Friday, December 08, 2006

What Kind Of Media Consumer Am I Now?

Forgive me, but I thought this blog was a stupid, time-consuming homework assignment that was just meant to waste our time. I did not know what I was doing or how to create meaningful blog, so every time I worked on my blog, I just ended up more and more frustrated. Yet, the more I worked, the more I would learn. I constantly read other students’ blogs trying to figure out how to make mine better, and whether my articles are good and meaningful.
I began searching for others’ blogs and continue to read them daily. In addition to reading popular blogs, such as DOOCE, I immensely enjoy reading these student blogs: Mimi Sanouvong, Kelley Lugea, and Jeff Macias. I have definitely enjoyed reading blogs, but not as much as writing them. This assignment has connected me the blogging world, and opened me to new aspects of the media. I am no longer blinded to all the hype in the media. I now notice all of the propaganda in all forms of media, and have noticed that I’m no longer the average audience. I see media in a different light and find myself analyzing it all. But above all, I have learned how to blog! Through blogging, I have been introduced to all sorts of personalities seen through their blogs, whether its formal written blogs or photo blogs. I’m happy to be a blogger. So thank you, Lilly, for getting me into blogging, and I’m sure there will be more to come!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It May Just Leave A Biter Taste...

"It is even better
Now that we’re the same
Two great companies come together
Now, MBNA is B of A

And it’s one bank
One card
One name that’s known all over the world
One spirit
We get to share it
Leading us all to higher standards

[ooohh, mmmm]

Do you like the cowboys?
Or your university?
Do you like the Yankees?
Or is NASCAR more your speed?
Well it’s your choice
Your right
To pick a card that shows
Your heart and your pride

We’re one with affinity
And we’ll carry each other
Carry each other

Have you come to meet Bruce Hammonds
Have you come to meet Leah McGee
Have you heard about Michelle Shepherd
She’s leading the team in the Northeast

And we’ve got Bank One on the run
What’s in your wallet? It’s not Capital One
It’s us, so which card are you?
Integration’s never had us feeling so good
And we’ll make lots of money, forever I can sing
About trusting in teamwork and doing the right thing
We’ll live out our core values
While the competition crawls
‘cause they want what we have got
But it’s only here at Bank of America

One bank
One card
One name that’s known all over the world
One heart , filled with spirit
We feel it, we share it

One bank working everyday
To bring higher standards
Higher standards
We are one, yeah
We are one
We are one bank"

Here are the lyrics regarding the Bank of America spin off song of U2’s “One.” This song was originally intended solely for the Bank of America members at a meeting, but it ended up on YouTube, which caused a huge commotion. Although the video has been taken off of YouTube, I was able to get the general understanding of the commercial through the lyrics. Personally, I think it is really clever. Bank of America came up with an entirely new idea that is completely out of the box. Unfortunately, their competitors were not satisfied with this idea. They felt as if it was a low blow and that Bank of America truly lowered their standards, as well as their morals.
Personally, I think they raised the bar for their competition. They got their message out to the public and it was definitely heard by many. Because of this, they have, not purposely, drawn a drastic measure of attention to their company, in good and bad ways. Many people are in compliance with the competitors, that Bank of America is completely wrong and disgusting for airing this video. But others think that Bank of America is smart for out doing their competition and pushing the limits. Apparently, this video was not meant to be seen by the public, but someone was able to video tape it, and broadcast it on YouTube. Under much speculation, many people are arguing that they were meaning to broadcast this video to the masses, which explains why the video is taped and edited so well.
Whether it was on purpose or accident, the video was aired, the public saw, and there was an uproar, which gives Bank of America even more publicity. In the end, Bank of America is reaping in the rewards, so all I have to say is: Congratulations.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogging Blues

