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Politics of Hollywood - Test 2 (Key Terms)

Review for 2nd test of the Semester.


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Society of Consumption
Left-wing phrase that refers to a society in which people derive the meaning of their lives by buying things; left-wingers support this claim, stating that you rarely see the working class on TV and that television programs reinforce class relationships. *Concept illustrates that people who are liberal will look at television and tend to see conservative propaganda.
Refers to the typical cop show star. Conservatives claim this image is bad for American society because it undermines family by glorifying the single lifestyle; liberals counter this claim by saying that single people are much easier to include in show scripts. *Appears to be anti-family, reinforcing the conservative belief that TV is liberal propaganda.
G, R, X
MPAA rating system used to counter Congress's efforts to rate movies. The breakdown: G - General Audiences; R - children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult; X - an indicator of sex/violence/etc. *The rating system is important because it was Hollywood regulating itself to remain out of government control.
8000 murders
Refers to the belief that children will see 100,000 acts of violence committed and 8,000 murders before the end of their elementary school education. *This is important because it suggests that, the more violence children see, the more violent they will become as they get older.
1992 western in which a barbarian rides into a town, destroys civilization, and returns to the wilderness; however, the hero is a vicious psychopath. The format of the film follows that of a classical western, but reverses the moral assumptions by presenting civilization as evil. *Marked the death of the classical western genre in the early 1990s, indicating a change in the American collective unconscious.
The most important genre in the history of Hollywood. They are generally set between 1865 and 1900 and involve civilized people mingling with vagabonds in a lawless town; a common storyline had a man ride into town, kill the vagabonds, and ride off into the wilderness. *Satisfied the American collective unconscious by assuring us that the new civilization was worth defending during a period when many Americans were moving from rural to urban societies; it is a pro-social genre.
"Anthony Adverse"
1936 Warner Brothers movie based on a best-selling novel. When the original script was sent to Joseph Breen at the Hays office, Breen rejected the film based on the production code's provisions. The redone script turned the movie into a confusing story. *Example of how the studios used the Hays Office to self-regulate media, to avoid outside regulation.
1953 western about a mysterious cowboy who rides in and helps a community deal with struggle, and then the cowboy leaves once he has taken care of the outlaws. *Exemplifies the most common kind of western story and sub-genre (that is, one in which the hero who comes into town, dispatches the bad guys, and then leaves town).
17000 hours
Refers to the amount of television an average American will have watched by the time she or he graduates from high school. *This is important because such a high consumption of television will greatly affect children, especially in the future.
1970's and 1980's cop show about a detective, where the criminal was always someone rich and famous. *Reinforces the idea that people who are conservatives will look at TV programs and see liberal propaganda.
Hays Office
Branch of the Trade Association of motion picture studios created in 1922 which instituted a self-censorship regime. When the Branch gained power in 1934, it wrote a code of things that could/couldn't be seen or heard; if it didn't accept a movie script, the film wasn't distributed; lasted until 1966. *Is an example of self-regulation used to avoid outside regulation from the government.
"Sands of Iwo Jima "
1949 film where "lots of people are killed, most of them Japanese." In the context of the film, these deaths are acceptable. "Were we to evaluate the film's violence in context, most of us would regard it as acceptable violence as opposed to unacceptable violence." *This film illustrates the difficulty film critics have in reaching a consensus as to what constitutes "violence" because, under some circumstances, violence is an acceptable option (e.g., war). If one uses this application, films would be considered a lot less violent.
Surrogate Family
A group of people who are not biologically related, but who function together like a family; examples of surrogate families on TV include the casts of the shows Friends, Cheers, and Will & Grace. *Represents a reconstruction of the family relationship on TV; viewers admire personal loyalty of people to one another, consequently endorsing the surrogate family.
"The Last Temptation of Christ"
Controversial 1988 Martin Scorsese film adapted from a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis; it portrayed Jesus as neurotic and uncomfortable with being the son of God and wishing to be ordinary. The film caused outraged Christians, but the WGA defended Scorsese under his First Amendment rights. *This film was significant because it showed how freedom of expression rights allows for anti-Christian film to me made.
