Ideal Public Sphere

By: Bradley Sawyer

This week I was looking forward to learning more about popular sitcoms from the 1980s. I actually watched The Cosby Show and Roseanne a bit growing up. Out of the shows we encountered this week, I spent the least amount of time watching Cheers. With that being said, I enjoyed this show the most. More importantly, the idea of the public sphere was interesting and I really connected with how it was represented in Cheers. While Cheers (the bar) had its strengths and weaknesses, I think it had a lot to say about this concept of the public sphere. The show did a great job depicting a place where all are welcome to join in the conversation. Before reading the chapter on Cheers, I never gave much thought to the ideal public sphere. After reading the chapter and watching the episode, I can see myself watching more of this show. Ultimately, the ideal public sphere is a space for discussion where individuals can talk about issues openly and hopefully the conversation will lead to acceptance regarding the topic of discussion.

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2 Responses to Ideal Public Sphere

  1. marymdalton says:

    I would like to think that our classroom discussions (the blog with emerging conversation threads and the synchronous sessions) are places for open discourse. Unfortunately, as noted in the reading and interview, there are limitations here (like in the series and the European salons) in terms of diversity of participants!

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I definitely agree with your point about the benefits of having an ideal public sphere, and I couldn’t help but think that it must not have been a coincidence that this show came out in the 80s, a time where political change was still in the process of happening as it had begun in the late 60s. Perhaps the best place to discuss politics and controversial subjects is in a sort of public sphere with many people who have a variety of opinions to engage in the discussion, and that is why a public sphere area was so desirable.

    – Jake Moross

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