Markup in the Writing Classroom

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      <?xml-model href="../schema_1111.rng" type="application/xml" schematypens=""?><?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="../testing_format.xsl"?><DOC>
      <title>Songs in Children's Shows and How They Can Educate</title>
            <!--deidentified element--></author>
        <p>Much of what has been discussed within this class so far largely concerns rather
                    serious genres. The choice of a song from a children’s show was, then, an
                    attempt to break down something that I assumed would have a bit more levity to
                    it. The genre of songs within the recurring situations of episodes of children’s
                    cartoons and even in the much broader entertainment scene is fairly common. So for this analysis, I chose
                    to look at a song named “Here Comes a Thought” from a currently on-air and
                    rather popular children’s show called Steven Universe. This song, written and
                    composed by Rebecca Sugar, who is also the creator of the show, surprised me in
                    the fact that, despite my initial thoughts, it is rather serious in its purpose.
                    It is clearly meant to further the story, as well as drive character
                    development, much like every other song produced for shows. Yet, it is also
                        <argument type="main">an effort to teach the audience something that can be
                        very helpful to people of all ages, which suggests that overall, as a genre,
                        songs in children's shows have the potential and ability be highly
                        educational- and for more than just learning the alphabet.</argument> That being said, the audience for
                    this particular show isn’t restricted only to children. Rather than strictly
                    focus on the one audience you’d expect a kids’ show to focus on, Steven Universe
                    eagerly welcomes people outside of the traditional audience for kids shows.</p>
        <p>Despite Steven Universe being primarily marketed towards kids, it has a large
                    following of all ages and is well known for exploring important themes, with the
                    creator herself stating in an interview that she’d <q>“really like to talk about
                        identity and individuality, and self love”</q><citation>("‘Steven Universe’
                        Creator Rebecca Sugar Talks LGBT Themes and Season 3.") </citation>. As a
                    result, people of all ages and demographics are invited to partake of the show
                    itself and the messages it provides. However, what’s unusual about this specific
                    show, which extends into some of its other songs, is that it while everyone is
                    invited to watch and take part, it specifically seeks to include LGBTQ children
                    and members of the audience, something that, frankly, could be considered rather
                    revolutionary in the world of children’s television.</p>
      <bodyPara><argument type="supporting">“Here Comes a Thought” attempts to, as its purpose,
                    promote at least the beginnings of self-acceptance and love by exposing the
                    audience to some of the basic principles of mindful meditation.</argument> “Here
                Comes a Thought” plays within a specific episode of Steven Universe titled “Mindful
                Education”. Between this episode’s name and the lyrics of the song, urging the
                listener to “take a moment and find yourself”, the mentor figure of the series,
                Garnet, is seen teaching the technique of mindfulness, also known as mindfulness
                meditation. Mindfulness, according to UC Berkeley, deals with acceptance through
                having <q>“our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather
                    than rehashing the past or imagining the future”</q><citation>("What is
                    Minfulness?" 1)</citation>. This song is designed to show that these techniques
                can help with self-acceptance and forgiveness, which is something that people of all
                ages can have trouble with. Through this, for the first time in the episode, the young girl, Connie
                begins to accept and acknowledge her own emotions concerning her accidental injury
                of another student. The tone of this song is very much that of a mentor trying to
                impart an important lesson, with a repetitive structure reminiscent of
                repeat-after-me lessons. Despite Connie’s initial panic when confronted with what
                she did, with Garnet’s reminder to, once again, <q>“take a moment and ask yourself
                    if this is how we fall apart”</q><citation>("Mindful Education")</citation>, as
                well as her own use of the repeated mantra <q>“but it’s not”</q><citation>("Mindful
                    Education")</citation>, she begins to calm down and accept her own remorse over
                what happened, allowing herself to cry. Only after this strong moment of catharsis
                do the swarming, troubling thoughts blow away, signifying that taking the time to
                calmly examine your own thoughts can allow you to step back from the edge of panic
                and stop yourself from overreacting. This segment visually draws people in and, for
                older members of the audience perhaps, asks them to revisit their own similar
                experiences and reconsider how they handled it. As a very public piece of media,
                there is no surefire way of determining the kinds of uptakes different members of
                the audience will make.</bodyPara>
      <bodyPara> Even the visual storytelling on screen for the duration of this song suggests
                to the audience that the principles of mindfulness meditation aid in self-acceptance
                and love.<argument type="supporting"> As "Here Comes a Thought" fits in the genre of
                    a song in a children's show, many members of the audience likely expect that any
                    message it attempts to send will be positive. The visual choreography, in
                    conjunction with the words of the song itself, builds on top of this preexisting
                    supposition in order to further promote the aforementioned ideas of
                    mindfulness.</argument> Through the first half of the song, Ruby and Sapphire,
                two charcters who physically and mentally
                combine to form the mentor, Garnet, are shown struggling with their own troubled
                thoughts and emotions. While those problems remain vague and aren’t displayed, it
                lends credibility in the eyes of the audience to the practice of mindfulness by
                demonstrating that it is something that a cherished and respected authority figure
                also uses. By clearly showing that these characters have managed to find greater
                peace with themselves and their past actions through mindfulness meditation, the
                episode very openly seems to attempt to suggest that it is something that the
                audience sitting at home could try, even without blatantly naming the technique. By
                demonstrating the methodology of mindfulness meditation and displaying it in a very
                positive light, the show attempts to at least create an uptake
                involving a positive reaction to the technique and its principles, in the hopes that
                doing so may aid audience members.</bodyPara>
        <p>Although I initially made the assumption that songs from kid’s shows would mostly
                    be lighthearted and educational, this particular song, in addition to a few of
                    the others from the same show demonstrate that the two don’t necessarily go hand
                    in hand. Additionally, this specific show at least, defied another of my
                    expectations by expanding its audience beyond the realm of just children, and
                    specifically making a point to include LGBTQ themes. Intended uptakes are also
                    aimed at the extended audience, not just the core audience that the show, Steven
                    Universe, is marketed to, kids, which seems to be quite unusual for the
                        genre. However,
                    given that I don’t watch that many kid’s shows and listen to songs within them,
                    it is rather difficult for me to say whether this is the norm or not within the
                    scene itself.</p>
      <title>Works Cited</title>
        <bibl>Estelle, and AJ Michalka. By Rebecca Sugar. Perf. Jeff Ball. Here Comes A
                    Thought. 2016. MIDI. </bibl>
        <bibl>Fuster, Jeremy. "‘Steven Universe’ Creator Rebecca Sugar Talks LGBT Themes and
                    Season 3." <style type="italics">TheWrap.</style> N.p., 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 5
                    Oct. 2016.
        <bibl>"What Is Mindfulness?" <style type="italics">Greater Good.</style> Ed. Leah
                    Weiss and Steve Hickman. University of California, Berkeley, n.d. Web. 5 Oct.
                    2016. </bibl>


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