Friday, April 4, 2008

The Obsession of Gaming

From Nintendo to PlayStation to xbox, we live in a world where gaming is it's own sport. It's a competitive addiction, one which some people can't sifter the line between reality and virtual existence.

Living in a time where technology is pretty much one of the most prevalent parts of our society, it's hard to break away from the thought of hardly using media at all. But what happens when we go from daily use to obsession? Video games are a perfect example of society's inability to just live a normal life and can cause us to become overly dependent on different mediums. I recently have been discussing one of the most popular video games "Halo", with several friends of mine who are big fans of it. Some of the responses I've received are almost scary. People will stay up until the wee hours of the morning specifically because they cannot bring themselves to shut off the game. "One more level" becomes 3 more and the vicious cycle continues.

I have witnessed similar situations involving online poker playing. You no longer have to go to the casino, you can bring it right to your own computer. This is when online gaming can become very dangerous. People stop leaving there houses and remain indoors for hours on end because they are obsessed with the idea of winning or beating out other players. Even if money isn't involved, the gaming can still get out of control very easily.

People who get too emotionally involved with their video games are at high risk of losing connection to the outside world. Getting so wrapped up in a virtual world, they can begin to feel as though they are truly the character their playing. Of course some people don't get that attached to the thought of "being" the character but in some cases just can't seem to shut off their game system.

It's a pretty crazy situation when you think about it. I personally can't imagine getting so addicted to a game that I'd rather stay in all night meeting people on the web who are totally enthrawled with a world that doesn't exsist. It's a pretty scary thought that some really dont want to cross out of a made up world back into the real one.

Barely Political

I was doing some research when I came across a you tube video called "political sex scandals". At first I figured it was probably pretty stupid but I realized that there were several videos being posted by this user group called barelypolitical. I'm unsure of its popularity and publicity but I basically came to see it was a site that mocks political issues through fake news.

Previous to this class I never really paid attention to fake news and such, I didn't even really understand it at first. What I like about this user group is they take relative stories from the election and create music videos that are hilarious and also provide some information, of course its not always true.

A lot of these videos are pretty intense though, they definitely push the limits of what could be shown on television. I mean a music video about political sex's a bold statement. I noticed a lot of the videos happen to be in favour of Obama and very opposing to Hilary Clinton, now whether or not there is reason behind it I'm not really sure.

One video I thought was great was of this kid, he can't be any older then 11 and he's singing to the tune of a popular song that's out right now called "Hey there Delilah" but the titles been changed to "Hey there Obama". Its definitely worth listening to, not only for it's comedy but its actually a pretty clever song.

I may be totally out of the loop and this site may be really popular already. I think it's for sure a very interesting idea and it should definitely be getting more coverage than I have seen in the media.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I really loved this course, It was interesting, informative and I always left class saying "wow". I'm still confused about some things and I don't know if I'll ever really understand everything we discussed in class, but at least I know I'm leaving with a bunch of knowledge that I'm actually excited to tell people about.

I get pretty hyped up about some of the things we've talked about in class. After our lecture on culture jamming I went home and definitely sent some images to my dad that were similar to the visuals Ian showed us in class. He responded not all that interested but he was happy that I was enjoying what I was studying. See when I hear about all these crazy ad schemes and fake news and stuff, even though it's new and challenging I love hearing about it. I feel like I've grown to love and hate a lot of the aspects that go into different kinds of media, but I also know that's part of learning about it.

This probably isn't the best thing to be proud of but I seriously think I could sell a lot of products to these people who buy into all this pop culture. I feel like I've gained a lot of knowledge that I could use to help corporations such in unsuspecting buyers. But of course this is just me thinking out loud about how fun I think it really would be to go into advertising.

I hope that my media studies career doesn't end here though. I think the University really should think about starting a program for students to major in Media studies, I personally think a lot of people would be pretty interested in it.

"Sexploitation"- selling sex vs sex sells

This video is amazing. It's known that sex sells, but I never really thought of the difference between selling sex vs sex sells. The images used in this piece were not only well chosen but very powerful, it's easy to draw someone in to this video, especially females because a lot of women do want to be seen as sexy, so it speaks to them.

