Reality TV-Sanneh and Alston

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Please post your discussion questions on the Sanneh and Alston pieces below.

"The Reality Principle" by Kalefa Sanneh
www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/05/09/110509crat_atlarge_sanneh

"America's New Icons" by Joshua Alston http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/22/america-s-new-icons.html

6 Comments

After reading the Alston priece I am just reminded of this argument since it seemed to be a popular topic in the media. The whole idea of the jersey shore cast being a misrepresentation of the Italian American culture is really interesting to me. I am somewhat shocked that people take shows so personally when really that is what television and movie seems to always do. As a Hispanic American I see stereotypes all the time that dramatize or exaggerate the truths of Hispanic Americans. But to me this is not offensive because I feel as though people know that side of media. Why do you think their was such an uproar surrounding the jersey shore cast and Italian Americans in te media?

When a film “Full Metal Jacket” appeared in Japan, the translator of the subtitle was criticized by the movie director Stanley Kubrick. Because her translation’s expression was much softer than the original words, so Kubrick designated Japanese American who understood his meaning and described more hard expression. However, such strong expression was praised in Japan, but it did not make strong stereotypical image of American in Japan. If so, what reason motivated the Army general in Alston’s article to complain Jack Bauer's expression?

We had heard about this tendency to assume that a single representation of an age group, gender, ethnic group, etc. is the sole base of reference for an entire group. Shows like 'The Jersey Shore' are apparently responsible for informing other countries of just what exactly America is like. However, despite this popular discussion, I would like to take a higher road and assert that people are smarter than we are giving them credit for. I feel that most consumers of reality television are aware that they are watching a very, very small representation of a population. While it can be alarming and somewhat believable to think that the rest of the world is learning and understanding America in the context of 'The Jersey Shore,' I feel that consumers realize how unrealistic this representation is. I would assert that these "outsiders" or non-American viewers are more so establishing an understanding of American likes and dislikes than actual American culture. Supposedly these viewers are engaging in a sympathetic viewing of a train-wreck that is our American culture. I disagree. I think they are engaging in a sympathetic view themselves, which additionally is a sympathetic view for our taste in entertainment? What do you think?

I read the article by Sanneh, which I found to be pretty thought-provoking. First I thought it was interesting about how the original idea from 1973 was looked at as old in 1983. Just goes to show you how media is constantly changing. Margaret Mead wanted a show with characters that were not actors, which later came up in shows like Real World. However, when you take a show like Jersey Shore, with repeat seasons, and the once actors, become famous. So what are they? They then become people trying to act out their persona, but not an actor? There are a lot of flaws in reality TV. Do producers need to throw a little fiction into this "reality TV" to keep American Viewers constantly pleased due to the continuous change of media exemplified from 1973-1983?


The Alston piece talks about one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the Jersey Shore. The show does have a negative outlook on America and on the Italian Americans as well. With all of the negative connotations surrounding the show, people still seem to watch it. The show has had high ratings and 6 seasons. Does anyone sometimes think that shows like the Jersey Shore actually put a positive spin on American society? Does the show portray the fact that no matter who you are, you can get famous and rich by maybe just being yourself? America is still the land of opportunity and perhaps the opportunity given to the cast members was luck but at least they took advantage of the "situation".

Alston argued about one of the well-known reality TV show in the US, the Jersey Shore. I believe that this show have shown negative images on Italian American. Whenever I watch this program, I always thought that this program is meaningless and why they produced it. all my friends says about this show. everyone agreed that this show is so meaningless and so bad.
(negative opinions) However, surprisingly people still keep watching this show even they think this program is useless and meaningless, of course including me. What makes people to keep watch this program even though they already regarded this program is bad and nothing can earn from watching this show? and do you think you have stereotype towards Italian American after watching Jersey Shore ?

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on November 27, 2012 2:02 PM.

Jenkins, Selections from Convergence Culture & Andrejevic, "Three Dimensions of iCulture" was the previous entry in this blog.

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