Lingmiao's Blog

December 7, 2012

Asian American identity in New York Times coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 10:44 pm

Title: Asian American identity in New York Times coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting

Author: Lingmiao Qiu

 

Introduction:

On April 16th 2007, a senior student of Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people and wounded 23 people on the campus of Virginia Tech. The criminal of this shooting, Seung-Hui Cho is a Korean American who was born in South Korea and moved to U.S.A. with his family when he was 8. This shooting attracted all attention of media and people all around the world. “At the time, it was (and still remains) the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. But perhaps what was more surprising to audiences was who was responsible for the murder. The ethnicity of the shooter was a surprise to American Audiences” (Kim M. LeDuff, “The Real Price of Oppression: Fox News Coverage of the Virginia Tech Shooter.” in Christopher P. Campbell, Kim M. LeDuff, Cheryl D. Jenkins, and Rockell A. Brown, Race and News: Critical Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2012), 161-176.). This paper will analyze how newspaper reported Cho and this shooting. Since the New York Times is one of the biggest and most successful newspapers in America and has a reputation of being a generally reliable and trustful news source, I choose New York Times as a representation. More specifically, this article will study whether New York Times emphasized or overemphasized Cho’s immigrant identity. Emphasis here means The New York Times demonstrates stereotypically selective reporting: “the non-immigration- specific characteristics were often presented through the lens of immigration.” (Chuang, Angie. “Representation of Foreign versus (Asian) American Identity in a Mass-Shooting Case: Newspaper Coverage of the 2009 Binghamton Massacre.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89th ser. 2 (2012): 244-56. Web.). The discussion about this topic is significantly important since numerous scholars have examined that an authoritative newspaper like The New York Times can easily influence people’s understanding and judgment of huge events. “Very often stereotypes that we encounter in the media determine how we interact with others in the real world and we may not even be conscious of it.” (LeDuff 2012; 174) In Cho’s case, The New York Times could lead audiences to reach a wrong conclusion that Cho’s immigrant status played a role in the shooting if its news coverage stressed that Cho’s immigrant status. Furthermore, if audiences were convinced that his immigrant status did contribute to the happening of mass shooting, they would tend to treat all Asian Americans differently. For example, they may harass Asian Americans. “Across the nation, Koreans have braced for harassment in the wake of the Monday shooting rampage on the Virginia Tech campus that left 33dead, including Cho Seung-Hui, the South Korean-born gunman” (Steinhauer, Jennifer. “Korean-Americans Brace for Problems in Wake of Killings.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.)

 

Discussion:

