Check out this short video that's highly relevant to our discussion of Adorno & Horkheimer and their hand-wringing about pop music. The video presents information A&H would be down with, claiming that pop music is endlessly repetitive. The kicker, though, is that this mind-numbing repetition is not the direct work of our capitalist overlords — it's our own fault. Well, our own choice.
Participation! Consider the consumer choice discussed in this video's claims. How free are we to choose? How has Internet data illuminated this? And what would Adorko & Jerkheimer say about this: are our choices really our own?
Click here to read/download an A-grade paper from a student in the course from a previous term.
I'm providing this as a model to illustrate the formatting and structure of the assignment. This should make very clear how to set it up: text for the intro (with sources cited), then a two-column table for the denotative vs. connotative descriptions. (Never made a table or used columns in Word before? It's easy.)
Pay attention to how this student telescoped the denotative elements into connotative possibilities. Also, consider that this paper actually could have used more connotations.
Remember: Part 1 of the project is due in week four.
The above song, a one-hit wonder from 1971, is a particularly historically and culturally situated lyrical consideration of signs — in the denotative sense, surely (actual posts and placards containing written messages) but also in various connotative senses.
Semiotics — the study of signification (signs, signifiers, signifieds) can be a lot to get your head around. If you'd like more in-depth background on signs, codes, texts, and more, look to this excellent primer, "Semiotics for Beginners," particularly parts 1, 2, 7, and 9.
Specifically for Part I of the communication analysis project: this link is a PDF of an extra reading (not required, but maybe helpful) from several previous syllabi in COMM 10. Marcel Danesi gives a great summation of the semiotic task you are assigned to accomplish in Part I of the project. Look to "Types of Meaning" beginning on p. 25 for a detailed explanation of denotation and connotation as you'll need to apply it to your selected object of communication.