POMO – BBB – Baudrillard would ask us to look BBB – FAKE NEWS – Post Truth Era

Beyond, Beneath and Below…..even Between…..

This is a presentation focusing on ‘all may not be what it seems’. It was used in an assembly last year but it is a good reference point for making sure that in this postmodern age, images, messages, ideas and communication may be no more than ‘a shadow on the wall – look for light source itself’.



The truth behind instagram. A collection of photographs showing how instagram provides a vehicle for cleverly constructed images that encourage everyone to aspire to a life, other than their own.


And the girl who quit Instagram?



This refers to fraudulent photography, where photographs are manipulated through   photoshop or manipulated by other means to change the information they convey.    Fauxtography is often used to manipulated the viewer and promote a particular agenda.

Fauxtography is also occasionally used to refer to low-quality or humorous photographs taken by amateur photographers who have started photography businesses or blogs despite their limited experience and skill. In this sense, fauxtography is an Internet meme.


“Faux” is the French word for “fake.”  Techopedia explains Fauxtography. The term fauxtography may have emerged in 2006 when freelance photographer Adnan Hajj provided an altered photograph of what was described as an Israeli raid in Beirut. Reuters printed the photo, and it quickly spread online. However, the billowing black smoke was later discovered to have been digitally added, along with other elements of the photo. Fauxtography is especially dangerous in photojournalism because audiences trust the news to provide accurate representations of worldwide events. When images are photoshopped or staged, this can drastically change how people feel about the event depicted.

And the latest from infowars – the website that says it exposes conspiracies, is a very sorry and deeply distressing development.  Whilst, its main agenda is to highlight how the grand narratives, absolute truths are to be questioned and that hegemony is alive and kicking and needs to be challenged,  it also causes an enormous amount of misinformation and anxiety. It has been accused of causing so much hurt to the families of the Sandy Hook massacre, saying it was set up by those in favour of harsher gun licensing laws in the USA. One father though is hitting back.


I GUESS ALL THAT THIS SAYS ABOUT POSTMODERN MEDIA IS THAT, with the proliferation of digital media, the idea that anyone and many do, feel the right to air their views, become keyboard warriors or citizen journalists, how are we ever going to be able to police what is out there and really KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS? Lyotard might argue that it is good that everyone know has the right to question, air their own mini narratives and to question the absolute truths/grand narratives but is it just making life full of false stories, unproven facts and FAKE NEWS.  Postmodern Media is now, more than ever giving over to the POST TRUTH era. With the President of the USA now embroiled in various FAKE NEWS stories, the whole of society needs to be on high alert and always look beyond, beneath, behind and below the headlines.




POMO – More on Lyotard – Brooker

Hello all! This is Charlie Brooker…he’s Postmodern. Well not really, but he’s got a good line in deconstructing, criticizing, mocking and lampooning the postmodern media landscape we all inhabit.

This is Lyotard, our last theorist (yay).

Lyotard is a theorist who is a bit more positive about Postmodernism. In so far as rebellion, subversiveness and rejection of big ideas can be described as ‘positive’.

Lyotard was sceptical of anyone who layed claim to ‘the truth’. He felt rather than society was better made up of competing views of the world (discourses).

He suggested that postmodernism ‘signaled the end of the grand narrative’.

Charlie Brooker love to challenge a grand narrative. He critiques the way the media presents the world to us and also he critiques our distorted relationship with the media (as described by Baudrillard). He has also written a series of dystopian (near future) sci fi TV programmes called Black Mirror. In these programmes he challenges the big ideas (grand narratives) that are communicated in the media and Lyotard and quite possibly Baudrillard would approve (I think).

Here is Charlie Brooker happliy and brutally deconstructing news reports

POMO – Hegemony, Grand Narratives – we think we’re free? Cambridge Analytica

A story broke this week that has been investigated for over a year now by the Guardian newspaper. It basically exposes Facebook for the monster it has become and all of us as unwittingly playing into the hands of the ruling classes – we have been moulded and monstrously manipulated by those who can – governments, politicians, corporations.

Watch the entire video below to fully understand the enormity of how Media has played right into the hands of those who have sort to ‘manage’ society.

Baudrillard would say – well, what more could we expect from a society that is managed through the media. We were bound to be fed and fall for falsehoods.

Lyotard – would he be saddened by the fact that even though we think we’re free to question, look beyond, beneath and behind in this pluralistic society, are we in actual fact, free at all? Just like the prisoners in Platos cave – have we actually come much further?  However, he would applaud the idea that the grand narrative of unbiased, investigative journalism is able to blow the ‘pretence’ apart and that what we are seeing has to be questioned, deconstructed, disseminated.

