Yet another Uni blog assignment…

For one of my subjects, Sex and the Screen, I have yet another blogging assignment (I actually have 2 blog assignment subjects this semester so this should be interesting.

This is my first post for Sex and the Screen.

A quick introduction – usually I write an entire post for that but honestly I’m not that interesting – my name is Alex, and I’m a 2nd year Media & Comm. student. If you want to know anything else about me, feel free to abuse the comment box. Makes me look good hey.

This is just a quick note, really, nothing deep. Today in the lecture when we were warned not to be homophobic or sexist or any other -ist, I kind of had a moment where I saw things from the other side of the stick. While it would please me to no end if any kind of discrimination would just disappear off the face of the earth, it’s plain naive to think that they don’t exist if we simply repress it. The thing is, people have gotten so sensitive over any kind of negative intention behind words spoken that you can basically look at anything as insulting. To be slightly homophobic is now considered ‘wrong’, and there is a huge stigma stuck to it.

To have any kind of opinion isn’t ‘wrong’, but it can be ‘close-minded’. The aim should be to open those minds, not force some version of ‘correct’ onto them. Doing that would almost be identical to repressing homosexuality, for example, because homosexuality is considered ‘wrong’.

My point is, if someone posts a homophobic post, or a racist post, it’s too extreme and, to some extent, plain counter-productive, to fail them on the subject. Instead of punishing them for having an opinion, and further cementing their negative feelings towards a social group, engage them in discussion and try to have them see things from the other point of view.

While it saddens me, whenever I come across a friend who expresses homophobic tendencies, I don’t just tell them that they’re backwards, I try to ask why they feel that way.

The other part of this post is really just…people take things too seriously! A tiny little joke gets blown up to epic proportions of inappropriateness, and it just makes what would be a light-hearted conversation annoyingly technical.

Alex.

P.S., hopefully GIFs work. I won’t do it too much but I do love my GIFs.

Alex

Final Uni Blog Post

I don’t know if I’ve done enough but here it is, the final uni blog post for Sem 2 2010.

I did my re-enrollment today, and if all things go well, I will be doing a LOT more uni blog assignments next year. If the tutors seem lenient, I will continue posting them here. If they don’t, I can go to them and be very sweet and all like “but this is a chance for me to better myself”.

Anyway:

So, in a final desperate attempt to blog on the last day (after writing this I’m going around commenting), I will write about fan culture.

There seems to be a group for everything. There is an entire society based around the worship of machines with turbine blades that, when activated, create a movement in the air that comes as a relieving cool breeze on a hot summer’s day.

Oh there’s a pun for ya.

No, actually I’m talking about the bunch of people who go nuts at the mention of something they collectively like. YES, electronic fans may be an example, but in this context, I am talking about media related things.

I asked my friend – you may remember her as Brenda from the previous post – why she used to ‘fangirl’ over what she fangirled over so much. (Fangirl, FYI, is apparently the term used to describe the group of females who worship electronic fans.)

She replied, “Because they’re perfect. They’re the whole package.”

What was the extent she’d gone to, to fangirl?

“Sent a postcard, bought shit off the internet.”

In my experiences, that is definitely not as manic as they come. Unless, of course, the postcard she sent included a lock of her hair, and the shit she bought off the internet was literally, shit off the internet. Then yeah.

I’m not saying I’m exempt from the slightly demeaning things a person does to get closer to a public figure/TV show/etc etc they adore. I follow blogs dedicated to actors and actresses I like on Tumblr, I was tempted to buy a jacket simply because it was the “official NCIS special agent windbreaker”. But these acts of trying to live out what we love are getting more and more recognized – though sending locks of hair is still creepy, in my books. Sidenote, Brenda didn’t actually do that.

Perhaps ‘recognized’ wasn’t the word. I was going for ‘more and more exploited-by-the-media-and-made-to-become-a-determiner-of-what-kind-of-person-you-are’.

Just because a guy likes Glee doesn’t make him gay.

Just because a girl likes watching gory horror movies doesn’t make her a sadist.

(If you like Justin Bieber though, oh, I have nothing to say.)

The media markets Glee and horror movies towards girls and guys respectively, and with good reason – stereotypes exist because they are obviously valid to some extent – but it annoys me when I personally change what I publicly declare as something I like, (or not just me, but people in general) because the stigma of liking something is so strong.

