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Melodramatic Media

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Vivie Lee

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of Melodramatic Media

Melodramatic Media
The Ebola Crisis
A situation likely to turn against the government
Beating a helpless man vs. doing their job
"These peace officers were doing their job. They had no malice in their heart"
Antibiotic revolution
One of the most significant medical discoveries
Laura's killer, Scott Harlan Thorpe: villain or victim?
"In its insistence on Manicheistic designations and the redemptive power of fighting evil, melodrama immediately foreclosed the asking of questions about responsibility, morality, and long-term implications..."
"In recent scholarship, melodrama has been defined more specifically as a mode of popular culture that presents images and characters through hyperbolic, binary moralistic positions and arranges them within a plotline that restages the eternal battle between good and evil"
Initially perceived as a miracle cure
1988 commercial
Victimizes children and villainizes microbes
Good--> humanity
Evil--> bacteria
Hero--> antibiotics
Facilitates ignorance & misunderstanding
Leak of ZMapp
"Failure to communicate"
"...they are monitoring over a dozen people for symptoms, including five school-age children from four schools"
In both cases...
clear distinctions between victim/hero and villain
the importance of general public opinion and knowledge
"We will achieve a better justice to the degree that we are aware of color and gender (and class) as factors that impinge on justice. This does not mean that we should cynically play one "card" against another, but that we must equip ourselves as a culture with the tools to understand the melodramatic stories of race, gender and class that do, inevitably, sway both audiences and juries"
The Death of Kelly Thomas
two justified cases
The Matthew Sheperd Law and
The Laramie Project
Jury's fear and suspicion regarding the mentally ill
The WHO'
"It is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society"
"How one addresses the antivaccine movement has been a problem since the time of Jenner. The best way in the long term is to refute wrong allegations at the earliest opportunity by providing scientifically valid data. This is easier said than done, because the adversary in this game plays according to rules that are not generally those of science. This issue will not be further addressed in this paper, which aims to show how vaccines are valuable to both individuals and societies, to present validated facts, and to help redress adverse perceptions"
Two media stories that parallel with Anker's view of melodrama

Two cases similar to Williams' analysis on the uses of melodramatic rhetoric

Two situations in which the use of melodrama is justified
Full transcript