Many of us would likely be able to recall a comedy skit of some kind with a monkey doing human things.. you would have laughed, thought it was funny and moved on. That one little thing would not stay with you or occupy any more of your thoughts. The reality here is that the saying that all press is good press does not apply to this situation.
Animals are commonly represented in the media and we feel that as long as they are not mistreated or injured its all good. The reality is that this representation of animals in the media is having more of an effect on you then you realise.
Chimpanzees are one of the most commonly misrepresented animals in the media. They are commonly depicted as human caricatures, doing silly things, wearing clothes etc. (Bekoff, 2010). None of this seems harmful right or does it? Your opinions might differ on whether it is right to use animals in this manner for human entertainment though one thing you might not have realised is that this misrepresentation can have a bigger impact on your perception of the animal and has a flow on effect in relation to its conservation efforts.
Chimpanzees are on the brink of extinction. I bet you didn’t know that right.
Schroepher et. el. (2011) details that chimpanzees in the wild face an uncertain future due to habitat destruction, disease, and hunting fueled by the illegal pet trade.
The reason that you didn’t realise this might be linked to the use of chimpanzees in the media. Misrepresentations of chimpanzees lead people to believe they are subhuman and not on the brink of extinction.
A study by Ross et. al. (2011) titled “Specific image characteristics influence attributes about chimpanzee conservation and use as pets” stated that ‘the public is less likely to think that chimpanzees are endangered compared to other great apes, and that is likely the result of media misportrayals in movies, television and advertisments’.
Where is the evidence for this you ask. Well the study actually demonstrated that those viewing a photograph of a chimpanzee with a human standing next to it were 35.5 per cent more likely to consider the populations to be health and stable compared to those seeing the exact same picture without a human.
This perception of the population can have detrimental effects on the animals population as it can hinder the conservation efforts.
Poverty Porn, what is it? The term itself just sounds wrong. That is because the choice of wording is specifically aimed to link it to sexual porn. The term is meant to evoke a feeling of wrongness and guilt. Do people realise what poverty porn is and that they are partaking in this process?
Threadgold (2015) describes poverty porn as the portrayal of global inequality, disease and hunger, something that many of us would have little understanding of. Poverty porn also relates to the distorted presentation of the disadvantaged by the advantaged. What is problematic about poverty porn is that many of us don’t realise what we are watching is distorted. If you have very little understanding of a situation the media tends to be what informs the little understanding we do have.
When first approaching this topic, my first thought was that I didn’t watch shows like struggle street or any other reality shows of that kind therefore I was not guilty of participating in poverty porn. Though once I watched an episode of Struggle Street and read up on the topic something felt very familiar.
Shameless is a British comedy series which which first aired in 2004, and since has also been remade for American audiences. Shameless is a show which depicts poverty and associated issues; mental health, drug and alcohol addiction, lack of education and homelessness. Yet the characters are not two dimensional, Jones (2013) states that ‘They live pretty chaotic lives, but they are generally clever, complex and witty.’
There is a lot of similarities between Struggle Street and Shameless in terms of the content and themes. So are they both examples of poverty porn? What are the differences between the two?
The main difference between the two shows is that one is a reality show/’documentary’ while the other is a comedy/drama and fictional. Does that fictional aspect change it because suddenly nobody is being exploited for entertainment purposes. The reality is that there was a major difference between the reception for both shows purely because one was fictional while the other was a reality show.
Even though Shameless is fictional it deals with real life themes and issues we can distance ourselves from that fact. The fictional comedy aspect of the show informs us about poverty yet allows us to not face the reality that this way of life actually exists for many people. Roenigk (2014) explains that we as a society are bothered when media simplify humans, women and men, down to the characteristics that can be used to prove a point, elicit a high emotional response and generate profit. Which is why when it is pointed out to us we are uncomfortable with ‘poverty porn’.
Struggle street does not give us this luxury. I live not far from Mount Druitt and know people that live there, perhaps the reality of this show would not have such an impact on someone watching internationally and had no knowledge of the area or the people that live there, I not sure.
I enjoy watching Shameless, though I felt almost uncomfortable to watch. Was ‘poverty porn’ enjoyable to me, no. Yet if I know its not a reality I did not have that same reaction. I can’t say that I understand living in poverty and I am aware that I am privileged to be able to say that. ‘Poverty Porn’ can make people feel better about their own lives, yet it can also make us confront the reality of inequality and poverty in society and that reality sometimes is confronting.
In 2013 Oxford Dictionaries (OxfordWord blog, 2013) named the word Selfie as the word of the year. Marking the word Selfie as one of importance, but importance in regard to what? An evolution of language, new slang or a change in our behaviour and sense of self.
