Archives for category: class topic musings

Alright,

So I have two posts left to write. My goal is to get this done today. Had I really been smart I would have just taken my last post and split it into two, and then  this would be my last post.  Oh well…

Lets see, lets start with what I remember from last class. The teacher has been wearing this x-mas santa claus hat for the past few classes I guess to get himself into the holiday spirit, and because he seems to enjoy making himself look like a bit of a spectacle when standing up there at the front of class. He then borrowed some girl’s tuque half way through class. It was one of those ski mask hats, that pull down over your face with holes for the eyes and mouth. But in this case it was orange with read stitching, and sort of looked like a mexican wrestling mask. Seeing as the professor was dressed in all orange as well, it made for quite the effect when  he put it on.

Content wise we continued on in the same vain as we have for some time now, taking a mainly critical theory approach to the internet, society, capitalism, etc. The word terrorism worked itself into the discussion. According to Chomsky America is the leading terrorist state and all of that. And the North-American way of living, cubicle life and all of our social norms can be interpreted as a type of psychological terror. It forces us to follow certain rules, limits and regulates our freedoms, etc.

I’m not sure how I actually feel about that. I’m kind of trying to take up the belief that you shouldn’t complain about something, unless you can give an actual solution. We may not always have to like social norms, and they do need to be revised regularly by society in order to be effective. But they do serve a function that we need in society. Like it or not there will always be norms and rules of social conformity. We can work to change what they are, but they are always going to be there, and I think we would be much worse off without them. I guess I’m just feeling that the word terror is a little harsh today. I’m iffy about giving value statements and judgements about an entire system. It’s all too subjective.

Anyways, that is one post down, one to go…

till my next post up shortly, Adieu

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So apparently the magic number is 22, And as such I still need three more posts to fulfill my requirements in New Media.

Its been nice taking a break from posting though, things have been so crazy that one less thing on my to do list has been great.  With less than a week of class left, it’s officially go time.

So the teacher commented on the Wikileaks scandal this week in class, and I have to agree with one of my fellow classmates, it seems to me that there really wasn’t anything in there that we didn’t already know anyways so I fail to see the big deal. I wouldn’t put a classic bait and switch beyond our political system, so it does sort of make me wonder if this isn’t detracting our attention from something bigger and more important.

I’m not sure wether the teacher is being relatively repetitive lately in his lectures, or wether it just seems that way because I’ve seen a lot of this material and the basic theories behind it before. We talked a bit about critical theory, and where the debate over meanings take place, and how it is forever a struggle to keep any ideology in place.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion was when he said that our desires match the needs of the marketplace. I thought it was interesting because from a business point of view, marketers would instead say that the market place matches the needs of  consumers. Yet another little chicken egg story in our society.

And we he spoke about the media system as a boxing ring in which we debate meaning, he stated that in 20th century society it was a boxing ring in which the cultural elite from both the left and the right fought it out. In the 21st century, the fight has apparently changed as with the internet the population for better or worse is like a 3rd force in the debate. Suddenly the new media has gone WWE on everyone’s @$$. Which is a mildly entertaining idea, but I’m not quite sure I buy it. A lot, if not most of our perception and opinions are shaped by our environment and the media is a major element of that environment. Our perceptions have already in essence been influenced by the  elite left and the elite right for most of our natural life.

How then can we really have new perceptions and view that truly differ from what either parties are already saying? Wouldn’t we just be confused and watered down versions of what is already there in the ring? Ok sometimes we are even more extreme versions of what was there, usually out of ignorance. Which is even scarier. Not to go Platonian on anyones rear end, but how much power do we really want to be giving to a general  population that is ranked 18th in education among 33 industrialized nations? When democracy becomes a tyranny of the majority, do we really want to go trusting this majority to make the right decisions? Personally, I’m not so sure…

Not to say that it isn’t great that se have an improved chance to make our voices heard, because there are issues on which the elite have failed miserably. And that level of power can create a level of corruption just as bad as anything else. I just think we are being a little optimistic in thinking that a system ripe with Trolling and hate speech that we haven’t heard elsewhere in years, is really going to be a positive influence. It could, but I’m not quite ready to hold my breath, ya know?

I think it’s the process that is revolutionary, not the content.

Till next time, I bid you adieu…

I swear things are so busy right now, I keep thinking my heads going to explode or something…

I can’t believe that its already friday and that this is my first post of the week. (things have been so crazy that I just checked my other posts to confirm that this was indeed the 1st one.) But that’s what you get at university I guess. I’m just glad that the project for this class at least is done.

So I have to admit, I don’t really remember much about class on tuesday. In fact, I don’t really remember much about tuesday at all. Well other than the teacher playing the song Jesus is alright with me. And I seem to remember two bunnies being involved  in a Youtube video. Oh, and the teacher was wearing a shirt that said real men love bunnies.

