I remember a couple of weeks ago when I first watched this video and I was extremely confused. It felt displaced and inaccurate, but then I had to think about who Alicia Keys is as an artist. I have been a fan of her music since 2001, and after reading the assigned article I was pressed to do a little more research on the song and the video. The criticisms in the article has some validity. The historical angle is probably inaccurate. Her seemingly interracial background seems out of place, and the two black parents, and black mob seems a little forced. But I did some research and I had to remember a few things about AK that helped me to understand and respect her perspective a lot more. Alicia Keys writes her own music. For anyone who didn't know she is a songwriter. On top of that, Alicia Keys has countless times identified herself aligning with black culture and black identity. This brings up an interesting perspective when it comes to a few terms: ascription and avowal. Here, the writer of this article is trying to ascribe AK as "mixed-race" identity, saying that her representation is inaccurate simply because she is not one hundred percent black. AK has always presented herself as a "black" woman. I am positive of this, look at who she has in her music videos, how she dresses, what she sings, who she married, and most importantly watch a few of her interviews particularly on Hurricane Katrina. She is allowed to identify herself as whatever she feels. It should not distract from the message she is trying to portray, which I looked long and hard for, but did not find any quotes on what she particularly means in the video. I will argue that it leaves room for discussion and debate, but in no way should be criticized as too one-sided. It's her creative freedoms and expressions to choose how to wants her song visualize. AK is a smart woman, in fact this song and video won Outstanding Music Video Award at the 42nd NAACP awards. She is doing something right.
June 2011 Archives
How do you think Nick Cannon becoming honorary Chairman of Nickelodeon may affect the shows and representations of girls and minorities?
When Banet-Weiser states "specific images of ethnicity and gender function effectively as marketing tools within this cultural economy..." (17), do you think our race and feminist fighting have been working backwards by being stereotyped into the desirable appeal of the general market when stereotyping is the underlining basis of what both are fighting against?
I think that this idea of the New Economy where race representation is positive and somewhat devoid of historical and political ties as well as this representation of female-empowerment has more impact than if race and feminism was introduced in a way that shed a lot of light on the historical/political contexts. Sure there is this major void of recognizing the plight and struggles of Women Right's and the rights of minorities, but I think that Nickelodeon does a great job in introducing girls and minorities into their shows without tackling the core of the social structures. I think a network geared towards children should portray positive representations because it is giving a chance for things to be redefined and seen in a different way. I don't think that cultural histories should be eliminated, but I would argue that Nickelodeon is on the right track in working with the New Economy producing positive representations in the media. What do you think? If you think that there should be more recognition of political/historical histories what might be some ways Nickelodeon and other networks geared toward youth might do it in a way that may be effective?
Do you think that Alicia Keys focused on black people who are biased against interracial dating in her video because blacks who don't like interracial dating are usually more outspoken about it than whites who don't like it, nowadays?
At the end of Hook's article, she states, "The over-riding fear is that cultural, ethnic, and racial differences will be continually commodified and offered up as new dishes to enhance the white palate - that the Other will be eaten, consumed, and forgotten" (438). Is this a legitimate fear of African Americans? Or is Hook extreme in her statement of the prevalence of this fear? I guess I had trouble with the lack of contemporary references to illustrate her points.
My question is how can we as a society use the three basic ideologies to get rid of this racist images in media?
After reading Hall's article, i began to think about the different networks on TV. BET (Black Entertainmnt Television) is a network that is created by black people for the entertainment of the black community. My question is, does this seem racist?? or does it spark the Racist talk or view because of how it seperates other races??. If therer was a WET (White Entertainment Television) would it be accepted by the country just as openly??
In "Eating the other", Hooks states "...white yearning to posses the Other are invading black life, appropriating and violating black culture". (p. 431). Considering that the French say something very similar about English words and American culture invading and destroying French culture/identity, it this more about the dominant culture overpowering all other cultures?
Hall's article talks about the difference between "overt racism" and "inferential racism," does one really have less sting than the other? Are the assumptions of "inferential racism" which still exist today, any less bold than the "overt racism?"
I thought "The Whites of Their Eyes" was hard to follow in some sections where the thought process seemed very jumbled; with this being said, I thought that the definitions of overt and inferential racism were more wordy and confusing than they needed to be. Understanding the the basic principles behind both, I was wondering what specific examples of each would be.
I'm not sure if inferential is still embedded in as many movies as Hall makes it sound like it is. I wish he would have given some examples (ie: named some movies) besides "Starsky And Hutch" and James Bond movies. He didn't even specify if he was talking about old Starsky and Hutch or the new millenium movie. Nor if he was talking about old James Bond or new James Bond flicks. Can you give any recent examples of movies he might be talking about?
In Hall's article he states that the media makes the assumption that the blacks are the source of the problem within the shows that are showing the conflict between different groups? Do you think this is still the case today or are Hall's views outdated?
In Eating the Other- Hooks talks about how white males wanted to have sex with the "other" because they thought they had more experience in the world and would help them move into a real world. Did anyone buy this argument or do you think they were just looking for women to hook up with?
On page 428 hooks, states "exploration of racial difference can be pleasurable" Do you feel viewing "Do the Right Thing" was pleasurable in exploring differences? In Hall's paper they talk about racial stereo typing by the media for example "Gone with the Wind" What film or television program recently has given a accurate portrayal of a specific race?
In terms of ideology on how pre-date individuals formed part of the determinate of social formations and conditions how does this essentially, through the years influence people in today society . In terms of how we look at stereotypes, races, cultures. Was there any chance of being open minded when it came to these decisions of the future ahead.
Eating the Other was a thorough read that constantly reminds me how on the fence I am about my own inner feelings on race, it's portrayal, and the public opinion of it as well. The thing that I remembered when I read the passage on pg. 426 about the "racist white men who historically violated the bodies of black women/women of color to assert their position as colonizer", I disagreed a bit. I mainly believe those violations came out of simple lust, desire, and curiosity for something they did not "have" in house day in and day out. It was unacceptable to fall in love or lust for a woman of color in those days so I strongly believe that it was historically brought into context so it was to violate as colonization power, not love or lust. All that was to me was really just a cop out or an excuse to condone the white man's notorious actions on those days. Just a thought.......................
