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February 27, 2007

Films/Shows that challenge the assumptions of Parenti

I have found that there are not many movies and shows that completely challenge Parenti’s thesis, however there debunk the normal stereotypes for the working class people. When I first read his article, I felt as though he were being very bold. After thinking about many of the movies and shows I’ve watched, I found it very difficult to challenge his assumption, even though I felt like he wasn’t correct.
One movie that I thought of at first was Memoirs of a Geisha. In this movie, the girl starts out as a “farm girl? which is the equivalent of a lower class. She is sold to a Geisha house and is viewed as the lowest in status of the household because of age and background. Compared to the other people in her residence, however, she is the most moral. She also keeps her virginity the longest in her household, and catches up in her Geisha abilities in a fraction of the time as the other girl living in the residence. Once she grows up, she becomes the most desirable Geisha in the area, even though she is the least liked, poorest, and lowest status in the residence she grows up in.
A show which challenges Parenti’s thesis is King of the Hill. The main character, Hank Hill is a working class citizen who is more moral than many of the people he works with, smart, clean, and is well learned in his propane job. Also, he is not necessarily more desirable out of all the characters; however, he is one of the most down to earth people within the series because of all his other qualities. Although Hank is somewhat ignorant in certain areas, he still strives to do the correct thing according to what he knows, and this gives him appeal to the audience. The entire show in general is like a real life view into the southern working class lifestyle, which helps lessen the focus on class status of the characters.

February 13, 2007

Facing the Facts of Bigotry and Society's Need for a Queer Solution

Archana Mehta’s essay brings up a lot of good points that I agree with. I completely agree that TV’s attempts at making the homosexual lifestyle is “othering? the homosexual orientation, keeping a distinct line between homosexuals and heterosexuals, thereby labeling each with their own stereotypes. The idea of queer theorists succeeding in depleting this gap, however, seems rather unrealistic. I believe that it is part of everyone’s human nature to categorize people, even in a room full of people who have the same interests; we will still look for differences and labels. In order to get everyone to actively participate in eliminating the traditional gender roles is impossible. I feel like such a pessimist for thinking it is hopeless, but homophobia is ingrained into too many parts of culture: religion, entertainment, lifestyles, and education. People who I know who are both homophobic and who are not all feel strongly in their position on homosexuality, to the point where I do not believe their values can change, and these values will most likely be passed down to the next generation. I personally have two godmothers, and so I was raised thinking it was normal for people to have any orientation they wanted. I was not aware of this being “strange? until I was in the 1st grade. I quickly learned that this was “Scary? and “abnormal? or even “gross.? My first position on the idea of homosexuality was that it was normal and acceptable, and many people have tried to change my view, but it has become so embedded in my mind that I don’t think anything could sway my opinion on homosexuality. It is apparent to me, that sexual orientation is a very touchy subject that people learn as children, and it is too difficult to alter these views later on.
In Kate Nelson’s essay on bigotry and racism, I agreed with her perspective. Erasing or denying racism will get our culture nowhere, however, I feel as though some people will not get past Kate’s 3rd paragraph that says “this is normal.? It frightens me to think that people will possibly use this as an excuse to stay or ignore being racist.

February 6, 2007

Cop Out?

I found Christopher Sievings essay “Cop Out?? very intriguing. He brought up that the “meaning of a word is determined entirely by its context…It is precisely a word’s miltiaccentuality that makes it a living thing.? The way the black community and the white community views the song is entirely different. This is not saying it is not possible for them to understand one another, or that these views are set in stone, but I believe there is a difference. Sievings quotes, “I hate to say rap is a black thing, but sometimes it is.? American culture is separated, and those separations create different views, of different communities and discourses which influence the way people create meanings for things. For me, this is proof enough that people who are within the black community and discourse are who rap is specifically aimed for. One thing I found particularly interesting is that those who opposed of the song tried as hard as they could to put race out of the question, and say that it was immoral to talk about killing cops. Of course, some of them never even listened to the song, but knew who Ice-T was. Personally, I think that this only highlights the fact that they do have a problem with the ethnicity. If the cops do hurt or kill people based on their ethnicity, then they should be viewed as evil or bigots, and in a crude way the song could be viewed as justice. This makes me think about my friend’s brother who is going to school to be a cop. I hate to say it but he’s one of the biggest racists I know, and he talks about going to be a cop because he can have power over the people he hates and turn them in because he will be more powerful than them. They gave him a test to rule out those with that type of mindset, but it was easily passable if you understood what they were looking for, so I’ve heard. It seems to me that anyone can become a cop these days, and that some people take the job for power, not to protect the innocent, and this may be exactly what Ice-T is talking about in his song. I find it ironic that, even after Ice-T personally withdrew the song, it was still a hit. It’s almost like making such a big deal of the song made his album more sensational than it would have been before, and possibly made it reach more ears of people who wanted to listen to songs for the violent messages.

Sieving, Christopher. “Cop Out? The Media, ‘Cop Killer,’ and the Deracialization of Black Rage.? Journal of Communication Inquiry 22 (1998).