Sometimes You Have to Roll with the Punches

So tomorrow, you will all see the culmination of my semester project. It began as a project solely about women in media and my mom, my sister and my views of women in mainstream media, especially movies. As I interviewed my family and pieced together the parts of my project, the questions we answered about a variety of movies felt irrelevant. It felt like I was forcing that part of the project on this beautiful, emotional representation of strong women and our views of strong women. Originally the questions you will see answered in my video were just for the foundation of my project; the ideas that would launch the rest of it.

The use of media:

Through this project I have completely grown in the world of media. I have gotten the chance to experiment with iMovie and use it to my advantage. I even became more well versed in Quicktime, GarageBand and iTunes. Even though I did not include video clips of my mom and sister, I chose to include their voices layered into the video.

I could have recorded my mom and my sister on Easter break or on Spring break when I was with each of them, but something about the media we’ve used to keep in contact for the past two years (Twelve years if you count all the way back from when Celia left for college) felt important to me. This is the way we interact every day, this is how we maintain our relationships, so that is how my interviews should be presented. Voice is powerful. Having an audience concentrate on that one sense avoids the deterrence of watching someone’s face or hair or clothes.

Since I decided to do audio recordings over Skype and FaceTime, I had to deal with my mother figuring her way through the iTunes App store on her Ipad. It’s funny to remember that she is not a first generation computer user. Teaching her how to do a few new things on the Ipad actually felt like it culminated my project in a sense because it’s about new media and staying in contact and empowering other women, not bringing them down (the initial way I was getting when my mom didn’t understand how to just “download Skype”).

The video clips you’ll hear are snippets from hours of interviews. I hope you all enjoy it!

NPR-E books

I understand that people love real books in their hands. I get it. The smell. The flip of the page. The wandering through a bookstore.

Now, how many times have we complained about being broke college students? When I wander around Barnes and Noble I’m attracted to the big, glossy hardcovers. I’ll end up spending upwards of $25.00 on a book I’ll read once and then find a place to stuff it in my tiny, little dorm room. What’s the point?

I would gladly give up the flip of a page (that REALLY matters?) for a cheaper book. Ever since I got my E-reader, I have read more and for cheaper. I’ll find discounted books for $5.00 and at the end of the book, there are recommendations for the next one I should read. Instead of getting myself to a bookstore I can just click here and there and have a new read all ready within minutes.

I understand that people like being nostalgic, but what if that happened decades ago with the computer? No, I don’t think I need this big device, I’m going to stick to a pencil and paper. Or what if humans didn’t like writing on paper and wanted to stick with carving on rocks? I’m pretty sure if you are not at least a bit well versed with technology, it would be pretty impossible to get to college. All that I am trying to say is, On the Media about publishing made me think of the E-book versus hard copy debate and if I can spend less money on books and get them without having to use gas in my car to get to the bookstore then I don’t care what medium my book is displayed on.

Justin vs. Trayvon

Early in 2011, a boy, Justin Patterson, was shot and killed by the father of a girl he was spending time with. Norman Neesmith was angry to see Justin on his property with his daughter. He grabbed his gun and chased the 22 year old. One of four bullets shot sliced through Patterson’s side. He died in Neesmith’s yard that night.

Over the past months, Patterson’s parents have been watching the Trayvon Martin news coverage and wondering why the injustice that killed their son wasn’t as publicized. Why weren’t their walks dedicated to their son’s death? Why wasn’t Al Sharpton booking a ticket to the location of Patterson’s killing?

Senior editor at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, says that the reason behind some cases with racial implications are put in the national spotlight due to “social and traditional media”. She says that sadly, what happened to Patterson is not unusual.

The family is enraged that their son’s killer only got a slap on the wrist and the N.A.A.C.P. has not even gotten involved.

I am not surprised that Patterson’s story was not a nationally known event. Look at Casey Anthony. Unfortunately, I don’t think Anthony was the first person to ever hurt their child, but just like the KONY2012 video, social media and news coverage latch onto stories for one reason or another. Someone involved could be a celebrity or someone could have put together a flashy video that went viral about the topic. Once anything is so commonplace that even slacktivists are interested, we all get involved, typically emotionally and feel it is our duty to take a stance against a killer or for someone who faced an injustice.