It was also mentioned to be of Australian origin, but I’ll leave you to decide whether thats a proud moment for us Aussies or not.
Selfie is defined as;
‘A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’
Beyond the act of taking a photo of oneself and uploading it though what does the term selfie mean for us? In marketing a selfie is attributed to being young, fun and connected and this is used endlessly (Baym and Senft, 2015). Why is the industry so keen to use selfies in their campaigns? It is because they are seen as a fantastic way to engage, selfies are visual and simple. I mean how many times have you seen adverts like the one below.
Why do we participate though, is it because we revel in the chance to be featured?
Is the act of taking a selfie a product of being self absorbed, narcissistic and an act of vanity?
As cited in Baym and Senft (2015), Stanley Cohen’s (2002) concept of moral panic is related to these claims of vanity and narcissism associated with selfies. Is this the case that all it is, is unfounded and overblown claims which constitutes moral panic?
‘Moral panic tends to heighten when a particular media form or practice is adopted by young people, women, or people of colour.’
While there is a degree of moral panic surrounding this issue, is it also true that as a society we are placing too much reliance on receiving gratification in the form of likes, comments and shares.
Key to the Oxford Dictionary definition of the term selfie was the ability to share, distribute and upload the image. We are seeking out a sense of identity through interaction. We are hoping to promote media frenzies or at least a like or two.
The ultimate case studies of the importance of selfies and their value is that of the travel selfie. Selfies have become extremely vital in the way we travel. Early travel photography was all about looking outward and selfies to an extent turn that inwards. Did you even go to Paris if you don’t have a selfie of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower. This many be due to the fact that we are part of such a global society where technology easily allows us to obtain a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon. Is a selfie our way of proving that we didn’t just pluck the image from the world wide web or is it more then that. Is a travel selfie a way of boasting, a way to brand yourself as cultures, well travelled and of a higher economic standing.
There is no doubt that selfies have changed the way we travel and the travel industry has been quick to evolve to meet this change. Hotels loan out selfie sticks, the Marriot Deser Springs Resort and Spa even offers ‘Your Spring Selfie’ vacation packages. The package includes a map showing the scenic selfie spots you can visit (Rosenbloom, 2015).
Articles which advise on how to take the ultimate travel selfie (Leonor, 2017) though warn people not to share too many on social media as many people perceive too many shared travel selfies as a negative. Perhaps it is seen as a sign of vanity and narcissism. One travel selfie a day is alright but many more than that would just be seen as boasting.
Are selfies narcissistic, a way to boast or a ploy for interaction to form our self-worth and sense of identity, maybe? But they are also way to share experiences and engage with other people. So take that selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower, just remember to take a look at it for yourself and not just through you camera screen.
Studying languages comes easily for some and is a curse for others. I am one of the latter. I have friends that can speak multiple languages fluently and yet I can’t seem to get any further than my native tongue. I am somebody who has attempted to study several languages and not succeeded, even with the help of classes, tutors and so on. Because of this I find it fascinating that people could simply use a TV Show or a game to learn a foreign language. Whether is be stories of migrant learning a language through a TV Show or kids picking up a language through their favourite card game, the evidence for the success of the use of media as a tool for language acquisition is overwhelming.
These observations and stories of language acquisition success have brought me to form a topic for autoethnographic study in this area. Looking language acquisition through Asian language media texts. The answers that I am seeking to discover are not just simply can I learn any aspects of the language but also what can I learn about the culture of that language in the process.
Autoethnography is an approach to research that combines methodological tools and literature with personal experience to obtain a greater understanding of culture. (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011)
I choose a Bollywood film for three reasons.
It was easy to obtain
I have watched Bollywood movies before and quite enjoy them
And finally, as this was the first emersion into this research I thought I would ease myself in with the language through something that I was familiar with.
Initially this was planned to be one of only a few media texts chosen to in my autoethnography study, but the reality was that learning from just this one source was hard enough and to add anymore into the mix would be foolish.
My progress of language acquisition and the Snapchat videos detailing my personal experience will have to wait till my next post but a few things that I did note are;
Subtitles don’t always make sense
The pause and rewind button got a work out.
It was a lot easier to keep up with the dialogue then the songs due to the pace.
Attempting to learn aspects of the language and document it at the same time meant that I did not become involved in the storyline of the text at all and watching the movie took twice as long therefore I didn’t finish it because Bollywood movies are already two hours long.
The key words I found myself picking up are the ones which sparked my interest, random words which either stood out or were part of the sentences which had unusual sounding subtitles.
