(con)juncture was lawson fletcher's thought pile. Now blogging at soundofruins.net
"stay critical or die!" | email | (con)temporary


mtv's jackass

Remember? Of course you do - the pain, the scat, the skating, the public humiliation (of both public and actors).

Anyway, it's definitely ripe for analysis, has copped a bit already:

Chivers Yochim, Emily. 'From “Jackasses” to “Wildboyz”: Neverending Adolescence and (De)stabilizing White Masculine Power on MTV', Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA. (see also thesis)

Shanken, Andrew M. 'The Sublime “Jackass”: Transgression and Play in the Inner Suburbs'

Brayton, Sean (2007) 'MTV's Jackass: Transgression, Abjection and the Economy of White Masculinity', Journal of Gender Studies. 16(1): 57-72.

Shafer, Gregory (2005) 'Media and Men: The Making of a Jackass', Reassessing American Culture.

Need to look at - do these articles say 'all' there is to say on the subject? Do they consider its origins in skateboarding 'subculture' and its alternative media aesthetics? Need to consider the primarily physical/affective (and yes, masculinist) dimension from which both emerge, and why they emerged at particular time in history. Look at director cross-over (Spike Jonze), relation to magazines like Big Brother, movie spin-offs (most 'un-movie' movies ever), television show spin offs and pretenders (The Dudesons), the line between reality and 'play acting' (physicality/violence as a kind of flatline assertion of authenticity), homosocial tendencies inherent, etc. etc.

And another thing:

If 'the personal is political', then is the destruction/invasion of the male body some kind of politics?

(Applies equally to skateboarding; does it automatically circumscribe involvement to males? Well, to say this itself is prescriptive, as if physical inevitably = male - look at gender studies of skateboarding)

Which is another way of asking - is there anything good about it? Beyond the level of representation/critique?

skateboarder as flâneur

"Benjamin noted a contradiction at work in the figure of the flâneur, however - that, while he subjected the urban world to an 'individualising' gaze (ie., his own), he simultaneously assisted in the erasure of individuality by reducing what he saw to a series of statistical points" (Gelder, Ken (1994) 'Vampires in the (Old) New World: Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicals', Reading the Vampire)

"In this sense, skaters see the city as a set of objects. Yet cities are not things, but the apparent form of the urbanisation process, and are in fact filled with ideas, culture and memories, with flows of money, information and ideologies, and are dynamically constitutive of the continual reproduction of the urban. To see the city as a collection of objects is then to fail to see its real character. And this is exactly the failure one could say of skateboarding, which does little or nothing to analyse the processes which form the urban; instead, the phenomenal procedures of skateboarding rely entirely on the objectival nature of the city, treating its surfaces – horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curved – as the physical ground on which to operate." (Borden, Iain 'A Performative Critique of the American City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding')

What the quotes say, really. Looking at the failures rather than utopian possibilities of skateboarding; need to be recognised and interrogated. Argument for more 'concrete' forms of urban transformation ie. skateparks? Problems with visualist description of flâneur abound; not really willing to take this further. But contradictions both quotes speak to are important...



beyond subjects and objects; think in terms of connective worlds, neural pathways made manifest, etc etc

"We touch objects, and they touch us" [sic?] (Handbook of Material Cultures]

Dissolution? No, just beyond.

Fisher, Tom (2004) 'What We Touch, Touches Us: Materials, Affects, and Affordances' Design Issues. 20(4): 20-33.