I think what our culture is missing is being sexy doesn't mean you need to be promiscuous. Yes you can go out to bars and dress in skimpy outfits and you'll get attention from guys, but it's not the attention you truly want. It's like one night stands, you wonder if people wake up next to someone they don't know in the morning and even really care what they persons like. All they really think about is that they got lucky. Women shouldn't have to resort to promiscuity just to get men to look at them.

I think the reason sex sells so well is because our bodies/minds are such that when they see picture depicting passion there are sexual thoughts that obviously trigger endorphins. Were programed to react in certain ways when we see these images. It's the same concept as smoking for instance, if your a smoker and you see someone having a cigarette most smokers would light up right away. Or say you have an addiction to gambling, try walking through a casino without being tempted. Our bodies and minds like guilty pleasures, I mean writing about it I can now really understand why women and men are portrayed the way they are in the media. It may not always be done in the best fashion but sex clearly sells, and people are shopping.

Commercializing Happiness

I think this ad is hilarious. You start off with an image of this run down woman, clearly distressed, just broke a heel, she's obviously having one of those "bad days". Don't worry all she needs to improve her life is a VISA card. After her makeover, new clothes and a quick song her life is perfect. Ignore the fact that she may not actually have the funds to afford this new look and apparent "new life". Where in this 30 second commercial is them showing a clip of her ignoring the collection agencies numerous calls about her unpaid bills?

I just find commercials these days are so manipulative and use brainwashing as a marketing technique. I want to call up visa and say "I bought a new pair of shoes using my visa card but there was no dance number and certainly no group of hot men carrying me from store to store." I'd probably make some accusation of false advertisement because although I applied for my VISA card and I use it all the time, I'm no where near as happy as this woman.

Why is it that after buying all these products to firm up, make smooth, DE-tangle and slim-down, I'm still not happy with my appearance? I should look exactly like the image on the front of Vogue shouldn't I? I did everything the article said to, I even left the hair color in for 15 minutes longer just to make sure all the grey hair was gone!

The best is when they use famous actors and actresses to help endorse their products. I mean you see Tiger Woods shaving with a certain type of razor and the first thing that pops into your head is, "well if it's good enough for Tiger Woods, then it has to be good" I'm sure the dumbest thing one can think is that it will make them a better golf player, which I'm sure subconsciously people think about. Now question how much money Tiger Woods got paid for that advertisement, I can't even begin to guess.

It's all about the money and who endorses your products. The ads make sure you know that even if your hideous, their product will give you that extra push into making you just about the prettiest woman in the world.

Barbie: Friend or Foe?

Blonde, outgoing, skinny, big chest, big blue eyes, Ken......jealous? Don't worry we live in the 21st century! All you need is bleach, cocaine, a severe case of anorexia, implants and contacts. Oh, and a sugar daddy named Kennith to buy you all this. This is who I grew up idolizing? A ditsy plastic tramp, who can only shop and tan. I don't think I know one girl who didn't own one and one guy who didn't want to sleep with her.

I question my mothers parenting skills, because I can still go into my basement and take out the 3 boxes FILLED with Barbie and her accessories. The dream home, the mini-van, all her friends, I have everything. And for some reason I can't bring myself to get rid of it, I hold it pretty close to my heart because Barbie, as much as we hate her, was every little girls best friend.

Barbie was the stencil that started what the media now shows to be perfection and beauty. The spitting image of Barbie today is none other than the heir to the Hilton fortune, Paris Hilton. She is all over the news, in magazines, on websites, and I'm sure she will eventually have an actual replica of herself made into a doll soon enough. Our perception of the "ideal" woman is unbelievable, I would never let my child bring home a doll that says "Let's grab our credit cards and hit the mall!" I mean yes there was "teacher barbie" and "Doctor barbie" but am I the only one who noticed how short those skirts were? This basically means, if she really is "Dr. Barbie", even after graduating med school, when she bends down to pick up her prescription pad were still going to be seeing a little more than just a waiting room!

