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Metaphor and Onlookers’ Entertainment

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Abstract

It has been widely demonstrated that news has great potential to influence people’s perception and beliefs about the world. Some researchers even describe news as ‘myth’ or its creators as ‘myth makers’ (Barthes 1967; Hartley 1982; Koch 1990). Here, myth does not mean ancient stories about supernatural beings. Rather, it is used in the sense of a specifically selected representation of reality which may have no substantial and verifiable evidence, but is communicated as if true (cf. Gaines 2010). Although it may claim to be impartial and objective, news reporting is mythic since it produces biased or incomplete reports which are consistently mediated through cultural values and ideologies. For example, in his analysis of a news story about an ordinary woman who was selected by people as the Sex Symbol of 1980 entitled ‘SEXY ANNA TOPS POLL’, Hartley (1982: 30) points out that it conveys two myths. First is the showbiz myth of glamour and celebrity since Anna is ‘known for being well known’, and ‘celebrities’ are newsworthy by definition. Secondly, it also conveys the myth of female sexuality — a woman is defined by her body, that is, through attractiveness to men. This reinforces a common belief that women are objects being viewed by men. Hartley also argues that language is important in conveying these myths since ‘myths are a product of the active generative process of language, formed and reformed according to the relations between social groups and forces’ (ibid: 29).

Keywords

Compound Word Source Domain Sexual Appeal Metaphorical Expression Entertainment Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Chong Han 2014

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