Thursday, June 30, 2011

One last post, on video games ...

... and one game that requires that you kill your creepy little sisters.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An article about LeBron James and racism

A thoughtful article from Forbes, in response to an earlier article and responses to that article, that hinted that some negative opinions about James could be because of racism.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gays in Communist China

Since we are visiting the Dallas Holocaust museum and its exhibit on the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis before and during WWII, I thought this more recent example of persecution was relevant:

Headlines and agenda-setting

Thought this was an interesting contrast in NYCity, about the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York.

An interesting article on the "I Am An American" PSAs after 9/11

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some useful definitions for the open-note test Monday

binary: a relationship of two concepts or things, usually in an either-or dynamic. One term is likely to be privileged over the other term, man/woman, white/black, rich/poor.

credibility: the attribute of being believed or of having authority.

media market: a geographically defined area, usually metropolitan, served by specific news outlets such as newspapers, radio stations, local television stations
overdetermined: excessively defined or overly limited.
sensationalism: tactics in news reporting and editing causing emotional excitement, such as use of an inflammatory headline

stereotypes: superficial characterizations, which reduce a person to one attribute.

media literacy: an ability to think critically about mass media programming and the ways such programming—film, television shows, advertising, videogames, and more—is created, produced, and disseminated. Many scholars focus not only on the texts that are consumed, but also the ways that these texts are circulated within cultural and economic contexts, and their effects on audiences.

objectification: a concept, usually associated with feminist theory, that accounts for the ways that humans see other people or treat other people as simply anatomy, as a body or body part. Cheesecake advertising, when an attractive, scantily clad woman is shown next to a consumer product, turns that woman into an object to be viewed and consumed.

sexism: a term formed during the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, meaning that one gender is seen as superior to the other.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer topics and schedule

Monday, June 13: Dreamworlds, music videos (Lambiase)
Tuesday, June 14: LGBT images; myth of Asian superiority; absence from ads; the nerd (Hallie, Kailey, Clinton, Lauren)
Wednesday, June 15: Violence, gender and alcohol advertising; images in video games (Shannon, Trevor)
Thursday, June 16: Bamboozled, Spike Lee, & breaking stereotypes (Trevor)
Friday, June 17: Final project appointments

Monday, June 20: Open notes essay test
Tuesday, June 21:  Cause marketing and race; Muslims in media (John, Gary)
Wednesday, June 22: Spanish language press and presence (Alyssa); cosmopolitanism assignment
Thursday, June 23: Jean Kilbourne & Killing Us Softly (Sarah); final project assignments
Friday, June 24: Final project appointments

Other: June 28, field trip to Holocaust Museum in Dallas

Latino/a images in media (sample report for your upcoming topic papers)

When thinking about the history of Latino/Latina images in media, I think it echoes many such histories of minority representations in media. When we consider past and current depictions of African-Americans, Latinos, Italian-Americans, the Irish, women of all races including white women, Asians and Asian-Americans, Native Americans (or any First Nations peoples here in the Americas) and many other groups, we can discern the patterns.  Some of these groups may be seen as "white," so this group I listed above is about more than just race, but is also about class. People who are discerned as second-class are seen as less than (fill in the blank here with the name of the most powerful group).

In "The Bronze Screen," a history of Latino images in film, these stereotypes are examined: the Greaser, the Lazy Mexican, the Latin Lover and the Dark Lady. It also tackles the prevalence of the gangster image, too. The documentary "traces the progression of this distorted screen image to the increased prominence of todays Latino actors, writers, and directors," according to its trailer. These same labels, with variations, have been applied to the other groups listed above:


Current depictions of Latinos and Latinas are more varied, but these stereotypes remain. Sometimes, they are embedded in comedies, so that we are laughing at the person with the stereotype, but mostly we may be laughing at ourselves and our shared understanding of the stereotype.  For consideration, I offer some clips from I Love Lucy, Modern Family, Napoleon Dynamite, and other current media depictions.

So, my questions are these: Do dramas tend to use stereotypes negatively, and comedies use stereotypes negatively, but we're laughing?  Is the effect the same, however?  Is that what is happening now, when Comedy Central's Daily Show and other programming use stereotypes, poke fun at them, but still reinforce them?  This tradition is an old one, if we look at minstrel shows and other similar entertainments of the past.  Now that dramas in film and television have lost the worst of stereotypes, at least for mainstreamed Latino depictions, does that mean that comedies are the main media products keeping them alive? What is the relationship between stereotypes and comedies?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Social media, #blacktwitter, and Tracy Morgan

OK, so this might be a place where we can think about diversity and social media. Check out this story, that I picked up from a trending topic in Twitter.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Blog addresses for summer class

There are some great ideas and postings in these student blogs, about prime-time TV's lack of diversity, reality television, the NBA, Photoshop, the demographics of social media, news rules for the bus, Cosmopolitan, and more.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Bubbles, purple and otherwise

I talk a lot in my classes about the bubbles in which we all live. I joke a little about the purple bubble that we live in at TCU, the bubble of Fort Worth, the bubble of Texas, and bubbles of religious faith, musical genre, gender, etc. I talk about my older daughter's wish to get out of the bubble of Texas, to try the Beltway bubble of Washington, D.C.

At her university (University of Maryland), the word "bubble" actually appears on the name of its journalism school's multimedia lab.  And it seems very apt, since journalists and all professionals live in a bubble, too, that they've created and then continue to pass along these bubble ways to college students. That's what all professional schools are, in a way.  Humans are quite simply makers of bubbles.

There are links in this blog from April about Plato's cave allegory, which is the ancient version of the bubble.  Plato thinks that a chosen few can climb out of their bubbles, to become philosopher kings.

Here's a link from one of the TED talks, about bubbles, shared with me by student Kathryn Waggoner. It details how the internet creates bubbles around our search and social media activities, much like our brains create idea bubbles.

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