Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising

Posted by: indigo

Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 08:36 AM

A recent orange juice commercial on TV says:
"Ahhh, my precious oranges. You, my little ones, are gifted. Never let them tell you any differently, because you are special, destined for greatness. To create the most perfectly delicious orange juice in the world. Apparently, the juice doesn't fall far from the tree..."

This sounds elitist and self-congratulatory and does not portray being "gifted" in a manner which helps build understanding of the gifted community.
Posted by: AAC

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 10:26 AM

Yes, I do think that there are some real issues with people co-opting the word "gifted", which is actually meant to describe (for want of a better word) condition, as a way to say "has gifts". Everyone has gifts. this is not up for debate.

For some reason, everyone having gifts, and using the word gifted as a means of excluding people that are not actually "gifted" is the height of offense.

I think it is silly.

That said. Maybe the best thing is to let the special snowflakes have gifted and adopt a different word to describe those who are gifted. Maybe something that doesn't sound so complimentary, as the reality of raising a gifted kid means that we have also been able to name each and every one of our gray hairs.
Posted by: NotherBen

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 11:59 AM

And then there was this episode of Leave it to Beaver. They don't use the word "gifted". And they place all their determination on a single test score.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucf8QQ9OMlE
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 02:13 PM

Excellent "Leave It To Beaver" episode! Thanks for sharing. smile In half an hour, it sums up many aspects of the dilemma of being gifted, from the child's, friends', parents', and school's perspectives.

On the other hand, it is not an overly optimistic or positive message about society's acceptance and support of high intelligence.

Evidently "Part Time Genius" was Season 1, Episode 14 of "Leave It To Beaver", and originally aired in January 1958; It is both sad and disappointing to see how little has changed in nearly 50 years, with regard to the gifted.

In this episode we see:
- Parental braggadocio (Willis 'Corny' Cornelius)
- Parent feeling his ego has been trounced, after listening to another parent expound upon his own child's academic/intellectual achievements (Ward)
- Parent being self-congratulatory, recounting former glory days, taking children's academic grades and possible high intelligence as a positive self-reflection (Ward)
- Kids understanding that an intelligence test is not something to study for (Wally)
- Parents wanting to prep children for intelligence test (Ward)
- School declaring they are not prepared to teach an exceptional child (Principal Rayburn)
- Child experiencing the pain of negative social stigma from being regarded as smartest in the class (Beaver, Charlie)
- Parents being relieved to learn their child is not the one who received the highest mark in the school, deciding to accept each child as an individual with strengths and weaknesses (Ward)

This reminds me of today's quote: "Comparison is the thief of joy."

(BTW, I did notice the word "gifted"... just once... spoken by the school headmaster at about 17:28, about halfway through the 30-minute episode.)
Posted by: NotherBen

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 03:04 PM

Indigo, in nearly 60 years lol!
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/13/16 05:31 PM

Thank you! smile

typo -or- math error???
you be the judge
Posted by: Edward

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 10/22/16 08:46 AM

Originally Posted By: indigo
A recent orange juice commercial on TV says:
"Ahhh, my precious oranges. You, my little ones, are gifted. Never let them tell you any differently, because you are special, destined for greatness. To create the most perfectly delicious orange juice in the world. Apparently, the juice doesn't fall far from the tree..."

This sounds elitist and self-congratulatory and does not portray being "gifted" in a manner which helps build understanding of the gifted community.


Agreeing with you on this, its almost like a cover. Shifting gifted to none human objects. So what someone mentions gifted, the next person thinks oranges.


However, if I may, I do agree with this part: "Never let them tell you any differently" To which, no person should be taught to think less than they are capable of.

Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 11/06/16 10:56 AM

The most recent version of this TV spot has been edited, removing the reference to being "gifted".

Before: "Ahhh, my precious oranges. You, my little ones, are gifted. Never let them tell you any differently, because you are special, destined for greatness. To create the most perfectly delicious orange juice in the world. Apparently, the juice doesn't fall far from the tree..."

After: "My precious oranges, destined for greatness, to create the most perfectly delicious orange juice in the world. Apparently, the juice doesn't fall far from the tree..." smile
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 06/13/18 07:29 PM

The character Brick Heck in the TV series The Middle (2009-2018) is gifted and twice exceptional (2e). He exhibits a tic called palilalia.

