PLAYING WITH POWER IN MOVIES, TELEVISION, AND VIDEO GAMES

FROM MUPPET BABIES TO TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Kinder (Critical Studies/USC School of Cinema-Television) argues that the ``supersystem'' comprised of TV, video games, and movies aimed at children not only urges them to buy specific products but also indoctrinates them in the ways of post-modern consumer culture. Drawing on recent work in feminist psychoanalysis, Althusser's economic theories of social indoctrination, and Piaget-inspired studies of child development, as well as her observations of her own son and a small sample of his peers, Kinder maps out a media network that exploits children's desire to master threatening situations through play by prescribing and rewarding precisely the kinds of play that make them dedicated consumers. In an especially probing chapter on Saturday morning TV, Kinder explores the ways programs like Muppet Babies and Garfield and Friends reconfigure their young audience's desires for reassurance, control, and fantasy as desires for a ``virtual reality'' whose stability is associated with the title figures—and, ultimately, as desires for the things they can buy that will guarantee that reality. Other chapters, less bold in their analysis, consider similar ``interpellations''—indoctrinations of children as consumers—by Nintendo games and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A suggestive, unsatisfying conclusion sketches a global economic context behind this intertextual power play, and two appendices explain Kinder's procedures for two informal samplings of children's reactions to TV and video games. Not for casual readers—Kinder depends, especially in her fine opening chapters, on interlinked layers of jargon that will leave concerned, nonspecialist parents far behind—but as provocative and lucidly written an academic study as you could want. (Fifteen b&w illustrations of shots from movies and TV shows.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-520-07570-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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