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Jane Schoenbrun wants to blow up your TV

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Jane Schoenbrun wants to blow up your TV

Jason Parham: Why do people look for identity on television?

Jane Schoenbrun: In a broad cultural sense, we look to media for identity for reasons that are perhaps a little obscure. A lot of this has to do with capitalism and the way we are told that the things we identify with, the brands we align ourselves with, the identities we create for ourselves through the things we consume, are who are. Especially in the last few decades, just from an anthropological perspective, our dependence on media to create a sense of identity has really increased in a pretty scary capitalist way.

The rise of digital media, along with television and cinema, had a lot to do with this.

But I also think that television in particular, unlike film, is a medium that allows for a continuous sense of identification that I think is particularly attractive. It certainly was for me growing up. It wasn’t just 90 minutes in and out and then that’s it. It wasn’t alone Let me make this brief detour from real life to this world.. It was the promise of being in a space that would never actually have to end, or if it did it would be years from now. Certainly for the television shows of my youth.Buffy or the X Files or even twin peaks that he loved very much; while they aired, they were the space for me to express love in a way I didn’t feel comfortable doing in my real life.

It is a parasocial relationship.

So, caring deeply as if they were my own family about the characters on one of those shows and how they were going to change, or mourning a character after they were killed off. It became a really deep ongoing relationship. This is something that the television medium is designed to help.


Furthermore, there is something we can see now in our cultural movement toward intellectual property and toward the “cinematic universe.” This idea that nothing ever has to end, and every Marvel movie tries to set up the next one. To me, there’s something very sinister and childish about this, the way we want to live inside these theme parks of unreality that culturally has a lot to do with how alienated many of us feel from the world.

Isn’t that what Owen, in a sense, also wanted: to live in a theme park of unreality?


For me, one of the central themes of I saw the television shine It’s obsession. Where is the line between healthy obsession and unhealthy obsession?

I don’t know if I would necessarily put it into an unhealthy-healthy binary. I want to resist the temptation to be too moralizing.

OK. How would you say it?

The film is drawn largely from my own autobiography, and especially from the film that was written in the wake of the early stages of my gender transition, when I was remembering my wasted youth, staring at a screen, or facing the fact that I couldn’t not. be myself in the real world looking at the screen. So, I’m not the one trying to point the finger at fandom or have a rant about the dangers of media consumption. It’s more personal than that.

How is that?

It’s something that ultimately didn’t serve me well as I grew older because it was a coping mechanism and a way to hide from the parts of myself that I was repressing. I was holding back because it wasn’t safe not to hold back. It’s a film about hiding in fiction and how holding on to fiction in my early years was a balm. But the longer my adult life went on, the more that repression increased.

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