No Essential Worker Is. Cancel College. Keep Campus Closed. Making Remote Learning Relevant. Beyond the Neoliberal University.
Colleges Are Deeply Unequal Workplaces. Not Expendable. On Refusal. CDC: One quarter of young adults contemplated suicide during pandemic. Hitting the Wall. Failure to Control the Virus.
Fall and winter will be bad. So give yourself a mental and social break now, socialize outdoors responsibly, and build up stamina again for the long road ahead. The Winter Will Be Worse. Trump aides exploring executive actions to curb voting by mail. The George W. Bush Administration Lives on in Donald Trump.
Makes the Kanye thing seem almost quaint. Thank God for Elizabeth Warren. Getting from November to January. QAnon groups have millions of members on Facebook, documents show. Rushmore is the final level. Represents a reduction in national mail sorting capacity of Photo taken in Wisconsin.
This is happening right before our eyes. They are sabotaging USPS to sabotage vote by mail. This is massive voter suppression and part of their plan to steal the election. It has been conceded by everyone of all parties that the majority of Americans who will attempt to vote in November will vote for Joe Biden, and our election is now some sort of mass game show where we will see if the majority of Americans complete the physical challenges or not.
Pollak AugustJPollak August 10, This is all going to get worse before it gets even worse. The Wisconsin State Assembly gerrymander is arguably the most effective partisan gerrymander in the country. Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even if Biden wins by double of what he's polling at now, will break that Republican majority. This is the worst gerrymander the country, change my mind.
What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway. Facebook, Twitter penalize Trump for posts containing coronavirus misinformation. Candyland and the Polio Wards. Abolish nursing homes. Homeless people not getting coronavirus in the disastrous waves experts had feared. Race Is a Big Factor. Can we remake it to be more inclusive of all Americans? Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states.
In the meantime, gimme that stimmie. No Relief in Sight. Ten bucks left, no place to go. None of us asked to be laid off. A growing side effect of the recession. But the immediate measures we need to take are pretty painful — not as painful as what sufferers in the future will experience, but they are not necessarily us.
They may be people we care about, our children or grandchildren, but, even so, their future distress feels less real than actual, albeit lesser, distress happening right now to us especially to me. Why sacrifice our well-being for their better-being? So a single bad decision by Barack Obama in screwed up the next years.
Which NYPD officers have most complaints against them? Under aggressive new criminal charges, it could mean she spends the rest of her life in prison. Rising temperatures will cause more deaths than all infectious diseases — study.
What Climate Scientists Really Think. Dangerously intense, prolonged, and humid heatwave for most of California. Canadian ice shelf area bigger than Manhattan collapses due to rising temperatures. An inland hurricane tore through Iowa.
A Quarter of Bangladesh Is Flooded. Millions Have Lost Everything. The evolution of Extinction Rebellion. Disney posts its first quarterly loss since This is such a perfect example of modern innovation in action — wireless charging, which saves us like 0.
Buzzfeed confirms. Campbell Was a Fascist. Gotta feel for this kid. His 66 person American town is only accessible by road to the Canadian side where most people live, so now he's the only kid his age and because of what's happening in the unconnected rest of the country he's forced to stay on his side indefinitely.
Funny how it's always "The Simpsons predicted the future" and never "We created ourselves a nightmare world beyond parody".
All these tweets about " please end already" remind me of an old communist joke:. Two friends meet in the middle of Bucharest: — How are you doing these days? Worse than last year, better than next year. Netflix, fresh from cancelling her series, is there with praisehands emoji. Thanks GingerSnap! Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet. Tagged withacademiaactually existing media biasAlex MorseAmericaantsAre we living in a simulation?
Rushmoremy media empireNate SilverNCAAneoliberalismNetflixNotre DameNRAnuclearitynursing homesNYPDour brains work in interesting but ultimately depressing wayspandemicParadoxaparodypedagogypodcastspoetrypolicepolice corruptionpolice violencepoliticsPonzi schemespost-truthpowerprotestQAnonraceracial slursracismradiatorsremote learningRentRutgersscience Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD), science fictionscience fiction studiesSecond Great Depression?
And a little bit of viewer mail: Harrison Bergeron Is Black. How America Understands Poverty deadline: October 1. Queer Intersectionalities in Folklore Studies.
Toward a Waking Maturity: Octavia E. Black Study, Black Struggle. Colleges are flimflamming students and parents about reopening. College Leaders Have the Wrong Incentives. College students fume over having to pay full tuition for dubious online learning. The Summer of Magical Thinking. Lurching Toward Fall, Disaster on the Horizon. A Semester to Die For. The main source of opposition?
The faculty. Rush back to campus is sowing distrust at universities. City University of New York lays off 2, adjuncts in wave of austerity. Happy July, everyone! Unfortunately, I'm convinced that this month will be one of the worst months that American higher education has experienced in a long time.
Thread alert. At root, the political economy of colleges and universities in the United States has been rebuilt in a matter of several decades around an understanding of higher education as a service sold to student consumers rather than a public good. Three truths about the upcoming semester: 1. Any F2F class is going to be awkward, weird, and uncomfortable. Stop pretending it won't be. We will all be online at some point whether one wants to admit it or not. There will be illnesses and deaths that were preventable.
American Passports Are Worthless Now. The Republican coronavirus meatgrinder. Giant corporations may be the only survivors in the post-pandemic economy. Pay Restaurants to Stay Closed. How Many Have Closed Already?
A Record 5. Looming evictions may soon make 28 million homeless in U. Out of Work. Americans Are in Denial. Where are the calls for him to resign? We are in the midst of a world-historic failure of governance. The Republican Party is a political party incapable of governing the nation without ushering in death, devastation, and national humiliation. Just the facts.
