Hello, my name is Dave and I’m a Towson University student enrolled in a Media Criticism course. In this course I have been tasked with keeping a blog, in which I will discuss key concepts. Now I really don’t imagine myself as much of a “blogger”, but as someone who may want to use writing as a profession skill in the future I will not pass up an opportunity like this to hone my skills.
A little about myself.
I am 20 years old. I am bewildered by the 2012 Republican hopefuls. I am interested in mass media.
Since most of my interest are in mass media, television, film, newspaper, advertising, social networking etc., I decided to take a winter session course on a topic that I find extremely interesting, media criticism.
Yeah! Media criticism. You know that constant buzz of information which inhabits our daily lives. I mean, it really is everywhere and you really cannot escape it. Since we created this monster we might as well understand it. Right?
From the beginning of time the power elite have understood the sheer power which the media holds. Through this understanding of the media, the power elite have created these hegemonic forces which they control the lowly peasant, which we of course fall into.
Ok, maybe peasant isn’t exactly the right term. Let’s try consumer.
In an article we discussed in class, Douglas Kellner states we are “from cradle to grave in a media and consumer society and thus it is important to learn how to understand, interpret, and criticize its meanings and messages.” But wait, what does this mean? This means that the media is not only used as entertainment, but as a tool used in socialization. Hold on, you’re saying that the media cares enough to socialize us, that sounds like a great thing! No wait, what I mean by that is that every single media outlet in world is buying for our perceptions. As consumers we have all taken-the-bait.
How do we stop it?
Well you really can’t stop this monster we have created. The media is such a huge part of our lives. It tells us how we should dress, how we should talk, what music we should dance to, and even how to love. But, you can become aware of how the media influences you and media critics everywhere are trying to get you to wake up!
The Media Can’t Always Be Bad!
Thats absolutely true. Look at all the great things the media has done. It has increased the amount of information we have to access. It is great entertainment. It has even provided trillions of dollars to the U.S economy. To quote Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility.” We as consumers in this media driven age have the power and responsibility to decode the messages sent by the media. Through media criticism we hope to give others the ability to decode the messages found in every day life and to understand why their perceptions are so important.
My New Favorite T.V Show!
One of my favorite shows on television is called “Moonshiners”. It is a reality television series that ran from December 6, 2011 to January 4th, 2012. This six episode series documented the lives of two notorious moonshiners and a ABC agent. The show is filled to the brim with scenes of what I would consider American rednecks who distill a colorless liquid packaged in large mason jars. Seems harmless enough, right? Well it turns out that anyone brewing liquor without a permit from the government is in violation of the law. So why exactly would the Discovery Channel put a television show in a prime time slot that documents individuals breaking the law? To change viewers perceptions.
Not This Again…
That is exactly what the show did. It changed my perceptions. I would never drink illegal distilled liquor in my life. I have heard that you could lose your sight from drinking improperly distilled liquor or that it is sometimes only repackaged bleach. But, after this show I legitimately had my perception changed from, Yeah this should definitely be illegal. To, Well they are not really hurting anyone.
Let us Decode!
When you first watch the show you are immediately grabbed by its entertainment value. It is legitimately a funny show to watch. What is better than watching a bunch of wasted rednecks mess about in the woods while making liquor. The answer is nothing. Through placing these innocent looking rednecks who brew an extremely innocent product the Discovery Channel has forever changed my perceptions on moon shining.
How do they do it?
First the characters in the show look the part. They look like they should be brewing moonshine. In the series the main character wears only a pair of overalls for the entirety of the show. Second, these criminals do not act like criminals. The word criminal brings to mind images of thieves and frauds. In “Moonshiners” the main characters are bunch of good ol’ boys who are trying to make enough money in order to legally make whiskey. You see this television series has an agenda, as many do, and that agenda is to change how the regulation of alcohol is handled in our country.
It is all in the Agenda
The producers behind “Moonshiners” have a not so hidden agenda. On one hand they are providing the consumer with social commentary on the other they are providing the consumer with entertainment. Maybe the producers of “Moonshiners” hope to change consumer perceptions enough so that one day they will elect officials who will de-regulate the Alcohol industry which in turn may create more American jobs or at least make it easier for the average American citizen to begin brewing their own liquor for home consumption.
So Media Criticism in a nutshell would be?
Media criticism is the window into a whole new field of study. The study of cultural perceptions given to us through the use of the media. It is important to understand how the media works, why it is there, and who benefits from it and why. This class I am currently enrolled in will hopefully give me the tools in which I can decipher more symbolism found in today’s media.