Thursday, December 3, 2015

Media and Society

I would like to start by thanking my professor Rob. This blog post is intended to be a analysis of the course but will probably feel more like I am just "kissing-up". Because this class is honestly my favorite one this term. Not necessarily because of the content, but because Rob was passionate and enthusiastic about what he was teaching. You could tell his heart was into it. 

The structure of this class worked very well. I mostly enjoyed that the blog projects gave us multiple options to choose from and the options were pretty broad. So you didn't have to write about something you didn't want to.  The outside sources were also very well done. You could tell it was a list of videos, movies, and articles that have been tuned throughout the years.

The only thing I can think that might improve this class is having students comment on a different blog every week. This might add a better sense of community to the class and make students see what other students are thinking. Although this could easily become tedious, busy work. 

Everything in this class was there for a reason. The class was designed very well and was very fluid. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

LBCC Radio

Linn Benton Community College Radio. Hopefully the students considering starting it will have a catchier title. The idea is a good one, and it seams plausible. There are thousands of students that attend Linn Benton and even more people in the surrounding areas.

The issue with a radio station based at Linn Benton is that it will be expected to talk about happenings on campus and other Linn Benton exclusive topics. To me, anything is possible when it comes to radio. The success is usually based exclusively on delivery. People talking on the radio station, make the radio station.

There are exceptions of course. Niche audiences are a great way to get a loyal following.  One idea that appeals to myself, and many others; is a video game based program. Which is a large audience that not local nor large radio stations are appealing to. And according to NBC news this would be more of a wide audience then a niche one. They found that 70% of college students play video games; making this topic in high demand. With a little planning, students could create video game tournaments on campus (let's say every Friday), and broadcast the results on the LBCC Radio station. And making teams/competitors pay a small fee to compete and giving 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes, would make the event competitive and generate some revenue to fund the LBCC Radio venture.

Now as awesome as that sounds to gamers like me, a lot of other audiences might be yawning. So another, perhaps more relatable, idea is for a comical talk show. Over the summer I would listen to the same radio station everyday on my way to work because I loved listening to the prank phone calls and "Second Date updates" they had on the morning talk show. Listeners could call in and set up their friends with prank phone calls, and other comical ventures. This could easily be applicable to a college campus. The radio show played Pop music after the talk show, leading me to believe that their target audience was teenagers and young adults; the latter is found at this very place, college.

Idea number two is good for attaining listeners, but has no plan for funding. So, another idea for funding is to find local businesses to sponsor the radio station. And to cut down on costs even further, the job opportunities at the station should be mostly volunteer or internship based.

Another idea is to host events at local "clubs" like Impulse in Corvallis. Guaranteeing to bring in more customers for the business and asking people to pay a small admission fee. Then splitting the profits with the establishment.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Who needs a University when we have Google?

Who needs a University when we have Google?

Ironically, this question is from a book that is required for a class at my.. You guessed it, University. College is where most people go in search of success. We have been told our whole lives that the order of life is K-12 schooling, then college to get a degree. Maybe a Masters if that's what you wish. Because we have been told that this is what is required to get a job, support our families, and be successful. The current educational system with all the standardized testing is built "like a factory", just pumping out students; attempting to make each one the same.

Jeff Jarvis suggests a new educational system, better fit for today's day and age. One of his many ideas is to make education more of a club and less of a class. A system where peers work together and the best students teach subjects. Peer-to-peer education. This would work like a food web of learning. Students all connected in a network, helping and critiquing each other.

Another point he brings to his readers' attention is the fact that schools make students memorize information. One of my favorite quotes by Jeff "Why are we still teaching students to memorize facts when facts are available through search?" Years ago memorization was an important tool. But now with the majority of the population owning smart phones and having any resource they want at their finger tips, a fact is just a couple clicks away. The solution? Fulfill the students' curiosity. Do research, let the students ask questions and find the answers to them.

One thing that I would like to see change in our education system is the need to declare a major. Every student that goes through a 4 year university is generally required to take 2 years of prerequisites, and 2 years or courses that pertain to your major or minor. Why can't students just take whatever courses are interesting to them? Each course would still have credit amounts, and there would still be a required amount of credits to graduate. But instead of taking the required classes, students could take any classes they choose, and get a degree. The degree would just be an "I took enough credits to graduate" certificate. Then when applying to businesses after college, instead of saying "I have a degree in Math" you could just show them the courses you have taken. Students would have a portfolio of classes that reflect their interests and skills.