This is a poem about America. DeVos blasts school districts that hesitate at reopening. Reopening schools safely is going to take much more federal leadership. One in Four. Evers once again gives up in advance. Hospitals full in Florida. Texas and Arizona. Coronavirus is spreading so fast among Wisconsin somethings that the CDC came to investigate.
The Hidden Racism of Vaccine Testing. It takes a special kind of inattention to human suffering to not notice how unfortunate it is that people have been left to face death alone. I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of dads suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Inside the body, the coronavirus is even more sinister than scientists had realized. July and August must be a period of intense preparation for our reasonable worst-case scenario for health in the winter that we set out in this report, including a resurgence of COVID, which might be greater than that seen in the spring.
One to two months. Five years. Americans Are Sick of the Pandemic. States Graded on Their Covid Response. How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus. Workers are pushed to the brink as they continue to wait for delayed unemployment payments. Going too far. Wisconsin GOP wins power ingerrymander the legislature such that they can win a supermajority of seats without a majority of votes, pack the state courts, and raise new barriers and obstacles to voting.
When Democrats win nonetheless, they strip power from the offices. South Pole warmed three times the global rate in last 30 years. Climate Realism, Capitalist and Otherwise. Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome.
I've skimmed the Democrats' brand new climate plan and it stinks! A reminder that after he returned from destroying the ring, Frodo temporarily served as Deputy Mayor of the Shire, and his sole act was to defund the police pic.
Spooky, isnt it? If you could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts would tell, Just like an old-time movie, Bout a ghost from a wishing well. It is a song replete with invocations of the cinematic to convey this paradoxical interplay of embodiment and bondage, insubstantiality and invisibility, specifically within mental space. In his mind, the singer is a ghost, bound in a gothic fortress from an old-time movie, needing to be set free but cannot so long as the presumably female addressee of the song cannot truly see him; this image drawn from an old-time movie characterizes his essential vulnerability and, presumably, his consequential emotional unavailability.
If You Could Read My Mind is a relationship song, certainly, but the metaphors it deploys unobtrusively tap into a triad with centuries of lineage: cinema or the projected image more broadlythe ghost, and the inner spaces of the mind. Rather, he needs to be seen but cannot be.
The lyrics evokes those narratives of ghosts desperate to be put to rest, going back at least to Pliny the Youngers tale of the Greek philosopher Athenodoruss investigation of a ghost that stalked an Athenian house with fetters on his legs and chains on his wrists. The very term phantasmagoria, Castle shows, moved from describing this external spectacle to. This metaphoric shift bespeaksa very significant transformation in the human consciousness over the past two centuriesthe spectralization or ghostifying of mental space.
Thus in everyday conversation we affirm that our brains are filled with ghostly shapes and images, that we see figures and scenes in our minds, that we are haunted by our thoughts. Lightfoots construction of the mind as a space that is both ghostly and cinematic plays into this persistent association of the projected image with thought and the supernaturaloften both simultaneously. Numerous sources have explored the supernatural qualities of cinema in general and early cinema in particular, especially through its links with.
The ghost is only set free once a skeleton in chains is unearthed and properly buried. Visualizing the Phantoms of the Imagination This article, however, focuses on several examples that highlight the ghostliness of projection as a discourse that unifies cinema and the modern construction of haunted mental space. It will thus identify early cinemas supernatural qualities as not or not only attributable to its newness or novelty, but to its continuities with media of projected light and shadow that carry supernatural potential since the Phantasmagoria and before.
The latter half of the nineteenth century had seen the emergence of stage magic as respected middle-class entertainment; the rise of spiritualism as a modern, purportedly scientific religion; the occult revival; and the emergence of psychical research.
In the United Kingdom, one of cinemas first exhibition venues was the so-called Ghost Show5 that evolved both from the Phantasmagoria and the theatrical practice called Peppers Ghost which used bright lights and carefully positioned panes of glass to make it appear like an actor was interacting with a ghost live on stage6. Peppers Ghosts, Victorian Studies 5.
Lucy Elizabeth Frank Aldershot: Ashgate, But the mind is never that far away, either: in the most famous of these accounts, Maxim Gorky qualifies his initial description of cinemas gray, silent netherworld with [h]ere I shall try to explain myself, lest I be suspected of madness or indulgence in symbolism.
Today probably most famous for having penned the immortal line, It was a dark and stormy night,8 Bulwer-Lytton later the 1st Baron Lytton was not only a well-known writer in his time, but also an early participant in the Victorian occult revival.
This fact manifests clearly in certain of his works of fiction. While fiction, The Haunted and the Haunters reflects some contemporaneous theorizations of the supernatural, and its narrator often serves as a mouthpiece for Bulwer-Lyttons ideas. In fact, such was Bulwer-Lyttons credibility in occultist circles that Madame Blavatsky herself reportedly claimed that no author ever wrote about supernatural beings so truthfully. The story is considered an influential example of the Victorian scientification of the supernatural, in which hauntings are justified with references to electromagnetism, mesmerism, telegraphy, etc.
Alison Milbank refers to it as the apogee of the naturalized supernatural in the Victorian age. Nor is there. Jerrold E. Hogle Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The ghosts that the narrator observes in the haunted space have a distinctly proto-cinematic or Phantasmagorical or lanternic character. These specters are shadowy approximations of the human form that seem to re-enact a recorded scene, and the narrator appears to both share and not share space with them simultaneously:.
Suddenly  there grew a shape,a womans shape. It was distinct as a shape of life,ghastly as a shape of death  As if from the door, though it did not open, there grew out another shape, equally distinct, equally ghastly,a mans shape, a young mans. It was in the dress of the last century, or rather in a likeness of such dress for both the male shape and the female, though defined, were evidently unsubstantial, impalpable,simulacra, phantasms  Just as the male shape approached the female, the dark Shadow started from the wall, all three for a moment wrapped in darkness.
