Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Mark McBeth

Subject Categories

American Film Studies | Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Music | Performance Studies | Philosophy | Rhetoric and Composition

Keywords

queer studies, postmodernism, music, pop culture, experimental, memoir

Abstract

What do you get when you mix a girl from Long Island, critical theory, a movie based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, David Bowie, and alternative rock of the early 2000s? A lot of losers, a lot of queerness, and plenty of room for deconstruction.

Part performance studies, part queer studies, and part memoir, this study is a cross-genre and experimental analysis of postmodern ideologies, rock and roll, and comedy. More specifically, I use Jacques Derrida’s notion of “the slash” (Of Grammatology, 1967) in relation to high and low culture via comedies, such that of Wayne’s World, and music such that of David Bowie.

I locate these pop cultural outlets “on the slash” in two specific ways; I analyze Wayne’s World, drawing inspiration from Judith Halberstam’s analysis of Dude, Where’s My Car?in her book The Queer Art of Failure(2011) as living on the “high culture/low culture slash,” and I analyze rock music in much of the same way, but instead of locating its place on the high/low slash, I locate it on the feminine/masculine slash instead. In both of these inquiries, I put the queer elements center-stage in order to deconstruct seemingly male/masculine/dude/bro pop cultural forms.

The overall purpose of this thesis is to create bridges and explore them. That is, the bridge between high and low theory, written in a form that then bridges between academic and autobiographical writing. For myself, I never understood ‘high’ culture/theory until I began the MALS program (and even then I was still a ‘low’ culture/theory advocate), nor did I think academic writing would be useful for creative writing. However, by exploring and thinking, I have come to realize that the binary perspectives about high/low theory represent false dichotomies, and that bridges exist between these not-so-opposite poles: the high and the low, the academic and the autobiographical, and the academic and the creative.

In the words of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar of Aurora, Illinois: "excellent!" (Wayne's World, 1992).

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