Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Hella is one of my favorite bands. Their new album, There's No 666 In Outerspace, is coming out soon. It's not everyone's taste, but it's interesting to see how amazing Zach Hill is at drums.

The Game

I recently re-watched David Fincher's The Game the other night. It is still very surprising that some people have never heard of this movie, especially considering the popularity of Fincher's later films. Most notably: Fight Club. Well, and Panic Room but I'm honestly the only person I know that likes that movie.

Lately, I've been digging The Comedians of Comedy documentary. Especially Zach Galifianakis, whose act has grown absurdly more hilarious every year. I'm betraying my Mr. Show fandom, but I can do without Brian Posehn. His stand-up is very hit-or-miss, and I don't find Star Wars jokes that appealing. If they would have had David Cross in place of Posehn, I would have...laughed more.

Zach: I wish they made a morning-after pill for Denny's "Moons Over My Hammy"

Fun in Class

I got rid of the goofy stuff I did today in class and embedded OK Go's treadmill video for "Here it Goes Again," viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube and still just as incredible as the first time you saw it:

Seen any good videos online? Embed them here!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Virtual MTV

After watching "Showstopper" yesterday I was talking about how MTV is trying to drive traffic from its television channel to its website. Here's a great example of what they're doing there: Virtual Laguna Beach, a 3-D animated virtual world where you create an avatar and interact with other virtual characters in an immersive environment.

Just like television and movies, the virtual world of will be commercialized through product placement/advertising. As this article in Wired describes:
[L]ike YouTube and MySpace, MTV still needs to find a way to make the virtual world pay. User participation and brand building aren’t enough. Jeff Yapp, an MTV executive vice president...thinks that VLB has the potential to generate bigger bank per person than the TV show from which it sprang.

“If you look at our monetization on a viewer basis for Laguna Beach, we’re making pennies a person,” Yapp says. But, he says, visitors to Virtual Laguna Beach might buy a DVD of the show, a branded T-shirt, or a virtual T-shirt for their avatar (in-world currency can be purchased with a credit card at an exchange rate of 180 MTV bucks to the US dollar). And hardcore fans will be able to get virtual crash pads and flirt via VoIP when MTV launches a $6-per-month premium service.

MTV may never match revenue from TV commercials by becoming a virtual landlord. But the opportunity for advertisers is another story. In VLB, products can be integrated into the virtual experience. Instant-messaging windows can be skinned as Cingular cell phones, virtual Pepsi cans are a surprisingly popular accoutrement, and Secret deodorant recently ran a contest in which VLB members confess a secret—the best secrets got turned into video clips that were screened for virtual audiences at the Laguna Cinema and other locales in VLB.

Advertisers can’t help but love an online space in which the hard-to-reach demographic of teenage girls makes up around 55 percent of members (which explains why a guy who signs into VLB is usually mobbed with potential admirers). About 40 percent of all members are under 17. On average, users visit six times a month for 35 minutes a session. (The typical Web site devoted to a television show receives just five six-minute visits per user per month.) And sign-ups have continued to rise since the end of the Laguna Beach season in November. Yapp talks about the network’s ability to push a “fire hose” of viewers toward the service.
Basically, MTV wants to create a social networking site, something like Facebook or MySpace, but using a 3-D animated environment that is saturated with consumerism. I haven't played around with VLB (in part because you can't do it using a Mac, which is what I have at home). If any of you has given it a whirl I'd love to know about your experience.

American Idol

I know we talked about this a little bit on the first day of class but I wanted to express my opinion....

After the first several shows of this seasons American Idol, many people thought that the judges were being more cruel then ever. There was talk that the judges were not just criticizing the participants sing (which the show should focus on) but were also criticizing other factors such as appearance, intelligence level, etc. This caused many people to stand up and express there opinions about this. I saw this publicly addressed on the show, The View. Rosie O'Donald state that she felt that the show allowed people that might not be in a correct mental state to but themselves in a situation and that they do not realize how this could harm them in the future. And many other people had similar view points.

However, I feel that these concerns are very interesting. American Idol has been on for many seasons now and each season the same thing happens. Plus, the judges are just as mean as they were since season one. So, why are these people all so concerned now. I mean if anything, people that sign up to participate in the show know better now more then ever what they are getting themselves into (They most likely have seen all the past seasons or at least heard about the show). In addition to this, I think if you sign up to participate in any reality TV show you know that anything you do can be aired and you sign a contract that says this is okay. I mean every reality TV show airs things that make people in them look stupid or shows them doing something embarrassing.

