I believe Johnson's Future of Journalism is very accurate. The media environment is changing a lot and through out the next forty years, I believe that the newspaper could be extinct. Everyone is now using Ipod, Ipads, Computers, and phones to look up the news. Along with television, the newspaper is being no longer used to see media from. I hope the newspaper is around forever, because i feel as though it is still very relevant to society, as a form of showing the public important topics that are going on in the world.
April 2013 Archives
Please post your DQs below, use the following to guide your reading:
1. Why does Johnson describe the current media environment as a "ecosystem"? What do you think about his model for the future of journalism?
2. Why is "technology journalism" a useful case study, in Johnson's opinion, for understanding the future of news/journalism? Do you agree?
3. Why is Johnson optimistic about the new media news environment? What do you think about Johnson's optimism? Do you agree? Do you think he is overlooking anything important?
4. What are the 2 central limitations or problems with this new ecosystem that Johnson is concerned about? (That is, what are the complexities of questions of access and time, and why is it "going to get ugly"?)
5. How, in Starr's view, should newspapers function as a public good? What developments does he point to that interfere with this?
6. Why, for Starr, is it important to place the shifts in news media in the context of the "emerging framework of post-industrial society and politics"? What does he mean?
7. What are the developments in news (and in the business of news) that Starr calls "dire"? Why is he so concerned?
8. Starr closes with a note on the importance of newspapers for the functioning of democracy. What is his argument? Do you agree? Why/why not?
Please post your discussion questions on Johnson's "Everything New is Old Again: Sport Television, Innovation, and Tradition for a Multi-Platform Era" below, using the following to guide your reading:
1. What does Johnson mean by "post-network"? Why does sports media present a paradox within the "post-network era"?
2. What does Johnson argue is unique about sports in the context of a shifting media environment? Do you agree? Could one make similar arguments about other categories of media content?
3. What does Johnson mean when she calls (following Robert McChesney), "ideologically safe"?
4. What makes sports programming "hybrid"? Why is this significant, for Johnson?
5. At the end of her essay, Johnson writes, "Arguably, sport and network television are particularly symbiotic US cultural institutions. They appear uniquely apolitical and are simultaneously our most visible indicators of whom and what are most valued within contemporary US culture (as seen in sponsor dollars, 'ideal' target audiences, scheduling practices and the featured sports themselves)" (Johnson 133-134). What does she mean? What are some examples of the seemingly apolitical nature of sport programming and the ways in which it has important political consequences when thinking about inequalities?
Ouellette and Hay's essay was useful in better understanding how a neoliberal media system is shaping citizenship, and impacts the welfare of US citizens. They argue that "under neoliberalism, civic well-being is increasingly both commodified, and tied to entrepreneurial imperatives..." I think that the Biggest Losers show that we watched exemplifies this argument well. In the show the producers transfer monetary value to weight loss by drawing in viewers to watch the contestants work toward weight loss. There are of course undertones of hyper-commercialism, when they give away gym memberships, which also operates within the context of neoliberalism.
It is interesting to me how a show like this exists in our society, which simultaneously struggles with obesity, shames the overweight, and idealizes thin, beautiful people. I recognize that reality television survives on perverted manipulations of "real life," but Biggest Losers goes far to categorize the overweight as a problem that has implications on greater society beyond personal betterment, while relying on the condition for production. This is not unlike other closed-circuits of the market place, but in this case, social and personal health are used as resources in all levels of production.
Wednesdays discussion on Reality television was really interesting. I don't really believe that I have thought about how we we interpret these messages. It's kind of ironic how it's called "Reality TV" but it still portrays unrealistic ideals. The point brought up in class about "The Biggest Loser" was a great example of how this idea is produced within our media system. We spoke about how there are rewards being given after re-entering society after the "Transformation." On the other hand, we spoke about how the "transformation" doesn't stay a transformation because the routine on the show isn't probable for a normal person who works a 40 hours a week. After re-entering the system after transformation, I think its important to understand that the attention from being on TV itself is a reward because fame is a common appeal. Also, Reality television only show us the good stuff. We never get to see the aftermath of what not to wear, or hoarders. We only see the part where they fix them up, send them off, and say goodbye. It would be interesting to do a Reality TV show about a Reality TV show... (haha). Where they discover those whom have been on transformation television and where they are now. The important this to remember from these discussions, is that television shows produce updated-ness and change as the building blocks of acceptance by society. I believe its important to be conscientious of these ideas to further examine other modes of media.
First of al, I would like to thank everyone for their discussion and contributions on Wednesday, it helped a lot! I enjoyed reading and prestning Oullete and HAys ideas because I think they come up with some thought provoking things. I thought the idea of governmentally, and making people more self-goerned by use of reality tv shows was unique and something i would of thought of. I get that the idea would be nice that because there are all of these resources for people, they should be able to motivate and get healthy themselves. However, as we discussed as a class this isnt actually as possible as it may seem due to a number of reasons. The class brought up things such as food cost comparing healthy to fast food, time restraints, and access to trainers as some reasons why this would fail. Overall, we had a really good discussion about the article that helped me to comprehend a lot of the terms that the authors brought up.
Mondays discussion was interesting as Andrejevic brought up the idea that media uses technology in order to spy on us and gather information. It makes you think twice about all the things you post on Facebook and when you use websites you dont know, but need to put in some sort of information in order to gain access to the site. It makes me think about all the places ive put identifiable information about myself mindlessly just so i could get onto a particular site. I think it could actually be beneficial in some ways because it just allows media companies to tailor what we see more towards us as individuals, but it also makes or a society in which we really dont have any privacy.
The Makeover Television article made some thought-provoking arguments. I have not watched much reality TV but I never thought of it as Ouellette and Hay described it. The most interesting point that they make is connecting makeover shows to government goals. One sentence that stood out was "What unites the life intervention as a politically significant strand of makeover television is a concern to facilitate care of the self as a strategy of freedom and empowerment." The message of reality shows like The Biggest Loser is self-empowerment and believing in your own abilities to change your life, especially focusing on the personal responsibility mentioned in the article that is necessary to get the ultimate benefits from these changes. The comments from Marshall Manson about changes in schools and restaurants which are intended to improve public eating habits and decrease obesity rates in the United States seemed harsh. Calling an organization that is trying to educate the public on nutrition (for the benefit of the public) "anti-food extremists" seems ridiculous. The debate in this article reminds me a little of the gun control debate. The people against stricter gun control are concerned about the infringement on personal freedoms the laws present, but the people in favor of stricter gun control laws are concerned about the threat to public safety a lack of strict regulation could mean. There are arguments to be made for both sides. One side is looking out for the overall safety of the public and the other is trying to protect individual freedoms.
I think that taking personal responsibility for your own health is something that everyone should be concerned about and the government can be very helpful in that respect. Obesity causes a number of health problems in the long-term which can put a strain on the entire health-care system. One article that I saw on the topic said that the cost created by health complications from obesity and being overweight is 150 billion dollars per year. Obviously, that is a significant number. It seems that the government has a responsibility to address a health issue with that large of an impact on its citizens.
The topic of "good citizenship" was again a topic of discussion for us this week. This time it correlated with how reality television shows influence their audience. More specifically, tv shows that guide or encourage viewers to help themselves to better their lives. For example, The Biggest Loser is a reality show that follows obese individuals working with intense trainers to lose weight. It's great that shows like this empower people to change their ways, however it doesn't educate them on how to maintain it. The majority of Biggest Loser contestants leave the show and within a year they are heavier than they were when they started. I noticed that our class also kept talking about how time and money are large factors in living a healthy lifestyle. I disagree because it takes consideration and willpower to live a healthy lifestyle. Good for you foods are affordable if you plan ahead, rather than purchase fast food meals. Gym memberships are expensive, but running outside is free. You don't need a gym to do pushups, lunges or squats either. If you want a healthier outlook on life, you have to update your lifestyle.