A lot of people say I should like Scrubs. I say “it’s okay.” To be honest, I don’t like it that much, but because Scrubs is almost the epitome of what people expect me to like, it seems I should like it.

No one expects me to like teenage melodramatic shows like The Vampire Diaries. Plus, liking vampires gets you automatically grouped into the sphere of Twihards. I liked vampires way before I even knew what Twilight was. I like Vampire Diaries because I like the way it looks – I can be shallow too. I decided to openly like the show just to prove to myself that I can be a fan of something that people don’t expect me to be.

Why do we have to be branded a certain way for things we like? Why, when someone says “I like Korean dramas” do we automatically brand them as pretty-boy loving teenage girls? Does the Korean media not produce more grungey shows where the actors don’t look androgynous?

Why can’t people just like things, and have other people go, “oh okay cool, as you were”?

There is too much crap given to people who identify themselves as a part of a fan culture, and there are too many people allowing the crap to be crapped.

Last post ends here. Over and out. Guns blazing. Etc.

The prev gif didn’t work. I changed it.

Alex.

Time to do my final CMEL essay, then study the crap out of Self, Asia and Linguistics.

Alex.

Madness? THIS. IS. PLAYSCHOOL!

I wrote a REALLY long post in my Uni blog today. (The title was “There’s a bear in there, and it disapproves”)

Without going into risky waters of likening anything to pedobear, I will clarify that yes, I am making a Playschool reference.

I was on the phone with a friend who is still in Yr 12 this year, and in the process of our conversation I mentioned that I actually used to watch Playschool up until I was 17. You know, when you’re reading a book in the living room and complete silence unnerves you (at least, it unnerves me) so you turn on the TV just for the sound. I used to do this during my school holidays, when my parents weren’t home.

In those days, we only had ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and that other channel with the fish swimming back and forth for 5 hours each day. During the day, the only shows on the commercial channels were old-grandma shows, like Days of Our Lives (which I did end up watching during a period of time when I stayed home cos I was feeling a bit feverish and thought I had the Swine Flu but that’s another story), or those boring fishing shows for stay-at-home dads. I was a teenage girl. Those shows not only FAILED to capture my attention, they actively DESTROYED my SOUL.

SBS was usually showing a Russian news anchor firing off rapid speech, and for a while I thought he was recounting a particularly distasteful rampage of a rapist, he sounded that angry, but then the story turned out to be some old lady turning 90. (A bit of racist stereotype there. BY THE WAY, I totally got this off the Simpsons. I searched but can’t find the video clip to show you.)

So I was left with ABC. Remember, I had no amazing new choices like GO! or Seven2, or SevenMate for TV shows I actually like, and there weren’t two other ABC channels where I can watch more Arthur (which, by the way, is still awesome).

So, while reading my book, I would have ABC running in the background. As you would, you start to recognise all the shows, and you start sort of having this guilty pleasure in putting down your book when the familiar “There’s a bear in there” comes on.

I admitted to my friend on the phone, who is Yr 12, about to turn 18 and way too cool, that when I was in Yr 10, and I was watching one of the episodes of Playschool (my favorite playmate was Karen, the only Asian chick. Dude. She clearly was better) I actually learned, from Playschool, that avocadoes grew on trees. I had no idea before that. I didn’t know WHERE they came from but I didn’t think it was trees. So there I was, 16 going on 17, doing a VE&T course at Swineburne outside of my school hours, and I learn from PLAYSCHOOL.

When she heard this, my awesomely-cool friend (who we’ll name Brenda, cos that’s totally not her name or anything) started laughing hysterically. She was actually having difficulties stopping, and so I sat there for about 5 minutes while she wheezed with laughter at the other end. When she finally decided to breathe again, she clarified, “YOU learned from PLAYSCHOOL when you were SIXTEEN!?”

And so, 8 paragraphs in, I finally get to the point of this post.

I have spent the past…hmm let’s see…probably since Yr 6 I have been laboriously building an image of myself. Admittably, in Yr 9 when I changed schools, I threw away most of my work and tried to start anew. Still, the point is that, as a young adolescent, I spent quite a lot of time creating this certain image of myself.

And this included the stuff I bought and consumed. I started caring about my hair a lot more when my parents finally let me go to an actual hairdressers, and I cared about my clothes (though still not as much as most girls my age) near the end of Yr 9. I especially started caring about my media image (and this media I mean by internet and technology gadgets etc) by Yr 10, when it became apparent to me that my goals in life involved the Media heavily.

