeps through his girlfriend’s frenzied discussion of sex. During the course of Up in Smoke, Man dresses as a woman while hitchhiking, Pedro mistakes Man for a woman, Man sits on Pedro’s lap when they scramble to change seats whilst being pulled over by the police, Man suggests that Pedro has a “small dick,” Pedro reports liking “manly breasts,” and Pedro—unable to urinate in the presence of Sgt. Stedenko—tells his penis that if it does not perform, he will “put [it] back in the closet.” Such attenuations of the lead characters’ masculinity climax in the penultimate scene, in which Pedro, backed by his band, performs “Earache My Eye,” a song he has just composed backstage, whilst adorned in pink tutu, garter belt, tassle pasties, sequined opera mask and Mickey Mouse ears: My momma talkin’ to me tryin’ to tell me how to liveBut I don't listen to her cause my head is like a sieveMy daddy he disowned me cause I wear my sister's clothesHe caught me in the bathroom with a pair of pantyhoseMy basketball coach he done kicked me off the teamFor wearing high heeled sneakers and acting like a queen“Earache My Eye” corroborates the Othered natured of stonerism by marking stoners, already designated as non-white, as non-straight. In a classic iteration of a bad gender performance, the scene rejects both whiteness and its hegemonic partners-in-crime, heterosexuality and normative masculinity (Butler 26). Here stoners waste not only their whiteness, but also their white masculinity. Whiteness, and its dependence upon “intersection … [with] interlocking axes [of power such as] gender … [and] sexuality,” is “outed” in this scene (Shome 368). So, too, is it enfeebled. In rendering masculinity freakish and defective, the film threatens whiteness at its core. For if whiteness can not depend upon normative masculinity for its reproduction, then, like Man’s racial birthright, it is wasted. The stoner’s embodiment of freakishness further works to emphasise wasted whiteness by exposing just how hysterical whiteness’s defense of its own normativity can be. Up in Smoke frequently inflates not only the effects of marijuana, but also the eccentricities of those who smoke it, a strategy which means that much of the film’s humour turns on satirising hegemonic stereotypes of marijuana smokers. Equally, Cheech Marin’s exaggerated “slapstick, one-dimensional [portrayal] of [a] Chicano character” works to render ridiculous the very stereotypes his character incarnates (List 183). While the film deconstructs processes of social construction, it also makes extensive use of counter-stereotyping in its depictions of characters marked as white. The result is that whiteness’s “illusion of [its] own infinite variety” is contested and the lie of whiteness as non-raced is exposed, helping to explain the stoner’s decision to waste his/her whiteness (Dyer 12; 2). In Up in Smoke whiteness is the colour of straightness. Straights, who are willing neither to smoke pot nor to tolerate the smoking of pot by others/Others, are so comprehensively marked as white in the film that whiteness and straightness become isomorphic. As a result, the same stereotypes are mobilised in representing whiteness and straightness: incompetence, belligerence, hypocrisy, meanspiritedness, and paranoia, qualities that are all the more oppressive because virtually all whites/straights in the film occupy positions of authority. Anthony’s spectacularly white parents, as we have seen, are bigoted and dominating. Their whiteness is further impugned by alcohol, which fuels Mr. Stoner’s fury and Mrs. Stoner’s unintelligibility. That the senior Stoners are drunk before noon works, of course, to expose the hypocrisy of those who would indict marijuana use while ignoring the social damage alcohol can produce. Their inebriation (revealed as chronic in the DVD’s outtake scenes) takes on further significance when it is configured as a decidedly white attribute. Throughout the film, only characters marked as white consume alcohol—most notably, the judge who is discovered to be drinking vodka whist adjudicating drug charges against Pedro and Man—therefore dislodging whiteness’s self-construction as temperate, and suggesting just how wasted whiteness is. While stonerism is represented as pacific, drunkenness is of a piece with white/straight bellicosity. In Up in Smoke, whites/straights crave confrontation and discord, especially the angry, uptight, and vainglorious narcotics cop Sgt. Stedenko (Stacey Keech) who inhabits so many of the film’s counter-stereotypes. While a trio of white cops roughly apprehend and search a carload of innocent nuns in a manner that Man describes as “cold blooded,” Stedenko, unawares in the foreground, gives an interview about his plans for what he hopes will be the biggest border drug bust in US history: “[Reporter:] Do you expect to see any violence here today? [Sgt. Stedenko:] I certainly hope so.” Stedenko’s desire to act violently against stoners echoes mythologies of white regeneration in the Old West, wherein whiteness refurbished itself through violent attacks on Native Americans, whose wasteful cultures failed to make “civilised” use of western lands (Slotkin 565).White aggression is relentlessly depicted in the film, with one important exception: the instance of the stoned straight. Perhaps no other trope is as defining of the genre, as is the scene wherein a straight person accidentally becomes stoned. Up in Smoke offers several examples, most notably the scene in which a motorcycle cop pulls over Pedro and Man as they drive a van belonging to Pedro’s Uncle Chuey. In a plot twist requiring a degree of willing suspension of disbelief that even wasted audiences might find a stretch, the exterior shell of the van, unbeknownst to Pedro and Man, is made entirely of marijuana which has started