Link Ch. 9 – NY Times Draws Controversy Calling Shonda Rhimes an “Angry Black Woman”

The story in the New York Times started out provocatively:

When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”

That opening line, and a story that went on to note that actress Viola Davis, who stars in Rhimes’ TV series “How To Get Away With Murder,” is “older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful” than Olivia Washington, who stars in another Rhimes show, “Scandal.”

A pair of lengthy articles from NY Times public editor Margaret Sullivan quotes extensively from reader criticism of the article, that she says is righty deserved.

Read the article and the two responses from the public editor so you can form your own opinion.  Does the writer, a white male, treat Rhimes the same way he would have treated a white male?  What things are the critics sensitive about?  How do you feel about how the author defends himself?

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 9 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 9 – I Love Lucy

As I write this in mid-October, 2014 it is hard to know which, if any, of the episodes of the classic TV series I Love Lucy will remain available for free online.  CBS has just announced their new pay service for streaming content, and they may or may not force all of the free copies of Lucy off the web.

In the mean time, here’s a link to several episodes of I Love Lucy from Hulu.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 9 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Box Office Mojo mysteriously disappears/reappears

Box Office Mojo, the source of endless movie box office financial statistics, disappeared for a couple of days in mid-October 2014, prompting speculation that the site had been absorbed into IMDb.com, which owns BOM. But then it just as mysteriously re-appeared. And no one will say what happened. Hmmm….

Me, I’m looking for Benjamin Linus and the island from Lost.

Posted in Chapter 8 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 8 – D.W. Griffith’s ‘Intolerance’

Intolerance was D.W. Griffit’s epic followup to Birth of a Nation.  You can now see a nearly 3-hour cut of the film on YouTube.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 8 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 7 – Meet David Sarnoff

David Sarnoff is one of the most influential people in the foundation of American broadcasting, having  been the president of NBC from the radio era into the days of television.  Here are a couple of great resources on this pioneer:

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 7 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 4 – Young Adult & Children’s Bestsellers

The New York Times has several bestseller lists that deal with books targeted at children and young adults.  Take a look to see if your favorites are still on the list.  Note that books for children and young adults typically stay on the bestseller lists longer than adult books do.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 3 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 4 – Three Cups of Redemption for Mortenson?

Greg Mortenson, author of the memoir Three Cups of Tea, faced enormous criticism in 2011 when several investigations turned up evidence that he had fabricated substantial portions of his two books about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But now, in 2014, he is working to redeem that tarnished reputation.  According to a story from the Washington Post, Mortenson is now back in Asia trying to get schools back on track.  You can read the whole story here.

You can read more background on Mortenson and others who have fabricated memoirs here.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 3 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 2 – Revisiting Dr. Gerbner and TV Violence

By and large, most people who aren’t media scholars would be hard pressed to name a single media theorist who isn’t Marshall McLuhan. But the one possible exception would be George Gerbner because of his cultivation theory. Dr. Gerbner testified before Congress about televised violence in October 1981, and his cultivation theory is one of the top three cited theoretical approaches in communication research.

Dr. Patrick E. Jamieson and Dr. Dan Romer at the University of Pennsylvania took a fresh look in 2014 at Gerbner’s work to see how it would hold up to an examination of twenty-five years of data about televised violence and people’s fear of crime. Jamieson and Romer looked at 475 hours of television programming and Gallup interviews with more than 27,000 people. In their study, they found that while increased violent content on television did not change people’s estimations of how dangerous the world around them was, it did make people more afraid of violence.

 Also, below are two older readings by Gerbner.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 2 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

For my students – Covers, Remixes, and Mashups

Today in class I was talking about both cover songs, remixes, and mashups; and we looked at and talked about a number of videos.  Here are links to them:

Posted in Chapter 7 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Link Ch. 2 – Applying the Spiral of Silence to Social Media

German media scholar Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, with her spiral of silence, has raised the question of why people become unwilling to express what they perceive to be a minority opinion. Central to Noelle-Neumann’s argument is that when people believe they are in the minority with their opinion, they will tend to stay quiet on the topic, thus feeding the sense that a particular opinion is held by a minority. Thus it becomes a death spiral of diversity of ideas, as more and more people come to believe that they hold a minority opinion.

While Noelle-Neumann’s work is fascinating, there are many cases in modern culture where people are more than willing to speak out with what they know to be contrary opinions.  But a recent study from the Pew Research Internet Project found support for the spiral of silence when it comes to discussing controversial issues on social media.  The researchers were attempting to find out whether social media such as Facebook or Twitter might make people more willing to express their opinions on political issues.  The Pew study looked at how willing people were to express an opinion about Edward Snowden’s release of classified documents as discussed in the opening vignette for this chapter.  Not surprisingly, the study showed that Americans were split as to whether Snowden’s leaks were a good idea and whether the surveillance policy was a good idea. But the study went on to show that:

  • People were less willing to discuss the Snowden case on social media than they were in person.
  • People were more likely to share their opinions about Snowden if they thought their audience agreed with their point of view.  This was true both in person and online.
  • People who wouldn’t share their opinion on Snowden in a face-to-face conversation were even less likely to share their opinion on social media.

Overall, the Pew study found a strong spiral of silence effect for controversial issues on social media.  You can read the whole study here.

Posted in Book Link, Chapter 2 | Tagged , | Leave a comment