Sunday, April 29, 2012

Digital Media Culture

Digital media is a major factor in contemporary western cultures.  Electronic media is an apart of the average Americans daily activity. It is because of digital technology that we are able to access and communicate at a faster speed. In addition, it enables us to access more information that is constantly stored in the digital cyberspace. However, everyone doesn’t have access to this information. There will always be some sort of digital divide in which the rich are separated from the poor. According to Trend, “nearly 97 percent of the world’s population remains unconnected to the net for lack of money, access, or knowledge.”

  Some would argue the cyber space offers the world a democratic essence: In the sense that people have the freedom to express themselves. The internet can be a medium in which people can say and post as they please. However, the information on the internet never true erases and will always exist.

In many ways the internet is very much fragmented. Those who have access to this digital world have access to a lot of information. As Virilio would argue, because there is too much information it creates some type of information bomb. The information bomb is when one becomes overload with the information; therefore they rely on others to manage the information for them.

The internet only exists in a world of capitalism. The internet is a capitalist driven environment. We must remember the media is a place of profit.  We are constantly exposed to the marketing world. In fact many ads are targeted to us based off where we explore on the web: The biggest defender would be Facebook.

Digital media is often overlooked on the power it holds over people. Facebook claims the user’s privacy is very important to them. However if privacy is so important, why does Facebook have the right to access the user’s personal content and information?  I never thought twice of reading contracts I agreed to. But being a multimedia major, I am learning to become more and more media literate. I know anyone and everyone can pretty much post any online doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.  When one agrees to the terms of service of Facebook, the individual is handing over their property rights.  After reading Facebook’s terms of service, I learned signing the contract gives Facebook access to individual’s personal content and information.   Facebook can evaluate personal pages, contents, and data for any reason. Facebook can even use this information to make a profit of my personal page.

Learning more about digital media has now has me question the amount of information I will post on my personal account. It is important to know the terms of the service because it gives away my intellectual property rights. As a beginning photographer, I have posted my images on my page. Unfortunately, I lost control of some of my right to my intellectual property. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Television Culture

You had a long day at work and can’t wait to get home. You walk in the door, kick off your shoes; grab a bite to eat, and what the first thing you do? More likely if you live in America you tune into the television. Television has become more and more of a daily routine in our lives. It is far more than a social habit or social gathering.  For the guys, you are more likely to turn on the sports just to stay in tune with the guy at work.  As for the women, you know you have to watch the most talked about show with your girlfriends to stay in the social loop.

There are at least one billion televisions set worldwide, watched by more than 2.5 billion people per day in over 160 countries. 99 % of Americans households at least own one television or more (Barker, 335)

Television is a powerful source of knowledge of the world and continues to connect people. It has a way of constructing “social knowledge, social imagery, through which we perceive the worlds” (Barker, 315).

Television today remains the most widely accessible media.The world is increasing influences by products of the media. Media can be seen as a way of manipulating the audience and is a constant source of advertisements.

Television can be broken down into four terms or concepts. First, the text, relationship of text and audience, the political economy, and patterns of cultural meanings.  For instance, the text we can find in a local news programs.  The news is run primarily on text and stories. News is often heavily influencing fear onto the public life. 70 % of news programs surround violence, shootings, or convictions.

Television messages carry several meaning and not two people withdrawal the same message. Each culture and individuals can interpret it in different.  However, the text from the media comes for a structured dominant class.  Audiences do not reproduce or create textual meaning, but they produce meaning.

According, to Schlesinger, television news doesn’t reflect reality, but rather putting reality together. The news is a select program in which the agenda setter have selected and constructed their representation of reality. Agenda setter is those that have dominant power and control media. Media is often viewed from the eyes (perspective) of the dominant class.

For instance, during the Gulf War, journalists were not able to report freely. This goes against America’s freedom of speech.  The news coverage of that time was limited on what they could show. “Only 1 percent of the visual images of television were of death an injury” (Barker, 320).  Television was indeed offering inadequate information of the war.  Television is primary an informational source but it doesn’t always supply the whole truth.