When the pale light returned, the two phantoms were as if in the grasp of the Shadow that towered between them; and there was a blood-stain on the breast of the female; and the phantom male was leaning on its phantom sword, and blood seemed trickling fast from the ruffles, from the lace; and the darkness of the intermediate Shadow swallowed them up,they were gone.
Though his servant flees in panic and his dog dies of fright, our intrepid narrator manages to stay steady by telling himself, my reason rejects this thing; it is an illusion,I do not fear. The use of Shadow here is of interest. Not only did Gorky famously characterize cinema as the kingdom of shadows and not life but its shadow in ,14 but photographic shadows, shadow-images, and just shadows were privileged descriptors in late nineteenth- and early.
In Bulwer-Lyttons tale, the shadow play seems to be imprinted onto the environment of the haunted house, as if playing and replaying through some quasi-mechanical means. And the explanation is technological, albeit an occult technology: a mysterious device, described as a compass floating in a clear liquid on top of a thin tablet, with astrological symbols in place of cardinal directions.
With this object destroyed, the haunting ceases, the house becoming inhabitable. Nonetheless, the narrator theorizes that a living human agency was behind these hauntings, and that ghosts are less motivated, intelligent, ensouled spirits of the dead than residual thoughts and memories willed into a semblance of being by mysterious forces.
The narrator reflects on the fact that no two persons told the same tale of their experiences in the haunted house:. If this were an ordinary imposture, the machinery would be arranged for results that would but little vary; if it were a supernatural agency permitted by the Almighty, it would surely be for some definite end.
These phenomena belong to neither class; my persuasion is, that they originate in some brain now far distant; that that brain had no distinct volition in anything that occurred; that what does occur reflects but its devious, motley, ever- shifting, half-formed thoughts; in short, that it has been the dreams of such a brain put into action and invested with a semi-substance. That this brain is of immense power, that it can set matter into movement, that it is malignant and destructive Alongside the device, our narrator discovers a miniature portrait dated fromfeaturing a man described as resembling some mighty serpent transformed into a man, preserving in the human lineaments the old serpent type.
This man is presumably the architect of the haunted space, but no more information is provided. However, in the longer, original version of the story,18 the responsible party is revealed to be an evil, immortal mesmerist named Mr. Richards is heavily associated with empire: the owner of the house encountered him under another name in India, where he was a corrupt advisor to a Rajah, and he now presents himself as an Orientalist residing in Damascus. Richards is a man of great will, who has willed himself not to die.
The narrator tracks him to a London gentlemans club and boldly questions him: To what extent human will in certain temperaments can extend? Richardss answer again invokes empire: To what extent can thought extend? Think, and before you draw breath you are in China! The narrator replies, True. But my thought has no power in China, and Mr. Richards replies, Give it expression, and it may have: you may write down a thought which, sooner or later, may alter the whole condition of China.
What is a law but a thought? Therefore thought is infinitetherefore thought has power19 Though this discussion of the projectability of thought may not seem supernatural, per se, the conclusions the narrator draws from it are:.
Yes; what you say confirms my own theory. Through invisible currents one human brain may transmit its ideas to other human brains with the same rapidity as a thought promulgated by visible means. And as thought is imperishableas it leaves its stamp behind it in the natural world even when the thinker has passed out of this worldso the thought of the living may have power to rouse up and revive of the thoughts which the deadsuch as those thoughts were in lifethough the thought of the living cannot reach the thoughts which the dead now may entertain.
For several pages, the narrator spells out his and, by implication, Bulwer- Lyttons theories of the supernatural and the mind, eventually confronting Mr. Richards for his evils and declaring execrable Image of Death and Death in Life, I warn you back from the cities and homes of healthful men; back to the ruins of departed empires; back to the deserts of nature unredeemed!
All the weight seemed gone from the airroofless the room, roofless the dome of space. I was not in the bodywhere I knew notbut aloft over time, over earth.
Richardss ultimate grim fate, the lone survivor of a ship in the frozen north, pursued by foes under an iron sky. Richards then impels the narrator to sleep, and commands him not to tell any of this story to anyone, while he presumably flees the country and changes his identity.
The Haunted and the Haunters is a fascinating muddle, especially in the longer version, but one central recurring theme is projection: the projection of Mr.
Richardss will that causes the ghosts to haunt the house, the projection of his and the narrators consciousness out of their bodies and into an allegorical space, and of course, the shadowy, ineffable phantoms that the narrator confronts in the haunted house.
That sequence anticipates many hallmarks of accounts of early cinema spectatorship: uncanny figures that resemble human beings but are shadowy phantasms divested of life force, the traceless appearance from and disappearance into nothingness, the uncertain line between presence and absence, and the demarcation between the nave, overwhelmed spectator who succumbs to panic and the sophisticated one capable of saying some version of it is an illusionI do not fear.
The Lesson of Sympsychography From Bulwer-Lyttons occult projections ofwe move to two examples of the mystical projection of thought fromthe immediate aftermath of the unveiling of two new and sensational extensions of photography:. It is easy to forget that it was Rntgens discovery that initially inspired greater excitement. The relationship between the X-ray and the supernatural was immediate and reciprocal.
Supernatural metaphors helped characterize its ability to penetrate solid surfaces; an early X-ray scientist named Silvanus Thompson prophesized that we shall now be able to realize Dickenss fancy when he made Scrooge perceive through Marleys body the two brass buttons on the back of his coat.
The notion that thought itself would soon be photographed now seemed plausible even beyond occultist circles. Jordan was one of the most respected scientists in the United States at the time and the president of Stanford University.
The article concerned a curious image, rather resembling a later surrealist photograph: a blurry collage of a series of images of cats Figure 2. The picture, the text tells us, was produced by the seven members of the.
