OpenUP or Be Silent

Free Yourself

Archive for September, 2008

Academic Post 03

Speaking of “Massive”…
Written by Julie Metni, September 21, 2008 

This is a video that may or may not demonstrate the power media [how massive the industry is] and particularly music has over our lives.

The video I put here was changed a couple of times before I could make a decision as to which video best visualizes to you the points I would like to make. I hope it works.

After the first thirty to sixty seconds of the clip, I’m sure you can tell that the little man is searching for something. We do not have any idea of who he is. All we can do is watch him being turned away by the possibilities which he is hoping and searching to engage in. This represents anyone’s rises and falls in life; the obstacles or doubts we all encounter when reaching for something set us back… But as the little man in the video (let’s call him Conor) knows, the most practical and revealing thing that we should do in times of trouble is keep moving on. Just keep searching.

Eventually our new-found friend Conor encounters a book. Not much is known about this book, except that the pictures inside are colorless. Might this represent the way in which we all follow the same patterns and trends, eventually leading to our lack of originality or discoloration? Have we all been impacted by the media so much that we can no longer differentiate between truth and lies, or real or fake? Have we been so molded by technologies and public criticism that we no longer feel the blandness in our every word?

As he is exploring the book, we observe that Conor makes friends, who choose to follow his influence. Do you notice the trend in which Conor picks up these friends? They are the outcasts of society, the different shapes or photos who do not fit into the picture; who do not blend with the theme. I will be honest, only after he found these friends did I rewind and play it again. I was astonished at the beauty and simpliciy of this. They are free thinkers, we can imagine – ignored by common society in their fruitless attempts to fit in somewhere or to find a main purpose or theme for their existance. How long did it take you to notice? Were you confused at first? Why are these particular photographs behaving so differently within the book?

Do we not ask ourselves the same thing about people… every day?

As the rest of the video plays out, eventually the characters find themselves in a place, we can gather, of internal peace and find an end to their longing. They are all different from the public, and from each other… But here in the unity they created out of recognition for their differences or quirks, they come to an understanding of how the world works in correlation to nature and living beings. They understand the simple, tragic idea that while everyone else seems to fit in nice and cozy, they must work hard to find their place in the world… However this search is what makes searching in the first place so rewarding: that in the end, the answer is so much more meaningful.

To conclude, Conor and his friends are guided back to their common place of familiarity. They emerge from the book fully real and live; they are introduced back to reality. My perspective tells me that the familiar places where they are brought back to, the places from which they came and can easily fit into without discrimination, is the media and mass communication of brainwash calling us home. It says, “Come on, just keep it simple, be like us.” The sad thing is, we all buy into it too.

Is this a proper representation of how massive the music industry is? If you think about it, people all over the word give in to being paralyzed by the rhythms and lyrics of billions of songs. Even if you have never played a single record before, creating music or any other form of communication or influence for the rest of the world is in you; it just happens. We are a species governed and obeying to an industry that not only rakes in the dough, but keeps it, and decides how we will live our lives despite our blinded narcosis. We like to think we are free of influence or that we solely create for ourselves… But it’s 1984(1) all over again; the massive controls the masses… And it will never be any other way.

Please let me know if you have a different take or opinion about the video or my thoughts in general, or even if you agree with me. Thanks for reading.

jules

 

(1) Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. (1929). Secker and Warburg.

Academic Post 02

Socrates Was Right, Plus Suttle Media Ecology
Written by Julie Metni, September 10, 2008

First and foremost, my apologies if this post runs longer than the typical 200-250 word limit.

Ever since the cave, the human creature has known only one solid, concrete and never-changing state of being: the state of development, change, and most importantly, discovery. The one thing that has changed, inconsistently, is the reason for man’s need to discover or create.

…A quote within a quote? You bet your bottom dollar it is.

“ ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ –Socrates” –I. Reilly

You sir, are a mind-reader.

Take everything that you have ever been taught. Take it, and throw it all into a blender. Plug in the blender; let the things that you threw into the mechanism tear into a million pieces while you listen to the hum of a 1998 Sears kitchen appliance. Add some fruits for taste, if you like. When you are done blending it, pour it into a cup, thermos, mug, shoe, whatever your heart fancies, and feed it to the squirrels in your backyard.

Why are you doing all this to begin with, you may ask? (Why not?)

Well, why does anyone do anything? Why do the birds fly south for the winter, and why do babies cry? Simply because of their pressing natural needs to. Things like this are natural. Chucking the sum of your grade-school education out the window, however, is solely your choice.

I’m trying to say: Make your own decisions. Do not follow the leader. (Of course, if it gets you into jail for rebellion, I’d say I’d rather take care in following the law.) Do not account for all of the people who fall into the same spiral of silence(1). Society tells you or leaves you with the impression that what there is to be examined already has been examined; that what they are presenting to you is current and precise, modern and unique. This has been going on forever. However, gaps are created between what you think has been done, and what you have not done.

