Recently excised from the ‘What’s in a Name?’/’Identity Crisis’/??? subsection of Chapter 2. Clipped for being wordy, jargony, and too on-the-nose. The Derrida ref didn’t help, even though I’m a Derridean:
Superman is weird because he seems so cleanly iconic but has so many different names!
 Superman, in his mediated status as a current pop culture figure, is an example of psycho-socio-historical, imaginative, often explicitly narrativized discourse. But this is where naming becomes qualitatively distinct from categorization or even definition, for, despite all the complexity of that string of adjectives, what more contextualized material–such as feelings or prioritized memories that reinforce the trace of the character–do we call up for ourselves in the utterance of his name? ‘This looks like a job for Superman!’ Don’t you want to deepen your voice a bit as you say it?
So, in my few hours of research on the diminishment, malformation, or absence of the death drive and the potential effects of such a situation, I’ve been a little surprised to have found just frickin’ nothing.
Freud himself said that just about any of the psychical structures he identified could be absent or aberrant in anybody. Am I looking in the wrong places–certainly a possibility–or has this concept/structure just gotten by without any such critical consideration? Do we just presume everyone has a death drive and it’s always only ever appropriately- or overly- functional, and that’s it?
A footnote and accompanying media cut from the following, which is, itself, part of an upcoming piece on the Marvel Omniverse:
…if superhero film narratives are inspired by superhero comic narratives, the whole #itsallconnected ethos only adds the complication of replacing ageing human actors to the problematics of multiversal/time-travelling/title-hopping/otherwise-conveniently-present characters interacting with themselves, others, themselves-as-others, and others-as-themselves.
 A little tangentially: I still don’t get how Logan St. Claire is supposed to be a version of Quinn Mallory. Gender-swap, fine, but why would they have different last names if they’re ‘genetically identical’??? WTF???
Also some bullshit. DROP ZIGGY, YOU FRAUD!!!
Ce ne sont pas Mark Gruenwald
Mark Greunwald (1953-1996) was a writer and editor of numerous Marvel titles, including Captain America, What If?, and most relevantly here, a number of editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
Mark Greunwald is the [psychoanalytic figure of] The Father of the Marvel Universe.
Grueny: Keepin’ it firmly away from The Real since at least ’78.
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.
Barthes, from ‘An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative’:
‘…formalization is a generalization that differs from other generalizations.’
- The word is not the thing. (Actually, Korzybski’s version here.)
- The word ‘thing’ is not the thing.
- The word ‘thing’ is not other words.
- ‘Thing’, as a general(izing/izable) word, holds a different function in linguistic structuration than other words.
‘Doors and mirrors, computers and gramophones, electricity and newspapers, television and telescopes, archives and automobiles, water and air, information and noise, numbers and calendars, images, writing, and voice–all these highly disparate objects and phenomena fall into media studies’ purview.’
-Eva Horn, “There Are No Media”, Grey Room #29