But in all honesty, is this really the role model we want our future kids to look up to? Things aren't getting any better if you have seen the dolls being sold lately? They're hip, they're cool! And they are called "Bratz", great my future children are going to idolize something called Bratz? Why can't they come out with "Study galz" dolls or "Respectful Teenz" you can sell anything to kids if marketed right. I mean I looked up to Barbie and I turned out OK... well... maybe I just wont have kids. :)

pro-life, pro-choice

It's a difficult topic, but it's one I feel should be touched on in regards to media coverage on abortion. In regards to the pro-life picture this is VERY delicate compared to some of the images I have seen. A few weeks ago there was a group of people supporting pro-life in the University center, I am all about one's own opinion but it was getting rather intense, a situation I really didn't want to be a part of. People were ripping down posters of aborted fetuses and writing "PRO-CHOICE" over them.
These posters are forms of media but I don't feel like they are really fair. I personally am pro-choice, and the reason I feel this way is if they can show pictures of the aborted children and call it murder, where are all the pictures of the messed up children who are addicted to crack or left in orphanages due to abandonment? I personally believe everyone should choose for themselves how they should handle a situation.
If media is going to be involved in issues like this, which it always will be, people need to step up and speak freely but at the same time use some caution. They automatically label those pro-choice as murderers, and those pro-life "god's angels". It's a very sensitive topic, and the way the media handles it, in no way reflects the actual emotional issues people are facing inside.
It's strictly black and white. "Bad" vs "good"

Stereotypes in the media

Whenever you turn on the television to watch a show or the news or even just to browse, everywhere there is some form of racial or personality stereotypes looking back at you. Recently I was watching the news and a story came on about a young black male who was shot. A neighbour of the boy's family was speaking about how before his identity had been released he had just assumed the shooting had been gang related because the boy in question was black. This is a very typical scenario, it was eventually discussed that the boy was not in fact a member of a gang but simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why is it that we automatically assume a shooting involves gangs, or more specifically a gang of young black males.

Since 9/11 anyone wearing a turban in an airport is automatically suspected by many people to be a terrorist. People don't tend to say these things allowed but the judgment is still there, because we see and hear about it everyday.

I found that since coming to university stereotyping on campus is just as prevalent as it is on say a high school/college TV series. People assume that if you have dreadlocks and play the guitar while burning incense, you're a pothead. If you wear designer clothes and accessories to class, you're a snob. If you spend most evenings in the library studying, you're an antisocial nerd.
We think these things because we've grown up watching these "typical" people being portrayed on television. Now, needless to say some of these people do fall under there "designated categories" but if you actually go up and talk to them a lot of them are nothing like they seem.

The media needs to stop telling us whats appropriate and considered cool. That's never going to happen but we as a community should speak out against racial and personality stereotypes on campus, this isn't high school anymore and cliques aren't important, people should just be themselves and everyone should learn to embrace that.

Absolute-ly disrespectful

Now, understandably this is meant to be a joke. I however find all these images disturbing and disrespectful. I know that with things like this you're not really meant to take them to heart, however my sister just recently celebrated being 4 months sober and images like this make me sick. I still don't really understand why people get such pleasure out of others issues/misery. I may be one of only a few who get turned off by these pictures but the fact of the matter is they aren't funny. People DO die everyday from excessive liver damage, people DO get admitted to AA for abusing alcohol.

I think culture jamming for me is effective only if whatever is being mocked doesn't have a direct affect on my life. I tend to take things pretty seriously and I'm not really one to kept quiet when I get upset or feel attacked. As offended as I am by these pictures, they really did make me think, and I'm sure many people would see them and be affected by there message.
I just don't know if this is "good culture jamming" or just spoofing an ad. It almost confuses me and makes me want to change opinions every 5 minutes. It's frustrating that once I have a really strong opinion on something, it starts to change the more I think and learn about it. I can never keep a straight answer when I'm talking about the media because there are so many angles one can interpret.

Digital Scent Technology

So apparently this development isn't ALL that new but, I only found out about digital scent technology recently. Basically the idea is to bring people into a new "reality" by a heightening ones media experience through their senses.

The whole concept is fundamentally meant to enhance ones experience while watching TV, listening to music, gaming or browsing the Internet. It can be used to enhance a character, put one in a different atmosphere, establish season, place, emotion etc.

