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EN412 Media & Society: Exam 3
Part I: Ideologies and Other “Natural” Attitudes
Choose 1 of the following (100 points)
A) Describe Althusser’s definition of ideology and how ideology serves as a means
of oppression. Next, explain why people are willing to be oppressed and why it’s
so hard to move outside oppression to something “real.” Finally, demonstrate
how The X-Files encourages us to question government (and why it’s important to
also question the series’ heroes).
B) Describe Bryson’s idea of the “natural attitude” and how we see it at work in the
history of art. Next, explain why scientific progress might not be a good model
for understanding media (with references to Welles’ Understanding Animation).
Finally, discuss the strengths of animation like “Duck Amuck” and/or Fantasia
that breaks away from realism.
C) Describe Mirzoeff’s idea of the virtual reality and its unrealized potential in video
games. Next, explain how Manovich shows that 3-D video games are
fundamentally different from old media like books (and why that’s important).
Finally, discuss the strengths of a video game like Myst and/or Fable that breaks
away from traditional, linear, goal-driven gaming.
Part II: Major Debates Concerning New Media
Choose 1 of the following (100 points)
Discuss one of the three major debates concerning new media (see the next page) and
effectively establish a position. Your position does not have to be located at either
extreme of the debate; you can take a both/and position. But your position does have to
be grounded in at least two of the theories that we’ve studied this quarter. (And feel free
to refer to any media forms as examples.)
Whichever you choose, be sure to write good essays with an introduction, clear
thesis, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion; clearly explain the terms you use
and support your claims with many examples from the texts. You may use your text
as a reference.
Three Major Debates Concerning New Media
(Grounded in Long-Standing Questions About Art)
1) Is the meaning of a work of art historically-fixed or does the meaning of a work of
art change over time? Media seems to indicate that it changes …
Positive spin: New media allows us to put images in new contexts and those images
acquire richer and more complicated meaning
Negative spin: New media encourages us to rush to the newest versions of images and
those images have only superficial meaning, divorced from their original context
2) Is art an individual expression or is art a cultural expression? Media seems to
indicate that it is a cultural expression …
Positive spin: New media requires people to work together to reach a corporate goal with
that work building community and producing a universal truth
Negative spin: New media is subject to the interests of financially motivated corporations
and that corporate involvement produces popular (not artistic) work, often muddled and
incoherent
3) Does art exist as an artifact (a real thing) or does art represent an idea (abstract
thought)? Media seems to indicate that it represents an idea …
Positive spin: New media has grown from technological innovations (such as affordable
digital technology) that 1) allows all people to act as artists and 2) encourages focus on
the idea (as an artifact often does not exist)
Negative spin: New media had developed from techniques (such as the subjective pointof-view) that emphasizes the involvement of the recipient and thereby devalues art by
making art forever changeable (with no stable meaning)

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