This week was once again very interesting, especially Wednesday's discussion. I find it really interesting talking about the concept of reality TV and its impact on society. The biggest loser was a very good example of how media can both serve as a motivator and a false advertiser. I think this example was good also because it caught me off guard. I would have never thought of it as an example before that last class. I think more times than not shows like the biggest loser can motivate people to take their lives into their own hands, however it does often times glorify the issues of obesity at hand and makes the process of losing weight seem easier than it really is. Also, most people cannot afford to spend all day working out with kids and/or a job. As well as being able to afford a personal trainer and gym membership. It's a good debate on which influence this show has the majority of the time. I believe it's a good one, just not entirely realistic.
Ouellette's is an interesting article to look at when it comes to the perspective of market economy and how it works. Ouellette's article talked about the privatization, that is, how public becomes the private sector; welfare or relying on the government for assistance and govermentality. This article reminded me or Berlant's article about what makes a "good citizen". Some of the examples were that being a "good citizen" is to follow examples of govermentality such as watching YouTube videos on how to cook, play a musical instrument, sing and etc. And if an individual is not able to maintain "good citizenship", society looks at the problem as failure. Things like stamp cards, promising rewards or free memberships to gyms are ways in which a person can reproduce the cycle of good citizenship. This reading also reminded me of how Jennifer Hudson demonstrates the success story of extreme weight loss and maintaining her size. But not everybody is a singer and an actress that can afford personal trainers. That's why time and money can be a constraint as well as many other factors. But as said in the article and in class, it becomes a cycle for reproducing good citizenship by watching reality t.v, self-help books, shows like Rachel Ray and etc. are tools in which it will help a person be accountable for themselves.
Andrejevic's article was interesting about how media uses technology to collect and spy on consumers without us knowing. He talks about free labor by letting consumers participate they feel empower and feel like they are helping create a product that they like. What the consumers does not realize is that the data that is entered is being watched or collected to benefit the producers. I think this a very scary situation. What we think is private information may not be so private. We use Facebook to help connect with friends and family that are afar but people that want to do evil, could be using our info to harm us. For example, we talked in class about how it would be easier for people to steal our identity because of the things that we put online. It would not take much for people to Google a certain person and get info about that person online. This weeks readings have made me more aware of the dangers and bad influence that media has towards consumers. It never in the interest of the consumers but the produces. The bigger the risk the bigger the reward.
I found the readings this week very interesting, especially the one on the Biggest Loser from Wednesday. I think even though shows like the Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover Home Edition try to tap into people's emotions in order to get their viewers. I think feeling an emotional connection with the participants is a huge reason that people tune in. Another thing that I think is very important, that was briefly brought up by Heidi in class is the idea of "fat shaming" or "body shaming". This is a huge issue in our society and I think it needs to addressed before the our country's obesity issues can be solved
This week's readings on iCulture and Makeover Television and their impact on society brought up many issues that are upfront in society today. Overall, it is very interesting to see how the media uses Americans to basically facilitate and make money off them in the media. Some examples we talked about it class on Monday included the use of hashtags during television shows, sending in videos for comedy shows, and stating opinions on air on NPR. The media makers are making a ton of money off people and their ideas, and the perk is they don't even have to pay them. Audiences want to be a aart of these media sources for the fame and feeling of belonging. As for Wednesday, reality television has the same concept. It is extremely profitable with little money going in to make it. There is a reason it boomed in popularity during the writer's strike a few years ago! Even though I have watched many reality shows in the past, I don not think they have much impact on society than entertainment. Yes, "Biggest Loser" purpose is an aim to motivate America to get up and loss weight; however, the reality is that one television show cannot reverse all the barriers for someone seeking weight loss a majority of the time. Other shows, such as "Extreme Makeover- Home Edition" are also interesting media sources to analyze. For one week, a family in need of some help gets an "extreme" remodeling job done on there homes in hopes of increasing its feasibility and the family's well-being. The show aims at making viewers feel good about what a good cause and television production can do for the family. However, the show does more harm than good in many cases. For example, a family from Hopkins had there house redone after a horrible murder of the children's mother and her significant other by the mother's ex. As the children's Aunt was now the primary caretaker, they had there house expanded on "Extreme Makeover". Unfortunately, the outside might look nice, but many corners were cut. The plumbing had major problems from the beginning, and the house was never fully finished and ready to live in. They show makes the house look "perfect", but the reality is, one week is not enough time for a sufficient makeover. The family might have tried to get the help from privatization; however, they just did them more har than benefits.
Through the process of this week's articles and group discussion I've come to realize the many flaws in television shows that feature regular, every day Americans in situations where the show helps them out. While the premise of the show such as "The Biggest Loser" or "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is fantastic, people getting help sounds like a good way to spend airtime, but in reality, the ways the shows are set up are practically exploitative towards the people being helped in the show. There isn't a 100% guarantee that those on the shows will reap the benefits of having life changes stick with them for the rest of their lives. Many times after the show is finished, the aftermath of getting a brand new home or another chance at being healthy again doesn't necessarily secure the idea that that person can keep up with the bills or the extremely healthy lifestyle they adopted while on a weight loss show. Laura Ouellette and James Hay's article really helped me in understanding a little bit more about the ways people can govern themselves and create what it means to be a 'good citizen'. The article as well as today's discussion made me realize even more how versions of the 'good citizen' can change constantly depending on what citizens are consuming as well as how they reinvent the term for themselves.
This weeks discussions were about convergence culture as well as reality TV. I found today's discussion as well as reading very interesting. I feel like the class had a lot more to discuss and relate too as well. We have talked about reality TV before in class but today in particular we focused on "self-help" types of shows. Such as "The Biggest Loser," "Dr. Phil," and "Extreme Makeover." Shows like this are tailored to showing you that you can do the things the people in these shows do without the help of anyone but yourself. Government reliance has become much more used than 20 years ago. Welfare assistant programs like food stamps, WIC and housing assistant are a few examples. In the article the authors argue that individuals are responsible for his or her own actions, or their "govern mentality." Being a good citizen is doing well for your self, your family and your own community instead of relying on the government to do so. In particular show like "The Biggest Loser," showing people who are obese, loosing extreme amounts of weight and changing their lifestyles. In one way the show makes you feel as though if those people who are clearly obese and I am not can do it than I most certainly can do it too. In reality these people are loosing weight fast because they aren't working or doing anything but working out and eating healthy, they aren't back in their normal environments workings and taking care of their families. I think the show has some positives to it, they are paying and helping these people loose weight who probably wouldn't be able to do so on their own. The downside to that is its unrealistic, and most people who go back home and start their lives over go back to being over weight because the don't have the time or resources to work out and eat as they did while being on the show.
Please post your discussion questions on Ouellette & Hay's article, "Makeover Television," below, using the following as a guide:
1. What does reality TV have to do with contemporary citizenship, according to Ouellette and Hay?
2. What do Ouellette and Hay mean by "neoliberal reasoning"? What are its characteristics? How, according to Ouellette and Hay has government been "reinvented" in neoliberal terms?
3. What do Ouellette and Hay mean when they argue that television can be viewed as a "governmental technology" (473)? How does it "train" individuals to be particular kinds of citizens? What is the contemporary viewer supposed to do, according to these logics?
4. What do they mean by "post-welfare citizenship" (473)?
5. How is the "life intervention" show a particularly good example of the argument that Ouellette and Hay are advancing (see 476)?
6. And how does media convergence and interactivity participate in the workings of reality TV as a technology of governance?
7. What do Ouellette and Hay mean when they write that reality television (and ABC in particular) plays a role in "enacting an alternative to the state of welfare"?
8. Why are these developments troubling to Ouellette and Hay? What are some of the negative consequences that they reflect on in the conclusion?
