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Deconstructive Theory

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Octavia Powell

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Deconstructive Theory

Deconstructive Theory Definition;
"Deconstruction is a form of semiotic analysis, derived mainly from French Philosopher Jacques Derrida." “This approach to reading films focuses on how they come to expose the degree to which many commonplace assumptions about reality and literal meaning are the product of arbitrary, but widely held habits of thinking. In other words, the deconstructive film theorist is concerned to point out how individual films function to unmask the arbitrary conventions that secretly inform our assumptions about what films mean and what reality they portray. The point here is not that films "destroy" all notions of reality and meaning. Rather they "deconstruct" these notions--which is to say films render them in a new light.” Derrida discusses how the first stage of deconstruction is to ‘overturn’ binary opposites.
The producers of Dexter have cleverly utilised this idea to their advantage and created a serial killer which the audience empathisis with. This then collides with the deconstruction idea of :
Does the world run that smoothly after all? Deconstructing Fairy Tales Deconstruction in film is often when a well-known concept or plot is changed in a way which intentionally reverses or subverts the common elements of the original, with the intention of laying bare the underlying assumptions in it.

-This can be done either as a criticism or parody.

In Shrek this occurs from the very start, where a story book opens with " Once upon a time ". The narrator tells the story of a princess who must be rescued from a tower, by a brave knight and release her from a curse with true love's first kiss, and live happily ever after...

At this point the narrator scoffs " like thats ever gonna happen", whilst ripping out the page in the book and using it for toilet roll. Deconstruction of this film is about showing how extremely your life can change depending in the decisions you make everyday. The film shows you how different options, that can happen in the same time, create different resolutions In the opening scene of 'God Bless America' we find our protagonist sitting on the sofa reflecting on modern society and evidently resenting it. The use of the faux archive footage of tv shows and news reports is to establish the issue within the film. The clips that we see are very similar to real world tv shows and news reports, overtly reflecting on our own modern society. Deconstruction within Moving Image To some extent all moving image distorts reality whilst you are watching them. Rather than destroying reality altogether they just deconstruct what your perceptions of life actually are. God Bless America deconstructs by recognizing the logocentrism of film and society and contradicts it. It recognizes the viewer’s longing for a ‘center’, our human thought system depending on the main metaphysical idea of law, order and citizenship and flips it. The idea of a good/evil binary is questioned, much like Derrida’s criticism of structuralism.

