Jameson

September 27, 2007

This piece was pretty lengthy and most of it went without my understanding, but I will try my best to expand on what I can.

There is much discussion on “the subject” and on page 14 Jameson writes, “This shift in the dynamics of cultural pathology can be characterized as one in which the alienation of the subject is displaced by the latter’s fragmentation.”  I read this and thought of Fight Club.  Edward Norton is alienated in his life, he has nothing but his collection of catalogue merchandise.  However, his alienation stops when he “fragments” and Tyler is created.  His life then becomes extremely fragmented, he loses large chunks of time and has no idea when he is being Tyler.  So his alienation ended when he fragmented into two personalities.

Jameson discusses the ideas of parody and pastiche and on page 17 he writes, “the producers of culture have nowhere to turn but to the past: the imitation of dead styles, speech through all the masks and voices stored up in the imaginary museum of a now global culture.”  This is very closely related to something Baudrillard wrote on.  Baudrillard wrote that we as a society need to have a visible past and a means to see where we came from.  This is why we have museums and dig up mummies and put them  display. 

Our class discussion on Titanic goes along with what Jameson writes on pages 19 and 25.  On page 19 he writes, “instead approach the ‘past’ through stylistic connotation, conveying ‘pastness’ by the glossy qualities of the image.”  And on page 25, “The historical novel can no longer set out to represent the historical past; it can only ‘represent’ our ideas and stereotypes about the past.”  We don’t know what happened on that boat, all we know for sure is that it went down.  We have an idea of how people dressed in that era and how they talked.  We put all of our preconceived notions of that time period together, put them on a boat, add a Celine Deion song, and there is Titanic.  As the quote from  page 25 suggests, there is no way to accurately depict history, so movies like Titanic will only represent what we assume to have actually happened.

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