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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ben Wiggins presents talk at next American Studies Workshop: Monday, November 28th

The next American Studies graduate student workshop of the semester will be held on Monday, November 28, from 3:30 - 5:00pm in the Scott Hall Commons, room 105. All faculty and graduate students are encouraged to attend. Ben Wiggins will workshop his talk titled, "Risk in the New-media Culture Industry; or, Enlightenment as a Kick in the Nuts".

This paper analyzes Pranked--a reality television show that culls home videos of "real people" and "real pranks" from user-uploading Internet sites such as YouTube and formats them into a MTV broadcast--to reconsider the culture industry as new media reconfigures it. Highlighting the underappreciated role entertainment insurers have played in quelling spontaneity in mass culture, this paper shows how Pranked circumvents the traditional forms of risk management by distancing production companies and networks from the danger associated with the production of the pranking clips. Pranked demonstrates the ends of enlightenment as the disentanglement of insurance and the culture industry fosters the spontaneity Horkheimer and Adorno yearned for, but also engenders the sadism they feared.