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Postmodernism 3



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  • After discussing differences, discuss how we differentiate between the 2 terms.
  • Reveal each pair one at a time and get students to discuss. Hopefully, discussion should lead to a debate over what we mean by ‘better’? Who would value each text as better than the other? What would they base their value judgements on?Get students to look back and U&G theories – are some uses and gratifications deemed ‘better’ than others? E.g. is ‘surveillance’ seen as better than ‘diversion’? By whom?
  • Play clips in turn – sparkling diamonds features obvious reference to the other 2 clips


  • 1. Wednesday 23rd September
    Learning Objective: to understand the issues surrounding value judgments in the media, focusing on postmodern approaches.
  • 2. Make a list of as many texts as you can that fit into the following 2 categories:
  • 3. Which text is better?
    Commercial rom-coms or British social realism?
    Heat Magazine or The Sunday Times?
    Reality TV or BBC period drama?
  • 4. The Postmodern View of Value Judgements:
    All ideas of ‘the truth’ are just competing claims – or discourses – and what we believe to be the truth at any point is merely the winning discourse.
    Postmodern media rejects the idea that any media product or text is of greater value than another. All judgements of value are merely taste. Anything can be art; anything can deserve to reach an audience.
  • 5. Postmodern texts exemplify this view display ECLECTISISM, often made more obvious to the audience through use of ANACHRONISMS.
    The mixing of cultural styles and times challenges the importance of chronologically ‘correct’ history and the notions of ‘value’ of what many critics have previously considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
  • 6. Example 1: Moulin Rouge
  • 7. The Plot
    Derived from 3 operas
    – La Boheme, La
    Traviatta, Orpheus in
    the Underworld
  • 8. The Songs
    Sparkling Diamonds
    www.wat.tv/video/sparkling- diamonds-moulin-rouge-ca3c_ca38_.html
    Marilyn Monroe – ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwXrZGQ4iM&feature=related
    Madonna –Material World  
  • 9. More of the songs…
    In addition to these songs… other tracks featured include:
    Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
    Roxanne – The Police
    Songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ 
    Because We Can - Fat Boy Slim 
    The Show Must Go On – Queen 
    Your Song - Elton John
  • 10. Filmic References
    Elements drawn from a wide range of genres…
  • 11. Bollywood
  • 12. Film Noir
  • 13. Conventional Hollywood Romance
  • 14. MGM Musicals
  • 15. References to Art
    Style of mise-en-scene
    references the work of the
    ‘real’ Toulouse-Lautrec, a
    character in the film –
    combination leads to a
    sense of hyperreality in
    which we appear to ‘step into’
    his paintings with him.
  • 16. Mix of reality and fantasy
    Real people and places:
    Moulin Rouge
    Moulin Rouge
  • 17. mixed with fantastical elements …
  • 18. Example 2: A Knight’s Tale
    Again, a mixture of high and popular culture…
  • 19. High Culture:
    Title taken from Geoffery Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’.
    References to historical figures and society.
  • 20. Popular Culture:
    Medieval jousters applauded to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMpJelQc86Q
    and Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ and David Bowie’s ‘Golden Years’
  • 21. Opponents of post-modernism say…
    Too ‘over-busy’ – takes away from any reality (if we are able to suspend our disbelief)
    “As a melodrama, Moulin Rouge's story is too simple, the narrative too fractured and the tone too ironic. Every avenue of identification is closed off to us. Characters are often foregrounded against a back-projection, destroying the illusion of three-dimensionality, and Christian's dialogue is often drawn from pop-cultural sources, as when he tells Satine 'Love is a many-splendoured thing' or 'All you need is love'. Such quotations, though initially seeming clever, soon become tiresome - and the collage-like script works against our sympathy for the characters.”
    BazLuhrmann's retro-modern musical "Moulin Rouge" is such a magnificent mess that it makes you feel hung over before it's even finished. It's like a shot of absinthe so strong you get the bedspins just from watching it pour over the sugar in the spoon.
  • 22. More criticism…
    This is an avoidance of value judgements – particularly a criticism voiced by religious groups.
  • 23. Discussion:
    What is you point of view?
    Do value judgements of media have their place?
    Or do you prefer the postmodernist approach?
    Or are both appropriate?
  • 24. Homework
    By the evening before next lesson (Monday 28th Sept) email me the following:
    A quote from someone opposing the ‘anti-value judgment stance of post-modernism.
    We will look at these at the start of next lesson, then I will email you the compilation of these quotes.