Piece-by-Piece: Stripping Down a Text to Find Its References

Analyzing Intertextuality

(Remember: describe for the reader, then analyze)

 

What is the Text You Are Analyzing? (Task 3.2)

Jimmy Fallon’s Interview with Donald Trump: “Donald Trump Interviews Himself in the Mirror”

Is it one specific episode/ song/ film clip/ movie/ article/ essay?

One short clip

Write a short description: 2-3 sentences.

Jimmy Fallon asks questions of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump while impersonating him. The clip is a parody that is supposed to exaggerate Trump’s attitude and create humor.

Why are you interested in it?

I find Jimmy Fallon to be a hilarious character. I have watched his show for a few years, and this particular clip was interesting because of its comical nature.

What is your initial research question about it?

What different texts and information does the audience need to understand the obvious and the subtle references?

What is your hypothesis (the possible answer(s) to this research questions)?

The audience must know Trump’s infamous attitude, a dabbling of politics, and a mythological story.

Iterability (Task 3.4):

Watch/read/listen to your chosen text.

Identify and record every single time another text appears. (i.e. a character is holding a Coke bottle, or is wearing a “Hall & Oates” t-shirt. They don’t have to say anything about this text, but the fact that it appears is intertextuality at work.)

Jimmy Fallon enters as Trump, holding an iPhone.

[Unreadable] brand bottles of hair products are set up on the vanity.

Identify and record every single time that this text references another text. (i.e. the author includes a specific quote, or a character uses a specific song lyric.)

The 2015 Republican Debate is a topic during the interview, something that most political followers have watched.

A text that may be an unintentional reference is the clip of Shia LaBeouf’s more or less “motivational” video, depicting him yelling “Just do it!” Donald Trump responds to the question of how he plans to create jobs in the country, saying “I’m just gonna do it.”

Fallon, as pseudo-Trump, is asked how he would solve the Mexican illegal immigration issue. In response he says he “will challenge them to the biggest game of Jenga ever.” This references the iconic family game Jenga, a game based on the strategic removal of rectangular blocks without collapsing the tower.

Trump calls forth the audience’s knowledge of current tax policies and government spending policies.

Fallon references the pumpkin spice latte, widely advertised through Starbucks as a seasonal beverage.

One of the final references is from Trump to the statement by Kanye West that he, West, would run for president in 2020 (please no).

Presupposition (Task 3.4):

Watch/read/listen to it again.

What basic context is necessary to understand this text?

Political subjects such as the upcoming presidential election next year, taxation reform, and the like.

Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of cultural knowledge.

It is within our own culture that we elect a president every four years.

Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of technical knowledge.

We must have knowledge of the unfair tax policies and the lack of jobs inside the country. The text also requires us to know the physical appearance of a very popular phone – the iPhone.

Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of historical knowledge.

We must have historical knowledge of the past Mexican immigrations and the consistent issues encountered. It is also required that an unintended reference be recognized, and that is the nonverbal hint toward a mythological story.

Identify and record any assumptions that the text makes about our beliefs, our values, or even our demographics (i.e. Do the authors assume that we are Americans? Republicans? Young people? Married? Educated? That we care about certain issues, or objects? Etc.)

The text assumes we are educated in and concerned with current events and have some form of experience with political science. The text also assumes the audience is young, married, American, and either Republican or Democratic.

Forming Conclusions:

  • What patterns do you see?

This text has a pattern of prior historical knowledge and of politics. It also requires knowledge of iconic figures like Gary Busey, Kanye West, Jenga, and Apple products. One particular obscure reference is to a particular mythological story from Roman times.

  • Of the above findings, what is most important?

It is most important to know about the political points of this text.

  • What do you make of all of this? Based on what you’ve identified, do you now feel prepared to answer your initial research question?

I find all the information in the clip to be an amalgamation of different references ranging from a kids’ game to serious politics to ancient myths. I am now more than prepared to answer the initial question and any one henceforth.

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