Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 108

continues to exist; it is its principle that is dead. Now, reality without its principle is no longer the same at all. If, for many different reasons, the principle of representation, which alone gives it a meaning, falters, then the whole of the real falters (The Intelligence of Evil 17-18). The final scenes of “The Hobbit” unequivocally suggest that our elaborate networks of instantaneous symbolic exchange, which are supposed to help us make sense out of the world and to render our lives more meaningful, have begun to obliterate the reality principle itself. Wendy receives an unexpected visit from Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend Kanye West. The rapper reads her a bedtime story about an evil girl who crushes the dreams of a hobbit who transformed herself into a beautiful princess by means of “a magic power named Photoshop.” West finally realizes that his girlfriend is indeed a hobbit, but he confesses that he prefers to live in the imaginary realm where his significant other is the epitome of beauty. Wendy has successfully torn a hole in the hyper-real fabric that enshrouds Kim Kardashian’s iconic image as a sex symbol. However, she is now cognizant as to why there is such little resistance to symbolic fantasies. When grandiose simulations of the good life including representations of eroticism are so beautiful, why would anyone choose to live in the real world? Now fully aware that she is one of the only people who still valorize the reality principle or who have any connection to it whatsoever, Wendy makes a fateful decision at the end of the episode. Acting upon her boyfriend Stan’s request for a “new picture” to replace his outdated ones, Wendy enters the school computer lab where she manipulates her image using Photoshop. In the final scene of “The Hobbit,” Wendy cries profusely after uploading this photograph to a social media website. The ‘murder’ of the real Wendy is now complete. This young girl has resigned herself to the fate of an empty existence in the world of integral reality. Wendy realizes that even if she were able to wake up more consumer citizens like Kanye West and force them to confront the nothingness that lurks beneath the surface of the image, most individuals would choose to reenter the hyper-real world of fiction. Furthermore, Wendy knows that she has been fighting a losing battle given that the pull of the mesmerizing images which saturate the modern subject is simply too strong. She is alone in her quest to (re)-embrace reality and what true femininity entails, thus she reluctantly acquiesces. Wendy is visibly ashamed of herself, but the viewer respects her decision due to the advent of integral reality. There seems to be no solution to the existential dilemma of living in nonsense 103