Why I think it's a good idea is besides the fact that it would be really cool to experience something like this but also the possibility for promotion of products is huge. I mean say I'm sitting in my living room watching TV and a McDonald's commercial comes on...not only do I visually crave that picture of a large fry but imagine if I could smell it! Have you ever driven by a McDonald's and been able to smell the food from your car, I know I've pulled through the drive-thru more than once because of it.

Its a really cool idea I think, I mean it might be kinda weird at first and there would obviously have to be restrictions to what smells were allowed and which aren't, but it's definitely a system I'd like to try for myself.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The revolution of beauty

Watch the top clip first then the bottom


I've only seen the real Dove advertisement before and after researching it a little I came across what I believe to be a phenomenal form of culture jamming. Personally, I think they are both amazing. I believe I am a very open minded person, and in saying that I think to help other people do the same both advertisements should be played together.Our perception of beauty IS flawed. To many people, the image of this man dressed as a woman is beautiful. I think this would be such a controversial ad and the reactions would be very interesting,different and I think ranging from inspired to insulted. If you compare the two ads, they are exactly the same. Besides the fact that one is of a woman and one is of a man becoming a woman. Why is it that when we see the ad of the woman being transformed into this picture perfect model we say "oh man, that's messed up" and just go back to watching TV. But if the other ad came on television I bet you would be getting a few phone calls to the network that was airing it. I would love for Dove to put their name on that billboard as part of their "campaign for beauty". "Drag Queens can be pretty too" -Dove
Its messed up. If these ads show anything its that we live in a totally edited world. We know about airbrushing and that we can eliminate red eye! It makes me pretty nauseous to think about how often we forget that people aren't perfect. Now, kudos to Dove because they must have gotten more than a few fans after the campaign for beauty ads. No offence to dove, I think it's probably bullshit. They know how to market a product, it's what advertising is all about. When Dove gets the guts to air this other version of a similar ad (although they didn't create it) I will re-post with praise.

Do I control my media...or does my media control me?

I have to say that I think it's a constant battle between the two. I personally know I try to keep myself separate from whats considered "cool". I didn't buy into ugg boots, I don't own an ipod, I don't read US weekly/perez and I can go a whole day without using my cell phone. Which is more than I can say for most of my friends. I do feel however that just because I'm not involved in the popular forms of media It still manipulates me in many ways. What I find with this media course is anything that's thrown at me I tend to believe...which is very gullible of me but I don't know any better. I just assume people aren't lying and I'm just being given all this information I never knew before. Then I'm told the actual truth and I feel like an idiot for trusting all this false information.
I control the amount of media within my own house or car by picking up the remote or turning on my radio but one thing that seems kinda weird is I've been able to manage this entire semester without my own computer. I use to spend hours on my computer every day, for no reason at all just browsing. I found that because of this I've been going back to old methods of sending letters home, which makes me feel pretty good. But since not having 24/hr access to a computer in my place I have been able to step away from things like facebook for long periods of time which gives me a sense of realism again...because lets face it facebook is NOT real life. Real life is conversing face to face. You know people are going to read/stalk your wall so how can anyone be real, you adjust your posts so other view you in the way you want.
Then I think about how often I see ads and billboards that I glance at and automatically think mmm, I kinda want that, so I just contradict my beliefs of not conforming to pop culture. What do you do though when something you truly like is considered "following the trends"? I don't know whether to give in and be seen as a sheep...or give up what I want to try and be different.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A race to the bottom

I was thinking about what was said in class on Monday about how we desire to look/be different than others in attempt to out do one another. Then when Ian said he went to french all boys catholic school...I think that was it, I got thinking about my own school experience previous to University.

I went to an all girls Anglican school. I spent kindergarden to graduation there and up till about a year ago I thought it had given and taught me all I needed to know to succeed in the outside world.
"Promises the future by invoking the past in the present." My school did just that. They pride themselves on single sex education being the best possible way for women to learn and go far in life. They would reference back to how hard it was for women to succeed in a "mans world" and made sure we knew we could do anything and everything we wanted. ---we weren't even allowed to wear pants! apparently it took away from our feminism.