This is a really current case study that would sit well in any Level 4 essay on postmodernism

POMO – Hypernormalisation – the narratives of recent times destroyed – Lyotard would love it!

HyperNormalisation wades through the culmination of forces that have driven this culture into mass uncertainty, confusion, spectacle and simulation. Where events keep happening that seem crazy, inexplicable and out of control—from Donald Trump to Brexit, to the War in Syria, mass immigration, extreme disparity in wealth, and increasing bomb attacks in the West—this film shows a basis to not only why these chaotic events are happening, but also why we, as well as those in power, may not understand them. We have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. And because it is reflected all around us, ubiquitous, we accept it as normal. This epic narrative of how we got here spans over 40 years, with an extraordinary cast of characters—the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, early performance artists in New York, President Putin, Japanese gangsters, suicide bombers, Colonel Gaddafi and the Internet. HyperNormalisation weaves these historical narratives back together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created and is sustained. This shows that a new kind of resistance must be imagined and actioned, as well as an unprecedented reawakening in a time where it matters like never before.

POMO – Reality TV editing/How TV lies to you and TV News

Watch these Charlie Brooker critiques on TV. There may be some soundbites you can use in your writing. He has a fantastic turn of phrase and you can quote him too.

This is a really up to date news story on how a recent BBC documentary has been uncovered to have constructed its narrative in a wholly unacceptable fashion to create a narrative that wasn’t exactly true.


Consider the ways in which even the news media can be described as an example of hyper-reality and blurring the boundaries between a media constructed reality and the real life..

Is it possible that we know far more about the media, celebrity news & popular culture than we did about significant events and people in the ‘real’ world.

It is important to consider news values and understand how some important pieces of news are pushed off the news agenda because they don’t fulfill the editorial agenda and so the news we do consume is highly selected. This selection is often about what will make a popular / entertaining story rather than reporting other bigger world events but ones that are more remote, ‘foreign’ and ones for which they don’t have pictures.

Finally, the news is packaged up into easily understandable narratives, indeed news items have narrative structure, ‘characters’ cast into simple types & roles and there is often highly emotive use of language and symbolic imagery in order to represent the events / people in a particular way.

Here is a really funny and insightful video from TV critic Charlie Brooker, who incidentally wrote one of our key texts Black Mirror. Here he is talking about the formulaic structure of a TV news item and how they are neatly packaged up for consumption.

Take a look at the Guernsey Evening Press – hegenomy at work even in a small, backwater like Guernsey.

And finally – this is controversial but it is an episode of Russell Brand’s The Trews where he criticises the ‘propaganda’ surrounding terrorist attacks and how the story that the government delivers, feeds us through the media, has a purpose of keeping us on their side and not encourage us to question our own foreign policy and actions abroad. He is loud and outspoken but many of his The Trews discuss modern media and in particular Fox News who represent the multi-national corporate dominance of the world. You will either love him or hate him but what he says does give food for thought and ideas for discussion.


POMO – The Simpsons & Distrust of Meta Narrative

The Simpsons’ use of postmodernist techniques, such as fragmentation, serve to highlight the diversity of our culture and the impossibility of establishing moral authority in the pluralism of postmodern society.

It is a sentiment closely related to Jean-Francois Lyotard’s theory of metanarratives, which involves a distrust of totalizing explanations of the world.

In effect, The Simpsons’ stance is the same as Lyotard’s; to reject systems that aim to exert their authority in order to proclaim absolute truths. Lyotard’s view is that these metanarratives, which purport to explain and re-assure, are really illusions,fostered in order to smother difference, opposition and plurality.Through various implicit and explicit methods, The Simpsons essentially takes the same stance, criticizing any and all who perpetuate such metanarratives. One of the ways The Simpsons does this is by making anti-authoritarianism one of its most prominent recurring themes.


Consider the metanarrative (dominant opinion) that is commonly held about one of the following groups in society:

  1. The Police
  2. Lawyers / The Law
  3. Educators / Teacher
  4. Families / Parents
  5. Christians/ Muslims
  6. Celebrities / The Media
  7. Business People

You will then be allocated a character from The Simpsons. You need to research their characters, narratives and how they represent someone that may or may not, help bring about the destruction of the grand narrative. Create a  slide in the shared presentation on google drive that compares the dominant opinion with the one that is actually constructed, conveyed, portrayed in The Simpsons by the various characters.

Mr Gregson’s Class

Mrs Cobb’s classes slideshare is in classroom.

The Simpsons – A Postmodern Text

Some reading for anyone interested enough in how The Simpson’s can be described as a postmodern text.

