As recompense for my non-existent blog for the last, uh, forever, I wanted to post TWO things in one day. Yes I know, it more than makes up for everything.
I recently took a mass media class at my local college. Kind of a snoozer. You'd think they'd be able to make an interesting curriculum out of ideas in t.v., movies, comic books, etc, right?
So could I do better?
Luckily, my teacher set out to make me look good by giving us this assignment. The instructions were to create an assignment that could be used in the class. Ingenious use of indentured labor, I must say.
So I took a stab at not only creating the assignment, but completing an example paper that might result from it. I posted it up for you to consider. I figured this sort of relates to what we do here. Ya know, figuring out why we do stuff n junk and how it's like, sweet.
(Real answer: sitting as an empty blog ><)
- MKG Out.
PS- Bonus points to anyone who replies with the assignment! Or you know, reads it....
Create & complete your own mass media assignment.
My assignment is entitled, “Message Effects Embedded in Narrative Media.” Students are to select one piece of mass media which is narrative driven or tells a story. After watching, reading, or maybe even playing it, the student then has to conduct an analysis of the piece of media.
I received the inspiration for this assignment from the content in chapter 2 of the textbook, “Mass Communications Effects: How Society and Media Interact.” Specifically the section of message effects. I find the psychological influence of media on the masses very interesting. Especially cognitive and attitudinal effects that alter the behavior of the audience. My assignment challenges students to put several ideas from the chapter to the test. Students will be required to analyze the plot, identifying the themes and ideas of the story and how they might affect a receptive audience. Afterwards, student should have a stronger sense of media literacy and be able to identify messages inside of popular narrative.
This would be an example of the instructions to the class:
Message Effects Embedded in Narrative Media
Select a piece of your favorite narrative media. Your selection should tell a complete story. Remember a story can be told in many ways, feel free to select an episode of your favorite tv show, a segment of an interesting video game or movie, even a comic book. View your selected media to completion and afterwards answer the following questions. Try to dedicate about 2-3 paragraphs to each idea, your plot synopsis will probably need to be longer.
Questions to answer:
Themes and Ideas
We learned in Chapter 2 that a message can often carry an agenda, like in the case of propaganda. Is there an underlying theme to the narrative of this media? If there was a message attached to this story, what do you think it was? What are we as the audience supposed to walk away with, if not?
Do you think the message of your story carries any ideas of sexism, racism, nationalism, etc.? Does the narrative attempt to address a social issue in a new or symbolic way?
Use this opportunity to expand your awareness of media’s affect on you. Has your selected media contained ideas that you never stopped to consider? Refer to the text whenever you have made a relative link to ideas discussed in chapter 2. Your answers should be about 2 - 4 pages in length.
Your answers should be arranged as one comprehensive idea. This could be an essay, if you wish, or arranged in a question/answer format. Either way, have your answers talk back into each other, maybe some social context enriched the theme for you that much more?
(Examples would follow for the student’s clarity and submission instructions.)
Here is an example of the completed version of the assignment:
Message Effects Embedded in Narrative Media
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
For my assignment I selected the film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The movie is a murder mystery comedy which pays homage to classic film noir like Chinatown (1974).
The film stars Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a down on his luck private eye that becomes embroiled in a larger plot after he is hired by the owner of a cartoon studio, R.K. Maroon. Maroon. is upset that his picture is behind schedule because his literal cartoon-star, Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), has been worried if his wife, cartoon bombshell Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), is being faithful to him.
Eddie delivers some revealing pictures of Jessica playing “patty cakes” with the owner of ToonTown and owner of the Acme gag company, Marvin Acme. When Acme is later found dead, Roger becomes the prime suspect.
|Don't Google "Jessica Patty Cakes"|
Eddie investigates the crime scene, where Acme has been murdered by having a safe dropped on his head. Here he meets Judge Doom (played by Christopher Lloyd), an overzealous lawman with jurisdiction over ToonTown and his gang of cartoon weasels.
Doom shows he has no respect for cartoon life or due process by demonstrating the use of a substance he has discovered, the Dip. In reality, it is just powerful paint thinner. Doom summarily executes a cartoon shoe that he finds nearby, exclaiming the Dip is, “the only thing that can kill a toon!”
|Look at its, "I'm getting murdered" eyes.|
Returning to his office, Eddie is met by another cartoon, Baby Herman. Herman tells Eddie he believes Roger is being set up. Acme owned ToonTown and promised to leave it in his will to the cartoons if something happened to him, although no one has ever seen it. Entering his office, Eddie finds Roger has been hiding there. He begs Eddie for his help. Eddie helps Roger hide by keeping him in a secret room at the restaurant of a friend.
Eddie puts himself at risk many times for Roger, constantly narrowly avoiding Doom and his obviously murderous henchmen. This contrasts with Eddie’s general attitude toward Roger, and cartoons in general, who he treats with disregard. We come to learn Eddie’s brother had also been murdered by a cartoon during a job in ToonTown years ago. Eddie has been an alcoholic ever since.
|Eddie keeps his brother's desk just as he left it. This shot sums up Eddie's pain and is what makes movies special.|
We see that Eddie talking to Roger helps him process this grief. Eventually, Eddie believes he has found a connection between the murder and the cartoon studio. A large public transportation (Cloverleaf) company bought the property for the failing studio, but needed the property to ToonTown, as well. Eddie forces a meeting with Maroon, lying that he has Acme’s will. Maroon admits to Eddie that Acme was murdered. Before Eddie can discover by who, Maroon is shot by an unknown gunman.
Looking out a nearby window and seeing Jessica running, Eddie chases her to her car, where she escapes into ToonTown. Eddie follows her through the crazy town, eventually cornering her in an alley where she draws a gun on him. Firing, Jessica hits the unknown gunman who had shot Maroon before he can kill Eddie. We find out that it was Judge Doom. As Eddie and Jessica try to give chase, Doom and his weasels ambush and capture them.
Doom ties up Eddie and Jessica, and reveals the truth. He had killed Marvin Acme after he refused to sell his property in ToonTown to the Cloverleaf Company with R.K. Maroon. Cloverleaf was planning on building a new superhighway through the area and add many expensive tolls to it. Doom prepares to kill them while using a custom vehicle that would fire thousands of gallons of pressurized Dip to destroy ToonTown.
Some quick thinking by Eddie and a last minute arrival by Roger manage to thwart Judge Doom. We find out in the end that he was in reality a cartoon himself all along, and he had been the one who kill Eddie’s brother. The will to ToonTown is discovered and everyone lives happily ever after.
|I imagine the universe of Super Smash Brothers probably started this way too...|