Student Notes

A Trip to the Queer Circus: Reimagined Masculinities in Will & Grace

on Sunday, 05 June 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY DANE ARGENTIERI

In Richard J. Conway’s essay, he discusses how the hetero-normative depictions of masculinity are never threatened even on a show, Will & Grace, that has two male, homosexual characters. He discusses situation comedies (sit-coms) as a whole, how reflect the reality of contemporary social issues but “allows its audience to both recognize its particular social framework and simultaneously distance itself from those standards”. This distancing process (the unreal or the anti-state), along with the comedic aspect of the show – referred to as the carnival by Bakhtin- allows audiences to accept the radical "reimagined states of masculinity become temporarily acceptable within the Bakhtin carnival because these virtual “othered” males are so queered as to be humorous and disempowered as to be disabled. This “disempowerment prevents them from re-creating and renegotiating masculinity and its relations outside the (non)delineations of the carnival".

Henry Jenkins III: “star Trek Rerun, Reread, Rewritten: Fanwritings as Textual Poaching”

on Sunday, 05 June 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY ELIZABETH HIBBARD

-Trekkies/Fans generally characterized/ stereotyped as being socially inept outsiders and mindless consumers of “low art” texts that warrant no new insights in the reader the way “high art” would

-Jenkins argues that this characterization is a result of their threat to producers and academia for textually poaching, and ridiculed as a way to downplay the power of this act

- Fan writers “transform their personal reaction into social interactions, spectator culture into participatory culture: boundaries between producers and consumers, spectators and participants, commercial and home-crafted, are blurred to recreate a cultural and social network.

-Fandom creates a sense of community amongst marginalized groups, and grants a degree of dignity and respect to women who are trapped economically or socially, in particular.

Towards Queer Television Theory

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY ADAM FOSTER

This articles objective is to look critically at the relationship between queer and TV, being the critical position and this specific media experience. Looking at queer as a critical intervention, cultural product, and political strategy rather than simply marking gay or even straight liberation.

The New Queer – queer culture offering an alternative view to the traditional forms of TV that represents queer culture that stemmed from the activist politics of the AIDS era and it’s social practices and cultural production.

Reaganism and the sign for blackness

on Tuesday, 31 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY MICHAEL HENN

Ronald Reagan – the embodiment of Reaganism, functioned as the cultural and historical sign, for many whites, of the “real” America.

Reaganism- served as a key point of rearticulation for disparate political, social, historical, and cultural investments in an aggressive discourse of whiteness.

Reagan functioned as the key signifier of the “authentic American” and the glory days of American national preeminence

Reaganism updated and reactivated the resentments of Dixiecrats who in the 1960s felt betrayed by Democratic support for initiatives that outlawed segregation in the South

“As a formation, Reaganism was built on desires to dismantle the welfare state, to curb an intrusive government, to stimulate corporate growth through unrestrained market forces, and (through key judicial appointments) to ensure a long reign of conservative authority in key areas of public and private life”

“Here Comes the Judge: The Dancing Itos and the Televisual Construction of the Enemy Asian Male”

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY LIAM KELLY

  • Judge Lance Ito: A third generation Japanese American son of WWII internees presided over “the most extensively covered criminal trial in U.S. history.
  • Most important item is his recognition and readability as Asian: “his figure, a stern face behind his glasses, mustache, and beard.
  • “The jokes of guests and hosts expressed a desire to investigate and expose what hid underneath the black judicial wrapper (under his robes)”
  • The Dancing Itos: A troupe of a half dozen smiling men performing standard chorus-line routines
    • Visual markers- Marked by their long black judicial robes, straight black hair parted on the side, glasses with thick lenses, and exaggerated black mustache and beard.
    • Also impersonated 1970s gay disco band the Village People and Parisienne can-can dancers

White Responses: The Emergence of “Enlightened” Racism

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY SHANE SANTUCCI

Everyone recognized the Huxtables in The Cosby Show were unusual black people. White viewers saw the show as a contradiction; it proved that “anyone can make it” yet the vast majority of black people were not like the Huxtables. The show demonstrates the opportunity for African Americans to be successful, though at the same time implicates that the majority of black people have failed. The Cosby Show emphasized the value of education. This provided the viewer with an explanation for the comparative failure of most other black people: if they had only tried harder in school, maybe they would have succeeded. “This is an American family- an American family- and if you want to live like they do, and youʼre willing to work, the opportunity is there.” -Bill Cosby of the Huxtables. Shows like The Cosby Show allowed a new form of insidious racism. The Huxtables gained inferiority of other black people by their achievements.

Restrictive Portrayals of Asian in the Media

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY ASHTON WEBB

The American entertainment industry has defined the Asian image for many years. These portrayals have come from people who have little to no idea of how Asian culture really is. Asian Americans have been presented as antithetical to Western culture and as not belonging in their own country. Although not all films have portrayed Asians in such a light, most Hollywood projects have. Here are the most common stereotypes:

A Trip to the Queer Circus: Reimagined Masculinities in Will and Grace

on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY AARON ARKIN

Richard Conway's article describes how the different representations of masculinity on the TV show Will and Grace are made possible by the carnivalesque nature of the sitcom. Sitcoms are believed to be spaces where unrealistic characters and situations become real, which makes characters like Jack seem believable as an extremely "camp" homosexual. Will's character, who perceived as straight, dispels the notion that all gay men are flamboyant like Jack's character. Bakhtin's definition of carnivale results in a character like Jack being "disempowered, and disabled"

Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness

on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY NILS BREDERSON

In his essay, "Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness," Herman Gray traces the propagation of the post civil rights mentality by the Reagan administration. Gray proposes that, by adopting a highly symbolic rhetoric, one in which "Reagan expressed...nativist impulses and at the same time resolved them," blacks under Reagan's administration were collectively associated with the decadence in America that impeded the proliferation of ostensibly classically-American values (Gray 33). This was accomplished in part by the victimization of rich white taxpayers. Reagan frequently appealed to the post civil rights notion that we had escaped a period of racial discrimination, and that institutions such as welfare and affirmitive action were unwarranted, and ultimately exploited by the "undeserving" and predominantly black lower class. This idea was corroborated by portrayals of single black mothers, drug addicts, and gang members on the news, which instilled within well-to-do white audiences a sense of resentment, as a significant chunk of their taxes was being used to support people that seemed to stand against the ideals of decency, family values, and personal responsibility. In this sense, "black male and female bodies served as the psychic and emotional surfaces onto which whites projected their fears and desires" (Gray 32). By tapping into the sentiment that the civil rights movement had ended and simultaneously emphasizing values that the impoverished public seemed to undermine on the nightly news, Reagan generated a racist rhetoric, as he was seen as the embodiment of the wholesome American ideals the nation had strayed from, and the liberalism that generated many programs designed to help the disadvantaged was seen as the cause of that straying.

MAKING SENSE OF BLACKNESS

on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY ANGELA HUMPHREY

Darnell M Hunt’s “Making Sense of Blackness on Television” is the introduction to his book, which is composed of 15 studies, which examine various perspectives of relationships between popular television and blackness.

 

“Blackness has always been a fundamental signified” –146

 

Black and White

The presence of the African has always been there and is necessary for situating whiteness in American consciousness. This is because meaning is relational. This means that to have white we need to have black to contrast it.

White=European=civilized=rational=superior=free=good

Black=African=savage=emotional=inferior=slave=bad

-147

This reinforces the ideology of what is “black” and what is “white” throughout American history.

 

“Towards queer television theory: Bigger pictures sans the sweet queer-after.”

on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY HAROLD WILSON

Aim: Scrutinize the relationship between ‘queer’ and ‘tv’, between this specific critical position (sexual dissidence) and this specific media experience (popular culture).

1. “queer and now” – involves the critical exploration of contemporary texts that are deemed queer either in terms of the sexuality of their creators or audience, or through a ‘gender play’ suggestiveness of their context.

2. “sweet queer after” - Similarly attends to the queerness of television makers and viewers but does so as a retroactive. It represents a rereading and reclaiming of classical television texts: a retrospective queering of TV history.

“Star Trek Rerun, Reread, and Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching”

on Tuesday, 24 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY JULIYA BENKHINA

Summary

In Henry Jenkins essay, “Star Trek Rerun, Reread, and Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching, the nature of the fan experience and the function and implications of fandom, particularly fan-writing, is discussed, specifically in regards to Star Trek. Jenkins views fans as poachers who abscond with the parts of the text that they find suitable and rework aspects that they find problematic or contrary to the spirit of the text.

"A Trip to the Queer Circus" by Richard J. Conway

on Monday, 23 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

Notes Prepared by Graham Churchill

Presentation notes from Conway's "A Trip to the Queer Circus" meant for 20B Section 01B.

Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness By Herman Gray

on Wednesday, 18 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY NILS BREDESON

In his essay, "Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness," Herman Gray traces the propagation of the post civil rights mentality by the Reagan administration. Gray proposes that, by adopting a highly symbolic rhetoric, one in which "Reagan expressed...nativist impulses and at the same time resolved them," blacks under Reagan's administration were collectively associated with the decadence in America that impeded the proliferation of ostensibly classically-American values (Gray 33). This was accomplished in part by the victimization of rich white taxpayers. Reagan frequently appealed to the post civil rights notion that we had escaped a period of racial discrimination, and that institutions such as welfare and affirmitive action were unwarranted, and ultimately exploited by the "undeserving" and predominantly black lower class. This idea was corroborated by portrayals of single black mothers, drug addicts, and gang members on the news, which instilled within well-to-do white audiences a sense of resentment, as a significant chunk of their taxes was being used to support people that seemed to stand against the ideals of decency, family values, and personal responsibility. In this sense, "black male and female bodies served as the psychic and emotional surfaces onto which whites projected their fears and desires" (Gray 32). By tapping into the sentiment that the civil rights movement had ended and simultaneously emphasizing values that the impoverished public seemed to undermine on the nightly news, Reagan generated a racist rhetoric, as he was seen as the embodiment of the wholesome American ideals the nation had strayed from, and the liberalism that generated many programs designed to help the disadvantaged was seen as the cause of that straying.

FROM OZZIE NELSON TO OZZY OSBOURNE

on Wednesday, 18 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes

NOTES PREPARED BY RIO SAKuRAI

Summary

Although there has been argument on how to categorize the show, The Obsbournes marked a signifigant milestone in the development of Reality Television. Rather than address The Obsbournes as a new hybrid form of factual entertainment TV, initial news articles characterised the show as a parody of more traditional family sitcom fare. The show emphasized the dysfunction of the Osbournes, “the family that put ‘the fun in dysfunctional’”. The Osbournes were likened to cartoon versions of the traditional American family and contrasted with the representative functional 1950s television family. They are contrasted to any show that represents some kind of idealisation of the family such as The Waltons or The Partridge Family. Even though Reality TV can claim to be less contrived than scripted sitcoms, its producers deliberately cast players who represent a spectrum of different personality types and thereby guarantee certain actions to happen in predictable ways.