One thing that I have noticed in my couple years of college is that I don't tend to take classes that won't help with my degree. In fact I don't know one student that does. Because, as we all know, college is ridiculously expensive. I do hope that the cost of college will go down, but even if it didn't, the graduation portfolio of classes would be a way for students to explore their interests and not be "wasting money". For some people it's easy. They know exactly what they want to major in; major in it, and graduate. As for the students like me, they would love to explore programs that many different majors offer. Graduation portfolio would also relieve a lot of the pressure to be set and stone in one major. I could take classes in many different fields, and use that to apply to a vast array of jobs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crimson Peak

I recently spent half a fortune going to the movies to see the new horror film "Crimson Peak". I chose this movie because I enjoy horror movies and because, based off the trailer, it looked like it had more depth than the average horror movie.

The film was directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins. Guillermo is known for his film making career with works like "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Pacific Rim". "Crimson Peak" made over $13 million opening weekend and so far has raked in almost $70 million worldwide.

The movie takes place in the late 1800's. The protagonist is a young girl named Edith, the daughter of a successful American business man. She is an author who's editor insists on her writing romance novels. She insists on writing ghost novels after being visited by the ghost of her mother at a young age. The ghost of her mother foreshadows for us with her single phrase of: "Beware of Crimson Peak." Edith is eventually swept off her feet by a young suitor named Thomas. They get married, and then she moves to Thomas' huge house with him and his sister. And because this is a horror film, once she arrives at his home, he tells her they call this location "Crimson Peak". Edith quickly begins seeing ghosts all over the mansion, and stumbles upon clues as to what is really going on at Crimson Peak. And to avoid spoilers, I will stop here.

This movie is appealing because it isn't like your average horror film, which has it's ups and downs. The positive is that I couldn't predict the entirety of the plot like I could if I went to see another "Paranormal Activity" or any of your other average ghost film. This film might be a direct reflection of people being tired of the "Paranormal Activity" type of movies.

The downside to this movie's uniqueness is that it felt underwhelming in the fear department. Peter Debruge would agree with me in his review stating "Guillermo del Toro creates a visionary haunted house movie with vacancies where scares should be." It almost just felt like a very dark romance movie. It also was somewhat slow moving. The fact that it was slow moving is good and bad. Bad because nobody likes slow moving movies. But good because it had a reason for being slow moving. Unlike some horror movies, "Crimson Peak" actually spent time creating an interesting story line.

"Crimson Peak" had an R rating, making it targeted to adult audiences. The film kind of flopped in the box office. Although critics didn't dislike the film, but instead said it was targeted to a very specific audience; according to Capo Dispatch.

Ultimately, this movie did it's job. It kept me entertained and made me cover my eyes a few times. Unfortunately, it won't stand the test of times. This film is not one that people will be eager to go out and buy on DVD as soon as it is released, because the audience is too specific. The only reason this film will be remembered is because the ghosts in the film were created with beautiful makeup THEN enhanced by CGI. When movies tend to do it the other way around. Here is a link to some of the pictures, not safe for work. And here is a few of the pictures:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


To my generation newspapers seem to be a thing of the past. In fact the only one my family bothers getting anymore is the Sunday Oregonian. It is no mystery as to why people are flocking away from newspapers. News is delivered straight to all of us; whether it be social media, a blog, or reddit. There is no need to wait on the daily paper when all the news you want is one click away.

As for the future of newspapers, Jeff Jarvis has many suggestions in his book "What Would Google Do?" One of these suggestions I have already discussed a little. Distribution. You may notice that when your parents, friends, relatives, etc. post about news on social media, that it usually links to a newspapers website. This is because newspaper companies are still out there doing all the research and getting all the information we want to hear. The only problem is that we don't want to wait. So Jeff suggests working with people. He does not suggest working with other companies, but working with the public; in his words: "recruiting and mobilizing the public to report." 

Another topic he dives into is the inefficiency of newspapers. With newspapers and word of mouth being the only ways of acquiring the news, they had no one to compete with; therefor, no need for maximum efficiency. But now that newspapers are competing with the world wide web, they don't have the time or money to have 3+ editors and publishers look at each story. Because on the internet, something happens, and millions of people are posting, blogging, tweeting, and doing whatever they desire to get the news out. Which, again, puts the newspapers way behind schedule. 