After reading the White's of Their Eyes I am sitting here wondering how much the media's portrayal on the ideologies of race (looking at it being influential) matches up to a person to person upbringing/interacions in a certain cultures, any ideas?
so is one point of the article is that if you are of a "colored" race, you are more favorable nowadays?
In chapter 54 Media portrays blue collar workers as less intelligent, Why would they do this? Do they want to gear the shows to a "white collar audience?" Can you think of a case where a blue collar worker is portrayed as intelligent?
Dealing w/ idealogical hegemony helping to maintain status quo makes me ask why are these "buffoon" shows so far and few with visual media like TV, movies, etc.? Is it the allure of getting/imagining/hoping to acquire what you don't and most like will not have already that keeps the lower & middle class folk glued to the tube watching people unlike themselves?
Reading the Artticles made me think of that Beer commercial where they used prop Placement (I believe is the term) throughout the movie they were filming of the beer because everytime they showed the beer company logo they would end up getting free beer. My question is, how much pull do companies have on how the script is written to get their product in the movie?
Do the Right thing is a movie that came out a year before i was even born, but it is still one of my favorite movies of all times. Alot of people know spike Lee for his anctics in the NBA as a diehard Knicks fan, or his roles in old Micheal Jordan commercials, but Spike Lee is truely a genious of a film Maker. It is obvious by his movies that he is very opionionated. In do the right thing he attacks racial steryotypes head on and shows the viewers how currupt our world can be when people play into these Steryotypes. It is a very intense and heart-Felt film, and at a time around the rodney king riots, and where people in this country were truely seperated, it is a flick that really spoke to people, and thats why (In the black community at least) this film to this day is a considered a classic movie.
I always wonder what people are going to think outside African American Culture when they are presented with such works like Do the Right Thing. I was very thankful and appreciative to the feed back I saw posted about the film...great insight! Do the Right Thing is a film that I look at being very close to some extreme prejudices and misunderstandings I have personally experienced. I think it was done in extreme format and fortunately riots do not occur everyday. Coming up as a kid and young adult today though the emotions of the film towards the end are still present in my everyday life at times and I do go off like that in my head when it does. I need to graduate and remain in society so reacting like that is a no no, but I have felt like being a Radio Raheem more often than not...........
Question: Do others in the class look at this film as being completely eye opening for them on an awareness/learning experience level or on a more entertaining level. (i.e. I found it funny or depressing vs. this really happens/what can be done about such racial intolerance?
I am looking at examples of the TV shows like Meet the Brown's, The Cosby's, etc as I post this. Looking at how media production along the lines of catering to people's sense of who they are culturally, and being black, I wonder if that's why I tend to not indulge or watch any of these shows presented on TV? I look at the examples of how African American families are portrayed on TV and I cannot say I have found one that makes me say "now that's like my family" (or friend's families for that matter). We have long talks about this all the time.
In the Butsch article, on page 84, it says "the second factor affecting network decisions on content is the need to produce programing suited to advertising". I am a little surprised, do advertisers have that much power over programming? I thought it was more so a privilege for an advertisement to get a 30 seconds spot during an airing of a hit show. Not where the content of a show is revolving around advertisements and being careful not to offend advertisers.
I can think of multiple instances of lead male characters in TV shows who are portrayed as buffoons, Archie (All in Family), Homer (The Simpsons), Peter (Family Guy), Stan (American Dad). But I cannot think of any female leads cast this way. Am I not paying attention?
I don't believe I have seen any of Spike Lee's films nor have I known what they were about. This is surprising to myself because I love to watch all kinds of movies. I also enjoy venturing into the history of movies, actors, and actresses. So I guess there's always a first for everything in a way. And the experience was pretty interesting.
I really liked most of the movie. There were so many eccentric characters like, Da Major, Mother Sister, Mookie, Radio Raheem, Sweet Dick Willie, and Buggin' Out. And the way the public in real life talks about Brooklyn and views it, the scenes seemed very authentic and true to the stories. It's always so interesting when you see very familiar faces, like Martin Lawrence and Samuel L. Jackson, and they are so young in these small roles. They have come so far since then where we know them as these well-established actors today.
There was a lot of clashing of cultures and opinions. There was the Korean fruit and veggies market. The 3 old black men, including Sweet Dick Willie, would talk about their envy on how this Korean family was so successful in their neighborhood, their part of the town. And then Buggin' Out was upset that there were no pictures of black "heroes" on the wall at Sal's restaurant. There was so much hate in these characters for numerous reasons, within themselves, towards each other, towards the inequality. The "hate" would build up more and more as the movie went on. But then it seemed like there was this hope for understanding between the people, at least its the emotions I felt as I watched the film.
I really did not like the end to the movie. I understand that the point was that eventually all their hatred and anger hit the boiling point and it turned into a huge, violent riot. But it completely threw off the movie's tone for me. It was so random to me how Mookie snapped and broke the window with the trashcan. I had a hard time understanding his reaction and the whole ending itself. It just turned so dramatic and violent for me, when the tone of the movie seemed like it was just mild hostility.
While the movie was interesting. While watching it I could not get past how everyone seemed to be so stereotyped. I do not know if this was done on purpose by Spike Lee, or if the fact that the movie is 22 years old influences how I saw it, but I thought it was very noticeable.
One of the most influential films in modern black history, Do the RIght Thing, allowed representation of West Coast black culture to become known and re-presented to negate the bad stereotypes set out by the overwhelming gang culture. The obvious ending of the film fights against the violence that marked black West Coast culture.
For me the best part of the movie is Radio Raheem's story of love and hate. I think Spike Lee's production process is most effective.
The backdrop of the what you see is the apartment buildings, then you see the Cadillac car, then you see Radio Raheem standing in the middle of the street, and then the back of Mookie's head. You are allowed to see the people walking past in the background, and the set up gives depth to the scene.
