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"Just don’t call this blog entry a deconstruction."
November 8, 2008 12:27 PM   Subscribe

It was a dark and stormy campaign... A film theorist's thoughts on the narratives of Barack Obama and John McCain.

This was published before the election, but I only just found it. Although the votes have been cast, and new narratives are forming, this is still certainly worth a look.
posted by defenestration (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was no longer the boy to whom liberty meant simply that I could do as I pleased, and who, in my vanity, used my freedom to polish my image as an I-don’t-give-a-damn nonconformist

Apparently that doesn't apply to grammar.
posted by nasreddin at 12:44 PM on November 8, 2008


Yet for some reason, the next day, it was sunny everywhere.
posted by gman at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2008


I worked long and hard on this campaign but was never able to shake the somewhat scary belief that Big Brother is coming. it seems unlikely this time around because so much of the citizenry is vigilant and aware but we should admit that the technology is in place and this fascination with narratives and personalities means that after Obama things could head south.
posted by Glibpaxman at 1:28 PM on November 8, 2008


Minor, minor nitpick, but I can't help but be struck by this author's comment about McCain's account of being shot down in Viet Nam -- specifically, that it included "no description of what unconsciousness felt like." Uhhh ....
posted by webmutant at 2:15 PM on November 8, 2008


best headline
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:32 PM on November 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


OK, I just read the article and loved it. Thanks for posting.
posted by RussHy at 3:49 PM on November 8, 2008


I can't decide if it's intentionally obtuse and hysterical or just a "gaffe" that there are two, um, larger women under the heading "Narrative Plus."

Oh yeah, I thought it was an awesome article too.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2008


I worked long and hard on this campaign but was never able to shake the somewhat scary belief that Big Brother is coming.

Don't let our lack of matching grey jumpsuits fool you...Orwell's dystopian vision has come and gone. it is a quaint thing of the past. We're living in the much bleaker sequel.


"War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."

I'll take Big Brother over Joe the Plumber any day of the week.
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2008


I'll take Big Brother over Joe the Plumber any day of the week.

uh. sorry. ill stop criticizing the dear leader now. Yes We Can.

really though, the dystopia orwell speaks of is always just around the corner no matter who is in leadership. obama seems like a humble philosopher-king type so, as i said before, im not too concerned about him. its the methods and tools he uses to craft pubilc opinion that frighten me.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:04 PM on November 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is a great article. I really like what he has to say about the nature of narratives.
posted by MythMaker at 5:14 PM on November 8, 2008


Yeah, I really enjoyed the article quite a bit. Hence sharing it and all... The overall theory about and history of what is or isn't a narrative is what really caught my interest. Does anyone have links to anything else on the topic? Book recommendations? I guess a good first start would be Bordwell's books, and the works about literature he mentioned to support his insight.

Just learned about David Bordwell's blog, too. Definitely a lot to read and think about on there.

---

In other, unrelated film talk, I just watched Touch of Evil for the first time. I'm almost tempted to watch it again – right now.
posted by defenestration at 6:26 PM on November 8, 2008


i would suggest drew westen, "The Political Brain"

its a psychologist's view of politics. why people make the choices they make at the ballot box.

i just looked westen up on mefi and found this thread from september. apparently we talked about narratives back then. its pretty cool.
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2008


A question that has puzzled me a long time. Why is a storm/rain used as a narrative device in films that represents the crisis before the resolution? Is there one person who cooked this idea up?
posted by nickyskye at 9:39 PM on November 8, 2008


Rain is a baptismal image. The protagonist becomes purified by it. He comes out the other side changed, cleansed, better prepared to tackle the climax.
posted by MythMaker at 9:55 PM on November 8, 2008


Why is a storm/rain used as a narrative device in films that represents the crisis before the resolution? Is there one person who cooked this idea up?

I have an English teacher who claims that Hemingway came up with this in the ending of Farewell to Arms. I think it probably predates that - I mean, Noah and the ark is a fundamental crisis/resolution story with a big ass storm.

Anyway, I think the symbolism is as old as crises and storms. If one guy DID cook it up, well, I blame Noah.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:46 PM on November 10, 2008


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