Theorizing Stupid Media

De-Naturalizing Story Structures in the Cinematic, Televisual, and Videogames

  • Aaron Kerner
  • Julian Hoxter

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Aaron Kerner, Julian Hoxter
    Pages 1-29
  3. Aaron Kerner, Julian Hoxter
    Pages 71-107
  4. Aaron Kerner, Julian Hoxter
    Pages 109-137
  5. Aaron Kerner, Julian Hoxter
    Pages 139-178
  6. Aaron Kerner, Julian Hoxter
    Pages 179-196
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 197-227

About this book


This book explores the stupid as it manifests in media—the cinema, television and streamed content, and videogames. The stupid is theorized as media that “fails” to conform to established narrative conventions, often surfacing at evolutionary moments. Each chapter explores different manifestations of the stupid: exemplified in the Transformers franchise the contemporary Hollywood vernacular privileges kinetic qualities over conventional narration, and is often dismissed as being stupid. The stupid is also evident in genre failures. Narrative dissonance, where a story “feels off”, might be perceived as stupid—Adventure Time being a key example. “Ludonarrative dissonance” refers to instances in videogames (e.g., Bioshock) where gameplay seemingly runs counter to the narrative, thus stupefying. The authors take the film Sucker Punch as a concluding exercise, applying the book’s theorization of the stupid. This book is addressed to those interested in media that is quirky, spectacle-driven, or generally hard to place—stupid! 


media theory genre videogame film television

Authors and affiliations

  • Aaron Kerner
    • 1
  • Julian Hoxter
    • 2
  1. 1.School of CinemaSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.School of CinemaSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-28175-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-28176-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site