Reflecting. Reflection… Reflektor.

First of all, don’t look for any connection between the song and this post. There isn’t any beyond the obvious references to, well, reflection. I just decided this post needs a soundtrack.

 

I’m going to be going through our topics in a rather haphazard manor, I fear. Our topics are all intrinsically linked and I don’t feel justice can be done by addressing each one as it appeared to us chronologically. I’m just that little bit outrageous, like wearing a hat under a helmet.

Speaking of outrageous…

The connotations and denotations of text, particularly images, was something we were all at least subconsciously aware of. Our minds processed and appraised millions of images millions of times before our “The Image Cannot Lie” topic. Our brush with semiotics and the Frankfurt School, however scant, brought conscious analysis and allowed us to consider that alternate minds viewing the same text can see completely different pictures. I used the example of Ahmed, a Syrian caught up in a bloody civil war, as my example and tried to assess a view opposed to mine. I attempted to draw a comparison of two opposing views from two completely different contexts as a way to demonstrate the process. The exercise and the post helped me form a personal understanding of the topic. Success. Plus, I managed to dodge any controversy that may have been caused by my views or the image I used…

With the way that information (and outrage) can spread, it’s something to be a little proud of. Sure, I’m not at attention grabbing as Obama, but I like to think I could have provoked at least a little discussion about a public sphere. I chose a twitter picture, a selfie, of Obama and a baseball player used as advertising as my text. The reaction, debate and backlash that resulted was my topic, serving well (I do hope) as an example of the discussion that a mediated public sphere can facilitate and even nurture. I found the “selfiegate” example especially interesting, not just because it allowed to get this picture, but also because the platform that propagated the debate (twitter) was the origin of the source material. Platforms supporting prosumerism (shout out to the BCM112 crew) and an example of a media feeding a media.

Feeding? The media feeds us and we need to watch what we eat. This was the core piece of advice I garnered from our media ownership topic. It is safe to say that we were all aware of media ownership and it’s negative implications. I mention this in my post for the week and try to extrapolate my way to both poles of the spectrum to highlight the dangers of total media control. It’s terrifying stuff, you should probably freak out.

Moral Panic, our latest topic. The case study for the week, the supposed sexualisation of children, was demonstrated to be a product of the media. Something that begins with a legitimate story is sensationalised by certain media outlets for commercial purposes and, in a process described as ‘cannibalising’, re-released with added layers of sensation. This results in greater attention and revenue for certain media operators. In the case study, parental insecurity about the perceived susceptibility of children is manipulated to great effect for commercial gains. Tut, tut. It’s hard to blame parents, though, children are so easily influenced…

… As the Media Effects Model explains and proves. My final point, our first topic, was the one that I was the most confused about. Is the media influencial? Yes, of course. Does it change core behavioural patterns or induce violence? No. Where is the line drawn? Somewhere in between. What I took from this was that the Media Effects Model is severely flawed and that we needn’t worry about the media transforming everyone into murders. That said, we must continue to study actual media effects into the future to determine if any negative effects (however mild) exist. So I can go back to playing violent games? You really should study instead.

So far, the BCM has been incredibly interesting and educational. If the next four years are anything like the last two months, I’m excited.

 

Advertisements

Famous Faces

Who owns your face? Who can use that face to advertise? If you’re taking BCM112, we have touched on this, but since then it has become a way more interesting topic. How could it get more interesting than the hijacking of Bradley Coopers face by Ellen DeGeneres?

                                           

Sourced from David Ortiz’s twitter

Obama. That’s how.  David Ortiz, a Boston Red Sox  Baseballer, just days after signing a deal to provide Samsung with advertising through social media, tweeted the above photo. Samsung retweeted the post to its 5 million followers and the pic swept through the twittersphere with the Samsung name riding it to glory.

Within hours the White House had responded, saying “the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” and recently announced that the matter was being looked into legally. 

Samsung (who we can all now agree is pretty much the master of the advertising selfie), you might remember, did something similar a month ago with the famous oscar selfie. DeGeneres, through her selfie, used the faces of all those poor, unwitting celebrity faces to promote Samsung. Controversey was mild, and debate about the ol’ public sphere was built on the outrage that something apparently spontaneous and propagated by social media was not disclosed as advertising. People felt cheated by that. In the latest example of the ‘staged selfie’, as it is becoming known, the outrage and debate is based around the use of someones image, especially that of the President, being used as advertising after being captured on the pretence of a simple and innocent selfie. If the faces of celebrities and Presidents aren’t immune to being used as corporate advertising, then who’s could be?

