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Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern [1st ed.]
 9783030570453, 9783030570460

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-x
Introducing the Liquid Modern Desert Island (Barney Samson)....Pages 1-20
(In)Coherent Desert Islands: Desert Island Discs and Bounty Chocolate in Print (Barney Samson)....Pages 21-40
Community on the Desert Island: The New Yorker Cartoons and Gilligan’s Island (Barney Samson)....Pages 41-62
Repression and Seduction: The Blue Lagoon and Bounty Chocolate on Screen (Barney Samson)....Pages 63-85
Mobility, Instantaneity and the Desert Island: Cast Away and Lost (Barney Samson)....Pages 87-109
Anxiety and Eroticism on the Desert Island: Dear Esther and Love Island (Barney Samson)....Pages 111-134
Back Matter ....Pages 135-139

Citation preview

Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern Barney Samson

Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern

Barney Samson

Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern

Barney Samson London, UK

ISBN 978-3-030-57045-3 ISBN 978-3-030-57046-0 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: © John Rawsterne/patternhead.com Cover design by eStudioCalamar This Palgrave Pivot imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Acknowledgements

This project started life as a doctoral thesis at the University of Essex. I am deeply indebted to Jeffrey Geiger and Marina Warner for their thoughtful and incisive work as supervisors, which always prompted and encouraged me to productively rethink, reshape and rework. Without their expert advice and constructive criticism, this project would be immeasurably poorer. Among many other colleagues and friends, Peter Hulme, Jordan Savage and Tom Waters also provided insightful feedback and warm collegial support. I am extremely grateful to be part of the Island Poetics Research Group: I have spent many fruitful and happy hours discussing islands with my colleagues Daniel Graziadei, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane and Johannes Riquet, who have also been tirelessly supportive. Gábor Gergely has been a supremely generous and encouraging academic mentor through the BAFTSS Early Career Mentoring Scheme. I thank Ashwini Elango, Shukkanthy Siva, Emily Wood and Lina Aboujieb for their guidance and editorial assistance. Invaluable encouragement and assistance were provided by my family: David, Holly, Nicola, Peter and Richard. A huge thank you to Lou, without whose incredible practical and emotional support this book simply would not exist. Finally thank you to Edie and Jude, for the joy you bring.

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Contents

1

Introducing the Liquid Modern Desert Island 1.1 Island-Ness and Desertedness 1.2 Solid and Liquid Modernities References

1 1 9 17

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(In)Coherent Desert Islands: Desert Island Discs and Bounty Chocolate in Print 2.1 Desert Island Discs 2.2 Bounty Chocolate in Print References

21 21 29 38

Community on the Desert Island: The New Yorker Cartoons and Gilligan’s Island 3.1 The New Yorker Cartoons 3.2 Gilligan’s Island References

41 42 49 60

Repression and Seduction: The Blue Lagoon and Bounty Chocolate on Screen 4.1 The Blue Lagoon 4.2 Bounty Chocolate on Screen References

63 63 73 84

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CONTENTS

Mobility, Instantaneity and the Desert Island: Cast Away and Lost 5.1 Cast Away 5.2 Lost References

87 87 97 108

Anxiety and Eroticism on the Desert Island: Dear Esther and Love Island 6.1 Dear Esther 6.2 Love Island References

111 112 119 131

Index

135

List of Figures

Fig. 1.1 Fig. 1.2 Fig. 1.3 Fig. 2.1

Fig. 2.2

Fig. 2.3

Fig. 3.1

Fig. 3.2

Flynn Rider’s sponge island (Still from Tangled, 2010. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.) The island kingdom of Corona (Still from Tangled, 2010. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.) Te Fiti and the creation of a sea of islands (Still from Moana, 2016. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.) A New Chocolate Thrill! (Bounty chocolate advert. Illustrated magazine, 28 February 1953, p. 7. © British Library Board [LOU.LD114, p. 7]. © Mars Inc./Illustrated) New Chocolate Thrill! (Bounty chocolate advert. Illustrated magazine, 23 May 1953, p. 7. © British Library Board [LOU.LD114, p. 7]. © Mars Inc./Illustrated) New … far and away the best catch in chocolate treats (Bounty chocolate advert. Picture Post, 4 September 1954, pp. 2–3. © British Library Board [NEWS12024, pp. 2–3]. © Mars Inc./Picture Post) Gilligan’s Island title screen (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Two on a Raft.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 26 September 1964. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) The “south end” of Gilligan’s Island (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Music Hath Charms.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 27 March 1965. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

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LIST OF FIGURES

Fig. 3.3

Fig. 4.1

Fig. 4.2

Fig. 4.3

Fig. 4.4 Fig. 4.5 Fig. 4.6

Fig. 5.1

Fig. 5.2 Fig. 5.3

Fig. 5.4

Fig. 5.5

Fig. 6.1 Fig. 6.2

The “west end” of Gilligan’s Island (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Music Hath Charms.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 27 March 1965. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) The island not quite contained by the frame (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved) Out of focus wedding viewed through the stereoscope (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved) Blood on the stone altar (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved) The monadic Bounty island (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.) The “Bounty is coconut” (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.) The Bounty hunters reclining on the beach (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.) The island, not contained by the frame (Still from Cast Away, 2000. © Dreamworks LLC and 20th Century Studios, Inc.) Chuck Noland arrives home (Still from Cast Away, 2000. © Dreamworks LLC and 20th Century Studios, Inc.) The Smoke Monster’s perspective (Still from Lost episode “The 23rd Psalm.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 11 January 2006. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved) The island turns into light (Still from Lost episode “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 29 May 2008. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved) The “flash sideways” church (Still from Lost episode “The End.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 23 May 2010. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved) Indecipherable text (Still from Dear Esther, 2013. 2012 © Sumo Digital Ltd.) Fragmented bodies (Still from Love Island credit sequence. Originally broadcast on ITV2, 2019. © ITV Studios Ltd. and Motion Content Group Ltd.)

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CHAPTER 1

Introducing the Liquid Modern Desert Island

Abstract This introductory chapter is structured around two watery concepts: the etymology of the word ‘island’ as watery land and Zygmunt Bauman’s theorisation of the liquid modern. Difficulties arise when one interrogates the idea of a ‘desert island.’ What is an island? What does it mean to be desert(ed)? Who counts as an inhabitant? The introduction surveys and then complicates various contradictory meanings that have been attached to desert islands in post-war popular culture, outlines the critical context and groundwork of the following chapters and summarises the book’s argument. Keywords Island-ness · Desertedness · Solid modernity · Liquid modernity

1.1

Island-Ness and Desertedness

In Disney’s film Tangled (2010), an adaptation of the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy tale, handsome thief Flynn Rider describes in song an avaricious vision: he imagines himself “On an island that I own / Tanned and rested and alone / Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” As Flynn sings, the film cuts to a close-up of a cauldron, with a sponge floating in soapy water (Fig. 1.1). He places a unicorn figurine on the sponge, figuring it © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_1

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Fig. 1.1 Flynn Rider’s sponge island (Still from Tangled, 2010. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

(and by extension himself) as the sole occupant of an otherwise uninhabited island. This representation contrasts with that of Corona, the island kingdom that is Rapunzel and Flynn’s ultimate destination. Corona is an inhabited island joined to the mainland by a road bridge. Unlike Flynn’s ‘sponge’ island, Corona resists being contained by the cinematic frame; in the film’s closest approximation of a totalising view, the island is obscured by hundreds of floating lanterns (Fig. 1.2). These two contrasting island representations contain various characteristics that have historically been assigned to islands. Focusing on the post-war period that Zygmunt Bauman calls the “era of liquid modernity” (2006, 188), this book engages with the ways in which desert islands in anglophone popular culture have complicated and destabilised these meanings. Ottmar Ette would dispute the designation of Corona as an ‘island’ kingdom. For Ette, if streets “continue beyond the island … then they succeed in continentalizing the world of islands” (2007, 115). Ette’s analysis is arguable (and is productively complicated by Godfrey Baldacchino’s collection Bridging Islands, 2007) but highlights that islands have often been conceived of as separate spaces, somehow qualitatively different to continents. This raises the question of what an island is. The OED definition of a “piece of land completely surrounded

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Fig. 1.2 The island kingdom of Corona (Still from Tangled, 2010. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

by water” (OED Online 2020) is practically meaningless: so is every land mass, if one zooms out far enough. The OED goes on to tell us that the word ‘island’ is derived from the Old English ‘ígland,’ and ‘íg’ from ‘éa’ (water); thus ‘islands’ can be seen as etymologically ‘watery’ (cf. Beer 1989, 16). The relevance of this watery definition can be observed in a consideration of Mont-Saint-Michel, the French tidal island and medieval abbey, to which Corona bears a close resemblance. Historically, Mont-Saint-Michel could only be reached at low tide, when its sand flats were revealed. Such fluctuating geophysicality challenges any definitive understanding of how to distinguish ‘island’ from ‘continent.’ A raised causeway was built in 1879 and a new bridge in 2014, apparently “continentalizing” the island, in Ette’s definition. However, in March 2015, a “super tide” completely submerged the bridge (Fleury and Raoulx 2017, 14), re-constituting Mont-Saint-Michel as an island disconnected from the mainland. To continue the water-based metaphor, what constitutes an island is “slippery” (Edmond and Smith 2003, 5). Recent critical theory has emphasised the importance of water to conceptions of islands. Kamau Brathwaite’s conception of tidalectics, a cyclical vision of islands, takes as its founding metaphor not the border but “the ripple” of water (cf. Naylor 1999, 145). Elizabeth DeLoughrey

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developed this in her call for the development of an “archipelagraphy” (2001); Elaine Stratford also advocates “[t]hinking with the archipelago” (2013, 4). Philip Hayward has coined the term ‘aquapelago’ to refer to an “assemblage of the marine and land spaces of a group of islands and their adjacent waters” (2012, 5). Each of these approaches prioritises island connectedness and owes a debt to Epeli Hau‘ofa’s distinction between “viewing the Pacific as ‘islands in a far sea’ and as ‘a sea of islands’ … in which things are seen in the totality of their relationships” (1994, 152–53). The representation of islands in another Disney film, Moana (2016), depicts such an archipelagic connectedness. The opening voiceover narrates a Polynesian creation story: “In the beginning there was only ocean. Then the Mother Island emerged. Te Fiti.” The stylised animation shows first a personified island and then a “sea of islands,” interlinked by the leafy green tendrils that Te Fiti sends forth (Fig. 1.3). Tui, the island’s patriarch and Moana’s father, has banned her from sailing past the reef. He presents a reductive ‘Western’ view of islands as bounded: “Motunui is paradise. Who would want to go anywhere else?” Moana defies Tui and eventually convinces him that the islanders should, like their ancestors, be archipelagic voyagers. Elizabeth DeLoughrey suggests that “the desert-isle genre” places a particular emphasis on “the boundedness of islands” (2007, 20). Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern complicates DeLoughrey’s assertion by examining the ways in which recent desert island representations

Fig. 1.3 Te Fiti and the creation of a sea of islands (Still from Moana, 2016. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

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challenge such delimitation. The OED defines a desert island as “an uninhabited, or seemingly uninhabited, and remote island” but cites an early seventeenth-century source that refers to “desart Islandes inhabited of wilde men” (OED Online 2016; cf. Riquet 2019, 15). This contentious description provokes the question of who counts as an inhabitant (cf. Beer 2003, 40), with troubling implications: the suggestion that an island is empty can stand as a validation of colonialism (cf. Weaver-Hightower 2006, 295). Johannes Riquet points out, via Jean-Michel Racault, that “the very notion of the desert island is flawed” given that there must be somebody there to describe it (Riquet 2019, 15; citing Racault 2010, 13). Even the term ‘deserted’ seems to imply that somebody was here, once. The present study, however, is concerned with spaces that are diegetically conceived of as islands uninhabited by any people other than the protagonist(s). Such a conception is exemplified in Robinson Crusoe (1719) when the protagonist narrates that he “was alone, circumscrib’d by the boundless ocean, cut off from mankind” (Defoe 2003, 124; ‘Friday’ has not arrived at this point). By this definition, a desert island might have inhabitants of whose presence the protagonist and audience are at first unaware (as in the television drama Lost ), or could have intermittent visitors (such as the “savages” in Robinson Crusoe). The primary concern of the current volume is the encounter between a protagonist, with whom the audience is usually aligned, and a space that he (it is almost invariably a ‘he’) considers to be an island and devoid of other human life. The desert island narrative has existed across cultures for millennia. The first-century B.C.E. Bibliotheca Historica suggests that the sorceress Circe “fled to the ocean, where she seized a desert island” (Siculus 1967, 485). Ibn Tufail’s twelfth-century philosophical novel H an tells the . ayy ibn Yaqz.¯ story of a child raised by a gazelle on a desert island in the Indian Ocean (1929). After the publishing sensation that was Robinson Crusoe—within six months there were four editions and a sequel (Rogers 1979, 4–8)—the desert island appeared regularly across genres and media. Texts that represent desert islands include Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Lord Byron’s ‘The Island’ (1823), R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island (1858), Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (1874), H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), J. M. Barrie’s play The Admirable Crichton (1902) and many others. Popular desert island music includes songs composed by Jerome Kern (‘On a desert island with you,’ 1924) and by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (‘On a desert island with thee!’ 1927). The arrival of film

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as a popular medium also took advantage of the desert island setting, for example in The Admirable Crichton (1918), Half a Chance (1920), Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932) and Frank Lloyd’s Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). These texts represent spaces that seem to be understood diegetically as separate and disconnected: “remote,” as the OED puts it. Most of the texts examined in the following chapters constitute their desert islands as being distant from mainlands. The desert island is supposedly a space that is unmapped, unknown, hidden in the blank spaces of the map. Unpopulated and uncharted, the desert island, in the cultural imaginary, remains by necessity outside of and beyond knowledge. Riquet—one of the few island theorists who consider the particularities of uninhabited islands— suggests that “the idea that islands are uninhabited presents them as closed-off, bounded spaces: we want islands to be uninhabited, perhaps, because as lived and living spaces, they interfere with our fantasies about them” (2019, 15). Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern examines the various ways in which this boundedness is in fact complicated, demonstrating that desert islands are often anything but “closed-off,” and dramatise the oscillations inherent in the difficult definitions of the desert island. John R. Gillis observes that “western culture not only thinks about islands, but thinks with them” (2004, 1): the cumulative effect of each new desert island text has led to the elevation of ‘the desert island’ to the status of a cultural icon, a palimpsestic touchstone containing a wealth of signification, whose centrality to anglophone popular culture demands close analysis. Before approaching more “slippery” representations, however, it is worth considering some of the fixed meanings that have been attached to desert islands. Ian Watt is one of many theorists who read Robinson Crusoe as epitomising modernity; he argues that Defoe’s novel illustrates the “essential themes of modern civilization” (1951, 97). Crusoe, for example, exhibits an impulse for “purposive possession” (Watt 1951, 100), an urge that is still present in Tangled: Flynn, after all, imagines himself on “an island that I own.” Edmond and Smith suggest that “islands, unlike continents, look like property. … Boundedness makes islands graspable, able to be held in the mind’s eye and imagined as places of possibility and promise” (1–2). (When she saves Motunui, Moana halts its dissolution into black dust and reconstitutes it as graspably solid, undermining its watery representation.) As Edmond and Smith point out, the graspability of islands assumes a “view from the ocean” (2), locating this gaze in the arriving colonist. The visual representation of

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Flynn Rider’s island underscores that he understands it as a space to be possessed; the sponge ‘island’ is bounded by the ‘ocean’ and securely held within the multiple containers of the cauldron and the cinematic frame (Fig. 1.1). James Hamilton-Paterson suggests that the “unit of land which fits within the retina of the approaching eye” can be constructed as “a token of desire” (1993, 63); here, the same applies to units of land that fit within the screen.1 Further, Flynn Rider says that he is “alone” on his island, like Crusoe before ‘Friday’ arrives. The aloneness of the desert island castaway speaks to the enlightenment preoccupation with individualism; Watt sees Robinson Crusoe as an “epic of individual enterprise” (1951, 106). However, it is also true that Crusoe wants nothing more than to return to society. As Gillian Beer puts it, “the triumph of most island fiction is, after all is said and done, to leave the island” (2003, 42). Indeed, early modern individualism was rooted in community (in contrast to contemporary individualism, as will be discussed below). Under the social contract, civil society functioned as the guarantor of social order and depended on some freedoms being surrendered to the authority of the state. John Donne anticipated the communal foundation of modern individualism when he wrote in 1624 that “No man is an island” (Donne 1987). Donne’s words seem to “answer a prior proposition - a normative proposition - that each man is an island. In the wake of individualism it speaks for community, but it accepts prior narcissism” (Beer 1997, 43). Thus, his lines encapsulate the early-modern duality between the individual citizen and the productive society. This duality is also visible in the contrasting representations of desert island life in Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson: Johann David Wyss’s 1812 novel, in contrast to Defoe’s, uses the island as a microcosm of mainland society, as do several of the desert islands discussed in the following chapters. Donne’s claim that “no man is an island” also speaks (albeit negatively) to the analogy that is often made between the island and the subject. Volkmar Billig proposes that “the symbolic reading of islands as an image of the human ego … [arose from] the subjectivist discourse of European modernity” (2015, 17). This process is made literal in Moana, when the demigod Maui spends his 1000-year confinement on a desert island 1 For further discussion of colonial and neocolonial urges in desert island representations, see Loxley (1990), Rebecca Weaver-Hightower (2006, 2007), and Fuller (2016).

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carving a statue of himself.2 What is manifested in the character of ‘Friday’ in Robinson Crusoe (but effaced in Flynn Rider’s imagined solitude) is that self-fashioning is “achieved in relation to something perceived as alien, strange, or hostile” (Greenblatt 2005, 9).3 In several of the texts analysed in this book, the desert island is revealed either to be inhabited or visited by ‘Others.’ As Stuart Hall points out, Otherness is both threatening and appealing: “‘difference’ leads us, symbolically, to close ranks, shore up culture … [but is also] strangely attractive precisely because it is forbidden, taboo, threatening to cultural order” (Hall 1997, 237). Hall’s reference to ‘shoring up’ reveals the importance of the spatial metaphor and suggests that an island topography with its supposedly continuous boundary might be a particularly fertile site for encounters with Otherness. If the desert island represents a fantasy of agency in self-creation, then the appearance of the Other represents the anxiety that the fantasy intends to dispel or the difference it seeks to embrace. The fantasy of constructing the self on the desert island is closely linked to its paradisal aspect. Flynn Rider imagines that on his island he will be “tanned and rested”: this is a warm-weather imaginary space and one where there are no obligations. It recalls J. M. Coetzee’s metafictional novel Foe, which references and deconstructs castaway clichés, including those set up in Robinson Crusoe. Foe’s narrator remarks that “[f]or readers reared on travellers’ tales, the words desert isle may conjure up a place of soft sands and shady trees … where no more is asked of him than to drowse the days away till a ship calls to fetch him home” (Coetzee 1998, 7). That is to say that desert islands are often constructed as paradisal spaces offering the castaway an idyllic existence of luxury and wealth: Flynn Rider is also “[s]urrounded by enormous piles of money.” As Ian Kinane notes, successive cultural representations have “resulted in a disjunction between [Pacific] islands in actuality and Western perceptions of them as Edenic paradises” (2016, 9). Just as pervasive is the contrasting aspect of the desert island as a restrictive prison space, as expressed by Maui in Moana. As he departs the island where he has been confined, Maui bids it: “Good riddance, ya filthy pile of pebbles!” The 2 For a discussion of “the identities and potential new roles of [shipwreck] survivors” in the modern era, see Morrison (2014, 4). 3 The collection Shipwreck and Island Motifs in Literature and the Arts examines situations in which a protagonist “has to revisit her/his sense of self in relation to the new environment” (LeJuez and Springer 2015, 2).

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two contrasting aspects are juxtaposed in Robinson Crusoe when Crusoe lands and is overcome first by joy and then by despair: “I soon found my comforts abate, and that, in a word, I had a dreadful deliverance” (Defoe 2003, 39, my emphasis). Indeed, this juxtaposition is in itself a recurrent mode of island representation (cf. Fuller 2016).

1.2

Solid and Liquid Modernities

The suggestion that a desert island might represent early modern concerns of possession, individualism or self-fashioning, or the topoi of paradise and/or prison, is characteristic of the scholarly tendency to assign fixed meanings to islands (cf. Graziadei et al. 2017). Tangled, in its reductive island representation, seems to reproduce such fixity: this is not a film about islands, and yet the island is used as the carrier of particular meanings. However, this representative function is also undermined: the only physical manifestation of Flynn Rider’s vision is a sponge, a floating, porous, absorbent desert island.4 As such, even this short sequence presents an island that resists being fixed. Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern takes as a premise that, in the contemporary era, popular cultural representations of desert islands often contain contrasting and paradoxical meanings. Dorothy Lane (1995) and Louis James (1996) both characterise islands as polyphonic, while Chris Bongie states that islands “can and must be read in more than one way” (1998, 18). Animated by the description of the island as “both fragmentariness and totality” (Ette 2007, 114), this book draws a correspondence between oscillating postwar representations of desert islands and the tensions between solidity and liquidity in contemporary ‘Western’ society, as described by Zygmunt Bauman (2006, 2013, 2014). Power in the contemporary period relies on “two mutually complementary weapons: this of seduction and that of repression” (Bauman 1992, 97). Bauman tells us that repression is based on “‘panoptical’ power, best described by Foucault” and that it “is aimed at regimentation of the body” (Bauman 1992, 98). Repression is rooted in the solid modern era (which Bauman also refers to as ‘heavy’ modernity). After the American Revolution, Britain could no longer deport prisoners to the transatlantic colonies and instead imprisoned them in isolation (Foucault 1995, 123).

4 Cf. Riquet (2019) on mobilised and destabilised island representations.

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The desert island gives shape to the idea of “isola-ted detention” as a repressive tool; there is also a long history of island prisons both real (e.g. Alcatraz) and fictional (e.g. Azkaban). What Foucault called “discipline” (which I read as being equivalent to Bauman’s “repression”) relied in the eighteenth century on “the distribution of individuals in space” (1995, 141). In prisons, schools, barracks and factories, citizens were enclosed. This “art of [spatial] distributions” (141) was complemented by the “control of activity” (149) and the “composition of forces” (162) in which the individual body was constituted as part of an “efficient machine” (164). Bauman characterises the same era as primarily concerned with “[c]ertainty, orderliness [and] homogeneity” (1992, xiv). Power in solid modernity was, for Bauman, achieved through coercion and, in Martin Jay’s description, “involved subordination, colonization, hierarchy and the control of difference” (2010, 97).5 Bauman’s primary focus, however, is on the contemporary era. Bauman developed the metaphor of “fluidity” in his writing on “postmodernity” (cf. 1992) and embraced it fully in 2000’s Liquid Modernity (2006).6 He considers “fluidity” and “liquidity” apt metaphors for the present era based on liquids’ inability to “hold their shape” and their “extraordinary mobility” (2006, 2). This is a spatial analysis of modernity: “[f]or power to be free to flow, the world must be free of fences, barriers, fortified borders and checkpoints” (14). Power, in liquid modernity, is no longer based on the control of territory: “The prime technique of power is now escape, slippage, elision and avoidance” (11). In the present era, “the settled majority is ruled by the nomadic and extraterritorial elite” (13). Liquid modernity, Jay summarises, is characterised by “precarious uncertainty, short-term planning, instant gratification, the weakening of institutions, ephemeral relationships, struggles to manage risk, volatile consumer identities, and the collapse of viable communities” (2010, 97).

5 Bauman notes that “the ‘modernity discourse’” has conceived of modernity as “a process of ‘liquefaction’ from the start.” In the solid modern era, though, this was “not in order to do away with the solids once and for all … but to clear the site for new and improved solids ” (2006, 3–4). 6 Bauman later rejected the term “postmodernity” as “erroneous” (2014, 90); this book discusses the contemporary era in terms of “liquid modernity” and references Bauman’s theoretical writing from before and after his coining of that term.

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For Bauman, contemporary society lacks authority figures: people are deprived “of the comfort of the universal guidance that modern selfconfidence once promised” (Bauman 1992, xxii). In the absence of authority, the individual must decide how to live and what goals to aim for: “the question of objectives is … bound to become the cause of endless agony … and generate[s] the unnerving feeling of unmitigated uncertainty and therefore also the state of perpetual anxiety” (Bauman 2006, 60–61). Nor can guidance be found in community: liquid modernity is radically individualistic. The bonds that in solid modernity had “interlock[ed] individual choices in collective projects and actions” are no longer reliable (6). There are no longer “pre-allocated ‘reference groups’” in relation to which one can define oneself, leaving “the destination of individual self-constructing labours … endemically and incurably underdetermined” (7). Identity is no longer a “given” but a “task,” with the individual given “the responsibility for performing that task and for the consequences” (31–32). Such profound individualism renders Donne’s declaration that “no man is an island” no longer applicable. Liquid modern existence, in this context, is characterised by the search for coherence in a world that seems to lack it. Citing Albert Camus (1971), Bauman suggests that other people’s existence “seems to possess a coherence and a unity,” the same features that our own experience “seems – to our perpetual despair – so grossly and abominably to lack” (82). Bauman, in Anthony Elliot’s words, “paint[s] a picture of self-identity as increasingly fractured, fluid and frail” (2007, 14). Crucially, the absence of authority or community means that the individual can (and has to) create their identity through the defining activity of liquid modernity: shopping. Shopping ought to be understood here not only literally but as the structuring impulse of all our activities: contemporary life revolves around choosing from a limitless selection of options. As Bauman puts it, “it is the ability to ‘shop around’ in the supermarket of identities … that becomes the royal road to the fulfilment of identity fantasies” (2006, 83). We shop because the act of choosing seems to offer the fantasy of finding security: “the shopping compulsion-turned-into-addiction is an uphill struggle against acute, nerve-breaking uncertainty” (81). The structural role of “shopping” reflects that contemporary society “engages its members primarily in their capacity as consumers rather than producers” (76). Peter Beilharz notes that Bauman follows Marx in seeing the factory as “the characteristic institutional form and core of modernity” (2010, 51). This paradigm

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stood until the contemporary era, when “the mall replaces the factory,” becoming the “institutional embodiment” of liquid modernity (51). Individuals constituted as consumers are no longer coerced into ‘correct’ behaviour. Rather, in liquid modernity, “coercion has by and large been replaced by stimulation [and] the once obligatory patterns of conduct by seduction” (Bauman 2013, 89–90). In the contemporary era, consumers are seduced by the promise of the “straightforward sensual joy of tasty eating, pleasant smelling, soothing or enticing drinking, relaxing driving, or the joy of being surrounded with smart, glittering, eye-caressing objects” (Bauman 1992, 50–51). All that is required of consumers is that they consume: “everything in a consumer society is a matter of choice, except the compulsion to choose” (2006, 73). Through their consumption, individuals meet the needs of the market, which has replaced the state as the central locus of power. Seduction, like repression, is focused on the body. Its primary bodily pleasure is eroticism, created “through the cultural trick of separating sexual experience … and especially the pleasure associated with that experience, from reproduction” (1998, 19–20). In the contemporary era, eroticism “proudly and boldly proclaims itself to be its only, and sufficient, reason and purpose” (21). Significant here is that eroticism and sex, like shopping, are unable to ‘complete’ the individual: “the ultimate sexual experience remains forever a task ahead and no actual sexual experience is truly satisfying, none makes further training, instruction, counsel, recipe, drug or gadget unnecessary” (1998, 24). Coherent identity is always out of reach. Finally, it must be noted that while coercive techniques are no longer the primary guarantor of power in the liquid modern era, they have not disappeared. “Repression as a tool of domination-reproduction has not been abandoned with the advent of seduction. … It is the continuous, tangible presence of repression as a viable alternative which makes seduction unchallengeable” (Bauman 1992, 98). Bauman writes (in a tone of mischievous crassness) that the “poor of the society of consumers are totally useless. … Society would be much better off if the poor burnt their tents and allowed themselves to be burned with them – or just left” (2013, 126). People who are unable to consume—that is, to spend—cannot meet the needs of market capitalism. The repressive threat of removal from society hangs over us, reminding us what happens to “flawed consumers”:

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Unneeded, unwanted, forsaken – where is their place? The briefest of answers is: out of sight. … If an excuse for deportation cannot be found, they may still be incarcerated in faraway prisons or prison-like camps, best of all in the likes of the Arizona desert, on ships anchored far from sailing routes, or in high-tech, fully automated jails. (Bauman 2013, 127)

Or, one might add, on a desert island. *

Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern is about anglophone popular culture and its critical engagement is with ‘Western’ subjectivity. It focuses on the period since the Second World War, during which developments in affordable international travel, communication technology and global media have transformed the relationship of ‘home’ to ‘the Other.’ The spaces that we use to think about the self and the Other tend to be those on the edge of our knowledge. When ‘the Orient,’ the ‘New World’ and ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ were unknown quantities to those in the ‘West,’ the project of understanding ourselves was articulated in a fascination with those spaces. In the post-war era, our planet has largely been mapped, explored and opened up to tourism and global capitalism. The desert island, though, is necessarily a space that remains unknown, having somehow avoided ‘discovery.’ As such (and unlike Kinane, Fuller, Ette, Lane and DeLoughrey, who discuss Pacific or Caribbean islands), I examine islands outside of referential geography. Most of the texts analysed have no specific location, or a slippery one. Desert Island Discs usually discusses a tropical island but sometimes a cold-water one.7 Gilligan’s Island is at different times described as being located at “140°N, 10°E” (which is not a real location), at “10°N, 110°E” (which would be just off the Vietnamese coast) and “300 miles southeast of Honolulu.” In Lost , the island itself moves and is difficult to locate, even when you know its present coordinates. That is, I examine texts from an era in which (imaginary) desert islands’ necessary unknowability makes them rare examples of undocumented space. The texts examined here are from audio/visual popular culture. It is no coincidence that I have mentioned ‘views’ of islands, ‘zooming out,’ and the ways in which islands are ‘seen’; Rebecca Weaver-Hightower observes 7 See Riquet (2016) and Samson (2020) for further discussion of cold islands.

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that colonial island narratives are bound up with vision, which “has long been understood in terms of the power (or the fantasy of power) it grants the viewer” (2007, 10). Yet representations of islands in visual culture are neglected compared with literary examples (exceptions include Geiger 2007; Kinane 2016; and Riquet 2019; as well as Weaver-Hightower 2006; and 2007). Audiovisual media developed alongside (and were a precondition of) liquid modernity, and visuality is a key component of both Foucauldian discipline and liquid modern power relations. For Foucault, visual power is situated in the Panopticon, the mechanism by which criminals (or potential criminals) can always be watched (1995, 201ff.). Bauman suggests that the Panopticon is undermined because the watchers “were not truly and fully free to move: the option of ‘absentee landlords’ was, practically, out of the question” (2006, 10). The audio/visual liquid modern desert island is articulated instead by the synopticon, a mechanism of power without “landlords”: “it is now the many who watch the few” (86). Bauman exhorts his reader to remember “the formidable power which the mass media exercise over popular - collective and individual - imagination. … The desired life tends to be life ‘as seen on TV’” (84). This book is about power and is thus concerned with texts that have entered the public imaginary, such that their reflections, endorsements and critiques of particular behaviours have a structuring influence on society. As such, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern considers desert islands in radio, print and screen advertising, magazine cartoons, television comedy and drama, cinema and video games. My approach to these texts is to examine the ways in which they intersect with solid and liquid modern mechanisms of power. Desert islands, when constructed as remote from the mainland, might seem outside the purview of the “Supreme Offices” of solid modern authority (Bauman 2006, 61). Authority, however, can arrive (either figuratively or more concretely) with the castaway. Similarly, a protagonist alone in a space might seem removed from the “pre-allocated ‘reference groups’” that articulated solid modern community (7), but they too can be imported. The supposedly impermeable desert island seems to imply the solid modern control of movement and activity, but this is complicated by the various protagonists who, rather than being shipwrecked, choose to go to the desert island, or choose to remain there, or to return there. I explore how liquid modernity is manifested, modelled and challenged in desert

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island representations, in their textual construction, their narrative techniques, their aesthetics, and the characters and behaviours they contain.8 This book considers the characteristics of desertedness and island-ness in terms of how they converge with solid and liquid modern visions of identity and community. I analyse representations of desert islands in terms of qualities including connectedness and disconnectedness, remoteness and accessibility, boundedness and porosity, coherence and fragmentation, completeness and deferral, stability and instability, stasis and mobility. Each of these pairings is understood as a nexus of meanings rather than a binary opposition and has varying implications depending on the individual text and its context. The desert island is understood variously to function as an analogue of the subject, an object of desire, a microcosm of ‘home,’ or all or none of these things. Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern is organised both chronologically and thematically. Each chapter discusses two texts close in time that coalesce around a particular quality connected to liquid modernity. Chapter 2 examines the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs (1942–) and print advertising for Bounty chocolate from 1953 and 1954. Desert Island Discs posits a coherent image of identity but compromises this with an island representation that defers the ‘completion’ of selfhood. The programme negotiates the conflict between the liquid modern compulsion to choose and a format structured by patriarchal authority. Print advertising for Bounty chocolate presents an incoherent space that is both remote and accessible: the chocolate bar offers coherence, but this is ultimately undermined by the instability of the island. Chapter 3 analyses desert island cartoons from The New Yorker magazine in 1957 and the television sitcom Gilligan’s Island (1964–1967). The cartoons mock their protagonists’ understanding of identity as communal. However, by situating this satire on a ‘remote’ desert island, they recuperate the solid modern reliance on community. Gilligan’s Island also represents castaways whose identity is structured by community, with the episodic structure frustrating any variation from this norm. This is, however, compromised by gestures towards a less socially determined identity and by the contrasting representation of various visitors to the island. Chapter 4 explores the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon and 1980s television advertising for Bounty chocolate. In The Blue Lagoon, the desert 8 For a discussion of ideology and spatial practice in Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies, see Samson (2018).

