Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thanks for Posting!

The blog is officially closed for the semester. You can still post if you wish but it will no longer be counted towards your semester grade. Thanks for posting! If you have questions send me an email.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"The intimate, authentic rapture you actually feel at such a moment is the very emotion we strive so hard to capture and convey in order to delight our audience"(19). Thousands of people watch love movies, and movies that are primarily about romanticism, and whats acted out on screen is so powerful it leaves the audience in complete awww, with thoughts of how are two people so in love, and how do they actually make it work. The love that is portrayed in the movie is so powerful and believable , that often most people forget that its "acting" , actors and actresses have such a powerful gift to be able to deliver such chemistry, even if there's no actual love for the other. Some of the techniques actors use to make their character come to life and to real be the part , are some of the same things that regular ordinary people should follow in their own love lives. According to John Boles he gives a few tips, " Act your Type" meaning be who you are, never try and take on a different personality that isn't yours just to win a lover over, thats not who you really are and thats not the type of person you were meant to be in life, you always want someone to like you for who you really are. Second Boles suggest " Perfect your approach" doing a little research, and planning out what your going to do, and how your going to do it, just makes your chances stronger of success. One of the most important suggestions that Boles give is "Don't think about yourself" almost everyone loves a selfless person, it makes people feel cared about and that you are a genuine person when the well being of another matters more to you, it shows that you have a great deal of love to give and that you are of good nature. A lot can be learned from movies, that will help in everyday life.

Boles, John. "Let the Screen Stars Teach You How to Make Love." Let Screen Stars Teach You How to Make Love: 19-22.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. voices how dissatisfied he is with the depictions of blacks on television during the mid to late 80's in a piece titled "TV's Black World Turns--But Stays Still".  Gates states that as the decades since to first significant broadcast associated with blacks, The Amos and Andy Show, the depictions of blacks had changed for the better but they still were still unrealistic of what it truly meant to be black in America in the mid 80's.
Originally blacks were often depicted as comical caricatures, often raised in a single family maternal households and unable to rise above their current status quo due to their own laziness. Gates believes that this depiction slowly changed over the decades, throught the efforts of groups such as the NAACP and government intervention ie. the Lyndon administration. This ultimately culminated in shows such as The Cosby Show and Family Matters. 
Gates felt that while it was a good thing to have a positive image of a middle class black  family on television,it almost became a chic thing to do because of the enormous popularity of such shows. In a way these shows  by the very idealized way that the were broadcasted resulted in the same form of caricatureship that had plagued earlier depictions of blacks. Gates did not believe the idealized nature of what was being showed really encompassed what he felt was the black totality of what it meant to be black in America, with the challenges that a large portion of the population faced.
Gates wanted black people to stop looking to shows like The Cosby shows as a means to social change, as a means for acceptance of the black family into mainstream America. He felt that were deep underlying problems with the formula, and that blacks should look to themselves to create the social acceptance that they wanted and not to how they were depicted on tv to do that for them.

Is Television show Real Life or Artifical Situations?

Harry Belafonte wrote an article, titled "Look, They Tell Me, Don't Rock The Boat," in which he describes how racism still exists in the Television medium. At a meeting he attend for discrimination in the media, a vice president of programing for CBS was asked about the lack Negroes in television. His reply:
"Television likes to deal with America as it is for the most part. And for the most part there are not that many Negro judges, Negro Governors, Negro executives or Negro Senators. The producer or writer approaches the conceptual fact so as to reflect the scene as it is." Writers, he added seek to avoid "artificial situations" (Belafonte).
Belafonte attacks this quote in two ways. One, if writers avoid "artificial situations," then how could shows like Bewitched and Star Trek exist back then? How do shows portray Cowboys and Indians different from how they actually were? The second was the existence of African Americans in a high-type status. It's true, compared to other Americans in a high-type status, that African Americans are in a low percentage, but they still exist. So with these examples, how does the television medium depict real life with "artificial situations?"
Also, Belafonte having a son made him wonder more. With television being the number one influential media in America, how will his son learn about his culture and his heritage if it's robbed from his sight?
Another situation that arose was when Belafonte was guest appearing on the taping of the Petula Clark special. While both Belafonte and Clark were singing, they touched hands. Producers automatically viewed the scene as unacceptable and demanded a re shot.
Even though Television has come a long way since such events a prejudice, are African Americans portrayed as they should be? Or are they still widely held under their stereotypes?