Step away from the noise and static, close your eyes, and be your own medium. Be the medium for those who haven’t the strength or guts to stand up for what they believe in or for those who simply choose to abide by rules on account of arrogance or laziness. That’s right: YOU are the medium for YOUR message. Explore yourself, be what you want and not what common society creates for us.

I have lost myself in this; I have lost my place. I forgot that the personal pronoun is how this river flows, however I cannot help but get carried away. Can you blame me? Blogging is exciting!

Yes, I just said that. Anyways, earlier I mentioned the spiral of silence(2), which simply is the lack of a backbone and therefore the ability to speak up when one believes that something is not right. When the minority disagrees with the majority, with little to none possible ways to make a difference or create change, they end up silenced by the “Man” and regress into a cycle of regret and lack of communication. The internet, however, has made it possible for countless of angry or unheard citizens of common society to stir change in the online community, and in occasional cases, further into reality.

What I want to conclude in all this is this: Do not let the products of mass communication like silencing or originality get you down. I definitely feed off of it, if anything, and only use the cliché misconceptions as a fuel for my fire to create a better, more rounded society.

Northrop Frye states in The Educated Imagination that all experiences or decisions are based upon or stem from previously made decisions or stories of the past(3). While I agree with him and his use of writing as a medium, I also believe that humans should not abide by what has already been done. It is a difficult process, but creating something for your own – even something that the world doesn’t need to know about, like your own individual thought or decisions – is truly what humans strive for. So go ahead and reach for the mouse or remote control, watch the mindless, scripted sit-coms and Wheel-of-Fortune… but I personally believe that fortune comes from the guts within yourself, and your ability to pull them out and use them.

I therefore will use my education to further my imagination and expand my ideas to the world. The World Wide Web is only step one!

 

Again, I apologize for the length of this post. In future I will try to condense.

(1) Produced by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, quoted by Marshall McLuhan in an interview with Playboy (1994).

(2) Ibid

(3) Frye, Northrop. The Educated Imagination. (2002 Edition). Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto.


Academic Post 01

Saving the World, One Click at a Time
Written by Julie Metni, September 3, 2008

It is quite the mind-boggler that my ability to pass my university course depends [not quite, but almost] solely on what I type out here, in lonely cyberspace for the rest of the world to see. Not that the entire world has the privileges and resources to access this online journal, however. It is amazing, and quite simply torture to me that while I lie on my bed writing a rough draft of my first post, a million children half a world away sleep with empty bellies and pathetic shelter or safety – or lack thereof.

I may have a tendency to get off-topic – I’ll admit it – but am I really?

For instance, how do you think that any average Joe’s or Jane’s like myself or even you (if you are one) could possibly have the slightest clue as to what is going on miles away if it weren’t for the hunk of plastic and gigabytes sitting in front of you? The only way in which anyone could possibly be informed of worldwide affairs is due to pieces of information sent through technology that we call mediums. The mediums we have come to know and love (such as television, internet, magazines, newspapers, etc.) not only try to make us believe that we are fully informed, but also stir dependence, dissatisfaction and manipulation into the receivers. If you really choose to think about it, so much time, effort, energy and megalomania go into instilling the audience with petty wants and desires; those pathetic, gullible suckers. Suckers like myself, who, out of guilt and in a desperate attempt to create justice, sponsor a child like those who are seen on the television screen; sick and hungry. Those numerous corporate giants are reaping the benefits of the receiver’s guilt and dependence on technology as they bathe in their cash, while those poor, helpless children are diminishing one by one (even if a sponsor comes up here or there). Who knows how much good they could have created in the world, had they the potential and resources?

The mass media can’t tell us everything we want to hear after all, can they.

I suppose you can therefore say that my place or role in the public’s ever-changing, ever-hardening eye is to give back to the community, or to restore a bit of fair-play to those less fortunate. I feel that it is my purpose, as cheesy as it may sound.

With a simple, savvy click of a button did this experience begin, and with another click shall it end – for now. Just not yet…I have one more thing to say.

In the process of creating this personal academic agenda did I discover [so typically] that there is (like most of the popular websites or major companies/corporations) a fee or membership involved. You see, it did not surprise me that if I was to be able to access the full features which were provided by this server, I would have to use my hard-earned money to do so. This is just another way in which the economy and large companies strive to excel their profits. Can we expect any less from them?

I believe the answer is no, we cannot. But for now, to hell with it. Count your blessings, be grateful that you are alive, and do not forget to go for your annual check-up like recommended. Most importantly, don’t forget to open your mind, and speak up!

CLICK