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Archive for November, 2008

Academic Post 11

Jamming Culture into Esso
Written by Julie Metni, November 27, 2008 

 Culture jamming can be a form of social activism, usually against commercialism or the governmental system of that nation. Usually, on a lower scale, teenagers or adolescents who are trying to get out of their parents’ wrath or revolt against the “system” tend to be the babies of culture jamming; the ones who are only beginning. Even doing small things, such as saying no to drugs or smoking can be a form of activism. You are saying, “I don’t want to have charcoal lungs just because it was a popular craze in the forties and now everyone’s just hooked.” 

Culture jamming, in my opinion, is basically turning away from popular culture and becoming who you believe yourself to be. Whether it be a peace-keeper in a time of war, or what have you, it teaches anyone to not take things for face value, and to do your own thing. For example, imagine if everyone boycotted driving cars (in my dreams)? How would the industry suffer…. or how Much? We would definitely save a pocket-full of cash, let me tell you that.

 

Academic Post 10

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day
Written by Julie Metni, November 27, 2008

Can you go a day without purchasing anything? I doubt it. I doubt it in you and in myself. Depending on who you are, maybe it’s not that barbaric of a task. Is our reality being crowded by our need to consume? How humans have changed the world is simply amazing. What was once green, luscious fields becomes concrete parking lots and shopping malls. Is this nature’s disaster?

I found a video on youtube that relates to this topic. Over consumption is happening right now as you read this. In fact, I bet millions of dollars are being spend in shopping malls across Canada alone as you read this sentence. It is the sad and fateful truth.

The video below starts with the Matrix, and what is said is such a truth that it is incredible how intricate and concise it really is. Is everything that the world has become real? Is mass consumerism real?

“What is real? How do you define real? If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. This is the world that you know” (1).

What this brings to my mind is that… Well, with Christmas and the holidays coming up, how do we know that we are really feeling joy and happiness in the money we are spending on gifts? How do we know that all of the people in the mall that I work at are actually buying things because it makes them or someone else happy? Have they just become accustomed or programed to consume? 

I have a shift tonight at 5 pm. For four and a half hours, I’m going to work on commission, trying to find out what people need for someone, someone else, and themselves. I am going to be friendly and cheerful, dressed in black, and tell them the benefits of our products and where it comes from and all the great values and ingredients attached to each product. I will teach them to consume.

It’s shameful, isn’t it?

 

 

(1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUKoOD2hoDs&feature=related

Academic Post 09

Net Neutrality
Written by Julie Metni, November 26, 2008

Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet (1). Do you agree with this principle?

Unless you have children at home [I have a seven-year-old sister] who use the net for games and such, you probably will want exclusive access to what ever is on the web. There are exceptions, though. Sometimes, not being able to access websites is a good thing. Not in terms of ISP’s blocking out and filtering what you have access too, but other things. There already is a limit for how much you see. If you are under eighteen years of age, there’s no way you are accessing porn, which is good for little kids like my sister who ply around on Neopets and Webkinz websites. There is no way in hell I would want her seeing any of that jargon.

Before, I mentioned something about ISP’s. The video below will give you more insight as to what I mean.

 

What did you take from this video? Do you think that it is right for companies to decide what you see and don’t see? This reminds me of Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig’s book is “about an effect of the Internet beyond the Internet itself: an effect upon how culture is made” (page 7)(2). Is our culture being made by what the people with money decide to make it? Do we have any say in it at all???

 

(1) http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html

(2) Lessig, Lawrence. (2005). Free Culture; The Nature and Future of Creativity. Penguin Group: Toronto.

Academic Post 08

Media Hegemonies/Mapping Who Owns What
Written by Julie Metni, November 12, 2008 

     Antonio Gramsci was an Italian Marxist thinker who used the term hegemony to, “denote the predominance of one social class over others.”(1) Well as a society, we haven’t come a long way from nineteenth century thinking. Still today, although we like to think that society is somewhat equal and well-distributed, we are far form the truth. The big corporate companies and ridiculously wealthy civilians of society dominate the middle class in every aspect of day-to-day life. 

