The World as Object- Roland Barthes

The simple act of perception transforms the objective landscape into a human landscape. The Dutch masters have used the canvas as a metaphor for the way that we do this. Their paintings have traditionally shown a world which is utilized by the human. It has also depicted cultural divide between the patrician (the rich, who…… Continue reading The World as Object- Roland Barthes

Mythologies- Barthes on… Ornamental Cookery

Modern depictions of food are concerned more with artifice and ideology than with genuine potential as food to be eaten. Food in our magazines and on television isn’t ‘real’ food. This is what Barthes concerns himself with in Ornamental Cookery. He explains how food in contemporary culture as been given an artificial reality to repackage…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… Ornamental Cookery

How we reduce our lives to symbols and narratives

A picture is about what is included in it. There is an argument to be made that the meaning of a picture is also to be found in what is omitted from the frame, but what is included needs to be seen first in order to establish what is missing. In this way, the totality…… Continue reading How we reduce our lives to symbols and narratives

Why literature is our most important cultural tool

Literature is a tool which shapes culture, and then edifies it. It creates vicarious experiences within the reader, therefore allowing us to live the lives of others. In this way, it is also a tool which crafts us into the individuals we become. Its twofold purpose of crafting culture and individuals is a contiguous, symbiotic…… Continue reading Why literature is our most important cultural tool

Mythologies- Barthes on… Steak and Chips

Steak has a profoundly powerful meaning behind it. Cutting into a perfect medium-rare steak, the sensational flow of juices, the rich smell, that wonderful charred outside and sanguine redness within, the anticipation of that first umami-rich bite, then the feeling of pure bliss as you bite into it. Steak has a flavour and taste like…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… Steak and Chips

Mythologies- Barthes on… childrens toys and their social meaning

What toys are readily available on the market for children to play with says a lot about how children are understood by parents and businesses, and also how children are crafted into adults. Barthes makes note that almost all toys for children are miniature versions of things which adults have. Traditionally, boys are marketed construction…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… childrens toys and their social meaning

Mythologies- Barthes on… the poor and the proletariat

Symbols in popular culture can transform the way we view social classes and their living conditions in a highly conducive way. Barthes praises Charlie Chaplin for the work he did towards the recognition of the plight of the poor. The efficaciousness of Chaplin’s work is in the combinatorial nature of his filmic semiology, his symbol…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… the poor and the proletariat

Mythologies- Barthes on… psychoanalysis and cleaning products

Barthes takes a different stance to the ones we have seen so far. In his essay Soap-Powders and Detergents, he is interested in the place of psychoanalysis in advertising, and in how we view the products we use in our everyday life. He does this in the context of the world’s first ‘Detergent Congress’ (1954).…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… psychoanalysis and cleaning products

Mythologies- Barthes on… literary criticism

His essay ‘bad and dumb criticism’ needs few words to explain perfectly. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation at one point in our lives when somebody has dismissed an aspect of culture because it was ‘too intellectual’ or ‘too abstract’. Barthes argues that the critic has no right to establish this position. He…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… literary criticism

Mythologies- Barthes on… Royal Families

In Barthes’ essay The ‘Blue Blood’ Cruise, he seeks to display a disparity in culture between the working class and the royal family. The disparity is so much greater than even that between the working class and the super-rich that we struggle to imagine them living out their lives in the same way as us.…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… Royal Families