Now coming to university I was confronted by a huge social change...I realized I had been living in a bubble. It's Ironic that I felt like I could totally be myself all through my school career when actually it was the complete opposite. I looked like everyone else!
the "Rules, Regulations and Respect" of my school:
-no pants, shirts tucked in, kilt length was highly enforced, no piercings, cant chew gum or smoke in uniform even if off campus, no nail polish and on and on...
I was conforming to the ideal student and never knew any different.

My favourite high school story is about my friend, she got her nose pierced graduating year because she felt as though it wasn't a huge was a tiny stud. First day she had it she was called to the vice principals office, needless to say she was told to take it out. Her response was that she was Hindu (which she very obviously wasn't) and it was part of her religion. She questioned why all the other girls who were Hindu didn't have to remove their nose rings. After about 3 weeks of threats and fights they gave up because you cant prove what someones religion is at all. (slightly off topic but it reminded me of our talk about rejecting one culture and embracing another)

I basically just wanted to do a reflective response on competitive consumption, because I went to a school were everything was the same. I never really felt that pressure to conform to be better then anyone else, and coming to university all I can say isI kinda want my uniform back.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Manipulation in the Media

So I started reading "The Death of Media" today and I have to say I am somewhat concerned with my lifestyle. Not that I conform to everything that is seen as "hip or trendy" but that I watch so much television I can't remember if I actually like something or just think I like it due to constantly being told whats cool. I have always known that television is designed to maximize profits as Schechter states but their goal to distract away from this realisation has truly gotten hold of me. It's like infomercials...we're told they are gimmicks that don't work and we all see the "results may vary" in size 8 font at the bottom of the screen but it doesn't change us from believing it.

I honestly never really considered manipulation and seduction to play such a large role commercially. Over the years I have avoided the radio because I don't like being told what songs I am meant to like..however I didn't even think that by watching television I still was being told whats popular, thus what I should be watching. And it's everywhere, I try to pride myself on not conforming to the fashions of today but it's not always easy to go shopping and not end up with something that's considered part of today's trends.

One other thing that actually I find kind of disturbing is how by reading books like this I feel like I'm discovering that I've been lied to for my whole life. I've always known that "TV markets culture" but never sat and thought about it. Then in class I hear about Facebook and how deceiving it is, and being told it's like being under surveillance...and you conform to who you "wish you were" not who you are. It makes me sick, and anxious. I went home and really contemplated deleting my account because I felt almost violated.

My issue is I trust anyone who in my opinion is smarter and knows more about subject than I do...I never feel like I know the truth though because so many people have so many opinions. I'm really intrested now about the manipulations and issues about mass media because I feel less isolated from what truly going on behind the curtain.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

Hey there,
just wanted to write about a few thoughts I had following today's lecture/discussion

Watching the short clip from "Being John Malcovich" and our discussion of Inter-texuality, it really got my mind spiraling around the idea of how often I link one thing to another subconsciously. Like prof. Reilly said, it basically just happens because our brain links things to what we already know. When we started the clip and I saw the small door behind the filing cabinet, the first thing I thought of was "Alice in Wonderland" and how her adventure took her down the Rabbit hole to this little door at the end of a hallway, which like the character in "Being John Malcovich" she had a strong desire to go through. Then the door is opened and all you can see is this dark tunnel which looked identical to the Rabbit hole in "Alice" so that sparked my initial link. I then travelled from "Rabbit Hole" to "The Matrix" as Morpheus explains to Neo how going into the Matrix was going "down the rabbit hole". The Matrix in turn is based on a huge advancement in technology as the whole story is set in a computer like world, so that has a direct relevance in the sense that we are studying media.
I'm interested to know what Inter-textual thoughts or ideas struck other people after seeing this short piece of film.

I also wanted to add a quick indirect comment about the topic of discussion about Gay and Lesbian people not being allowed to donate organs...I never heard anything about this till today, and I wanted to agree with what Christine said in the sense that, why did no one get to vote for or debate this issue. Every year I see all this publicity for the yearly "Marijuana March" and people arguing to make pot legal. And the publicity for these events are everywhere, TV, Internet, Facebook, Newspaper... If THIS is what were taking our time to protest about, It makes me wonder where all the support is for the more important issues. Is there just less coverage on the things that are considered more important?