Sunday, September 30, 2007

While this Harrison Ford parody trailer is not as seamless as the James Bond video we watched in class they both make a good point echoing one of the deciding factors in the 2 Live Crew case. 2 Live Crew was almost sued for using large parts of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman. One of the deciding factors in the case was that 2 Live Crew used Roy Orbison’s material to make something new.
In this Harrison Ford trailer the creators used a montage of different snippets from Ford’s numerous movies in which his wife and children are threatened. The creators are using past works to create something new and creative. They are not saying that they had anything to do with his movies. They are using Harrison Ford’s movies to use this relatively new technology of private, normal individuals creating media products that can be distributed to a global audience.
If copyright laws became so strict that people could not even sample past works technologies that put the power of the mass media in the hands of normal people would struggle to survive. This regulation would do nothing but to shut off an important source of creative possibilities. In the end, as long as artists are using past material to create something new and to further innovation I do not believe that these past works are being abused.
Here is the link for the video.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Arthur Fonzarelli

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A few days ago JSOnline posted a story about the group Visit Milwaukee raising money to put a statue of the Fonz from TV's "Happy Days" in downtown Milwaukee. They've already got $45,000 out of the total $85,000.

Interviewed for the article, Henry Winkler (the actor who portrayed Fonzie) thinks the statue is "bizarre" but he is also "so OK with it." He even said he'd come to town for the dedication ceremony. I don't know about you guys, but I won't be missing this for the world.

Viacom owns the rights to the Fonz's character, and they've said the project can go ahead. Some people in Milwaukee are less than pleased, believing television shows based here aren't what Milwaukee should be promoting. But I think it's pretty sweet. It'll be life-sized and probably bronze. I have my doubts about how much extra tourism this statue will actually bring to our city. It's a cool idea, though. Why should just famous figures in history have statues around town? Media is a part of our collective history, too.

I wonder what the statue will look like exactly. Do you think we'll be able to sit on it?

Offensive Advertising

Today on my way to work I tuned into Newsradio 620. Charlie Sykes was on, and he was talking about this story. An advertisement for Folsom Street Fair (a sexual fetish festival, as I understand it) in San Francisco depicts almost-nude men and women in bondage/leather outfits sitting around a table mimicking the Last Supper. Miller is a sponsor of the festival, and their logo is displayed on the bottom of the image. Many people are outraged by the image and The Catholic League is calling for a boycott of Miller products. When I was listening to the story on 620, people kept calling in and sharing their anger over it... many of them were really, really worked up about it.

Maybe it's just that I wasn't personally offended by this image, but my reaction was that these people were a little bit too worked up. There is media content everywhere we look that is bound to offend someone. I suppose I come across media messages pretty regularly that go against my personal opinions and beliefs, but I realize it happens, so take them with a grain of salt. It's not like Miller is sending people dressed in bondage to the houses of these people and having them perform a live re-enactment of the Last Supper in their living rooms. And it's not the first or the last time someone is going to mock other people's beliefs... it happens.

Or... maybe this image was TOO controversial. It didn't personally offend me, but it is pretty extreme. Maybe Miller should've recognized that and pulled out as a sponsor of the festival in avoidance of this situation and the resulting "bad press"?

What do you guys think? Do people care too much about offensive/controversial media content, or is it the responsibility of the media to refrain from using/sponsoring images or other content that could potentially upset people?

"Childrens do learn..."

One of my favorite shows on television right now is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  As a fan of current events, I find the satirical spin of various news stories hilarious.  Today, while doing some homework, I was shocked to overhear another ingenious quote by George Bush.  Addressing a group of young students at a school, Bush said the following:

"As yesterday's positive report card shows 'childrens' do learn when standards are high and results are measured."

Afterwards, Jon Stewart's comments were entertaining, as usual.  The clip was from today's episode of the Daily Show, so I was not able to find of clip including Jon Stewart. But, I found the video clip from Bush's speech.  I recommend trying to find video with Stewart's comments.

In lieu of the Daily Show's success, I have noticed other cable news networks creating similar shows that mock/critique current events.  Most notably, Fox News' Red Eye (which isn't funny, at all).

Although Bush's newest speech slip-up does not directly relate to much in our class, I figured many would find it very amusing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Legitimate mashers

Thinking about lecture yesterday, I realized there are a lot of legitimate mashers in our remix culture as well. Fatboy Slim, for example, is a legitimate remix artist who takes old forms of music and sort of "modernizes" them. For example, his song "Weapon of Choice" uses a sampling of Sly & the Family Stone's "Into My Own Thing."

