“Mass media texts condense and codify meanings, languages, and outlooks otherwise existing in a diluted, diffuse, and scrambled form among lay actors. Unlike the ‘texts’ of everyday life, media texts are purged of all irrelevant meanings and thus tap directly into the pool of cultural symbols. They correspond closely to what Kenneth Burke [in his On Symbols and Society, 1989] dubs the ‘ideal-typical’ symbol.” (Illouz, E. 1997. Consuming the Romantic Utopia. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Page 18)
Growing up as a child of a politically blacklisted family (at least, that’s what I was told) in a Central European country suffocated by a late Soviet Bloc communist totalitarian regime at the fringe of the heavily restricted Soviet Bloc space, at the edge of a hilly suburb of a capital in a lush Carpathian forest overlooking the Iron Curtain, and then, since the age of eleven, an “immigrant” and, since the age of fifteen, a “Slav without a country”, and a modern day settler rooted to unceded traditional Indigenous territories at the fringe of the Western Canadian continent, operating for the last three decades under a mutant strain of late postmodern “globalization” capitalism that morphed into a technocratic neoliberal “political and economic approache” under the guise of the American-driven “positive psychology” pseudo science that mutated into an all-encompassing social, cultural, economic, and political “tyranny of happiness” (cf. Smile Or Die by Barbara Ehrenreich) in a sort of a “Happycracy” regime (cf. Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control our Lives by Edgar Cabanas, Eva Illouz), and a Canadian trying find his cultural identity in a media landscape undermined by cheap American cultural imports, as well as an invisible minority (“ethnic white Slav” / “Eastern European” / “with an accent”) among minorities, a digital geek with a stodgy pre-Internet brain, and a satirist in an age where satire has been declared dead, I am thoroughly relegated to a few of the many “Other” cultural cubbyholes of the mainstream culture of the North American continent.
As such, I always tended to “see things differently” or, “from the outside”, and this has, in my work, translated into an impetus to inspire critical thought about the themes of culture, cultural constructs, nostalgie, the everyday, history, hyperreality, the immigrant experience, myth-building, the ideal-typical symbols, visualism and (the wide range of) utopias communicated through the dominant cultural codes of postmodern late capitalism and neoliberalism, such as the visual (television, movies, and advertising) and musical (songs) code, in the dominant anglophone North American mainstream media of the last decade of the twentieth and first decades of the twenty-first centuries…
…and, often, taking the satirical approach, I just wanted you and I to have a good laugh about it all in the end.
That’s why I am still here, doing this, today.
🙂 🙂 🙂