October 19, 2004

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's A Giant Radioactive Lizard!

I fear I have been remiss in not alerting my more high-minded readers of a major cultural and academic phenomenon that will take place next weekend:

"In Godzilla's Footsteps," the first-ever cross-disciplinary scholarly conference about a large, scaly, green, radioactive lizard. Yes, I know. In these trying times, it is important that the leading lights of academia keep our intellectual eyes on the prize, and what better way to accomplish this feat than with a series of star-studded panels and lectures with titles like:

  • "Mobilizing Godzilla: Mourning Modernity as Monstrosity"

  • "Godzilla's Sound: Tuning the Monster to Twentieth-Century Noisescapes"

  • "Godzilla as Postwar Media Event"

  • "Godzilla vs. the (Colonial) Thing"

  • "Hybridity and Negotiated Identity in Japanese Popular Culture"

  • "The Heirs of King Kong: The Godzilla Cycle and Transnational Image Flows"

  • "The Selling of Godzilla: The Diffusion of a Japanese Cultural Icon in Cold War America"

Note the spectre of post-colonialism and the trendy overuse of colons and parentheses in the titles--sure signs that this is A Very Serious Academic Undertaking. We don't whip out those colons for just anybody, you know! Just ignore the fact that a couple of those titles make absolutely no sense: that's merely a convention of the discipline, and in no way reflects upon the actual content (or lack thereof) in the presentations. And that's just Day 1! Of course, not everyone shares the sentiments of Bill Tsutsui, a history professor at the University of Kansas, who "would like people to take Godzilla more seriously."

"Takao Shibata, the Japanese consul general in Kansas City, Mo., said the meeting will help educate people about his nation but acknowledged: "The idea of this kind of serious analysis of the evolution of Godzilla - it never occurred to me." "

For shame, Mr. Shibata! For. Shame.

Thanks to reader Sally for the article and link...

Posted by Big Arm Woman at October 19, 2004 02:09 PM

``Godzilla and the Hulk: Deconstruction Takes on Virtual Reality.''

My own favorite is ``A Lebenswelt Approach to the Homeless.''

see Kothar wa-Khasis ``Choosing Your Names'' _Raritan_ XI:3 (Winter 1992)

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 19, 2004 06:57 PM

Where is the Raymond Burr retrospective?

Posted by: Fred Boness at October 19, 2004 11:51 PM