Selections from: Lauren Berlant, "The Face of America and the State of Emergency"
Read the following sections:
a) "On Being Normal, Average, Common..." pp 180-182 (66-68 of the course packet, section on Forest Gump)
b) AND pp 209-220 (82-88 of the course packet, section on Michael Jackson's "Black or White" and the conclusion).
And please post your discussion question below, using the following as a guide:
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 Michael Jackson's music video Black or White both participate in and complicate the "privatization of citizenship" and the related tendencies that Berlant observes?
5) 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?