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Sleaze culture. What is a sleaze culture anyway? Its actually pretty hard to define – Many of the classics include the same sorts of content identified.

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Presentation on theme: "Sleaze culture. What is a sleaze culture anyway? Its actually pretty hard to define – Many of the classics include the same sorts of content identified."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sleaze culture

2 What is a sleaze culture anyway? Its actually pretty hard to define – Many of the classics include the same sorts of content identified as offensive by cultural critics Shakespeare Brothers Grimm – Myths and folktales – Few topics or features of content are clear indicators of sleaze Sex? Violence? Bizarre behavior?

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4 Raunch Culture Raunch Culture is a term used to refer to a subculture which revolves around "raunchy" sexuality. It evolved out of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and refers to the later sexual culture of the 20th century in which sexually explicit language and themes in the performing arts, as well as sexually provocative clothing and expression are openly celebrated. – Wikipedia

5 Sensational/Raunchy content has been common in media since early on – Pornography – Low humor There is a market for sensational content Broadcasting_Panel#Broadcasting-The_Tide_Toward_The_Titillating Broadcasting_Panel#Broadcasting-The_Tide_Toward_The_Titillating Broadcasting_Panel#Broadcast_Journalism_and_To_Catch_A_Predator Broadcasting_Panel#Broadcast_Journalism_and_To_Catch_A_Predator

6 Gradual changes in social mores have also moved toward more tolerance/acceptance of non-traditional morality – Sexuality – Drug use

7 What are the features of sleaze culture? Content aimed at titillation rather than enlightenment – Sex, violence, extreme emotion/conflict – The bizarre and/or norm-breaking Crude representationslack of refinement Celebration of norm-breaking/deviant behavior

8 Why are we attracted to sleaze? Arousal – Evidence shows greater arousal from sensational presentation that sober one – Arousal generates endorphin release (pleasure) Repression (Freud) – Catharsis of repressed desires Enjoyment from norm-breaking – Natural resistance to control from withoutsatisfaction from breaking the rules Happiness derived from seeing how much worse others have it Feeling of superiority to those one is watching

9 Historical trend toward sleaze Market pressures toward sensational content across a wide array of media and genres Yellow Journalism B Movies/Exploitation films Film after the development of TV Rock & Roll, Rap Fox Network Cable Networks Broadcast TV after the gradual growth of cable

10 Yellow Journalism Grew from the mid-1800s to the turn of the century as a result of increased press speed and the development of mass markets for newspapers – Hearst v. Pulitzer Developed content aimed at a mass audience, including covering the police beat, sob sisters and, eventually, celebrity coverage

11 Early movies Early on, Hollywood movies often emphasized strong sexual themes and showed women in shockingly skimpy clothing The studios, under pressure, voluntarily adopted the Hays Code, which set very stringent rules for what could be portrayed onscreen – While sex was the main concern, rules about the portrayal of good and bad, crime, etc. also were part of the code

12 B movies, Exploitation Films B movies were those made on low budgets that emphasized sensational themes, especially mob violence and sexual themes (though they couldnt actually show much there).

13 The end of the Hays Code The inroads of television into the film market led for the need to find something that TV couldnt provide – Sexual and other themes provided content not available on network television Foreign films Independents Some directors challenged studio censors – Success in an industry facing financial challenges undermined the code

14 Radio Radio was losing its audience to TV in the 1950s Programming moved from traditional variety shows, narrative radio to highly targeted music programming – Rock & Roll served the purpose extremely well targeted to teens, youth and seen as especially edgy Ed Sullivan show censored Elvis suggestive dancing

15 Radio Success of more sexually suggestive music led to copy and expansion of format concept and modern radio was born Rap, Hip-Hop is really just a more extreme form of the same phenomenon

16 Challenges to mainstream TV First ABC, then Fox sought to challenge network oligopoly – FCC allowed more risque/violent content to help challengers Success led to overall acceptance of coarser content Cable followed a similar course – Early cable provided sports and premium channels (premium emphasized violent and sexual content) – Cable networks provided more adult content than did broadcast

17 Broadcast TV Network TV gradually moved toward more violent/sexual content in order to try to hold on to its audience as cable took more and more away

18 How do you determine what is artistically and socially appropriate? One set of critics hails the more gritty, adult content as both more realistic and more artistic – Provides a more significant social commentary Another set sees the portrayal, whether realistic or not, as contributing to a cultural downgrading and undermining of morality

19 Critically acclaimed television shows are often criticized for its adult content All in the Family (and spinoffs) Hill Street Blues Soap Married... with Children Saturday Night Live Murphy Brown NYPD Blue Friends South Park Seinfeld The Sopranos The Shield The Wire Dexter Weeds Sons of Anarchy

20 How do we evaluate shows? When is the inclusion of nudity, sexuality, violence, rule-breaking, harsh language, etc. artistically appropriate and when is it pure titillation? – Shock value – Contribution to the narrative Is the choice of content based on something other than pure exploitation?

21 What do people object to? The amount of sex, violence – In US the sex is considered more offensive while in several European countries, etc. the violence is what is considered obscene The graphic portrayal of violence, sex – This is actually the greater concern for most viewersa story with one or two graphically presented murders is more offensive than one with many that are not graphically portrayed

22 What do people object to? The glorification of violent, criminal, drug- taking or deviant behavior – Dexter – Walker, Texas Ranger The lack of concern with the positive – 7 th Heaven v. Melrose Place The lack of coverage of the important – Focus on Tiger Woods v. Health Care Reform

23 Why the concern now? The move among mainstream media toward more shocking, sexual, violent, amoral and titillating content – Primetime Network TV – News Rather than mainstream media putting the brakes on marginal sources/culture, the margins have driven mainstream toward sensational, sleazy content

24 Does this present a problem? Offensive social behavior – Crude language and behavior leads to anger, conflict, unsatisfying social relations – Lack of mutual respect, tendency to stereotype Self-destructive behaviors regarding sexual, aggressive, drug-related and criminal behaviors can lead to unhappy consequences

25 Does this present a problem? Self interest--Lack of trust – Personal and economic costs Lack of self-esteem – Degrading images, treatment generate psychological harm Coarse representations lead to disrespectful treatment of others Amusing Ourselves to Death – Focus on the trivial, the bizarre, the deviant distracts our attention from more important things, reduces our development of mature attitudes, beliefs


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