As we near the end of the semester, I think it’s important to mention that I have really enjoyed this course. Communication wasn’t an area of study I was particularly interested in before taking Media Interpretation & Criticism. However, in learning to think more critically when engaging in media, it’s safe to say I have a profound respect for the study of communication and the value one can extract from it. As for the final course period, I would enjoy spending more time on the philosophical works we covered in class, including Baudrillard and Bostrom.
My favorite course reading was Klosterman’s piece “This is Emo”. I think Klosterman’s evaluation of romance films and their creation of this falsified existence of euphoric, perfect love was spot on. Although I do enjoy a good romance flick every once in a while, love on the movie screens tends to distort our perception of what it means to be emotionally or physically involved with someone else. This developed perception of romantic relationships in film tends to create this façade of a “happily ever after” love life, which is complete and utter bullshit. Thus, it’s easy to say that I found Klosterman’s reading refreshing. My least favorite reading was Kaufman’s piece on food porn. To be perfectly honest, I think Kaufman’s discussion of food as an “erotic” element of a visual medium is merely a ploy to get people to read his evaluation. Kaufman writes, “Like sex porn, gastropom addresses the most basic human needs and functions, idealizing and degrading them at the same time” (57). Take out “gastroporn” in this sentence and enter in any genre of film or television show; every visual medium overvalues a certain element of human interest (comedy, death, etc.), which can obviously lead to the degradation of its function. I just think a reiteration of the word pornography could be applied to any sect of media; you could merely call soap operas “emotional porn” because they overvalue the development of loss and betrayal, focusing on the emotionality of humans.
Next semester, I am taking mostly business and economics courses to fulfill requirements for my major and, more importantly, allow me the freedom to study abroad. It is my goal to study abroad in two years at the London School of Economics and to finish my undergraduate studies there. As for the next semester of this course, I think taking a deeper look at the development of teenage identity in the media would be very interesting. I would also consider having a class fully focused on the development of semiotics and the creation of realities in media. Perhaps this class would be more psychologically and philosophically based but it would be interesting to do a deeper study on films that often question our existence. For example, maybe the class would involve watching films like Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) and Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001) and the readings would include Bostrom, Baudrillard and maybe someone like Hilary Putnam. This type of course could also include the evaluation of “feel-good” romance films and how they often distort reality and are maybe tools of keeping us in our current state of falsified existence. I do think splitting up your course into two sections would be very interesting. I think you should just ignore students who complain about being in one section instead of the other, as I know professor can sometimes become disinterested when they teach two sections on the exact same material. In conclusion, I would definitely take this course again if I could and I am very excited about the prospect of taking another communication course in the future.
Kaufman, Frederick. “Debbie does Salad.” Harper’s Magazine 311.1865 (2005): 55. Print.