Sunday, January 26, 2014

3 Questions

1.     In what ways would the “high class, learned” detractors of melodrama (such as the artist who scoffs at the statue that moves Stowe to tears) argue that an abundance of melodrama absorption from early childhood onward negatively affects somebody?

2.     Williams mentions, and gives examples, of the usage of melodrama in the media. Is it possible for a news organization to be successful without the use of melodramatic elements?

3.     Williams notes, “One of the key features of melodrama … is its compulsion to reconcile the irreconcilable?” What does this say about the place of the genre of melodrama? How does this speak to its ability to endure, and be revitalized and revamped with each successive generation?


  1. My response to number 2. The other two responses coming later:
    In a recent interview on The Colbert Report , news anchor John Seigenthaler, who recently moved to Al Jazeera America, said that the news has lost much of its objectivity. Rather than factual reports of what happened in the world on a given day being delivered to the public, opinions and analysis from biased journalists or reporters were being provided. Seigenthaler believed that the news should just be presented to the public as it happened, which is Al Jazeera America’s mission. If the news is completely objective and all the facts are reported to the audience, then the news can be successful without using melodrama elements.
    However, in today’s society, simply reporting the news does not get the ratings that networks are looking for. These network news shows seek interviews with the people who are “villainized” by the public in order to be considered the best. They thrive off of the stories of the victimized hero, and they do not hesitate to overhype a small story. Recently, following Richard Sherman’s postgame trash-talking interview with Erin Andrews, many news organizations lashed out at Sherman, calling his actions foolish. Some organizations called Sherman a thug and a poor reputation to his race. A very small amount of news organizations, many online websites, highlighted the fact that Sherman has rose from the streets of Compton to Stanford University to a premier player in the NFL. Only taking into account his 15-second controversial interview makes the man appear to be a villain in American society. News organizations that analyzed just the interview had great ratings the past week, and this interview is expected to be one of the more talked about points in the coming week leading to the Super Bowl. Taking into account his whole life and his many achievements gives one a different opinion about the man. So, a news organization can potentially report the news with minimal, possibly no, melodrama elements, but there has been no evidence of that being successful in our society yet.

  2. 1. The “high class, learned” detractors of melodrama would argue that children that absorb themselves in melodrama can become attracted to simplistic stories of good vs. evil that are emotionally stimulating, and not appreciate complex or thought-provoking stories. Rather than learn both sides of a situation they may naturally, and immediately, side with the victimized good: the side with the more heart-felt story, or the side they feel is doing the morally right action. It is more difficult to have an informed society when people support whichever side they feel is “good.” Melodrama’s core concepts could potentially help fuel this trend to hastily pick a side without knowing the whole story.

    3. People watch melodramatic films or read melodramatic books because they know that nine out of ten times, regardless of all the hardships, the hero will prevail in the end. Somehow, he or she will “reconcile the irreconcilable.” This key feature of Melodrama has made the style a success in American cinematography and is why it will last for many years to come. The melodramatic style has made appearances in a variety of genres, such as chick-flicks, science fiction, and action films. The concept of a good person or group overcoming challenging obstacles will always be appealing to the public. Essentially, as long as the style is causing movies to earn high revenues, then melodrama will be prevalent in the future of film.


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