     Shall we take a look at “Who Owns What”? According to The Columbia Journalist Review, CBS owns quite a hefty amount of stations. Take a look:

CBS
51 West 52 Street
New York, New York 10019-6188
CBS Television
WUPA – Atlanta, GA
WJZ-TV – Baltimore, MD
WBZ-TV – Boston, MA
WSBK- Boston, MA
WBBM-TV – Chicago, IL
KTVT-TV – Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
KTXA-TV – Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
KCNC-TV – Denver, CO
WWJ-TV – Detroit, MI
WKBD – Detroit, MI
WCBS-TV – New York, NY
WFOR-TV – Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
WBFS-TV – Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
WCCO-TV – Minneapolis, MN
WGNT-TV – Norfolk, VA
WPSG-TV – Philadelphia, PA
KYW-TV – Philadelphia, PA
KDKA-TV – Pittsburgh, PA
KPCW-TV – Pittsburgh, PA
KOVR-TV – Sacramento, CA
KMAX-TV – Sacramento, CA
KUTV-TV – Salt Lake City, UT
KPIX-TV – San Francisco, CA
KBCW-TV – San Francisco, CA
KCBS-TV – Los Angeles, CA
KCAL-TV – Los Angeles, CA
KSTW-TV – Seattle, WA
KTOG-TV – Tampa, FL
KCCO-TV – Alexandria, MN
KCCW-TV – Walker, MN
Other Television
Showtime
CSTV
The CW (partial)
CBS Radio
Baltimore
WHFS-FM
WJFK-AM
WLIF-FM
WQSR-FM
WWMX-FM
Boston WBCN-FM
WBMX-FM
WBZ-AM
WODS-FM
WZLX-FM
Charlotte
WPEG-FM
WFNA-AM
WBAV-FM
WFNZ-AM
WKQC-FM
WNKS-FM
WSOC-FM
Hartford
WRCH-FM
WTIC-AM/FM
WZMX-FM
WTIC-FM
New York
WCBS-AM/FM
WFAN-AM
WINS-AM
WNEW-FM
WXRK-FM
WWFS-FM
Philadelphia
KYW-AM
WIP-AM
WOGL-FM
WPHT-AM
WYSP-FM
Pittsburgh
KDKA-AM
WDSY-FM
WRKZ-FM
WZPT-FM
WBZW-FM
Rochester
WCMF-FM
WPXY-FM
WRMM-FM
WZNE-FM
Washington D.C
WHFS-FM
WJFK-FM
WPGC-AM/FM
WLZL-FM
Houston
KIKK-AM/FM
KILT-AM/FM
Orlando
WJHM-FM
WOCL-FM
WOMX-FM
San Antonio
KTFM-FM
KTSA-AM
Tampa
WLLD-FM
WQYK-AM/FM
WRBQ-FM
WSJT-FM
WYUU-FM
West Palm Beach
WEAT-FM
WIRK-FM
WMBX-FM
WNEW-FM
Dallas
KLUV-FM
KOAI-FM
KRBV-FM
KRLD-AM
KVIL-FM
KYNG-FM
Atlanta
WAOK-AM
WVEE-FM
WZGC-FM
Chicago
WBBM-AM/FM
WCKG-FM
WJMK-FM
WUSN-FM
WXRT-FM
WCFS-FM
Cleveland
WDOK-FM
WNCX-FM
WQAL-FM
WXTM-FM
Detroit
WKRK-FM
WOMC-FM
WVMV-FM
WWJ-AM
WXYT-AM
WYCD-FM
Minneapolis
KDOW-AM
WCCO-AM
WLTE-FM
WXPT-FM
St. Louis
KEZK-FM
KMOX-AM
KYKY-FM
Denver
KDJM-FM
KIMN-FM
KXKL-FM
Las Vegas
KLUC-FM
KMXB-FM
KMZQ-FM
KSFN-AM
KXNT-AM
KXTE-FM
Los Angeles
KCBS-FM
KLSX-FM
KNX-AM
KROQ-FM
KRTH-FM
KTWV-FM
Phoenix
KMLE-FM
KOOL-FM
KZON-FM
Portland
KINK-FM
KLTH-FM
KUFO-FM
KUPL-AM/FM
KVMX-FM
Riverside
KFRG-FM
Sacramento
KHTK-AM
KNCI-FM
KSFM-FM
KXOA-FM
KYMX-FM
KZZO-FM
San Diego
KPLN-FM
KYXY-FM
San Francisco
KCBS-AM
KFRC-FM
KFRC-AM
KITS-FM
KLLC-FM
Seattle
KBKS-FM
KJAQ-FM
KYCW-AM
KYPT-FM
KZOK-FM
Publishing
Simon & Shuster
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Atria Books
Kaplan
Pocket Books
Scribner
Simon & Schuster
The Free Press
The Touchstone
Fireside Group
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Aladdin Paperbacks
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Little Simon
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Simon Pulse
Simon Spotlight
Simon & Schuster New Media
Simon & Schuster Online
Simon & Schuster UK
Simon & Schuster Australia
MTV Books
Other
CBS Outdoor