Actually, just two years after Virginia Tech massacre, in Binghamton, New York, another Asian American, Jiverly Wong, also committed a massacre. How media portrayed Wong also became the focus of many scholars’ articles. Angie Chuang’s article “Representation of Foreign versus (Asian) American Identity in a Mass-Shooting Case: Newspaper Coverage of the 2009 Binghamton Massacre” is one example. After conducting professional research, Chuang deems that news coverage emphasized Wong’s immigrant identity and linked his crime with his identity when they were reporting 2009 Binghamton massacre. “While Wong’s salient characteristics, as presented by the newspaper coverage, were often relevant and had news value, coverage tended either to focus on those that directly related to his foreignness or to present non-foreign characteristics, such as job loss or a divorce, in a way that emphasized the immigrant experience or reinforced Asian- male stereotypes.” (Chuang, Angie. “Representation of Foreign versus (Asian) American Identity in a Mass-Shooting Case: Newspaper Coverage of the 2009 Binghamton Massacre.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89th ser. 2 (2012): 244-56. Web.) Because media emphasized Wong’s immigrant identity and link his crime with his identity, these is a huge chance that media also emphasize Cho’s ethnicity and thought Cho’s ethnicity was contribute to the massacre. And ultimately, I find The New York Times did portrayed Cho through the lens of immigration. As LeDuff’s article “The Real Price of Oppression: Fox News Coverage of the Virginia Tech Shooter” has said, Cho’s ethnicity did surprise all audiences. After examining Fox News Coverage of Virginia Tech shooting, LeDuff reports that Fox News implies Cho is the only guilty one at the end of program. “It removes all the blame from society and instead places it all back on the perpetrator as though all the issues that led to his actions developed in a vacuum.” In LeDuff’s view, the Six Racism Related Stresses (Racism Related Stress, Victarious Racism and Stress, Daily Racism and Micro Stress, Chronic Contextual Racism and Stress, Collective Racism and Stress and Transgenerational Racism and Stress), proposed by Harrell in 2000, are contributors to massacre. So, if The New York Times did emphasize Cho’s immigrant status by presenting Cho’s story through the lens of immigration, the intense of Racism Related Stress received by all other Asian Americans would largely increase. LeDuff also indicates that Fox News Coverage depicted Cho as an exception to the rule of the Asian American Stereotype – Model Minority. Another scholar Qin Zhang generalize Asian American stereotype as following: “Asian Americans, although overall underrepresented, are sometimes characterized as a model minority, who are hardworking, intelligent, and polite. Deceptively positive on the surface, the model minority stereotype actually harbors and perpetuates other insidious stereotypes about Asian Americans, such as foreign, non-American, quiet, nerdy and passive.” (Zhang, Qin. “Asian American beyond the Model Minority Stereotype: The Nerdy and the Left Out.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 3rd ser. 1 (2010): 20-37. Web.). Even though the six racism stresses lead Cho to commit the shooting and his ethnicity did surprise everyone, I disagree that media depicted Cho as an exemption of Asian American stereotype. Instead The New York Times depicted Cho based on Asian American stereotype and emphasized Cho’s immigrant identity to reiterate Asian American stereotype in audiences’ mind. Ultimately, this emphasis results in Asian Americans more seriously suffer from six racism stresses.

In order to complete this study, I chose 18 articles concerning about 2007 Virginia Tech shooting from The New York Times. All of these articles were issued within one week after shooting. Those articles, as far as I am concerned, are most likely to reflect the true story and reveal the true focus of The New York Times because they are all field report and don’t have a chance to be revised over and over again. When I was looking for these articles, I didn’t look for a particular pattern or a specific aspect of massacre. Instead, I almost chose all the field report in New York Times that issued within one week of massacre. Because in my opinion if I chose an article based on a specific pattern, for example all articles must specifically include a statement that Cho is from South Korea, I may acquire a wrong conclusion because maybe most of articles didn’t follow this pattern and their focus can be totally different from the articles followed specific pattern.

When I am studying these 18 articles, I pay equal attention on both photos and contexts of these articles. “We live in cultures that are increasingly permeated by visual images with a variety of purposes and intended effects. These images can produce in us a wide array of emotions and responses.” (Marita, Sturken and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power, and Politics.” Practice of Looking: An Introducion to Visual Culture. By Marita Sturken. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 9. Print.) Images influence our first impression of news. As for the study of contexts, I am extremely interested in how The New York Times introduces Cho and his family and how it concludes the reason Cho commit shooting because if The New York Times did emphasize Cho’s ethnicity they will incline to portray these aspect of Cho through the lens of immigration.

Analysis:

After analyze 18 articles from New York Times, I find that New York Times did stress Cho’s immigrant identity. There are several evidences. First and foremost, 10 out of these 18 articles refer Seung-Hui Cho as Cho Seung-Hui, Cho Seung Hui or Cho instead of Seung-Hui Cho or Seung-Hui. For example, “The police identified Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old student, as the killer of 32 people in the shooting rampage at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.” (Dewan, Shaila, and John Broder. “BITTER NOTE LEFT: Police Questioned Man in First Attack While Second Unfolded.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) “Cho – a South Korean immigrant who Americanized his name and preferred to be known as Seung Cho – ” (Dewan, Shaila, and John Broder. “BITTER NOTE LEFT: Police Questioned Man in First Attack While Second Unfolded.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) Unlike people in the rest part of world, Asian people traditionally put their last name before their first name. However, as soon as Asian people leave their countries for another country, like U.S., they start to put their last name after their first name to try to integrate into the new society. In Cho’s case, Cho’s family even issued a statement “The family preferred to refer to their son as Seung-Hui Cho, rather than Cho Seung-Hui, the more traditional Korean formation the university used when identifying him on Tuesday.” (Urbina, Ian, and Manny Fernandez. “Memorial Services Held in U.S. and Around the World.” The New York Times 21 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) The reason that Asian Americans like Cho’s family switch the place of their first name and last name is to integrate into the living style of U.S., to be an American instead of an Asian. But most of coverage of The New York Times still used Cho’s more traditional Korean formation name – Cho Seung-Hui as if he arrived the day before he committed shooting.