But I don’t really remember much about the material. I think we were going on about capitalism, its inherent inequalities, and I imagine we talked about the production and ownership of meaning again, and so on  and so forth. I think some guy in class tried to argue for capitalism, because he felt it was starting to be painted in too harsh a light.

Really, it seems to me that we have been saying the same thing over and over again for a few classes now. Capitalism, in order to survive, must use hegemonic methods to continuously reinforce its ideology. It does so mostly in this consumer society through the mass media, which in the last century was tightly controlled. The war for the future of capitalism, or of any ideological system in society is done through the imposition of meaning. Now in comes the internet, a strange new force that continues to avoid tight control, and creates a possibility for a wide and more equal debate then we have ever had. Or at least for more voices to be heard.

But I have to wonder, since we are so tightly controlled everywhere else in life, is this freedom we speak of on the internet real, or are we already too closely shaped by the rest of our environment, to the point that we are really merely reflecting back the ideologies we have been taught in our online behavior?

Anyways, we spoke of post-modernism a bit today and he used it to speak about a fragmenting society. But from what I’ve understood of Post-modernist theory the fragmentation has always been there, its just more apparent now a days. Collective meaning only works up to a certain point, because each individual’s past experiences will influence how they perceive or understand any given symbol.

What they are against are meta-narratives, who falsely try to boil down reality to a single ideology that is supposedly “right”. But every ideology has a pit fall, by the simple virtue that meaning is really only what we make it, as it exists within people not objects or the world around us at there will always be multiple meanings possible. and two competing and seemingly opposite ideologies can both be right, depending on the parameters.

All this to say that I feel the teacher was bastardizing, oversimplifying and being a little dismissive of post-modernism today. Its about the subjectivity of reality, which we are just more and more aware of as time moves forwards. Nothing is changing or increasing save our awareness of it.

Well, I have way too much work so,

Adieu.

I never understood the appeal of the Itchy and Scratchy show on the Simpsons until someone  introduced me to these cartoons… And I always end up feeling like a bad person after watching them and finding them funny. It makes me wonder both about the state of today’s society and my own psychological state. But then again, some people think the Saw movies are the best thing ever… At least I only get amusement from the killing of ridiculously cute cartoon animals.

So on Friday’s class we got to talking about feminism. Or at least about the place of women in our society, the reinforcement of patriarchy through the mass media, and briefly mentioned the role of women on the internet. Which was somehow both fascinating and very boring to me.

I hate statistics that compare how many women partake in a certain activity or tendency versus how many men also partake in that same activity or tendency. The teacher mentioned a variety of statistics about gender and the internet, and stated that there were differences, but none of the margins were particularly large one way of the other. Maybe that’s because gender wasn’t a very useful variable to base the analysis on?

We have such an obsession in our society about the difference of gender, that we seek to find, create, and reinforce/overstate those differences at every chance we get. When in reality, gender is not a constant state of being. And I can’t help but feel that this constant search to find the ways in which we differ, or the way that we just take for given that men and women are automatically different and opposing demographics, is hurting us more than it is helping. Why do we continue to put so much importance and emphasis on gender? Why do we continue to make this one of the main axis’s on which we base our identities and those of others around us? These is a fairly large body of work in sociology that sees a fear of gender ambiguity as one of the main causes of homophobia, as well as many of the troubles and conflicts currently taking place between men and women i.e. domestic violence, hatred towards women,etc.

All this to say that as a woman myself, and as a feminist, I hate being pigeon holed into statistics with other women, solely because I am a woman. That’s just not good enough. I am more than my gender.

Girl power doesn’t empower me, it exasperates me.

This isn’t to say that certain statistics that find pronounced differences between genders are wrong. But I believe that the differences found have infinitely more to do with our socialization process of differentiation  then with anything remotely genetic. And if we were all raised in a society that promoted the same attitudes and values in both men and women, that the difference margins between genders would greatly disappear.

Everyone is born with certain genetic dispositions in their character. But it has yet to be proved that those dispositions actually correlate with gender. I think it is more accurate to say that those dispositions are particularly strong in certain individuals and will remain strong regardless of gender and upbringing, and that for the rest of us, they are either encouraged or discouraged to develop in us depending on our particular socialization.

Well, I have some marketing homework to do now,

So I bid you adieu!

Heeeeeelloooo out there!

I considered adding a written echo effect to that intro, but I’m feeling a little too lazy this morning.

It’s taking a lot out of me, just to write anything on my blog this week. In good part probably because I have a lot of other projects coming up right now, so I’m focusing more on that work, rather than on some of my New Media readings.

