Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Voice(s) of the Voiceless

Posted by Drake Kizer on April 19, 2017

Today’s readings were a compilation of essays from the Spreadable Media website. This collection of essays was situated under a new heading on the syllabus: “Thinking Transnationally”, and the title of this section sparked my interest before I read a single line. As I have mentioned numerous times, I believe reading the essays that the textbook pages will eventually mention really adds to and helps my overall understanding of the material presented. I used to always be so lost, but not anymore!

There was a total of four different essays for us to read in this section, and while they were all actually pretty interesting, the one that stuck out to me the most was “From ‘Weird’ to Wide” by Ethan Zuckerman. The other essays were dense and hard to understand, but this one was easy and interesting to me. In short, Zuckerman analyzes why “some people wealthy and some people poor” in the world, and he attributes it to the fact that a person’s “natural environment is destiny”. He gives the example that differences in test scores are mostly due “massive differences in educational opportunities available to rich and poor people”.

Zuckerman claims that his extensive work over the “past two decades in sub-Saharan Africa“ has confirmed his belief that “intelligence, creativity, and humor are evenly distributed throughout the world”, despite the fact that many people around the world think those who live in poverty-stricken areas are less smart than others due to the conditions they live in. Zuckerman goes on to say that the reason these people are perceived as less intelligent is because they have a limited “ability to express their intelligence, creativity, and humor” to the world around them. In this way, the Internet is becoming very important, because it allows their voices to be heard in a way that it has never been able to in the past. Zuckerman says that “we might anticipate encountering creative new content as people in different parts of the world gain Internet access”, and that sounds good to me.


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