Latviski English По-русски
Monday 24.09.2018 | Name days: Agris, Agrita

Theatre critic: there is historic importance in people’s trust of television

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Pop-culture’s influence over society should be viewed from two different perspectives. First of all, it is important to consider how society affects popular culture – what we see or hear at least partially reflects the modern society. Secondly, if created products turn out very influential, they inspire people and shift their thought processes or behaviour one way or another. This is because new and exciting products that have never existed until now, products that are considered marginal,» said theatre critic and Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia Zane Radzobe.

What can popular culture tell about society?

«Because pop-culture is culture created for consumption by as wide an audience as possible, I think modern pop-culture product creators want to study what is important in a society and what people want to see. I think the most important factor is how much can be said about society using pop-culture,» said the assistant professor.

Radzobe’s research interests also include communication aspects in pop-culture. She was asked how topics are picked for discussion in modern pop-culture – film, theatre, television, etc. «There are different ways. It is worth mentioning that if there is a format successful in some country in the world, other countries will try the same. This includes adapted series and television shows. Pop-culture does not think much about creating new ones. Instead the focus is put on what is already successful and using it for as long as possible, capturing the entire market.»

She continues: «One other thing, since we’ve touched upon original shows and products. Artists – pop-culture creators and producers can be called artists. This is especially true if they do their jobs particularly well and have an eye and intuition for promising ideas.»

She also adds that sometimes a more rational and mathematical approach works in pop-culture.

Pop-culture as a tool

«Without a doubt, pop-culture is a tool that can help retain society’s attention or focus attention on some social problems,» says Radzobe. Programme ‘Caur ērkšķiem uz..’ [Through the thorns to…] was touched upon during the interview. This is why the assistant professor was asked about her opinion as to how reality shows of this kind portray social problems. In this particular case, the problem in question was violence against women.

She commented: «By definition, reality shows consist of two parts, with one of them being ‘show’. The show is made to be entertaining and help capture an audience. Events people are shown are more often than not scripted, and the audience is unaware of that. The second part is ‘reality’ – it offers the audience a look at people we don’t often see in our everyday lives, people we don’t know. Because of that, the show has to be tied to reality at least somewhat.»

As for the main idea detailed in the programme, the assistant professor said: «Everyone is aware that violence exists. But if the audience is presented with an actual person who tells about their experience and certain details are shown to the audience, people become more emotional. The problem no longer seems theoretical. It becomes real in our perception.»

When asked if shows that focus on some social problem can actually help solve the problem in a long-term perspective, Radzobe said: «The question is how shocking the show is and if action from the audience follows after the show airs. The latter does not apply to reality shows. It is not their function – to change society. Still, if a show outlines some problem, for example helps public organizations gather finances or attempt to change legislation, then they do have some importance.»

To explain her idea on shows’ influence on society, Radzobe mentions: «I have a specific example from one of America’s reality shows – Caitlyn Jenner’s case. America had transsexual people before the show. But because he/she is associated with the Kardashian family, which is an enormous brand and members of the family often appear before the press, the fact that a famous person is also a transsexual makes problems associated with transsexuals all the more topical.»

Critical thinking: how reliable are the things people are shown on television?

Radzobe says – there is historic importance in people’s trust of television. «Editing was impossible in the early years of television. Everything happened in real-time and people felt they were witnessing events as they were happening, as though they were witnessing it in person. Since then, of course, television has come a long way. Editing processes now make it possible to change contents and manipulate people’s minds, essentially. But a level of trust still remains. We simply trust what we see with our own eyes.»

She continues: «What we are shown on the screen does not always work as a reality filter. Not all viewers feel the screen, as it were. This is why it is important to educate people, because the media are able to manipulate information. People have to think about what they see more carefully than ever before.»

In the end the theatre critic said: «Going back to reality shows, the term itself describes what they are – reality and show. We can never be 100% certain where the line is between reality and show. This is an important factor to keep in mind. I think it is much healthier to watch reality shows as a work of art pieced together from fragments of reality that do not make up the entirety of reality.»


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. President proposes amendments to restrict bailiffs' remuneration

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is putting forward amendments aimed at restricting bailiffs' financial remuneration to up to 15 per cent of the amount recovered.

BNN summary of the week: pre-election heat, rule of law in Latvia, Baltics prepare for Pope’s visit

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Elections; Change; Stagnation; Fight; Visit; Investigation.

Court reschedules viewing of criminal case due to Non-citizens Congress leader’s poor health

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court announced today that the viewing of the criminal case in which leader of Non-citizens Congress Aleksandrs Gapoņenko is accused of inciting national hate will be postponed to a later date.

Producer prices in industry up 1.0% in Latvia in August

Compared to July, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 1.0 % in August 2018. Level of prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.9 %, but of exported products – went up by 0.1 %.

