Re: Films: The Prisoner

3 questions:
1) What does it mean if Gilligan is oppressed (by the Professor, Skipper,
and Millionaire), and yet at the same time, is the "opressor" of Ginger?
2) And is it true that Ginger and Mary-Anne are lovers as implied vis-a-vis
'Dazed and Confused' (i.e. the bathroom scene)?
3) And if Gilligan's Island itself was merely an excuse to be 'stranded' in
a paradise (of unlimited resources) under the pretext of experiencing the
plethora of polysexuality under the strict guidance and direction of
Gilligan himself, wouldn't this explain the naming of the show, or was
"Gilligan's Island Sex-fest" simply too long?

> From: Chris Owen <chrsowen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Films: The Prisoner
> Date: Monday, February 23, 1998 5:22 AM
> Since the subject of the televison series "The Prisoner" has come up I
> thought many may be interested in this intriguing reading of the series,
> "Gillans Island". What should be noted is the astute and insightful
> critique created by the author from this riveting and humourous drama....
> L'Isle de Gilligan
> The hegemonic discourse of postmodernity valorizes modes of expressive
> and ``aesthetic'' praxis which preclude any dialogic articulation (in, of
> course, the Bakhtinian sense) of the antinomies of consumer capitalism.
> But some emergent forms of discourse inscribed in popular fictions
> as a constitutive element, metanarratives wherein the characteristic
> of consumer capitalism are sub-verted even as they are apparently
> A paradigmatic text in this regard is the television series Gilligan's
> Island, whose seventy-two episodes constitute a master-narrative of
> imprisonment, escape, and reimprisonment which eerily encodes a Lacanian
> construct of compulsive reenact-ment within a Foucaultian scenario of a
> panoptic social order in which resistance to power is merely one of the
> forms assumed by power itself. (1) The ``island'' of the title is a
> pastoral dystopia, but a dystopia with a difference-or, rather, a
> with a differance (in, of course, the Derridean sense), for this isa
> dystopia characterized by the free play of signifier and signified. The
> key figure of ``Gilligan'' enacts a dialect of absence and presence. In
> his relations with the Skipper,the Millionaire, and the Professor,
> is there pressed, the excluded, the Other: he is the id to the Skipper's
> ego, the proletariat to the Millionaire's bour-geoisie, Caliban to the
> Professor's Prospero. (2) But the binarism of this duality is
> by Gilligan's relations with Ginger the movie star. Here Gilligan
> is the oppressor: under the male gaze of Gilligan, Ginger becomes the
> Feminine-as-Other, the interiorization of a``self'' that is wholly
> constituted by the linguistic con-ventions of phallocratic desire
> in mind, of course, Saussure's langue/parole distinction). That Ginger
> iden-tified as a ``movie star'' even in the technologically bar-ren
> confines of the desert island foreshadows Debord's con-cept of the
> ``society of the spectacle,'' wherein events and``individuals'' are
> to simulacra. (3) Indeed, we find a stunningly prescient example of what
> Baudrillard has called the ``depthlessness'' of America in the
> apparent``stupidity'' of Gilligan and, indeed, of the entire series.(4)
> The eclipse of linearity effectuated by postmodernity, then, necessitates
> new approach to the creation of modes of liberatory/expressive praxis.
> monologic and repres-sive dominance of traditional ``texts'' (i.e.,
> has been decentered by a dialogic discourse in which the``texts'' of
> popular culture have assumed their rightful place. This has enormous
> implications for cultural and social theory. A journal like Dissent,
> instead of exploring the question of whether socialism is really dead,
> would makea greater contribution to postmodern discourse by exploring the
> question of whether Elvis is really dead. This I hope to demonstrate in
> future study. Notes:1. Gilligan himself represents the transgressive
> poten-tialities of the decentered ego. See Georges Thibault, Jouissance
> Jalousie dans L'Isle de Gilligan, unpub-lished dissertation on file at
> Ecole Normale Su-perieure (St. Cloud).2. Gilligan's Island may be
> periodized into an early, Barthean phase, in which most episodes ended
> an exhibition of Gilliganian jouissance, and a second phase whose main
> inspiration is apparently that of Nietzsche, via Lyotard. The absence of
> any influence of Habermas is itself a testimony to the all-pervasiveness
> Habermas's thought.3. The 1981 television movie Escape from Gilligan's
> Is-land represents a reactionary attempt to totalize what had been
> theorized in the series as an untotalizable herteroglossia, a bricolage.
> The late 1970s influenceof the Kristevan semiotic needs no further
> commenthere.4. Why do the early episodes privilege a discourse of
> And what of the title-Gilligan's Island? In what sense is the island
> ``his''? I do not have the space to pursue these questions here, but I
> hope to do so in a forthcoming book.

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