Victorian Review Astral Camera Club of Alcalde, inspired by Rntgens experiments. With a specially designed camera, the Club devised a way to capture on a sensitive plate, as the rays of light are gathered in ordinary photography, those electric and odic impulses [that] could be transferred from the brain or retina through the eye of each different observer.
They were not to think of any particular cat, but of a cat as represented by the innate idea of the mind or ego itself. One mans thought of a cat would be individual, ephemeral, a recollection of some cat which he had some time seen, and which by the minds eye would be seen again. The personal equation would be measurably eliminated in sympsychography, while the cat of the human innate idea, the astral cat, the cat which never was on land or sea, but in accordance with which all cats have been brought into incarnation, would be more or less perfectly disclosed.
Again, mystical discourse buoyed by the sympsychographs aesthetic resemblance to a spirit photographmental spaces, and the image smoothly coexist. The fact that the article tells us that the Astral Camera Clubs experiment was conducted on April 1 ought to have been a giveaway or failing that, the claim that The next experiment will be by similar means to photograph the cats idea of man27and the following issue confirmed that it was a hoax.
By then, however, the idea had taken root with some credulous readers. Jordan would recall in his autobiography that One clergyman even went so far as to announce a series of six discourses on The Lesson of Sympsychography, while many others said they welcomed the discovery as verifying what they had long believed.
And those haunting thoughts so stubbornly failed to remain confined to ones head. The Kinetiscope of the Mind Tropes of projection and the externalizability of thought also operated in the nascent field of psychical research. Frederick W. Myers, cofounder of the Society for Psychical Research and the coiner of the word telepathy, See Rolf H.
Kristen Lacefield Farnham: Ashgate, As Shane McCorristine notes, Myerss conception of the ghost as an automatic phenomenon implied a radically phantasmagorical and haunted world, a site of previous events, memories and dreams that never disappear from the visual world, but can be relayed through hallucinatory vision. Useful Analogies from Recent Discoveries and Inventions.
It was authored by the journals founder, W. Regarded as the founder of the New Journalism, the forerunner of both tabloid journalism and investigative journalism, Stead would die in on the RMS Titanic. He was also an enthusiastic spiritualist and employed medium Ada Goodrich Freer as Borderlands coeditor.
Steads article begins:. The discovery of the Rntgen rays has compelled many a hardened sceptic to admit, when discussing Borderland, that there may be something in it after all. In like manner many of the latest inventions and scientific discoveries make psychic phenomena thinkable, even by those who have no personal experience of their own to compel conviction. I string together a few of these helpful analogies, claiming only that they at least supply stepping stones that may lead to a rational understanding of much that is now incomprehensible.
Steads new discoveries include electricity, the phonograph, the telephone, the photograph, the X-ray, the far from new camera obscura, and, critically for. Stead and the Invention of Public Occultism, in W. Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary, eds. Stead divides his section on the kinetoscope into the Kinetiscope of Nature based around the idea of nature to spontaneously record traumatic events and replay them when appropriately sensitive spectators are near and the Kinetiscope of the Mind, which deals with the projectability or externalizability of inner images and states.
He introduces the latter Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD) The possibility of visualizing the phantoms of the imagination is possessed by some persons in such a high degree that they can compel clairvoyants and sensitives to see as if they were real persons the purely imaginary heroes and heroines of an unwritten romance. The first, entitled Living Pictures at Will, describes a Frenchman who purchased a sixteenth-century chateau and furnished it in Renaissance style.
The decor included a portrait of a nobleman of the House of Valois pictured alongside some charming girls, and the owner found that by focusing his mental energies on the portrait, it was possible to will its originals to manifest in a visible and tangible form. A dull vapor would fill the room and become:. They were alive, or at least they so appeared, so entire was the illusion if illusion it was. Their faces were those of persons talking, their eyes moving, their lips opening as if they were conversing together, but the magician could not distinguish an articulate word, the most being a light murmur of voices.
The marvellous scene lasted half an hour, then melted into a mist. Lynda Nead has surveyed such image of paintings and other inanimate works coming to life as a key fantasy of the nineteenth century, one that culminates in cinema:.
The haunted gallery is a powerful metaphor for the uncanny magic of early film. Every still is haunted by the photographic likenesses of those who are no longer there; each time the project Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD) set in motion the figures step out of their frames and come to life. There is, however, an. In Steads anecdote, a parallel moment of hesitation is implied in the parenthetic if illusion it was.
Are these actually the ghosts of the portrait models, or merely apparitions that look like them, willed to that shape by the gentlemans mind? Stead then reproduces a letter from Madame Marie de Manasseine, who claims that she has always possessed the faculty of representing to myself vividly and objectively all that I desiredon reading the history of a disease, I could at will see the patient and all the pathological phenomena of his disease.
This visual phantom consists in a very brilliant star, having the apparent size of the planet Venus. It appears to me ordinarily at a certain distance, suspended in the middle of the room: but sometimes it approaches me and begins to shine over my shoulder, sometimes over my breast. This phantom often shines above her daughters head. It interestingly blurs the line between those images born of the human mind the talent Madame de Manassiene professes to possess in great degree and the supernatural she regards the hallucinogenic star as portending some success or pleasure.
Leadbeater that concern the projection of a desired spot of a thought- formthat is to say, an artificial elemental moulded in the shape of the projector and ensouled by his thought. Thus form would receive whatever. Leadbeater goes on to address the question of whether an astral body can be solidified into material forms; he says that yes, it can, and it is even possible to produce perfect illusions of the human form, but that No one connected with any school of white magic43 would deign to do such a thing.