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island continually resists the imposition of solid modern authority from ‘home.’ Solid modernity is challenged by the appearance and subsequent effacement of threatening Otherness and by the protagonists’ desire to remain on the island. Bounty’s television advertising represents whole, monadic islands evocative of coherent identity formation, but patriarchal subjectivity is complicated by the assertion of female autonomy. The desert island is shown to be articulated by both seduction and repression. Chapter 5 considers the film Cast Away (2000) and the television drama Lost (2004–2010). In Cast Away, Chuck Noland’s relationship with a volleyball speaks to liquid modern commodity fetishism, but exists alongside his preoccupation with repressive time. When he returns to society, his communal bonds have dissolved and he is reconstructed as a liquid modern subject. Lost establishes a desert island structured by authoritative control, which is progressively undermined by ‘liquid cinematography’ and by the island’s topological and temporal fluidity. Yet this instability is ultimately effaced by the reassertion of solid modern authority. Chapter 6 argues that the 2013 video game Dear Esther and the reality television show Love Island (2015–present) constitute supreme representations of liquid modernity. Dear Esther contains no tasks for the player-character to complete, exemplifying the radical underdetermination of contemporary identity and subjectivity. The proliferation on this island of written texts gestures towards community but this is frustrated, and abjection is located not in the Other but in the self. Love Island fragments and objectifies the human body, offering seductive erotic pleasure. The show prioritises choice and radical consumerism, constructing human relationships as unreliable and insecure. Desert island representations that undo tropes of solid modernity could be seen to offer resistance to hegemonic ideologies. This is a tempting analysis due to the potential for the desert island to represent alterity. However, I argue that such representations can more accurately be seen as reifying the hegemony of capital via the prioritisation of fluidity and mobility. My intention when I began this project was not to posit a chronological development of increasingly liquid modern texts through the post-war period. However, what emerged from my close analysis was just such a trajectory, albeit an indirect one with several deviations. Each of the texts analysed expresses a tension between solidity and fluidity, which speaks to the continued existence of repressive power in the liquid modern period and expresses an ambivalent, approving or critical attitude

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towards liquid modernity. Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern demonstrates that the desert island is a superlative icon of liquid modern life, able at once to reflect, endorse and critique contemporary existence and its “ontological contingency of being” (Bauman 1992, xxiv).

References Baldacchino, Godfrey (ed.). 2007. Bridging Islands: The Impact of ‘Fixed Links’. Charlottetown: Acorn Press. Bauman, Zygmunt. 1992. Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge. ———. 1998. On Postmodern Uses of Sex. Theory, Culture & Society 15 (3):19– 33. ———. (2000) 2006. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2013. Consuming Life. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2014. What Use Is Sociology? Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester. Cambridge: Polity Press. Beer, Gillian. 1989. Discourses of the Island. In Literature and Science as Modes of Expression, ed. Frederick Amrine, 1–27. Dordrecht and London: Kluwer Academic. ———. 1997. The Making of a Cliché: ‘No Man is an Island’. European Journal of English Studies 1(1): 33–47. ———. 2003. Island Bounds. In Islands in History and Representation, ed. Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith, 32–42. London: Routledge. Beilharz, Peter. 2010. Zygmunt Bauman (1925–). In From Agamben to Zizek: Contemporary Critical Theorists, ed. Jon Simons, 45–59. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Billig, Volkmar. 2015. ‘I-Lands’: The Construction and Shipwreck of an Insular Subject in Modern Discourse. In Shipwreck and Island Motifs in Literature and the Arts, ed. Bridget LeJuez and Olga Springer, 17–31. Leiden: Rodopi. Bongie, Chris. 1998. Islands and Exiles. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Camus, Albert. (1951) 1971. The Rebel. Trans. Anthony Bower. London: Penguin. Coetzee, J. M. (1986) 1998. Foe. New York: Penguin. Defoe, Daniel. (1719) 2003. Robinson Crusoe. London: Penguin. DeLoughrey, Elizabeth. 2001. ‘The Litany of Islands, the Rosary of Archipelagoes’: Caribbean and Pacific Archipelagraphy. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 32 (1): 21–51. ———. 2007. Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Donne, John. (1624) 1987. Meditation XVII. In Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Edmond, Rod, and Vanessa Smith. 2003. Editors’ Introduction. In Islands in History and Representation, ed. Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith, 1–18. London: Routledge. Elliot, Anthony. 2007. Editor’s Introduction. In The Contemporary Bauman, ed. Anthony Elliot, 3–18. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Ette, Ottmar. 2007. Islands, Borders and Vectors: The Fractal World of the Caribbean. In Caribbean Interfaces, ed. Lieven D’hulst, Jean-Marc Moura, Liesbeth De Bleeker, and Nadia Lie, 109–152. Amsterdam and New York, NY: Rodopi. Fleury, Christian, and Benoît Raoulx. 2017. Islandness, Inundation and Resurrection. Shima 11 (1): 7–17. Foucault, Michel. (1975) 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison [Surveiller et Punir: Naissance de la prison]. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Fuller, Jenn. 2016. Dark Paradise: Pacific Islands in the Nineteenth-Century British Imagination. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Geiger, Jeffrey. 2007. Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the U.S. Imperial Imagination. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Gillis, John. 2004. Islands of the Mind: How the Human Imagination Created the Atlantic World. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Graziadei, Daniel, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane, Johannes Riquet, and Barney Samson. 2017. On Sensing Island Spaces and the Spatial Practice of IslandMaking: Introducing Island Poetics, Part I. Island Studies Journal 12 (2): 239–252. Greenblatt, Stephen. 2005. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hall, Stuart. 1997. The Spectacle of the ‘Other’. In Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, ed. Stuart Hall, 223–279. London: Sage. Hamilton-Paterson, James. (1992) 1993. Seven-Tenths: The Sea and Its Thresholds. London: Vintage. Hau‘ofa, Epeli. 1994. Our Sea of Islands. The Contemporary Pacific 6 (1): 148– 161. Hayward, Philip. 2012. Aquapelagos and Aquapelagic Assemblages. Shima 6 (1): 1–11. James, Louis. 1996. Unwrapping Crusoe: Retrospective and Prospective Views. In Robinson Crusoe: Myths and Metamorphosis, ed. Lieve Spaas and Brian Stimpson, 1–9. Hampshire: Macmillan Press. Jay, Martin. 2010. Liquidity Crisis: Zygmunt Bauman and the Incredible Lightness of Modernity. Theory, Culture & Society 27 (6): 95–106.

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Kinane, Ian. 2016. Theorising Literary Islands: The Island Trope in Contemporary Robinsonade Narratives. London and Washington, DC: Rowman and Littlefield. Lane, Dorothy. 1995. The Island as a Site of Resistance: An Examination of Caribbean and New Zealand Texts. New York: Peter Lang. LeJuez, Bridget, and Olga Springer. 2015. Introduction. In Shipwreck and Island Motifs in Literature and the Arts, ed. Bridget LeJuez and Olga Springer, 1–13. Leiden: Brill Rodopi. Loxley, Diana. 1990. Problematic Shores: The Literature of Islands. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Morrison, James V. 2014. Shipwrecked: Disaster and Transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe and the Modern World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Naylor, Paul. 1999. Poetic Investigations: Singing the Holes in History. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. OED Online. 2016. Desert Island, n. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed. com/view/Entry/50774. Accessed 19 Feb 2016. ———. 2020. Island, n. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/ Entry/99986?rskey=YeYdF5&result=1. Accessed 24 June 2020. Racault, Jean-Michel. 2010. Robinson & compagnie: Aspects de l’insularité politique de Thomas More à Michel Tournier. Paris: Éditions Pétra. Riquet, Johannes. 2016. Islands Erased by Snow and Ice: Approaching the Spatial Philosophy of Cold Water Island Imaginaries. Island Studies Journal 11 (1): 145–161. ———. 2019. The Aesthetics of Island Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rogers, Pat. 1979. Robinson Crusoe. London: George Allen & Unwin. Samson, Barney. 2018. Crossing the Sand: The Arrival on the Desert Island. In Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries, ed. Johannes Riquet and Elizabeth Kollmann, 87–102. London: Routledge. ———. 2020. Resisting Metaphor: A Phenomenology of Cold and Heat in William Golding’s Pincher Martin. Shima 14 (1): 30–46. Siculus, Diodorus. (1935) 1967. The Library of History [Bibliotheca Historica]. Trans. C.H. Oldfather. London: William Heinemann. Stratford, Elaine. 2013. Guest Editorial Introduction: The Idea of the Archipelago: Contemplating Island Relations. Island Studies Journal 8 (1): 3–8. Tufail, Ibn. 1929. The History of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan. Trans. Simon Ockley. London: Chapman & Hall. Watt, Ian. 1951. Robinson Crusoe as a Myth. Essays in Criticism 1 (2): 95–119. Weaver-Hightower, Rebecca. 2006. Cast Away and Survivor: The Surviving Castaway and the Rebirth of Empire. The Journal of Popular Culture 39 (2): 294–317.

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———. 2007. Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals, and Fantasies of Conquest. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wyss, Johann. (1812) 2009. The Swiss Family Robinson. Trans. W. Kingston. London: Puffin Classics.

Discography Desert Island Discs. 1942–. London: BBC Forces Programme; BBC Home Service; BBC Radio 4.

Filmography The Blue Lagoon. 1980. Directed by Randall Kleiser. Burbank, CA: Columbia Pictures. Bounty. 1986. [“The Bounty Hunters”]. Television advertisement for Bounty. Effem Foods Ltd. Bounty. 1988. [“Try a Little Tenderness”]. Television advertisement for Bounty [unknown]. Cast Away. 2000. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Los Angeles, CA: Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Pictures. Gilligan’s Island. 1964–1967. Produced by Sherwood Schwartz. Los Angeles, CA: CBS. Lost. 2004–2010. Produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Damon Lindelof. Burbank, CA: American Broadcasting Company. Love Island. 2015–2020. Produced by Ellie Brunton. London: ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Moana. 2016. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Tangled. 2010. Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Ludography Dear Esther. 2012. The Chinese Room: Various Platforms.

CHAPTER 2

(In)Coherent Desert Islands: Desert Island Discs and Bounty Chocolate in Print

Abstract This chapter examines desert island texts from the immediate post-war period. Drawing on Zygmunt Bauman’s theory of liquid modernity, it explores the ways in which representations of desert islands characterise identity as structured by choice. In Desert Island Discs (1942–), the island is the vehicle for autobiographical narratives that construct identity as coherent and regulated by patriarchal authority. This is complicated by the endorsement of choice and the suggestion that identity is always deferred. Print advertising for Bounty chocolate (1953– 1954) represents a paradoxically remote and accessible desert island. It is fragmentary: only the advertised chocolate can provide coherent identity and erotic satisfaction. The island evokes the underdetermined condition of liquid modern identity; its ontological instability suggests that even the Bounty bar cannot provide lasting satisfaction. Keywords Repression · Seduction · Choice · Individualism · Eroticism · Identity

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Desert Island Discs

By the early twentieth century, the desert island was the setting for a particular kind of thought experiment in which books are chosen for © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_2

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a period of isolation (cf. Straw 2017). Will Straw gives the example of the New York Sun, which in 1914 asked various authors to “choose their desert island libraries” (cited in Straw 2017, 45). Novelist (and later double Pulitzer Prize winner) Booth Tarkington appositely selected Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Blue Lagoon and The Mysterious Island (The Sun [New York], 17 October 1914, 8). The development of radio broadcasting, meanwhile, gave rise to the idea of the request programme (cf. Doctor 2017). During the Second World War, the BBC aired various shows in which members of the armed forces (and later workers on the home front) chose the music, including Music Forces Club, War Workers’ Choice and Forces’ Favourites. The ‘desert island list’ and the ‘request programme’ came together in Desert Island Discs , the invention of BBC freelance producer Roy Plomley. The first episode, hosted by Plomley and featuring actor and comedian Vic Oliver, was broadcast on the BBC Forces Programme halfway through the Second World War in January 1942. It described itself as a programme in which “a well-known person is asked the question, if you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you, assuming of course, that you had a gramophone and an inexhaustible supply of needles?” (Plomley and Oliver 1942). Plomley’s idea quickly entered the public consciousness: a Tatler cartoon of April 1943 showed a man and a woman on a desert island, with the caption: “There are times, Miss Amory, when I wish you were a gramophone and eight records” (cited in Magee 2012, 20). Roy Plomley hosted the show for over forty years until his death in 1985 and was followed by Michael Parkinson, Sue Lawley, Kirsty Young and current presenter Lauren Laverne. The programme plays a significant role in the emotional life of the British middle classes: in 1989, “a retired vicar in Surrey bludgeoned his wife to death with a radio set. His wrath was roused, we later learned, by the choice of music on Desert Island Discs ” (Hendy 2007, 1). While the show continues to air around forty new episodes each year, the present analysis draws most of its examples from the earliest extant recordings, from the 1940s and 1950s. Desert Island Discs constructs a paradigm of the desert island understood as a discrete space, away from ‘home.’ Each episode features eight pieces of music chosen by the guest and an interview about their life, offering them the opportunity to narrate their idealised self-image. The musical choices tend to be structured as an autobiographical narrative endowed with qualities that Bauman suggests are normally absent from

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our lives; the castaway is able to construct their identity in terms of “harmony, logic, consistency: all those things which the flow of our experience seems – to our perpetual despair – so grossly and abominably to lack” (Bauman 2006, 82). That this project of coherent self-fashioning is situated on a desert island reflects the continental tendency to read the island as “something that is finite, that may be encapsulated by human strategy, design or desire” (Baldacchino 2005, 247). This sense of coherence and stability is underscored in Desert Island Discs by the equivalence drawn between the individual episode and the island experience. The programme’s theme music is Eric Coates’s lilting waltz By the Sleepy Lagoon, overlaid with the sounds of breaking waves and gull calls. The music functions to place the castaway (and the listener) on the shore of a desert island. In this conceit, the conversation that makes up the programme is figured as taking place on the island. Plomley often used language emphasising that the castaway was on the island for the duration of each programme: “Well here you are on the island” (Plomley and Sargent 1955). Thus, the programme constructs a desert island space where the castaway can assert their identity without interference. This conception of the desert island as a space of coherent selffashioning is aligned with Zygmunt Bauman’s suggestion that a belief in the “inner truth” of identity has been “artificially reanimated” in the liquid modern era. The underdetermined nature of liquid modern identity is effaced by “what Paul Atkinson and David Silverman have aptly dubbed ‘the interview society’” (Bauman 2006, 86). The genre of the interview supposedly reveals “the personal, the private self of the subject” (Atkinson and Silverman 1997, 309). Indeed, Desert Island Discs suggests that the guest is revealing their identity, not constructing it, indulging the fantasy that the castaway’s choices constitute a finalised, ideal version of themselves. Kirsty Young, when she was hosting the programme, would tell castaways that “[p]eople are meeting you today. They’re not meeting my version of you. They’re sitting here, meeting you” (Frizzell 2017). The interview seems to bring to light a “deep inner essence hiding beneath all the external and superficial appearances” (Bauman 2006, 86). That several hundred guests have appeared on Desert Island Discs more than once reveals that the interview’s revelation of “inner truth” is illusory. A handful of guests have made three appearances, while comedian Arthur Askey and naturalist Sir David Attenborough have appeared four times, with (mostly) different musical choices each time. Multiple appearances by the same castaway would seem to belie the suggestion that

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identity is constituted as a “deep inner essence.” Indeed, Bauman reads liquid modern identity as marked by “unfinishedness, incompleteness and underdetermination” (2006, 62). This is reflected in Kirsty Young’s framing of the programme, which differs from Plomley’s suggestion that each episode takes places “on the island.” Conversely, Young describes that, “with discs double-checked … it’s off into the studio. But not, crucially, to the island. … [T]hese days (much later in the programme) I say to my guest: ‘I’m about to cast you away.’ Somehow that makes more sense to me” (2012, viii–ix). The effect is a different conception of the desert island to Plomley’s, one that contradicts the musical framing and figures the island as a space that the castaway will visit ‘later.’ This creates a sense of deferred completion; as long as the desert island remains figuratively just over the horizon, still out of reach and uncharted, it retains the potential for permanence but does not provide it yet. Figuring the desert island as indefinitely deferred intimates that identity is not solid and fixed after all. The ambivalence that is thus produced in Desert Island Discs in its conception of identity extends also to the programme’s sociological perspective, as expressed through its use of the desert island metaphor. The structuring impulse of Desert Island Discs is choice. The programme’s conceit is that the castaway voluntarily journeys to an island that is constructed as desirable. As Plomley describes in one of his books about the show, it foregrounds the evocation of an Edenic space: “Each of us has daydreamed of that personal paradise where the sun streams down on yellow sand and a sleepy lagoon, on palm trees and exotic tropic blooms” (1979, 7). Beginning in wartime, the programme’s evocation of paradise acted as a form of escapism for the listener, effacing (or repressing) the conflict raging over Europe. Plomley often referred on air to the ‘paradisal’ features of the island: “it’s got fresh water, it’s got sunshine” (Plomley and Milligan 1978). When Plomley departed from this paradigm, it was in order to comply with the guest’s wishes, as demonstrated when opera singer Kirsten Flagstad opted for a different kind of paradise: “Oh! I don’t want a tropical island. I want a nice cold island somewhere in the northern hemisphere.” Plomley replied that there “shouldn’t be any difficulty about that. There’s practically no queue at all for the cold ones” (Plomley and Flagstad 1952). Appearing on Desert Island Discs is itself a privilege afforded to some particular members of society and about which others fantasise. In the 1979 film Porridge, Harry Grout revealed his desire to appear as a guest; this aspiration was

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shared by Bender, the alcoholic robot in the American animated comedy series Futurama. Appearing on the show is attractive, as “the political economy of postmodernity is concerned mostly with the production and distribution of public attention” (Bauman 1992, xx). The attractiveness of this desert island is emphasised by the format point in which guests are asked to select a luxury item alongside their records. Since 1951, castaways have been required to choose an “inanimate object which is purely for the senses; something to look at, or touch, or taste, smell, but which is not going to help you live” (Plomley cited in Magee 2012, 50). This recalls Bauman’s description of the seductive allures of contemporary life: “a straightforward sensual joy of tasty eating, pleasant smelling, soothing or enticing drinking, relaxing driving, or the joy of being surrounded with smart, glittering, eye-caressing objects” (Bauman 1992, 50–51). By itself, the representation of a desert island in terms of a paradisal topos is not enough to represent what Bauman calls seduction. After all, desert island narratives have juxtaposed the themes of providence and hardship for centuries, as in The Swiss Family Robinson: “[the heat] is almost intolerable to us who remain here all day while you and Fritz are away out at sea, or wandering among the shady woods, where cool fruits refresh, and fair scenes delight you” (Wyss 2009, 67). However, the structuring impulse of choice in Desert Island Discs means that the programme does exemplify liquid modern seduction, in which luxury and ‘sensual joy’ are employed as a method of social control. Rather than being coerced into certain behaviours (as was the central strategy of solid modernity), contemporary consumers are seduced into voluntarily implicating themselves into structures of behaviour that serve not their own interests but those of capital (Bauman 1992, 51). The defining activity of liquid modernity, for Bauman, is shopping: curating one’s identity through the commodities that one selects. This refers not just to ‘consumable’ products but also to skills, competencies and strategies (Bauman 2006, 74). Liquid modernity is structured by the desire to “‘shop around’ in the supermarket of identities” in order to fulfil one’s “identity fantasies” (Bauman 2006, 83). Desert Island Discs facilitates its guests’ fulfilment of these fantasies, as they are asked to define their identity through the process of selecting their music from a limitless pool of options: in short, to be whoever they want to be. In doing so, it endorses a model of existence in which the solution to one’s problems is to ‘choose,’ to ‘shop around’ and to consume.

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Bauman’s use of the term “identity fantasies ” is instructive—the idea that ‘shopping’ might actually provide a solid identity is illusory. The selected commodities fail to fulfil the “promise of certainty” and coherent identity remains elusive (Bauman 2006, 81). Indeed, the need for shopping (and thus the effectiveness of seduction) is predicated on the underdetermined condition of identity in liquid modernity. Liquidity here refers to the melting of “the bonds which interlock individual choices in collective projects and actions” (Bauman 2006, 6); for Bauman, radical individualism is a central characteristic of the liquid modern era. The trope of the individual protagonist on a desert island has the potential to dramatise this individualism, and Desert Island Discs insists rigidly on the absolute solitude of the castaway. No other person ever arrives or is seen; indeed, the focus of the interview, as far as it discusses life on the island, is often how the castaway will cope outside of society, without community. Roy Plomley’s conversation with John Betjeman begins, typically, by addressing the issue of solitude: “First, and a very important question: could you endure extended loneliness?” (Plomley and Betjeman 1975). This is a recurrent theme in interviews, foregrounding the individuality of the castaway. The implication is that in this space the castaway is removed from the structuring functions of society. This has the potential to exemplify the radical individualism that is caused, for Bauman, by the “unstructured, fluid state of the immediate setting of life-politics” in liquid modernity (2006, 8). That is to say that, as contemporary individuals, we lack the ability to construct our identity with reference to other people: John Donne’s assertion in 1624 that “no man is an island” no longer holds true under conditions of liquid modernity (1987). The communal bonds that once constituted society have dissolved and, as such, the “patterns, codes and rules to which one could conform … are nowadays in increasingly short supply” (Bauman 2006, 7). Crucially, the absence of community means that the individual can (and has to) create their identity by selecting actions from a limitless range of choices, that is to ‘shop.’ This is not to say that any text depicting a lone castaway models liquid modern behaviour: quite the opposite is true of Robinson Crusoe, where the protagonist’s cultivation of the island and subjugation of ‘Friday’ reveal the novel’s solid modern values. Indeed, Desert Island Discs does not constitute an uncomplicated representation of liquid modern existence. Rather, various features of the programme are structured by a solid modern understanding of society. In solid modernity, the construction

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of identity was conditioned by “Supreme Offices” of societal authority (cf. Bauman 2006, 61), recalling Greenblatt’s description of Renaissance self-fashioning as involving “submission to an absolute power or authority situated at least partially outside the self” (Greenblatt 2005, 9). Authority might seem to be lacking on a desert island, a space that is supposedly remote from the systemic structure of ‘home,’ but Desert Island Discs figuratively exports authority to the island. Roy Plomley notes that his own narrative authority was a feature of the show’s first years in particular: “Looking back at the scripts of those early programmes, I find that I used to start by giving a lengthy biographical note. It was not until quite a long time later that I realised it was far better to ask my guests to supply such information themselves” (Plomley 1975, 20). In many of the early shows, both sides of the conversation were scripted by Plomley, rather than constituting a genuine interview (Magee 2012, 11–12). Even after scripts were abandoned, the programme remained formulaic. Guests were required to structure their self-narration through eight records (no more and no less), imposing a uniform framework onto every interview. There were strictly enforced rules about what kind of records they could be: Kirsten Flagstad’s request that she be allowed the whole of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was refused, for example (Plomley and Flagstad 1952). An authoritarian structure tightly controls the liquid modern theme of choice and the self-fashioning that it facilitates. Repression was the structuring principle of solid modernity and functioned by regulating the body: imprisonment was the dominant technique of penal systems by the late eighteenth century (cf. Foucault 1995). Alongside the evocation of paradise, Desert Island Discs emphasises the topos of the island prison, with Plomley often referring to the difficulty of leaving. In early episodes, this was often expressed in terms of rescue, with the implication that this was the only way to leave: “It’s about time to be rescued” (Plomley and Agate 1942); “Well here comes the rescue ship” (Plomley and Lockwood 1951). In later years, Plomley more often discussed the idea of escape, always emphasising its difficulty: “Would you try to escape? Do you know anything about small craft?” (Plomley and Lehrer 1980); “Would you try to escape? Robinson Crusoe made a raft, didn’t he?” (Plomley and York 1984). This constructs the island as a repressive space in which movement and behaviour are controlled. The guests’ lack of agency is intimated by the words used to refer to them. Plomley originally designated them “shipwreckees” and they are now

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known to listeners as “castaways.” Both terms imply that someone has arrived on an island accidentally, placed in a space and state of abjection. The reading of Desert Island Discs as having a repressive function corresponds with an understanding of the programme as representing patriarchal authority and an “inward-looking conservatism” that might be said to characterise BBC Radio 4 (Hendy 2007, 1). Two features maintain a homogenising effect in Desert Island Discs : the choice of guests and their musical selections. In the 1940s, men made up 69% of castaways and women 31% (by the 2010s those percentages had changed only to 66% and 34%, Symons 2012, 41). Simon Frith points out that the list of composers and performers most often selected by castaways contains “no unexpected names” (2017, 135); among the eight mostselected tracks over the programme’s history, seven are orchestral works and the other a Schubert string quintet (BBC 2010). Frith glosses over the fact that the most popular selections are bound to tend towards the mainstream, but his analysis points towards an apparent self-imposed adherence to the norm, despite the theoretically unlimited choice available to castaways. Castaways tend to select “a spectrum of musical styles to indicate one’s roundedness … display[ing] time-honoured anxieties about class” (Hinds 2015, 68). The mode of self-definition demonstrated here is not unstructured or fluid but takes place according to the “pre-allocated ‘reference groups’” that characterised solid modern identity construction (Bauman 2006, 7). The result is a desert island space structured by the distinguishing features of solid modernity: “Certainty, orderliness, homogeneity” (Bauman 1992, xiv). Desert Island Discs juxtaposes repressive and seductive aspects of the desert island, as is encapsulated in a paradoxical remark by Roy Plomley. The conductor Malcolm Sargent, during his 1955 appearance on the show, explains that he rarely has time to listen to music for pleasure. The host replies: “now you’re going to a desert island where you’ll have plenty of time for that, I’m afraid” (Plomley and Sargent 1955). The incongruity underlines that this desert island offers each castaway the opportunity to construct their own identity ‘outside of society’ and according to their own desires, but contains this within a tightly structured format. The programme simultaneously constructs the castaway as an individualised and underdetermined consumer while at the same time insisting on the revelation of guests’ “inner truth.” The juxtaposition of repressive authority and seductive freedom does not necessarily undermine the extent to which a text can represent liquid

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modernity. On the contrary, repression “has not been abandoned with the advent of seduction. … It is the continuous, tangible presence of repression as a viable alternative which makes seduction unchallengeable” (Bauman 1992, 98). In this case, however, repressive features are not manifested as an alternative to consumerism. Rather, Desert Island Discs expresses a tension between the impulses of solid and liquid modernity, reflecting a post-war society on the threshold of a new era.

2.2

Bounty Chocolate in Print

Like Desert Island Discs , the mid-1950s advertising for Bounty chocolate in the pages of Illustrated and Picture Post magazines negotiates a tension between solid and liquid modernity. The Bounty, a chocolate bar with coconut filling, was introduced to the UK in 1951 by Mars Limited. Two years later, in February 1953, the wartime rationing of sweets ended, and Mars launched a series of adverts in the pages of Illustrated and Picture Post magazines. The editorial interests of both magazines were the arts, fashion and life abroad (Reed 1997, 212), suitable vehicles for Bounty’s escapist marketing campaigns. The ‘exotic’ connotations of the coconut have often featured centrally in Bounty’s marketing. An early example, published in Illustrated three weeks after sweet rationing ended, includes the inset text: “It’s a long, long swim to a South Sea Island / It’s a long, long climb to the top of a coconut palm / It’s only a step to your sweetshop for a Bounty” (Mars Limited, 28 February 1953, Fig. 2.1). That this is a ‘South Sea Island’ comes bound up with the “myth of a primitive people frozen in time” and the stereotype of the Pacific as “a site still ripe for commercial exploitation and sexual fantasy” (Geiger 2007, 1). This is juxtaposed with the sweetshop’s connotation of ‘home’ and familiarity, entangling the disparate ideas in an intimation that exotic pleasure (with a hint of mysterious Otherness) can be easily obtained. The name of the product contains echoes of The Bounty, the British ship that was intended to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the Caribbean to serve as cheap food for slaves. As the story of the ‘Mutiny on The Bounty’ is well known through film versions, the ‘Bounty’ name carries with it connotations of colonial exploitation, as well as the idea of treasure that is contained in the original meaning of the word. Colonialism is founded on the control of space and fundamentally connected to the solid modern era; the Bounty adverts place this into counterpoint with a desert island characterised by eroticism and liquid modern underdetermination.

