IN 1982 IRA GLASS, the future creator and host of the public radio program "This American Life," graduated from Brown University with a degree in semiotics. In response, his parents took out a classified ad in their local newspaper: "Corporate office seeks semiotics grad for high paying position." Glass was not discouraged. "My religion was semiotics," he recalled in a recent interview. "Before semiotics I was, like, a middle-class kid who didn't know what he believed. . .. Semiotics, basically, was exactly the way I defined myself."
Shout the word semiotics across a room today, and the room will very likely shout back at you, "What do you mean, semiotics?" It is a good question and at the same time, according to semiotics, a uselessly subjective question, for semiotics is the study of meaning itself - or rather how images and words (like semiotics, for example) come to mean anything at all.
By 1974 [Robert Scholes] had enough momentum to found a semiotics program. Ironically, he chose the word "semiotics" because of its lack of meaning. "It didn't have a lot of baggage," Scholes recalls. "It was almost a blank signifier." He and [Michael Silverman] chose an equally oblique title for the first semiotics film course, "Semiotics 66: Introduction to Cinematic Coding and Narrativity." "We wanted a forbidding title so that it wouldn't be seen as Saturday night at the movies," says Scholes. All papers were to be written on one page, with no margins of any kind, and graded on a scale of 1 to 9.
Search | Saved Search | Login | Tips | FAQ | Pricing | Account | Help | About | Terms