I deleted my old blog on Xanga (which looked great, but had horrid spelling and grammar and it was full of me bitching), and started one on WordPress after going to a Journalism Convention thing. I deleted that WordPress as well, but not because it was horrible like Xanga. You don’t need to know why. I got a new WordPress in Yr 11, and has kept that since (yes, that’s the WordPress that this appears in as well).

I held of getting Facebook for a while, because it felt like it was giving too much power to other people to mold what I appear to them – they comment, they tag, they like – but, in the end, for communications’ sake (and because everyone else was doing it) I got one.

I didnt hesitate in getting Twitter, because that, I felt, was me in power. On my profile, you only see what I posted. I may not have many followers, but it wasn’t like the follower count was at 0.

Finally, I got Tumblr. I got it on the basis that I felt my WordPress wasn’t pictorial enough, and I wanted more pictures. Tumblr gave me the power to follow people with similar tastes to me, and for me to repost what I like. This action of reposting what I like shows to people who subsequently follow ME what kind of person I am.

Brenda was a friend I’d met on Tumblr through mutual friends. The image she received of me initially was a sarcastic and cynical one I have on my Tumblr account. She told me that she thought I was rather “snarky” on Tumblr, because I wasn’t hesitant in shooting anyone down, and I wrote captions that were borderline rude.

She added me on Facebook, which didn’t change her opinion that much. I linked both my Twitter and Tumblr to Facebook, so whatever public image I create on Tumblr and on Twitter, I have to maintain it on Facebook.

But then she added me on MSN. MSN is definitely much more private than Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. I am more like my physical presence on MSN. And it was there that she saw I was different.

Still, I kept a certain image of myself on MSN, as I do in every day life. I was vocal about how much I love TV shows like NCIS, Glee, HIMYM etc, and I wasn’t shy to admit I love Pokemon – anywhere. But one thing that I do not admit too vocally was my tendency towards children’s shows (Arthur doesn’t count). I like watching them to see what they consider approrpiriate codes to present to children, and also because it’s kind of funny to see grown adults play with dolls.

So when Brenda regained her regular breathing pattern, I realized that the image that I’d created had been slightly shattered by the fact that I apparently do something that goes AGAINST the ideology I created about myself. No matter what I said to her, I will always have the label of “Playschool lover” on my forehead.

I’m saying this out loud now, not only because it goes with the topic of branding through what we consume, but also because I don’t see how watching Playschool makes me a loser. It’s all subjective, right? I personally don’t get why people watch the Kardashians show, or that show with Snooki in it. I used to love the Idol and X Factor shows, but I have began to see them as contrived and fake. Playschool is purposefully fake, it’s purposefully staged, but I don’t see any underhanded influencing of the audience (yes, they promote mostly a heterosexual nuclear family, but I honestly don’t see any positives in confusing really little kids with the gay-rights thing. Teaching kids about gay-rights can come a bit later in life, and of course is solely dependent on their own parents).

I’m sorry for such a long post, but I really tried to not use big complicated words because I hate reading them too.

Alex.

In other news, and this I swear was not a request…haha okay it was a teeny bit a request but I’m more than glad to do it:

I think I’m a decent singer, but no way I have enough guts to lead sing in a band. My friend JAYMEE, however, has the guts. And, thankfully for her, the skills to back those guts up.

Check out her YouTube account: MyNameIsJaymeeNotAmy, and below is one of her videos. (And, no, I’m not running ads or plugs now, she asked me to and I think she deserves it. If I don’t know you and you randomly ask me to plug you, um, no.)

Check out her wild emotional hand gestures and her soulful eye closing!

Alex.

Er, yeah, H2A maybe?

Haha I can dream on. At the rate I’m (not) going, I might get a H2B if I’m REALLY lucky.

I just wrote another uni blog about TV. I should write more about my favorite topic but…I dunno.

Anyway:

What? Using Britney Spears lyrics? Atrocity!

I am writing this on the day that the new Glee episode Brittany/Britney is to air. I already have the songs on my iTunes, and have been listening to Toxic on replay since yesterday.

I have seen some screencaps on Tumblr of some highlights, and on Twitter I can see that trending topics include Heather Morris (the actress for Brittany, the blond cheerleader on Glee), and yet I won’t get to see the episode until 7:30 pm.