But he doesn't just stop at sampling; Slim has also reinvented the song "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, under the alias of The Mighty Dub Katz. I remember listening to this song many years ago, and thinking, “Wow...what an interesting take on this song!”

Mashing isn't strictly an illegal practice; with the rights and permission of the original artists, it's a legitimate art form.

Here’s Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice,” starring Christopher Walken in the music video. Classic.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Copyright thoughts

The talk about copyright today made me think a lot about whether or not I more in support of copyright reform or more in support of strict copyright laws.

This video that I have posted highlights the instance where Avril Lavigne rips off The Rubinoos "I Want to Be Your Boyfriend" refrain in her song "Girlfriend." The Rubinoos song has been one of my favorite songs for many, many years. I truly believe that it is one of the best power pop songs ever written, and the song has come to mean a lot to me over the years. When I first heard Avril's song, I got angry. Really angry. How could some pop tart come along and piss all over one of my favorite creative works? It seemed so wrong to me. The copyright laws protecting this kind of artistic infringement represent an important concept in respecting the original artists creative talent and integrity. I was ecstatic when I read in the paper that legal action was being pursued against Avril.

Perhaps there are two branches of copyright control. One branch encompasses distribution issues such as "piracy," copying, selling for profit, etc. The other sphere deals with the degradation of an existing creative work, where an artist attempts to make money off of a previous creative effort. This is the point where I think copyright laws are not only crucial, but make sense.


If any of you have watched Metalocalypse on Cartoon Network before you might be interested to know that they released their very first album today. Metalocalypse is a cartoon about an extremely popular death metal band and has its own original comical songs in it. I think it's pretty interesting that the TV show spawned it's own album. With songs like murmaider (a song about mermaid murder) and Briefcase full of guts I have to say its a pretty sweet album. You can listen to it here.

And thinking back on lecture today with the videos we were watching, it made me remember my favorite trailer that was altered. It's the pg version of the movie 300. This is perfectly safe for the kids to watch. Check it out here

Spencer Pratt

If any of you haven't caught an episode of The Hills on MTV, you may not know who Spencer Pratt is. He's Heidi's boyfriend, who is main character Lauren's ex- best friend. The feud between Spencer and Heidi and Lauren and her crew began during the last season of The Hills when Heidi continually chose her boyfriend over her friends.

Anyway, Spencer Pratt is quite the character. There have been rumors that he is desperate for fame, and will do anything to get it (including asking Heidi to marry him?). I was looking at US Weekly's website where it tells Spencer's back story and talks about all the rumors going around about him. What I found hilarious is that he actually has his own website that he created just for people to "hate on him". He actually asks people to. You can log on and view video from episodes, and comment on them. So, if you hate Spencer, here's your chance to tell him!

Amazon's new store

Check out the new service from from Amazon: AmazonMP3. It boasts of selling "play anywhere, DRM-free music downloads." If I were Apple I would worry, since the MP3 files Amazon is selling will work with iTunes and iPods. Amazon doesn't (yet) have music from every major label available (some haven't yet made peace with selling DRM-free) but they do have better prices than iTunes for many tracks (89 cents). And unlike iTunes downloads, you can do whatever you want with Amazon MP3s, like burn them onto CDs. So the copyright issues we discussed today aren't just a matter of how the government regulates media; they also figure into how the industry positions its products for sale. The music industry realizes that its customers want to copy their music, and one way it can survive its current crisis is by working with rather than against that fact. Preserving copyright in a strict sense might cost them too much business.

Remix Culture

Talking in class today about the Remix Culture, I thought of an old YouTube Video that made me laugh called "The Juggernaut." Forewarning, it is vulgar and contains extensive profanity.
The Juggernaut
It's based on a Marvel comic. I remember seeing it maybe two years ago, so it has been available to the public for at least that amount of time, without apparent concern to copyright law. I'm actually surprised that the content is allowed on sites like YouTube, owing to the profanity and the use of the Marvel imagery.
Doing a bit of background research on the video, I leaned that the style mimics a genre of film called Blaxploitation. Blaxploitation is a genre that emerged in 1970's (e.g. Shaft.) These films are mostly set in the ghetto and use humor to parody the lives of drug dealers, hit men, and pimps. It is a form that is widely criticized for it's extensive use of stereotypes.
Stereotypes aside, I found the video humorous in the way it puts an over-the-top adult spin on a children's comic. It's a good example of sampling and the remix culture that digs up a forgotten-to-most genre.
Maybe you'll find it funny, or maybe you'll find it offensive, hopefully you find it interesting and applicable to the class.
As I am sure most of you know, we are in the midst of premiere week on all the networks...therefore I am bringing up one of ABC's tactics for jogging viewer's memories cause they have been using this a lot. Instead of just showing the season finale from May the week before a show premieres, ABC has been showing recap shows. Last week there was one with a mix of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice...I think it was primarily done to promote Private Practice rather than be a recap show, but whatever. Then this past Sunday there was a recap show for Desperate Housewives and a "Family Album" for Brother's and Sisters.