Stalagmite Effects
Cognitive deposits built up from repeated media exposure over time. Steyer explains that media exposes children to packaged and distorted stories for maximum marketing effect. *These stories teach children patterns of behavior, which are often not counterbalanced by teachings from their parents (i.e., sexual behavior). Consequently, this repeated media exposure causes children to believe that what the media shows is reality.
The Office of War Information, which was formed during World War II. This Office had a bureau for motion pictures and served as another layer of wartime regulation of images; the OWI proposed movies such as Bataan to promote wartime propaganda. *Represents the government's efforts to control mass media, especially during wartime period.
The 1990s rating that replaced the X rating. It means no one under 17 can see the movie: it is intended for adults only. However, NC-17 movies usually flop because public still thinks they are X-rated. *Demonstrated that the film industry was willing to rate movies themselves to avoid government/external censorship.
"Star Trek"
1966-69 original television series that spawned eight films and four spinoff series. In all of the Star Trek series, all of Earth's major problems have been solved and we, as "Earthlings," are traversing the galaxy spreading enlightenment. *Is a utilization of the transcendent genre to show an idealized, positive, and optimistic vision of the future.
Viti Levu
Fiji province used to research effects of the introduction of television. Viti Levu people were surveyed in 1995 (when television was just being introduced) and in 1998. Researchers found that in 1995, 3% of the girls were bulimic and in 1998, 15% of the girls were bulimic. In the 1998 survey, girls who watched television for 3 or more hours a week were 50% more likely to describe themselves as big or fat, and 30% more likely to say they were on a diet, than girls who didn't watch television for 3 or more hours a week. The girls who were on a diet said they were dieting to look like western women they saw on TV. *The study is important because it shows how watching television can create problems with self-acceptance and body image.
"The Reagans"
2003 CBS miniseries about Nancy and President Ronald Reagan. During its run, it was mostly favorable to the Reagans. When conservatives criticized scenes within the show, critiquing the idea that Reagan was slow to respond to the AIDS epidemic, CBS cancelled the miniseries. *This show (and its cancellation) shows how pressure from organized interest groups can change the content of TV.
Broadcast Standards Office
Self-regulating office within a network. A television show must be passed by this office before it is put on air. However, artists dislike these offices and want their shows their way, resulting in a relationship like that between the Hays Office and movie artists. *Reinforces the greater struggle to get programming on modern TV.
Bobo doll
Doll that, when you hit it, comes back to be hit again. An experiment was done where kids were shown a video with an adult hitting a bobo doll; when the kids started playing again, they copied what they had seen the adult do (in the video). *Experiment proves children can learn violent behavior just from seeing it on-screen.
Part of the television rating system that was proposed by the FCC in the 1996 Telecommunications Act and went into effect by January 1997. This system was created in response to the public concerns of increasingly explicit sexual content, graphic violence, and strong profanity in television programs. *This system allowed television companies to become self regulated, and most adopted this rating system voluntarily so they would not be regulated by the government. This system also reinforces the idea that there is more regulation in television than in movies because the airways belong to the people.
The Seductions of Eloquence
From the Bertrand Russell phrase, "We need defenses against the ________________." New media forms challenge our ability to gauge the falsity of something, and they build up a world of imagery where we're out of the realm of logic and into the realm of aesthetics. You either like something or you don't, but you can't talk about their truth or falsity. *This means that, with continually emerging forms of media, people will have to find new ways to assess whether these images projected by this media are worth believing.
"Stargate SG-1"
1997-2008 science fiction series in which a team of military adventurers travel through the universe fighting evil aliens and helping good aliens. The series notably allows one to view problems from a different perspective (the alien's). *Is an example of transcendent genre TV show that is a counter-myth and more pessimistic view of the future.
"The Miracle"
1950, New York City screened this Italian film, part of a trilogy called The Ways of Love. A State film-licensing board had issued a license for the film's exhibition, but public outrage in response to film content made the board want to rescind the theater license. State court upheld board's decision, but the federal court ruled that commercial films were protected speech in the meaning of the First Amendment. *This concept shows the extension of First Amendment rights to film exhibitions regardless of objectionable content in the film.
"7th Heaven"
TV show that ran from the 90's until 2007. It featured a strongly knit and religious family that overcomes problems together. *Was a form of "positive propaganda" whose goal was to reinforce American family values, and a healthy family relationship.
