Remediating the apocalypse

Jack Bauer is Tops

Jack Bauer comes third in UnderGroundOnline's list of the 11 Greatest Americans in fantasy entertainment. The site is an eclectic site dedicated to gaming, sci-fi, comics, film and TV and is very hard to read. It seems darkly comic, knowing but perhaps not entirely ironic. The intro to the list says:

Recently, President Ronald Reagan was named the "Greatest American" in the Top 100 Greatest Americans countdown that aired on the Discovery Channel. We here at UGO decided it was time the Greatest Americans in Fantasy Entertainment were recognized for their achievements and contributions to pop culture and the American way of life.

Join us as we look at those fictitious men and women who inspire us to fight Communists, Nazis, terrorists, giant robots, aliens and Cobra Commander.

Enjoy our picks and happy 4th of July - don't accidentally blow your hand off with an M-80.

The list is headed by Captain America and wrestler Hulk Hogan and Jack at No 3 is followed by John J. Rambo. This what they have to say about the 24 hero:

Think about your last 24 hours. What have you really done? You slept a bunch, woke up, went to work, went home and slept a bunch more. Now consider that in that same period of time, Jack Bauer has saved his family, a city, the nation and the world on four separate occasions. Kinda makes you feel like a slacker, doesn't it?

Ordinarily we'd scorn such an ambitious go-getter, but Jack's not some kiss ass goodie two-shoes. He's all about the ends justifying the means, even if the means involve chopping someone's head off and carrying it around to scare off terrorists. He's disobeyed just about everyone from the President on down and even likes to dabble in needle drugs! Not your ordinary superhero...though he's probably a blast at a kegger.

But when it comes to fighting for the safety of our country, Jack is the man about town. He's regularly put his life on the line to stop nukes from going off, deadly viruses from being spread and Presidents from being clipped. He cares not for his corporeal being, but for the guaranteed future of the Red, White and Blue. And if that means shooting a few innocent hostages along the way, so be it. Plus, his daughter's way hot.

This web project is an evolving space exploring contemporary manifestations of the apocalyptic in current affairs and popular culture. It is being developed in association with my Ph.D. research and is both a research method and a presentation of that research. In exploring the apocalyptic I am particularly interested in mapping a series of multimodal mythic clusters that are evolving through a process of remediation which I identify as a key cultural logic for an age in which electracy is the new literacy of nomadic subjects. This hypertextual presentation foregrounds affiliational logic and although I hope the project accumulates meaning it does not seek to present a single, formal, linear argument. I have presented some of these ideas in more traditional academic formats in other places. Although the navigational choices are the user's own these tips may be useful. Feedback is very welcome.

Marcus O'Donnell 2005-2006