POMO – Lisa The Iconoclast

Not only does The Simpsons challenge figures of authority and the grand narratives they embody the show also uses one particular character to represent the voice of resistance, rebellion and pluralism.

Lisa Simpson embodies the show’s anti-establishment tendencies with her unceasing onslaught on the totalizing systems (meta narratives) abundant in Springfield. Throughout the series, Lisa’s innate critical disposition has exposed many of the wrongdoings committed by authorities in The Simpsons.

Lisa The Challenger of Meta Narratives

Lisa combats brainwashing powers in Springfield by criticizing the blind faith which people are wont to have towards myths. Despite Lisa’s valiant efforts, her voice is never heard because her community puts all its trust in authority. This is the kind of system that Lyotard describes and opposes in “The Postmodern Condition”.


POMO – The collapse of “Meta Narratives” – Lyotard

Jean-François Lyotard is our third theorist. He had some pretty radical things to say about post modern society.  Unlike Jameson and Baudrillard, he quite likes the idea of postmodernism!

He made the remarkable assertion thatAll ideas of ‘the truth’ are just competing claims (or discourses) and what we believe to be the truth at any point is merely the ‘winning’ discourse.

So essentially, he is saying there is no such thing as any absolute universal truth (or meta narratives) on any subject .

The first thing to realise is that when Lyotard talks about ‘meta-narrative’, he is not  using it in the sense of a narrative as we have studied it so far, i.e. a story that uses characters, conflict, events, structure… To Lyotard a ‘meta-narrative’ means, a view of the world and what is considered natural, right or inherently true.

Here is a great image which looks at the recurring ideas underpinning of Hollywood films, which have seem to suggest a simplified / mythical view of life and how things should resolve and which perhaps also communicate ideas which are widely held as being ‘true’, or in other words ‘meta-narratives’Film Grand Narratives

What are the meta-narratives of school life – what do you, the teachers, the public perceive to be universally accepted truths about what happens here between 9 and 4 each day? How far are those preconceptions met or not met during the day?

Now, watch this video with Russel Brand talking to Jeremy Paxman about the phone call scandal which got him fired from the BBC & now the story was exaggerated by The Daily Mail, edited by Paul Dacre.


  • Also what does Brand suggest about the meta narrative of celebrity?
  • What does Brand mean by the idea of ‘cultural narrative’?

To develop Lyotard’s ideas. He said these meta narratives (sometimes called ‘grand narratives’) are large-scale theories and philosophies of the world, such as the progress of history, the knowability of everything by science, and the possibility of absolute freedom… Lyotard argues that we (society) have ceased to believe that ‘narratives’ of this kind are adequate and are true for all of us.

The result of this rejection of single universal ideas being true for all of us is reflected by and explored in media texts that are rebellious and subversive towards widely held views and ideas, as well to figures in positions of authority and a distrust of what they claim is right or true.

Think also about the various different shows that feature different types of families, groups or individual’s – we will be looking at The Simpsons in more depth.

POMO – Baudrillard – BLACK MIRROR – Nosedive

We will be looking in detail at a more recent episode of Black Mirror as our detailed case study later in the term.  In the meantime, this episode from the previous series, called Nosedive, really spotlights the world that we live in: the simulacra, the hypereality and the consumer culture that surrounds us.

Listen to the above analysis of the episode and watch it in class with your teacher.

Here is an interesting review on it.

And another one.

Analysis in table form of Nosedive


POMO – reality TV on demand – hypereality is the norm!


Now you can get ‘reality on demand’ for just £3.99 a month!  Really? Reality on demand? Or constructed reality on demand – that’s more like it!  What would Baudrillard think of the new channel where you can see all the reality TV you want on demand?  He would be horrified.  A whole new world, where constructed reality, hypereality becomes the norm.



POMO – Made in Chelsea – A Baudrillardrian Nightmare!!!!!!



In case TOWIE turns your stomach….you could choose to talk about MiC instead. Just a posher version of TOWIE – that’s all.

Above is a really good blog post on hypereality and Made in Chelsea.

Made in Chelsea paints a very vivid picture of the rich and elite in London. From an outsider looking in, it suggests to a large extent that all ‘English’ people live this way. I have friends from different countries who have said to me ‘Is that what England is like?’ (referring to the show) …well quite simply no. London is very diverse and has many different cultures, yet Made in Chelsea does not have one ethnic person in the show. Whilst it is true that Chelsea is very elite, not everyone who lives there is white (believe it or not). Yet the programme tells another story.

