Meehan, "Holy Commodity Fetishism, Batman!"


Please post your discussion questions to Meehan's article below. Here are some questions to think about as you read Meehan's essay:

1. Think of this as a "how-to" example of what it would look like to do a political economy analysis (that is, analyzing media in relation to the economic relations in which it is produced, distributed, consumed, etc). What seem to be the steps?

2. What does Meehan mean by "commodity fetishism"? Her use of the term is implicit. She is referencing a commodity form that veils the economic and social relations that produced it.

3. What questions does she seek to answer?

4. How could this be done with other media objects?

5. How is Meehan's analysis different from Williamson's and Hall's?

6. How does the political economy of media affect how content gets produced and distributed? How does it impact what kind of content gets produced? How do you think it affects what kind of content does not get produced or distributed? Why does this matter?

7. How can Meehan's piece inform how we critique/use/consume/make media?


After reading this article, I thought about how the cycles of media consumption changes all of the time. It seems like media producers use a variety of forms of media to max out the profits of a single idea, movie, song, craze, etc. What I wonder is how do producers know when to stop maxing out the profits of a certain form of media? How do they guess/know what the public wants to see and consume?

This article was again pretty interesting. I had never really thought about how often media consumption changes. The new big thing has its start somewhere. So how do people determine when and why certain forms of media will increase or decrease?

Meehan argues that economics are the primary reason to creating cultural artifacts "carried by profit-oriented business operating in an industrial context" and that profit, not culture drives business (48). Batman has always been a part of the fiction American hero in today's culture and been around for over 50 years. Couldn't it be both culture and profit (advertising) operating at the same time and that's the main reason why batman is so popular in our society?

This is a really good article. With the increase in technology it seems that there are always new ways that conglomerates like WCI can profit off of media. How much has the profitabilty of this practice multiplied since the existence of the Internet and social media?

After reading this article, it reminded me of a class I had last semester called "Producing for Television" in which a partner and I had to film and produce a pilot episode to a TV Show. I remember in class we discussed how to produce TV shows and even movies, and I thought of how much effort and work it takes to produce a movie, and all the factors like budget and props and sets all have to come together to make it profitable, and also be interesting enough to entice people to come see it in theaters. My question to the class, (since I have some experience from last semester) how would this whole process as we read (for Batman) differ from TV shows we see today?

Personally I thought this was the most interesting thing that we have read thus far. I guess the main question that I have for y'all is: How much of the news and media is affected by major companies and does this bother you or are you indifferent about it?

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on February 6, 2013 10:35 AM.

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