Myth today[ edit ] In the second half of the book Barthes addresses the question of "What is a myth, today? The front cover of the Paris Match magazine that Barthes analyzes Following on from the first section, Barthes justifies and explains his choices and analysis. He calls upon the concepts of semiology developed by Ferdinand de Saussure , who described the connections between an object the signified and its linguistic representation such as a word, the signifier and how the two are connected. So with a word or other linguistic unit the meaning apprehended content and the sound come together to make a sign.
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Posted by A. But instead of looking to the classic myths that gave rise to western society, Barthes examines the cultural milieu of mid-century France with unrepentant scorn. Barthes main critique, with the exception of wrestling for which he had a cheery fondness, is that mass culture numbs the mind while feeding the mouths of the bourgeoisie.
In other words, the new opiate of the masses is the insidious religion of mindless consumerism. Barthes criticism of mythology is based on capitalistic consumption. As a consumerist society we are trained to desire that which is owned only by the cultural elite. When we acquire this object of desire it no longer has the power it once had because it is consumable and accessible.
It has become ubiquitous and ceases to have the same meaning it once had. A cultural myth exists in only excess; it is something that goes beyond itself in making meaning. The very object is transformed into something grander and more profitable.
It does not matter that the British make better apple pies than Americans. Observable fact does not trump the excess. Myth is the means through which meaning is projected, unfolded, and consumed. Myth is the power that controls society. This is not to say that all myth is destructive.
The characters presented are fully attuned to their particular role. Instead they are subsumed into the action, and they become willing participants in the drama that is played out in front of them.
The power of wrestling lies in its repetition. A wrestling aficionada understands that the realness of a match does not depend on the opinion of the outside world but what it reveals about the outside world. While the grand theatricality of wrestling blinds the doubters to the veracity of the event, the true fan knows that the excess only establishes its truth and draws the enthusiast into a ritualized reenactment of what has already been, is now, and what will continue to be.
The Spectacle of Excess: Roland Barthes, Wrestling, and the Eucharist
I begin today with essay 1- wrestling. Barthes begins with wrestling exactly because of the transparency of actions and symbols. It is a spectacle of excess. Every single action has to be exaggerated, and has the character of the ancient Greek theatres. What makes it like the ancient Greek theatres? Firstly, it is the seating and lighting, the character of the view.