Jane Schoenbrun Wants to Revolutionize Your TV Experience

In today’s society, the influence of media on our sense of identity is undeniable. From television to digital media, we are constantly bombarded with messages about who we should be and what we should aspire to. But have you ever stopped to think about why we look to TV for identity?

According to filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun, our reliance on media for identity is deeply rooted in capitalism. The brands we align ourselves with, the identities we create through consumption – all of these things are tied to our sense of self. In a world where consumerism reigns supreme, it’s no wonder that we turn to TV and film to shape our identities.

But television, in particular, offers something unique. Unlike film, which is a fleeting experience, television provides a sense of ongoing identification. Shows like “Buffy,” “The X-Files,” and “Twin Peaks” become spaces where we can invest our emotions and escape from reality. It’s a parasocial relationship, where we become deeply attached to fictional characters and their stories.

This ongoing connection to TV shows reflects a larger cultural movement towards IP and the “cinematic universe.” The idea that nothing ever has to end, that every movie sets up the next one, speaks to our desire to live in a world of unreality. But, as Schoenbrun points out, this can also be a reflection of our alienation from the real world.

In her film, “I Saw the TV Glow,” Schoenbrun explores the theme of obsession. Is there a line between healthy and unhealthy obsession? She resists the urge to moralize, instead focusing on her own personal experience. The film is a reflection of her own struggles with gender identity and the role that media played in her coping mechanisms.

As we navigate a world where media plays an increasingly powerful role in shaping our identities, it’s important to reflect on how we engage with these narratives. Are we using them as a means of escape, or are they becoming a crutch that prevents us from confronting our true selves? Schoenbrun’s insights serve as a reminder to be mindful of the ways in which we allow media to influence our sense of self.

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