Jenkins, "Introduction: Worship at the altar of convergence" & "Buying into American Idol" (Selections from Convergence Culture)
Andrejevic, Mark. "Three Dimensions of iCulture"
1. What does Jenkins mean by the terms, "convergence," "participatory culture" and "collective intelligence"?
2. What is the role of individuals "active participation" in convergence culture, according to Jenkins? Do you agree?
3. What does Jenkins mean when he describes media convergence as both a "top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer-driven process"? As such, what are the possibilities and limitations of media convergence for democracy, according to Jenkins? Do you agree?
4. How does American Idol demonstrate these possibilities and limitations? What are some examples from the show? Can you think of examples from other media?
5. How does Andrejevic's perspective on media participation and interactivity differ from that of Jenkins? Does he believe that interactivity offers democratic potential? Do you agree?
6. Andrejevic reflects on why individuals are drawn to interactivity, discussing its "promise" and appeal. What are some of the reasons he notes? What is his assessment?
7. Why does Andrejevic question the kinds of "freedom" accessible through interactivity?
8. What examples does Andrejevic offer to demonstrate the limitations of the "freedom" accessible through commercialized forms of interactivity? What do you think of this? Can you think of other examples?
This week was very interesting. I thought the article for Wednesday was pretty challenging but once we talked it over in class I felt more understanding. I had never really thought about how the radio, news and just media in general could make people feel left out in the manner that we talked about it. I think that there a many examples of how one could feel like an outsider because what they hear on the news or radio compared to what they are familiar with at home. I also think the beginning of the episode we watched about that small town in Kansas was extremely helpful in helping me grasp the concept. They portrayed that town in so many ways that could make many people feel like they don't belong there. I also found it interesting that they depicted that town as a place where everyone there is a good honest person. They built up the town with all of these positive characteristics just to get the viewers to feel more sympathy for them once the tornado hit. The only problem is that some of the characteristics they used to make the town seem so great, happy, and innocent aren't always going to be viewed the same by everyone.
This week we talked a lot about culture and the creation of what "home" is to different people. Although I didn't really connect at all to the Grewal piece i found that I at least somewhat grasped what Morley was talking about with the concept of Hiamat and how that can crete exclusion for a lot of people. Although confusing at first the group work project idd help me a little in figuring this out. This was especially true after we talked about Christmas during the holiday seasons and how that exclusion a large amount of people who don't celebrate the holiday, and are not Christian, and therefore have a feeling of exclusion in the society and don't resonate with that home feeling. I also began thinking of everyday examples and found that 24 hour news stations like Fox9 news very rarely has coverage of what is happening in other countries and keeps it relatively local, or at least within the US. This is a shame because minneapolis has such diversity and yet unless you were white and middle class I think it would be hard to have a feeling that you belonged when watching this. Overall, I think this week was the most confusing and I think there is a lot to be done in order for our society to become more enclsive so they can feel the a part of the home as well.
Wednesday's discussion really got me thinking... We, (Americans) are so spoiled with everything that we have readily available to us! I have worked retail for a number of years, and I can't help myself but get frustrated when someone who speaks a different language than me comes in and slows usually processes down. It doesn't help that I'm an impatient person, but Americans are so Ethnocentric that we do't really take the time to think about this melting pot that we live in. I'm in the middle of planning my study abroad trip to France next semester to work on my language, and I keep thinking to myself, "This is karma, when I get there- people are going to be so mean to me because I'm not native!" I think when I come home it will be even more clear to me that there are constant signs of home which surround us everyday. We don't even notice it anymore! I have to say though, I hate that all this snow is what reminds me of home- yuck! But, we have so many immigrants here who are trying to fit in, yet we make it impossible to do so because we have basically slapped our "Murica!!" brand on everything. If you really think about it, and put yourself in someones shoes who speaks, lets say, Korean- it would be impossible to even try to call America "home". There are so many barriers which immigrants must battle each day just to feel included, and our ethnocentric-ism doesn't help. All i know, is that I'm about to feel what they go through each day for 5 months and I'm a little worried. Yesterday was orientation, and an alumni from the program said he brought things that reminded him of home because France was so foreign without it. So.. I guess i'll try to do the same! Wish me luck! KS
In regards to different nationalities, I found it difficult not to relate to some part of our discussion. I am classified as a white female, from a small, redneck town that greets passerbys with a giant chicken, arms open wide. Maybe it was how I was raised, but any individual I encounter, I treat with dignity and respect, despite their background. I almost feel like this is a rarity because when we watched the Greensburg video, I related to the small town atmosphere, but when I said I would accept newbies to the town, the class disagreed. I'm assuming that it's my upbringing playing a role in my acceptance, but what do I know? I'm just a hillbilly trying to make it to Hollywood.
The Grewal reading left me with mixed feelings about representations like the Indian Barbie. I feel like the presence of a Barbie that represents a culture and identity other than a idealized construction of the "perfect female" could be a positive force in cultural inclusion and awareness, though Mattel's product simply projects western ideologies onto another culture, with the expectation that these cultures will assimilate with American structures of identity and value. If Mattel truly had a global conscious they might partner with creators from other cultures to produce something more culturally independent from what they did. I find the white Barbie in Indian dress especially distasteful, because it suggests that Indian children inherently want to be like white children. However, as the US becomes a more multi-ethnic nation, I welcome more intercultural exchanges in the media, and beyond.
The I better understood the Morely piece after watching the video about the community in Kansas. Morely focuses so narrowly on the UK in the essay, so the video helped give me more perspective. One thought I had in response to both, is how the ability of sub-cultural movements to thrive as closed communities is affected by the rise in social media and the internet. I thought of this after Morely mentions how Pakastani cab drivers buy cassettes of muslim sermons at cab-stands and coffee shops to listen to in their cars. The access to this media unto this point been limited to one's knowledge of where to pick up such material, but now much of that information is shared on the internet. The same goes for sub-cultures surrounding art and music. In the past one would have to find the little hole in the wall that supplied the media they were after, and know you can just Google it.
This week was all about culture and how one's culture can be projected in media. Our first reading, "Traveling Barbie" talked about culture in the Barbie dolls. An argument that was brought up was the fact that Barbie was simply in new clothes with a darker skin tone and this was wrong because her face needed to be changed. I am always looking at the economic side of things, and when one does that, it is easy to see that Mattel would have a very tough time economically making a new Barbie head for each doll of the world, especially in the early days of Barbie. We talked about the localization of Barbie and how she is different for each culture or region, and this tied in well with the second reading, "At Home With Television". The article spoke of culture specific to a region as well, but more about when the people from that region emigrate somewhere else. I thought this was interesting because I see many people in America afraid that the Mexican people are going to change America in a negative way. In actuality it is perfectly normal for the Mexican immigrants to want to keep bits of their home in America. It's familiar to them and easy to keep. It would be hard to change all together. If you have ever been to a foreign country, the second you get home I bet you are craving a burger. At least I do :D
They essay about the Barbie dolls was not interesting because I am a boy and never played with them I was not able to relate to the reading. I understand that if they misrepresent a culture it would definitely be racist. I find that they could be expensive because I have a daughter and when I did buy her a Barbie doll it never bother me that there was not an Asian version. I always looked at as just a toy and having different skin color or hair probably would have not made a difference. Even if they made a Barbie with traditional outfit for my culture I don't think i would have bought one because it cost way too much money.
Morley's essay was very interesting to think about. The use of technology in homes can help people feel connected to home was interesting. When talking about what "home" is, I think about my parents because they are from Laos and what they do to feel connected to their homeland. We still have relatives in Laos who my parents talk every month or so about what's happening there. They have just been able to learn how to use a computers and started to learn how to use email to write back and forth and also learned how to use Youtube. Since my parents have learned how to use a computer they have found news in our native language online or from a special radio that catches certain airwaves. I guess the language barrier is an exclusion for them. They can not understand English that well so watching the news they dont get the full story but because of these of the news online and on the radio are in the native language they are able to feel like they belong there.
