Friday, October 3, 2008

S.L. + T.V. = <3

Before writing this entry, I did not realize how much the television controls the hours of my day. But now thinking about it, it is kind of weird of me to let this big, ugly, black box that sits in my room be a controlling force in my life. Well it’s not the specific television, is what it shows me is what I am obsessed with. I even have a television in my room so I can catch up with my old friends Ferguson and Leno right before I fall asleep.
From the top of my head, if I were to make a television diary this is how it would go:
- Every weekday morning when I wake up at 6 or 7 I watch Breakfast Television as I get ready for school or work.
- Monday night I watch three one hour shows.
- Tuesday night I watch two one hour shows.
- Thursday night I watch two one hour shows.
- And on the weekend I go on youtube and watch the shows that I missed.
- Late night on weekdays I watch Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, Steven Colbert – they are my television version of an adult story time before bed.

The pathetic part is not me watching all those shows, it is how I change my work schedules and not do not make plans during prime time, because my world will stop spinning if I miss what goes on in my shows.
The largest force in particular is Grey’s Anatomy. It is now on its fifth season, and for five year I have yet to go out on Thursdays between 8 -9 p.m. I rarely even pick up my phone (unless it is a commercial). I have never missed an episode. Even though the episodes now are pretty lame and not as creative, I still watch them because it has been part of my weekly routine for so long.
I just love my television because with a click of the remote, I am connected with the rest of the world watching that show at that time. It lets be able to see what someone in Spain can see, it is a simultaneous audio/visual sensory connection.
But I am alright with being a primetime junkie; I think I got over it around season three of Grey’s Anatomy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

House Hippo

In my last blog I said how media literacy should be taught in a more effective way at school,
I came across this and thought that this was a start, but more should still be done.
Its a small step in entering the large and busy world of the media.
Its still very cute though.

Media Literacy, the forgotten skill.

Reading and writing are known basic skills to our society at this time, and I believe that there is a skill equally as important that can sometimes go unnoticed – Media Literacy. It almost does not make sense to be able to read and write and not be able to understand what it means, or how it means.
Personally, I don’t know how I would be able to function if I did not have the ability to be media literate. It’s almost like being given the gift to think for yourself. To me, it is a skill which makes me feel like I am a real person in society, one who is up to date on international happenings, politics, and many other occurrences. Becoming media literate is like ending that gullible stage everyone has when they are really young. Instead of believing only what I was told by peers or parents, I now have the ability to create my own arguments and opinions, to recognize bias and stereotypes in society and the best part is, I am able to distinguish fact from opinion. Being media literate allows people to take the world however they want to, not by what everyone else thinks. For example, if someone who were not media literate were to watch a commercial that said if they did not buy these pants they would not be cool. This person may actually go out and purchase these ‘cool’ pants because they have not been taught the language of media to decipher these messages on their own. However, if they knew how to identify this as not fact, and realize that these ‘cool’ pant makers are not reliable in judging what is cool or not, then they would have a good laugh at the commercial, save their money and move on.
This is a skill which helps people become active members of society, and should be taught in school at a young age how to identify fact from fiction, bias and how to judge the reliability of information. All are very important to becoming a well rounded individual who will not get eaten alive in the big bad world.

Decoding/Decontructing Advertising

“My car turns on Kate Walsh, does yours?”

Cadillac surely grasped the idea of selling their product through sex, and it shows through the recently aired Kate Walsh Cadillac CTS commercial.
The basis of the commercial is fairly simple, beautiful woman driving a beautiful car. It is the dialogue, and who speaks it which is what I find to be brilliant. Kate starts off by saying only a few things are important to the life of luxury, and surprisingly she is not referring to the amenities of the vehicle. She vaguely mentions aspects of the car such as sun roofs and GPS, and skips right to the point, the sexuality of the car and how it connects with her own sexuality. “When you turn your car on, does it return the favour?”
The best part is this is one of the most tasteful ways that I have seen sex sell in… well, ever. It applies to the male audience because Kate Walsh is a very beautiful and sensual woman; her sultry voice is what quickly guides them through the various frills of the car, and then her part ends with a sexy glare and a very appealing line. The other part of the commercial (the car part) also applies to men. It looks very sleek and sexy in the fast paced shots of the aspects of the car. The commercial also applies to women because the sexuality aspect is appealing, and intriguing; not distasteful. Walsh is not naked, or drunk, but driving a very expensive car, quite possibly her own car and not purchased for her by a man. Also, as an actress, Walsh plays very independent and sexually tasteful roles. This image of her (from Grey’s Anatomy of Private Practice) is transferred to herself driving the car, “this independent and beautiful woman driving a car normally bought by men, if she can drive it, so can I!” .
Overall, I believe that Cadillac managed to combine cars and women in such an excellent way, both men and women probably held their breath a little while watching this commercial (for the car or the woman, that may be different for everyone). I thought it was clever to take a tasteful spin on something which could normally blown to a grungy image.

