Analyze This 6

Connect 18th century media to 21st century media…

Media in the 18th century was categorized by political speech. Particularly in 18th century France, political “gossip” was the order of the day, and citizens didn’t get it from newspapers. Instead, they heard most of their news from street songs that were updated and created as new events took place. Parisian street singers sang their songs to instruments like fiddles. I guess musicals such as Les Miserables (not 18th century, but still relevant) weren’t so far off in their depiction of France and how music could literally bring down a regime (as illustrated by the song that brought down the Maurepas ministry: “Par vos façons nobles et franches”). Politics were heavily integrated with music, almost like a cabaret. “The subject of the songs ranged from military operations to sex scandals and political schemes. One tune celebrated a French battle victory in the War of Austrian Secession; another lamented the taxes imposed after the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Mme de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, was an especially popular subject in many of the satirical songs.” – Emily Simon

Media in the 21st century is categorized by new media integration. Various platforms are available in an almost endless capacity to help people learn about different things and to do different things. In my opinion, it is all about personalization. Our Twitter pages can be personalized with a background photo of us, our blogs can be about anything we like–cooking, horseback riding, comic books, for example. It’s heavily focused on creation and personalized content with sites like Polyvore, where you can create fashion trends in a community of sorts. This is something I am interested in, and I’m sure there’s some “community” to meet every need online.

Information is also more readily available and accessible than ever before. Google has revolutionized the way we think, research and obtain virtually every type of information, ranging from how to prepare a cornish hen to how to properly tie a tie.

I think it’s interesting to note that we still have an affinity for songs about politics and change, as evidenced by the popularity of Les Miserables just recently. We don’t have musicians standing on the corner singing, but gossip is still very important to us today– sites like TMZ and celebrity magazines are very popular. Thus, these two media forms are connected by the fact that scandal is still heavily a part of our society. Celebrity culture is arguably more important than ever and the new media forms I’ve mentioned can be faster ways to disseminate this information on a large public scale. We are still very concerned with political scandals such as when politicians cheat on their wives or are unethical, so that is a definite similarity to 18th century media.


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