Brick is described as
Originally Posted By: The Middle (Wikipedia entry)
an intelligent but introverted compulsive reader with odd behavioral traits loosely hinted to derive from Asperger syndrome.
Posted by: Ben's Mom

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 06/16/18 07:01 AM

We just told our 7-year old that he is gifted. When I asked if he knew what that meant, he said 'smart'. I asked if he understood that being gifted simply means his brain thinks a little differently than everyone else his age. And I told him that it doesn't mean he's better than everyone else. He looked at me and said 'yeah mom. I know. But it doesn't make me worse than everyone else either.'
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 02/02/19 08:55 AM

I recently overheard a brief snippet of a trailer for an upcoming movie, words to the effect:
- Your son's intelligence is off the charts.
- He is special.
- He is having problems making friends.

My ears perked up, thinking of the movie Gifted from two years ago, and of a few documentaries on various experiences of the intellectually gifted.

The upcoming movie is called "The Prodigy." While that may sound promising, unfortunately it is a horror movie about demonic possession.

I was instantly disappointed. Not only let down by the movie's premise, but also disappointed that we live in a society which allows or welcomes extreme intellectual gifts to be cast in a negative light. I could not imagine any other minority/diversity being targeted for this treatment in the 21st century: explaining their difference as being sourced from, related to, or co-existing with, demonic possession.

I am intentionally not placing a link to the movie trailer in this post. I guess I would suggest boycotting the movie.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 04/16/21 03:16 AM

There is a TV series called The Chosen, which provides a bit of cultural context and background to the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth (central to the New Testament of the Bible). Producer Dallas Jenkins attempts to illustrate the diverse circumstances and characteristics of the twelve students, followers, or apostles. I mention this because one of the twelve, Matthew, is depicted as intellectually gifted and on the Autism spectrum. Twice exceptional, 2e.

As April is Autism Acceptance Month, for those who may be interested, here is a discussion of the portrayal of Matthew:

1- facebook - The Chosen - Paras Patel on playing Matthew (2019)
Originally Posted By: facebook post
When we chose to make tax collector Matthew one of The Chosen’s main characters, two incredibly important decisions were made: one, to portray Matthew as having Asperger’s Syndrome; and two, to cast Paras Patel to play him.

The results have humanized Matthew and drawn audiences to him beyond our expectations.

2- YouTube (4:43), Matthew the tax collector - the complexities of the character
uploaded to the YouTube channel of The Chosen, November 2019
(same as facebook video, above; watch at either source)

3- dove.org - THE CHOSEN’S DALLAS JENKINS: GET USED TO DIFFERENT
Originally Posted By: article
The tax collector-turned-disciple Matthew has emerged as the character Jenkins has seen audiences find most engaging, and one that he has personal investment in. The character in The Chosen has been written as being on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, a disorder that makes interaction and nonverbal communication more difficult. Jenkins himself is on the spectrum, and has spent years studying the brain, psychology, and behavioral issues to better understand the issues and become a better leader.

While Jenkins sees that in his own life, and in members of his family like his daughter, the show’s portrayal of Matthew allows audiences to see how the spectrum can be a detriment and a strength. Building on Jenkins’ own efforts in the special needs community, Matthew allows audiences to consider those on the autism spectrum in a new way.

4- academic.logos.com - Exclusive interview with The Chosen producers
Originally Posted By: article
Matthew’s autism
This was Dallas’ idea. He has a close personal and familial history with the autism spectrum and has studied it extensively. He noticed that Matthew’s gospel is more detail-oriented than the others, almost to the point of fastidiousness. And it was important to all of us that we show that people with differences — or possessing what society perceives as weaknesses — are exactly the kind of people Jesus would surround himself with.

5-cinemainfocus.com review
Originally Posted By: review
... in an unusual decision that works well both biblically and cinematically, Matthew the tax-collector (Paras Patel) is portrayed as man on the autism spectrum with compulsive tendencies, including carrying a notebook and writing down what Jesus says.

6- YouTube (9:18), This girl's struggles led her to a beautiful Chosen moment
uploaded to the YouTube channel of The Chosen, February 2020
Originally Posted By: YouTube video description
Last year we got a handwritten letter from a teenager with Asperger's. She expressed her deep connection to The Chosen as well as her love for music. What happened next impacted all of us.
Click to reveal..
Kaelyn Reese plays the cello beautifully, for a scene of The Chosen.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 01/08/22 10:17 AM

Adrian Monk, the main character of the award-winning, vintage comedic detective series Monk (2002-2009), is depicted as intellectually gifted, being highly observant and making multiple connections among the many items he observes and the tiny details he recalls. He may also be described as 2e, suffering stress-related OCD.