Wednesday's class reminded me of a vacation me and my family took back in summer of 2009 to Daytona, Florida. I definitely felt a sense of displacement when one man asked me if I was a nascar fan. When I replied "no", he was shocked and could tell I wasn't from around there (also because of my so-called Minnesota accent), he also questioned me if I was Chinese? Things definitely got awkward from there. It's funny because he reacted as if I wasn't "American" enough and I felt extremely excluded from being in that city. Anyway, during my stay we also saw many American flags at the hotels/motels we stayed in and heard many people speaking in a strong southern accent. Interestingly, we met with a older lady who was also from Minnesota and thank goodness, did I feel relieved. We spent a good amount of time talking about which city we were from and the restaurants we've been to in the Twin Cities. I felt relieved immediately after finding out that someone I met was from the same state and made me feel a sense of Heimat. I also found it interesting how Daytona's community is almost like a naturalized community filled with nascar, the American flag, southern accents; all in which are of course, symbols of America and American pride. My feeling of displacement definitely made me realize that I didn't belong there and felt that only certain kinds of people can only be a part of the Daytona community.
In this week's readings and discussion, we talked a lot about how one's culture affects their perception of a media text. In Grewal's piece, "Traveling Barbie," we discussed economic liberalization and its effects on the global marketplace. One concept that I found particularly interesting was localization, or drawing upon local cultural identities when marketing a product to another country. The product is mediated by symbols that are meaningful in the new context. When looking at the images of the Barbie doll that represented the Indian culture, all of the saris and other clothing was very dazzling, with gems and beautiful colors. When young girls play with these dolls, do they see all people from India in this way, as upper class with beautiful clothing? It makes sense that this Barbie doll would be marketed with these clothes. If it was clothes in everyday clothing seen in that country, it would not be as beautiful as the traditional attire in the wealthy population. Businessmen find it more successful to market these extravagant products that are beautiful to young girls, as they love to play with anything that has glitter, gems and lots of colors. After watching the "Greensburg" clip in relation to "At Home with Television," it was seen that this series was trying to market their idea of a "utopian" small town America. They emphasized their safety, Christian faith, and overall unified small town feel. Others who grow up in similar towns can relate to Greensburg, whereas those from a big city might find the city to be too idealized, and maybe even "fake". It is hard to connect to a television show or other media text if you don't feel that sense of homeness. Big city folks might feel exile from watching this program, as they can't relate to the safety of sending their kids to room out on the streets, or having county fairs and festivals where everyone knows each other. They might feel that if they ever visited Greensburg, they would be exiled as an outsider, as they did not grow up with the same values or security system as this tight community.
Our first reading for this week "Traveling Barbie" was kind of interesting but a little too long. If anything, it made me think about the importance of cultural representation in products like dolls. Girls in Asian countries or African countries should not be given only one type of Barbie doll (white) to play with. If Barbie dolls are to be marketed in other countries, they should reflect the culture they are being sold in.
The second reading "At Home with Television" was really good. The concept of essentialism is a key part of Morley's essay. In order to define what belongs, you have to define what does not belong. His use of the shipping forecast was a good way of explaining the way some people feel about immigrants entering their country. Some people may feel like immigrants will change their homeland and Morley seems to be saying that the shipping forecast is a way that people can be reassured about the "dangerous peripheral world" by its ability to connect "the national public into the private lives of its citizens through the creation of both sacred and quotidian moments of national communion." I took this to mean that in the midst of native Britons worrying about their country and their culture being "threatened" by immigrants, the shipping forecast is a way that they can feel more secure in the stability of their nationality. His point about the representation of non-whites on British soap operas stood out to me. He mentions the show Eastenders. I have watched this show before and was really surprised by its diverse racial representation. The show does take place in East London, which is an especially racially diverse area, but it should still be commended for its realistic portrayal of the new racial representation in England, especially since other shows there seem to be reluctant to acknowledge England's diversity.
This week's readings were pretty though for me to understand, but I feel after the two discussion periods, I gained a little bit better of an understanding of the texts. From my past classes, I've learned a lot about immigration as well as what 'home' is so I feel Morley's article was a bit easier to understand from that aspect. In thinking about 'home' and technology as well as media, I've come to realize how much technology comes into play when people may immigrate from a specific place. They can keep in touch with what they are comfortable with, all the while, living in a different area. That idea opened up how I imagine what immigration is like today just because a person may not be home, yet they can experience homelike qualities or be in touch with people from their home with the use of the technology they have. This also mildly complicates how I view the technology aspect of bringing home with you just because not all people can afford or get ahold of the needed technology to access their home. I found Grewal's piece a lot more difficult to understand just because I couldn't relate to it since I've never really seen the U.S. as a place that is targeted to sell specific products like how India was with the Barbie dolls. I'm sure it is, but it was difficult for me to grasp the article, nevertheless.
I thought this week's readings were very interesting in my perspective on the world. Heidi asked us on Monday why the reading seemed to not take interest with us, for me, I would say Monday's reading didn't take an interest to me because I do not care for Barbie so much as I'm not female, nor did the racial part take to me as I'm white, and also not playing with Barbie, I was never concerned with the racial diversity of Barbie in my life. Today when discussing one of my favorite movies "Miracle" Heidi also brought up, how would someone of color look at this movie? I never thought about it...and thinking of it right now, I don't recall a single person in that movie who is not white (aside from the slight diverse of white in the opposing national teams). I have never thought about this issue because the movie basically pertains to me ideally. I'm American, I'm Minnesotan, I'm white, I'm male, and I like Hockey. So these are just issues I've never exactly thought about until now.
This week's discussion and readings Nationalism and Globalism were very interesting. The article by Interpal Grewal, "Traveling Barbie: Indian Transnationality and New Consumer Subjects," discussed the popularity of the American barbie doll globally. Since the launch of the barbie doll in America, Mattel has attempted to open their sales internationally by appealing to other races. I think this invites diversity and is a good market to go after with the barbie. However, I feel it would have been better for Mattel to change more than just the skin tone of the barbie in order to reach more international ethnicities of girls. While discussing this article in class we started talking about other attempts and branching out that Mattel tried internationally like the "Mexico Barbie," and this was seen as racist or demeaning by some. I can see where some people are coming from when they say it could be racist cause the barbie has a Chihuahua and a passport. However I can also see it as an attempt to identify with Mexico. I have a Chihuahua and his name is Rico cause he is a spanish dog, and I associate him with being from Mexico. That is why they gave the barbie a Chihuahua and not a border collie, it wouldn't make any sense to people in Mexico. Also you need a passport to travel to Mexico so it makes sense they barbie would have one. I think it depends how you perceive the situation and how sensitive you are to things like that. I am half Spanish, my dad is from Puerto Rico, I am not offended by that barbie and don't think I would have an issue playing with it when I was younger. But that is just me and my opinion.
The discussion about things in the media that have a certain "homeness" feel to the them when you see them was very interesting too. I feel a sense of comfort and pride when I see things on the news about my hometown or get the chance to see movies taken place in my home state.
Please post your DQs for Morley's "At Home with Television" below, using the following as a guide:
For Morley, in the face of postmodern and transnational discourses that celebrate "mobility" and the dissolution of national borders, it remains important to think about how "home" is constructed.
1. How has "mobility" been constructed in these discourses? What kinds of mobility get celebrated and what kinds get ignored? How is access to different kinds of mobility organized?
2. Why is it important to look at this question of "home" and the particular geographies?
3. What are modes of exclusion produced through constructions of "home" and "homeland"?
4. What is the role of media in this process? What does TV teach audiences about "home"?
5. How are media access and diversity related in this essay with respect to the "mobile" users of internet and mobile technology versus those who "stay home with television"?
