Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extra Credit // Teenager in The Media Interview

For my thesis project, I conducted about 18 interviews. One of them happened to be a 17 year old high school student. I noticed that an extra credit option was to interview a teenager and write up a 300 word analysis. This interview would be perfect for this assignment.

While interviewing the subject ,I had flash backs of various lessons and discussions we have had in class. It was like actually living out what I had already learned, and that’s always an eerie feeling. For me it was kind of like when you’re younger and your parents keep giving you the same advice, you’ve heard it so much you’re like yes I know. Then later on in life there comes a time where you actually experience what they were talking about, it changes your understanding completely. Interviewing Mary Kate was truly like experiencing my Teenagers in the Media course in real life. Her interview differed from all the other people I’ve interviewed simply because she mentioned the media. No one else who was interviewed mentioned television or movies expect for my one teenage interviewee.

My questions for the interview were generic standard questions about their sexuality and coming out or staying in the closet. Many people who were interviewed had friends as their support system for coming out. My teenage subject relied on MySpace, Ellen and Pretty Little Liars. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when she was speaking. She explained that when she was first questioning her feelings she reached out to an older girl who had already came out as a bisexual. She advised her via a MySpace message, which she read out to me for the interview. The message helped her deal with her fear of coming out to her parents and her questioning her bisexuality.

Mary Kate also spoke about what helped her want to come out was that so many people on tv and movies were doing it. The media was her support system! I was in disbelief. The media made her feel like who she is was ok. She explained coming out to her mother wasn’t easy; she wasn’t very accepting at first and frankly didn’t believe her daughter. She luckly had her sisters present; whom she had already come out to, stand up for her and help explain to her mother that’s it’s ok to be gay. What she had stated in the interview was that her mom was raised in the 50’s and back then it was odd to be gay. She went on to explain that her sisters told her mom that now there are organizations for gay rights and they are legalizing gay marriages and that even Ellen was gay and everything she does is positive. This finally convinced the mom that it was ok to accept her daughter, since it’s everywhere in the media it’s ok.

This was the first interview I conducted for my project and it’s one that stands out to me. I’m still in disbelief how the media not only was the closeted bisexual’s support system but also used for comforting examples to the mother. But on the flip side the media has not helped Mary Kate come out to her dad. In fact one time she sat and watched Pretty Little Liars with him as an attempt to come out. When a lesbian scene came on he criticized it and said what’s wrong with these kids today. She then told herself, ok; maybe this isn’t a good time to come out. It’s sad, but it’s true. The media has been a medium that has created support for her sexuality and opposition. It’s just like real life, but in this subject’s case it’s most of her life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

TP#7: Extended Comment: Re: Dante's Hip-Hop and Colonialism: Recognition and Response IV Post - Ball

This is my re-write of the same quote. It helps me to break things down in sections & write how it out how I would express the statement in order to allow for clarity.

Colonialism means that small groups & individuals can't compete with the ideology & content of the mass media that those falling victim to have been designed to keep these ideologies in place.

One example that comes to mind is the N word, from -er to -a. The origin of this word is offensive & then used by the oppressed victims as part of their everyday vocabulary with a softer ending; therefore making it more acceptable because it's coming from the oppressed. It makes it so that the word still lives & it's origins to be subconsciously felt regardless of the party delivering the message. I think this is what the quote is referring to. Puppet style the oppressor controls the puppet & speaks for them thru while the puppets jaw moves.

This also brings me to another point. I've heard people say that black people can't be racist because racism means to oppress a race & blacks are the oppressed race. Is the same to be said about HipHop? They aren't doing any wrong only doing what they've been taught? I mean, it's complex. I myself grew up listening to underground HipHop & conscience music plus also being involved in the HipHop culture & ultimately my ideals and beliefs are the same but sometimes I have to give in to the mainstream ideologies of what HipHop is because it's all around me. It's part of my business word, we play commercial HipHop @ the club and sometimes I feel like a sell-out. But that is the game & it's my present reality. Do I know better? Yes. Can I single-handily change everyone else' perspective? I doubt it, so instead; I go with the flow that makesy cash flow. As I'm sure many 'successful' artist do. At the end of the day they know who they are and are only playing for the masses.

