Monday, July 9, 2012

We got some work to do now


Regular followers of my other blog Forest of Illusions will probably already have a decent idea what this site is. In brief, it's an attempt at a critical reading of various aspects of (non-video game) pop culture from a literary and philosophical perspective, with a particular emphasis on tools gleaned from post-structuralism, media studies, sociocultual anthropology, postmodern third-wave feminism (and beyond), social studies of knowledge (SSK) and a healthy dose of subjectivity. My connection to television, music, comics and film is not on the whole as deeply personal and definitive as the one I have to video games, but it's there, important and I feel I have a not-insignificant amount to say about it.

My years of studying Western culture have lead me to theorize that art mass-produced on an industrial scale and disseminated via a uniquely hybrid capitalist media seems to serve the same purpose in societies influenced by the European tradition as myths, legends and oral history do in non-Western societies. This is where the name “Soda Pop Art” comes from: If “Pop Art” is art that incorporates elements of consumerist capitalism to make a subversive point, than “Soda Pop Art” must be the inverse-Art created on a grand scale and delivered from the top down. But not, it must be said, impossible of being subversive and worthwhile, even if sometimes this happens in spite of itself

To give a quick and rough outline of my plans for this web-space, this site will be divided into different sections, each dedicated to a specific work (or series of works or category of work). Within these primary delineations, there will likely be numerous subsections focusing on different related themes and issues in greater detail. Among the works I'm planning on taking a look at here are Doctor Who, the late-80s and early-90s incarnations of the Star Trek franchise under Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr and Ronald D. Moore, the music and culture of the late-1970s early-1980s Art House Punk scene in Europe and the UK and the European graphic novel (and subsequent Disney Saturday Morning cartoon chow) Marsupilami.

The main pillar of this site, at least for the time being, will be my attempt at a comprehensive re-evaluation and re-conceptualization of the Scooby-Doo franchise as a lasting symbol of youth subculture Utopianism that has evolved around dynamically interacting and oppositional forces of upheaval and permanence. To use it as an example of the site's structure, there will be a primary dedicated Scooby-Doo section, within which will be a separate sub-section for each of the various incarnations of the televised Scooby-Doo series, each containing an assortment of articles such as individual episode recaps and analyses, specialized thematic essays and a guiding introductory abstracts of sorts meant to summarise each show's core themes and unique place within the larger historical record.

I probably won't be covering any of these works in complete chronological order of production, focusing instead on organising pieces by common thematic trends: I'm not attempting to write a definitive social history of, say, Scooby-Doo with this project (at least not right at this moment), interested as I am more in the basic philosophical foundations and sociocultural intricacies that underlie many of these works and what their relevance and intellectual merit might be for the contemporary world.

Our pop culture is our shared mythology and oral history: It speaks to the Western world the same way legends did and do elsewhere around the globe. It deserves as rigorous, comprehensive and fair an analysis as the oldest and greatest works of literature and myth.

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