QOTD 10: Metatextually speaking…

Hola Otters! Thanks in part to our very own Mike Mears giving me a little razzing for my question about your favorite Nuances,  I got to thinking about Metatextuality.


While it has a lot of meanings, I tend to view it as a piece of media’s ability to either reference itself, or a piece of media’s ability to create something new through homage to very specific and obvious sources. Glacier debuting looking like a warmed over Sub Zero? Metatextual.Kurt Vonnegut injecting himself into the narrative of ‘Breakfast with Champions’? Metatextual. Triple H consistently referring to “This Business” and John Cena making a joke about a ‘heel turn’? Metatextual. When Scrubs did that ‘three camera sitcom’ episode and when they made Dr. Cox act just like Dr. House (whom many thought was a rip-off of Dr. Cox in the first place)? Metatextual. Seinfeld featuring an arc about making a show just like Seinfeld? Metatextual

Eugene? Metatextual.

Essentially it’s a more obscure form of satire, if I’m reading into it correctly. 

It can be really inside baseball-y and if you don’t pick up on the references you can find yourself confused, annoyed, or concerned about the esoteric nature of a given joke or premise or novel, but when you do get a metatextual reference, you instantly feel smart and well rounded and validated. 

What are your favorite Metatextual References? Little moments in a book, TV show, Wrestling Match, or movie that reference prior happenings or otherwise obscure elements that require you to be ‘in the know’ to really appreciate. 

One of my favorite movies is almost entirely a metatextual reference. ‘Enter The Void’ is a 3 hour long acid-trip mind fuck of a flick that makes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas feel like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Its heavily influenced by the Tibetan Book of The Dead and serves to illustrate that book’s theories, ideas, and beliefs visually through the acts of an American man living in Japan.  I really don’t want to write too much about it at this point because the movie is such a trip that anything I tell you about it will certainly ruin a lot of the expierence.

It’s a HARD NC-17 rated movie, but absolutely worth watching if you’ve never seen a high-budget independent film that’s free from any sort of constraints – it’s great if you’re a casual movie watcher who wants to see something a little more expiremental than you’re used too, but kind of shy away from folks like Jean Luc Godard and Jan Švankmajer.

It’s really really tough to watch at some points, and a little long in others, but if you endeavor to sit through it I strongly feel you’ll be better for it, ultimately lamenting that there will never be another movie like it. There’s georgous visuals: long, steady, tracking shots, free-floating camera movements that literally make you feel like a ghost, and if you look into it just a bit, you can even start to ponder the nature of conception, namely, what do you call the instant before a light turns on, or a match catches flame, or consciousness is created or sizes to exist. It’s currently on Netflix Instant, and if you’re a little bored after Raw, I’d give it a watch. But you absolutely need to pay attention to it. Do not watch it while doing something else, or having a conversation, or playing a game. It demands your attention, and will reward it.


Blog Otter Award: wnyxmcneal for his Norm McDonald love. His award, spelled B-O-R-E-D can be found here

1. Grand Theft Auto V is out tonight. Anyone else doing Midnight releases / planning to play it all night? Or am I the only one who’s still mentally 12 and kind of happy about it? Gamertag: Notmeekin

2. I really can’t say enough about ‘Enter The Void’ – seriously check it out. If you have seen it, feel free to talk about it in the comments but try to avoid spoilers. If you haven’t seen it, post if you’re going to be watching it and maybe we’ll make tomorrow’s QOTD an official spoiler discussion.