The rings are the focus, and how Radio Raheem uses the rings to tell the story. The rings are the focal point in most of the shots, and they appear large. Love on the right hand, and hate on the left. It is interesting the Radio Raheem is using his fists to punch in the air to describe the two forces that he feels is most important, that he is wearing them on his hands, as a representation of a struggle. The audience is not allowed to see Mookie's reaction to the way the story is being told, and it becomes a dialogue between the audience and Radio Raheem.
This movie focuses on offering a counter-view to the violence that is often associated with West Coast black culture. Spike Lee does a good job of using the scene to enhance the struggle that being black, under-represented, but having pride ensues. Black Pride often translate as a threat against peace, and this scene does a good job and showing the struggle for that balance.
Bettie uses the Cosby Show as an example to show how class barriers exist over racial divides, but I think the Cosby Show is a skewed depiction because of who is producing the show. I would like to offer another example of a show produced by black creators, "All of us" as another more accurate depiction of the middle-class black family, which in my opinion, is very similar to Roseanne, as far as dysfunction and dialogue goes. This portrayal of a middle-class black family is much more similar to the family of Roseanne. What kind of families do you think are more common in tv families: the middle-class black families that are dysfunctional like Roseanne or the Cosby show model stereotypes?
I think class affects cultural norms in the black culture, class is not enough to outweigh racial baggages. What do you think?
When going through trial and error to come up with the "solid formulated social structure" for TV shows after seeing what is guaranteed to work and not work, why are shows like "Skins" able to run when there are so many opposing it in society. In my opinion, the show represents everything opposite of traditional family settings. Is this true or in contrast, is this representing the newest shift in society's infrastructure?
The article discusses the idea of class differences, and especially points to the show Roseanne to depict how low-class families are generally portrayed in the media.
Roseanne is overweight and her husband is "not smart".
The other article describes how Ralph, Homer, and Fred are "buffoons", that they are not respected.
Connecting the two articles, I think it is important to think about how "white" families are solely portrayed in media, separate from black families such as The Cosby's.
I think in a way the Bettie argument weakens the point about class while trying to compare The Cosby's, and Living Single, with Roseanne. She brings up this concept of The Cosby family being "too white", and how the middle-class lifestyle crosses barriers and translates upon those shows versus Roseanne. It is important to think about who is producing these shows. Rather the Model Stereotype is beneficial to the Cosby Show can be debated, but as far as class lines go, maybe we should look at the ways in which Dominant white middle-class imposes its culture as having superiority therefore it is somewhat more acceptable to live in a world like The Cosby's. I think it has more to do with ideologies than class. Class exists, but ideologies are a greater force in imposing cultural values in the media.
In the Butsch article the author explains how media through TV shows sometime represent class and gender roles . My question is how does ones demeanor change through from first hand experience with these stereotypes that are placed on races and gender?
It was interesting looking at this film once again after doing the assigned reading for Friday. I always know it has been a powerful movie that has caused some ever intense discourse between people. And many people can't believe that stereotypes that are used in the movie as being completely wrong which I agree with to a point because I believe that Spike Lee did it to start the discourse that need to go on at that time about what has happening in communities. Which begs the question what I wanted to bring up about I want to ask about one of are reading that stated that Media can not potray history, which I completely disagree with example being this movie because to show the issues about race, gender and class that were going but intensified for the viewers to make it hit home. But I also can see where some of my classmates are coming when the disagree with this pint of view.
In the Butsch article, on page 581 the author argues that the persistence of this male character is due to a "closed circle of cultural reproduction" that limits the possibilities of the writers to come up with something new. Did you agree with Butsch's thoughts here? What do you think is the reason we keep seeing the same concepts and formulas reinvented again and again?
This was a movie I've always been fond of but watching it now (much like "Batman" a week ago) I can see more flaws in it. The movie is very racist (in all directions) and exaggerated, I think. To answer the four questions raised at the beginning of class last week, I think that Spike Lee did indeed create a world where blacks and whites were opposites. Throughout the whole movie, both races seemed to either be in some kind of conflict (mostly verbal, physical at the end) and the Koreans and Spanish even get into the verbal jousting at one point in the movie.
What does it say about capitalism? That Italians and Koreans will venture into the black community (sometimes) to set up shop and make money but not for any other reason, usually. You never saw either of those races just chillin with the blacks in the neighborhood when they weren't working at their stores.
Does the film land on the Martin Luther King or Malcolm X side of things? Closer to Malcolm, but neither side really. Malcolm preached violence only in self defense. The blacks in the neighborhood only got violent with the Italians who never actually caused any physical conflict with them. That's not self-defense. They never did anything to the cops that killed Radio Raheem, and they only lightly tussled with the firemen spraying them with hoses, it seemed.
What does the film say about gender? Not a lot. The movie centered around the men and the women didn't play a big part in the story. They were either sidekicks (the light-skinned chick that was always with the 3 black dudes in biker shorts), baby mommas (Mookey's girlfriend), supportive big sisters (Mookey's), or mother-figures (the old woman in the window). Nothing really profound but nothing sexist or degrading either.
This movie is still cool to watch and good for nostalgia's sake, if nothing else.
Do the right thing was a good movie.It was my first time watching the film . During some aspect of the movies plot i think there may have been very over exaggerated moments in the film. On the basis of how Blacks in the movie just turned on the the pizza parlor owner and family . How they had to blame someone for ones death rather than the people who deserved to be blamed for. It just seemed that all the minorities just snapped and decided to place there angry and frustrated on the wrong cause and people. I was very confused when Mookie all decided to betray the family at the end after the death of one of his friends. It was very awkward especially when the older brother of the pizza parlor warned his little brother that mookie was not to be trusted because he stab them in the back. After watching the movie my understanding of the movie had many conclusions and questions from why turn on the hand that was feeding you and why turn on the wrong people?
