News, Trust and “Truthiness”

After reading several of my classmates blogs, I have come to the consensus that we believe the “fake” news to be just as valid and important as the “real” news. It provides a satirical but informational view on current news that even those who are uninterested with current events can be entertained by. Out of the blogs that I read, three stood out to me. These were blogs by Chris Cardillo, O’Connor Hotwani, and Jessica Znaczko.

            In Chris Cardillo’s blog (http://cardilloblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/1f25-post-4-is-the-fake-news-the-real-news/) He Suggests that people are able to take in the news, however negative, much more effectively if it is presented in a comedic manner. He says that “By adding humour to otherwise rather serious events, these programs are able to make people more accepting of the news they are receiving. “  If people can laugh off the news they are hearing, maybe they won’t take it so seriously and be able to deal with it instead of becoming stressed. If they see other people joking around about these events, maybe they can identify with them and, in turn, think more lightly of it.

      O’Connor Hotwani (http://sh10xo.wordpress.com/) discussed how satirical news shows are a more effective way of getting the news across to teenagers and young adults. He states that “Fake news is funny, entertaining and informative. Youth and teenagers watch this type of media for entertainment… fake news triggers their interest in mainstream news because they need to know about the real news in order to be entertained.” If teenagers want to understand the jokes being made on comedic news shows, they need to be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the world around them. In this way, “fake” news is crucial to a young adult’s understanding of the “real” world. It forces them to become culturally aware in order to be entertained.

      The final blog that caught my interest was Jessica Znaczko’s (http://jessicaznaczko.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/cpcf-1f25-blog-entry-4-is-the-fake-news-real-news/). She spoke about the way that “fake” news shows not only entertain and inform us, they also give us new and unique views on modern issues. She said that “Although satirical news reports can be humorous to watch, it gives us different perspectives on many different cultural topics that we are normally told not to question. Using humor in satirical news reports makes this form of culture jamming more lighthearted, easier to understand, and more effective.” Satirical news has no limits. They can feel free to criticize politicians and make light of serious situations as they please. The “anchors” in these TV shows also typically insert their own personal views, which cause the viewer to see it in a different light. “Fake news” allows us to freely think about these things and question them as they please. In this way, it is almost as important as real news.

      In conclusion, the “fake news” seems to be as important to real news to my classmates. I feel that it gives us space to think freely. We learn the facts from the real news, and get a chance to question and poke fun at it when watching the “fake” news. It also serves to inform those with little interest in current events, like most teenagers. Overall, the “fake” news may not be so fake after all.

 

Is the fake new the real news?

                Parody- news shows have always been around. Shows like “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and “The Rick Mercer Report” serve to entertain us and lighten up serious news events, sort of like comic-relief from real life. But despite the humour, do these shows really inform us about the current news? I think that they do.

In order to inform us of current news events with a satirical twist, the fake news shows employ a technique called “culture-jamming”. According to the textbook Media and Society, culture jammers “use their familiarity with codes and conventions to throw a spanner in the production of meaning by creating spoofs, defacing texts, and subversing the intended meanings of the media texts that they choose to rework”. Culture-jamming has been around for a long time now. It is an act of rebellion that often catches the attention of viewers with the use of humour, much like satirical news shows do today. These shows seem to serve as a legal, modern-day use of culture-jamming. They twist the intended message of the news stories by making them into a source of entertainment. However, though these shows are intended to parody the “real” news, we often obtain information about current events from them. Media and Society addresses this, saying “accessible, affordable, interactive media technologies have enabled culture jamming in its different forms to spread through youth culture across the globe, informing far-flung groups about common concerns”. Nobody sits down with their family and watches the news to wind down. The news is often stressful, depressing, and hard to hear. By enjoying programs like “The Rick Mercer Report” even those with no idea what’s going on in the world are forced to learn about current events and concerns. I know that I learn most of what I know about American news and politics from watching the “Saturday Night Live” segment “Weekend Update”. We can sit back and laugh and enjoy these programs but, due to the clever use of culture-jamming, we always come away from it with real information about current events.

In conclusion, I think that parody news shows are a very effective, modern form of culture- jamming. They serve to both entertain us and inform us about current events. Because of this, I feel that these shows are very positive for our society.