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Fig. 2.1 A New Chocolate Thrill! (Bounty chocolate advert. Illustrated magazine, 28 February 1953, p. 7. © British Library Board [LOU.LD114, p. 7]. © Mars Inc./Illustrated)

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The Illustrated Bounty advert from 28th February sets up a tension between remoteness and accessibility, which are constructed as existing simultaneously. The short verse in the inset text box, in its repetition of the word ‘long,’ emphasises the difficulty of reaching the coconuts on the distant ‘South Sea Island.’ This figures the desert island as a space that is remote from ‘home’ and difficult to reach. The final line—“It’s only a step to your sweetshop for a Bounty”—not only disrupts the couplet structure but resolves the difficulty communicated by the preceding lines. Pleasure is close at hand: the desirable desert island can be reached metonymically by eating an easily accessible Bounty. On the one hand, the riches of the desert island are obtained through laborious effort, drawing attention to the arduous conquest of space that characterised the colonial ‘adventures’ of the solid modern era. On the other hand, the availability of the Bounty at “your sweetshop” sets up the desert island as a space that is, by proxy, accessible. This accessibility speaks to the liquid modern era, which is characterised as “liquid” due in part to the “extraordinary mobility of fluids” (Bauman 2006, 2, my emphasis). The short verse thus sets up the desert island as a desirable space that both is and is not available, and structures the interpretation of the accompanying images according to this paradigm. The non-linguistic elements of the advert replicate the message that this desirable desert island is difficult to access physically but easy to attain through the surrogate of the advertised confectionery. This strategy owes a clear debt to “motivational research”; after the Second World War, advertising had to respond to the perceived economic need for constant consumption (Packard 1961, 13, 20). After their rationing was ended, “[s]pending on sweets and chocolate jumped by about £100m in the first year to £250m” (BBC 2008) and advertisers pursued this burgeoning market by attempting “to control the non-rational and unconscious as well as the conscious and rational forces in man’s makeup” (Curti 1967, 356). There is likely a deep unconscious basis for the attraction to single, coherent spaces. As Edmond and Smith have suggested, “islands, unlike continents, look like property … Boundedness makes islands graspable” (2003, 1–2). However, the representation of the island in the February 1953 advert frustrates the possibility that the viewer might be able to gain satisfaction by possessing it. The main image uses a structure which is repeated prolifically in the succeeding few years; a wrapped Bounty leans against two halves of a coconut on a beach, with the sea and the sky visible at the top of the frame. The image has a shallow depth of

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field and pastel colours that connote a paradisal fantasy. The colours, and the signifiers of coconuts, flowers and sparkling sea, reinforce the message that this is a desirable space. Edmond and Smith’s description of islands’ desirability (as they point out) assumes a view from the ocean: the perspective of the approaching castaway or coloniser on board a ship. However, the Bounty advert instead reproduces a view from the island, looking out to sea, which is necessarily a partial view of the island. What is actually visible is a small part of a shoreline, constructed as an island only by the written text. The view out to the ocean might connote a repressive ‘prison’ topos implying that escape is not possible, were there any suggestion that one would ever want to leave. However, the island is clearly represented as a desirable space, with the viewer’s desire frustrated by framing that constructs the island as not “graspable.” The viewer’s frustrated desire for the desert island is transferred to the Bounty. The island stands in a metonymic relationship to the Bounty chocolate as the text positions them as equivalent: “It’s a long, long swim to a South Sea Island … It’s only a step to your sweetshop for a Bounty.” However, this identity is disrupted as the Bounty chocolate is the only element of the composition that is represented as whole, exhibiting the coherence that we are conditioned to attach to the island. The Bounty is the only thing that might provide succour to the ego seeking unity; our experience of our own identities as fluid and unstructured leads us to cling “desperately to things solid and tangible and thus promising duration” (Bauman 2006, 83). A slightly later advert again emphasises the wholeness of the Bounty bar via fragmentation elsewhere in the mise-enscène. In the 23 May 1953 edition of Illustrated, page seven is divided between adverts for Bounty and for Formica Laminated Plastic kitchen surfaces (Mars Limited, 23 May 1953, Fig. 2.2). This Bounty advert is similar in its composition to the February version but features, in the close foreground, red, yellow and spotted white flowers, a green plant and a pinky-white seashell. The image’s frame bisects the flowers and the plant, figuring them as desirable but inaccessible fragments. Further, here the potential to possess the island and the chocolate is linked to the possibility of sexual satisfaction. Eroticism is a key characteristic of Bauman’s understanding of seduction. Late modern culture is governed by a “sensation-gathering life strategy,” with “[s]exual delight … arguably the topmost of pleasurable sensations” (1998, 24). Flowers have historically been understood as alluding “to sensuality and eroticism, to fertility and abundance” (Moore and Garibaldi 2003, 33). The

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Fig. 2.2 New Chocolate Thrill! (Bounty chocolate advert. Illustrated magazine, 23 May 1953, p. 7. © British Library Board [LOU.LD114, p. 7]. © Mars Inc./Illustrated)

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seashell, the only whole item apart from the chocolate bar, is concave and opened up towards the viewer, suggestive of female sexuality. In both the February and May adverts, the coconut is cleanly bisected into two hemispheres that offer up their interior. The configuration of the coconut halves is conducive to a reading as either breasts (after all, coconuts contain milk) or testicles, reinforcing the suggestion that the coconut, the island and the chocolate bar can offer sexual satisfaction. While the phallic connotations of the Bounty (emphasised by its arrangement with the coconut-half ‘testicles’) can be read as prioritising male sexuality, each advert also contains a second, smaller image that shows the Bounty being eaten by a woman. This facilitates an alternative reading where the woman is the consumer, broadening the advert’s appeal to various implied viewers. However, the woman is also constructed as an object to be ‘consumed’ by the viewer. She smiles, looking out towards the camera, seeming to offer ‘her bounty’ to the viewer. The phallic chocolate bar in her hand, combined with her parted red lips (emphasised by a red flower), again suggests eroticism: the consumption of a Bounty is bound up with the ‘consumption’ of or by an attractive woman (although the implication of fellatio is somewhat undermined by the fact that her chocolate bar has been bitten into). Only the woman’s head and shoulders appear: the female body, like the island, the coconut and the flowers, is represented in fragmentary form and is not constructed as “graspable” (cf. Edmond and Smith 2003, 2). The primary signification seems to be that the consumption of the chocolate constitutes the ‘conquest’ of the female body and a desert island that otherwise resist providing coherence and unity. The ensemble of coconut and Bounty bar intimates to the (implied heterosexual male) viewer that it has the potential to offer him sexual satisfaction and simultaneously to confirm the power and coherence of his masculine identity: as Vance Packard wrote a few years after these adverts were published, consumers’ “fascination … for any product that seems to offer them a personal extension of power has offered a rich field for exploitation by merchandisers” (Packard 1961, 79). This satisfaction, however, is only ever present in its potentiality. The eroticism of the contemporary era relies on the deferral of pleasure, characterised by an “orgasmic effect” that never provides fulfilment: “the ultimate sexual experience remains forever a task ahead and no actual sexual experience is truly satisfying” (Bauman 1998, 24). Satisfaction can never arrive, so the individual is co-opted into a perpetual search for it, thus sustaining ‘his’ consumer habits. The consumer cannot eat the coconut, cannot possess

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the desert island and cannot indulge in the sensuality intimated by the flowers and by the concave, pearlescent shell. By metonymic representation the Bounty comes to stand for all this denied pleasure; it is whole, in contrast to the fragmented elements of the composition. The point, of course, is that all this potential satisfaction can (supposedly) be realised in the consumption of the Bounty. The advertisers want us to believe that while the desert island is inaccessible, the chocolate is “only a step” away. The desert island is simultaneously a counterpoint to and an analogue of the Bounty, but serves in both cases to demonstrate the ease of consuming the chocolate and all that it promises to offer. A September 1954 Bounty advert from Picture Post magazine again suggests that deferred satisfaction can be realised by consuming the Bounty (Mars Limited, 4 September 1954, Fig. 2.3). It is superficially similar to the adverts discussed above in that it features a Bounty and a halved coconut on a beach, and a smaller image of a woman eating a

Fig. 2.3 New … far and away the best catch in chocolate treats (Bounty chocolate advert. Picture Post, 4 September 1954, pp. 2–3. © British Library Board [NEWS12024, pp. 2–3]. © Mars Inc./Picture Post)

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Bounty. However, the structure here is of two horizontal images: this, and the syntax within the images, accentuates the theme of transformation from potential to actual satisfaction, implying that the Bounty is the solution to the “permanently underdetermined, incomplete” condition of contemporary identity (Bauman 1998, 28). In the right foreground of the upper image, a black fishing net hangs like a theatre curtain, positioning the viewer apart from everything on the beach. Through the net can be seen ‘exotic’ red and pink flowers. To the left, unobscured by the net, is a halved coconut. The halves stand slightly apart but are linked by a Bounty, whose white and red colour scheme matches their white interior and red-brown shell. Thus, the chocolate bar unifies the two halves while also standing for them (via the colour scheme). The fishing net is an ambivalent presence: the ‘natural’ scene (and the prize) are ‘caught’ for the viewer/consumer, but also held at a distance from them. The net obscures the erotically charged flowers but not the coconut and Bounty; the chocolate is thus made somewhat accessible, a conduit to the eroticism of the flowers. Thus, we are and are not already in the space that holds desire—the viewer is positioned on the island but in a suspended relationship with the desired object. The slogan that takes up the middle band of the composition reinforces this deferral of desire: “NEW…far and away the best catch in chocolate treats.” The idea of the “best catch” references the fishing net but also emphasises the difficulty of obtaining the chocolate (with the eroticism and wholeness it proffers). The configuration “far and away” contains the meaning ‘very much so,’ but the words “far” and “away” also indicate the distance at which the inaccessible objects of desire are held. Yet, while the upper tableau represents desired objects on an inaccessible desert island, the lower image transports them to another space, figuratively nearer ‘home’ but inflected with desert island signifiers. The woman lies in a hammock smiling towards the viewer, framed against an indeterminate pink background that places her neither on the island nor definitively off it. Several elements from the upper image are transformed here. The red flower is no longer obscured by the net but is in the woman’s possession, held in her hand. The seashells that encircle the chocolate in the upper image become (by synecdoche) the woman’s pearl bracelet and necklace, exemplifying the transformation of a natural resource into a desirable commodity. The fishing net that obstructed the view has become a hammock, a safety net that can benevolently contain the female body. This transformation is apparently manifested

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through the consumption of the chocolate, which takes place in the lower image. Finally in the lower image—on the closest plane to the viewer—is another Bounty, a version that is whole and erect. The 1954 advert makes the female body and the chocolate more accessible, more attainable, by removing them from the desert island; this is in contrast to the earlier adverts, which powerfully suggest that the Bounty is accessible despite being on a ‘remote’ desert island. In the 1953 adverts, both the woman and the Bounty appear to be on an island, but not necessarily the same island. The juxtaposition of the images means that the woman exists separately, in a paradigmatic rather than syntagmatic relationship to the chocolate. Rather than simply possessing the Bounty, she is thus made equivalent to it; the metonymic chain that links the chocolate, the coconut from which it is made and the island where the coconut is found extends to include the image of the female body. The suggestion that the woman might be on a different island destabilises any reading of how this island is supposed to be understood spatially. The two images in the February 1953 advert can be read as two different views of one island or as the representation of an archipelago, with the Bounty and the woman existing on separate islands. Most intriguingly, the juxtaposed images can be understood as two possible (but mutually exclusive) versions of the same island: one which contains the desirable female body among its pleasures and one which remains deserted (apart from the figurative presence of the viewer). In this sense, the 1953 adverts refuse to resolve the tension of a space that is apparently (and impossibly) both deserted and inhabited. Thus, the island offers two contrasting meanings: it simultaneously offers erotic pleasure to the viewer and remains a desert island—an uninhabited tabula rasa ripe for projections of selfhood. Also arising from this conjunction of signifiers is the fact that the island refuses definition and resists any reading of it as complete. The desert island’s ontological instability might intimate that the Bounty cannot offer the consumer any lasting satisfaction, visually manifesting the liquid modern condition of “forever ‘becoming,’ avoiding completion, staying underdefined” (Bauman 2014, 90). There is no reason that islands should be depicted as whole, or that such a representation is more realistic, but this remains the convention. Godfrey Baldacchino speculates that most people, if asked to draw a picture of an island on a sheet of paper, would draw one that fits “within the space confines of the sheet” (2005, 247). While the same is likely true of a person asked to draw any object, Baldacchino’s point

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about island representation is revealing: we expect islands to be represented as coherent entities, offering the viewer reassuring wholeness and an analogy of unified, consistent identity. Both Desert Island Discs and the print advertising for Bounty chocolate represent desert islands that facilitate only a compromised fulfilment of identity fantasies. Desert Island Discs presents the castaway with a monad that at first appears to offer an image of wholeness, a particularly attractive quality in 1942, when the programme began, given the destabilising context of the Second World War. The liquid modern theme of unlimited choice is set in tension with an authoritarian structure that tends to reproduce a homogeneity redolent of solid modernity. 1950s advertising for Bounty chocolate depicts desert islands in a fragmentary mode. The ‘incomplete’ islands offer the potential fulfilment of wholeness through the consumption of the one item that is constructed as whole: the Bounty bar. Produced immediately after the wartime rationing of sweets ended, the adverts reflect the reconstructive efforts of the post-war period and the desire to recover a sense of stability, both societal and in terms of individual subjectivity. In the 1953 adverts, though, the spatial instability of the island frustrates any suggestion that consuming the Bounty might allow the formation of a secure and permanent identity. As such, the adverts negotiate the profound changes that were wrought by the Second World War and its aftermath on the structures of community and on the processes of individual identity formation.

References Atkinson, Paul, and David Silverman. 1997. Kundera’s Immortality: The Interview Society and the Invention of the Self. Qualitative Inquiry 3 (3): 304–325. Baldacchino, Godfrey. 2005. Editorial: Islands: Objects of Representation. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 87 (4): 247–251. Bauman, Zygmunt. 1992. Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge. ———. 1998. On Postmodern Uses of Sex. Theory, Culture & Society 15 (3): 19–33. ———. (2000) 2006. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2014. What Use Is Sociology? Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester. Cambridge: Polity Press. BBC. 2008. 1953: Sweet Rationing Ends in Britain. BBC on This Day. http:// news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/5/newsid_2737000/ 2737731.stm. Accessed 28 May 2020.

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———. 2010. Desert Island Discs: Facts and Figures. BBC Radio 4. http:// www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/26v4KfMLDfnJQ8n4mB2fWr0/factsand-figures. Accessed 8 Feb 2013. Curti, Merle. 1967. The Changing Concept of ‘Human Nature’ in the Literature of American Advertising. The Business History Review 41 (4): 335–357. Doctor, Jenny. 2017. From Forces’ Choice to Desert Island Discs: The BBC’s Promotion of Personal Choice in Wartime. In Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context, ed. Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, and Stephen Cottrell, 51–66. London: British Academy. Donne, John. (1624) 1987. Meditation XVII. In Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edmond, Rod, and Vanessa Smith. 2003. Editors’ Introduction. In Islands in History and Representation, ed. Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith, 1–18. London: Routledge. Foucault, Michel. (1975) 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Frith, Simon. 2017. What Does It Mean to Be Cultured? Desert Island Discs as an Ideological Archive. In Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context, ed. Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, and Stephen Cottrell, 125–144. London: British Academy. Frizzell, Nell. 2017. ‘It’s Like Getting an OBE, but Better’—Behind the Scenes at Desert Island Discs. The Guardian, January 25. Geiger, Jeffrey. 2007. Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the U.S. Imperial Imagination. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Greenblatt, Stephen. 2005. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hendy, David. 2007. Life on Air: A History of Radio Four. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hinds, Michael. 2015. Robinson in Headphones: The Desert Island as Pop Fetish. In Shipwreck and Island Motifs in Literature and the Arts, ed. Bridget LeJuez and Olga Springer, 61–84. Leiden: Brill Rodopi. Magee, Sean. 2012. Desert Island Discs: 70 Years of Castaways from One of BBC Radio 4’s Best-Loved Programmes. London: Bantam Press. Mars Limited. 1953a. A New Chocolate Thrill! Illustrated, 28 February, 7. ———. 1953b. New Chocolate Thrill! Illustrated, May 23, 7. ———. 1954. New … Far and Away the Best Catch in Chocolate Treats. Picture Post, September 4, 2–3. Moore, Andrew W., and Christopher Garibaldi. 2003. Flower Power: The Meaning of Flowers in Art. London: Philip Wilson. Packard, Vance. (1957) 1961. The Hidden Persuaders. London: Longmans. Plomley, Roy. 1975. Desert Island Discs. London: William Kimber.

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———. 1979. Roy Plomley’s Desert Island Book. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. Reed, David. 1997. The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880–1960. London: British Library. Straw, Will. 2017. The Cultural Baggage of the Desert Island. In Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context, ed. Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, and Stephen Cottrell, 35–50. London: British Academy. Symons, Mitchell. 2012. Desert Island Discs: Flotsam & Jetsam: Fascinating Facts, Figures and Miscellany from One of BBC Radio 4’s Best-Loved Programmes. London: Bantam Press. The Sun [New York]. 1914. Authors Choose Their Desert Island Libraries, October 17, 8. Wyss, Johann. (1812) 2009. The Swiss Family Robinson. Trans. W. Kingston. London: Puffin Classics. Young, Kirsty. 2012. Foreword. In Desert Island Discs: 70 Years of Castaways from One of BBC Radio 4’s Best-Loved Programmes, ed. Sean Magee, vi–ix. London: Bantam Press.

Discography Naughtie, James. 1992. “The Desert Island Discs Story.” BBC Radio 4. London: BBC, Jan. 26. Plomley, Roy, and James Agate. 1942. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Forces Programme. London: BBC, Feb. 5. Plomley, Roy, and Kirsten Flagstad. 1952. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Home Service. London: BBC, Apr. 29. Plomley, Roy, and Malcolm Sargent. 1955. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Home Service. London: BBC, Apr. 28. Plomley, Roy, and Margaret Lockwood. 1951. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Home Service. London: BBC, Apr. 25. Plomley, Roy, and Michael York. 1984. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Radio 4. London: BBC, Feb. 25. Plomley, Roy, and Sir John Betjeman. 1975. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Radio 4. London: BBC, Apr. 12. Plomley, Roy, and Spike Milligan. 1978. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Radio 4. London: BBC, Feb 4. Plomley, Roy, and Tom Lehrer. 1980. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Radio 4. London: BBC, July 12. Plomley, Roy, and Vic Oliver. 1942. “Desert Island Discs.” BBC Forces Programme. London: BBC, Jan. 29.

CHAPTER 3

Community on the Desert Island: The New Yorker Cartoons and Gilligan’s Island

Abstract This chapter analyses cartoons from The New Yorker magazine (1957) and the sitcom Gilligan’s Island (1964–1967). These comedic texts present ambivalent desert islands and ambiguous attitudes to liquid modernity. In the cartoons, humour is located in an understanding of identity as communal, which is incongruous on an uninhabited island. However, satirising solid modern behaviours in the ‘remote’ space of the desert island effectively endorses them in their ‘appropriate’ location of urban society. This ideological position is complicated by the cartoons’ representation of eroticism. Gilligan’s Island represents a spatially destabilised desert island that posits and then undermines a sense of coherent identity. A solid modern preoccupation with community is the structuring impulse of individual selfhood but is compromised by gestures towards underdetermined identity. Keywords Satire · Community · Recuperation · Identity · Eroticism · Repression

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_3

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3.1

The New Yorker Cartoons

Harold Ross established The New Yorker in 1925 with the intention that it would be “a reflection in the word and picture of metropolitan life” (Peterson 1964, 247). The weekly magazine would offer its sophisticated urban audience a vision of their own familiar lives. Circulation rose from 100,000 in 1930 (Hammill and Leick 2012, 186) to 415,000 by the late 1950s (Ingersoll 1961, 167). The New Yorker’s success was not due to a populist approach: Nancy Franklin describes its perspective as “a tolerance – or promotion – of smart-set mores” (2006, 83). In the late 1950s, the magazine reflected the aspirations of its erudite readership and the growing affluence of the post-war United States. The analyses below focus on cartoons from 1957: The New Yorker in that year contains more cartoons, more images and more colour than earlier editions. Often, two-thirds of each page is taken up with advertising, usually for products connoting a decadent (or aspirational) lifestyle: expensive ‘automobiles’; furs; jewellery; spirits; and perfume. This provides the context for one of The New Yorker’s best-known motifs: cartoons set in the distinctly non-urban location of the desert island. An iconic feature from the magazine’s inception was the single-panel ‘gag’ cartoon. Some of their captions became famous enough to enter popular parlance: in Peter Arno’s 1941 cartoon, an engineer laments his plane crashing with the words “Well, back to the old drawing board,” the first use of that phrase (Partridge 1985, 25–26). The desert island soon became a leitmotif of The New Yorker cartoons. When Ross rejected one of his drawings in 1937, James Thurber complained that: “If this drawing is not funny, and is not a swell drawing, I shall engage to eat it, and with it … every drawing of a man and a woman on a raft [and] every drawing of a man and a native woman on a desert island” (Remnick 2006, ix). The implication is that there was already a recognisable desert island cartoon trope in The New Yorker, only six years after the first example appeared in 1931 (Thurber also reasserts the paradoxical suggestion that a space can be inhabited by a “native woman” and remain a “desert island”). Through the 1930s and most of the 1940s, The New Yorker published up to three desert island cartoons annually, which rose gradually to an average of about nine by 1956. In 1957, there was both a jump in the overall number of cartoons published and a disproportionate leap in the number of desert island cartoons. The reification of the desert island motif perhaps owes a debt to the bias in The New Yorker cartoons towards the

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visual element over the written caption. Founding editor Harold Ross prioritised “integrity in the relationship between pictures and text,” in contrast to earlier “illustrated dialogues with punchlines that carried the full freight of the comedy” (Inge 1984, 67–68). The result was a style that emphasised visual simplicity and led to The New Yorker cartoons becoming “the emblem of the magazine and … the longest running popular comic genre in American life” (Remnick 2006, viii). Fifteen of the seventeen desert island cartoons published in The New Yorker in 1957 contain their islands entirely within the frame and thus present them as coherent units. Boundedness can evoke the control of movement that characterised the solid modern era. The islands’ small size (they are always a few yards across) and desolation (they rarely contain more than one or two palm trees and sometimes a small makeshift dwelling) construct them as confining spaces, in which the castaways’ activity and spatial practice are controlled. As discussed in Chapter 2, Foucault’s conception of cell-space in the context of penal systems suggests that clearly delimited spaces are integral to systems of power and are secured by “the meticulously sealed wall, uncrossable in either direction” (1995, 123). The ‘protagonists’ here are involuntary castaways, stuck until salvation arrives from without, and as such are enclosed by the figurative ‘wall’ of the ocean. Occasional cartoons locate their humour in the moment of rescue but the predominant paradigm is that the cartoons present castaways’ enforced stasis. This is at odds with the mobility that Bauman ascribes to the liquid modern elite (who comprise the readership of The New Yorker) and constitutes an engagement with a solid modern understanding of space and spatial practice. In the cartoons analysed here, this is set in tension with features that gesture towards the liquid modern paradigm that emerged in the post-war era. Frank Modell’s cartoon of 9 March 1957 depicts a male and a female castaway on a tiny island. Their twoness is echoed in the two palm trees behind them, and their abject condition is marked by their tattered clothes and a single fish skeleton on the beach. The caption reads: “Your trouble is you’re asocial,” apparently spoken by the male to the female castaway. This dialogue assumes the value of sociability, revealing an understanding of society that is rooted in solid modernity. In the solid modern era, individuals were responsible for finding “the appropriate niche” in which to situate their life projects, and for settling there “through conformity: by faithfully following the rules and modes of conduct identified as right and proper for the location” (Bauman 2006,

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7). Selfhood was essentially a communal project, and individual identity was constructed in the context of one’s community. It is “the bonds which interlock individual choices in collective projects and actions” that are “thrown into the melting pot” in the liquid modern era (2006, 6). Thus, Modell locates in the castaways a vision of solid modern community, and the humour derives from the man’s apparent obliviousness that they are alone on an island rather than at home in urban society. The caption reads like the complaint of an educated socialite, who is made ridiculous; jokes “mock, parody or deride the ritual practices of a given society” (Critchley 2002, 5). Given that there is nobody else with whom to socialise, and socialising with one another is unavoidable, the dialogue is incongruous. Thus, this cartoon can be read as a joke in which the castaways are set up as the object of ridicule for the viewer. Because the viewer and the protagonist are apparently from the same social set (unlike the basic configuration of the ‘ethnic joke’ where the other is put down), the joke here has the potential to locate in the reader of The New Yorker “the anxiety, difficulty and, indeed, shame of where one is from” (Critchley 2002, 74). In such an analysis, the cartoon satirises the sophisticated readers of The New Yorker and forces them to examine their own behaviour from a new perspective. The “ritual practice” that is being mocked is the male castaway’s preoccupation with sociality. His dialogue prioritises community over individualism and, in being encouraged to laugh at him, the viewer is potentially incorporated into a critique of this solid modern ideology. Another desert island cartoon by Modell, from 25 May 1957, also tacitly endorses the deregulated, “free-floating” liquid modern capitalism that results in the “fading and wilting, falling apart and decomposing of human bonds, of communities and of partnerships” (Bauman 2006, 149, 163). This example depicts a male castaway arriving at a crescent-shaped island already inhabited by a female castaway. She is hyper-sexualised, with large breasts and a short, revealing (and tattered) dress. He walks through the shallows slack-jawed and wide-eyed, looking down at her body rather than making eye contact: this island is more phallic than round. His words—“My name’s Benton. Will you marry me?”—reveal his simultaneous prurience and propriety; he wants a sexual relationship but feels it would be inappropriate for an unmarried couple. Benton exhibits a need to infer the presence of an absent supervisor, which Lacan calls the big Other. The big Other is part of Lacan’s symbolic order: the unwritten rules that we live by, and against which we measure ourselves. It could

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be “the ‘God’ who watches over me from beyond … or the Cause that involves me” (Žižek 2007, 9). Benton’s big Other is characterised by a solid modern understanding of sex: that the erotic ought to be bound up with marriage (and, by implication, with love and reproduction) rather than liberated from those concerns as Bauman suggests is the case in the contemporary era (1998, 21). There is a long history of desert island protagonists bringing their home with them onto the island, extending back to the prototypical castaway Robinson Crusoe, whose “enthusiasm for home-making” is founded on the “moral premise [of] rational ecological and economic labor” (Watt 1997, 151–52). That is to say that Crusoe imports with him onto the island the guiding principles of his home society, which are also the central tenets of solid modernity. When confronted with a space that lacks a “Supreme Office” whose role is to guard “the boundary between right and wrong” (Bauman 2006, 61), the solid modern castaway simply imports that Supreme Office in the form of the big Other. The castaway’s effort to import home to the desert island conceives of life as fundamentally communal, with identity forged in the context of the other, and thus characteristic of solid modernity. Benton proposes marriage because one must not be seen to behave with impropriety, even if there is nobody there to do the seeing. The suggestion, as per Hobbes, that the humour is found in the “sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others” (1840, 46) indicates that Modell’s castaways are supposed to be laughed at, and their solid modern tendencies mocked. The male castaways are constructed as being ridiculous for importing societal concerns onto the desert island. The liquid modern paradigm of degraded human relationships and disintegrating communities is perhaps intimated visually by the broken island border; where the castaways’ bodies intersect with the island’s outline, they disrupt it and leave it undefined, while the far end of the island image becomes diffuse, denying the viewer a consolidated, bounded wholeness. Alternatively, Modell’s cartoons can be read as reasserting the status quo, in line with Critchley’s argument that most humour “simply seeks to reinforce consensus and in no way seeks to criticise the established order or change the situation in which we find ourselves” (2002, 11). The “established order” in 1957 was the economic hegemony of immobile Fordist capitalism, “tied down by the combination of huge factory buildings, heavy machinery and massive labour forces” (Bauman 2006,

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57). Solid modern capitalism was buttressed by a conception of identity as essentially communal and of sex as validated only in the context of love and reproduction. It is clear that these solid modern values are destabilised by Modell’s cartoons; on a superficial level, the motivating impulse of these cartoons is to appeal to The New Yorker readers’ “smartset mores” by mocking such staid, conventional ideals as the sanctity of marriage. However, the cartoon can also be read, with Critchley, as disclosing a repressed nostalgia for the certainties of solid modernity. Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker from 1997 to 2017, suggests that the glut of desert island cartoons in 1957 may have been due to “some kind of Cold War statement, or fear of the bomb” (cited in Handy 2012). Such anxieties lend weight to a reading of Modell’s cartoons as both satirising the castaways’ solid modern impulses and simultaneously revealing a repressed desire for that which is satirised. In this reading, the cartoons exemplify humour’s ability to let us “reflect upon the anxious nature of our own thrownness in the world. … Jokes can therefore be read as symptoms of societal repression” (Critchley 2002, 11–12). What is repressed, and here revealed, is the desire to hold on to a familiar (solid modern) world. Such a reading is supported by the cartoons’ setting. The desert island location allows the viewer to infer that the protagonists are only ridiculous because their behaviour takes place at a distance from home. Mankoff suggests that the desert island setting might betray a desire “to flee society’s strictures” (cited in Handy 2012). Alternatively, that setting might in fact indicate a repressed desire for those very strictures. What is implicit in Modell’s cartoons is that the castaways’ behaviour is dislocated from the urban habitat of the intended viewer. Critchley observes that humour “returns us to locality, to a specific and circumscribed ethos. It takes us back to the place we are from, whether that is the concreteness of a neighbourhood or the abstraction of a nation state” (2002, 68). The desert island setting reminds The New Yorker readers that they are not on a desert island, and “takes [them] back” to their urban ethos. The behaviour that is inappropriate for the castaways is thus validated in its ‘proper’ setting of The New Yorker readers’ apartments and townhouses. In asserting the normality of metropolitan élite behaviour (as long as it takes place in the metropolis, by the élite), the ideologies of solid modernity are reinstated as ‘normal.’ Modell’s cartoons, then, exemplify a sort of reverse-carnivalesque. The effect of the Bakhtinian Carnival is present—the cartoons reinforce the

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status quo—but this is achieved not via transgressive behaviour in a ‘normal’ space (cf. Bakhtin 1984) but by situating particular behaviours in an ‘other’ space in order to construct them as ‘normal.’ David Pascal’s cartoon of 23 March 1957 functions according to the same process. Two male castaways sit on a tiny island, each below a palm tree and each with a stall selling coconuts for 50 cents, apparently unaware that they are in a space where there is no custom for which to compete. This figures them as solid modern producers who belong in society, unlike the liquid modern consumer of the Bounty chocolate, whose consumption “is a lonely activity, endemically and irredeemably lonely” (Bauman 2006, 165). The coconut salesmen, in their positions at opposite ends of the desert island, resemble the Fordist capitalists whose strategies were marked by immobility and rootedness: “to act efficiently, they had to ‘dig in,’ to draw boundaries and mark them with trenches and barbed wire … Heavy [i.e. solid modern] capitalism was obsessed with bulk and size, and, for that reason, also with boundaries, with making them tight and impenetrable” (Bauman 2006, 57–58). The desert island here is both fitting and ironic: it has an impenetrable boundary (the castaways have not escaped or been rescued) but the “bulk and size” that these capitalists desire eludes them. The castaways appear not to notice that money has no value on the desert island, outside economic society. Apparently, they have forgotten Robinson Crusoe’s observation on finding coins on board his wrecked ship: “I smil’d to my self at the Sight of this Money, O Drug! Said I aloud, what art thou good for, Thou art not worth to me, no not the taking off of the Ground” (Defoe 2003, 47). In fact, Crusoe ignores his own advice and does carry the coins ashore. Apparently, Pascal’s castaways are unaware that their behaviour is irrational, which locates humour in their solid modern capitalism. However, the implication is that this form of “‘immobile’ and ‘rooted’” capitalism would be ‘normal’ behaviour if only the men weren’t on a desert island but at home in New York (Bauman 2006, 57). As such, Pascal’s representation of homo oeconomicus normalises a solid modern economic paradigm rather than the mobile capitalism of liquid modernity. Modell’s and Pascal’s cartoons are ambivalent, superficially critiquing a solid modern understanding of society and identity formation, but in fact endorsing that paradigm by locating this critique ‘elsewhere.’ Neither of these readings is definitive: the cartoons hover between the two meanings. This tension is further complicated in Modell’s cartoons by the presence of eroticism. The humourist Ian Frazier suggests that the “sexy

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looking women” drawn by First and Second World War soldiers later became a staple of cartoons in magazines including The New Yorker: “Generic caption: ‘May I speak to you in private for a moment, Miss Rimpkins?’” (Frazier 2006, 405). Both the March 9th and May 25th cartoons construct their female castaways as being ‘sexy.’ The women’s scant clothing and conventional attractiveness construct them—to borrow from Laura Mulvey—as being “strongly coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness ” (1989, 19). The desert island, as well as promoting the conventional social norms of solid modernity, offers sexual satisfaction to viewers aligned with the man by the captions. (This would surely please the many agencies whose tropical holidays are advertised in the pages of The New Yorker.) However, solid modern social forces—Benton’s sense of propriety in asking the woman to marry him—thwart the fulfilment of the man’s erotic desires. As such, eroticism is not liberated but has to “justify itself in terms of its sexual (reproductive) utility” (Bauman 1998, 20–21); eroticism is only valid here when marriage gives it a purpose. This need to legitimate eroticism is entirely absent in a desert island cartoon by Peter Arno from 19 October 1957. The cartoon depicts two castaways, one female and one male, standing by the shore and looking out to sea, from where another man and woman approach. The new arrivals lean forwards with arms by their sides, suggestive of guided missiles (or other phallic symbols), each advancing towards the castaway of the other sex. This cartoon has no caption, realising the desire of Harold Ross to “abandon the caption altogether …. A cartoon which told its own story without recourse to punchline seemed to him the ultimate form of graphic humor” (Inge 1984, 68). The audience is left to infer that each existing castaway has failed to satisfy the other’s desire for sexual novelty, so new recruits are needed. It is notable that this cartoon, unusually, does not contain the island entirely within the frame: this is not a clearly bounded space and is not ‘bound’ by the need to legitimate eroticism. Eroticism is familiar territory for Arno, whose “lecherous gentlemen and young women established a genre which such publications as Esquire and Playboy would later imitate with endless variation” (Inge 1984, 69). Here, Arno liberates the erotic from the trappings of love and reproduction, a far cry from Benton’s anxiety about extramarital sex. Moreover, the cartoon demonstrates Bauman’s assertion that “no actual sexual experience is truly satisfying” and as such seems to engage with his suggestion that in contemporary life there is no experience that “makes

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further training, instruction, counsel, recipe, drug or gadget unnecessary” (Bauman 1998, 24). The castaways have not been satisfied by what the desert island has to offer, and so further consumption is required; assuming the heteronormative paradigm that Arno seems to imply, each castaway now has two potential sexual partners. Unlike the characters presented by Modell and Pascal, Arno’s castaways embrace “an eroticism ‘with no strings attached,’ untied, unbridled, let loose” (Bauman 1998, 21), and embody the values of flexibility, unfixity and freedom of choice. The theme of choice is bound up with consumption, a motif that is present throughout The New Yorker. Sophisticated, affluent New York life is set in incongruous juxtaposition with the decidedly non-urban context of the desert island. In Modell’s and Pascal’s cartoons, this produces an ambivalence. The implied viewer is aligned with male castaways who are satirised. However, this does not critique the viewer, because of the supposed remoteness of the desert island setting. The castaways’ behaviour is satirised not in itself but only because it is inappropriate in that location. This serves ultimately to promote, rather than critique, the solid modern stances that are imported to the desert island. Modell’s cartoons set this in tension with eroticism, creating an oscillating ideological perspective. Peter Arno capitalises on this tension: his cartoon relies on the viewer having an understanding of the desert island as both alluring and restrictive, and collapses the ambivalence of Modell’s cartoons in a wholehearted embrace of “free-floating eroticism” (Bauman 1998, 26). Thus, like Desert Island Discs and Bounty magazine advertising (see Chapter 2), The New Yorker cartoons represent their desert islands as conflicted spaces, combining the seductive urges of liquid modernity and the repressive impulses of the solid modern era.