6. Why does all this matter, for Morley? What do you think? How does this relate to the American context?
Please post your DQs on Grewal's essay "Traveling Barbie: Indian Transnationality and New Consumer Subjects" below, using the following to guide your reading:
1. How has economic liberalization produced new consumer subjects in India?
2. What does Grewal mean by "transnational localism" and what is its role in the production of subjects? (802)
3. What do you think about the discussion of the "subject of transnational consumption" (803-804)? What is the relationship of this construction of the consumer to the marketing of things like Barbie?
4. What do you think of Grewal's discussion of Mattel's simultaneous production of difference and universality in its marketing? Why is it important to consider the persistence of global inequalities in this context (808)? In other words, how is diversity incorporated into Mattel's toys? Why does this fall short, for Grewal? (809)
5. Grewal states: "Mattel continues to seek lower costs and to increase its visibility globally. While it espouses a discourse of universality of children's play along side American values of heteronormative, gendered racism as marketing strategy, its practices in India suggest that it relies on localized gendered formations to succeed. In their transnational localism, American values remain but become modified" (806). What does she mean in this passage?
6. How does Mattel view the world? How does it view the appeal of its products? And how does it view the desires of its target consumers? Why is the relevant to understanding the subjects of transnational consumer culture? (809)
7. How and for what reasons was Mattel's marketing a struggle in India? How has it been a struggle to turn "many classes of children into active consumers of global brands" for transnationals? What, in your opinion, is at stake in this process?
8. How is transnational consumer culture participating in shifts in gendered and classed subjectivities?
9. Why is it crucial to think about transnational capital when making sense of these cultural shifts?
10. What does Grewal mean by the "Indian cosmopolitan subject"?
The disabled population in the US is the largest minority, but it seems it is represented in the media, unlike parts of our readings that said otherwise. As I reflect, I recall seeing quite a few movies with a disabled character. A Beautiful Mind starring Russel Crowe follows a man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia; Sybil starring Sally Field shows the complexities of Dissociative Identity Disorder; and the Disney original Tru Confessions is about a mentally challenged boy (Shia LaBouf) living his life and the struggles he and his family face with his disability.
Relating to one of our readings a few weeks ago (What's Your Flava) about Disney including different races in their programs, I am moderately impressed with their attempts at including a range of diverse people. I am constantly seeing television and cinema develop productions that include a variety of people. One must remember, however, that in certain casting positions, a director or producer may not be coherent to representing diversity. They may just be interested in hiring someone who can act the way the director envisions the production.
This week we discussed both the portrayal of what is meant to be disabled in American society, as well as how to be the "Ideal American Citizen." I found the discussion on Monday to be relatively eye opening in terms that I hadn't really thought of the disabled community as being one of the biggest minority populations in the U.S. We talked about how this could change based on your perception of what "disabled" consists of, and the different definitions people have. As a class we came up with a number of different limitations and health issues people have that could be considered disabilities or at the very least disabling to that person. Its interesting to me that there is this huge population of people that is relatively untapped as far as consumerism and marketing are concerned. You would think with such a high population marketers would begin to realize the financial incentive behind highlighting disabilities and not painting them as sad or something that needs to always be necessarily pitied.
On Wednesday, the Berlant article showcased what it means to be an "Ideal American Citizen" even though it took a lot of confusion and class discussion to try and understand it even a little bit. This tide well with the Riley piece because Forest Gump was able to show the ideal side of having a disability. It was portraying that if you just follow the system and o hard work you will succeed in life and climb in the social latter. Forrest was representing to me the idea of follow the leader (America) blindly, and you will succeed; don't question the authority. He was he perfect representation of what it meant to be an American. It wasn't because he was successful necessarily but because of all the micro things he was doing, like following direction from his lieutenant to a T, and investing in the shrimping company; not for money, but for the love of his friend. I think its sad that this message of blind obedience will get you high social status is so prevalent in what people think it means to be an American, instead of really showcasing what reality is and the political structures in place that hinder the actual upward mobility.
The readings this week were very informative on issues that are not addressed enough. I have noticed the stereotypical ways in which the media portrays the disabled. It does seem like when you hear or read about a disabled person in the news it involves a warm and fuzzy story about how they overcame their handicap to achieve something that those who are not handicapped take for granted. These people are portrayed as exceptions to the rule and imply that the majority of the disabled are comparatively helpless and unable to achieve the same things. Another important point that Riley points out is that society needs to recognize the wide variety of disabilities that people have. As he mentions on page 325, when the handicapped are portrayed in the media it is usually through a person in a wheelchair, which of course is not representative of all people with disabilities.
The Berlant reading brought up some intriguing things. On page 65, she talks about the way the Time magazine was interpreted by one writer, William A. Henry III, who said that the increasingly multicultural nature of American society is threatening "patriotism and national pride" and that the idea that white Americans are being asked to disown "everything they were taught - and still fervently believe - about what made their country great." This seems to be his way of saying that America is great because of the efforts of white people and the concepts of "multiculturalism, political correctness, and identity politics" are negative ideas behind the acceptance of the multiracial society that the 1993 Time magazine issue talked about. Henry's argument seems to be a way of expressing his discomfort with the changing demographics of the United States. Most likely this is because this change may soon mean that people in his demographic will become the minority.
This week's readings were very challenging at first, but after examples in media texts and class discussion, I could get more of a grasp on the subjects of disability and citizenship. I really enjoyed the clips of "Friday Night Lights" that we watched, and wish I could have seen more. I like that the show gives examples of both physical and mental disabilities because I think people often overlook mental disabilities as not as serious. Another example of a television show that shows disability similar to the episode in class is the television show, "Grey's Anatomy." One of the surgeons, Arizona, was in a serious plane crash that led to her leg needing to be amputated. At first, the medical model was the prime way Arizona was portrayed. Her fellow surgeons look at her with pity, making sure she was rested and not overworked. However, as she recovers and battles her own disbeliefs about her disability, she moves into the consumer model. She begins to do surgeries again, get a prosthetic leg, and lives a normal life in society again. I think it is common to see this transition from medical to consumer model in media where an accident occurs that leads one through a character transformation. As for the other article, Berlant goes into depth about the movie "Forest Gump" and how the main character, Forest, lives life in a display of good citizenship. At first glance, one might think he does not have a positive impact on society, as he has a lower IQ and incapable to think on his own. However, he displays good citizenship as a positive member of society by participating in the army and always doing as told. You don't have to participate in capitalism or contribute greatly in consumerism to be a good citizen. The key to good citizenship is trying to achieve in upward mobility within society.
What I find interesting about Berlant's article is that she describes the ideal citizen as someone who is "normal" when ironically, what society would say is Forrest Gump is the exact opposite of that. She mentions in one section about Forrest's mother sleeping with the principle for a higher iq score because it was one way "lubricate Forrest into normality". This is an example of how citizenship is "bought" into society. This also reminded me of Riley's article about how people with disabilities are not considered to be "normal" because the media negatively constructs the "disabled" . Even though Forrest Gump may have a disability, he was able to surpass criticisms and was able to become successful throughout his lifetime. This is why the movie was so remarkable because it allowed the audience to think beyond race, sexism and discrimination. Aside from that, I felt like what TIME magazine was trying to say was that "you can morph your way into society if you follow our rules". Those rules being that you have to buy your way into capitalism and consumerism in order for you to become the "ideal" American. Since it is something that many minorities desire, this is a way of reproducing whiteness and white racism as what Berlant would say. I thought overall both articles for this week was worth reading and I look forward to discussions on a later topic.