I think it is good that they do this because for some of us, myself included, it is hard to remember what the hell happened last May cause there is so much going on in these shows! Plus, the recaps can potentially grab a new audience by recaping nearly the entire series. I haven't noticed any other networks copying this, but then again, I haven't looked much since most of the shows I watch are on ABC now...

Monday, September 24, 2007


Hey --- if you didn't make it last Tuesday you cannot join the club.

JUST KIDDING! In fact there are many many more events on the way! The year is just beginning- so join the club today!

Advertising is a world of competition- get "differentiated" - it's painless!

E-mail for more info or to pay dues.

Next guest speaker : OCTOBER 17th, 2007. Bethany Rucinski form Zizzo Group Advertising.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

When Bad Things Hit Home...And Your Heart

I will most likely post videos for every blog and I went back and forth in my head as to whether or not I should post this video. So, I decided to let all of you in on something personal to me. My best friend Sarah Stachula died this summer in a rollover crash on I-794 off Pennsylvania Avenue in Cudahy. The crash occured May 27 around 2:30a.m. Channel 4 had the biggest coverage of this accident and also had a camera man filming from inside his vehicle at the site shortly thereafter. It is a somewhat lengthy raw video that pans back and forth and zooms in and out several times. It is not what I would call graphic but they do film her body bag, which will never be erased from my memory. I said to myself that I would NEVER watch this but weeks later, I decided to. My purpose for posting this video is to ask all of you what you think. Though we all know the media takes whatever means necessary to do their job I found this video to be a complete invasion of privacy for Sarah's family and friends. For many of my friends that watched it, we all asked eachother, "Where is the respect?" I realized just how invading and unsympathetic the media can be in even the most tragic cases. I understand I may have a biased opinion since I had never really felt that way before but until something like this could hit so close to home, I now have mixed feelings. I have no intention of bringing a depressing, somber mood to these blogs or the class but I would like to continue to post the remaining media coverage in future blogs. Be patient. Watch the vid. Comment back. Thanks!
If there is one demographic that is greatly underrepresented in the arena of political protest it would be the grandmothers of the nation. When people think of grandmothers they often envision grey- haired women knitting scarves and baking apple pies, but there is a new connotation to be taken into account: Political activist.
On September 15, 2007 a protest was held outside of Hilary Clinton’s office, I believe. The grandmother featured in the video is the leader of a group of American grandmothers protesting the war in Iraq. One of the women in the group was even arrested while protesting at another Senator’s office.
When I began watching this older woman’s speech I wanted to laugh because I got this vision in my head of old women being arrested as they chained themselves to pay phones or something. Luckily it did not take long for me to realize that the younger generation may be the leaders of the future, but it is the older generations that are the teachers. We would not have leaders without teachers. The woman speaking was passionate and realistic and you just wanted to believe her because she looked like a sweet little old lady. The truth is that she had a great message and delivered it well. Here is the video.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Year is it Again?

Deja vu all over again. At least that seems to be the case if you've watched the news lately. Is it 2007, or 1994?

O.J. is back in the 24 hour news foreground after alledgedly attempting to steal back some of his memorabilia at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, Hillary's pushing her soon-to-be-irrelevant national healthcare plan again. I think I've seen this before.

This time around, Bill is the potential first gentleman, and O.J. isn't charged for murder.

But, the headlines and aura are essentially the same.

The 24 hour news stations are again clamoring almost non-stop over both stories. It is ironic, though that, again, much of the nation is looking to a Clinton to "restore" the White House, and take it back from a Bush. Simultaneously, the 24 hour news networks arguably haven't had as juicy a celebrity story since the debate over the infamous Glove.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Another technical foul...but for golf?

Every year my parents host a Badger weekend with all of their friends, and the main attraction is not for the game. Prior to and following after are the late nights out of drinking Long Islands, Swamp Waters, and Spotted Cows, along with dancing to decades of great music and hopefully witnessing my dad getting slapped in the face for the second year in a row. Naturally, I was pumped to attend!

