DR. DAN GOLDING Twitter Youtube
Associate Professor Dan Golding is Deputy Chair of Media and Communication at Swinburne University, the host of Screen Sounds on ABC Classic, and an award-winning composer and writer.
Dan is the author of Star Wars After Lucas (University of Minnesota Press, …
Social media platform Facebook pulled the plug on Australian news last week after a tussle between the government and the digital giant. What does that mean for Australian educators and students? What are the ways we can combat misinformation and disinformation? And how far along are we in the struggle to teach media literacy (answers from a professor and a PhD student)? How important is it for students to create their own content? PLUS read an excerpt from Kid Reporter, a handbook for young investigators (and their teachers) by Saffron Howden and Dhana Quinn; and Peter Greste’s review of the book.
Herald Sun is running this image of the beach at Ocean Grove yesterday. Looks insanely packed, right? Terrifying. Well, time for a lesson in the impact of lenses on a photo.
At the level of archetype, fiction has mined every species of cop: dirty, crooked, straight, renegade, superhero, consultant, dog, mall, Robo. Even at the level of genus, the numbers are stifling: vice, SWAT, major crimes, sexual crimes, precincts, homicide detectives, criminal profilers, ad infinitum. As the activist Rashad Robinson (who petitioned for Cops to be canceled back in 2013, when it was on Fox) recently told NPR, “the cop character is the most overdeveloped character on TV.” We’ve reached peak cop.
Ultimately, noir is a lodestar for decentering cop stories because it embraces fallibility. The schmucks, the washouts, the paranoiacs, and the losers of noir are captivating because they fail as often as they succeed. They are cunning and clumsy, inspiring and utterly full of shit. They are manic and perfectly cognizant, sometimes so insightful it drives them mad. Above all, noir stories bend cities and professions into odd shapes, imagining worlds where communities and individuals can solve problems without summoning lawless armed militias. There are fewer heroes in noir, but far more people. I choose option two.
Despite current outcries to demilitarize, defund, or altogether abolish the police after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, according to one recent poll, more than half of Americans still don’t see police violence as a “very serious problem.” If stories play a role in shaping public opinion, the legacy of American cop narratives has mostly functioned as escapist storytelling for white comfort at the expense of black experience: Crimes are solved in an hour and the good guys tend to win, when in reality fewer than half of reported violent and property crimes are solved. These shows can’t faithfully address systemic racism and the reality of police violence any more than white-savior narratives can faithfully reflect black achievement.
New media tends to be adopted by amateurs first. And it rarely has a mass audience in the early days (because it’s new). But professional content for the masses is precisely what old media stands for. As new media gains traction, the old media doubles down on what they believe to be their value, because they no longer have a monopoly on attention.
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