Berlant's article was the hardest for me to understand this week. Though having information being talked about what it means to be a citizen or an American was helpful in learning about the article. In general, the whole idea of citizenship became complicated as I thought of "good citizens" and immigration in the U.S. I had to read a lot about immigration last semester in my intro. to Chicana/o literature class and from that class to this article, I only thought more about citizenship. Thinking about the "typical" citizen is so difficult because of the huge variety of people in America and the multitude of places they all come from. One main thing I have learned and realized from this week was that the "normal" of white and Eurocentric ideals have put a huge disrupt on the acceptance of other races or nationalities into the spin of the United States.
This weeks readings was hard to understand especially the Berlant article. I thought that the Berlant article was interesting especially about Forrest Gump being the "ideal American". Even with his disability he was able to accomplish many things in life making him a good model citizen. I never thought about that movie from that perspective. I feel like I follow all these ideas to become an ideal American, I think it is tough for people like myself to really understand how to be an American because my parents were born and raised in a different country and everything I know about being a good citizen is to follow the rules/laws and base it off of TV shows.
In Riley's article he talked about how media help constructs the disable. I know that talking about disable people is a hard topic because you never know if you are going to offend them or not. Not fully understanding about a disability and assuming things can make that group of people feel misrepresented. My brother in-law was a normal person until his car accident. His whole right side of the body does not function properly and needs assistance 80 percent of the time. His disability bothers him a lot but what he told me that bothers him more is when people just assume that he is deaf and begin to talk loud at him or assume that he was born like that and never bothers to sit down talk normally like you would with someone that is considered normal.
I found this week's readings in class to be very interesting, especially the reading and the discussion about Forrest Gump. I think overall it was a very interesting analysis of the film. After our discussion in class I began hovering over the idea that was brought up in class about the politics of the film along with the ideas presented in Monday's reading as well. I wonder how people would view Forrest Gump, if the main character didn't have any disabilities. Would the film even have been made? Is it our sympathy for Forrest that helps us enjoy the movie as we watch him leave his imprint on important moments in our country's history and would that enjoyment be diminished if Forrest didn't have his disability?
I found it very interesting that the same week we talked about the construction and representation of disabilities in the media we also talked about the portrayal of Forrest Gump as an "Ideal American Citizen". Normally, someone of Forrest's intelligence level would possibly be seen as someone that is at a disadvantage in life or having an actual disability, but in the movie, he is seen as an ideal citizen because of his near inability to rebel. Often the media portrays disability as a hindrance and not something to desire or look up to, but in the case of Forrest Gump, it is rewarding him for being who he is. I think this is an interesting contradiction that points out the types of disabilities we are taught to look down upon or think less of. Forrest has no physical disabilities unless you count his need for leg braces in his earlier life, but even then he is portrayed as a lovable and functioning person. Forrest's disability is simply being a little slower than most people, but because this allows him to be a more obedient and obliging member of society he is accepted.
This weeks discussions and topics were a little hard to comprehend. The thoughts on todays topic were ideas that I typically don't think about. This idea that the public is somewhat "rewarded" for being a citizen is kind of weird to me. Without reinforcing common ideas which we discussed in class, i want to take a moment to reflect on some different examples which weren't used in class. For those of you who watch weeds- this is a spoiler alert! Just an F.Y.I. So, in the television show weeds, the show is centered around a widowed mother named Nancy Botwin who creates her own living by selling weed. Being in the drug business is considered to be on the other side of the spectrum in terms of being a good citizen. While struggling to provide for her family, Nancy makes all sorts of mistakes which commonly gets her in trouble with the law, and exacerbates her problem even more. In this example, she isn't really considered a person who should typically be socially "rewarded" because she is causing a threat to her local community, and acting on illegal grounds. However, the series finally ends on a note where she makes her business legal by working in Colorado under legitimate laws and legal sanctions. In the end, her business grows and grows, it is implied that she becomes wealthy off of playing by the rules, and life turns into her own Utopia. This, by example, is yet another example of how she is being rewarded by privatized citizenship. Where, in result, good citizenship is being carried out in the acts of consumption. In all, Nancy Botwin attains this "ideal" life because she accepts the role of legitimizing her business, and declines the path of further corruption through the drug business. This weeks articles really brought clarity into such ignored topics of citizenship, and I found the lectures to be quite compelling.
This weeks class readings, discussions and media clips to do with disability were very interesting. I never really thought much into the way the media portrays people with disabilities, now that we have discussed it and saw some examples I have a better idea of what I had been missing. Riley points out in his article "that 54 million Americans are living with a disability, making the disabled one of the largest minorities." I hadn't even thought before this article to put the term minority on the disabled. The term disability is tricky enough, some people classify certain things as disabilities while other people don't see certain things as disabilities. One of the clips we watched in class from Friday Night Lights had to do with a once football superstar who became paralyzed. Riley discusses three models to explain ways the media portrays people with disabilities. Although I have not watched the show other than that episode I believe the show portrayed Jason who was paralyzed as a consumer model. He seemed to have come to terms with his disability and even branched out, not letting his disability hold him back. When I think about the medical model that Riley describes I tend to view people who are physically disabled through this model. Not that I am trying to be disrespectful or anything I just feel bad that they are in the position they are in. I think the medical model is seen a lot in the media in shows and programs I have encountered.
This week's readings and discussions about how the media constructs and maintains ideas about ability and disability, and what counts as good citizenship.
Riley argues that disability is socially constructed. I see this as proven by the American Disabilities Act, in that essentialist ideas surrounding ability and disability become naturalized to the extent that they are written into law. Where I see the media playing a part in this, is that in a neoliberal environment, the collaboration between government and the market share common interests in maintaining the status quo. The ADA participates in assimilationist practices by placing people who exist at different places with an ability spectrum into hard categorizations, thus placing them within a system that is inherently based on singular representations.
I see the Berlant's argument about immigrant identity in America operating in similar ways. While far more nuanced, and including histories of institutionalized racism that are far more visible in our society than ideologies surrounding disability, Berlant's arguments about the Time magazine special issue refer to limitations of agency placed on immigrants to form their own identity and representations in the face of dominant media structures, and hegemonic systems of discourse in America. When there are idealized constructions of identity placed on any group, the expectation that ideal is fulfilled ultimately determines their ability to assimilate into a society that not only is already prejudice, but has unrealistic expectations that ignore accessibility and cultural identity as a whole.
Selections from: Lauren Berlant, "The Face of America and the State of Emergency"
To guide your reading, it is important to understand that Berlant is charting the the increasing tendency to conceive of citizenship in terms of private acts of consumption, reproduction of the hetero-nuclear family, and personal morality (as opposed to "public" forms of citizenship like political dissent, and public demonstrations, which are increasingly represented in terms of a disorganized "mob"). She argues that this constructs citizenship in particular ways, but at the same time, constructs the "ideal nation" of America in ways that reproduce particular cultural and economic arrangements. As you read, think about what kind of citizenship is being constructed and what the characteristics of the "idealized" nation are. Why is this a problem, for Berlant? Why do you think this matters (i.e., what desires, identities, subjectivities are valued/devalued or visible/invisible)? Use the following questions to guide your reading and note taking.
1) Lauren Berlant points to the "privatization of citizenship" as a worrying trend visible across a range of media. What does she mean by the "privatization of citizenship" and why is it a concern? How do media participate in this tendency, for Berlant?
2) According to Lauren Berlant, what arguments is the movie Forest Gump making about public and private life and about "good citizenship"?
3) How does Forest Gump imagine "America" as a constructed national entity?
4) How does TIME's special issue on immigration construct America? How does it construct the immigrant figure in relation to this imagined "America"?
5) How does Michael Jackson's music video Black or White both participate in and complicate the "privatization of citizenship" and the related tendencies that Berlant observes?
6) In your experience, what kinds of arguments have you noticed media making about what counts as "good citizenship" and the kinds of "national life" good citizens ought to engage in? Do you agree with Berlant that this production of norms participates in the "privatization" of citizenship? If not, why not? If so, what do you think are the consequences?
