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Cronenberg’s Videodrome and the Post-Modern Condition

Cronenberg’s Videodrome and the Post-Modern Condition

In past years, when an artist or philosopher critiqued the reality of the world, it was always presumed that there was a reality to be criticized. However, post-modernity has presented those people with a horrifying new challenge — a world that has literally been so overcome by its technology that the important issues of man’s existence no longer consist of finding answers to questions like “Why are we born to suffer and die?” but merely trying to distinguish between the real and the unreal, which to post-modern man is not esoteric philosophical speculation, but a practical day to day issue. The post-modern trajectory is one that leaves humans fighting not to maintain political supremacy or to break the shackles of injustice, but simply to maintain their identities as real beings in the face of technology’s blurring of the lines between man and mechanics, humanity and machinery, reality and image. This struggle seems to be a losing battle for mankind, as each day the inventions that were meant to bring us pleasure and increase our leisure time, instead dehumanize us by taking a piece of our selfhood for their own with every passing moment. The post-modern social theorist Jean Baudrillard posits that the world of today is a never-ending “virtual apocalypse” of reality yielding to the hyperreal–reality defined not as what, in fact is. but rather that which can be simulated, reproduced, or Xeroxed. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and never has this been more true than in the world of the post-modern, where the only viable strategy left is to take technology’s weapons and turn them to our advantage, in one final attempt to preserve our humanity by somehow finding meaning in the hallucinatory, cybernetic, hyperreal spectacle that is the post-modern condition.

Of all the possible means of gaining the insight into our nature and the nature of the world that is necessary to survive technology’s siege on reality, few media are as powerful as cinema (after all, film provides a uniquely accessible and intense vehicle for ideas), and few film-makers are as adept at dissecting the concept of post-modernity as the Canadian author David Cronenberg. In an age where every passing moment constitutes a further obscuring of the boundary between reality and image, this prophetic director clarifies, cuts through, and captures the very essence of post-modernity, through masterfully done pieces of cinematography that bring technology, obsession, and carnality together and pit them against each other in the horrific battlefield of the mind, each fighting for control of the human psyche.

Male and Female Relations in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

Male and Female Relations in To The Lighthouse

To The Lighthouse exemplifies the condition of women when Woolf was writing and to some extent yet today. It offers a solution to remedy the condition of both men and women. To say the novel is a cry for a change in attitude towards women is not quite correct. It shows the plight of both men and women and how patriarchy is detrimental to both genders. Mrs. Ramsey. Both suffer from the unequal division of gender power in Woolf’s society. Lily is also very much a product of society, yet she has new ideas for the role of women and produces one answer to the problems of gender power. Besides providing these examples of patriarchy, To The Lighthouse examines the tenacity of human relationships in general, producing a novel with twists, turns, problems, and perhaps a solution. Mrs. Ramsey is the perfect, patriarchal woman. She scarcely has an identity of her own. Her life is geared towards men:

If he put implicit faith in her, nothing should hurt him; however deep he buried himself or climbed high, not for a second should he find himself without her. So boasting of her capacity to surround and protect, there was scarcely a shell of herself left for her to know herself by. (Woolf, Lighthouse 38).

Identity is a strong desire in all humanity, yet in a patriarchal society it has been denied to women. Women who are owned by men are mere possessions, having no control over themselves and no way to develop their own personalities. Mrs. Ramsey needs people about her at all times because she has nothing internalized. She must create herself through other people. She is always bouncing off someone else, preferably a male who has power, yet needs her to keep that power. By g…

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… promise of bettering those relations through change. Even today there are strong remnants of patriarchy dominating society. Men consistently climb higher in management and receive higher pay for equal jobs. This novel shows both men and women suffering and struggling with societal roles. The answer to the problem lies with both genders. For as Mill states, “Women cannot be expected to devote themselves to the emancipation of women, until men in considerable number are prepared to join with them in the undertaking” (194). This is not a female problem; it is a human problem.

Works Cited

Mill, John Stuart. “the Subjection of Women.” On Liberty and Other Writings. New York: Cambridge UP, 1989. 119-94.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1929.

—. To The Lighthouse. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace

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