Natalie Question #2
Is melodrama stable as a genre or continually evolving?
I think it is safe to say that melodrama is definitely continually evolving. As Singer says in his article, “melodrama starts from and expresses the anxiety brought by a frightening new world in which the traditional patterns of moral order no longer provide the necessary social glue” (5). Singer emphasizes throughout his article that melodrama was so popular because it was a way for people to deal with their anxiety, and also gain a sense of reassurance in their changing environment. Similarly Williams in her first chapter characterizes melodrama, “a perpetually modernizing form” (12). If we look at the start of melodrama, or more specifically at the melodrama that Singer talks about, we begin to understand that melodrama at that time dealt mainly with the issues at hand, and, “thrived in part because its ideological dynamics were so well suited to the period” (4). While many of the techniques and themes of melodrama may still be the same, I think that the genre itself continuous to change as we evolve as a society, and the genre forms to each generation.
Ean Question #2
2) Williams also brings up pathos a lot in her book. A quick Google search defines pathos as "a quality that evokes pity or sadness." For example, on page seven, Williams cites the "pathos of each athlete's story of overcoming adversity" as a media example of melodrama. Cite a quote in real life, be from a political figure, radio host, whatever, that seems melodramatic to you in that it has pathos and explain why you think it is melodramatic and briefly the overwhelming feelings it inspired.
There are without a doubt so many possible examples that could be used to show pathos in real life for the use of pathos is one that is so commonly used. One example that came to mind to me was President Bush’s response to 9/11 (which I think is appropriate due to the fact that we just recognized the 13 year anniversary of 9/11). In his speech President Bush says, “Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me. This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” This quote is definitely melodramatic in that it uses pathos to evoke a sense of sadness in the viewer or reader in some cases. This quote makes the American public feel as though they are united through his use of words such as “us” and “we.” President Bush also victimizes the US here, clearly making a point of good vs. evil. In addition, President Bush begins this quote by mentioning children, which already makes his use of pathos evident. I think the feelings brought out by this quote are pretty obvious, in that it made people feel as though they were going to get through this dark period, and that there was support all around.
Philip Question #3
On page 15, Williams explains about swimmer Tom Dolan, Gymnast Kerri Strug and other athletes in the 1996 Olympics. In what way does he think that the 1996 Olympics were melodramatic? Can you think of other examples where melodrama was used in the context of sports and what was the role of the national television in those instances?
Williams says that the 1996 Olympics were melodramatic because the commentators “succeeded in applying pathos to realms of action that made an old form seem new” (15). The commentators used “action combined with pathos of each athlete’s story overcoming adversity” (15). To be honest I don’t actually watch sports that often, but when I do it’s mainly the world cup, which I definitely think incorporates a lot of melodrama. One of the best examples of melodrama this year in the World Cup was the injury of Brazil’s star player Neymar. After the injury, the Brazilian media victimized Neymar, turning the whole situation into a battle of good vs. evil. The Columbian player who caused the injury was seen as a villain and Neymar was seen as good. Neymar then recorded a video of himself (crying) that was played on every news channel, and this definitely added to the melodrama and pathos of the whole situation. Television in this situation definitely used melodrama to victimize Neymar, and victimize Brazil essentially because they did lose their best player, and any chance they had of winning the world cup.