Who was Jacques Derrida? • Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher. His work is mostly associated with post- structuralism and post- moderism. • His work has had impact on anthropology, sociology, semiotics, literary studies etc.
Différance.• Différance plays on the fact that ‘differer’ in French means both to differ and to defer.• Saussure stated that a sign is made meaningful by its location in a system of differences. Derrida took this a step further by saying that the meaning if also always deferred, and that it is both always present and absent.• An example I’ve found of this is that if you look through the dictionary for the word ‘letter’, you get five meanings. If you pick one of these, such as ‘message’, you then get more meanings, so the meaning has been deferred. Because the meaning leads you to other meanings, there can be no ultimate meaning, as it is constantly being deferred.
Violent hierarchies• Derrida once said that, since the dawn of time, people have thought in binary opposites (for example, white/black, fantasy/reality, life/death). Within these oppositions, there is always one dominant thing; neither can exist harmoniously.• In a classical philosophical opposition we are not dealing with the peaceful coexistence of a vis-à-vis, but rather with a violent hierarchy. One of the two terms governs the other (axiologically, logically, etc.), or has the upper hand‘ – Jacques Derrida.• Basically, he’s saying that two opposite things will never be equal.• Derrida then goes on the question the dominance of the dominant, and reverses the hierarchy.• To deconstruct the opposition, first of all, is to overturn the hierarchy at a given moment‘.• This ‘violent hierarchy’ system is part of Derrida’s deconstruction theory.• He uses it mostly to describe speech and writing; speech is considered the ‘natural’ way of communication and writing as a supplement. Writing should not be used as a main function, only to ensure presence.
Fallen culture• Anything which states that it has one single meaning is an example of ‘fallen culture’.• Basically, anything which goes against what Derrida said is ‘fallen culture’.
Edenic nature• This is saying that, in Eden, in creation, there is interpretation; the negotiation of human being.• I think this means that, in Eden, Adam and Eve became self-aware and interpreted themselves as human beings. This shows that interpretation has been in human nature from the very beginning of human life.• I literally have no idea if that’s right.• Derrida was a very confusing chap.
Derrida in relation to Anchorman…• There is some of the violent hierarchy theory in Anchorman, with the imbalance of power between the binary opposites of men and women. The men are the dominants throughout most of the film; however, they do flip the dominance (as Derrida suggests in his theory should be done) and have the woman take control and come out on top.
• Derrida blasts anything Saussure said out of the water, basically, saying that nothing has real meaning. This is quite a hard concept to apply to film/TV (it might not be, I might just be dense).