Secondly, three articles directly imply Cho is a copycat of a violent 2004South Korean film Oldboy “Several posting on Inernet film sites noticed a similarity between the poses and scenes from Oldboy, a violent 2004 South Korean film” (Dewan, Shaila, and Marc Santora. “University Officials Knew in Autumn 2005 of Troubled State of Gunman.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.), “A photograph of Mr. Cho wielding hammer was thought by some commentators to resemble an image of the South Korean actor Choi Min-sik doing something similar in “Oldboy,” a bloody and critically esteemed revenger’s tragedy directed by Park Chanwook. That both the film and Mr. Cho are Korean seemed full of significance, though it was not always easy to say just what the significance might be.” (Scott, A. O. “Drawing A Line From Movie To Murder.” The New York Times 23 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) Maybe there isn’t connection between “Oldboy” and 2007 Virginia Tech shooting at all. Citing “Oldboy”, The New York Times simple wanted to prove Cho’s crime motive come from South Korea rather than U.S. And this implication further emphasizes Cho’s immigrant identity.

Thirdly, the New York Times purposely chose the photos that can stress Cho’s immigrant identity. Nine out of 18 articles used at least one photo in their coverage. Three of them include photos about Cho and his family, another four includes about survival victims and two include photos about Cho’s family and other Asian Americans.  In three photos about Cho, one is Cho’s ID card photo, one come from Cho’s high school yearbook and another one is an image he sent to NBC News during the two hours between the two sets of shootings.(photos are posted at the end of paper) On both ID card photo and yearbook photo, Cho looks like a stereotypically Asian American because no smile is on his face, he is wearing a glasses and he seems isolated. We are even able to find sadness on his face. One article described it “like he had a broken heart” (Kleinfield, N. R. “Before Deadly Rage, A Lifetime Consumed By a Troubling Silence.” The New York Times 22 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) Normally, when people are going to take a photo, they will tend to take off their glasses. But in Cho’s photos, he still had his glasses on, which makes him look like a nerd. His eyes are so empty. It seems that he have too much energy on studies. Ultimately, both photos leave audiences a negative impression somehow – this guy is quiet, isolated and weird. At first, I thought that these photos are mug shots instead of a happy yearbook photo. Then looking at the photos about survival victims, we can see The New York Times inclined to use the white victims’ photo. Unlike Cho, all these white victims seem to be outgoing, social and are typical college students in the photos. For example, in the image of “Anger of Killer Was on Exhibit in His Writings in University’s English Department”, the classmate of Cho, Steven Davis (photo is posted at the end of paper)is sitting in the classroom and concentrating on the class. He is wearing a T-shirt and tie, which can convince audiences that Steven is a very social and outgoing college student. This contrast between Cho and his classmates deepens the stress that Cho is an Asian and he is a weird college student. The matter of fact, in a lot of photos, Cho does look like a smiling normal college student. But instead of choosing those normal photos, New York Times chose one that can emphasize Cho is ethnicity. What is more, New York Times also used some photos of another Asian American to indicate that Asian Americans, especially Korean Americans, are worried about a possible backlash against them because Cho is a Korean American. Reporting the reaction of Korean Americans, The New York Times reasserts Cho’s ethnicity. “‘As a Korean, I apologize,’ said Mr. Park, who was a visting Flushing Queens, on a business trip. ‘I feel I need to apologize because innocent people were killed by someone from my same nation’.” (Steinhauer, Jennifer. “Korean-Americans Brace for Problems in Wake of Killings.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.). These photos also fit the Asian American stereotype. (photos are posted at the end of paper)

