Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Scotland 1991 sketch on 1940s outlook

Fondly remember this show, the name of which I'll avoid to swerve any clumsy, overzealous filters. It spawned Rab C. Nesbitt ... and the tales of Stoneybridge...

This is a simple example of stereotypes being used to challenge conservative notions of identity. Behind the preferred reading here is the assumed knowledge of the sensationally conservative publishers that dominated much of the Scottish press.

I grew up reading the likes of The Dandy comic, sold UK-wide (still; think Dennis the Menace), produced by DC Thomson in Dundee, as austere and stern a publisher of fun material for kids as could be imagined. Any doubts I had on this were reinforced in my 1st year at IGS, when an SEN assistant turned out to have worked there and shared a few reminiscences.

On the surface then this is a simple culture clash between young(ish!) comics and the old-fashioned, highly conservative Establishment that held sway in Scotland, seeking to breakdown that essentially Presbyterian stereotype - which has close parallels with the Yorkshire stereotype by the way.

Where there is some polysemy is in their use of stigmatised social minorities to make this satirical distinction and break. Does this simply reinforce those stereotypes and cultural values; reinforce some parts of the cultural hegemony of conservatism whilst challenging others? Is the whole piece counter-hegemonic by actually making single mothers and homosexuals part of a new normative representation of Scottish society? Or could there even be an Alf Garnett effect - in the notorious 70s sitcom featuring the character, the liberal characters sought to challenge racist attitudes but unwittingly spawned a racist hero!

Semiotic approaches are valuable, but, especially as you progress through Media Studies (and this applies to coursework planning and Evaluation too), you also need to engage with audience theories. These are often highly contradictory - providing you with the opportunity to provide your own view and voice on this highly contested field.

With this sketch there is also the reception issue of its age and current events. I happened to stumble across it moments after reading a news piece in which the Vatican condemned the vote in R. of Ireland legalising gay marriage as a "defeat for humanity". There are dangers in reading a text of applying the values of 'our' times.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Provileged dominating arts says shadow Culture Minister

Arts world must address lack of diversity, says Labour’s Chris Bryant

Friday, 20 April 2012

REP'NS: RegionalAccent: NadineCoyle subtitled

Good example, following on from Girls Aloud bandmate Cheryl Cole being subtitled for her brief stint on X Factor USA, of the commercial challenges of UK accents other than middle-class Southern English: my compatriot, Nadine Coyle, has also suffered this fate on the US edition of Next Top Model.
See reports by Belfast Telegraph + Huffington Post vid (below);
Have you addressed this issue when discussing casting, representations, budgets, distributors, audience (including feedback - did you get feedback from 'non-locals' not so familiar/comfortable with the local Yorkshire accent?) etc?
Here's what the Belfast Tele wrote:
Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle has once again hit the headlines because of her distinctive Londonderry accent.
Currently appearing as a guest judge on reality US TV show America’s Next Top Model, her strong Derry dialect has led to her being subtitled for the American audience.
Beauty Nadine, who is well placed to judge the show’s fledgling models, has never compromised on her love of her home city.
She recently appeared at an event to promote Derry to the American tourist market as part of the Clipper Yacht race and for the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations.
The American decision to subtitle her has been labelled as simple prejudice.
Linguistics expert Dr Loretto Todd of the University of Ulster said it is tantamount to racism to make an issue out of the way someone talks. She said: “Let us not forget, every single human being has an accent of some sort or other, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Nadine Coyle's accent.
“There is a rhythm to her accent, as there is to all Northern Ireland accents, and it just happens to be a bit faster than the South of England accent, which I think is at the core of why they are making so much of the way she talks.
“I have heard her speak and I think she is very clear.”
Dr Todd suggested that perhaps the continuing onslaught on Nadine’s Derry accent is that because of her profession, she is seen as fair game.
She explained: “I do not think we’d be having this conversation if we were talking about someone from a different profession, but because she is a singer, it seems appropriate to criticise her.”
It’s not the first time that the speech of a member of Girls Aloud has been lost in translation across the Atlantic.
Cheryl Cole's Geordie accent is reportedly the reason that she was axed from the American version of X Factor.
Nor is it the first time Nadine's tones have fallen on deaf ears.
Jonathan Ross, no stranger to speech impediments, said in 2008 that he could not understand a word she said.
Nadine also copped a lot of flak on a recent UK tour for what many people deemed an irritating transatlantic twang after years of living in the US.