BTW Dante, I was confused about this too; glad I wasn't the only one. I'm going to go back & re-read as well as follow all the links so that I am fully prepared in class. See you all there!

TP#6: Connections: GLEE: 'Never Been Kissed'

I am stating general observations I made while watch GLEE and comparing them to three prior readings we've done for the semester. All my points can be derived from the 'Never Been Kissed' episode of GLEE.

Starting with Christine's 'secret education' being media, school & religion; the GLEE show mostly focuses on school and religious ideals but the content is delivered in media form.

From Raby's discourses 'at-risk' and 'social problem' stand out. The fact that one of the characters was in Juvie applies to both discourses. More specifically the gay-bashing can be viewed as a social problem and the general bullying and sex talks and activities can fall under the at-risk discourse explained by Raby.

Grinner's SCWAMP theory is also applied in this episode. The protagonist is a white male. The only religion portrayed is Christianity, some praying and celibacy is portrayed. Even the song the guys chose to preform was 'Living on a Prayer'. I can say that GLEE challenged able-bodies a bit by making one of the GLEE singers have a wheelchair. They also have what appears to be a mentally challenged girl as a cheerleader. Though her tasks are of those that the normal cheerleaders wouldn't preform, it's interesting to see their casting choice. Though I do believe the black girl on the show is a bit stereotypical. She has the loudest voice, moves with extra attitude when performing, wears HipHop-ish clothes, for example her gold boombox medallion stands out in my mind and she also uses slang. This is how I found that Grinner, Raby and Christensen related to GLEE.

Another part I wanted to discuss about this episode was femininity and masculinity. The professor specifically told the gay feminine character that he had to join the boys group, when there was a boy/girl division. Then it seems he thought about how it made the student feel and suggested the girls create a masculine performances and the boys a more feminine one. I was really looking forward to this. After viewing it, I was disappointed. My observation is that their representation of masculine females were females dressed as feminine male rock stars who wear long hair, tight clothes, make and already preform feminine dances. That was a bit funny.

Overall I enjoyed GLEE and the topics they touch. I will be purchasing the full first season and watching it sometime after this or next semester is over. Thanks for the exposure Professor Bogad.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Digital Life: a Media Autobiography

Hyperlinks: TP#5: "From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able" - Wesch

(url: http://www.ehow.com/info_7967834_innovative-classroom-ideas.html)

Gives a brief summary of some of the points found in 'Physical, Social, and Cognitive Structures Working Against Us' section of "From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environment" by Michael Wesch on AcademicCommons.org
(url: http://www.academiccommons.org/commons/essay/knowledgable-knowledge-able)

In Wesch's article he speaks about the physical structures of the classroom and how they are designed to draw attention to the professor in the front of the room. Brite's article that traditional classrooms are 'teacher-centered'. She goes on to explain how the teacher is the sender and the student the receiver, setup in a one-way communication style. Wesch's statement is very similar stating that the classroom is designed for the student to 'acquire information' from the professor, 'follow along' and 'trust authority. Brite believes "students are active learners" in innovative classrooms environment that utilize new media.

In the 'From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environment' article, Dr. Wesch makes it clear that we "must redesign our learning environment to address leverage and harness the new media environment now permeating our classrooms." When speaking of innovative classrooms Brite speaks of teacher's creating blogs to communicate with parents, students using cell phones as clickers, the use of laptops to answer teacher's questions online and draw visual responses on a board via educational software and hardware. She even speaks of using Skype's video chat services to communicate with other students and people in other countries. Brite labels this as 'problem-based learning'. She also says that it allows for students to "work independently to research subjects while teacher helps students one-on-one."