Discussion, debate and outrage abounds, specifically on the social platform that originally propagated the cause of the controversey. Tags such as #ortizselfie, #obamaselfie and (my personal favourite) #selfiegate are trending rapidly and display perfectly the conflict that this has created. Hopefully, all the debate and backlash will result in the use of selfies for advertising quickly become cliche or taboo in the near future, but for now we all have to guard our faces pretty carefully. You never know when someone might just try to use someone elses face just to attract attention…

 

Just Me and My Hero...

Just Me and My Hero…

 

References

A Healthy Mediam… See what I did there?

There is power in media. Beyond outright censorship and propaganda, the power is in the ability to focus and skew presentations of information or, better yet, disseminate your views so consistently and with so many flashy lights that your opinion quickly becomes tangled with the news your organisation provides. On its own, one article, program or cross platform network amongst many isn’t that huge an influence. Problems arise when that one cross-platform network is the only network and the information it distributes becomes the only truth available.

Media ownership laws are in place to stop this and limit individuals or organizations from monopolising media industries, to stop small groups of people controlling the flow of information. In a democracy, the basis of which is the self-determination of the people and freedom of opinion, nothing could be more important.

Now we’re done with the serious, dramatic bit of this about the stuff I’m sure you already know. Here’s a fun front page from the Tele.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-12/conroy-announces-media-reforms/4567550

Rupert Murdoch is mentioned in every aspect on this weeks studies, so I might as well throw a picture of him in there as well. For the record, that one there is a result of a image search for “Rupert Murdoch looking Smug.”

It seems like every step of this past week as had something to do with Rupert Murdoch and his control over the press, which brings us to the picture on the right. Minister for Communications under the old Labour government, Stephen Conroy, put forward a series of media law changes that focused on a greater regulation of the press. They included self regulation and a board that would ensure media mergers were in the public interest. This is the front page of the telegraph in response. The Telegraph is owned by Rupert Murdoch and would of course act like it did, persecuting the laws that included sections making it hard for Murdoch to own more media. Also, it’s the telegraph. Hilarious, stupid and embarrassing front pages are kind of its thing.

On a more disturbing note, though the Telegraph is off in regard to the degree, it is correct in the category. The leaders, for the most part, are diabolical dictators with complete control of the media. The media can easily become a tool of a totalitarian government. As students (and hopefully as future Media Industry leaders) we must acknowledge that is not enough to simply be wary of private industry, but we must always be wary of the Government as well. Though both will undoubtedly shape and shift media in their own ways, as practitioners of media it is our responsibility to self regulate and ensure that Media never becomes just a tool for organizations or parties.

We inherit the power of media and, to paraphrase Spider-Mans’ uncle, also it’s responsibility. Through our careers we must endeavour to ensure media always serves the public and does not control it.

 New Found Respect for old mate Rupert Sourced here

 Rupert Image Sourced:http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/sun-should-become-like-twitter

Telegraph image: http://www.cando.org.au/campaign-hub/current-campaigns/7-updates?start=297

Meet Ahmed

FIGHT THE URGE TO SCROLL DOWN. Please.

Again, I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to tell you a little about my text, talk about it’s connotations and denotations and then would you scroll down and have a look at this picture? I sure would appreciate it.

First off, the picture is a portrait, of sorts,  displaying a support soldier in the Free Syrian Army. It was taken this time last year by photojournalist Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini in the contested Syrian city of Aleppo. Yeah, it’s going to be grim.

First the denotations. The soldier has his rifle slung over his shoulder and is holding its’ butt at his side while casually taking a drag of his cigarette. He’s staring down the camera with a blank and slightly hostile stare. Framing his form is rubbish, rubble and the support structure of a bombed-out concrete building.

Please scroll down now.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Syria: On the Frontline in Aleppo

What you were expecting?

 Connotations. There’s lots of them. Personally, I know how I felt the first time I saw this picture.

