Thursday, November 29, 2007
  Bill Crosby the authority on family values
This morning I was watching The View while I was getting ready for school. The ladies were giving a recap of the "YouTube" Republican presidential debate.

They showed a clip of Mitt Romney answering a question from two African American men (one older the other younger). The younger one asked, "I want to ask you guys a question. I notice you spent billions of dollars on the war in Iraq every year. But what about the war going on in our country, black on black crime? 200 to 400 black men die yearly in one city alone. What are you going to do about that war? It feels like the Taliban is right outside."

Mitt Romney's response was unbelievable. I also thought it was a classic stereotypical response. This is what Romney said, "Well, first of all, Francis is pretty fortunate because he’s got a dad standing next to him that apparently loves him by all appearances there. That’s probably the best thing you can do for a kid is have a mom and a dad. [applause] It’s time in this country that we go back to the kind of values that allow kids to have moms and dads. In the African American community today, 68 percent of kids born are born out of wedlock. And so we’re going to try, once again to reinculcate in this country a kind of values that have made us strong, family values. Secondly-Well, one, about the war in the inner city, number one, is to get more moms and dads, that’s number one. And thank heavens Bill Cosby said it like it was. That’s where the root of crime starts."

Okay, I have all sorts of problems with this response from Romney, but I'm just going to stick to the one that applies to the topic of our blog, "minority portrayal." Romney uses Bill Crosby as a "supportive and authoritative" reference that the the solution to "black on black" crime is to make sure black kids have a mom and a dad.

Romney also framed his answer with a statistic (68 percent of African American kids are born out of wedlock). I don't know but, maybe Romney should talk to the single African American mothers that are working 2 to 3 jobs to provide for their kids and make sure they pay the bills and put food on the table.
Friday, November 23, 2007
  The Joke is on who?
The internet has changed the world so drastically in good and bad ways, we know this. Myspace and Facebook were created to find old friends and make new ones...However, slowely these two sites are turning into gossip columns about people. Secrets are posted, friends are bashed. It is getting dangerous.

I was sitting with my father today at breakfast (morning after Thanksgiving) and he handed me the paper. "You need to read this article," he said. So I did.

The title of the article was "Stop me if you heard this one." It was an article about a 13 year old girl Megan Meier, who was socially awkward, heavy set, and struggled with depression. Her best friend and her were off and on, as most kids are at that age, and finally after one more fight Megan called it quits. She did not want to be friends with this girl anymore.

One day, Megan recieved a friend request on her Myspace from "Josh." He was " a gift from the god of cute boys" (musician, homeschooled, new in town) "major hottie". The two spoke everyday, until one day Josh started to be very mean to Megan.

"I can't be friends with you anymore because I heard you were mean to your friends," said Josh. Megan was so confused and didn't understand why he would say that. The messages were getting worse. "You are a slut, the world would be better without you, everybody hates you."

After that final message Megan killed herself. Her parents found her hanging in her room.

Later, the parents come to find out that Josh never really existed. The parents of Megan's ex- best friend, created a false profile to hurt Megan.

Sadly, the parents broke no laws in doing this, and therefore, can not be prosecuted.

This is a huge effect on how media can destroy someone's life. Not just emotionally, but literally.

The story was a huge wake up call to me on how easy it is to lie or be deceitful on the internet.

Those parents are sick.
Monday, November 12, 2007
  Is the FCC reaching for the stars?
The Morning News ran an interesting story today about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) possibly increasing its authority over cable networks.

An unreleased report is said to have found that a clause in the 1984 Cable Act may have come to fruition. The clause says that when cable providers with more than 36 channels are available and subscribed to by 70 percent of U.S. households the FCC can introduce new laws that diversify information sources that come from cable.

This begs the question is it time to evaluate the FCC regulations. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t cable sort of a pulled media source? Don’t you think people who order cable know what they’re getting?

I don’t believe the FCC should have as much control over cable as it does over standard channels. With developments like the V-Chip cable can be a safe medium for children.

It will be interesting to see what the report says when it is finally released. (The date is still unknown.)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
  Child with 8 Limbs
My friend just walked into the room and said," So, have you seen the kid with 8 legs?"

Obviously, not a typical greeting. Someone had posted the link on her Facebook wall, and within seconds she was showing me a child who was born with a parasitic twin and thus has 8 limbs. Thirty surgeons are going to operate on her. Check it out at'reincarnation+of+Hindu+god'+to+undergo+life-saving+operation/

Some say Facebook is stupid, but so much information would not be nearly as accessible to my college-age generation without it. For everything from projects to parties, we message each other. Links to videos, articles, shows, etc. can easily be posted on people's walls. There is no way I'd be aware of most people's birthdays without it. Through it, I can reconnect with friends I haven't seen in years.

