News and Entertainment

Political News and Issues as Entertainment

Concluding Remarks

no comment

The blending of news and entertainment can really mean so many things.  When our group first got together we discussed how this topic really could include anything.  Politics aren’t strictly in the classroom on CSpan, on news shows, or at rallies.  We are subtly surrounded by politics all the time.  Our group’s mission was to dissect the entertainment we consume, show how it reflects politics, as well as how politicians and political groups take advantage of each entertainment outlet.

It is important to acknowledge the fact that a lot of people form their political ideas from popular culture and entertainment media- whether they realize it or not. Our blog accessed news from many various realms of the entertainment news spectrum, and analyzed the stories for their underlying political voices. This large swath of subject material informed not only our readers but also ourselves about popular news stories generally chosen for entertainment purposes. Our goal, given the light topic of our blog, was to keep our posts informative but accessible. We tried to maintain interesting topics, while bringing in a politically based interpretation that the original news outlet may not have made clear. Through this blog we discovered that underlying political issues are constantly a part of pop culture and entertainment news. In our society being able to view media objectively, to consciously form your own opinions is a very useful skill that we were able to establish through our writing on this blog and we hoped to promote to potential readers.

While our group has decided not to officially continue writing and posting in this blog, we do not think that it is really “ending.”  We are all much more aware of what we are watching on television and interacting with on facebook and other entertainment outlets as political powers.  Because we are all connected on facebook and some of us on twitter, we have discussed sharing articles and opinions as facebook posts and statuses and tweets.  While blogging was a new experience for all of us and we learned a lot from it, we find that we can apply our new skills and blend them with other forms of social media…ones we feel more of our peers are connected with.

Don’t Forget About the Ads!

no comment

It is no secret that the media has a huge effect on the American public.  For decades advertisements, television shows, movies, news shows, etc have showed us who to be, what to like, and how much to like it.  We have been shown how to be our gender, our age, and our race.  Politics has not remained untouched by these constructions of charm, good looks, and endless youth.  Lookism, (yes, this is a real word) is taught to us from very young ages.  Women are to be slim with large chests, perfect arms and legs, and wrinkle free faces.  Men are to be powerful, alpha, heterosexual, and in control.  Women’s attractiveness is not usually based on mental or earning competency, while men’s often is.  “We are each exposed to over 2000 ads a day, constituting perhaps the most powerful educational force in society”(Kilbourne).  Keeping that in mind, it is nearly impossible to stay away from the generalizations about men and women in power roles without being keenly aware.  Lookism tempts us to judge not on the content of character, but on the outer appearance.

Until recently, women in politics have remained mostly on the arm of the commander in chief, as opposed to racing to actually sit in that chair.  Sarah Palin’s run alongside John McCain for the 2008 election was one of the first to involve the general public of the United States and therefore blend policies and beliefs with the attractiveness of a women running for office.

During the whirlwind of the election in 2008, I was a freshman here at Ursinus.  I tried to pay attention to what was happening without getting caught up in the tiffs between students (many who had no clue what they were talking about) on the subject of politics.  Some of my male friends though had other ideas.  I did not need to worry as much about the debate over politics as I did the debate about the appropriateness of opinion on the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.  A good looking woman, Palin obviously attracted a good deal of media attention.  Sadly, I think that much of the attention came in the form of physical judgments and quickly formed opinions of her because of her looks.  Could she be taken seriously?  After all, society has told us that beautiful women are objects and not powerful.  To me, the epitome of this was being forced to sit in the room while my male friends cracked up at a pornographic film entitled “Nailin Palin.”   In no way do I agree with Sarah Palin’s politics, but how is this video fair?  In the creation of this video, Sarah Palin was reduced to a sex object.  At least Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin, one that absolutely affected Palin on the election trail (and I discussed in a previous post), picked apart things Palin herself said, highlighting her ineptness, not her sexuality or her identity as a woman.

