What media connections could be made to "The Lottery."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One immediate media connection that could be made to Jackson's ideas in "The Lottery" is the presence of cyberbullying.  The way in which social media like Twitter, ask.fm, and facebook have been used to target people could be a modern example of Jackson's premise in "The Lottery."  When postings such as "Everyone wishes you were dead" are part of the social media landscape of cyberbullying, it is clear that Jackson's terror of the community has found a sanctuary "behind the screen."  Cyberbullying targets and uses the virtual community as a form of "piling on" a particular target. This is similar to how the community target Tessie.  The fact that Tessie says "It isn't fair" and"It isn't right" with little in way of support is also representative of how the the victims in both Jackson's story and the cyberbullying landscape find their voices silenced by the tyranny of many.

Another example of a media connection to Jackson's premise of targeting specific individuals can be seen in how gossip websites and gossip media target celebrities for a larger audience.  In many ways, the media landscape generates greater ratings when it targets a particular individual for all to witness.  Reasonable people would dismiss this practice as "tabloid" and "sensationalist."  Yet, the reality is that TMZ and other sites like it as well as magazines such as "Us Weekly" and "People" make millions of dollars from targeting celebrities so that a wider audience can view them in much the same way as Tessie was viewed.  When Tessie is targeted, she has no privacy, no refuge from the spotlight.  In much the same way as Princess Diana sought to flee the paparazzi on that fateful August night in Paris, Tessie finds herself singed by the celebrity spotlight. The media's function on sensationalizing the experiences of celebrities for the "benefit" of a larger audience is another way in which there exists a connection between it and Jackson's "The Lottery."

Interestingly enough, I would suggest that the culture of reality television has become something out of Jackson's short story.  Reality TV is predicated upon one individual or one person becoming fodder for a larger group's entertainment.  Millions of audience members tune in to see if someone could really lose 200 pounds, or whether a mother will betray her daughter on the latest "Survivor" challenge, or regale at the emotional car wrecks on "The Jerry Springer Show.  The construction of Reality TV is predicated upon a type of "lottery" in which an individual is "chosen" to be a target for the appreciation and spectacle of others.  In this way, the media of Reality TV has much in way of connection to "The Lottery."

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