My Semester Project

I worked on my semester project with Serena Roche. At the beginning of the semester we decided to write a satirical magazine, something neither of us had much experience with.  We choose to mimic the look of an issue of Entertainment Weekly in an attempt to trick our readers into believing that what we wrote was factual, just as The Onion does.  Our decision was to use paranormal and supernatural creatures as a lens to discuss and satirize whatever we felt like discussing. For example, we used the FBI spying on the Sasquatch community as a way of discussing Islamophobia within America. Another example is our creating an ad for a vampire blood drink that mimics Newport cigarette ads in every possible way down to the loving couple, in order to demonstrate the stupidity of cigarette ads.

When it came down to the writing of the project, we each did our equal share. We split up and wrote out different sections. I wrote two short stories, created the cover, a faux news article, two advertisements, and an editorial from Dracula. Serena wrote out the main article, the interview with a ghost, a short story, poem, table of contents, and one advertisement. We worked together on the letter to the editor, top 5, and the personality quiz. Then after each of us completed our sections, I looked over everything and made any necessary editing changes and handed the contents back to Serena. She then laid out the pages using “In-Design” to help make our project look more like a real magazine. I believe we worked well together and contributed more than our fair share to the project. Hopefully, our project works as well as we intended and it is as divergent as we believe it is. I think we did a good job, considering neither one of us had truly written a satirical piece before this project.

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Robot Chicken: Fan Filmmaker and Co-Creation

Where is the line drawn between Fan Filmmaker and Co-Creation? That was something I questioned after hearing the presentation on Quentin Tarantino’s “Star Wars”. Throughout the presentation there were numerous mentions that a “Star Wars” fan film can only parody the universe and not expand on it. However, what happens when Lucasfilm gets involved? Is it no longer a fan film and when does a fan film become a co-creation? To clarify my point, let me use the example of “Robot Chicken Star Wars.”

“Robot Chicken” had been around for a number of years before the “Star Wars” specials started airing. It was created by renowned geek comedic actor Seth Green (Oz from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) and his clever geek business partner Matthew Senreich (ex-editorial director of WIZARD magazine).  The show itself mocks pop culture, television, films, and popular fads with the use of stop motion action figures. The show is essentially a fan film with a slightly bigger budget.

Then in 2007, the creators of “Robot Chicken” not only received permission to do an entire episode dedicated to parodying “Star Wars”, but they got George Lucas, Mark Hamill, and even Billy Dee Williams to lend their voices to the episode. Lucasfilm became involved and began allowing Robot Chicken to create characters like “Gary the Stormtrooper” and expand the universe by showing what happened to Boba Fett after he was eaten by the Sarlacc. This leads me back to my initial question; does the inclusion of Lucasfilm in “Robot Chicken,” mean it has become a co-creation? What if Lucasfilm had done nothing to hinder the fans creativity? Where is the line directly drawn between a fan film and a co-creation? If someone can answer that question, I would truly like to know. Until then, I will leave you with two clips from “Robot Chicken Star Wars.” One featuring Admiral Ackbar using his famous catchphrase to sell cereal, the other is Boba Fett in the stomach of the Sarlacc after the opening scene in “Return of the Jedi”. Enjoy.

Admiral Ackbar Cereal

Boba Fett Volunteered

Rocky Balboa: Southpaw, Champion, Icon

During class this week we discussed icons and brands. Olivia brought up an excellent point that every icon and brand we discussed in class from Justin Bieber to James Frey had a shelf life. They all were essentially fads that had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. While that is true for almost all icons I believe that one has an unending shelf life. One has continued to be an icon that affects a lot of people since its inception. That icon is the character of Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone. Rocky Balboa first appeared in 1976 in the prize fighting (boxing) film “Rocky.” Since it was first released it has spawned five sequels, video games, toys, reality shows, numerous parodies, and countless films attempting to imitate the underdog story of the Italian Stallion’s rise from nothing to champion (I’m looking at you “Cinderella Man” and “The Fighter”). However, no imitations have had as lasting an impact as Rocky Balboa. Rocky’s iconic status has risen so high that the steps before the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania are known as the “Rocky Steps” due to Rocky running up them in his famous montage. Rocky also has a bronze statue at the bottom of the Museum steps, which is a big tourist attraction. Rocky’s iconic character status has even reached beyond the realm of film and into the real world. Not only has the American Film Institute named Rocky Balboa the 7th greatest movie hero of all time but also, in December 2010, it was announced that Rocky would be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. I could go on for days talking about Rocky and how, since its’ creation, this iconic character has been a commentary on America and the American Dream that anything is possible if one works hard enough to achieve their goal. “Rocky” has managed to create careers for actors like Mr. T and his famous catchphrase (first heard in “Rocky III”). I will conclude by saying that Rocky Balboa is one icon that has never had to change to stay relevant. His character is as relevant now as it was in 1976. And unlike some icons like Justin Bieber and James Frey, who some know of and others don’t, if you walk down the street and polled fifty people on who is Rocky Balboa, I’m positive you will hear fifty people say, “Great boxing character” or “He hit a side of beef and drank raw eggs” or even “Yo, Adrian!!!” To end this blog, I’m going to leave you with some of my favorite Rocky scenes in each film and a photo of Rocky’s statue.

