In this introductory chapter, the authors conceptualize what the “stupid” means, and its relation to media. The stupid generally refers to things that fail to meet existing categorization (e.g., storytelling conventions, genres). An encounter with media that does not fit into established regimes of knowledge, might be characterized as stupid. The stupid should not be confused with the “bad object.” Rather the stupid often emerges in narrative forms, and finds affinities with the “cinematic attraction.” Storytelling forms evolve, and these changes might be prompted by creative innovations or technological developments. The authors argue that the paradigms of assessment in media studies largely address narrative, however, innovations in storytelling (particularly more recent developments) are not necessarily invested in novelistic or cinematic storytelling as conventionally conceived.
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