Are soap operas radical television? Or do they merely support a dominant ideology under capitalism?
"Vicki! I I thought I heard your voice"
Roy Lichtenstein; Vicki; 1964
"Oh, Jeff I love you, too But"
Roy Lichtenstein; I love you but; 1964
Traditional soap opera dialogue is not unlike the pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein's stylised magnification of the commonplace in his satirical paintings of the 1960's. Coupled with Lichtenstein's oft-considered triteness of relationships, which is duplicated in soap operas, both have their critics that regard them high art or inferior pop art. Soap operas provide mass entertainment for a countless number of people of varying gender, age, ethnicity and social position. These electronic melodramas are observed in millions of homes around the globe each day, where it is not uncommon for fans to partake in several consecutive televised soap operas a day. Dedicated spectators watching these programs have, in some cases, created a blur between fantasy and reality and consequently written letters to warn actors about impending danger. Social theorists have raised concern over these habitual and unusually involved viewing practices, proclaiming that the serial may be a vehicle for a concealed capitalist ideology that claims to be light entertainment. Conversely, what some critics see as the poorest display of the electronic media soap operas are also revered, by some, as the vanguard of it.
Theorists of the Frankfurt School, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, wrote extensively in their book (The German Ideology), on the subject concerning the media and its' hidden hegemonic ideologies. Antonio Gramsci's hegemony, the study of how social dominance of one social group is held over another, led Marx and Engels materialist theories into the sphere of ideology dispensing institutions (cited in Lull;... [continues]
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