(Baudrillard “Ecstasy” 127). In the realm of the material, the
subject has become merely the “interface” between capitalist
production and the commodity; the landscape of banality in
advanced capitalism gives way to the “projective, imaginary and
symbolic” realm of the television (Baudrillard “Ecstasy” 126).
Daria as a Cultural Text
In response to a burgeoning sense of globalization, Daria
Morgendorffer emerged the toneless voice of a listless and
alienated youth as the 20th century drew to a close. Daria left a
significant mark on pop culture through her bitingly sardonic
nature and the presence of ironic cultural commentary throughout
the show’s five season run from 1997- 2002. The overarching
programming strategy of MTV during this time period was in flux,
moving away from exclusively music video content and toward the
“real” MTV with shows like The Real World and Beavis and Butthead.
MTV uniquely blurs the lines between the “categories of ads and
programs, it emphasizes the fragmentary nature of all things...”
(Rabinovitz 100), which begs a cultural “chicken or egg” question
regarding the form of MTV and its content: are the music videos,
TV shows, and commercials, being played because they reflect the
tastes of the audience or because corporate sponsors have
determined it is most likely to appeal to what audiences think their
desires are?
The following section utilizes the method of cultural
materialism in order to situate Daria as an object of analysis within
the system of postmodern media communication. Ann Kaplan
describes the role of critical theory to “expose how these practices
posing as speaking what is “natural” and “true,” in fact set up a
transcendental self as a point outside articulation” (Kaplan 147).
As a cultural artifact, Daria reflects the contradiction of resistance,
pleasure, and complicity inherent in postmodern identity while
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