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Melodrama in Media

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by

Sam Nichamin

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Melodrama in Media

Melodrama In Media
Melodrama in Media
Two media stories that confirm Anker's views, two stories that Williams helps me analyze, and two stories where the use of melodrama is warranted.
Anker's Views
-"Melodrama is... a pervasive cultural mode that structures the presentation of political discourse and national identity in contemporary America."

-It "employs emotionality to provide an unambiguous distinction between good and evil through clear designations of victimization, heroism, and villainy."

-5 primary qualities of Melodrama

-America is "abstract, homogenous unit defined solely by adherence to American ideals and virtues".

-American national identity "establishes its own moral virtue through victimization and heroic restitution."
Anker's Views
-This type of melodrama can be harmful

-Its simplification of the complex and ambiguous is dangerous and prevents us from asking questions.

-"thoughtfulness is destroyed.


The War on Christmas
-Annually, Fox News covers the "War On Christmas" and the "threats to religious freedom".

-As the use of the word "War" in the title suggests, it is highly melodramatic.

-American freedom is under attack. Who is more virtuous than the American family who wants to celebrate Christmas and spread joy?

-Their attempts to exercise their American rights are squashed by the godless, leaving them victimized.

-However, there are still stories of the brave, heroic, and virtuous who stand up to such inequality and proudly display the constitutional rights to religious freedom. ----(Fox displays a huge nativity scene outside of their headquarters)
The Danger In Such Melodrama
-Such melodramatic reporting is successful in eliciting emotional responses. Religious Freedom is one of the key foundations of the American spirit.

-However, such reporting doesn't cover the whole truth and discourages individual thought and exploration into these matters.

-Is replacing the word 'Christmas' with 'Winter' or 'Holiday' when what is described doesn't pertain directly to Christmas alone really so bad? America is a 'melting pot', so why not celebrate such diversity by encompassing it in our greetings and expressions.

-A report slamming a NJ school district for banning 'religious Christmas music' warns people to be aware of the attack on their religious freedoms. However, by not including the religious music in the public schools, the district is in fact upholding our religious freedoms and keeping strong the 'Separation of Church and State'.
Financial Crisis of 07'-08'
The financial Crisis lead to many American's losing their jobs, homes, and way of life. The virtuous American family was the victim of greedy, myopic bankers.

-America is the Land of Opportunity. That 'opportunity' was taken away, thus, the American way of life as a whole was under attack.

-This lead to a "call for state" action against the classic, wealthy, greedy melodramatic villains.

-Clear enemies were given (bankers and titans of big business) as well as a seemingly clear victim: the American people. It was greed versus American virtue. The American dream was under attack!

The Danger In Such Melodrama
-Such a melodramatic response to what was a real problem was harmful.

-It prevented even and fair investigation into the systemic problems.

-Instead, it was a call for 'swift retribution' and became a 'binary' problem. The greedy 1% against the virtuous 99%.

-In many instances where action needed to be taken to prevent a future crisis, progress was halted as warring factions of left and right battled.

-A complex world of ambiguity was turned into a simplified picture where the everyman needed to be protected from big business.
William's Views
-The trauma of suffering equals great ''melodramatic power".

-The justification of violence and discrimination by perpetuating stereotypes.

-Binary, Tom vs. Anti-Tom dialogue between two melodramatic factions.

- US court trials often resemble soap operas.

-Media is about presentation, and presentation shapes our reality. The modernist forms of media shape that presentation.

-Race blindness (nondiscriminatory America).

Two Stories
-War on Christmas
-Financial Crisis (07-08)
Sam Nichamin
Marriage Equality
-Arguments for and against marriage equality are immensely melodramatic.

-One side says that the LGBTQ community are a group of virtuous people who have suffered greatly at the hands of hateful bigots who deny them basic rights.

-Another that same sex marriage is an abomination of God and threatens to destroy the American family.

-A "Tom vs. Anti-Tom'' dialogue has sprung up between the two. "It will destroy the American family" - "It will create and strengthen new American families"

-Gay men are often described as sex craved heretics, much the way that black men were depicted in Anti-Tom pieces.

-The use of the ''=" equality sign is the most popular profile picture in Facebook history.
Aurora Theater Shooting
-On July 20th, 2012 James Holmes perpetrated a mass shooting inside of an Aurora cinema, killing 12 people and injuring 70 more.

-The aftermath of the shooting led to melodramatic media coverage and reactions. Upon first site, Holmes was clearly the villain and the people who were attacked in the cinema were the clear victims. But soon, guns become the abstract enemy, and the virtuous, red-blooded, common, American was the victim. Such a thing could happen to any American anywhere, anytime.

-A binary melodrama played out in a 'Left vs. Right battle. Gun control vs. The Right to Bear Arms.

-Many looked at Holmes' detached demeanor to try to find that he was simply a mad man, someone who would kill regardless of gun laws. Others, to see that he was the type of crazed individual who guns must be kept away from.
Two for Me.
-Anti-Semitism in Europe

-Jerry Sandusky Case
Anti-Semitism in Europe
-Anti-Semitism in Europe is alarmingly high.

-A new wave of wide spread hate is sweeping through the same countries that saw the holocaust just 70 years ago.

-Not just disparate radical groups, but popular comedians, political leaders, and activists are spewing hate.
Jerry Sandusky
The crimes that Jerry Sandusky has committed and been convicted of are truly evil. It is a case of a definitive villainy and obvious victims who have had their innocence stolen from them.
Full transcript