Criticism In Wes Anderson's 'Sic Transit Gloria Mundi'

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‘Sic transit gloria’ is the tacit mantric slogan of Rushmore, upheld and implied time after time in Wes Anderson’s 1998 comedy-drama feature. The maxim, defined by Rushmore’s protagonist Max Fisher as ‘glory fades’, actually comes from the Latin religious expression ‘sic transit gloria mundi’, translated literally in the Collins English Dictionary as ‘thus passes the glory of the world’ (2017), a concept which epitomises more universally the ephemeral character of all mundane things. This interpretation of Rushmore’s motto makes it particularly relevant in relation to the film’s conventional reading as a postmodern œuvre: a cinematic text produced under the influence of what French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard simplified in 1979 as ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ (Lyotard 1984: XXIV), intended as a polemic rejection of all-comprehensive truths or ideologies, such as Social Progress and Marxism. ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’: faced with postmodern scepticism, not even these unifying Weltanschauungen, which had dominated Western society across the 19th and 20th century, can stand the test of time, to the point that late 20th century postmodern cultural productions challenged and abandoned modernist grand narratives, parading instead a shallow fragmentation into pluralist and often relativist ontologies. In this regard, Rushmore is particularly relevant as a case study of postmodern thought and art, as it successfully illustrates many of the movement’s themes and its

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