The astonishing idea of creating a double of oneself and send it out into the world, relaying its sensory impressions back to ones body, is an extreme incarnation of modern technologys ability to create lifelike but lifeless doubles of the human form, wedded to the occult speculations triggered by telegraphy and its descendants.
Here, the medium is mined for analogic value, both in terms of the recording and replaying of reality of the projectability of phantasmic images through the minds eye into observable reality. Stead does not contend that they are themselves supernatural, but rather places them within the stock of media metaphors that had served spiritualists for a half century.
It is also noteworthy that it was also in that Sigmund Freud began to formulate his version of projection. I believe that a large part of the mythological view of the world, which extends a long way into the most modern religions, is nothing but psychology projected into the external world.
The obscure recognitionof psychical factors and relations in the unconscious is mirroredin the construction of a supernatural reality, which is destined to be changed back once more by science into the psychology of the unconscious. Again, projection, in all of its many senses, hangs stubbornly around both the supernatural and the mind, here again understood as being, on some.
Laplanche and J. Laplache and Pontalis identify a sense of projection comparable to the cinematic one: The subject sends out into the external world an image of something that exists in him in an unconscious way One also thinks of that key strand of early film theory that connects cinematic conventions to mental processes.
The key example is Hugo Mnsterberg:. It has the mobility of our ideas which are not controlled by the physical necessity of outer events but by the psychological laws for the association of ideas. In our mind past and future become intertwined with the present.
Mnsterberg was an anti-spiritualist49 and would likely not have welcomed the comparison, but his theories of cinema materializing the workings of the inner mind work in parallel to contemporaneous supernatural theorizations.
In his theories, film becomes just that projected externalization of thought, no less so than Mr. Richardss shadow-phantoms, the sympsychographs mind cats, or Steads anecdotes of the living pictures at will, Madame de Manassienes brilliant star and the ensouled, projected doubles of theosophist fantasies.
Just Like an Old-Time Movie Writes Castle, By the end of the nineteenth century, ghosts had disappeared from everyday life, but as the poets intimated, human experience had become more ghost-ridden than ever. Through a strange process of rhetorical displacement, thought itself had become phantasmagorical. In one case fromexperimental psychologist Alvin G. Goldstein published an account of his own visual hallucinations, described as [i]n every respect resembled a Hollywood version of the ghost.
I will conclude with an example I have explored before, from Stir of Echoes She says, Close your eyes, and we see a wipe effect approximate the closing of his eyes. The audience explicitly shares Toms perspective, but not his vision per se, since his eyes are closed; it is more the case that we are invited to share the gaze of his minds eye. For a time, the screen is black. We hear Lisas sonorous voice: Now, just listen for a moment.
Listen to the sounds of the room around you. Her voice dictates what appears in Toms imagination and the films imagetrack. She instructs him, Now, I want you to pretend youre in a theatre. The lights come up on a bare proscenium, seen from the audience with eight or nine other spectators present. She clarifies, A movie theatre, and a huge screen momentously rolls down in front of the stage.
Youre the only one there, she says, and the rest of the audience fades away. She says, Its one of those great old movie palaces, and the bare white screen is replaced by opulent red curtains. You look around, Lisa says. Its a huge empty theatre. This book about America's romance with computer communication looks at the internet, not as harbinger of the future. In this wide-ranging book, author Toby Clark examines work from all points of the globe, from the state propaganda of co.
This book addresses a critical era in the history of the city of Rome, the eighth century CE. This was the moment when t. The chapter uses the example of the modernist office space and its attachments to white patriarchal masculinity in crisis.
The chapter also considers why, within boomer nostalgia, mid-century modernism has become wedded to television depictions of the workplace. Similarly, Mad Men weds modernism to professionalism, coding it as a decidedly masculine aesthetic.
It also discusses how props are talked about in popular discourse about the show and such conversations invoke historical narratives. Mad Men uses History for Hire frequently since the company specializes in antique hand props. The book studies how shows incorporate nostalgic discourse into set dressing to argue that nostalgia, as a visual and narrative language, serves an interrogative function.
Boomer nostalgia is less interested in the period itself as it is examining presentist popular imaginings of the boomer era. Old media becomes a kind of archaeology of nostalgic American affect for the postwar period. The chapter explores how old imaging technologies reappear in boomer television nostalgia and become mobilized as conduits for historical reflection upon the nostalgic discourse of the show itself.
The narrativization of old media also suggests historical parallels between that era and contemporary times, addressing the affective differences between analog and digital technologies that mediate historical and personal memory. These thus interrogate the digital transition and shifts in gender ideologies since the s. The props tell stories that treat the relationship between technology and personal as well as collective memory, wherein the boomer era stands as a historical marker for when imaging technologies entered the home en masse, and dramatically changed the popular ideals of home and family.
Alongside Mad Men, I also study a different iteration of boomer television nostalgia and its use of media as props in Masters of Sex Showtime, — I extend my arguments to nostalgic television that recreates other periods, but continues a similar investment in prop culture and prop narratives, using shows like Frontier House PBS, and House Channel 4, —like The Knick Cinemax, —. The chapter offers readings of television costume design that, contrary to most of the scholarship to date on television costuming, are grounded in ethnography as well as fashion history rather than relying solely on textual analysis.
The chapter also integrates an interview with the costume designer for seasons one and two, Eduardo Castro. The conclusion argues that the design reputations attached to shows like Mad Men are separate from the storyworlds of the series. In keeping with this theme of narrative failure, the chapter looks at the short-lived series Pan Am ABC, —12 and The Playboy Club NBC, as primetime network attempts to compete with Mad Men by offering their own revisionist looks at this period in American history.
Both shows were ultimately canceled within one season. What constitutes bad nostalgia? The book concludes by reiterating that nostalgic production design is a key shaper of the stories told on contemporary TV. Because the book concentrates its ethnography on the individual contributions of creative workers in the industry, the closing chapter broadens the conversation to include the larger industry trends behind boomer nostalgia that play a part in generating nostalgic America on television.
