Baudrillard is the next theorist we are going to explore in the unit on Postmodern Media.
He takes Jameson’s ideas about media and starts exploring what impact these will have on the audience. He suggested a number of key ideas:
Consumer Culture: We are living in a world in which we define ourselves through the product we buy and the brands we support. Consumption is not just about need, it’s also about personal identity.
Hegemony: That we are controlled / conditioned by the media, which encourages us to buy into a culturally dominant set of ideas, as Russell Brand said, ‘..to keep us spell bound and stupid, it’s bread and circuses.’
Simulacra: As Jameson says we have lost contact with the original idea (or referent) through the continued recycling of ideas and images. Baudrillard takes this one step further and suggests that we now believe that the copy of the copy of the copy is reality. We are like the prisoners in the Allegory of Plato’s Cave.
Hyper-Reality: By living in a world of recycled images and ideas that have lost the connection to the original idea/image we are the boundaries between reality and media reality are becoming blurred and confused. In other words, we are all residents in the media reality, which are merely shadows on the wall.
Here is a PowerPoint on these ideas and which gives two thought provoking examples:
Chained to the Rythmn, which you have already examined, includes many references both in its comments and the way it is constructed that would fit with Baudrillard’s criticisms of Postmodern Media and Postmodern times. Try and identify where she seems to be referring to Hyper-reality, Consumer Culture, Simulacra & Hegemony.
Hyper-reality – Theme Parks, Tablet obsession, 3D, Living life through the lens, living in a bubble.
Consumer Culture – Hamster Wheel, The American Dream,
Simulacra – Theme parks
Hegemony – Chained to the rythmn, you think you’re free, zombies, 2.4 Nuclear family.
There are three broad areas of research to help you give Postmodernism a framework, a context which will help you understand Postmodernism:
individually research one of the key contextual areas. Find images and single sentences try and explain the meaning or significance of the following.
Use the links and presentations in the following post to help you with ideas. We will go through the powerpoint in the next lesson.
The Enlightenment (The Age of Reason)
WW1 (Industrialisation of War)
WW2 (The Holocaust & Nuclear Bombs dropped on Japan)
Modernism (When? Who? What are the modernists trying to achieve?)
The Rise of Mass Media (The ‘mass’ audience)
The death of the author (Barthes)
Subverting Convention (Playing with Previous Texts)
What is Art? (Challenging high art / low art)
Remixing Previous Ideas (Eclecticism)
Create 2 google slides, for each subsection of your research. It should include one or two images and at the most one sentence per image, which explain why they are significant in understanding Postmodernism. Find examples that illustrate the findings too.
Your teacher will be around to discuss your research, but don’t ask for help until you have explored at least three research sources.
If you understand how Unilever have marketed Marmite over the last few years, you will begin to understand the basics of what constitutes a piece of media being classes as ‘postmodern’.
Have a look at these slides and discuss how Marmite has been sold – what hooks, enablers, slogans have they used to attract our attention and to communicate the message that Marmite should at least be tried.
A really interesting analysis of The Lego Movie and why it is a postmodern film.
Try and find your own examples from your own film and TV consumption. There are loads of examples out there and the more you can evidence your ideas in the exam with up to date examples to illustrate your debate, the better your mark will be.
1975 are prone to making fun of themselves, being self-reflexive and making a comment on pop music and its predictability. Do you remember at the 2017 Brit Awards they gave a performance that many thought had been ‘hacked’ on TV as irreverent, critical, social media type warrior key board comments appeared as if ‘trolls’ had taken over.
This music video is self-reflexive. Draws attention to itself in a shameless way. Pokes a finger up at celebrity culture – he ‘ribs’ himself about his celebrity lifestyle. Read this Article for more background.
The more up to date you can be with your POMO case studies the better. The more you can talk about POMO media in your lives, the better. The American elections are clearly current so you could mention the tendency to parody Donald Trump is a great example of parody and intertextuality.
Don’t be frightened about the term ‘postmodern’. If the context confuses you i.e. what went before that is not overly important. In fact why not just approach the topic as this is us looking at the media that surrounds us at the moment and we are looking at various criteria that can be used to analyse, critique and review it.
Postmodern is a term used to describe much of contemporary media that surrounds us today! SIMPLES – and is can be analysed, critiqued in reference to various ideas, theories, terms etc.
Here are the key ideas that encapsulate what postmodernism is all about:-
is a movement from the late 20th century
represents a departure from modernism
rejects the idea of status/ value
makes fun of existing texts – parody/satire
is a critique of what we assume to be real
copies ideas/styles from existing texts
suggests there is no absolute ‘truth’ – merely socially constructed truths
gives a skeptical interpretation
is a reinterpretation of classical ideas, forms and practices
questions our perception of art
distrusts dominant ideologies
plays with reality
challenges ‘fixed’ ideologies
challenges the rebellion of modernism
it is playful
blurs reality and representation
it looks to the past
is really hard to define
to name just a few things…
Some key terms that we will consider over the coming weeks – pastiche, parody, quotation, intertextuality, loss of historical reality, cultural competence, hyper reality, simulacra, consumer culture, hegemony, grand narratives.
The coursework is over. ‘The Blog is dead. Long live the Blog!‘ (this, by the way, is an intertextual reference with a hint of parody, so could be classed as an example of postmodern literacy BUT OF COURSE you have to be culturally competent to get it!!)
But what the heck is Postmodernism?
Baudrillard was a cool French guy
Who constantly makes media students cry
Hyperreality is now a real thing
You can get paid even if you can’t sing
So set your sights high
For a media ride you should try
Postmodernism is the thing……postmodernism is King!
Does any of this make sense? The above is a Limerick penned by an A2 student, that in 5 short weeks will make complete and utter sense.
By Easter, you will be ready and armed with textual references and theorists galore so that you can answer Section 2 of the A2 paper. The essay is worth 50 marks and should take about an hour to write in the exam. So it is an extremely important part of your A2 course. Heads down…..brains engage.
Off we goooo….
A postmodern joke – get it? No…?
This is a slide show which tries to explain a definition of Postmodernism:
Still stuck? Here is a more complete explanation
How would you define Postmodernism in 20 words? If you can do it, you are a super scholar! Even university professors seem to struggle to agree, but it would be good to have a go. Read the following to see if it helps.