Week 11. How to read popular culture. Why do people watch soap operas, horror films, and other popular genres. Are they escaping from reality, living in an illusory world, or just enjoying themselves and making money for Hollywood? What does the mass media do to culture and society?
“Following McLuhan, Baudrillard argues that it is through their form and operation rather than the content they carry, that the electronic media of communication have transformed social relations.
The existing mass media are considered to undermine communication as an exchange, to ‘fabricate non-communication’, and prevent response other than in the form of a simulation, which itself is already inscribed in the process of transmission-reception.” (Smart 1992:122)Jean Baudrillard
It does however, provide an excellent Baudrillardian example of a form that only appears to increase communication, the streets full of oblivious, down-turned individuals thumbing their abbreviated and almost meaningless messages [twittering?] back and forth representing a dystopic realization of that world of non-communication he described in 1971.
In his Cool Memories 4 of 2000, Baudrillard suggests exactly this. For him the man in the street ‘talking away to no one’ represent ‘a new urban figure’, one imposing on everyone else ‘the virtual presence of the network’. Emphasizing the priority of symbolic relations against such asociality and public imposition, Baudrillard describes him as ‘a living insult to the passers by’ (p.24)” (Merrin, 2005:23)Noncommunication
“The ‘real’ has not come to an end, other than in the sense that it is increasingly difficult to disentangle ‘event’ from media constituted ‘representation’. To an extent the representation or, as Baudrillard has it, the simulation is the event, it is what is known of the event, it becomes virtually synonymous with the event. Here we are on the terrain of Baudrillard’s ‘hyperrreal’… The key point is that there no longer exists an unmediated ‘reality’ as the potential object of representation; the real has become ‘that which is always already reproduced’ and to that extent hyperreal.” (Smart 1992:139)hyperreality
Professor Ien Ang sense that it is increasingly difficult to disentangle ‘event’ from media constituted ‘representation’. To an extent the representation or, as Baudrillard has it, the simulation is the event, it is what is known of the event, it becomes virtually synonymous with the event. Here we are on the terrain of Baudrillard’s ‘hyperrreal’… The key point is that there no longer exists an unmediated ‘reality’ as the potential object of representation; the real has become ‘that which is always already reproduced’ and to that extent hyperreal.” (Smart 1992:139)
Centre for Cultural Research University of Western Sydney
Distinguished Professor Ien Ang, Professor of Cultural Studies and the founding Director of CCR, is currently an Australian Research Council Australian Professorial Fellow. She is one of the leaders in cultural studies worldwide, with interdisciplinary work spanning many areas of the humanities and social sciences. Her books, including Watching Dallas, Desperately Seekingthe Audience and On Not Speaking Chinese, are recognised as classics in the field and her work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Turkish, German, Korean, and Spanish. Her most recent book, co-authored with Gay Hawkins and Lamia Dabboussy, is The SBS Story: The Challenge of Cultural Diversity (UNSW Press, 2008)
Professor Ang’s innovative interdisciplinary work deals broadly with patterns of cultural flow and exchange in our globalised world, focusing on issues such as:
the formation of audiences and publics
the politics of identity and difference
migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism in Australia and Asia
issues of representation in contemporary cultural institutions.
http://uws.clients.squiz.net/centre_for_cultural_research/ccr/people/researchers/professor_ien_ang#2Professor Ien Ang
As far as visual style is concerned, Dallas offers no surprises: there are hardly any unusual camera movements, no experiments with lighting and so on; these are no diversions from the normal conventions of the productions rules of prime time television programmes. In short, Dallas is in every respect an expertly made sample of mainstream Hollywood television. (Ang 1985:8-9)
Nearly all the scenes consist of conversation; what we see the characters doing mostly is just talking to one another. In these discussions problems and mutual conflicts are expressed, generally of a psychological nature. Physical violence, and even milder forms of action, play a marginal part in Dallas. And this continues endlessly, in one episode after another. When one problem is still unsolved, another looms of the horizon.
Although this every continuing story may sound ridiculous and terribly exaggerated to the disengaged reader, it is treated in an entirely serious manner within the programme. All themes and events are dramatized without any humorous distancing devices.Dallas as Hollywood television