Fear and Loathing Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical term that describes an era or movement in American culture marked by attitudes of skepticism which challenges many of the ideals of Modernism. As an opposition towards the modern era, Postmodernism can be identified in art through its related terms such as fragmentation, hyper-realism, deconstruction, pastiche and ambiguity. Specifically, postmodernism refutes such concepts as reality, the ability to reach perfection, absolute truth, the structures of capitalism, ideals represented within popular culture, political values and other core concepts related to the structures of American culture. The concept is often criticized as a truism for its ambiguity in its very definition. Ironically, ambiguity in relation to truth is as much a description of the term as it is a concept practiced within the cultural movement. For this reason, the term is perhaps most simplistically exemplified and defined through media texts which encode its ideologies. One such media text includes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a film adapted from Hunter Thompson’s 1972 novel. In the following essay, I will define the concept of postmodernism through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The media text uses humor to challenge modernistic ideas of one’s ability to achieve the utopian “American dream,” which is often defined as the realization of ultimate happiness and success. Specifically, Fear and Loathing’s satirical refute of the existence of an American Dream is encoded throughout the film, a theme immediately introduced to the audience. In the opening scene, a series of news clips covering the 1960s Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement plays over “My Favorite Things” a song created for the Broadway musical “Sound of Music.” These violent clips and discordant musical rhythms fade into the review mirror of a flashy red 1971 Chevrolet convertible occupied by two drug fueled main protagonists, Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo,, who...
References: ^ "The Sound of Music". Guidetomusicaltheatre.com. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
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