All in all the game against The Citadels was surprisingly exciting with an end score of 31 to 21, Wisconsin. The rest of the weekend proceeded with lots of laughs and good times.

Sunday morning, September 16, as we were slowly delaying our departure time, my Mom and I were reading the Wisconsin State Journal, which was generously provided by the hotel free of charge, and my father was watching the pre-television talk to the Brewer's and Packer's games.

Suddenly, I come across a little article on the bottom of the Sports section titled: Steinhauer, Americans choking? Being the daughter of a quite good player of golf, I realized that Sherri Steinhauer is a Madison resident who is/was participating in the Solheim cup in Sweden. I read on.

Turns out that once again journalistic views emphasis what people shouldn't say on television and they "accidentally" do.... Sounds like a case of missed censorship?

Golf analyst Dottie Pepper, who was once part of the American team, seemed quite upset after her former teammates let slip a three point lead with only three holes left to play. After Steinhauer had missed a possible victory putt, Pepper, thinking the network had gone off the air, said "Chokin' freakin' dogs."

I found this situation very funny, but what else was amusing was, most of the article did not reflect on the competition as a whole. The only real emphasis was on what Pepper had said on networked television that should have been censored. This is a classic case about how media feels everyone loves a goof-up. Frankly, it's true.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What do Britney Spears and Bill Belichick have in common?

As many of you may have seen, the following video was posted on YouTube recently, featuring a guy with bleached hair and eyeliner crying and defending Britney Spears after her recent VMA performance/disaster...

Anyways... New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, is currently under fire after a Patriots video assistant was caught by NFL security filming the New York Jets' defensive signals. The following video was posted to YouTube shortly thereafter...:

It's kind of interesting how a "regular" person can create a piece of viral media and become famous instantly (the Britney guy is apparently trying to get his own reality show now....) ... And it's even more interesting that they can become so popular that other people can impersonate them in attempt to ride their coat tails to fame... and a lot of times it works. I guess in the age of YouTube, it's not that hard.

Bond's 756th home run ball

Mark Ecko, owner of the Ecko line of clothing, purchased Barry Bond's historic home run ball and is letting fans decide what should become of the ball on his website.  
Fans can decide whether to:
a. Give the ball to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame
b. Brand the ball with an asterisk and give the ball to the Hall of Fame
c. Send the ball into space via a rocket

Over five million votes have been counted at this time, and that number is climbing rapidly.  I voted to send the ball into space, and you should too.  On a business note, it is a brilliant attention grabbing move.  He bought the ball for something like $750,000.  He is selling himself and his ventures in a move that is fun and make people feel good.  Three quarters of a million dollars is a rediculous amount of money for a baseball, but I enjoyed the opportunity to decide the ball's fate, and look forward to further dumb publicity stunts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Student Tasered at Kerry Event

Here is a video I found on a student tasered by police at a John Kerry Q&A at the University of Florida. The student asked Kerry questions, but surpassed his allotted time to speak and was escorted to the exit by police. However, the student still wanted to ask Kerry some other questions, and he tried to force his way through the police, thus getting tasered. In my opinion, he should have calmed down and not tried to not get too aggressive with the police. Also, I don't know if this was done on purpose (to provoke the police), or if this was standard police procedure. They could have just taken him outside and warned him not to come back. I do know is that this situation is being seen by some as a negative act by the Florida Police Department, and they are spinning the coverage as being "brutal." Any other viewpoints are appreciated. And now, the video:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Iranian Miniseries

Hey everyone! This afternoon I was paging through the Journal-Setinel and I came across an article in the NATION/WORLD segment. It was a rather good size write up about a new miniseries airing in Iran.

The show is called "Zero Degree Turn" and is strikingly similar to "Schindler's List." It tells the story of an Iranian diplomat stationed in Paris during WW2. He becomes sympathetic to the Jews' plight and rescues hundreds by giving out Iranian passports. The show is really getting people talking both in Tehran, Iran, Europe and here in North America.

There are several amazing facets to this new show. First of all, it was required to be condoned by Iran's clerical leadership in order to be aired. Since most broadcasting is done by the government, (including this miniseries), which is run by a President who has publicly questioned whether the Holocaust ever took place, this subject matter is touchy to say the least. It is impressive that a show clearly sympathetic toward the Jews and their misfortunes was allowed to run. Normally the Holocaust is RARELY mentioned by state media in Iran and hardly at all taught in public schools. Iranians have very little information about it.

Here is a website to learn more.