At beginning of most articles, the authors tend to introduce Cho and Cho’s family first and then start to discuss Cho’s crime. “He was a native of South Korea who grew up in Centreville, Va., a suburb of Washington, where his family owns a dry-cleaning business. He moved with his family to the United States at age 8, in 1992, according to federal immigration authorities, and was a legal permanent resident, not a citizen.” (Fernandez, Manny, and Marc Santora. “In Words and Silence, Hints of Anger and Isolation.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.) In this article, the author especially stated that Cho is not a citizen, suggesting Cho is a Korean not an American. Admittedly, the introduction about Cho’s background is necessary, but in Cho’s case whether he is a citizen or not is not important. It is the background concerning about motive of Cho that important.  The whole article is talking about what ultimately lead Cho to commit shooting. So after reading this article, audiences will automatically link Cho’s Korea identity with the motive of shooting.

           In Seoul, there was never much money, never enough time. The Cho family occupied a shabby two-room basement apartment

           living frugally on the slender proceeds of a used-book shop… In an arranged marriage, he (Cho’s father) wed Kim Hwanglm,

           the daughter of a farming family that had fled North Korea during the Korean War… They found jobs in the drying-cleaning

          business and worked the longest hours. Dry cleaning is a favored profession among Korean because it means Sunday off for

          church and sparse need for proficient English, exchange with customers being brief and redundant.” (Kleinfield, N. R.

          “Before Deadly Rage, A Lifetime Consumed By a Troubling Silence.” The New York Times 22 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.).

The author of this article depicted the life Cho’s family in Seoul exhaustively. I feel like the author definitely tried to dig out every detail of life in Seoul. “Arranged marriage” “Korean War”… these words most of time are used only on Asian. Like Chuang said about how News coverage reported Jiverly Wong “The mention of his father’s military past implies to readers that he was on the same side as the United States in the Vietnam War, contrasting this ‘American’ attribute to his son’s foreignness.” When reporting Cho’s family, The New York Times use “Korean War” “arranged marriage” to display the Korean attribution of Cho’s family, emphasizing the foreignness of Cho and his family. Furthermore, instead of only pointing out a fact Cho’s family makes living by dry-cleaning business, the author specifically emphasized that “Dry-cleaning business” is a favored profession for Korean Americans. All these things greatly increase the stress on Cho’s immigrant identity.

What is more, this article also cited the words Cho’s 84-year-old great-aunt, Kim Yang-Soon. Yang-Soon talked about Cho is silent even when he was in Seoul and Cho’s mother was worried about Cho’s quiet. Yang-Soon is still live in Seoul and hasn’t had a contact with Cho’s parents for a very long period of time. I see no necessity to cite Yang-Soon’s words here because undoubtedly, there is a reason why Cho’s family hasn’t contacted Cho’s great-aunt. Possibly, Yang-Soon was used to distorting the fact and exaggerating little Cho’s silence. Even though she was not doing it purposely, since all of her memories are long time ago, they can be very fuzzy. Her words are not reliable and accurate. I believe The New York Times editors are smart enough to see what I see. So the only reason they cite Yang-Soon’s words is that they try to emphasize that Cho is from South Korea.

