Sunday, August 22, 2010

"The Ground Zero Burlington Coat Factory"

"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center."
-- presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich

Welcome to the new year of An American Studies. In our course, one of the most important skills we emphasize is media literacy, because it is the contemporary version of the textual literacy teachers have emphasized in the decades before the web and other platforms of information conveyance emerged. All of these media (including video, music, etc.) will be referred to as "texts".

Therefore, how are we supposed to read a text like the commonly seen headline, "Ground Zero Mosque"?

Consider this guide from the Center for Media Literacy:
  1. All media messages are constructed.
  2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
  3. Different people experience the same media message differently.
  4. Media have embedded values and points of view.
  5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.
Can you now answer the questions below?
  1. Who created this message?
  2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  3. How might different people understand this message differently?
  4. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
  5. Why is this message being sent?
Lastly, ask yourselves why this post is entitled, "The Ground Zero Burlington Coat Factory". Listen below for more information and please leave a response.


Judy Gressel said...

I agree with the stance of Fareed Zakaria who returned the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)--Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. He was stunned by their decision to side with those who oppose the Islamic center in lower Manhattan. The ADL justified their stance by saying feelings of victims must be honored even if irrational or bigoted. Yikes! What's really amazing is that the ADL's mission is to fight discrimination against all religions, races, and creeds.
You are all familiar with NT's Names Program...that's an ADL program. Who's the bully now?

Miles said...

After listening to this podcast a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but think of you guys and the class.