This approach to learning a language may help with understanding slang or colloquial phrases in a foreign language but it still only provides you with snippets of the language as a whole
It does not at all permit the acquisition of written language.
My ethnography developed as I completed it. I tried to Snapchat as I watched but it turns out I am hopeless at doing that. Firstly it just so happens that apparently I only save my Snapchats half the time and also I’m just not very good at continuously Snapchatting at all. It is for this reason that the following ethnographic study is a combination of some Snapchats documenting snippets of my experience watching the film and attempting to achieve some degree of language acquisition and a lot of notes that I took throughout the experience and from research in the topic formulated into this blog post.
The First Attempt
This was my first realisation that because it was a musical that would make it more difficult to keep up. It was about now that I thought was did I get myself into. Some of the words were not even English in the subtitles therefore I didn’t even attempt to learn what they meant. It also meant that I felt there was something missing from my understanding of the song.
This is when I first noticed that there was some words that I recognised. This was evidence of language in popular culture blending words and phrases from multiple dialects and going through the process of globalisation.
Further evidence of phrases being adapting into languages as a result of popular culture.
I continue to not be able to keep up with the speed of the dialogue. This was significant issue in my ability to identify words individually. When you learn a language in class everything is slowed down for you and then it starts to speed up the further through the course you get. With this film you just get thrown in at the deep end. To identify words I have to watch one part over and over again and even then I’m not sure I have a identified each word in the sentence because translations are never word for word.
First recorded attempt at trying to pronounce a phrase. I don’t think I got it right at all, but at least I could distinguish the words.
I wanted to think that I was making progress but it was probably the most basic word that I could possibly master.
The biggest issue with trying to learn individual words is that the order of words in translations is never really the same as the original dialogue. Therefore it is best to learn phrases instead. But that might be pushing my skill level.
I began watching this film expecting it to be difficult but fun. I have sat in classrooms trying to learn languages and it just leaves me anxious and feeling like I have achieved very little. Therefore I thought that this would be a relatively stress free way to look at language.
I tried to focus on the language in regards to studying the language but as a student of intercultural communication I found myself instead looking at other aspects of the language. I became interested in the body language, how some words/phrases in language made appearances and also in the Bollywood genre of film itself.
It was these aspects of the film that I began to research and that was evident in the Blog Post I wrote for week 8 which you can find here.
One of the most interesting things that I learnt was about the language of Bollywood movies. Going in with the assumption that film would simply just include Hindi words that there was no chance of me recognizing I was surprised that English words and phrases have found their way into the popular culture vernacular.
Here is a snapshot of my assumption and further reflection from that blog post on this topic.
Secondly I noticed aspects of the language such as the words for Auntie and Uncle are used to address almost everyone of a older age no matter whether you had met them or not.
I believe that while I had the intention of learning the vocabulary through watching this film my previous study and areas of interest prohibited me to some extent from doing so because I noticed things that other people might not or that other people might not care about.
The Second attempt
In the relatively short time between watching the first and second times, I lost all memory of the words that I had attempted to learn other then the word for what (EHH) and I’m not sure that was really an achievement.
This is the recording of my observation about genre of Bollywood films I later identified through research the reason as to why the storyline seemed through foreign to me and that was because I was used to realistic approach to musicals that is used in Hollywood. Most Hollywood or Broadway musicals are focused around entertainers so that the act of bursting out into song does not seem unrealistic. Films of the Bollywood genre are not limited by this sense of realism. (The Bollywood Ticket, 2016)
I always knew that I wouldn’t learn much in the time frame that I had to do this study but I will admit that I was hoping to come away with a lot little more then I did. I believe this is just further evidence that Media texts should be used in conjunction with other learning techniques if you really want to learn a language.
The third attempt
By the third attempt it became evident that I really wasn’t recalling any aspects of the language. I would recognise some words such as the Hindi words for no, what etc. but I once I finished watching the film they would disappear from my mind.
Studies have proven that subtitled television programs provide a rich context for foreign language acquisition (Ina, 2014) yet it is all part of a process of learning. These media texts must be used in conjunction with other learning techniques to be effective.
It is evident through the research conducted that while media texts provide a great tool in the acquisition of a language, it is simply a part of the process and other learning is needed this can take place through classes in a more formal context, though in a less formal one it could simply be researching on the internet. Aiping et. al. (2016) in the article ‘Exploring learner factors in second language (L2) incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading’, states that ‘second language incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading usually involves the process of through reading usually involves the process of learners noticing an unknown word, searching for its meaning, and elaborating upon the form meaning connection’. Learning a language through listening in this case is quite similar, it is all part of a process and in most cases further research is conducted to obtain a complete understanding of the language.