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1919. His family moved to Chicago while his father took a job as a Baptist minister. This is where Nat learned how to learn the organ. Learning the organ from his mother helped train him to become one of the leading pianists in the jazz profession. Many say that he owes most of his popular musical frame to his soft baritone voice. He was the first black American to host a television variety show and to his credit this show has maintained worldwide popularity over the last 40 years.
Nat King Cole was a pioneer in television in his own right but the transition from an African American man to a celebrity did not come at an easy cost. “I was the pioneer, the test case, the Negro first. I didn’t plan it that way, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes to see that I was the only Negro on network television with his own show.” Just imagine how amazing he is, he was the equalivant to Jackie Robinson of television. Without him, who knows if Oprah would be the richest woman in the world? He paved the way for the African American race and for that he should be praised daily. The amount of stress must have been enormous. To carry his own race on his back for equality on the airwaves is astonishing to me. He represented the Black community and showed them that they too could also make it if they put the effort in.
Being a pioneer in television did not come easy but with hard work and determination Nat King Cole made it look easy. On November 5, 1956 “The Nat King Cole Show” debuted on NBC-TV. However, It initially began as a 15 minute show that aired on Monday nights. But with the public demand at a all time high the program was extended to a half an hour in July 1957. What makes this an amazing story is that he did not have any national sponsorship. “Negros in Chicago watched and waited. Will he get a sponsor? Big Tycoons watched and worried.” I believe that the robber barons or big tycoons did not want this show to be a big success but they could not stop Nat King Cole in his attempt to do something that has never been done before. “Once a week, for 64 consecutive weeks, I went to bat for these people.” Because of the lack of corporate sponsors he took part of his salary back in the show in order to help with expenses. But nonetheless he decided to leave NBC and move on with other business opportunities. When asked why he left, he responded that “NBC turned down my request for a larger Budget. I had asked for an additional 5,000 a week.” Asking for more money was not to make his own pockets larger but to make the show a bigger hit.
I think that Nat King Cole in his own right was a major pioneer in his own right and should get the credit he truly deserves. He fought for sponsorships that he truly deserved but never really received. Again without him television might not be what it is today and for that I thank you Nat King Cole.

Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan was a former boxer and sportswriter. He became well-known in the entertainment world. He had an eye for top talent. CBS hired Ed Sullivan in 1948 to host a variety show called Toast of the Town. This later became the famous Ed Sullivan Show, which was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ed Sullivan

Erik Barnouw, Tube of Plenty, pgs. 117-121

“Another variety entry was Toast of the Town, headed by Ed Sullivan as producer and master of ceremonies, and later known as the Ed Sullivan Show.” My parents and grandparents fondly talk about the Ed Sullivan Show. It was quite an entertaining variety show. Ed had so many famous people on it. His show almost seems to encapsulate a generation. He truly is one of the classic variety show greats.

Ed Sullivan

Erik Barnouw, Tube of Plenty, pgs. 117-121

Amos N Andy

Amos N Andy was looked at as a hit show in the the 50's and it continued syndicated through the 1960's. The Amos 'n Andy Show was produced from 1951 to 1953 with 78 filmed episodes. If a white person was to watch this show, they would think that all black people acted this way. This show brought so much stereotypical antics by the lead characters. Walter White explained that black cannot stop stereotypes because of television display of how blacks act, claiming how Negro Doctors are looked as thieves and lawyers are cowards. NAACP believed that it should be taken off air, because they had seven legitimate reasons why it should be taken off such as every character was dumb and everyone in the cast was a clown or crook. It wasn't that the CBS owner was racist to keep the show on for three years, the show was making money for the network. The only positive side an individual can look at this is that CBS gave a lot of Negros a chance in the entertainment field including television.

The Worst TV Often Entertains the Largest Audiences

In the Godfrey piece, he talks mostly about how awful the quality of the television programs are that receive the highest ratings. Now this was in 1960; is it any different today? All he continues to say is how poor the public taste in entertainment is and how it is something that cannot really be changed. "Culture cannot be legislated. The same millions who give high ratings to televised drool also elect the President of the United States. You can't stop people from getting their jollies." This sounds exactly like modern day society. Look at all the ridiculous reality shows that air every night between 7 and 11p.m. Their the worst programs ever! Yet just look at how high the ratings for these shows are. Reason for this according to Godfrey is that people want "an escape" when they get home from work. They need something to watch that will provide "sensual thrills" and "maudlin sentimentality." "They want anything except that which will stimulate and therefore tax the mind." As Godfrey says, "maybe it doesn't suit our taste, but it entertains the hell out of somebody...."


