Spotting and Understanding Media Texts
|Jaws logo and poster|
First of all, what is a Media Text? A Media Text is not specifically a written column in a Newspaper although this can contain Media Texts. The standard way to explain a Media Text is that it is any constructed media product or piece of communication, whether audiovisual, TV film, social media, music or the printed word, which can be studied. Let’s take for example the 70s film Jaws and analyse what it is really about. This film, based on a book by Peter Benchley, was an allegory of post Vietnam and post Watergate America. The film’s director Steven Spielberg brought in a screenwriter to make the characters more acceptable to Hollywood.
As an allegory the film works thus. The fictional holiday resort Island Amity represents America. Its name is a play on friendship and America. It is being menaced by a man-eating Great White shark which represents communism. The town’s authorities, who try and cover up the problem, are weak and inept: they represent the post-Vietnam and post-Watergate American government. There are further deaths and the town is traumatized; the tourist industry, the life blood of the town, is threatened. It is left to the true spirit of American citizens and free enterprise to deal with the problem. These are represented by a lone police officer, a marine biologist and an old seaman turned shark hunter, who set out alone and eventually kill the shark after a dramatic battle with it.
This is a very short analysis of the main themes of Jaws as a media text. Suffice to say that there are elements of Jaws that are incompatible with Christian viewing such as nudity and gory violence.
There are, I believe, other forms of media text; these are flows of information and ideas that are generated by the media in a social engineering context. One is the term and idea of ‘homophobia’ and ‘homophobic bullying’. All forms of bullying are wrong, of course, and are unacceptable. I am using the term homophobia as a false media or media-promoted text as it is much in the news. But what is homophobia? It is of course a nonsense term and the use of homophobia or homophobic against anyone is a media text designed to bully anyone who suggests that homosexual acts are wrong, and intrinsically disordered, into accepting same-sex attraction as normal. The media has worked hard to make people accept the unnatural as normal.The same cannot be said of the BBC’s treatment of race. Sadly, racism still exists in many sections of society. There is a telling lack of black and ethnic minorities at the BBC, for example, with the black comedian Lenny Henry vowing recently to lead a campaign for greater racial diversity on British television. There are still large areas of society where racism is acceptable, whereas perceived homophobia is unacceptable. It is extraordinary that something as natural as the colour of a man’s skin can be unacceptable while something as unnatural as homosexual acts is deemed acceptable. The problem here is that racism has not had the same amount of media attention as homosexuality; it has not become a media text. I do not think this strange dichotomy is what our service men and women fought for during WWII.
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