Star Wars x Mass Culture
Why is Star Wars so popular? What were the material conditions that set the first film, A New Hope, up for success in 1977? What can a Marxist critique help us understand about the film?
In this episode, Marcelle leads Hannah through a conversation about one of her favorite franchises by first taking a close look at George Lucas's politics and the state of Hollywood in the 1970s. Marcelle and Hannah then think through the movie's seemingly progressive narrative — and the way it's been co-opted by people of all political views. Pulling on the work of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Marcelle offers a Marxist reading of the film's lasting legacy and asks: what is conservative about the film? How does the film work to undermine and/or reinforce the ideology of repressive state apparatuses?
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Material Girls is a new show that aims to make sense of the zeitgeist through materialist critique* and critical theory! Each episode looks at a unique object of study (something popular now or from back in the day) and over the course of three distinct segments, Hannah and Marcelle apply their academic expertise to the topic at hand.
We'll be back in two weeks for another episode, but until then, be sure to check out all the bonus content we have on our Patreon at Patreon.com/ohwitchplease. You can learn more about the show at ohwitchplease.ca and on our instagram at instagram.com/ohwitchplease! Want more from us? Check out our website ohwitchplease.ca.
*Materialist Critique is, at its simplest possible level, a form of cultural critique – that is, scholarly engagement with a cultural text of some kind – that is interested in modes of production, moments of reception, and the historical and ideological contexts for both. Materialist critique is really interested in the question of why a particular cultural work or practice emerged at a particular moment.
“Shopping Mall”: by Jay Arner and Jessica Delisle ©2020
Used by permission. All rights reserved. As recorded by Auto Syndicate on the album “Bongo Dance”.
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