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‘New’ politics

22 August 2012 By Megan Flannery, Arts and Life Editor No Comments
Professor introduces course to fuse political topics with popular culture, including Stephen Colbert, Daily Show

Cheers, screeches, and chants of “Obama” echoed through Paws election night 2008 after Barack Obama was named the 44th President of the United States.

This was the year that young people across the country really became involved with politics, Amy Becker, assistant mass communication professor, said. And with that interest came the collision of politics and pop culture.

The way in which young people are absorb their news is entirely different than their parents, Becker said. Unlike traditional news sources like CNN, which provide straight, hard news. Today’s generation prefers news with a satirical twist.

Freshman Cydney Humphrey said that she prefers satirical news because it makes politics more relatable and interesting to the college student.

“I watch SNL,” Humphrey said. “I don’t like news sources like CNN because it doesn’t focus too much on pop culture. [They focus] way too much on politics and no oneseriously cares about politics that much in college.”

This fall, Becker will teach a freshman seminar course, TSEM 102-070, entitled “Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity, and Democracy.”

The course will explore the collision between politics and popular culture, specifically focusing on this year’s election, Becker said.

“I’ve left room [in the syllabus] for when new things pop up,” Becker said. “Things air, different candidates go on different programs—we’re going to be able to take a look at it. And I’m going to ask students to bring in their favorite political comedy moment of the campaign season to share in class.”

Becker said she gathered research about television shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which pose as introductory means to a political topic.

If a viewer finds that topic interesting, they will likely follow up on the topic through a more traditional news source, like CNN.

“I watch SNL, but I watch The Today Show mostly for news and Fox for political stuff since I’m not that liberal,” freshman Hannah Hines said. “But I do follow politics since I’m 18 and can vote, I’d like to know who will be running my country for the next four years.”

Freshman Cailtin Scappi said that it is all about being an educated voter, whether you get your news from Colbert or CNN.

“As a voting citizen it’s important to know some stuff about politics,” Scappi said. “Even if both candidates suck.”

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