And I wouldn't have known anything about the child with 8 limbs who is said to be a reincarnated Hindu goddess. Pretty cool.
My friend Katie's older sister made us watch Carrie one Halloween after trick-or-treating. I was in 4th grade and I remember feeling like I was going to throw up during the pig blood/prom scene, but I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Being scared was fun.

In middle school my friends and I were obsessed with Silence of the Lambs. We watched it constantly. According to Ch. 13 in The Fundamentals of Media Effects, apparently we were just indulging our "sadistic pleasure by identifying with monsters and killers" and "purging" ourselves of our violent tendencies. Yikes. I don't know about that...I mean we were like 12.

I like older horror movies like Psycho, the original Halloween and The Shining. I think they've gotten progressively worse over the past decade. They're a little far fetched...and predictable. I recently saw Room 1408, where John Cusack tries to communicate with his wife via video-chat (come ON) but loses connection when his computer freezes over due to the fact that it is snowing in his hotel room because the thermostat is broken...oh, and then a painting of a ship suddenly turns real and his room turns into an ocean. Really?

But I will continue to go to bad horror movies because I love the suspense and the thrill of feeling scared before, during, and after the movie. I think that's what is so appealing about scary movies; people love to be really frightened by something they know is not actually real. Oh, and to purge themselves of violent tendencies, obviously.
  Hard news vs. Soft News
I am in a class called Current Issues in the News. and the main objective is to use critical thinking to answer various questions within groups and present them to the class. I honestly was scared sh*%less after my first grade, but it got better with time. I have learned SO much from this class! A lot of the questions were related to how society is attracting more to soft news now, rather than hard news. One group had to show the differences between an entertainment show and a newscast. It was pretty shocking to see the differences! First of all, in the past newscasts (like 20/20) had 2 anchors sitting at a desk/table and reading the news from either papers on their table or the teleprompter. Also in the past, the entertainment shows had 2 people standing and talking to the camera with only a teleprompter to go by. Now, they have started to switch styles. The hard news anchors are standing with only a teleprompter, and vice versa. These are small changes that probably a lot of people missed when they began occurring, but important ones nonetheless.

Viewers and ratings have dropped considerably for the hard news shows, and of course gone up for the entertainment shows. Hard news shows are trying to grasp the Internet and use it for their advantage, but entertainment news has already mastered it. Take for example, TMZ. They started on the Internet, and have become so popular that they now have a 5-days/week TV show! It's almost embarrassing for the hard news. Perez Hilton's website has crashed several times due to the overwhelming amounts of people trying to view his page. I haven't heard of any issues the hard news shows had like this.

The hard question is how do we stop it? It's what society wants. Everyone worries about ratings, so they have to give the people what they want.

I just finished my last group project for the Current Issues class, and I also spoke about this issue. I showed a clip of a news anchor from the "Cup of Joe" show, showing Mika Brzezenski attempting to rip up the story of Paris Hilton going to jail because she believed it shouldn't be their lead story. The creator of the show, Joe Scarbrough, is in the clip telling her to run it. She then tries to rip it and when that fails. burn it with a lighter. I respect her immensely for doing that. If that's how extreme we, as journalists have to get to try and change things, then so be it. What will it take?!
  Hi, my name is Tyler and I'm a addicted to facebook...
It is scary to think that when we have myspace or facebook accounts, all privacy is thrown out the window. I mean how many of us sit on facebook and stalk people and look at what they did this weekend...or see where they went last weekend. It is really kind of scary.

I changed my relationship status as a JOKE one time to "married" ...I swear I got about 15 messages and phone calls about it. I think its silly that people take things they see on these things so seriously. I want to get off facebook, because quite frankly, I spend wayyyy too much time on the damn thing. But I can't seem to bring myself to do it. Is that what they call an addiction?

It actually makes me nervous that I can't get rid of my account. Would I be totally out of the loop? What would everyone be doing? I wouldn't be able to see pictures from whats her names birthday party, or see what my old kindergarden buddy looked like now. If only I could put a time limit on how long I would be able to stay on facebook!
  I hate clowns...

I seldom use the word "hate," I think it is a very strong word and should only be used in the strictest of scenarios, so I hate clowns! I never used to hate clowns, actually, when I was little I loved to go to the circus and see the clowns.
However, my love for the circus and for clowns quickly dissipated when I learned of the unspeakably horrible treatment of circus animals and saw the movie "It." I saw the movie in fifth grade, at a girl friend’s birthday slumber party. In hindsight, it probably was not a go idea to watch a Stephen King movie with a bunch of 11-year-old girls during a violent-thunderstorm, but we did.