Before this class, I honestly had almost no idea as to what a blog was. At first, the term seemed completely foreign, and so informal. I would occasionally hear people talk about them, but only in professional terms, and I thought it was funny because blog sounds like a completely ridiculous word. Since I did not take them seriously, nor did I really care, I passed them off as being merely social networks in the technical world that had nothing to do with me.
When we started this class and Lilly told us that we were going to be keeping a blog of our own, my jaw dropped and I didn’t even know what to think about this huge task ahead of me. Not only did I have to learn exactly what a blog was, but she was also asking us to be technically savvy with them as well. We were expected to write these seemingly foreign “posts” on this bizarrely named site, called Blogger. “Great,” I thought, “Now I’m going to have to become like one of those computer geeks.”
At first, I was way out in left field in regards to even know where to begin with the blogs. I had no idea how to use the website, was not familiar with any of the terms, was still unsure what a blog was, or what to write. To gain an understanding, I read some other blogs before I began my own. I didn’t learn too much more than I knew, but it helped me begin my first blog. After getting the hang of writing the posts, I now had to update my blog to make it a full-fledged blog that included things such as links and a blog roll. After attempting the daunting task, I decided to seek help from fellow students, whose blogs I envied because mine looked no where near as good and technical as theirs did. Unfortunately, no one was able to help me, so I decided to seek help from the best source I knew for our blogs, Lilly. After a quick office visit, she taught me what I had been struggling to do all semester long! Now with a functioning blog, I finally feel accomplished!
The funny thing is, I never thought I would enjoy blogging as much as I do. I started out hating it, hating other blogs that looked better than mine, and hating to have to write a dumb post for each class. But as time passed, I found myself reading tons upon tons of blogs that had caught my eye. I searched all kinds of blogs, typically photo blogs, as well as daily life blogs, such as DOOCE. I refused to admit to it for a while, but I had become a blogger. Whether it’s my enjoyment for writing, or my fondness of being socially attached to so many people, it has pulled me into the blogging world and that’s all there is to it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the kids jingle belling, and everyone telling you ‘be of good cheer,’ It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s Christmas time everyone! The hustle and bustle of the season started the day after Thanksgiving with all the huge Thanksgiving Day sales. The lines were out the doors and the people were running all over the malls. This crazy attitude will continue through the holidays until a couple weeks after Christmas.
Even though the lines in stores are ridiculous, some people are rude and selfish, and you gain too much weight, it remains my absolute favorite time of the year. Nothing can replace the moods and atmosphere of Christmas time. Not only is there amazing food, people are generous, friendly faces, and great sales, but there are endless piles of presents, Christmas parties, and my favorite, family traditions. But I’ve noticed that family traditions are slowly becoming replaced with other events and unimportant distractions that take away from the personal aspect of the holiday.
I am a stickler for tradition, so it makes me sad to hear that my friends and others are losing touch with the real meanings behind Christmas. Of course, it is about celebrating the religious meaning behind the holiday, but for me, Christmas is about family and the traditions that come along with it. In my family, there is so much meaning and bonding involved in all aspects of Christmas, including picking and decorating the tree, the joy of giving others presents, the family dinner, and singing Christmas carols while drinking homemade hot chocolate. I could not imagine a Christmas without any of those events. Yet, many people replace their family traditions with distractions that take away from their traditions or personal meanings. Its sad that parents now choose to have their children entertain themselves using things such as TV’s, movies, and the computer, to keep them distracted and prevent them from getting in the way of getting ready for holiday. Instead of instilling traditions, they surpass that and take the easy way out. I think traditions, especially during Christmas time, are the most important. Traditions are one of the many things that create the irreplaceable feeling of Christmas. It’s always been and always will be my favorite time of the year and I will forever keep up my family’s holiday traditions alive.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fall into the GAP

As I was doing my Christmas shopping the other day, I couldn’t help but stop into the GAP. The large posters displaying all the big name artists were attractive, and obviously attention grabbing. I was intrigued to come the store because of the artists that were displayed and the cause they were campaigning, also known as their RED campaign.
GAP recently started their RED collection, which supports the fight against AIDS. This campaign has been seen in numerous advertisements, among the top celebrities, and is a gaining widespread popularity. As part of their collection, the GAP is selling red and white shirts, along with all types of clothes and accessories. Each of the basic RED collection t-shirts have a word written on them. These words each end with the word “red.” The most common ones that I have seen are ADMI(RED), INSPI(RED), DISCOVE(RED), and EMPOWE(RED). The GAP shares half the profits with the HIV/AIDS foundation to fight this global catastrophe.
Among the celebrities that are involved in the campaign, some of the biggest stars include Jennifer Garner, Steven Spielberg, Penelope Cruz, Mary J. Blige, and Chris Rock, but U2’s, Bono, remains the primary supporter of this project. As well, there are numerous companies, such as Verizon wireless and Apple, that in compliance with this cause. Even Opera has become involved in the project, which helped promote the line tremendously. This project seems to be very successful and has drawn in much support. It is one of the best campaigns I have seen in a long while, and I am extremely happy to be a part of it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Borat: Funny or Unruly...You decide

I recently watched an entertainment weekly episode and noticed many scandals revolving around the cases that developed from the move Borat. All this controversy convinced me to see the movie. As I watched the movie, I paid close attention to all the controversial issues in the media, as well as other possible controversies. The main one highlighted in the media is the scene in the movie when Borat is dining at a formal dinner with wealthier people, who try to teach him table etiquette. He is learning how to be polite and use manners, but the topics he addresses are racy and often crude. The dinner hosts saw the movie and their portrayal on screen and were offended by the remarks. They are suing the actor Sacha Baron Cohen for ¬his unruly comments ad their depiction on the big screen. Additionally, Baron Cohen is under attack for his anti-Semitic character that makes fun of the country Kazakhstan. He overexaggerate the conditions and people of the country and creates a comical setting.

Borat’s so-called racist and sexist antics have upset the people and officials of Kazakhstan. It is interesting how we use other people’s humility as our humor, but its also interesting that people take it so seriously. All the people in that movie are either made fun of or are acting differently because they are faced with an abnormal situation. Yes, it is understanding that people can feel humiliated on screen, but if they knew that they were going to be on screen, they shouldn’t have signed the contract. The situations are amplified by the movie, but it is typically an everyday occurrence that people are made fun of. I personally thought the movie was funny. I can understand how it can be demeaning, but sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Not Everyone's Pirating

A few weeks ago, we discussed music piracy in class and hot it is becoming increasingly popular. It has become a popular thing among our society. We hear a song that we like, want to have a copy of it, but as good as it is, we are not willing to pay for the entire album. Why pay for the whole album, when we only like one song, and we have the sources to get that one song for free? This is the mindset of most people in our society today, which is a reason music companies and artists continue to lose sales. Yet as easy as this piracy is and how common it has become, I learned this past weekend that a few people still have enough respect to support the music industry. The Brand New album is coming out Tuesday, November 21 and has been highly anticipated. One of my friends was fortunate enough to buy a copy of the album early through some connections. As we listened to the new album, I fell in love with all the songs. It’s like nothing they’ve ever done before and a total original sound. It was amazing, so naturally, I asked my friend to burn me a copy of it. To my surprise, he said no. He appreciates their music and thought that it is so good that he wants everyone to buy the album in support. He didn’t want to make any copies because he wanted the band to succeed with their hard work. Although I was shocked with this response, because everyone these days is more than willing to burn copies, I thought it was extremely respectful. Obviously, there are still people in our society that are honest and want to support the music industry and their favorite bands. There are many ways of supporting the industry, but it is good that people are still willing to support bands in the most effective and responsive way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Long lines for a silly game...