While I have not come out of this whole experience with any language acquisition at all I have come away with a more developed understanding of Indian culture and a greater appreciation for the Bollywood genre. After this experience I would definitely watch many other Bollywood films and who knows maybe I will eventually be able to say a whole phrase in Hindi (but more likely not).
Aiping, Z, Ying, G, Biales, C, & Olszewski, A 2016, ‘Exploring learner factors in second language (L2) incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading’, Reading In A Foreign Language, 28, 2, pp. 224-245, Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 29 October 2016.
Anderson, Leon 2006, Analytic Autoethnography, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 373-393.
In my last post I made a number of observations in regard to the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla/Gojira. My main observation that I had was that I did not find myself engrossed in the film given the educational setting. In this blog post some of the other observations made will be looked at further in an auto ethnographic context.
Two observations made during the course of the film related to the display or lack of display made by the characters.
Constant shadows make it hard to see the emotions displayed of the characters faces.
Little emotion is shown by the characters when announcing the deaths of the soldiers. They are stone cold statues.
These observations are made from the view point of a 21 year Australian woman. Australians tend to be relatively open with their emotions and this is expressed in western cinema. Western actors display emotions through their body language and their facial expressions. The way that I interpret the displays of emotion in this film is very different to the way that a Japanese person interprets its.
‘Cultural contexts also act as cues when people are trying to interpret facial expressions. This means that different cultures may interpret the same social context in very different ways’ (Boundless Psychology, 2016)
This understanding of culture changes the way that I reflect upon my auto ethnographic research. Further literature research puts these observations into context. Not only does culture impact the way that we display emotion but it also impacts the way that we perceive and interpret emotion too. With this understanding, cultural nuances must be looked at. An article posted on the Association for Psychological Science titled Perception of Emotion Is Cultural-Specific (2010) describes Japanese displays of emotion. Emotion is more evident through tone of voice than through facial expressions in Japanese cultural.
What this reflection makes clear is the process of autoethnography. Ellis et. al. (2011) made clear in their text Autoethnography: An Overview is the importance of the elements of methodological tools, literature research and personal experience. It is now clear to me the importance of that literature research in informing your personal experience, without this understanding, the research lacks substance and perspective.
‘A form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experiences and connects this autobiographical story to a wider cultural-political-and social meanings and understandings’ (Collins Dictionary, 2013)
Autoethnography is a new and foreign concept to me, one that seems simple at first glance yet has hidden complexities and requires a greater deal of insight to result in purposeful authenticity.
This week’s reading Autoethnography: An Overview (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011) details that autoethnography is to analyse experience through methodological tools, literature research and use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience. Therefore it is under this guise that I shall share my process of autoethnography regarding the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla/Gojira.
Observation and simply absorbing the text in all its glory, taking note of my observations were the only methodological tools used. A basic approach, but as this is my first attempt at autoethnographic research, basic is the best way to start.
Here are my observations, a summary of the running commentary of my thoughts during the entire film:
Constant shadows make it hard to see the emotions displayed of the characters faces.
I wonder what the subtitles meant by ‘firefighters’, I’m guessing firefighters given the context.
There is a lot of jumping from one scene to the other.
Little emotion is shown by the characters when announcing the deaths of the soldiers. They are stone cold statues.
There is this annoying bell sound throughout many of the scenes and it is starting to annoy me.
This storyline is getting hard to follow, there are many different characters being introduced and the scene jumping around.
The constant jumping around between scenes is leading me to disconnect from the text, and a computer screen in front of me provides an abundance of distractions from writing emails to scrolling the Facebook newsfeed.
It is so silent given the large amount of people in the scene, there is very little background noise. I am definitely not used to a movie score of this nature.
Now I’m thinking about food while watching a man handle a dead fish. I don’t think I am really invested in the film.
The scary noise they are running away from isn’t even that loud, their screams cover it.
Finally Godzilla/Gojira makes an appearance.
That appearance only lasted a second. That was hardly worth all the build up in that scene.
There is no visable destination that they are running towards. Then they just stop before the scene changes.
The picture of Godzilla/Gojira is on the screen longer then he actually was.
They never actually seem that scared of it. Maybe thats just a cultural difference regarding the displaying of emotions.
How did they get the sand from Godzilla/Gojira’s body?
I got distracted again by emails. It’s not my fault they just pop up on my screen.
Why is the guy in the eye patch so serious?
I think that girl has the hots for the guy with the eye patch.
I didn’t pay enough attention to know any of the characters names.
New method found to slightly understand what’s going on. Watching the #DIGC330 twitter feed.