 

Conclusion:

More than 5 years has passed from The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting but analyzing how media report this event is still remain important. How media report Cho and the whole shooting reveal media’s attitude towards all Asian American. And media’s conclusion about this event can easily influence audiences’ judgment and then influence their interactions with Asian Americans. In this article, I only analyze the coverage from The New York Times. And conclude that reliable and liberal media like The New York Times also emphasized Cho’s ethnicity and immigrant identity. Someone may defend that it is necessary to include criminal’s family background. But when media pay too much attention on background, and portray criminal through the lens of ethnicity and stereotype, audiences will unconsciously reach a conclusion that criminal’s ethnicity plays a huge role in the happening of crime. The stereotype and foreignness of Asian American has already existed in most of Americans’ mind. So when media are stating Cho’s background they need to be extremely carefully to not mislead audiences. However, in reality, instead of preventing people from misunderstanding, media emphasized that Cho’s identity contributes to the massacre. Maybe media’s repetition about the stereotype and foreignness about Asian American is also why Asian American stereotype has been existed so long and will continue existing for a long period of time.

 

 

Reference:

Chuang, Angie. “Representation of Foreign versus (Asian) American Identity in a Mass-Shooting Case: Newspaper Coverage of the 2009 Binghamton Massacre.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89th ser. 2 (2012): 244-56. Web.

Dewan, Shaila, and John Broder. “BITTER NOTE LEFT: Police Questioned Man in First Attack While Second Unfolded.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Urbina, Ian, and Manny Fernandez. “Memorial Services Held in U.S. and Around the World.” The New York Times 21 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Zhang, Qin. “Asian American beyond the Model Minority Stereotype: The Nerdy and the Left Out.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 3rd ser. 1 (2010): 20-37. Web.

Dewan, Shaila, and Marc Santora. “University Officials Knew in Autumn 2005 of Troubled State of Gunman.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Fernandez, Manny, and Marc Santora. “In Words and Silence, Hints of Anger and Isolation.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Kleinfield, N. R. “Before Deadly Rage, A Lifetime Consumed By a Troubling Silence.” The New York Times 22 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Scott, A. O. “Drawing A Line From Movie To Murder.” The New York Times 23 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Kim M. LeDuff, “The Real Price of Oppression: Fox News Coverage of the Virginia Tech Shooter.” in Christopher P. Campbell, Kim M. LeDuff, Cheryl D. Jenkins, and Rockell A. Brown, Race and News: Critical Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2012), 161-176.

Steinhauer, Jennifer. “Korean-Americans Brace for Problems in Wake of Killings.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Marita, Sturken and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power, and Politics.” Practice of Looking: An Introducion to Visual Culture. By Marita Sturken. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 9. Print.

Oakley, Barbara. “The Killer in the Lecture Hall.” The New York Times 19 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Steinberg, Jacques. “In the Wake of Campus Killings, Talk Radio Tries for Humoe and a Political Advantage.” The New York Times 20 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Hauser, Christine. “No Motive Yet For Rampage, Police Report.” The New York Times 26 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Hauser, Christine, and Ian Urbina. “Normal Appearances Belie Quandary at Virginia Tech.” The New York Times 24 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Cullen, Dave. “Talk to the Chos.” The New York Times 27 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Lee, Suevon. “Praying for ‘Troubled Soul’ And Mourning for Victims.” The New York Times 23 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Broder, John. “32 Shot Dead in Virginia; Worst U.S. Gun Rampage.” The New York Times 17 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Banerjee, Neela. “On a Stunned Campus, Longing for the Normal But Enveloped by Grief.” The New York Times 20 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Carey, Benedict. “For Rampage Killers, Familiar Description, ‘Troubled’ and ‘Loner’, but No Profile.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

Hernandez, Raymond. “Inside Room 207, Students Panicked at Rampage and Then Held Off Gunman’s Return.” The New York Times 18 Apr. 2007: n. pag. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steven Davis:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Korean Americans:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I pledge I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance during the completion of this work.”

Lingmiao Qiu

October 28, 2012

Review of “Die Hard”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 8:57 pm

Today, I watched a famous action movie, “Die Hard”. This movie depicts a story that a cop fight with a group of armed and trained terrorists. The New York cop, John McClane played by Bruce Wills, went to the party of his estranged wife’s company. A group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber intruded into that party because they want to obtain money from the stock of that company. The terrorists killed the boss of company and other people in that party were kidnapped as hostages, including John’s wife. It was all up to John to save the hostage situation.