One strategy newspapers could pursue, is focusing more on local news. Hear me out. When something big happens in the World, you hear about it. The news comes to you. But you may not see tweets and Facebook posts about smaller local stories. And small stories are still news. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Freedom of Expression

The First Amendment. One big reason why America has become a world power. Freedom of Expression lets us, as citizens, do exactly that- express ourselves. We can almost say whatever we want. We can use photos and music that we didn't create ourselves, to an extent.

But some take their Freedoms to the extreme and enjoy pushing the boundaries. There are endless examples of social media accounts being distasteful and hurtful with their Tweets or status updates. Racism, bullying, hate, etc have an easier way to reach their audiences and offend others, via the internet. Of course, most sane people are against this; myself included. But, these blogs, status updates, tweets, all seem to get plenty of views and upvotes. There is almost no way to stop this. Almost every person in the US has access to the internet. All these people with unique voices, unique blogs, unique social media pages. It isn't reasonable for us to expect people to be able to monitor all of these people to make sure nothing hurtful is being said.

RIP!: A Remix Manifesto is a documentary film on copyright laws that affect DJs, and other people's creative outlets. The manifesto presented in the documentary is:

1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.

The documentary is so interesting because what most people would listen to and not think twice about, could very well be illegally made due to copyright laws. It is shocking to me that copyright laws have the power to hinder somebody's creative abilities to the extent shown in the film. One of my favorite rappers said it better than I could, and it seems to reiterate #4 in the manifesto. At the very end of J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive album he is saying his thank you's. Hopefully you can get past the language and hear the message:
"And all the mothaf***in' samples that cleared, thank you
Y'all be tryin' to give a n**** a hard time on the samples, man!
I'ma go to the f***in' Supreme Court
And try to make this s*** easier
For n****s like me to clear these samples, man.
If you made the f***in' music, and you made the art
And you put it into the world
I should be able to use it however the f*** I want.
I'ma pay you, I'ma give you a percentage
But you shouldn't be able to tell me I can't use it.
Ya, that's f***in'... that's f***ed up n****.
You was inspired by the world
Allow the world to be inspired by your s*** and to use your s***.
So all them people like, or whoever that don't let n****s use they s***
F*** that man. It's 2014, 2015 by the time you might hear this s***.
F*** that man we movin' on"

Topic #2:
In reply to Nolan's Blog post:

I am a little saddened by the fact that you are displeased with Ken Jeong's performance in The Hangover. Which was one of the best comedy movies in the recent years. As for the sequels... No one can argue in their favor. In my opinion he can only play one role, and everyone got enough of that one roll in the first Hangover movie. I'm also here for because I loved Community and Troy and Abed fill me with happiness. Here is a link to Troy and Abed mainly for my grade but nobody can get enough of these guys in my opinion:
But as far as your review of this show, completely agree. My favorite line is "...the child actor playing the son, who must to be a nephew of a producer because there’s no other explanation for why they put him in front of a camera." 

Oh and thank you for your blunt honesty. That was refreshing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

South Park Review

South Park is an adult cartoon series that seems to be withstanding the tests of time. Now on their 19th season, the show always relates to the current events and news. South Park is about four elementary school boys, Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle, who do outrageous things in their town. The episode I watched aired on October 14th, 2015, titled "You're not Yelping". The episode follows Cartman, Randy (Stan's dad), Gerald (Kyle's dad), as well as many others in the town who use Yelp. In this episode the little town of South Park has grown and with the new found growth, comes new business. With the new business comes people who are reviewing the businesses on Yelp. Each "Yelper" in the episode goes to the businesses and says they are a "food critic" and ask for the best seat, free dessert, etc. The business owners are intimidated by the "Yelpers" at first, only to eventually band together and start a "No Yelpers" campaign in the town; hanging up signs saying things like "We don't care if you are a food blogger". Once the "Yelpers" lose power, they begin to take down businesses in a more literal sense by destroying buildings. The show quickly takes a dark turn and associates the "Yelpers" with terrorist groups like ISIS, even showing ISIS clips at one point in the episode. Eventually the major of the town gives each "Yelper" a gold badge to make them feel special, and businesses let them back into their establishments. With a convenient gold badge to make the "Yelpers" stand out, cooks begin to wipe boogers, defecate, and do other unspeakable things in the "Yelpers" food, all the while making them feel special. This creates a balance where the "Yelpers" still feel important and the businesses are able to get revenge.

