Archive | March, 2012

Style Wars and Censorship

25 Mar

Styles Wars really resonated with me because it really gives you a different perspective to that time period and you hear things straight from the graffiti artists themselves. The film itself isn’t that amazing but the look it gives you into this sort of underground culture that was such a big deal back then, just really stuck with me. Because today graffiti is just not a big deal to most people anymore. I mean sure we still see it on buildings or in the subway, but it’s cool to see how much it mattered to these graffiti artists and how it gave them an identity and a reputation to live up to. I’m always so interested in seeing things from other people’s point of view, so this film definitely resonated with me. I also enjoyed reading ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and exploring all these ideas about censorship. Especially because it is still a problem people can connect with today, with the internet censorship bill SOPA that caused a huge outcry from the public. It’s just crazy to learn how society has been trying to censor people for so long and the lengths they go to do so, whether it be way back when the Church was doing it or even in the fictional world of ‘Fahrenheit 451’, censorship is definitely a topic that resonated with me and really got me thinking.

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The Black Struggle

25 Mar

To be honest, the only subjects that have resonated with me in this class are censorship and free thinking. I sincerely had not felt a connection with the class until the viewing of the “Soldiers Without Swords” documentary. Although Professor Ewen makes sure to discuss the portrayal of women in the media, the subject of race had not been touched. While I commend Professor Ewen for bring up the subject, I commend him even more for using a documentary that was produced and told from the viewpoint of blacks. By doing this, I could identify more with the topic and not have any prejudices about it being taught from the viewpoint of a white male. Also, it the documentary gives insight into how blacks are portrayed  and represented in the media today. Although progress has been made, there is still a disproportion of people of color in the media. This includes actors and actresses, broadcast journalists, musicians, television shows and movies, etc. There are also hardly any black publications still in existence. This is evident of how the portrayal of blacks are dependent on the white controlled media.

Censorship

25 Mar

Censorship has existed a lot longer than I could have ever imagined.  Prior to taking this class, censorship seemed more like a protective measure rather than a form of control. For example,  I compare it to agreements on x-rated sites to protect not only the owners of the site, but also their users.  However, since reviewing the history of media, particularly the Catholic church during the Middle Ages, my views have changed.  It’s become less about protection and more about subjugation .

Style Wars is an extension of this view.  Because the bombers were so few, it was easier for the local government to enforce laws to make graffiti illegal.  Freedom of speech is supposed to be extended to all citizens, not just to those who hold the most power.

Aside

Although a lot …

25 Mar

Although a lot of the course materials have been interesting and thought-provoking, I have to say that the one that was the most resonating was the first assignment we were given, the “My Image and Myself.” I loved this assignment because it really brought to light a lot of truths about myself that I don’t usually acknowledge. Primarily the whole idea of a persona; that I create for myself this “Image” that is completely different than the real me, so that the fear of being rejected by people is lessened. I wrote about my different personas throughout the years; how I’ve constantly molded myself and my behaviors to fit the people around me so that I could be well-liked, even if it wasn’t for who I really am. In asking myself all this questions it became pretty obvious to me that I don’t really have a good grasp on who that is. I am constantly changing how I am around people and I have been doing it for so long that I feel just like a, to quote a dear friend who knows me better than anyone, “a culmination of everyone else’s interests.” I can be whatever a person wants me to be in order to make sure I’m liked. But why has this become who I am? Why am I unable to ask myself, in the privacy of the deepest crevices in my mind, who I actually am underneath of all of what I pretend to be? This assignment really unearthed a lot of hidden tensions and issues that I have ignored over the years that I’ve spent trying to be everything for everyone. I am a complete product of the media (in terms of what I think is beautiful, what I like and dislike, so on) and it really sickens me that I have lost such control of my own person. “My Image” has taken the place of who I actually am and now I have no idea who that person is. Professor Ewen’s book is also really interesting to read because I agree with everything he says about style, the media, how we see and how we act, etc. The HUGE influence the media has on us, I mean. It creates for you an “Image” and then your peers demand you to uphold it. There’s no room for self-discovery or self-identification once you’re pulled into it, unless you are really, really brave. I’m working on it, though!

What’s resonated… optical illusions

24 Mar

Maybe the most interesting concept for me covered in lecture is the disconnect between images and the way we see reality. I was surprised to learn that Roger Bacon was persecuted by the Church for trying to explain the workings of the human eye. It seemed kind of obvious that people at the time would realize that we see the world differently from the way was crudely represented in two dimensions. But I didn’t think out that for people who had never seen a photograph, the idea of capturing an image as an exact replication of reality would be quite revolutionary. Optical technology, like the camera obscura, were actually quite powerful in changing the way people represented what they saw.  For an artist to better capture and share with other people his own vision is a way of spreading information, in the same way that the printing press allowed for more people to spread their ideas through the written word.

It made me think a lot about how we assume that optic technology is always moving towards some final truth, the best representation of reality possible. The more an image is like what we see with our eyes, we believe it is somehow more accurate. But we forget that images are always a deception, and in lecture Professor Ewen had to remind the class that when looking at a book on the projector, we are really looking at a projection of a digital image transferred from a negative that was taken of a book. Images are always the product of an author, and as Hines wrote about, their seeming reality can be used to serve particular objectives and interests.

 

What resonated with me

23 Mar

This course has been interesting because the professor has the ability to take what seem like unrelated topics and mesh them together to create a brand new idea. The way these ideas fit together really impressed me, however some topics resonated more with me than others. I was very interested in the focus on the African American writers. I was deeply moved by the readings portraying the black perspective such as “Frankie Mae” and Franking Douglas’s “Learning How to Read”. Their ideas and notions were presented in a powerful and blunt manner, which coincided with the movie we watched regarding the history of the black press. I really enjoyed reading Fahrenheit 451 as well because it was a quick read and there was a lot of embedded meaning. The class introduced me to the idea that media has the ability to control those who accept it and promote it. The idea that knowledge is power is so evident now, but I was blind to this notion before reading about the black press and the ideas that stemmed from Bradbury’s novel. Today more than ever, knowledge is power and as students we must understand this notion to better ourselves and society in the future. This class has introduced me to a vast array of information that could be used in the real world, which I find an important asset in any class. I am excited to be introduced to more ideas that would never fit before, but somehow come into place in front of me piece by piece.

What’s Resonated With You So Far

23 Mar

We  have explored a variety of issues in lecture and in lab surrounding the media: image, censorship, image, identity, vernacular, control, manipulation, literacy, free thinking, etc… So far what’s resonated with you? Draw from our readings and discussion to explore an issue and briefly discuss in a paragraph or so what’s resonated with you.

This is due Sunday March 25, 2012 at 7:00pm.