This Issue on Flow (08 July 2005)

by: Matthew Payne / FLOW Staff

In a less than two months, many of us will (again) face the age-old question: “So … what did you do on your summer break?”

This inquiry may have once been met with tales of a family road trip, a voyage to a summer camp, or simply holing-up in a cool, shady spot for long stretches of time. For the academic neophyte (and perhaps the established scholar), however, this question comes armed with a more ominous undercurrent. The inquiry is many things at once — it is probing, rhetorical, and sometimes, accusatory. As in, “What did I do this summer? What did you do this summer?” But before we lose our tempers and become another victim of the summer heat (and there’s plenty to go around here in central Texas), we should pause to remember that real summer breaks, like the clichΓ© about aging wines, only get better with time.

This call to unapologetically enjoy your summer is not an open invitation to revel in wanton sloth. Fortunately, for those of us unable to save us from ourselves, Flow is here to offer a helping hand. How? You have in front of you the very best the web has to offer in television and new media criticism. In a continuing effort to keep our readership (John Hartley’s “Flowers”) mentally fit for the looming fall semester, I am pleased to present Issue 8, another free and healthy offering in mental calisthenics from your friends at Flow.

In this issue, Mary Beth Haralovich hits the road, and offers us a ringside account of The Contender Finale from Las Vegas, a city that also makes a cameo in the Jennifer Wilbanks “Runaway Bride” news narrative, deconstructed here by Diana Negra. Meanwhile, half a globe away, Mimi White reflects on her TV experiences in Finland, comparing its domestic product to American TV fare. Rhonda Hammer and Douglas Kellner focus their attention on the political significance of academic scandals turned media spectacles, as John Downing explores the representations of a different brand of strife in writer-director Paul Haggis’ film, Crash (2004). And rounding out the issue, Megan Mullen investigates the ideological makeup of the programming on AmericanLife TV, while Thomas Streeter questions commonly held notions of commercialism, and how it is positioned to serve political ends.

We encourage all readers to add to the diversity of our dialogues by posting a comment (or two), and hope that FLOW enriches your summer reading and your summer break.

Please feel free to comment.

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