While I seem to be harping on Sarah Palin and the entertainment media hype surrounding her, I think that she is a perfect example of so many aspects of the media that are perhaps problematic, but good or bad, definitely extremely influential.  While the focus on the appearance of gender in politics seems to be straying from my topic relating to political satire in entertainment, I think that it is more relevant than we realize.  Anywhere there is entertainment, there are commercials and advertisements, thus bringing us back to my first point.    Advertisements shape the values we grow up to believe in, and without changing the positive and negative qualities we attribute to genders, it will remain challenging to judge our leaders solely on their political ability and competency.  In advertisements, such as the one shown at the top of my blog, women are passive, frail, vulnerable.  With these views, how are we to comfortably elect a women to power?  Something has to change, and I think advertisements are a huge factor.

 

Ross, Raquel. Gender Roles in Advertising:Look out! It’s everywhere. .  [Internet]. Version 8. Knol. 2008 Dec 9. Available from: http://knol.google.com/k/raquel-ross/gender-roles-in-advertising/3pptxgbqarvhx/2.

Kilbourne, Jean. Still Killing Us Softly, film distributed by Cambridge Documentary Films, Cambridge, Mass., 1987.

Just something to laugh at during finals!

no comment

Addressing a New Audience: Politicians Strive for the A-list Talk Show Circuit

no comment

For this post I decided to return to the subject of American politicians. I am going to re-visit their celebrity like status, as I did previously in my post regarding the presentation of their extra-marital affairs in the news. This time I’m going to look at the way in which they mimic the behaviors of celebrity actors, athletes and musicians by going on entertainment news and late night talk shows. This topic was visited earlier by my co-bloggers, Jess and Ryann, in their post Talking Politics. Jess and Ryann presented the idea that the politicians and presidential candidates appear on these shows to present themselves to the public in a less serious and politically charged way. I am going to discuss this theory and also present one of my own.

I agree with Jess and Ryann’s thoughts throughout this entire post. I think that the media and news reporting often is very consumer based, and directed toward target viewers and audience groups. This is reflected by the approach that the political candidates take depending on which type of show they are appearing on. To mention a quote selected by Jess and Ryann from the article Talking the Vote: Why Presidential Candidates Hit the Talk Show Circuit, “There is no reason to believe that E-talk shows would suspend their entertainment-oriented sensibilities when political candidates cross their stages.” (Baum) Keeping
this in mind, it makes sense for the candidates to present themselves in a manner according to the genre of the show. One example of this can be observed through the recent guest appearance done by President Obama on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The two presented one of Obama’s newest pieces of legislation regarding Stafford student loans, and keeping the interest rates the same. Although a serious topic, Jimmy Fallon and the Late Night band put a comical twist on the material by “slow jamming” this bit of
news. This kind of un-announced appearance and funny rendition of a serious matter demonstrated the president’s ability to cater to the late night talk show genre. At the same time, the president has made several appearances on Oprah as well as other day time talk shows as well which have a very different tone. Obama was the first sitting president to make an appearance on Oprah. For this sitting on Oprah Obama brought along his wife Michelle. The two discussed their family and marriage alongside of some political material and Obama’s history as a basketball coach. This vastly different discussion and glimpse at the couple follows the more serious but sentimental nature of day time talk shows like Oprah. As Jess and Ryann mentioned, this kind of comical approach or sit down discussion about the past and personal life allow the viewer to get a glimpse of the politician on a more humane level.

I’d also like to suggest that political candidates make these appearances and present themselves in this manner to become visible to a section of the population who is known to be less politically active. It is often the case that individuals who claim a lack of political knowledge, also admit to voting in elections. Matthew Baum mentions some statistics that present this fact in his article Talking the Vote, “According to the 2000 American National Election Study (ANES), 60% of respondents who indicated that
they follow what’s going on in government and public affairs “hardly at all” or “only now and then” claimed to have voted.” (Baum)
With this kind of statistic in mind it is obvious that it is definitely in a politicians’ best interest to make the kind of appearances mentioned above. It is also possible that these more relaxed television appearances help to gain political support from independent and undecided, but more politically active members of society. This is possible given the fact that when a politician discusses politics at length voters tend to tune out and keep their original positions. When a politician can be diverse and appear on a more personal level they become more accessible and people pay attention. These kind of appearances also tend to generate a lot of viewership and ultimately conversation about the candidate among those individuals who already claim to be politically involved, “Where late-night comedy viewing was concerned there were both main and interactive effects: watching had a direct effect, and increased the likelihood of political talk more rapidly among political sophisticates than among those less so.” (Moy, Xenos and Hess) With this in mind it is apparent that making these appearances is influential in gaining access to less politically active individuals while simultaneously stirring up conversation among those who are already politically involved.