The lines are forming, people are bundling up for the cold nights, the excitements rising and they have their hard earned cash tucked safely away. The reason? Sony’s Playstation 3 is being released throughout the United States and Canada this Friday. It’s already been released in Japan and will provide stiff competition to Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. PS3 was disclosed to the public last May and has been highly anticipated ever since. The people I’ve seen waiting outside of the stores these next few nights prove it. They’re camped out, ready for the cold nights ahead, all for a silly video game console. Apparently, this new unit has all the newest technology and advanced features, and is also worth $499 for the basic unit. For video games?! Outrageous, I know. Yet, it seems that people are willing to pay almost any price for the “best” video game consoles and games. But as can be expected, a newer system will be hitting the stores, likely within the next year. It fathoms me why people will spend so much money on these systems, not to mention all the pricey games that can only be used on that new console as well. So why spend so much on something that is essentially useless within a year? Then again, I’m not a gamer, so I guess it’s something that I will never understand.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is it really the REAL OC?

Once again, I found myself sitting in front of my T.V. watching my guilty pleasure, Laguna Beach. It has become a weekly ritual: every Wednesday night, a few girls and I grab some snacks and gather around the T.V. as we tune into the newest drama and gossip that surrounds the town of Laguna. We watch the reruns of last week’s episode, absorb the latest hookups of this week, and anticipate the new drama of the weeks to come.
Yet, as I watch this show, I think back to my high school days, and do not recall as much drama and backstabbing as the characters exhibit on the show. So then I began to wonder: Is this really the “real” Orange County? How much of this “reality T.V.” show is fake? The people are real and the drama is normal, but how much of that drama is over exaggerated and the situations set up by the producers of the show? Obviously, Laguna Beach has attracted millions of viewers, but the drama shown and the messages that are being relayed to the public are not as real as they seem. After watching season 1 on DVD, the behind the scene footage revealed that there were many times when the produces set up scenarios for conflict, or gave the characters topics to discuss while being filmed. It’s funny how it can be portrayed as real drama, yet in reality, a lot of it is set up. Reality T.V. can be a tricky thing. It is hard to decipher the actual reality of the show from the fake. So in the end, while watching these “reality T.V.” shows, we must take it with a grain of salt and recognize that it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

CW on gift cards?

I was eating dinner the other night and was looking at all of the pamphlets that were on the table. Most consisted of specialty drinks and delicious looking desserts, but there was one standing up that captured my attention. On each side of this three-sided stand up ad, there were pictures of all the main characters from the popular shows on the new CW network. Next to each of the pictures were pictures of the new gift cards that you can buy for the restaurant. The gift cards were being used as a promotional tool for the CW network because you could choose which character you want to appear on the gift card in order to personalize it. I thought it was a clever idea to promote the shows that were being moved to the new network from the WB and UPN on something that numerous people use. Personally, I would be more apt to buy a gift card with Chad Michael Murray’s picture on it than a plainly decorated piece of plastic. This idea not only helps sell the gift cards, but draws attention to the change of networks and the shows that are now being aired on it. It’s a good publicity stunt because it’s not only advertising for the CW network, but it also appeals directly to the consumers, which in turn, favors the restaurant. So in the end, everyone wins!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Congratulations Chevy Competitors!!

I would like to start out by saying congratulations to Anna, Kelly, and LouLou for making it so far in the Chevy Ad competition. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that we are extremely proud of them, and happy that they have represented our school so well.

I have kept up with all of the daily postings made on Lilly’s blog. Because we have people from our own school involved in this competition, it makes the whole event more captivating. Due to this, I, for one, am far more interested in this competition, than I would have been if I didn’t have some form of connection to the competitors.

I am also extremely anxious to watch the reality show that was being filmed during the contest to air on CBS. I think it will give people a chance to see what really happens behind the scenes of commercials and how the ideas are conceived and proposed. Additionally, I believe people will take these contests far more seriously after seeing this show. At the beginning, I just thought this was another silly campaign to get students to do the work for them, and nothing would really come of it. But after reading all the blogs, I realize there is so much hard work, creativity, as well as excitement involved in the whole process.

This is an extremely exciting time for these three students and a great opportunity for San Jose State to finally make it on the national scale. I cannot wait to watch the show, and am even more excited to see who won. I’m sure the commercial that airs will be great, whether it’s our team or another, but either way, I’m proud of team SJSU’s accomplishments! So on a final note, I would like to congratulate Anna, Kelly, and LouLou one last time and I am greatly anticipating the finale to this great story!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Big Game Advertisements

Super Bowl Sunday: two teams, thousands of fans, one stadium. The media coverage is phenomenal and the game can be extremely intense. The half time show is entertaining, and can often times takes unexpected turns (Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”). Yet, as enticing as all this is, there is only one thing about the Super Bowl that has become the most anticipated aspect of the game: the commercials. Over the years, these 30-second clips have essentially changed the way of advertising. One of the most surprising factors of the commercials, are the continuously increasing prices. According to a CNN article , a 30-second commercial spot for the 2006 Super Bowl cost anywhere from $2.5 million to $2.6 million, which is a new record high. As high as these prices rise, companies will seemingly always be willing to pay for their ads to be aired. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events on television all year, therefore, it is a wise investment for companies to partake in.
The commercials attempt to be informational, yet the more creative, and humorous the commercials are, the more effective they are to the consumers. Super Bowl advertising seems to have a greater affect on the viewers if the commercial is extremely appealing. Super Bowl commercials keep the fans entertained, yet sometimes the viewers watch the Super Bowl solely for the ads.
The commercials are talked about for days after the Super Bowl and hold high standards for future ads. Surprisingly, the game is slowing taking a back seat to the advertisements that separate the plays.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Billboards: Smart or Simply Distracting?

