Recent Comments

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Tim Anderson

Of course, you could apply this lesson to all kinds of commercial media, i.e. what do the advertisements tell us about who the broadcaster and advertisers think their audience is and what their daily fears consist of. Thanks for the solid lesson in “anxiety framing” and nice work.

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Avi Santo

Wonderful piece, Mark! I agree with Jason and Chuck that this exemplifies precisely the types of scholarly practices and pedagogical opportunities In Media Res can promote and offer.

In watching/listening to this piece, I was struck by the notion of “residue” for thinking about how media flow works, which in the case of the advertisements accompanying Fox News promises to be washed away through consumer purchases. Really provocative!

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Chuck Tryon

Just posted this to a course blog for a class I’m teaching on “Using Technology in the Language Arts Classroom.” I’m teaching Henry Jenkins’ “Photoshop for Democracy,” and I think this video will fit into that discussion nicely. I think you’re right to point out the ways in which Fox News commercials seem to magically answer the very fears invoked in the news broadcasts.

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[…] Update: Here’s another video hosted on the MediaCommons website (we’ll be talking about MediaCommons in the near future) that might be useful as an example of using mashups to engage in media critique.  Don’t worry, be anxious, indeed! […]

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Jason Mittell

Excellent job, Mark! This is a perfect bit of pedagogy, and really plays to what In Media Res can do - not just using the system to comment on pre-existing media, but using the media to comment on yourself. I’ll certainly use it in my courses as an addition to excerpts from films like Outfoxed, The Ad & the Ego, and Bowling for Columbine - thanks for sharing!

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Jonathan Gray

The gendering of cable here is amazing — it becomes the good little girl who grew up into a “fleet-footed,” attractive blond jogger, and then becomes the warm, caring, protective mother figure. Meanwhile, the often-absent from the screen (Grampa Rotary doesn’t seem to count), yet invoked male creator figure (and voyeuristic watcher) presides over all. It’s really creepy. And a humorous, if unintended, allusion to Homer Simpson’s “Television: teacher, mother, secret lover” assessment.

It also never ceases to amaze me how all sorts of technology that are being developed a good 10 years ahead of American pace elsewhere in the world get made “American” — Brit and Japanese cable have been doing (interactive) things since at least 2001 that American cable still can’t do. But pardon my heresy against the cult of the Blond American Cable Mother.

Great clip, Amanda

Brendan Kredell

Despite her claims to the contrary, Grace fits neatly into a shadow system of televised jurisprudence - cable news hosts as prosecutors, daytime TV show “judges,” etc. I agree with you that it is her “Southern-ness” moreso than her gender that makes her so interesting - compare with any of the TV judges, who are similarly marked as regional/ethnic (Maria Lopez, People’s Court, etc.), and it would seem like this kind of region coding is a prerequisite for getting into TV law school.

Avi Santo

I’m fascinated by the gendered ways in which the personal (tragedy and experience) legitimates Grace’s political discourse and branding, providing “intimacy” and “vulnerability” (stereotypically coded as feminine) that both offset and feed her aggressive “external” (re)presentation. Would a male pundit receive the same flack? Perhaps. But the legitimization of those actions would likely not be linked to interiority as with Grace, but something “grander”.

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Derek Kompare

Jonathan, great point about network pimping and viewer awareness. They do it because that’s the way it’s done. In other words, while they know that we know that promos are shamelessly portentous, they also know that we’ve come to expect them (especially on NBC; ABC’s promo pimping pales by comparison). This connects to Jason’s “meta” comment, as the aesthetics of promos and trailers are well ingrained in savvy media consumers.

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Derek Kompare

Jason, despite my snark, I actually enjoyed “The Man From Tallahassee” as well, and I agree that ABC will remain behind the show because of its other significant distribution assets (which is a whole other fascinating topic for some other time). At the same time, though, they have to sell the traditional broadcast incarnation of the show to potential advertisers, and that’s why ratings still matter to the industry. Yes, it’s still got strong ratings relative to all of TV…but it’s also lost about a third of its audience over this season by the same measure.

As for the “shift to the meta,” I don’t think it’s a problem per se; indeed, it’s a been a feature of cult TV for quite a while. I can’t comment on “Expose,” yet, though, as I haven’t yet seen it! :)