The Matter of Images: Essays on Representations
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First Published in 1993. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
drawn back, hard voice Tailored suits, shortish hair, overall military precision of dress Fat, shortish hair, loud voiced Fat, shortish hair, loud voiced Female characters Male characters The Maltese Falcon Cairo (figure 5.6) Strangers on a Train Bruno Laura Waldo (figure 5.8) Farewell My Lovely (1944) Farewell My Lovely (1976) Brute Force Lindsay The Big Sleep General Sternwood P. J. Rope Quel Brandon, Philip (figure 5.7) Lindsay Captain Munsey Fastidious dress, crimped hair,
Introduction 3 one apprehends reality only through representations of reality, through texts, discourse, images; there is no such thing as unmediated access to reality. But because one can see reality only through representation, it does not follow that one does not see reality at all. Partial – selective, incomplete, from a point of view – vision of something is not no vision of it whatsoever. The complex, shifting business of re-presenting, reworking, recombining representations is in
Millennium, a whole serial devoted to this ne plus ultra of seriality. They are everywhere. It’s hard to know for sure whether serial killing – more than two killings by the same person on separate occasions for reasons other than greed or personal animus – is truly unique to our times, but the point is that we are inclined to think and feel that it is. Minimally, we may say that modernity permits what other historical periods made diﬃcult. The anonymity of urban life, the separation of work from
feeling guilty is such a burden). Studies of dominance by the dominant should not deny the place of the White 127 writer in relation to what s/he is writing about it, but nor should they be the green light for self-recrimination or trying to get in on the act. Power in contemporary society habitually passes itself oﬀ as embodied in the normal as opposed to the superior (cf. Marcuse 1964). This is common to all forms of power, but it works in a peculiarly seductive way with whiteness, because
visual consistency or what Doane calls the ‘reality eﬀect’). It seems as likely that the haphazard quality of the representation of African-Americans in the ﬁlm is a sign of the conﬁdence with which they could be known – it was enough to nominate them as black for them to be black, regardless of how that blackness was ﬁgured. At the same time, working in a predominantly visual medium, the ﬁlm always signiﬁes blackness by some visual means or other, but in order to ‘say’ this 162 The Matter of