Wednesday 23rd September Learning Objective: to understand the issues surrounding value judgments in the media, focusing on postmodern approaches.
Make a list of as many texts as you can that fit into the following 2 categories:
Which text is better? Commercial rom-coms or British social realism? Heat Magazine or The Sunday Times? Reality TV or BBC period drama?
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.
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’.
Example 1: Moulin Rouge Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=82vL1KQDCyQ
The Plot Derived from 3 operas – La Boheme, La Traviatta, Orpheus in the Underworld
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3IY_Tp4Izs
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
Filmic References Elements drawn from a wide range of genres…
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.
Mix of reality and fantasy Real people and places: Toulouse-Lautrec Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge
Example 2: A Knight’s Tale Again, a mixture of high and popular culture…
High Culture: Title taken from Geoffery Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’. References to historical figures and society.
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’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlPpFPxti5Q
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.
More criticism… This is an avoidance of value judgements – particularly a criticism voiced by religious groups.
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?
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.