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Who's Afraid of Mickey Mouse?: Revisiting the Benjamin-Adorno Debate on Disney from a Psychoanalytic Perspective

誰怕米老鼠?:從精神分析之角度重探班雅氏與阿多諾之迪士尼論辯

Abstracts


一直以來,班雅氏與阿多諾對大眾文化的殊異看法被視為兩個極端:前者為大眾文化中蘊藏的解放潛力辯護,後者則擔憂文化工業造成對大眾的欺騙,而這樣的差異也反映在他們對米老鼠卡通的看法上。對班雅氏而言,米老鼠帶領我們進入了一個充滿可能性的集體夢境之中,阿多諾卻認為迪士尼卡通有為施虐-受虐幻想背書之虞,可能造成心理上無可逆轉的退行現象。本論文將從精神分析的角度重新介入兩人對於迪士尼的論辯,以避免簡化地將兩人的歧異視為樂觀與悲觀立場所造成的對峙。本論文認為,班雅民與阿多諾對於迪士尼的不同看法,與他們對幻想的不同評價極為有關:班雅氏所側重的是幻想帶來的創造力與解放的可能,阿多諾則擔憂大眾將以幻想做為逃避現實的管道。事實上,從精神分析的角度看,幻想的功能是雙面的,也因此就某種程度來說,兩人對於迪士尼的觀察都有其正確之處。本論文因此將分三部份來論證,何以班雅氏與阿多諾針對迪士尼所製造/誘發的白日夢所做的評論,都可言之成理。論文第一部份將先援引佛洛伊德(白日)夢的理論,說明他何以將夢視為一種退行、以及這種退行為何被認為具有解放力與朝向未來發展的可能性,透過佛洛伊德理論的對照,當能看出班雅氏對於迪士尼的正面評價,相當符合精神分析理解下所謂幻想的正面功能。但從另一方面來說,阿多諾對於退行的憂慮、也並非與精神分析理論衝突,第二部份因此將說明他批判集體幻想的原因所在。基本上阿多諾所憂心的,是大眾一旦習慣於以幻想逃避現實的苦悶,將在娛樂中忘卻自身受虐的事實,特別是如果這個幻想又是文化工業所製造出來的、刻板化的白日夢,更可能讓沉迷其中的大眾產生否認現實的現象。換句話說,班雅氏與阿多諾其實分別看到了幻想的兩個面向:幻想既有具開創性的一面,也可能造成不可逆的退行。也因此若要較公允的評價米老鼠卡通,還是得就其內容本身進一步分析,論文第三部份即在於探討早期迪士尼卡通的吸引力何在,以釐清其所提供的幻想是否蘊含班雅氏所期待的革命能量,抑或是一種刻板化的白日夢、具有為施虐-受虐狂背書的危險。

Keywords

班雅氏 阿多諾 迪士尼 退行 幻想

Parallel abstracts


It has been assumed that Benjamin's dialogue with Adorno on popular culture ultimately establishes two extremes: Benjamin's defense of its emancipatory potential, and Adorno's fear of mass deception. These divergent views are also apparent in their interpretations of Mickey Mouse. For Benjamin, as the globe-encircling figure of our collective dream, Mickey Mouse ushers contemporary men into a fascinating realm of fantasy. Adorno, however, cautions Benjamin against using concepts like the collective dream or collective unconscious. From Adorno's point of view, the sadistic fantasies or masochistic delusions endorsed by Disney films are prone to incur irreversible regression. Without charging Benjamin for his naive optimism or dismissing Adorno as pessimistic, this paper endeavors to revisit the so-called Benjamin-Adorno debate from a psychoanalytic perspective. Their polarized observations on Disney films, I would argue, are closely related to their different assessments of the function of fantasy. As the nature of fantasy is Janus-faced, it is not far-fetched to assume that their observations can both be justified.The main argument of this paper is divided into three parts. In the first section, I will account for Freud's notion of (day-) dream, why he classifies dream-work as a kind of topographical regression and how he conceives of such regression as liberating or even future-oriented. I contend that Benjamin's upbeat assessment of Disney's beneficent effects is in tune with Freud's conceptualization of (day-) dreaming. On the other hand, Adorno's criticism of regression is not utterly incompatible with Freud's theory. In the second section, I will explore why Adorno distrusts collective fantasy and whether or not he reveals a different dimension of dreams that both Freud and Benjamin pay scant attention to. I suggest that Adorno’s warning against regressive reception should not be hastily dismissed as elitism, for the standardized fantasy fabricated by the culture industry, like stereotyped daydream, does threaten to encourage the disavowal of reality. In the last section, I draw on early Disney films to analyze the appeal of Mickey Mouse, with a view to examining if this cartoon figure might indeed lure the audience into pathologically acting out their fantasies. Or, on the contrary, whether we may glimpse in Mickey Mouse's emergence the utopian potential of the ”cracking open of natural teleology.”

Parallel keywords

Benjamin Adorno Disney regression fantasy

References


Adams, Carol J.(2004).The Pornography of Meat.New York:Continuum.
Adorno, Theodor W.,(Ed.) J . M. Bernstein.(2002).The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture..London:Routledge.
Ronald Taylor.(Ed.)(1986).Aesthetics and Politics.London:Verso.
Benjamin, Walter.,Howard Eiland(Trans.),Kevin McLaughlin(Trans.)(2002).The Arcades Project.Cambridge:Belknap-Harvard UP.
Benjamin, Walter.,Howard Eiland(Trans.),Kevin McLaughlin(Trans.)(1934).Experience and Poverty.Walter Benjamin:Selected Writings.

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