Thursday, April 30, 2009

Participatory Culture: Dark Knight Fans Recreate Images

Since we were talking about I thought I would share two different forms of participatory culture I've found and liked on YouTube. They are two different forms of The Dark Knight's trailers recreated by fans.

This is an interesting video because it is a longer version of the trailer that the creators used exaggerated humor of the scenes in the film.

The other video is a recreation of a trailer that uses the original trailers audio and recreates the video with legos.

I find this an amazing piece of work. The time and dedication in order to put something like this is just remarkable. The video really captures the emotions of the trailer and the film itself. The creator uses many traditional filming techniques to make lifeless and inanimate objects appear full of emotion. Also, the way he makes the legos move, like the lego characters, vehicles, and other miscellaneous things, really adds to his overall feeling of the video.


(I rest my case)

So I've noticed lately that anyone and everyone can be on TV...any geek off the street can find themselves searching for love or the love of something on national television among other ridiculous acts to gain fame. The shows I'm more or less referring to are "Daisy of Love" "Rock of Love", "Tough Love," "I Love Money," "For the Love of Ray J," Tool Academy," and "Charm School." (I think you get the point) I don't keep up on these types of shows, but I'm sure everyone has been flipping through the channels and decided to tune in to at least one of these shows at one point, if not out of enjoyment at least for entertainment.

These shows are all so similar, and portray dysfunctional humans. They make some people feel that the actions on these shows are the norm. These types of shows can be found entertaining, but I feel this style of reality TV is getting quite repetitive. Every time I'm watching a show I do enjoy, it always gets interrupted with a loud, rude, advertisement for one of these ridiculous new reality spoof offs of "Flavor of Love." The narrative on these shows is also repetitive; they all take place in glamorous mansions or supped up tour busses. They all have some sort of crazy lame missions or games that the contestants must pass in order to move on or prove their love to stay in the game.

The general scope of the people chosen for these shows are generally meat-headed, obnoxious, self-center, insecure, among many other flaws. These types of people are stuck in a house together aiming for a prize or competing for love and are almost impossible to live with; which makes these shows so entertaining to watch.

I just cant believe this is now what seems to be a main source for entertainment. It's almost sad, but at the same time i guess it's generating income.

A Mockumentarie

This week in one of my other classes we watched and studied the movie Borat: Cultural Learning's of America Make Benefit Glorious Nations of Kazakhstan. The 2006 documentary stars Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. In the film, Borat travels from his home town Kazakhstan, to the U.S. to make a documentary about how Americans live. The film has limited actors. He meets people in real life and films real life situations, and these people have no idea that Cohen is acting. These people think he really is Borat from Kazakhstan, and is creating a film to educate himself about America. All the people needed to do was sign a release form, giving permission to be included in his "documentary" film.

One of my favorite scenes is when Borat is trying to learn how to tell Americanized jokes. It's funny to think about how the joke coach really thinks that Borat is that stupid. He is putting on an act, so that the audience laughs.

Borat is classified as a Mocumentarie- a fictional movie presented as if it was a documentary. There was tons of controversy when this film was released. Cohen was looked at as sexist, homophobic and racist. Cohen has been sued multiple times, because he lied to the people that are shown on the film. He was acting, and many didn't appreciate this.

I just think that these Americans shown in the film were embarrassed when it was released, and now they want to defend certain things they said.

If you haven't seen the movie, watch it! Keep in mind that Borat is acting, and the other characters aren't. Check Borat out on Myspace!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FML...The newest craze on the internet

While reading people's Facebook statuses lately, I've noticed more and more people using the letters FML. Not knowing the meaning, I decided to investigate the meaning of these three letters. I soon found out they were the acronym for the website entitled F-My Life. The entire site are people making posts about bad events that occurred during their day, which make them vent and say, F- My Life. The site looks very simlar to a twitter page, with the posts consisting of 150 word stories. I must admit, there is a sick side of me that gets enjoyment reading the bad parts of someone else's . Some of the things posts are quite hilarious while others aren't very funny at all. If for nothing else, it's worth checking out to see another example of a website whose content is created by the very people viewing it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Obsessed, starring Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba and Ali Larter is a thriller about an obsessed intern to a happily married man.This movie did an excellent job in expressing various social identities throughout the movie. The intern(other) played by Ali Larter was a tall sexy thin blonde haired blue eyed conniving woman who would stop at nothing until Idris Elba's character left Beyonce Knowles a pretty down to earth "trophy" wife of three years to be with her.I found it quite clever how the movie broadcastd that a villain can come in all shapes, sexes, and colors. Even though the movie isn't meant to scary so to speak it sent chills up my spine the way the movie played out. There was a certain suspense throughout the movie practically in every scene that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There was also a mysterious vibe portrayed in the plot of the movie. Little did Idris's character know his charm, good looks, great job and perfect life would lead to a world of heartache, disloyalty the lost of his family, and a tragic death.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Hills