The protagonist, Frank, goes on a hell of a spree, heartlessly killing those he feels are "not nice" to make himself feel better. Usually, this would cast him as the antagonist, but through a series of events (losing his job, being rejected by his daughter, discovering he is terminally ill) we feel sympathy towards him. To an extent, we ourselves feel contempt towards his victims and feel relieved and humoured when he silences them. God Bless America Metaphor: Theme's on Time Terminal Illness as a Metaphor for Time:The cause of Breaking Bad’s Protagonist Walter White and God Bless America’s Frank Murdoch’s frustration with life and their turn into the thrill of crime for either a) money or b) a nicer world is based upon the idea that time runs out; or really their time on this planet is running out. In both texts, Terminal Illness [Lung Cancer & a Brain Tumor] hits home to White and Murdoch that they are both mortal, both middle aged, and both dying; and that the side-effect from dying is not having time left to live life. The idea of time as a measurement of value isn’t anything new; clock’s and calendar's, for example are a man-made product to track time, be it the past, present, or future. And the idea of everyone’s time is different and that time is short and easily wasted gives a reason to why character’s White and Murdoch (and with most of the human race) see that time is fleeting and should be spent both productively and selfishly; Keyword being ‘spent’. Time is Money:In context with Sarup’s Guide to Post-Structuralism & Post-Modernism, Time can be seen as a currency, especially in society today, as your not just spending pounds and dollars or yen, but time. It’s evident in language and mannerism like the examples in said book “How do you spend your time?”, “ I don’t have the time for you”, “Time is Money”, and a popular youtube comment “I want my 3 mins back” This ‘Time is Money’ and ‘Money is Time’ perception of life is something everyone is susceptible too as it’s hardwired into everyone who works and earns money for anything to people who cruise through wealth and pay for goods. This animation highlights the extreme of how people can market time and parodies those who push the thought that you constantly waste your time, and in order to do something with your life, you must buy the new iPhone 9 as it’s that bit faster than the iPhone 8S. 2011‘s In Time is a great example of how Time IS Money, the more time you own, the better (or longer) life you’ll live. But spending money takes your time away. It’s a very obvious but nonetheless a great point that our lives are orientated around the idea that time is our own personal currency and that time has grown more than just a metaphor. "I would defend their freedom of speech if I thought it was in jeopardy. I would defend their freedom of speech to tell uninspired, bigoted, blowjob, gay-bashing, racist and rape jokes all under the guise of being edgy, but that’s not the edge. That’s what sells. They couldn’t possibly pander any harder or be more commercially mainstream, because this is the “Oh no, you didn’t say that!” generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we’re supposed to celebrate it." - Frank Deconstructing News media One of Derrida's main concerns has been this privilege of voice as the medium of meaning and the consequent dismissal of writing as a derivative form of expression.
Within the televised news the voice of the anchor who is speaking will be filtering that information into an audience of possibly many different classes and cultures, each with their own ways interpreting what is being said, Derrida believes that writing also should not be overlooked or underestimated as he says western philosophers do. By writing he may not mean any certain coding of symbols that people interpret as what we understand as alphabet but also within the visual world of pictures, which sometimes could tell completely different stories to different audiences that watch. This can also lead to Fantasy to become reality a threat that never existed now exists because somebody said it did, such as Al-Queda which in arabic means the base, if one was to put onto a flag an emblem and the words Al-queda it then exists within most peoples common reality. what are binary oppositions Derrida argues that binary oppositions are a way of seeing rather like ideologies.
we know that ideologies draw sharp distinctions between conceptual opposites such as truth and falsity, meaning and nonsense, center and periphery Derrida suggests that we should try to break down the oppositions by which we are accustomed to think and which ensure the survival of metaphysics in our thinking: The idea of Capitalism and communism of being too opposites because of certain believes about certain people being equal or less equal is theoretically different to one another however when applied to the fields of reality they appear to be more similar than different, America is a capitalistic country, Russia was a communistic country, both of the countries used to have resentment for each other and this was expressed through both of their media networks and also the race for nuclear arms. Both of the nations had very similar poverty ratings during the 1950s and 60s being around the 20%-25%, the only difference between the two are that Americas corporations have a say in politics and share the money with politicians and in Russia it was the government and government branch's that dealt with the business of the country. Derrida's theory of deconstruction allows you to view opposites as something that isnt entirely different and that the words around it may imply bias. http://econfix.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/us-poverty-1960s-levels/ The three men sitting here were the three most powerfull men at one point in time, they sit down together looking very different yet very similar, they shout for different views on things yet they usually end up with the same idea just put into a different context, these men using others ideologies had masses of people following fighting and dying for their "different" views on how to run a country, even Churchill who was elected into power believed and stated that democracy doesn't work which goes against what most people believed they were fighting for during the 2nd world war.
Churchill's famous dictum: "Democracy is the worst form of government" "Deconstruction theory embraces the precept that meaning is always uncertain and that it is not the task of the literary critic to illuminate the meaning in a given text."
"Derrida developed a strategy called “deconstruction” in the mid 1960s. Although not purely negative, deconstruction is primarily concerned with turning something the same as, into a critique of the Western philosophical tradition."
"Deconstruction has at least two aspects: literary and philosophical. The literary aspect concerns the textual interpretation, where invention is essential to finding hidden alternative meanings in the text."
"The deconstructive strategy is to unmask these too-sedimented ways of thinking, and it operates on them especially through two steps—reversing these contractictions or situations and attempting to corrupt the situations themselves."
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