The existence of child soldiers is something that I assume we’ve all seen in pictures or read about in articles before, but I found this photo particularly shocking the first time I saw it. Everything is captured perfectly to create the greatest impact. The baby face of the boy and his childish hands perfectly juxtapose the cigarette for maximum effect. The clothes he wears, almost reminiscent of the hand-me-down primary school uniforms we all wore, could not seem more foreign in comparison to the AK-47 the boy so casually brandishes. I felt shocked, sympathetic, and a thousand other negative things. In regard to it’s connotation, the text comes to represent the human tragedy of the Syrian war. 

For us. Someone else, someone who maybe originally gave this boy a rifle, perhaps feels differently. In the story of how the photograph came to be taken, the rebels the boy supplies appear proud of him. They pose with him during interviews, encouraging him and let him through grenades for the camera. How would they feel about this photo? What are the connotations of this image from their perspective?

His name is Ahmed, he is 7 years old and you can read more about him here. It’s a year old but sadly his story isn’t that outdated. There is also an excellent video in the story that is worth the watch.

My question earlier in this post wasn’t rhetorical, by the way. I’m asking you. Yes you, with the computer. Do leave a comment and let me know what you think, how you feel and which words were misspelt/sentences were convoluted.

References

  • Sherlock, R, “The 8 year old boy on Syrias Front Lines”, The Telegraph, Published 29/3/13, accessed 24/3/14  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9961945/Ahmed-the-eight-year-old-boy-on-the-front-line-of-Syrias-civil-war.html
  • Williams, D, “Syrian Boy Soldier with A 1000 Yard Stare,  The Daily Mail, Published 28/3/13, Accessed 24/3/14  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2300251/Syrian-boy-soldier-thousand-yard-stare-Sad-image-child-aged-SEVEN-gun.html

Good Old Fashioned Gratuitous Violence

tumblr_mgby0fZBT21ry46hlo1_400

This morning I stole a helicopter and robbed a prostitute. I ran from the police, I caused a pile-up on a highway and I laid waste to the accumulating auto mobiles with a well placed hand grenade. Then I robbed another prostitute.

Given that you know both the general topic of this blog and, hopefully, that I’m a rational human being, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you realised I didn’t actually do all these things. These crimes were nothing more than pixels on a screen acting out the madness that generally is Grand Theft Auto VDon’t get too excited, though, this post won’t be me recounting my video gaming adventures. Instead I’m hoping to say a little something about both our blog topics for this week. Rather than just “What is wrong with the Media Effects model?” or “What is the media being blamed for today and is it justified?”, I’m hoping to answer one with reference to the other, simply because I believe the two are tightly linked. Also because YOLO.

It has become all to common for entertainment media such as video games and films, violent as they may be, to bare the brunt of public backlashes in the wake of violent behaviour. This is continually highlighted, as recently and in such high profile as the response to the late 2012 Sandy Hook shootings in the United States or the Aurora Theatre shootings of the same year. As cases develope and more facts are brought to light, the unjustified focus shifts away from violent media and further towards the actual causes of the violence (lack of effective gun control and mental health monitoring in both mentioned cases), but a knee-jerk reaction to blame violent media is fervently demonstrated nonetheless.

This reaction is supposedly justified by the media effects model, though the model is seriously flawed in various ways. In fact, given the nature of these flaws, it is suggestible that the model was a product of the reaction against certain media rather than of legitimate scientific process. The model is criticised best by David Gauntlett in his  1998 Article “10 Things Wrong With The Media Effects Model”, in which Gauntlett details the shortcomings of the model in great detail. The most relevant, and perhaps the most flawed point in the model is that, in the words of Gauntlett, “The Media Effects Model  Tackles Social Problems Backwards“. To this point Gauntlett states that the Media Effects model makes the mistake of looking at “particular individuals at certain times in specific circumstances… [whose actions] may be negatively affected by one bit of media” and deeming that that media inspired or caused that individual to act in that way, rather than that individuals actions being caused by more plausible factors such as upbringing, mental state and the like. 

This is in turn reflected in the traditional, information media specifically seeking out violent entertainment media to blame in the wake of attacks, completely ignoring that individuals responsible for the violence were already disturbed and unsafe while conversely ignoring that more than most that consume that media fail to become violent in any significant way.

I think I’m over my word count, so I’ll have to leave it there.

Did you like it? Hate it? Do you concur or… dis-concur? Maybe you just found a spelling mistake that I need to be informed about?

Let me know @Aidangerous on Twitter

References!