The literature research conducted on the topic of autoethnography. Autoethnography: An Overview (Ellis, Adams & Bochner, 2011) did two things for my understanding of autoethnography. Firstly it enlightened me as to what the process of autoethnography entails and what it produces; ‘aesthetic and evocative thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience’.
Secondly, what my first attempt at autoethnograhic research was not. Ellis et. el. (2011) stated that autoethnography was developed in ‘an attempt to concentrate on ways of producing meaningful, accessible and evocative research grounded in personal experience’. If I were to use this as a checklist, I could say that my work was very much grounded in personal experience as there was no other other facets to it and that by posting it in this digital format it is also accessible, but meaningful or evocative I am struggling to see that part coming to fruition.
My personal experience with this film is that I couldn’t get fully immersed in the storyline. What is evident from my notes is that as the film progressed I became less content with watching and making observations. I found myself looking for distractions and had difficulty remaining focused.
Though in all honesty I have never;
a. Been drawn to Asian cinema unless it was of a Bollywood persuasion
b. Been able to become totally engrossed in a film in an educational context, it just seems unnatural.
For someone else, or if I had first encountered this film in a different context, the outcome might have been different, though this simply wasn’t the case and I am afraid that this will cloud my view of the film forever in my mind.
The Internet of things is a new concept to me and when trying to work out what it meant I was met with a statement in the techopedia definition of the term
The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself.
It is an interesting point and when thinking of the products that the internet of things produces it is easy to comprehend. Many would say that their lives become easier with the introduction of networked items coming into their lives from the mobile phone and so on but at what point does it get ridiculous.
I have recently seen advertisements for collars for your pets which are wifi compatible and upload pictures from the collar. this entire concept seems absurd. Why would you want that? why would you pay for that?
An article in Forbes magazine by Moorehead (2013), details the problems with home automation in relation to the internet of things. One point it brought up is that with all these new possibilities we are keen to grab them but we don’t think of the realities of how they work and how these different products around the home all work together. I think that these are mostly kinks and that eventually will all be sorted out, but the main takeaway is that we shouldn’t always jump on the bandwagon the first chance we get.
So the moral of the story is don’t go out and get that camera, wifi compatible cat collar just yet, wait till the one on an extendable selfie stick comes out.
They are out in force, hacker groups are strong in numbers and in 2015 the threats that they pose is only increasing. Internet security threats are becoming something that not only governments and large corporations are beginning to fear. Early this year there was an infiltration of the dating site Ashley Maddison. Specialising in the affairs of married people the compromising of users information had disastrous consequences for many. This Wired infographic helps to make sense of the whole thing
This type of attacks has really brought it home to many how nothing is safe on the internet and even though when we think of hacker groups and the threat they pose we might not individually be on their radar but what they do can potentially impact each and everyone of us.
This week when talking about digital resistance especially in relation to Wikileaks I found it outstanding how many attacks the site had been put under and managed to come through the other side of. Benkler (2011) detailed the four attacks
Technical infrastructure denial of service
Payment systems distribution
Indirect legal assaults
Benkler also touched on the defence
Shifting to redundant backup technical systems
Shifting to backup payment systems
Socio-political framing as journalism
Backup organisational systems
DDoS attacks by supporters
Threat of major embarrassment: The ‘insurance’ files
All of this is truly fascinating to someone who had little clue about the specifics of what had actually transpired. In their eyes it was all worth it. But I hear more about the ‘crimes’ of what they are doing then the causes. I believe this was most likely due to the fact as I had not been interested and had not inquired into the story. I had only got my information from traditional news sources and that is what they choose to focus on not the cause but the people who they were and what made them criminals.
Apple is a leader in closed operating systems, obsessed with control and has a distinctive level of monopoly on the market. The largest example of this is the iPhone as Zittrain (2010) states it remains ‘tightly tethered to it’s vendor’. What is Apple trying to do with this closed operating system?
One of the main things it is trying to have control over is the stability, security and performance of the product. This is an area where the closed operating system does work to its advantage.
An article by O’Rourke (2014) details some of the biggest failings of the Android operating systems and they directly relate to open structure of it all. Fragmentation is the biggest problem as stated in the article. He states that it can become easy to get left behind by updates when it comes to the updating of software as it is not tied to specific devices such as that of the Apple iPhone.
With Android, depending on what smartphone you purchase, you could be unable to install the latest version of Android just a few months after you purchased your fancy new smartphone, rendering it obsolete.
When you use an Apple product you have an understanding that you will always have the ability to have up-to-date software you just happen to be locked into only their software. Everything comes with a catch.