Monthly Archives: February 2012

Media, Internet, Mimesis & Hyperreality

The media heavily influences an individual’s daily life in many ways. People rely on the news to be knowledgeable regarding what is occurring both near and far from them. For example, when an individual is murdered in a neighborhood people within that neighborhood rely primarily on news to be aware of this information. The film and music industries are both billion-dollar industries as they both mediums are able to reach a range of audiences; therefore their success is enormous. Individuals listen to music that they feel appeals to them and their character and watch movies that may evoke various feelings within them. The Internet has become a major phenomenon and people worldwide rely on it for a variety of their everyday lives, such as researching, shopping, and various methods of communication. Internet and video game addictions are becoming more and more common, pushing the public to question the power of the media.

The study of Plato and Aristotle can be applied to the majority of the course material, as their ethical perspectives can be applied broadly. According to Plato, mimesis is a reproduction of something “…by holding up a mirror to nature.” Plato’s “couch” consisted of three pieces, beginning with God’s couch, which is considered the original piece. The second piece is the crafstman’s couch, which is once removed from reality and the truth, therefore this is not a creation; rather, it is an imitation of something else. The third piece is the artist or painter’s couch, which is twice removed from reality. As such, Plato does not consider this authentic knowledge. This is an aspect of media I had never recognized before therefore it was awakening to view media in this aspect. In my personal opinion Plato’s theory was both correct and incorrect when studying today’s media. Mimesis would be similar toadaptations, as they both involve the process of imitating a former medium. Although this may appear simple to many, the process of adaption is quite complicated. Through the process of adaptation, much of the original basic information is altered or lost. For example, events may be altered, characters may not be the same and the point of view it is portrayed in varies. With this information in mind, the adaptation does take its own form. There are generally three modes of storytelling across all media. These are the telling mode, the showing mode and the participatory mode. The telling mode can be books, magazines, poems, etc. Plays, movies and other visual forms would be showing mode. Lastly, video games, online games and other forms, which “immerse us physically as well as esthetically”, are considered to be participatory modes. Today’s media strongly relies on adapting former mediums in order to succeed, as the public may be familiar with these former mediums. For example, books are often made into extremely successful movies, which are then possibly made into video games or posters, bookmarks, binders, etc. This process of remediation is highly common in today’s media and is necessary for the media’s success.

One topic of debate throughout is the effect of video games on its participants. Prior to this research, I always believed that video games were addictive and should be avoided, especially when games involve violence, war, gangs, drugs or sexuality. As such, I never understood an individual’s desire to partake in this activity. On the contrary, I constantly asked that my younger brother and other friends did not play. After becoming familiar with Baudrillard, simulations, and hyperreality, my perception of video games began to change. Hyperreality refers to the unclear distinctions between real and unreal, as the real is no longer natural as it is reproduced throughout various mediums and technology. Therefore, the reproduction of “reality” becomes as real as actual reality. Video games are an example of this, as individuals are living in a different world through the game, as a replacement of the real. Playing video games can provide the gamer with an encounter that they would not essentially and realistically be able to experience in their life otherwise. Therefore, the hyperreal indicates the simulation’s replacement of the real, allowing the video games to stand in for reality. This is both beneficial and potentially dangerous for participants. Similarly to all other media, video games and online games require extreme care and caution when being played. On one hand, video games can be an alternative experience that participants will encounter knowing it is a mere game. On the other hand, one can become extremely addicted to these games and the distinction between real and fake can become blurred. This is also similar to people’s involvement and use with the Internet.