A-list actors make appearances on these shows to promote their new and upcoming movies and musicians perform to present their newest material. Any media coverage is beneficial to someone who has something to sell and in the case of our politicians
and presidential candidates they ultimately are trying to sell themselves.

‘Deforce’: Detroit from A Different Perspective

no comment

 

Movies are powerful because of the influence that they have on the views of the audiences that watch them. For example, the documentary entitled “The Human Experience” gives us insight into different cultures and their ways of explaining life. After watching the film my views of the homeless people living on the streets of New York City have changed because I was introduced to a perspective of their lifestyle that I had never learned about. “The Human Experience” was able to influence my views on three unique cultures and how they viewed life because it offered perspectives about the meaning of life from a variety of religions and cultures. Films allow viewers to “walk in the shoes” of many different people and filmmakers are able to shape their films to offer unique perspectives on the topic of their films. “Deforce: America’s Past. America’s Future. Detroit’s Present.” is a documentary that offers a perspective of the city of Detroit through the eyes of the people that have lived there and continue to live there.

View the trailer for “Deforce” by clicking here.

“Deforce”  aims to examine Detroit’s history of political oppression and the city’s current state. The article from The New York Times called “Filmmakers From Detroit Take Their Own Looks at the City,” states “After decades of decline and neglect and the exodus of more than half of its population, Detroit now owns a cityscape that is often described as post-apocalyptic.” Over the years, many films and books have attempted to offer documentation of Detroit’s dilapidation. “Deforce” is unique because it deals with the negative subject matter regarding the city in a way that differs from other films and books about the city. Many previous works about the city of Detroit highlight the tragedies that have occurred throughout Detroit’s history which have given people a negative perception of the city. “Deforce” highlights many of the city’s tragic events over time, but it allows for a more insightful look into the history of the city and matters relating to the tragedies that are not discussed as popularly within examinations of Detroit.

Detroit is a city that is known for its overwhelming challenges relating to the quality of life of its residents. Many people are unaware of the background of Detroit’s tragic circumstances. “Deforce” aims to give a unique view of the city’s downfalls as it brings up many issues relating to the challenges faced by Detroit that many people do not know about. For example, in his recent interview with Fox, filmmaker Daniel Falconer says, “The auto industry, we talk about that all the time and obviously everyone knows about that, so we don’t even get into it in the film.” He explains that there are other factors that people don’t know about that have had an influence on Detroit’s declining state. Falconer states that factors such as issues with housing policy, which many are unaware of, have played an important role in shaping the current state of the city of Detroit.

An article from the Huffington Post entitled “’Deforce: America’s Past. America’s Future. Detroit’s Present’: New Film Examines City’s History,” explains that “’Deforce’ tackles Detroit’s problems over the last half-century, recording how they’ve shaped the city and delving into the nitty-gritty of policy decisions about public housing, the effect of the way on drugs, violence and blight – all while still showing a city full of proud Detroiters.” Films, specifically documentaries, have the power to shape our views on lots of different subject matter. “Deforce” aims to change our views on the city of Detroit by digging deeper into the issues revolving around the city’s disparity, which allows us to obtain a better understanding of the current state of the city of Detroit. As the voiceover from the film’s trailer states, “We’re all on the same side here. This is not downtown versus the neighborhoods, this is Detroiters against a negative future.” The film includes insight from various longtime Detroit residents, community leaders, academics and elected officials, and historians which gives viewers a much different perspective of the events that have shaped Detroit’s current state. In order to full understand any situation, we must consider each and every viewpoint and I believe that “Deforce” will change many peoples’ views about the city of Detroit because of its new and insightful approach of explaining the history of the city.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/deforce-detroit-documentary_n_1344549.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/movies/filmmakers-from-detroit-take-their-own-looks-at-the-city.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=movies

If your not first your…Better off?