As the industry changes of the past fifteen to twenty years have been studied at the macro levels of corporate mergers and legislation, and at the theoretical levels of the potentially democratizing or neoliberalist rhetorics attached to digital media, we need to heed to how these changes affect media culture at micro scales of the way people work and, more specifically, the way that people design.
In this sense, sets, costumes, and their design cultures provide lenses for looking at present nostalgia for the baby boomer era, discourses on nationhood, gender, class distinction, and at a fundamental level, how we think of creative labor in the age of convergence. Smith, Inclusion or Invisibility?
Trauma studies rely on psychoanalytic explanations of compulsive behaviors as symptomatic of repressed past traumas that cannot be integrated into the conscious mind. Trauma studies usually focus on the displacement of memory onto other objects or behaviors until that memory can be narrativized or given representation. Narratology also has an interest in memory studies, particularly for structuralists, who view collective memory as conforming to predetermined patterns of representation and cognition.
While memory has been an object of interest since the Classical era, it assumed new importance with the advent of modernity in the nineteenth century and following the First and Second World Wars. The social, economic, and political transformations that accompanied industrialization were feared to compromise individualism, humanism, and previous conceptions of time, space, and narrative.
B Tauris, Post-feminism is the reconsideration of traditional ideas of femininity it views the second wave as too readily dismissing. Post-feminism was in academic vogue in the early s and has since receded from scholarly debate in feminist media studies even though at conferences the term remains a point of heated intergenerational tension Yvonne Tasker and Diane Negra, Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture [Durham, NC: Duke University Press, ]; Angela McRobbie, "Post-feminism and Popular Culture," Feminist Media Studies 4, no.
Gary R. Edgerton [New York: I. Tauris,— Television reworkings of the sitcom home and family historically signal changing social divisions between work and home. This chapter focuses on nostalgia for the boomer years.
This is because, when it comes to set design, allusions to the boomer home and television sitcom suburb worm their way into the designs of ensuing eras. As later chapters argue, the use of boomer nostalgia in television design is less so homage to a specific era than a visual rubric that raises a certain set of debates in popular discourse.
I also explore the industry trend of set recycling, which explains why the sitcom suburb sets look similar. I trace set recycling and studio lot reuse in Desperate Housewives and find that, from a production standpoint, set recycling is as much industry based as it is design based.
Recycling sets is a routine practice because physical studio space and time are limited resources. In effect, television, by necessity, references and rehashes its own design. Designers often work with pieces from preexisting sets or, at the very least, new sets that transform over the duration of a program to accommodate camera movement and simulate how a living environment changes over time. In Desperate Housewives, references to the boomer sitcom are quite literal.
The studio lot for Desperate Housewives formerly served as the main location for many beloved ABC boomer-era family sitcoms. The camerawork and plot make the set design both a major character in the series and an important medium for commenting on the boomer sitcom paradigm.
This chapter also situates the recycled sitcom set within the broader cultural iconography attached to the postwar suburb in popular imagination. The advantages of set recycling and participating in the cultural rubric of the sitcom suburb aesthetic determine these nostalgic set designs in contemporary television.
I also extend my analysis to how the media industry presents its own version of studio lot history on the Universal Studio Tour, which includes the shooting location for Desperate Housewives as well as other historically iconic television and film representations of American suburbia. The Universal Studio lot history is narratively and commercially mobilized in how the television industry writes its own history, all the while self-reflexively flagging the artifice of this image of boomer-era America.
This exploration of set design shows that nostalgia TV is propelled, not by historical accuracy, but by a different set of concerns: the production time frame, the physical functions of the set, and the aesthetic the design team aspires to achieve.
Set design uses the resources at hand while entirely aware of the historical references being used. Nostalgic design does not aim to restore the past. Inherent palimpsestic qualities of television set design and set management interact with and reinforce the nostalgic aesthetics and messages of the sets and set dressings.
The key takeaway is that the set design on whatever television show you watch is a matrix of old recycled set pieces, location history, and cultural associations; it is the fabric of various decisions shaped by time and budgetary constraints, long hours, and interpersonal relationships.
Its production design conjures an image of suburban utopia: a winding street with pastel-colored gables, impeccable lawns, and white picket fences.
Representations of the dystopic suburb and gender politics intersect through the set design among other facets of the series. Wisteria Lane bears a palimpsestic relationship to the boomer TV suburb at both narrative and material levels. Figure 1. Recycling sets is a common practice in Hollywood as a cost- and time-saving measure. Because camerawork usually requires that walls be mobile, sets consist of pieces rather than complete rooms. Traditional television sets also tend to exaggerate aesthetics in order to compensate for the flattening effect cameras have on interior design and architecture.
Sometimes sets are not only reused, but also composed of different parts gleaned from disparate old sets. Set designer Eugene Lourie complains that, even after remodeling, an old set tends to retain a presence that often stifles creativity. The creative minds behind the show consciously reference the boomer-era television sitcom. The history of the studio lot itself contributes to the presence of the past in Desperate Housewives.
Mary Alice is the housewife whose suicide serves as the main plot instigator of the first season. The Applewhites are the first Figure 1. The discussion stresses the initial disrepair of the set and the extensive renovations the various houses needed. The public space of the street and private space of the homes blur when episodes conclude with revelations of family secrets or personal humiliations tending to occur on the street and its front lawns.
It seems no place is safe or private on Wisteria Lane. At the same time, the series centers on deeply hidden secrets that characters struggle to keep under wraps and behind closed doors.
