Week 6: Cultural Critique Essay
For this assignment, you will write a 500-750 word reflection paper in APA format on a documentary that looks at the issues of character and/or culture. These documentaries are available online through Regent’s digital library. Access the digital library through this link or navigate to the Regent Library homepage, click on Databases under Research Tools, click on the letter “P” under Browse by Database Title, and select PBS Videos.
Click on the PBS Video Collection and login with your Regent ID and Password. Scroll down under the (F) section and select Frontline. Then select one of the following videos to view:
1. The Merchants of Cool
They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the “next big thing” that will snare the attention of their prey–a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year.
They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts–and wallets–of America’s youth?
FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of these marketing moguls in “The Merchants of Cool.” Produced by Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin the program talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and today’s teens, as each looks to the other for their identity.
2. Bigger Than Enron
On June 15, a Houston jury convicted Arthur Andersen — the 89-year-old accounting firm once known as the gold standard of integrity in auditing — for obstruction of justice in the government’s investigation of Enron, Andersen’s biggest client. With the demise of Andersen, the American business landscape was forever altered. But something else was altered as well: the scandal surrounding Enron and Andersen, together with the wave of other major accounting scandals that have come to light in recent months, has dealt America’s markets an unsettling psychological blow. If we can’t trust the auditors, investors wonder, whom can we trust?
3. The Madoff Affair
On Dec. 11, 2008, Bernard L. Madoff confessed that his vaunted investment business was all “one big lie,” a Ponzi scheme colossal in volume and scope that cost investors $65 billion. Overnight, Madoff became the new poster child for Wall Street gall, greed and corruption.
Through exclusive television interviews with those closest to Madoff’s operation, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith unearths the details of the world’s first global Ponzi scheme — a deception that lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any other business scandal in history — in The Madoff Affair.
4. Watergate Plus 30: Shadow of History
What lessons has America learned from Watergate? Three decades after an infamous break-in helped topple President Richard Nixon, all the facts are still not in. But as this documentary shows, Watergate remains a nearly unbelievable tale of ordinary men corrupted by power–and their desire to retain it.
Select one of these videos and watch at least 30 minutes of the film (the films run from 1 – 2 hours); you can watch more if you wish.
As you watch the film you selected, thoughtfully consider all that you have read, watched, and discussed in the course to this point, in particular, your readings from N.T. Wright on character, Andy Crouch on culture, Kouzes and Posner on leadership, and the Scriptures. Appropriately incorporate these readings and, when possible, bring in the expertise and/or perspectives from your major field of study. Interact with the film and materials and write a 500-750 word reflection paper on something you saw or heard in the film that grabbed your attention and warrants a response. In your response, please include a discussion of if or how the principles and leadership practices you have learned in this course were or were not reflected in the film. A large portion of your grade will be based on your ability to integrate the ideas and concepts from the course materials.