Notel, Unitel, Multitel
Towns used in a study of television's effects on school performance. Notel had no television stations, Unitel had one American network, and Multitel had all 3 American networks. After testing children in each town, researchers found that Notel had the highest scores and Multitel had the lowest scores. When the students were retested years after all three towns had all three networks, they found Notel and Unitel scores had fallen to Multitel's level. *These towns present experimental evidence that watching television lowers school performance.
Television genre which used to feature a single person, but now usually features a group. (thanks to Bochco's Hill Street Blues). These people represent good authority and justice, and the heroes are always incorruptible, even if they have other flaws (a modern exception is The Shield, which features a corrupt cop as the hero). *Genre that represents the collective unconscious desire for justice and is pro-social.
Media Saturation
Idea that media messages and images so saturate our lives that it's not possible for parents to protect their kids from every potentially harmful media exposure; no matter how hard a parent tries, they cannot keep all forms of media from affecting their kids. *This emphasizes/reinforces the need for parents to take a more active role in filtering media their children consume, even amidst constantly changing times and media outlets.
The National Enquirer Appeal
Idea that the world is still fascinated/obsessed with American entertainment: we have envy and resentment toward stars, so we like to see their flaws exposed in the tabloids; and other countries feel the same about Americans. *Hollywood's unpleasant images of America allow the rest of the world to temper envy with the sense of superiority of America materially, but American culture's degenerating allows other countries to feel rich by comparison.
Action for Children's Television, a public interest group which aimed to address 2 major concerns: violence of TV; and excessive commercialization. It was very well known in the 1980s and had a variety of success in convincing Congress to do certain things. *Reinforces the influence the public (or public action) can have on Hollywood.
V, S
Part of the 'more in-depth' method added to the television rating system in 1997 after many people said the ratings were too vague. These more descriptive letters are put directly below the original rating, to help the viewer make a more suitable decision as to whether or not they should watch the program. *This addition to the rating system reinforces the idea that many groups are trying to effect what programming goes on the air, and that networks must cater to these groups.
"Fat & Happy?"
Refers to 2000's documentary "Fat and Happy," which found that kids who watched more TV were less active and ate more; yet when they watched less TV, the kids became more active and ate less. *Concept illustrates that television (especially excess TV watching) can have a negative effect on children.
Soap Opera
Daytime television drama genre with a primarily female audience. Soap operas have multiple families inside a small community dealing with basic human problems like marriage, divorce, death, and family conflict. Unlike prime-time shows that end every episode, soap operas are continual like real life. *Are important because they lead the way for U.S. ethnic integration into television.
"Law & Order"
A modern-day primetime TV drama started in 1991. The first half of the show concentrates on the police investigating the crime, and the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court. Each episode deals with a different real-life issue and legitimate arguments are made from both sides. *Is an example of TV that presents viewers with an unbiased view of real-life issues (that is, both sides of the debate are shown).
Deborah Prothrow-Stith
The Dean of Harvard's School of Public Health, who treated a boy with a gunshot wound who was surprised the wound actually hurt; thus Stith realized the effects media is having on our kids about ideas concerning violence. *This situation reinforces that the media is creating distorted and dangerous expectations for some children where they can't tell the difference between reality and fiction.
"Desperate Housewives"
2004-present primetime ABC television series that contains elements of several different genres, such as comedy, soap opera, and mystery. *Is a modern example of how different genres can be brought together, blurred, and employed in one program in the creation of stories that defy classic genre conventions (but which appeal to the collective subconscious).
"NYPD Blue"
Stephen Bochco cop show than ran from 1993-2005 which contained violence, profanity, and partial nudity. *Shows how the standards of T.V content have evolved and become more lenient over time: this show would have never been able to be shown in the 1960's due to the time period's strict content regulation.
TV as Left-wing
Argument made by conservatives that claims TV is liberal propaganda. The argument focuses on the TV programming, saying TV systematically casts the representatives of major American institutions (i.e., big businesses or the military) as villains or fools, and undermines the family by exalting the single family. *Concept reinforces the idea that people who are conservatives will look at TV and see liberal propaganda.
The Transcendent Genre
Science fiction is called this because of its ability to transcend medium (both film and television) and because it allows our imaginations to transcend the here and now. *Is important because it allows viewers the opportunity to construct alternate visions of our own future.