Plus, American Idol is part of the media business and their main goal is to make money. If the show only aired the great singers and the people that seemed "normal" most likely not very many of us would want to watch. It just wouldn't be as fun or entertaining. And if we didn't watch the show would lose advertisers and this would result in the show going off the air. The show is all about being successful and no one can blame them for that.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Personal Media

I have recently found myself in the compromising position of having my purse stolen. No, it's not what you think. I wasn't mugged or attacked, but more or less had it taken from me when I wasn't paying attention. A lot of it was my own fault, and I guess I'm starting to come to terms with it. Alright, so the purse if gone; what is the next step? I have to try to figure out what was in it, what I lost, and what needs to happen for me to replace those items. In doing so, I realized how much it sucks to loose cash, because that's all just gone, how much of a pain it is to replace credit cards, and how time consuming replacing my driver's license can be. Despite all of problems, I am truly grateful that my cell phone was not in the purse at the time it was stolen. My cell phone is a huge part of my life and I know I would be lost without it. Occasionally, I'll leave it behind when I go to class for an hour or two, and I'm left feeling empty or naked without a form of communication with me, whether I need to use it or not. It has my daily schedules in it, set alarms for wake-ups and reminders, and every phone number I need to know. I've never bothered to learn my work number, my boyfriend's number, or even my parent's numbers for the mere reason that my cell phone has them all. I'm lucky I still have my phone, because I don't know how I would have dealt with the situation without it. Most people living away from home for college don't have a house phone, leaving my cell phone as the only way I could cancel my credit cards, call my parents, and report my stolen purse. Now, I wait for a new credit card to arrive in the mail, order a new check card from the bank, and try to make time to sit at the DMV to get a new driver's license. Had I lost my phone, replacing it would have come first. It's my personal media that I simply can't live without.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Maui Fever" & "Laguna Beach"

After our class discussion and our viewing of Laguna Beach, I began to think about how reality television portrays people and if this portrayal accurately represents the "real" people in the area the show is based on? This led me to think about a new show I had recently watched on MTV called Maui Fever. The first episode of Maui Fever aired last week Wednesday and has caused a great deal of controversy. Maui Fever at least after viewing the first episode...which was so stupid to me that I found it hard to watch...seems to be all about a group of "locals" who live a party life with the main goal of hooking up with tourists.

The characters and lifestyle they live in this reality show has cause controversy with many people that are Maui natives. They feel that the show portrays Maui badly and that the people in the show are not even Maui natives, like the show claims they are. This controversy made me think, do people that watch Maui Fever and other reality shows like it believe that this is what the natives of Maui are like? Or back to Laguna people think that the people of Laguna Beach represent how people act in this area of CA?

As I thought about these questions I realized that if people have never been to CA or Maui that they only have the option to believe things that they seen in the they might think this is how life truly is in these areas. At this point I realized why the actual natives of Maui were up set with the show Maui Fever and how much it truly harms the perception people have of the areas and people that live in the areas. After all, I do not think that everyone that lives in Maui lives a life of partying and hooking up and that everyone in CA has tons of money and is only concerned with shopping, looks, and relationships.

These lead me to some questions that I don't think have any clear answer but are something I was left thinking about....1)How much do reality TV shows affect our perceptions or true reality?; 2) Do they hurt our society?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Laguna Beach vs. The Hills

Although the blonde bombshell Kristen was the star of the show "Laguna Beach," the equally gorgeous blonde, Lauren takes over the role of the OC's hottest star in her new show "The Hills," on MTV. Both Kristen and Lauren apperared in our television sets a few years ago, when MTV made a reality show about rich high school students in the OC. Any viewer of the show can clearly see that the cast of kids on the show lead very unordinary lives. In class today one topic that was brought up about "Laguna Beach," was that cast of the show had unlimited money, unlimited freedom, and unlimited drama. The show never shows the highschool students in school, they very rarely have jobs, and they never have any responsiblilities. They fill their time with shopping, partying, surfing, eating out for every meal, driving around in their brand new BMW's, "hooking up" with half the school, and getting hair extensions for every school dance. What a life! No wonder why people of all ages are tuning into the lives of these teenagers. Their lives are so far from the ordinary, these kids live in fantasy land.

I have personally seen every episode of Laguna Beach, although it is lame to admit, I am intrugued with their superficial lives. Tonight I watched the new episode of "The Hills," the newest edition to the Laguna Beach craze. Lauren, a former Laguna Beach star, moves to L.A. to attend fashion school. She also lands the internship of a lifetime at Teen Vogue Magazine. Along the way she makes new friends and parties at all the hottest L.A. night clubs. Although her life still is a walk in the park, compared to the rest fo the population, she actually goes to school and has a job. Granted she got the job because of her fame on Laguna Beach, never the less, she has a job. She also has responsibility and maturity, something she lacked while on Laguna Beach.

Both shows are popular due to their fantasy appeal, but "The Hills," is just a little more grown up than "Laguna Beach," but I really do mean "just a little."

For next Wednesday...

This is to give you an idea of what to do with your proposal. It should identify a specific media text, describe it briefly, and offer two or three questions you might ask about it in your paper. (Note: titles of films, television programs, video games, music albums, and publications such as books and magazines go in italics.)