One section of Wesch's article is basically explaining where we are now and where we should be when it comes to educational environments. While Brite's article summaries the realities of an innovative classroom experience. Both articles were informative and I wanted to take it a step further by exploring outdoor learning, going beyond the classroom; literally. Below is a youTube video (url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HIPnlp160k) that demonstrates the outdoor learning experience.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Extended Comments: Re: Ron DeSimone: Riding out The Storm: Talking Points #4

Original Blog Post can be found here:

In response to this blog I would like to link current TV shows that carry a positive message. Ron had mentioned great shows when he was growing up like Growing Pains, which I also use to watch and enjoy. Ron ended his post with the following challenge: " In fact, name one television show airing in 2011 that a teenager could actually learn a lesson that would teach them ways to cope with problems."

I believe the same messages being taught before are being taught now but the method is different. We live in a different world, and the focus may not be on family as much as it is on friends for example but the overall message is there, if you're viewing the right programing. For example, I remember watching, Boy Meets World, Saved by the Bell etc where the focus was friends over family, the same goes for iCarly and Hannah Montana; kids can relate to this.

For current family shows that teach lessons or deal with real life situation in a family environment, I will start with 'Everybody Hates Chris' Here's a snippet:

Next there's a positive family reality called 'Run's House' many lessons to be learned in this show, here's a snippet:

Finally, there's the Bernie Mac Show. Here's part one of a 3 part video of a full episode:

There are many other tv programing which teach lessons to teenager. The first that came to mind was True Life on MTV. I think those documentaries are very informative. Do you agree that these sitcoms teach life lessons to teens?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reflection: TP #3: "Unpacking the Myths that Bind Us" - Christensen

I really connected with this article. My ultimate goal in life, after I've pursued all my other dreams is to teach. I want to make a difference in children's lives. I would to enrich them with my knowledge, skills and experience and help make them wonderful contributions to society. I've already taught Information Technology at the Providence Public Library for children and adults and I was a Multimedia Instructor (Web, Video Game Design, Animation & Graphics) at MIT & Merrimack College for ID Tech Camps. In addition I volunteered for a Graphic Design class at Providence Career Academy where I was given the opportunity to teach my own lesson. Teaching and exploring new ideas is extremely satisfying to me.

I hope to someday teach media and was really excited to see how Christensen was already doing so. What a child is exposed to as they are developing is what shapes and molds them as adults and the media children are being presented with are crucial to the way they will perceive the world. Obviously parenting pays an important role as well but media, schools and religion will be around influencing their minds when the parents are or even while they are. There are many factors working together, like they say it takes a village to raise a child. Because media lives in some many different forms, it can be extremely powerful - because we learn through repetition.

The idea of Christensen discussing children's movies and books with her students and having them look beyond the surface is exciting for me. She's even allowing them the space to think it out for themselves, like she said, she has to keep reminding herself to not answer the questions so that they can learn it on their own. Her method of teaching are admirable. Her style is similar to my style. To show them the movies, critique them in class and then allow them to further explore the ideas by writing something about it was cool. I really enjoyed the fact that she included her student's ideas in her writing, allowing one to see the effect of her cause.

Overall, my favorite part of the article was the end when she states that giving them the knowledge is not enough if they didn't do anything with it. So she made sure they were pro-active with it in order to create change one much act. That is the most important element of this all, the results, the movement, the outcome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Argument: TP #2: "Hip Hop Sees No Color" - Grinner

Grinner argues that contrary to 'Save the Last Dance' being promoted as a color blind love story it deals with many of the 'dominate ideologies' represented in the SCWAMP framework. SCWAMP (Straightness, Christianity, Whitness, Able-bodied-ness, Maleness & Property-Holding) is representative of 5 favored characteristics which represent the norm in the media.

The main point the author makes in this article is to point out all the stereotypical representation of the white and black race and how they are portrayed in the movie. In addition to this she breaks down each SCWAMP attribute and how it applies to the film. The author explains how the portrayal of the black male character is that of a struggling young man who comes from a rough neighborhood and the white girl is coming from a nicer neighborhood and nicer school who's mother has passed away and now she must move to the 'inner-city'. Grinner also writes about how the black woman speak slang and the white girl speaks proper english. How in order to fit in the white girl must be taught how to 'act black', through dance, speech and attitude. The actions in the movie constantly enforce stereotypes and Grinner is choosing to bring them to light.

