SU Business Essays


What’s Behind the Signs of Hollywood and the New Media?

So far we have had some practice reading about semiotic interpretations of film and television and interacting with these semiotic readings in a variety of ways. This assignment asks that you put yourself into the role of cultural critic, engage with the theoretical framework provided by one or more of our authors, then provide a powerful abductive reading of the signs associated with specific films and/or shows or with social media.

As the authors of our textbook say, the “key to the matter lies in looking not at what the movie says about itself but at what it does” (Maasik 445). This assignment asks you to read the signs in order to locate and explain what they reveal about a popular audience’s values, attitudes, hopes, fears, and desires at particular historical moments. The popularity of a film or show can act as a mirror or reflection of broader values. What do we see when we look into that mirror? Similarly, what happens when you read the signs of social media? What broader values, hopes, fears, cultural shifts or changing demographics does the new social media reveal to us?

As always, when writing your analysis:

“You should suspend your personal feelings and aesthetic judgements about your subject. As with any semiotic analysis, your goal is to interpret the cultural significance of your topic, not give it a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down” (Maasik and Solomon 446).

The assignment asks you to interact with one or more of the readings in this class. In particular, you should choose the reading that goes along with your topic, but you may also use any of the theoretical or foundational chapters we have read. For example, if you are writing about queer representation, you would want to use the Samantha Allen article on the show Euphoria as well as any of the other texts that might be helpful, such as the “Hollywood Sign.” They can all be found in Perusall or the modules.

Here is the lengthy prompt! Download Here is the lengthy prompt!You are to choose ONE prompt only and write an essay addressing the topic and questions asked in the prompt. Please read thoroughly and ask any questions on the discussion thread in the module.

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