The last article I posted about the insecurities of men about their appearance got me thinking that there are quite a few expectations put on men about the way they act. We are expected to be tough, obviously, and we are expected to be effective problem solvers. We aren’t allowed to ‘take shit’ from anyone.
I would still say men have it a little easier than women as far as social pressure is concerned but there are definitely expectations from men that are a little silly. Men are still expected to be the bread winner in the family. There is a mechanic at my dad’s work whose wife is a very successful real estate agent. I’m just guessing here but I would say she probably earns two to three times his salary, and he certainly hears about it from the other guys at work. Why does it matter if his wife earns more money in her profession than he does? He’s employed full time in a position of skilled labor, he’s a great dad and husband, and he and his wife enjoy their life. So who cares? He certainly doesn’t.
Under this section of the book they shared an interesting quote from Steven Cohan. To paraphrase it, he says that people judge you based on your taste in entertainment. This is absolutely true in my opinion. Cohan’s example was that people will assume a man who owns a Judy Garland CD must be homosexual. Of course we know this isn’t true but we still judge people on a daily basis in matters like that. We call our male friends ‘gay’ if they watch a TV show that’s ‘for women’. We assume anyone watching Fox News is some kind of Nazi. In doing this we forget that there are many ways to read a text. Maybe the person watching Fox News is pretty liberal, but is watching one of their financial shows. Or maybe the guy watching ‘America’s Next Top Model’ is just wants to see the model’s bodies.
Reading about stereotypes in these chapters made me think back to the video “Tough Guise”. While I was watching that in class, all I could think of was how often Latino people really are portrayed as either fiery and overly-passionate or tough but troubled.
It seems like every detective show from the 90’s had a cop on it that was a Latino ex-gangmember who ‘went straight’ and now has the unique ability to relate to troubled Hispanic youths. These cliches are awful in many ways, but I don’t think the people who write for television shows are racist. I think they are lazy. We see these stereotypes so much that we begin to identify with them and they become natural. Anyone who has workshopped in a creative writing class knows how often the characters in people’s writing are total cliches. It’s just hard not to think of racial groups in stereotypical terms when that’s what you see everyday in the media.
In my opinion, we live in an odd time as far as race relations are concerned. Almost every commercial that you see these days for a large company features a group of people, each from a different ethnicity. I guess the idea is to represent a variety of genders and racial backgrounds.
That’s great, except it seems so contrived. Commercials love to show guys hanging out in groups of three or four with one or two white guys, a black guy and either a Hispanic guy or an Asian person. Doesn’t it seem odd? And aren’t advertisers just using racially diverse groups to market their products to more people?
I don’t really have a point to make here, I guess, but it just seems so odd to me…
I thought that what the book said on 387 was pretty interesting. The examples they gave of the punishment cyclists put themselves through is applicable to many sports. We definitely celebrate people who can push their body beyond the normal threshold of pain to overcome an opponent. Almost any endurance sport is really just a opportunity to see people overcome pain.
But the authors basically say that it’s just a male thing. They say, “male sport is understood in terms of power, strength, and competition”. I think it’s unfair to point only at men in this regard. Women’s sports are the same way. In my opinion, the reason we are drawn to any sporting event, male or female, is to see people test themselves against an opponent. It is acceptable now for women to be shown as powerful athletes and I think they are celebrated for their physical achievement and pain tolerance as much as men are.
The book asks how long it was after 9/11 before you heard a joke about the events, and did it seems okay to you? I remember watching Saturday Night Live not long after it happened and I remember the comedy was very different from what is usually on the show. I remember there was a Will Ferrell skit where he played President Bush as usual, only instead of portraying him as kind of stupid, Ferrell made him kind seem tough and the comedy was actually pretty patriotic. After Ferrell would say something the audience would cheer.
It seemed really positive to me at the time. They got some of the firefighters on stage at the beginning of the episode and they had the mayor on there too, I think. It was actually kind of nice to see all this on SNL and then have some comedy too.
I was reading chapter 18 and it mentioned reality television. I remember Dr. Larson talking to our introduction to media class a few years ago and telling us that ‘reality’ TV was moving toward being scripted and that most of it would be scripted in the next couple of years. When I look at shows on TRU-TV I can see she was right. In fact I think most reality shows have writers now. The only shows I can think of that might not be scripted are shows like intervention or hoarders. These shows are pretty formulaic, though, which kind of makes them less real to me in some sense. The more you edit video interviews of people (which it seems like they do quite a bit on these two shows) the less real it seems in my opinion.
In chapter 18 the book talks about documentaries and mockumentaries. I’ve loved the mockumentary genre since I saw “Best in show” a few years ago. I wasn’t sure how it would work on television with “The office” and shows like that, but I became a fan pretty quickly. One of HBO’s newest shows, “Life’s Too Short” was created by Ricky Gervais also and it uses the same documentary style as The Office.
