comppaper1 - Social types are people we think of as in our...

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Social types are people we think of as in our society; stereotypes are people who do not belong-outsiders. The movement between social type and stereotype is subtle in society. Talk shows depend on a game manipulating the ambiguous difference between the social type and the stereotype (Shattuc 41-42). Talk shows are visual representations of the struggle between social classes in our nation. While some talk shows provide a comfortable, relatable, and all encompassing view of society’s common problems and explore solutions to these problems, other talk shows feature well educated and wealthy hosts looking down upon the problematic lifestyles of low income society as a form of entertainment and humor. Talk television enables American culture to explore and further define what is culturally acceptable through the reinforcement of the values of dominant society. While crucial and life altering issues do arise on some talk shows that can actually help viewers that would have no other place to learn about taboo topics, mostly these topics are sensationalized to the point where they are amusing and almost unbelievable. As the talk show industry developed and popularized in the mid to late 1990’s, talk shows began to function predominantly as either advice centers for the masses, or sensationalized entertainment venues featuring non-celebrities. While both styles of shows involve a host interviewing or interacting with everyday people, advice shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil explore problems relative to the lives of people in many socio-economic classes and factions of the American population. These shows attempt to help people, in front of a national audience, with problems related to weight, health issues, marital strife, childrearing, and other common life issues. The people on the advice shows are praised and respected for being brave enough to come forward with or admit that they have problems, for many people, including many viewers of the advice
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shows, share similar problems but refuse to acknowledge these problems. Advice style talk shows send the message to viewers that it is acceptable and normal to have problems, and solutions to these problems do exist. The advice shows function to motivate and empower individuals to take action in solving their problems. Moral support, which happens to be provided through a television audience and a compassionate and inquisitive host, is a modern form of community support and guidance. For many people, especially the homebound adult, advice shows are the closest contact with and connection to society that exists in their lives because they are either physically trapped in the house, or bound to it by childrearing responsibilities, a lack of education, or housework. An episode of
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course ENG COMP taught by Professor Ing during the Fall '08 term at Skidmore.

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comppaper1 - Social types are people we think of as in our...

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