"Walk Hard"
2007 parody film about a musician which bombed at the box office. *Shows that even a film that formulaically should make money at the box office (that is, the proven comedic biopic parody) is capable of tanking, however, it also shows there may be a resurgence in the musical genre.
"Mean World" Syndrome
Deals with the first problem with media violence and its impact on children - media violence can create an almost paralyzing sense of fear that the world is a violent place where physical aggression is normal. This syndrome is associated with frequent television viewing. *Ultimately, the concept shows how media violence can affect people but especially children and trigger/influence their actions or reactions in the real world.
"The Flintstones (movie)"
After watching this movie, five and six-year-old kids wanted 'stone people' toys, but gave the toys the names and voices of characters from the actual film. Steyer argues that such placement causes children to bypass their own imaginations and substitute commercial characters and storylines instead. *This suggests that movie tie-ins to children's products can influence, inhibit, or replace children's creativity.
"Kingdom of Heaven"
2005 movie about the 12th century period in Europe and Jerusalem known as the Crusades which highlighted the conflict between Islam and Christianity. Islamic scholars felt movie was anti-Islam propaganda, while Christian scholars thought the film was anti-Christian propaganda. *Illustrates that people usually see films as propaganda attacking whatever it is that they believe.
"American Beauty"
1999 film starring Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari, which addressed such adult themes as homophobia and harassment. *This movie ultimately deals with what (or how much) is tolerated in the film-making society.
Media Literacy
One of Steyers' steps to creating a safer media environment for children: it emphasizes the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and process media. Kids would learn to use TV, music and other media consciously and selectively, as well as think critically about the messages and images they receive. *This idea encourages kids themselves to see through hype, and filter media that surrounds them.
Vivid Video
A mainstream ****ography distributor who Gregg Easterbrook refers to as "the MGM of the erotica business." ______________ movies are explicit, but 'violence is never depicted because that would be irresponsible." *If mainstream **** like ____________ can be violence-free, yet risque and profitable, Easterbrook argues, surely Hollywood can show restraint in glorifying violence in movies without sacrificing profitability.
Type of genre whose setting is generally urban and which integrates two story formulas: Romantic (where a romance begins in hostility, but the two fall in love over time); and show (where people put on a show). This integration of stories symbolizes people overcoming individuality and coming together. The musical, unlike the western, appears to be making a comeback in the 21st century. *Is pro-social, showing society and community as a good thing; as such, it depicts a genre which fell and then rose again in the collective unconscious.
"Lust, Caution"
2007 X-rated movie made in Taiwan and directed by Ang Lee, which became a super hit. X-rated movies are rarely made these days because they have never done well, but this was an exception to that rule. *Serves as a rare example of an X-rated movie making a lot of money at the box office.
Genre that depicts repressed, unconscious, anti-social tendencies people have to destroy their surroundings and people they know; a horror film has a murderous desire that is represented by a monster. The genre appeals mainly to young men. *Allow us to surrender to anti-social impulses without actually committing acts ourselves; it is also represents a genre which has evolved.
First Amendment
Power adopted in 1791, which says Congress can't make laws abridging the freedom of speech, press, and expression. However, questions are raised as to whether the Amendment protects certain freedoms like pornography, racism, and inciting riots. *While film censorship violates the 1st Amendment, the government was not explicitly made unable to censor films until 1952.
Concept that violent films have increased profitability when they are down-rated: Since teens are the best market segment, you need teen access to films to make them profitable. Thus, you need R instead of NC-17 ratings, and the age restrictions must be laxly enforced at these movies. *Allows studios to control the movie ratings board to where, if the board has a pro-violence bias, we see more violent movies.
Science with an Agenda
"This contradiction, between the real role of media effects at the macrolevel, suggests that most "evidence" that purports to demonstrate a relationship between media, particularly film media, and undesired behaviors, is probably science with an agenda." *Research has shown that the pro-social messages on TV can have greater effects than antisocial messages. So anyone who has evidence otherwise (how TV/film violence is causing a rise in actual violence) probably is selling you something/pushing their own agenda.
