Wednesday, January 29, 2014

AR-EN: The Value of Mass Culture

[A Notebook on Alyssa Rosenberg & Emily Nussbaum]

In “Why I Care So Much About Mass Culture, Including Superhero Movies,” Alyssa Rosenberg writes, “When more people will go see a superhero blockbuster in its opening weekend than turn on the evening news on any given night, it’s critically important to engage with the ideas that show up in mass culture."

How did you respond to this observation about the important value of mass culture? Why? 

9 comments:

Brenda W. said...

I couldn't agree more with her observation. Indeed there are a plethora of scholarly individuals and/or individuals who prefer to focus their energy on realistic events, however, this does not mean that what others(majority of America) focus their energy on is inferior or irrelevant. It is a sad fact that majority care more about superhero castings than the nightly news but as the author stated, this is something that should be further explored as opposed to being ignored. The reason many choose to focus on fantasy as opposed to reality could be because of how harsh reality can be. I know that when I personally watch the evening news, I instantly become depressed at all the crazy and unfortunate news stories surrounding the country and the world. Maybe focusing on fantasies is easier and less painful than facing reality. There are many factors that can play into why individuals are so fascinated by superhero movies. This is a possibility we can not discover if we pretend to be blind to where the mass culture interests lie.

Ke'Asha jones said...

I agree with the view to a certain extent only because regardless of how you feel about something others will feel what they feel and acknowledge what they went to acknowledge regardless if there is literature or whatever out there for them to look at. I do believe that because the masses will run to see a movie before they watch the news or read an article there has to be some thought into the messages that are being put out there through the media that will reach the masses especially the younger masses.

Jessica Oranika said...

I agreed with her assertion that the things that show up in mass culture are quite important. It is particularly important because of the effects that it can have shaping the minds of children. Many ideas and stereotypes that adults hold today were formed as children. Children also notice many implications. For example how many of us as children assumed all dogs were boys and cats were all girls? No one ever told us this. We noticed the deep voiced barking of the dog and the dainty walk and "meow" of the cat and decided on our own. When she mentions that people who look like her usually played the villains and bad guys, it may seem inconsequential but no doubt children like her have noticed as well.

Ajeenah Johnson-Brown said...

I do agree with Rosenberg that our society has become more interested in super heroes, fictional worlds,and characters than reality. However, I think what Rosenberg fails to realize is that there is reality in these fictions. In many movies, such as, The Dark Knight the true greed of humans is exposed. Sure we do not attempt to take over whole cities, but there have been many crimes committed by people who just wanted money and/or power. You can even see this reality in movies other than super hero movies. For example, The Hunger Games. A story about a "olympics" of survival played by children. The winner's city recieves food. While to many Americans children being subjected to such war like behavior seems crazy, but to many third world countries this is normal. I believe mass culture is so appealing to today's society because we can see pieces of ourselve's in these make believe worlds and characters.

Tia S. said...

Her article reminded me a lot of what I've learned in a class I have this semester called the sociology of pop culture. Some may find mass culture trivial in comparison to some local, national, or world event you see on the news. However, it is very important to analyze and pay attention to mass culture just the same. There is a reason it is popular and there is a reason more people will go see the blockbuster than watch the evening news. We should be trying to figure out what these reasons are because it says something about our society. These blockbuster films, just like every other form of media, display the underlying values and conflicts of our current society. The messages from mass culture affect everyone; whether you're a child or an adult, consciously or subconsciously. Hence, the ideas shown by mass culture and their effects on the population are just as important to analyze as the stories on the news.

Candace P said...

I completely agree with her observation of mass culture's values. Today, individuals are accustomed to the devasting events, such as shootings, because these events occur on a consistent basis; thus, watching the evening news is not a priority, but watching a unpredictable and exciting movie is.

Georgy N said...

I agree with her in the sense that sometimes you have to reach people on a platform that has their interest. Mass media is extremely important to some people. Although not everyone find interest in it, there is no need to look down on those that do. Castings of superhero movies may not necessarily be academically challenging but that does not mean that it cannot teach the public something. I like that she mentions how casting affects people who are generally underrepresented or poorly represented in movies. It is important for people to know they are not alone in their circumstances and casting certain people can give them that comfort.
Sometimes people would rather watch a movie that portrays harsh realities but also has a happy ending. Watching the news can be very sobering and depressing at times and it makes it hard to look at life in a positive light.

Ashley Bass said...

I agree with Alyssa Rosenberg. Many more people will go see a superhero movie than turn on the news so mass culture definitely has an impact on people. But the good thing about some mass culture is that there is some reality to it. A lot of movies always have hidden messages and lessons that everyone can learn from. Mass culture can send messages that the news can't since many people do not watch the new. Mass culture is a way to get information to a lot of people at once in a way that people will actually pay attention, like a movie.

Conradette King said...

I agree with observation to a point. Yes, it is quite sad that Americans would rather go see a blockbuster movie than stay informed on the news, but I feel that its in our nature. the nightly news informs us of deaths, scandals, and other types of news on a regular basis. This sometimes is upsetting to watch. when we go to the movies, we see the bad guys get destroyed and the hero saves the day. So in a way, going to the movies helps us to focus on the good parts of life, not just the sad stories we see on the news.