3.2

Gilligan ’s Island

The CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island tells the story of seven people shipwrecked “on the shore of this uncharted desert isle” during a “three-hour tour” from a “tropic port,” as the theme song puts it. The show ran from 1964 to 1967, followed by two animated spin-off series and three made-for-TV film sequels in the 1970s and early 1980s. The sitcom’s success grew after syndication—it still airs on MeTV every week in the United States—and it was eventually “the most repeated series in television history” (Morowitz 1998, 5). Like the cartoons from The New

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Yorker magazine, Gilligan’s Island finds humour in defamiliarising operations: the show performs its social critique by making familiar aspects of life seem strange, using techniques of inversion reminiscent of science fiction (cf. Ruddick 1993 on the intersections of science fiction and islands). However, as in The New Yorker cartoons, aspects of the desert island’s representation reaffirm rather than critique the (solid modern) status quo, placing the satire in ambivalent tension. The representational ambivalence of Gilligan’s Island can be observed in terms of the island’s geological status. The theme song refers to “this uncharted desert isle,” a formulation that stresses the singularity of the space: it is a monad offering reassuring wholeness and stability. At the end of the credit sequence, the island appears onscreen, contained as a monad by the framing, which is from the perspective of an approaching ship (Fig. 3.1). This shot is used as the show’s title card, suggesting that

Fig. 3.1 Gilligan’s Island title screen (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Two on a Raft.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 26 September 1964. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

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this is the predominant way in which the island should be understood: to reinforce this, the lyrics “here on Gilligan’s isle” and the show’s title are superimposed (audibly and visually) on this image. This conforms to a rich tradition of initial representations of islands that “offer ideal images of imaginary completeness and thus speak to a collective cultural fantasy [of wholeness]” (Riquet 2019, 115). This image of oneness is complicated, however, by suggestions that the island is in fact part of an archipelago. It is implied that people visit the island, as various objects are discovered including a carving of Tiki (the first man, according to M¯aori mythology). In the first episode, ‘Two on a Raft,’ the Skipper finds “native arrowheads” and the Professor identifies a “ceremonial mask [that] looks very much like the work of the savage Marubi tribe.” The Professor emphasises that the mask indicates the island’s archipelagic state and its connectedness: the ‘Marubi’ “may very well be on one of the nearby islands … and your raft might land on one of those islands.” While the representation of so-called “natives” is racist (they “collect heads” and are played by white actors in brownface), the representation of the island as a networked space potentially gestures (albeit superficially) to an archipelagic conception of the island (cf. DeLoughrey 2001; Stratford 2013). Further, the representation of a unified monadic space is disrupted by the depiction of the island as spatially incoherent (cf. Riquet 2019 on unstable island aesthetics). In ‘Music Hath Charm,’ warlike Pacific islanders interpret Gilligan’s drumming as “enemy war drums from other island” and paddle in canoes towards the castaways. As the “fierce primitive tribe” approach, the castaways run to the “south end of the island” to escape, and a reverse-shot shows a fleet of canoes approaching (Fig. 3.2). The castaways then run to the “west end,” which is clearly the same part of the island shot with slightly different framing (Fig. 3.3). Whether this duplication was for comedic or budgetary reasons, the effect is to figure the island as spatially incoherent and to problematise both the idea that it can be understood as a monadic unit and its contrary representation as a constituent part of an archipelago. The show’s slightly ramshackle production values heighten the spatial confusion. In the first episode, Gilligan and the Skipper are on a raft, with a fabric backdrop used to represent the sky behind them. The backdrop is not quite long enough, leaving a narrow gap between the horizon and the ‘bottom’ of the sky, which looks like land. This is (presumably) not supposed to be understood as a gesture towards an archipelagic conception of space but has the effect of complicating the idea of the island as monadic. Thus, a spatially

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Fig. 3.2 The “south end” of Gilligan’s Island (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Music Hath Charms.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 27 March 1965. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

unstable desert island is established, which serves as the context for an ambivalent exploration of solid and liquid modernity. Robert Mayer’s analysis of Gilligan’s Island suggests that the show “ assert[s] the primacy of the individual” (2010, 54). In the show’s second episode, when their huts are blown down in a storm, “the various residents of the island set to work building individual huts again,” despite the Skipper’s call for them to “function as a group” (Mayer 2010, 58). As far as this demonstrates the castaways’ individualism, it is not the radical individualism of liquid modernity. The characters may behave in their own interests and prefer not to live together, but their identities are formed in the context of community rather than individually. Liquid modern individuals, for Bauman, construct their identity outside of any systemic structure, and as such are engaged in “self-constructing labours [whose destination] is endemically and incurably underdetermined” (2006, 7).

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Fig. 3.3 The “west end” of Gilligan’s Island (Still from Gilligan’s Island episode “Music Hath Charms.” Originally broadcast on CBS, 27 March 1965. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

The liquid modern subject is essentially alone and exists outside of the sort of society that is reconstructed on Gilligan’s Island. The show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz recalls wanting to demonstrate that “all sorts of people can learn to live together. … Because it applies to nations as well as to the Castaways” (2011, 9). The ways in which the castaways “learn to live together” are based on the formation of a collective identity, often manifested in cultural activity. In the episode ‘Music Hath Charm,’ Mrs. Howell tells Gilligan that what they need most on the island is not “a way to get off” (his suggestion) but “Culture! And what’s more cultural than music? We will form our own little symphony orchestra!” The resulting rehearsal and performance of The Blue Danube demonstrate that, here, “the bonds which interlock individual choices in collective projects and actions” have not dissolved (Bauman 2006, 6). Rather, the castaways manifest an “efficient machine” whose constituent parts each

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have complementary tasks, embodying the “composition of forces” that, in Foucault’s analysis, characterises disciplinary control (1995, 162). The castaways’ recreation of ‘mainland’ culture is compromised: the homemade instruments (including a set of conch panpipes, perhaps a nod to Lord of the Flies ) make the familiar music strange. However, the processes by which the music is created model the castaways not as individuals but as a community. Within this community, individual identity is constructed according to “pre-allocated ‘reference groups’” (Bauman 2006, 7), manifested in emphatically hierarchical social classes. This is a solid modern vision of society, resisting the “unstructured, fluid state of the immediate setting of life-politics” (Bauman 2006, 7–8) in liquid modernity. In the first episode, Gilligan and the Skipper build a raft in order to look for help. ‘The Millionaire’—Thurston Howell III—insists on joining the crew and is confident that his pedigree protects him against any eventuality: “A shark bite a Howell!? Ha ha. He wouldn’t dare!” It is his family name (i.e. his membership of a particular social grouping) that protects him. He only decides to remain on the island when he is told there is no room on the raft for his luggage, as he is unwilling to compromise his societal position: “Oh well that’s different. If I can’t go first class, I won’t go at all!” The castaways’ individual “life-politics” (Bauman 2006, 8), that is, the choices they make about how to live their lives, are highly determined and structured by a rigid hierarchy. Clearly, the viewer is meant to laugh at Mr. Howell here: his insistence on maintaining his status is ridiculous. However, the behaviour that is constructed as laughable is not Howell’s attitude towards class and society, but his application of that attitude in nonsensical circumstances. This is a similar but subtly different operation to that discussed above in relation to The New Yorker cartoons, in which the status quo is recuperated by placing satirical critique in a remote space: Howell is ridiculous not for thinking that his family name should insure him against harm, but that it should insure him against harm from a shark. He is mocked not for refusing to travel in standard class accommodation, but for imagining that a raft might have a first class section. As in The New Yorker cartoons, the result is to validate the castaways’ behaviour as long as it is manifested in appropriate circumstances. As such, solid modern behaviours are mocked in “permitted inversions of the dominant theological and political order [that] simply reinstate it by offering transitory comic relief” (Critchley 2002, 82).

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Gilligan’s Island often gestures towards disrupting the economic and ideological status quo of 1960s America, such that Cevin Soling sees the show as “an active affirmation of communism” (Soling 2015, n.p.). In the episode ‘Agonized Labor,’ the Howells’ stocks lose their value, and the Skipper reassures them that “as long as we’re all on this island together it’s not going to make any difference to anyone of us whether you have any money or not.” Soling does acknowledge that the Skipper includes the qualifier “as long as we’re all on this island,” but does not take this to its logical corollary: the ‘communism’ extends only to the island, with no suggestion that the Howells’ wealth should not be important once they get back to the mainland. Further, the castaways’ actions do not reflect the Skipper’s words. Rather than being treated as an equal, Gilligan does what he is bidden by his ‘superiors’ every week, and is repeatedly constructed as being fit only to remain a proletariat. When he attempts to challenge the authoritarian Skipper (“Well I’m sick of orders! And I’m sick of the sun and the wind and the spray and the salt!”), the Skipper’s reply makes Gilligan ridiculous and immediately reinstates the status quo: “What are you talking about? We’ve only been gone twenty minutes! … Now sit down there and start paddling!” The Skipper controls Gilligan’s spatial practice (“sit down there …”) and his activity (“… and start paddling”). Gilligan is the butt of every joke, the object of the show’s humour rather than the subject through whom it is focalised; his “unique ‘function’ [is] to destroy or pervert each attempt to rescue the castaways” (Morrison 2014, 211). When he attempts to impart wisdom or to challenge the status quo, he fails, such as in the episode “Beauty is as Beauty Does.” Gilligan subverts the Miss Castaway competition by choosing Gladys, a friendly chimpanzee, as the winner. Gladys puts Gilligan over her shoulder and carries him away, making a fool of him and returning the island to being a representation of the dominant ideology. Each episode of Gilligan’s Island is self-contained and opens with a credit sequence telling the story of the castaways’ shipwreck, textually casting them away again at the beginning of every instalment. The shot of the island from the opening credit sequence appears again at the beginning of the end credits; this bookends each episode with identical representations of the island, returning it to its original (deserted) state each week. This textual return to the moment of arrival emphasises the circular, timeless structure of the series, which prescribes the fixity of the characters’ roles. The function of this episodic structure, in which each

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episode consists of an autonomous narrative, is to preclude the possibility of change or character development, “thus setting the show in immutable times” (Maillos 2016, 22). As Morrison points out, Gilligan’s Island is anomalous among ‘shipwreck narratives’ in that “no transformations take place” (2014, 180). Thus, the format precludes the temporary and unstructured nature of liquid modern identity. Instead, solid modern stability is represented, along with casual racism and a deeply embedded patriarchal ideology: the focus on male characters in the present analysis reflects the show’s representation of women as reactive foils to the male protagonists. The show’s end credits foreground the social hierarchy on the desert island, with the crew of the S. S. Minnow tasked with ensuring the comfort of their paying customers: The first mate and the Skipper too, Will do their very best To make the others comfortable, In the tropic island nest.

These lyrics appear at the end of every episode, constructing the conservation of the social structure as intrinsic and inevitable. This is in stark contrast to Bauman’s description of liquid modernity, which is characterised by “the mobility and … flexibility of identification” (2006, 90) and by “fragility, temporariness, vulnerability and inclination to constant change” (2014, 90). A significant corollary of Gilligan’s Island’s episodic structure is that the castaways can never leave the island. Morrison notes that the audience is “rooting for [the castaways’ escape attempts] to fail (or else, as with Lost , the series would end)” (2014, 211).1 Most episodes of Gilligan’s Island depict the castaways attempting (and failing) to escape. In the very first episode, Gilligan and the Skipper sail off on a raft to find help, but land on the other side of the same island, mistaking it for a new one. That this apparent freedom of movement is illusory is signalled by a wider frustration of mobility. At first, they cannot set off because Gilligan has forgotten to weigh the anchor. Later on, they are attacked by sharks and Gilligan asks: “Skipper, do you think we should abandon ship?” The 1 Morrison was writing while Lost was still being produced, and so could not have known that in fact the castaways do escape—and then return to the island, and then escape again—before the series ended, as is discussed in Chapter 5.

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Skipper replies “It’s too late! It’s already abandoned us!” The raft falls to bits, refusing the castaways any control of their own movement. Even the final episode of Gilligan’s Island ends with the castaways on the island, unable to escape. It may not have been Schwartz’s intention to end the show with this lack of narrative closure, as the show was unexpectedly cancelled after production of the third season was completed (Stoddard 1996, 306–7). The result, though, is that the island remains figured as a prison, a mode of representation that implies the control of space and restriction of movement, and is closely bound up with the concerns of solid modernity: indeed, islands were often used as prisons, leper colonies and spaces of quarantine in the solid modern period. This control of movement, however, is highly specific to the castaways themselves. While they repeatedly fail to leave the island, there is a continuous flow of visitors, played by guest stars or occasionally by members of the main cast in dual roles. That is to say that the island functions as a prison only for the main characters and facilitates far greater spatial practice for others, complicating the idea that this is a solid modern desert island characterised solely by the control of movement. The visitors invariably escape without the castaways, either abandoning them intentionally or promising (and then failing) to send help. They are figured as personifications of liquid modern capital, which can “stop-over almost anywhere” and stay no longer “than the satisfaction lasts” (Bauman 2006, 58). The castaways, by contrast, embody not capital but labour, which “remains as immobilized as it was in the past” although now in a space that “has lost its past solidity; searching in vain for boulders, anchors fall on friable sands” (Bauman 2006, 58). In the episode ‘Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes,’ the Beatles parody band the Mosquitoes reach the island intentionally (unlike the castaways). As they arrive and meet the show’s protagonists, the musicians argue amongst themselves: I thought you said we were gonna get away from our fans? Yeah, you said this island was deserted and we’d be all alone. Well now how’d I know it was inhabited? That helicopter pilot told me this place was out of sight, you know?

The Mosquitoes’ intentional arrival suggests that this is a mapped, known space, which undermines the description in the theme song of an “uncharted desert isle.” This conception of the island and the reference

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to the helicopter pilot imply an aerial view and the knowledge that this facilitates: flight was “one of the main vectors of the modern expansion of mobility that has led to the construction of a visually comprehensive global space” (Dorrian and Pousin 2013, 1; also cf. Beer 1990). Access to knowledge is, for Dorrian, central to “postmodernity” and facilitated by “the instantaneity of the network connection” (2013, 291). On Gilligan’s Island, though, information is not universally accessible. The aerial view is afforded to the helicopter pilot but extended neither to the castaways nor to the viewer. All we are given access to is an account of the desert island’s visibility that plays on the 1960s usage of “out of sight” to mean “excellent, incomparable” (OED Online 2020). Taken literally, the phrase complicates the island’s visibility. The implication is that the island is visible to the Mosquitoes and their pilot but somehow hidden from the hypothetical perspective of a passing ship, which raises the question of what could possibly be obstructing the view. If we read the ‘out of sight-ness’ as simply implying the island’s remoteness, then representational ambivalence is foregrounded: the Mosquitoes (who are constructed as antagonists) are mobile emissaries of liquid modernity, with easy access to visual information, while the solid modern Gilligan and his companions (i.e. the protagonists with whom we are aligned) are “out of [the] sight” of anybody who might rescue them. The late 1950s to the mid-1960s—the historical period covered in this chapter—saw the beginning of an economic boom following postwar reconstruction but also the ideological battle between capitalism and communism. Both phenomena contributed to the wholesale breakdown of social norms, as the middle classes expanded and pre-existing hegemonies were challenged. The tension between solid modern and liquid modern articulations of society that has been identified in The New Yorker desert island cartoons and in Gilligan’s Island can be seen to reflect an ambivalence about the wide-ranging disruption to familiar patterns of existence. Both texts contain an impulse to mock the old guard, satirising the desire to hold on to familiar structures of society and individual identity. This stands in contrast to the earlier texts analysed in Chapter 2, in particular Desert Island Discs , which gestures towards liquid modern patterns of society and identity formation within a broader context that prioritises solid modern regulatory structures. However, neither The New Yorker cartoons nor Gilligan’s Island seems entirely comfortable with their cultural critique, which is typically recuperated into a solid modern paradigm. The continual restitution of the status quo in Gilligan’s Island

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not only endorses solid modern ideologies, but can be seen as doing so in reaction to the erosion of those principles in the world at large. As Umberto Eco suggests, audiences enjoy episodic structures precisely because they posit a world that does not change and in which, fundamentally, nothing happens. This is attractive in the context of liquid modernity because “social change, the continuous rise of new behavioral standards, the dissolution of tradition, require a narrative based upon redundancy” (Eco 1997, 17). Yet within a structure that precludes change, Gilligan’s Island does play with ideas of fluid identity. In the first episode, Gilligan and the Skipper believe that they have reached another island, conceiving of themselves as nomadic and of this space as navigable and networked. In fact, they are immobile prisoners and have landed on the far side of the same island they departed from. They hear Mary Ann, Ginger and the Professor blowing conches and mistake them for the “savage Marubi tribe.” Gilligan and the Skipper camouflage themselves in vegetation and are themselves misidentified by the Professor: “It’s the Marubi! They often disguise themselves.” This confusion speaks to a liquid modern flexibility of selfhood in which one is apparently “free to make and unmake identities at will” (Bauman 2006, 83). When the two groups of castaways meet by a cave, their identities are revealed but the idea of identity remains knotty and unstable. When the Professor tells Gilligan that: “we’ve always been on this island,” Gilligan exclaims: “Oh, then that must be us in there! I better go tell ‘em!” The idea that ‘he’ will go and tell ‘them’ that ‘they’ are ‘us’ describes a radically unstable sense of identity. As Jeffrey Geiger observes in relation to The Pagan (a film also set on a Pacific island), “the generic conventions of mass-market narrative forms reach cultural saturation and begin to break into new, more complex and self-referential modes of signification” (2007, 193). This is most radically manifested in the episode’s closing sequence, in which a figure in a ‘tribal’ mask and jewellery chases the castaways out of a cave but then turns to the camera and is revealed to be Gilligan: “Skipper gone. Gilligan one smart Marubi!” Racism notwithstanding, the stability of solid modern identity is shown to be compromised: it proves impossible to delineate the self and the Other in “an epoch of virtually universal nomadism, in which we are all diasporic wanderers unable to settle permanently in a territory we can call home” (Jay 2010, 97). However, the show’s ambivalence to such fluidity is encapsulated in the cut to the last shot of the episode, which again shows the island bound by the frame, contained, static and remote.

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References Arno, Peter. 1957. Untitled. The New Yorker, October 19, 47. Bakhtin, Mikhail. (1965) 1984. Rabelais and His World. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Bauman, Zygmunt. 1998. On Postmodern Uses of Sex. Theory, Culture & Society 15 (3): 19–33. ———. (2000) 2006. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2014. What Use Is Sociology? Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester. Cambridge: Polity Press. Beer, Gillian. 1990. The Island and the Aeroplane: The Case of Virginia Woolf. In Nation and Narration, ed. Homi K. Bhabha, 265–290. London and New York: Routledge. Critchley, Simon. 2002. On Humour. London: Routledge. Defoe, Daniel. (1719) 2003. Robinson Crusoe. London: Penguin. DeLoughrey, Elizabeth. 2001. ‘The Litany of Islands, The Rosary of Archipelagoes’: Caribbean and Pacific Archipelagraphy. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 32 (1): 21–51. Dorrian, Mark. 2013. On Google Earth. In Seeing from Above: The Aerial View in Visual Culture, ed. Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin, 290–308. London: I.B. Tauris. Dorrian, Mark, and Frederic Pousin. 2013. Introduction. In Seeing from Above: The Aerial View in Visual Culture, ed. Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin, 1–10. London: I.B. Tauris. Eco, Umberto. 1997. Innovation and Repetition: Between Modern and PostModern Aesthetics. In Reading Eco: An Anthology, ed. R. Capozzi, 14–33. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Foucault, Michel. (1975) 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Franklin, Nancy. 2006. The Second Decade: 1935–1944. In The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, ed. Robert Mankoff, 82–83. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. Frazier, Ian. 2006. The Sixth Decade: 1975–1984. In The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, ed. Robert Mankoff, 404–405. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. Geiger, Jeffrey. 2007. Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the U.S. Imperial Imagination. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Hammill, Faye, and Karen Leick. 2012. Modernism and the Quality Magazines. In The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894–1960, ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker, 176– 196. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Handy, Bruce. 2012. A Guy, a Palm Tree, and a Desert Island: The Cartoon Genre That Just Won’t Die (Interview with Bob Mankoff). Vanityfair.com. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/05/history-of-the-des ert-island-cartoon. Accessed 18 Mar 2020. Hobbes, Thomas. 1840. The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. London: John Bohn. Inge, M. Thomas. 1984. ‘The New Yorker’ Cartoon and Modern Graphic Humor. Studies in American Humor: New Series 2: Special Issue: The New Yorker from 1925 to 1950 3 (1): 61–73. Ingersoll, Ralph. 1961. Point of Departure: An Adventure in Autobiography. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. Jay, Martin. 2010. Liquidity Crisis: Zygmunt Bauman and the Incredible Lightness of Modernity. Theory, Culture & Society 27 (6): 95–106. Maillos, Marie. 2016. From “Downton Abbey” to “Mad Men”: TV Series as the Privileged Format for Transition Eras. Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives 2 (1): 21–34. Mayer, Robert. 2010. Robinson Crusoe on Television 1. Quarterly Review of Film and Video 28 (1): 53–65. Modell, Frank. 1957a. Your Trouble Is You’re Asocial. The New Yorker, March 9, 86. ———. 1957b. My Name’s Benton: Will You Marry Me? The New Yorker, May 25, 41. Morowitz, Laura. 1998. From Gauguin to Gilligan’s Island. Journal of Popular Film and Television 26 (1): 2–10. Morrison, James V. 2014. Shipwrecked: Disaster and Transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe and the Modern World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Mulvey, Laura. 1989. Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In Visual and Other Pleasures, 14–26. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. OED Online. 2020. Out of sight, adv., adj., and n. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/133792?rskey=lM0Dtc&result=1. Accessed 17 June 2020. Partridge, Eric. (1977) 1985. A Dictionary of Catch Phrases. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Pascal, David. 1957. Untitled. The New Yorker, March 23, 142. Peterson, Theodore. 1964. Magazines in the Twentieth Century. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Remnick, David. 2006. Foreword. In The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, ed. Robert Mankoff, viii–ix. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. Riquet, Johannes. 2019. The Aesthetics of Island Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Ruddick, Nicholas. 1993. Ultimate Island: On the Nature of British Science Fiction. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Schwartz, Sherwood. (1988) 2011. Inside Gilligan’s Island: From Creation to Syndication. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Soling, Cevin. 2015. The Gilligan Manifesto. Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, 1900 to Present 14 (1). http://www.americ anpopularculture.com/journal/articles/spring_2015/soling.htm. Accessed 5 Mar 2020. Stoddard, Sylvia. 1996. TV Treasures: A Companion Guide to Gilligan’s Island. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks. Stratford, Elaine. 2013. Guest Editorial Introduction: The Idea of the Archipelago: Contemplating Island Relations. Island Studies Journal 8 (1): 3–8. Watt, Ian. (1996) 1997. Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Žižek, Slavoj. (2006) 2007. How to Read Lacan. New York: W. W. Norton.

Filmography Gilligan’s Island. “Two on a Raft.” Directed by John Rich. Written by Lawrence J. Cohen and Fred Freeman. CBS, Sept. 26, 1964. Gilligan’s Island. “Music Hath Charms.” Directed by Thomas Montgomery. Written by Al Schwartz and Howard Harris. CBS, Mar. 27, 1965. Gilligan’s Island. “Beauty Is as Beauty Does.” Directed by Jack Arnold. Written by Joanna Lee. CBS, Sept. 23, 1965. Gilligan’s Island. “Agonized Labor.” Directed by Jack Arnold. Written by Roland MacLane. CBS, Nov. 11, 1965. Gilligan’s Island. “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes.” Directed By Steve Binder. Written by Brad Radnitz. CBS, Dec. 9, 1965.

CHAPTER 4

Repression and Seduction: The Blue Lagoon and Bounty Chocolate on Screen

Abstract This chapter explores desert island representations in the film The Blue Lagoon (1980) and in 1980s television advertising for Bounty chocolate. The Blue Lagoon depicts a desert island that is figuratively both separate from and connected to ‘home.’ Pacific islanders are understood to be threatening antagonists but never appear, complicating the solid modern urge to control Otherness. The protagonists choose to stay on the island but their subsequent rescue recuperates solid modern priorities. Bounty chocolate’s television advertising represents whole, monadic islands evocative of coherent identity formation. Such stable identity is attainable via the consumption of a Bounty, which is equated with desirable female bodies. The adverts prioritise male subjectivity, but compromise this as the male supervision of female bodies is challenged. Keywords Otherness · Eroticism · Repression · Seduction · Autonomy · Subjectivity

4.1

The Blue Lagoon

Starring the teenaged Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, The Blue Lagoon (Kleiser 1980) tells the story of Emmeline and Richard, young cousins who survive a shipwreck with cook Paddy Button. The film © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_4

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was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography (and Atkins for a Golden Globe) but critics were uncomplimentary, calling it “silly beyond recall” (Canby 1980, D13) and “the dumbest movie of the year” (Ebert 1980). Ebert lampooned the melodramatic miseen-scène: “It shows how they grow up, mostly at sunset.” The Blue Lagoon is a faithful adaptation of Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s 1908 novel, set in the early nineteenth century. As such, the storyline largely conforms to a societal vision that predates liquid modernity. However, the representation of these events reveals the liquid modern context of the film’s production. Just as Gilligan’s Island constructed an ambivalently monadic/archipelagic island (see Chapter 3), The Blue Lagoon sets up a tension between separation and connection. The opening credits are superimposed on a watercolour painting of a street scene, where a shopfront reveals the location: Boston Neck, the isthmus that once connected Boston (on the Shawmut Peninsula) to the continental coastline. This constructs Boston (‘reclaimed’ by the mainland by the time of the film’s production) as a semi-islanded space that is separate from the continental landmass, yet connected. The next shot, a watercolour with a semi-aerial perspective, shows Boston Harbour as an archipelago of separate land masses that are connected both by bridges and by boats that cross the rivers. As such, even the space that is set up as representing ‘home’ is constructed as embodying a spatial ambivalence. This can be read as positing a thematic concern with both connectedness—which might gesture towards solid modernity, structured by “human collectivities” (Bauman 2006, 6)—and separateness, redolent of the contemporary “individualized, privatised version of modernity” (7–8). The ambivalence between connectedness and separateness remains as the cousins (small children at this point) escape with Paddy in a lifeboat from a fire on The Northumberland. As they drift away through thick fog, their loss of vision emphasises their disconnection from the ship that links them to home: “What’s happening? I can’t see!” Paddy sums up their dislocation from their shipmates (including Arthur Lestrange, Richard’s father and Emmeline’s uncle): “Gone.” There follows an extended sequence (representing several nights and days) with the lifeboat framed against a background of open water, emphasising their remoteness from familiarity and society. Unlike Bauman’s liquid modern subject, who demonstrates a “readiness to live outside of space and time … with no inkling of the direction or the duration of travel they embark on” (2006, 153, my emphasis), the protagonists here drift involuntarily and uneasily.

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Their separation from societal structures is a source of anxiety rather than a freedom to be embraced. However, elements of the mise-en-scène that gesture towards a figurative closeness to home compromise the topos of separation. A copy of the Boston Tribune floats past the lifeboat, along with packing cases and barrels, indicative of the goods that were being transported by The Northumberland, and thus of reassuring connectedness. The signifiers of commerce evoke trade networks that are bound up with the colonial capitalism of the solid modern era. The Blue Lagoon is set in the South Pacific “in the days before double topsail yards had reduced ships’ crews” (Stacpoole 2013, 4), that is, in the early nineteenth century. At that time, South Pacific islands were part of trade routes that connected them both to other islands and to continental ‘mainlands.’ As such, the signifiers of connectedness represent the reach of ‘mainland’ societal structure. From one of the packing cases, Emmeline takes a music box that plays European art music (“That’s Chopin - I can play it on the piano”) and Richard takes a stereoscope, a device for viewing three-dimensional images: the children transport cultural ‘baggage’ with them to the desert island. Connectedness here hints at the continued influence on the castaways of community and the “patterns, codes and rules” that structure solid modern society (Bauman 2006, 7). If the shipwreck and its aftermath gesture towards both disconnection and connection, the representation of the island itself similarly emphasises ambivalence. The cousins and Paddy wake, in the lifeboat, in a space whose separateness is foregrounded: a cut from darkness to dawn is accompanied by newly optimistic music. The anxiety of separation has dissipated and been replaced with hope: perhaps freedom from the “preallocated ‘reference groups’” of solid modern society will be cause for celebration rather than despair. However, the appearance of the island onscreen subverts this jubilation. The first two shots of the island, seen from the perspective of the castaways in the lifeboat, almost contain it within the bounds of the frame: almost but not quite (Fig. 4.1). At this distance from the camera, the island could easily fit within the frame if it were centred, yet the end of the island is cut off. As such, the shots gesture towards the depiction of a clearly bounded monad, as seen in The New Yorker cartoons and the Gilligan’s Island credit sequence, but frustrate this representational mode. The cinematography suggests that this island will not offer a coherent wholeness on which to project an image of stable selfhood. As Johannes Riquet notes in reference to White Shadows in the

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Fig. 4.1 The island not quite contained by the frame (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

South Seas , “the island-images … resist the cultural fantasies they are made to signify: refusing to be frozen into a fixed form and concept, the islandimage is fluid on its margins” (2019, 122). Further, the cliché of the monadic island is challenged when a smaller offshore island appears in the background as the protagonists make land. This compromises the unity and coherence of the island, positing a topos not of stability but of the “remoteness and unreachability of systemic structure” that is characteristic of liquid modernity (Bauman 2006, 8). For Bauman, the dominant discourse of solid modernity was the ‘Joshua discourse,’ which envisages “a world split into managers and the managed,” where the “managers, designers and supervisors … jointly wrote the script for others to follow” (2006, 54). Liquid modernity, on the other hand, is characterised by “the absence of a Supreme Office” (2006, 60), such that the radically individualised individual has to decide which objectives to work towards. An uninhabited island has the potential to dramatise this “unstructured, fluid state of the immediate setting of life-politics” (Bauman 2006, 8): castaways have sole responsibility for how they live. The practice of space in The Blue Lagoon dramatises the tension between these paradigms. The castaways first settle on the beach, literally and figuratively between the unexplored ‘interior’ of the island and

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the ocean that connects them to ‘home.’ In a montage set on the rocky shore, the children play and Paddy teaches them survival skills. They build a shelter on the edge of the beach, which—as noted by Dening in relation to real, historical island experiences—is a space of negotiation “between here and there, us and them, good and bad, familiar and strange” (1980, 32). Paddy fails to successfully inhabit the role of authority figure. Soon after their arrival, he chases the children along the beach as they refuse to wash in the sea: “We don’t want to go swimming!” objects Emmeline. The children still have an Edwardian sense of propriety, with Richard explaining that they “don’t have our bathing costumes!” A later reversal of this shot shows that the children have changed: naked, they run down the beach in the opposite direction as Paddy calls “Come back here and put your clothes on!” As the children become progressively more independent of the societal expectations of ‘home,’ Paddy comes to represent the “rules and modes of conduct” to which the solid modern subject was expected to conform (Bauman 2006, 7). The sequence represents the children’s ability to behave as liquid modern “diasporic wanderers” whose behaviour adapts rather than being fixed (Jay 2010, 97). Unlike many earlier desert island narratives whose protagonists seek to bend the desert island to their will, reconstructing it in the image of ‘home’ (Robinson Crusoe being the supreme example), here the beach is represented as a space in which the “law-proffering authorities” of solid modernity are lacking (Bauman 2006, 63), and where new identities can be explored. The topos of ‘home’ (and its structuring of “life-politics”) is present in the stereoscope image cards that wash up on the beach. However, the images are presented in such a way that their potential to be authoritative is undermined, as they exist between diegetic and extra-diegetic representational modes. A black and white image of a wedding fills the frame as if to suggest that it constitutes extra-diegetic commentary visible to the viewer but not to the protagonists (Fig. 4.2). The ontological status of this image is complicated by the fact that it ‘swims,’ out of focus, which destabilises its function as commentary and emphasises that societal structures like marriage are vulnerable this far from home. It is revealed in the next shot, however, that the image is a stereoscopic image card that Richard is viewing; it was ‘swimming’ as it came into focus in the stereoscope. This evokes the norms of Edwardian society (the wedding guests are in sophisticated, ‘civilised’ clothing and engaging in the ceremonial convention of marriage) but undermines them. (The sanctity of marriage is also compromised by the fact that Paddy has been married