As I was aimlessly driving around this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice all of the billboards along the side of the road. These displayed advertisements for anything and everything, such as beer (the most common), grocery stores, automobiles, hospitals, and safety. They projected a different message, yet each had one thing in common: the billboards were being used to relay a message to the masses. It is a wise method of advertisement considering the number of people who view these roadside decorations on a daily basis. Whether it is a public safety warning stating “Click it or Ticket” or a brief listing of the reasons to buy Toyota’s 2007 4Runner, they were eye-catching and possibly persuasive.
Yet, the longer I drove, the more I found myself trying to read all the billboards, which became extremely distracting. Although I concluded that this is a wise source of advertisement, I also decided, it could potentially be the most dangerous. The billboards are so attractive and draw in so much attention from people who are supposed to be focusing on driving. Unfortunately, many people are easily distracted and these massive colorful signs are the perfect thing to divert their attention to.
I strongly agree that billboards are a great source of mass media. They are extremely eye-catching, which is very distracting. Therefore, I must ask which is more important: relaying an easily forgotten message, or keeping our protecting our lives by focusing on the road?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

15 Minutes of Fame

As I was changing the channels aimlessly tonight, I could not help but notice all of those unimportant television shows that people subject themselves to. Everything from Fear Factor and Blind Date, to MTV’s Next and Parental Control caught my eye and seem to be taking over the television. It surprises me that people have the time to faithfully watch these irrelevant shows, but the more surprising issue is the fact that people actually apply to be on these shows. There is little to no personal gain from being on these shows, yet so many people are interested in performing the ridiculous acts that are required to appeal to an audience. People are willing to sacrifice their dignity for a chance at their 15 minutes of fame.
Our society revolves around the need for attention and public approval. These shows provide us with the opportunity to be self-absorbed and attain the attention that we desire. The attention can be positive or negative, depending on how is related through the media.
Often times, people try to use these useless shows to boost their career in the entertainment business, yet fall short of achieving their desired recognition.
These insignificant shows provide the opportunities for desperate individuals to showcase their scripted talents. Unfortunately, their 15 minutes of fame quickly expire, leaving them with the same attention seeking predicament they began with.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No Longer Taboo

Television has played a great role in the lives of many Americans for decades. There have been thousands of T.V. aired, yet few made a significant impact on its viewers. There are many important televisions programs, but three stand out among them: All in the Family, I Love Lucy, and Roseanne. These shows touched on issues that Americans typically ignored and brought new light to “unacceptable” ideas. First off, All in the Family was extremely important in terms of addressing racial and political issues. It shows the ideals and opinions of white supremacy during the 1970’s. It depicts racism at its highest point, during the African American movements and suffrage rights. It talks about politics and racism, as well as addresses the major issues in the 70’s. Another important television show is I Love Lucy. This black and white comedy was one of the first shows to promote the idea of biracial relationships. Lucy was white and Ricky was Cuban, and their relationship on and off screen helped convert the American views of interracial relationships. As well, I Love Lucy depicted the power of women and the key roles they play in society. It presented the idea that women were capable or working and managing a family. Roseanne also remains one of the most important television shows. It was one of the first shows to depict the true problems of families in America. It touched on issues such as sex, debt, affairs, unemployment, and numerous other family problems that were often hidden by the public. Roseanne did not show the typical upper class, picketed fence, white American family. It touched on numerous taboo topics of its time and opened the door for other shows relaying the same messages. These three shows have helped shaped our society’s view on certain issues and addressed topics that needed to be recognized. Although there have been numerous important television shows, there are few that have such a major impact.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Man of the Hour

Howard Stern hosts the Howard Stern Show, which is broadcasted daily on Satellite radio. For years, he has filled his show with highly controversial issues, and he never fails to shock people with his brutally honest opinions. Although his show is controversial, he remains one of the highest paid radio personalities and has made a name for himself in the broadcasting industry.
Not knowing a lot about him, I did a little research and found that Howard Stern was elected to Time Magazine’s: The People who shape our world, he is one of the most influential celebrities in the world, coming in at #7 on the Forbes 2006 Celebrity 100. So I began to wonder how a man with such a controversial show can be so influential. After much contemplation, I concluded that he remains so popular because he isn’t afraid to take risks. He addresses issues that are often overlooked and his humor appeals to many people. He is a smart businessman when it comes to the broadcasting world and knowing what the listeners like to hear. Yet, his move from FM to Satellite radio was not a wise decision. Although he has a strong fan base, few were willing to make the move with him, which hurt his ratings. Although he has weaker ratings, his shows filled with unruly humor and contentious topics continue to be popular. He has set a mark in the broadcasting industry and paved the way to a more open-minded audience. Howard Stern was able to make the radio a strong medium for communications through his controversial program. Although he’s had a tough transition from FM to Satellite radio, Howard Stern still remains extremely popular on the radio and extremely influential in the broadcasting world.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Lonesome Rhodes" Lead to Lonely Days

Elia Kazan’s 1957 DGA nominated movie, “A Face in the Crowd” is soon turning 50 years old and this classic is definitely making its comeback. As I watched this film recently, I noticed a remarkable relevance to today’s culture. Marcia Jefferies (Patricia Neal) brings her broadcast to a small, local jail. Shortly into her program, she discovers an outspoken, Arkansas hobo, Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith). His candid outbursts and contagious laugh attract the public and he is shot into superstardom. Jefferies is pulled to the top with her newfound star, but she is the only person capable of keeping him sane once he becomes bigheaded with his popularity. Throughout the film, Lonesome becomes obsessed with his power over the public and his once sought after laughter turns to arrogance.

