VIC223Y1 Lecture Notes.docx

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Department
Victoria College Courses
Course
VIC223Y1
Professor
Marcel Danesi
Semester
Fall

Description
Ch1-Cigarettes and High Heels 9/19/2012 6:06:00 AM Cigarettes and Sex Semiotician: People watcher Observing how individuals and groups behave in everyday situations Meaning is everything to a semiotician Tobacco Native to W.Hemisphere and was probably first used in rituals by the Maya and other Native Americans believing it had medicinal and powerful mystical properties Arawake ppl (obs by Columbus) smoked tobacco with a tube (Tobago;derive.fr tobacco) Spain tobacco introduced to France by Nicot (French diplomat)Nicot (after whom tobacco plant was named nicotine) DrakeEnglandpractice of pipe smoking became popular almost right away (Elizabeth courtiers) Early 20 thcentury, cigarette smoking a routine social activity in many parts of the world. Not only fashionable but believed there were health benefits (relieved tensions, etc) Physicians encouraged cigarettes to be sent in ration kits for soldiers ^lung cancer (1930)saw a connection in smoking and cancer1964 confirmed the connectioncigarette advertising banned from radio/tv 1971 (today) laws throughout N.America prohibit smoking in public places, buidlings, etc. People smoke/start smoking because it is meaningful (Semiotician) no surprise since cigarettes have, throughout history, been imbued with various socially based meanings Ex) Body language (Cheryl and Ted) o unconscious mating ritual within gesture and movement o body language that kept the two interested in e/o o Cheryl Smooth sensuality, voluptuous, sultriness held cigarette invitingly btwn her index and middle fondling it gentlyinserted into middle of mouth (slowly/deliberately)=> sexually charged sequence of unconscious movements exhibits fingers and wrist to suitor (areas of body with erotic overtones) hair tossingsame time raising a shoulder to highlight her breasts=>powerful erotic signals of femininity o Ted (form sequential counterpart to Cheryl emphasizing masculinity) Toughness, determination, control Movements are abrupt (slow)legs aparts (crossed)blow smoke downwards (upwards)holds cigarette in sturdy way btwn thumb and middle (dangling index and middle)puts out cigarette with forceful crushing (lingering motion) Smoking and sexual fun and games (socially proscribed) sexual language (Movies) meaningful props in sex and romance Starr [to convey]certain qualities of the smoker Cigarettes have had some connection to something that is erotically, socially, or intellectually appealing. Verboten: Anytime something becomes taboo, it takes on powerful occult symbolism. The more forbidden and the more dangerous, the sexier and more alluring it is Smoking now communicates rebellion, defiance, and sexuality all wrapped into one. Code: system of signs Gestures, movements, words, glancesallow peopleto make and send out meaningful messages in specific situations Ex) Meaningful signs in a dress code o Items of clothing that are worn in different combinations to send out specific kinds of social messages about an individual Mediate relationships between ppleffective shapers of how we think of others and ourselves Gender code: how individuals act Doesnt just unconsciously dictate smoking styles but how indiv. Act, move gesture dess and the like to present an appropriate gender persona Provides a script for social performances Cigarette smoking in adolescence is a coming of age rite ritualized performance to send out signals of sexual difference, maturity, and attractiveness to peers. Male and Female: indiv. Members of species assume distinct sexual roles Mechanism: sensing the other persons sex is an innate of instinctual biological mechanism (Darwin) courtship displays submissive o designed to send out the msg Notice me, I am attractive and harmless o Ex) Cheryls gestureshand placement (on table), shrug, head tiltsubmissive gestures Smoking unfolds as a text Text: a weaving together of signs taken from a specific code Together with gestures, bodily postures, and other actions shown (smoking) constitutes a courtship text And unconscious script that is performed regularly at locales such s nightclubs Nature creates sex, culture and genderwhy there are no gender universals Degendering: tendency to blur and even eliminate traditional gender roles (occurring in western culture) Products of a cultures history Views people develop of gender shape feelings and guide heir attempts to make sense of a kiss, touch and look Enter the Semiotician Association of smoking with sexual attractiveness can probably be traced back to jazz night club scene of the first decades of the 20 thcentury Jazzoriginally ad sexual connotations To jazz suggests such connotations Ex) Speak-easies place to smoke and socialize from the eye of elders Smokingstill goes on It is part of a profane subtext Perceived to be enjoyable, sexy, and subversive Setting itself against the sacred system that wants to prohibit it Movie influences Casablanca Bogartian cigarette image o Rick (Bogart)cigarettedangle on the side of his mouth o Image was so captivating of masculinity to cinemagoers it became instant paradigm of masculine cool Rebel without a cause o Dean getting ready for a fight with cigarette dangling out of his mouth like Bogart Cigarettes are Signs Cigarettesignconjures imagesmeanings of sexual cool Females started smoking early 20 thcentury Perceived as a threatening symbol of equality and independence Virginia Slimsequating cigarette smoking w/female power and womens liberation Brand has emphasized smoking, once male thing, empowers females symbolic prop through which tacitly communicate their independence from social patriarchy Basic goal of semiotics is to identify what constitutes a sign and to infer, document, or ascertain what its meanings are Signifier representamen,sign: have distinctive physical structure Ex) shape of cigarette allows us to differentiate btwn cigars, pipes Signified: designated referent, object Ex)Sexuality, jazz clubs Signification interpretation, meaning: sign evokes particular thought, ideas, feelings, and the like differentially in people Cigarettes are clearly signsthey have all three aspects Physical structure, refer to specific idea, different interpretation
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