Textproduktion: Comment/Creative Writing "Our unhealthy love of reality TV bullying..." by. J. Cristensen
Hinweis: Die Prozentangaben in Klammern zeigt die Gewichtung der einzelnen Aufgaben.
Choose one of the following tasks:
- In the end, being nice makes for dull entertainment” (l.39) Explain the quotation and, using your own knowledge of reality TV and social media, comment on reason why people feel entertained by bullying on TV and on the Internet. (35%)
- Choose a film/literary text featuring bullying and assess whether it affects viewers/readers in the same way as reality TV does, according to the text. (35%)
- Together with a group of international students, you are designing a flyer to persuade young people to stop watching bullies on reality TV. Write a short text for the flyer, describe the design, and justify your layout choices. (35%)
TV shows depicting abusive behaviour regularly attract high audience numbers. But what are the reasons why people feel entertained by bullying on TV and on the Internet?
First of all, the quote refers to the fact that TV shows featuring friendly interactions between people are boring. Bad behaviour is what the audience wants to watch because it is more entertaining. Generally speaking, arguments or bullying are more popular than love and happiness.
One of the reasons is that bullying is amusing because it is often exaggerated and escapist. In reality TV shows, such as Promi-Big-Brother or Dschungelcamp, the participants start bullying due to the prolonged imprisonment and the consequent interpersonal frictions. Nevertheless, it is not known if the abusive behaviour is real or just a result of an excellent acting performance to boost the popularity of the participants.
Furthermore, humans tend to adopt new behaviours due to their herd instinct which is why watching others being bullied enables the identification with the bully and the experience of dominating other people. If there are already several abusive comments under the videos on Youtube, people will approach them with a rather negative attitude and might even think alike even if they enjoy what they are watching. The ability of leaving these comments provides the users with the power of even causing the blocking of the respective account if the negative feedback exceeds a certain amount.
Moreover, although the article mentions watching bullying as a cause for violent behaviour, I, on the contrary, am of the opinion that it actually helps to reduce aggression because it represents a compensation for the nuisances everyone has to suffer from in daily life. If you had an argument with your boss, for instance, watching others being humiliated in an episode of Rachs Restaurantschule can be a great relief and ease tensions.
As a summary it can be stated that there are many reasons why watching other people being bullied on TV or on the Internet is so popular, such as the entertainment factor and as a compensation for the abuse experienced in daily life.
Both reality-TV shows such as Kitchen Nightmares and movies like Full Metal Jacket feature bullying and have a major impact on the viewers. So what are the effects of watching others being humiliated?
Reality-TV and the movie mentioned above both have high audience ratings because they are entertaining to watch. Kitchen Nightmares, for instance, is highly popular with the audience (l.5) and Full Metal Jacket had a box office of about 46 million dollars, which was a fairly large amount back in the year 1987.
Furthermore, both film productions can be an emotional compensation for the abusive behaviour victims of bullying have to suffer from in their daily lives (ll.29f.) because watching others suffer is like a relief from one’s personal problems. If you have had to experience insults or physical abuse by your fellow students, an entertaining reality-TV show or a movie like Full Metal Jacket represent a good possibility of diversion.
Moreover, reality-TV shows and movies featuring bullying lead to aggression among the viewers (ll.14f.) because they might start behaving in a similar way (ll.21f.). Watching bullying on television might be an inspiration for future bullies and evoke unwanted behaviour patterns among potential victims. The movie Full Metal Jacket shows what can happen when authority over someone is used to abuse them mentally and physically, which leads to the suicide of one of the protagonist in the end because he cannot endure the bullying by the Drill Instructor anymore. This reaction is not farfetched as show the examples of the massacres at Columbine High School in 1999 or at the Realschule of Winnenden in 2009, at which watching aggressive movies was considered one of the possible motives.
To sum things up, both reality-TV shows and movies featuring bullying have major negative effects on the audience, such as providing malicious pleasure and causing aggressive behaviour.
The text for the flyer is as follows: “Watching reality-TV shows featuring bullying leads to aggression among the viewers because they might start behaving in a similar way. Bullying has far-reaching consequences for the victims, both psychological and physical ones, such as stress, depression, a negative self-perception, headache, insomnia or gastro-intestinal diseases. Furthermore, it leads to social exclusion and suicidal thoughts which is why it represents a problem concerning all of us requiring both an active confrontation and a rapid solution”.
The design of the flyer is simple and the colours are black and white. The message is located in the headline, namely “Stop watching bullying on TV!”, which is surrounded by two thumbs-down symbols on the left and right. In the centre of the flyer there is a picture of a television which shows two stick figures illustrating bullying. The bully has black thunderbolts coming out of its head and kicks the victim lying on the floor.
The flyer is kept simple to keep the focus on the message, which is located in the headline to put emphasis on it. The iconic thumbs-down symbols make reference to Facebook and directly address the environment of young people. The stick figures contribute to depicting mobbing as a general issue concerning all of us, avoid giving bullying a face and impede the identification with the picture.
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