Through “A Face in the Crowd”, Kazan depicts the types of people that are seen all over the media. We can relate his characters from this classic to the media moguls that we see in our society today. Some stars often abuse their power over the public and act in inappropriate ways. Others get their “15 minutes of fame” and think that they can rule the world. In the end, this behavior is positively received and rejected by our society. It is hard for a movie to teach us such a strong lesson, but it is rare that such a classic can still have such an impact and relevance to current society. Even after 50 years, “A Face in the Crowd” continues to engage its viewers, while teaching an important lesson.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cosmo Baby!

I am a faithful reader of Cosmopolitan. I buy the newest issue the minute it hits the stands and dedicate plenty of time to reading every article that the magazine has to offer. What amazes me though, is the masses of people, especially women, that are devoted to this magazine. Almost every one of my friends either owns or has read the latest issue of Cosmo. The magazine’s primary target audience is women in their late teens, 20’s and 30’s.
Cosmopolitan appeals to so many people because the articles in the magazine are relatable and offer advice that people are afraid to ask for. Yet, it would not be appropriate for younger ages because of the sexual content that has come to be expected in each issue. It touches on subjects that many women like to discuss, such as fashion, gossip, and sex. Cosmopolitan is known for giving advice that many women inquire about, but typically are embarrassed to ask. The articles are captivating because they relate to women’s issues and personal lives.
The impact that this magazine has on people is incredible. Not only are the articles insightful, but also the advertisements are extremely persuading. Cosmopolitan is looked to for advice and has a reputation for knowing what is “in”. Therefore, the ads in Cosmo can influence its readers to buy the latest products that are being advertised. The typical ads consist of clothes, make up and hair products, accessories, and woman necessities, which all appeal to women’s needs. Cosmopolitan has an irreplaceable affect on society and its readers. It may not be the most educational magazine, but it can be insightful and is extremely entertaining.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Living Through Video Games

Dawn of War. Doom. Mortal Combat. Battlestations: Midway. Destroy All Humans! 2. These are merely a few among the thousands of video games that are sold worldwide. But these video games all have one thing in common: they are based upon war and violence, along with hundreds of other violent games.
Our society is greatly influenced through all forms of media. One form of media that has an affect on its users is video games. The video games include all kinds of content and material that is suitable for all ages. Yet, the context of each game affects the users and impacts their decisions or behaviors. Unfortunately, most games primarily appeal to children. Some of the most popular games involve some type of violence, which unconsciously teaches children violence at a young age. Boys, primarily, exposed to this violence through video games, subjects them to be more violent as they grow up. Our society neglects the fact that video games can hold such an impact on children.
Video games have become increasingly popular, yet they are rarely looked at as a form of media. These games relay messages to its users and are able to influence them in many different ways. Whether its violence, or car racing, the users get ideas from the games they play, and act on these ideas in real life. We need to rethink about the messages being sent in the video games, and aim them more towards positive messages, because video games have such an impact on society.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Propaganda in The Kite Runner

