MEDIA STUDIES 3.4. Explain the relationship between media genre and society. Credit value: 4 Genre groups texts by identifying common codes and conventions. Includes: horror, western, film noir, thriller, Science Fiction, documentary …
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Explain the relationship between media genre and society. Credit value: 4
Genre groups texts by identifying common codes and conventions. Includes: horror, western, film noir, thriller, Science Fiction, documentary …
Relationship refers to the influence of the genre on society and the influence of society on the genre, and may include developments over time.
Influences on genre include: political & economic climate, idealogical, mora, spiritual & social values, technological changes, audience demand…
Influence on society may include “copycatting” (imitation of stylesor tends in genre by individuals in society), changes in societal expectations and beliefs, influence on other media forms…..
Developments could be technological and or stylistic changes to the genre made over a period of time.
A range of texts should be studied to develop an understanding of the relationship/s. You are to discuss, explain and analyse the genre as a whole in a perceptive manner. This means you need to be alert to the issues raised by a society and be able to comment on how they are reflected in the film genre and vice versa.
as a reflection of society.
Kathi Maio - “Lost in the Land of Fake Fakes”
Fantasy & Science Fiction; Jan 2003. Vol 104. Issue 1. Pp 130-136.
Vincent Freeman, a genetically “invalid”, seeks to fulfil his dream - to enter the world of the “valids” and become an astronaut.
He succeeds but is almost discovered before the launch.
The Truman Show is repeating a story that dozens of other works of popular fiction have used for decades. It is a story that reveals an essential truth about what is happening to society in the 20th Century.
What is that truth? In part, it is about how the media and corporations have begun to surround us with a universe of illusions. From their high-tech control centers, they increasingly script and stage-manage events, creating the danger that we will find ourselves living inside seamless works of theater that we mistake for the world.
In the last few years, America has undergone a significant cultural change. Previously, almost no criticism of the media reached the public, except for some of the complaints of business interests and conservatives.
The media controlled the "means of communication" and it used that power to censor virtually all discussion of its own role in shaping events
The Truman Show, it shows us a character who also challenges -- and ultimately escapes from -- a contrived world that is an invention of media.
The movie’s message: we will have to stand up to the manipulators of television and news if we want to protect ourselves from the absurdity and falsehood that now surrounds us at every turn.
Thus does the movie offer us a metaphor for our own situation. The fake landscape Truman lives in is our own media landscape in which news, politics, advertising and public affairs are increasingly made up of theatrical illusions.
Like our media landscape, it is convincing in its realism, with lifelike simulations and story lines, from the high-tech facsimile of a sun that benevolently beams down on Truman to the mock sincerity of the actor he mistakenly believes is his best friend.
It is also rewarding and masquerades as something benevolent. And it is seamless -- there are almost no flaws that give away the illusion -- at least until things start to go wrong.
The movie depicts two attitudes we routinely take toward media. In one, we are absorbed by it; we accept its rendition of reality because it occupies our view.
We are like children whose parents define their world. The lifelikeness and seamlessness of media fabrications and the fact that they are entertaining, help induce this attitude in us. We frequently experience it while reading news stories and watching television and movies.
In the second attitude, we distance ourselves from media. We examine its meaning and try to understand the intentions of its authors. This second attitude is what makes criticism -- and freedom -- possible.
First, Truman is absorbed by his stage-set world. He is convinced it is real and it occupies his view.
Then, as a result of flaws in the seamlessness of the illusion, he begins to question it. He develops a healthy paranoia -- are they watching him; can he know what is authentic?
As he makes his escape, and the producer of the show blocks him at every turn, that is the creators of the movie telling us that we too have to take a journey -- of mind -- and distance ourselves from this media landscape, if we want to secure our freedom.
The movie wants to play the role of a social critic for us. It tells us to look around and break the spell that keeps us believing in the media-fabricated illusions of popular culture.
Of course, the movie is also a form of media. As it conveys these ideas to us in dramatic form, we are absorbed by its own take on the meaning of things. Like Truman, we are manipulated and entertained by its lifelike simulations and story line.
We identify with Truman and psychologically become a part of his world. So the movie uses the manipulations of media in order to manipulate us into seeing through the manipulations of media.
The movie isn't only a satire of television and other forms of media. It aims many of its most pointed barbs at us, the audience. After all, as we watch the characters hanging on Truman's every expression so they can feel something, that is us we see depicted on the screen. We are the one's who make this system possible, the movie tells us.
The willingness of the audience to exploit Truman so it can enjoy his life as entertainment is our own willingness to exploit an endless parade of human victims of news and reality programming because they have the misfortune to be part of some "newsworthy" event.
And both the audience and Truman portray our willingness to experience an easier and more exciting substitute for life, which is what fuels the media machine.
So Truman and the audience depict us. We're the villains and victims and hero of The Truman Show. And, ultimately, the only illusions we have to escape are the ones we create ourselves.