It opens with a crane shot descending as Mary Alice exits her home the original Cleaver house. The majority of episodes open with an establishing crane shot of Wisteria Lane that lowers slowly to the ground. In the pilot, a montage captures the house chores Mary Alice performs before committing suicide, most of which take place outdoors tending the garden and painting wicker furniture on the front lawn.
Each housewife is introduced in turn as she exits her home. Thus, an exterior shot of each house is wedded to the first impression of each character and the model of historical female domesticity she represents. Flashback montages also featuring exterior shots of the homes give background information on each character as she is shown exiting her house.
Gaby descends the front steps of her ostentatious Victorian, which sports a bright, yellow exterior with ornamental flourishes like intricate gables and doric columns. Bree Van de Kamp and family are introduced Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD) the Cleaver home with a shot taken from the interior of the house looking out the front door.
A low-angle shot of her violently plunging a knife into the back of an old armchair makes her body and the exterior of the house tower over the camera. The exterior of the home is painted royal blue with white accents and an interrupted, slanted cornice above the front door. The stark contrast between darks and lights in the home and on its exterior connote sterility, tumultuousness, and severity. Thus, identical crane shots punctuate the narrative arc of the episode, bookending the whole episode as well as marking separate narrative chapters.
According to urban planning historian Dolores Hayden, this aerial view of the boomer suburb is iconic of that era in American history as well as present conceptions of the boomer-era American dream of 2. For example, the credit sequence of Leave It to Beaver closes with an exterior shot of the Cleaver home. The opening credits for Father Knows Best, another iconic family sitcom CBS, —60feature an identically composed exterior shot of the family suburban home. Desperate Housewives calls on these cultural paradigms by repeatedly showcasing such shots in its cinematography and narrative.
This visual vocabulary predates the twentieth century. Desperate Housewives belongs to a long history of dystopic representations of suburbia dating back to the beginnings of the suburb in the early s. Suburban development attracted harsh censure from farmers in the early nineteenth century. Concerns about suburbia producing brainwashed, conformist drones in search of a sanitized experience of the country are, indeed, as old as the suburbs themselves.
They were renewed in the s with the postwar exodus from American cities. Novelizations of the dystopic suburb like William H. High-key lighting, monochromatic palettes, and exaggerated, mass-produced vernacular architecture paint suburbia as hyperreal. The dystopic suburb in contemporary popular media is Frankensteinian: a misguided class- and racially exclusive ambition to create a world from collective, reified memories of television suburbia.
Even if this tradition targets preexisting qualities of suburbia, it cultivates its own aesthetic that exaggerates certain features of suburbia: the abstract, the hyperreal, the robotic, the repetitious, and the identical.
Desperate Housewives follows in the same aesthetic vein, yet mocks parts of the dystopic suburb. Production designer Thomas A. Walsh states that they tried scouting actual suburbs as possible locations, but none were suitable because they looked too uniform and artificial.
It is unquestionable, however, that the set bears connections to the boomer burb. We built an idealized neighborhood. The series opens with the suicide of Mary Alice and her voiceover narration in subsequent seasons becomes a defining feature of the series. Her observations on Wisteria Lane are threaded through memories of her past life and experiences.
The ubiquity of her voiceovers, which punctuate each episode, guarantees that a sense of the past, memory, and even death are continually mapped onto the narrative events and physical spaces of the series. From a screenwriting point of view, her voiceover provides a convenient narrate device. Indeed, her suicide catalyzes the narrative events of the entire series.
Her narration, through content and accompanying camera work, relates the individual stories of the housewives to each other and their individual pasts. The individual memories of the leading female characters and a collective remembering of the boomer past, as portrayed on television are, therefore, closely associated. Desperate Housewives fits into a pattern across contemporary depictions of the boomer housewife that make self-conscious use of television images and both invoke and construct a television past.
The show treats the boomer sitcom suburb as a rubric or vocabulary that assesses current states of gender identity and idyllic images of white middle-classness, albeit its deconstruction takes place entirely within certain representational boundaries when it comes to race, class, and ethnicity.
The studio lot carries the literal and figurative palimpsestic ghosts of the boomer sitcom, linking the show at physical and thematic levels to this television tradition of conveying postwar suburbia and gender relations.
The representational power of the oneric sitcom suburban home and an interest in its status as a set appear elsewhere in nostalgic American media. The film remake of the boomer sitcom Leave It to Beaver is shot in the original Cleaver house set, also on Colonial Street. The Cleaver home set is cemented in popular media as a stand-in for heteronormative family as well as outmoded classist definitions of US leisure, work, and gender.
It is, at this point, an historical set that has been used in multiple nostalgic depictions of American family since the s. It figures prominently in the movie poster for the Leave It to Beaver remake as an important connective device between the film, its original series, and the set of debates around changing definitions of family and home they invoke.
The sitcom suburban home set as a symbol recurs in DVD menus for boomer nostalgic media. The DVD menu for the film remake of the original sitcom, The Addams Family, foregrounds a perverse, gothic version of the oneric family home. The original series and its remake center on the fish-out-of-water premise of an oddball family in a generic sitcom suburb who do their best to fit into white, middle-class American life despite their macabre sense of humor and decor. The original series and the film, made three decades later, resist and queer the sitcom Cleaver suburb of the s.
The Addams house, the same set used in both the original and the film remake, symbolizes this queering by making the typical sitcom home uncanny. In this case, the semiotic function of the set design translates from the original sitcom to the remake. Moreover, it is the same set piece, at Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles, that is recycled years later in the remake.
While DVD menus are tangential to the main text, they perform an important discursive function as marking the narrative themes the main text addresses before the audience has chance to see anything else.
The fact that the sitcom house set appears in so many ancillary texts belonging to nostalgic media suggests that it signals a specific ongoing historical debate about television representations of family and suburbia, one that places the viability of this model for happiness in question.
