Semester Highlights

This course introduced me to a wide range of topics and issues that I never could have thought of studying. For example: Understanding Comics, Spirit of Terrorism, and Video Games as Vehicles for Propoganda— where else would you read about these subjects?

The video game America's Army was introduced as a recruiting tool for the Army.

As this semester draws to a close, in fact, I would actually like to hear a bit more on that last subject of video games as propaganda. It was an interesting argument, and it would be nice to hear a discussion with the author himself, Dr. Delwiche. Now, looking back towards what we have covered thus far, let’s look at some of the highlights.

My favorite reading of the semester was “‘Ha, ha,’ he said. ‘Ha, ha.'” from his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. This was my first introduction to the fantastic writing of Chuck Klosterman, and it made me excited to hear more from him throughout the rest of this course. Laugh tracks were an effective example of how mass media outlets such as television programs have the potential to manipulate reactions of the audience. In this example, he is able to point out that the manipulative technique plays on assumptions about human nature–specifically, that we do not have confidence to know what is funny on our own–and that it changes across cultures. Although we have covered many other interesting topics through the readings,  what really sets this article apart from the rest is that Klosterman is able to convey his ideas in a unique writing style that is amusing to read.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of readings was Baudrillard’s The Precession of Simulacra. This was my least favorite reading of the semester mainly because of the extreme density of the author’s writing. Although it was one of the most difficult readings to trudge through, however, there were still aspects that caught my interest. For example, “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation” (Baudrillard 25). This claim points out that the institution of Disneyland is made as a reference to make the rest of the world seem more “real.” This was one of the very few points which I could at least partially understand where Baudrillard was trying to go with his argument.

I hope that I will not have to hear any more from Baudrillard in my future studies at Trinity, but seeing as I am a Communication major and may take more classes from Dr. Delwiche, there may be a chance of another encounter. Next semester for me will actually be filled primarily with courses for that major, and also for my minor in Sport Management. I am especially looking forward to the new course Sport Media, as it incorporates both topics of interest for me. I do not anticipate anything else too exciting or out of the ordinary for next semester, but hopefully I am pleasantly surprised by the rest of my courses in the Spring.

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