05 June 2010

It is Symbol

I remember a time in the late 80s when I'd get infuriated with friends who'd use symbols indiscriminately. My gf started wearing a Palestinian scarf and had no clue or concern about what it meant. Others would adorn themselves with product logos as if were only fashion. I was looking for authentic cultural experiences and meanings, not those fabricated by corporations. I'm finally getting what was and is going on, now that we're well into post modernism. Both examples were about the surface--symbols not as representations of something else, but as the something itself. 

I recently watched Confessions of a Superhero, after reading a colleague's FB post about Hollywood Blvd Superheros getting arrested for being fake Superheros. The irony of it all is being arrested for faking the fake. The film too was about the irony of superheroism and the characters that perform it. It's worth queuing. 

Then there's this piece on the simulacra of Gaga, who "evacuate[s] meaning, conver[ting] evocative symbols into provocative but empty components of style." I really like this wordsmithing--evacuating meaning; I'm going to use it.

The point with both examples is that empty is the goal. There is no original meaning, and it's not negligent, as I had believed, to evacuate meaning. Surface, appearance, symbol, aesthetic, performance are meaning(s). I feel relieved. I don't have to be concerned anymore that we're losing something formerly called cultural heritage because, say, some visitors to the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower may not know or care that there is another Eiffel Tower, some call the original, in Paris.