Sexy Kate Walsh Cadillac CTS Commerical Excellent Quality. Youtube. 2 Oct 2008.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mass Media

My personal definition of the term Mass Media is:
a form of media which has the potential to reach a vast amount of people simultaneously.
This is the definition that I have concluded to after my media classes in school, and my time being an active media literate member of society.
Examples which follow my definition are newspapers – which are read by hundreds of people in a community or even city-wide, the internet - which has the potential to be read by millions, television, and even signs (such as advertisements).
From my time sitting in mass comm. I have realized that many of us pretty much had the same definition of mass media. I got this impression off of the Media Autobiographies that we did the other week. Through our presentations many people explained that their form of media (vlogs ,blogs, clothing) were those of the masses. Also, as I sat and listened to all two hours of presentations, I realized that the people themselves up there were a form of mass media too. They were up there, telling at least one hundred others about themselves, and their particular form of media.
Honestly, my definition of mass media grows all the time, because each day I am confronted with a new media text, ones that had gone unnoticed to my eye (Narcissus Narcosis anyone?) and then I add them to my never ending list.
But in the end, I do and I don’t want to fully grasp the world of Mass Media.
I do because it is so intricate that once I know one aspect better, I can understand more, and I don’t because what is better then re-opening your eyes in the world you have been born in, and understanding a new text everyday? Nothing is better then re-shaping your ideas and experiences of the media, by each day you live, each book you read, and each person you know.

Cell phone commerical

After writing my blog about the cell phone,
I came across this commerical and thought it was appropriate.

The Ecology of Media

The Cell Phone

Calendar, Clocks, E-mail, Alarm Clock, Music Player, Camera, Note-taker, Television, Messenger – and oh I almost forgot - its also a Telephone.

When I was younger, the only people who had cell phones were business men, who always needed to be reached in case of emergencies. It was almost like if one of them still had a pager; they were the ‘old fogies’ of the office. Then I hit the age of 14 and I finally got my own cell phone, a.k.a. the brick. It was a large blue phone with a long antenna, and if compared to modern phones it would look like an ancient artifact rather than a communication device. But at the time, it did not even matter – it was my very own cell. At the time I probably did not even know what a text message was, and I also only had two other friends that I could call because no one else had phones yet, but that was also part of the fun, being one of the only kids (literally kid) to have a phone to themselves.
Eventually, by the time I had hit high school you were unique if you DIDN’T have a cell phone. Not only did everyone have one, but everyone was expected to have one. A cell phone ringing in class was a guarantee to your day. They became more than a luxury, they became necessity. You were only cool if you were accessible at any time of the day. The cell phone soon became a status symbol, you were really cool if your phone could play music, and even cooler if you could watch videos on your phone. Cell phones even had their own brands, such as Blackberry, or Iphones, which became incredibly popular, amazingly fast. I even admit to having a phone simply because of its aesthetics; I have the LG Touch phone and I only know how to use the phone and text message.
Cell phones have become such a huge part of today’s culture that they are no longer simply a phone, but your life – you could literally have your entire life programmed into one device. It could hold your schedule, your messages, your e-mails and even be your alarm clock. At this stage I am surprised that they are even still called cell phones and not Personal Device for Life. It just amazes me how something which was intentionally made for verbal communication has evolved into something so much more. The verbal communication portion of the device is one of the last things that it is used for now a days. Questions like “What is the quality of the camera?” and “How loud can I play my music on it?” definitely are asked more frequently than “How is the reception?” or “Does it redirect background noise?”.
It is almost hard to imagine life without cell phones now, because they have taken the place of so many objects. They have even taken the spot of wrist watches, because they display the time directly on the screen. They have become so advance now that I could not even dream up what even newer cell phones could hold for us in the future.