 

     What shocked me the most was the Simon & Schuster company being on the list, which is one of the media outlets from which I purchased my Media Writing text books at the beginning of the semester. Does this mean that CBS is dominating even the English language?

     It is catastrophic that one or two huge corporations can own continent’s radio stations. Business even goes so far as to cross with other companies in order to increase profits, as if they don’t make enough money as is. “Cross ownership is a method of reinforcing business relationships by owning stock in the companies with which a given company does business. In the US, it also refers to a type of investment in different mass-media properties in one market.” This quote, taken from Wikipedia, explains how companies cross and join with each other in order to create exponential sales and dominance over those small, local businesses.

     I have no opinion over this except that I think it is purely evil. The fact that culture has escalated to teaching us how and when to dominate other people is cruel. Sometimes even the government has no say over the megalomania that takes place in the global marketplace.

(1) http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/marxism/marxism10.html

Academic Post 07

…”Fake News; Satire Done Good and Stuff”
Written by Julie Metni, October 15, 2008 

     I read the syllabus to check what the topic for this week’s post was to be. Well, out of curiosity, I Google’d the bolded topic: Fake News.

     Amongst the trash and definitions that came up, a link [below] that came up from one of the websites in the search is a perfect, if not ironic, example of fake news; the author ”fakes” the fake news. Read the article in the link below before continuing.

The Fake News: Bird Terror….. Click Here for Article

     Once finished, take a second to ask yourself if you found that you were analyzing the article at the same time as you were reading it. If you did, you’re on track. Personally, I sometimes forget what I was thinking and need to refer back to it. So keep the tab or window open if you need to, too.

     If you read the article and registered what was going on, let us continue. Or maybe not yet – let’s look at the face value of the website to begin with first.

     The image at the top (the header) is clearly focused on creating comical relief to defer how controversial the [non-fictional] underlying message in that particular article, or the whole website, really is. Even the little sub-header, “Satire Done Good and Stuff,” connotes jargon as a certain level of distraction from what the author hints in a variety of the articles, found on the home page of the website.

     Professor Ian Reilly said in his lecture on October 15, “margarine is not just margarine, plastic is not just plastic. There are deeper levels of signification.” Do not take anything for face value. Anything.

     Nothing.

     Let’s get into it.

     The title alone arouses curiosity and suspicion as to how much time this particular author has on their hands. Where did you come up with this? Nation in Panic After Cat Terror Incident? What on earth could a feline possibly do to create nation-wide terror?

     As you probably have realized, and related to the article, that any nation’s greatest fear is that of terroristic destruction, and this topic is the central underlying message in this ”faked” article. The author is mocking a hugely accepted fear of fearing death, which is what the author primarily plays on. Like most people do everyday, they have taken something from a news story, such as one on terrorism, and taken a swim in the ocean of cognitive dissonance. The author has taken a serious issue and helped those who are vulnerable to accepting terror, but also vulnerable to easy humility, and has untied the uncomfortable denotations. This creates the theme of mocking the reasoning involved as to why anyone should of be scared of such a threat in the first place.

     However, the author also leads our connotations to everyday life, and lets us decipher the way we deal with similar things ourselves. A cat is a cat, a bird is a bird. To the naked eye, everything looks the same, for lack of a better analysis. But what goes on beneath the surface is what the author is trying to communicate. Segregation, racism, terror, and poverty are topics that are controversial enough to arouse worries in any conversation. The author uses these topics as a baseline for his news satire, ironically turning what people are terrified by into mindless entertainment for the World Wide Web community.