Posted by: meredithalawrence | October 1, 2012

Are We Generalizing that which Strives to Generalize Us?

Throughout my reading of the first seven chapters of the text book, I was struck by the unsettling generalization of the media as a cohesive being to which the same ideals and critiques could be applied. For instance, in Chapter Two, the reader is asked to consider if he or she thinks the media is good or bad. To me, this is a broad, unanswerable question; the media is made up of not only such mediums as print, video, music and social, but is also put forth for such separate purposes as entertainment, information and persuasion. How, then, can we begin to condemn or praise a category that spans from charming representations of baby’s first steps to Nazi propaganda?
In Chapter Three, during a discussion of whether the media reflects or affects the world, the authors put forth two case studies: that of the romanticizing of smoking in film and that of violent images of the war in Iraq. I failed to find this comparison worthwhile because the examples of smoking in the media were pulled from films produced for entertainment, whereas the images of the war were published with the intention of informing the public and were presented for a fundamentally different purpose.
It was not until Chapter Seven that I saw the authors begin to break the media down and consider different forms of media as separate entities, which brings me to ask, what, if anything is to be gained by studying the media as a whole?

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