My Universal Studio tour and narrativizing fantastic space Self-labeled fantasies of home and happiness are main themes in boomer nostalgic television and film. Emphasizing the set-ness of a set becomes one of the visual and narrative strategies nostalgic media use to cosmmunicate the idea that the boomer television image of nuclear heteronormative family was never real. In Desperate Housewives, the boomer house set is narratively linked to queering suburban white America and questioning its historical veracity.
In other texts, the sitcom home is tied to similar themes. The remake takes a different direction by making the film about the television remaking of the s Bewitched, the main twist being that Isabel, the actor in the story of the film who plays Samantha, is really a witch masquerading as a Hollywood television actress playing the role of a s housewife which just so happens to mirror her own life situation.
The confusing premise of the film ensures that the blurring together of fantasy with reality becomes a recurring theme. In reality, her own normalcy is inherently fantastic, as she possesses limitless magical powers that act as both a help and hindrance in her projects of seeking Hollywood fame its own kind of fantasy and a relationship with Jack.
Jack and Isabel cavort and dance about the set, playing house Figure 1. When Jack decides to accept Isabel at the end of the film, they are reunited by magically being drawn back to the studio set. The final scene shows them driving up to the front of a house in the suburbs, an exact replica of their studio home.
By showing Isabel and Darrin falling in love on a stage set built to look like the sitcom boomer house, the film implicitly reflects on the contemporary performances of domesticity and straight coupling surrounding the boomer sitcom image of family and home. This image is fantastic but popular culture finds recycling it to be a useful and therapeutic process, nevertheless.
During her new gig, Isabel falls for Jack. Aunt Clara from the fictional s Bewitched television series magically appears in her home and casts a love hex on Darrin.
He convinces Darrin to stay in the relationship and drives him in a magic car no less to meet Isabel at the studio lot. The recurrence of this theme reflects how the film situates itself via old television. The choice of remaking Bewitched within the film distinguishes this particular film adaptation.
It has the effect of objectifying television studio set itself and treating it as a fantasy world unto its own that, on occasion, bleeds into daily life. The fearful response to television related to its perceived effects on domestic space and routine. The book shows how popular discourse surrounding the advent of television in the home voiced a concern that TV invited the dangers of the outside world into the presumed sanctity of the home and distracted housewives from their domestic duties.
The Bewitched film exaggerates such cross-contaminations by having the boomer sitcom physically enter the real world, whose veracity, in turn, is also placed in question.
By extension, the bleeding of reality present-day Hollywood into fiction the Bewitched storyworld is analogous to the relationship between the boomer past and historical present. By physically conjuring the sitcom characters in the real world, Bewitched suggests that the two eras, despite their separation in time, wrestle with enduring questions of love, domesticity, and gender.
Bewitched, the film, plays with this gap between reality and fiction, and past Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD) present by, at some points, collapsing it completely and, at others, exaggerating difference. Fantasy is, at root, an alternative reality to the present or musing on the possibilities for the future.
In the case of the boomer nostalgic texts that foreground the sitcom house as a set, the thematization of fantasy construction on American television becomes their method for processing present concerns and frustrations, and confronting concerns and disillusionments with past representations of family. Bewitched frames the boomer sitcom as an iconography rooted in fantasy. The era itself can never be fully accessed. We can, however, look at it through the refracted images that are the boomer-era sitcom.
By placing present reality and the boomer image in question, it also places the original sitcom in question. Boomer nostalgia repeats that the boundary between the real and the fake is fluid.
This is true particularly of boomer nostalgia in set design. Yet, a paradoxical need to distinguish between reality and artifice also crops up in nostalgic media. Going on the official Universal Studio Tour ride by oneself is awkward. On a June day that is uncharacteristically swampy for Los Angeles, I wedge myself on the studio tour tram between two large families after receiving the stink-eye from sweaty, cranky parents for being bumped to the front of the line.
Toward the end of the tour, the tram and its slightly damp riders turn onto Colonial Street and the Desperate Housewives theme music plays in between snippets of dialogue from the series.
As the tram passes each house, the tour guide gives information about which housewife lives there and the television families that have preceded her. The tour guides also emphasize how each home has been to be altered and tailored to the project of the hour. The tour guides point to various pieces of the set and distinguish between what is real and fake: the flowers are fake, the grass is real, some of the houses have real interiors that can be entered and others do not.
A recognition of the lot as an ongoing site for recycling and reuse, redressing and redesigning hyper-mediated ideas of suburbia is deeply embedded in the studio tour.
The tour also foregrounds another theme characterizing popular treatments of nostalgic set design: acknowledging the speciousness of the very categories of real and fake. Soul Sucker - The Undershirts - .Digitality (CD) so, quite appropriately, this is how I experienced my first physical encounter with the set I had been studying for years: sweaty, covered in dino saliva, and sandwiched between weeping children. There is always something disappointing about meeting something or someone of historical significance in the flesh.
The houses are designed to look good on screen, but not in person. In person they look small, flat, and just a little bit off. The vacant stares coming from the tram audience indicate that Colonial Street is slightly less exciting than flash floods and spitting dinosaurs, that is until the tram turns off of Wisteria Lane where it stops due to delays experienced by the tram in front of us.
Mid-century America and its reincarnations have always been better on television, even though, based on the studio tour and the set discourse in Desperate Housewives itself, the physical backlot and its history still have significant draw and sway over popular imaginings of what happiness looks like. Not only are sets used and reused as part of industry practice, but designers are highly aware of the history of the locations and set pieces they work with.
This book foregrounds the material histories of everything that appears onscreen. Design languages tell stories of their own. Whether set in the s or the early s, these series use set design in similar ways to tell stories about intergenerational friction, gender, class, and racial struggle, divisions between home and work identities, and how television shapes all of the above.
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