Mikhail Bakhtin’s Files
Dig into the personal files of your favorite critic.
Notes for My Next Critical Tome
Preliminarily titled Bahktin's Popular Culture Top Pix
- Will be a random mixture of my favorite examples of pop culture today. Very informal; will include collages; handwriting, multiple fonts, ripped piece of paper, tickets, stickers, smashed things… Have fun!
- First chapter—about style mags. Love 'em! Must reassure readers that I am not promoting excessive thinness or body disorders. REMINDER: I love the grotesque in all forms, so give me a lady in a meat dress any day. (Sorry, Lady Gaga. Cindy Sherman did it way first.)
- Review history of magazines like Town & Country, Architectural Digest—you've got to be kidding! Who lives like that?
- Mags like i.d.—super hipster; aimed at youth market.
- Breakdown of boundaries between ads and features. Just when you think you are reading an article about London style, you realize it says "ADVERTISEMENT" at the top, and you're like, "What the?"
- Reject old idea that the only people worth attention are the royal family. Bollocks! Love cult musicians/indie bands—anyone not on a major record label.
- Love the mash-up of high art/avant-garde/noncommercial and pop/mainstream/consumer images. So fearless!
- Movies: don't know where to start, but def. a chapter on Pink Flamingos. Greatest film of all time. Love it when Divine eats fresh dog poop—for reals!
- "Filth politics"—why didn't I think of that? Do close reading of Divine (a prostitute and a murderer!) quotation from the movie: "Blood does more than turn me on, Mr. Vader… And more than the sight of it, I love the taste of it. The taste of hot, freshly killed blood... Kill everyone now! Condone first-degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth are my politics! Filth is my life! Take whatever you like." Really embodies everything I believe about the carnivalesque and grotesque.
- Punk shows. Review YouTube clips of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious. Maybe a whole chapter on mosh pits, stage diving, and crowd surfing??? No boundaries between audience and performer.
- Lyrics: could do a whole book on this, but how about Johnny Rotten's "F@*# Forever"? Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the UK."
- Chapter on vomiting? Include real hardcore vomiting (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix) and fake pop-vomit (i.e., Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber).
- Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party" somewhere in the mix.
- Maybe chapter on Pussy Riot, tho think I have pushed my limits in Russia. Are they worth going back to Siberia for??? That Putin is a real so-and-so. They make Green Day look like a bunch of Catholic schoolgirls.
- Chapter on losers (not Judd Apatow's losers). Real losers who don't care and fully reject marriage, family, health, financial concerns, the home—all bourgeois constructs
- Quick discussion of porn—nothing gratuitous, of course. Couch in discussion of bodily pleasure, liberation of the social body, etc.
- Don't know how to fit this in, but something about Disneyland and roller coasters—experience of pure pleasure. Embracing terror on your own terms
- Video games and the inversion of power.
- Mud wrestling—grotesque, for sure, but maybe too much of a spectacle to fit the carnivalesque category????
- Day of the Dead—so much better than Halloween. Laughing at death. Picnics on graves! Laughter that isn't mean—it's carefree, allows us to be ourselves.
- Was going to do a chapter on reality television—Kardashians as grotesque bodies? Breakdown of actor/man on the streets? But idea is too boring to me now. May have to tie it all up with a study of plastic surgery…?