MIT 1200 Lecture March 16, 2011
Ma Vie en Rose
- Ludovig uses signs that construct a female gender
- hair, makeup, dress, etc.
- Myth is a type of speech. It is not defined by the object of its message, but by the way
it utters its message; myth is a mode of signification, a form.
- Barthes is trying to account for the way social meaning gets stuck to raw material. Why
does lipstick (sometimes made out of lead, fish scales) become a marker for social
- Trying to figure out the connotative level of meaning.
- Drawn by a clumsy child
- A child too poor to buy colour crayons
- Tree, I come to thee. Console me for being only me.
- Minou Drouet
- Barthes starts in the world of linguistic messages.
- He dismisses the differences between types of signs. He wants to talk about more than
just language. Myth can be a painting, speech, diagram, a cup, etc.
- Mythology can be understood through semiotics; it is a study of ideas-in-forms
- p.112 footnote: You don’t see many signs on the sea, but on the beach there are tons:
bathing suits, physical signs, flipflops, etc.
Ferdinand de Saussure
- Taught a course in university called General Linguistics that he knew nothing about. He
discovered that language is a science.
- In his book on the course of General Linguistics:
- Semiotics postulates a relation between three terms: the signifier, the signified, and the
sign (the latter being the associative total of the first two terms)
- Barthes example: Roses.
- Signifier: roses, carrier of meaning, the word. Signified: what I mean when I do
that; passionate love. The content.
“the mental concept” “the acoustic image”
small, fury, four legged C-A-T
- Arbitrary relationship depending on where you are
- Cats are also called chats, depending on where you live/what language you speak
- Semiotics bare no relationship to things in the world
- The thing that language is trying to point to is somehow severed: cats don’t know that
they are cats. MIT 1200 Lecture March 16, 2011
- Myth, for Barthes, is a second-order semiotic system. Like this:
Paris Match Cover; photo French Imperialism
of Black soldier saluting
Sign (the myth itself)
- Barthes wants to bring Saussures system into politics.
- A mythologist is not a linguist per say; we’re interested in the way that signs lead to myth,
not just language.
p.116: Magazine Cover (Paris Match)
- Form: Barthes is interested in how the magazine gets you to look at it
- Concept: French imperialism. Why imperialism? Because it’s a black soldier. He does not
immediately strike you as a native of France
- The Myth Itself: What are the ideological relations that are being sold to us?
- French Colonial Empire (from 1600’s - 1950’s) consisted of a lot of Canada, Northern Africa,
- France was involved in the slave trade
- The education system would have been dominated by French ideas. You would be
taught that slavery was a good thing.
- France was considered the seat of development that African countries were
expected to strive towards
- By the time that Barthes is writing this is 1955 there is resistance; the French
empire started collapsing. Colonies were fighting violently against French rule.
French officials were secretly murdering leaders in various African countries; they
wanted to keep everything the way it was because it gave them economic
- To have a young Black soldier saluting the French flag as his people were being murdered
is a political message. It’s a motivated ideology.
- “Myth is depoliticized speech”
- Signification distorts meaning; this black soldiers gesture is being appropriated to signal
some kind of natural fact of the French empire. Used to establish legitimacy of French
- Three colours, one flag, one empire (pro French-Empire poster)
- It seems so natural, that it goes without saying. But it’s not. It looks as though
connotation is being passed for denotation, but it’s not.
- Canadian Armed Forced Commerical
- Signifier (form)
- North and east coast, battleships and planes
- Two narratives spliced together: plane going down in the North and people are
being deployed to go save them. The second one is people quickly throwing things
off board, drugs, pirate scenario.
- Aesthetic of commercial: dark, blues and greys. No sunshine, grass, cars. No
melody to the music mostly just rhythm.
- Two slogans: Fight Distress, Fight Chaos.
- Signified (concept)
- Rescue missions and protecting our borders from piracy MIT 1200 Lecture March 16, 2011
- You will become a hero if you join the army.
- How could you not help people that are in trouble? Sense of obligation
- Subtle masculinity; showing that they want women too.
- Sympathy and righteousness
- You’ll be working in Canada. The Canadian Forces are not about occupation, we’re
protecting our borders. This implies that you wouldn’t be going to Afghanistan.
- We’re not fighting other people (except maybe the pirates) we’re not shooting
people, but protecting ourselves.
Strong Myths vs. Weak Myths
- A large quan