to smoulder around the exhaust pipe. The cop, who becomes intoxicated whilst walking through the fumes, does not hassle Pedro and Man, as expected, but instead asks for a bite of their hot dog and then departs happily, instructing the duo to “have a nice day.” In declining, or perhaps simply forgetting, to exercise his authority, the cop demonstrates the regenerative potential not of violent whiteness but rather of hybrid wastedness. Marijuana here is transformative, morphing straight consciousness into stoner consciousness and, in the process, discharging all the uptight, mean-spirited, unnecessary, and hence wasteful baggage of whiteness along the way. While such a utopian potential for pot is both upheld and satirised in the film, the scene amounts to far more than an inconsequential generic gag, in that it argues for the disavowal of whiteness via the assumption of the voluntary Otherness that is stonerism. Whiteness, the scene suggests, can be cast off, discarded, wasted and thus surmounted. Whites, for want of a better phrase, simply need to ‘just say no’ to whiteness in order to excrete the brutality that is its necessary affliction and inevitable result. While Up in Smoke laudably offers a powerful refusal to horde the assets of whiteness, the film fails to acknowledge that ‘just saying no’ is, indeed, one of whiteness’s exclusive privileges, since whites and only whites possess the liberty to refuse the advantages whiteness bestows. Non-whites possess no analogical ability to jettison the social constructions to which they are subjected, to refuse the power of dominant classes to define their subjectivity. Neither does the film confront the fact that Man nor any other of Up in Smoke’s white freaks are disallowed from re-embracing their whiteness, and its attendant value, at any time. However inchoate the film’s challenge to racial privilege, Up in Smoke’s celebration of the subversive pleasures of wasting whiteness offers a tentative, if bleary, first step toward ‘the abolition of whiteness.’ Its utopian vision of a post-white hybridised subjectivity, however dazed and confused, is worthy of far more serious contemplation than the film, taken at face value, might seem to suggest. Perhaps Up in Smoke is a stoner film that should also be viewed while sober. ReferencesBill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Dir. Stephen Herek. Orion Pictures Corporation, 1989.“Biographies”. 10 June 2010 ‹http://www.cheechandchongfans.com/biography.html›. Borrie, Lee. "Wild Ones: Containment Culture and 1950s Youth Rebellion”. Diss. University of Canterbury, 2007.Butler, Judith. "Critically Queer”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1.1 (1993): 17-32.Chavoya, C. Ondine. “Customized Hybrids: The Art of Ruben Ortiz Torres and Lowriding in Southern California”. CR: The New Centennial Review 4.2 (2004): 141-84.Clerks. Dir. Kevin Smith. Miramax Films, 1994. Dazed and Confused. Dir. Richard Linklater. Cineplex Odeon Films, 1993. Dude, Where’s My Car? Dir. Danny Leiner. Twentieth Century Fox, 2000.Dyer, Richard. White: Essays on Race and Culture. London: Routledge, 1997.“Editorial: Abolish the White Race—By Any Means Necessary”. Race Traitor 1 (1993). 9 June 2010 ‹http://racetraitor.org/abolish.html›.Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Dir. Amy Heckerling. Universal Pictures, 1982.Friday. Dir. F. Gary Gray. New Line Cinema, 1995.Half Baked. Dir. Tamra Davis. Universal Pictures, 1998.Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Dir. Danny Leiner. New Line Cinema, 2004.Harris, Cheryl. “Whiteness as Property”. Harvard Law Review 106 (1993): 1707-1791. Hartigan, John Jr. “Objectifying ‘Poor Whites and ‘White Trash’ in Detroit”. White Trash: Race and Class in America. Eds. Matt Wray, and Annalee Newitz. NY: Routledge, 1997. 41-56.Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen, 1979.hooks, bell. Black Looks: Race and Representation. Boston: South End Press, 1992.How High. Dir. Jesse Dylan. Universal Pictures, 2001.Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit fromIdentity Politics. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2006. List, Christine. "Self-Directed Stereotyping in the Films of Cheech Marin”. Chicanos and Film: Representation and Resistance. Ed. Chon A. Noriega. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1992. 183-94.Lott, Eric. “Racial Cross-Dressing and the Construction of American Whiteness”. The Cultural Studies Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Simon During. London: Routledge, 1999. 241-55.McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. 10 June 2010 ‹http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf›.Meltzer, Marisa. “Leisure and Innocence: The Eternal Appeal of the Stoner Movie”. Slate 26 June 2007. 10 Aug. 2010 ‹http://www.slate.com/id/2168931›.Toni Morrison. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992.Patterson, John. “High and Mighty”. The Guardian 7 June 2008. 10 June 2010 ‹http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/jun/07/2›.Roediger, David. Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002.Roediger, David. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Rev. ed. London: Verso Books, 1999.———. Towards the Abolition of Whiteness: Essays on Race, Class and Politics. London: Verso Books, 1994.Shome, Raka. “Outing Whiteness”. Critical Studies in Media Communication 17.3 (2000): 366-71.Slotkin, Richard. Regeneration through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1973.Up in Smoke. Dir. Lou Adler. Paramount Pictures, 1978.Wayne’s World. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. Paramount Pictures, 1992.Wiegman, Robyn. “Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity”. boundary 2 26.3 (1999): 115-50.

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