Friday, August 31, 2012

Pausing for Fiction

I've started a little tradition with new students the last few years.  I offer a door prize for the library orientation session I do after Convocation with the new crop of grad students. I pick a work of fiction that speaks to communication or media studies. The students won't be reading much fiction in the program, little if any, all the more reason for me to remind them tht literature, past and current, is pretty fertile ground for thinking about communication! I try to pick something fairly recent.  Last year's prize was Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, a May-December romance set in a dystopian New York in the near (as in next Tuesday) future that is dominated by media and brand-ridden consumption. 

This year's offering is a collection  (just out, with very good press) of short stories by Joshua Cohen, Four New Messages.

Reviewer Jesse Singal in The Boston Globe writes:

We still haven’t figured out what the Internet means for us, what it says about us. What does it mean that millions of us have begun obsessively documenting the minutiae of our lives, turning ourselves into abject exhibitionists? What does it mean that one ill-advised post, created by someone at a carefree and feckless age, can live on for decades, if not longer? If a whiff of triteness hangs around these questions, it is perhaps because they are asked so frequently and urgently by so many. So it’s a ripe time for talented literary voices to breathe some fresh life into them, and that’s what Joshua Cohen does in “Four New Messages,” his new book of short stories.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

New Journal: Psychology of Popular Media Culture

Beginning their first issue January 2012, the American Psychology Association launched a new journal devoted to popular media, Psychology of Popular Media Culture.  Edited by James C. Kaufman, the quarterly is "dedicated to publishing empirical research and papers on how popular culture and general media influence individual, group, and system behavior." 

You can access this journal in PsycARTICLES from Library e-resources. You can also sign up to get TOC or RSS feeds for the journal at the the publisher's website.

A sample of articles from the first (already three!) issues:

Reassessing media violence effects using a risk and resilience approach to understanding aggression.

Television produces more false recognition for news than newspapers. 

Real feelings for virtual people: Emotional attachments and interpersonal attraction in video games.

The delinquent media effect: Delinquency-reinforcing video games increase players attitudinal and behavioral inclination toward delinquent behavior.

Humor in advertisements enhances product liking by mere association.

A two-process view of Facebook use and relatedness need-satisfaction: Disconnection drives use, and connection rewards it.

Exposure to slim images in mass media: Television commercials as reminders of restriction in restrained eaters.

Partner preferences across the life span: Online dating by older adults.

Cell phone use and child and adolescent reading proficiency.

Consensus and contrasts in consumers' cinematic assessments: Gender, age, and nationality in rating the top-250 films.

Frequency and quality of social networking among young adults: Associations with depressive symptoms, rumination, and corumination.

Saddam Hussein is “dangerous to the extreme”: The ethics of professional commentary on public figures.
Read more »

August CommQuote

“The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, ad then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.”

―Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

Research Feature: Environmental Rhetoric of Barack Obama

ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY 48:3 (Winter 2012) features research on President Obama's rhetoric on global warming and other environmental issues. Titled Salience Over Sustainability: Environmental Rhetoric of President Barack Obama by Brett Bricker, you can access the full text online from Communication & Mass Media Media Complete.

Environmental policy was a core component of the first 17 months of the Obama administration. From global warming legislation to the BP oil crisis, Obama responded to a range of environmental concerns with a variety of rhetorical strategies. This article examines the first 40 environmental speeches delivered by President Barack Obama.I find that Obama primarily used economic and national security arguments to justify his environmental policy. Scholars' work on definitional argument provides an analytic framework that supports my claim that although the approach of privileging economic and national security benefits is politically salient in the short-term, it undercuts
long-term public support for environmentalism.

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