Well there is one interesting thing that I thought I could mention. The teacher keeps talking about our fair use rights when dealing with copyrighted materials, and how we have certain rights when it comes to using it to make parodies, etc. But with a quick internet search, it turns out that we have no such rights in canadian copyright laws. Instead, we have what are called fair dealing laws, which actually give us far less freedom when it comes to the use and manipulation of copyrighted materials.

Luckily though, it would appear that these laws have about as much bite as the laws that deal with music and video downloading and sharing, and therefore very rarely if never actually inconvenience the population at large.

Well I have other classes to attend,

till next time, Adieu.

So I get the feeling I’m going to be seeing a lot of marx, or at least his academic followers for the second half of the semester… just a feeling…

Not that that is a bad thing. This is the part of media studies and communications that I really start to get into. Ideological conflict studies are my favorites, cause it is really never just black or white and I love complex thoughts and puzzles. And concidering this is going to be directly applied to mass behaviours and popular culture, that just makes it all the more fun, cause those sujects really fascinate me.

It is also going to be kind of weird for me this semester. I’m also taking a lot of business classes this semester: financing in the arts, Art org. administration. organizational behavior, and last but certainly not least marketing. I feel kinda like I’m permanently trapped between two ideologies or points of views this semester. Because on the one side I’m seeing how organizations approach and view marketing, the media, the population, and their relationship with these factors. And on the other side, I’ve got communications and media studies critiquing organizations and their roles and relationships to the media.

Needless to say, the points of views that I’m seeing this semester don’t match up the same when trying to explain the roles and wills or corporations. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure which side of the story is actually closer to the truth.

We talk a lot about how corporations limit our choices and regulate consumers and our culture. And yet from  marketings point of view, companies are merely doing whatever they can to best satisfy the customer, and are only reflecting back in their efforts those values which are already very strong and pre-existent in the consumers. In other words, communications says companies dictate consumer thought, but marketers are taught to be dictated by consumer thought. It is really starting to sound like one of those chicken egg stories. Maybe the real problem isn’t corporations or really any one actor in the system, but that capitalism and  the mass media, as it stands today, has created a truly self perpetuating system of mass group think.  “I was only doing it cause you were doing it.” “you were following our values? but we were only following your values!”

It’s hard to think objectively about our own culture and to really take a step back to examine it with truly neutral eyes. And because we are all increasingly sharing the same culture with such mass distribution of cultural artifacts and meanings. I wonder if it might actually be becoming harder as our cultures slowly meld together in some incredible patchwork quilt.

Anyways, I’m rambling, there isn’t really a point at this point…

On another subject, I might start to get picky if he keeps bringing up the music industry. I feel like the situation is a lot more complex economically and structurally that he has let on so far. Having taken a music industry, music marketing, and introduction to entertainment law class, I’m a bit of a music nerd and not easily impressed by generalizations. Some people, especially at labels are truly hurting because of illegal down loading. Those people aren’t really the artists though for the most part. They just like to say that because it’s easier to feel bad for the artists then it is to feel bad for the labels after years of putting both us the consumers, and the artists through the ringer.

Not to say that artists can’t make a lot of any money from record sales, but the brunt of it does go back to the label, and a lot of CDs have to be sold before the artist sees a penny from it. Which is why more and more artists are heading back to the road more seriously, where they get a much bigger cut of the profits, both for performance and merch sales. And this side of the music industry is booming. The record industry, not so much.

Well, my fingers are cold. I think I’m going to go turn the heat up in the house now. Adieu!

Hello yall!

Alright so, after my last mid-term on thursday afternoon my brain  all but shut down and went into a much needed auto-pilot mode. Seriously, this is the second day in a row that I’ve slept for twelve hours and I just started to feel like myself again yesterday. I even have a canker. what am I like 8?

Anyways, so that explains the lack of postage in the second half of last week and I guess I’ll just have to post three times this week to make up for it. Not that there is that much to post since it’s reading week and I have no classes.

Man that’s nice to write. I have no classes. I have no classes. I have no classes. I. Have. No. Classes. Now if only the left over adrenaline and stress in the pit of my stomach would just go ahead and dissipate already and I’d be all good.

So the teacher seems to now be at a point where he has started to recycle his t-shirts. Or maybe charlie brown is really his alter ego and we just haven’t realized it yet…. hmmm…

Looking back on my project I only have one regret. When I started this school year, I gave myself one goal. To include Dragon Ball Z in one of my projects. And an essay on fanfiction that even mentions Slash fanfiction would have been a near ideal opportunity. But it just didn’t seem to be working, so sad. So I’ll just include a picture I found on the internet that I’m really fond of, that I feel really captures the essence of the rivalry between two of the main characters Goku and Vegeta. It will have to do for now, there is always next semester.

