Skyscraper

When I was thinking of different artists that would have work that is honest, independent and productive, I thought of a very influential 21 year old. Demi Lovato has become quite a role model for many young adults. I personally like her music, and find a new message that she sends with each song. “Together” with Jason Derulo has lyrics that talk about the world that we used to care about, how we are not keeping it clean, and how love is all we need if we can all get along. It’s a pretty catchy song so you might not think about the lyrics right away, but it’s a very positive message with a good beat. “Skyscraper” is about her journey throughout the years and overcoming the obstacles that she has fought through.

demi1

This girl has been through so much in her life and in her albums is how she tells the world. She’s had to deal with self-harm, being suicidal, an eating disorder, and bi-polar disorder. She’s had her struggles and has learned to work through them, and channel her emotions into her music. Demi is all about her fans, and she reaches out to support them in their own struggles. She wants to send the message to anyone that is facing a difficult time, that they can overcome any obstacle that’s in their way. She’s very inspiring.

demi

When it come to her music, I know that it is honest. From reading the article about being honest, independent and productive, the content of Demi’s music is her pouring out her honest emotions and the message she wants to portray. Her image is a positive one, in that no matter how low you feel, you can rise above it and become better. She is independent because it doesn’t seem like she would compromise her work or art for anything. She is always trying to connect with fans over social media and likes to be there for them. Demi is also very productive. She is a great influence on young girls that might be dealing with their body image and learning to love themselves. She sends a new message with every album or song and it seems like she just wants everyone to get to a positive place in their life. Demi seems like a very down-to-earth and realistic girl that you’d want to make your best friend. If I were growing up right now in this new generation, she would definitely be one of my role models.

Advertisements

Porn and Photoshop

The PBS Frontline documentary on porn was quite…interesting. The porn industry is something I knew existed but just kinda floated in the background. I never knew how involved AT&T Broadband and Yahoo was in this industry with providing adult movies and links to adult websites, which they said are over 200,000 sites. The documentary mentioned that hotels make more money by the sales of adult movies than the food or alcohol in the mini bar. I thought that was pretty crazy! I never really thought of how much money a hotel might make on something like that. The porn industry itself relates back to Storey’s definitions of ideology. The third definition was to draw attention to the way in which texts, or in this case, films, present a particular image of the world. Adult videos present this image of how the public thinks sexual acts should be like, however the films are fake, they are story lines and ….MOVIES. The majority of regular movies aren’t real, so why would these be?

I liked the video “The Perfect Lie” and it was a great way to show just how much even the celebrities themselves are edited and don’t look like the original image. It was kind of disturbing to hear the girl immediately ask what procedure she could get done to look like that. Just shows how much it is pushed on people to look perfect. The Cosmo covers were interesting to look at as well. It was cool to see how the covers have evolved but yet kept the same framework as the originals.

This blog was a harder one for me to relate to and to form an opinion on, so it is short this week!

Thanks for reading!

-Rachel

That New Book Smell…

…am I right? As soon as you buy that brand new book, the smell, the crackle of a fresh hard cover book being opened, or the first new crease on a paperback…love it! I am NOT talking about textbooks people! I’m talking about the book you can’t wait to get home, curl up with a blanket and devour with glass of wine (usually red, but I’ll accept any free wine that comes my way).

To me there are 2 broad types of books: Textbooks/Required Reading (because you know you wouldn’t USUALLY pick those up by choice), and Pleasure/Free Reading (whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, I’m assuming you actually want to read it). Crazy thought, I know! My relationship with books is kind of a love/hate relationship. I personally don’t like just straight reading from a textbook, I just do it to study…but that doesn’t mean I like it! The books that are picked for the required reading, novels, etc. those tend to not to be very engaging and it’s hard for me to sit down and read it. I don’t own a Kindle or Nook or any other electronic reading device. I like to physically feel the book I’m reading. Sometimes I like to see how far I can read in a day, and how long it will take me to finish the book. I like seeing the fact that I have about ten pages left while the story is all scrambled, characters everywhere, it doesn’t seem possible to wrap up the story in that short amount of time, something big has to happen! It honestly kind of stresses me out, but in a good, exciting way! Then the book ends, and you wish it didn’t.