It seemed that during every scary part of child killing-clown film coincided with a clash of thunder outside, followed by the crackle of lighting, or the tapping of the window by the hibiscus branches because of the wind. Nevertheless, to a 10 year-old a clown seeking out little children to kill and/or eat was not only violent but utterly terrifying.

I especially remember the part where "it," the clown is underneath a lake that some how connected to a large pipe...and just as one of children were looking into the's bony, vine-like hand with talons suddenly pops out of the water and so does the birthday girl. She popped out from behind the Lazy-Boy and screamed just as the branch hit the window with the lighting illuminated the thin wiry branches and thunder clashing...

Ever since that slumber-party, I hate clowns! The majority of my fear towards clowns is probably due to the inclement weather that night...although, Stephen King did do a pretty good job of scaring the 'ba-jesus' out of me. To this day, every time I see a clown, I see "it" with his bony spider-like finger and thin, fang like teeth. I get the 'hebby-gebbies' just think about pun intended.

  A message from George Carlin
Okay so I HATE mass emails, but my mom sent me this chainletter the other day and for some reason I felt compelled to read it. Glad I did, because considering the state of our technology-driven world, the letter really brings you back to reality. It's a message from George Carlin, a comedian of the 70s and 80s whose wife recently passed away...

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

Pretty uplifting, if you ask me!

It's so true how much we've lost sight of ourselves and how precious life is... technology has created all these forms of communication that are meant to bring us closer together, but it only pushes us farther apart. People are so consumed with their own lives and getting ahead, that we no longer appreciate the little things in life- the things that "take our breath away."

Reading this letter makes me want to throw my laptop on the ground, call up a friend, and have a long chat over tea and cookies...haha. But seriously, how RIGHT is this guy?!
  I'm still scared...
I don't remember the name of the movie or when exactly I saw it, I think I was like eight or nine, but it was the most terrifying movie I have ever seen. The movie claimed to be a true story about these men who were working in the woods and came across an UFO. One of the men is abducted for a period of time, returned, and relives the memories from his abduction.

I still have nightmares about one scene in particular. The man who was abducted is terrified, hiding under his kitchen table, and some syrup starts to drip onto the floor. As the man watches the syrup drip, he is taken back to the graphic, disturbing, and realistic events of his alien encounter.

Now people can argue back and forth about whether or not life on other planets is possible, but regardless, I find a movie about alien abduction to be more disturbing than a movie about monsters because of the slight possibility and realistic factor. I know a giant ape is not going to take over the city, but do I really know alien life does not exist?

This movie produced a great deal of long-term fear for me. I know this sounds silly, but alien invasion could cause a lot of conflict. The aliens in this movie were shown with deformities and distorted from the normalises of human form--just like monsters in scary movies. I found them to be terrifying and I wasn't the one who was abducted, so naturally I felt a large amount of empathy for the main character. I felt like if he was that scared, I should be too and I guess it just kind of stayed with me.

*On a side note, when reading this please don't think I'm crazy and that I believe in aliens. I just think that the possibility of scary things is more disturbing than things like fictional things like monsters.

**EDIT: After a little time spent on Google, I think the movie was Fire in the Sky.
  The "fright" factor
This blog will have to be based on my past experiences of scary movies (and fear content).

In the last six months, I really haven't had any available time to go to the movies. But as I was reading Chapter 13 I kept thinking about the movie that scared me the most, When a Stranger Calls.

It takes a lot to scare the crap out of me, but this movie truly did it. And the incredible thing was that this movie didn't have any "hard-core gory" element to it. It was just intensely suspenseful and the dramatic effect of fright (if you will) was powerful.

The scariest part to the movie was a man calling the babysitter from inside the house. I remember a group of my friends and I went to see it. Right before I went to bed, my cousin calls me and he disguises his voice like the guy in the movie and says, "Did you check the children."

I had to sleep with my closet light on for several months because it was the last thing I thought of before I went to bed. It's amazing how we can place ourselves in those moments we observe in the movies.

I also did this with Silence of the Lambs. My roommate and I had locked ourselves out our apartment, but we were able to raise our garage door up enough for me to slide under. I immediately thought of that part in Silence of the Lambs when she slides under the garage door and finds a head in the car. When I past my roommates car I couldn't look inside.

