In Richard Butsch's article "Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer: Why Television Keeps Re-creating the White Male Working Class Buffoon, Butsch talks about the persistent stereotypes of white, middle class male characters portrayed by Hollywood. Butsch explains some of the reasons and logic as to why male middle class stereotypes have been so persistent and longstanding. In Butsch's opinion, there are many reasons that range from risk avoidance by the production companies, to the creator's own personal background in a middle class family. The question is, should we care? According to Butsch, the average household's television use was seven hours per day during the 1970's and 1980's. Clearly, television, and the messages and stereotypes they provide, has an impact on our lives, especially when television is so time-consuming. The question is, what are the affects that these stereotypes are having on us? Do these stereotypes affect the way we see whole groups of people, including the average working middle class man? More recently, are such shows as "Moderin Family" affecting the way that we, as an audience, view what a family should or should not be? Does a show like "The Simpsons" affect not only the way we view a working middle class man, but also how we view working class families, corporations, and other important functions? Are these affects something that can be judged or measured? If not, is it something that we should be cautious about when viewing? What is the extent to which these stereotypes affect us as a culture? Should we be concerned? Are the way we view and measure stereotypes, from working middle class men to families, ultimately being decided for us? Do we want these stereotypes to be pressed down upon us from an institution like Hollywood whose main goal is public attraction, advertising, and revenues? If no, what should we do as culture differently?
Discussion Questions on "Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer"
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