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!