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The Money ShotTrash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows$
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Laura Grindstaff

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226309095

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226309088.001.0001

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Trash, Class, and Cultural Hierarchy

Trash, Class, and Cultural Hierarchy

(p.243) Chapter Eight Trash, Class, and Cultural Hierarchy
The Money Shot
University of Chicago Press

There are serious problems with talk shows: They give ordinary people a voice, but only a certain kind of voice, only under certain conditions, and only according to certain rules. In Foucauldian terms, they extend the visibility of marginalized groups, but the nature of this visibility simultaneously creates fresh opportunities for marginalization. At the same time, the critical condemnation of the genre as trashy and debased is not any less classifying than the genre's initial stereotypical association of emotional and physical expressiveness with ordinary people. However much a matter of consensus, this condemnation further contributes to the marginalization of guests when it confuses middle-class notions of civility with morality and when it takes for granted a set of cultural codes in which divisions of taste mask and reinforce divisions of class. There are serious problems with talk shows, but there are serious problems with the “respectable” media, too, and even more serious problems with society at large.

Keywords:   talk shows, ordinary people, marginalization, middle-class notions, cultural codes, media

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