As Stated, " It is because of consumer demand is the life blood of the American economic system that television promises to be such a powerful factor in the postwar economic world. The immediate postwar development of television can, and will, contribute forcefully to a healthy economic and business life in two ways:
First, in the added employment and added purchasing power which television as a business will bring to the radio industry, of which it is a part." The amount of units being created for the consumers was going to be high in demand after the popularity of the television began. Assuming the average cost of a television is $200.00 in this day, this would represent a ten year market of over six billion dollars worth of television recievers at retail. The second way stated in the article, is that television has the potential and power to stimulate the consumption of all consumer products. The power of marketing and advertising comes into play as it will get into the consumers mind, and have te ability to sell products through these means. Only as consumers buy goods and services are people put to work growing farm products, turning out manufactured products and rendering personal services. Television has the power to create consumer demand and buying of goods and services beyond anything that we have known. This also means the creation of numerous jobs,which mean money flowing in the economy, which means profit.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Television and Post-War Employment

In the 21st century we have come to think that there was never a time before television. Today's world knows such things as TiVo, IO and satellite cable, which in the time of televisions' first debut in America was unthinkable. Upon this first debut of the idea of television, many thought of it as a way to help the unemployment left by the ending of the war and the lingering effects of the Great Depression. T.F. Joyce, who was the general manager of the Radio-Phonograph-Television Department of the Radio Corporation of America ( RCA) wrote an article on the effects of television on postwar employment.

In his article Joyce reflects on his views on a new nationwide television system. He makes the statement that " The country wants assurance that there will be useful and productive jobs after the war, not only for the ten or twelve million men in the Armed Services, but for the 'surplus' millions of men and women in war production who face possible unemployment when the guns cease firing-or before." This is Joyce's main idea throughout his article, he expresses the countries top concern, this is where the idea of television comes in. Joyce explains that the country is too concerned with material wealth like paper and precious metals, rather than the motivation for its people to show " character". He explains that a unified television system will bring about a great way for businesses, social leaders and other to reach the hearts and eyes of millions of American citizens, which will be another form of value within the country. He explains how if television is brought into the country that it will help create a healthy economy and a healthy life for businesses because of the idea of consumer demand.
According to Joyce he believes that it will help the radio industry because they will be involved in the production of television, as well as help boost employment rates from those involved in war production. Joyce also gives some interesting statistics about how it is estimated that if television is produced immediately following the postwar error, he estimates that " in 1955, there will be over 40,000,000 consumer units in the United States". He stresses that not only will the economy benefit from purchases of television receivers, but how the idea of broadcasting to millions of people will overall " stimulate the consumption of all consumer products". This new idea of broadcasting to Joyce makes him believe that "Television has the power to create consumer demand and the buying of goods and services beyond anything that we have heretofore known".

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"T.V.'s Impact on Society," "LIFE," September 10, 1971

In this article, Four different types of Segregations are mentioned, that people would go through because of the rise of television. There is a segregation from one another, a segregation from the source, a segregation from reality, and a segregation from the past.

Segregation from One Another: The Author tells how a coloniel housewife would see their neighbors when going to gather water, but generations later, their is less opportunity to see people. As electricity, mail delivery, and telephone came about their were even less reasons for leaving your house. Television then may have become the number one reason never to leave your home. "Television brings in a supply of information, knowledge, news, romance, and advertisements- without having set foot outside her door." The author says. The experience that you will get when fantasyzing over television will exceed anything you get in the outside world. The article also discusses, when you go to a public event, whether it be a theater, a ball game, or political rally, the crowd is half the fun. When you watch television, a person has nobody to turn to but themselves, or the few family members they are watching with. In some homes where there is two-televison sets, families even become isolated from one-another.

Segregation from the Source: As the television medium became more and more relevant, the government, and politicians would use it to address the public. Now there would be less political public appearances, instead to hear and see from your public figures you would have to wait for them to come on your screan. Now a person would feel isolated from their government. Other then your occasional vote, there was no way to converse with these public figures, it would become harder and harder to get your voice out. Your relationship with public figures and the governement would now become "non-existant."

Segregation from the past: "Of all the forces that have tempted us to lose our sense of history, none was more potent than television." The article says. "Because television enables us to be there, anywhere, instantly, precisely because it fills the instant present moment with experiences so engrossing and overwhelming, it dulls over our sense of the past. Basically this portion of the article says that with televsion, we now live and see everything happen in real time, there is no longer the historic moments and stories that get past from generation to generation, that we read in historical text. Now we see the real-life moments, and rather then pass them on, we are captivated by the next moment we see visually in real time. With the television world, everything is about here and now.

Segregation from Reality: In time before televison, we were so used to being out and about seeing something, happening somewhere, only to tell someone later what we saw. The article says. "For our TV-experience we don't need to go out to see anything in particular. We just turn a knob." In our real life we see things from out point of view, but as this article brings up, television programs can show many different points of view, this is captivating to an audience. We seperate from the real world when we become to enthused with the new television world. This portion of the article basically says were living a fantasy world in our heads, and that we are becomming comepletly seperated from reality.