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Questioning the Media- Chapter 10

“Imagine that you are on a committee that oversees book choices for a high school library in your town. What policies do you think should guide the committee’s selection of controversial books?”

Being 18 and just out of high school, the 1st thing that comes to mind for me personally is the fact that, other than obviously obscene books with nothing but graphic content, I don’t want anybody telling me what I can’t read. Having just watched “Footloose” (Kevin Bacon’s; the new one is trash) the idea reminds me of a scene where a parent and the reverend are talking about trying to get the book “Slaughterhouse 5” removed from the curriculum simply because of the name.

Mr. Gurntz: He was trying to teach that book.

Mrs. Allyson: Slaughterhouse-Five, isn't that an awful name?

Ren: Yeah it's a classic... Slaughterhouse-Five, it's a classic.

Mr. Gurntz: Tom Sawyer is a classic! Do you read much?

Mrs. Allyson: Maybe in another town it's a classic.

Ren: In any town.

To answer the question, I think that the committee’s job should simply be to make sure that the books in the school’s library are explicitly graphic like a playboy magazine or the like. I personally feel that it being a high school library, the kids there should be mature enough and wanting to be on more of an educational level that they should respect anything that is published as a form of art or genuine media that they could learn from. Just like our conversation about the PC censorship of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, that was a period of time where that was acceptable. It is not solely directed to target black people and Native Americans and degrade them, it’s simply something written in a book that stands for a historical point in media.

Anyone remember this scene on Family Guy?

If you tried to draw a line between the books that are okay and which ones are not due to violence or subject matter that seems to me to be a very subjective basis. It reminds me of the movie we watched in class, “This Movie Is Not Yet Rated”, where the phantom-like board gets to put the axe to anything that they deem to be unfit. A board that sat in to decide which books are okay to put in a high school library would be exemplifying the exact ideal of the board that judges the movies. The result of this being lack of the spread of knowledgeable media. If tomorrow, every copy of Slaughterhouse 5 was taken off of school shelves, what have we gained? A win for the parents who think the name of the book was a bad influence on their children? Your child is in high school, i promise you they’ve heard worse than “slaughterhouse”. But back to what i was saying: there is no win from that situation. There is simply a loss of that book and the knowledge contained within it. After that book is taken away, the question is which book is next? and after that? Creating a subjective system of deciding which books would be okay for a high school library is something that would be done with good intentions, and horrible results.

So what policies would I instate to protect the youth of our towns high school? I would simply make sure that nothing receiving a XXX rating ended up on the shelves. Anything more intrusive than that and i believe that it begins to cut into the opportunities that children should have concerning the books that they are given access to.

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Alaskan Mobility Coalition…. who knew?!

This week’s subject to the critical process is a commercial made by the Alaskan Mobility Coalition. It’s a commercial to raise awareness within the Alaskan population about the importance of their public transportation system.

The 1st step is to describe. The video is a time-lapse at the beginning of congested traffic flowing. It then shows a montage of busses going in the diverse situation where public transportation is available (urban, suburban, far spans of highway).  Then it shows the same thing with the vans provided by the Alaskan public transportation. It then shows people on the buses sitting and talking and aiming to show just how much fun they’re having on their bus ride.

I wish my bus rides had been as fun as they were in that commercial...

Analyze: It shows the busses 1st. With people boarding the busses and then a few “action shots” of the busses gallantly traversing the Alaskan roads. it then shows the same thing with the large commercial vans. People boarding, then the vans driving around in the cities and around the town. Then it goes to a montage of action shots of both vans and busses. Next, it shows a handicapped scooter being put on the bus to show that it is handicapped accessible, then it shows a person loading a bike onto the front rack of the bus to show that there is a place for you to store your bike if you choose to ride the bus. then the 2nd to last shot is of a woman talking to someone off camera and smiling to show she is enjoying her experience on the bus. Then the last shot is a landscape shot with the Alaska Mobility Coalition logo. The audio of the video is elevator music with a overdubbed woman talking about the use of public transportation and the importance of it.

Evaluate: This video has quite a repetitive pattern and serves really no more purpose to show the viewer the resources of the Alaskan public transportation system and to show the friendliness of the other people that utilize the system.

IT (Questioning The Media Chap. 7)

Question: Do you remember seeing a movie that you were not allowed to see? Discuss the experience.

Me and my little brother, Caleb, have never been really big fans of horror movies. We have never really been fans of listening to our mom either. So one summer when we asked if we could watch Stephen King’s “IT” and our mom told us no, there was only one thing we could do.