Watching TV isn’t just the act of watching TV anymore. I think watching TV has become something like living the moment of watching the show. Social networking sites like Twitter and Tumblr have made it possible for us to voice what we feel about a particular scene IMMEDIATELY. (Well, the immediacy is more a feature of Twitter, but Tumblr comes with pictures so in a visual media, that helps too.)

I’m not innocent of the need to broadcast my thoughts at the same time as watching a broadcast. Last week, when Glee’s Season 2 premier was on TV (I had refrained from watching it online three hours prior to 7:30, because a) I’d wanted to conserve bandwidth and b) I wanted to share the experience of watching it with people “around” me – online with me, in my timezone. Also I got yelled at quite a few times for revealing spoilers), I had been watching and tweeting all the moments that I found glorious. Someone replied to me, “I had missed these Glee tweets”, referring to the dry-spell when the show was on Summer hiatus.

Even when I’m watching a show not airing, such as last week when I was watching True Blood, or a while back when I was watching Chuck (neither of these shows are airing in Australia anymore), I still tweet about it. There is always going to be someone else like me in my larger social group who is a fan of a show not airing on Australian TV, and sure enough, my tweets gained a few “likes” on Facebook (because I am so connected, my tweets appear on Facebook too), and I immediately knew who else is a True Blood fan.

Ironically, when I am watching a show that DOES air in Australia, but ahead of everyone else (because we all know Australia sucks at keeping up with America, though they are giving it a shot with a few shows), I have to PROMISE people that I don’t tweet spoilers. I am currently ahead of Australia in NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, and as much as I want to tweet about it, I shouldn’t, because revealing something about it would ruin the experience for other people.

Which brings me back to my title. I don’t have qualms about listening to a Glee song before the episode airs, but one of my friend does. She is a huge Gleek as well, and I asked if she wouldn’t want me to send her the new songs when I get them. She told me she’d rather listen to them at the same time as seeing it on TV, so when she later listens to them, she can imagine the scenes on TV. The two of us both love Glee equally, but we like to experience it differently. I like to have all the social networks at my fingertips as I’m watching, because I like to see what others think about it, as well as have others see what I think about it. My friend would rather be shut off completely and be only concentrating on the show, and that’s how she rolls.

Currently, TV shows don’t really interact with other forms of media when they are airing. I guess that’s the traditional way. I do remember that the Glee pilot had once aired a re-run where as the show is airing, the cast of the show is live tweeting, and their tweets and commentary runs across the bottom of the screen (this, again, wasn’t available in Australia).

I guess where I’m headed with this is that, maybe, TV shows in the future would become sort of INTERACTIVE with Twitter, or whatever replaces Twitter next. Those who are like me can use Twitter to enhance their viewing experience, but those with a more traditional viewing habit like my friend can still watch the show as it is, and then talk about it.

TV is no longer an experience as it was when it first appeared, with the family gathering around a set to watch it together – I actually don’t like having my parents next to me when I watch a show I want to concentrate on, despite being online while watching the show. As weird as that is, I like it better when I’m alone with the internet… – but it’s not exactly a complete polar opposite either. Personally, the generation and cultural gap between what my parents like and understand and my own tendencies renders my family a divided unit when we watch TV, but I’m more than certain that in some other families, there is still at times a show or movie that has the whole family sitting together in the living room (or maybe in different rooms but with the TVs on the same channel, cos that happens too) watching together. The experience of watching a show is just as interesting as the show’s contents itself.

Okay I think I’m excused for another week before I post again? πŸ™‚

Alex.

I’m such a TV whore.

Alex.

P.S. What is a TV whore? I just felt like saying ‘Whore’.

You And Me, And A Bottle Of Wine

[Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry]

Actually wrote another uni post. Wow. Been a bit droughty lately.

I haven’t written in ages which isn’t a good thing but I wasn’t sure what to write for last week. Neither, for this week, but I suppose I can just see what flows?

First of all, I have to say that despite not quite getting the whole semiotic deal (might have to go back to – ahem start – the reading for this week), I really like analysing the ads. I mean, we see hundred of ads everyday, from posters to tiny small ones (like just the brand name). But we do ever really think about why that caught our eye, or made us want to get it?

In the tute today, my group was analysing the random Berkowitz sofa ad I found. I mean, on the surface it’s this woman sitting on this nice recliner with a remote control looking off side, but as we went deeper into it, we realized that just the simple fact that’s it’s a middle aged woman with a wedding ring appeals immediately to a certain middle aged married female demography.

