The Trouble with Naming

What have we already named?  What do we not yet have a ‘proper name’ for?  In English, we tend to rely on ‘thing’ as a placeholder until we’ve come to consensus on a better term–or, at least, until various parties have submitted their respective names for the subject and one or a few have shaken out in regular discourse.

Here, then, maybe the start of that process.  What do/should we call those media products that are made to appear within a narrative?  Products that, at some level, are still made for us–the real-world audience–yet which don’t directly acknowledge any intended audience but that of the narrative in which they appear?  Should we be calling them full-fledged ‘media products’ in the first place, or does their contingency on the larger narrative somehow negate the fact that they were yet produced and can be independently viewed, at least sometimes?  For example, see the comic book that appears in the trailer for Logan, a page of which was released via Tumblr, as well as the newscast that serves as the trailer for Stranger Things‘ second season.

Are these ‘inward facing’? ‘Narrative-bound’? ‘Viewer-blind’?  None seems entirely accurate for the unusual position of this type, though I’m not yet sure that the two examples cited above are even the same animal themselves.  Specifically, the end of the Stranger Things newscast, in which we see only an empty chair, might be the point at which that product specifically stops being for its own narrative realm and starts being only for us.

Suggestions for tagging this phenomenon would be welcome.

 

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