Now to catch up on my readings, I had to slack off for a while in order to do all the readings for my documentary. In which I apparently use too many big words. I get the teachers point, and I think he’s probably quite right given the medium, even if the piece  was directed towards an” informed professional” audience. But this is definitely the first time I get into trouble for having too big a vocabulary. I’d kind of like to think my english teachers would be proud. It’s this dang university education ;P : you get used to so many big words in all the texts we read that you come to assume that this level of english is normal.

Well, I’m now going to either do something very productive, or I’m going to go read mangas online…

till next time, Adieu!

YAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

the editing is now complete and my video has been exported onto my computer.

I. AM. DONE.

… (Alright so I still have to create a youtube channel to put the video on, write a description and make an official bibliography….. but that just doesn’t count.)

So I’m going to go and get back to studying for my organizational behavior class now. Or maybe I’m going to go rent a really bad “B” action movie a la Jet Lee… I’m just not sure yet.

Or maybe, just maybe, this calls for a quiet night of fanfiction reading ;p

P.S. the picture on top is in honnor of our teacher’s Tom Cruise-esk ways last class, standing up on the 3rd row desks, Yelling at the class “It’s the end of the world.” FYI Tom Cruise creeps me out. It’s the only reason  that the movie “Interview with the vampire” is scary to me…

Well, I have to say that yesterday’s class was interesting.

And not just because of the christmas bat song…

I have to admit, that of all the theories that I’ve been exposed to since starting at the University of Ottawa, if there was one that I had to pledge academic allegiance with, it would have to be postmodernism.

I like questions with no singular answer, and when we start delving into the realm of the self, the authentic and the real, we start to get to some of the most  basic concepts of humanity and the most strongly debated. I mention postmodernism because it rejects the idea of metanarratives, which in turn means it rejects the idea of there being one single definition or meaning to any of these terms. Which to me is how it should be. Concepts, definitions and meanings, are merely collective understandings and exist within humans, not the outside world, and so they will forever be changing and transforming to suit our needs or interpretations of reality.

Anyways, that’s become my personal philosophy when approaching Communications and who knows, it may change in time, and that’s alright. But for now, I’m truly enjoying the idea of perpetual uncertainty and endless redefinitions. I know as humans we are supposed to naturally search out and appreciated stability and continuity. But I kind of like the idea of their being  no “real” answer.

Like some who like to stare out into the night sky and feel insignificant, I like to look into the world and structures of meaning around me, and know that my “truth” is no more accurate of permanent than anyone else’s “truth”. Makes life more interesting, ya know?

So I’ve been working on defining my proposal and my thesis statement for The Research Project, and I’m getting somewhere, but I’m still not really sure where that is. I’ve come up with a list of all the major themes I’ve come across when reading essays about fanfiction, and the different angles that people have approached it with. And I’ve sort of figured out which ones relate to each other and seperated it into a few major categories for discussion.

But I’ve been killing myself, asking over and over again, what does it mean? trying to find a personal take on the subject that hasn’t already expertly been said by Henry Jenkins. That man is a gold mine and I still haven’t even read Textual Poachers. Although, for the amount that it is quoted, I already feel like I have.

Basically, I have what I feel is a strong introduction for my subject, I know which major elements of this phenomena I want to discuss, but there is still something missing. Like I have all of my supporting arguments, but I’m still not sure exactly what it is they are supporting…

I think I might need a sounding board, or maybe a decent conversation with the teacher. Things always become easier to understand as you talk them out…

Anyways, I’ve got 3 more library books, maybe one of them has the answer…going to go read them now.

Till next time, I bid you Adieu!

So today’s class was taught by charlie brown…

It’s moments like this morning’s lecture, while watching Myspace butt rape girl’s and Starwars guy’s youtube videos, that I remember how lucky I am that none of my closest friends have more than a casual interest in audio or visual recording devices.

Also, that neither of my parents are tech-savvy enough to think to post any of my childhood memories up online. Like say … my first and only ballet recital, where I’m undeniably caught on tape shoving the girl in front of me, who apparently wasn’t moving fast enough for my tastes. (fyi, that’s also the day of my first documented eye roll at my mother. I was such an adorable 4 year old apparently…)

I guess the point I’m trying to make, is that although I enjoy watching the pain and suffering of others online as much as the next person, 10,000 views just doesn’t seem like a very fair price for my dignity.

And I have to wonder, given that we all have specific legal rights concerning our identity, and the use of footage of our selves or likeness, if someone films us without our permission and puts it online, and this footage hurts our reputation, could we not theoretically sue that person for use of likeness without permission, or defamation of character. Especially if the footage has been altered in any way…

Anyways, the weekend is here and I have lots of reading about fanfiction to do… rather than fanfiction reading, which is usually far more enjoyable, but you never know, the academics may surprise me. I’ve started to have some ideas about how I want to structure my video, and I’ve got all these images in my head. Whether or not I’ll be technically savvy enough to pull it off is yet to be seen…

Till next week,

I bid you adieu.