This forum exchange demonstrates the many facets of the
poster’s critical involvement with the telenovela. While some
of the messages question the exaggeration of the use of belly dancing
and recital of the Koran, others believe that this might be a little
bit exaggerated but justifiable in the name of the fantasy. The
posters also refer to their own experience and knowledge to make
their points. “I don't know about the Muslin people, but that
was a little too much for me. Pregnant woman don't dance all the
time, not even a few time” in this message, the writer relates
to what she knows and understands about pregnancy and thinks that
the dancing does not correspond to reality, or her understanding
of it. The messages also comment on the many maids that helped with
the housework, leaving Latiffa free to dance and seduce her husband,
which is certainly a reality strange to many. This behavior is justified
by some of the messages as a product of her wealth, “Latifah
is wealthy so I am not surprise she does nothing at home with some
many maids who would?” The message also exhibits referential
involvement with this comment; the poster places herself in Latiffa’s
position and somehow justifies her behavior.
Divergence is also noticed among the opinions of Muslims regarding
the subject. While one post says that in the Muslim household the
pregnant women are pampered, she agrees that maybe Latiffa’s
dance was a little bit too much. On the other hand, she forgives
the poetic freedom of the telenovela’s writer in portraying
her culture “and it’s only a novela”. The opposing
view of this comment comes from a Muslim who states that too much
belly dancing is “haram.” This poster also disagrees
with the representation of Tio Ali, who has the responsibility throughout
the novela to translate and enlighten the viewers with the recitals
of the Koran. Apparently in his household there is too much dancing
and partying, which according to the message is also “haram.”
The messages show that the writers are able to be critically involved
with the novela, sometimes disagreeing with the telenovela author’s
choice of portrayal of the Muslim culture, other times giving her
permission to write a melodrama full of fantasies and quasi representations
Some messages also contest the behavior of the novela’s characters
and suggest different narratives for the story, exhibiting the parasocial
sub-dimension critical involvement. The following post exemplifies
STUPID DECISIONS BY ALL THREE!
Lucas: Lucas was not the alpha male like Diogo was, so it is almost
expected for him to mess up 99% of the time. When he dumped Jade
the first time it was understandable, but fifty times later? He
just made me hate him more and more! Agh, and then he tops it off
by marrying Maysa, the damn horse! Lucas should have stuck to his
promise! He shouldn't have wasted all that time in his home where
he had the perfect opportunity to meet and hide with Jade. They
should have had a quikie marriage! Lucas disappoints as a man and
that leads me to wonder if that is the same case in bed? Hmmm??
Jade: She should never had left Yvette's house! Imagine all
of the tricks she would have learned to get Lucas to stay with her?
Ugh, a wasted opportunity! She should have never accepted to have
been married and run off the morning of the wedding or locked herself
into a room and not come out. Jade should have kept pretending to
like Said and then when she got his complete trust,she could have
asked for them to visit Mohammed then she could have escaped with
Lucas. Since she has a promise with God, she should have just told
Lucas the truth!
Said: A great looking man that committed the dumbest thing
in his life. Why couldn't he accept Jade not liking him? Jade is
pretty, but she isn't that good looking for him to act that way?
The dancer was beautiful, why didn't he just go through with the
second marriage and Jade could be returned! Said, why don't you
just marry me instead! Hehehe!
I smell Telerisa around here!
The dialogue that is formed through the exchange of opinions, knowledge,
and values in the forum creates a social learning environment. Some
posters refer back to what they know to formulate criticism of the
telenovela content. Critical thinking and dialogue are pillars of
Freire’s (1970) theory. He believes that the learning process
is an equal contribution by teachers and students, both engaged
in discovering the world. As Freire (1998) posits, “every
human being, no matter how "ignorant" or submerged in
the culture of silence he or she may be, is capable of looking critically
at the world in a dialogical encounter with others” (p.14).
While Singhal & Rogers (1999) agree that an entertainment-education
program is more effective in creating knowledge of an issue than
changing the behavior regarding the issue, the addition of the interpersonal
communication is essential to generate behavioral change (Rogers,
1976). If behavior change is considered in the form of breaking
stereotypes and acquiring knowledge about a different culture, the
forum allows the participants to converse with each other and expand
their horizons with the many inputs from different perspectives.
The messages show that in many occasions the posters seek clarification
of the issues that are portrayed by the telenovela, and in many
instances the messages articulate how they can learn from both,
“El Clon” and its fan forum.