Propaganda is used to influence people’s opinions through different forms of media. It can gain either support or disapproval by shaping people’s opinions or behavior. The purpose of propaganda is to influence the way people view a particular topic. By appealing to people on a more personal and emotional level, the propaganda is more affective. Khaled Hosseini uses The Kite Runner as propaganda to change society’s post 9-11 opinion of Afghanistan. Through evoking strong emotions, The Kite Runner appeals to people on a more personal level and changes the views of Afghanistan and its people.
The Kite Runner depicts the lifestyle of a Pashtun man and his father growing up in America, during a trivial time in Afghanistan. Amir grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1960’s, and was the privileged son of a wealthy entrepreneur. Although he lived a lavish lifestyle, he spent the majority of his time playing with his faithful servant, Hassan. The strength of their friendship was tested numerous times, yet their bond remained unbreakable. Hassan was loyal to Amir, yet Amir often treated him in unkind ways. After many years of friendship, Amir dishonored his friend one last time, which resulted in him never seeing him again. Unknown to Amir, his actions to get rid of Hassan was only the first of many struggles of a completely new lifestyle.
Amir and his father, Baba, were evacuated out of their home in Kabul when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. They were relocated to different refugee places throughout the Middle East, but they lived in a continuous fear of death. After moving from place to place in unsafe environments, Amir and his Baba finally escaped the Taliban and moved to the United States. Living in San Francisco, California, Baba worked as an assistant at a gas station, while Amir attended school. Life was not easy for Amir and Baba living in America, but they maintained their customs and struggled to remain happy. Although they had to learn to adapt to a completely new lifestyle, Amir and Baba remained faithful to their cultural ties and values. They primarily associated themselves with other Afghans, yet they learned to accept the American way of life.
Amir’s trivial life in Afghanistan, as well as in America, evokes strong emotions, which make the story more relatable. Therefore, The Kite Runner is used as a form of propaganda because it is able to change the way we feel by connecting with us on a more personal level. Amir describes his experience of going back to Afghanistan in the midst of all the turmoil. He had been living in America for may years, but returned to take care of a few favors asked of him. He describes his homecoming in a disturbing way. The men selling their limbs for money, burned down buildings, armed men on constant patrol, malnourished, parentless children, and the dead bodies lining the streets prove that the people in Afghanistan suffer immensely while under the Taliban rule. Our society is blinded to their suffering by our own problems. We tend to recognize all the harm the Taliban do to Americans, but neglect the torture they inflict upon their own people. This novel raises attention for their suffering and induces a sense of empathy towards the Afghan people.
The Kite Runner shows that not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. The 9-11 incident instilled a fear toward Middle Eastern people in the majority of Americans. We assumed that all Afghan-looking people were terrorists, therefore we looked poorly upon them and treated them differently. For a while, Americans lived in fear of Afghans, but did not realize that the people in Afghanistan had far more to fear. Amir’s description of the people on the streets and those living in terror of the Taliban prove that only a select group of people is responsible for the problems created in Afghanistan and America. As a result, the novel changes our point of view regarding all Middle Eastern people and the fact that they are not all bad people.
Additionally, Amir explains the struggles he encountered while moving from Afghanistan to the United States and the adjustments he had to make. Before he left Afghanistan, Amir lived in a continuous state of fear, but it was hard for him and his father to leave their homeland. His experience helps us understand the hardships they encountered, while moving away from their culture and induces empathy for all they had to go through. Once they moved to America, they continued to practice their religion and maintained their customs, even though they lived in a new country. His stories of trying to adjust to his new lifestyle make us recognize the struggles they went through. It changes the way we view Afghans because we learn that they were put through very hard times as well. The novel makes us become more understanding and compassionate towards the people of Afghanistan.
Our society typically thinks of Afghans as terrible people, yet our assumptions are far from the truth. The Kite Runner proves that the majority of people living in Afghanistan suffered immensely during that period of time, and had no control over the terror that was taking place. Amir’s stories are relatable because Americans experienced similar suffering during 9-11, yet our society refuses to acknowledge their losses. This novel draws attention to the pain the Afghan’s experienced and helps us acknowledge their struggles. By relating their experiences to ours, it induces a personal attachment and changes our opinions regarding the people in Afghanistan. The novel helps change our opinions of Afghans because we realize that they are not all terrorists and they suffer the same way we do.
After reading the novel, my opinion of Afghanistan greatly changed. Before reading The Kite Runner, I did not understand the suffering that the people in Afghanistan experienced. I did not realize the extend of torture and fear that they went through. I believe the novel is used as propaganda because the stories are relatable and evoke strong emotions. These emotions connect with us on a personal level, therefore creating an attachment between the people of Afghanistan and us. This novel was used as a form of propaganda and changed my point of view of Afghanistan and the people.
Propaganda is used in many different ways to change people’s opinions on particular topics. The Kite Runner is a primary example of propaganda because Khaled Hosseini describes his life in Afghanistan in a time of turmoil, which greatly contradicts how many people view Afghanistan. The novel provokes strong emotions and draws attention to the topics that are commonly overlooked. The Kite Runner uses graphic details and emotional stories to engage readers and change the false notions facing Afghanistan and its people.

Contagious Diets

“Dying to be Thin?” This title caught my attention on the cover of the latest issue of People magazine on the stand at the grocery store. As I waited in line, I grazed the pages of this magazine and saw article after article depicting the lives and styles of thin celebrities. The feature article boasted of the most popular celebrity crazes to be excessively thin. It showed pictures of these celebs growing increasingly skinnier and talked about the health risks that came along with being too skinny. Yet, on the pages separating the article, there were ads for diet pills and workout techniques. I could not understand the contradiction between the messages that were being sent to the readers. Although the article spoke negatively of excessive diets, there was still the message being sent to loose weight. Our society, especially women, is under constant pressure to be thin. Celebrities and models are the role models for our society, but they send a false message. Many of the women models are naturally thin, diet excessively, or their pictures are edited. The media idolizes their bodies, which makes women think that that is the ideal way to look. The pressure to be thin is an on going problem, and there are more and more cases of women being treated for eating disorders. I do not think that the media should continue to promote the need to be thin. Not everyone is naturally skinny and can pull off a size 2. Magazines should promote healthy eating and normal looking models, in order to help boost self-confidence among the readers. Unfortunately, being super skinny is the “in” thing right now and the craze will continue spread.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mercury News

After reading a few articles from the San Jose Mercury News, I looked online at the Mercury News website. The first thing I noticed was that the news on the front page of the newspaper was not on the opening page of the website. Clearly, the news on the website is more updated and can be modified at any point throughout the day. As well, I found it more difficult to navigate myself throughout the website, which made it harder for me to read the articles I was looking for. Because of the fact that I may not be technologically savvy, it was probably the main reason why it was harder to work the online edition.
As I compared the news in the two different media forms, I concluded that the Mercury News online is more knowledgeable. There are the same articles, word for word, are published in both forms, which keeps the news understandable and credible. But there are continuous updates and new news online, whereas the hard copy newspaper is published in the morning, and by the evening, that news is considered “old.” After finishing one of the articles online, I noticed that there was the option to comment on the article. I feel this is very important and a good idea because it allows people to be involved with the news. Through other’s comments, it allows people to learn more about the topic, which keeps people well informed. Although there are many features that appeal to me on the online publishing of Mercury News, I still prefer reading the hard copy of the newspaper.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TV's and Safeway??

