Encoding Decoding Summary

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In his essay Encoding, Decoding, Stuart Hall discusses a model of how messages from the media are made and received. He states that people interpret or decode messages encoded by the media in various ways as everyone comes from a different background. However, unlike Jean Baudrillard, Hall takes the position of respecting receivers of messages. Hall wants receivers to realize that all forms of seeing are to be suspected in society and to be weary of certain culturally constructed codes. Although Hall argues that most people are not aware of culturally constructed codes because of how engrained they are in society, comedians seem to be quite aware of such constructs. An example of this is young and established comedian Bo Burnham who parodies…show more content…
The song is made to sound exactly like a pop song currently on the radio while the lyrics and Burnham’s actions are clearly mocking pop culture. Also, hidden messages are implanted in the video visually and auditorily to emphasize Burnham’s points which also echo Hall’s essay. One such hidden image is a satanic symbol that is on fire as Burnham imitates a pop singer in the background. By parodying pop culture, Burnham has already done what Hall suggests as he says “we must not be fooled by appearances” (Hall 481). Burnham is giving the audience the appearance of conforming to popular culture when he is actually mocking pop culture. Then, through his parody, Burnham is able to create and send out his own encoded…show more content…
In the beginning of his parody video, Burnham briefly states what he thinks is wrong with hip hop music today and then goes on to say “I figure if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” This shows that in order to powerfully decode the media’s messages, comedians have to assimilate to modern culture and its constructed codes and then detach from it again with a newly reformed message for society that might in some way alter or intercept the audience’s perception of the media and its constructs. Bo Burnham sets up the constructs present in popular hip hop songs and reforms the audience’s ideas of those constructs by encoding them in a way the audience can easily understand that he is mocking

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