Recently, a new season of The Hills began on MTV. The new season looks to be filled with new twists and drama everywhere you look. I've followed the series since it's early beginnings as Laguna Beach, and then transforming and following Lauren into Los Angeles for The Hills series. I've watched some characters grow up (and some get even more immature), and find it interesting to witness these changes- real or fake. One thing that I have noticed as the seasons progress, the plots seem to get more twisted and surreal. The seem contrived and put on as more of a scripted scene. I don't like some of the confrontations because they just seem so staged. These confrontations have gotten more and more fake as the series has gone on, and although I still enjoy the show, I wish MTV could find a way to incorporate "drama" without making it so obviously staged.


I am a little bit of a television fanatic and I recently found a new show that I love! It comes on right after dancing with the stars, a show that I watch religously, and I became addicted. The show is called Castle. It is about a writter who writes romance, mystery novels and is basing his next charcater on a detective named Kate Becket. Throughout the show the two of them go at it with this witty banter. You know they are going to get together eventually but it is definatly going to be prolonged throughout the season, if not seasons. I think it has a really good mix of humor, and serousness in it. It holds your attention the whole way through and as the season continues you learn more and more about the characters, their lives, and the people in them. You learn why they act the way they do. I think it is a good idea for the show to do it this way and just give you a little bit at a time. It keeps you interested because you want to keep learning about these characters as the show goes on. You start to really want to get to know them, become attached to them, and want what they want. The show is written really cleverly and I think it can hold a really broad audience. I hope this show continues and maybe some of you will want to watch it after reading this. I would give it an A+!!!

Must see film for today!!

Today The Soloist will be released in theatres across America and I for one am very excited to see the film. In it Jaime Foxx plays Nathaniel, a homeless man with a mental disability who is extremely gifted at playing the cello. He is befriended by a reporter, played by Robert Downy Jr., who is writing a story about his life. Even though I agree with the scrutiny Foxx has been receiving surrounding the flat out mean comments he made about teen singer/actress Miley Syrus, Foxx was amazing in Ray and with the reviews the film has been getting even from talented actress Halle Berry, The Soloist seems to be a must see film. With the situation of the economy and the constant reports of job loss and high numbers of homelessness, it will be refreshing to see a film where an underdog goes from the bottom to the top inspiring hope.

Life After People

The other day I was reading and was interrupted by an elaborate, flashy advertisement which caused the web page to appear to break apart and grow vines. The advertising was for a new show on the History Channel called Life After People. This show asks and attempts to answer the question of what would happen to Earth if one day all people disappeared.

I think this is the first time I have ever taken the advice of advertising so directly, but I watched the first episode on Tuesday night. I usually really like "end of the world" books/movies, so I found this show really interesting. The first episode began with one day after people - lights would go out, power plants would shut down, and museums housing remnants of ancient societies would no longer be able to protect from decomposition. Cryogenics labs would run out of liquid Nitrogen, and as the show puts it, "For human beings, the dream of immortality is gone."

If the show sounds a little dramatic, that's because it is. The voice overs are really cheesy, and the music is all doomsday and no fun. Then again, it would be sort of difficult to be upbeat about the destruction of humankind.

The best part of the show so far was the revisiting of Japan's Hashima Island - a mining town originally built on a small mass of land in the middle of the ocean that was abandoned around 35 years ago. The former occupants vacated very quickly, so the remaining buildings and belongings were left the same as the last day they were inhabited and used. Today, 35 years of harsh weather has nearly wiped out the small town, and most of the buildings were turned to rubble. The show explains that this is how most cities would look 35 years after people.

