Butsch, "Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer: Why Television Keeps Re-creating the White Male Working-Class Buffoon"

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Please post your discussion questions on Richard Butsch's "Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer" below. Please use the following questions to guide your note-taking as you read:

1) How do class and gender intersect in this essay?

2) What does Butsch mean by ideological hegemony?

3) How does the political economy of media participate in the re-creation of "the white male working-class buffoon," according to Butsch?

4) Why does this matter?

5) What is the role of advertisers in this process?

6) What do you think of this? Do you see other instances of this or similar phenomena?

3 Comments

Its interesting to me how images of more affluent characters and stories are more attractive to advertisers because it is easier to make the connection between the characters on the show and consuming the product, yet recreating the white, working class buffoon is so profitable. I understand how this mechanism operates as being low-risk and therefore more profitable, but you would think that over time, as advertising as taken more control of media production, that there would be a shift to erase this image of someone who will never reach the level of affluence to be a serious consumer - even if they exist in reality.

In this article, Butsch notes that one of the factors that determines whether a show will get on the air is whether it will attract the "right" audience. The questions that I have about this point are: 1)When he mentions "the public" does he mean the middle-class public and 2)I saw a statistic from 2010 that said that just under 50% of Americans are middle class. I would imagine that percentage may be even lower now. Will TV executives begin to give a more respectable portrayal of the working-class considering the country's economic crisis?

Butsch’s article was very informative because it just helped me confirm that many of the shows are catered towards what the producers and advertisers want. Viewers input have little effect on what should be on the shows unless they know that ratings are low. I find that sticking to the same concept is low risk and works, therefor little effort is needed to change. I understand it is about money and risk and the television networks prefer not to change what has been working if they are making money. I think that the advertisers play such a big role that the networks are willing to go with whatever they want.

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on February 20, 2013 10:11 AM.

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