I caught the last part of an interview with Gervais and writer Stephen Merchant. They were asked why they went back to the documentary style and they said the main advantage was that the audience feels like they are in the action. The characters can talk straight to the camera and during those intimate shots the audience is forced to feel what the characters are feeling. I kept this in mind when watching the show and it’s totally true. When an actor is in an embarrassing situation and looks at the camera you really are forced to feel it with them. I never noticed it before but I can see how that would be an advantage for a TV series.
When I was reading about genres in chapter 15, I realized that I don’t really discriminate against certain genres the way I used to. I remember absolutely hating westerns when I was growing up. My grandpa would watch John Wayne movies all weekend on AMC and I couldn’t stand it. I still don’t care for older westerns, but I have found more recent gunslinger films that I liked. Maybe it has to do with the blending of genres and the updating of westerns, or maybe it’s just a change in my personal taste. However, I also find that open many other genres that I never used to like either. I will now watch dramas, some romantic comedies, and even documentaries. I guess the point is that I don’t base my decision of watching a film on what genre it’s in.
We talked in class about how discourses change over time. It reminded me of how MTV has really supported gay rights in the last few years. In the last season of the real world there were two gay cast members and they spent a large part of their time participating in gay rights parades and things like that.
When I was a kid I can’t remember seeing anything that really pushed for gay rights or openly supported that cause the way MTV does now. I guess they are trying to change the discourse related to this topic. I have the urge to be cynical and assume that somewhere along the way MTV researched their market and found that adding gay content would boost their ratings or attract a new audience, but whether they’re doing it for ratings or because they feel it’s a good cause, it’s definitely happening.
In my opinion, our textbook does a pretty good job explaining things and giving good examples of what their talking about and how the ideas occur in media. This chapter, however, seemed a little more rushed to me. I felt like the authors could have done a better job in explaining how Discourse and Ideology really relate to the media and why it matters to us. I understand that our ideology will have a huge effect on how we read a text, but beyond that I guess I didn’t get the point.
Also The section on ‘unconscious consciousness’ makes sense, but how does it relate to media? We get the exhaustive list of meanings behind holding the door for a woman but we don’t really get a concrete example of how this might affect our reading of media texts. Maybe there just isn’t a way to make this stuff clearer in just one brief chapter, but I expected more from the book.
We’ve talked a lot about the content of advertising but this week when I was watching the Blues play on television, I was really surprised when I noticed how often ads are worked into the broadcast. Of course there are commercial breaks a few times per period and even more during the intermission. Beyond this, it seems that every event in the game is sponsored by a company.
For example, when the Blues draw a penalty, the announcers designate an “Ameren Missouri Blues Power Play”. Each game a play is selected as the “Dirt Cheap Cheap Shot of the Game. Comments by players are presented as “Gieco Quotes of the Game”. These are just a few of the examples that are most obvious.
I guess I never really paid much attention to them before, but it really is kind of odd that every event in the game has been sold to a company in this way.
When I was writing my paper for this class I used an episode of Family Guy as my text. I noticed how much of the show depends on intertextuality. If you don’t have a fairly broad knowledge of pop-culture, then a lot of the jokes and spoofs will probably be lost on you. I would imagine that most of us in this class do possess a pretty wide knowledge of popular culture since we are mostly media majors and minors.
When I watch the show with one of my roommates who isn’t a big pop-culture buff, I find that he misses out on a lot of the jokes or misses the references behind them. He still enjoys the show, but I can’t help but feel a little pride when I see a reference and he doesn’t.
It really seems like there is a movement toward shows that use intertextuality heavily. The Office, for example, uses it a lot also. They often reference movies and tv shows during an episode. Maybe it is a testament to our total immersion in media that we can have so many shows that reference each other.
According to the book, Apple is alluding to the Bible with it’s logo. I guess I never really thought about it before. I’m familiar enough with the story of Adam and Eve and tasting the forbidden fruit, but it never occurred to me to put the two together when I looked at Apple’s decal.
It made me think of the logos of other companies to see if there were any big ones that I hadn’t thought about. So I typed in ‘company logos’ in a Google image search. Most of the companies that popped up had images that made perfect sense. ‘Tic-Tac’ is displayed on a green leaf that is meant to represent mint. Visa’s background just looks like a credit card and Taco bell has a bell.
The Purina pet food logo, a red and white checkerboard, was curious to me so I got this from Wikipedia:
“Ralston Purina was famed for its “checkerboard” trademark. The inspiration for the Ralston Purina logo came from a family from founder William Danforth’s childhood who dressed in checkerboard cloth. The checkerboard trademark was introduced in 1904. Ralston Purina’s headquarters was called Checkerboard Square. The checkerboard logo then evolved into personal development concept Danforth put forth in his book I Dare You, in which he proposed the four key components in life (“Physical”, “Mental”, “Social” and “Religious”) need to be in balance, and one area was not to develop at expense of the other. The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921, when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called “checkers.”
