Audience Theory for American history X
In American History X there are different theories that understand the audience reactions towards the film. One of the theories of how an audience responds to the film is Active and Passive Consumers. An active audience would be able to read and interpret media whilst a Passive audience just accepts what the text contains/dominant ideology. An example of an Active audience is the uses and gratifications theory. This gives the audience more power and they will use the film to gain certain gratifications such as interaction, entertainment, information and so forth… In other words the audience will analyse the film instead of just being injected with the products basic story line. If we use this theorem in the curb stomp scene, each people will have different opinions, such as the sense of “what the..?” Because Derek could have just shot the victim and they would think if Derek actually had any bullets left and why was he insisting on being brootal and witty about it (he is happy with the outcome until the police cuff him) because we want to know the full story we make add different pieces into our head like a puzzle. Another opinion would be interacting with the character such as shouting at the screen to stop Derek or to sit there and laugh. This theory can be based on Negotiated readings with different races such as an old African American to an old white American, showing opposite feelings and views towards the scene because they interpret the meaning affected by their individual cultural background and life experience. Symbolism and reception studies tie a knot when the film was released. Only the people who would understand the history and events involved with the Nazi’s could interpret the film further and then would understand the film more, but for the audience who wouldn’t know the information would have just seen the poster and just looked at a skin head man holding his chest with a tattoo on himself (wouldn’t have been obvious and only a hidden message within the text itself to extract a meaning from it). Another example of this is most of the audience won’t probably realise that they need to pay attention to the ending as there is a speech on racial acceptance. This shows we don’t respond in the same way. We can use these examples to describe how children should be protected from exposure to violent and explicit material incase they are influenced by the film. They would be passive because they wouldn’t be able to decide between right and wrong and therefore react to the text and act out its content due to the fact that the film is an 18. Children would also be active because they will choose to watch the film under parental guidance. A lot of underage people do this because it’s sorta like Chinese whispers, so you seem to follow the crowd from the information told (whether it’s real or not) and end up watching the film to see what it’s really like. An active audience is the most predictable and easily noticed because of cultural competence and participatory reading; this means that because we can communicate and interact easier in this modern age, we are more likely to be involved with the text. For example using the internet means we are more able to understand other cultures.
An example of a passive audience theorem is the Hypodermic needle theory, meaning that the audience consumes the film without questions with a mostly dominant reading. So the Director “Tony Kaye” encoded the film with an intended message that will directly be received and fully accepted by the audience. The message he gave was the use of Violence. So he would want you to be affected in a way that your shocked, constantly disturbed, leave you completely numb and uncomfortable. He would also want you to have the immediate action of putting your hand over your mouth or eyes. So if we break down the Curb stomp scene we will realise that it is one of those images you cannot get out of your head. Literally scars you.
Fan culture can describe any effect of the media. The audience can clearly stereotype and represent Derek’s character as a Nazi white supremacist. There is bound to be a very (and by that I mean tiny) part of the audience who have been introduced to white power that will feel to have white pride. They could also copy the film by listening to thrash metal and wanting to cause offence and trouble.”I like to rid the earth of its impurities ad play chess (in which I always choose white and I always win)”. The uses and gratifications can explain why the target audience would be based in America. Americans seemed to have held a high majority of believes and enforced ideas before the film was made and you can now see an entire difference with America combining race or they would have never wanted a black president.