Media (Blog 1)
Media has been and is still a big part of my world even though before this course I had not realised it. I watch TV, see and respond to ads, listened to the radio etc. It dawned on me that these texts was created to pass information as a means of sending a message across.However, Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “media” as “a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression…the agencies of mass communication.”
Media simply put is a means of communication. Unlike the primitive days where people used drums and smoke signals to send a message across, modes of communication have changed and they are still evolving. Think about it how do we communicate or receive information about anything? There are various platforms such as newspapers, radio, TV, internet, movies, billboards, computers, mobile devices and the one that we all love and depend on the internet.
Age affects what type of media we choose to use. For example adults born in the early to mid 1900’s relied heavily on newspapers, radios and the television. However the millennials also known as Gen Y, could careless about these three because they have been raised in the “two-minute noodle” generation. This simply means they are very impatient, self-centred and they want things right now. I could just be one of them because I use for example social media a lot e.g facebook, instagram, whatsapp and rely on it to communicate as well as be informed and to stay in touch with friends and family that is spread around globally. An example of the types of media and the statistics of its followers or users can be seen below.
Whats my point? Because of this accessibility of a platform available 24/7 all year round to express oneself, there is a growing need to become an expert at something, a journalist, photographer, film maker and reporter. YouTube is a platform that can demonstrate this clearly because there is not only freedom of expression but the need for the ‘five minutes of fame’, a need to be seen or heard. Sitting in restaurants we see lots of people who instead of enjoying their meal want to share a picture on social media of how great the food was or how bad the service was. What happened to the good old table manners of just eating and talking to someone. Couples are out in walking or having a picnic or even at home, they are stuck on their phones and they wonder why there is a high risk of divorce, counselling and suicide. People have forgotten the basics and would rather live the creates false life of how well they are doing in the imaginary world.
We do not rely and wait for the news reporters to get to the scene of a crime, a disaster or event. Sometimes e.g news channels or talk shows etc they use videos from people who voluntarily capture and share the information with the rest of the world. Everyone has a device that is able to take pictures, record and cover an event or even report on location during a disaster by sending updates and share with the world in realtime via e.g facebook live.
I applaud the evolution of media and with the help of the internet we get content from all sorts of media. The mobile devices are a blessing because it provides an equal opportunity irrespective of race or culture, rich or poor, educated or not. Everyone gets a chance to say something because everyone has a story to tell. Lives have been changed through this because an awareness is created and people get the help they need. For e.g the charities sponsoring education, health or safe water to the underprivileged. Others with talents were recognised once their video went viral landing their dream job or got a scholarship. They can also be a curse because the Generation Y have poor coping skills due to their high dependence on social media for almost everything. My question is how do we know what is fact or fiction because everything looks so real?
Genre (Blog 2)
“The word genre comes from the French and originally Latin word for ‘kind’ or ‘class’. The term is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory, media theory, and more recently linguistics, to refer to a distinctive type of ‘text’. Chandler D
The first thing that jumps right at me when I think about genre is music. If music is organised like for example a basic three course meal, where we move in an organised manner from entrè’s to main meal then to dessert, it is pleasing to the ear because there is order. Imagine your 3 course blended and served in one plate. I’m sure it will not look appetising and it can have an unpleasant taste to your palate.
“Genre refers to the labelling of texts through the identification of shared characteristics. Texts within certain genre categories will have certain things in common that will enable the audience to see similarities between texts.”
So it’s the grouping things according to their likeness e.g characteristics, themes, plot, content, tone and mood that makes a genre. Jazz and blues are more of the romantic and sentimental as opposed to Punk Rock and heavy metal music which are intense, sang in shredded vocal chords and yes have the most violent guitarists of all time. Watch links below and be the judge.
I was looking at a study done about how arranging books according to genre has proven positive outcomes. In New Zealand, the National Library has arranged its fiction by genre. They explain that arranging fiction by genre can help students find what they want to read for pleasure more easily. “As readers, we all have reading preferences however helping students understand and articulate what they like to read, and why, will develop their sense of self as a reader, give them strategies to find reading material they enjoy and lead to reading mileage and growth.”
Leigh Callazzo, a librarian and blog writer for Mrs ReaderPants, post attending a genre-ying your library workshop, applied it at her school and the data collection results showed a great difference. “We completed our genre-fication project at the end of May 2011, which for us, is the end of the school year. The first real data we have for the success of our project is from the first three weeks of school this year compared with the same period in 2010:
|DATE||# OF ITEMS CIRCULATED||DIFFERENCE|
|Aug. 23-Sept. 10, 2010||1,212|
|Aug. 22 – Sept. 9, 2011||2,310||= 1,098 more circulations over the same period last year!|
The students are excited about being able to find what they want quickly, and as a result, our circulation statistics over the same period last year nearly doubled. For the first time since we opened our campus three years ago, all of our sixth and eighth grade literature teachers began the school year with a major genre assignment, using the library’s new genre categories as the guide. I actually saw eighth grade English classes as a group outside their library orientations! ”
I chose District 9, (2009) to explore and to some extent the generic expectations of a Sci-Fi film are fulfilled because there are many stereotypical expectations included, such as aliens, futuristic action and modern technology, which is conventionally expected from these types of texts.
