Praxes of popular culture

Broj 1 - Godina 9 - 12/2018

Uvodnik

Years after the Frankfurt School, Roland Barthes’s work, Laura Mulvey’s film analysis, The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, various essential books and readers on popular culture, countless conferences and gatherings on popular culture that have taken place all over the world, it may seem that trying to point out the importance of popular culture in yet another scholarly journal is mundane. However, certain phenomena prove that this kind of topic is a necessity: the omnipresence of comic-book adaptations – such as the recent Black Panther phenomenon that has many global and local social, cultural, political, and economic implications, not least through the money-making promotions of certain kinds of active citizenship (NGOs’ promoted voter registration in theaters) – or videogame adaptations and rampant sexism and racism in one of the most successful industries of the day, or constant claims about the connection between mental health issues and video games, as well as the ongoing on- and offline struggle to give the neglected, minor voices their representation in popular products, or the timely #MeToo movement that called out Hollywood first and then almost entire creative industries on violence, coercion, and taking advantage over women. Popular culture is an industry as well as a community; it is profitable and it is marginal; it is equally monumental and trivial. The truth behind one of the most analyzed aspects of human culture today shows that it is ever-changing, transformative, that it is one of the most productive praxes for creators and audience alike, and, in the end, that it has important social, cultural, political, and economic effects, simultaneously producing affects and emotionality. ..

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Izdvojeno

Paralaksa Ivane Čagalj postmoderni je pjesnički opus koji je osvojio Nagradu Anđelko Novaković za 2016. godinu. Sadržajno je podijeljen u četiri cjeline: Osnovni pojmovi, Razgovarajmo o tekstu, Za one koji žele znati više te Zadatci za samostalan rad. Pjesnička je zbirka zanimljiva zbog ustroja koji oslikava nastavnu jedinicu, a njezin sadržaj zrcali određene elemente popularne kulture.Prva cjelina donosi tumačenje pojma paralaksa. Pružena je njegova definicija, ali i odraz paralakse u životu lirskog subjekta koji će očuditi godišnja doba, dijelove dana, odnos grad--selo, kontrast crno-bijele boje, dopunjen šarenilom. Bit će očuđen i doživljaj ispijanja kave, čija je toplina povezana s onom božanskom. Navedene teme sadržaji su pjesama Paralaksa I.-V.U skladu s naslovom prve cjeline, zbirka donosi pjesnički odraz važnih pojmova za razumijevanje principa paralakse. Pjesme su kako u čitavoj zbirci tako i u ovoj cjelini, popraćene tumačenjem naslova. U cjelini je predstavljena svakodnevica subjekta kroz stihove o sobi, bratu, ljudima. Pri tome je važno istaknuti komentar Dobrile Zvonarek kako biografizam nije kontekst za čitanje ove pjesničke zbirke već je tek usputna paralela (Čagalj 70), a iščitavanje te paralele bit će moguće i u preostalim cjelinama. ...

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Contrary to common understanding that an objective is a distinctive feature of every game, the success of process-oriented games (Nielson et al.) shows that linear narratives are not the only way to tell game stories. The Last of Us, despite being a goal-oriented video game, undermines the focus on its objective of “saving humanity” by refusing to let the player fulfil that goal. Saving humanity is a “noble” sentiment that is not only a “universal” moral value but one of import from a biological standpoint. This paper argues that the game’s insistence on making “questionable” choices on behalf of the player and its depiction of a selection of contrasting social structures are a narrative ruse to unsettle ethical complacencies of the generic player, who brings to the game such moral systems to analyze the game as are incompatible with its temporal and spatial specificity. The question of the admissibility of textual analyses based on external moral parameters is of relevance not exclusively to literary studies but to narratives in new audio-visual media as well. This paper attempts to place player reactions to the questionable character choices at the heart of the game story in a continuum between absolute player identification with narrative elements and complete detachment from the game narrative which facilitates play in an objective manner. This study employs a close analysis of the game text and player vis-a-vis critic responses to the narrative peculiarities of this game. ...

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The television series Lost uses the motif of time travel to consider the problem of human free will, following the tradition of Humean compatibilism in asserting that human beings possess free will in a deterministic universe. This paper reexamines Lost’s final mystery, the “Flash Sideways” world, presenting a revisionist view of the show’s conclusion that figures the Flash Sideways as an outcome of time travel. By considering the perspectives of observers who exist both within time and outside of it, the paper argues that the characters of Lost changed their destinies, even though the rules of time travel in Lost’s narrative assert that history cannot be changed.Keywords: Lost, time travel, Hume, free will, compatibilismMy purpose in this paper is twofold. First, I intend to argue that ABC’s Lost follows a tradition of science fiction in using time travel to consider the problem of human free will, making an original contribution to the debate by invoking a narrative structure previously unseen in time travel stories. I hope to show that Lost, a television show that became increasingly invested in questions over free will and fate as the series progressed, makes a case for free will in the tradition of Humean compatibilism, asserting that human beings possess free will even in a deterministic world....

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This paper examines the impact of sacrificing queerness when adapting comics into films, which cater to wider audiences – specifically, queer elision in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) and illusions of queerness in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017). The difference between elision and illusion is crucial, and so approached using different analytical modes. Black Panther’s analysis is rooted in the production process, exploring how/why queerness is erased by drawing comparisons to the explicit queerness of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxanne Gay’s comics. The analysis of Wonder Woman focuses on in-depth textual analysis of both Greg Rucka’s comics and Jenkins’s film to illustrate how queer illusions functions across media. Despite these films being hailed as progressive, this paper illuminates how motivations to hide queerness when moving to wider audiences are rooted in homophobia and protecting profit margins.Keywords: queer, comics, comic-book movies, superheroes, Marvel, DC, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, film adaptations, homosexuality...

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