Normally in all media produced by the state, women are required by a state-mandated Islamic dress code to wear burkas. For the first time actresses are appearing free from this unrealistic costume. (Since the show is set in WW2 Paris the producers definitely wanted their characters to reflect 1940s dress and style).

Many Iranians are learning about the atrocities of the Holocaust that had been unmentioned or denied for decades. The show has a very popular following in Iran and with 8 episodes left, has already started working on syndication within the US and Britain.

I'm wondering WHY, suddenly, Iran, (and thus it's Islamic leadership) is allowing such changes and programming to be aired? Perhaps they're trying to embrace the 25,000 Jews currently living within the borders? Or maybe the country is trying to appear less Anti-Semitic? It is certainly a first and hopefully not a last for this ultra-censored government run media industry.

Media Withdrawl

Since moving out of my parent's comfortable suburban home and living in 3 different apartments in just as many years, I have dealt with my limited budget in many different ways. I borrow clothes, I borrow books or buy used, I eat cheaply, and I don't pay for anything I don't have to- much like any other modern day student.

However, this skint existence translates to a lack of media choices in my life.

I can't afford cable, much less satellite, digital cable, TiVo, or DVR. I don't subscribe to XM radio, I don't have HD radio, and my boom box from 1999 just broke. I didn't have internet in either of my places of residence for two years. I mooched off of family and friends- "Oh, do you mind if I check my email?" I didn't even have a TV antennae for the first couple months I lived at my second to last place. Just fuzz and whatever movies I had received Christmases past (and my Golden Girls boxed set).

So imagine my delight when I finally got a new job and the ability to order cable internet in my new apartment. Leaping all over the apartment like a rabbit on 'roids, I called Time Warner Cable to set it all up- only to find that it will take two weeks for them to finally get over to my place and install it. The world became a bleak and antennae driven place once again.

My media consumption is curtailed. But it's the lack of my residential grandeur that really makes me aware of what I'm missing. So when I'm adjusting my rabbit ears to settle for network TV and you're enjoying Sports Center- think of me in my barren, cable-less, internet-less existence and appreciate what you have. These days, you have to pay more than ever for the good stuff.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sports Announcing

Most people tend to think that the media has some kind of ideological bias toward a liberal or conservative view . W. Lance Bennett approaches the debate of the media’s bias in a different way. Bennet writes in News: The Politics of Illusion that the media actually has a bias toward personalizing and fragmenting news stories. Basically he is saying that the news talks about specific events rather than the whole social problem causing the event. Readers get lost and events are dramatized.
I was watching the Packer game today when I realized that sports announcers actually try to connect the play by play events of the game to past league records and team trends. These announcers show the overall trend and story rather than a more fragmented approach. At one point, while discussing the defensive problems of the New York Giants, the announcer pointed out that many people covered up the flaws of the Giants by discussing Eli Manning’s personal growth. The announcer was acknowledging that the public personalized the story of the New York Giants by talking specifically about Eli Manning as if he were the entire team. After Brett Favre reached achieved yet another record the announcers discussed the development of Favre’s career and the Packer franchise.
While sports announcing may not be the same as covering hard news it covers the sport on a very fragmented basis: game by game. If these announcers are able to find a way to tie the present with the past so that fans can understand the development of the team, why can’t reporters find a way to connect the story of a homeless family in Milwaukee to the greater social problem of homelessness in the United States?

The Cupid Schuffle

There is apparently a new dance craze called the Cupid Schuffle. A dance ruteen choreographed for the Cupid Schuffle song. After viewing this halarious one eyed grandmother doing the ruteen i felt as though i have been living under a rock for not knowing of this craze earlier. How can an 82 year old woman have this down pat and i havent even heard about the dance at all. The show Family Guy also did a spoof of the dance in one episode. There is even an instuctional video out for those who would like to learn the exact steps. This granny's got some killer pointing action going on. It makes me wonder if that had something to do with the eye patch. i feel that is now my duty to learn this dance so i can live up to the one eyed granny.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

serj tankian

I was messing around on the Internet channel of my Wii this morning and found this new single by Serj Tankian on Youtube. He's 1/4 of the band System of a Down, but they're currently on hiatus for a few years so some members can pursue solo projects. Here's the video:

The bright colors and dark themes create an interesting juxtaposition. Also, the fact that the single is put on Youtube by Warner Bros. Records strikes me as amusing. You can buy the single at iTunes, it says too.