As far as my free reading/pleasure reading books, I like fiction books. Only in the last year or so have I started drifting towards books that are actually in my age range. Those young adult books are just so tempting! (except none of that vampire stuff…no no.) I just like picking up books that have a good story to them. Once in a while I’ll wet my feet in some nonfiction but usually I stay in storyland. By the way, I hope everyone loves Ellen DeGeneres…I have many of her books and they are all awesome! One that is very heartfelt is Love, Ellen. It’s actually written by her mother and goes into her childhood and when she came out, her family, her relationships, etc. and it’s a very moving book. Her wife Portia De Rossi also has her own book, Unbearable Lightness, which mainly focuses on her overcoming an eating disorder. Alright where was I…right, I like fiction. (Ellen DeGeneres is not a fictional character, unless you’re watching Finding Nemo, eventually we’ll find Dory.)

ellen ellen1

books1 books2

books book books3

These are the type of books I tend to pick up. Yes, that’s Nicholas Sparks. Yes, they are cheesy. I dig it. (It’s best to read those ones BEFORE they make the even cheesier movies of them…which I still watched.) Kristin Hannah has been one of my favorite authors and she has many more books that I want to read. I like reading fiction the most because you are free to your own interpretation and imagination of what each scene looks like, and the fact that we could all read the same fiction book and imagine it a thousand different ways is pretty awesome. I like my own personal movie that plays in my head and no one will see it just exactly the way I will. Crazy!

Thanks for reading!

-Rachel

Digital Media

Ah, the media. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is sitting with their laptop, cell phone right next to it, and has the television on. (I did however put it on mute because that’s just a bit much for me right now). I remember growing up without all the technology and digital media we have today and man, it was much more fun! Playing outside with the kids on the block, going to the field or the creek, Kick the Can?! Pshhh. Who needs all that digital, high tech stuff?

Apparently me…

…and A LOT of people now. My own media use these days has sky rocketed compared to when I was growing up. Now, I’m pretty much never without my phone, on my laptop at least once a day, and TV is a regular lazy/relaxing time. (I mean HELLO?! Orange Is The New Black Season 2 just came out on Netflix today! Who isn’t binge watching that?!)

In Malcolm Gladwell’s essay, it was mentioned that Twitter be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Twitter was where all the demonstrators were brought together to protest the country’s communist government. Twitter? Nobel Peace Prize? I definitely don’t put those two together. “Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools”. This was pretty interesting.

Clay Shirky’s blog was intense and I’m sure we can all relate to it with paying for our education! “Golden age economics ended. Golden age assumptions did not.” That’s was stuck out the most for me. “Over the decades, we’ve behaved like an embezzler who starts by taking only what he means to replace, but ends up extracting so much that embezzlement becomes the system. There is no longer enough income to support a full-time faculty and provide students a reasonably priced education of acceptable quality at most colleges or universities in this country.” This topic that he talks about is very discouraging! He also says that the value of the Bachelor’s Degree is going down every year, while the tuition prices keeping going up. So basically by the time I get my Bachelor’s it’ll be useless? Thanks Shirky.

Digital Nation. Man, wasn’t that an awesome documentary?! I honestly thought it was going to be a bit boring, but I actually really liked it. I was taking so many notes because I liked so many things they talked about! (I literally have about 2 pages of notes just on that documentary!) So obviously I’m not going to mention EVERYTHING I took notes on, I’ll just pick a few. I think it was the first thing they talked about, multitasking. David Jones, a professor at MIT stated, “It’s not that the students are dumb, it’s not that they’re not trying, I think they are trying in a way that’s not effective as it could be, because they are distracted by everything else.” With this, he was talking about students in class, and I’m sure we’ve all pulled out our cell phone during a lecture at least once. On that same topic, Professor Sherry Turkle said “Students have done a disservice by ‘drinking the koolaid’ and believing that a multitasking environment will serve their best purposes. There really are important thing you cannot think about unless it’s still and you’re only thinking about one thing at a time.” This is so true! We all think that we are great at multitasking, and maybe some of us really are, but I do feel that for most of us, it just hinders our performance on something else. If we are thinking about 5 different things, it’s taking away effort and energy from all 5 of those things instead of focusing on one at a time to give your best effort. I also thought it was very interesting that they were treating people in the military with PSTD with Virtual Reality Therapy. There is so much more that I could talk about just with the documentary but I think I’ve made this blog pretty long, thank you for reading this far!

The thing about digital media and technology?

“I love being able to turn it off.”

Thanks for reading!