 

Overall, this is an exciting movie. John McClane, a cop from New York, displays all the character that an ideal cop should possess. He is brave, strong, clever, and sensitive. Unlike the deputy police chief and FBI, he actually cares about the safety of all hostages and never gives up on rescuing them. What is more, his perfect body shape really gives audiences a sense of security.

 

One of police officer, Powell, impressed me even though I kind of feel he irresponsible when he didn’t search the building carefully at the beginning. Powell always supported John and tried everything he can to comfort and encourage John. I have no doubt that John cannot rescue the hostages and kill all terrorists without Powell’s help. In the earlier of this movie, Powell talked about that he is not on duty any more because he killed a child. However, at the end of movie, Powell still pulled the trigger when one terrorist was going to shoot John. He is John’s excellent partner.

 

I always hate all the bad guys in the movie. But I didn’t hate Hans, the leader of terrorist since I am kind of Alan Rickman’s fan. Except his purpose is insidious, Hans is a clam, clever and confident man. When John interrupted his plan, he is not out of control like other terrorists. He know what is want and how can he get what he want. However, He is very cruel and cold-blooded. He will kill a man without second thought and won’t feel guilty of it.

 

On the other hand, I think the duty police chief is such an asshole! He doubts the identity of John at the beginning and try to stop John from rescue hostages simple because he deem John break a possible negotiation between the terrorists and the government. If he think about the words of Powell, the situation would not become that bad. Maybe the existence of him is to magnify the excellence of John and Powell.

 

At last, I have to admit “Die Hard” is a good movie even if I don’t like it. I don’t like it simple because the plot of this movie is so predictable.

October 2, 2012

Response to “Why Most Mass Murderers are privileged white man”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 6:41 pm

In the article “Why Most Mass Murderers are privileged white man”, Hugo Schwyzer argues the unearned privilege of white male leads to the current situation that most mass Murderers are privileged white middle-class male. Schwyzer’s inference are very convincing. He refers to the previous mass murderers, Seung-Hui Cho and Maj. Nidal Hasan, to demonstrate that media focus on murderers’ family background and faith instead of their mental illnesses. And connecting his personal experience, Hugo acclaim that white man are raised to expect to be welcomed wherever they go. So they are confident enough to choose a public place to commit massacres. Schwyzer decodes James Holmes’s crime in negotiated reading. He believes dominate ideology of stereotype of people from different background encourages the white man to commit crime in public place.

But I kind of have a mixed feeling about his inference. On the one hand, I agree that most people have some stereotype towards people from different background and media magnify this effect. On the other hands, I don’t believe white middle-class male privilege is one of reasons that white male criminals choose public spaces. Stereotype of other people do influence the behavior of people. But it is no longer a big factor.

Nowadays, when we are communicating with others, we more focus on that person’s character and his or her pasted accomplishments or failures instead of his or her family background, religion or faith.  I am not very familiar with how American people judge the murderers of massacres. But in my country, the similar case happened in 2004. The criminal Jiajue Ma is a university student. Because of unknown reason, he killed some students and professors in his university. That event shocked the whole China. Media attribute his behavior to his family background. But, people’s analysis about why he skilled so many students and professors in his university is not merely based on his background. Instead, his pasted behavior and his mental illnesses are the focus of people. Media did magnify the effect of Jiaju Ma’s background. But people are not fool. They will unbiased explain the whole events and decode the message from media in negotiated reading or even oppositional reading.

You will probably object that I have misrepresented Schwyzer’s work here. I concede the white male privilege do exist and influence our life. But I just thought that Schwyzer exaggerates this effect. Today, people may become inferential racists unconsciously because of the preferred reading from the media. However, I do not deem that effect is powerful enough to switch people’s whole judgment towards serious public events. Nowadays people’s dominate ideology is not racist ideology any more. Today’s dominate ideology, I thought, is that people can only understand the matter utterly by analyzing ALL aspect of that matter.