TV's Businessmen
Concept developed from an 80's study by Lichter, Lichter, and Rothman, which showed that businessmen on TV were 7 times more likely to break the law than to contribute to society's well-being. *Concept reinforces the idea that people who are conservative will look at TV and see liberal propaganda.
Independents, Democrats, and the Apolitical
Democrats tend to be more culturally and economically liberal, while independents tended to be more culturally liberal but economically conservative. The Independent/Democrat/apolitical viewer is worth "three Republicans" to the filmmaker. *This is an important factor in determining as to why film content is geared toward cultural liberals: as it is much safer financially for a producer to serve an existing market then to create a new one.
A failed government and TV industry high-tech answer to programming excesses. "Embed a V-chip in every television that recognizes the rating codes and give parents the power, via remote control, to block out shows that they deem objectionable." When you give the parents the ability to block programming, you also give them the ability to block advertisements. *Was an example of the industry trying to expand the explicitness of images they showed on TV under the excuse that parents would 'regulate' the images that were coming into their households.
Myths into Sales Pitches
Idea in the "Consuming Images" documentary that the validity of images is dependent upon their ability to be transformed into merchandise; however, when the image becomes merchandise, we lose the message behind it. Movies like E.T. will use mythic images, and women want the attractive look they see in advertisements; advertising turns these images toward the sale and not personal salvation. *This is important because it shows how consumer culture and advertising give 'life' to myths when people literally buy into them.
"The Birth of a Nation"
D.W. Griffith's controversial 1915 film which promoted white supremacy and glorified the KKK during and after the American Civil War. It was the first real movie made how WE think of movies: it contained a long complicated story, technical camera shots, battle scenes, and was a huge blockbuster. *The film was free expression, yet served as racist conscious propaganda and increased racial prejudice.
"Politically Incorrect"
Bill Maher's late-night satirical talk show on ABC that discussed current events. Maher made comments post-9/11 calling the U.S. cowardly, but the audience interpreted that as an attack on troops. When sponsors began to back out in 2002, ABC dropped the show. *This show (and its cancellation) illustrates how an aroused public can change the content of TV.
National Television Violence Study
1995 large scale study by several universities about the effects of television violence on children; the study produced correlational evidence proving that those who frequently view TV violence demonstrate increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior (further, the correlational evidence was fairly stable over time, place and demographics). *Important because it shows correlational evidence that watching television causes violent behavior.
Seduced by Hollywood
A reference to the critics who have been persuaded in their defining the producers of feature films as part of the cultural elite. However, too much credit is given to the editorial influence of the creative side of the business. Filmmakers want to be considered as artists but too often art doesn't sell in Hollywood. *This concept shows how critics can be seduced into liking something by the industry; but the filmmakers who have not been 'seduced' ignore the capitalist impulse to
Collective Unconscious
The desires and fears of people within a culture, or the political meaning within said culture; and how either these desires, fears, or political meaning changes over time. Ultimately, it is the way people and society think. The collective unconscious of a culture can be uncovered by studying genres. *Shows the differences between cultures and how certain stories vary between them.
"Power Rangers"
Live-action show once aired on FOX about teenagers who turn into superheroes and battle evil forces from outer space. It is linked to a fortune in licensed merchandise worldwide, but is considered the most violent TV show ever created for kids. Steyer believes the show to be a cheaply produced, irresponsible show designed for the enrichment of its marketing partners.
A Dying Genre?
A reference to a television genre, the sitcom; because sitcoms have declined in number in the 21st century. *Suggests that American viewers might be abandoning the desire for a small, warm family group (biological or surrogate); further, it reinforces that TV and film are liable to change depending on what the collective unconscious desires.
A group of stories that may share similar setting, characters, types of conflict, and resolution of conflict. Genres have certain conventions and tend to be formulaic (e.g., Roadrunner cartoon). New shows usually fail when they contradict convention; unconventional shows can, however, create an entirely new genre. *Reinforce the idea that TV viewers like familiarity and don't always support unconventional programs.
An example of a television show which created a new genre by merging two existing ones (musical and detective); it only lasted for half a season on TV, primarily because people would not accept conventions of cops in a musical. *Demonstrates one instance when an unconventional show created a new genre; more importantly, however, it reinforces that shows which contradict genres are highly likely to fail on TV.

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