The ads that were played during the episode were as follows:                                                     -Rock the Kasbah                                             -Tostitos
-Wicked City                                                  -Joe's Crab Shack
-Joe's Crab Shack                                           -Sketchers
-Scion                                                             -Starbucks
-Kentucky Fried Chicken                               -WWE
-Moonbeam City                                            -Xfinity
-Steve Jobs (the movie)
-Anti-Smoking campaign
-Rock the Kasbah
-Apple Watch
-Moonbeam City
-Our Brand is Priceless
-Kia Optima
-South Park
-Burger King

The style of South Park is clearly satirical. In fact, its satirical approach on the episode poking fun on Yelp has put the creators of South Park and Comedy Central in the middle of a 10 million dollar lawsuit. Yelp issued a statement and quickly after, South Park released a statement showing just how sarcastic they can be. I found their response at NBC's website and it read “We’ve taken a hard look at the information presented to us, and after reviewing it, we have given Yelp and their lawsuit only one star. Their lawyers delivered us legal documents in a very unprofessional manner; not bothering to smile or even a quick handshake. The writing on the envelope was barely legible and in two different colors. It is our personal opinion that Yelp could do a much better job by not suing us for ten million dollars.” Kind of have to love their sense of humor. 

South Park is similar to the popular show The Simpsons. Although South Park is a lot more edgy and seems to say whatever they please. After all, here is the warning they display at the beginning of their show:

South Park is one of the few shows that doesn't try to avoid stereotypes, but chooses to embrace them. They have the stereotypical: Jewish family, single mom, Asian restaurant owner, African American family, etc. Essentially, the creators of the show chose to include every stereotype that comes to mind. 

The commercials during the show were clearly directed to men, ages 18 to about 30. Income level of middle class, perhaps even lower middle class with the multiple websites for taking out loans. I don't think I need to get too in depth as to why it is for men 18-30. Fast food, Junk food, Car commercials, I mean they even had a WWE commercial. Showing these commercials on Comedy Central, more specifically, on South Park works well because the adult humor in the show attracts older audiences. But the childish vulgarity generally turns off the female viewer. 

South Park has many strengths. It is a cartoon that has plenty of childish jokes and dark humor for those who enjoy that. Aside from its comical exterior, it also appeals to those who are up on current events. Most episodes are poking fun at current events. For example, one episode bashes on the website that consistently crashed, as well as pop star Miley Cyrus. The genius of making fun of current events is that most people are already discussing it among each other, making it easy to throw a "Did you see what South Park said about it last night?" into the conversation. 

The weakness of South Park is that it isn't very appealing to wide audiences. For example, if I tell my mom about something clever the show did she is usually interested. But if she sits down to watch it with me it, it takes about 10 minutes for her to say "This show is stupid" and leave. I think older generations dismiss cartoons as "kid shows" whereas my generation takes them for what they are and warm up to them easier.  South Park tends to appeal to a very specific audience and seems to have no interest in broadening it. 

IGN reviewed this episode with a rating of 3 stars out of 5. Although I am somewhat biased to South Park, I would say this is a fair rating. Personally I would give it another star or at least a 3 and a half. But I would agree that this episode didn't make me laugh out loud as much as usual. Making it an average episode. As IGN said, some of the jokes that continued throughout the episode were beat into the ground. 

According to Den of Geek this episode only earned 2.5 stars out of 5. Although where IGN actually picked apart the episode and explained its rating, Den of Geek's review seemed to be a insulted Yelp reviewer who was going to "stick it to the man" by writing a poor review of the show. The review even ended with "But what the hell do I know, I’m just some asshole giving things star ratings on the internet." At least you understand that you are just some unqualified reviewer giving out stars on the internet. 

Personally, I am a pretty big fan of this show. I don't tune in to catch the newest episode every week, but when I see re-runs on, I always watch them. Another great thing about South Park is that you can watch it for free on Comedy Central's website. South Park does a very good job on Social Media posting clips, pictures, updates, and links to watch their show for free.

South Park is a great show for those mature enough to wade through the vulgar and profanity ridden jokes. It doesn't take long to appreciate the deeper political satyr that the show has hidden under the surface.