This show definitely blurs the distinction between fiction and documentary and soap opera. The cast are exposed by producers in a certain way to show them off as distinct characters that the audience can relate to for entertainment purposes. Spencer is shown as the ‘villain’ of the show, Jamie, Proudlock and Francis are shown as the ‘laddish’ bachelors and the girls Lucy, Rosie and Louise etc. are the upper class women, who are obsessed with material possessions and their taste in fashion is nothing less than a six figure digit. The whole aesthetic of the programme is to exude wealth, high society members and their lavish lifestyles, which is somewhat a fantasy for many of the viewers.

Consumer Culture – features all the right brands: Harrods, Dorchester Hotel, Sloane Square etc. The programme is even sponsored by Rimmel – Get the London Look. You too could be this gorgeous!

Hegemony – capitalist, bourgeois, conservative view on life. Work hard and you too could be like this. The fact that most of the characters are wealthy by inheritance and none of them seem to do a day’s work between them is irrelevant. Capitalism pays off and MiC is evidence of this (the fact that it is completely constructed and contrived should not deter you from aspiring to this lifestyle). This is quite a good powerpoint on examples of ‘hegemony’ in action – it is very USA based but you will get the idea of how the messages of what is right, expected and wrong are constantly reinforced from ‘up above’ or ‘elsewhere’ although there are some steps to counteract this mindset, as you will see at the end of the presentation.

Hypereality – the blurring between the real people and their on screen characters is blurred. This is endorsed by them tweeting when it is unclear as to whether they are ‘in character’ or as themselves.  We talk about them as though they are real.

Simulacra – the original becomes irrelevant.  We believe the simulated world. This is how it is. We value the simulated world more than we do the ‘real’ world.

Watch any of the other ‘scripted reality’ TV shows – The Real Housewives series, Geordie Shore, The Only Way is Essex and you will see exactly the same elements that indicate they are part of this type of postmodern phenomena.

The other TV shows – so called ‘reality fly on the wall’ shows – that are less scripted i.e. KUWTK, Dance Moms, Teen Mom are still no less constructed.  See an extract below from an article that outlines how the new series of Teen Mom will now be produced without the 4th wall.

Are you happy this season breaks the fourth wall and shows production?

I love it. Before, such a huge part of our life was hidden and it was hard to be 100 percent real because we’re pretending we’re not on TV or that we don’t have a million followers on Twitter. Also, there are many situations in the past when we’re filming a scene and we’re aggravated and all of our anger is escalated because there are people in your house, audio, lights, cameras and then you have a kid running around who can’t get up because [production] doesn’t want to mess up the scene, so on top of the aggravation from what’s really going on, you have all this other sh–. It’ll really show how overwhelming being on a TV show is.

This is evidence that the TV show was completely constructed – think about it – the baby is crying but the camera crew is not ready so you can’t pick up the baby to comfort it.  How ‘managed’ ‘unreal’ the footage must have been.

These shows created a ‘preferred reality’ as it has more drama, tension and clashes. When Big Brother started out, they made the fatal mistake of not choosing characters that were interesting enough to sustain an audience. Now, they deliberately choose participants who will create drama and increase viewing figures.

But what is it about our voyeuristic tendencies?  Even in Roman times we loved seeing people fight to the death in the arena, Have we really not come that far from that kind of barbarity? Think of all the ‘pranked’ videos you watch online – enjoying laughing at people’s misfortune.

Perhaps we have not evolved as far as we had hoped in terms of being civilised.  It makes an uncomfortable thought.


POMO – Gogglebox


Gogglebox is a ‘reality’ TV show (although in my opinion no reality TV is actually proper reality, but that’s another blog post altogether!) in which participants sit at home and watch TV, commenting on it all the while for our entertainment. Gogglebox celebrates the world of television and invites us to critically watch what’s on TV through the eyes of other people, so in a sense we are analysing TV through a TV show. We are being invited to watch a TV show about TV shows, it’s a TV show about its own medium that invites people, both participants and the viewers at home, to mock, laugh at and celebrate everything that comes to our screens at home. Gogglebox sounds like a bizarre TV show, watching people watch TV, but is actually strangely entertaining! And what is perhaps most ironic is that the armchair critics that participate in the show have gone on to become minor celebrities and the show itself is winning Television awards.  Totally, self-referential – self-reflexivity at its very best!


Link to article in Media Magazine: Page 34 – 40

Notes from the article

Postmodern TV Shows


POMO – TOWIE – a Baudrillarian nightmare

You either love reality TV or you hate it. Mr Gregson loathes it – Mrs Cobb loves it! But why?

Mrs Cobb would argue she is a pluralist viewer, who watches it with a critical academic mind whilst Mr Gregson doesn’t even afford it the time, saying it is vacuous, boring, skin thin and pointless.