System of a Down's music has generally been politically themed, and this song is even more so. I pretty much like the song, it sounds like a lot of SOAD's music. The song and video's themes are very timely and definitely anti-war. He shows rather dramatically how the beliefs and ideals America is currently upholding/promoting affect everyone. But I don't feel like he's disrespecting the troops necessarily, just the decision to continue occupying Iraq. Or whatever we're doing now.

The discontent about the war continues to grow, and I think it's beneficial to have texts like this criticizing it. I wonder how relevant this will seem in a decade?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Celebrity news

So I work at a pharmacy, boring typical college job. Most of the time im pretty busy, but on occasion I get stuck behind the counter dealing with customers. I started to notice that A LOT of people buy celebrity news magazines. Personally before I started working there I would see them in line at the grocery store and would be aggravated that anyone would take time out of their lives to read about the lives of someone they will most likely never come in contact with. Not only will they never come in contact with these celebrity's but the chances of them actually interacting is even less! So as I see more and more people actually spending four of their hard earned dollars to read about this shit and I get curious. I pick on up one day while I was bored and I was completely correct, it's nothing but a bunch of shit. What clothes are popular, who was dressed like a slut(big surprise), what are the new trends. If you want to know what the trends are buy one of the many womens magazines and then you wont have to deal with all the celebrity gossip. Overall I think that it's a huge waste of time and money.

Too Funny or Too Foul??

Many advertisements these days are becoming more and more provocative. I am sure all of you have seen sex being used to sell products whether it is for a vehicle, fast food, shoes, etc. Is media going too far with this?

I recently have been hearing and viewing many newscasts and people talk about the new clearasil commercials. Clearasil's new slogan is "Clearasil may cause confidence". The clearasil company is using this slogan to promote their product in such a way that is making many people offended. I find these advertisements to be rather funny but it still is quite surprising to me how far Clearasil pushes it.

Here is a video I found on CNN discussing the controversy it is causing and the reactions from people. The video is almost 6 minutes long and shows a couple of the commercials. What do you think? Is this becoming a prevalent problem? Do you find these ads to be offensive?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Every Sunday night is kind of a special time for me. I toss aside my homework to watch Fox's cartoon sitcom lineup. Last Sunday night, I sat down as usual and watched two back-to-back episodes of the Simpsons followed by two Family Guy episodes.

What makes these shows appealing to just about everybody? I began thinking about this as I watched a show like the Simpsons that I had ingested since I was 10 years old. The Simpsons especially has managed to appeal to virtually every demographic that I can think of, and even made an impression on me before I could underestand a majority of the humor and pop culture references. Usually, I can't get enough of the episodes. Why?

The narrative.

The driving force of American time-based media. Cartoon sitcoms are developed around narratives that are accented with the social commentary style humor that defines the niche. However, as I watched the two cartoons on Sunday night, I was bored. Bored with the plot, with the humor, with the show. I couldn't even finish Family Guy. I was trying to figure out why I couldn't enjoy two of my favorite shows, and it really made me think about the crucial importance of a strong narrative line balanced against witty dialogue.

What makes a strong narrative? Where is that balance point? Why are some episodes more interesting than others, even with shows that have an amazing track record of quality entertainment?

These questions have been on my mind the entire past week. I'm looking forward to the new television season this fall to see how these thoughts will influence my opinions of new episodes.

Online Radio

This morning, I woke up rather early (6:30ish for me). There was no reason, I just did. Anyway, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long while: listen to a talk radio station that broadcasts in Madison.

Because there isn't really a radio station that caters to my political beliefs in the Milwaukee area, I had to live stream on the internet for the Mic 92.1 in Madison (part of Air America radio).

I thought this was interesting because, just a few years ago, radio stations weren't allowed to broadcast over the web. Eventually, this ban came down, and now almost every radio station has a website from which you can listen to online.

This is a combination of two media: the internet and radio. There was also advertising on the player, which made it even more economically viable for the radio station to produce (since they already have advertisers on their stream).

P.S. We also turn down the TV volume for Packers' games ;)

Uber Delay

So this weekend I was watching the Packer game like the good Wisconsinite that I am, and was having an enjoyable time seeing Brett and the gang beat Philly. Following in the tradition of my parents, before actually sitting down to watch the game I turn the volume on the TV all the way down and put on WTMJ radio. My folks have done this since the days of announcer Jim Erwin because the FOX announcers are just, je ne sais pas...they lack a certain something.

When I finally sit down to watch the game, I notice that the delay between what is happening on TV and what is being said on the radio is terrible! There was an instance in which a play was completed on TV and the announcing of that particular play had not even begun yet on the radio. Or another instance when a play was completed on TV and they had already gone to a commercial break when the radio play-by-play was just finishing up.

