MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
So I went to Yuri Tsivian's talk on Tuesday, and it ended up being very different from what I expected. The title "Chaplin and the Soviets" was pretty broad, so I guess I didn't know exactly what to expect... maybe something about the fan base of moviegoers in the U.S.S.R. who were into Chaplin's films. But as it turns out, it wasn't really about admiration of Chaplin's acting; it was about people's awe of his "perfect movement." Apparently the Soviets, who were obsessed with efficient ways of moving the body for the sake of efficient labor, thought that Chaplin was a role model because of the way he moved his body in his films. He had an entire school of followers who saw him as an academic and intellectual based on his movements. They used his movies in studies of human locomotion, hoping that this would increase labor output in their communist society. They even asked him for an annotated bibliography of sources he had used to study motion. Needless to say, Chaplin was baffled. He saw himself as a comedian, an actor--not an intellectual--and he had no idea how to deal with this sort of fame.
It's tomorrow night!! Don't forget...
Media Studies Fall Fete: Karaoke Under the Sky
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 5:30-8:30pm
Fountain Patio, Smith Campus Center
Join IMS students, faculty and staff to sing karaoke, eat snacks, win prizes and discuss the new Intercollegiate Media Studies major.
For a list of the karaoke songs that will be available, visit http://www.karaokeforyourparty.com/losang/songlist.htm (15,000 songs).
Prof. Larsen in Russian Studies has asked me to tell people about this talk, and since it relates to Media Studies, I figured that the blog would be a good place to start...
CHARLIE CHAPLIN AND THE SOVIETS
A presentation by Yuri Tsivian (William Colvin Professor in the Humanities, University of Chicago)
Tuesday, September 26, 4:15 pm, Hahn 108
This lecture will address the reception of Charlie Chaplin as image and idea by Soviet artists and filmmakers in the 1920s; Soviet perceptions of Chaplin as a "Taylorist" performer; and Soviet attributions of at least one film to Chaplin that Chaplin never made. This is the first in a series on "Borrowed Icons: Pop Culture and Cultural Politics in Russia, Europe, and the United States."
Ok, so I get that Peter Wollen really likes this Curtiz guy... but to be honest, I have no idea whether or not I agree with him about Curtiz as an "auteur." Although Wollen writes well and makes a convincing argument, formulating any sort of real opinion on this essay definitely requires watching some Curtiz films. It's been a while since I've seen Casablanca, but even then, I didn't know that Curtiz made it. I guess that says something about his style of authorship (i.e. that his films really do stand alone, and that most people generally know about his work, but not about him... the "death of the author"? Perhaps. But probably not, since there are still plenty of directors and producers out there whose names and styles are widely recognizable.) I was especially surprised that I'd never heard of Curtiz, since according to Wollen he "made more films than anyone else in Hollywood; 45 in his native Hungary...15 in neighboring Austria...2 in Berlin...and then no less than 102 in Holywood..." (67). It's amazing that he was so prolific and had such a huge presence in early Hollywood, yet I'd never heard his name before, even as a Media Studies major.
Check it out: http://www.newmediamusings.com
The FCC is voting this week on the deregulation of media ownership. To stop them from letting big media get even bigger, click here to send your opinion.
More info from Media-Alliance.org:
Big Media: How Big Is Too Big?
FIVE media conglomerates -- Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, News Corp. and NBC/GE -- control the big four networks (70 percent of the primetime television market share), most cable channels, as well as vast holdings in radio, publishing, movie studios, music, Internet and other sectors.
I know I said in my last post that I was going to go to sleep...but the Internet has a way of sucking me in sometimes. I just wanted to put it out there that this new blog is much better than the system we used for MS 149 last year. Being able to comment directly from the machine page is a huge improvement, as is the "Recent comments" column on the left-hand side of the screen. This is definitely going to make the blogs a more active forum for discussion. Good work, KF.
Looking through my copy of the Marchessault reading, I noticed that I wrote a lot of notes next to the part about graffiti on a woman's washroom wall. She draws a substantial amount of meaning out of the quote: "Now that women can be authors, the author is dead." I don't know about you, and I don't know how things are at York University, but I've never seen anything this "deep" on a bathroom wall. Most of the things people write while on the toilet, whether in Sharpie or lipstick or carved painstakingly with a pocketknife, are usually far less profound. All that aside, though, I don't necessarily think that gender has anything to do with the death of the author (at least not as Barthes defined it). It seems that the dead author is gender-neutral. If one believes that in the modern era the author becomes displaced by his or her language and essentially becomes his or her language, it should not matter whether this displaced author is a man or a woman, at least not in Barthes' terms.
I guess this has to do with Media Studies, since it deals with the posting and sharing of information online. I'm just wondering why the sites where we get our online readings for class change every semester. First everyone used eRes and WebCT... then last year it was Moodle... and now it's Sakai. Why hasn't Pomona just made one site for online readings and stuck with it? I guess the advantage of Sakai over Moodle is that students from all the Claremont Colleges can access it... but Moodle could have just been updated to allow for this. If anyone knows about the reasoning behind the switc
The lovely staff of the MEDIA STUDIES LIBRARY (which includes Cody Burson, Steve Mears, and myself) has finally decided on a schedule for the semester. We're planning to open a week from this coming Monday. You should definitely drop in sometime to check out videos and DVDs (we have tons!) or to look at senior theses from previous years. Here's the schedule:
12:30 - 2:30 Lauren
2:30 - 5:30 Cody
10 - 12 Cody
12:30 - 2:30 Lauren
2:30 - 5:30 Steve