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Weasel words - The Art of Tergiversation

8 out of 10 cat owners, who expressed a preference, agree that a growing body of evidence supports our new and improved formula’s usefulness in combating the signs of ageing with up to 99% accuracy when compared to our nearest competitor…and so on. That sentence is complete and utter nonsense and yet it represents the gobblegook we see and hear every day, whether it be a claim about cat food, beauty products or WiFi. Discuss and analyse the insidious growth of weasel words, especially within the mainstream media, and how this can affect the ability to think critically and stifle independent creative thought. Alternatively, is there actually a place for weasel words (other than the bin)? No animals were harmed in the writing of this topic suggestion.

  • I'm not 100% sure what this article would be about. Is it about combating gobbledygook? Is it asking where such language is used? Politics and advertisement use it all the time. However, my final question is are "weasel words" gobbledygook, or is there an alternate definition for what these words represent? This sounds like an article on rhetoric which I'd be extremely interested to write about, but some clarification is necessary to fully understand what your asking to be written about. – DKWeber 6 months ago
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The portrayal of Asians in the Media

I think that not many people are talking about how asian minorities are bring represented in the media, how many are usually stereotyped. Most potrayals of asians are usually really smart, and if cast as a parent of an asian child they are usually strict. I think it would interesting to see how exactly they are being portrayed? And also maybe explore what shows or movies are trying to break the stereotype and cast asians as something other than what we are used to seeing.

  • Cool idea. I think many stereotypes toward Asians, especially East Asians FROM or living IN East Asian countries, are actually more or less true; I said "from" and "living in" because the white-washed ones are mostly exceptions (though not all). One thing that always gets me to frown a bit is that the big media always portrait Asians as a minority race, even though we (I'm Asian) take up more than 60% of the world's population. I haven't really seen a movie that breaks Asian stereotypes, and I generally don't think that's a good idea because to break stereotypes, the movie first has to acknowledge them, and the movie makers might not want to do that. I also think stereotypes toward Asians are less distinct and less condescending than say, stereotypes toward black and Hispanic people. For example, stereotypes have it that Asians are good at math; what good is it to break this stereotype? I actually wish that were true on me. Definitely upvoting the topic. I was just throwing out ideas. – JamesZhan9592 2 years ago
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  • Would it be a specific asian group or asians in general? It would most likely be better to focus on a specific group, looking at their cultural history and expand upon it for media portrayals – Ryan Errington 2 years ago
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  • It would be interesting to touch on the catch 22 of trying to avoid stereotypes but doing so by whitewashing. I read that part of the reason Tilda Swinton (a white woman) played the Ancient One (in comics an Asian man) in Doctor Strange was to avoid leaning on Asian stereotypes of mysterious, mystical masters of the martial arts. Here's an article with quotes from the director: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2016/11/07/doctor-strange-whitewashing-ancient-one-tilda-swinton-fan-critical-reaction/93416130/ – LauraKincaid 2 years ago
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  • I love the topic, and I'd also love to see more Asians in all forms of media (books, movies, TV, you name it). I agree with other contributors too, that while Chinese and Japanese Asians get most of the media representation you see, Indians, Indonesians, etc. don't get enough. We definitely need to see more non-Chinese and non-Japanese Asians. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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What influences who?

The question I propose is who influences who? Does the media influence the people or do the people influence the media?

Many people believe people influence the media because the media shows the people what they want to see. That is not always the case.

I recently began to realize that it is actually the media that influences the people simply because the media chooses what the people see. I am sure this is not intentional, but how can the people know what side to choose if they are not getting the full story?

In defense of the media, they only get so much time to present the story, and they must choose what to write about. They must pick what the most important information is, which is not always what others feel is most important.

Theorists go back and forth on this, and the question still stands. Who influences who?

  • I think it's both in the sense that people react to scandal and shock and controversy. That's what they watch. Because of this, the media needs to generate views and ratings so they give the people these types of stories. Unfortunately, these stories often exaggerate and leave out pieces of information that could help debunk whatever side the story is siding with. I think the thing to remember is that everyone has a motive and some sort of propaganda they want to push. So while I think it's a little bit of both influencing both. I think the bigger issue is is it okay to show stories a certain way to incite certain reactions? Is it okay to show news in a way that makes our opinions for us? – Tatijana 3 years ago
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  • Both cases can be tricky to communicate. The media definitely has a lot to do with how society as a whole is shaping America, but have the people forced the media to partake this way? The media only reflects what the people want to see. – Whitaker 3 years ago
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  • It would be both; you are referring to a media loop. – JDJankowski 3 years ago
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  • Does the media shape what the people see? Or is it their corporate sponsors? The other day I engaged in a brief experiment, spending a few hours watching both FOX News and MSNBC. The stark contrast of their reporting appears to be directly linked to their stark contrast of corporate sponsors. In television's infancy, the news was meant to be "informational programming." I fear Ted Turner did more harm than good with the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. – TheHall 3 years ago
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What makes the good historical figure for historical fiction?

To be exact, what kind of historical figure attract writers and audiences’ attention? There are plenty of historical figures out there with interesting life stories, but only portion make into history books, some into novels, and few into movies. What would be the standard? For example, has there been a movie about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of telephone? If there was, how many were there and how recent were they? Compare that to the life of Napoleon, or Elizabeth I. It may seem apparent that war heroes make into movies more than others, but even then there seem to be striking differences in the attention they receive. This could lead to the study of what type of individual people consider to be "hero", and examine the psyche of the society.

  • Absolutely this examination could lead to an exploration of the "psyche of the society" on the whole - you could even explore the considerations of the individual and how it relates to that of society for this topic (and many others in general). As for what makes the standard of what sorts of historical figures we tend to utilize for historical fiction, I think that you're on the right track. I would consider examining the personal lives of several specific characters (Freddy Mercury, Abraham Lincoln, TE Lawrence etc) as well as their renowned accomplishments. For Mercury, how his personal life influenced his music and made him such an endearing figure. For Lincoln, how his politics were effected (I'd even explore why he was fictionalized into a vampire hunter, as that is completely incongruous with the widely known President). For Lawrence, how his exposure to a different culture affected his decisions and why we would be intrigued by this (perhaps from a desire to escape from our own realities). There's definitely more that you can do with this subject, I think it's going to be a fun one to think on! – 50caliburlexicon 3 years ago
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