Subject Jessie-Hutcheon on Parody
Posted by Kate
Posted on Wed Mar 29 10:30:34 2000
From IP  

Jessie Kuei-yi Chu
Dr. Kate Liu
Postmodern Film and Fiction
22 March 2000

Linda Hutcheon's "The Politics of Parody"

Argument: Postmodernist parody is a value-problematizing, de-naturalizing form of acknowledging the history (and
through irony, the politics) of representation. (94)

I. Parodic postmodern representation
A. Definition of postmodern parody: Parody-often called ironic quotation, pastiche, appropriation, or
intertextuality-is usually considered central to postmodernism, both by its detractors and its defenders. (93)
B. According to her argument, Hutcheon disapproves Jameson's idea of pastiche which is equivalent to empty
parody. The counter example is Salman Rushdie's works. (94)
C. The function of parody
1. Postmodern parody is not ahistorical or de-historicizing but signals how present representations come from past
ones and what ideological consequences derive from both continuity and difference. (93) Postmodern parody does
not disregard the context of the past representations but uses irony to acknowledge the fact that we are inevitably
separated from the past. (94)
2. Parody also contests our humanist assumptions about artistic originality and uniqueness and our capitalist notions
of ownership and property. (93) Through the process of reproduction, parody works to foreground the politics of
representation. (94)
3. In terms of historiographic metafiction, postmodern parody is a kind of contesting revision or rereading of the
past that both confirms and subverts the power of the representations of history. (95)
4. Parody of the past of art is not nostalgic; it is always critical and ironic. (93) Postmodern parody is both
deconstructively critical and constructively creative, paradoxically making us aware of both the limits and the
powers of representation-in any medium. (98)
D. The function of irony: Irony makes these intertextual references into something more than simply academic play
or some infinite regress into textuality: what is called to our attention is the entire representational process-in a wide
range of forms and modes of production-and the impossibility of finding any totalizing model to resolve the
resulting postmodern contradiction. (95)

II. Double-coded politics
A. As form of ironic representation, parody is doubly coded in political terms: it both legitimizes and subverts that
which it parodies. (101)
B. Parody can be used as a self-reflexive technique that points to art as art, but also to art as inescapably bound to
its aesthetic and even social past. Its ironic reprise also offers an internalized sign of a certain self-consciousness
about out culture's means of ideological legitimation. (101)
C. Postmodern parodic strategies are often used by feminist artists to point to the history and historical power of
those cultural representations, while ironically contextualizing both in such a way as to deconstruct them. (102)
D. The politics of representation and the representation of politics frequently go hand in hand in parodic
postmodern historiographic metafiction. Parody becomes a way of ironically revisiting the past-of both art and
history, in a novel like Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children. (103-4)

III. Postmodern film
A. Compared with Modernism, postmodernist is less radical. Postmodernism is more willfully compromised more
ideologically ambivalent or contradictory. (107)
B. The characteristics of postmodern film
1. Self-consciously intransitive representation simultaneously destablizes and inscribes the dominant ideology
through its interpellation of the spectator as subject in and of ideology. Hutcheon argues that the question of
ideology's relation to subjectivity is central to postmodernism. (108)
2. Showing the formation process not just of subjectivity but also narrativity and visual representation has become a
staple of metacinema today. (110)
3. The exploitation is done in the name of contesting the values and beliefs upon which that wholeness is
constructed-with the emphasis on the act of construction-through representation. (110)
C. Woody Allen's film as the representation of postmodern cinema
1. The critique from withiin the institution and history of film production is part of what is postmodern about Allen's
work: its insider-outsider doubled position. (109)
2. Woody Allen's Stardust Memories parodies Fellini's modernist 8 1/2. (107)
3. The parody and metacinematic play in The Purple Rose of Cairo (109)

IV. Conclusion
Hutcheon doesn't approve of Jameson's assertion of postmodern parody and nostalgia are merely narcissistic
symptom which laments a loss of a sense of history in today's art. (113) But she considers parody and nostalgia are
double-voiced irony (114) or double encoding (117) to question and to challenge the dominant ideology and then
to construct the present (history) through representation.

Hucheon, Linda. "The Politics of Parody." The Politics of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1989. 93-117.

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