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Fig. 4.2 Out of focus wedding viewed through the stereoscope (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

“seven times. Kids in every port from Callao to Macao.” The ship’s cook is a liminal character, at times representing ‘home’ and at other times placed in opposition to its norms.) Emmeline later looks at other photos: an argument between a couple, a mother reprimanding a child, a couple embracing. The overt theme is relationships in Edwardian society, with the implication that there is a ‘proper’ way to conduct romantic and familial relationships, and conventional hierarchies that ought to be observed. Another stereoscope illustrates the moral authority of this ideological paradigm: Jesus ascending to Heaven. ‘Home’ is shown to be a solid modern space, characterised by “subordination, colonization, hierarchy and the control of difference” (Jay 2010, 96–97). The ambivalent representation of the photographs calls attention to their mediation and thus echoes on a narrative level the instability of Emmeline and Richard’s relationship to society and their resistance to its moral authority. As Richard and Emmeline grow, they experiment with gender roles. Liberated from the “patterns, codes and rules” that condition conventional behaviour in solid modern society (Bauman 2006, 7), they dress up as adults, each wearing clothing traditionally worn by the other’s gender. Richard tells Emmeline that she “look[s] funny,” acknowledging

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the taboo nature of their behaviour. Paddy joins in the transgressive behaviour, stealing Richard’s feather boa, but is punished for his rejection of conventionality. Wearing a bonnet, he gets drunk and falls over, and then goes swimming while Richard and Emmeline sleep; when they wake they find his body. Paddy’s death, on the one hand, functions to reassert the solid modern control of difference. He engages with Otherness and is therefore punished. For the cousins, however, Paddy’s death removes the authority of the father (figure): the topos of freedom is indicated by their subsequent move to a new part of the island. The joyful music, white beach and turquoise water (with frolicking dolphins) of this second ‘arrival’ scene evoke the clichéd representational mode of the natural, untouched desert island and reaffirm the space’s potential for the individual construction of identity away from society. However, this identity may be only provisional, in accordance with the liquid modern urge to treat “[e]ach new structure … as temporary and ‘until further notice’” (Bauman 2014, 90), as is intimated by Richard’s assessment: “This looks like a good place to stay for a while.” Otherness is bound up in The Blue Lagoon with danger and death. As in so many desert island narratives, what is at first represented as an uninhabited space is revealed to be visited, albeit not settled, by Pacific islanders. Soon after the initial arrival on the desert island, Paddy explores the island’s forested interior—the furthest part of the island from the beach and its links to ‘home’—and is distressed to find what appears to be the remains of a (possibly human) sacrifice on a stone slab. He imparts to the children the law of the father (figure): “I want you to promise me that you will never, ever go over to the other side of the island.” The designation of the island’s interior as “the other side” exemplifies a semiospherical reading of the island: “notions of moral value and of locality fuse together: … geography becomes a kind of ethics” (Lotman 1990, 172). Paddy’s naming of the “other side” performs an Othering operation on the “boogeyman” who built the stone altar. The ship’s cook attempts to control what he perceives as difference via the solid modern anthropoemic means of creating exclusionary zones: “From now on, that’s the law, see? No one goes over to the other side.” After Paddy’s death—the removal of solid modern authority—the cousins develop an ambivalent relationship with Otherness. They hear drumming, which Emmeline follows to the “other side” where she finds a clearing with a giant carved stone face. An unsteady point-of-view shot

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identifies the viewer with Emmeline as she gazes up into the face, signifying the instability of her self-identity and her detachment from the solid structures of ‘home.’ As when Paddy was here, a sacrifice has apparently recently been made; blood runs down the centre of a rock, prompting Emmeline to turn and run back to the beach. The relationship figured between protagonists and ‘Others’ is significantly more nuanced than a simple opposition, however, as the cousins struggle to integrate their new knowledge into their worldview. After her initial shock, Emmeline is attracted to the stone idol and the otherness that it represents, and argues with Richard about whether to obey Paddy’s strictures; their equivocation could be read as the liquid modern condition in which individuals spend their time “agonizing about the choice of goals” (Bauman 2006, 61). There is no physical encounter with the “drum people,” complicating the film’s construction of Otherness. Roger Ebert sees it as “a measure of the filmmakers’ desperation that the kids and the natives never meet one another and the kids leave the island without even one obligatory scene of being tied to a stake” (1980). But by acknowledging the existence of Pacific islanders and then effacing them, The Blue Lagoon constructs this desert island as existing ambivalently in between anthropological states. This island is clearly not a “familiar space” of “domesticated meanings” (Kociatkiewicz and Kostera 1999, 37). Nor does it constitute an “exotic space” with “abstract meanings unconnected to our everyday ones” (37), given the effacement of the Pacific islanders. Yet, as we know that the islanders do visit the island, it cannot be seen as representative of Kociatkiewicz and Kostera’s empty spaces: “places to which no meaning is ascribed …, not belonging to anyone in particular” (1999, 43, 47). The ambivalence means that Emmeline’s identity formation takes places in an oscillating space, neither definitively with or without the context of Otherness. Emmeline’s self-fashioning is situated in relation to the “drum people,” towards whom she feels both fear and fascination. Her description of the stone face—“He’s not the boogeyman. I think he’s God”—suggests that she is replacing the societal structure of home with a new patriarchal authority. This speaks to the solid modern paradigm, in which social norms are not done away with but replaced with “new and improved solids” (Bauman 2006, 3). Yet as she never encounters the “drum people,” Emmeline’s identity formation can alternately be seen to exist in an “unstructured, fluid state” (Bauman 2006, 8). There is no structure here for her to align herself with. The idiosyncratic prayer that

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Richard offers to the stone idol further articulates the underdetermination of “life-politics” in the liquid modern era: “Our Father, who art in heaven … kingdom come … with liberty and justice for all. Amen.” This is a god that comes with no ideology, no rules and no solidity. Yet the treatment of sexuality in The Blue Lagoon conflicts with the reading of the film as endorsing a liquid modern model of society. Gregory Woods reads The Blue Lagoon as highlighting male sexuality (Woods 1995, 132). The cinematography in The Blue Lagoon objectifies the female body, and Emmeline herself protests being made the subject of Richard’s gaze: “You’re always staring at my buppies.” However, the narrative is structured not by Richard’s but Emmeline’s sexuality, which is presented as problematic until it is recuperated into the context of love and reproduction. Emmeline is horrified when she begins to menstruate and hides the fact from Richard. This attitude to sex and sexuality is redolent of solid modernity when, for Bauman, “sex was ‘culturally silent’—it had no language of its own, no language recognized as public vernacular and a means of public communication” (Bauman 1998, 21). The sequence following Emmeline’s discovery of her menstruation displays a solid modern distrust of sexuality. The recurring motif of blood—Richard cuts himself while fishing, with the blood attracting sharks—implies that Emmeline’s sexual maturity is dangerous. When Emmeline first sees the stone altar, the blood running down it divides it in two, recalling visually her problematic menstrual blood (Fig. 4.3). It is both her own sexuality and the presumed danger of an unknown presence on the island that cause her to flee. Bauman observes that sex was viewed in the solid modern era as being valid only in the context of its “reproductive functions” or when bound up with love. This is in stark contrast to the contemporary era, when eroticism “boldly proclaims itself to be its only, and sufficient, reason and purpose” (Bauman 1998, 21). A six-minute sequence without dialogue acts as an extended metaphor for the cousins’ developing sexual relationship. A shot of the cousins lying together is juxtaposed with a pair of parrots, underwater shots of sea anemones opening and closing, then a phallic coral, a phallic palm tree on the beach and a pair of mating turtles. When Emmeline and Richard share their first kiss, their sexual relationship is shown to exist outside the structures of ‘home’: a cut to a wider shot reveals that they are under the gaze of the stone idol, who is thus shown to have replaced a Christian god as the locus of authority. However, this is not the joyous

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Fig. 4.3 Blood on the stone altar (Still from The Blue Lagoon, 1980. © 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

embrace of “free-floating eroticism” (Bauman 1998, 26). Emmeline’s sexuality is no longer problematic only because it has been legitimised by romantic love and by a reproductive purpose: she is soon revealed to be pregnant. The Blue Lagoon’s last act encapsulates the film’s negotiation of the tension between solid and liquid modernities. It might be argued that Emmeline’s primary transgression is not a new-found attachment to the culture of the ‘drum people,’ but her lack of desire to escape, as is the ‘normal’ impulse of desert island protagonists. She rejects the solid modern assumption that the telos of the desert island narrative is the return home to ‘normality’: “the triumph of most island fiction is, after all is said and done, to leave the island” (Beer 2003, 41–42). Emmeline subverts the restriction of her spatial practice by choosing to stay on the island, transforming it from a prison to a destination. The film’s narrative choices reinforce this subversion: a scopophilic representation of the island is evident in the tracking shots along the island’s beach. This cinematography, resembling that of a holiday advert or TV travelogue, constructs the island as a desirable space. When Emmeline sees a ship, she chooses not to light the signal fire. However, there is ambivalence as to whether this constructs her as a liquid modern “diasporic wanderer”

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who is “unable to settle permanently in a territory we can call home” and who has “learned to value transience over duration” (Jay 2010, 97). While Emmeline rejects the societal structures of home, she also seems to construct the desert island as a “new and improved” solidity (Bauman 2006, 3): “This is where we live, this is our home, now and forever.” Ultimately, though, this ambivalence is undermined and recuperated into a solid modern paradigm. When Richard and Emmeline see another ship, they retreat from the beach to the interior, rejecting the chance to return to society (in fact the ship’s passenger is Arthur Lestrange, Richard’s father, still searching for them). Soon afterwards, during a trip to a different part of the island, the cousins fall asleep in the lifeboat and drift out to sea. All hope lost, they eat the poisonous berries that their baby has brought aboard. As they drift, Lestrange’s crew see the lifeboat and rescue the cousins and their child; they are not dead but asleep. The credits roll as the cousins are brought aboard Lestrange’s boat, with the implication that they will now return ‘home’ to Boston and be reintegrated into society. Narrative closure demands that they are recuperated into the solid modern community that they had chosen to leave behind.

4.2

Bounty Chocolate on Screen

Since The Blue Lagoon appeared in 1980, its scopophilic representation of the island has been echoed in countless television commercials. However, unlike Randal Kleiser’s film, these adverts typically represent sex not as a problematic taboo but in terms of a “free-floating eroticism” (Bauman 1998, 26), which is harnessed to the cause of selling consumer products. The desert island has been used to advertise products by emphasising their supposed ability to liberate the consumer from their quotidian existence. This relies on representations that prioritise the desert island’s hedonistic qualities, effacing the long history of restrictive and repressive desert island narratives (and realities). Such adverts often capitalise on the individualistic connotations of the desert island, positioning the advertised product as a ‘guilty pleasure’ to be enjoyed away from the supposed strictures of society. Hence the proliferation of desert island adverts for beers (including Carling, Bud Light and Corona) and for confectionery (including Rolo and Bounty). (This contrasts with the use of inhabited islands to promote an image of sociability, capitalising on the associations of particular real islands: we are told that Malibu Rum and the Caribbean

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are “seriously easygoing”: see Whitehead 2003.) The topos of individualism is usually juxtaposed with the promise of erotic satisfaction, such that the man is alone except for the presence of a potential sexual partner. Desert island adverts almost invariably project a heteronormative male fantasy of a space in which the desires of the male protagonist may be gratified by a woman characterised primarily by her objectification and sexual availability. Bounty chocolate and its tagline—“a taste of paradise”—are intimately bound up in the social imaginary with desert islands, as a headline from The Mirror demonstrates: “Dominican Republic is a true taste of paradise - just like the chocolate bar advert” (Grimshaw 2014). A series of television adverts for Bounty chocolate from the mid-1980s share the desert island setting of the 1950s print advertising discussed in Chapter 2. The television commercials are superficially similar to the print adverts; the metaphorical association of the desert island, the coconut, the female body and the chocolate bar remains. However, the TV adverts construct an implied male viewer whose autonomy is compromised, disrupting patriarchal models of subjectivity. Further, while the print adverts juxtaposed repression and seduction, the television commercials illustrate how those methods work in concert to guarantee the hegemony of the market. As such, they exemplify the desert island’s potential as the supreme icon of liquid modernity. The fictional paradisal desert island predates the liquid modern era by centuries and constitutes a familiar motif. The narrator of J. M. Coetzee’s 1986 novel Foe references (and later deconstructs) the cliché, remarking that “[f]or readers reared on travellers’ tales, the words desert isle may conjure up a place of soft sands and shady trees where brooks run to quench the castaway’s thirst and ripe fruit falls into his hand, where no more is asked of him than to drowse the days away till a ship calls to fetch him home” (Coetzee 1998, 7). In this formulation, the providential aspect of the desert island ameliorates the castaway’s imprisonment, to the extent that his lack of agency is reconfigured as a paradisal absence of obligation. The Bounty television adverts transform this paradigm, effacing the topos of imprisonment in order to exert pressure on the consumer to consume. In the solid modern era, the state regulated, policed and coerced its citizens into ‘correct’ behaviour. Such oppression became superfluous in the contemporary era and was replaced by new methods of social control, focused on constructing individuals as consumers. As Bauman puts it,

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there is “a pressure to spend: on the social level, the pressure of symbolic rivalry, [and] on the systemic level, the pressure of merchandising companies” (Bauman 1992, 50). Television advertising combines those types of pressure, with the merchandising company exerting systemic pressure by capitalising on consumers’ desire “for social approval through lifestyle and symbolic membership” (50). This pressure to consume is markedly different to the coercive techniques of solid modernity, as it is manifested in the choice between different pleasurable options. The pressure of liquid modernity is to spend money in order to satisfy your desires; surrendering to this pressure “promises mostly joy … a straightforward sensual joy of tasty eating, pleasant smelling, soothing or enticing drinking, relaxing driving, or the joy of being surrounded with smart, glittering, eye-caressing objects” (50–51). This mechanism of ‘seduction’ is liquid modernity’s “paramount vehicle of systemic control and social integration” (51). A Bounty commercial from 1986 constructs the desert island as desirable both as a model for self-construction and as an object to be possessed and consumed. The establishing shot shows an island on the horizon, replicating a potential gaze from offshore (Fig. 4.4). Unlike its equivalents in Bounty print advertising, the island is whole, contained easily within the frame. As such, it seems to possess “harmony, logic, consistency: all those things which the flow of our experience seems – to our perpetual despair – so grossly and abominably to lack” (Bauman 2006, 82). The monadic construction of the island also gestures towards the promise of endowing the consumer with “distinction and difference” (Bauman 1992, 50); the unity of the desert island promises both coherence and individualism, which will be echoed later on in the image of a single, whole Bounty bar. Like the islands typically represented in The New Yorker cartoons, this one is small, thus apparently easy to possess. The colour scheme is bright and welcoming, much like the music that soon begins. The appearance of a catamaran, cutting across the screen from right to left and travelling towards the island, locates the viewer’s desire for the island in the three passengers on board; it is through them that the viewer may be able to ‘consume’ the island. The presence of the catamaran implies a connectedness and an archipelagic conception of space; these are not shipwrecked castaways but tourists who have chosen this destination. (Connectedness is only implied—no other space is shown—such that a simultaneous reading of the island as remote from systemic structure is also possible.) The gesture

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Fig. 4.4 The monadic Bounty island (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.)

towards tourism reflects the changed nature of the world in the liquid modern era; twentieth-century technologies facilitate unprecedented ease of global knowledge and transportation. While in The Blue Lagoon the island’s connectedness to other spaces represents the influence of home on the protagonists, here it connotes the passengers’ ease of spatial practice. A reverse-shot, from the island, shows the catamaran landing on the beach, its blade-like hulls slicing smoothly through the surf and then the sand. Bauman notes that in liquid modernity “capital travels light - with cabin luggage only” (2006, 59); these consumers have arrived easily and unencumbered by any baggage, ready to satisfy their desires. That this is a space of liquid modern consumerism is communicated via the advert’s mise-en-scène and cinematography. The passengers are a man and two women. One woman (with brown hair) wears a red bikini top with white shorts and the other (blonde-haired) a white t-shirt and

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red shorts. The colour scheme both unites and opposes them, representing two contrasting visions of (male, heteronormative) ‘paradise’: the blonde woman’s predominantly white clothing has connotations of innocence or tabula rasa, while the brunette’s is potentially open to a sexually motivated male gaze. The camera has far greater access to the women’s images than the man’s; the women are “strongly coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote tobe-looked-at-ness ” (Mulvey 1989, 19). This constructs a straight, male implied viewer aligned with a male character who seems to have two women from whom to choose a sexual partner; the camera’s prioritisation of the female bodies confirms that the advert is concerned with the man’s agency and the women’s availability. The desert island, far from home and from social convention, seems fundamentally to connote freedom. Here, “freedom is about the [man’s] choice between greater and lesser satisfactions” (Bauman 1992, 50), and the viewer is implicated in the need to choose between desirable ‘objects.’ That is, the advert seduces the viewer into constructing himself as a consumer. The suggestion that the women exist in order to be possessed by the man (and by extension by the viewer aligned with him) is demonstrated by the metonymy that is constructed between the island, the chocolate and the female body (cf. Graziadei et al. 2017). This metonymy recalls the associations made between those ‘objects’ in the Bounty magazine adverts discussed in Chapter 2, with a ‘seductive’ emphasis added here on the choice between the two women; liquid modernity’s structuring urge is to “‘shop around’ in the supermarket of identities” in order to fulfil one’s “identity fantasies” (Bauman 2006, 83). As the trio walk along the beach, sung lyrics tell us that “The Bounty hunters are here / They’re searching for paradise.” That the “Bounty hunters” are seeking “paradise” equates the chocolate and the island. It might be noted that the male character is turned towards the ‘sexy’ woman, indicating that the desire for this island is specifically a sexual desire. Thus, the contemporary urge for “sexual experience … and especially the pleasure associated with that experience, [separated] from reproduction” is foregrounded (Bauman 1998, 19–20). The man is seeking erotic pleasure, not to start a family. Also included in the metonymic chain of association is the coconut. On the lyric ‘paradise,’ we cut to a shot from the verdant interior of the island, revealing a cache of three Bounty bars and a coconut. Both the coconut and the Bounty bars precede the arrival of people in this otherwise untouched paradisal space; the implication is that a Bounty

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is as natural as a coconut. As part of a long history of the manmade posing as the natural, this fetishises the product and “render[s] invisible the information embedded in goods about the social relations of their production” (Jhally 1990, 27). Bauman notes that contemporary society is guided by the pleasure principle and “engages its members primarily in their capacity as consumers” rather than producers (2006, 76). Setting the advert on a desert island necessarily effaces the processes of production: “Where were the grunts shredding the coconut? How did they get hold of the syrup? Whither the glycerol processing plant?” (Berry and Norman 2014, 10–11). Bauman, following Marx, recognised that “the factory was the characteristic institutional form and core of modernity” (Beilharz 2010, 51). By suggesting that the Bounty is equivalent to the natural coconut, the advert creates an illusion of a world where consumption not only “replaces work or production as the central activity of modernity” (Beilharz 2010, 51), but where work does not exist. The next shot compromises this to some extent: a close-up shows the coconut being cut in half by a machete, accompanied by a futuristic synthesised ‘cutting’ sound effect. However, the ‘work’ involved is minimal. The coconut cuts suspiciously easily, as a male voiceover tells us that “New Bounty is coconut.” There is no process visible here; rather, the island is the coconut, which is the Bounty. The futuristic sound effect hints at a technological process, but the spoken narrative reduces it to a magic trick. The same trick is then played visually; as the voiceover continues (“moist, tender coconut”) the cut coconut crossfades into an unwrapped Bounty, also cut to reveal its interior, the shots framed so that the coconut appears to ‘be’ or ‘become’ the chocolate bar (Fig. 4.5). The motif of the desert island has long been associated with the notion of autonomy. The eponymous narrator of Robinson Crusoe writes that “I would be satisfied with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me [against] the commands of my father, and against all the entreaties and persuasions of my mother” (Defoe 2003, 5). Of course, Crusoe later decides that he was wrong to reject the representatives of ‘home,’ but in the age of consumer culture autonomy is more highly prized. James Livingstone observes that “subjectivity itself seemingly becomes a commodity to be bought and sold in the market” through the marketisation of the promise of autonomy, among other features (1998, 416). Such autonomy as existed for the modern subject extended only to men: “the ‘social contract’ animating modern bourgeois narratives of citizenship was also a sexual contract allowing men to supervise women’s

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Fig. 4.5 The “Bounty is coconut” (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.)

bodies” (Livingstone 1998, 414). Thus, in its representation of gender, the 1986 Bounty advert endorses a solid modern model of subjectivity. The commercial conforms to Luce Irigaray’s description of the discourse on sexuality: “the feminine occurs only within models and laws devised by male subjects ” (1985, 86). The function of women as guarantors of a phallic economy is evident in the abstraction and consumption of the female body in the advert. The women are shown in close-up, ‘cut’ by the edge of the frame, just as the coconut is commodified via its cutting by the machete. The metonymic chain takes on another link as the Bounty bar crossfades to (and ‘becomes’) the brown-haired woman. Until now, the woman has been constructed as an object offered for consumption by the male gaze. However, at this point, she becomes also a subject/consumer: she is eating a Bounty. Further, it is in her consumption, i.e. in her attainment of her desired object, that she is the desired object for the gaze of the camera. As such, the multiple links in the

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metonymic chain become analogues of both the subject and the object, such that the viewer’s alignment with the male character is disrupted. The advertisers’ desire to sell chocolate to both male and female consumers destabilises and reconfigures the text’s patterns of identification: as Livingstone puts it, “consumer culture … is the solvent of modern subjectivity” (1998, 416). An ambivalent attitude to women’s autonomy can also be observed in a Bounty advert from 1988. It opens on a view of a lush peak, before panning down to the island floor, where a woman stands. The pan reveals her body gradually and never reaches her feet, refusing her the integrity of being shown whole. We then cut to a butterfly inside a pink, fleshy flower (reminiscent of those in the 1950s print ads) and then to a tight close-up of the woman’s face, identifying her with the flower/butterfly. This shot cuts her up, representing her as a fragment, as an object. However, she then looks into the camera, refusing to be bound solely to the diegetic space and instead challenging the gaze of the viewer. By metonymic replacement communicated by a filmic cut, the half-coconut becomes a wrapped Bounty bar that the woman unwraps and consumes. However, the metonymic chain stops there: the Bounty bar does not ‘become’ the female body. As such, a new paradigm exists here. While the woman remains objectified (a man appears and desires her), she is not equated with the Bounty metaphorically, signalling that she has more autonomy here. Rather than a metonymic chain, there is a chain of desire: the woman wants the Bounty and the man desires the woman, so procures a coconut (i.e. a Bounty) for her. In fact, the woman reemerges as the subject of sexual desire after eating the Bounty; we cut to the man removing his shirt in two successive shots, the second one framing just his muscular chest. The proceeding close-up of the woman’s face implies that she has been watching him undress. Ultimately, she sits on a rock next to the waterfall, alone, apparently satisfied, both subject and object of desire. The viewer can identify either with the satisfied woman or with the man, and both characters are given a certain amount of visual agency. The advert thus not only exemplifies the seduction of the viewer into a subject position as consumer, but disrupts patriarchal models of subjectivity. The extension of autonomy to female protagonists “signals a crisis of the modern subject [because it] announce[s] the desublimation of female sexuality” (Livingstone 1998, 415). This valorisation of female autonomy suggests resistance to patriarchal social control; thus, the viewer aligned with the woman is persuaded to consume the Bounty because it

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offers her autonomy and self-definition. Seduction thus works to maintain social control (by the market) by appearing to offer consumers autonomy from that very control. In the antepenultimate shot of the 1986 advert, it is suddenly dusk, and the man and two women sit on the beach, next to the catamaran, each with a Bounty in hand (Fig. 4.6). They all appear as coherent entities, with the frame containing their whole bodies comfortably, just as it contained the desert island in the opening shot. This reconstitutes the consumers (including the women at this point) as fantasmatic bodies whose primary attribute is unity (cf. Doane 1985, 162). The wholeness of their bodies intimates that the consumption of the Bounty has granted them coherent identities; “the craving for certainty is gratified by conviction that the decisions made have been, indeed, right” (Bauman 1992, 98). In the final shot, only one Bounty (rather than the three previously shown) lies on a bed of palm fronds, just as in the print adverts discussed in Chapter 2, emphasising the (illusory)

Fig. 4.6 The Bounty hunters reclining on the beach (Still from Bounty chocolate television advertisement, 1986. © Mars, Inc.)

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unity of the coherent self. The desert island, whose monadic representation constructs it as far from home and autonomous, perfectly facilitates the narrative of seduction. The Blue Lagoon and the Bounty television adverts construct different relationships between text and audience. In the 1980 film, the protagonists are subject to (attempted) control by repressive means but model behaviour appropriate for liquid modern individuals. In its representation of a tension between separateness and connection, The Blue Lagoon is ambivalent towards the possibility of escaping solid modern Edwardian society on the desert island. The film’s vacillation is conveyed through cinematographic means including the frustrated representation of a bounded monad, as well as via the compromised authority located in Paddy Button and the ambiguous representation of Otherness. Emmeline’s desire to stay on the island reveals a bias towards liquid modernity. The location of this liquid modern perspective—in the protagonist, with whom the audience is aligned—indicates a stronger endorsement of liquid modern ideologies than is evident in the texts analysed in the preceding chapters. This reflects the film’s production in 1980, at the beginning of a decade in which economic liberalism in the ‘west’ (and perestroika in the USSR) precipitated major socioeconomic change across the world. However, The Blue Lagoon reasserts the solid modern through the representation of eroticism and, ultimately, the cousins’ ‘rescue,’ revealing an anxiety about the social disruption redolent of liquid modernity. Bounty chocolate television advertising, rather than simply representing liquid modern consumerism, is itself implicated in the seduction of the viewer and demonstrates an embrace of liquid modern ideology. The topographical movement back towards the shore at the end of the advert is a metaphorical gesture towards the fact that all this pleasure is available to the viewer back at home on the ‘mainland.’ Indeed, the characters sit next to the catamaran, as if to intimate that, really, they would have to sail back to society to obtain a Bounty. While the print adverts discussed in Chapter 2 displayed the uninhabited island and a female body in separate images, the TV commercials all end with an island that has become inhabited (at least temporarily), so the tension of an island that is simultaneously ‘desert’ and inhabited is lost. Rather, the implied audience wants to be on the desert island, but in order to achieve this must purchase a Bounty bar, which is possible (only) ‘at home’ in society. In order to get to the desert island, one must not be there: the circularity speaks to liquid modern identity’s “fragility, temporariness, vulnerability

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and inclination to constant change” (Bauman 2014, 90). This “state of unfinishedness, incompleteness and underdetermination is full of risk and anxiety” (Bauman 2006, 62), which can be temporarily assuaged by the consumption of a Bounty bar. Like any other consumerist behaviour, though, eating the Bounty “stops short of the fulfilment it pledged to bring” (Bauman 2006, 72), necessitating ever more consumption. The desert island, supposed icon of alterity, is not a space where one can escape from the neoliberal structuring of society. Rather, it is collapsed into the seductive power of the market. While the desert island retains its symbolic power as an icon of Otherness, even its alterity has become something to be bought and sold. At the end of the 1986 advert, after the beach scene and before the final still life, the earlier shot of the machete cutting the coconut is reprised. This disrupts the chronology of the narrative, lending the repeated shot particular weight. The cutting of the coconut reemphasises its metonymic link to the Bounty, but also recalls the catamaran slicing across the beach, threatening the island’s coherence and wholeness. The anxiety produced by the sight of the fragmented island/coconut/women makes the unity of the Bounty all the more attractive. The previous voiceover is also repeated but in condensed form and with a tag line: “New Bounty. Moist tender coconut gives you the taste of Paradise.” In other words, a Bounty gives the same pleasure as the desert island (cf. Graziadei et al. 2017, 244): coherent identity, and the possession and consumption of the (fragmented) female body. However, the recapitulated cutting shot also gestures towards a theme that undermines the chocolate’s seductive attraction. The cutting of the coconut thematises the mechanisms of production of the Bounty, which are otherwise effaced, and which speak not to seduction but to repression. Repression is “aimed at regimentation of the body [and] has not been abandoned with the advent of seduction” (Bauman 1992, 98). Whereas the texts discussed in the preceding chapters juxtapose repressive and seductive methods of social control in order to express an ambivalence towards liquid modernity, the Bounty adverts represent “the continuous, tangible presence of repression as a viable alternative which makes seduction unchallengeable” (Bauman 1992, 98). The topos of work recalls the factory and its repressive function, as if to remind the viewer that the alternative to continued consumerism is to be abjected from paradise. For Bauman, “[t]o meet the standards of normality, to be acknowledged as a fully fledged, right and proper member of society, one needs to respond promptly and efficiently

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to the temptations of the consumer market” (2013, 125). People whose economic circumstances leave them unable to contribute to consumer society are made subject to repression. “[W]here is their place? The briefest of answers is: out of sight” (2013, 127). In the real world, this might lead to deportation or incarceration; thus, the trope of the island prison reemerges, if only in ghostly, intangible form. Underneath the image of paradise can be glimpsed the trace of the desert island castaway, shipwrecked and unable to return to the world: consume or be cast away.

References Bauman, Zygmunt. 1992. Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge. ———. 1998. On Postmodern Uses of Sex. Theory, Culture & Society 15 (3): 19–33. ———. (2000) 2006. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2013. Consuming Life. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2014. What Use Is Sociology? Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester. Cambridge: Polity Press. Beer, Gillian. 2003. Island Bounds. In Islands in History and Representation, ed. Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith, 32–42. London: Routledge. Beilharz, Peter. 2010. Zygmunt Bauman (1925–). In From Agamben to Žižek: Contemporary Critical Theorists, ed. Jon Simons, 45–59. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Berry, Steve, and Phil Norman. 2014. A History of Sweets in 50 Wrappers. London: HarperCollins. Canby, Vincent. 1980. Film View: Adrift in the Shallows of ‘The Blue Lagoon’. New York Times, August 10, D13. Coetzee, J.M. (1986) 1998. Foe. New York: Penguin. Defoe, Daniel. (1719) 2003. Robinson Crusoe. London: Penguin. Dening, Greg. 1980. Islands and Beaches: Discourse on a Silent Land: Marquesas, 1774–1880. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Doane, Mary Ann. 1985. The Voice in the Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space. In Film Sound: Theory and Practice, ed. Elisabeth Weis and John Belton, 162–176. New York: Columbia University Press. Ebert, Roger. 1980. The Blue Lagoon. rogerebert.com. http://www.rogerebert. com/reviews/the-blue-lagoon-1980. Accessed 25 May 2020. Graziadei, Daniel, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane, Johannes Riquet, and Barney Samson. 2017. On Sensing Island Spaces and the Spatial Practice of IslandMaking: Introducing Island Poetics, Part I. Island Studies Journal 12 (2): 239–252.

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Grimshaw, Vicki. 2014. Dominican Republic Is a True Taste of Paradise—Just Like the Chocolate Bar Advert. Mirror.co.uk. http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifest yle/travel/usa-long-haul/dominican-republic-true-taste-paradise-4454871. Accessed May 28, 2020. Irigaray, Luce. 1985. This Sex Which Is Not One. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Jay, Martin. 2010. Liquidity Crisis: Zygmunt Bauman and the Incredible Lightness of Modernity. Theory, Culture & Society 27 (6): 95–106. Jhally, Sut. (1987) 1990. The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society. New York: Routledge. Kociatkiewicz, Jerzy, and Monika Kostera. 1999. The Anthropology of Empty Space. Qualitative Sociology 22 (1): 37–50. Livingstone, J. 1998. Modern Subjectivity and Consumer Culture. In Consuming Desires: Consumption, Culture and the Pursuit of Happiness, ed. S. Strasser, C. McGovern, and M. Judt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lotman, Yuri. 1990. Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture. Trans. Ann Shukman. London: I.B. Tauris. Mulvey, Laura. 1989. Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In Visual and Other Pleasures, 14–26. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Riquet, Johannes. 2019. The Aesthetics of Island Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stacpoole, H. De Vere. (1908) 2013. The Blue Lagoon. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. Whitehead, Jennifer. 2003. Malibu Carries on with ‘Seriously Easy Going’ Theme. Campaign. https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/malibu-carriesseriously-easy-going-theme/192235. Accessed 18 June 2020. Woods, Gregory. 1995. Fantasy Islands: Popular Topographies of Marooned Masculinity. In Mapping Desire, ed. David Bell and Gill Valentine, 126–148. London: Routledge.

