Well this is it. We’re coming to the end of the semester and this fall 2012 media criticism class is coming to an end. For my last blog assignment, I will be assessing the Word Press blogs of three of my classmates. I will be reading their discussions on many of the topics we discussed in class and respond to one of them. This blog won’t be a critique of what they posted, but a response to how they approached the assignment. I will explain to them what I liked/disliked and anything I may have learned from reading their blog. I will also give them a few ideas on how they could have approached the assignment differently and any information I feel they could have included.
For my first response, I commented on Kaila Flood’s post on ideology. Here is what I said:
I really enjoyed reading your post and I think you did a great job. Your post does a wonderful job of explaining what ideology and ideological criticism is in detail. I also feel that understanding what ideological criticism is, can help individuals understand what the media is exposing its viewers to. Many of us watch TV programs, movies, and advertisements without realizing how the message is shaping our society and culture. Another good point you made was how this is a hegemonic approach that is used by these media conglomerates to maintain some form of control and manipulation over its viewers. With the tool of ideological criticism at our disposal, as viewers we can be more skeptical of what we see from these media outlets. Your example of how Disney accomplishes this hegemonic approach through the film Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power, was very informative. I like your two examples how Disney portrays gender roles and what it means to be a boy or girl. You give some very good examples with images, but I feel you could have given more examples of Disney’s ideologies through video like this one. I also would have referenced how Disney uses their commercialization power to distribute their ideologies to the public with an example like this. Aside from those two suggestions, I feel your post was nicely done and informative.
For my second response, I looked at Eric Arditti’s Breakdown of Breaking Bad:
First thing I want to say is that I think you did a great job with the post. I have never seen an episode of Breaking Bad, but I’ve heard many good things about the show. Your introduction of the show is very informative and gives a good description of the main characters. A school teacher with a life threatening illness doing something illegal to take care of his family is a compelling situation for the show. Another fact you talked about was his decision to join up with a former student, makes it even more interesting. Their inexperience in being drug dealers, which gets them into all types of trouble seems to add another element of drama. You also did a very good job of describing how the show takes an Aristotelian approach, which looks at the story through elements of drama. Your analysis on how there speech in the show reflected their characters was very enlightening. Mr. White being a teacher with a professional vocabulary does not reflect his new profession as a drug dealer, but his partner speaks with a slang or street vocabulary. This showed me that you truly understand how the producers of the show are trying to portray these characters to the viewers. The post is full of images and good video clips to complement your assessment of the show, but I have one suggestion. I feel you could have added more links in the post, maybe to the official site for the show. This would give someone like me who may be interested in the show an opportunity to get more information. Other than that, I think you did a great job; it makes me want to check out the show!
And for my third response, I took a look at Allison Brickell’s post Man Up! Or Else:
First off, I really loved your post and you did a good job introducing your audience to your topic. I remember watching the series of Miller Lite’s “Man Up” commercials, but I really didn’t think anything was wrong with them until now. Your post brought a lot if underlining issues with the commercials that I would have never thought about. You did a very nice job using semiotics to identify the signs within texts of the commercial and bringing them out for your audience to see them for what they really are. When you view the commercial, it seems the roles have been reversed from what we’re use to. As you described, the man seems to be very passive and does not carry the qualities of the chiseled chin, broad shoulders and muscles. He just looks like the average Joe that you see every day on the street. But because he doesn’t choose to drink “Miller Lite”, he is perceived to be unmanly or not masculine. I also loved how you analyzed that the bartender happens to be a female who fits all the dominant ideologies of being an attractive and feminine, but with a dominant male attitude. I feel they use this to reiterate how not drinking their beer makes you feminine, like the guy wearing the skirt. And to be “manly” you need to drink Miller Lite. This was a great post and the only thing I think you could have done is add some links in your post. A link about semiotics or the Miller Lite site, would have given the ready more resources to look at. Other than that, nicely done!
In closing, I would like to thank Dr. Nichols for doing a wonderful job with the course this semester. After reading my classmates’ posts, it’s very clear that my classmates and I have a better understanding of what media criticism is and why it’s important to study. I have learned to look at media more critically and to be careful what I expose my family to. Too much media can be dangerous and if you don’t learn to analyze the signs within media texts, you will be at the mercy of what they want you to believe is right. Taking this course will be one of the best experiences I’ve had in college.