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Monthly Archives: February 2007

I watch a fair amount of television, and I am interested in analyzing television in both a pragmatic and critical manner, i.e. a sociological reading of television. Such readings are attempted often in media studies, studies in contemporary culture, studies in popular culture.

Any discussion of culture cannot escape discussions of power, representation, and politics; and there is no shortage of philosophical, social theoretical, and critical literature out there to point out the impossible complexity of the groups of groupings that entertain forms and types of cultural products:

The heirarchy of texts and interpretations, the use of subversive readings and the practicality of such subversion, the theme of ‘popular culture’ as ‘secular religion’ -or maybe, and here I’ll go out on a limb, a reassertion of a paganism indigenous to European culture come Ameropean -with American products sometimes (and I don’t want to over-emphasize this as a generality) retaining puritanical and messianic recreations easily allegorically related to Judeo-Christian constructs (which themselves never really escaped certain signifiers of pagan spiritual disposition; Christian tradition especially literally occupying pagan sites with their own churches and cathedrals all carved nice and neat with pagan style gargoyles and the assertion of protestations and factionalising in the face of a policy of linguistic and canonical domination).

Yeah. That’s one sentence.

This means a literature survey and discussion of the relations of popular culture, media, religion, representation, and politics. It also means brainstorming…and harvesting questions. To begin I’ll search for articles dealing with paganism and popular culture, since it seems a sufficiently narrow place to start and I doubt I’ll find many dealing with both together.  

I also wish to open up a discussion about different persistent types of television shows.

citizen/super hero and and/or light sci-fi : the 4400, smallville, heroes, lost, medium,

sci-fi: Star Trek, Stargate, Farscape, Battlestar Gallactica

medical/social serial drama (tragic-comic): ER, judging amy, grey’s anatomy, scrubs

class comedy and adolescent/adult identity: gilmore girls OC, one tree hill

alternative-traditional family sitcoms: will & grace, friends, etc.

reality makeover: Extreme Home Makeover

Of course this is just a scheme and boundaries are not hard. For example, Smallville could fit in ‘sci-fi’, ‘citizen/superhero’, ‘sexuality sitcom’, ‘social serial drama’, or ‘adolescent identity’: depending upon the sample of shows and scenes selected. Moreover, I know there are many types of shows that even this broad construction of categories leaves out, crime, investigation, and mystery serials/dramas, among many others. 

I am going to pick up Extreme Home Makeover as my first case study here, since the show really is starting to scare me for reasons to be made more clear to myself and in text down the road.

This is sort of a piece which starts out social scientific and then devolves into polemic near the end. That is not to say I could not find evidence to support my later claims, I think I could, just that I didn’t in this instance and that caught the attention of 2 of the 4 professors reading this and cost me some fractions of points. Whatever, the themes are auto-centrism, transportation infrustrucutre, structural violence, urban planning, and Foucouldian concept of governmentality. This is on my back-burner now, but maybe it will give more immediately useful ideas to somebody else:

Ends of Governance

*** I caught wind the EU is considering more draconian anti-piracy measures. I am removing this paper from my blog until I have time to revise the paper with respect to provisions of anonymity for the public hubs and the network I analyzed***

All right. If you thought I dropped off the face the planet you are correct. You need to take 30 credits for my Master’s and I took 40. How dumb is that? I spent all of December and January bleeding ink and paper. And what do I get? A number, they call it a ‘grade’ or a ‘mark’. I am marked and I am graded and that in relation to everybody else. Grades and results are two different things, but let’s not talk about that right now.

I’ve tried many things in the past to make this blog the proper habit it should be, and I think I may have worked out a solution. First, I am opening the format. Talking about Marx all the time gets tiresome. I love Marx, but I also love other things too -like Foucault, and Smallville, and so on.

 Second, taking stock, I actually have a number of blogs to keep up with. I have no idea how this happened. Anyway. Since this semester I take only one class and write my thesis, Monday is blog day. Period!! Third, I’m not going to be such a prick to every piece of literature I look at. Fourth, I want to devise creative ways of presenting the Marx read along. Ideas are welcome here… ‘Marx for Dummies’. Any masochists out there reading/who have read Capital? 

Fifth, if I get at least one person… Sorglose Nacht?  the Karl Marx Blog? to blog a book club reading of Grundrisse (or suggest another) with me (which I have never read BTW) that would be awesome. I’ll sit on this if I get no bites for 1 month; then I’m coming after YOU!!!

See, it’s fun to be informal. I’m really not so stiff. Soon I will have my web interlinked appropriately and you will see there are many ways to be a marxist, one of which is to speak in cryptic terms.

Now. I have written a number of papers. Some of them are interesting maybe, others not maybe. I do not know. I know what my professors claim to think about them, but that is not important to your reading; in the end, I don’t write for the grade but for understanding or some other such lofty nonsense. So I begin posting those now in serial, and responding to comments… and whatever else strikes my fancy (re. resolution 1).