Sunday, October 11, 2009

Talking Points 4: Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us

1. Children's cartoons, movies, and literature are perhaps the most influential genre "read". Young people, unprotected by any intellectual armor, hear or watch these stories again and again, often from the warmth of their mother's or father's lap.

Children are extremely affected by the media. At a very young age they begin watching cartoons or they are read books that have meanings behind them. These cartoons and books shape the way these children portray themselves and others. When children are young they also tend to watch movies or read books over and over again, drilling the concepts they see into their heads. What I found most interesting was that they hear and watch these stories "from the warmth of their mother's or father's lap". This is ironic, because parents often are weary of the media their children are around, yet here the children are sitting on their laps losing the ability to have a mind of their own. In fact, these parents are probably so caught up in the unfairness between cultures, sexes, etc., that they do not even realize the messages behind cartoons and other forms of media.

2. "We are not only taught certain styles of violence, the latest fashions, and sex roles by TV, movies, magazines, and comic strips; we are also taught how to succeed, how to love, how to buy, how to conquer, how to forget the past and suppress the future. We are taught, more than anything else, how not to rebel."

This quote is explaining how great the effects of the media are on us. They teach us everything that we know. They teach us concrete ideas such as fashion and violence, as well as abstract theories like how to love, conquer, forget, etc. The media has the power to mold the world. This also means that the views will be that of the people controlling the media. These people are usually white, middle class, heterosexual men (SCWAAMP). This is relative to Johnson's idea of the culture of power, because this culture of power is dominating by the use of media. The last sentence is important. "We are taught, more than anything else, how not to rebel" actually means that we are taught that the ideas that the media portrays is the way things should be. Anyone who does "rebel" will be looked at strangely.

3. "After filling in a few charts, collectively and on their own, students write about the generalizations children might take away from these tales. From experience, I've discovered that I needc to keep my mouth shut for a while. If I'm the one pointing out the stereotypes, it's the kiss of death to the exercise."

Christensen gives the key to how people will learn about the true effects of the media. People must learn it on their own, not through the words of others. He calls it the kiss of death, because if he were to explain it then it would be just like what the media is trying to do. Children need to be able to think on their own. They subconsciously learn most of what they do through the portrayals of others. It is important, as a teacher, to get children to understand the importance of being individuals and "unlearning the myths that bind us".

This was my favorite article that we read so far. It was very intriguing and kept me interested. I could relate to everything that was being said. Like others, I was shocked to discover the impact that simple cartoons like Popeye and Disney movies have on children. When taking the time to think about it, I was unable to think of any movie that did not include some type of stereotype having to do with the culture of power. The text related entirely to Johnson and his idea of the culture of power and how people strive to fit in. As teachers and parents we must first learn to deconstruct the concepts the media portrays in order to teach it to our children. Children need to learn to analyze movies and books at a young age in order to understand that the ideas the media portrays do not need to be followed.


  1. I like how you mention people need to learn it on their own. People can't just point it out to them.

  2. I agree that this was the best one we've read so far. I keep telling my parents and friends to read it too.