Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Theory of D'oh

For those familiar with my work (I'm sure there are a few of you) as well as those who frequent my blog ramblings, you know how important movies are to my analysis and rants. Alot of times they lighten the mood, other times they can help illustrate a densely theoretical point. Most of the time its just because I want to be a punk.

After giving a presentation at a conference where I used several films to make theoretical points, which to most people probably didn't make sense (such as Weekend at Bernie's and images of fallen soldiers), someone asked me what theory of film interpretation I'm using when I analyze films. I thought about that for a moment, because I'd never really thought about it before. I don't really know any film interpretation styles, having never taken any film classes, but always just made shit up about movies, or used stuff from other disciplines to analyze.

One thing that passed through my mind was saying Zizekian style (lana, ti ya-hu este na palabra). I do use Zizek alot, but does he have a film interpretation style, not really, and besides I don't really follow his lead in analyzing films, I just cite his insights.

Not wanting to use Zizek and not really knowing what else to say, I decided to just be a punk about it. I told the guy that the theory of interpretation I use, is Homer Simpson Style of Analysis.

The look on the guy's face was priceless. Of course he knew who Homer Simpson was, but where was I going with that statement? Did that mean I watched and analyzed films drunk? Did it mean that I, like Hegel and his dialectics, always returned to the same conceptual framework, the doughnut?

I asked the guy if he had ever watched the episode where Homer joins a religious cult. He said no. So I explained to him the plot: all the Simpson regulars end up being brainwashed by this religious cult, giving up all their possessions and living and working on this farm. During the indoctrination stages however, Homer Simpson proves to be a tough nut to crack and resists all their attempts to brainwash him (although eventually they do break him down, by using the old Batman theme).

At one point they show Homer and a bunch of others a film which gives them the background on the leader of the cult and at the same time is meant to brainwash them. At the end of the film, two of the cultists ask Homer what he thought about the film. Homer's response is classic and gets me laughing everytime.

"Wait, wait. So the cops knew that internal affairs was on to them?"

The cultists respond, what? That wasn't in the movie!

Homer says apologetically. Well when I get bored I make up my own movies, I have a pretty short attention - and then rushes out of the room to chase a bird flying outside.

I don't think that this response impressed the guy, but at least it was fun for me, and it got me thinking about the theoretical implications of my choice of theories. I'm still thinking, its pretty silly.


In my seminar last year I read several theories of freedom, by authors such as Zizek, Nancy, Ardent and so on. I look forward to someone asking me what my choice theory of freedom is. Guess what my punk-ass answer would be?

George Michael's. hehehehe.

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