Monday, April 02, 2007

Anatomy of a Scandal: Anna Nicole, Britney, Monica, Karl, Valerie Plame (?)

Video cast - click here.

All scandals, to be effective as scandals, must contain within them echoes of previous scandals. This idea is evocative of Jacques ... all » Derrida's idea of the trace, and Bakhtin's the dialogical imagination.

What are the functions of scandals and celebrity scandals? They reinforce societal norms and help people understand what "polite" limits are.

Why do people love the idea that as many as ten men have claimed potential paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's child? Observing her behavior scandalizes and liberates -- vicarious experience provides a "frisson" of transgression without actually having to break the rules.

At the same time, let's think a bit about the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Weren't they just like humans, but with worse manners and bigger appetites? Further, they had magical powers...

Are today's media celebrities yesterday's gods of myth and folklore?

Susan Smith Nash is your guide.

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