A few more fun facts - the Pyramids would outlast all of modern creations and Parrots would continue to speak human words taught to them for over 100 years. I'm not sure how they're going to keep this show going, since at some point in the time line only human bones would exist, but it will be interesting to watch and see.

History Channel - Tuesdays @ 10pm!

Limp Bizkit-Nookie

I was feeling nostalgic the other night and remembered this music video and song. It basically got me into music, and I felt the need to relive some childhood memories of rockin' out to some LB. What I didn't expect to hear recently was that the previously-broken-up band has reunited and is planning a new album. It made me realize how bands and musicians in general that don't constantly keep in the public's eye can become unrecognizable and "fall from grace" in a very short period of time. The pressures of entertainment culture seem to really hit hard in the music industry. If one person/band puts out a single so-so album, their airtime and exposure may get gobbled up by an up-and-coming artist instead. One can work all their life to become successful, to "blow up" as we call it now, and then in an instant, the media can label them yesterday's news and they are back where they started. Limp Bizkit is currently doing a tour of Europe and then planning to do their first new album with the original band members in nearly 8 years. The sad thing is that in such a seemingly short period of time, some kids will listen to this new album and think it is a new band because of the way popular culture and the media work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Facebook Addictive??????

How often are you on Facebook???? are you logging on from your cell phone, laptop or any other device that could easily link you to this site?? How often do you find yourself browsing on other peoples pages, commenting on statuses and pics or uploading pictures of yourself in hopes of receiving comments???? Do you find yourself in class on your laptop engaging with others not paying attention as well because they to are on Facebook??? I find these questions to be quite interesting. It seems as though Facebook has become the new, and only way of communicating with our peers, finding "true" love and inviting random people to parties/events. Facebook consists of all the character tics of what mass media is. It has news, entertainment, networking, blogging, chat, video uploads name it and it seems as though faceboook has it making it easily accessible, and hard to shy away from for even a day. People want to be known, seen, and socially excepted. People want to share their feelings and problems with peers over the Internet to receive advice and get their issues solved. FACEBOOK IS THE NEW WAY TO SOCIALIZE, COMMUNICATE, AND NETWORK IN MODERN DAY SOCIETY.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


In lieu of yesterday’s class and the upcoming class tomorrow about YouTube. I am linking this this and this article each from TIME Magazine.

The first article printed on April 20, 2009 talks about YouTube’s new project that is linking classical musicians together from all across the globe.

YouTube encouraged classical musicians to submit audition videos of themselves performing to be selected for what was called the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

The video auditions were evaluated by members of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin and New York Philharmonics who decided upon the finalists that would play a concert in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Google, which owns YouTube, footed the bill for all the costs of the project including travel and visa expenses for people that traveled from 30 different countries.

The concert was broadcast live on YouTube on April 15, 2009 which you can view here.

Secondly, the next article that I linked above is an article again from TIME Magazine (April 27, 2009) that describes that new channel that was launched in March called YouTube Edu.

YouTube Edu is a channel on the website that offers videos of lectures and speeches from a number of different colleges and universities from across the country.

You can view YouTube Edu here.

Facebook taking a negative turn...

When facebook opened to the public back in 2005, it was the safe alternative to the well known social network, MySpace. Security was never an issue for this "classy" version. You needed to have a college e-mail to even gain access. Unlike MySpace, every one's web page looked the same. Free of music, videos, quizzes and glitter graphics. The grown up approach for people who didn't like all the extras.

Now, facebook is full of applications like fortune cookies, and pointless quizzes like, "what color hair should I have?"

Many people have left behind MySpace because they liked facebook so much better. If FB evolves into the "new" MySpace, hopefully a new website comes along letting this idea of socializing remain simple.

I liked that facebook didn't have all the pointless things that MySpace had. I liked the simple approach to social networking. Being able to send a message to my friend, without being asked to add my "top girls," to my page.


EOTO is a jam/electronica band that has spawned from the former String Cheese Incident. The band consists of Jason Hann and Michael Travis the percussionist and drummer from Cheese. Inspired by great DJ's and computer artists EOTO provides a truly original form of dance music. The power of the live drumming is magical to witness, and that two men and a few forms of modern technology have the ability to create such unique and psychedelic intricate sounds. The light show they provide enhances the music being played immaculately! They generally have a liquid light display with a variety of crazy visual displays.

