February 11, 2010

Caprica, Media, and Crisis Communication

I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan, and I've been intrigued by the spinoff/prequel Caprica. This week's Caprica touched many of my interests beyond the sci fi philosophy that I like (one character asked another this week "Can you be free if you’re not real?") and the soap opera that I find addictive.

The first episode of Caprica included a massive terrorist bombing, and one of the terrorists may or may not be one of the main characters (who died in the bombing, but whose avatar lives on). The character's father, Daniel Graystone, is a corporate mogul (think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs). The episode features a lot of media reaction to the bombing and the daughter's possible involvement: many stories have appeared in the daily newspaper, the Caprican (which has its own page on the syfy web site), and a Jay Leno-like commentator spoke derisively about the characters' involvement in the bombing.

The media outcry turned so hostile that the company's stock began to tumble, and Graystone's assistant suggested some public relations assistance in the form of a crisis communicator. The side elements of media and communications added to my enjoyment of the show.

If you've watched Caprica, or you're interested in the media aspects, check out the Capricology entries on the ReligionDispatches blog. Some great academic minds are writing weekly posts about various media and religion aspects of Caprica. They include
  • Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California.
  • Salman Hameed, astronomer and Assistant Professor of Integrated Science & Humanities at Hampshire College.
  • Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
Their thoughtful Capricology discussions enhance my enjoyment of Caprica, and this week's entry, Capricology: Week 3: Apotheosis, Anyone? cover many of the media aspects I've highlighted here.

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