1 comment

This past weekend the Indianapolis Colts made Andrew Luck the number one pick of the NFL draft. He was signed to a four year, $22 million contract, ($5.5 a year) and is expected to make an immediate impact. He has been called the most NFL ready prospect to ever come out of college, and is already being compared to NFL greats. Two days and 253 picks later, Chandler Harnish became the last pick in the NFL draft by the same team. He earned the title that everyone in his position gets, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Chandler Harnish does not get a contract just yet, he has to make the team first. However, he gets more benefits for his title than anyone else in the draft. Being Mr. Irrelevant has become a huge deal in the NFL draft as of late, and I do not understand why. I think it is an example of appreciating entertainment over value.

Seeing as Chandler Harnish was the last pick in the draft, most people would think that would mean he gets a small contract, and is not very much appreciated. If you think that though, like many people do, you would be dead wrong. For being Mr. Irrelevant Chandler gets, “a gold Rolex watch, a free trip to Newport Beach, Calif., and an award called the Lowsman Trophy (obviously a counter-reference to the Heisman Trophy). In fact, Mr. Irrelevant gets treated like a king for a week in June. He goes to Disneyland (just like the Super Bowl MVP), helm a ship in a regatta and get a key to the city. The NFL’s last pick also gets to make a dream come true including meeting a celebrity of his choice or being a guest on a TV show.” Seems a little ridiculous no? Especially considering that a player one spot ahead of him, or the second to last pick, gets absolutely nothing. He also gets a jersey that says 254, “Mr. Irrelevant.” No one gets a jersey after the second round.

I think nowadays there is a large stress on entertainment over value. While Andrew Luck is going to be a great player and is getting more money, he is not getting all these ridiculous benefits like meeting other celebrities and getting the key to a city. People put such an emphasis one entertainment in our daily lives. During presidential elections there is more prominence to the names endorsing candidates then there is on why they are endorsing the candidates. It is like that change video all those celebrities made during President Obama’s campaign. Since celebrities are held at such a high standard people care about who they are supporting. This, to me, is an expanded version of Mr. Irrelevant. Especially this year because they Indianapolis Colts had the first and last pick in the draft. Both players went to the same team, and even though Andrew Luck will be the cornerstone of that team (value) Chandler Harnish will be the one getting the key to the city (entertainment). The NFL is restricting what the number 1 pick can get. They are putting more salary caps on their contracts, and keeping them from earning more money, but every year they give Mr. Irrelevant more and more.

What do you guys think? Entertainment or value?

 

Work Cited:

http://blogblitz.nfl.com/houston-texans

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120428/SPORTS03/120428012/Jim-Irsay-expects-quick-agreement-Andrew-Luck-s-contract

 

Time 100 Gala Taken Seriously?

no comment

The Time 100 Gala is a yearly event that celebrates the 100 most influential people of the year. This year, celebrities, activists, technological pioneers and even athletes graced the list and the red carpet of the event. The eclectic group of guests received awards and gave speeches after being put in the categories of Breakouts, Pioneers, Moguls, Leaders and Icons.

My favorite pundit and yours, Stephen T. Colbert regaled the audience with a speech that left people in stitches, tears and cheeks blushing with flattery.  Colbert’s speech was the blending of news and entertainment and its finest. The Time 100 gala is considered a very prestigious event and honor that is given to those who are deemed significant enough to be narrowed down to a category and thrown into a suit or gown for an evening of schmoozing and champagne other significant enough people. Something that everyone should be aware of, (and no matter how many people know there are still so many that don’t,) is that Stephen does all of his interviews, speeches, appearances and pretty much anytime he enters public, in character – a character that is mockingly right wing and strikes a healthy balance between informed and oblivious. Stephen’s speech followed a pattern, one that was consistent with his character and the theme of the evening. In this excerpt from his speech he set a casual and light-hearted “report” and continued to acknowledge his fellow influencers and gave a special nod to the comics on the list.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2111953,00.html

“You know, it’s actually a bit dangerous to have this many influential people in the room.  What if something should happen?  It would wipe out the world’s supply of influence.  That’s why some members of the TIME 100 are not here tonight, we have sequestered Warren Buffett and Viola Davis and in an undisclosed location in case we need to repopulate the world with influentialness.”

