Reading SoundsClosed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture

Reading SoundsClosed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture

Sean Zdenek

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226312644

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Situated at the intersection of a number of competing discourses and perspectives, closed captioning offers a key location for exploring the rhetoric of disability in the age of digital media. Reading Sounds offers the first extended study of closed captioning from a humanistic perspective. Instead of treating closed captioning as a legal requirement, a technical problem, or a matter of simple transcription, this book considers how captioning can be a potent source of meaning in rhetorical analysis. Reading Sounds positions closed captioning as a significant variable in multimodal analysis, questions narrow definitions that reduce captioning to the mere “display” of text on the screen, broadens current treatments of quality captioning, and explores captioning as a complex rhetorical and interpretative practice. This book argues that captioners not only select which sounds are significant, and hence which sounds are worthy of being captioned, but also rhetorically invent words for sounds. Drawing on a number of examples from a range of popular movies and television shows, Reading Sounds develops a rhetorical sensitivity to the interactions among sounds, captions, contexts, constraints, writers, and readers.