Sample Topic Proposals (JMC Spring 2007)

+Sample topic proposal: Pirates of the Caribbean

For my assignment I would like to write about the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Dead Man’s Chest was an incredibly successful release in the summer of 2006. How does Hollywood create blockbuster films like this one to appeal to viewers of all ages, but especially to children? How was the film made to generate income through “tie-ins” such as toys and games, soundtrack recordings, and other forms of merchandising? By considering questions like these, I want to understand how Hollywood makes successful blockbuster films.

+Sample topic proposal: ESPN The Magazine

For my assignment I would like to write about the bi-weekly sports magazine ESPN. ESPN is a large-format glossy magazine about American sports that tries to project a cool, young attitude. How does ESPN try to appeal to men and especially young men? How does it try to extend the “brand” created by the cable television channel ESPN? Answering these questions will help me understand what makes this magazine appeal to readers.

+Sample topic proposal: Laguna Beach

For my assignment I would like to write about MTV’s “docu-soap” program Laguna Beach, which recently finished its third season. Laguna Beach is a reality program that follows the lives of a group of beautiful high school students in a very rich community on the ocean in California. I am interested in how Laguna uses contemporary popular music to help tell its stories and also in looking at how MTV uses programming rather than music videos to promote songs and bands. I am also interested in how MTV combines TV and the internet. By looking at these issues, I hope to understand more about how cable television shows try to make programming that young viewers will want to watch.

Ms. Lohan and Escapism

I was watching television the other night, and I believe it was VH1's hilarious 'Best Week Ever' program. One of the comedians brought up Lindsay Lohan's admittance to rehab. He then went on to point out US Weekly's angle on the story-- not the issue of rehab itself but rather- What was Lindsay wearing?! Yes, this apparently serves as breaking news in today's society.

Personally, I don't believe this issue is ever important enough to devote an article to, especially when it overshadows a more important topic, you know, as in entering rehab for drug/alcohol abuse [especially at such a young age]. As if discussing Lindsay's apparel of choice wasn't embarrassing enough for US Weekly, the article went on to criticize Lindsay's outfit.

I guess I can't speak from experience, but I suppose if I was making my way into rehab, concern for whether my Versace handbag matched my D&G sunglasses would be a source of minimal distress.

Once again, this prompts me to question society today and what its values are. Though I can't really blame US Weekly for its angle. The magazine is only devoting time to topics it believes the population will eat up, and yes, this is a proven formula. Superficial topics sell. I think this is a form of escapism for many individuals. Rather than face issues that are complicated or frightening, people give into topics that have little to no impact on their lives. They live through celebrities-- the excitement, the fame, the riches, and inevitably-- the drama.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Kicking it off

Well I am sitting here at work in the architecture building constantly emailing a number of people and it brought me back to a thought (sort of about the media of facebook) that we had a discussion on today. This seemed like the right time to kick things off with the blog. I was just thinking about the idea of being "too old" for facebook that came up in class. Whether Michael is too old, who is too old, and what information actually impacts what I can do with it (facebook and yahoo mail/other email) in the media. Will our generation, college students now, ever be too old for it? and what are the impacts of this on my sanity for instance since I am addicted; it is true. This, personally, scares the crap out of me and for the most part, I think it should. I feel that if I could have went back to the introductions in class... I should have said facebook and yahoo mail. This has its advantages though, for business communications in journalism but it is kind of exhausting at the same time. For instance, I got my first workstudy job simply by emailing the uwm buildings asking, no meetings required. Also, I communicate constantly with the UWM post over email. Maybe it is just me, and the lifestyle right now.. If we are hooked now... what the heck are we going to be like in 10-15 years and since we are the first introduced to facebook... can we mature to outgrow it? I can't wait to see a spam blocker and virus protection for facebook users in the future.

Homophobic slur on the set of Grey's Anatomy

After our discussion in class it is very clear that Grey's Anatomy is a very popular show and the ratings also show that as well. Recently the show has become a topic of discussion for a different reason and I am questing whether this will improve ratings or if it will begin a downfall in the hit shows ratings.

In late October it was rumored that there was a fight on set between the actors Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey over the fact that Isaiah may have used a derogatory term calling T. R Knight a faggot. Over the past few weeks the controversy has increased when Isaiah claimed he never said it at the Golden Globes award during a press conference. Recently he has admitted to using the homophobic slur and has apologized for it as well. This continues to play out on Hollywood news shows including E News and Access Hollywood. With all the negative attention will the show be in danger of losing viewers or with all the controversy will more people tune in? They say there is no such thing as bad publicity but when a comment made on set makes the cast angry and enrages viewers it could be damaging.

The media brings so much attention to negative incidents that happen in Hollywood that they become so much larger then the original problem in the first place. I think that with all the drama and attention the show will only continue to be a success. It’s easy to see the more publicity even negative attention makes people want to see and hear more.