Stephen Colbert, placed under the category of “Icon,” intemperately mentioned fellow icons and shamelessly put them into his own categories. Colbert continued to name Georgetown student, Sandra Fluke, actress and comedian Kristen Wiig and Cardinal Timothy Dolan all feminist icons. I don’t think the crowd had a tough time deciphering where Colbert was being facetious…

“Now, TIME 100 honoree, his eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan disagrees — sir, lovely to see you again. Of course, now some, some critics have said in response to this that if the Catholic church’s insurance does not cover Sandra Fluke’s birth control, it shouldn’t cover Cardinal Dolan’s Viagra. Oh, no, no, no.  Oh, no, no, no, that’s called celibacy plus.  That’s how the pros do it.  Because chastity is one thing, but it shows true commitment to uphold your vows when you are sporting a crook you could hang a miter on.  Oh, wow, see you at mass on Sunday, sir? I hope he doesn’t become Pope. I’m a Catholic, it’s okay.  I go to confession, it will be fine.  Thank you.”

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/04/24/time-100-rihanna-clinton/

The second theme that I would like to discuss in this blog post is if Stephen Colbert’s speech once again poses the question, how seriously do we take political pundits? The interest that Colbert’s speech generated at the Time 100 Gala rivaled the media attention of Hillary Clinton’s public statement that she would be stepping down as Secretary of State next January, regardless of who the next President of the United States will be. Sometimes, even as a former Colbert Report employee and testament to the real Stephen Colbert’s character, I can’t believe that a persona so ridiculous is so faithfully praised. To the public, Stephen is nothing more than his character. To those who don’t know him, his political opinions, family life and interpersonal actions are only subjects of speculation. It provides people with an entertaining way of receiving political news; it’s the best of both worlds. Is political punditry merely a blending of news and entertainment, or is it a desensitization of the pressing political issues at hand? If we continue to give this much attention to this particular style of news delivery, will we ever want to watch the news on CNN, Fox, ABC or NBC?

Anticipating the start of my job at CNN this summer and someone who is currently blogging on this subject, I have recently made an observation about patterns developing in news shows. Anderson Cooper’s Ridiculist is being talked about by his page on Facebook and Tweeted about more than ever in the last three months. Is it possible that hard-hitting journalists like Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett feel that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are competition for their respective news programs? It makes me wonder if we will look to Comedy Central as a main news source and speculating that a portion of the American audience already does, will we be able to identify the differences between The Colbert Report/The Daily Show and Anderson Cooper 360° and OutFront?

http://thepage.time.com/2012/04/25/clinton-and-colbert-at-the-time-100/

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/04/24/instagram-crashes-the-time-100-gala-an-inside-look-at-the-worlds-most-influential-people/#clinton

Olympic Pay Day

1 comment

Professional basketball players get a unique opportunity that many other professional athletes do not get. They get the exceptional honor of representing the United States of America in the Olympics. Baseball players do not get to do this as they are in season when the summer Olympics are held, and football is not an Olympic sport. Out of the four main sports in the United States, football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, basketball and hockey are the only ones that get to represent America. That is an incredible honor to bestow upon a person. Asking them to represent our country in a global competition is no joke. These are the best of the best that our country calls upon, and that is payment in itself. Or is it? There are basketball players now who believe they should be getting paid to represent the USA in the Olympic Games. Not everyone feels this way, but enough have mentioned it. I for one think representing the United States should be enough payment. Especially because of the amount of money the elite basketball players get, but they do not seem to think it is enough.

Two players who have come out and said they should be getting paid to play in the Olympic Games are Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen. Dwayne Wade gets paid $27,779,912 a year, and if you want to see something interesting click on this link (http://www.best-reviewers.com/how-much-money-does-dwyane-wade-make-2018.htm#.T5nYVLO0yq8). This is including endorsement deals, not just his contract. Ray Allen makes $18,388,430 a year including endorsements. That is an extremely large sum of money for both athletes. Ira Winderman a writer for CBSsports.com says, “ return to where it begins, the opening ceremonies, when there, alongside the original Dream Team and then the ensuing NBA-based Olympic teams, stride athletes who instead compete in rowing, fencing, handball, badminton, kayaking, athletes who will never cash in, never earn from their sports what NBA athletes will collect in mere per diem.” That is a good point. How many sports are in the Olympics where people do not get paid for? Badminton players are not getting Nike endorsements, or will never be in one of those “Got Milk?” ads. They play to represent their country.

