Recent Comments

Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking
Mariana Lins

The intersection of Fisher’s stardom, mental health advocacy, and candidness about substance abuse that you pointed out here can also be seen on the cover of Shockaholic, the next memoir she wrote after Wishful Drinking, in 2011. Again the picture of Princess Leia is on the cover, but we can’t see her face. Last year, her last memoir The Princess Diarist’s cover finally had a picture of Leia on it though. I wonder if the absence of her face in the first two books but not in the last one can be explained by her settling down when it comes to this role.

Carrie Fisher and the ageless princess
Mariana Lins

Tanya, I think Princess Leia’s character herself is already a great contribution to the women’s representation in sci-fi movies. After The Force Awakens premiere and the event I just described in my piece, I feel that Carrie’s reaction was very positive to the discussions on ageism, although, as an actress with few opportunities in Hollywood, she could not avoid Disney’s pressure under her weight, for instance. She was very outspoken, and that was nice of her, and very opened to discuss how uncomfortable and humiliating, to say the least, was the body shame culture in industry, but ultimately she was never really able to escape from that. For many reasons she had to give in somehow. Even so, both Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia, whether as a sex symbol or a general, gave us the chance to bring this subject to light so that we can rethink the double standard imposed by Hollywood and how it affects our own perceptions and consumption as audience. We can no longer ignore the aging process in pop culture.

Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking
Tanya Zuk

This is a wonderful analysis of an image and icon! Though I always knew that Lucas had kept the rights for merchandising, it never occurred to me how that would affect the actors and their own need to interact with the icons they have portrayed, which is particularly important for Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia—as the two are so often publicly intangled.

Carrie Fisher Then and Now
Tanya Zuk

I think the public mourning of cultural icons highlights no only the areas of impact that icon was most associated with, in the case of Carrie Fisher—Star Wars, mental health and addiction advocacy, and feminism, but it is also a public mourning for the personal associations where celebrity intersects with mundane life.

Carrie Fisher and the ageless princess
Tanya Zuk

I know Carrie Fisher encouraged Daisey Ridley to “fight for her costume” to make sure that she was comfortable in her outfits, and in control of her representation within the franchise. How do you think Carrie (and other women in Hollywood) are helping younger generations (both actress and audiences) gain more control over their image, whether as a sex symbol or as a general, young or aged?

The Women Strike Back
Virginia Massignan
Tanya Zuk

I like your attention to the different generations involved in the event, since it’s an important element of the resonance and circulation of these images, and of successfully making fan activism a lesson in civic duty for younger generations.

Safiyya

I enjoyed this post. I think one of the remarkable aspects of comic book storytelling is the potential for the audience to fill in the blanks between panels. It sounds like Labelle and Frachette have used this ability to poignantly transcend the meaning of gender identity.

Christine Becker

The takedown here is very frustrating, but it does us the inadvertent favor of highlighting an issue that should be addressed in discussions of videographic criticism right now, and that’s Fair Use. Writing out a description of what you saw in the works can’t bring the point across as effectively as the visualization of it, yet you wouldn’t have to worry about being asked to take down a text. This has been an issue in print scholarship when it comes to the use of images and screen grabs, but the use of video clips brings it to another, more complex level, whether it’s the technology you need to make workable clips, the right to manipulate the original images, or the ability to distribute the finished work on public and scholarly platforms. (I wonder where the Critical Commons website might fit into this?) There’s also a fascinating larger theoretical question here that is well illustrated by this post’s findings: How can manipulating an original work or juxtaposing it with another potentially change the meaning of it, and how might original copyright holders and creators feel about that in aesthetic, not just economic, terms?

Jaap Kooijman

Unfortunately, yesterday Vimeo has removed my “In Their Own Words” video “in response to a takedown notice submitted by Netflix, Inc. pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act”—hence, the “Sorry. This video does not exist” notification. Not without irony, I initially hesitated to make the video public, for different reasons. First, as explained above, this particular video was intended as an audiovisual research exercise rather than a publishable essay. Second, the documentaries are recent and popular commodities, produced by major media companies (HBO and Netflix, respectively). Although the legal discussion about copyright is extremely relevant, the main aim of this post was to highlight the added value of the audiovisual essay as research practice.

Patriotic Pepe
Melanie Wolske

Hi Richard,

I just saw your comment! Thank you so much for your insights! Your point about the right’s use of memes is especially poignant now with the CNN/Reddit debacle. In my personal experience, political memes created by the left on Twitter and Tumblr are increasingly about coping and self-care in these trying times… a form of gallows humor, so to speak. Yet, the right seems to weaponize memes to attack what they perceive as the establishment (the media, traditional Republicans, academia, the liberal society), and in that regard, I do believe they’re subversive, although dangerously so. However, whenever those in power start to appropriate meme culture — whether on the left or the right — any potential for subversion immediately evaporates IMO. Memes are in their essence counter-culture and thus I think they don’t work when employed by the powerful. Thank you again for your response!