Like other depictions in the movie, this one is based on a disturbing characteristic of contemporary society.
Everywhere we look, today, we see powerful shapers of media -- including entertainment companies, news organizations, corporations and political groups -- offering us a benevolent face, with promises of enjoyment and an easy life. But, behind the mask, we increasingly find surveillance, manipulation and social control.
Many works of fiction show this same combination -- phony idyllic settings that mask a system of surveillance and social control. This theme can be found in written stories such as "The Machine Stops", by E. M Forster, The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, and The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke; in movies such as Logan's Run, and in television programs such as "The Cage", which was the pilot episode for the original Star Trek.
Simone, like all that she symbolizes, provides a world of advantages over her human counterparts. "she" is inexpensive. She never argues, tires, or negotiates contracts. She can be programmed to say or do anything; and she is eternally young, malleable, and available.
The predecessor technology to CGI such as rotoscoping (tracing the outlines of projected moving characters and then animating them), optical printing, and pixillation of mannequins, it is the next-of-kin status of Final Fantasy images which engages audiences.
We note both how the shadows, the textures, and the colors resemble but do not precisely duplicate human beings and their environments.
However, when watching Simone, as when watching a good magician, we are never certain which image is an illusion, and which image records the image of a live actress. And since the film is reflexive, that is, it calls attention to the character generation process in both senses of the word character, we are constantly invited to think about the line of demarcation between reality and verisimilitude.
When cinema was introduced, after seeing his first close-up shot, the famous playwright Bernard Shaw said "they'll never pay to see just part of an actor." Those who now say "they'll never pay to see a facsimile actor" may soon seem as short-sighted as Shaw. Such objections fade quickly.
One question which arises between the frames of Simone is "Where will we draw the line?"
As a society we have accepted astroturf as a substitute for grass despite the injuries caused to athletes. We think nothing of eating and drinking artificial sweeteners, colors, and chemicals.
We hardly expect the politicians we meet via the media to act the same when they are off camera.
Our standards about authenticity have eroded so much that Andrew Niccol can tease us for two hours about it -- and the satire stings.
To be sure in the age of cloning, virtual reality, public relations and artificial intelligence, a wave of books and films -- Algeny (1983), AI (2001), Being There (1979), Bicentennial Man (1999), Primary Colors (1998) , Virtuosity (1995), et al -have already raised questions about what is authentic. Long before this century philosophers have struggled with questions as deep as whether truth exists and, if so, is it knowable? Subjective? Sensory? Universal?
And contemporary thinkers - Barthes, Baudriard, Jameson, among others - are at home with developing this line of thought. By the 1960's McLuhan was already calling movies "dreams that money can buy". The concept of "moving pictures" is an oxymoron in any event. So there is nothing new about questioning the authenticity or mediated "reality".
The websites associated with Simone are a case in point. Anyone happening across the realistic websites about Victor Taransky, Amalgamated Films, and Simone's"movies" will not know that these characters and entities are fabrications. So, in an age when fake is fashionable, how do audiences know which websites, characters, actors, politicians, images and sounds are genuine? Indeed one implication of the film-within-a-film is that we no longer are as concerned with "is this true?" as "does this satisfy?" And if we are satisfied, we will permit all manner of pseudo-reality and surrogacy
The issues raised by Simone point toward a mountain of ethical questions. Everyone from amateur actors to mainstream unions is concerned about replacing flesh and blood actors with digital facsimiles not only in entertainment, but also in news, advertising, and beyond. The issues of fraud and deception also loom large..
What is the ethical if not the legal limit? In Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Space Jam (1996), Babe (1995), and Cool World (1992) it is obvious which characters are human and which are manufactured. And in Final Fantasy (2001) and its genre it is obvious that all characters are man-made. But such is not the case with Simone (2002), nor was it in such controversial media hoaxes as Orson Welles' famed radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds (1938).
In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) Neil Postman points to an important distinction separating the science fiction classics 1984 (1948) by George Orwell and Brave New World (1931) by Aldous Huxley. In 1984 non-conforming individuals are controlled by being punished in "room 101" where their greatest fear, such as of spiders, heights, or rats, awaits them. However, in Huxley's Brave New World of test tube castes, individuals are controlled through pleasure, not pain. Huxley's characters use an all purpose drug soma and enjoy the feelies, a multi-sensory arousing version of the talkies, to avoid and numb their pain or discomfort, whether emotional or physical.
In WHAT IS CALLED THINKING (1976) the great twentieth century philosopher Martin Heidegger described thinking as "that which is slipping away."
If original thinking is indeed receding into a mirage of illusion, it is valuable to have an illusion like Simone to provoke fresh thought.
You have 60 minutes to respond to the question.
Identify the media genre you have studied in terms of its relationship with society.
Analyse and evaluate how this media genre has influenced society and been influenced by society.
Refer to at least THREE texts to support your argument.