“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell,” Wade said after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday. While he is right about selling jerseys, in my opinion it should be enough for him to represent the country. When older representatives of the “dream team” were asked that they said no. It is a new thing for Olympic basketball players to feel this way. Luckily for team USA there are people out there who love representing the US and would do it for free. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said, “It’s different for us over here,” Anthony said. “I don’t know. I’ve been dealing with the USA team since I was 16, and I haven’t got paid yet. And it’s been good to me.” He also went on to say that he would play for free, and has been, without a problem.

What do you guys think? Should basketball players be getting paid to play for the US? Or is the fact that they were 1 of 12 hand selected players to represent the US enough?

Work Cited: http://www.newsday.com/sports/olympics/carmelo-anthony-would-play-in-olympics-for-free-1.3659229

 

http://espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/7801502/nba-olympians-compensated

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/11/winderman-wrong-answer-to-say-nba-players-should-be-paid-for-olympics/

Our Impressionable Youth

1 comment

A lot of the male gender loves sports. A lot of the male gender also has egos. Putting these two things together in competition can start to cause fighting, and lead to violence. Viewers of sports see violence all the time. From viewing things like MMA fighting, where violence is the actual sports, to something random like this… http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7843190/los-angeles-lakers-metta-world-peace-ejected-elbowing-oklahoma-city-thunder-james-harden-head. This is a concern that many people are starting to share because kids watch things like this. The LA Lakers are one of the most recognized franchises in any sports. There are so many kids watching this game which is on day time television and seeing someone from their favorite team do something as stupid at Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace) elbowing another player in the face.

Sports and athletics are a major part of society, and are a catalyst in shaping stereotypes for people. Derek Kreager wrote an article entitled Unnecessary Roughness? School Sports, Peer Networks, and Male Adolescent Violence. In this article he talks about how sports shape a social structure for younger kids. He discusses how the “in-crowd” is made up of people what are viewed as star athletes. This is a major concern for me because of how impressionable younger kids are. A kid in middle school or in high school seeing something like Ron Artest elbowing another player for no reason can affect a way a kid acts.

This can be related to politics. You guys make think of this as a stretch, but in two blog posts I have read about the change in President Obama’s campaign reminds me of this issue. The blog talked about how President Obama is making his campaign more about separating himself from Mitt Romney. Rather than make his campaign about what he can do for the country after 4 years of experience he will talk more about being polar opposites from Mitt Romney, which was my understanding of the article at least. If younger kids see their idols, and their leaders acting like this then what is to stop them from doing it themselves. It does not stop at violence though, it is drugs and misconduct. For example this receiver Jerome Simpson was ESPN every day for 5 weeks straight because of an incredible highlight he did in season. Everyone saw him and he gained instant popularity. All of a sudden, this happened http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7633454/jerome-simpson-cincinnati-bengals-pleads-guilty-drug-charge right after the season.

Politicians and Athletes are held to a higher standard by our impressionable youth who see what they say and do. What do you guys think? Should they be held to a higher standard?

 

Work Cited:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/25472488?&Search=yes&searchText=politics&searchText=sports&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dsports%2Band%2Bpolitics%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don&prevSearch=&item=2&ttl=13925&returnArticleService=showFullText

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7843190/los-angeles-lakers-metta-world-peace-ejected-elbowing-oklahoma-city-thunder-james-harden-head

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7633454/jerome-simpson-cincinnati-bengals-pleads-guilty-drug-charge

 

Music’s Role in Protests

1 comment

In a previous blog post I talked about the power that music has in political campaigns. Candidates can use music to reach their audiences and connect with them. We are also able to see just how powerful music can be for protestors by looking at the role that music has played in recent protests. Many musicians use their music to express their feelings on different issues in society. These “protest songs” have allowed artists like Bruce Springsteen and Pink to reflect on important issues in society and spread their feelings to many people all over the world. Many artists receive criticism for their protest songs while others praise their protest songs. Protestors use music in their movements in order to boost morale and inspire others to join their movements. In order to fully understand how music is used for protests I will explore one of Springsteen’s protest songs and also the role that music has played in different movements.

