Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Myth activity

Here's one example of how to go about the myth activity for section. One thing I've noticed as I've been trying to tune in to myth around us is how the movie "World Trade Center" and other media on 9/11 often use silhouettes of the Twin Towers as iconic representations of the entire tragedy. And when I saw the San Francisco Chronicle "Datebook" section from August 9, I was surprised that the towers and the sky behind them were allowed to cover up even part of the word "Datebook," dominating the layout of the page:

Clearly these rectangular forms are doing important work for symbolizing the events and stories and all that has come to be associated with the thing called "9/11" (this would be another term good to analyze by the way!). So I scratched my head and tried to think about what the first order signifier and signified are, what the sign they produce is, how that sign then is used (coopted, taken, stolen, borrowed, or the like) as a signifier to be paired with a new signified. Then, in this second order, we should have a myth that uses an 'everyday' sign for a purpose quite different than was originally intended...

(Click on the image to enlarge)

The image on this newspaper cover is complex, with words, images, colors, layout, and other variables all playing a part, and there's no 'one' meaning. So the analysis above is something of a simplification, since I'm only focusing on the rectangular shapes and not Michael Pena and Nicholas Cage's identity as police officers, their upcast eyes, the silhouettes of two people walking between the 'towers', etc. I'll be interested to hear your reactions...have you seen any other examples of '9/11' represented with two iconic towers, meaning something more than just a few buildings? Has your mental image of J.R.R. Tolkien's book (and movie) "The Two Towers" changed at all, the linguistic signifer "two towers" started to be pulled at by myth?

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