Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Feature: Critical Introduction to George Gerbner

Media scholar Michael Morgan has written a critical overview of the work of his former mentor and colleague:  George Gerbner: A Critical Introduction to Media and Communication Theory (Peter Lang, 2012). 

This under-200 page textbook of sorts succinctly maps the trajectory of one of the field's founding fathers--beginning with research from  pre-Cultural Indicators times when he developed his model for communication, looked at confession magazines not only for content patterns but institutional practices, and gathered and analyzed representations of mental illness in the media. He also  studied mass communication's relation to education, a concern going back to his dissertation days. One can trace how his early work morphed into what would be his opus, Cultural Indicators, a sprawling "long-term, integrated, and cumulative analysis of (1) media institutions, (2) dominant message patterns, and (3) audience images and conceptions."  No one is better situated to walk us through the evolution of this project, stopping for lessons in message system analysis, institutional process analysis, cultivation analysis, mean world syndrome, and mainstreaming, than Dr. Morgan who was there, actively so, when it all went down. The volume includes a useful 11-page bibliography. 

It was nice to see The Annenberg School's George Gerbner Archive acknowledged; we are certainly grateful for Dr. Morgan's donations to the Archive as well as a few corrections in documentation details which he generously sent our way in the course of his work.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

April CommQuote

So Goyte, that Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician/singer-songwriter with the smash worldwide hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" also has a "media song" that I heard him talk rather   intelligently about with David Dye on a recent World Cafe. The song is his favorite from the album, Making Mirrors.

"State Of The Art"
When the Cotillion arrived
We threw out the television
Model D 575
Has custom flute presets
And Harmony-Plus in addition

Now for an arm and a leg
We get three half-dozen beats to choose from
So now we can pretend
That there's an orchestra in the loungeroom

I put the Genie Bass on
So my left hand can play the choir
With 16ft Diapason
And Lowrey's patented Orchestral Symphonizer

Banjo's great on repeat
The kids want to play but they'll have to be patient
The wife can't help tapping her feet
It's a genuine home entertainment revelation

State, state, state, state of the art
(State of the art)
(Hold the phone, it's so)
State, state, state, state of the art
(Listen to the difference!)
State, state, state, state of the art
(By use of a computer)
(Oh my God, it's so)
State, state, state, state of the art

Now we don't want to go out
When we could spend the night at home with the Cotillion
Invite the neighbours around
Start the bossanova beat and limbo from the living to the kitchen

Enjoy the state of the art
The Magic Swing Piano really is astounding
Now we can't tell them apart
But these amazing simulations end up sounding even better than the real thing

State, state, state, state of the art
(State of the art)
(Hold the phone, it's so)
State, state, state, state of the art
(Computer controlled tone colour)
State, state, state, state of the art
(The marriage of music to computers is quite natural)
(Oh my God, it's so)
State, state, state, state of the art
(It is time to hear the results)

(Hold the phone, it's so)
(Oh my God, it's so)


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