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Ideological State Apparatuses, Perversions of Courtly Love, and Curatorial Violence in “White Bear”

  • Paul Petrovic
Chapter

Abstract

Throughout Black Mirror (2011–), creator Charlie Brooker interrogates themes of technological complicity and wrongdoing, complicating punishment and apparatuses of state justice. In “White Bear,” the ostensible victim, Victoria Skillane, is forced into a state of abject suffering that she performs in an endless loop for the public’s need for release from her—nonviolent—involvement in the abduction and death of young Jemima Sykes. Brooker centers on two central indictments: first, that Victoria excused herself of responsibility over Jemima and merely filmed the child’s trauma; and, second, that visitors to the White Bear State Park remain at such an emotional remove from Victoria that they likewise deny themselves any empathetic connection to Victoria.

Petrovic reads “White Bear” through theories drawn from Louis Althusser’s and Slavoj Žižek’s work. Althusser explores how the state rewards proper subjects who perform particular behaviors in accordance with the state’s larger ideologies. Likewise, Žižek engages themes of control that are commandeered to ensure that the Lady becomes an empty vessel onto which others cast their most abhorrent desires. Ultimately, “White Bear” questions the degree of punishment that should be placed upon any state prisoner, where the mechanisms of retributive justice neglect empathy in favor of perpetuating state ideology.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Petrovic
    • 1
  1. 1.Emmanuel CollegeHullUSA

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