This band is not one you would hear on the radio or MTV. The way this bands and bands like these promote their music is by word of mouth. There is not advertising through mainstream media texts. To find this band one would have to visit Pandora or view them on Youtube, iclips, or archives. EOTO is a band that you would want to see live, rather than on the Internet, due to their visual enhancements and psychedelic feel. There are many underground bands that are not found on mainstream sources such as TV or the Radio, and it just takes a little harder digging to find, but no matter the genre of music there are many other similar underground bands that may spark just as much interest.
This genre of music also aids in social change by the way it brings people together. The crowd interested in EOTO and others alike are good time people whom enjoy the music and the energy around them. This type of music is generated by word of mouth and geared toward bringing people together. They are generally seen at jam music festivals, and venues around the country, and have even played here in Milwaukee @ the Mirimar Theater!

YouTube Stars: Bo Burnham

I was first introduced to Bo Burnham on one of Comedy Central's Comedy Central Presents episodes of stand up comedy.

When he first came out I was shocked to see how young he looked and then he acknowledged that he had just graduated in '08. And not only was he much younger than most people that perform on this show, but I thought he was also much funnier then them as well.

His style of comedy is through different versions of music, pop, rap, or r&b, and the songs are just constant quips and punchlines after one and other.

I looked him up and I found out that he got his fame by posting some of these very same songs on YouTube that he recorded in his bedroom while he was still in high school. He also has two recorded CD's of his songs. I just couldn't believe the kind of fame someone could get for doing something like this....I mean most comics have to spend time at comedy clubs and do all sorts of smaller venues before getting a Comedy Central special, or a CD for that matter.

On one of his CD's he has a song titled "Welcome to YouTube" where he speaks on some very interesting points about YouTube and it's loyal users. He also references many YouTube stars like himself in the song. He performed this video at "YouTube Live '08" and this is the video.

I just think it is amazing someone can build them self up just by posting your videos online, and if they become popular enough you could make something of yourself. It has the power to be a constant showcase of the world's talents for those who are able to afford to make their own videos which is very powerful.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I have a big smile, therefore I will have a happy marriage.

I saw an interesting segment on the news the other day. I'm not sure if they were trying to just fill time because of lack of content, but if this is the case then it is kind of sad. I believe it was Fox News that had this segment. They spent 5-10 minutes talking about a new study that was conducting that concludes that "men with the brightest smiles are shown to lead happy marriages."

I found it very interesting. I do not believe that it is a relavent story or that it is newsworthy, but they sort of made a joke out of it, which made for a "happy go lucky" story theme. I guess it goes to show you that a good smile can go a long way. They conducted studies to prove this, but, I'm sure there are plenty of arguments against their findings such as experiement flaws. In my opinion, people who frown a lot are moooost likely not very happy, therefore don't have the best marriage. So, it could be labeled as common sense. Just my two cents!

Friday, April 17, 2009


While home for the Easter weekend, I took a night to stay home and watch some good films. One of them was Milk, featuring Oscar winning Sean Penn. It's a story of Harvey Milk, a man living in San Francisco who transforms his neighborhood to be more friendly towards homosexuals. Harvey and his partner get this group in the neighborhood to fight for equal rights for everyone, eventually prompting Milk to run for Supervisor of San Francisco. After years of trying, Milk finally wins, becoming the first opening gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. Throughout the film, problems arise with various bigots throughout the community, and Milk and his organization are constantly fighting to get their voice heard. I really enjoyed the film as a whole, and the ending really got me. Penn's performance was amazing and his Best Actor award is absolutely deserved.


I am an editor at a student newspaper, and a few days ago an article came across my desk from a student who was interested in assessing the number of pirate attacks that have recently been garnering media attention.
What disturbed me about the article, which was an opinion piece offering commentary on why the pirates are attacking in the first place, was not the conclusion it came to or statement it made, but rather the diction and terminology used to describe the pirates - diction and terminology that in my opinion was inaccurate and naive.
After mulling it over a little while, I concluded that treatment of pirates as slang-talking, parrot-wearing old-fashioned sailors in a serious news setting is most likely the product of the fantastical image contemporary media has given us growing up.
From Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow, pirates have been represented in a fairy-tale/ adventure story light for years. And now that real-life pirates are showing up in the news we are reaping the benefits of that acculturation.
What is my suggestion in response? There's nothing wrong with a fun pirate movie, but perhaps kids should be given a more accurate and fact-based history lesson along with it, so that when they end up writing a piece of journalism on a case of serious pillaging and fatalities one day they won't be inclined to at any point include an "aarrghh" or "matie" reference.