Basically, there isn’t always a rhyme or reason things go viral. The editor in the story claims Trayvon Martin’s case was popular because of media, but then she continues on to discuss ideas of how that instance was more unusual than Neesmith killing Patterson.

Should we pay attention to every killing? Is it right for us to get involved when we don’t know the situation first hand? Maybe we need to get to the root of the problem and work towards teaching tolerance so less killing is the norm.

Update on Semester Project

So I had been doing a lot of research on how to record the audio and video of a Skype or FaceTime call. I downloaded “LineIn” and “Sunflower”. These applications are responsible for recording the voice and audio. The instructions online wanted me to download these applications and go through GarageBand to change the input and output settings. Basically, I was extremely confused while worrying I was downloading a virus onto my lap top. Eventually, I just decided to do some audio recordings. The audio is clear and this way I can display more pictures in my project from mine and my sister’s childhoods. I was disappointed I couldn’t get both the audio and video working. I liked seeing how comfortable my sister and I looked on Skype, just talking a laughing with one another, but the audio is still effective. My sister’s answers were pretty lengthy so now I have to work on editing them down to fit in the video.

I am recording my mom early this week. I am expecting the technology set up (and reminding her to hold the Ipad up in front of her face) tougher than with my sister.

One thing that I had been having trouble deciding on was how to record my own thoughts. I didn’t want to record my audio and video speaking directly to the camera in my project. I thought it would be weird to be standing next to the projector screen in class while I was talking to the class on the screen. Instead, my sister and I had more of a conversation than a “question and answer” portion. I may even do this with my mom, too, because I liked the idea of me and my sister playing off of each other and reacting to one another.

Addicted to the Right Media

We all talk about falling asleep curled around our Iphones and checking twitter before crawling out of our beds in the morning. I can relate. I can’t fall asleep unless I check Facebook just one more time. When I’m bored in class I have to scroll through Tumblr to keep myself awake. These sites keep me busy when I’m awkwardly waiting for someone or keep my eyes open in class, but until yesterday, I had never realized that these aren’t the sources of media I’m most closely, emotionally aligned with.

A few days ago someone stopped to ask Professor Proctor what it’s like to be married to a feminist and if it’s hard. I remember liking his quick response, but I also thought he didn’t give himself enough credit. It really takes a certain type of person to date someone with strong feminist ideals. It takes a strong person to allow their girlfriend or wife to get heated, sometimes too much, about women’s issues. I’ll be the first to admit I can fly off the handle in an argument. I’ll “black out” for the time being while I’m yelling about some injustice or inequality or my point of view. So, when I think back to yesterday when my boyfriend and I were discussing (and disagreeing…loudly) about a certain issue in society, I don’t remember much. I vaguely remember slamming my car into park in a parking garage and getting entirely too excited and aggressive. After calming down, getting through dinner while feeling a bit drained, but still on edge, we got back to campus. Walking into the dorms, he pressed play on Pandora, which started playing Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. Within hearing the first moments of the song I physically felt this wave of calm wash over me.

The song transformed me to memories of me being a little girl in some linen dress at a folk festival with my peace-loving parents with their long hair and now thirty-five year marriage.

It’s music. It’s music that made me calm down and just stop and take a deep breath. The music brought me back to being aware of the fact that I can’t treat an argument like a catastrophic event that I have to win. It’s music that connected me to hearing Fast Car home in Hartland with my parents. It’s music that has comforted me when I was a lonely freshman feeling lost at Manhattanville or a sad teenager going through her first break up. Facebook may connect me to people I love, but music has overwhelmingly reinforced me. It has time and time again brought me back from “psycho girlfriend Mia” or “stressed out on the brink of a breakdown Mia”. This is the source of media I am physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually intertwined with. Facebook will never be able to do what music does to me. Maybe I only need my Iphone for Itunes.

Chapter 5 Shall We Dance?

Ch 5 was all about coordination problems.

Coordination Problems-problems that don’t have a “correct” answer, but instead are the idea of coordinating your actions with the rest of the group’s actions.

Examples:

  1. Driving on the highway-You coordinate your speed and actions around the other drivers. You drive at a certain time of day to avoid traffic.
  2. What time do I leave for work?
  3. Where do we want to eat tonight?
  4. How do we allocate seats on the subway?
  5. Fundamental questions the economic system has to answer like: how much should my factory produce?
  6. How can we make sure the people get the goods and services they want?

