Monday, December 2, 2013

No text is insignificant

Dr. A told us something during our last class at her house that really stuck out to me. Her daughter, who recently completed her thesis for her Master’s degree, dedicated it to Dr. A and wrote, “to my mother who taught me that no text is insignificant.” I think this quote sums up almost everything I learned and will take away from this course. Even telenovelas, a genre that many people ignore due to its negative stereotype, have something important to say about a culture and a society. Dr. A said she never even remembers telling this piece of advice to her daughter, but clearly her hard work and dedication to the research of telenovelas is a clear representation of this idea.
The work of Leonardo Padrón, the writer who Dr. A has studied for many years, is a perfect representation of the importance of telenovelas as a genre. With their huge popularity in Latin America, telenovelas have the unique ability to reach many people all over the world. It is for this reason that the genre is very important and deserves to be respected and researched. Leonardo Padrón has tackled many controversial topics, challenging the people of Venezuela to open their eyes to new ideas. He has used telenovelas to discuss Asperger’s Syndrome, the world’s obsession with beauty, political problems in Venezuela, cancer, and many other important topics. His telenovelas have challenged and educated people all over the world, while also inspiring hope, and just because his medium of choice is telenovelas, does not make his work any less credible. In some ways, his work just has the unique ability to touch the lives of far more people than he would be able to reach using another medium.
Before taking this class, I believed the stereotype. I did not think telenovelas had anything important to say. I really had not thought much about the genre at all. But because of this class, and the amazing work of Leonardo Padrón, my eyes have been opened to the many important roles telenovelas can play in a society. And in the case of Venezuela, the work of Padrón serves as a symbol of hope to the Venezuelan people.
Like she taught her daughter, Dr. A has also taught me that no text is insignificant, even a telenovela. I am extremely grateful I had to the opportunity to take this course, and I learned far more than I ever expected.  


  1. When Dr. A told us that no text is insignificant during our last class at her house, it really stuck to me too. I completely agree with everything you had to say, and I am so happy I took this class. I think our class as a whole learned far more about Latin American culture and society than we were expecting at the beginning of the semester. Who knew there was so much to learn about culture and society from the telenovelas genre?

    Without even realizing it, Dr. A has been able to teach not only her daughter this lesson, but all of us as well. I think this little life lesson is something I will always carry with me. No matter where the text comes from, or if it has any kind stereotype tied to it (like telenovelas) we can always learn from it. Thank you for pointing this out Maggie, and thank you Dr. A!

  2. I literally did my last blog post on this same principle. I don't think I'll ever forget hearing "No text is insignificant." It's really incredible to me what you can learn through media (any media, not just telenovelas) when you take the time to examine something on a deeper level than just its entertainment value. I totally agree with Manuela when she says she'll carry this with her, and I think it'll definitely help me to look past stereotypes in the future, too. Never expected such a transformation in my thinking, but it's been a really cool journey for sure.

  3. I couldn't agree more. I have never really thought about the forms of entertainment being considered a "text". But after Dr. A compared telenovelas to a text, it really made me think. I feel like all types of entertainment have a some reasoning behind their making. Whether or not we may ever find out, it is extremely important to never underestimate any "text". I feel like every individual should be made aware of what is categorized under the meaning "text". It truly is eye opening the amount of research and underlying meanings that Dr. A has showcased through telenovelas. It honestly astounds me as well, from reading her Venezuela's Telenovela (the english version), how she can write with such a prose that is not even her first language. It says something about how important the subject matter is to her, in the fact that she cares so much as to write such a detailed piece in the English language. Props to you Dr. A- I could never do it. Your use of your second language, English, in that book is outstanding.