September 29, 2012

Rodey King, Reginald Denny, and TV News: Cultural (Re-) Construction of Racism

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 9:56 pm

This article mainly talks about the way in which TV news reconstructs racial inequality as social order based on the theories of Baudrillard and of Hall via two videotapes – Rodey King and Reginald Denny. The author found both of theories have limitation, but together they provide a spectacle way of examining and explaining two videos. Author agree with part of Baudrillard’s theory that the reduplication of two “hyperreal” news is a stimulation which reinforces dominant power structures “racism”. The repetition of videos of Rodey King and Reginald Denny created the illusion of sequential order. On the other hands, author acclaims Hall’s theory that the seduction of the spectacle and the implosion of meaning lead us to the preferred readings. The preferred reading of Rodey King is that the men against man or the violence of the group against individual which encourages moral indignation at the brutality. As for the Reginald Denny, the preferred reading is encoded by newscasters’ rhetorical framework. The skin color as a signifier is mistaken for the code it conventionally signifies – racism. Encoded texts limit the realm of possible readings. Together, these video simulations of racism distracted and diverted audiences’ attention from institutional and inferential racism. Consent culminated from silence.

September 24, 2012

CSI

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 6:03 am

 

A. The summary of article “CSI and moral authority: The police and science”:

This article discusses about how CSI asserts the police as a moral authority, how CSI portrays a sense of forensic realism and acclaims the veracity of science, how CSI conveys the cultural meaning.

This article starts with reality of police and science. The authors said police’s failures to process evidence that might have prevented the tragedy make police lost some of the moral authority and science sometimes seems to be contradictory. At this time, CSI appears. It offers the public surety and certainty. That is why CSI is so popular.

CSI has a lot of common with traditional crime TV show, but it is also different in many ways. Like traditional show, CSI usually focus on violent crime and the quest for justice. However, comparing with earlier show, CSI increases the appearance of woman and updates the portrayal of masculinity and also represents race in the assimilationist style. CSI also include more details about the police sub-culture and about personal lives of the police (the ‘police family’). And the tension between a protagonist and others is abandoned. What’s more, in CSI, occasionally criminals are sympathetic character.

CSI exhibits an iconography which is marked by the accouterment of science. It suggests science solves problems and reaffirm the veracity of science. It achieves this significant influence by using specialized equipment, scientific jargon, forensic databases and even conducting experiments or re-enactments of the crime. Besides, cinematographic effects are also applied to visually supplement the complicated forensic language, including flashback.

CSI’s combination of melodrama and realism converge with police themes to enhance the cultural meanings that CSI conveys. CSI show the crime is normal and opportunist and reinforces contemporary criminological theory. And CSI is also contextual with other programs.

Ironically, the legitimacy of policing and of science in CSI is controversial. Not all of CSI’s science is valid and CSI have produced a dilemma, the so-called ‘CSI Effect’

 

 

B. The summary of CSI episode:

This episode of CSI begins with the leading actor Mac and his team solve a bank robbery case. The criminal in this case is a old man who do not want to go to nusing hospital. And Mac encounters a pharmacy robbery in which mac shoots a criminal, but then be shot by a girl who looks like innocent. That shoot makes Mac lose a significant amount of blood and become unconscious. So,  Mac is sent to the hospital for a surgery. While mac is in a surgery, his families, including his police family, are very worry about him. Joe is the first one to arrive at hospital. She cries a lot of times when she talks about mac. Christine prays for mac, Lindsey and other team members try everything they can to catch the criminals and etc. On the other hand, mac meets with his families in his mind during the surgery. He talks with them one by one. The topics are about life, love and death. Finally, mac recovers after the surgery and is back to the team after six months.

