By Edward Schiappa
Argues that representational correctness may cause critics to overlook the optimistic paintings that movies and tv indicates can practice in decreasing prejudice.
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Additional resources for Beyond Representational Correctness: Rethinking Criticism of Popular Media
In chapter 4 I contend that a key element of audience analysis ought to be understanding the sorts of judgments that audience members make about characters—their likability, perceived similarity, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and so on. More important than a critic’s ability to spot the similarity between an individual character and a recognizable stereotype is the sort of judgment that audience members are making, not only about the individual character but also about the social group of which the individual is a part.
The remaining three modes of analysis are adapted from an essay by G. Thomas Goodnight in which he describes three “modes of argument” commonly advanced in criticism: corrective, audience-interpretive, and creative-mediational: “Arguments may be adduced to reform audience reception, to identify responses and make audiences more self-aware, or to prepare an audience for alternative responses” (1987, p. 62). The corrective argument “adjusts the work to its public by questioning the appropriateness of audience response,” while the interpretive argument “expands understanding of the relationships between a work and its reception.
Recall that there is typically a two-step process in most (though not all) criticism of popular media. First an argument is made that a given text means such and such (whether the meaning is obvious or subtle, conscious or unconscious, explicit or subtextual) and second that such meanings influence those who experience them. Even if we grant to certain schools of criticism that mass audiences are unaware of the ideological work of various popular texts, there remains an argumentative burden to prove the second step—that such audiences are influenced in the way(s) we think they are.
Beyond Representational Correctness: Rethinking Criticism of Popular Media by Edward Schiappa