In class on October 10th, we discussed many different topics, which all can relate back to the main media conveyed message that we are being played like a musical instrument as opposed to having our own views and ideas. We also discussed the concept of semiotics. This can be anything that relates to media , whether it is a TV show, film or a song. It is seeing things through popular culture that we normally would not , by slowing down the events that are occuring. For the sake of TV shows , everything that you need to know about the TV show, will be shown in the opening credits. The example that was shown in class, was the opening credits of the show , six feet under. The symbols that play a part in this move from concrete to abstract.
Language, through this medium, is not based on only words, but on everything we interact with daily. This is from the colours we choose to paint our house , to the clothes we wear. It is even based on the people that we choose to hang out with. And all of this language can be read as text. As well, it was discussed why people watch TV and what is intriguing people to do so, whether it is to get away from reality for a half hour everyday , or some humour enlightenment from a comedy sitcom. Everything has an impact on how we communicate with others. One of these forms of communication , people have found is through love. During class , we learned that love does not actually exist, but it is a metaphor. It is composed from the structure of understandings that we were raised with , whether it be through pop culture , our parents and guardians, or as far back as our ancestry.
One of the main discussion points included symbols, through the use of semiotics and how they differ. This brought into play the book , Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, as well as the recommended web site. Visual symbols are either digital or analogic ( as one of the categories in which they are placed. For example, the picture of a dog , the word d o g and the sound that you make when saying the word “dog” all make an artificial connection, when really there is nothing that links any of these symbols together. Usually words are to represent a visual though an arbitrary connection, though there is the possibility of onomatopoeia , for example , the word hiss, where the sound of the word and the sound that a “hiss” makes are connected.
Also, there is the sign. It can be broken into two parts, the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the tangible item that does exist in reality/ real life such as a cup of coffee, whereas the signified is the mental concept that enters out minds when we think of the object. The concepts of communication through signs goes far back, not only to the ancient Egyptians , but by cave paintings and cave persons grunts.
Meaning of these signs falls into three different levels of meaning . These levels are denotative , connotative( being your personal association and feelings towards and ideology. For example , in the case of the word dog, canine is the term that specifies what denotes what a dog is. Our personal feeling of what we believe to be a dog , is included in the level of meaning as well. There is also the fact of how dogs are percieved in society and the media. They are seen as , lazy, dumb, mans best friend, and a dependent service animal. An example of this would be Scooby Doo. The same can be interpreted for cats, as they are denotatively feline, as well as having nine lives and being seen as bad luck ( when a black cat crosses your path).
One example that was done in the class, was how the poem Dust of Snow by Robert Frost ( what were the chances he would be writing about snow, with a last name like Frost, what are the chances of that) to the television series 6 feet under. They both have the connection of death through different symbols. Some of these included from the poem, are : the crow, for death, dust ( as ashes of someone who has passed away ) snow ( winter is the season in which plant life , such as trees die) and the last , but one of the most important, the hemlock tree ( which is connected to poison).
The similarities that these have to the tv show’s opening , include: the signifiers of the hands, (cleansing hands, which are letting go and can also be compared to when Pontius Pilate , in the bible , washes his hands to the death of Jesus) , the stretcher that goes from the light to darkness, death of plants, the lily is dying ( which is , in turn , a funeral flower), the death tag on the person’s toe and there are no faces are shown which shows that no emotion or character is given to the people, a sense of death.
The hands and mouth are the key symbols of power.