However, there are some unusual aspects which doesn’t fit this usual genre, such as the main character not ‘winning’. Also, the romantic ending is not a happy one. District 9 doesn’t conform to the standard characteristics of the genre of Sci-fi due to its documentary style and almost anti generic view of aliens, having them looking almost human, but also very different look to them, making them look like humanoid insects, or prawns, hence their names. They also portray these aliens as refugees in the story, a very uncharacteristic feature in the Sci-fi Genre, as aliens are usually portrayed as the villain e.g during alien invasions.
“District 9” does a lot of things right, including giving us aliens to remind us not everyone who comes in a spaceship need be angelic, octopod or stainless steel. It is also a seamless merger of the mockumentary and special effects because the aliens are computer generated imagery. And there’s a harsh parable here about the alienation and treatment of refugees. Generic conventions are the features within the text that allow us to associate the text to a specific genre. The genre of District 9 is Science-fiction, action and well we can say thriller. This is shown through the iconographic use of out of this world beings, advanced technology and weaponry that humans cannot understand and plenty of action, conflict scenes and explosions.
Narrative (Blog 3) ( The black hole)
The Australian Oxford Dictionary defines a narrative as, “According to Hartley J 2004 “Narrative is continuous story”.
I have chosen ‘The Black Hole’, a short film by Phil Sampson and Olly Williams (2008) for this assignment.
This is a typical linear narrative which means it has a chronological sequence of events. The beginning, middle and the end. According to the Tzvetan Todorov narrative theory, there are five stages and the Black Hole clearly depicts these.
A State of equilibrium. The intro starts with a black screen that leads to a circle only that it’s not a black one. A man in the office, maybe doing overtime or working night shift. He checks the time, it’s 0300 in the morning, clearly not enjoying his time there, looks bored and tired from his facial expression and sigh. Environment is grey which is significant because it shows emotionless, is a timeless is often associated with loss or depression. Dark, charcoal gray communicates some of the strength and mystery of black. But he has to work so gets on with his work.
Secondly there is a disruption of equilibrium The photocopier breaks down, he sighs, rolls his eyes and gives it a kick and it prints out a black circle. Surprised he puts it aside and checks to see if he had indeed placed the original copy of the expected printout. He accidentally discovers the black hole when he places an empty cup on top of the black circle on the paper on top of the photocopier. The cup vanishes and he hears a strange sound, he is instantly filled with mixed emotions of shock, fear, excitement curiosity, a sense of danger and adventure all at once. He investigates and realises supernaturally this circle is a hole. He is intrigued by this new discovery post finding the cup inside the circle and just to make sure he isn’t insane he lifts up the paper and puts his hand through. Curiosity has the best of him now and there is no turning back.
Thirdly recognition of disruption . He gets more confident in his discovery, smiles and attempts the vending machine where he pulls out a chocolate bar and proceeds to eat it. Instant gratification and with a sense of ego or pride, he looks for a more daring challenge. A room that is clearly marked, ‘KEEP OUT’ just like the biblical garden of Eden and the prohibited fruit, he boldly opened the door with arrogance and once opened the door, proceeds to the money safe. He pulls out the first bundle he trembles and he laughs in disbelief. It feels like his problems will be solved and is clearly not thinking of the consequences. Consumed by greed he works faster and harder to get everything out of the safe by crawling into the safe. No sense of safety or security to know how he will get out.
Fourth is the attempt to repair disruption – He is brought back into the vulnerable position when the paper falls off the door. There is no supernatural backing to get him out. He is trapped in the safe. A new fear is ignited, adrenaline has just tripled, a sense of doom and hopelessness. His life, family job, house etc and probably imprisonment.We return back to the reality where he is waiting to be found by his workmates, boss, cleaner etc. There is no supernatural help coming from a circle or elsewhere.
Fifth is the reinstatement of equilibrium How does he come out? It’s through the natural way as was intended, and that is the door. With or without him the workplace will return to normal and this affirms the fact that we have returned to the original phase. The narrative has come full circle and have completed Todorov’s theory and we have seen every step unfolding effortlessly.