After viewing the movie on Friday I guess I have mixed emotions. In terms of the wall of fame I dont see why it was such a big deal that he didn't put up any pictures of African-American people. The wall of fame was his heritage, I think he should be able to display his idols in his pizza place. I can think of plenty of places that do that even today, I do understand how his customers wanted something displayed since they were the reason he was in business but it seemed Sal never treated anyone badly until he screamed nigger during the huge argument with radio and his buddy which then escalated into the huge riot. It seemed Sal actually was really fond of Mookey's sister which made me believe he really didn't hate his customers he just wanted to be treated with some respect such as Radio turning off that boom box when he was in Sal's store.
The part I couldn't believe is Mookey after being the one to start the rioting which made Sal's get torched he actually showed up the next day looking to get paid. If I was Sal I would have knocked him square in the jaw but instead he pays him. That part of the movie I could not believe.
After viewing the film, a lot of the arguments made in the Gender, Race, and Class readings were brought into focus. In the majority of the media and advertisements we see today, the stereotypical bright eyed, blond American becomes the focus. In addition, the gender stereotypes we have are carried out in the different expectations the movies and advertisements bring to each. In the film, the men work to bring in the money while the women take care of their kids and look pretty. When hanging out on the street, the women comb each other's hair, take care of their babies, or sit around their house; in the mean time, the men talk about business in fear of non-native people coming in and taking over their towns businesses. In addition, this movie points out the rarity of a film focusing on a black society with a majority African American acting crew that would have otherwise been invisible to the white population previously. I think this movie did a good job on bringing out the extreme cases of discrimination towards all groups of people. In my opinion, I think people try to avoid racial problems by ignoring it or showing their feelings with anger; this movie showed the extreme consequences of both and how peoples hate towards each other never leads to a positive outcome. One aspect that really struck me connected to the idea of the higher class generally consisting of white people. This movie emphasized economy disconnect between different skin colors. The films neighborhood was in a lower economic status town with older buildings that had wear and tear where the majority of people were without a job; this economic difference from the 'high class white society' was emphasized by Sal's son being embarrassed to work in a neighborhood outside his own because he considered it to be a lesser and more embarrassing equivalent of his own. In addition, Sal has an abundance of money to throw away while Mooky is hardly able to get by on his small $250 paycheck, and even then feeling lucky to have a job in contrast to many of his counterparts.
I feel the reading that resonates with me the most was Chapter 8 in Making Media. I found it interesting how and what the media does to produce platforms to capture us as individuals and commodities.
We are constantly bombarded by advertisements, televisions, magazines and music as potential customers. I feel that children at a young age should be taught about the media and how they are affected and the media constructs their audiences as a market. It was interesting to learn about how cultural identities of the audience are looked at along with social identities by the media to capture them as potential consumers and commodities.
Do others see people involved with porn as abused or forced to do things against their will as the article claims?
In chapter 29 "I buy it for the articles":
Early in the publication Hugh Hefner wrote "If you're a man between 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you....."
Do you think it is our right to see and or read whatever interests us a fundamental liberty?
Is autobiographical analysis and ch. 8 media making's topic on personal identity through the media somehow correlated? or are they 2 separate things?
Pg. 389 says " Extensive research on how people think the media are biased shows, however that somewhat fewer than half of them see this bias as in political or ideological terms. More people say that the bias is toward special interests, big business, government, and especially advertisers."
I guess I have trouble understanding the lines between ideologies and politics and special interests, big businesses, gov't, and advertisers-
Is there really a difference?
Because I would argue that politics and ideologies mesh into those groups, and the bias is political and ideological almost all the time.
Facebook and other social media - are they capturing/creating a new type of audience? On Facebook (as I understand it), people actually explicitly express their preferences for specific movies, songs, artists, etc. There is also the 'like' button. All, this while providing accurate demographic info. It would see that this allows very accurate and specific targeting of individuals in a desired audience. I have even wondered if when I click the 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' on comments to a Yahoo article if that was somehow being tracked.
I found the idea of the consumer culture beginning with the advent of the assembly line very interesting. It really shed light on how our culture has turned into a society that values commodities as a way to put a value success. Prior to the time period stated in the article (1880-1920) individuals worked only for what the needed and did not spend their wages on frivolous purchases. The idea of creating a need or desire for a product is, of course, the goal of advertising, and it was enlightening to think about the very beginning of the institution of advertising.
As work was streamlined by machinery and strategic construction methods, workers were able to use their money for items that only a short time ago they did not believe they needed. Its easy to see this pattern continue as the continuing progress of technology makes things easier for us, the more we want to consume. And the more we consume, the more we tend to define ourselves by the things we consume.
I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, because I definitely see myself as a consumer of media, and commodities. At times the article seemed to imply that the systems of delivering audiences to advertisers and commodities giving individuals identity as a sort of fascist form of control, but I believe the power really does lay with us, the consumers. This process of creating an audience and delivering them to advertisers is not lost on the general public. I feel like many people realize how American television and radio work to some degree. And social media sites have made it possible to gain momentum in campaigns against corporations. However, I do believe that individuals do tend to create an identity based on the products and media they consume, but as time moves forward individuals have more and more power over what they consume.
Because having a small represented 'public' is not efficient, and yet having a largely represented population also has detrimental effects, what is the ideal public? Not having enough people allowed to voice their views and rights does not provide a truly "democratic" society but yet when most have a say our public is torn apart. At the same time, is our public the audience or are we truly the public; in other words, are we controlling the media or is the media controlling us? In my opinion, I think we have a divided public but the "repeat offenders" who speak their minds openly are disregarded from general representation therefore pushing us more and more to be the audience; isn't this once again a flaw in our "democratic" system?
The "Producing Identities" article touched upon the idea that technology (VCR's and TiVo) challenges advertising's ability to connect with its commodified audience. I don't believe this is possible. Do you think that there is a part of all of us that enjoys or need commercials, and if so is this a bad thing?
My question for chapter eight Producing Identities on page 225 where Lifestyle clusters are discussed. In the text the example for this Lifestyle clusters is the yuppie that came out of the young urban professionals, I was wondering if the hipster that is one of our large clusters of today that gets marketed to is the extreme by product of the lifestyle of the yuppie was before it? Also if taking this with a dialectic stand point what would be its polar opposite today of the yuppie/ hipster? The gutter punk, the youth that have turned to Socialism, Marxism, the Nihilist?