Please post your discussion questions on Riley, "Heroes of Assimilation: How the Media Transform Disability" below, using the following as a guide:
1. Why are economics important to consider when analyzing the relationship between media representation and power?
2. Who, according to Riley, is responsible for the misrepresentation of disability in the media?
3. What are the three epochs of understandings diversity? What do you think are the consequences of these?
4. How did civil rights fit into the discourses and policy-making surrounding disability? That is, what does Riley mean by a shift from "medical" to "civil rights" view of diversity?
5. What does Riley mean when he argues that disability is "socially constructed"? What is the media's role in this construction?
6. How have media represented disability, according to Riley? What examples of media representations of disability can you think of? Do your examples reflect what Riley is arguing? Why/why not?
It's been brought to my attention how challenge has changed in the last couple decades. Diversity is thriving, and its as though nearly every television show is making an effort to include many walks of life in their program. After watching the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy with my roommate, we discussed the some of the topics that were brought up in lecture as well as in our reading for this week. This show has a multitude of characters (doctors) with different life stories, sexual orientations, and ethnicities. Every week the audience is introduced to characters at the hospital who also are very different in terms of sexual identity, race, religion, etc. I think its imperative that television shows continue to include a range of characters who vary in skin color, background, culture and elaborate on these differences. There is no way every race or religion can be shown on tv shows, but making an effort to include a variety makes the show somewhat realistic.
Reposted on Drake's behalf:
This week was an interesting one, and basically the opposite of last week. This week was all about masculinity, homosexuality, and both had a lot to do with white males. The article we read for Monday was about how men (white men) tend to associate whiteness and masculinity. Men aren't all violent, but violence itself is overwhelmingly male. In fact, males commit 86% of all violent crimes. Katz argued that advertising and the media portray this masculine association with violence. I remember a few weeks ago we talked about the Calvin Klein model who showed his strength and looked into the camera with what I would say was almost a violent look. Maybe women would see it as sexual, I wouldn't know. The other idea Katz posed was that all men are violent because it's basically engrained into our DNA. I think Katz had some great points and I really feel that a lot of them hit home for me. I think all men strive to be manly, and if the media portrays violence as manly, then that could be something men would strive for. The argument about muscles was also very obviously true. Associating those muscles with violence may only be a woman-observing-man type of trait, however. At least I don't see it that way.
The second article we talked about was the article I used for my discussion leading. This article was long, but it was very interesting to me. I think the idea of the slumpy class is an awesome observation. People want to be multi-cultural, but many don't actually aggressively help those less fortunate. Watching multi-culture television shows is an easy way to make people feel good about themselves. They also are both homophobic and open to gay people, which I could see even in myself. I wouldn't take it lightly if someone called me gay, but at the same time I have nothing against gay people or gay marriage. I consider myself very open minded. The overall article was very interesting.
Katz mentions in her journal article that one of the biggest problems we have with violence are the violent messages our media puts out targeting men. She uses Eminem as the primary example of a violent, rebellious, angry white man and how his image represents 'masculinity'. I mentioned in class about the song "Love the way you lie" featuring Rhianna and how the music video encourages domestic violence. If you watch the music video, it's actually pretty intense and hard to watch as two couples are throwing fists at each other. And being one of the most popular song today I feel as if it has an affect on the male youth about relationships and violence. Same goes for females as well. We see advertisers advertising women as objects and victims, encouraging masculinity and violence towards women. Even in the song, part of lyrics talks about how the girl enjoys the violent behavior of her lover. And in a sense I feel as if some women want to be victims of abuse which comes to another issue for advertising towards females, particularly young females. Another tactic Katz mentions is that masculinity in media culture also represents power such as physical size and how this continues of the have an advantage over women, making the feminine image look weak or powerless and even sexualized. These media messages are dangerous are needed to eroticize violence. But the big question here is, how far will advertisers go?
This weeks readings, and discussions definitely brought forth some good comments from everyone. Between the discussions on masculinity and the media's portrayal of gays, it's hard to choose which I found to be more interesting. The whole Eminem example was interesting because now after reading that article, I've noticed that many artist's videos include content that portrays the "ideal" level of masculinity men should have. I'm pretty sure these messages within these videos/songs do have an effect on how men perceive themselves and others as being masculine. The episode of Seinfeld was another great example for another topic. The portrayal of gays in media. To be honest, before this article, I never really thought about whether or not the portrayal of gays in media was just to be inclusive or for the ratings, or for both. It's clear that most if the time the gays being portrayed in TV shows are very similar every time. They tend to be middle class and have a very stereotypical gay personality. The question is does the media portray gays accurately? Well all I know is that TV has made huge progress as far as having more and more gay characters in TV shows, and we can only hope to expect more accurate portrayals of their lifestyles in the near future as well.
This week's readings from Becker and Katz stirred up some discussion in class about masculinity and gay representation in the 1990's. I found it interesting talking about the differences in representation of homosexuality in the 90's versus today. In the 90's, it was more of a risk to talk about sexual orientation and having gay characters on television shows. However, their tight relationship to the ideals of the "slumpy" class led to success in the marketing and popularity of the television shows. Becker even talks about how the gay and lesbian population in the 90's was upwardly mobile, and had a large amount of money to spend on other goods for living. This is why advertisers were particularly attracted to television shows that highlighted this lifestyle. This population was also very open-minded, and could be more easily convinced by advertiser's ploys. I think the homosexual population is still a great target for marketers today; however, it is more common to see characters in television shows who are GLBT, making it harder to pinpoint where to put money towards. Most of the homosexual characters and topics in the television shows we see today fit exactly into the slupmy class portrayal. Many have steady jobs as doctors or lawyers, and live a very comfortable lifestyle. The example of the movie/Broadway musical "Rent", which was mentioned in class, was a great example that veers away from the stereotypical portrayal of homosexuality seen in media texts. The main characters are young and free-spirited, and struggling financially. But they do the best they can with what they have, and use each other as a support system in tough times. I still wonder what Becker would have to say about this movie, as it does not exactly follow his viewpoints. Overall, both the Katz and Becker articles showcased different masculine viewpoints in media. it would be interesting to compare these critiques with the feminine views from the previous week. It shows us that making media is complex, and can highlight or create stereotypes in many aspects of our lives.
I find it interesting that Katz's article about "angry white males" like Eminem was a big influence on the younger generation. I think this is true because of the rebellious acts that these popular icon in media are made to portray as hip and trendy. It helps define a male from a female. And that this is what a male figure should do and act like to be manly. Even though these males are focus on a white male character other races still see it as masculine and can relate to them. The crowd that seems to relate best to these violent and aggressive behaviors are usually young men. I think this crowd is still trying to find out what a man should be and the negative affects of how media portrays these icon help develop violence in society.
Becker's article mentions how people are starting to become more familiar with the idea of gay expression, and it is now even more so prominent. It shows that times are changing and that the younger generation are taking things in a different direction, similar to how Becker describes changing times in 90's television.
The Jackson Katz article on white masculinity and violence was good. It makes sense that working class men would find action movie heroes like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone more appealing than upper-class men. Katz makes a good point when he says on page 263 "For many males who were experiencing unsettling changes, one area of masculine power remained attainable: physical size and strength and the ability to use violence successfully." So here Katz seems to be saying that in the midst of stressful events and adjustments being made in their lives, White men were able to idolize these action movie stars who were able to effectively utilize their physical power. Katz also makes an interesting contrast when he talks about Eminem, Kid Rock and other "angry, aggressive, white working-class males. In the 1950s, actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean were seen as edgy and angry, but their attitudes on-screen were nothing compared to the "angry white males" of today. Eminem is the ultimate angry white male. Katz makes another good point when he asks what Eminem is rebelling against. His rebellious attitude does appeal to many consumers and so Katz is right when he calls Eminem's persona as "rebellion as a purchasable commodity." I am not saying that Eminem has no legitimate reason to be angry and that it is all a ploy to sell more music, but that type of attitude is often seen in rap artists and it does usually add to their appeal. Although some artists articulate why they are angry, others do not.