Filmography Bounty. 1986. [“The Bounty Hunters”]. Television advertisement for Bounty. Effem Foods Ltd. Bounty. 1988. [“Try a Little Tenderness”]. Television advertisement for Bounty [unknown]. The Blue Lagoon. 1980. Directed by Randal Kleiser. Burbank, CA: Columbia Pictures.

CHAPTER 5

Mobility, Instantaneity and the Desert Island: Cast Away and Lost

Abstract This chapter considers the desert island settings of the film Cast Away (2000) and the TV series Lost (2004–2010). Each represents a tension between solid and liquid modernity, as described by Zygmunt Bauman. In Cast Away, Chuck Noland is a radically mobile agent of liquid modern repression. His relationship with a Wilson volleyball speaks to commodity fetishism, but exists alongside his continued preoccupation with repressive time. The film critiques repressive aspects of liquid modernity but endorses a life strategy that depends on those aspects. Lost sets up a desert island governed by repressive control, as abjected characters learn to conform to communal norms. The series’ ‘liquid cinematography’ and the island’s topological and temporal fluidity destabilise this solid modern paradigm, but it is ultimately reasserted. Keywords Time · Instantaneity · Mobility · Sign-value · Community

5.1

Cast Away

In Cast Away (Robert Zemeckis, 2000) Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a time-obsessed systems analyst for FedEx. Chuck is at Christmas dinner with his girlfriend Kelly and her family when his work calls him away; his plane crashes, leaving him alone on a tiny island for over four years. © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_5

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Ultimately he builds a raft and escapes, only to find that back at home Kelly has married their dentist. Hanks was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, winning the latter, and Cast Away was the second most successful film of 2000 at the US box office (Box Office Mojo 2020). The film is about loss of agency on the island and is characterised by a lack of movement and sound. Hanks was involved in the film’s early development. His desire to tell the story “in a way that challenged the normal cinematic narrative structure” is reflected in the absence of a conventional happy ending, as Chuck is left both literally and figuratively at a crossroads (cited in Natale 2000). My analysis demonstrates that, in the context of liquid modernity, the film posits a critique of neoliberal capitalism but ultimately recuperates that ideology, despite the subtle transformation in the protagonist’s character arc. In the film’s opening act, Chuck is a ruthlessly effective systems analyst, determined to create a streamlined, efficient workforce. At first glance, he is the epitome of the solid modern manager, maintaining repressive control over the behaviour of his labourers, telling them that “[t]ime rules over us without mercy. We live or we die by the clock.” The mastery of time was central to solid modernity, specifically “the kind of time that could be cut in slices of similar thickness fit to be arranged in monotonous and unalterable sequences” (Bauman 2006, 115). Bauman’s description here closely matches Nolan’s understanding of time: “We never turn our back on it and we never ever allow ourselves the sin of losing track of time.” For Bauman, the control of space—the primary concern of solid modern repression—relied on “the uniformity and coordination of time” (2006, 115). The relation between time, space and power is made explicit in Cast Away as Nolan berates the employees of his Moscow sorting office: “Eighty-seven hours is an eternity! The cosmos was created in less time. Wars have been fought and nations toppled in eighty-seven hours! Fortunes made and squandered.” However, while the opening scenes seem to evoke a solid modern paradigm, they in fact depict the contrasting conditions of capital and labour in liquid modernity: “In its heavy [i.e. solid] stage, capital was as much fixed to the ground as were the labourers it employed. Nowadays capital travels light [while] [l]abour, on the other hand, remains as immobilized as it was in the past” (Bauman 2006, 58). While the Russian workers may be tightly controlled, Chuck is highly mobile. He arrives in Moscow from Memphis and stays only as long as it takes to deliver

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his message. Of course, his professional raison d’être is to ensure the free movement of consumer goods: the Russian workers’ time is tightly controlled in order for FedEx to deliver packages around the world as fast as possible. The film’s very first scene, shot from the ‘viewpoint’ of a FedEx parcel on its journey from a Texas ranch to its delivery, foregrounds the mobility of consumer goods. Chuck’s striving for instantaneity marks him as belonging to the liquid modern era, whose rulers are those “[p]eople who move and act faster, who come nearest to the momentariness of movement” (Bauman 2006, 119). As such, the first sequences of Cast Away depict the dichotomy in liquid modernity of repressive spatial control on the one hand, and radical mobility on the other. Chuck’s mobility also causes his (literal) downfall: when he leaves the family Christmas dinner (demonstrating his liquid modern commitment to mobility over community) his FedEx plane crashes, leaving him adrift at sea and apparently setting up a critique of the liquid modern society he has left behind. Chuck’s approach to the desert island foregrounds the sense that he is now outside his liquid modern networks of free-floating mobility. His apparent loss of consciousness suggests that the island might be a dream; as he clings to an inflatable dinghy, battered by waves and rain, the screen flickers with moments of blackness that seem to imply that Chuck is ‘blacking out.’ His lack of movement reinforces this suggestion, as does the increased distance between the viewing position and Chuck: an aerial view shows him from above, removing the viewer’s alignment with him. After a full eighteen seconds of unbroken blackness, Chuck eventually wakes, having run against a rock, which he climbs. At this point, the arrival on the island is, mysteriously, repeated; after continued flickering we cut to daylight and see Chuck back in the dinghy, sleeping as it floats in the surf. This time he wakes up and crawls out of the dinghy onto the beach, arriving on the island for a second time. The problematic border-crossing scene calls attention to the moment(s) of arrival on the island, and figures that arrival as being somewhat uncanny. The effect is to emphasise that this desert island is unfamiliar, separate, and markedly different to Chuck’s liquid modern world. Does this space, then, represent a solid modern paradigm in opposition to the liquid modern wider world? In terms of its spatiality, the island can be read as a repressive space. Hanks wanted the film to explore “the concept of a guy trapped against the elements” (cited in Natale 2000, my emphasis), and the cinematography often frames Chuck tightly as if

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to restrict his movement. Meanwhile, the island itself is “shot in a static manner to depict Chuck’s quiet desperation” (Levy 2000). The relative lack of plot points and the long periods of silence underscore Chuck’s lack of agency; there is a forty-minute period without dialogue, and no music is heard while he is on the island. He does travel to the summit, a move that is often associated with power over the island environment, the “monarch-of-all-I-survey” moment (Pratt 2007, 197). However, here the view of the island from above communicates not visual control but Chuck’s “sense of loss” (Weaver-Hightower 2006, 298). Other elements of the mise-en-scène, including the overcast weather and Hanks’ dramatic weight loss as the film progresses, also work to deny the possibility of reading this as a seductive space of liquid modern consumption. As Weaver-Hightower puts it, the island “represents only potential danger, death, and hardship—the ultimate obstacle between him and his desires, not an object of desire itself” (2006, 297). However, the island can be seen more productively as a premodern than a solid modern space. Various FedEx packages from Chuck’s crashed plane wash up on the shore, containing a selection of consumer goods. He finds a pair of ice skates, divorce papers, a leopard print dress, videotapes and a volleyball (he leaves one package, decorated with a set of wings, unopened). Superficially this would seem to reinforce the mobility of liquid modern capital, and the ability of capitalism to reach even this uninhabited island. This might support Weaver-Hightower’s argument that the island is not colonised as such, but is made subject to “a more indirect (sometimes covert) economic and cultural hegemony” (2006, 300). Chuck uses the ice skate blades for cutting and to pull out his sore tooth. He turns the dress into a fishing net and uses the videotape to hold his raft together. Morrison suggests that “[t]he implication seems to be that an isolated person is unlikely to last for long without any implements from the ‘civilised’ world” (2014, 146). However, a contrary reading is possible: Chuck’s use of the products is not ‘civilised’; he disrupts the relations between consumer good, mechanisms of exchange, and value. Capitalism (the modus operandi of the ‘civilised world’) relies on the buying and selling of goods based on their exchange-value (how much money are they worth, and how much labour was used in producing them) and, increasingly in the liquid modern era, their sign-value (what can they be shown to ‘mean’). Chuck does not pay for the goods, is unconcerned with their meanings and undermines their use-value: he deconstructs them and puts them to new, unintended uses. This suggests

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that Chuck’s emotional energies, at least at first, are turned not “towards his lost US home” as Weaver-Hightower has argued (2006, 297), but towards survival. As Cast Away’s screenwriter William Broyles Jr. puts it, Chuck “goes through the basic arc of human history - finding water, food and shelter, creating tools, hunting, inventing fire” (cited in Natale 2000). Thus, the island can be seen as a space that is neither solid modern nor liquid modern but premodern, indeed prehistoric. This reading of the island is complicated, however, by Chuck’s relationship with Wilson. The one consumer product that has sign-value is a Wilson-brand volleyball. When Chuck cuts his hand while trying to light a fire, he leaves on the ball a bloody handprint resembling a face. Wilson becomes an Other to whom Chuck talks and on whom he can project thoughts. Wilson—in Chuck’s fantasy—offers him encouragement and consolation, his benevolent presence enabling Chuck to light a fire. Over the four years that pass (as we are informed in an intertitle) Chuck’s bond with Wilson grows. At one point, Wilson even becomes the focaliser; Chuck asks Wilson if he has any matches, and the reverse-shot cinematographically indulges in Chuck’s fantasy that the ball might reply. When Chuck runs out of materials to build his raft, he externalises his thoughts so as to construct his internal monologue as a dialogue with Wilson: “I know. I know we’re 30 feet short of rope. But I’m not going back up there.” Cast Away’s screenwriter intended that Chuck’s friendship with Wilson would show “that a certain spiritual need is common to [all people]” (Broyles Jr. cited in Natale 2000). This posits their relationship as emblematic of solid modern community, suggesting that central to human identity is the need for society: we exist in reference to other people. This theme is articulated elsewhere in the film: when Chuck realises that his pager is broken he turns to the interior and calls ‘Hello!’, attempting to communicate despite the breakdown of communication technology. However, a reading of the film as endorsing a solid modern communal society fails to take account of the fact that Wilson has subjectivity only in Chuck’s imagination. In fact, their relationship can be seen as representing liquid modern commodity fetishism. Contemporary society has a “symbolic character,” defined by the sign “floating free from its signified material object” (McFall 2004, 64). As Bauman puts it, what “sets the members of consumer society apart from their ancestors is the emancipation of consumption from its past instrumentality” (2001, 12). The replacement of human contact with a consumer good creates the

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ultimate commodity fetish: what Chuck needs to survive is not companionship but a branded product (cf. Weaver-Hightower 2006, 299). That the volleyball is ascribed with sign-value—is given meaning over and above its use-value—is signified by the literal sign of Chuck’s handprint. This marks Wilson not only as an extension of Chuck’s psyche, but also as having value as a result of Chuck’s labour, making explicit the process of fetishisation. Further, Wilson’s use-value is not only subordinated to ‘his’ sign-value, but is obliterated (Chuck has no interest in playing beach volleyball). Simultaneously, Chuck realises that he should have placed more value on solid modern community: he gazes longingly at Kelly’s photograph in the pocket watch she gave him (which previously belonged to her grandfather). Indeed, Chuck’s relationship with time supports a reading of the island as a solid modern space. When he arrives, he finds that the pocket watch has stopped working. As such, he is unable to indulge his obsessive timekeeping or to impose a repressive temporal regime on the desert island. The film has thus been read as a critique of corporate capitalism, where capitalist time breaks down and is replaced by a form of ‘island time,’ in the process teaching Chuck the value of family or leisure time (Allen 2016). However, while normative time is threatened, it is later miraculously recuperated. Chuck manages to draw an analemma, a diagram showing the position of the sun on particular dates (in reality this is impossible without a way of knowing the ‘actual’ time). This proto-calendar allows Chuck to escape the island, suggesting that he has imposed his temporal will on the space and reconstituted his mobility through his mastery of time (cf. Weaver-Hightower 2006, 312). As such, the island is represented alternately both as a (prehistoric) space, outside of liquid and solid modern structures, and as inflected by both these paradigms. Here Chuck wrestles with the question of which version of the world he wishes to return to. The island is a space where Chuck can explore his contradictory urges towards, on the one hand, returning to his previous liquid modern working life and, on the other, the potential of the community-based (solid modern) family life he had previously spurned. Chuck’s last action on the island is to carve a message on a rock: “Chuck Noland was here 1500 days / Escaped to sea / Tell Kelly Frears Memphis Tn. I love her.” The implication is that he has learned a moral lesson: he should have valued his relationship more and embraced the solid modern community-based life that it offered him. Presumably, it is

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to that life that he intends to return. But it is notable that, unlike the protagonists of Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, and most previous castaway fictions, Chuck orchestrates his own escape rather than being rescued. This moment of supreme individualism is accompanied by the first original music in the film and the first non-diegetic music since its opening scene. Chuck remains self-reliant rather than being reconstituted into society, and is picked up by a freighter only after navigating himself into the shipping routes. Further, immediately on leaving the island, the film reaffirms Chuck’s preoccupation with liquid modern mobility: the sail on his raft is decorated with the wing design from the single FedEx package that he had left unopened (and which he takes with him). The wings symbolise mobility and the possibility of existing in the air rather than on the ground: he is, after all, Chuck ‘No-land.’ The literal signvalue that had marked Wilson as a commodity fetish (Chuck’s handprint) is now transferred to the raft (in the wings design): it is, figuratively, freefloating capitalism that is carrying Chuck home. The last shot of the island emphasises the departure from solid modern themes of possession and conquest. Unconventionally, as Chuck looks back towards the island it is not static and cannot be held in the frame, refusing to be contained by the viewer’s gaze (Fig. 5.1). Recalling the first shot of the island in

Fig. 5.1 The island, not contained by the frame (Still from Cast Away, 2000. © Dreamworks LLC and 20th Century Studios, Inc.)

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The Blue Lagoon (see Chapter 4), the unsteady camerawork mimics the unstable viewpoint from a moving raft. The island lurches partially out of shot, underlining the sense that Chuck is once again a radically mobile wanderer who does not need to settle on solid ground. The suggestion that Chuck has chosen to return to solid modern community is further undermined by the realisation that community no longer exists for him on the mainland. The first shot of Chuck back in the United States shows him walking into a room towards the viewer (Fig. 5.2). Through the glass walls and door behind him, we see a FedEx aeroplane and a cheering crowd with falling ticker tape, while in the foreground a television shows a press conference. As Chuck stands in the room his image appears on the television screen, doubling him. This striking image is emphasised as both ‘Chucks’ are facing the viewer, at the same depth of field and on the same horizontal plane. His doubling here is a moment of uncanny cognitive dissonance, emphasising Chuck’s ambivalence at returning home: he no longer fits in here. Time has moved on, Kelly is married and has a daughter and Chuck, ironically, is left isolated. As Bauman observes, the “insecure and unpredictable” liquid modern world is structured around those “who travel light,” whose mobility causes “the fading and wilting, falling apart and decomposing of

Fig. 5.2 Chuck Noland arrives home (Still from Cast Away, 2000. © Dreamworks LLC and 20th Century Studios, Inc.)

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human bonds, of communities and of partnerships” (2006, 163). This twist seems at a stroke to remove the possibility of Chuck belatedly embracing a life structured around the priorities of solid modernity, and to posit a critique of liquid modern capitalism. It is Chuck’s previous radical mobility (signified by the aeroplane behind him) that caused him to be stranded and his relationship to fall apart. He now realises the flaws of his previous existence but is forced to recognise that his preferred alternative no longer exists. Cast Away ends on a note of indecision rather than closure. Chuck finally returns the last FedEx package to its sender, and then fortuitously meets her at a crossroads near her home. Cinematic logic dictates that this meeting might provide Chuck with a new relationship and a new start, but this cliché is resisted. Chuck remains at the crossroads, underdetermined, as he considers each possible direction in turn. Morrison argues that Chuck “rejects the shipwreck’s potential for inner change, undermining the fictional ideal of positive transformation on an island” (2014, 151). Similarly, Weaver-Hightower suggests that Chuck’s “worldview has not significantly altered” and that at the crossroads he “rediscovers opportunity, freedom, and possibility” (2006, 312, my emphasis). I would argue instead that Chuck is encountering these qualities from a new perspective. His defining quality is no longer mobility, but indeterminacy: “And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” Chuck’s casting away transforms him from a liquid modern capitalist into a liquid modern consumer. While Chuck is not represented as a consumer per se, “[s]hopping is not just about food, shoes, cars or furniture items. The avid, never-ending search for new and improved examples and recipes for life is also a variety of shopping” (Bauman 2006, 74). Chuck is now a contemporary everyman who exists outside of social or official “patterning, supervision and policing …. In a deregulated and privatized setting which is focused on consumer concerns and pursuits, the responsibility for choices, the actions that follow the choices and the consequences of such actions rests fully on the shoulders of individual actors” (Bauman 2013, 89–90). What the island taught Chuck, ultimately, was that he can survive as an individual, removed from the bonds of society: “‘Responsibility’ now means, first and last, responsibility to oneself … while ‘responsible choices’ are, first and last, those moves serving the interests and satisfying the desires of the self” (Bauman 2013, 92). Crucially, Chuck has changed from being an agent of liquid modern

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repression to being a liquid modern subject, whose responsibility is to choose and to consume. This posits a critique of the repressive aspects of liquid modernity, while endorsing a life strategy that depends on those very aspects. As Bauman observes, it is the “continuous, tangible presence of repression as a viable alternative which makes seduction unchallengeable” (Bauman 1992, 98). The film’s conclusion effaces the fact that liquid modern consumerism relies on the repression of those individuals who are unable to “respond promptly and efficiently to the temptations of the consumer market” (Bauman 2013, 125–27). In 2003, FedEx capitalised on Cast Away’s success in a high-profile television commercial screened during the Super Bowl (Buckley 2003). In a reworking of the film’s final scene, the unopened package from Chuck’s island is finally delivered, and is revealed to contain “Just a satellite phone, GPS locator, fishing rod, water purifier, and some seeds. Just silly stuff.” Humour is located here in the idea that, while on the desert island, Chuck unknowingly possessed all the tools he needed to cultivate his island in the solid modern mode of Robinson Crusoe, and to escape. This emphasises through inversion Bauman’s observation that, in the liquid modern era, consumption has been emancipated from function, guided not by needs but by desire (Bauman 2006, 74). In the most recent years of liquid modernity desire, in turn, has “has outlived its usefulness …. A more powerful, and above all more versatile stimulant [of consumer demand] is needed” (2006, 75–76). Bauman identifies the wish as the replacement of desire, citing Harvie Ferguson’s definition: “nothing underlies the immediacy of the wish. The purchase is casual, unexpected and spontaneous” (Ferguson 1992, 3). In their emphasis on immediacy, Ferguson and Bauman anticipate the rise of the online retailer Amazon, which introduced the two-day delivery service Amazon Prime in 2005 and the two-hour service Prime Now in 2014. The precursor of Amazon was, of course, FedEx, who feature so prominently in Cast Away. Their 2003 advert repackages the entirety of Cast Away as a sign, lending greater exchange-value to FedEx. In its afterlife, Cast Away constructs not just Chuck Noland but all of us as liquid modern consumers.

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Lost

Originally broadcast on ABC from 2004 to 2010, the drama series Lost is about the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, who have crash-landed on a remote and apparently uninhabited tropical island. Over time, the castaways discover that the island was previously used for scientific research by the DHARMA Initiative, and that a community they call ‘the Others’ were brought to the island by Jacob, its two-thousand-year-old protector. Jacob guards the ‘Heart of the Island,’ a glowing pool with the potential to manipulate time and space and to destroy the world. Over six seasons, the castaways fight for survival, feud with antagonists, escape the island, return there, and ultimately save the island and the world from the Smoke Monster, Jacob’s evil twin brother. The show was immediately successful, ABC’s “best start for a drama [since] 1995” (Kissell 2004). Lost was lauded as the world’s second most popular TV show in 2006 (cited in BBC 2006) and was among the American Film Institute’s ‘Television Programs of the Year’ in 2004, 2005 and 2008. Its citation for the third award applauded the show for “redefining the very possibility of storytelling on television” (American Film Institute 2008). The narrative impetus of Lost conforms to well-trodden desert island convention. The island offers abjected characters the opportunity for renewal and self-fashioning, in the familiar paradigm of Robinson Crusoe. However, Lost is also characterised by a resistance to common desert island tropes, for example, denying viewers a view of the entire island (Graziadei et al. 2017, 264). This is accompanied by topological and temporal instability: a giant frozen wheel in an underground research station controls the island’s position in space and time. When the wheel is turned at the end of Season Four, some castaways are transported to 1974. Other castaways manage to escape the island, and we follow their lives back on the mainland; they all return to the island, some to 2007 and some to 1977. The final season encapsulates the juxtaposition of more conventional and more disruptive desert island narratives. One storyline depicts the Smoke Monster attempting to start a global war between good and evil, positing a binary ideological opposition and a moral authority that is redolent of solid modernity. An alternative ‘flash-sideways’ timeline follows the characters in a reality where Flight 815 never crashed, complicating the solid modern moral paradigm and maintaining the instability of time and space. Ultimately, the castaways kill the Smoke Monster and save the island. In the final episode, the ‘flash-sideways’ timeline is revealed in

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fact to be a limbo where the characters are reunited on their deaths. The show’s closing scene reunites the main protagonists in a church, from which it is possible to ‘move on’ by walking into a bright light. Lost set ups the desert island not as a space outside of systemic structure, but one that is fundamentally articulated by the “law-proffering authorities” of solid modernity (Bauman 2006, 63–64). A central narrative thread is the power struggle between two castaways: Jack Shephard, a doctor, and John Locke, a ‘man of faith’ whose paralysis is immediately cured after the crash. The conflict posits an ideological dichotomy between science and religion, which is foregrounded by the irony of their names: the rationalist is a ‘Shephard’ (in fact his father’s name is ‘Christian’ Shephard) while the believer shares his name with the seventeenth-century empiricist John Locke. Ian Kinane suggests that Locke “ostensibly usurps the position of Jack’s real father” (2016, 159); in fact both Locke and Shephard function primarily as authority figures for the rest of the castaways. The narrative conflict here is an ideological ‘choice’ between two forms of moral authority (science or God), thus endorsing a solid modern paradigm in which identity is structured by “official approving agencies” (Bauman 1992, xviii), rather than being fluid and underdetermined. The authority figures control the other castaways’ behaviour, modelling a solid modern paradigm: as fellow castaway Sawyer sardonically remarks, “Whatever you say, Doc, you’re the hero” (cf. Foucault 1995, 149 on the disciplinary “control of activity”). In the show’s opening scene, Jack supervises the efforts to help those injured in the crash. Through the series, he organises the castaways into teams to build shelter, plan escape, explore the island and deal with antagonists, exemplifying the disciplinary art of “composing forces in order to obtain an efficient machine” (Foucault 1995, 164). Indeed, Lost complicates the dichotomy between Shephard and Locke; the name Jack is a diminutive of John, equating the characters as well as opposing them. Further, as the show progresses, Jack’s reason is shaken and he comes to believe that his ‘destiny’ lies on the island. However, the ideological impulse of Lost is always to ask which type of authority is best, rather than to posit a (liquid modern) society without authority. In fact, over the course of the series, characters and viewers gradually learn that the island is protected by a supernatural authority figure. The unsubtly-named Jacob brought the passengers of Flight 815 to the island as potential candidates to replace him as its protector; he functions as a “Supreme Office” of

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authority (Bauman 2006, 61) with ultimate control over the castaways’ activity. The emphasis on communality in Lost , encapsulated in Jack’s insistence that “[i]f we can’t live together, we’re going to die alone,” indicates a solid modern paradigm. Lost focuses not on one or two castaways, but on around fifteen of Flight 815’s seventy survivors, which facilitates the show’s endorsement of community. Sayid’s redemptive trip alone into the island’s forested interior is a typical example of the castaway society’s regulatory function. Sayid leaves the other castaways behind after torturing Sawyer for hoarding medicine, and then discovering Sawyer’s innocence. Community, in solid modernity, provides the individual with institutional “patterns and configurations” that articulate the “range of realistic life projects and life strategies” (Bauman 2006, 6–7). Sayid has departed from the accepted behaviour of the community and so must redeem himself. In the interior, he meets Danielle Rousseau, a survivor from a shipwreck sixteen years earlier, and learns from her the importance of being part of a society: “[T]he more I hold on, the more I pull away from those around me. The only way out of this, this place, is with their help.” Having transgressed against socially acceptable behaviour, Sayid can be reinstated into society only once he proves himself a productive member of society: he takes Rousseau’s maps back to the community, a man remade. Lost is structured by the protagonists’ journeys from abjection to orthodoxy. The function of community in the solid modern era was to “interlock individual choices in collective projects and actions…. The task confronting free individuals was to use their new freedom to find the appropriate niche and to settle there through conformity” (Bauman 2006, 6–7). At first, Lost represents the castaways as abject: “that which must be expelled if psychic and social order is to be established and maintained” (Edmond 2003, 135). In the first two episodes, the viewer learns that Charlie is an aimless drug addict and Kate was wearing handcuffs on the plane before it crashed. Sawyer is antagonistic, describing himself as a “complex guy,” while Locke is figured as an outsider, sitting alone in the rain while all around him scramble to stay dry. The representation of an island as a figurative prison or leper colony to which abject individuals are confined in order to protect society is deeply rooted in solid modernity. Discipline, for Foucault, functioned by controlling people’s activity and time, turning them into “docile bodies” dissociated from power (1995, 138). Indeed, the disciplinary tactic functions well here,

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as the characters do not remain in their abjected state. Morrison identifies transformation and “second chances” as central themes of Lost and most stories of “shipwreck survivors” (2014, 197). As Neil Rennie puts it in reference to Robinson Crusoe, the protagonist is “sent back to nature for reformation” (1998, 76). Crusoe leaves home in order “to act the rebel” to his parents’ authority but later decides that this was to act “the fool to my own interest” (Defoe 2003, 34). While it can be argued that all narrative is essentially articulated by transformation, this is particularly explicit in Lost . Each of the central characters is figured as being in need of rehabilitation, with a repeated motif of characters wanting to ‘let go’ and ‘move on.’ Like Crusoe, many of Lost ’s castaways have antagonistic relationships with their fathers: “Jack’s father was an alcoholic; Locke’s conned him out of a kidney; Sawyer’s murdered his mother and then killed himself” (Bellafante 2008, E1). Their oedipal urges (like Crusoe’s) are excised as the castaways are reconstituted as model citizens, with solid modernity providing the model. This is not to say that Lost offers an uncomplicated solid modern desert island. In its narrative techniques, Lost uses various methods to disrupt the signifying processes of realist TV drama; such representational modes can be seen as embodying a “liquid cinematography” (see Echeverría Domingo 2015). Narrative instability is evident in the first ‘appearance’ of the Smoke Monster in the pilot episode. The monster is not visible onscreen here, and its aural representation destabilises the relationship between the text and the viewer. The monster’s presence is indicated by sounds resembling loud crashes, industrial machinery, animal noises and hunting calls. The artificiality of this juxtaposition constructs the sounds as non-diegetic signifiers of danger rather than the sounds that the monster is ‘actually making.’ The fact that the sounds have no visual onscreen analogue reinforces this reading. However, the characters react to the sounds, suggesting that they exist diegetically. This positions the sounds, like the stereoscope images in The Blue Lagoon (see Chapter 4), as existing somewhere between diegetic and non-diegetic levels. The characters’ illogical reactions to the sounds further complicate their ontological status. Thus, Walt asks “is that Vincent?” despite the machine-like sounds being entirely unlike any noise that his missing dog might make. The suggestion that the sounds heard by the audience are simultaneously identical to and different to those heard by the characters undermines the stability of the relationship between text and audience: we cannot trust what we see or hear.

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Representational instability can also be observed in terms of the show’s patterns of identification and alignment. When the Smoke Monster chases Mr. Eko through the island’s interior, the scene is shot from the monster’s perspective, unconventionally aligning the viewer with the antagonist. The monster and the audience move through the dense forest via a hyperactive, dynamic point-of-view shot that is in profound contrast to the static camerawork of Cast Away (Fig. 5.3). The jolting camerawork, low angle and framing obstructed by foliage foreground the materiality of the filming processes, disrupting the viewer’s immersion in the diegetic world. During the ensuing confrontation, the camera circles Mr. Eko and the Smoke Monster, refusing to align the viewer securely with either. Focalisation is free-floating and underdetermined, denying the viewer the ease of interpretation that is common in mainstream television. The cinematography alienates the viewer from the diegesis and denies them secure alignment with the protagonists, undermining the normative conventions of audiovisual representation and performing on the narrative level the fluidity of liquid modern identity and society. A liquid modern desert island also emerges in Lost through the show’s engagement with spatiality and temporality. Lost is atypical of many desert

Fig. 5.3 The Smoke Monster’s perspective (Still from Lost episode “The 23rd Psalm.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 11 January 2006. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

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island narratives in that castaways voluntarily leave the island and then return to it. This constitutes a resistance to the clichéd representation of much island fiction, in which the island’s hermetic border can only be crossed at the beginning and the end of the narrative. Robinson Crusoe, for example, waits twenty-eight years to be rescued, at which point the narrative is essentially over (he does return to the island but only in Defoe’s sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe). In Lost a group of castaways—the Oceanic Six—manage to escape and return to their homes, but later return (so that Jack can fulfil his destiny and save the world). As the Oceanic Six are escaping, Ben Linus (the leader of the Others) turns the frozen wheel at the centre of the island, which teleports him to the Tunisian Sahara desert. John Locke later uses the same route off the island; presumably, the polar bear whose skeleton and DHARMA Initiative collar are found in the Sahara did the same. The permeable border of the island complicates the idea that the castaways are subject to repressive solid modern techniques of societal control; unlike Chuck Noland in Cast Away, the protagonists in Lost successfully challenge their confinement to the island space long before the series’ denouement. The degradation of the island’s boundary collapses the opposition of ‘the island’ and ‘the world,’ exemplifying the liquid modern “revenge of nomadism over the principle of territoriality and settlement” (Bauman 2006, 13); this implicates the island in mobile networks of global transport and communication. Moreover, the teleported characters do not travel as such but move instantly from one location to another. The contemporary moment, in Bauman’s analysis, is characterised by the “irrelevance of space …. In the software universe of light-speed travel, space may be traversed, literally, in ‘no time’; the difference between ‘far away’ and ‘down here’ is cancelled” (2006, 117). Bauman is somewhat elusive here in that he seems to conflate human mobility with the ability of digital signals to travel instantaneously. While real people cannot achieve instantaneity of movement, the Lost castaways do, and thus enact a radically fluid spatial practice. However, this is not to characterise Lost ’s protagonists as representatives of powerful liquid modern capital, as they do not possess the control of movement that enables liquid modern elites to “travel light” (Bauman 2006, 58). In fact, the castaways can be read as liquid modern labourers, whose place “has lost its past solidity; searching in vain for boulders, anchors fall on friable sands” (Bauman 2006, 58).