Bishop: priest suspected of sexual abuse to be operated on in hospital

Pāvels Zeiļa, who is a priest of Rezekne Aglona diocese and the suspect in the criminal case regarding sexual violence and human trafficking, will undergo a complicated surgery on Friday, 21 September, as reported by Bishop Jānis Bulis.

Study: residents withdraw money from ATMs less often but in larger amounts

Every now and then discussions about dropping cash money altogether become active in society, AS PrivatBank representatives say.

HND Grupa design company, involved in Zolitude tragery, declared insolvent

Building engineer Ivars Sergets company HND Grupa, which was involved in the case revolving around the Maxima supermarket that collapsed in Zolitude, killing 54, not five years ago, has been declared insolvent, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Deputy Chief of State Fire and Rescue Service suspected of misappropriation

Latvia’s Interior Affairs Ministry’s Internal Security Bureau has detained deputy chief of State Fire and Rescue Service Ints Sēlis and one other official – a senior inspector, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

Washington sanctions China for buying Russian military equipment

U.S. government has introduces sanctions against the Chinese army over a purchase of fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, despite a U.S. sanctions law targeting Moscow for attempts to sway in the 2016 U.S. election.

Autumn expected to begin soon in Latvia

Friday, 21 September, is expected to be warm in Latvia. Sun and considerable amount of clouds are expected, but not precipitation. Wind will draw in from the south, reaching a speed of 15-17 m/sec in western and central regions, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Brexit: a finish line with no end in sight

Less than 200 days are left before Britain officially leaves the European Union. The state of the agreement between Britain and EU only serves to create more chaos, from which neither Britain nor EU, or even Latvia will benefit.

EU underlines to London: No-deal Brexit also option

European Union's top officials and member state leaders planned to push for a Brexit deal in October, while urging London to give ground on the issues trade and the Irish border by November, to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Lithuanian PM, a presumable presidential hopeful, set to curb grocery price growth

Having chastised food retailers on many occasions for high grocery prices, Saulius Skvernelis, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, stepped forward in the bid to harness local supermarkets. The presumed presidential candidate of the ruling Farmers and Greens (LVŽS) has summoned this week executives of major retail food chains, scolded them and reaffirmed his pledge to rein in the edging up prices.

Industrial prices in Estonia – up by 3.4% on year

The industrial price index in Estonia has risen from August 2017 to August this year by 3.4%, official statistics show.

Latvian parliament approves transition to competence-based approach in education content

On Thursday, 20 September, Latvia’s Saeima approved in the final reading amendments to the Education Law, necessary for the gradual introduction of competence-based approach in education materials.

Latvian Saeima wants to disallow shareholders to work in company management board

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima approved in the first reading amendments to the Credit Institutions Law that provide for multiple measures to enhance Latvia’s finance system and its long-term stability, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Aglone Council prohibits residents from organizing protests during Pope Francis’ visit

A protest against the Catholic Church’s ban on abortions and expression of shock in relation to the recent sex scandals involving Catholic priests was planned to take place in Aglone during Pope Francis’ visit, but the city council decided to disallow them.

Latvian parliament conceptual supports pension bonus indexation

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima supported in the first reading several initiatives for a more rapid pension climb for several groups of pensioners, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Majority Saeima deputies support open president vote; UGF members fail to decide unanimously

On Thursday, 20 September, amendments to the Constitution regarding open election of the state president were approved in the second reading.

Four Estonian parties have strong support, enough to enter Riigikogu

Four Estonian parties are believed to currently have enough support to enter the Estonian parliament, a broad opinion poll showed, as leading parties compete for voter backing.

Vitol Group concerned over state of rule of law in Latvia; turns to state officials

One of the largest energy resource traders in the world – Vitol Group – has sent a letter to Latvia’s highest ranking officials, expressing deep concern over the rule of law and application of legislative acts in the litigation between LatRosTrans and Polocktransneft Druzba over the EUR 66 million worth technological oil.

As Pope heads to Baltics, more attention to Catholic sex abuse

The time, when Roman Catholic Pope Francis is set to visit the Baltics, greatly differs from the visit by Saint John Paul II in 1993. There is public resentment over the countries spending several million euros to host the trip of the pontiff and the Catholic sex abuse scandals are topic of discussion.

Officials asked to take responsibility for misuse of state resources

If misuse of state resources takes place, officials have to take responsibility and pay for the damages caused to the state, says Public Expenditure and Audit Committee chairman Andris Bērziņš.

May asks EU not to divide Britain, while Brussels waits for UK change of position

At a European Union summit in Austria, UK's Prime Minister Theresa May called on EU leaders leave behind "unacceptable" Brexit demands that according to her may rip Britain apart.

Saeima decides to divide EUR 8.3 million of healthcare budget funds to finance reforms

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has supported the initiative to divide EUR 8.277 million from the planned chronic patient care funding to further finance reforms in the country’s healthcare system.

Newest comments