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TD 301 Exam 2 - Mini-Unit Early American Popular Culture...

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9/30/09 Mini-Unit: Early American Popular Culture Hi-Brow (high culture; ie Opera/Shakespeare) vs. Low-Brow Art (carpas or reality tv shows) -Opera vs. Reality TV (Stigma-seeing Shakespeare play instead of Hills) -Strong/good way to understand mass culture The Popular Shows “Norms” -Tastes, fears, desire, prejudice (what an average person has) Why 19 th century USA? Industrial revolution and the city -Urbanization & growth of working class (people moving to cities to work, creates new audience of working class) -Prior to this time, less groupings within cities (jobs did not exist…mass production) Concerns: American Identity …early 19 th cen. -point when American solidifies their own national identity (beforehand was borrowed form European history) -time when America show their power…on par with Britain. -Westward expansion-slowly moving west of the country and getting NA’s land…considered a bad or good thing? Leads to tension with the Indians and why are entitled to their land? -Pre/Post Civil-descent around slavery…altercations b/w north and south over this issue…post-slavery…once free, what do we do with these African American people? Melodrama: Dominant Elements (Example: Titanic) Melodrama: Melody + Drama (comes from French…performance with live orchestra for dramatic moments…suspenseful music) Plot (mainly good vs. evil where good overcomes) -Simple and Straightforward (clash b/w good and evil…not a Brechtian play…no side plots…not intricate…one evil person tries to stop one good person) -Sentiment and Suspense (appeal to your emotions…melodramas are also very suspenseful…you’re supposed to feel scared when evil gets away or sentimental during Titanic song or suspenseful to get you on the edge of your seat) Characters and Acting (non-realistic) -Stock Characters (Hero/Villain/Victim)-not full fleshed out characters like in realism -“Asides” (In the action and then say something aside…ie. Villain talks to victim and then goes to the side and laughs)…character comes out of actual scene to have a moment with himself. Clear Morality (clear distinction b/w good and evil) -Virtue (good is good), Vice (bad is bad), Poetic Justice (evil gets what’s coming to it; if you steal something, all your goods stolen/lost at the end)) Audience (create unified audience) -Active (boos villain if they see them, yell thing at actors, clapping)
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-“Local Color” (Bring melodrama to new town…change names of characters and places to reflect that town…make the audience feel like they’re included…ie @ SA; change location of play to Riverwalk) -Common Values (Staying with common values, not prostitutes or women leaving husbands)…not trying to rock the boat, staying with common values of society.
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