While watching Religulous, I noticed some things that kind of jumped out at me about the movie. One thing Bill Maher does is pretty much find the most extremist of religous people to question rather than just the normal people that go to church or whatever. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it easier for him to pick on or make fun of the person hes questioning.
Another thing Bill Maher does is incorporate comedy with religion, a thing that isn't heard of very often. I think he does a good job doing so, seeing that religion is usually a serious subject people don't like to kid around about. He's obviously a pretty smart guy and he knows his stuff about most religions, which makes this movie enjoyable to the end.

A clip from the movie Religulous

Susan Boyle

I was called into my mother's room tonight to watch a portion of "Britain's Got Talent," which is similar to American Idol here in the States. I had no idea that I was about to witness a very moving example of "don't judge a book by it's cover." Seriously, check out the link above, which I along with 16 million others have watched. Susan Boyle is a 47-year-old woman with amazing vocal talents that seems to have slipped through the cracks.

What I found interesting was how emotional the judges got, even the notoriously arrogant Simon. I have never sat through an entire episode of this type of show, but I must admit that my faith was put back into them (though I still won't sit through them) with this moment. Boyle simply kicked butt and took names. Her outward appearance would never lead anyone to guess at the talent within, and it is both her strength and weakness at the same time. Everyone in the audience went from rolling their eyes and scoffing at the prospect of this older woman getting up and singing to standing and cheering wildly. This is the kind of stuff movies are made out of, and it is quite worth the look.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NBC presents SouthLAnd

Southland, a new series on NBC which comes on Thursday nights at 9/10c is a more realistic view point from cops working the dangerous streets of Los Angeles. Normally LA is glamorized when being presented to a mass audience but this shows does a great job at informing viewers otherwise. The first episode premiered last week and it kept me on the edge of my seat. It was about racism and how it plays a role in gang violence. If a person of the worng race and gang affiliation is caught in a neighborhood where they shuldnt be they are often gunned down, and the show illustarted that poinbt very well. It also high lighted kid abduction and sex predators in various neighborhoods as well. Whats interesting about this show is it's more uncensored by the network. Swear words are bleeped out rather than them not saying them at all. There are many disturbing images being shown, but not offensive inmy opinion., thats what made the show relatable. It also took the viewer behind the scenes of what cops go throgh on a day to day basis. One thing that really stood out to me was the rookie on the force, officer Ben Sherman when he was telling officer John Cooper how he didnt want to kill anyone and how afetr he killed that gang member how bad he felt, and how he has the option of counseling if he wants. But officer John got enraged telling him that there job is to get rid of violence and take bad people of the streets of LA. As compared to other cop shows such as Bones and NYPD , its way more risky, realistic and controversial.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tough Love

On the heels of the success of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, VH1 has created its own matchmaker reality show, Tough Love, featuring mother/son “Master Matchmakers” from Philadelphia. The show mostly features Steven Ward, the son and Chief Executive Officer of the family dating business appropriately titled “Master Matchmakers.”

This is my favorite reality show of the moment mostly because I hate its nonchalant sexism so much that I can’t stop watching. Steve, expert on “knowing what women are thinking,” sorts through the female contestants’ “dating issues.”

In episode one, Steve gets to know the women, and begins to counsel them on how to get men to actually care about them. He imparts such wisdom as “men can’t fully care for anyone until they have a child” and “flaunting your ‘fun bags’ won’t get you a serious relationship” or, my favorite, “if you keep dressing like that, you’re going to get raped.”

Aside from giving dating advice, Steve also confronts the oldest woman for having never been married. He plays the usual cards: she’s too into her job and she has “serious control issues.” One of this woman’s potential dates explains his uneasiness with her by stating that he would rather be with someone who had at least been divorced once, because then he’d know nothing was “wrong with her.” Since, you know, some dude had at least liked her enough to marry her.