Kind of interesting… although I don’t think any of this is directly communicated by simply viewing the logo, it’s cool to see that there is so much behind such a simple trademark.
I think a lot of people have gone onto car company websites and put together their dream car, or at least played around with the features and options to see what they could come up with. One of the big draws is that you are customizing the vehicle to fit your lifestyle. Of course, the last time I went online and did this it was with a Jeep. I had no intention of ever buying a Jeep, but I wanted to see what you could add and what features they would let you play with.
I ended up with a $35,000 Wrangler with all-wheel drive, a leather package, removable top, chrome trim, and top of the line audio. Does that match my lifestyle? No. I’m a 22 year old college student with no credit history who lives off his parents charity and works part-time. This vehicle doesn’t fit my niche at the moment.
So what benefit if any did Jeep get out of this? Even if I somehow fell in love with this car and decided I would do anything to get it, it just wouldn’t be possible right now or in the near future. Maybe people who were only somewhat interested in a Wrangler, and had the means to buy one could be won over with a program like this. I guess that is the target group for Jeep.
I think I understand what the book is saying about modality in relation to media. The better the image the higher the modality…
So does that mean that home audio and video gets “more modal’ with time? I guess that today’s blu-ray discs and 3d televisions have a higher modality than tube televisions and VHS players with respect to screen resolution.
But on the other hand, technology allows us to produce more realistic cinematic effects, so it allows us to tell bigger lies, essentially. So although our technology allows us a clearer picture, that picture might be less accurate as far as reality in concerned.
So I guess it would depend on what I’m watching? If I watch a Blu-ray copy of documentary about the rain forest then that would be high modality, I think. But if I watch ‘Tron’ that would be low modality… I guess.
Anyone else have an opinion on this?
I remember back in my AOL instant messenger days, when it was popular and even expected to use ‘netspeak’. You looked like a dork if you spelled out ‘Your’ instead of ‘ur’. But it seems like fewer and fewer people are using these abbreviations, in my experience. With text messaging, I see a lot fewer instances of ‘netspeak’ than I used to. There are still a lot of grammatical errors, like using ‘there’ in the place of ‘they’re’. These are to be expected since people are in a hurry to send information to friends and family.
I can’t remember the last time someone texted me ‘Gr8’ or ‘cyl’. Maybe it is the introduction of qwerty keyboards that has stopped this degeneration of language. It’s fairly easy to type out a long message on a cellphone now, and you can even spell-check messages on some models.
I had a teacher in high school that swore that text messaging would ruin English ACT scores and cause the destruction of civilized speech and writing. It seems to me that these predictions are not coming true after all.
The example of signs and signifiers on page 135 of the book got me thinking about all the signs that are used in television and advertising. The example was of ‘The Bachelor’ giving a rose to the women he is going to keep. The rose is meant to signify the man’s love for the women.
When I look at a magazine like Sports Illustrated or Espn, I see that the majority of ads feature athletic people. Usually these people are using athletic products. I guess the sign is the athlete and the signified is that active, athletic, and capable people use the product. Of course they wouldn’t feature an overweight person struggling to exercise in an advertisement for Gatorade, that would send the wrong sign.
When I read about uses and gratifications in the book, I was reminded about the media I consume while I study or do homework. The book says, “This model acknowledges that audience members often use television, radio, and other media as a background to other everyday activities.”
This is definitely true for myself, and I think it’s probably true for most people. A lot of people listen to music while they study, or have the TV on while they are doing homework. For me, it’s best to have the sound off on the TV or to listen to music with no words. I take what I want from these mediums.
When I mute a hockey game so that I can occasionally look up from my work and check the score or maybe catch a goal out of the corner of my eye, I’m just taking what I want from the broadcast.
I guess the same is also true when I ‘listen’ to music while I’m studying. I can’t really focus on both at once. I really just drift in and out and hear certain parts, like if I come to the end of a paragraph and take a second off of reading and catch a few bars of music.
The section of the book in which this statement appears reminded me a lot of the people I know. One of my roommates has a “High School Musical” poster hanging in his bedroom. When people ask him if he likes those movies he just laughs and says “No it’s just funny.” It would be really easy to misunderstand his opinion of High School Musical. Most people hang posters to express their interest in things or to be surrounded by the things they like. He hung this poster with a sense of humor. The idea of a 23 year old male with a Disney poster in his room is funny to him. You would have to look at this specific context to understand his meaning.
(Source: pages 97-98)