We found the movie in our parents movie cabinet where they kept all the violent movies that they didn’t want us watching like “The Terminator” and “Braveheart”. It was on a recordable VHS because my mom had painstakingly taken the time to watch the movie while it was on tv and pause the recording to edit out any commercials old-school style. We popped the movie in and watched the whole thing in one sitting. I’ll admit, the movie was terrifying to a kid in between 5th and 6th grade, but me and my little brother would reassure ourselves that it was okay and that we weren’t scared by occasionally laughing and looking at each other. We also knew that we were doing this in order to look away from the tv at a really scary time so we wouldn’t have to face the horror being displayed on the screen.

"the horror" probably being something like this...

We watched the movie around noon and finished it unphased. We eagerly awaited the hour of our mom’s return from work so we could tell her we’d watched the movie and that we weren’t scared at all. She finally got home after what seemed like forever as we waited with baited breath. We jumped around and told her how we’d watched the movie and it wasn’t scary at all! It wasn’t scary… until 3am when me and my little brother were both laying in our beds terrified to move. One of us finally decided to say something and let the other one know that he was still awake too. So we sprinted down the stairs and jumped onto the couch in the playroom. We were too scared to sleep in our own room for 3 more nights until we had built up the courage to get back into our own beds at night.

I learned a very valuable lesson through that experience. No matter what age you are, or how many people you are with, NEVER. WATCH. THAT. MOVIE.

Their Home Really is Shrinking…

The article of media that I chose to subject to the critical process for this week is a video about global warming. I’m not trying to preach about it, or whether it’s real or not. It was just the video I chose to use for my blog post this week.

The video is here.

The first step is… what is it class? That’s right: observe. So let’s get to it. The video starts in a pretty normal way. A man exits his home dressed for work with briefcase in hand. Cars go down the street in the foreground and the man walks toward the viewer and turns to his left and walks of screen. The direction of light shifts and it gets dark to signify the passing of the day and the man comes back into view, returning home for work. I did notice the oddity that the man now had to duck to go into the door of his house. The lights then shift again to denote the rising of the sun and the man is now so big that he has to crawl out of his door on his hands and knees to manage to get out. He then carries on and goes off-screen to go to work. The lights again pass and the man comes back onto the screen. This time, though, he opens the door and is unable to squeeze into his house. He then gives up and decides to sit down outside of his house. Then the video shows a polar bear floating on a small piece of ice in the ocean. Across the screen, it says “Global warming, when you feel it, it’s already too late.”

To analyze and pull out the patterns I see repeated comes next. The pattern is that the man leaves for work, the day passes and he comes back. But the twist is that he has grown, yet he seems to ignore the fact and continue as if everything was normal. This of course continues until he can actually no longer fit into his house.

Third comes interpret and as always I will combine it with the fourth part, evaluate. The pattern is shown to draw an equivalent line between a human’s home shrinking and the legitimate problem of a polar bear’s “home” shrinking. We don’t really notice it, but global warming is having an impact on us as we progress in our existence. We have just grown so accustomed to not living in nature and providing artificially for ourselves that we have created a rift between ourselves and nature. But the polar bear from the video does not have that luxury. It is directly and immediately affected by what happens in nature and it cannot help what we, as humans, have done to their habitat. Therefor, it is our responsibility to be responsible for the things we have caused. The end of the video is obvious tangible proof that their home really is shrinking.

This stirs in me the question of what other things have we done that have led to problems with animals that they are neither able to help nor able to withstand. I recently found another poster about environmental awareness that has to do with our effect on the animal life that we should be attempting to coexist with.

This image really stuck with me.

I’m really an animal person so images of animals, even this dead bird, really affect me and stick with me because I know that, due to humanity’s existence, their usual way of life has been challenged and changed completely due to our own shortcomings as a species.

Questioning The Media

“Describe your earliest memories of watching television. What was your favorite show? Which, if any, shows did your family watch together? Were there shows that you were not allowed to watch? Which ones and why?”

My earliest memory of watching television would have to be when my sister was starting elementary school and we would wake up and watch shows before she had to leave to go to school in the morning. The tv was in the living room right down the hall from my room so I would get up and get ready in a flash so I could go sit on the hardwood floor right in front of our tv set. Sometimes if one of us kids took longer than the others getting ready, I remember having to recap each other on whatever we’d missed when the commercials came on. There was one show that we watched in those mornings: Pokemon. That was the show we all watched until we got the big screen when I was in elementary school and we started watching Zoids and Digimon, and then eventually Dragonball Z. These were all my “favorite” show at points in my childhood but the one that really stuck with me was Zoids. I’m actually trying to find season collections of Zoids to get.

I swear this is the exact tv we had in the living room back in the day.

