Neoconservative Hunters and Terrorist Vampires in Joe Ahearne‘s Ultraviolet (1998)
A consideration of the ways in which the discourse of monstrosity, once deployed against a political enemy, closes off open debate and undermine the values of those who argue that the ends needed to defeat them justify any means used. This article explores the parallels between the neoconservative rhetoric of the War on Terror with that of the vampire hunters in Joe Ahearnes television show Ultraviolet (1998), as both deny their enemies the status of political subjects. It offers a reading of the show in light of Slavoj Žižeks call to evaluate the arguments of both sides in such moralised conflicts.
This article argues that Charles Maturins Melmoth the Wanderer embodies an ethical attitude towards its representations of Gothic violence and horror in the way that it self-reflexively stages its horrific scenes. By confronting its readers with a shifting distance from such violent scenes, the novel exposes readers to their own desire for and victimization by Gothic horror. While previous critics have tended to see Maturins novel as either glorying amorally in its excessive Gothic representations, or as recuperating its scenes of horror with a moral message, this article sees its ambiguous and undecidable attitude towards these scenes as embodying its ethical standpoint, a standpoint that challenges the illusion of literary coherence and that exposes its readers’ implication in the horror that lies traumatically within, and not safely outside, language.
In formulating a notion of filmic reality, this book offers a novel way of understanding our relationship with cinema. It argues that cinema need not be understood in terms of its capacities to refer to, reproduce or represent reality, but should be understood in terms of the kinds of realities it has the ability to create. The book investigates filmic reality by way of six key film theorists: André Bazin, Christian Metz, Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Rancière. In doing so, it provides comprehensive introductions to each of these thinkers, while also debunking many myths and misconceptions about them. Along the way, a notion of filmic reality is formed that radically reconfigures our understanding of cinema.
Hearing Voices in L. M. Montgomery‘s Emily Climbs and F. W. H. Myers
The novels of L. M. Montgomery‘s Emily trilogy belong to the genre of domestic fiction, but they are punctuated by uncanny events, by excursions into a Gothic mode where the girl‘s smooth transition from rebellious child to compliant adult is disrupted. This paper is an investigation of Montgomerys use of Gothic tropes in the second novel of the trilogy, Emily Climbs (1925); in particular, this essay analyses the chapter entitled ‘In the Watches of the Night’, a chapter that is exemplary of Montgomery‘s use of the Gothic mode to disrupt the disciplinary system that enjoins the adolescent girl to situate her desires in the home. The chapter is permeated by Montgomery‘s reading in abnormal psychology, particularly by F. W. H. Myerss Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903), a work that lends a scientific veneer to Montgomerys Gothicism with its account of what ‘hearing voices’ means. In an extravagantly gothic metaphor, Slavoj Zizek claims that the ‘life of a voice’ is ‘the uncanny life of an undead monster, not the “healthy” living self-presence of meaning’ (103). Montgomery‘s text arguably excavates a moment which reveals both the speaking subject and the ideology which disciplines it to be marked by the uncanny, by that which undermines ‘the “healthy” living self-presence of meaning’.
This book is dedicated to a conceptual exploration of the thinking of Regie: of how to think about theatre direction, and how Regietheater thinks itself. The focus is on what directing does, and what directing can do, tapping into and realising the potential of what theatre does and may do. Part I of the book outlines the social, ideological, political, cultural and aesthetic contexts of Regie, and some of its core intellectual and conceptual roots, by circumventing some standard reference points. Philosophical ideas and concepts of situating Regie within the Rancièrian 'aesthetic regime of art' and its specific 'partition of the sensible' are explained. The book specifically links Regie to Georg Hegel's influential thought, maintaining that Regie expresses a cultural dynamic of making sense and making sensible. The book presents the respective positions of Friedrich Schiller and Leopold Jessner, symptomatically capturing central trajectories of thinking the conceptual space of Regie, both mobilising the speculative dynamics of theatral thinking. Part II of the book explores the contested notion of 'the truth of the text', and the dialectic sublation of the play-text in play-performance. It looks at the mediation which the double-edged act of thea affords, with its emphasis on both performing and spectating, marked by the Žižekian notion of the 'parallax perspective'. The overarching political potential inherent in Regie and the very formal structure of theatre offer a playfully excessive resistance to the dominant logic of economy, efficiency, sustainability and austerity which defines present-day global neoliberal semiocapitalism.
6 Filmic reality and ideological fantasy
8 Ideological reality: Independence Day
(Roland Emmerich, 1995)
or film studies, the key insight that can be derived from the
writings of SlavojŽižek is that reality cannot be separated
from fantasy. Films do not occupy a domain of fantasy that can be
straightforwardly distinguished from reality; films do not provide
audiences with fantasy escapes from reality; films do not provide
us with illusions of reality. Rather, if films are fantastic, then they
are fantastic in the same way that reality itself is fantastic
Memory and identity in Christopher Nolan’s Memento
-perceptions to appear as they desire to be, often removed from actuality. SlavojŽižek roots this process in culture and terms it ideological fantasy , which ‘consists in overlooking the illusion which is structuring our real, effective relationship to reality’, allowing individuals to rationalise beliefs and behaviours through intentional self-deception ( 1989 : 30); this deception, however, is unstable and the past leaks out in unpredictable ways. Carlos Gallego reads the formal structure of Memento as analogous to notions of postmodernity and Leonard to the postmodern
turns out to entail an impossible doubling once more: he
realized ‘that the child he had been was due to be there too, watching
the planes’.36 He can only go back by being in two places, and two
times, at once: fantasies of a secure time and place fall apart.
SlavojŽižek’s writing on Lacan’s phrase ‘a letter always arrives
at its destination’ is perhaps helpful here.37 Žižek points out that
the idea that a letter always reaches its destination is a function of
a retroactive reading of events, where contingency is read as necessity. In a sense what this is saying is
versions of Macbeth on screen is, of
course, by no means straight-forward or transparent. SlavojŽižek writes that ‘what we experience as reality is not
the “thing itself”, [for] it is always-already symbolized,
constituted [and] structured by symbolic mechanisms’, and, in the
case of Freeston’s Macbeth , such a sidestepping of a
Scottish ‘reality’ is an inevitable consequence of the
Darkness and suicide in the work of Patricia Highsmith
all, usually with a view towards reforming or healing the conditions that encourage or fail to discourage suicide, suicide in the camps begin, explicitly or implicitly, with the question of why it did not take place (or not on a massive scale) under conditions that should have been particularly generative of suicide. 9
SlavojŽižek interprets French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s notion of ‘the two deaths’ in a way that is useful here and can be linked to his theory of ‘the act’, which I would argue can apply to