Thoughts on Television

Let's use this part of the Cultural Production Wiki to share commentaries on television shows, TV advertisements, or television happenings (including current news coverage) of interest.

Discovery Channel has just launched a show entitled "Last One Standing" where athletic young men from "Westernized" countries (Ireland, United States, Australia) travel around the world to participate in "authentic" cultural practices of fighting and competition and live with "remote" indigenous peoples. The second episode aired has special significance for my regional research interests in southeast Africa. The men travel to the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa to engage in "Zulu stick fighting" or ukungcweka. I would argue there are many intriguing yet problematic representations in the show, involving cultural identity, gender and masculinity, race, and violence. In addition, the translation of isiZulu is quite tragic. Nevertheless, this is a really great case study for investigating mass media representations and ethnographic film.

Casey Golomski