So at the end of class there was an analysis of two things, Shakespeare’s My Mistress’s Eyes and a Dilbert comic. New Historics say that both of these items are an event that occurred within their respective cultures. A, happening, if you will caused a slew of unwritten socially produced texts. These texts, or symbols of texts, coalesced into the form in which we consumed them. And as the ensuing discussion showed, every aspect of those “events” was relevant; we could have gone even further with it as well. How would our impression of the Dilbert comic have changed if we were show it printed in a newspaper surrounded by other comics, would the name of the paper or the date have changed our feelings toward it. Would the Garfield comic nearby have added or distracted from the Dilbert comics message? What about Shakespeare’s poem, What if we had been reading it out of a first edition book? Would the mere act of turning the pages to get to the poem have changed its impact; or the texture of the paper? What if it had been a modern reprinting like the Critical Norton edition of Alice we used? Did that version of Alice have a different impact for you than the big, bright, pressed cardboard, hardcover, edition you might remember from your childhood?
In essence the points we looked to in class were shaped by the manor the material was presented. Arguably to get to the meat of the matter, to encourage us to view them as texts, rather than as an “event”.
Consider the Dilbert comic again; Think now of how you would approach it if you were shown it in four different ways at the same time: in a word doc, on the Dilbert website surrounded by ads, in a Dilbert book, and in a newspaper. A New Historic would use all of these varied forums of presentation to their advantage, because ALL of them tell something different, as different versions of other “texts” lead to their “event”. Some of them may have had the same text play a part, like Scot Adams, he as Dilbert’s creator would have been an influential text in those events but not the only one, the publisher for the book, the editor for the paper, the web-host for the site. On and on into the web of other texts that informed and helped to create that one series of events.
Apart from being really good music I can relate most of the lyrics in this song to Alice in Wonderland. Its kinda trippy (for me at least) to read it with this playing.
This song, I find, is espousing a number of Marxist ideals. The chorus “She’s got all the friends that money can buy, she’s the apple of her Daddys eye” is referencing not only that a member of the Bourgeoisie more often than not has friends among the proletariat only because it allows those members of the proletariat to “get close” to that money , hence ” The family money has a magnetic pull”. It is also implied that this theoretical “She” has friends among the bourgeoisie only due to the fact that “she” is also a bourgeoisie, because as a human being her value in this case is dictated by her sign-exchange value. The line about being the apple of her dad’s eye is also talking about her sign-exchange value that is, her father only values her for the increases in status she will grant him once she is married off to some one of even higher status within the bourgeoisie.
The line “And both her faces–so easy on the eye” is talking about how “she” wears two faces, presumably one for interacting with the proletariat to maintain her apparent connections there and the sign-exchange value that such interactions grant her. (Rather like Tom Buchannan in this way). The other face she wears for interacting with her fellow bourgeoisie where she undoubtedly discusses her unrivaled contempt for the proletariat.
“Style has a price without much change … If you have to ask then it’s out of your range ” Is talking about the folly of consumerism. The latest style is the new hot thing that you must have! But it’s really no different than what preceded it. In addition the cost of acquiring this new style is irrelevant to the bourgeoisie.
“Well, you can buy your friends, but I’ll hate you for free Hate you for free” This line is speaking to the hatred the proletariat should be expressing towards the kind of bourgeoisie this song is talking about. Its placement late in the song is meant to bring the hatred that the proletariat has to a boil as they have had time to think of an example in their day to day life about the bourgeoisie that irritates them.
The end-cap on the song (that is only in the album version) refers to two other major Marxist elements.
“You see, it’s magic, and it shouldn’t work
I still look at it most surprised it does”
The magic referenced here is the illusion that by befriending the bourgeoisie a member of the proletariat can ascend to the bourgeoisie. The continual surprise is aimed at the proletariat that is still buying into the lies of the bourgeoisie that keep them in their current place; unwittingly supporting the bourgeoisie. The final lines ” Pass it along, pass it along ” Are asking the bourgeoisie in a tongue-in-cheek way to “pass along” their wealth to the masses because they are ” make[ing] too much money”.
This is totally off topic, but as I recall, that is an option for blog posts.
For reasons even I can’t explain myself, John T. Eckleburg reminds me of Wilhelm Reich. Who the heck is Wilhelm Reich? Before I answerer that Play this here YouTube video.
I guess its just the way the short description of Eckleburg is written that made me think of this. Anyway that song (Cloudbusting) was written as an ode to Wilhelm Reich by Kate Bush. To me both Eckleburg and Reich seem to radiate the feeling of men that knew infinitely more than you would have thought they would; who were both swept under the rug and forgotten with only the smallest of their marks left upon the world, when they were, in fact, striving to change it indelibly.