 

O’Shaughnessy, Michael, and Jane Stadler. Media and Society. 5th . Australia and New Zealand: Oxford University Press, 2012. 35, 42-43. Print.

Demonstrable Demographics

 

                While reading my classmate’s blogs, I looked specifically for those that used ads specific to gender, like the ad I chose. I noticed a trend in female bloggers being drawn to ads aimed at young women. There were three particular blogs with very similar views to mine on how women are hailed in modern day advertisements.

                Society these days is so preoccupied with being “unique” and standing out among the crowd. As Jenny Tran says in her blog (http://jt11mb.blogspot.ca/) “The media tells us to love ourselves the way we are. They tell us we are all unique and to ignore what others say about us, but if we do something against society’s norms or don’t reach society’s ideal body image, we will be looked down upon.” She said this regarding a Dove advertisement which featured “larger” women. Jenny states that though these women are not exactly the media’s image of perfection, they are “still flawless. They have no stretch marks, scars, and they all have perfect curves – not realistic whatsoever”. So even when the media tries to embrace our differences, they are still setting ideals.

Brittany Shannon (http://britshannon.blogspot.ca/) also chose an advertisement starring a young female celebrity. Her ad was for Neutrogena, and had Vanessa Hudgens as the spokesperson. Brittany brought up the idea that young girls may feel less embarrassed about their acne if they think that someone as “perfect” as Vanessa also struggles with it. She says that “It may take some of the embarrassment away from the individual because they feel confident by seeing their favourite star use the same product”. The ad that Brittany used spoke to me because I was actually a very big High School Musical fan back in the day (don’t judge me!) and I actually did feel this way viewing the ad she chose.

The final blog that spoke to me was called “hs12un” (http://hs12un.wordpress.com/). There’s no name associated with this blog, but I felt the need to mention it because she brought up an advertisement that also filled me with rage. The ad in question is for the new Kinder Eggs for girls. Now, I think this notion is absolutely ridiculous, and clearly she thought so too. She says that “when [she] was child, it didn’t matter what your gender was, there was only one kind of Kinder Egg. Now, they have put special toys inside the Eggs based on what society feels a girl should play with, and what a boy should play with”. Back in the days when I bought Kinder Eggs, the gender that the toy was “intended” for was never something I thought about. I was just excited to see what it was. Now-a-days, we are so preoccupied with gender-socializing our kids that we have to start them off with identifying themselves right away. If you’re a girl, you must want to play with dolls, and everything has to be pink. It would be simply absurd for a little girl to want to play with a car, for example.

                In conclusion, the advertising that “hails” women these days seems to constantly highlight the ideas of being beautiful, feminine and unique. However, we are not allowed to be “too” unique, because then we wouldn’t be as easy to advertise to! 

What the Hail?

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                Nobody in this world can say that they’ve never fallen victim to “hailing” (ads that call out to a specific demographic). We’ve all had that moment when we’re flipping through a magazine or watching T.V and all of a sudden an ad just starts screaming your name. Next thing you know, you’re shelling out all of your hard-earned cash for a tube of mascara because “Drew Barrymore uses it!” It doesn’t take much for advertisers to know exactly how to get to us what with all of the market research they can do nowadays, so it’s really no wonder teenagers are so broke.

