Discuss why some people are not convinced by the idea of postmodern media
Sian LynesDiscuss why some people are not convinced by the idea of postmodern media.Postmodern media texts are characterised by their distinct distrust of theories and ideologies,drawing attention to conventions through the manipulation of time, space and narrative.Often, a rejection of traditional "grand-narratives" are challenged, as theorised by Lyotard,that refer to great theories of history, science, religion and politics. These narratives createtotalising forms such as love and utopian idealistic visions of reality. Therefore postmoderntext create a deliberate distortion of reality which some audiences may find difficult tocomprehend. Postmodernist text are heavily reliant on being read by a literature audiencethrough the prolific use of intertextuality through concepts such as bricolage. This may causesome audiences difficulty in understanding these references and ultimately the meaning of thetext.An example of such controversial postmodern texts is the film "Drive", directed by NicolasWinding Refn, which is characterised through its evident application of hyper reality, astheorised by Baudrillard. This is exemplified through its reference to the video game genre, amedium in itself which never represents reality. The film is set in Los Angeles, which isrepresented through an unnatural point of view, such as with a birds eye view. Themanipulation of a viewpoint in combination with the L.A. backdrop and the Kids violentbehaviour is reminiscent of the popularised modern day game "Grand Theft Auto".Baudrillards State of Simulcra theory can be applied here as L.A. is represented in a dark andvacant way, often challenging the audiences cultural knowledge presented to us by the mediawhich often perceives L.A. as a glamorous place. Therefore this entirely disjunctive simulatedworld may not convince some audiences as its representation of reality serves no relation totheir own.By extension some audiences may reject Drive as it deliberately toys with their decodingsystem. This is exemplified through Refns deliberate construction of mise-en-scene tomanipulate their perception of time. This can be seen through the contrasting use of modernday race cars in contrast to retro cars seen in the garage. Fiskes development of Barthes semiccode can be applied here are the audience can only base their knowledge of previous texts toindicate the time period. This results in the audiences decoding system to become confused,which resultantly may cause them to be unconvinced by the films entire representation.Additionally, the text clearly rejects modernist ideas that as history moves forward in timehumanity makes progress, complying with Lyotards theory. This ambiguity arguably creates aparallel universe that is not in line with humanity itself.The lack of The Kids back story given to us by the director can be argued as postmodern asmodernist media products are often reliant on this to progress the narrative. By denying theaudience of his real name also this also challenges traditional features seen in other mediatexts. The protagonist also lacks dialogue throughout the film which is reminiscent of TheMan with No Name a stock character in the American western film genre, such as ClientEastwood in the 1966 "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". The deletion of dialogue, supportingLevi-Strauss concept of bricolage, can be considered postmodern as the audiences decodingsystem is therefore reliant on his behaviour and stylistic costuming in order for the narrativeto progress. Therefore some audiences may be unconvinced by this element as they would
Sian Lynesargue that in order for a narrative to progress systematically dialogue would have be asignificant feature. In this case, the progression is too heavily reliant on the audiences readingwhich may cause over complications in some instances for some audiences to continuecompleting the text.Some audiences may not be convinced by postmodern media present within the Televisionindustry. This can be seen with "Flight of the Conchords", where a real-life duo Bret McKenzieand Jermaine Clement, play fictionalised versions of themselves as two man band from NewZealand. The set up of the text is completely ironic, with the style of the film being heavilyself-reflexive. The opening credits have a "Cut-and-paste" style animation which create anhyper reality as inanimate objects are personified, such as dancing trees and bushes. Thenarrative revolves around the characters ability to burst into song in order to sing theirfeelings. This can be seen in the episode "The Tough Brets" in which Bret starts a gang.Intertextuality is seen in the song "Stay Cool" which is reminiscent of the musical "West SideStory" opening scenes which Brets theatrical dancing is a reference to. Some audiences maynot be convinced by the media as the use of bricolage to create a sitcom, musical, music video,drama comedy is completely unrealistic. By addition, the episodic and unpredictable nature ofthe narrative may cause the attention span of some audiences to be reduced as they becomeimmune to the "shock value" which is reoccurring.Another example of a postmodernist texts which some individuals may be unconvinced by isthe American adult animated sitcom "Family Guy". The show is heavily self-reflexive,continually acknowledging that it is a pre-constructed text. This is evident in the episodespecial "Blue Harvest" in which the episode is an entire parody of the 1977 film "Stars Wars IV:A New Hope". The entire text is an implicit commentary of the Star Wars franchise, complyingto Genettes theory of metatextuality. Audiences may no be convinced of its manipulation oftime and space present evident in the introductory title of "A long time ago, but somehow inthe future". This complies with theorists such as Lyotard which reject conventional "grandnarratives" as seen in modernist media. Instead the text favours Lyotards conception of a"micro-narrative" that reflect diversity and can go in any direction, often being unpredictable.It is this element of unpredictability that some audiences may not be convinced by, oftenpreferring the linear and coherent structure of modernist texts in order to make sense of theoutcome.This non-linear narrative is also present as Luke breaks the "fourth wall" when he introducesLondon Symphony Orchestra and composer John Williams. This technique directly createsdisjuncture in which the audience are away that it is completely hyper real. This abrupt andunusual technique emphasises the postmodernist aspect of style over content. In this case, theparodied Star Wars narrative is interrupted to add the stylistic features of the musical score.Again, some audiences may be unconvinced by this approach as the scene is completelyirrelevant to the overall plot of the film. This complies with Frederic Jamesons criticism ofpostmodernism as "vacuous" and trapped in circular references, having no deeper meaning orpurpose to the output of the film.Postmodern music, like both TV and film, is irrespective of boundaries and often divulgesitself into other genres. The musician Lady Gaga is an example of a postmodern artist which
Sian Lynessome audiences are not convinced by. Firstly, her stage name "Gaga" adopts immediateconnotations of the unusual and crazy. In addition, this name takes inspiration from the rockband Queens 1984 hit "Radio Ga Ga". Levi-Strauss concept of bricolage is evidently applicablehere, as her stage name adopted the recognisable debris from the song. Often, she creates aconscious simulated version of herself, often adorning unusual and unconventional outfitswith her stage performances. Therefore complying with theorists such as Baudrillard throughthe State of Simulcra as the signs of herself become representations and mask reality. Someaudiences may reject this concept, as they can no longer relate to signs of the "real" andultimately distrust her role as an artist as more of a spectacle.Jonathan Kramers theory that postmodern music includes quotations of or references tomusic of many cultures can be applied to her song "Bad Kids". The self-reflexive introductionis an explicit reference to Michael Jacksons "They Dont Care About Us". This resultantcombination of a hip-hop rock and dance-pop, and use of intertextuality, differs it from otherforms of music. In addition, Kramers definition that postmodern music is, on some level orsome way ironic can be applied to her feature on the self-mocking American TV show "TheSimpsons". Here, she sings a song "Superstar" often conforming to the medias representationof herself as weird in order to create a self-mocking humour. This humour is reliant on theaudiences cultural knowledge of herself, supporting theorists such as Fiskes semic code, todecode the significance of the text. This then ironic humour may be disputed by someindividuals as it is just a continual circular referentiality that leads to no new outcome. Thissupports criticism that nothing in postmodern media is original.Conclusively, these examples of postmodern media exemplify why not all audiences areconvinced by the supposed logic of their construction. Some may see these texts of imitationof one another and therefore no longer participate in a meaningful output. Rather they arestuck in a circular referentiality.