The Internet has become an extreme phenomenon in the past decade, altering means of communications in methods which were unimaginable in previous years. Whereas in the past individuals separated by extreme distances would communicate via telephone or written letters, in present times individuals are able to technologically, through the Internet, communicate easily. In seconds, one is able to upload a photo to any social networking site imaginable, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. This phenomenon, as great as it may appear to many, also has its negatives. Privacy and copyrights are some of the biggest issues both corporations and individuals must encounter when dealing with the Internet. The Internet is available to any individual worldwide, therefore uploading personal information and images online can be devastating. At the same time, people become immensely attached to these technologies, as they become a part of our daily routines and lives. These technologies are so advanced one is capable of accessing Facebook and Twitter, among hundreds of thousands of other applications, on devices such as cell phones, and even music players such as iPods. With such advancements, it is only natural for one to be confused regarding the boundaries between hyperreality and everyday life. As a part of the research I attempted to convey how the online world and the real world are becoming more and more intertwined, making it as such that individuals have more meaningless interaction via the Internet, rather than proper and actual interaction with the people surrounding them. Society is in need of realizing that as media changes, we change with it instantly. As Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Medium is the Message, the media is “…forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.”

If a Man Wants You… MY Version.

“If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If a man doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay.”

I keep seeing this quote on girl’s pages.

And I know as they read it over and over again to themselves, they are gleefully giggling, thinking “yeah, yeah, ain’t that the truth.”

“If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away?”

Love is not supposed to hurt, or be carried with regret. Love can not be put on hold, and is one of the hardest things to let go. Love is not selfish, love should not be selfish.

A man once promised me, that he had changed and that he would never break my heart. He confessed his love for me, and I trusted that he loved me.

I have grown as a woman over the years, but I have also grown as a person. I know what I want, what I don’t want, what I need, and what I need to let go of. I know a man who knows what he wants, knows what I don’t want, knows what he needs, and knows what I need. I know a man that realizes there is a girl out there, who loves to love her man. This man knows that at times, the only way to save the one you love from getting hurt is not by letting them go, but letting them know, you’ve always loved them and you always will.

I know a man unlike any other man. Because he’s never cheated, he’s never lied; he tells me what it is, no matter what it is. He loved me enough to let me go, until he bettered himself. He loved me enough, to let me go, rather then hurt me along the way.

Therefore when I hear about all these women getting cheated on, knowing it, ignoring it… I can’t help but pity them.

They know it, but figure if he’s staying, he must love them. If he’s coming home every night, they’re content, thinking “he’s home so everything must alright.”

If a man loves you, he will NEVER stay and hurt you. If a man loves you, he will not buy you gifts to make up for the guilt of constantly cheating on you. If a man loves you he will let you go rather then stay and lie, deny, just to keep you guessing. If a man wants to be considered a man, he must posses the qualities of a man, a good man.

“If a man doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay?”

A man once told me, “If I stay with you, you’ll have to put up with the same life.
Im not ready for change yet”, he would tell me. “I’ll never leave you, but I won’t stay to hurt you either.” If a man wants you, nothing will allow him to hurt you, if a man doesn’t want you, nothing can keep him faithful.”

If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it was meant to me. If not, it never was….

For the Unconventional Women

Over thirty and not married? According to Ganong and his co-researcher, Elizabeth Sharp, a professor at Texas Tech, if you aren’t married by the age of 30 you are a loser characterized by the pressure to conform to “conventional life pathways,” which naturally include a husband and baby.

Throughout history, men have always been capable of choosing a path in life that they felt suited them best. Unfortunately, women have been unable to have that same right and privilege. Traditional gender roles are still evident in our society and they dominate the way in which the majority of individuals still perceive marriage. From when we are under ten years of age we are already pre-conditioned to accept that our primary function for existence is finding a boy to love us, marriage, followed by children. We spent most of our childhood lives fantasizing about white, strapless gowns and the final “I do’s.” Being unmarried by a certain age implies something ‘wrong’ with you, as no man wants to be with you, rather than the other way around.

A woman being unmarried at any age does not indicate that she is dysfunctional in any way. On the contrary, she may be self aware and confident enough to actually live her life however she desires. Far too often do people get into a relationship unaware of their selves, insecure due to their own flaws- and this especially applies to females. Too many women still live under the notion that once they meet a partner and settle down they will finally find true happiness; hence why the women who chose to remain unmarried are viewed as dysfunctional.