Bruce Springsteen has been known to vocalize his feelings on a variety of social issues. In 2000 Springsteen released a song called “American Skin.” In this song Springsteen sings about tensions that exist between immigrants in America and the police force, and more particularly about the shooting of an immigrant named Amadou Diallo. Springsteen’s song about the controversial shooting was praised by many. On the other hand, many attacks were made against Springsteen for his song. Among the attackers were New York City police officers and Mayor Giuliani. The police officers were so outraged by Springsteen’s song that they formed a rally in Manhattan. Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, led the rally as he told the crowd, “We don’t need a millionaire coming down here and making money off our backs… on a terrible, terrible tragedy.” Springsteen has done a good job of grabbing the attention of many people who had mixed views about his song. His courage is shown by his will to sing about such controversial issues in our society.

Music has played an important role in many protests and movements. A Russian punk rock group known as “Pussy Riot” used music to protest in Moscow’s main cathedral. After performing a song that protested against President-elect Vladimir Putin, the three women of the group were arrested by Russian Police. The arrest has outraged many Russians and supporters of the punk rock group rallied outside of the Moscow courthouse. According to Yahoo News, “Many believers were offended by the protest but some are also upset that Church leaders have called for tough sentences in the case.” The arrest of the punk rock group has sparked criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church which has had a more active role in politics over the past three decades. The protest song played by the three women of the punk rock group has sparked much debate and led many to criticize the Russian government and Orthodox Church.

The Occupy Wall Street movement serves as another example of a movement in which music plays an important role. The Huffington Post explains, “Music and musicians are woven into the fabric of the Occupy Wall Street protest, much as they were in movements, confrontations and protests of the past, from the American Revolution to slavery to the Civil War, suffrage movement, labor movement, civil rights movement and Vietnam War.” Although music has been important in the Occupy Wall Street movement, the movement does not have a defining anthem like many other movements have embraced in the past. In a generation where music is shared and listened to over the Internet and other technologies, the Occupy Wall Street movement has a soundtrack that reflects the democratic nature of the movement. Instead of a distinguished soundtrack for the movement, Occupy Wall Street followers are writing songs and using Twitter and YouTube to share them with others. Followers of the Occupy Wall Street movement have also been playing instruments such as drums and guitars on the streets of New York City. Music is allowing the Occupy Wall Street movement to spread and gain power as its followers are connecting with each other by sharing and playing their music together.

The role of music in protests is very important. We are able to see just how much debate can be brought upon by music after looking into Springsteen’s song about a controversial shooting. Protest songs are very powerful because they relate to very important social issues and many people are touched by the music about these issues. In the case of the Russian punk rock group, their protest song has created a lot more discussion that relates to issues outside of the meaning of the song. The Occupy Wall Street movement has taken a different approach with its music as they are freely sharing and playing their music on the Internet and on the streets. Music has become such a powerful tool in protests and movements because it can be used to reach people around the world and share ideas on important social issues.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/13/occupy-wall-street-music_n_1091176.html#s470684

http://news.yahoo.com/protesters-detained-russian-punk-group-hearing-111050119.html;_ylt=AnxJ1GkFEOfe.n43RT_ZnTtxFb8C;_ylu=X3oDMTNkcTk4MWw4BG1pdAMEcGtnA2YyYTlmZDVhLTRlNDAtM2U1Zi1hMGQzLTg3MWI4YTllNGI5NgRwb3MDNgRzZWMDbG5fTXVzaWNfZ2FsBHZlcgNlYmEwMGM0MC04YTEwLTExZTEtYjNkZC1hNzU3MDBmNDEzOTY-;_ylv=

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/jun2000/spri-j15.shtml

Archives

July 2014
M T W T F S S
« May    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blogroll

Terms To Watch For