Praxes of popular culture

No. 1 - Year 9 - 12/2018

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

Editorial

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. ...

Literature and Culture
Kevin Drzakowski, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA:

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 previou...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.1
Literature and Culture
Marko Lukić, University of Zadar, Croatia:

NOTE: Due to a possible editorial conflict of interest the author did not participate in the editing/publishing process of this issue of the journal.When considering the complexity and intricacy of Japanese history, as well as the endless innovation and colorfulness which defined, over the centuries, the development of martial arts in Japan, a potential reader might be a bit skeptical about the ability to pick up just one book and find a clear, well-structured, and informative overview of a large portion of Japanese history. However, Alexander Bennett in his book titled Japan: The Ultimate Samurai Guide manages to do just that. Starting with a somewhat obvious and unavoidable chapter on the actual and metaphoric meaning/value of the samurai, Bennett initiates a narrative journey that, through its approximately 150 pages, never falters in conveying the main issues and pinpointing various crucial historical turning points. By opening with a self-explanatory title to the first chapter – “...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.10
Literature and Culture
Diana Njegovan, independent researcher, Italy:

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...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.11
Literature and Culture
Iva Šarić, independent researcher, Croatia:

Along with the introductory remarks on the relationship between novels and comics and their historically problematic status, this paper analyzes and interprets, from the perspective of creation, i.e. the scriptwriter and the illustrator, as well as from the perspective of the reception or audience, the procedures by which Pierre Lemaitre’s novel Goodbye, Up There is, on the level of content and expression, transformed into the new medium of comics. The comparative narrative analysis of the novel and the comic book shows that the shift from telling to showing mode requires, above all, dramatization, introduction of dialogues, and certain alterations of the plot, focalization, themes, and motivation of characters. These alterations can be linked by the common denominator – adaptation. Adaptation is thus seen as the creative process of transcoding, where the original is reconceived and reinvented in another form of expression, as well as an intertextual process of reception as decoding th...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.3
Literature and Culture
Melodie Cardin, Carleton University, Canada:

This article considers the inclusion of the real-life “slash” fandom in the canon storyline of the CW/WB show Supernatural, and the consequent exploration of the taboo idea raised by the fans: of a sexual relationship between its two central characters, who are brothers. By including references to fan fiction, Supernatural opens a space to question normative sexual identity constructs. This article draws on an argument by Michel Foucault that homosexuality is a social construct that emerged as a way to deal with the “problem of male friendship.” In the context of Foucault’s argument, Supernatural’s treatment of its “slash” fan fiction allows for polysemic interpretations of the brothers’ relationship to coexist with the platonic “canon” storyline, opening the door to ideas of sexual fluidity and the “queering” of its characters by fans.Keywords: fan fiction, sexual identity, Foucault, intimatopias, Supernatural Supernatural is an American primetime show centered on a monster-of-the-wee...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Olfa Gandouz, University of Gabes, Tunisia:

This paper is an attempt to decode the linguistic games in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1962) using corpus linguistics. Stylistic devices will be analyzed through a reference to the dominant metaphors and the ironic tone of the playwright. The playwright invents many linguistic games which have thematic functions; they are meant to parody the American middle-class values and institutions. Fun, verbal battles, guessing games, baby talk, and word-play are used by George and Martha to ensnare their guests in their dysfunctional marriage. I will also refer to the role of deixis in translating the playwright’s lamentation over the transformation of the American motherland into the locus of “ashes.” The bitter reality, the failure of success, and sterility have encouraged the protagonists to move from reality to illusion and to invent a fantasy child who exists linguistically (and not biologically). The aim is to mislead the guests and to validate their unhappy marriage. Wh...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.9.lc.2