Whether you love it though or hate it, it is part of our media landscape and a great example for postmodern media.

So take some time to consider Reality TV in all its varying forms as it could give you some really good, up to date and pertinent examples to mention in your exam.

AS revision – resources for 18th May 2018

Revision Timetable for AS

Past Papers

Over the next few weeks you need to make a point of listening to three Podcasts on The Film Industry. These podcast contain interviews, discussions and issues about all the areas of the film industry that we are studying. They are called:

  • Development Hell – This episode is all about how a film gets the green light for production and about how script are drafted and redrafted and how stars are cast.
  • Getting to the Screen – This episode is all about marketing and distribution and discusses the ways in which films get the attention of the audience.
  • The Business of Showing – All about the many different ways films are watched by audiences from Imax to Phones and everything in between. Over the next few weeks you should listen and make notes on each part of the documentary.

Here is a three part document, that includes questions for each part. The questions are in chronological order, so listen carefully and you’ll hear the answers in the order they are written.

Date of the exam is 18th May 2018.

We will be running a specific session before Easter and several after Easter but start now. Don’t wait. Read through the resources and start practising TV drama note writing and start learning some case studies for Film Industry.


POMO – The Allegory of the Cave

The philosopher Plato wrote a famous work called ‘The Republic’.

He wrote The Republic as a series of conversations, which often featured Plato’s famous teacher Socrates. Here is the translated text of the ‘Allegory of the Cave’:

An allegory is a story in which characters and events stand for real life situations.

‘Socrates begins by asking Glaucon (Plato’s brother) to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been imprisoned since childhood. These prisoners have been imprisoned in such a way that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at a wall in front of them, unable to move their heads. Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway. Along this walkway is a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects “…including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials.”. In this way, the walking people are compared to puppeteers and the low wall to the screen over which puppeteers display their puppets. Since these walking people are behind the wall on the walkway, their bodies do not cast shadows on the wall faced by the prisoners, but the objects they carry do. The prisoners cannot see any of this behind them, being only able to view the shadows cast upon the wall in front of them. There are also echoes off the shadowed wall of sounds the people walking on the road sometimes make, which the prisoners falsely believe are caused by the shadows.’

Socrates suggests that, for the prisoners, the shadows of artifacts would constitute reality. They would not realize that what they see are shadows of the artifacts, which are themselves inspired by real humans and animals outside of the cave. 

Here is a video version of the allegory:


This allegory can be usefully applied to postmodern ideas about the media:

  • We are the prisoners
  • The media is the fire and the puppeteers who cast shadows
  • We think of the media as ‘reality’
  • We will be free if we can see beyond and behind the illusion.

Or as Russell Brand suggests: Look for the light source itself, don’t follow the shadows on the wall.‘ – in other words, look beyond the images and try and find the truth, whatever that is.

Here is a music video which exemplifies many of these ideas:

POMO – Football, TV, Fifa & Hyper-Reality

I think that the way that football spectatorship has been copied & recopied by a succession of media texts has lead us to a state of hyper-reality. I’ll try to illustrate:

Grass roots / local football (The Real Thing)


The real thing, standing at the touchline watching a football game in real time, with no media to enhance our experience.

Stadium Football (The Real Thing Max)

Real Madrid CF Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid HDR

A spectator watches a football match from a static position in a stadium, often far away from the action, although the size of the occasion adds to the emotional impact of the spectacle. They watch the match in real time, although their spectatorship is enhanced by replays on a large screen. Also there is music and other entertainment to keep people occupied.

Football on TV – A copy of stadium max, maxed

Cutting to MCU to see individual players

Football on TV follows the action as if we were a spectator in the stands, but also cuts between different camera angles, gives us replays, a running commentary with extra information and ‘expert’ opinion gives us insights into the style of play and management decisions. Also creates player/celebrities and heightens drama .

Fifa – A copy of a copy of stadium max

Fifa simulates the football on TV experience, but goes further. The spectator is now the player, from the POV of a fan in the stands. Except now the camera tracks with the player that the audience is on control of. It includes the voice over commentary to simulate the TV watching experience. Players can play any team they like, play the role of the manager and also enter leagues and goals of the month competitions.

Fifa Communities

Fifa Community

Here is a community page about Fifa in which players organise Fifa tournaments, chat about Fifa, give each other tips, compare management strategies, compete in leagues with each other and other groups. Baudrillard would say that these people are in a state of Hyper-reality, where they feel involved in football but completely removed from the real thing and that don’t really understand football as it is in real life, only as it exists in the media.


POMO – Baudrillard (Jean – as in Zchun!) (bow-dree-yard)

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.

What other ones are present?