-Rachel

What is Popular Culture?

There were a couple ideas I liked about popular culture that were mentioned in this article. I liked the first definition where popular culture is simply culture that is widely favored or well liked by many people. I liked this idea because it was flat out simple to understand. Popular. Culture.

One video that I watched that ties into this idea is the popular, “What Does The Fox Say?” music video. This started out as a joke and somehow, people just started to love it and it became very popular. I think this definitely falls into the category of popular culture in this way. I personally thought this was THE MOST annoying thing when it first came out, but alas…it grew on me. WA-PA-PA-PA-PA-PA-POW!

Another idea I liked was the sixth definition on the debate of postmodernism. I agree with Deidre when she said, in her radio post this week, that she no longer recognizes the distinction between high and popular culture and that it does not allow for an individual’s taste or creativity. I like and agree with this idea because of those reasons and I like that high and popular culture are not so clear cut and can overlap and play a roll in the creativity of an individual to broaden their mind and thinking.

In the second ideology, with masking, distortion and concealment, a couple videos fit in here, along with “What Does The Fox Say?”. The Harlem Shake video, and the Grumpy Cat Harlem Shake video, also fit this ideology of masking, and distortion. These videos literally involve someone being masked, but also end up in a distorted sort of….dancing? Maybe I took that too literally to the ideology.

Overall, Storey makes some very interesting points in his article “What Is Popular Culture?” and definitely gave me some thing to think about with our culture these days.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

High-Low Culture and Cultural Literacy

Alright, so for my first blog it would only be fitting that the internet at my house would crash. Who would have thought that I’d actually need access to the internet for an online course?! Now as I’m sitting here at Starbucks, mooching off them for Wi-Fi, sipping on a cold beverage, it’s easy to observe and sink into the ‘Starbucks culture’.

Let’s get started, shall we? We all love our media!

media

Media consumption has been constantly increasing throughout the years. People are more dependent on technology and the media than ever. We are all guilty of this, and personally, I am pretty dependent on the internet. There is so much information available, not to mention all the other applications I use just to pass the time. Thank you Pinterest! Just today, I used my phone for directions (GPS), Facebook, Snapchat, Gmail and Google. I also use Netflix, Hulu, and Pinterest on my phone pretty regularly as well. I use my laptop to gain access to the internet for MSN, for news, and the Humboldt State website. Later in the day I am usually exposed to a television, which is typically used for leisure and entertainment shows, sports and news, (I know you watch those reality shows too! Don’t lie!). I do receive mail and the newspaper, but rarely look to that for information.

blog 1

The distinction of high-low culture is a valuable tool for looking at cultures. From my understanding of the definitions, they provide an accurate description of the cultures. There are many views of which culture, high context or low context, is more culturally literate. The way that I am distinguishing which culture is more culturally literate, is referring to Hirsch in the video when he defines literacy versus cultural literacy. He said that literacy is having the skills to decode the words on the page, whereas cultural literacy is having the skills to comprehend the message of those words. I believe that a high context culture would be more culturally literate. With high-context, word choice, facial expression and gestures are much more important than the amount of words spoken. In general, high-context cultures can say one word, and understand many more, whereas in a low-context culture, (like the United States) we tend to need a bit more explaining just to understand one topic or idea.

Now to get more into cultural literacy, “…in each country there are certain facts or touchstones people need to know to operate effectively as citizens” as said by E.D. Hirsch Jr. in the School of Hard Facts documentary. This is an interesting point and brings up the idea that in general, citizens of a country should have a good understanding of their own countries history, ideals and beliefs. Even though they don’t have to agree with those ideals or beliefs, they should have the general knowledge of what they are. In the article, Slogans Indeed: A Reply to Hirsch by Stephen Tchudi, “…an honest scientific sampling of what literate adults know and read would largely duplicate the present culture.” This is true. If there was a standard level of literacy, it would be educational to the present culture and help them, us, become more culturally literate. In the article The Close Reader: Hirsch vs. Hirsch it gives the definition, “Cultural literacy: familiarity with the key terms of western history, literature and philosophy, as well as mathematics and science.” This idea more or less ties into Hirsch’s thoughts about cultural literacy and how it is a basic understanding of certain events and personalities of that culture, and that there is a basic general knowledge the is expected.

I hope this gives you an understanding of my view on high-low cultures and cultural literacy.

Thank you for reading!

-Rachel