I have long tortured myself by being an avid reality TV fan. So, I know that it goes without saying that music-based cable channels aren’t exactly coming up with groundbreaking material, but this show in particular bugs me. Mostly, I think it’s because it takes a pretty benign subject – helping people find a date - and turns it into humiliating women. It’s sort of a self-fulfilling show concept. They take a bunch of women who have already explained at length that they have had a bad history of dating and then blame selective, stereotyped “scary” girl personality traits for giving them the dating trouble. Steve hooks them up with guys who want to make it work for the sake of the show and the airtime they receive and there you have it - guy knows best.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Washington Times

In a somewhat groundbreaking move and I believe a very surprising move the Washington Times has announced that beginning today, they will start to devote one full page of their print edition to "news stories reported and written by average citizens in local communities."

Each day the paper will focus on six communities within the Washington DC metropolitan area and have average citizens write and report stories on specific topics assigned to each day of the week.

Everyone who writes for the paper will still be subject to the rules of reporting and newswriting as well as the paper's governing ethics code.

I think this is a very interesting and bold move by the Washinton Times. It is taking the idea of the community based newspapers to a whole another level.

I hope this works out well for the Washington Times. Perhaps this is a new idea and other newspapers across the country will start to do something similar.

Ripping on Kanye...and many others

This last Southpark episode featured Kanye West and Carlos Mencia, and it absolutely ripped into them. They depicted Kanye as cocky, arrogant, ignorant, and extreme. When he is accused of being gay by the media, he simply goes nuts, trying to prove his heterosexuality, and claiming he is the "voice of the new generation," a quote that he has actually said. In the end, they actually have Kanye come out of the clost and admit that he is gay.

I don't mind that they ripped on Kanye, in fact I rather enjoyed it, since I have never been a fan of the man myself. However, I wonder how they can get away with this without a libel suit being filed? Southpark definately defamed his character in the show, and seeing that he is a public figure he would also have to prove neglegence and actual malice, which he most likely could. How is it that Southpark can get away with things like this? It is not the first time they have done it, either. They have defamed Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Mel Gibson, and many others. Nobody has filed suit for libel. I love Southpark, and I will keep watching it. I just hope that one day they don't push it too far...

The link to watch the whole show for free is followed:

My Scrabble Analysis

I was playing Scrabble the other day in between reading for my JMC 262 class and made a really cool connection between the two.

The media is like a giant game of Scrabble. People have texts (or words) that they play, where some are bigger and/or worth more than others. But the field on which they play influences them as well. It’s made up of a grid with some structure but overall random to the player until it comes their turn because the grid’s availability changes with every turn. This aspect can make the smallest moves have a lot of significance just because of what the grid has on it. Each play influences the next play, ultimately changing the outcome of the game. Sometimes some players look like they’re going to win, but because there are a ton of factors influencing every move, including the anticipation of other players’ possible moves, the outcome always remains unknown.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Unconventional family uses sharp wit to get by

Gilmore Girls ran from October 2000 to May 2007 on the WB. It is usually described as a family-marketed "dramedy" (dramatic comedy) and is known for the peppy wit and sassy humor maintained by each character and in every episode as perhaps the main force that kept audiences coming back. As a somewhat obsessive fan of the show myself, I feel its tag line, "Life is short; talk fast," couldn't be more accurate.
The show centers around an unconventional (to say the least) mother-daughter relationship. Its treatment of mother-daughter related issues, paired with our recent discussions of idealogies that come through in media texts, has caused me to ponder in what ways the show may be offering more than just comedy.

As evidenced in this clip from the pilot episode, independent 30-something Lorelai and her 16-year-old bookish daughter Rory do not get through problems by means of typical parent-child conventions. Many times throughout the show's run Lorelai reminds Rory that they are "friends first, mother and daughter second." This being the case we get to see them fight through their differences, chat about boys like they were sisters, and continually have each other's backs when dealing with the wealthy, traditionally minded grandparents who consistently hope to turn their lives more conventional.
It is interesting, though, that beneath the hip, boisterous and banter-filled dynamics of this relationship there lies a struggle against the problems inherent in facing life without that parent-child structure. The pair sometimes do reach an impasse, at which point a heated argument usually ensues that leads to Lorelai putting her foot down and demanding to be respected in her role as mother. Maybe this is done to reassure the audience that while it's cool and refreshing to see a parent and child relate to each other as buddies, we are still craving the stability of the norm that is parental authority in order to create order in situations.
My question is, why the disconnect here? Everything we've been studying lately is pointing me toward the explanation that sometimes, no matter how much a media text wants to be progressive, revolutionary or just plain different from the norm, the fact that they are working within social constructs to begin with keeps them from making progressive strides beneath the surface level.

Actor Kal Penn Leaves House

Actor Kal Penn, who plays Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the Fox television show House, M.D.,has announcedthat he is leaving the show to take a job at the White House in the Obama administration.

Penn, who is probably more famous for his role in the movie Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, will be an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. In lieu of Penn leaving the show, his character has been written off the show by committing suicide.

Penn was a big supporter of President Obama throughout the campaign in 20008. His position in the White typically pays between $41,000 and $91,000/year.

So this is a somewhat surprising move by Penn. He is leaving the glitz and glory of the small screen behind to take a job that pays much less than any acting job would ever pay. But I commend him for it though.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dear all:

Apologies, I accidentally posted a homework assignment for another class on our blog.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pretty Wicked-ly Entertaining

Last night I decided to watch the new reality show on Oxygen called "Pretty Wicked." The show, hosted by America's Next Top Model winner Caridee English, is about 10 pretty girls who all have some wicked flaw, whether it be they are backstabbing, materialistic, or fake. The premise of the show is that the girls will learn lessons along the way that will showcase their inner beauty and the one girl who is able to show she can put aside her nasty attributes the best will win $50,000. Now this show is like a lot of other "transformation" reality shows that take bad girls and attempt to change them by bribing them with money, like Charm School and Hedsor Hall. But it is interesting in that as they act out in the house, the judges watch, so the girls can't really fake whether they change or not. In the other shows, the judges only watch as they make progress during challenges while the judges are present. With this show, you get a lot of the judges calling the girls out on their actions right after they happen, which is kind of fun to watch. The best part is that they have a confessional called the "Burn Book" where they all go and talk crap about one another and draw on each others photos, a la Mean Girls. So if anyone is into watching girls fight, cry, and be dramatic, I definitely suggest this show.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Hills Returns

The most watched reality show on MTV returned for it's fifth season Monday, April 6th. The Hills, which starts Lauren Conrad, is about several people's lives that are full of major drama. The past seasons were all about a friendship between Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag that feel apart because of Heidi's unlikeable boyfriend, Spencer. Spencer was said to of started nasty rumors about Lauren, and she than decided she didn't want anything to do with the couple.

In this season, Lauren and Heidi started talking in the very first episode, about re-kindling their friendship. Laureen admits that she misses her bff, but still can't give Heidi a 100% friendship, if she stays with Spencer.

For the people who watch the show, many of us hate Spencer Prat. He is shown as a scumbag, a liar, and a cheat. In this past episode, he flirts with a bartender, and when his finance Heidi, finds out, he goes nuts. He punches the "tattle-tale" several times in the face, causing him to need stitches. WOW!

Heidi then flies back to her parents house, not wanting to even be in the same room as her finance. When she gets home, her mom has already set up a dinner date, with one of Heidi's ex's.

For only the first episode, there was a lot of drama.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a very interesting season!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I was hanging out with my 10 year old cousin the other day and he said, "Have you played QWOP yet?" And I said, "No. What does QWOP stand for?" And he said, "QWOP."

So we went online to here and it's a really simple game that's really hard to play. There's a guy trying to run a marathon and you just press the buttons Q, W, O, and P to make him go. I couldn't even get him passed the finish line, but my cousin went like 10 yards. It was really cool to play.

At that moment I realized that I rely on my little cousin to show me a ton of stuff on the internet like games and applications and he explains them really well when I don't understand them (besides when he said, "QWOP"). I thought that 8th grade was a young age to get my own first e-mail address, but I guess kids in grade school have them now.

I try to keep tabs on my cousin on myspace by checking out his friend's profiles and regularly checking his pictures (his mom does too) but I've got to admit it's got to be scary allowing kids to be online by themselves. When I was younger I was so dumb, and I didn't really have the internet at the time when I was really foolish to guide me into anything really bad, but I wonder what would have happened it I had access to it all the time. I think parents play the most critical role in protecting their kids against things online but I imagine it's got to be a tough job. I've gotten away from my original blog about QWOP but it's okay because I wanted to write about young kids and the internet, and couldn't avoid that topic.

So, QWOP is proof that it doesn't matter what type of graphics you have or how totally sweet the player has control over what they're doing. I think QWOP was so awesome to me because it's so simple compared to the rest of everything that I play online or see my cousin playing online. It's different, not better, and that's all.

Friday, April 03, 2009


For months now, even close to a year, there has been a sort of frenzy about the movie Twilight. Girls are swooning over Edward Cullen, played by new heartthrob Robert Pattinson, and teens and adults alike are hopping on the Twilight bandwagon. There are so many marketing strategies used to promote the film, and everywhere you look, t-shirts, posters and many other knick-knacks are available. At first, I was skeptical about the film; I thought of it as a wannabe Harry Potter and wasn't willing to read the books. But recently, my friend brought the DVD over and we really enjoyed watching it. The special effects are amazing; its so cool how they can make the vampire's lightning speed seem so real. Also, the lighting in the film is really unique and contrasts the character's skin color well ( the vampires are supposed to be really pale). Overall, the movie was excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone teenage and above!

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire is a great movie that plays to a lot of the stereotypes and idealogies discussed in class, particularly race in modern-day sports. Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays a black athlete that is the epitome of what some modern sports celebrities have become--selfish, me-first, and all about (as the clip shows) themselves. Jerry Maguire is the sports agent that maybe couldn't play much (and also happens to be white), but gets his money by being attached to the Rod Tidwell (Gooding)-types and promoting them.

The struggle in the movie is that Maguire (Tom Cruise) trying to get Tidwell to break out of the stereotype and mold of athletes before him that are in the sport for the money only, not for the love of the game or the fans. The movie speaks to a truth of modern sports--many athletes today bear a striking resemblance to the Rod Tidwell character. I could see him played by Terrell Owens, to be honest.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Girls Next Door - Perfect example of a poor example

I think the "Girls Next Door" show is a great example of showing the ideology of wealth and power, among others.

This show is about the girls who live at the Playboy Mansion with Hugh, and they are handed pretty much unlimited luxuaries for being some of Hugh's favorite Bunnies. They have fake blonde hair, fake tans, fake bodies, and in my opinion, fake personalities. This show supports the ideology that dolling yourself up like they do is a way to get ahead in life and to live the "American Dream," when in fact, it's not.

8 mile

There aren't very good scenes from this movie on YouTube but I thought this was a very good example for our discussion the portrayal of different races through the media. The movie is the story of the rapper Eminem and how he made it out of a poverty stricken life to become arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time.

When thinking about this movie after seeing it a few times I realized there are some very different portrayals amongst the black roles and the white roles.

Eminem is trying to make his career in rap and participates in a few different forms of free style during the course of the movie. He is shown as more well spoken than most of the people he battles against who all happen to be black.

There is also a very big contrast between Eminem's group of friends who are black compared to the others shown in this movie. Eminem has a very intelligent and well spoken friend named Iz who is shown as being very intelligent. He also has a friend nicknamed "Future" who talks about how he wants to be a better person, and a person of god, and who has his own job where he is trying to make a name for himself.

Other than these two roles most of the other portrayals are of black men or women working at very low level jobs or participate in some sort of criminal activities to get their income.


The clip that I'm about to show is from the new Rambo starring Sylvester Stallone.

Well, not much to review after watching this clip. It's pretty obvious that the Burmese soldiers are the bad guys here and Rambo is, of course, the man-slaughtering protagonist. The Burmese soldiers in this movie are portrayed as terrible people, taking innocent lives, and not showing much restraint killing an.d torturing these helpless people.
As we discussed in class, Sylvester Stallone isn't 100% American but he's still an American icon with movies like Rambo and Rocky. Rambo is kind of portrayed as the savior at the end, but he also kills a good amount of people. This movie goes along with what we talked about in class because it's a plain difference who the bad guys are; the Burmese soldiers don't have any sense of rationality and pretty much just kill everyone in sight. If you've seen the other Rambo movies, you know that they aren't much for movies with a plot, but there's plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The other Americans that make Rambo drive his boat into Burma are considered good people in this movie as well. They come to help the wounded people that the Burmese soldiers are terrorizing. So as a recap the good people are Rambo and the Americans, and the Burmese soldiers are bad; typical American action movie.