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Please engage at least one of this week’s authors (Sarah Banet-Weiser and Lauren Rabinovitz), & assigned music videos Michael Jackson’s “Leave Me Alone” and The Ren and Stimpy Show, “Powdered Toast Man” to craft an organized and coherent 300-500 word response to the week’s material. You may choose to address anyone or multiple of the below prompts and/or pose your own questions, critiques, and assessments. Please address specific and relevant aesthetic/thematic/narrative details about the episode(s), though, and use direct quotes or substantive paraphrases of the readings. Q: How are these videos and programs reflective of the cable networks on which they appeared? How are they “narrowcast” to particular audiences/demographics?
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Animation, Postmodernism, and MTV Rabinovitz, Lauren The Velvet Light Trap; Fall 1989; 24, ProQuest pg. 99
PROF. BEN KRUGER-ROBBINS
SEMINAR: FEBRUARY 17, 2021
Initial reactions to Ren and Stimpy, “Powdered Toast Man,” Are You Afraid of the Dark,
“The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner,” and/or the “Sledgehammer”/”Leave Me Alone” music
videos? Banet-Weiser’s and Rabinovitz’s essays?
How do you understand MTV’s music videos and Nickelodeon’s shows as either
enfranchising young viewers or manipulating/exploiting them for corporate gain? What
role does animation play in our programs’/videos’ address to young viewers? In what
way(s) do they reject, critique, or reconsider “realist” modes of expression, and to what
What elements of our media objects do you consider “postmodern” and what are the
political/social messages we might attach to their styles and/or narratives? How do these
shows/videos create “imagined” space and/or provide a “venue” for young people to
How do these shows/videos frame “citizenship” or “civic virtue” for young people, and
how does this orientation conflict or conform with postwar ideals?
Who/what are we meant to identify with in each program, and how is our viewing
perspective different from (or similar to) that of network shows we have watched in
What is Lauren Rabinovitz’s and/or Sarah BanetWeiser’s main point, argument, or intervention?
What perspectives do these scholars offer on the
programs they invoke? How do they grapple with
MTV’s and Nickelodeon’s negotiated politics?
What specific items/objects are they analyzing
and how so? Using what resources? To what
How do our authors describe the tensions or
contradictions around 1990s youth television and
modes of marketing/audience address? What
might be some limitations of their modes of
inquiry? What/who gets left out of the discussion?
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specific target audience
MTV targets youth
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