It was all very frustrating. Can assume that this uber delay is still from the Janet Jackson incident a few years back? I think it is all very ridiculous, but there is probably not a whole lot I can do about it...hmm, do I deal with the delay or suck it up and listen to FOX announcers? I'll be delayed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I just found this article on It talks about how Michael Vick's dogfighting ordeal became the center of attention in the media, earning non-stop news coverage for weeks. The public responded in outrage, demanding he be locked away for a long time. The article then points out that stories about human beings being tortured/raped/killed come and go from the news quickly, and they're barely a topic of conversation in society. This might be because for some reason people are more sensitive about dogs being hurt than people being hurt... but probably because Michael Vick is a celebrity.

This reminded me a lot of what we talked about in class yesterday... how news channels are straying from news of actual importance, in favor of news that will attract the most viewers. Not that the Michael Vick case isn't a big deal - at least it's actually real news, and not another "breaking news" story about where Paris Hilton ate lunch today - but there are plenty of stories everyday that deserve at least as much attention as this does, but they don't because the people involved aren't celebrities.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I've heard some rumors around campus that the Leader, one of the campus newspapers here, is having some difficulty staying afloat- both financially and organizationally. They're only rumors, so if the Leader comes out with a paper tomorrow, well then I guess I'm wrong.

But, if the rumors are true, I sincerely hope that the Leader can continue to publish, even though I'm a member of the UWM Post.

Having multiple papers induces a sense of competition...something that the broadcast or online campus media outlets don't quite offer. (Ironically, as we lighlty discussed media ownership today, it came to me that competition among local newspapers is quickly fading as more and more newspapers that operate in the same market are either merging into one paper or being owned by the same company..."UWM Post-Leader?"...I hope not.)

This campus is seeing a surge in population, in recognition and even in financial contributions. Hopefully, we won't be seeing a decrease in campus media.

Comcast Leave Britney Alone!

1. Because the topic of cable companies with no competition came up in today's class, here's some ranting against the cable company Comcast by a critic for Advertising Age, Bob Garfield. Maybe you have experienced similar exasperation because of Time Warner. I read about this at the blog BuzzMachine, where the author, Jeff Jarvis, describes the negative consequences of monopolies and duopolies, i.e., companies that have no competition. He has some intriguing suggestions about what can be done about this, including the idea of groups of ordinary customers creating their own advertising campaigns against companies that screw them over to take back some power and publicize the practices that they dislike. I'll leave it at that and you can click over if you're interested.

2. Anyone have any thoughts about this video, which is nearing a million views on YouTube after only a single day? I'll tell you what I think: this guy seems sincere and I admire his courage to share his feelings with the whole world. A lot of the comments at YouTube are really nasty and abusive, which is typical. Perhaps we'll return to this example in a few weeks when we talk about media audiences and fandom.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Golden Girls- Boxed set vs. Cable Viewing

This week I've been ingesting quite a bit of media, but the source that really sticks out in my mind is the Golden Girls. I'm an avid fan; I own seasons one through four and currently I've been popping in season 3. In case any of you don't remember Golden Girls... check out the show's them below.

Owning boxed sets really helps me out now, because I no longer have cable. Lifetime network carried Golden Girls for a solid 2 hours per day, but obviously with conventional rabbit ears, I'm stuck with Cosby reruns and Sesame Street. However- in my opinion, owning the seasons is a much more preferable way to get my fix.

I can choose which episodes I want to watch (I recommend 'The Audit' from Season 3 or 'The Competition' from Season 1), I don't have to deal with commercials (now that the 'Tiny House' commercial is no longer running, advertising has lost its appeal for me), and I don't have to watch Lifetime's advertisements for its made-for-TV-movies.

Invest in your favorite sitcom's boxed set. Your viewing pleasure will triple! And if your favorite sitcom happens to include Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche, and Rose- I approve wholeheartedly.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Dictionary says:

Ubiquitous |yoōˈbikwətəs| adjective: present, appearing, or found everywhere.

I must write a post because it suddenly struck me: We as a people are truly inundated by technology and thus: media. It is impossible to make it from morning to night without directly or indirectly sending or receiving some sort of communication.

I look around my flat and notice both my roommates on their laptops. As am I. I see one adjust his ipod ear buds. The other finishes an animated film on DVD while I receive a text message from my brother. Moments later I'm walking our dog down the block and cannot help but see several billboards, bus shelter ads, and even moving advertisements on cars. (Jimmy Johns, Pizza Hut, Geek Squad). Passing a business with talk radio blaring, I return to our flat just in time to watch the local news. Followed by The Jon Stewart Show. As evening grows later and later I relax reading the latest issue of Bicycling Magazine. I wonder at the same time what life would be like if radio waves were never discovered or if I'd read quite so much if the movable printing press had never been invented.