For the most part I agree with Grinner's perception, however I do believe some of her arguments aren't back up sufficiently. When she is connecting the movie to the SCWAMP framework, some explanations are placed in the wrong categories. Some areas could have used a stronger argument. For example when supporting the Straightness/Heterosexuality Grinner also mentions race, the argument would have resonated more if she had just spoke on gender.

She continues to use race when explaining how Christianity is utilized in the film. I think to point out some religious symbols or actions would make more sense than to compare character relations in the movie to people in the bible. This can be done with any relationship, there are so many explained in the bible that I'm not sure this was the best approach. Besides those factors, Grinner has many great points.

Quotes: TP#1 Media & Ideology - Croteau

The following 3 quotes stood out to me the most in this reading.

"...ruling groups can maintain their power through force, consent, or a combination of the two. Ruling by way of force requires the use of institutions such as the military and the police in an effort to physically coerce—or threaten coercion—so that people will remain obedient." p.165

"...ruling groups in a society actively seek to have their worldview accepted by all members of society as the universal way of thinking. Institutions such as schools, religion, and the media help the powerful exercise this cultural leadership since they are the sites where we produce and reproduce ways of thinking about society." p.166

"Hegemony, however, is not something that is permanent; it is neither 'done' nor unalterable. Gramsci (1971) understood hegemony as a process that was always in the making. To effectively wield power through consent, ideological work through cultural leadership was an ongoing necessity. The terrain of common sense and the natural must be continually reinforced because people’s actual experiences will lead them to question dominant ideological assumptions. People are active agents, and modern society is full of contradictions; therefore, hegemony can never be complete or final. Some people will not accept the basic hegemonic worldview, some people may resist it, and changing historical conditions will make certain aspects of hegemonic ideology untenable. Ultimately, Gramsci saw hegemony as a daily struggle about our underlying conceptions of the world, a struggle always subject to revision and opposition. Rulers, who try to maintain their power by defining the assumptions on which the society rests, work to bring stability and legitimacy and to incorporate potentially opposing forces into the basic ideological framework." p.167-168

These three quotes combined seem to carry a strong message. The simplest way I can interpret this text's meaning is that "cultural norms" ideologies can be taught or talked about via schools, religion and the media and that in order for them to be effective the agenda has to be pushed continuously, or one could be left comparing to one's own life and no longer relating or believing the presented "norm".

The way these quotes are relevant to the text is by first connecting it to a class example when we were talking about the windows and mirrors that teenagers must be provided with in their life experiences. If the image being feed to them are constantly windows, the need for a mirror are going to grow. Whether this is understood by the individual immediately or not, if the space is allowed for reflection the thought will eventually come forward.

In the text several media pieces that go against the 'ideal norms' are mentioned, including a PBS documentary titled, 'Tongues Untied' which is about a homosexual black gay man. When researching this piece, I came across a particular YouTube video that to me captured a "mirror" reaction. It may be viewed below:

This to me speaks volumes on what happens when someone's personal experience links up with what they see in the media. This should be the new continuos feeling, with media, at school and even through religion.

Mirrors should be the new communicators, who's ready to put some up?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Check 1, 2...

Hello Everyone~!

I am BlueAzul, a Media Studies Graduate Student. When I'm not in school I'm running my own business, BlueAzul LLC. I currently promote Neon Fridays @ GLO, an urban gay night. I also have a personal trainer I am working out with 5 days a week. I am on facebook and twitter. Please feel free to add me.

I would like to invite you all to check out my thesis project at the art gallery at the end of this semester. The title of my project is 'Step into the Closet'. It will be an audio/visual experience.

So far I'm loving this course. Can't wait to see what else we will discuss and learn!