Television is pretty much nothing without its audience. The viewer’s control to some extent of what is shown on television. According to Barker, the active audiences are the producers of meaning from within their own cultural context.  Audience need to understand the context in which they withdrawal form TV in order to watch it.

Television has become more localized. When television was introduced in china by a government, it was placed in hope to form social control over the citizens. However, television has increased diversity of the culture and political sentiments in china. It offered alternate views of life of cultures.  “Television has become a cultural forum of competing ideas” (Barker, 332).

Meyrowitz believes televisions in many ways have enforced identity amongst people. The mass media has given people are source of identity to identify with.  Whether that is displayed gender roles or what is in style for fashion.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cultural Space

The meaning of space and place are constructed by those with power in a given society. These powers were formed by the political economy of global cities, urban regeneration, the growth of postmodern cities, the ideas that cities can be read as texts, and the growth and extension of cybercities.  As Gideon’s argues, human activities are the fundamental to understanding social and cultural life. Barker further explains the roles in which humans give each room within a house a specific characteristic and roles. For instance, the den within most households is the relaxing and social room. The den is the room where people come to gather and bond.  Space is nothing without time. As Einstein’s theory claims, the theory of relatively, space, and time are not to be thought of separate entities but as inextricably interwoven. Both space and time are required for the other to occur.

Another important construction of place is the roles of gender. The roles of genders vary over space and have different meanings. For example, places of work are generally dominated by males. However, the rise of masculinity started to create change as the modern world approached. Cities space generally gave women the space for growth and emergence in this man’s world.

The growths of cities were based on the people who held power. For instance, the Lagos and their buildings symbolized the emergence of capitalism. However, that power was taken over by the poor and the economy faced a downturn in 1980’s.  The separation of classes widens and the city wall grew higher.

Which led me to think of how the economy continues to change. The economy is changing not only here in the United States, but nationally as well.  It seems as though the space of the poor and wealthy continue to separate. United States, itself at times functions like 50 different countries. Weber believed urban life would bring about modern industrial democracy and the emergence of the “iron cage” of bureaucratic organizations. On the other hand, Marx thought urban life would bring productivity. Marx believed it could bring forth poverty, indifference, and squalor. Urban life could offer some escape from control on traditional norms.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Post Modernism

Until now, our class was discussing the enlightenment period. The enlightenment period encouraged scientific technology in order to rebuild society and increase knowledge. However, post modernism is quite different from the enlightenment period. Enlightenment is the very need to control everything with use of technology and science. It eliminates multiple ways of thinking claims to be the foundation of truth. For instance, the enlightenment displayed truths that are universal, but post modernism displays social-historical linguistics that specifies truth. According to Nietzsche, truth isn’t a question of discovery, but the construction of interpretation on what the world takes to be true.

The difference between post modernism and modernism is hard to determine nowadays. Post modernism stresses the after structuralism. Its primary focus is on the relation of language and significance in the differences. Modernism is the change and uncertainty in which certain knowledge is found. Modernism simply opposes traditions.

Post modernisms are Ideologies which are opposed to modernism. Postmodernism takes traditional ideas and concepts in a nontraditional way and is opposed to structure. In addition, it refers to historical and sociological instances. Modernism is the enlightenment from  philosophers such as Rousseau , Bacon,  Marx, Weber, and Habermas, and the list goes on. According to philosopher Gidden, modernity began as early as the Middle Ages. Modernity is the process of change, innovation, and dynamism. Modernity occurs with industrialism, surveillance, capitalism, and military power. With these four powers, the  dynamic structures grow and change into the modern world .

According to Giddeon, dynamism of modernity comes from separation of time and space. In other words, meanings are shaped by social influences by forms in relation of absent others. Modernization are “ all solids melts into air”(Marx). Modernization is a combination of industrialism, capitalism, surveillance, and nation state.

In all things in life we could find the good and bad. Modernism can be positive in how  it brings forth rapid change and create new individualism. We happen to live in a society in which identity is built upon preexisting knowledge’s. However, the negatives of modernism are steering away from traditions, the pressure of promised technology, and unfolding of oneself.