How has the mass media influenced how youths these age look at identity in society as a whole? Compared to past eras when the topic of identity was probably talked about less?
Page 223, at the bottom, states that "programmers seeking niche audiences will look for content they believe will keep certain potential viewers out of the audience."
Do you really believe this? I find it hard to believe. I know they can solely target one audience not caring if other audiences like a program, but I doubt that if they succeeded in attracting the target audience that they would be mad if people from other audiences paid attention as well.
I n the reading tonight I read that some television programs will continue with small audiences if the advertisers like the people who are watching. Does anyone know what the magic number is? I seem to remember some pretty popular shows I use to like would be canceled when it seemed pretty popular, has an advertiser had a show pulled before with high ratings because the advertiser didnt like the content of the show?
How many of you would agree that we are in a "decline of the public" or a "second act"? What examples can you provide to support or refute this idea? (380-381)
Also, do you think that the public is generally supportive of the media? Or critical? (389)
I was very interested the talk of "the public" in Chapter 12. On page 381 Grossberg et al. explains that the criticism exists that the public is in decline, and that "the public itself has become disenfranchised" and no longer is involved. It's later explained that we see this in the shift from content-heavy coverage of elections and focus instead on more sensational " 'lite' coverage and attention-grabbing graphics rather than substantial political coverage" (381). I tended to agree with this statement, having witnessed an increase in "dramatic" news coverage and the resulting satire of its appeal to the public (on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, for example); but then I was also swayed by the following point arguing against this "second act theory." While I might feel that there is a sensationalizing of the news happening, I'm not sure that this is a completely new phenomenon. Surely we now have more competition for our attention, but there are plenty of Americans who still seek out reliable and in-depth news reporting. The point is made that we had much of the same "slanders, mudslinging, and sloganeering" (383) in the past two centuries as we have today. It did seem to make me feel a little more comfortable with our current situation when I read and understood that many don't feel things have changed that much. I also agree that simply looking at voter turnout as the single measurement of public involvement leaves a lot of people's involvement unaccounted for.
What effects do encoding and decoding have on consumers?
Im a big fan of the Batman series and i hadnt seen this particular batman in a long time. Batman always has the hero-villian relationship in Batman and The Joker. What makes people like batman so much is the fact that he is someone people can relate to. He is a normal guy, who makes a difference in the community. He has no super powers, just alot of will and alot of cool gagets.
Batman has a lot of subliminal messages in it. Wit each new Batman movie that comes out, it reflects ideas about the governmen in that time period. The old comics used to feature popular super heroes such as batman fighting real life villians such as hitler, osama bin laden, etc.
Do advertisers make our culture more materialistic, and take advantage of that and us, by viewing the audience as commodities?
In Chapter 8's reading on page 224 is states "There are two ways basic ways audiences are constructed and function as markets as consumers and as commodities." With this in mind we are all seen as commodities and we all have our own cultural identities. What social, cultural or demographic do you see yourself in? What type of media is trying to capture you as a consumer?
Which is more important encoding and decoding? Which form of media is most relivate to conveying messages?
When looking at the Media Making article it states that "factually people do not find meanings in the world", but if that's the case and if I am not "entirely free to make any meaning I want", how do I find meanings for myself then since the two examples above (in quotes) cross each other out?
I don't think I understood it fully from the article, What is Encoding and Decoding ?
The text refers to "signifier" as being either visual or aural. Could it also be tactile also? Like smooth, hot, or heavy.
Twice towards the start of the movie, there were shots of VIcky Vale in front of her car. While the whole movie had a dark cast to it, her car was a real light color, not white, but like a real cream color. But the funny thing is, it was a Chevrolet Citation which was last produced in 1985. So why use a car model that had not been in production for 4 years when I assume they could have used a model in current production and gotten paid for the product placement.
Ok- I am curious if I finally understand this. Encoding and decoding have to do with the message that media sends and how someone else interprets it? The problems lie when the people getting the message from the media dont respond the way the media thought they would.
I guess my question is the same as the beginning of amanda's question about our reading what is the the concept of one's idea of meaning is only good as the quality?
After watching Batman I realized that some of the things they did back in the late 80's and early 90's is so different than today. One thing that stands out for me is the fact that batman is a "dark colored" character. What I mean by that is he wears darker clothes and drives a dark car. In todays movie's and television programs that you see today it normally is the person who is the criminal or the one causing the trouble that is the "dark" person.
Does anyone know when the switch was made to the current format that is more normally used today? I understand part of the reason for Batman's dark was so he was harder to trace but even when I think of a character like Superman he wore a bright red outfit.
After reading "Holy Commodity Fetish, Batman!" by Eileen Meehan put the 1989 Batman movie in a whole new perspective for me. Growing up in the "Sci-Fi" community of Minneapolis the political economy of commercial intertext was never really brought when this movie was discussed. But after the reading watching the movie again I started to see the many types of tools of persuasion are used in first promoting the movie to a wider audience with not only the thing mentioned in the reading but even children's cereal boxes and coca cola cans in Greece.
Secondly looking at the way in that the studio feed many of the products through the movie for promotion as well with in the political economy such the example of prince; Also while searching around the internet for 1989 Batman memrobilia you can easily find things that were used by Batman in toy form that people would want case and point this website http://www.darren.maxwell.net/batmancollection.htm which is him discussing how he became a batman collector when the 1989 movie came out. So in the and because of this reading and the viewing of the movie I gave begun to see " block busters" like Batman in a new light.
In "Encoding/ Decoding" it states that the 'consumption' is only as good as the 'meaning.' Therefore, does that mean that a persons grasp is only as good as the quality? And in addition to that, how can one define the quality in meaning if the message is really dense and complex but still clearly articulated from the source?
