My purpose: to write an analytical paper about a text and walk you through my process.
My text: The music video “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. (I’m using “text” loosely–I’m including visual media, such as a music video).
Step One: I watch/read the text and take notes of anything I observe or notice.
Here’s what I notice as I watch “Same Love”:
- Birth in hospital.
- Baby’s feet.
- Boy scouts, climbing trees, lemonade, grass, football, church, spin the bottle, dance with disco ball.
- When protagonist grows up, he’s a business man,
- US Flag flashes to gay pride flag.
- protagonist is in a very all-American household: suburban, family-around-the-table.
- protagonist plays football–again “all American’
- flashes to civil rights footage
- Romance is very PC and romantic: holding hands while jumping off a cliff, getting engaged on one knee, church wedding, cake, protagonist dances with his mom.
- Minister is a woman.
- Old men: hand holding again. In same hospital as born. Rings. Married. Solid union.
- “Support Marriage Equality: Approve Ref 74
Step Two: I look up any details or questions I have, and start asking and trying to answer analytical questions.
- What is Macklemore and Lewis’s purpose?
- To make same sex marriage legal in Washington State (purpose is explicitly said at the end of the movie).
- From Wikipedia: Referendum 74(R-74 or Ref 74) was a Washington state referendum to approve or reject the February 2012 bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
- “Who is the author speaking to?’
- Author doesn’t speak to those who are already pushing for gay rights (eg. liberal, counter culture people), he’s speaking to those on the fence, who are unsure, who, perhaps, don’t relate to flamboyant portrayals like those at pride parades, who are, perhaps, a bit more conservative. How do I know? All the all-American symbols Macklemore uses. Church, white picket fence, boy scouts, PC symbols of love
Step Three: I watch the video again, this time with an eye towards my questions and burgeoning thesis.
Step Four: start formulating thesis ideas.
Macklemore and Lewis’s “Same Love’ music video has an explicit purpose: to convince those watching the video to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Macklemore and Lewis don’t speak to the choir–those already in favor of gay rights–instead, they try to reach a more conservative group, using All-American symbols and imagery to portray the normalcy of being gay.
Step Five: make an outline.
Thesis: see above.
- Protagonist’s All-American youth: suburban house, spin the bottle, football, high school dance. Even the boyfriend moments follow mainstream: holding hands, the proposal, the church wedding. This is not the pride-parade celebration of queerness. This is radical only in one way: sexual orientation.
- Small changes that show other ways we’ve made progress: family isn’t white, head of church is a woman.
- Holding hands, Hospital. These portray reason gay couples want rights: it’s not “shoving gayness in others’ faces,’ or taking family values, it’s about small moments such as being able to be together in hospitals.
Step Six: Research. Find scholarship by going to google scholar and the UAF library database. Find alternative perspectives.
Trying different words in the search engine is important. I know there are probably no articles on this video, so I try finding evidence based on other parts of my essay.
- I tried searching “Conservative Voters” and found this article. I read the abstract to get a sense of whether it would be helpful, decided to save it to read later.
- I tried searching “voting and symbols” and found nothing.
- I tried searching “symbols and advertising” and found this article. Which is a bit dense, but I save it because it has a “background reading” section that looks worthwhile.
Step Seven: Start Writing
Step Eight: Revise*
Step Nine: Rewrite*
Step Ten: Revise*
*These are just as important as the original writing process!