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Lost ’s most radical manifestation of insolidity is that the island itself is mobile, located at different times in the South Pacific, North Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean and an unspecified location off the coast of Africa. When Ben turns the frozen wheel the entire island apparently dissolves into a bright white light and then disappears: Bauman’s description of “light-speed travel” applies most succinctly not to the castaways but to the island itself (2006, 117) (Fig. 5.4). The representation of the island dissolving into light dramatises in literal terms the liquid modern preoccupation with exterritoriality, as supposedly ‘solid’ ground is instantly reduced to insubstantiality (cf. Bauman 2006, 11). Indeed, the moment of the island’s disappearance is represented by a blank screen as the castaways are apparently blinded by its dissolution into white light. The island is elusive, and major plot strands involve protagonists trying to locate it. Power lies not with the castaways but with an island that is represented as being, like capital in liquid modernity, “exterritorial, light, unencumbered and disembedded to an unprecedented extent” (Bauman 2006, 149). The castaways’ lack of control is not only spatial but also temporal. When the Oceanic Six return to the island some of them arrive not in the

Fig. 5.4 The island turns into light (Still from Lost episode “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 29 May 2008. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

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‘present’ of 2007 but in 1977, and when Ben and John Locke exit via the Sahara, they appear there months or years after they leave the island. After Ben moves the island, its inhabitants become “unstuck in time,” as one castaway puts it; at unpredictable times a bright flash of light engulfs characters and transports them in time against their will. Again this aligns the castaways not with contemporary elites but with the ordinary subject of liquid modernity. Most contemporary individuals experience the loosening of the bonds between humans and territory not as mobility (which implies control) but as random uncontrolled movement. As Bauman puts it, “[t]he passengers of the ‘Light Capitalism’ aircraft … discover to their horror that the pilot’s cabin is empty and that there is no way to extract from the mysterious black box labelled ‘automatic pilot’ any information about where the plane is flying” (Bauman 2006, 59). The destabilisation of time extends to the viewer’s experience of Lost , as the show’s narrative techniques create temporal uncertainty. As Ian Kinane has noted, “the series’ trademark style consists of several interlocking timelines in which the castaways’ lives before their arrival to the island are shown in a number of flashbacks” (2016, 159). The use of analepsis degrades the binary opposition between ‘the island’ and ‘the world’ that conventionally structures desert island texts, and undermines the representation of a desert island as a ‘separate’ space in which abject elements can be rehabilitated. Further, Lost also employs the more unusual flash-forward. Prolepses are employed without the audience’s knowledge, such that it is revealed only in retrospect that the events we have watched have not yet happened in the ‘present’ of the diegesis. In the finale of Season 3, we see Jack Shephard on a plane and assume that this is a flashback to the ill-fated Oceanic Flight 815. It is only with the last lines of the episode—“We have to go back, Kate! We have to go back!”—that we realise that this sequence has taken place (or will take place) in the ‘future.’ One character, Desmond Hume, even exists physically and mentally in two different times. In Cast Away, normative time was threatened when Chuck’s watch stopped, but he was able to reconstitute his capitalist understanding of the world. In Lost , the temporal instability constantly subverts meaning, linearity and control. The effect is that the audience is as unanchored temporally as the island itself. Like the protagonists, the viewer is unable to control the temporality of their experience, aligning them less with the elites of global capitalism than with the ordinary, underdetermined subjects of liquid modernity.

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The final season of Lost incorporates ‘flash-sideways’ sequences, which disrupt the audience’s understanding of what is ‘real.’ In the opening episode of Season 6, some of the castaways are again onboard a plane. The flight experiences turbulence but this time does not crash; the camera tracks from Jack, through the plane’s window, down through the clouds and below the surface of the ocean. Dislocated from alignment with any of the characters, we travel across the sea bed and see the island submerged. These scenes apparently take place in an alternate reality in which Oceanic 815 never crashed, and in which the island lies at the bottom of the ocean. The flash-sideways timeline provokes the question of whether and how the island exists at all. This ontological instability is juxtaposed with a climactic storyline that, by contrast, collapses the show’s ideological fluidity into a moral absolutism that stabilises and solidifies the desert island. In Lost ’s climax, the castaways work to stop the Smoke Monster from destroying the island and, with it, all the goodness in the world. The show becomes a mythic creation story as it is revealed that the Heart of the Island is the source of all life. Eventually, the castaways are reunited and, with Jacob, manage to prevent the Smoke Monster from destroying the island. Ian Kinane reads Lost as being primarily concerned with the collapsing of dichotomies such as the “seemingly dyadic forces of good and evil, light and dark and even life and death” (2016, 158). Given the co-existence of the main timeline and the ‘flash-sideways,’ Kinane argues that “seemingly fixed oppositions as life and death, too, are unmade, as one is shown to beget the other in a recurrent pattern” (2016, 160). To a certain extent, the gestures towards a ‘liquid cinematography’ and the island’s spatial and temporal instability bear this out; over six seasons Lost navigates an increasingly complicated ideological landscape. However, the show’s climactic events reassert a solid modern desert island topography that prioritises community and authority: in a cavern at the centre of the island Jack sacrifices himself in order to save his friends and ensure the victory of good over evil. As Kevin Carpenter notes in reference to Robinson Crusoe, “[t]his scene - defence of stockade, last minute deliverance - occurs in many Robinsonnades to the extent that it seems to constitute not merely an exciting moment but a symbol of something larger: the defence of Christianity, the salvation of civilisation, of the race” (1984, 44). Lost ’s last episode reveals that the ‘flash-sideways’ timeline is not an alternate reality but a limbo where the characters are reunited on their deaths (Fig. 5.5). Intercut with his death scene on the island, Jack meets the

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Fig. 5.5 The “flash sideways” church (Still from Lost episode “The End.” Originally broadcast on ABC, 23 May 2010. © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

rest of the castaways in a church; thus the alternate reality is recuperated at the last as an afterlife, undermining Kinane’s suggestion that Lost “condenses the characters’ experiences of both life and death” (2016, 161). In fact, the show’s conclusive narrative resolution straightens out the temporal instability by explaining away the alternate reality as a space that exists on the same timeline, just at a later date. The effect is to resurrect a solid modern understanding of society. Christian Shephard shows the way out of the church through a doorway into a bright light, reaffirming the endorsement of solid modern authority that has been implied all along by Jacob’s presence. Thus, Lost offers a vision of an unstable and disrupted desert island but ultimately reintegrates this space into a regulative paradigm. The cathartic resolution relies on absolutist ideas of good and evil, with a supreme authority figure as their guarantor, and recuperates a liquid representation of a liquid modern island into a solid modern paradigm. The texts discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 express a varying degree of ambivalence towards the destabilisation of identity and community, in various ways placing solid and liquid versions of modernity into tension. In Chapter 4, I argued that The Blue Lagoon endorses the protagonist’s

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liquid modern sensibilities, albeit undermining them in its resolution, while the Bounty television advertising embraces fluid subjectivity, capitalising on it in order to sell chocolate. Cast Away, released in 2000 at the beginning of the new millenium, is multifaceted in its engagement with liquid modernity. The island is a space outside of solid or liquid modern society (although marked by both) in which Chuck Noland can assess his previous existence as a radically mobile agent of liquid modern repression. He apparently chooses to return to solid modern community only to find that it no longer exists and is finally constructed as an ordinary subject of liquid modernity, with “the burden of pattern-weaving and the responsibility for failure falling primarily on the individual’s shoulders” (Bauman 2006, 7–8). Cast Away is fairly neutral about this ‘burden,’ expressing a broadly optimistic attitude towards the underdetermined nature of contemporary society. The proliferation in the 1990s of new technology including the Internet and email, and the steady economic growth achieved through neoliberal fiscal policies, are apparently cause for realignment rather than despair or jubilation. Lost sets up a desert island governed by authority figures with repressive control. This space offers abjected characters the opportunity for renewal, with community the guarantor of their conformity. This solid modern paradigm is then destabilised by ‘liquid cinematography’ that disrupts the relationship between text and audience, and by the island’s topological and temporal fluidity. However, this instability is ultimately re-solidified by the reassertion of solid modern authority. This reveals a distrust of liquid modernity fluidity, manifested not as a critique of consumerism or contemporary capitalism but as a nostalgia for solidmodern certainty. Such nostalgia is explicable given Lost ’s historical context. The show began in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks; indeed the antagonist is manifested as a column of black smoke, recalling the iconic footage of the 9/11 attacks and the insubstantiality of the ‘enemy’ in the ensuing ‘War on Terror.’ The early 2000s were also marked by a deeper and more urgent understanding of the threats posed by global warming, and—towards the end of Lost ’s run—global economic crisis and recession. The mechanisms of solid modern societal power, while repressive, offer reassuring familiarity and solidity in the face of the “unmitigated uncertainty and … the state of perpetual anxiety” that characterise liquid modernity (Bauman 2006, 61).

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References Allen, Martina. 2016. Re-Writing Crusoe’s Island: Economy, Ecology and the Savage Other in the Contemporary Robinsonade. Paper presented at Arts Week, Birkbeck College, University of London, May 16. American Film Institute. 2008. AFI Awards 2008. AFI.com. https://www.afi. com/award/afi-awards-2008/. Accessed 25 May 2020. Bauman, Zygmunt. 1992. Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge. ———. (2000) 2006. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. ———. 2001. Consuming Life. Journal of Consumer Culture 1 (1): 9–29. ———. 2013. Consuming Life. Cambridge: Polity Press. BBC. 2006. CSI Show ‘Most Popular in World’. BBC News. http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5231334.stm. Accessed 5 Feb 2020. Bellafante, Ginia. 2008. Philosophy, Mystery, Anarchy: All Is ‘Lost’. New York Times, May 29. Box Office Mojo. 2020. Cast Away. Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro. http:// www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=castaway.htm. Accessed 28 May 2020. Carpenter, Kevin. 1984. Desert Isles and Pirate Islands: The Island Theme in Nineteenth-Century English Juvenile Fiction: A Survey and Bibliography. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Defoe, Daniel. (1719) 2003. Robinson Crusoe. London: Penguin. Echeverría Domingo, Julia. 2015. Liquid Cinematography and the Representation of Viral Threats in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men. Atlantis 37 (2): 137–153. Edmond, Rod. 2003. Abject Bodies / Abject Sites: Leper Islands in the High Imperial Era. In Islands in History and Representation, ed. Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith, 133–145. London: Routledge. Ferguson, Harvie. 1992. Watching the World Go Round: Atrium Culture and the Psychology of Shopping. In Lifestyle Shopping: The Subject of Consumption, ed. R. Shields. London: Routledge. Foucault, Michel. (1975) 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Graziadei, Daniel, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane, Johannes Riquet, and Barney Samson. 2017. Island Metapoetics and Beyond: Introducing Island Poetics, Part II. Island Studies Journal 12 (2): 253–266. Kinane, Ian. 2016. Theorising Literary Islands: The Island Trope in Contemporary Robinsonade Narratives. London and Washington, DC: Rowman and Littlefield. Kissell, Rick. 2004. ABC, Eye Have Quite Some Night. Variety.com. http:// variety.com/2004/tv/news/abc-eye-have-quite-some-night-1117910869/. Accessed 3 Feb 2020. Levy, Emanuel. 2000. Review: ‘Cast Away’. Variety.com. http://variety.com/ 2000/film/reviews/cast-away-2-1200465966/. Accessed 28 May 2020.

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McFall, Liz. 2004. Advertising: A Cultural Economy. London: Sage. Morrison, James V. 2014. Shipwrecked: Disaster and Transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe and the Modern World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Natale, Richard. 2000. Casting About. L.A. Times. https://www.latimes.com/ archives/la-xpm-2000-dec-20-ca-2136-story.html. Accessed 28 May 2020. Pratt, Mary Louise. (1992) 2007. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge. Rennie, Neil. (1995) 1998. Far-Fetched Facts: The Literature of Travel and the Idea of the South Seas. Oxford: Clarendon. Weaver-Hightower, Rebecca. 2006. Cast Away and Survivor: The Surviving Castaway and the Rebirth of Empire. The Journal of Popular Culture 39 (2): 294–317.

Filmography Buckley, Bryan. 2003. “Hungry Man.” Television advertisement for FedEx. BBDO. Cast Away. 2000. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Los Angeles, CA: Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Pictures. Lost. 2004–2010. Produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Damon Lindelof. Burbank, CA: American Broadcasting Company.

CHAPTER 6

Anxiety and Eroticism on the Desert Island: Dear Esther and Love Island

Abstract This chapter argues that the 2013 video game Dear Esther and the reality television show Love Island (2015–present) constitute supreme representations of liquid modernity. The texts exemplify complementary aspects of liquid modernity: the underdetermination of contemporary identity and subjectivity, and seductive techniques of social control, structured by consumerism. In Dear Esther, the player-character inhabits a desert island without an avatar, antagonists or explicit aims. The interaction with space is confined to exploration. The game is articulated primarily by underdetermination: rather than constructing a strong subject position, Dear Esther models identity as being inescapably fluid. Love Island offers erotic pleasure, fragmenting and objectifying the human body. The show’s format prioritises choice and radical consumerism, constructing human relationships as unreliable, insecure and anxious. Keywords Subjectivity · Eroticism · Underdetermination · Choice · Consumerism · Seduction

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0_6

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6.1

Dear Esther

In the decade since Lost ended, several video games have used the desert island as a setting, building on the success of previous island games including the Monkey Island series (1990–2009), Myst (1993) and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995). Minecraft (2011) and Fortnite (2017) became two of the most commercially successful video games of all time. Minecraft, remarkably, sold a million copies in its first month (Reilly 2011) and went on to sell over 200 million by mid-2020 (Warren 2020). Fortnite was released for free across various platforms and had 125 million registered players within a year (Epic Games 2018). Dear Esther was less commercially focused, having been designed to “explore experimental game play and storytelling” (The Chinese Room 2013). First released as a free mod to the game Half -Life 2 in 2008 and then as a standalone title in 2012, it sold over 850,000 copies by late 2013 (Sigl 2013), far surpassing the expectations of a small independent release. At the 2012 TIGA awards, Dear Esther won the Originality Award as well as the titles of ‘Best Action/Adventure Game,’ ‘Best Debut Game,’ ‘Best Visual Design’ and ‘Best Audio Design’ (TIGA 2012). This chapter considers how the game world of Dear Esther, discussed against the background of other desert island games of the 2010s, engages with the ideological conditions of liquid modernity via its narrative techniques, spatiality and interactive potential. Dear Esther is an immersive first-person role-playing game in which gameplay consists of wandering a forbidding, windswept Hebridean desert island. There is no interaction with the represented space apart from moving across it and observing it: the player-character cannot manipulate the objects they find on the island. Unlike most commercial titles, Dear Esther contains no antagonists, tasks or explicit aims: the player-character does not need to find food or shelter, or to defeat enemies. In fact, there is no ostensible purpose to the game other than to explore. The game invites the player to wander the island; any ‘meaning’ is created through that exploration rather than by completing tasks or achieving any particular goals. There is no visible onscreen avatar representing the player-character, who may or may not be the same person as the game’s narrator. As such, the game manifests an immersive experience articulated primarily by underdetermination; rather than constructing a strong subject position Dear Esther represents a liquid modern paradigm in which the “search for identity is the ongoing struggle to … solidify the fluid, to give form to the formless”

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(Bauman 2006, 82). The lack of solidity and coherence in contemporary experiences of identity is foregrounded by the lack of an encompassing view of the island, bounded in the frame. The game starts with the playercharacter already on the shore such that, as in Lost , there is no perspective from an approaching ship in which the island is represented as whole and coherent (cf. Graziadei et al., Island Poetics, forthcoming). Dear Esther features a protagonist alone on the desert island and, like Cast Away (see Chapter 5), is deeply concerned with the topos of communication. This is most clearly realised in the profusion of text and texts on the island. Scientific formulae written in luminous paint cover cave walls. In a bay floats a fleet of paper boats constructed from letters. A building on the shore contains books, maps, ledgers, certificates and loose pages of musical manuscript (Fig. 6.1). However, the writing is always too small or too faded to read, and the gloomy aesthetic refuses to ‘shed light’ on what is written. The chemical compounds have Hebrew letters in place of some of the atomic symbols, rendering them unintelligible; meaning is kept tantalisingly out of reach. As such, the emphasis on communication evokes a communal understanding of identity, but this is undermined and

Fig. 6.1 Indecipherable text (Still from Dear Esther, 2013. 2012 © Sumo Digital Ltd.)

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replaced with a liquid modern conception of the individual experience as “full of risks which need to be confronted and fought alone” (Bauman 2006, 36, my emphasis). Equally resistant to the communication of meaning are the letters that punctuate the gameplay. As the player-character traverses the island, an anonymous narrator reads fragments of letters addressed to Esther, who appears to have died in a car crash. The content of the letters is expressive and evocative, but nebulous, only ever hinting elliptically at the events that preceded the arrival on the island. As Steve Spittle observes in relation to the game F.E.A.R., “fragments of information about our identity suggest a divided and incomplete self that reflects much contemporary theorizing on the late or postmodern search for identity” (2011, 317). It is up to the player to decide what the letters mean and how to relate their contents to the experience of wandering the island, enacting the free-floating condition of liquid modern life, in which the systemic structures of society fail to provide the individual with guidance as to how to live, and the “burden of pattern-weaving fall[s] primarily on the individual’s shoulders” (Bauman 2006, 7–8). Further, the fragments read by the narrator often contradict each other and the evidence found elsewhere. At one point, the narrator writes that Esther has “been rendered opaque by the car of a drunk,” while elsewhere that “[h]e was not drunk Esther, he was not drunk at all” (the fragments do not have a fixed sequence, so this is not simply the disclosure of new information). The narrator claims to have burned all his books, but the books reappear, unburnt. The player has to decide which evidence to believe, which dramatises the liquid modern condition in which multiple potential sources of authority compete for dominance, such that “the sole effective authority in the field is one who must choose between them” (Bauman 2006, 63–64). The letters contain references to other people, positing an impulse for community and communal identity formation. The narrator attempts to construct his identity primarily in reference to Esther and her death. He compares himself to Esther (“We are not like Lot’s wife, you and I; we feel no particular need to turn back”) and describes his existence as being structured by her phantasmatic presence (“I would leave you presents, outside your retreat, in this interim space between cliff and beach”). The narrator also positions himself in relation to Paul, whose drink-driving may have caused the fatal crash, to Donnelly, an eighteenth-century writer who previously visited the island, and to Jakobson, a herder who lived on the island around the same time as Donnelly. However, these figures are

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characterised by incompleteness and instability; the narrator writes that Donnelly “did not find the caves and he did not chart the north side. I think this is why his understanding of the island is flawed, incomplete.” Moreover, they consistently fail to provide a solid context in relation to which the narrator can construct a secure subject position. Indeed, his relationship with them complicates rather than clarifies his own sense of self: “I find myself increasingly unable to find that point where the hermit ends and Paul and I begin.” As such, the mode of identity formation represented here embodies the move “from the era of pre-allocated ‘reference groups’” (in relation to which a coherent identity might be formed) to a paradigm “in which the destination of individual self-constructing labours is endemically and incurably underdetermined” (Bauman 2006, 7). The narrator’s frustrated desire to communicate and his failure to construct coherent meaning reflect the decomposition of the “patterns of dependency and interaction” that previously shaped solid modern society (Bauman 2006, 8). The narrator strives to communicate with Esther and to reconnect with the world they inhabited: that is, he longs to return to society but instead is confined to a liquid modern island where all is slippery, contingent and undefined. Indeed, the narrator is aware of the futility of his desire for connection: “Dear Esther. This will be my last letter. Do they pile up even now on the doormat of our empty house? Why do I still post them home to you?” As such, individualism is constructed not in terms of coherence but in terms of the “irredeemable loneliness” of liquid modernity (Bauman 2006, 35). Bauman (somewhat confusingly) suggests that any “solidity” that can be found in liquid modern identity is experienced as being “fragile, vulnerable, and constantly torn apart by shearing forces which lay bare its fluidity” (Bauman 2006, 83). In this context, Dear Esther can usefully be considered in terms of Steve Spittle’s analysis of horror fictions. Spittle argues that such texts efface the instability of liquid modern identity and instead “offer the promise of unified subjectivity … through the cathartic destruction of ambiguity” (2011, 318). This “ambiguity” is usually located as an external threat that might impinge on the internal, with horror games often featuring “monstrous ‘things’ that blur the divide between human flesh and alien otherness” (Carr et al. 2006, 150). These “‘things’ … cross or threaten the borders that are necessary to our sense of self,” and as such exemplify abjection (Carr et al. 2006, 150; also cf. Kinane 2016 on abjection in island representations). Spittle reads

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such representations of threatening difference as “indicators of contemporary concerns over identity” (2011, 318). Minecraft , an open-world exploration video game in which the player’s avatar ‘spawns’ in one of countless possible worlds, also contains abject threats. The primary mode is Survival, in which one must build shelter and gather food and items useful for protection from the hostile creatures that spawn in the dark. This mode often uses the location of a desert island with scant resources, making it a particularly hard environment in which to survive (Cheong 2015). In Survival mode, the antagonists in Minecraft are often zombies, supernatural beings that inhabit the uncanny valley—simultaneously alike and unalike humans such that they provoke a sense of deep unease. By situating this conflict on a desert island, Minecraft dramatises the ways in which liquid modern individuals respond to the anxiety of dealing with others’ Otherness. The “perceived horror of the dangers presented by the ‘strangers at the gate’” triggers an urge for “territorial separation, the right to a separate ‘defensible space’ which needs defence and is worth defending precisely because of its being separate” (Bauman 2006, 106–7). The same structural impulse is present in Fortnite: Battle Royale, a multiplayer online game which begins with players’ avatars skydiving onto an uninhabited island. In this game, though, there are no zombies or supernatural Others. Rather, players battle one another, with the last player left alive winning the game. That is, the aim of the game is effectively to become an individual castaway, with the game ending at that point. In most castaway narratives, the protagonist’s realisation that he or she is alone on a desert island is cause for despair: here, the ‘Victory Royale’ is celebrated with confetti, music and slow-motion effects. Fortnite: Battle Royale realises the (liquid modern) urge to withdraw from “frightening, polyphonic space[s] … into a ‘secure niche’” (Bauman 2006, 107). It also takes to its logical conclusion the aim of creating “the homogeneity of neighbourhood” (Bauman 2006, 107). Rather than defending a territory “where ‘Everyone is like anyone else’ and so there is little to talk about and the talking is easy” (Bauman 2006, 107), victory involves radical homogeneity: the reduction of society to the individual. The survival horror game, by dramatising the annihilation of difference, “offers a conventionalized, psychoanalytically informed subject position for the gamer to occupy” (Spittle 2011, 324). The battle royale format achieves the same end through the removal of all others, not just those that exhibit difference.

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Dear Esther, by contrast, contains no monstrous ‘things’; there is nobody and nothing else on the island to threaten the self of the playercharacter. Rather, the borders of the protagonist’s self (represented by the impermeable borders of the island) are under threat only from within. Whereas Minecraft (like F.E.A.R.) represents external abjection, in relation to which players can assert their coherent identities, in Dear Esther the threat to selfhood is internal, as is intimated in the narrator’s letters: “Bent back like a nail, like a hangnail, like a drowning man clung onto the wheel, drunk and spiraled, washed onto the lost shore under a moon as fractured as a shattered wing. We cleave, we are flight and suspended, these wretched painkillers, this form inconstant.” The self is conflicted and incoherent, with the abject—“that which must be cast out in order for us to survive” (Spittle 2011, 314)—located not in an Other but within the liquid modern individual. That the abject should exist within the borders of the self rather than externally, making it impossible to cast out, is the horror of liquid modernity. The desert island that in the solid modern period seemed to offer some sort of reassuring wholeness—a space to be conquered, to be possessed, to be owned—here functions primarily to evoke the fundamental abjection and lack of solidity of the self. This has particular piquancy in a video game, due to the medium’s “patterns of identification … [A]s controller of the action we occupy the dual identity of player-character” (Spittle 2011, 316, cited in Graziadei et al. 2017, 249). The immersive first-person perspective heightens the unease at the representation of the self: if the character possesses an abject, incoherent identity, then so does the player. The lack of a visible avatar in Dear Esther makes this sense of incoherence particularly potent; as Nina Shiel has observed, the absence of an avatar raises the question of whether there is a character at all. The narrator’s is the easiest identity for the player to latch onto but there is nothing to confirm that the player inhabits that identity. An alternative understanding is that the player simply inhabits the role of an outside observer, or a ghost (cf. Shiel 2013). The possibility that the player is entirely dislocated from any identity at all positions Dear Esther as the liquid modern video game par excellence. The spatial characteristics of Dear Esther reinforce its representation of underdetermined subjectivity. Video games are fundamentally articulated by a tension between the control of action by the game’s code and the self-determination of the player-character. The ways in which game space can be manipulated and practised by the player-character have been usefully described in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s distinction between

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smooth and striated space; smooth space can be navigated freely while striated space places restrictions on where a player-character can go (cf. Wood 2012; Taylor 2006). It can be argued that playing video games always has a smooth spatiality, in that play is a “free activity, presubjective, and noncommodified” (Cremin 2012, 74; glossing Huizinga 1955). The implication is that the events of the ‘diegesis’ are within the agency of the player-character, and so there is no room for disciplinary mechanisms of power; if the text does not prescribe movement in space, then there is no “art of distributions” or “control of activity” (cf. Foucault 1995). This freedom is limited, though, by the game’s code and the behaviour it allows. In the Monkey Island franchise and Myst , for example, the games’ mechanics tightly control the paths that players’ avatars can take. Movement between locations happens either in ‘cutscenes’ or implicitly with a ‘jump’ to the new location. In Dear Esther, the player-character can go wherever would be reasonable in real life, without being restricted to preconceived paths, materialising (albeit virtually) the underdetermined and unstructured conditions of liquid modernity. Only the shoreline limits this mobility; if the player-character navigates into the sea, the game’s mechanics interrupt the smooth sense of spatial practice. The avatar dies and is brought back to life on the shore, in keeping with the “long tradition of video games using water as a fixed and sometimes lethal boundary” (Nyman 2013, 270). The use of the desert island setting, and the influence of its topography on the game’s code, dramatises liquid modern life as inescapably unstructured. Smooth spatiality alone, though, is not enough to signify liquid modern underdetermination. Despite their similarly smooth spatialities, the experience of space in Dear Esther stands in stark contrast to that in Far Cry 3 (2012), a first-person shooter game with modern-day pirates as antagonists. Far Cry 3 is a first-person ‘open-world’ game in which the player has a great degree of freedom in terms of how to move around its (inhabited) island. Yet its representation of space contrasts with Dear Esther’s. In Far Cry 3, an onscreen map denotes the player-character’s location on the island and the whereabouts of antagonists; while its practice is smooth, space is mapped and understood, enacting the “territorial and boundary preoccupations of the [solid] modern state” (Bauman 2006, 12). Unlike Dear Esther but in common with most first-person shooters, Far Cry 3 also has a visible avatar, allowing the player to securely locate their identity with that of the character. What further distinguishes Far Cry 3 from Dear Esther is that while you can navigate the island

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however you wish in the former game, you are not supposed to. Rather, explicit onscreen instructions tightly structure a series of small missions that should be achieved in order to progress through the game. In other words, the avatar is confined on an island where he has to undertake certain tasks at determined times, enacting Foucault’s disciplinary “art of distributions” and “control of activity” (1995, 141–49). Indeed, the player’s avatar, Jason, begins the game imprisoned in a cage by a pirate who intends to sell him into slavery. The ‘rules’ can be ignored and the game world simply explored, although such an exploration would be punctuated by reminders to behave as the game’s mechanics intend. By contrast, Dear Esther contains no tasks and no instructions, embodying the liquid modern uncertainty as to what one should do with one’s life: with no effective authority, “the question of objectives is once more thrown wide open,” leading to “unmitigated uncertainty” (Bauman 2006, 60–61). Dear Esther ends when the player-character climbs a beacon and flies off the island. However, this is never figured as an explicit aim of the game. Whereas most desert island games have as their telos a return to society and conformity to its normative behaviours, Dear Esther asks its player-character neither to escape nor to somehow vanquish the island, but instead just to exist in the liquid modern “state of perpetual anxiety” (Bauman 2006, 61).

6.2

Love Island

The desert island has been prolifically fertile ground for so-called reality television programming in the last two decades. The (supposedly) impervious border of the island usefully materialises the (apparently) hermetic seal between participants and the outside world. Shipwrecked (T4) launched in 1999, billed as a social experiment: sixteen young adults were left to survive on a Pacific island for over two months. The show relaunched in 2006 as Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands with teams competing for members and a £70,000 prize; these new competitive elements became common in more recent reality TV. Castaway 2000 (BBC) followed a similar trajectory. In the initial documentary-style iteration, thirty-six men, women and children lived on a remote Scottish island for a year, tasked with building a community. When the format was reprised in Castaway 2007 (BBC), castaways were gradually eliminated based on viewer votes. 2000 also saw the debut of Survivor (CBS), based on a late 1990s format broadcast in Scandinavia and Switzerland

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as Expedition Robinson. In the US version, two ‘tribes’ must find food and shelter, and complete challenges to avoid elimination. The fortieth season was broadcast in early 2020, with winners from previous years competing for a $2-million prize. Other desert island reality shows have similarly foregrounded a survivalist topos. 2013’s Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned (UK Discovery Channel) followed the explorer as he attempted to survive sixty days alone on the uninhabited Pacific island of Olorua, while The Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4) lets groups of castaways test their survival skills after some basic training. The latter programme is not competitive but positions itself as a social experiment by dividing the participants on separate islands according to gender, age or socio-economic background. Although these formats differ, they share an underlying conception of the desert island. The space presents a challenge to the communal or individual coherence of the participants. The formats take as a premise that the desert island is an inhospitable space that threatens the integrity either of the community/‘tribe’ or of the individual body. In opposition to this hostile space, participants have the opportunity to assert their selfhood by successfully establishing a community, defeating one’s opponents or simply surviving. As such, the reality television desert island resurrects the solid modern fantasy of the coherent, unified self that is dissolved in Dear Esther. As Rebecca Weaver-Hightower points out in reference to Survivor, reality TV replays “the fantasy of self-discipline seen in traditional castaway stories,” with the particular appeal of allowing viewers to “vicariously join in the thrill of the castaway adventure” (2006, 307). The fact that the participants are real people rather than characters played by actors lends a frisson to viewers’ processes of identification: that really could be me. Desert island reality television thus tends to implicate its viewers in neocolonial projects of subjugating tropical islands (cf. Weaver-Hightower 2006, 2007; Kinane 2016). Love Island, another reality TV series, bucks this trend. Rather than functioning as a forbidding space that must be subjugated or endured, the titular island provides its castaways with abundant aesthetic and erotic pleasure. This is not to say that there are no adversarial aspects: ‘islanders’ are ‘eliminated’ and removed from the island, and the format is structured by the competition to remain. However, the island itself is not hostile. Rather than having to find shelter, the islanders are provided with luxurious accommodation. While Survivor infamously supplemented contestants’ meagre rations with beetle larvae, rat meat and mangrove

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worms (all represented as being repulsive, assuming a ‘Western’ palate), the Love Islanders can request particular snacks. And rather than being represented as bound up with threatening orientalised Otherness, this island represents every body as desirable. Love Island fundamentally undermines the idea of the desert island as a restrictive place in which the abject can be contained and rehabilitated, replacing it with an island that is profoundly seductive. Love Island (ITV2) was preceded by Temptation Island (Fox), broadcast in the United States from 2001 to 2003 with a reboot launched in 2019. The earlier programme separated established romantic couples and surrounded each partner with ‘attractive’ men and women to test their commitment to their relationship. This was followed in the UK by Celebrity Love Island (ITV), which ran from 2005 to 2006 (with the second season sponsored by Bounty chocolate). Twelve single celebrities lived together on a Fijian island, with viewers voting to choose which couple would be confined to the ‘Love Shack’ and who would be eliminated from the island. The format was largely unchanged when Love Island was rebooted in 2015, now featuring members of the public rather than celebrities. The show airs six nights a week for two months each summer, with a ‘winter’ edition introduced in 2020 (albeit filmed in Cape Town during South African summer). A modest success in its first two seasons, Love Island flourished in 2017 with an average of 2.5 million viewers (Bell 2018). In 2018, the show won the ‘Reality and Constructed Factual’ BAFTA TV award (BAFTA 2018), and in 2019, it was the UK’s most watched commercial programme (discounting public service broadcasts and sport) (Statista 2019), with several episodes reaching six million viewers (BBC 2019). The ways in which Love Island represents space encapsulate its negotiation of liquid modernity. Although the programme is filmed on the large, inhabited island of Mallorca, the cinematography and mise-en-scène foreground the topos of desertedness: each episode begins with a different series of shots of the island that emphasise that it is uninhabited. In various episodes, we see vertiginous cliffs, a lighthouse and a village of traditional white houses, but all appear entirely unpopulated. People are sometimes visible in the distance in boats near the island, but never on it. Further, in contrast to Celebrity Love Island, which included shots of (and interviews with) the housekeeping staff, the established paradigm of Love Island is that only the contestants and the presenter appear onscreen. The effect is to emphasise that the liquid-modern individual exists outside