                I subscribe to Seventeen Magazine (a choice I regret more and more every time I see articles with titles like “how to take the perfect “selfie”) so I decided to look through it in order to find an example of hailing. I decided on an advertisement for “Güd” Shampoo and Conditioner. This ad features Pop- Icon Carly Rae Jepsen. She is standing in an entirely red shower wearing a red dress, and surrounded by bubbles. Underneath, it reads “Finally, a scent as fabulous as your shower voice”. In the textbook “Media and Society”, they say that “we live in a culture that stresses individuality, [and] encourages us to believe that every person has unique qualities”. This ad accentuates this. All the 16 year old Carly Rae Jepsen fans will look at this and immediately associate with it. We all sing in the shower so it’s hardly a unique activity, however since it’s something that we do in private, reading this ad will immediately make us think of the times that we’ve performed our little shower-concerts. Using Carly as a spokesperson is also a genius move as she’s at the height of her popularity, especially with the white female 16-21 one year old demographic. Freud believes that “we act on the basis of…. unconscious desires and fears associated with them, rather than our conscious choices”. Young girls will see someone like Carly Rae and since they have an unconscious desire to live the way she does, this product becomes all the more marketable. We all want to be rich, famous and beautiful, and since Carly is the image of femininity and quirkiness, she is someone that young girls tend to idealize. “Media and Society” states that “feminists have put forward the view that gender is the key factor in determining who we are and how we behave”. Carly, in her little red skirt “singing” oh so gracefully into a bedazzled showerhead simply screams “feminine” and “beautiful” (seriously, who showers in a dress and immaculate makeup?).  Teenage girls with a desire to be more feminine will be drawn to the sheer “girly-ness” of this ad and wish they looked that good. Because of this, the ad is doing its job quite well.

                In conclusion, hailing is alive and well in today’s society. The market seems to think they have us down pat. They know that all of us just have a burning desire to be different and they just love to exploit that. They tell us in plain terms that yes we are different, just like everyone else…

O’Shaughnessy, Michael, and Jane Stadler. Media and Society. 5th . Australia and New Zealand: Oxford University Press, 2012. 35, 42-43. Print.

Wanted: The Media we Need

                  Is the media we want the same as the media we need? Personally, I think it is. The media we are subjected to and told to want becomes what we think we need. If the media tells us that we should care about Kim Kardashian’s wedding, for example, eventually we may start to believe that this is the kind of information we should concern ourselves with. By constantly being exposed to the media, we start to idealize whatever information that we are fed.

                I examined multiple blogs written by my classmates in order to gain a deeper insight on this topic. Of the ones I examined, three stood out to me. The first blog that I will mention is Amy Lowes’ (http://lifeoflowe.wordpress.com/). She mentioned an interesting habit that she has picked up regarding the information presented by the media. She stated that “for every tabloid or unsubstantial piece [she] read[s] or listen[s] to, [she] locate[s] an article that has mean[ing] or insightful journalism, or even [defies] the argument” that she had just read. I found this to be a very interesting thing to do. In doing something like this, one can avoid falling victim to all of the trash we’re told to care about these days. If more people made a conscious effort to focus only on important matter, such as political issues, poverty, cultural dilemmas etcetera, maybe the media would play a more productive role in society.

                The second blog that I found interesting was Christina Clark’s (http://cclark865.wordpress.com/). She used a very interesting example of how the media can twist the opinions of the public. Christina took a headline from a news paper article which read “Toronto Police officer had no choice but to shoot, inquest told”. She says that the “biased language assumes that he had no other options but to kill this man, which makes readers believe that the police officer was doing the right thing”. We are taught that the law is always right and told who we should and shouldn’t look up to in life by the news we read and the shows we watch. In this article that she chose, we do not know much about the man who was killed, for all we know the media could have twisted the news to make him look like a worse person than he was. Since we are taught to believe that the police are always right, we are forced to assume that the murder of a man is justifiable and the right thing to do.

                The final blog that stood out to me was written by “Kirbychan 88” (no real name was listed). They focused mainly on the effect of commercials, and discussed how they affect The Superbowl, a global phenomenon. They said that “audiences do not have any choice [but] to see or get what is shown on their television”. We essentially have products shoved down our throats and are left with no choice but to watch the advertisements. This is, I believe, where the media has the most power. They could use advertisement constructively and for a good cause, but more often than not it’s only used to make consumers buy useless products that they are convinced that they “need”. Those who get commercial space during The Superbowl are particularly lucky, as commercials are one of the main attractions. They should really consider using their shining moment to outline a cause that is actually worthy.

                In conclusion, the media we want is, to me, not the media we need. Instead, it is the media that we are told we need by those just looking to make money from an impressionable audience. If we, as consumers work to weed out what information is actually useful in the media, maybe we can use it for the better. 

The Media we Want?

