Today's lecture in my Comedy: Text and Theory class once again made a fateful connection to fangirling. It started with my professor saying something along the lines of liking "prefabricated posts and sharing them in a virtual community." I can't remember what this was in connection too but this, of course, sounds like Tumblr. Later he was talking about our search for meaning on the internet and how, after some event happens (his example was with Whitney Houston's death) we attack the internet, going from page to page trying to find out what happened. But he says, in light of the philosopher Jean Baudrillard, that this doesn't lead us to anything - just more and more images.
Here's the simple gist of Baudrillard's theory: everything is based in relation to an image, in a world where images have replaced and exceeded reality (which he calls hyper-reality). The examples given in class goes as follows:
- In his writing, Baudrillard discussed that if one were to walk into a bank with an obviously fake gun and cry that they were holding a fake robbery, they would still be arrested by the police, because the act or intent is still taken as reality itself. Which is kind of weird, when you think about it.
- "The Avatar Effect" - People really had depression after seeing Avatar because they desperately wanted to belong to a world that didn't exist anywhere but on screen.
- "Romance:" This almost made me cry in class. My prof was describing one of his younger brothers who planned on being married by 25 and being the traditional family man. From what my professor implied, this hasn't happened. He's in his 30s and has a girlfriend but he has such romantic ideals, it apparently makes things difficult. Example - he bought tickets to take his current girlfriend to Paris in the middle of the day. He surprised her and told her to drop everything and go. But she had a meeting in two hours that were absolutely crucial to her job and couldn't. The thing was, my professor argued, his brother - and all of us - have romantic ideals we've seen in the movies and want to live up to. But it doesn't work out so well in reality.
- The Holocaust: This one shocked me. In the next 5-10 years, all those who lived through the Holocaust will be gone, dying from old age, and all we will have to remember what it was actually like are texts and movies and Schindler's List.
- A lullaby: This one almost made me cry too. My professor was recalling how, when he was little, his mother used to sing the same lullaby every night to him and his brothers. And yet he can't remember a single word of it or even the tune. However, he can remember the entire McDonald's jingle that was on TV when he was little.
Which weirdly enough brings me to Twilight. I was planning on discussing this fandom eventually but not here. But now it fits. So here it is.
All of the other complaints about the books aside, what really began to bother me was the writing. Not just the grammar or the writing style or the flaky plot, but the idea behind it itself. Stephanie Meyer is said to have written it based off of a dream she had. I'm not judging this; Lord knows I've done this plenty of times. It's just... well, as one of my acquaintances so roughly put it, she took a wet dream and made it a novel. You can read what Stephanie Meyer has to say about this dream herself here. What began to trouble me was that this wasn't just a young girl like me writing about what her ideal lover would be like while the main character is a representation of her (what Stephanie Meyer allegedly has done, according to some). No, this is a married woman with children. I often wonder what her husband thinks of all of this. Is it a problem with them? Does he ever wonder if she compares him to a sparkly vampire she once dreamed about? Is it a non-issue because she's a writer and that's that? Or deep down is there this sense that Meyer is totally unhappy with her life and always dreaming, Avatar-like, for an unattainable world or a romance that only exists in the movies?
And that's where I'm at right now. So sorry about the delay on the body image post; I just have a lot of Baudrillard in my head and it's starting to make a lot of sense, but I don't really want to become a nihilist. Because I don't want "anything goes and nothing matters" to be the state of the world. I want to fall in love and I want to have a family and I want to believe in people. And if that makes me a romantic fool, then so be it.
Because if I can't make sense out of anything, if it's just going to lead me to more and more images, what's the point of trying to do anything? This makes the entire idea of this blog pointless. And as I found out I don't have to do a senior project for cultural studies, I'm now just doing it for fun and because I want to. I want my writing to be more than just my discontent with the world. I want to make a difference. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world; and I can't do that if nothing matters anymore.
And I really don't want sparkly vampires setting the standards for modern literature. However, it has led to wonderfully things like this: