Friday, December 3, 2010

Victoria Secret Fashion Show

            I recently watched the Victoria Secret Fashion Show and first off it was incredible. The shoes were amazing, outfits were edgy and perfect, and the stage was all gold glitter. This show was extraordinary and all the models looked beautiful and didn’t even want to leave the stage.

            This year the runway was filled with a rainbow of models and displayed more faces of color than ever. This year for New York Fashion Week, designers are making an effort on including more ethnic models this season. They want to bring change on the runways, which is just what they needed. This is because of the culture-centered perspective in the fact that they are respective other ethnicities but also using Michelle Obama as a prime influence. The new models of this generation now are a true representation of diversity.

            The Victoria Secret Fashion Show displayed the richness of diverse beauty and didn’t stick to the typical “white model stereotype.” They are not only respecting other cultures but respecting the United States which is a country filled with many diverse cultures.  I loved seeing a change and seeing all kinds of different beauty. They were showing that there is not one type of beauty and beauty can come in all different colors, shapes, and styles.

            However, that’s not the only way Victoria Secret brought diversity to the show. They had Akon performed on the runway before Katy Perry and he seemed to have enjoyed himself. This show opened themselves up to all cultures and races that is something America needed to see and experience. This was a great show and it couldn’t have been any better and I think they nailed it in picking a diverse group of beautiful models.

Love, Fanele. "The New Codes of Beauty, Absatou Ndiya." Blog: Fashion Et Al. 11 Nov. 2010. Web.

What's Eating You?

            The show “What’s Eating You,” documents the lives of people who experience several different types of eating disorders. You get to see them at the beginning of treatment all the way to the end as doctors, nutritionists and therapists try to help them. Each patient has story that connects to his or her eating problem.
            This show uses narrative therapy, which is “an innovative and collaborative therapeutic approach that is intrigued by the stories of people’s lives” (Daigle). The focus of this type of approach understands the stories their lives lead are based on influences from society and culture. In therapy, the doctors might work with a client on rewriting their life story in hope that they feel they have power to direct their life in a healthier and peaceful route. Narrative therapy uses the technique of externalizing the problem, which is “a way of removing the problem from within ourselves and seeing it as a separate thing that influences us and interacts wit us in ways we might not even realize” (Daigle).
            The show tackles common and bizarre eating problems from anorexia to bulimia and to eating chalk or toilet paper and many more. However, I think that Adrienne in the first episode was by far the scariest. She really did see herself as big when she was asked by her therapist to draw what she thought she looked like. Then when the therapist traced Adrienne she was shocked to see how big the difference was between the realities of it all to what she believed in her head. This show is very emotional but reveals people going through hardships that many American’s can relate to and learn from their recovery process.
            I think this show represented the narrative perspective theory by presenting the stories of these people and documented their life through recovery. This is something that would be good for some teens to see and realize being sickly skinny is not what it is cracked up to be. This show can be an inspiration to others in America who are struggling with similar issues.

Daigle, Kate. "Narrative Theory." Blog: Kate Daigle Counseling. 28 Oct. 2010. Web. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Typical American Family

            When you think about a presidential family, do you think they live a normal life in the White House? No, most people know they live by a strict schedule and there is a lot of press involved. Running the United States is a full-time job for any president and it requires a lot of traveling. There is not a lot of time for family and life is far from normal. However, the Obama’s attempt to make life at the White House as normal as he can and even calls it a “nice home office” (Inbar).

            They are representing a new and improved Presidential family. They built a okay ground for the two little girls and even brought in a new edition a dog, Bo. President Obama states that he can have dinner with them, help the girls with homework, and tuck them in at night. Not something most would think a President would have time to do. The Obama’s are making a huge effort to make this as homey and a normal family life for themselves and their two little girls. In the recent ABC interview, Obama talked about how he watches football in the oval office because the little girls were not a fan of sports but that Michelle Obama pops in every once an awhile. They also mentioned that they workout together in the mornings which is interesting how much time the President has to spend time with his family.

            I think this image they have created for the public is not the whole truth behind living the life style of the President’s family. This is because of the visual perspective theory. However, I can’t deny that the family is full of love and close. But is this image of a typical American family becoming an obsession?  In reality, the Obama’s living a very untypical lifestyle but somehow have been successful projecting this image of their family as a normal America family and this has turned into an obsession. They make everything picture perfect for the camera and media but I want to know what is the Obama family really like in this chaotic lifestyle they are living? It’s not all picture perfect like they preach. 

Inbar, Michael. "Obama offers glimpse of White House life." Today. 2 Feb. 2009. Web.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sarah Palin's Reality Show

            Does this reality show help people see her in the Oval Office? The reality shows Sarah as typical American mother but also alluding to her political platform in subtle and not so subtle ways. Palin is becoming the “type” that now represents successful women and successful politics. She is not the typical “wife” you would find from the feminist theory. Palin gets down and dirty on a fishing trip and even clubs a fish to death.
            Sarah Palin is not the typical “hockey mom” but she is a… Giving birth to and raising five children while she has gone on to be Mayor, Governor, and vice presidential candidate of the Republican party earns her the nickname “barracuda” for toughness in athletic competition. She is definitely not the feminist theory stay home mom that only cooks, and cleans. Palin is not redefining the feminist ideal but many say she is “a kind of multi-function iFeminist for the postmodern woman” (Kay). Being the typical stay home mom is irrelevant to Palin but love of family, community, and country is what guides her political career. Palin is a typical concern parent and showed this with daughter Willow, as she would not allow her guy friend to go upstairs. She cares and has concerns for her children like any other American mom but at the same time represents what would have happened to American women without a feminist revolution.
            Feminists are angry and criticize Sarah Palin’s lack of experience as a substitute for their panic over her indifference to feminism. However, Palin is a real and strong women that is highly successful and is at the same time is a mother to her five children. She is the new postmodern women of America.

Kay, Barbara. "Sarah Palin, a feminist revolution without the feminists." National Post Inc. 10 Sept. 2008. Web. 
"Inside Palin's Reality Show." BLTWY: 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

American's Hate Towards Illegal Immigrants

            Illegal immigration into the United States is substantial in scale and millions live here currently. Sadly, Americans have historically hated immigrants and this is because they believe they are too different in terms of religion and economic status. As a result, American’s believe they do not want to assimilate and become Americans. This is a huge political issue right now as many Border States are making efforts to enact new immigration laws.
Illegal immigrants and legal immigrants have gone through a lot of discrimination and dislike from citizens of the U.S. because of their cultural differences. American’s feel protective over their territory and are cautious of anyone who threatens their culture and heritage. However, the problem that has become a huge issue is the disempowerment of immigrants. They are discriminated because they have crossed illegally even if they are good people trying to live a better life. I found an article about a 24- year-old businesswoman from the Dominican Republic and she gives her testimonial about how since high school she has had limitations. She has struggled through her years being in America and all because she came here illegally.  She should not be punished because of her parent’s decision to bring her to the country illegally. The article also talks about two promising students that are discouraged from advancing to college because of their parents’ decision of bringing them to American the wrong way.
I do not agree with illegal immigrants but I don’t think it is fair that children are being punished because their parents brought them here. I disagree with punishing these women who want to succeed and make a better life for themselves and their family. These woman want to go to school and become something they never could have become in their homeland. This is argument goes along with the Marxist perspective in which “society has power structures that privilege   some groups while placing others in a relatively disadvantaged position” (???).  American’s are disempowering immigrants because they were not privileged enough to be born in America.
This is a huge issue America is dealing with today and I never realized how much American’s have discriminated illegal aliens. To some degree I believe we should be strict and lenient at the same time because some people crossing have good intentions and only want to have a second chance to live happily ever after.

Brummett, Barry. "Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism." In Dimensions of Popular Culture. Tuscaloosa, AL. University of Alabama Press. 1991. Web.
Sacchetti, Maria. "Illegal immigrant students tell of lost opportunities." The Boston Globe. 26 Nov. 2010. Web.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walmart Wishes You a Merry Christmas

            Since 2007, there has been a controversy on retailers marketing Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas recognize all the holidays and religions. However, this year Walmart has decided to bring Christmas back into its marketing after several years of ‘Happy Holiday.’ They are even changing the name of their seasonal decorations department to ‘The Christmas Shop’ from ‘The Holiday Shop.’
            They are not scared and are ready to boost sales during the holiday season this year after all the religious and other group’s boycotted retailers. The world’s largest retail chain will have an in-your-face Christmas theme this year. So, will this offend other religions? In my opinion I don’t think so because America was founded on freedom of religion. Walmart has every right to promote Christmas and I don’t think it offends people of differing faiths. Walmart is still selling other religious holiday decorations but they are just changing their marketing strategy.            
            People of other religions might be offended and feel like stores are not respecting their culture. This is because of the culture-centered theory and the ‘Happy Holidays’ was the umbrella expression including all celebrations. However, in the U.S. one cannot use force or law to make someone say something or not say something if he or she desires otherwise. The majority of the U.S. population is Christian and they celebrate Christmas. So, what is wrong with retailers wanting to promote Christmas marketing to make more profit?
            I believe that this will always be a huge controversy but other religions will not be offended in my opinion. Walmart is not opting out all religions and are still selling different Holidays cards and decorations. They have every right to promote Christmas and will still be respectful to all of the other holidays.

"Wal-Mart opts for 'Christmas' marketing." Associated Press. 15 Nov. 2006. Web.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Muslim Stereotypes in the Media

            Recently an Islamic organization uses San Francisco’s Muni buses to educate people about the Islamic religion. The organization has been posting advertisements outside of the buses that has a phrases like “why Islam” with a phone number below. The ads will appear on approximately 170 Muni buses and 10 cable cars (“Bus ads aim to shatter Muslim stereotypes). The goal of this is to help non-Muslims learn more about the religion and culture in hopes to remove the negative stereotypes.
            Muslim’s have been labeled and defined as terrorists, fundamentalists, fanatics and people that hate America. This has become the stereotype for Muslims because the media misrepresents their culture. In Hollywood films, Muslims are never just ordinary people. They are seen as terrorists that want to destroy America and ever since 9/11 people have associated the Muslim group to any terrorists acts. The reason they do this is first its entertainment and brings in profit but because most image-makers do not have the religious background or cultural background to understand Islam. 

            National media is guilty of this as published an article stating, “Muslim terrorist tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner packed with 300 people just moments before landing” (Mangalji). The Islamic faith is being portrayed through in mainstream media, as the terroristic acts are committed in the name of Islam. This is not true but that is not what the media is telling American’s to believe. The word Islam comes from the Arabic concept of “salaam,” or peace (Mangalji). However, America is giving a distorted view of the culture and are not educated enough about the culture so, we believe what the media portrays.

             It is important for American’s to be educated because of the culture-centered theory. Before making assumptions about a culture, one must explore and become educated. It is important to be respectful of other cultures and make sure one fully understands the culture before making claims that could be offensive. Media does not do this and make a mockery out of the Islamic culture.
            Americans don’t realize that the Middle East is one of the most misunderstood, misperceived, and stereotyped regions of the world. This is because we are not educated enough to understand their culture. So, in my opinion putting the ads on the bus is a great idea and will help non-Muslims understand more about the religion.

"Bus aim to shatter Muslim Stereotypes." San Francisco News, 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 
Mangalji, Shamsa. "National media distorts image of Muslims."The Rice Thresher. 29 Jan. 2010. Web.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Real Housewives Of...

            Did you ever notice that every The Real Housewives of… shows only follows the lives of very wealthy women? This series follows the lives of “relatively affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women in the suburban or urban areas of several American cities” ("The Real Housewives Of..."). There are six different versions of the series starting in Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Beverly Hills. The concept and title of the show come from the television series Desperate Housewives. What happened to the typical middle class housewife?
            In the show of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the women have some serious money. The women in this show are very strong and successful women. However, they do not match up with the “perfect housewife image.” Character Adrienne Maloof-Nassif has an obsession with plastic surgery and is a part owner of the Sacramento Kings and Palm Resort in Las Vegas. However, majority of the women in this show are surgically blessed and have had work done. These women are sexy, rich, and full of drama.
            The media has found the plastic, sexy and fake as the new housewife? I think the show should follow women of middle class and more relatable to Americans. The traditional American housewife should not have the image of plastic surgery addict that spends more time gossiping and making appearances than being a good example for their children. This goes against the typical feminist theory of a housewife that cooks, cleans, nurtures their family, and does everything for their kids and family. The women in these series have $100 million mansions, maids and nannies that do everything for them. This is not what the media should be presenting to the public and is all just for entertainment. What has the world come to?
            This series is more about the lives of the rich and famous rather than the “real housewife.”  I believe this is a distorted representation of mothers and wives today. I agree that women should be able to work too but the way theses women live their lives and act does not put them in the category as a good mom or a perfect housewife. Spending $50,000 on a tea party for their daughter’s fourth birthday is over the top and plain ridiculous.  

Ram, Archana. "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills': Meet the Cast." Entertainment Weekly. 20 Nov. 2010. Web. 
"The Real Housewives Of..." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 

The Royal Engagement

            This week Prince William and Kate Middleton, girlfriend of nine years, announced their engagement. Prince William shocked the world when he gave his mother’s engagement ring. He gave Middleton the blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring that belonged to Princess Diana in 1981. William stated about giving the ring to Kate, “My way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today” (Bates). By giving Middleton the ring, in my opinion, puts a lot of pressure on her.

            However, the media keeps referring to Kate Middleton as the commoner. I did not like how the media labeled Kate Middleton as the commoner because she was raised middle class. Indeed, she is marrying into the royal family and has the potential to become the sixth Queen Catherine. This is an awful nickname the press has put on Middleton and her family. Kate Middleton’s family fortune is from an online company they established selling party bags and other paraphernalia for children’s parties. They are a very normal and middle class family but the press does not reveal this to the public. This is because of the Marxist theory, “… the notion that material conditions and economic practices shape the dominant ideology about who ought to be and ought to not be empowered” (Sellnow 71). The press does not like empowering someone of middle class who is about to marry into the royal family.
            The media has made it clear that William and Kate have both been socially mobile but in opposite directions. William was raised in upper class and Kate was just an ordinary child from a middle class family. Many believe she won’t be able to handle the responsibilities and everything that comes with being royalty. Not only are people worried about her being a princess and all the paparazzi but will she be able to survive marrying in to this dysfunctional family. She is getting a lot of media attention and in some of the articles I read she is seen as a style icon in waiting. Middleton is beautiful and the public is beginning to adore her. Beside what some of the media is saying some say that she is giving the monarchy a better chance for long-term survival. 
            In my opinion I don’t think it matters that Kate Middleton is a so-called “commoner” because she is someone people are going to look up to. She is handling the paparazzi and media better than Princess Diana ever did. They are look like equals rather than two people forced together to protect a dying dynasty and they are in love unlike Charles and Diana. The media is so focused on what she came from rather than reporting on the amazing and beautiful person of Kate Middleton. So, who cares if she is a middle class woman who is a genuinely good person and is more than capable in being the Princess of Wales.

Bates, Stephen. "How 'commoner' Kate Middleton Won Prince William's Heart." UK News: The Guardian. 17 Nov, 2010. Web.
Chancellor, Alexander. "Why Kate Middleton Is the Perfect Choice." UK News: The Guardian. 19 Nov, 2010. Web.
Sellnow, Deanna D. "A Marxist Perspective." The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture: Considering Mediated Texts. SAGE Publications, 2010. 71-88. Print. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Bing It!

            Gossip Girl is known for their high fashion and their fabulous life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. This CW show is known for their blatant product placement. They get all their latest gossip through text message. However, Gossip Girl is starting a new trend, “just Bing it!” Characters are making references to Bing.
            Gossip Girl has a deal with Bing and the show is getting the phrase “Bing it!” out even if some viewers aren’t buying it. Microsoft is pushing their newly revamped search engine Bing pretty hard these days. I have noticed in some of the episodes the characters have been using Bing as their main search engine. In episode 18 season 3, Blair Waldorf’s mother Eleanor uses the phrase “Just Bing it” while in a bout of computer search frustration. It is interesting how this move by Bing is clearly a direct jab at Google and an attempt to turn the word Bing into a verb as Google did. This is a good move for Bing because viewers of Gossip Girl are a very media and advertising aware bunch. The show is continuing to make references to Bing throughout the show. Even Jenny Humphrey uses the Bing browser to foreshadow a pivotal plot point.

            This product placement technique can be referred to Psychoanalytic criticism theory. People don’t realize when they are watching TV shows that they are also being advertised to in sneaky ways. By referring to the Bing search engine, viewers and fans of Gossip Girl will want to use it because most viewers want to be just like the girls in the show. According to Brummett, “The most powerful signs are those that offer people a chance to return to that original state before we knew ourselves to be separate beings” (173). This is used in advertising products and is very successful.
            Gossip Girl has made “Bing it” the new trend and many people are tweeting about it. This product placement technique has gained more users as Gossip Girl characters get really into Bing and even using it as a verb. Now are you going to try to "Bing it"?

Brummett, Barry. "Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism, Part One." Rhetoric in Popular Culture. Third Edition. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2011. 145-176. Print.
Schwartz, Josh and Stephanie Savage. Gossip Girl. "The Unblairable Lightness of Being." CW. 2010. Television. 
Sullivan, Danny. "Yes, People Do Say "Bing It"-- Barely." Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search Engines. Third Door Media, Inc, 18 May 2010. Web. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Perfect Housewife

           However a perfect woman may seem, on the outside to her neighbors, all women have secrets that are much darker than anyone realizes. Desperate Housewives seems to show women that they are not alone in their struggles. The show presents all the choices that women have to make, whether it is stay-at-home wife or a divorce. Suggesting that we all have to be careful about the choices we make in life as this show portrays the underside of an everyday American dream. The women are empowered, feisty, and sexy as they provide lots of drama for the show. Many women go through some of the things that each of the housewives is going through like wanting the perfect family.
           One of the wives from the show, Bree Van de Camp is the perfect housewife. The way she dresses and how she is always looking her best and there is never a hair that is misplaced. Out of all the wives, Bree is the one that strives for the perfect family. This is hard for her to accomplish because her son is gay, and her daughter gets pregnant. Also, her husband Rex has a heart attack while having an affair with another woman. However, she is able to maintain the perfect wife image while dealing and coping with her family issues. She represents the perfect housewife image but on the inside she is suffering from he choices she made. She is known for her cooking, making her own clothes, and for doing her own gardening, and for reupholstering her own furniture. She’s the perfect wife and mother. Bree Van de Camp, would be put in the category of a cultural feminist perspective. This is the traditional woman that cooks, cleans, sews, and mothering their children. Bree represents the traditional women stereotype and a caricature of Martha Stewart.

            Desperate Housewives portrayed real domestic struggles and relationships between neighbors and lovers. This show paraded women suffering the same torments, affairs and anguish as the characters, suggesting that Housewives were psychotherapy for them. 

Bree van Kamp

"Bree van Kamp." Photo. June 2010. Google Images 2010. 
"Andrew Van de Kamp." 19 Sept. 2007. YouTube. 4 Nov. 2010.
Cherry, Marc. Desperate Housewives. ABC. Television.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding Meaning in Sonic Ads

             This week my Professor assigned us to pick an advertisement and evaluate it by using the visual perspective theory. This theory involves analyzing visual images and finding meaning.
             I found that the Sonic ads of the married man and wife were very stereotypical. There are many different ads but I found two that I really thought was funny but also portrayed the stereotype that men are buffoons. In these humorous commercials the wife is empowered, as the husband looks dumb. In the ad called “sonic chicken you don’t know what you like!” shows a perfect example of the stereotype that woman control their husbands. She tells him to choose what kind of chicken they should eat and he named off a bunch and disagreed with all the choices. Then the empowered wife tells him what they both will eat and didn’t care that he didn’t want that. He disagrees but then responds in sarcasm that he was wrong and doesn’t know what to eat. As she goes “you don’t know what you like” which gives the perception the women are wiser and know more then men. He looks like a buffoon and a push over as he allows his wife to control him in this way.
            This showed the stereotype that men listen to their wife and just agree that everything they say and do is right and they are wrong. The other Sonic advertisement was even worse and made the husband look ignorant. He tells his wife he is waiting for his hot fudge shake to cool down and she tries to explain to him that it is indeed a hot fudge shake but it is not hot. He looks dumb as he responds that you need to have someone explain it to you and she says only you. This just proves my point that married men are stupid which relates to the visual pleasure theory in the fact that we see this as funny and normal. 
            Media has influenced the way we see marriage and draws viewers to see this as humorous. By making audience laugh this brings pleasure as they enjoy watching a married couple argue and watch the husband makes a fool of himself. But, this is normal comedy and we see this on television and movies all the time.

Sonic Chicken Ad
Sonic Hot Fudge Shake Ad

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Culture Centered Perspective of the Middle East

The theory that worked best in analyzing the movie Sex and the City 2 is culture-centered criticism. This perspective works because the four girls travel to the Middle East, as they have to follow the rules of their country and respect their heritage. The culture centered theory 
“understands that look from one culture from another requires caution about the claims that one makes and an awareness that the culture being observed might well see itself and its own artifacts differently” (Brummett 148).
In the movie it shows the Middle East culture through the Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte’s eyes. The women are trying to understand their culture and adapt but with very little effort. However, Miranda makes a bold effort to respect the Islamic culture throughout the movie as she brings along a book with her to study. The women do not respect the culture instead of realizing they were they were guests of the country and acted like the country was a place to play Arabian themed dress up.

The majority of Americans are oblivious of the cultural values of the Middle East. Movies portray Muslims as controlling, violent, and repressed. Sex and the City 2 depicts Muslim culture as sex-phobic, repressed, and backwards from American culture. This view is distorted from the truth about Muslim culture. Women from Abu Dhabi are not what movie-makers make them out to be and as women “covered in black from head to toe, they appear as uneducated, unattractive, and enslaved beings” (Shaheen). In the movie women did wear burqas and veils. However, they did have a common ground with the girls love for fashion. Carrie notices veiled Muslim women who had decorated her head dress and quips with gold trim. These women are re-defining their tradition for themselves, as their dress is a proud statement of their religion.

The girls blatantly disregard respecting the culture of Abu Dhabi and wear flashy clothing and make jokes about the women. Like when Samantha says in the movie that they don’t want women to have a voice. Throughout the movie the women try to get Samantha to cover up but she disregards them and dresses inappropriately. Her actions in the movie are offensive and inappropriate.  

The Muslim men are perceived as controlling and angry. As the “negative images are sometimes perceived as real portrayals of Muslim culture, which come back to afflict Americans of Arab heritage” and women as repressed with no voice (Shaheen). This is just the way the four women view the culture but shows “the impact the screen images have on Arab and Muslim identities” (Shaheen).

Hollywood's Muslim Arabs by Jack G. Shaheen

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Discovering Culture in Sex and the City 2 Movie

            A media artifact that I plan to explore for the next couple weeks is the movie Sex and The City 2.  In the movie the girls go on a luxury vacation to Abu Dhabi with all expenses paid. However, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda go against the culture clash in the Middle East.

            The girls’ style and attitudes contrast with Muslim society and Samantha faces the most conflict. Samantha is detained for having sex on the beach and claims they were only just kissing. She offends many of the people and was asked to leave the country immediately. People were throwing things at her and yelling at her because she had offended their culture.

            Women in Abu Dhabi are free from certain restrictions that are placed in more conservative Arab states. So, women visitors can dress as they would do at home but have to be modest. Including covering shoulders and no cleavage in respect of their culture. Islamic culture does not allow women to wear bikinis or other revealing clothing. Samantha disobeys all of this and wears clothing that reveal cleavage, shoulders and stomach.

            In my term paper I plan to expand on this using the culture-centered perspective of the Middle East. This movie shows the significant difference between the culture in the U.S. and in the Middle East. It is important to respect the other culture while your there. This movie is a humorous interpretation of women not respecting the country they are visiting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Influencing Others Through Text

            Chapter 3 points out that text generates meaning and people are influenced by what those texts mean to them.  The three branches of critical studies are attitude and method, the concern with power, and interventionism. These theories can apply to writing a paper.
            In a paper it’s important to apply attitude in a critical way and is not intended to be hostile. You want to look beneath the surface and give observations that are not obvious so readers can be influenced and informed. It’s also important to use method by asking questions about the topic being studied and evaluates it making sure you can understand the message in its original context. This will help readers understand and appreciate your message. In conclusion, you want to make sure you can answer the “so what” throughout your paper to make sure readers can be influenced.
            Second, is the concern with power by being cautious on disempowering certain individuals or groups. It is important to be careful because people experience power in groups. Groups can be anything from gender, race, class, religion, age, and more. For an example if a women feels disempowered from a statement you make in your paper then all women will feel disempowered. In a good paper you don’t want to single out any groups by disempowering or empowering them. 
            Last, in a paper it is good to intervene or get involved with problems in order to discover different ways to experience the world. So, in a paper you should give the reader choices for different ways of doing things. You want to show the reader how to find meaning and try to inspire or change someone for the better.  An example of this is presenting ways you can help the environment. There are so many choices and things someone can do to help the environment by recycling, saving water and many more. This gives the readers an opportunity to make their own choices.
            A good paper requires a message people can understand and relate too. So, by including all these branches in a paper: attitude/method, concern with power, and interventionism will lead to a successful piece of work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Creating Our Own Reality

            In Walter Lippmann’s chapter on “The World Outside and the Pictures in our Heads,” gives the theory that humans create their own reality. Lippmann believes that everyone has his or her own pseudo-environment. Everyone lives in the same world but mentally live in different worlds based on their perception of reality.  I agree with this view because everyone does live in their own realities like people who are devoted to their religion.
            Plato’s “Allegory of The Cave’s”, main goal in life is finding the form of the good and to educate those with the right natures so they can find the form of good. You need to understand everything to understand anything and once you understand anything you can precede the path to the understanding of everything. He believes everyone begins their lives in a cave and education is the struggle to move as far out of the cave as possible.
            We are seeing illusions that are not real but because we have acknowledged them as such for so long, it’s hard for us to accept any other way. Plato believes that throughout our lives we are searching for the truth and we must rely on thought alone. Plato conveys is belief that people perceiving only through senses is ultimately an inferior form of knowledge.  In our modern age there still exist fires that cast shadows on our walls.
            This goes back to the idea that TV and Internet have polluted our senses and distorted the reality we believe in. When we watch the news or research for information on the Internet, we automatically assume that it is the whole truth because its hard to except that our only source of information would deceive us. The news is only focused on giving us half the truth and only report on things that increase ratings. But, knowing this we still rely on the media for information because that is all we know and believe. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

The History of Rhetoric

                 Chapter 2 covers many different ways to define rhetoric throughout history. The Sophists believe that rhetoric is “the art of persuasion carried out through public speaking,” and being able to speak to general audiences on a wide variety of topics (Page 41). Aristotle did not believe that rhetoric was an art but that is was a knack of appearances and flattery rather than reality by fooling people.

            The Greeks claimed rhetoric occurs in traditional texts because that was ideal for public speaking. However, Vico brings a different angle on the definition of rhetoric as a human faculty and is based on human experience. He is saying that you can make your own truth and perception of reality.
            I agree more with Vico rather than the Greeks view because reality is what we perceive and we create our own reality based on our experiences.  By seeing the world in our own way and coming to our own conclusions is rhetoric at work. Unlike Aristotle’s definition that rhetoric is ability to fool people to sway their opinions on issues, I believe rhetoric is how we as humans view the truth.
            Media today would veer more towards the Greeks definition of rhetoric. Obama is a good example of both the Sophists and Aristotle’s views. Obama is a good speaker and has the ability to deliver excitement through his passion and use of words. His campaign theme of change was appealing to the public because everyone has the desire for change and something different. He never fulfills these promises but it sure sounded good and grabbed the citizens’ attention. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Power Roles Played in Our Culture

            In the show, “I Love Lucy,” Lucy and Ethel were disempowered by their husbands. Ricky and Fred were the authority figures and the empowered ones in the show. Ricky gives Lucy allowance and scolds her when he finds out she over drafted her account. Her response is, “Yes sir,” Lucy is giving authority to Ricky and belittles herself. In the show, “Seinfeld,” straight men were empowered and homosexuals were the disempowered. It was more the comments made about the gays rather than the people themselves in this episode. There were a lot if stereotypical comments made like when Jerry said people mistake him for gay because he is single, neat, and thin claiming that’s how all gay men are.
            In “I Love Lucy,” Lucy resembles a housewife because of her dresses and apron, which is iconic. The indexical sign is the apron, when Ricky was put in Lucy’s shoes for a day doing housework and he wore an apron to put him in the mindset. The apron represents doing housekeeping. Lucy resembled the perfect housewife that cooked and cleaned which is symbolic. In “Seinfeld,” the comment “not that there is anything wrong with that” was iconic in which they were trying to address an uncomfortable subject with humor. When Jerry mentions that people think he is gay because he is single, thin and neat was indexical. He is being referred to as gay because of those traits rather than just a normal person. Two men that spend a lot of time together, Jerry and George, are symbolic to gay men. After the story got out about Jerry being gay he did not want to go to the Broadway show with George because he feared of looking homophobic Also, the episode ends with Kramer with an attractive young man which cause George and Jerry to wonder and Kramer explains that he is just the phone guy and ends with “not that there is anything wrong with that.”
            The artifacts in “I Love Lucy” are that women are spenders and men are earners. In the show Lucy and Ethel go to work and they are very unsuccessful. They gave the perception that women during this time were only good at housekeeping and spending their husband’s money. Ricky and Fred stay home and do housework only to fail at cooking, cleaning, ironing and show that they are only good for working and earning the money. In “Seinfeld,” they referred to homosexuals as two men spending a lot of time together and going to Broadways together. If two men spend a lot of time together they automatically assumed they were gay.
            Reality is that women are good at doing the housekeeping but they can go to work too. Even if the husband is the only one that brings home a check it is shared equally among spouses. Culture if men went to work they were in control of the money and wives did not get an equal share but only an allowance. It is perceived that housekeeping and working is not equal but in reality it is. In reality homosexuals are human beings with their own wants and desires and they don’t all have same interest. If there were two men or women hanging out no one automatically comes to conclusion that they are gay. Culture shows that gays go to broadways and spend lots of time together.
            Since the time both shows aired a lot of things have changed on the topics of homosexuals and the disempowerment of women. Today homosexuals are more accepted and many shows have gay characters like Brothers and Sisters. The issue of the disempowerment of women has changed dramatically. Shows today feature women as doctors, detectives and have more power in the household than Lucy and Ethel. They are viewed now as women that can work and make decisions rather than seen as just good housekeepers. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Meaning of Rhetoric

            When the word rhetoric comes to mind I think of English. Rhetoric is the use of language to communicate effectively. In the work place and in class it’s important to use good rhetoric. It ‘s essential to have the ability to use effective language if you want to be taken seriously and professionally by your peers.  In a way rhetoric is also influential.
            Growing up my mom was always strict on how my sister and I answered the phone. If we said, “this is her,” she would tell us to start over and try again. My mom wanted us to practice good rhetoric and by answering the phone and saying “this is she,” was a tool in helping us practice effective communication.
            Persuasion is another word I think of with the term rhetoric. When speaking or even writing you want to persuade the audience that the statements you’re making are true. People use rhetoric when making persuasive speeches. Advertisers use this technique to persuade consumers to purchase their product or use their service. 
            I think that rhetoric is almost like a discipline. Having the ability to communicate well to others makes you disciplined. Rhetoric is the study of how people use language to organize experiences and being able to communicate it to others. When you speak well, you are perceived as a polite and intelligent person. 
            I believe that the word rhetoric is something that everyone needs to use in his or her daily life. Some define rhetoric as a means of obscuring the truth like the media does on a daily basis. But, I don’t think that is an accurate definition of the word at all. I see rhetoric more as an important art or strategy for persuading an audience.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Truth About The Media

             I always believed what the media revealed on television was the truth. But, after watching the video “Media Hype,” my views have change. The video reveales that the media stretches the truth and has given America a distorted view on what’s really going on in the world. Media creates stories that is much more appealing than the truth.
            I believe that news stations don’t reveal the whole truth and are just reporting events that bring hype. For example on the video, multiple news stations reported on shark attacks and brought the public to believe there were more shark attacks occurring than the previous year. But, that was not true and the number of shark attacks did not increase from the previous years. 
            This scares me to believe that media has that big of an impact on our perception of reality. Most people watching the news don’t realize that they are not being given accurate information. Over exaggerated events scare people and make them feel unnecessarily unsafe. The media creates a greater danger from reports because that’s what sells papers and makes them money.
            I think that media should report the whole truth of important issues and events instead of focusing on what will sell. The public is being brainwashed into believing whatever the media tells us. There are politics in the media that also report bias opinions. In my opinion, media should report the facts and let the viewers come to their own conclusions and opinions.
            Media is misinforming the public and creating panic or needless concern over issues they have created. In the video, there were multiple reports on Internet predators and that our children are being hunted and stalked. This is not the truth and the statistics of Internet kidnappings are rare but this issue gets so much crime coverage. People should be aware of Internet danger but not mislead to believe the Internet is completely dangerous. Viewers are being manipulated by their only source for information.