Monk's assistant, Sharona, provides consistent understanding, support, and behavioral guidance to keep him on track.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 01/08/22 08:42 PM

Originally Posted By: indigo
Adrian Monk, the main character of the award-winning, vintage comedic detective series Monk (2002-2009), is depicted as intellectually gifted, being highly observant and making multiple connections among the many items he observes and the tiny details he recalls. He may also be described as 2e, suffering stress-related OCD.

Monk's assistant, Sharona, provides consistent understanding, support, and behavioral guidance to keep him on track.


There is a tendency for TV shows to depict intellectually gifted individuals as socially awkward and/or deficient in other areas (Big Bang Theory is a popular example). I suspect that it comes from TV producers’ ideas of equity. In real life, I’ve observed intellectually gifted individuals struggle with the majority because the latter fail to grasp, and therefore appreciate, the positives of novel and/or unconventional ideas, so the depicted social dynamics ring true, but for different underlying reasons.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 01/12/22 01:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
There is a tendency for TV shows to depict intellectually gifted individuals as socially awkward and/or deficient in other areas (Big Bang Theory is a popular example). I suspect that it comes from TV producers’ ideas of equity.
I wholeheartedly agree. I will call this an example of "othering" gifted individuals. A few more TV series come to mind:
1) Doogie Howser, MD (1989-1993)
. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doogie_Howser,_M.D.
2) Touch (2012-2013)
. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_(American_TV_series)
3) Signed, Sealed, Delivered (2014)
. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signed,_Sealed,_Delivered_(TV_series)
4) The Good Doctor (2017-2021)
. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Doctor_(TV_series)

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
In real life, I’ve observed intellectually gifted individuals struggle with the majority because the latter fail to grasp, and therefore appreciate, the positives of novel and/or unconventional ideas, so the depicted social dynamics ring true, but for different underlying reasons.
Well said, and excellent observation. Did you know... several years after SENG was founded, the focus appeared to change from explaining/presenting giftedness and gifted individuals to the world at large in a positive light and thereby encouraging the world at large to support the emotional needs of the gifted (for validation, affirmation, appropriate academic placement/pacing, inclusion with intellectual peers)... to focusing on how the minority (intellectually gifted individuals) must adapt to the expectations of the majority culture (aka average intelligence). Essentially a change from educating the world's perception of gifted individuals and encouraging acceptance and appreciation of diverse intellectual strengths to fixing the gifted individuals.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Portrayal of gifted in mass media and advertising - 01/12/22 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: indigo
Did you know... several years after SENG was founded, the focus appeared to change from explaining/presenting giftedness and gifted individuals to the world at large in a positive light and thereby encouraging the world at large to support the emotional needs of the gifted (for validation, affirmation, appropriate academic placement/pacing, inclusion with intellectual peers)... to focusing on how the minority (intellectually gifted individuals) must adapt to the expectations of the majority culture (aka average intelligence). Essentially a change from educating the world's perception of gifted individuals and encouraging acceptance and appreciation of diverse intellectual strengths to fixing the gifted individuals.


I must admit that the little I know of SENG is from posts in this forum, but I’ve noticed a similar change in gifted advocacy over here. There is great emphasis on the risks that gifted kids will underachieve if they aren’t provided with suitable support, painting scenarios of boredom, failures and dropouts. Whilst there’s a strong academic body of unquestionable evidence backing this, which is widely cited (I’ve recently read about the ‘six types of gifted kids’), dare I suggest that the gifted advocacy movement overall has tended to play to the popular stances of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and ‘the squeaky wheel gets the most attention’ and like other groups, started to expeditiously play the ‘victim’ card (which is probably understandable given the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ resistance they would likely meet if they took a different approach and the fact that funding policy is often on an ‘as needs’ basis and giftedness by itself is not generally considered a state of need) which over time has promoted more negative perceptions of giftedness than there should be.

Wrt the other TV programs you’ve listed, I think it’s also worth commenting that age/precocity (as depicted in Doogie Houser and in Young Seldon) is a separate factor which can have interesting bearing on individual circumstances. On the one hand, a cohort might resent a much younger, precocious student, but it provides a convenient opportunity to explain away any social friction as due to the lack of social maturity on the part of the precocious individual (likely real due to the wide age difference).