ERIC Number: ED373353
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Metaphor Replaces Fact: Dissonance Reduction during the Gainesville Serial Slayings through Metaphorical Script Writing.
Oehrle, Adrienne A.; Fadely, Dean
In the fall of 1990, the community of Gainesville, Florida, needed information concerning the brutal murders of five local college students. These serial slayings disrupted numerous "scripts" of life in the typical college town and produced a blanket of uncertainty, fear, and hysteria which enveloped Gainesville. College towns are normally viewed as places unlike any others. Seemingly populated predominantly by students, college towns are considered safe havens where parents can send their children with little worry other than that produced by the empty-nest syndrome. The happenings in Gainesville negated the beliefs that a locked door was an option or that all people were potential friends with a lot in common. Some students went so far as to withdraw from school. Instead of offering the information the community desperately requested (and which was not accessible), "The Gainesville Sun" elected to offer the community pseudo-knowledge in the form of scripts which allowed the return of homeostasis. An analysis of excerpts from the newspaper's articles and opinion pages shows how, in essence, through a series of metaphors such as the Ted Bundy metaphor, the father metaphor (which involved the paternal football coach), the seasons metaphor, and the drama metaphor, the newspaper created a new reality which served as the basis for new life scripts. These new scripts served to reduce uncertainly and cognitive dissonance and facilitated the coping process needed in the crisis situation. (Contains 18 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Dissonance Reduction; Florida (Gainesville); Journalism Research; Scripts (Knowledge Structures); Uncertainty Reduction
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the American Culture Association in the South and the Popular Culture Association in the South (Augusta, GA, October 1-3, 1992).