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.