Giddeon viewed modernism as a risk culture. The risk plays a crucial and central role in people’s life.  Modernism offered ambiguity, doubt, risk, and continual change. I personally look for to changes, but at the same time constant changes scare me.  For instance, technology has taken so many careers and yet created new ones. Machines have make certain job absolute. In other ways technology has made it possible for people to further educate themselves and connect with each other. It seems as though today people constantly need to adapt. If a person happens to be a laggard they will get left behind!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012


               The movie "10” is a standard romantic Hollywood Film. Most Hollywood stories consist of a man who meets woman, falls in love, and tries to win her over. However, in this film George is already in a relationship with Sam, but become obsessed with a woman Jenny.  

               The movie "10" begins with George driving home and walks into his surprise birthday party.  The internal conflict that George has with his aging is address early on in the film. George represents the average man coming of age. In most films the man coming of age faces a midlife crisis because he tries to remain young. These older man go out on a whim to buys an expensive sports car or date younger women. However, in this case George becomes infatuated by a young woman who already a taken. One day George was driving and come to a stop sign. George looks over to the car next to him and sees a really beautiful young bride. He follows hers and crashes into a police car. As if running into a police car wasn’t even to awaking him from this fantasy. He continues to follow the bride and makes a scene during her wedding ceremony. Again he takes it to the extreme when he tries to track the bride down on her honeymoon. He goes to the dentist just to find out the location of the couples honeymoon. Finally, in the end George gets to sleep with his fantasy girl. Happily Ever After.

             However, is it truly a happily ever after? The film didn’t show the hardship Sam would experience when she discovers George’s obsession and infidelity. Sam is this strong, beautiful and kind character who is in love with George. She is faithful and a good friend to him. Her character represents many women who hit mid age and can’t retain their relationship. Is because she is too old? Or simply because she is a strong independent female character?

            On the other hand, Hollywood films yet again stress the importance of skinny, blond, model like women figures. In the end, these women are depicted as true beauty and whatever man desires. Jenny wins in the end because she is beautiful in Hollywood eyes. Jenny won her groom and George. She simply has the choice to win in the end because she is pretty.

            I believe this film is a radical romantic comedy because how it shows how obsessed George was to winning jenny over.  Every radical romance consists of a man trying to win a woman over in the end. Nevertheless, in many ways this film is unordinary. It covered similar genres and norms of a Hollywood film. But the story itself was far from the norm. stocker becomes obsessed with woman, stocker goes through great length to get woman, woman gets with stocker, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happily Ever After?

From the beginning of times, women were placed in a man's world society. Men are the bread winners, the head of the house,  and their white night on a horse. Often in films men were portrayed as the heroes, strong, and independent beings. Women were displayed as helpless, needy, beautiful damsels in distress.

            Media depicts woman as the victims.  From an early age girls learn they are fragile like little princesses. They are just like a princess waiting to be rescued by their white night on the horse. Today more and more woman are displayed as strong independent characters: Characters that happen to provide from themselves and hold power in the work field.  However, in most cases they are portrayed as a bitch like character.

In the film Devil Wears Prada tells the story is a naive, dorky, journalist.  Andrea becomes the assistant of the powerful and sophisticated Miranda Priestly. Miranda is displayed as a heartless, bitchy, and merciless executive of a fashion magazine. Along the film Andrea faces challenges. Her first challenge is becoming accepted in the fashion career. Andrea is displayed as the helpless character waiting to be rescued. Eventually a stylist Nigel helps Andrea adapt to the fashion world. As Andrea learns the way of the fashion world she develops into and independent character. However,due to theses changes her character  begans to have problem with  her relationship with her boyfirend. In the end of the film she gives up her career and reunites with her boyfriend. Happily ever after. Or is there no such thing? Why are women constantly displayed as helpless creatures who want nothing more than to fall in love? But what happen after falling in love . Why did she have to change careers to satisfy  her relationship?
In a sex comedy the couple is likely to end with happily ever after. Sex comedies show the battle between the sexes. Most common films in this genre plot involves a playboy like figure trying to conquer the virgin. Nevertheless as social behaviors and norms evolved around the year so have the characters from the film. Women are beginning to hold power and are independent from the men.the begin around with birth control submerged. Woman began to have to power and explore their sexuality just as man did. However in film the storng woman figure surrender there and become weak becuase of love.The solution to strong woman in power character is to fall in love with a strong male figure, settle down, get married, and have children.

