Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Pomo phenom of note

punky b
Originally uploaded by bellekai.
This may or may not be an occasional series chronicling the ubiquitous infitration of pomo (aka postmodernism) on everyday cultural life.

This post may not be suitable for children-- or anyone else, for that matter, who dislikes being confused.

Rated HD (Huh? Duh!)


Greek tragedy replete with choruses and deux a machina doings.

Elizabethan dramas, passion plays, etc.


All that other old stuff.

Technology explodes: Electricity. Silent films, talkies. Technicolor, Hollywood Babylon. TV, teleplays.

Mass marketing of movies as America's second-favorite pastime and TV as fave family member.

Rise of the "auter" as per film critic Pauline Kael. In other words, the shift in emphasis from the big Hollywood producer and actor as star of the show to the rise of the almighty director. Enter the French "new wave," and other uber modern postwar directorial wunderkinds, a la Rosselini, Pasolini, Truffaut, Goddard, Polanski, Bunuel, Bergman, Kurosawa, Fassbinder, and all the rest of the boyz.

American directors begin their steady rise in status, as Hollywood's awesome resources and mighty international cultural clout become evermore bloated. Some directors recognized in pomo-retrospect as league-worthy of the Euro-worship treatment--Hawks, Minelli, Hughes, Welles, et al. Great value placed on directors are who are adept at handling superstars such as Bette Davis with aplomb, as fans discover from the tabloids which thespians are "difficult to work with." Precursor of today's florid blow out pomo-brawls between actors and paparrazi, and Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee/Paris Hilton sexploit vids. Deconstruction (in this case, the dismantling of fantasy elements and other pretty artifices by de-mystifying the actor/person behind the movie/role) is a pomo thang.

Brando, Dean, et al and the rise of the Method Actor. The Method serving to supercede the artifice and hokiness of the trad acting style a la Gone with the Wind and all Joan Crawford flix (pomo payback: Mommie Dearest), et. al. Like directors, actors morph from mere glam-cult idol to Oscar-worthy creative force.

Rise of the classic teleplay and teledramas (Death of a Salesman, et. al.); and legendary TV writers (a la Rod Serling), as well as auteur god vehicle Alfred Hitchcock Presents (wherein Hitch's dryly comic antics signal the beginnings of self-mocking/self-referential pomo), etc. Classic comedy: Burns and Allen, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Your Show of Shows.

Contemporary (aka deliberately self-conscoius, eyes-wide-open) pomo: Tarantino (seventies cliches and Hong Kong movie kitch as iconography); Ang Lee (The Ice Storm's scathing look at seventies suburbia and the self-actualization craze), et al. Remakes of classics (Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Sequels; prequels. Reruns, special anniversary DVD editions. Satires of modern/contemp culture: Saturday Night Live, SCTV.

Japanese kitch-horror containing subtext of nightmarish devolution caused by post-nuke/Hiroshima-esque radioactivity, i.e. Godzilla, Mothra, et al (can you see the wires?)

Mid-20th century educational film strips re-released on DVD collections. Quaint instruction on personal hygiene, dating rules, the horrors of drug use, etc.

Pee Wee's Playhouse, which includes liberal use of the above.

Old TV cig commercials re-released on DVD, featuring cig-conoisseurs as discerning and sophisticated as fine wine critics. (Try mine... Hmm, flavorful--yet surprisingly mild.) Extra pomo points for extinction of these ads due to pomo revelations on the myriad hazards of tobacco.

The glam-veil of celebrity continues to wither away as stars voluntarily or involuntarily reveal their just-folks vulnerability (mental illness, substance abuse issues, etc.)

Clueless contemporary (unintentionally pomo): reality shows which deflate former icons a la the Ozbournes.

Retro TV: Lawrence Welk, Leave it to Beaver, the Flying Nun, the Brady Bunch, Andy Griffith....fill in the blanks or see Nick at Night/TVland schedule for more details. Serve as ironic low-cult counterpoint to the all-holy modern Method and teleplay/screenplay as High Art.

In the spirit of cyber-pomo, I will periodically update and add to this bare bones, shamefully limited, typo riddled, and doubtless unintelligible post.


At 12:50 PM, Blogger rob said...

Must be gettin' old. I want my empty V!! Give me a bang-thank-you-ma'm, or make me think...just don't expect me to remember it all. Take me tripping to the outer fringes of the galaxy or hallucinate in cyberspace within the confines of the wild west or kick me with those out of sync chinese dubbings.(start moving mouth about 30 secs into it paste a "yes, I think so" continue mouth movement and gestures for another 15-25 secs. Yes! btw, no, I don't have cable, ergo no empty vee. rob

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Jalberto said...

Nice blog, see you on internet.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Thanks, Jalberto...

Rob: What? No cable? I used to joke that people in the olden days favored quaint pastimes like quilting bees or charades or bingo or whist because they lived in a time before cable.

Well, cable can have a lot of pomo treasures, but so does the internet. The internet is pomo in the making! Cable is so last millenium, anyway. I watch cable a lot less now that I have Herman, my computer, anyway. And all my twisted pomo revelations pretty much came about before I ever knew about computers OR cable.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Henry said...

An excellent sequel to Pomo for dummies (from a psycho)! Uproariously on the mark!

The part about "High Pomo in Film and Television" is similar to my theory of Acceleration-Backwards as exhibited in the Broadway Theater-Hollyweird-Boob Tube Triangle.

However, I must admit my disappointment in how flat this post is. Only one shameless self-pomotion hyperlink at the very beginning and a stock photo of Spunky Spoogster...? Damn Elvira, I've come to expect more from you, and I know you can do better.

How about adding some of those tabloid pics? Maybe a really good one of ol' Joan beating poor Christina with a wire hanger.... Some hyperlinks to or for purchasing those old educational, brain washing vids shown to kids in the 50's would be nice. Those old cig ads sound hilarious; I wonder if they have them on Netflix

Well, you've got some time, so I expect some really good stuff from your updates to this post. Using as much multimedia in your blog is living pomo in real-time, baby!

:-X {smooches}

At 3:29 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I guess I was seriously remiss with the paucity of juicy hyperlinks. I am still a newbie at this stuff. For instance, Flickr only lets me upload a certain number of my own pics per month. Plus I don't really know how to upload web pics other than from flickr, (don't have my own server) so I don't have a lot to choose from. But yes, I will at some point probably go back and add more links to this pomo post!


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