Lecture 8: COLD WARRIOR TV/CAMELOT TV (PART 2) In This Lecture PART ONE: Colorblind Bromance PART TWO: Race Reception The Link: Negotiating Racial Change. PART ONE: Colorblind Bromance
ESSAY: Harolovich, I-Spys Living Postcards While reading essay, consider how I Spy both succeeds and does not succeed at creating a color-blind male partnership. Haralovich Essay: a close reading
Strategies for your own essays Cultivating critical thinking skills defining complex terms unpacking complex quotations from Haralovich and other theorists that she cites. What is critical thinking? Laundry List Essays: high school and lower-division level
Critical Essays: upper-division college Juxtaposition is a position (remember nuance) Does Mary Beth Haralovich take a position about I Spy? Each week, I Spy dramatized this effort to create harmony between two seemingly incongruous goals: social justice and global hegemony. Mary Beth Haralovich TERMS:
incongruous: incompatible. social justice: equality between races hegemony: dominance of white western values. Whats a Critical Argument, Huh Huh
Huh Nuanced: never one sided Grounded: as much as possible, admits its own blindsides, limitations and biases. Researched: constructs arguments via textual analysis and/or ethnography. Theoretical: based on theoretical concepts. Specific: does not trade in hyperbolic overstatements.
I Spy a point of view! I Spy is the greatest show ever made. (hyperbole) I Spy is full of stereotypes: a, b, c, d (laundry list.)
In the late 1960s, I Spy attempted to create a color-blind narrative in response to the civil rights movement in the U.S. While its portrayal of a friendly white and black partnership was progressive, aspects of the text perpetuated old racial divides. (critical) Everyone thinks I Spy is great, but I dont. (anti-conformist) I love I Spy because its so stupid and cheesy. (ironic, kitsch) I Spy has stood the test of time because the people who created it were really talented. (modernist)
I Spy is both stereotypical and progressive because of the reasons Brad and the essay mentioned: a, b, c, d (regurgitation) Design Your World (the meta-lesson) (on people who appear to be deficient at their jobs) They dont have a good generalized approach to problem solving. Theyre not thorough. They dont consider all the possibilities. They dont prepare themselves with the right information and so forth.
(Stanley Kubrick) Dont Forget about CULTURE! Its called Television and Cultural Studies. TV shows in dialogue with the eras that created them (artifacts) TV shows in dialogue with subsequent eras (trajectories) TERM: Historiography History + biography: A biography of the
text in relation to various historic epochs. Specific historical eras influence how a text is produced and/or viewed. I Spy could not have appeared in the midfifties. I Spy means something different today than it did in the late sixties. Go to I, Spy: Its All Done with Mirrors
(Please view Its All Done with mirrors. This episode of I, Spy addresses issues of racial tension and cold war paranoia.) Term: Intertexu al Deriving meaning from other texts. Viewing this episode from our current historiographical position,
there is an intertextual joke in the casting. What is it? Archie the commie! Carroll OConnor would later appear in All in the Family as Archie Bunker, a bigoted character who feared all foreigners. In I Spy he is playing a Russian scientist.
Stories are equipment for living. Kenneth Burke. Narratives do cultural work. Creating a believable black and white American male partnership was a challenging job. How does I Spys narrative meet this challenge? How I Spy attempts to make a color-blind male partnership U.S. seen as inherently progressive
and tolerant free country. U.S. racism blamed on Russians. Alternate Others (Russians, woman, third world citizens) Homo social bonding (whats with all the Bromance beefcake?) How I Spy fails to make a color-blind male partnership
Opening credits First person singular title Asexual Scott Robinsons sexual tourism (white imperialism) Why is Scotts Sexuality Problematic? Interracial taboos Threat of hypersexualized black man
The point of seeing the racing of whites is to dislodge them/us from the position of power, with all the inequities, oppression, privileges and sufferings in its train, dislodging them/us by undercutting the authority with which they/we speak and act in and on the world. - Richard Dyer Why does Haralovich include this quote from Dyer? Is she claiming the text of I Spy views whiteness as Dyer says it should be
viewed, as a culturally specific category? Or is she pointing out its failure to do so? Term: Whiteness Identifying white people as a cultural category rather than a transcendent invisible norm hovering above all categories. What is the point of making this distinction?
What happens if we fail to make it? Brain washing or at least white washing? This episode is about conditioning a white American male to fear a black American male.