I am quite certain that films have altered our perception of Love. Man meets woman, they fall in love, problems occur, man woos woman,and they live happily after. In many films love is defined when the couple becomes intimidate with one another . For instance, these film revolve around the playboy figure who try to conquer and outwit the virgin. 
However, "the radical romantic comedy never quite ends with a happy ending.  According to Jeffers, “final film which needs to be considered as an heir to the open or unhappy ending." In radical romantic comedies there is much emphasis on the couple not ending up together. In these films the couple has an unhealthy relationship. All the major thematic concerns surround issues of self-reflexivity: importance of genders, film text in traditional text, more realistic and modern contrast to earlier text.   A key factor in these films is breaking the standard conventions for other sub genres.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bond... James Bond

Casino Royale is one first novel of the James Bond series. It was published in 1950s around the heart of the Cold War. Bond is merely a figure designed to resist the ideal of lost power of an empire. British were losing their power over the colonies. Bond in many ways offered a way to increase the self-image. Soviet Union was seen as a threat to Britain. At the time communist influence in trade unions was major. Communist was seen as a big scare to Parliament. Casino Royale simply took those fears of espionage and traitors in implement a strong British man conquering their enemies.

M, the head of Britain secret agents  assigned James Bond to play against and cleanout the fifth columnist. James Bond, 007 , Britain’s elite secret agent, mission was to defeat Le Chiffre , a SMERSH agent working for the Russians. Bond goes undercover in a high stake baccarat game. One of Le Chiffre's men try to shoot bond in attempt to end his chances at the gambling table.

Chiffre's wins the first round of baccarat. CIA agent Felix helps bond by giving him money.  The relationship between Bond and Felix displays the relationship:  The relationship of the Americans and British as they stood together to defeat east against the west in the cold war era. In the end bond wins taking eight million that belonged to the communist group SMERSH .Le Chiffre becomes desperate and kidnaps Bond.

Le Chiffre tortures Bond in order to get the money back. The torture takes a hard toll on bond. But before Le Chiffre's could finally end bonds life, a SMERSH assassin kills Le Chiffre as punishment for losing the money. Before the assassin leaves he marks bonds hand with a M.   M is a branding for the spy, in order to notify other SMERSH agents.

During his recovery stage Bond become closely aquatinted with Vesper. He later falls for her and contemplates leaving he service for her. The lovers escape to spend time with each other. One day Vesper realizes a SMERSH spy has been following them. The next morning vesper commits suicide leaving behind a note for her explaining her conditions. Vesper was forced to work for SMERSH after they kidnapped her lover. They captured and tortured him in order to get information on Bond. She knew she could never be free of SMERSH and the harm they could cause Bond, so she had no choose but to kill herself.

In many ways in the novel the characters are displayed like machines. In essence that they have no true freedom and have to follow rule and regulation concerning capitalism.

Take the scene in the end.


“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James they are easier to fight for than principles. But don’t let me down and become human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful machine.”

This concept concedes with the Fordism concept. People basically become a part of a machine like system. Fordism- is the making a large scale production an incorporating into a large scale productions to produce mass consumption.


“It's a confusing business but if it's ones confession, one does what ones told.”

Bond is simply doing his job with little freedom to make decisions. In addition he doesn't know what is good or bad.


“History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing places.”

But he knows being good or bad is defined by the opposing team. This concept correlates with Jacques Derrida concept of Differance. Difference can be found by finding the middle ground in which the differences meet.  In other words, identity can’t be created based off one separate thoughts or characteristics. We find our identity by finding the difference in situations.