 

 

C. How the episode support article:

I feel this episode supports the article perfectly. In this episode, we can see the appearance of female characters, such as Lindsay and Joe. And both of these female characters have a big influence in the process of solving case. Besides we can also see the appearance of black character. These is no sexist in the show. This episode extremely stress personal lives of the police via the viewpoint of mac, espically his life with his police family. While mac is dying, he talks with his team members about life and love. For example, in the conversation between mac and Joe, “what are you gonna miss most” “the people, the team……your friendship and your post notes” “you cannot leave, I cannot do this without you…… I need you to hold on mac”. Article acclaims “occasionally criminals are sympathetic character …… more often however, CSI’s villains are unsympathetic characters who lack moral values”. The first criminal in the show is sympathetic character while the second one is totally lack of moral value.

CSI exhibits science solves problems and reaffirm the veracity of science by using specialized equipment, scientific jargon, forensic databases and even conducting experiments or re-enactments of the crime. In this episode, we can easily identify that CSI use specialized equipment, scientific jargon and forensic databases. For example, when CSI are trying to catch the female criminal by fingerprint that they got from the desk of pharmacy, they refer to the forensic databases. Another example, CSI uses some specialized equipment to collect and record the fingerprint. The flashback is using in many part of this episode, such as the flashback of conversation between mac and his wife at the end.

After watching this episode of CSI, I try to connect it with the theories that raise from the article. This episode did make me believe the crime is normal and did increase my fear towards crime. I don’t know why. But I just feel maybe I will be skilled by gun some day. And this episode makes me believe the existence of police family. They care about each other, love each other. Maybe this is how CSI reflects and shapes our ideology and culture.

 

September 22, 2012

About “Lingmiao Qiu”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lingmiao @ 6:22 am

Welcome to Lingmiao’s Blog!

 

I believe most people had not seen a combination of letters like “Lingmiao Qiu” before they met me. “Lingmiao Qiu”, that is my name! I used to dislike my name since my name in Chinese (邱苓淼) is so hard to write and my classmates always made fun of it. However, this dislike was totally gone when I found the beautiful meaning behind it. It means even if I am as small as a drop now, I can be as strong as an ocean one day.

 

The meaning behind my name is also my goal. That is why I always give myself challenges, for example taking “FYS 100: Cop, Crime, and Pop Culture”. Before I arrived at the University of Richmond, I already chatted with other freshman from China via Chinese Facebook. One day in June, we talked about which First Year Seminar that we would select for. Most of them tried to take the SAME First Year Seminar course. I definitely know the class will become easier if I can have the same class with them. But, finally, I chose not to follow their steps. Following my heart, I decide to take “Cop, Crime, and Pop Culture” to fulfill my FYS requirement. And this blog is going to record everything I learn from this class. And my every single thoughts concerning about this topic.

 

I really like this topic. I saw some Criminal TV shows (like CSI, Criminal Mind, Lie To Me) before and found it can be really interesting. Most of you know CSI and Criminal Mind, but might not be familiar with Lie To Me. Lie to me, in fact, is the first criminal show that I saw. This show depicts the story of a deception expert, Dr. Cal Lightman, who helps uncover the truth for the FBI, local police, law firms, corporations, and individuals via microexpressions and body language. At fist, I was simply obsessed with those microexpressions and body language. However, one sentence from the leading actor of Lie To Me touched me and switched my focus. It is “whether people are lying or not is not that important. It is more important to find out why people are lying.” Sometimes, people just unconsciously put too much stress on the result rather than the truth behind result. This sentence reminds me that don’t judge some cases or events only by their appearances. The cause is far more important than effect. So, then, I try to dig the deeper relationship between cops and crime in the show. Cops and crime are not often be talked by people since most of them deem cop and crime are just the business of government. However, studying crime and policing, from my perspective, can open our minds. The relationship of policing and crime is not just police detect crime and figure it out. There are more stories in this relationship! I mean this study can really reveal a part of world we have not seen. For example, how police detect criminals and capture them in the reality crime programming? What is the motivation of criminals? And whether the crime show displays the reality? Do cops usually capture criminals successful like we saw in TV show?

 

Challenging myself, I believe I can provide you with thought-provoking perspective. This blog will display my every single insight concerning about cops, crime and pop culture. Hope you enjoy this blog!

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