Having much older siblings, I have seen the 1989 Batman movie several times. It has been a while since I last saw it, so Friday's screening was a great refresher. An action-hero movie like Batman requires cool gadgets. With today's technology and its ability to make things extra mind blowing, I have seen quite a lot of movies with really advanced technology. For example, in the movie Ironman when he was improving his suit, he was able to project a digital 3-D image of the suit in thin air. Even though most movies I see have a high level of technology now, I thought the bat mobile in the movie was still pretty cool. He turned a shield on that covered the entire bat mobile. Then Batman was able to use a flying bat plane to get to Gotham city. I completely forgot about that part. He projected out an instrument from the plane to collect all the toxic balloons. Another gadget was a rope gun he would use to hang from or get pulled up from. If I put myself in 1989, it would seem pretty impressive. If I think about it now, I would consider how far technology had progressed by 1989, and I would still be impressed for a movie in that time period.
I realized with some scenes, my reaction to the style of it was that it was super weird. The super bright colors of the clothing of joker, his cars, his gifts, as well as how bizarre the characters were. But then I remembered that this movie was directed by Tim Burton. Now, if you have ever seen his movies, weird is part of his directing style. The way he likes at least one of his characters to be is super extreme on the "unique" side. So when you put his name into perspective, the movie style is not very surprising. It is more so what you would expect, Batman is actually pretty mild compared to his other movies. One last factor to the movie I noticed was the really good looking actors, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, and some would think Jack Nicholson was very charming. I think these big names and faces really helped to entice audiences.
Is there more meaning behind music lyrics than we as society think or are we over thinking music lyrics because of the media's personal agenda and its probable influence of how we think of music especially rap music?.
In terms of the movie for me that stuck out was, in many parts was the lighting of the movie. It essentially helped tell the tale of who and what Batman was all about the Vigilante that the city really isnt a big fan of but definitely needs. When it came to the lighting of the gloomy and dark streets which i believe consisted throughout the movies did a great job telling the story of how sometimes a man sometime needs to be on the same level of his enemy to prevail for the fight for justice .
One thing that stuck out to me in the Batman movie, after reading the 'Holy Commodity Fetish' article, was the one line in one of Prince's songs, while the Joker and his cronies were vandalizing the museum, which said, "rules and regulations have no place in this nation." It stuck out to me because I read in the article that WCI used to promote a "neoconservative ideology" in their comic books, and I already knew that there is nothing more neoconservative than a revulsion to rules and regulations, except perhaps taxes. I found that line to be unsettling as well as distasteful, for it seemed like the neoconservative media gods were indoctrinating the youth who see the movie to be good subservient followers.
Happy Father's Day.
We read the article, "Holy Commodity Fetish, Batman!": The Political Economy of a Commercial Intertext. The main point of the article was that when we analyze media, it is sometimes necessary to evaluate the political economy of these media phenomenons, such as Batman. The reason being that many times the success of a movie or television show stems from expanding it through comics, toys, music, advertising, clothing, and much more to continue and increase money making. To quote the author Meehan, "Profit, not culture, drives show business: no show business means no show (p.48)". An increase of profit is easily triggered by mentioning the movie and/or television show in a song or a critic's review. Meehan uses the movie, Batman, as an example to better explain what the effects are on a movie's political economy caused by commercial intertext.
To go back to the quote I mentioned in my summary, do you think in our society today, profit still drives show business? or does our culture drive it now? or both?
Next, on Friday we watched a screening of the movie "Batman" directed by Tim Burton. Most of us watched it on Friday so I will just do a quick summary. Basically, Gotham City's crime rates have been increasing and the citizens are scared. There are rumors of a man in bat suit, Batman, who has been eliminating these criminals. A character played by Jack Nicholson, is one of the top criminals. He gets "killed" by Batman and comes back as the Joker. The Joker causes great chaos through killing people and using television commercials to scare the citizens. He takes revenge with Batman as his number one enemy. And lastly, there is the damsel in distress, Vicki Vale, who is caught in the middle of all of this. Batman has to try and stop The Joker from destroying Gotham and killing more people, as well as save his love interest.
Let's talk about the style of the movie. Many times in the movie, dark lighting is used before revealing characters, like Batman and The Joker. The bright colors of cars, clothing, and gifts helped you to identify that it was The Joker and the doing of his crew of bad men. There were a few ironic sayings, "Forget Bruce Wayne, I want Batman" and "What do you think something like that does to a kid?" (after learning his parents were murdered).
A big theme in the movie was corruption. If we think about how we can relate to the movie in a way, do you think that our country as of today, our world as of today, is corrupted in a way? How so?
This type of movie puts us into a fantasy world or a place away from reality. In the beginning scene when the robbers are sitting on the roof, they are terrified by the sight of Batman. In reality, if a guy popped out in a bat suit, would you be as terrified?
I could guess most of us saw, The Dark Knight, with Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger as the Joker. Which one do you think is more authentic? How would you compare the performance of Jack Nicholson's Joker and Heath Ledger's Joker?
Interesting read. I googled Batman mania a bit. I really wonder how many people out there that are huge fans of something like say a Batman phenom feel compelled to go and consume the tickets and memorabilia for an upcoming film, no matter the level of quality they see in say a new Batman movie commercial?
In other words even if they think it is a bad look commercial wise or looks worse than the previous Batman film I feel like they more than likely still go and see it anyway?! is it because the culture has been over saturated by the marketing entering the subconscious pushing them towards the ticket booth regardless?
As a media limited person I do not feel targeted by media sales, ads, etc. all that much since I have limited media interests. Thankful for that.
I was unable to post this and once I did figure it out I was unable to post until now! My question that I had for Wed. that I did bring up in class was:
Are we looking at the "old" way of looking at media books, telegrams, and grapevines and how they were resourced as being better than the tech. age we are experiencing today? I totally disagree about the new tech. age dumbing us down. I know way more than I ever would had we'd not entered the tech age...Hopefully that make sense :) Thought I should post to get credit....
Hello all! As I asked in class about these week's blog post I went ahead and followed up this week's readings on what I read on day one in the reading in Chapter 2's Approaches to Media Literacy, Autobiographical Analysis.
