Introduction to Popular Culture Studies


Posted by Drake Kizer on April 12, 2017

Today’s readings were a compilation of essays from the Spreadable Media website. As I have mentioned numerous times, switching back and forth between the textbook and the online platform has been a relief. I dreaded the textbook for a while, but I also got tired of essays after that’s all we did for a bit too. This collection of essays was situated under a new heading on the syllabus: “Courting Supporters for Independent Media”, and this section proved to be quite interesting.

There was a total of five different essays for us to read in this section, and while they were all actually pretty good reads, the one that stuck out to me the most was most definitely Jonathan Gray’s “The Use Value of Authors”. In his piece, Gray says a “key dilemma…in today’s media environment is discoverability” and how consumers choose what they want to consume. He argues that the author of media content has a tremendous impact on consumers, since they attribute “a heightened level of authority and autonomy over the item of media” to authors. In terms of discoverability, the more highly-esteemed the author, the better for a property.

The essay says that authors serve a “classificatory” purpose, and that is certainly true, since an author can lend a “certain guarantee of quality predicated on [their] name value” alone. For example, when marketing campaigns use “from the writer of” and “from the director of”, they are attempting to frame the movie in the context of not only the author’s credibility, but also their usual realm of expertise. Rob Zombie is a notable name in horror, Judd Apatow makes funny films for married adults, Quentin Tarantino directs poignant and controversial films, and so on. Their names alone carry tremendous weight, as evidenced by the fact that people are driven to see their films for absolutely no other reason than it was created by them. Thus, it is clear that name-recognition and reputation is a very important factor for many consumers when selecting what content they want to consume.


One Response to “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T”

  1. emilyjones232 said

    I really enjoy your last paragraph. The movie industry is riddled with directors who are known for making one type of film, and if their name is attached to a new movie, people know what type of movie they are getting into.

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