In summary narrative is used to show the transformation of someone’s life when under the influence of greed. In The Black Hole it possesses someone’s mind to change how they think and destroy their motives. This narrative emphasises the man’s way of being from development of an honest man working to fend for his ? family to using a supernatural encounter to get chocolate bar off the vending machine without payment and later going the extra mile to stealing the money. Greed is within all of us however if not tamed can lead to irreconcilable fate. The lesson here is a cause and effect where there are consequences in everything we do. Biblically speaking he attempted to gain the whole world and lost his soul, his dignity.
Intertextuality (Blog 4)
The conception of Intertextuality as a term was seen in Julia Kristena’s “word, dialogue and novel”1966 and then in ” The bounded text”(1966-1967) essay she wrote shortly after arriving in Paris from her native Bulgaria.
I believe simply put that its referencing a text in another text. When you see something and it relates to or triggers a memory of words, pictures, music, poem, stories or film. It’s like a story with a story which can be obvious at first sight or one which gives you the feeling of ‘I’m sure I have seen or heard that before. That was such and such.’ Practically in a way its like the Russian Doll Matryoshka. Change colours, size and artwork in some but still maintained the identity of a Matryoshka. Kristena explains that “There are other words in a word, other texts in a text. The concept of intertextuality requires, therefore that we understand texts not as self-contained systems but as different and historical, as traces and tracings of others since they are shaped by the repetition and transformations of other textual structures.”
The concept of Intertextuality she initiated proposes the text as a dynamic site in which relational process and practices are the focus of analysis instead of static structures and products. “Developing Baktin’s specialization of literary language, she argues that each word(text) is an intersection or other words( texts) where at least one other word(text) can be read.”( 1980,66)
Below are some examples of how intertexuality is applied. The first type of intertextuality is Appropriation, One example of appropriation seen in the poster below where the movie Star Wars Return of the Jedi was adopted by the family guy. It had a similar background, the mask won by Kylo Ren who is a fictional character in Star Wars, the spaceship and the words on the Family Guy posters and the way it was arranged, almost matched the star wars text. All theses are seen in both posters.
The concept of intertextuality that Maria initiated proposes that “the text as a dynamic site in which relational process and practices are the focus of analysis instead of static structures and products”. This is true because we are focussing on the relationship, what makes us think or go back to what we already know.
I love Shrek and just exploring the intertextuality concept makes me love the creativity used. Shrek was inspired by a boxer Maurice Tillet. Is there a resemblance right down to the lip or is it just my imagination.
Another example is from the Huffington Post titled ‘The Real stories behind these Disney movies that will ruin your childhood’, 2013, Zoe Triska who wrote that “In the Brothers Grimm version the events had a dark side which have since evolved and have been left out. She explains that in the Brothers Grimm version, one of Cinderella’s evil step sisters cuts off her toes, and the other her heel so they can both fit into the tiny glass slipper. Eventually Cinderella has the perfect fit for the shoe and the evil sisters attend the wedding, only to have their eyes pecked out by birds.” In the new editions or evolutions it is more child friendly and the good outweighs the bad. A constant thing is the fact that the story line runs across from the rags to riches, coming from a disadvantaged background where all odds are against the character but she thrives and lives happily ever after. This is a good example of appropriation because it is adapted, reinterpreted and appropriated the context to fit the audience.
Let us look at the movie Shrek. Right from the beginning there is the typical fairy tale aspect to it and straight away we see the ‘Once upon a time’, princess and castle. We also see a summary of the 4 movie collection where all the fairy tale characters from different stories which are easy to identify.
Below Lord Farquaad ruler of Duloc was about to entertain his people in a setting that takes us back to the movie the Gladiator 2000. This is a good example of an allusion because it has a historical background. In 105BC to 404CE the Roman Gladiator was an ancient professional fighter who specialised with particular weapons and armour. They fought before the public in organised games in the arena such as the one in Shrek. We also have an appropriation shown when Shrek ends up in a wrestling ring, similar to the one in World Wrestling Entertainment. Shrek proceeds to use wrestling moves and gestures as seen in WWE. Even Donkey is in on it when he asks to be tagged and he uses his head to knock the opposition out.
Now this I believe is a great example of appropriation where we see multiple characters adapted, reimagined and recreated to suit the plot from various fairytale books in one place. Characters which are known to us as children, such as the Three Blind Mice, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the wolf in Little Red Ridding Hood laying on the bed.
Lastly I will use some picture to express an allusion This one is a biblical one.
In conclusion, Intertextuality is a beautiful discovery because it helps us not to forget the past, it is a great platform to learn new things we didn’t know from for example writers such as Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet who have been referenced in music in cartoon, and many movies. It is practically everywhere in posters, advertisements, movies, comedy, poetry literally everywhere.
María Jesús Martínez Alfaro, Atlantis,Vol. 18, No. 1/2 (Junio – Diciembre 1996), pp. 268-285