It presumes that this is an unnatural state and that their bond remains so strong even brainwashing cannot break it. Is this convincing?
Does this episode, ironically enough, function as a kind of mental conditioning and propaganda? What hoops does the narrative jump through to persuade us of this premise? PART TWO: Race Reception Reception Studies Hypodermic Model vs. agency
(self-determination) Can these views be reconciled? Stuart Hall (1932-present) Jamaican cultural theorist living in UK. Encoding and Decoding Encoding: media produced to encourage dominant reading often in line with hegemonic norms. Decoding: however, audiences can read three
ways: dominant, oppositional and negotiated. Julia is an American sitcom (NBC)1968 to 1971. It starred actress and singer Diahann Carroll. Carroll plays widowed single mother named Julia Baker. Her husband, a fighter pilot, had been shot down in Vietnam. She was a nurse and was raising a young son named Corey.
Julia and Race One of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a nonstereotypical role. Has been criticized as unrealistic. Also seen as too color blind, too eager to promote assimilation into white culture. Term: Assimilation The merging of traits from
previously distinct cultural groups. Why is assimilation problematic? Accomplished by nonwhites conforming to white norms. Masks ongoing social
imbalances. (Shes doing fine, so all other black people should be.) Distorts reality (Julia as single mother, nurse in fancy apartment.) Questions:
When one culture is assimilated into another, what do they lose? If essentializing (stereotyping) is problematic and assimilation is problematic, what would a fair and accurate depiction of racial difference look like? Is it easier for members of certain groups to portray racial difference?
If the dominant groups dictate all social norms, should oppressed groups be automatically equated with things outside social norms? (keep in mind, some norms serve a positive social function, i.e. the incest taboo.) The Unloneliest Night of the Year (Please view The Unloneliest Night of the Year. This episode of Julia addresses issues of single motherhood, social integration and assimilation.)
More Questions: Is the show Julia entirely color blind? How is the text constructing black masculinity?
Black femininity? If stars arent performing blackness, do they have to perform whiteness? Black sexuality?
Have real black people been depicted on television yet? Aniko Bodroghkozy: Is This What You Mean by Color TV? By looking at Julia as a symptomatic text-symptomatic of the crisis in race relations and its concomitant representations-we can see how a document
of popular culture can serve as a piece of historical evidence, embodying within itself tensions working their way through American society at a particular moment. Term: symptomatic text A media text reflecting various characteristics of the era that produced it, and expressing
competing perspectives. Essay calls Julia symptomatic of the racial tensions of its time. Contrast an analysis of hegemonic norms with power flowing only from the top down. This view focuses on social struggles rather than attempts at consensus.
Term: ethnography The study and systematic recording of human cultures. Whereas textual analysis explores culture at the level of textual representation, ethnography explores culture at the
level of audience reception and human interaction. Like life, messy, contradictory, imperfect. Examining letters written by viewers and sent to the creators of Julia, Bodroghkozy performs a kind of ethnography. Encoding and Decoding Julia Recent work in cultural studies has demonstrated that meanings are not
entirely determined by the text of by its producers. As Stuart Halls encoding-decoding model has shown, readers of a text are active agents and need not accept the meanings constructed by the text producers. Julia: dominant reading
The character Julia is free of stereotyping a positive role model for all African Americans. Julia: oppositional reading Julia depicts an African American sacrificing all sense of cultural identity in an attempt to assimilate with white culture. Julia:
negotiated reading Julia is progressive inasmuch as it depicts a self-reliant African American single mother, but problematic in that her lifestyle is unrealistically upscale. Its a bird! Its a plane! No, its
Super Negro! The essay speaks of Carroll struggling with the responsibility of being depicted as a too perfect character or super negro. Like Diahann Carroll, other groundbreaking African Americans such as Sydney Potier and Barack Obama have faced similar challenges.
Upon reaching for new cultural status, they are tasked with representing their entire race with dignity. Fullfilling this role means adopting an almost superhuman public persona. Black Reception vs. White Reception Key difference: black viewers want to work on the show. Why?
Do it Yourself Ethnography Go to a party and listen to people talking about media texts. What are they really doing? Media is about identity. The shows we watch define who we are and who we want to be. Channeling Identity In constructing
media, we construct ourselves. Next Time: Counter Culture and Containment REFRAMING RACE, REWRITING HISTORY
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