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Postmodern Village
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The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
18th Annual
Conference

Benstein ForemanGeorge Plimpt'em: the Decline and Fall of the Highbrow Huckster, or We Only Sold Wine Before This Time
by Benstein Foreman

Beginning with George Plimpton's Intellivision gaming system ads and Orson Welles' wine ads put Foreman's problem into sharp relief: in order to add genuine credibility to a product, doesn't the celebrity endorser have to have, you know, credibility? And so a measure of public trust headed drainwise over the next three decades. “If it's good enuf for Snooki, it's good enuf for me,” indicts me, not Snooki. But to cope, we still pass the Paul Masson.

Jerry Morey RafaelDonahuman: Talkshow Identity and the Creation of the Collective Self
by Jerry Morey Rafael

Rafael's video montage juxtaposing people on talk shows with pop music videos and person-on-the-street footage was considerably better than the paper itself and proved the godfather of talk show's basic premise: God is not in his heaven and all is not right with the world. But we all had the chance to shame the panel during the back half of the presentation: order restored.

Ricky RiveraDonahuge: How Talkshow Culture Satisfied Our Desire for Fame and Fulfilled Warhol's Prophecy, a Promulgation in Three Oprahs
by Ricky Rivera

Much more optimistic than Rafael, Rivera contends that the talk show provides catharsis for the struggling closeted stock-broker/cross-dresser/relative-marrier/lying ho in all of us. The need to celebritize our inner ick for 15 minutes of splenetic venting seems reasonable but for the tendency of TV to normalize behavior. The advantage of Oedipus is that it's clearly a tragedy.

Reilly O'PollanBaba GaNuge: Omnivores, Locovores and the Power of Rock
by Reilly O'Pollan

Looking past the wild-caught, bow-dropped venison and the samples of locally grown eggplant dip, O'Pollan's idea that the rebellious nature of rock 'n' roll pushed us toward rejecting the corporate Foodocracy is a bit tenuous. “Out here in these fields, we plow for our meals” just doesn't have the same ring to it.

#11Acceptable Curt(sies): QC, QE, and the Tyranny of Protocol: an Evaluation in Inspectionville
by #11

There's something Foucaultian about tracking back the bureaucratic functions of quality control to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but the differences between aristocracy and corporatocracy aren't all that great after all. Having to go through an inspection in order to get out of the conference room was a compelling conclusion: I still have the little chit that says I passed.

Jack Ellliot FergusonPrincess Beatrix Hat Trick: Milliner with the Floss, a Deconstruction in Postmodern Haberdashery
by Jack Ellliot Ferguson

Part football rally, part fashion show, Ferguson's presentation decentered our notions of headgear to the point that we could see the semiotics of it from all the way out the sheepcote.

Chance HayesFair to Middleton: Meteoric Fame, Meteorology, and the Atmospherics of Attitudes, a Forecast in Two Vows
by Chance Hayes

Or the social butterfly effect? Hayes' special effects mashing up storm footage with paparazzitization was dramatic if, in the end, unconvincing: you don't need the sun to know which way the stink flows. But the celebs who manage to weather the press storms best are the ones whose personal atmospheres always appear fair: like Will and Kate, they know when to head underground.

Papers, Part 3