We Demand You Protect Your Kids from Us

KIDS! What the hell is up with them? It seems like every day we’re in a panic over our offspring. Why are they so fat? Why are they so materialistic? Why are they skipping school? Why are they growing up faster than before? How do we make them stop? Well if the media is to be believed then it’s the fault of the media. Okay well that’s great, how am I supposed to stop being frightened?

Image sourced from here

Image sourced from here

Here’s my suggestion for what to do about our children. Sit down with them, engage in an open and frank discussion about whatever is concerning both of you, then together you can take every news story trying to fuel moral panic about children and hurl it into the nearest convenient ravine. Joanne Faulkner (2010) examines this idea of “childhood innocence” and argues that it’s this collective investment we have as adults in this construct that ought to be scrutinized, because it is a construct that is marketed to adults who want desperately for the world to be simple and undemanding again. All these moral panics surrounding children make me think back on my first post on here, which scrutinized the effects model in relation to Breaking Bad. Rather than deciding from the outset that media causes problems and trying to link them to our children’s perceived problems, we should be trying to foster a relationship between parent and child that allows problems and concerns to be openly discussed (Faulkner, 2010).

So now that the BCM110 blogging journey is over, what have we learnt? We’ve learnt that democracy is compromised by a concentrated media. We’ve learnt that the media is central to debate in the public sphere and that 10 O’Clock Live probably does more to encourage debate than harm it. We learnt semiotics allows the name “Dolly” to mean so many different things to so many different people, at many different layers. And we learnt that the only thing about Breaking Bad that’s likely to make anyone turn to drug use is the misogynistic sections of the show’s fan base.

Finally we’ve learnt that it’s difficult to be concise, entertaining and informative in less than 300 words and that I make bad first impressions.

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References

Faulkner, J 2010, ‘the Innocence fetish: The Commodification and Sexualisation of Children in the Media and Popular Culture’ media International Australia, No 135, pp. 106-117.

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Is 10 O’Clock Live Part of the Weekly debate or Does it Debate Weakly?

10 O’Clock Live is a British satirical current affairs show presented by comedians David Mitchell, Charlie Brooker, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr. It’s a weekly 40 minute show that features round table discussions amongst the presenters, as well as some QandA style debates featuring guests of relevant expertise (Samadder, 2013). It’s basically a funnier, edgier version of Channel 10’s The Project. But how does it contribute to debate in the public sphere?

The public sphere is a metaphorical place where “people’s conversations, minds and ideas meet” (Robbins, 1993, cited in McKee, 2005). In a sense what is modelled on 10 O’Clock Live is the public sphere in action, but with comedians and carefully selected guests in lieu of “regular citizens”. To an extent the focus can drift a bit as news and debate make way for comedy. It could be argued that this trivializes the content of the debate and sacrifices important issues for the sake of accessibility, which McKee (2005) identifies as common concerns about the development of the public sphere. At certain times the presenters have solitary segments where they address the audience directly, which is likely to become a talking point amongst members of the viewing public, especially as they appear on YouTube and get shared around the internet.

It’s hard to say with any certainty just how valuable to the public sphere a television program such as 10 O’Clock Live really is, although I’m inclined to welcome it’s contribution. Content wise all the major events of the past week in the UK are packaged together and discussed in one place, which has got to be contributing at least a little to the public sphere. Even if the way in which an event is discussed on the show itself doesn’t always constitute a serious attempt at addressing the issue, surely raising an issue and kindling a debate around it can only be a good thing.

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References

McKee, A 2005, ‘Introduction: The public sphere: an introduction’ in Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-31

Samadder, R 2013, “Is it third time lucky for 10 O’Clock Live?”, The Guardian, 25 April, viewed 2 April 2014 <http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/apr/25/third-time-lucky-10oclock-live&gt;