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Abstract

In her article "Ambiguity and Morality in Jelinek's Bambiland" Andrea Bandhauer begins by noting that the language of Elfriede Jelinek's play Bambiland (2004) is characterized by experimentation and a propensity for complex and ambiguous word plays. In this play, her critique of the media is directed against the international, or rather, Western press and its role in the Iraq war. The text of Bambiland, conceptualized as a "work-in-progress," in which Jelinek posed as an "embedded writer," started to appear on her website at the beginning of the war and Jelinek continued writing it through 2003. In the text of the play, Jelinek continues her "project of revealing" by means of manufacturing contexts for everyday myths in order to demythologize them. Following Barthes, Jelinek dissects myths which circulate in contemporary society and construct our everyday world. Here, war has become a media event and a spectacle enacted by a dominant power which legitimizes war by naturalizing and universalizing its reasons for violent intervention. Thus, the Bambiland-text is a closed universe in which the media generate circular arguments that feign diversity. The play however, while being a polylogue, is presented as a monologue which in the end only serves one purpose: to legitimize power.

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