To be totally unplugged is rare. It requires for some a big sacrifice. Try not turning on your cell phone as well as not going online for a day. Hard to get by, eh?


The ever so popular and halarious caveman commercials by have become so infamous that ABC has decided to dedicate a sitcom series based on their lives. The series is set to begin this October 2nd at 7:00 pm. Follow the three cavemen characters though their lives as they have recently moved to San Diego as they face prejudice views considering them ignorant and unsocialized. The irony is that the characters personality styles are quite the opposite which makes for a good laugh.

Friday, September 07, 2007

One of the websites I read semi-regularly is It's a blog updated multiple times throughout the day that reports the latest updates in the world of sports, with a humorous spin. My boyfriend is a huge sports fan and forced me to read it one day, but what got me hooked is how funny the content is. You need to have at least a small amount of knowledge about sports to get a lot of the jokes (I'd say I know a fair amount for a girl, but not to any impressive extent), but if you get even some of them, it's quite entertaining.

Anyways, one thing I've noticed about this blog is that it has developed into a sort of online community. The readers, like with most blogs, have the ability to leave comments (and a lot of times the comments are even funnier than the posts themselves). I don't leave comments myself, but what I've noticed, after reading the site regularly for a long time, is that many of the same people comment every single day. They all use screen names, but many of them refer to one another by their real names, and even remember personal things about each other... they've become friends in a way. For example, after the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minnesota, there was a post about how the Twins had to cancel one of their games. In this post, many commentors were making posts calling out for other commentors, who they knew lived in or near Minneapolis, to post something so everyone knew they were okay. I thought that was neat, that even though their relationship exists solely in the comments section of a blog, they have come to care about one another.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

YouTube's Finest

I recently moved out and have yet to get cable. Trust me, I'm dying without it but YouTube has semi saved my life and has fed my addiction to visual entertainment. If your humor is anything closely related to mine, you'll find this video to be hilarious...drunk or sober! To make a long story short I heard about this video while playing sand volleyball this summer at Root River in Franklin. It just goes to show the impact word of mouth has among a large group of people. YouTube has clearly gained popularity as a form of Internet entertainment and this video has been viewed over 859,000 times and commented on over 3,300 times since its post on February 12, 2007. After watching this video several times on my own and also with friends, we’re now the cool kids who quote almost every line and post them to eachother’s Facebook accounts.

Here is the vid

Commercialization of Video Games

Commercialization is defined as, “to offer for sale; make available as a commodity” ( So, through this definition, one question comes to mind: How do the media sell video games? By utilizing appealing images and streaming video, the video game industry attempts to sell a vision to the masses, but unlike television and movies, games have a system of control. A player can interact with several things within a game world, and it’s this aspect of controlling a player in a new setting that can grab a person’s attention. For example, the Nintendo Wii offers a totally different system of control that is seen as “revolutionary.” Sure, there have been other motion-sensing devices used in the past (i.e. Sony’s Eyetoy), but the games that the Wii has offer a sense of freedom of movement that no other system has offered before. When I first saw images and video of Nintendo’s new console in action, I wanted to play with a greater aspect of control. I saw other people playing and smiling and having fun, so why couldn’t I do the same? I wanted to be a part of the bandwagon. And, I believe, this is how the system caught on fire all across the globe. It is these images that shape our understanding of games and, in some cases, function as a proponent for us to buy these products; to explore a world that can be much different from our own. It is this concept that started my years as a video gamer, since my mother first gave me a Nintendo Entertainment System. And I’ve been hooked by several ideas and concepts of video games ever since. The power of images fuel our imagination and take us to places that we’ve never seen before, and it’s this power that contributes to the commercialization of video games and their entertainment.

First Post

Here is a video I found. It's the credit sequence from Mad Men, a new show on AMC that I really like. The credits are in the style of animations by Saul Bass, who made dozens of great title sequences beginning in the 1950s.

And here is a picture I found on the front page of the NY Times website. This is a philanthropist named Eli Broad.

Happy blogging.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This is the course blog for JMC262, Principles of Media Studies. It is used as a community media diary for the students and instructor of the course to discuss their experiences of media. If you are taking this course in Fall 2007, your posts will appear in this space. Until then, have a nice summer.