Do we get the media we want, or want the media we get? This is a difficult question to answer. In my opinion, it’s a little of both. The media shapes our interest from a young age and we come to learn what to expect from it. So essentially, the media teaches us what we want and gives us just that. I don’t think that people would even know what they wanted if it wasn’t for the existence of popular media. Media is all around us and helps shapes our interests. It offers us outlets to explore what we are passionate about, and leaves us wanting more. The media produces television shows, magazines, books, ECT… geared towards a certain crowd of people who have asked for it. This means that everyone can have access to what they like, regardless of what it is. In the textbook Media and Society, they discuss the concept of “representation” in the media. They say that the “press, radio, television, cinema-and so on” are now the “arenas through which people receive most of their entertainment and information about the world, so they are the primary source for how we see the world” (page 35). When we gain information and entertainment from the media, it seems to consume our entire worldview and dictate what we find interesting or important. Another point that Media and Society brings up is that there are two ways of looking at the influence of the media. One suggests that “the media reflect the realities, values and norms of a society” the other is that the media “do affect what people think, what they believe, and how they behave. The media construct our values for us and have a direct effect on our actions” (page 42-43). In my opinion, the second theory is more accurate. Of course we as humans have a set of morals and values that we have always held, but because of what the media idealizes, we often base our lives after those glorified by the media. Overall, though this argument could really go both ways, I believe that we as a society want the media we get. We absorb what is forced upon us through popular culture and find ourselves craving more of the same. We apply the media to our daily lives and base many of our values off of it. The media is a very powerful thing, and in this sense, it even has the ability to control our lives.

O’Shaughnessy, Michael, and Jane Stadler. Media and Society. 5th . Australia and New Zealand: Oxford University Press, 2012. 35, 42-43. Print.

1F25 Blog Response 1: Media Impact on Others

After reading several other blog posts written by my classmates, I have gained further insight into the effects of the media on our generation. Out of the blogs I looked at, three of them stood out to me. These blogs were written by Cody McKelvie, Sarah Trotman, and Cameron Phillips.

What stood out most to me in Cody McKelvie’s blog (http://cm13in.blogspot.ca/) was the fact that he seems to feel the media is setting ideals for society. He states that the television shows that are “Forced upon us” are “filled with violence and sexual content.” He suggests that they change “the way that we think” about different situations. For example, sex has become much more objective in popular media. This was something that was once treated as sacred and meaningful but is now almost casual. Violence has also been glorified. It seems as though people simply can’t be entertained unless there is excessive violence involved in their programming. Cody also says that new movies and television shows are starting to create less-than-ideal role models. We now look up to “playboys” and “fighters”. We admire men who hold guns or sleep with any woman they want as opposed to someone who does good for society.

 Sarah Trotman’s blog (http://st12tq.wordpress.com/) had a more positive view on the impact of the media. She spoke about her experience with British TV charity event, Comic Relief. She explains that Comic Relief “aims to raise money using a combination of comedy acts, and charity videos displaying the hardships that some people go through in their day to day lives”. In her opinion, the impact of the media could be a positive thing, if only it was used to expose the bad things in the world. If everyone knew about the suffering some people were put through, maybe something could be done to stop it. Sarah states that she wishes the media would focus more on issues such as global warming. She wants this to be publicized in order to bring awareness to the issue and hopefully work to overcome it. 

 The final blog that stood out to me was written by Cameron Phillips (http://hecticglow.blogspot.ca/).  He says that (like me) he spends more time on the internet rather than watching television. He says that his website of choice is YouTube. In his opinion, YouTube is not just an outlet for mindlessly watching videos about cats, but it is also perfect for “creators”. These are people “That number in the millions” and “share their ideas and their vast differences with each other”. Cameron thinks that the media provides great opportunities for people to get their ideas and talents out into the world, and share them with like-minded individuals. He feels very positively about websites like YouTube because anyone anywhere can feel free to express their individuality to the world. All you need is a camera. Overall, Cameron thinks that if the media was used to showcase creators and expose the unique talents that they posses, it would be much more positive.

 In conclusion, I felt I could connect with the view points of all three of these people. I also think that the media has become much too focused on violence and sexuality. If it were used instead to showcase talents or expose the hardship in this world, maybe the world would become a better place for all of us.