Links To My Favorite Rocky Scenes:

Rocky 1: Iconic Montage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2qG8tM5qGY

Rocky 1: Iconic Ending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5-s4abeoak&feature=related

Rocky 2: Iconic Win: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOqWnUy-1Lo

Rocky 3: Mr. T’s Famous Line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJnKm6ftPu0

Rocky 3: Apollo and Rocky spar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B04XbfibgT4

Rocky 4: Drago One-liner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygQvB6OjHOU

Rocky 4: Montage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SUzcDUERLo&feature=related

Rocky 4: US vs. USSR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE3Wbd5_o9U

Rocky 5: Sucked. Worst Rocky Film. It doesn’t deserve clips remembering. No Clips

Rocky Balboa: Why he is still an icon: Rocky Speech

– Bryan Gleason

My Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Finding my hometown webpage proved to be as difficult as explaining to people where my hometown is. My hometown, Tarzana, is actually a small district in the San Fernando Valley. The San Fernando Valley is a region in the city of Los Angeles, California. I went in search of a government website for my hometown, but couldn’t locate it. After looking for a while, I decided to try looking for a website for the San Fernando Valley or as it is more commonly known “The Valley.” However, I was also unsuccessful locating a website for “The Valley.” So, I gave up, just like how I’ve given up trying to explain to people where my hometown is. Instead I tell them my hometown is Los Angeles and not to my surprise, in less than a minute I managed to locate a website for the city of Los Angeles.  The website appeared to be run as a top-down website, with little to no community interaction. I did notice that the website was big and included newsletters and publications, but they are all for government operations. The website provides information for residents, but does not appear to promote community interactions by way of blogs or comments. This is most likely due to the city’s size and apparent lack of other websites for smaller communities around Los Angeles. Below is a link to the website so you can take a look for yourself.

City of Los Angeles website: http://www.lacity.org/index.htm

– Bryan Gleason

Can a Community Ever Really Exist Online?

For today’s post, I feel like playing devil’s advocate. I’m sure most of our group will end up posting about the digital revolution of online communities and how they will inevitably replace physical communities. Yet, I question whether this can ever really happen? Can a community ever solely exist online? Can a community be as tight-knit online as it is in person? Community, after all, typically refers to “relationships that are intimate, endearing and based upon a clear understanding of where each person stands in society” (Bell and Newby, 60). In the online world you might be able to locate an appealing subsection to join, such as online gamers, to continue with the example we used in class. I will also concede that after enough time you might be able understand the hierarchy of that group. However, with an online society you can never be intimate with your group. You can be warm and chummy, but you can never really be close. As Rheingold said, “People in virtual communities do just about everything people do in real life, but we leave our bodies behind” (Rheingold, 61); meaning that anybody can leave their persona that comes with their bodies behind as well. For example, if I joined a chat-room I could fabricate the persona that I am a suave 23-year old underwear model or even that I’m 12-year old girl. My point is this, since there is no physical interaction online no one would know my true identity and therefore I can’t truly know anyone else’s. This brings me back to my initial question, if we can’t ever really know somebody online, can a community ever solely exist online?

Would do you guys think?

-Bryan Gleason

 

Can Government Really Help Regulate The Internet?

For this blog I want to discuss self-regulation of the Internet. Throughout this week’s reading, the book states time and time again that “self-regulation is almost always a misnomer. It hardly ever exists without relationship to the state” (Verhulst, 339-340). However, I have to question how the state can manage to help regulate something that is evolving at a faster rate then any government could imagine. A government by any standard is slow. If you take the United States government for example, it moves at such a slow pace that it can take years before any type of regulation can be put into effect. The Internet on the other hand is always evolving. Websites are constantly updating and changing and moving around. So, by the time the state has come to an agreement on what they can regulate on the Internet, the Internet has evolved and become so much more complicated that it becomes virtually impossible for the government to impose any regulation. This brings me to my big questions: Can the government really help regulate the Internet and can their attempts to regulate be more intrusive than helpful? I’ll leave you with two links one from slate.com about Internet regulation and net neutrality and the other is a video from G4tv’s Attack of the Show about the government regulating the Internet by invading your Internet privacy.

-Bryan Gleason

http://www.g4tv.com/videos/50936/Congress–DOJ-Take-On-Internet-Data-Privacy/

http://www.slate.com/id/2282638/pagenum/all/ – p2