This past weekend I went to Laguna Beach for a wedding. During my stay, I needed a few things from the grocery store. So my cousin and I thought we were going on an average grocery shopping trip. We were wrong. The Safeway we went towas far from the average grocery store.
Since when did they start putting plasma screen TV's in the grocery store? We could not understand why they were there and what the purpose was. We finished our shopping, still amazed with all those televisions. After the grocery store, we went to Target and Wal-Mart, and to our surprise, those stores had plasma screens throughout the stores, as well.
As I watched some children watching cartoons, while the adults watched the advertisements, I began to understand the reason for the televisions. The T.V.s were being used as promotional items in order to attract customers to their stores. With all of the advances in technology, the stores must keep up in order to maintain thier appeal to customers, and the televsions are a perect tool of attractions. Knowing that our society has become addicted to televsion, I felt that the companies were smart enough to recognize this addiction, and use it to benefit them.
The TVs are also being used for advertisment and promotion. Even though the products can be seen in person, they appeal more to the customers through the advertisments on the televisions. It is upsetting to know that we have become so relient upon TVs, that we must have them while we shop. Although TVs are a great benefit for the stores because they appeal more to customers and help sell their products, it is unfortunate that we are becoming more and more addicted to television. I am not sure when this phenomena began, but I assume that this is only the beginning of what will be in stores in order to attract customers.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Influential Advertisements

As I was reading through my latest issue of Vogue magazine, I noticed all of the advertisements for the “in” stores and newest fall fashions. Each ad tries persuading me to buy the latest fashions and from the right store. The majority of them boast well-known celebrities that endorse their products. This form of propaganda attempts to persuade the consumers’ style and views on fashion. The idea is that if the popular celebrity is publicly giving their approval of that particular store or fashion accessory, then they would be able to persuade the consumer to support it as well.

Addtionally, alluring advertisements have become increasing popular. Half naked models grace the pages of the magazine ads in hopes of convincing readers to buy the product. A major reason behind this form of propaganda is trying convey the idea that if you wear that certain product, then you will look the same way. In reality, this would never happen, yet the companies succeed in this way of convincing the consumers. So far, these forms of propaganda seem to be working extremely well. As I see people walking down the street wearing the same items shown in the magazines, it proves that these ads continue to set the newest trends and people shop in the stores that appeal to them.

Today, propaganda has evolved into more than just persuasions involving politics. Propaganda is everywhere we go and in almost everything we see. Whether it is billboards tempting us to buy the newest cars, commercials persuading us to eat at certain restaurants, or magazine ads telling us to keep up with the latest fashions, we cannot escape all the propaganda in our everyday lives.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An Age-Old Tale...

As technology advances, it seems as though books become more of an "old fashion" form of media. There are numerous resources that have begun to replace this age-old media, such as the Internet, videos, and CDs. Unfortunately, these advances do not seem to be slowing down. As information and publications become more accessible through new and various forms of media, the demand for the hard copies of books is drastically decreasing. The appeal of listening to books on tapes and CDs, as well as watching the movie form of a book outweighs the appeal of actually reading the book. This affects the publishing world because the demand for books will continue to decrease. Yet, I do not feel as though the publication of books will completely disappear. Although there will continue to be new forms of releasing books, whether through the internet or videos, the actual publication of hard back books will always remain a favorite of many people. Therefore, there will be a continued demand, no matter how small, for this form of publication.

Fortunately, I have saved numerous books from my childhood and plan to pass them on to my children, who will hopefully continue to pass them onto future generations. Many of my favorite books are no longer published, which is the reason I am saving them for my children. I cherish the books I grew up with and I hope to pass them on to my children, so they can enjoy them and learn the same things I learned from them.

Although there will always be new forms of publishing books, the “old fashioned” hard back copies will never go out of style.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Im in a Band!!

I chose to respond to the idea that if i were in a band, how would i distribute my music without a record company, but still be compensated for my work.
Well if I was in a band and there were no record comapnies like there are today, I would have to do all the work myself. Record companies are primarily responsible for producing and promoting the albums, but without them I would have to take on those responsibilities. This is exactly how many bands today, also known as "underground bands", get started. They must do the work themselves in order to be recognized. I would use the tactics they use to get their big break. I would estblish myself in well populated areas and get my music to the public.

I would perform in front of crowds, initially for free, and then move on to selling my album that I recorded with the help of someone I hired to help make the CD. I would sell them from town to town, so I could still get my music out there, yet still be able to make some money off of it. The most important part is to get the music to the public in order to become recognized. Although there are many ways to become a hit group, it does involve taking chances. If my band felt confident enough to become successful, I would probably invest as much money as we needed to produce a quality album. We would need to promote ourselves through many different forms of media, such as posters, concerts, and the internet, especially sources like myspace. Through much hard work and patience, we could only hope to make it big. A lot of success depends on how society responds to the music that is produced. Therefore, we could only hope for the best!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A European Realization

Last summer I spent three amazing weeks in Italy. While I was there, I learned and experienced so many new and exciting things. I visited many different places and took the time to embrace the culture. Not only did I get to walk the stone paths of Rome, shop in the famous streets of Milan, and get lost in the alleys of Venice, but I also took tours of the Vatican, rode vezpas, ate too much gelato, and had mass with the pope.