Page 86 ” In order to solve a coordination problem, a person has to think not only about what he believes the right answer is but also about what other people think the right answer is. That’s because what each person does affects and depends on what everyone else will do, and vice versa.”

Bar example:

If the bar is too crowded, then no one has a good time. If the bar is too crowded, no one wants to go. If everyone thinks the bar will be crowded, then few people will go and therefore it will be empty and anyone who goes will have a good time. How can there always be the perfect amount of people at a bar? SOLUTION: an all-powerful central planner, an uber-doorman who tells people when they can go to the bar.  Even if this WAS possible, it interferes too much with the freedom of choice.

There is no guarantee that groups will come up with smart solutions. What’s striking though is just how often they do.

SCHELLING POINTS (be aware if your first instincts or thoughts while I explain this experiment)

From page 90/91: Schelling asked his students to imagine a scenario: 1. You have to meet someone in NYC. You don’t know where you’re supposed to meet and there’s no way to talk to the other person ahead of time. Where would you go? Majority of the students said the info booth at Grand Central Station. When will you show up at the information booth? Just about all of the students said noon. In other words, if you dropped two law students at either end of the biggest city in the world and told them to find each other, there was a very good chance that they’d end up having lunch together.

Experiments where an individual’s success depends on how well you coordinate your response with others:

If 60% of the answers are similar, it’s a Schelling point. People can typically reach beneficial results not only without centralized direction, but also without even talking to each other. Schelling points are beneficial because a lot of times large groups of people are unable to converse. Howard Rheingold argues that with new technologies, large collections of people can easily communicate.

Smartphone app examples: Yelp, Foursquare, Waze(GPS where strangers help each other on the road by telling the app where on your route there is a police officer, an accident, a traffic jam or any other type of driving obstruction).

 

Project Glass

My first instinct was why? Why do we really need this technology? But then I stepped back and realized we have to embrace new things, even if they seem bizarre for the time being. What if every single person refuted the idea of the telephone or the computer?

I think it’s pretty amazing that in 2012 there is a development like this. How often have I been in class, wanting to read my text messages, but not let the teacher notice my head in my bag reading a text? Pretty often.

If you watch the video, the technology can do so much. While walking to a bookstore to meet his friend (plans made on Project Glass) the man in the video sees a band he wants to remind himself to buy tickets for and a mural he wants to take a picture of. He can do all of this with voice cues to the technology hooked around his head. I so often want to get my head out of my phone and stop looking down. Some may argue that this is our phone and our head becoming one, but if you watch the video, the man is completely interested in interacting with the world around him, not focused in on his Blackberry or Iphone. I think the technology would actually help our phone obsessions. We can fully multitask with Project Glass.

 

Unleashing Innovation

I happened upon this video on @HuffPostImpact’s Twitter page. Similar to the KONY2012 campaign, I was wowed by the style of the video and it’s ability to command attention. I haven’t done an accurate amount of research to know the ins and outs of this company, but at first glance, the inventions and mission seem pretty amazing. Please watch!

Graphic Smoking Ads

Cigarette companies have targeted teenagers for years with their cigarette packaging. Now, the other end of the spectrum is gaining exposure.

Last week’s On the Media discussed the use of graphic images of the effects of cigarette smoking. Some people have argued that if they want to smoke, let them smoke. These are not the people that the graphic advertisements are directed towards. The startling ads are directed towards people who are impressionable and who have recently delved into a smoking habit.

Those behind the graphic images explained what the images are actually of. They explained that pictures of death and caskets are rarely used. Death is not a motivator. Their studies have shown that people accept the fact that everyone passes away at some point. Instead, pictures of the disabled and the disfigured command much more attention. One advertisement includes a man who has suffered three heart attacks. He never thought he would not be able to play basketball with his son. The personal stories and the realities of the limitations put on smokers hit home. The ads have gotten 50,000 people to quit smoking.

As a side note, the podcast included the voice of Mary, a woman who is disfigured due to smoking. On the Media included a voice clip. The raspy, barely decipherable sounds from Mary were so startling I shut off my ITunes. Now, if cigarette ads could include voice clips, I’m sure this campaign would be even more successful. While the images can be hard to look and startling enough to deter a smoker, I think other senses should be targeted, too.