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of community and that “the bonds which interlock individual choices in collective projects and actions” have dissolved (Bauman 2006, 6). While the representational strategies thus emphasise desertedness, the programme leaves the island’s islandness relatively underdetermined. There is no equivalent of the monadic island depictions that feature prominently in the credit sequences of Castaway 2000, Shipwrecked and Survivor. In the opening sequence of each Love Island episode, the camera tracks along a coastline, with the viewing position flying over both ocean and land. This positions the viewer as inhabiting a permeable border-zone that refuses to enclose space securely, foreshadowing the possibility of ‘elimination.’ As such, there is no definitive representation of this island as an island; this could potentially be the shore of any land mass. Recent interventions in the field of Island Studies have emphasised that the representation of a space as clearly bounded on all sides by the ocean and contained in its entirety by the frame is by no means the only way to express islandness. Rather, the interaction of water and land has emerged as a more productive index of islandness (cf. DeLoughrey 2001, 2007; Hayward 2012). That being said, the choice to represent this island in fragments denies the viewer any suggestion of satisfying wholeness, foregrounding instead the “unfinishedness, incompleteness and underdetermination” that Bauman ascribes to contemporary existence (2006, 62). Love, for Zygmunt Bauman, is a key structural element of solid modern understandings of sex. In the era of solid modernity, eroticism was valid only when bound up with love and reproduction (1998b, 21). Explicitly, Love Island does contain its eroticism within the context of love. Viewers vote for their “favourite couple,” with the implication that relationships are prioritised and monogamy endorsed. Executive Producer Tom Gould suggests that “at the heart of the format is the [question]: who’s there for love and who is playing a game” (cited in Bell 2018). However, the ‘love’ in Love Island is soon revealed to be euphemistic. After the opening shots described above, the title sequence cuts rapidly between tight close-ups of different parts of male and female bodies (Fig. 6.2), their fragmentation objectifying them and foregrounding their consumption (see the discussion of Bounty chocolate television advertising in Chapter 4). This fragmentation then extends to the ‘body’ of the island; we cut to the Love Island title card, which shows only a small sliver of a beach. As in the print advertising for Bounty chocolate (see Chapter 2), the viewer is denied a view of the whole island, with the desire

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Fig. 6.2 Fragmented bodies (Still from Love Island credit sequence. Originally broadcast on ITV2, 2019. © ITV Studios Ltd. and Motion Content Group Ltd.)

for unity frustrated. In the chocolate adverts, that desire is transferred to the chocolate bar, the one visual element that is shown whole. In Love Island, it is the (sculpted, glistening) bodies of the contestants that are then recuperated and displayed unfragmented (and largely unclothed), offering the viewer an erotic outlet for their desire for unity. Thus, as in Peter Arno’s The New Yorker cartoon (see Chapter 3), sex is dissociated from love and instead figured as “free-floating eroticism” (Bauman 1998b, 26). Moreover, the erotic is present in the promiscuous sexuality that is prescribed by the Love Island format. The show’s guiding theme is choice, which Bauman sees as a defining feature of the liquid modern era. Contemporary life is articulated by representations of abundance and plenty, which throw into relief the relative scarcity that characterises reality: “the more seductive the temptations beckoning from the shopping-mall displays, the deeper the sense of impoverished reality, the more overwhelming becomes the desire to taste, if only for a fleeting moment, the bliss of choosing” (Bauman 2006, 88). Love Island is deeply engaged with the theme of consumption (a ‘P’ denoting product placement is visible in Fig. 6.2). Contestants use branded Love Island water bottles, cosmetics and accessories, which viewers can purchase (Pometsey

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2019), mobilising the sign-value of Love Island (just as FedEx capitalised on the sign-value of Cast Away in their advertising: see Chapter 5). Sponsorship idents before and after commercial breaks have featured Love Island’s then-presenter Caroline Flack, with voiceovers by its narrator Iain Stirling. This locates the advertised products as integral to the show (and the island), thus enhancing ‘brand synergy.’ On the island, the ‘shopping-mall display’ is populated by eroticised human bodies. At the beginning of Love Island’s first season, the male islanders were lined up and displayed so that each female contestant could choose a man to ‘couple up’ with. (In every subsequent season, the genders have been reversed, with the ‘boys’ each selecting a ‘girl.’ Love Island’s uncomplicated, binary representation of gender is an atypically non-fluid aspect of the format.) At intervals, new contestants are introduced and instructed to choose somebody with whom to ‘couple up,’ breaking up existing couples and leaving some people without partners. At regular ‘re-coupling ceremonies,’ islanders can choose to stay with their current partner or to ‘re-couple’; any islander without a partner at the end of the ceremony is ejected from the island. These format points give the lie to the suggestion that the programme is concerned with love: immediate aesthetic judgements rule here. In 2019, Amber had five different ‘partners’ over the two months and went on to win, demonstrating that viewers were not biased against promiscuity in their voting. The emphasis on choice immerses the contestants in an atmosphere of “acute, nerve-breaking uncertainty and the annoying, stultifying feeling of insecurity” (Bauman 2006, 81). In the 2019 season, when new arrival Tommy seemed attracted to Lucie, her current partner Joe lamented that he couldn’t “do anything about it,” recalling the lack of agency and “state of perpetual anxiety” represented in Dear Esther (Bauman 2006, 61). The short-lived ‘relationships’ on Love Island reveal that even when one ‘succeeds’ (on the show’s terms), lasting satisfaction remains elusive. This enacts the contemporary paradigm in which fulfilment is perpetually deferred: “the ultimate sexual experience remains forever a task ahead and no actual sexual experience is truly satisfying” (Bauman 1998b, 24). Yet the contestants have no other path open to them other than continuing to choose, as the threat of repressive ‘elimination’ guarantees adherence to a consumerist subjectivity. The required strategies constitute the islanders not as a cohesive community with collective projects (as represented in Gilligan’s Island,

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cf. Chapter 3) but as radically individualised individuals, each essentially alone despite inhabiting the same island space. Thus, Love Island is distinct from other desert island reality television in its emphasis on consumption rather than abjection: the format encourages the islanders (and thus the viewers) to treat one another as a means to (unattainable) erotic or acquisitive satisfaction. This does not simply entertain viewers, but also provides a model for behaviour in the real world. Indeed, viewers are implicated in Love Island’s construction of an anxious, insecure space and in the structuring role of choice: the show invites the viewer to inhabit a position of giddying (if illusory) power, with the ability to vote for and influence who gets to stay on the island and who must go. Reality television embodies Thomas Mathiesen’s notion of the synopticon, a mechanism of power consisting of “the many (as many as never before in history) watching the few” (Bauman 1998a, 51; glossing Mathiesen 1997). The synopticon exerts control on the many through their “watching,” thus reversing the process embodied in the repressive panopticon, which allowed the few to watch—and control—the many. Love Island’s synoptic function is particularly effective given that people not only watch the show but also vote for their favoured islanders via the Love Island app and discuss it on social media: during the 2017 season, Love Island “received more than 2 billion Twitter impressions” (Bell 2018). Thus, millions of consumers engage across multiple platforms with a desert island representation that endorses the radical objectification, individuation and eroticisation of its ‘islanders’ in the interests of promoting consumerism. This process is what Bauman calls seduction. Individuals are no longer coerced to behave in the interest of the state, as they were in the solid modern era. Rather, they voluntarily act in the interest of the market, which has replaced the state as the most significant locus of power. The islanders are seduced with rewards greater than just prize money. Participation in a reality TV show offers, in Bauman’s words, the possibility of becoming part of “the world of celebrities - a world whose main distinctive feature is precisely the quality of being … global in the capacity of being watched” (1998a, 53). The Love Islanders are tempted to participate by the seductive offer of public attention, “the scarcest of all commodities” (Bauman 1992, xx). Such attention is in itself potentially damaging. Caroline Flack, the presenter of the first five seasons of Love Island, took her own life in February 2020, with “damaging social media posts” and intrusive media coverage cited as contributing to her death

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(Proctor 2020). This followed the suicides of two previous Love Island contestants and led to calls for greater press regulation and for the show to be cancelled. In Love Island, public attention has the seductive function of motivating contestants to conform to the individualist behaviour that will likely extend their stay on the island. Thus, Love Island regulates the behaviour of its castaways, and models the same behaviour for its viewers, such that its consumerist logic is represented as the only rational life strategy open to the liquid modern individual. The desert islands discussed in this chapter are characterised by thoroughly liquid modern understandings of community and identity. These conceptions of social and individual existence are not placed into ambivalent tension with solid modern ideological concerns, as was the case in most of the texts discussed in previous chapters. When repression is present, it functions as the guarantor of seductive behaviour. These emphatic representations of liquid modernity reflect and negotiate their historical context in a period of global unrest and uncertainty. Both Dear Esther and Love Island date from a period marked by an ill-defined ‘War on Terror’ and a worldwide economic crisis. These historical conditions were unprecedented in the post-war era and can be seen both to symptomise liquid modern ideology and to exacerbate its anxietyproducing effects. Across the globe, the early 2010s witnessed inflation and policies of economic ‘austerity,’ which precipitated formidable challenges to existing hegemonies. From all sides of the political spectrum, political and economic norms were called into question in the 2010s, including by the ‘Dignity Revolutions’ across north Africa and the Middle East, the Tea Party and alt-right movements in the United States, the ‘Brexit’ referendum in the United Kingdom, and global campaigns such as Occupy. The Black Lives Matter movement brought into new focus the structural inequalities caused by systemic racism, with a powerful effect on institutions and governments that continues to intensify. Patriarchal, heteronormative and cisgendered power structures were disrupted by the progress made towards equal representation for women (including by the #MeToo movement) and for people who identify as LGBTQ+, including transgender people. Without engaging explicitly with these varied challenges to the status quo, Dear Esther offers a commentary on the unstructured social and individual experience of contemporary existence, presenting a melancholy response to its effects on contemporary identity and subjectivity. This is in no way to suggest that the game constitutes a critique of the campaigns

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and movements mentioned above. Rather, it reflects on the atomising effect of liquid modernity on the existing structures of what Bauman calls “life-politics”: “the self-constitution of individual life and the weaving as well as the servicing of the networks of bonds with other self-constituting individuals” (Bauman 2006, 49). Dear Esther does not allow the playercharacter to interact with the represented game world further than exploring and observing it. The player-character cannot manipulate the objects that exist on the island, and there are no antagonists or explicit aims to the gameplay. As such the game’s ‘meaning’ is profoundly underdetermined, resonating with the fluid experience of contemporary life and the lack of authorities that might prescribe human behaviour. The game depicts written texts, in a gesture towards community and communication. The texts, however, cannot be read, as if to indicate the impossibility of structuring individual identity through the formation of communal bonds. The narrator reads out the letters addressed to ‘Esther,’ but they are elliptical and contradictory, refusing to provide anything more than vague hints as to why we are on the island or who Esther is. Finally, Dear Esther locates the abject not in an orientalised or threatening Other but within the self, and the dual identity of the player-character means that the fractured selfhood ascribed to the characters extends to those who play the game. While Dear Esther offers a critical vision of underdetermined liquid modern identity, Love Island is a microcosmic representation of consumer society, structured by processes of seduction and the threat of elimination. That is to say, the programme enacts (knowingly or otherwise) the techniques of social control that articulate contemporary life, which rely and capitalise on the unstable identities represented in Dear Esther. Love Island departs from the typical representation of desert islands in reality programming, which tends to locate in those spaces a hostile otherness that must be overcome. Normatively, contestants are invited to establish their communal or individual coherence in relation to this otherness; Love Island, by contrast, offers erotic pleasure rather than threatening otherness. The show’s format structures contestants’ behaviour around the logic of choice, thus articulating their existence in terms of consumerism. Love Island constructs human relationships as fundamentally insecure, figuring individuals as radically individualised and disconnected. This speaks to Bauman’s characterisation of contemporary life as a “state of unfinishedness, incompleteness and underdetermination” that is “full of risk and anxiety” (2006, 62). This anxiety extends to the viewer through

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the programme’s synoptic function, especially strong in a format that engages its audience across various media and platforms. All the while, contestants and viewers are seduced into further participation by the promise of public attention, the commodity whose production and distribution are the foremost concerns of the contemporary political economy (Bauman 1992, xx). *

In March 2020, in his last appearance on Prime Minister’s Questions as leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn addressed the escalating coronavirus pandemic by borrowing John Donne’s 400-year-old island metaphor: “This crisis shows us how deeply we depend on each other. … At a time of crisis, no one is an island, no one is self-made” (HC Deb, 25 March 2020: Corbyn was referencing Donne 1987). Corbyn’s statement discloses an understanding of the island as a space of individualistic self-creation, which he critiques. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis (which incidentally caused the cancellation of Love Island for summer 2020) demonstrated the connectedness of contemporary life. Despite enforced social isolation (related etymologically to isola, Italian for island), which restricted all but a few essential workers to their homes for several months of 2020, people remained connected. Technological solutions (particularly the rapid proliferation of online video conferencing) meant that people could work and socialise from the (dis)comfort of their homes; in the “era of software” (Bauman 2006, 118), we can send our visual avatars and our thoughts instantaneously around the globe even when our material bodies are under ‘lockdown’ conditions. As Gillian Beer has argued, Donne’s original line “no man is an island” seems to contain its own negative proposition, implying that, actually, “man” can be and has been seen as an island (cf. Beer 1997, 43). Corbyn’s restatement of Donne’s assertion similarly discloses that contemporary society does treat people as individuals rather than as members of a community. The “software universe of light-speed travel” (Bauman 2006, 117) facilitates only a limited kind of connectedness, marked by dropped calls and jittery audio. Yet the “instantaneity of the network connection” (Dorrian 2013, 291) does enable many people— those on the right side of the “digital divide” who are able to work from home—to meet the needs of liquid modern capitalism without having to venture past their front doors (cf. Cetrulo et al. 2020, 143). Indeed,

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while COVID-19 is predicted to have a devastating effect on the worldwide economy (Cetrulo et al. 2020, 142), liquid modern consumption has continued. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the online retailer Amazon saw its share price rise to a record high. The personal wealth of founder Jeff Bezos grew by $6.4 billion in a single day as Amazon’s customers spent “almost $11,000 a second” (Neate 2020). In this reading, the pandemic demonstrated that liquid modernity has conditioned its subjects to operate as individuals, able to function as consumers even without human contact. The contemporary phenomenon of what might be called ‘castaway tourism’ demonstrates that liquid modern individuals seem to embrace the idea of being on desert islands. DoCastaway sells “experiences in remote desert islands around the planet,” offering consumers “the chance to feel like a castaway” (DoCastaway, n.d.). In the “Marooning” experience, the holidaymaker is left “completely on their own, without guides, and will have to obtain their own food from the surrounding nature. There will be a boat and total freedom of movement.” The juxtaposition here of laborious isolation and “freedom of movement” opposes repressive control with liquid modern mobility. Another company, Desert Island Survival, offers holidays that include a “72 hours survival phase” in which tourists are “returned to [their] primitive beginnings, marooned to now live out a survival adventure of a lifetime” (Desert Island Survival, n.d.). The suggestion that being subjected to spatial control and left to fend for oneself constitutes “the adventure of a lifetime” (and one that must be purchased) juxtaposes disciplinary power and seduction. Castaway tourism thus offers experiences articulated by both repression and consumption, with the desert island standing for both. As demonstrated in the preceding chapters, this paradoxical quality makes the desert island an apt metaphor for liquid modern existence: it is a space that simultaneously privileges and threatens the protagonist’s subjectivity. The general trajectory I have traced through the post-war era is that successive desert island representations speak to the increasingly fluid structures of liquid modern society and identity. In their negotiation of the tensions between solid and liquid modernity, the texts I have analysed exhibit progressively more uncertainty, incoherence and instability. But this is not all that emerges from my analyses. Rather, the texts I have discussed also demonstrate ambivalent attitudes towards liquid modernity, which fluctuate over time.

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Thus, Chapter 2 demonstrated that both Desert Island Discs and Bounty print advertising gesture towards the increasing fluidity of the immediate post-war period. However, both contain this within broader representational techniques that endorse the regulatory structures of solid modern society. The texts discussed in Chapter 3 appear superficially to embrace society’s growing liquidity: the desert island cartoons from The New Yorker and Gilligan’s Island seem to satirise protagonists who are stuck in solid modernity. Yet both the cartoons (with the exception of Peter Arno’s) and the sitcom tend to step back from this cultural critique, ultimately recuperating it into a solid modern paradigm. Chapter 4 showed that The Blue Lagoon endorses Emmeline’s liquid modern sensibilities, although this is undermined to some extent by the film’s ending, while Bounty television advertising enacts the liquid modern technique of seduction, embracing fluid subjectivity in order to construct its viewers as consumers of Bounty chocolate. Chapter 5 discussed texts with a particularly ambivalent stance towards liquid modernity. Cast Away critiques certain repressive aspects of liquid modernity but ultimately endorses a life strategy that depends on those aspects, while Lost seems to embrace fluidity until this is subverted in the series’ recuperative final episode. Both texts analysed in Chapter 6 represent desert islands in an emphatically liquid modern mode, indicating the profound fluidity of society in the early twenty-first century. However, the texts take different attitudes towards liquid modernity: Dear Esther critiques the fragility of contemporary identity and society, while Love Island endorses the underdetermined conditions of liquid modern existence and seduces its viewers into participating in their perpetuation. Love Island’s popularity bears witness to the success of liquid modernity and its techniques of seducing individuals into constructing themselves as consumers. Due to the palimpsestic layering of successive representations, desert island narratives are—in the public imaginary—always somewhat repressive and always somewhat alluring. In almost every text discussed in this book, protagonists express some desire to go to, return to, or remain on the desert island, as well as the desire to escape. By combining these two apparently contrary impulses, the desert island reflects, endorses and critiques a society that seduces us with promises of coherence, the threat of repression looming if we do not conform. In its dis/connectedness, in/accessibility, un/boundedness, in/coherence, im/mobility and in/stability, the liquid modern desert island becomes

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the superlative icon of the “ontological contingency of being” (Bauman 1992, xxiv) that constitutes contemporary existence.

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Reilly, Jim. 2011. Minecraft Sales Pass One Million. IGN. http://uk.ign.com/art icles/2011/01/12/minecraft-sales-pass-one-million. Accessed 3 Sept 2014. Shiel, Nina. 2013. Becoming the Island: Considering the Self, Virtual Self and Illusion in Dear Esther. Paper presented at Islands and Continents: (Re)Constructions of Identity, Madeira, September 26. Sigl, Rainer. 2013. ‘Games Are Architectures for an Emotional Experience’: An Interview with Dan Pinchbeck. Video Game Tourism. http://videogame tourism.at/content/games-are-architectures-emotional-experience-interviewdan-pinchbeck. Accessed 14 June 2015. Spittle, Steven. 2011. ‘Did This Game Scare You? Because It Sure as Hell Scared Me!’ F.E.A.R., the Abject and the Uncanny. Games and Culture 6 (4): 312– 326. Statista. 2019. Most-Watched Commercial Non-PSB Programs (Non-Sport) in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019. Statista.com. https://www.statista.com/ statistics/486564/most-watched-commercial-non-psb-programs-in-the-uk/. Accessed 8 June 2020. Taylor, Laurie. 2006. A Ludic Model? Smooth and Striated Space and Sid Meier’s Civilization. In Civilizations: Virtual History, Real Fantasies, ed. M. Bittanti. Milan: Edizioni Costa & Nolan. http://www.videoludica.com/graphic/dyn amic/books/pdf/21.pdf. Accessed 4 Jan 2015. TIGA. 2012. TIGA Games Industry Awards 2012 Winners Revealed. TIGA. https://tiga.org/news/tiga-games-industry-awards-2012-winners-rev ealed. Accessed 20 June 2020. Warren, Tom. 2020. Minecraft Still Incredibly Popular as Sales Top 200 Million and 126 Million Play Monthly. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/ 2020/5/18/21262045/minecraft-sales-monthly-players-statistics-youtube. Accessed 19 June 2020. Weaver-Hightower, Rebecca. 2006. Cast Away and Survivor: The Surviving Castaway and the Rebirth of Empire. The Journal of Popular Culture 39 (2): 294–317. ———. 2007. Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals, and Fantasies of Conquest. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wood, Aylish. 2012. Recursive Space: Play and Creating Space. Games and Culture 7 (1): 87–105.

Filmography Love Island. 2015–2020. Produced by Ellie Brunton. London: ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

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Ludography Dear Esther. 2012. The Chinese Room: Various Platforms. Far Cry 3. 2012. Ubisoft: Various Platforms. Fortnite. 2017. Epic Games: Various Platforms. Minecraft. 2011. Mojang: Various Platforms.

Index

A abjection, 16, 28, 43, 99, 104, 115–117, 121, 125, 127 accessibility, 15, 31, 36, 37, 58 advertising, 14–16, 29, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 42, 49, 72–83, 96, 107, 112, 121–124, 130 aerial view, 58, 89 Amazon, 96, 129 ambivalence, 16, 24, 36, 47, 49, 50, 52, 58, 59, 64, 65, 68–70, 72, 73, 80, 82, 83, 94, 106, 126, 129, 130 anxiety, 8, 11, 28, 44, 46, 48, 65, 82, 83, 107, 116, 119, 124, 126, 127 archipelagoes, 4, 37, 51, 64, 75 Arno, Peter, 42, 48, 49, 123, 130 attention, 25, 31, 68, 89, 125, 126, 128 authority, 7, 11, 14–16, 27, 28, 45, 66–71, 82, 97–100, 105–107, 114, 119, 127 autonomy, 16, 74, 78, 80, 81

B Bakhtin, Mikhail. See carnivalesque Baldacchino, Godfrey, 2, 23, 37 Bauman, Zygmunt, 2, 9–14, 17, 22–29, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 43–45, 47–49, 52–54, 56, 57, 59, 64–75, 77, 78, 81, 83, 88, 89, 91, 94–96, 98, 99, 102–104, 107, 113–116, 118, 119, 122–125, 127, 128, 131 beach, 31, 35, 36, 43, 66, 67, 69–73, 76, 77, 81, 83, 89, 92, 114, 122 Beer, Gillian, 3, 5, 7, 58, 72, 128 big Other, 44, 45. See also Lacan, Jacques Blue Lagoon, The (film), 15, 22, 63–66, 69–73, 76, 82, 94, 100, 106, 130 Blue Lagoon, The (novel). See Stacpoole, Henry De Vere borders, 3, 4, 6–8, 10, 15, 31, 43, 45, 47, 48, 65, 82, 89, 102, 113, 115, 117–119, 122, 130 boundedness. See borders

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 B. Samson, Desert Islands and the Liquid Modern, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57046-0

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136

INDEX

Bounty chocolate, 15, 29, 32, 38, 47, 74, 82, 121, 122, 130 C capitalism, 12, 13, 16, 25, 44–47, 57, 58, 65, 76, 88, 90, 92, 93, 95, 103, 104, 107, 128 Caribbean, 13, 29, 73 carnivalesque, 46. See also Bakhtin, Mikhail cartoons, 14, 15, 22, 42–50, 54, 58, 65, 75, 123, 130 ‘castaway tourism’, 129 Cast Away (film), 16, 88, 89, 91, 95, 96, 101, 102, 104, 107, 113, 124 choice, 11, 12, 16, 22–28, 38, 44, 49, 53, 54, 70, 72, 75, 77, 95, 98, 99, 122–125, 127 class, 22, 28, 54, 58 Coetzee, J.M., 8, 74 coherence, 11, 15, 23, 32, 34, 66, 75, 83, 113, 115, 120, 127, 130 Cold War, 46 colonialism, 5, 7, 13, 29, 31, 65 communication, 13, 71, 91, 102, 113, 114, 127 communism, 55, 58 community, 7, 10, 11, 14–16, 26, 38, 44–46, 52, 54, 65, 73, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, 97, 99, 105–107, 113, 114, 119, 120, 122, 124, 126–128 connectedness, 4, 15, 29, 51, 64, 65, 75, 76, 128 consumerism, 10–12, 16, 25, 28, 29, 34, 36, 37, 47, 73–84, 89–91, 95, 96, 107, 124–127, 129, 130 control, 10, 14, 16, 25, 27, 29, 31, 43, 54, 55, 57, 68, 69, 74, 75, 80–83, 88–90, 97–99, 102–104, 107, 117–119, 125, 127, 129

Corbyn, Jeremy, 128 COVID-19 pandemic, 128, 129 Critchley, Simon, 44–46, 54 D Dear Esther (video game), 16, 112, 113, 115, 117–120, 124, 126, 127, 130 deferral, 15, 24, 34–36, 38, 83, 114, 115, 122, 124, 127 Defoe, Daniel, 6, 7, 9, 47, 78, 100, 102 DeLoughrey, Elizabeth, 3, 4, 13, 51, 122 Dening, Greg, 67 desertedness, 2, 5, 6, 15, 37, 55, 57, 66, 69, 82, 90, 97, 116, 120–122 Desert Island Discs (DID), 13, 15, 22–29, 38, 58, 130 desire, 7, 14–16, 23–25, 28, 31, 32, 36–38, 46–48, 58, 72, 74–77, 79, 80, 82, 88, 90, 95, 96, 115, 121–123, 130 discipline, 10, 14, 54, 98, 99, 118, 119, 129 Donne, John, 7, 11, 26, 128 E Eco, Umberto, 59 Edmond, Rod, 3, 6, 31, 32, 34, 99 eroticism, 12, 16, 29, 32, 34, 36, 37, 47–49, 71–74, 77, 82, 120, 122, 123, 125, 127. See also sex Ette, Ottmar, 2, 3, 9, 13 exchange-value, 90, 96 F factories, 10–12, 45, 78, 83 Far Cry 3 (video game), 118 FedEx, 87, 89, 90, 93–96, 124 fetishisation, 78, 92, 93

INDEX

Flight, 37, 42, 57, 58, 87, 89, 90, 94, 95, 97–99, 104, 105 fluidity. See liquidity; liquid modernity Foe. See Coetzee, J.M. Fordism, 45, 47 Fortnite (video game), 112, 116 Foucault, Michel, 9, 10, 14, 27, 43, 54, 98, 99, 118, 119 fragmentation, 15, 16, 32, 34, 35, 38, 80, 83, 114, 122

G Geiger, Jeffrey, 14, 29, 59 Gilligan’s Island (TV series), 13, 15, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55–59, 64, 65, 124, 130

H Hau‘ofa, Epeli, 4 hegemony, 16, 45, 58, 74, 90, 126 humour, 41, 43–47, 50, 55

I identity, 8, 10–12, 15, 16, 23–28, 32, 34, 36, 38, 44–47, 52–54, 56, 58, 59, 69, 70, 77, 81–83, 91, 98, 101, 106, 112–115, 117, 118, 126, 127, 129, 130 Illustrated magazine, 29, 31, 32 imprisonment, 8–10, 27, 32, 43, 57, 72, 74, 84, 99 individualism, 7, 9–12, 14, 15, 23, 26, 34, 38, 43, 44, 52–54, 58, 69, 70, 73–75, 82, 93, 95, 96, 99, 104, 107, 114–117, 120, 121, 126–130 innocence, 77, 99 instantaneity, 10, 58, 89, 102, 128 interview society, 23 Irigaray, Luce, 79

137

Island Studies, 122 K Kinane, Ian, 8, 13, 14, 98, 104–106, 115, 120 L labour, 11, 45, 52, 57, 88, 90, 92, 115 Lacan, Jacques, 44 liquid cinematography, 16, 100, 105, 107 liquidity, 9–11, 16, 26, 28, 31, 32, 54, 59, 66, 70, 92, 98, 101, 102, 105–107, 112, 115, 127, 129, 130 liquid modernity, 2, 10–12, 14–16, 23–27, 29, 31, 37, 38, 43–45, 47, 49, 52–54, 56–59, 64, 66, 67, 69–72, 74–77, 82, 83, 88–96, 98, 101–104, 106, 107, 112, 114–119, 121, 123, 126–130 Lost (TV series), 5, 13, 16, 56, 97–107, 112, 113, 130 love, 45, 46, 48, 71, 72, 92, 122–124 Love Island (TV series), 16, 120–128, 130 M male gaze. See Mulvey, Laura Mankoff, Robert, 46 marriage, 45, 46, 48, 67 Marx, Karl, 11, 78 Minecraft (video game), 112, 116, 117 Moana (film), 4, 7, 8 mobility, 10, 15, 16, 43, 47, 56, 58, 88–90, 92–95, 102–104, 107, 118, 129 Modell, Frank, 43–47, 49

138

INDEX

monads, 16, 38, 50, 51, 64–66, 75, 82, 122 Monkey Island (video game), 112, 118 Morrison, James V., 8, 55, 56, 90, 95, 100 Mulvey, Laura, 48 Myst (video game), 112, 118

N neocolonialism, 7 neoliberal, 83, 88, 107 New Yorker, The, 15, 42–44, 46, 48–50, 54, 58, 65, 75, 123, 130 nomadism, 10, 59, 102

O objectification, 74, 80, 122, 125 otherness, 5, 11, 24, 26, 28, 31, 44, 45, 47, 48, 51, 56, 57, 65, 66, 68–70, 76, 78, 83, 88, 89, 91, 92, 98, 99, 105, 112, 114–116, 119, 124, 125, 127, 128

P Pacific, 4, 8, 13, 29, 51, 59, 65, 69, 70, 103, 119, 120 Panopticon, 14 paradise, 4, 8, 9, 24, 25, 27, 32, 74, 77, 83, 84 Pascal, David, 47, 49 Picture Post magazine, 29, 35 pleasure, 12, 16, 28, 29, 34, 35, 37, 73, 77, 78, 82, 83, 120, 127 Plomley, Roy, 22–28 popular culture, 2, 6, 9, 13 possession, 6, 9, 36, 83, 93 postmodernity, 10, 25, 58, 114 post-war, 2, 9, 13, 16, 29, 38, 42, 43, 58, 126, 129, 130

power, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 27, 34, 43, 83, 88, 90, 98, 99, 107, 118, 125, 126, 129 producers, 11, 22, 25, 47, 51, 57, 64, 78, 82, 83, 128 R racism, 51, 56, 126 reality television, 16, 92, 97, 105, 106, 119, 120, 125, 127 Remnick, David, 42, 43 remoteness, 5, 6, 14, 15, 27, 31, 37, 49, 54, 58, 59, 64, 66, 75, 97, 119, 129 repression, 9, 10, 12, 16, 27–29, 32, 46, 49, 73, 74, 82–84, 88, 89, 92, 96, 102, 107, 124–126, 129, 130 reproduction, 12, 45, 46, 48, 71, 77, 122 Riquet, Johannes, 5, 6, 9, 13, 14, 51, 65 Robinson Crusoe. See Defoe, Daniel Ross, Harold. See New Yorker, The S seduction, 12, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 49, 74, 75, 77, 80, 82, 83, 90, 96, 121, 123, 125–130 self-fashioning, 8, 9, 23, 27, 70, 97 selfhood, 15, 37, 59, 65, 117, 120, 127 sex, 46, 48, 71, 73, 122, 123. See also eroticism shopping. See choice shores. See beach sign-value, 90–93, 124 Smith, Vanessa, 3, 6, 31, 32, 34 smooth vs. striated space, 118 society, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 24, 26, 28, 29, 38, 43–47, 53, 54, 58,

INDEX

64, 65, 67–71, 73, 78, 82–84, 89, 91, 95, 99, 101, 102, 106, 107, 114–116, 119, 127–130 solid modernity, 9–11, 14, 16, 25–29, 31, 38, 43–50, 54, 56–59, 64–75, 79, 82, 88–100, 102, 105–107, 115, 117, 120, 122, 125, 126, 130 South Sea islands, 29, 31, 32 space, 2, 5–8, 10, 13–15, 22–24, 26–29, 31, 32, 36–38, 42, 43, 45, 47, 48, 51, 57, 59, 64–70, 74–76, 80, 83, 88–92, 97, 98, 101–107, 112, 114, 117, 118, 120–122, 125, 128, 129 spatial practice, 15, 43, 55, 57, 72, 76, 102, 118 Stacpoole, Henry De Vere, 65 subjectivity, 7, 13, 15, 16, 23, 38, 53, 55, 64, 67, 71, 74, 78–80, 82, 84, 90, 91, 96, 102, 104, 107, 112, 115–117, 124, 126, 129, 130 Survivor (TV series), 119, 120, 122 Swiss Family Robinson, The. See Wyss, Johan David synopticon, 14, 125, 128 T tabula rasa, 37, 77 Tangled (film), 1, 6, 9

139

time, 13, 15, 16, 22, 23, 27–29, 56, 64, 65, 68, 70, 87–89, 92, 97, 99, 104, 105, 112, 114, 119, 128, 129 to-be-looked-at-ness. See Mulvey, Laura tourism, 13, 76 transformation, 36, 56, 88, 95, 100 travel, 13, 54, 64, 76, 88, 90, 94, 102, 105, 128

U uncanny, 89, 94, 116 unity. See coherence use-value, 90, 92

V visuality, 1, 3, 6, 9, 13–15, 42–44, 48, 54, 58, 64, 77, 80, 106, 123, 127, 128

W ‘War on Terror, the’, 107, 126 wateriness, 3, 6 Weaver-Hightower, Rebecca, 5, 7, 13, 14, 90–92, 95, 120 White Shadows in the South Seas , 66 World War Two, 13, 22, 31, 38, 48 Wyss, Johan David, 25