I had never heard of the "slumpy class" before reading Becker's article. The points made in the class discussion today on this article were helpful in understanding the concept. The Seinfeld episode that we watched was a good example of how many people (at the time that the episode aired, especially) felt about homosexuality. Jerry and George were not completely comfortable with the concept of being gay but they did not want to be seen as prejudiced so they felt the need to qualify all of their comments on the misconception that they were gay by saying "Not that there's anything wrong with that." It was a really funny episode and they did a good job of writing the script in an inoffensive way.
Wow, I thought that this weeks representation of male violence and talks of "The Slumpy Class" would have been more compelling for discussion. I'm wonder if everyone was sleepy from the Easter weekend becuase I feel that there is way more expansion on these topics than what was discussed in class. First, white men in the media has always portrayed a specific, patriarchial image which boys have followed throughout their growth into adulthood. Yet in this day in age, with the advent of better technology and graphics, we are able to make men look and act more viscious on screen; with the idea that they are behind all of such violence. Fast and the Furious, for example has a direct correlation to how men in our society are idealized as "manly", or strong, buff, powerful, aggressive. These traits are a common appeal in film to men, especially with the stereotypes of "action-packed" movies in comparision to "chick flicks". I believe this to be a cheap appeal to men, just as I believe that female nudity is a cheap appeal to men. In class, we discussed how marketers accompany diversity along with viewers conservatism in media to soften the blow of new, hip ideas. Yet in the world of catching the attention of white males, there is no diversity that is served with this violence, it is only aggressiveness and power that is accompanied to typical action packed films. The consequences of this so called - "Chump-ness" is that repetitive viewing of such acts breeds a specific type of male that alters his idea of whom he should become or embody. I find that depending on the person, there are groups of men whom carry these traits becuase they have familiarized themselves with this idea of power/strength/ macho-ness as a fantasy. Now, we have boys copying the words of "The Situation" from The Jersey Shore, thinking that they sound cool. An even bigger problem with how males interpret the images on camera is the appeal of sex in correlation to power. James bond, for example, shows a strong link between whiteness/ maleness/ power/ strength/intelectuality and sex/ woman. I believe that males directly associate these traits with what women want, and thus, link these characteristics to sex/women. As we spoke about in class last week, women are used as tools to sell things/ ideas/ feelings, and I find that these messages can be harmful to both males and females.
From Monday there was some obvious tension when talking about the rape case in Steubenville that was said to be "just rape" in relation to Columbine. I totally am not bringing that up in order to re-open what was already apologized for and explain as misspoken, but am bringing it up because I think it emulates exactly what is happening to women in society today. There has beeb such a decline in the rights for the women (because media portrays us as equal) that we have to fight for power by being sexual, and because of this our sexuality in dress has increased. This has been caused by the media- women would be perfectly happy getting far in life based off of skill and not appearance. It has driven the ideas of a culture to assume beautiful in certain ways which led the rape victim to dress in what i would consider o be fine clothing. Instead of realizing it ma of been the innate part of the boys to commit violent acts it focused on the fault of the girl.
I went into todays discussion thinking that the media today portrays the Gay community in a different way then it had in the 90's with Will and Grace and "Frazier" but after talking about it in class even Glee and Rupal's Drag Race contribute to the same political message that we accept it and its fine if thats your lifestyle- while keeping it at a distance and being able to show that is not the lifestyle of the Slumpy class (white, trendy) but its still hip to accept it. All while not addressing any sort of actual problem in the community and glorifying it instead (which is fine but doesn't change the social structure).
What I found interesting from this week was the stark differences between the two articles we read by Katz and Becker. While Katz talked about white, male, heterosexual, angry masculinity, Becker wrote about how the Slumpy Class reacts to Gay-Themed television. After this week's discussion, I've come to realize that there are many ways in which people who view the media are affected by what they see. From Katz's article, the idea of an angry white man gets a following of young people who want to follow in those footsteps. I was surprised by how much media attention was focused on violent crimes, but not specifically saying the crimes were committed by males. Then from Becker's article, the idea that the view of white, upper classed, gay men was beginning to be more of a comfortable term for many to come in contact with was also interesting. Today's discussion made me think about the inequalities between the "G" as opposed to the "LBT" in the LGBT spectrum. I really couldn't think about any popular media outlets that display lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc. as 'normal' or as people who don't need to change in order to conform to what popular culture deems as 'normal'. This week in general has gotten me to think critically about the view of violent white masculinity as well as the view of the gay community in culture and in the media.
This week's readings and discussions on masculinity, and GLBT social recognition in advertising and television help broaden my understanding of representation in the media as a whole. While watching the Seinfeld episode and notes afterwards, I thought about how I had commented that the opportunities for more accurate representations of masculinity are limited to the arts and fashion, and how television shows like Seinfeld offer a representation located outside the scope of hegemonic masculinity.
I see this as ambivalent, because these socially liberal representations of masculinity, as imaged by Seinfeld, can both open passages for GLBT awareness in television which inherently oppose dominant forms of masculinity and present more than one perception of the male experience, but by relying on the identified difference of homosexuality to define their masculinity, these images reinforce the "other" in the equation which not an equitable exchange.
In thinking more about the example of the musical Rent, It occurred to me that the way that the idea of affordable liberalism could apply, is that the "Slumpy" class or "Bobos," as Becker calls them were not at risk by aligning themselves with an underclass that still reflected their social values systems. The Rent exchange is one of voyeurism in way. Where the bourgeois, of uptown Manhattan, who could afford Broadway tickets, could look into the conditions of the artists and musicians struggling for survival on the Lower East Side. Existing outside the television creative structure, Rent was also successful in bringing awareness to HIV, though one could also argue that the artists and musicians imaged in Rent had the privilege of choosing a freer, yet destitute lifestyle.
Please post your discussion questions on Becker, "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class: The Affordable, Multicultural Politics of the Gay Nineties" below, using the following questions to guide your reading:
1. What does Becker mean by "an affordable politics of liberalism"? "Affordable" in what way and to whom? What kind of "liberalism" is he talking about?
2. How did 1990s gay-themed television fit into this "affordable politics"?
3. Why is this a problem, for Becker?
4. What are some examples of 90s television that offered this form of politics?
5. Do you think today's gay-themed television operates in the same way as that of the 90s? If so, how so? If not, what are some differences?
Although misguided by distorted numbers the network executives "imprecise notion of hip" allowed for there to be a shift in TV that "reflected the shifting attitudes and identities of many Americans" in the 90's. Do you think that our current TV shows like Glee and modern Family, with prominent homosexual characters, do in fact display a more accepting culture of different sexual orientation or is it just for getting ratings from our so called "slumpy class?" Do you still think its "risqué" to feature and have leading gay/ lesbian characters?
Hey class. I'd like to apologize for a comment I said in class today. I was going over what we talked about with my girlfriend. And I think I remember saying. In media's portrayal of how they viewed the columbine shooting vs the Steubenville rape case I said that columbine was attack on innocent kids where the Steubenville rape case was not an attack on an innocent girl. I didn't mean she wasn't innocent. I'm sorry If that offended anyone. I wasn't thinking and meant that it wasn't innocent because it is a serious issue that both columbine and Steubenville should be seen as because both are not ok by any standards whether its multiple students. Or one woman. I claimed the woman wasn't innocent when I should have said the event itself wasn't innocent because it is a serious issue as Miranda brought up. I apologize for not choosing my words better or not thinking through carefully before saying things that can have such a harsh impact on what is meant when we have an issue as serious as rape. And the fact that the media as portrayed I to be her fault and more acceptable when it shouldn't. Just wanted the class to know and again. I'm sorry if my words came out wrong.