During those three weeks of adventure and excitement, I noticed something that greatly separated the United States and Europe; their advertisement and use of media is far more risqué than that of the United States. As I looked around at all the bulletin boards and posters covering the walls, I realized that the models were half dressed, if dressed at all, and they promoted things that the United States would never allow to be advertised. The commercials in Europe were extremely revealing and used sex as an everyday promotional object. Although this form of advertisement came as a shock to me, I noticed that this was normal to Europeans.

The United States is very conservative when it comes to advertisements and the media. Although our society has become more revealing, we still consider the current advertisements to be pushing the limits, and some are even banned from airing. Whereas, in Europe, revealing pictures and half naked models are an every day appearance. This is because Europeans have grown up with these images and the freedom with the use of media; therefore they are more liberal with the different forms of advertisement.

It is nice to see more freedom in the media, but if the United States were given the same freedom, it would not come across as calmly as in Europe. Due to our conservative nation, there would be an uproar among many because we are not used to this form of advertisement. The need to push beyond the limits would cause our advertisements to take this freedom a step too far and cause more chaos in the industry. Therefore, I think that the United States should stick to its guidelines and stay conservative, because although revealing ads suit some countries, it does not work well in others.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Napster Paved The Way

Almost everyday, we are faced with media piracy. Whether we illegally download music, copy CDs, burn DVDs, tape TV shows, or make copies of pictures from magazines, we are breaking the law. There are so many laws against it, yet we do it on a daily basis.

The most common type of piracy is downloading and coping music. For years, music companies have tried preventing with the latest music coping, but they continually fall short of keeping people from downloading.

The downloading craze began in 1999 when a college student, Shawn Fanning, created a way for music lovers to share music. The file-sharing network, known as Napster, was an instant success, yet controversy was soon to follow. Artists, such as Metallica and Dr. Dre, sued Napster for copyright infringement. Yet many other artists used Napster as a resource to boost their popularity. After numerous lawsuits, Napster officially shut down in 2001, after a court order to stop trading copyrighted music.

Napster paved the way for many other file-sharing networks. Downloading is illegal, but it is almost impossible for the government and music companies to stop it from taking place. The music industry continues to lose more and more money each year because of illegal downloading, but it is almost inevitable that file-sharing will become even more popular and technically advanced.

Another reason music companies lose money is due to CD coping. CD coping, also known as “burning”, has become widely common and very accessible. Almost every computer made today comes with a CD burner. Some would argue that burning is against the law, but others see nothing wrong with it. Those that see nothing wrong with it believe that once we purchase the CD, it is ours so we should be able to do what we like with it. Yet, what we fail to understand is that although we bought the CD, we still do not own the rights to the music. Therefore, any type of coping or downloading is illegal because we are essentially stealing the music. Although companies have tried so many different techniques to keep society from illegally downloading, as technology advances, it is almost impossible to keep it from happening.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What's easiest?

I read an article recently that gave many percentages of how much media an average American consumes. As well, it explained the effects of the media on different people of different ages, and how media has evolved. Included in the article were some theories as to why we consumer certain types of media. After reading the article and thinking about the theories, I came up with one of my own. I decided to categorize media into two different categories. The first being “easy media”, which includes things such as TV, radio, CDs, tapes, commercials, and movies. The second being “hard media”, which includes things like books, magazines, newspapers, and the internet.

I split these different medias up for many reasons. One of the main reasons for this decision was prompted by the Media Use survey that was handed out the first day of class. I realized that I listen to an extreme amount of music each week, watch a sufficient amount of TV and movies, read a decent number of magazines, but occasionally read the newspaper, and rarely attempt to read a book. As well, I am on the internet for a good amount of time each week, but most of my internet use is for social reasons, and not as much for research or to be updated about the latest worldly news. I figured my media use is among the average, which is why I categorized the media forms and made my assumption.

As our society continues to grow and technologies become more advanced, people become lazier. Therefore, we are more apt to watch a TV show than read a book because it requires less effort. Our society has become used to this easy lifestyle and having things done for us, which is why we would rather watch the news than read a newspaper. This is the reason behind the “easy media” and “hard media”. With “easy media” the work is done for us. It almost requires no effort for us to think because we just have to tune in. Whereas “hard media” requires our time and effort. We have to read the articles or do the research ourselves, which is unappealing to many. As our society continues to become more advanced, it is predicted that we will become even lazier. This laziness will keep our society more interested in the easier forms of media and less interested in the more educational media forms that are offered.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reality TV

After watching my weekly guilty pleasure of reality T.V., I realized how addicted our society has become to this phenomenon. Every week millions of people, including myself, tune into the latest reality T.V. shows, my favorites being MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Real World. It has almost become a ritual for me, as well as the millions of others that watch these addicting shows. We start off merely watching the show for entertainment, but end up knowing the backgrounds of all the characters, the latest gossip, the new hookups, the recent breakups, and we cannot get enough of the overly dramatic fights. Before we know it, these so called “reality” T.V. shows become part of our lives. These shows have almost begun to dictate our nightly routines because we are obsessed with what is going to happen next and feel completely lost if we miss this week’s episodes. So why is it that reality T.V. has become such an important part of our daily lives? It’s hard to explain why we envelop ourselves so deeply into these shows. But whether it is because we simply want to keep up with the latest gossip so that we have something to talk about the next day, or because we are able to live through these dramatic characters, the shows keep us tuning in every week. Even though this “reality” T.V. is not as real as we like to believe it is, it has taken over our society and does not look like its slowing down any time soon.