So I thought about all the other ads that we see. The ones that means nothing to me weren’t designed to appeal to me. They featured older looking people, of a different gender maybe, doing things that I don’t have an interest in doing like sailing or playing with their kids. I don’t look at twice at those, but perhaps someone wanting to have a happy family, or interested in sailing (or looking like they’re the kind to go sailing) would look at the ad.

What attracts me would be a new game, or a new phone, items of entertainment (not a fan of fashion) which promises not only entertainment but that image of me being awesome with that new game/phone. So the ads are usually of people looking awesome with that phone, or screenshots of the game that teases out my wishes for immersion in a fictionl world. That wouldn’t really appeal older people unless they want to look young and hip, or they always liked games. For example, my mom and dad don’t care about what kind of phone they use as long as they are useable (or, in mom’s case, it takes only a few buttons to call me). Games mean nothing to them other than sounds, noises, and are associated with children stuff.

The next time you find yourself looking twice at an ad, I say wonder: “wait, why did I look at this twice?” I know it sounds nerdy but it never ceases to astound me how the simple matter of a good choice in font can make a difference between a kickass ad and a forgotten picture.

Alex.

Alex.

I Only Want Sympathy In The Form Of You

[Dance Dance – Fall Out Boy]

This is from the life and laughs of this uni assignment

This really isn’t that fantastic a rant but I told myself to write at least 2 blog posts a week for CMEL.

I had this thought a few years ago:

I was walking home from school in Yr 8 I think it was, and it was around the time when Pokemon came out with FireRed and LeafGreen.

I remember that this caused my friend’s (apparently non-Pokemon literate) sister some confusion. We explained that FireRed and LeafGreen were revamps of the original Pokemon games for the GBA, so they’re essentially the same game but it looks better and a few more features, right?

Then she asked, “But weren’t the originals Red and Blue?”

I answered, “In Japan, when the games first came out, they had Red and Green. For some reason when the US picked it up, they changed Green to Blue. Obviously for the remake they decided to go back to green.”

She asked, “What difference does it make, apart from the fact that Blastoise got replaced with Venusaur?” (She didn’t actually say the names. She said “the big turtle thing with the water hose”, and “the big plant monster”.)

And at that point, the Yr 8 me started going off on a tangent about the meaning of words. My friend and his sister got very bored very quickly, but I think I’ll explain what I ranted about, to the extent that I remember:

There really isn’t that much of a difference aside from the fact that at the start you now get to choose Green as your name instead of Blue. Everything else is pretty much the same – the same Pokemon are available and inversely unavailable on LeafGreen as it was on Blue. So, really, it was just some stupid choice in words and colors.

I wondered (out loud), what got people to choose the words “blue” and “green”. My grandparents used to mix the words “blue” and “green” together (in Chinese) when describing something that is colored blue, and something that is colored green. Mostly, they use “green”. So for example, the grass is green, and my blue sweater is “green”. There probably is a historical/linguistic reason behind why older generation Chinese people do this, but I don’t know it.

Now, there is obviously a difference between “blue” and “green”. Blue is the color of the dashboard on this blog (unless of course you changed it) and green is what trees would look like if Melbourne left the drought. But why are there two different words (we say two, but let’s not argue over cerulean and celadon – yes, more Pokemon references) for these two different colors? Obviously my grandparents went through the better part of their lives differentiating between water and grass using the word “green”, so it’s not like the world will implode if we bunched those two together. And yet in school, Naiads, the blue house of water nymphs never cheered for Dryads, the green house of tree nymphs – or, for a much better metaphor, Ravenclaw never cheered for Slytherine. We would have been mortified if someone said that the blue house and the green house were “the green house” (especially the blue house).

We differentiate between these colors with our words because we want to, not because we need to. It makes life easier and more varied if we have two different words for what obviously can be a mixed concept. I know you’re probably thinking “yeah but if we say the ocean is green, we’re in for an environmental disaster and not doing anything about it” but that’s because you grew up being told the ocean is normal when it’s “blue”, and if it’s “green” it’s dirty. But we have words for “contaminated water” so it is feasible that we can go through life knowing the water is “green” but not to go in if it’s “contaminated”.

Anyway I want to get my 8 hours’ of sleep so I’m heading off. See how much thought Pokemon can provoke?

Alex.

P.S. Title has almost no relevance to the blog, which isn’t a great idea.

I will try my hardest to incorporate Pokemon into anything.

Alex.