We have shows such as The Bachelor, where twenty five insecure, hopeful women compete for a relationship with a man they barely know anything about. Then we have the female version, The Bachelorette, where twenty five men compete for the temporary love of a stereotypical, desperate woman. There are endless shows with a similar theme, implying that women can only find true happiness through a man and marriage. Yet all these shows have one similarity among them and that is the inability for any of these relationships to endure past the first three months. It’s rather fascinating that with numerous failed relationship attempts these shows still continue to dominate our television screens and brainwash our already manipulated minds.

Well, newsflash to all the traditional, old school, judgmental individuals- some women chose to be emotionally reliant on themselves and indirectly married to their careers. Being unwilling to rely on a man for financial or emotional stability is one of the top reasons why women chose to be alone, alongside endless other personal motives.

What makes a person happy can not be determined by anyone or anything other than that person. Maybe that thirty-two year old you met at the party and questioned about her single status has consciously made this choice for herself and is content with it. Far too often does society assume and judge others, however every person makes decisions on a daily basis and the majority of these grown women have made the decision to spend their life with friends, family and colleagues.

It is now 2012 and it is time to let go of the conventional, traditional gender roles.

Fame and the Kardashian Effect

Far too often in today’s media do we encounter individuals lusting after fame. Not knowledge, not fortune, not dreams. While some people are more interested in fame due to a talent they are blessed with, many more simply want to be, well, famous. This isn’t much of a surprise with the numerous individuals walking around Hollywood without having made much of a contribution to society in any way, shape, or form. Who else to use for an example then the Kardashian trio?

Not a single one of these females positively contributes to our world, yet society is obsessed with every step they take, every dress they try on, and every man they sleep with. In  every magazine I pick up, every channel I flip through and every online social network I login to, all I am bombarded with is the Kardashian effect.

We have the reality show, Keeping Up With the KardashiansKim has a book, perfume, and jewelry line. She promotes working out with her Fit in Your Jeans by Friday exercise DVDs, during which you can wear Skechers, another client using her to sell unnecessary products. If you want to look cute, pop on some Kim-endorsed LipFusion Infatuation. Then there’s her Beach Bunny bikinis selling for $200 each and her ShoeDazzle shoes for another $49.99.. What do all these facts add to? Millions of dollars, fifteen minutes of fame and a horrifying future for the millions of young girls idolizing Kim as their role models.

Despite all Kim’s extraordinary achievements,  simply put, not a single one of the Kardashian trio possesses a degree in any field. Let me also continue to state that not a single one of them has any information of significance to share with the world. Not once have I heard a Kardashian speak regarding feminism, or politics, or maybe day to day issues that affect our youth such as bullying or drug abuse. No. All we are exposed to is their lavish lifestyle and their expensive houses and cars that we provided them with.

I would like to remind everyone that Kim Kardashian became famous after a brief relationships with rapper Ray J, who “leaked” a homemade porno video of the couple. Since then, Kim has gone on to become an icon and the beauty editor of OK! magazine. As a journalism major this appalls me. There is much work that is required behind becoming an editor, and Kim does not contain any of the required skills.

Well, it is no wonder much of our youth aspires to be famous in all wrong the ways, because as the Kardashians have demonstrated a leaked sex tape may eventually land an editing contract.

The Truth Behind the Veil

The Truth Behind the Veil: Distinguishing Between Religion and Culture

The only time Orit Adose felt out of place wearing her cultural veil was in Toronto’s Transit Commission. She remembers fearing riding the subway due to cold stares of rejection as if her choice to wear her hijab was a personal attack on those judging her; and she remembers under-breath mumbling of her intense need of rescue even though she felt liberated under her veil. It was because of the TTC that Orit made the conscious choice to only wear her hijab when she is praying.

It is common in Western society to look at a woman in a veil and wonder whether she is forced to wear that veil or if she made the conscious decision, out of her own free will. “The hijab is a representation of a woman’s faith and devotion to her culture,” says Hilda Osman, a member of the Sister’s Committee at the Pickering Islamic Center. So why is the hijab often associated with the Muslim religion in itself?

