Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trailer Of The Movie : World Trade Center

Melodrama or Tragedy?

Watch the trailer for World Trade Center (2006). How does this clip tell a narrative about September 11th? Using James Peck's "September 11th: A National Tragedy?" as a reference, do you think this movie depicts the 9/11 terrorist attacks as melodrama or tragedy? Or do you disagree with Peck's definitions of the genres/ modes of tragedy and melodrama?

Post a comment responding to this movie trailer. You can use these questions as a guide, or you can bring up your own point that you think will add to the discussion. To add your comment, click on the link for "comments." Remember to sign your name!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Eminem - Stan (with Dido)

Eminem's "Stan"--Melodrama?

Watch the video and read the lyrics for "Stan" by Eminem (with Dido). Would you consider "Stan" to be an example of melodrama, or to have melodramatic characteristics? Why or why not? What is the song's argument--what point or points do you think this video makes? How does the video make these points? What rhetorical strategies does the video employ? Think carefully about visual and aural as well as textual rhetoric, and write a comment that addresses one or some of these questions.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Welcome to PWR!

Welcome to PWR!

Joy! Rage! Horror! The Rhetoric of Melodrama
Winter 2008

Course Description

Melodrama plays a visible role in American popular culture—from made-for-television movies, to country music and rock ballads, soap operas, action flicks, and legal dramas. The emotional, narrative, and rhetorical excess that characterizes melodrama extends beyond entertainment. Rhetorical excess is everywhere—even in political persuasion, including comparisons of political leaders to Hitler or Stalin, and the use of personal narrative to make political arguments. In this course, we will analyze the role of melodrama in American popular culture and media, and the types of claims that the rhetoric of excess makes.

Students will develop the skills to read, write, and think critically in a multimedia context. We'll begin the course by analyzing the conventions of fictional melodrama in television, film, and music. After identifying characteristics of melodrama, we will move on to more subtle uses of melodrama to make socio-political arguments in, for example, journalism and political campaigns. Essays on cultural theory and popular culture will suggest methods for making our own analyses.

Course requirements include active participation and regular writing. There will be three major writing assignments: a rhetorical analysis, a contextual analysis, and a final research paper. Students will also be expected to participate in a class blog and to deliver a research presentation to the class.