The Seinfeld Analog from Bresland on Vimeo.I've never liked "Seinfeld," for reasons that mostly evade me now. Perhaps it hit when I wasn't really watching television--during college, during a year out of the country, etc. Though I was one of those graduate students in the 1990s who saw pop cultural artifacts as the juiciest of texts to theorize, "Seinfeld" seemed to celebrate the narcissism of the culture through its profoundly narcissistic characters--all of whom the audience was invited to laugh at. Like a sitcom version of the Jerry Springer show, the audience was allowed to feel smugly superior to the jackassery of the fumbling Elaine, the ridiculous Kramer, etc.
John Bresland's fascinating video essay, "The Seinfeld Analog" juxtaposes three motifs--his obsession with a fast car from his youth, the genocide in Rwanda, and Seinfeld; through this juxtaposition, we see how difficult it is to navigate the insularity of our own culture in the face of our connectedness and distance to global catastrophes. He doesn't propose to judge Seinfeld or us, but simply to hold a mirror to our cultural conundrum.
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