Writing 2121F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Public Space, Media Play

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13 Aug 2016
Department
WRITING 2121G: Writing for MIT
Week 2
Jan 12
Ted Talk: “The antidote to apathy” - Dave Meslin
Focus on the essence of his argument to see if it still applies today, whether we should continue
to be concerned about the issues that he discusses
THESIS:
oParticipation isn’t encouraged, in politics especially
oNot saying that people are indifferent – saying that people aren’t encouraged to
participate
oMedia play a filtering function
oPeople want to search out news, yet are limited
oSays that people have been rendered passive from voting
We are constantly told that people don’t care
Proposes that apathy, as we think we know it, doesn’t exist
Intentional exclusion rather than apathy
7 obstacles:
(1) City hall:
Correlates a Nike ad with advertising political issues
Political postings are written in a way to confuse the reader, discouraging
people from engaging
Ads are clear, easy to understand
Written-out Nike ad shows the absurdity of using municipal advertising
Logic - everyone knows the style and appearance of a Nike ad
Humour – uses satire to invoke audience response
(2) Public space:
The manner in which we treat public space
We put a price tag on the freedom of expression
Big corporations that have the capital to buy public space are the ones that have
their voices heard
We can say whatever we want, but we are not heard because we do not have a
platform
Dominated by corporate presence
(3) The media:
Plays an important role in developing our relationship with political change
Discourages engagement
Portraying politics as a spectator sport
Often don’t give audiences the opportunity to follow up on the information
presented
(4) ‘Heroes’:
10 common movies all have characters that are “chosen”
Many have trouble seeing themselves as leaders
Heroic effort = collective effort
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