What I read ht me hard in the gut! On pages 70-71 there is a small section entitled Ethnic/Racial/Class Identity that immediately starts off matter of factly stating that "(e.g. racial or ethnic groups, social classes) have distinct identifiable interests and look for specific objectives or gratifications in media programming....." They go on to further state that "inner city subjects were SIGNIFICANTLY more aroused by viewing violent programming than a sample of middle class college students." Concluding that "since the environment of the inner city residents is more violent than college students....inner city residents (again) SIGNIFICANTLY higher arousal levels in response".
OK I find this passage all kind of wrong for personal cultural reasons but just briefly making my in class rebuttal I ask first what colleges are we talking about here. Junior Colleges, Yale, U of M, or Howard? Depending on the institution the middle class college students ratio could vary looking at upbringings, race, backgrounds, etc. This could affect who watches what and with what type of feeling. Regardless of the culture I ask whole heartedly who grows up with significant violence in your front yard day in and day out, and then turns around and watches media depicting the same menacing tones and all the while getting significantly aroused by it? It does not make sense at all making me feel like this piece is frivolous and ridiculous.
If anything the middle class suburbia engages in, purchases, follows, and reenacts violent media far more than inner city residents time two from my own personal experiences as an artist and direct product from the inner city environment talked about above.
I don't think I have a full understanding of what text and intertext is and the difference between the two.
Is the marketing of films and their byproducts a moving target? In what ways do the hype and promotion of films cause movie consumers to modify their behavior? At what point do they start not believing/reacting to the promotions and how has the movie industry reacted to this? More reliance on word of mouth, websites, movie reviews?
This was a very interesting reading. I really did not understand the whole background work that goes into the promotion of big block busters. My question for the reading would have to be looking at this interdependent relationship of the different structures with in a company like WCI how are they effected if a flop occurs? meaning examples and such.
Can anyone think of examples of text/intext in other media sources? Can you think of some other very successful examples? How about examples that "flopped"? Do we recognize this relationship between media and product when we see it? How does our media literacy shape our outlook on the commodities and product placement in movies and television?
Sifting through the questions already posted, everyone is hitting on a lot of key points. I guess my question has more to do with the advertising and brand. The article mentions how the character Batman, himself, was not a particular favorite by consumers, but the icon, the items that have the logo on them, were selling anyway. It wasn't the concern of Warner to make sure the movie did well, but that the brand was introduced and it infiltrated everywhere. The movie was rated PG-13 but the collector's items were still targeted toward the younger crowd. Did anyone really like Batman, the character? Or do you feel like you got sucked up into the logo, the colors, the items?
Its interesting that the BATMAN of 1989 created such a phenomenon in 1989 with its use of an elaborate advertising and marketing campaign. However, the recent BATMAN reboots by director Christopher Nolan have broken box office records. THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) is the third highest grossing film in US Box Office history. Do you think that THE DARK KNIGHT's use of an arguably more subtle advertising campaign (Viral marketing), works better than the model for the BATMAN of 1989? Is there really a difference in the marketing between the two films?
In the article the author explains how Economics played a big role in which corporations would be private and for profit corporations looking it from back than and now and how the economy has took a down fall how has it affected this corporations if at all today.
I would like to know the main purpose for the use of propaganda. I feel as though propaganda protects against possible failure; does this mean that extensive retailing demonstrates insecurity in the quality of the film? Or instead, is it simply a means of making a greater revenue and gaining more popularity by reaching multi-market sales; this could tie in with the fact that the actual film is "only one component in a product line" through which the same companies own the majority of the media to begin with.
Growing up watching comics such as Batman and superman i have never realized how much media input is put in, in advertising the through small shows , t-shirts, mugs etc. The representation in which is showed through these acts show how the culture of the media plays a better contribution in passing the word about what their agenda is all about. Through the privacy of these big movie corporation and how they spend money to make more money represents the monopoly that represent the media empire.
I have spent my entire life assuming that when television channels create new channels it was for a targeted audience and to create suitable programming for that audience. I am talking mostly about channels that are directed at children. Now I have realized that these channels were constructed to bring in more revenue. More channels equals more chances for new programming, which leads to more character's images that are able to be sold. I have always understood that movies of already popular characters will bring in more profit, but an entire new channel has unlimited potential for this revenue.
Meehan has it completely correct about the Bat-mania, and my generation has proven that we want those objects that portray our favorite cartoon character. Now we are even going out of our way to find original cartoon paraphanalia from our youth to use and/or decorate our homes with. I have friends that have lunchboxes, thermoses, you name it, they have it in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Animaniacs.
So, it will always be convenient for new channels to promote new characters towards our youth to continue to bring in the profit in the multimedia multivenue commodity market.
I may just be dense, but I had never thought about the tax deductions available for advertising. Is this available for all companies and all advertising. Is it tax deductible for a small independent film company to create a youtube trailor for their movie or something along those lines?
Does the conglomeration of media outlets dumb down our culture, and detract from the diversity of opinion and experience?
I feel the article and responses were very interesting and thought provoking. There were many valid and invalid points on both sides of the debate. Technology and change are inevitable and students as well as educators need to evolve with these shifts in learning. I feel the younger generation is grasping technology while the older generation is reluctant to change which is no big surprise. In regards to reading I personally read more due to the internet. I feel balance can be a key to progress for education in regards to reading and technology. Those who are less fortunate need access to computers and the internet to stay competitive with those whom have the resources to have the "technology" to learn.
After reading the article I found it interesting on pages 53 and 54 that they offered the readers of the Batman comics a chance to kill off or let Robin live by calling a 900 number. They often use this technique in popular TV media for example American Idol, Dancing with the Stars etc.. Do you think this is an effective marketing tool to keep readership of a viewing audience?
