TELEVISION AND THE “OBJET A”: PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE "BOOB TUBE"

Gregory C. Flemming

Abstract


It was Metz’ project, as Baudry before him, to position the filmic apparatus within its ideological framework in order to expose the medium that had been hidden beneath a discursive concentration on content. Metz and Baudry did not only interrogate the machinery of the cinema – the camera, the projector, the screen, the theatre – but also the position that its subject assumed to it: The cinema’s audience was not an external element, but its constitutive suture. And it was not just that the film industry created this position to empty the pockets of her patron’s; for Baudry, it represented the fulfillment of a centuries old desire to obtain a realer-than-real, as first manifested in Plato’s creation of the hypothetical cave-come-prison. So too for Metz the cinema was “a veritable psychical substitute, a prosthesis for our primally dislocated limbs” (15). My analysis here is similar to that of Baudry and Metz, though its object is different. Here television is unearthed from its content, described in its function as a member of our bodies, psyches, and social environment.

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