In order to understand Islam one must first separate the religion from the cultural norms and practices of certain societies. The hijab is a deliberate, personal choice that is only religiously required to worn during prayer; as such, it is not required to be worn at all times.

Hinda differentiates between the four different dressing attires practiced and the countries they are mostly practiced in. The hijab is a veil that covers a woman’s hair and shows her face entirely. It is common throughout the world. The burqa is a form of body cover that extends from head to feet with a mesh over the woman’s face, which allows her to see and breathe. This body cover is most common in Afghanistan. The chador is a Persian term for a body covering that sits on the head and covers the entire body. Lastly, the niqab is a veil that covers the head and face, leaving a space for the eyes; common in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Pennisula.

“The first step to ending stereotyping against Muslim women is to understand that just like Christian and Jewish women, Mulsim women practice their faith in different countries of the world,” explains Hinda. “It is often easy to forget that we are not all one large group of homogenous clones of each other.” She goes on to explain that Muslim women can be found in countries throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia as well as Northern Africa.

In many countries, however, Muslim women do not chose to wear any of the above dress forms. In Europe, many countries practice Islam. These countries include Albania, Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Poland. In all of the above countries it is not legally mandatory to be covered in any Islamic dressing form. This leads to the question: why is it that certain Islamic countries impose a hijab, chador, niqab or burqa upon their women?

“Islamic extremists in many countries chose to use their power to belittle women in the name of religion,” says Orit. A perfect example of this is the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, completely degrading the rules Muslims live by.

Under the Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001 women were unable to work, unable to be educated past the age of eight and even unable to visit male doctors without a male companion; which led to many illnesses remaining untreated. The women were forced to wear a burqa at all times and remain in their home taking care of their household chores.

Saudi Arabia is another example of an extremist Islamic country where there is no differentiation between culture and religion. Although 70% of the university students are women, only 5% of the workforce is composed of females. Women in Saudi Arabia are not as much as allowed to drive a car. This obscure law was passed in 1990 when fourty-seven women were “caught” driving. However, many females break the law and chose drive despite potential consequences.

“A woman forbidden from driving in Riyadh will get behind a wheel with enthusiasm, as she has knowledge that this injustice has nothing to do with the religion she believes in,” says Hinda. “The same applies to cultural dress forms. It is easy to confuse practice and culture withreligion,” she specifies.

Islam is potentially one of the most misinterpreted religions of the world. Cultural practices and unjust laws that are sadly imposed due to extremist rules are often interpreted as religious practices, especially in the Western world where stereotypes towards Islamic people are extremist. In order to truly end discrimination and stereotyping toward Islamic women it is essential to understand that Islam is practiced in many parts of the world with different laws and different cultural norms.

The Genius of Toni Morrison

“You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right — that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, beacuse the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”
— Toni Morrison

Relationships Do Not Have Guidelines

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Many people in today’s society seem to believe that entering a relationship comes with a set guidebook of rules, regulations & responsibilities. As true as this may be, every couple, or every person I should say, has different needs and wants in a relationship. To me, it’s not about the act of being in a relationship or in love. It’s not about feeling incomplete without them, it’s not about being lonely & depressed when they’re gone from your life. Love happens naturally when you suddenly meet a person you can not live your day to day life without… There are no unwritten or written rules, there are no set standards of loving. Every person has different ways of achieving and maintaing happiness; the key is to find someone who will effortlessly add to it. But for any relationship to work they primary key is personal satisfaction and happiness. Do not waste your time clinging on to someone out of personal insecurity; you will make their life hell and probably have you feeling worse about yourself then you ever did. Love is not a cure to insecurity. It is an additive to happiness. Romantic love is no different than any other love & should not be viewed as something that requires effort & work to survive. There will always be disagreements. There will always be arguments. There will always be unhappy moments. That’s life.