The problem society faces today is the fear of becoming overloaded. The main argument against our advancement in the Internet is becoming 'pancake people' by loosing our identity and cognition by focusing more on immediate, short clipped facts. In my opinion, I don't think that the Internet can be blamed for this and that instead of this having an effect on our culture, our culture itself stemmed the problems and need for an upgrade in how we are programmed. Every day, people struggled to fit in all of their priorities within the 21 hours available to them. 'Their' time was dictated by work and studies before the basic necessities of sleep, food, exercise, and social interactions; however, culture and media said that this was still not good enough by discussing the immediate measures needed to be taken for greater weight loss, nutrition, sleep, vitamins, social interactions, exercise, etc. to increase our productivity and efficiency. Culture already programmed us as an "outdated computer" by creating a vicious cycle impossible to break free of. We were taught that our self value and personal health is all connected to greater productivity in the work force not including the social and physical expectations to get there in the first place. I think that the Internet has done the opposite of what it is being accused for, and has instead made our life more than proficiency expectations by reversing the effects of our previous culture. Its true that we may not have the same capability to read books as we did, but with or without the Internet we would have lost that ability through the increased demands and shorter time frame cluttered by obligations. The Internet itself has opened up new chapters and ways of seeking out more time in our day to day lives; it opens up greater social communications through sites like skype, gives us a chance to display our personal identity outside of work, makes finding basic health facts easy to find, and educational advancements and world news more accessible to the public.
While I can kind of see where N. Carr is coming from in worrying about how new media is affecting us, I don't share his concerns. There is always something new coming along that affects the status quo, and people generally do not like change, but there is really nothing that you can do about it except accept or embrace it.
Looking at the Media Literacy is Multi-Dimensional section of "What is Media Literacy? It seem interesting to me how many many different types of information can be combine and be proved by Media. My question about this is how did it get narrowed down to these band how do the interact with in the different type of media today compared to the outlets of the earlier 20th century?
In the article, What Is Media Literacy?, it talks about having skills and raw materials to decode. Do we establish our skills individually or is it influenced by parents and their media literacy?
In the reading "What is Media Literacy?" I was drawn to the last section titled "The Purpose of Media Literacy..." (10). I have often wondered how all this increased knowledge/literacy of the different media forms can help us. Are there ways that you see how media literacy will help you in the future? In what areas of your life in particular? If our goal as students in this class is to gain media literacy, what will that "look like" at the end of the course? I guess, more succinctly, I'm asking what we all hope to gain from this course.
Nicholas Carr seems to have a darker perspective for a society with reading habits influenced by the presence of the web. However, forms of media like radio and television were scrutinized the same way. Is it too easy to see the negative side of new technologies and the effects they can have on previous forms of media or text. Some traditionalists I know refuse to read books on a kindle or an iPAD, and prefer to stick to hard copies. Does it matter what form our texts take on?
The argument posed by Nicholas Carr in his article, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" seems redundant in its assertion that current forms of technology and media are changing the way our society reads. And that the way our society reads results in a different circuitry of the brain than would result from reading traditional forms of text such as literature. I tend to agree with individuals like Clay Skirky who tend to have faith in the evolution of the dissemination of information.
I may be bias, because I love technology and appreciate advancements made in traditional forms of media. I see that the presence of the Web in our lives has given our society so many options that many people find it hard to focus on one thing, but what I have seen is that the web also has people reading more than they ever would. While it may not be Tolstoy, I have noticed that many people read things of cultural significance to them. For instance, my younger cousins love hip-hop and they read everything about hip-hop culture not only in their community but abroad as well. Or my father who was once computer-illiterate, and not the most avid reader, but now reads newspapers from many other cities and has even stumbled onto blogs as a result.
I do believe that the Web has effected my own ability to focus on any one thing, like a novel. However, what I have found is that I have many novels started which I rotate through, almost like TV programming. I don't feel the net has taken away my desire to read or be more involved in a story, instead it has made me desire to read more texts. Its hard to keep up with all the information.
New mediums are always accused of stupifying society. Much like Television, the Web is being accused of destroying the cognitive functions of society. But unlike television the web is about desire. On television you are stuck with what is on TV. The web has to be engaged, it all starts with the desire for information.
When describing the web, it was said to be putting "efficiency" and "immediacy" before anything else. Some believe this to hurt comprehension and cognitive capacity while others believes it expends it. Being that there is evidence for both sides, do you think the efficiency and immediacy are more important than long-term concentration or vis versa?
I found the section "Affective Analysis of Media Content" to be particularly interesting. I felt it asked for us, as experiencers of media, to not only question the motives of the media producers but also question the reasons behind our own responses. If we react a certain way - laugh, cringe, roll our eyes - was that the media creator's goal? Or has our own life experience changed our impressionability? Also, what makes us impressionable or resistant to the media producer's intentions? To quote directly, "we have all seen films in which, despite the intentions of the filmmaker, the audience simply does not care about the characters. This lack of engagement affects our interpretation (and enjoyment) of the film" (76). This made me immediately think of recent "rom-coms" (anything starring Ashton Kutcher and/or Katherine Heigl) that are trumped up to be a must-see hit, but the lack of storytelling or acting or plausibility or something leave the critics and most audiences displeased. What was the intention of the film's producers? And where did they go wrong? Or is it just that the audience response was uncalculated? I hope we can address some of these questions in class.
Hello and welcome to the blog site for Media Literacy summer session!
About me: My name is Liora Elias and I'll be the instructor for Media Literacy this summer. I was born in Tucson, Arizona but have lived in Minneapolis most of my life. I've also lived in the East Coast, as well as England. My BA is from the University of Minnesota in what was then called Women's Studies, and is now called Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. I also have a Master's Degree from Simmons College in Gender and Cultural Studies. I'm currently working on my PhD in Communication Studies with a focus on Critical Media. My areas of research include: television studies, queer studies, film studies, gender studies, feminist studies and cultural studies.
This is the first time I've used a blog in the classroom setting -- so hopefully you'll all have some great feedback for me at the end of the semester. I'm hoping this forum becomes a space for sharing our collective ideas as the semester unfolds.
You are each required to post one discussion question on the blog for each class session. We will use these questions to begin our discussion each day. These questions can 1) challenge an idea or assumption that comes up in the reading 2) encourage further discussion of a particular idea or topic or 3) be used for clarification.
In addition, you will post one blog entry per week -- these are one or two paragraph responses to a reading or screening of your choice. Feel free to be creative. We will discuss both of these assignments in class, but be sure to let me know if you have questions.
Looking forward to a great semester!