Plan for the evening
Maybe we should review a couple more places in Introducing Cultural Studies to help us think through the “Moral Panic” chapter.
- p. 41: “In the 70s, British cultural studies became obsessed with the ‘style’ and behaviour of young working-class men.”
- Think about this in terms of moral crusaders’ obsession with children’s entertainment.
- p. 45: “Marxist ‘science’ rejects the idea of a universal ‘human nature’ and embraces ‘theoretical anti-humanism”. This eliminates the individual as in any sense a conscious actor in producing social relations. Individuals are not prior to social conditions. Each subject is an agent of the system.”
- “Welcome my friend / Welcome to the machine”
- p. 92: “The essence of science can be rescued by replacing a ‘logic of confirmation’ with an ethical principle of self-criticism.”
- Kuhn’s paradigm shifts and scientific revolutions.
- p. 103: “Instead of ushering in an electronic democracy, cyberspace may catapult the world into a surreal mix of psychowar and corporate feudalism.”
- Is this an exaggeration? Is there proof of technological surveillance?
- 120: “Hybridity not only displaces the history that creates it, but sets up new structures of authority and generates new political initiatives.”
- p. 140: “The body was viewed as a common rack upon which different societies could inflict different norms of behaviour or personality.”
- p. 146: “Queerness has been defined as ‘a quality related to any expression that can be marked as contra-, non-, or anti-straight”.
- What would it mean to be “anti-straight”? Let’s revisit systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia.
- p. 161: “The market mechanism often favours the profitable recycling of old stereotypes and cliches and threatens pluralistic representation.”
- Wait a minute! What about all the different media choices we have? Doesn’t that fragmentation allow for a pluralism of choice?
- What about reader (or viewer/consumer) response to creating meaning?
Ch. 2 “The Rise (And Refinement) of Moral Panic”
Before we get into the chapter, what moral panics (or moral crusades) against entertainment are you familiar?
- p. 22: “[T]he goal of media psychology is to better understand how individuals use and are affected by mediated messages.”
- And what is the goal of rhetoric?
- p. 23: “Researchers are required to assume that the effects they are looking for are (a) present and (b) dangerous, which often results in the adoption of a moral stance.”
- p. 24: “It would not have been possible for science to progress as long as the Church held the power to silence anyone it chose.” (Thomasett cited)
- p. 26: Payne Fund–“…not only did children react physiologically to films…but they also expressed attitudes and opinions that aligned with on-screen content.”
- p. 30: “Death Race and Mortal Kombat served to stoke public fears about the presence of interactive video game violence.”
- Here’s a news broadcast from 1993 about Mortal Kombat‘s release. The clip concludes with a speaker noting that future games will have more violent and sexual themes as more adults play them.
- Here’s a brief history of the fatalities in Mortal Kombat with the creators discussing why they incorporated them into the game. How do we interpret their reasons from a cultural studies perspective? Watch to 1:30.
- p. 32: (Via Henry Jenkins) “The moral panic over violent video games….misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.”
- p. 32: “[T]hose less experienced with video games are more likely to fear them.”
- p. 33: “[M]any of the researchers and policy makers are unwilling to accept that an activity that they personally engage in (gaming) could have negative effects.”
- pp. 34-35: “The legacy of fear of media effects is just that: a fear rooted not in science, but all-too-often in the moral panics of well-meaning researchers less committed to understanding a phenomenon and more committed to stopping it before it is fully understood.”
Time permitting, we’ll look at this YouTuber’s list of the top 5 most controversial video games of the 1990s.
Ch. 3 “Are Electronic Games Health Hazards or Health Promoters?”
Quick question? What is the biggest health concern facing Americans? If you were to guess, which of the following kills more Americans a year than any other cause?
What’s the conclusion on video games and health?
- p. 39: “Commercially available games may have risks and benefits, which vary for different types of players.”
- p. 39-40: “[M]any children use video games for emotional regulation: as an antidote to boredom and loneliness.”
- The modernist condition of ennui. What to do with a bored population?
- “In modern use, boredom is understood as a loss of personal meaning, occasioned either by the withdrawal or absence of the meaningful or by the imposition of the meaningless….recent scholarship has explained the English expression of boredom as a particularly modern articulation of experience dating from the late eighteenth century.”
- While we’re on the subject of modernism, you might want to review positivism.
- p. 40: Video games and competition
- p. 41: Delayed gratification
- p. 42: ADHD and instant gratification
- p. 45: “‘Sensation-seeking’ personalities may differentially seek out risk-glorifying media; in turn, that media exposure might amplify their natural affinity for risky acts.”
- How long do the effects of the lab last?
- p. 47: Media and obesity.
- p. 49: “Sports videogames have the potential to introduce players to new sports, increase motivation to practice sports moves or try out for teams, and boost confidence in sports-related abilities.”
- p. 50: Video games and controlling conditions, diseases, and the like.
- What about the elderly and WII?
Keep up with the reading. You’ll need to have read Chapters 4 and 5 in The Video Game Debate before coming to class next week. We only have two more classes of reading left and two more meetings after Thanksgiving–a workshop and a presentation day.