My family hasn’t ever really had a specific television program that we all flocked to and watched together, but TV in general did allow for that family time together. We’d all just sit in the playroom and watch whatever was on whether it be a series that my mom liked or some car show that my dad was interested in, we always would watch whatever the person who had the remote wanted to watch… unless my dad wanted to watch something particular… then the battle for the remote commenced and the victor got to choose what we watched with the loser having to put up with the show my dad wanted to watch. Which was most likely “TRUCKS!”…

To answer the question as to any shows that I wasn’t allowed to watch. Besides the obvious TV programs that we weren’t allowed to view growing up the show I remember not being able to watch was The X-Files. I still remember the walk to my room having to hear that terrifying whistling theme music as the show came on. I didn’t know what the show was about at the time, but just the mysticism behind having to leave the playroom when that show came on made it just that much scarier. I recently saw an episode with my mom while she was watching it folding clothes and I was surprised as to how not scary it was. I find it to be a sure sign that the times are changing that when I was little I had to go to bed when the X-Files came on, and nowadays I have to squeeze past children in the theater to watch the next installment of Paranormal Activity. Another show that I was not allowed to watch due to my age was Dragonball Z. My little brother and I had been avid watchers of the show for some time before my mom saw an episode as we were watching it and witnessed how violent a show it was. I will never forget the episode we were watching when my mom flipped. Heads up because this is going to get a little nerdy… Goku was holding Raditz for Piccolo to use the Special Beam Cannon, and when he does it blows a hole straight through Both Goku and Raditz. My mom had been walking through the room and when she saw that the TV went off instantly and she interrogated us about what it was we were watching and how long had we been watching it. I didn’t get to watch that show again until I was 3 years older and had missed everything up to Majin Buu.

They got you in the end... I think... it's been a while...

People Notice Blood

Today I am going to be applying the critical process to a string of Public Awareness advertisements that I’ve found that really caught my attention. They specifically deal with talking on cell phones while driving and instead of targeting the person with direct consequences, they show the other side of a phone call during a car crash.

Here’s one of the ads:

Pretty graphic…

This is the ad that I concentrated on for the observe portion of the process.

Strictly listing observations of the photo at face value. The 1st thing your eyes are drawn to is the blood erupting from the phone. The nest is the face. The woman is obviously in some sort of anguish. I personally immediately focused next on the insignia under her arm. “Don’t talk while he drives” and a sort of badge under that. Then, because it was my direct task to observe the picture, I noticed how everything in the picture was a pale hue; it seems washed out. This is obviously the aim of the color scheme to immediately draw the attention to the blood. Also by observing the cabinets behind her and the things on the counter, my best guess is that she’s in the kitchen of her house.

Next step: Analyze. The repeated patterns throughout the line of ads are the anguished face, the obvious blood exploding from the phone… really the only things that change between all the ads are the person and the place that they are. All the observations that i listed in the above paragraph are repeated through the line of pictures.

I’ll be honest for the nest step (Interpret), i don’t really know how to discern between this step and the one pervious. I’ve been meaning to ask about that…

But moving on to evaluate. These pictures really intrigue me. I like how instead of showing the direct cause of talking on the phone while driving (a car crashed, the ambulance, the body bag), this picture pulls on the outlying ripples of being on the phone. It even almost looks as if the person on the phone is experiencing the crash just as much as the actual driver of the car. This shows how the person talking on the phone is going to be just as affected by the accident that they indirectly caused. I can’t exactly put into words the ideas this puts into my head, but i think that just goes as proof of how effective of a piece of media it is.

And now I press the publish button to ENGAGE!!!

The [real] Peoples’ Station

Questioning the media question for the week? “If you ran a non-commercial campus radio station, what kind of music would you play and why?

My immediate thoughts on this prompt are that you’re going to have to find some way to specifically aim it at the students attending the school because chances are very likely that they are the only ones that are going to be listening to it. That means that you are going to need to play music that the general majority of the campus is going to like to listen to. It’s going to need to be drawn from an extensive collection of songs due to the diversity of the campus.

But to directly answer the question, i would play the music that the students actually asked for. that’s right. i would take suggestions straight from the people who are actually listening to the station. If you wanted to hear a song, just e-mail the station and say what song you want played. Even if we wouldn’t have it on a cd or in our files or whatnot, we could even just hook up a laptop and bring up the song on YouTube to play it over the air waves. I’m pretty sure we could do that as a non-profit radio station… i would feel like Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Pirate Radio! except for the fact that we’d be broadcasting from the student center and not a ship off the coast of the UK.

Good morning Marietta! Today we are broadcasting straight to you from Lake Allatoona!!

As to the “Why?” part of the question. It would just obviously be what the people want to hear. The music that they actually tell the station they want to hear. That pretty much sums it up. A normal station has their set playlist that they play, but my radio station would be set completely based off of suggestions from the listeners. And in the times where the calls aren’t just flooding in I would play what I was currently in the mood for and whenever the listeners got sick of it, they would know that all they would have to do to change it. We’d just be an e-mail way.