Even though I get all "spooked up," I still love to go to the scariest movies. I call it the "jalapeno effect;" it burns like hell but I still dive in for more.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We all experience fear from time to time. It is a major reason of why humans have survived for so long. Not only can fear be used for survival, it can also be used as a form of control. When people are scared of something, they will do or listen to anything that they think will keep them safe from whatever is scaring them, which can be a positive or a negative. Fear can be positive in the sense that it can help one avoid danger, negative in which it can be used for manipulation. I think that TV uses fear in order to manipulate people, especially local news. For the people that watch the local news and nothing else, they probably think that the world is full of psychos and that the only safe place to be is in there house. When in fact there aren’t even that many dangerous people in the world. They only make up a small percentage of the world.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
  Sex Can Sell Anything!
Yesterday I was watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship. During the commercials they’re always advertising a lot of sports drinks and supplements, and there was one that caught my attention the most. It started of with a girl wearing practically nothing except for a tiny t-shirt, shorts that were small enough to be underwear, and some thigh high boots. Basically, the whole commercial involved the woman dancing around a chair like it was a stripper pole, and at the very end she started to drink an energy drink called Xenergy. Not that I’m against sex on TV, but I was thinking to myself that people will use sex to sell anything. I mean, after watching this commercial, the last thing that I wanted was an energy drink!
  Music Videos
All the hype about Britney Spears and every move she makes have created an overload for me. But I just HAD to see her music video, for some unknown reason. When I played it I was instantly disappointed, of course. She hardly dances like she used to, and it's very uncreative.

The part that made my jaw drop was towards the end when she began to undress. She completely took her shirt off, and of course she wasn't wearing a bra. She then began to cover herself while dancing. At one part, she showed way more than I would have ever guessed of her chest. Why does she feel like this is what's needed to sell the video?!

It made me cringe and feel sorry for her instantly. That's not what she's going for. So why do musicians keep pushing the bar up, as far as nudity is concerned? It seems like if they keep pushing, their videos will have to begin to be banned by channels that aren't allowed to show them. Why does it have to come to that?

The kids that did look up to Britney Spears certainly don't need this type of video to help them like her! Yes, she's been selling sex for a while in her videos, but never to this extreme. Frankly, I'm appalled. The sad thing is, I'm only appalled because it's out of her character (her old self) to go this far. Other singers haven't had this effect on me, so I guess you can say I'm a little desensitized.
  Sexy Mamasitas
I realized from Stephanie's blog that "sexual content" is viewed and judged a lot more differently than "sexual visual images."

My mom loves to watch her telenovelas (they're the Spanish version of soap operas). If you are not too familiar with telenovelas; the distinct difference between the women on Spanish novelas and American soap operas is that the women on telenovelas show (and have) more cleavage than women in Miami and Los Angeles put together.

But, I'm confident that is NOT why my mom constantly watches them. I am surprised though that a "devout-Latin Catholic" woman, like my mom is a huge fan of telenovelas.

She tells me that it's because they are more dramatic and the story lines are a lot juicier than the American soap operas (Mamasita Herrera may be on to something).

What I've noticed with American television is that the dialogue has become edgier, a lot more risque. The other night I was watching Dirty, Sexy Money and there was this scene where a guy half-naked opens the door (just a towel wrapped around his waist). His soon-to-be ex-wife comes to visit him. She looks at him and gets all beside herself (a little flustered), she needs him to sign the divorce papers and she tells him, "I just need your John HanCOCK, I mean your signature on these papers." Yeah, you get what I'm saying....

I'm thinking "sexual content" seems to be the way to go for some of these producers, writers and directors. It might be their way of going against the restrictions of what can and can not be shown. Either way, I also think that everything gets sexed up. Just look at the recent e-mail we received about voting... didn't it say, "Voting is Sexy." I guess sexy will always be in... it's just how far we want to go!
  Tila Tequila
Let's face it. MTV has some pretty skanky programming. And A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila is the skankiest of it all.

Ms. Tequila claims that she is bisexual and is thus having men AND women compete for her affection on her dating show. Check it out at Their competitions consist of things like finding tokens in a pool of foam, while nearly naked. To prove their love and ferocity, the men strut in heels and the women do push-ups. Every contestant sleeps in one enormous bed. When someone gets kicked off the show, Tila declares their shot at love is over. Tear. Then Tila drinks in celebration with the remaining contestants.

These "dating" shows keep getting more and more ridiculous. Why do we enjoy watching these D list celebrities frolic around, claiming their searching for love when really it's about getting ratings for a network and sad people willing to do anything to break into the entertainment industry? Who had ever heard of Tila Tequila before this show, anyway?

I guess it's true that sex sells because shows like Tila Tequila evidently attract audiences. Although completely unrealistic, people will sit down and watch programs such as this diligently. Maybe it's the shock value that draws people in. Whatever the cause, it's sad people will tune in for such extreme trash TV.
  Sex?...or Sex? Which is "Better?"
My boyfriend cannot stand Sex and the City; he absolutely is repulsed by the show. He believes the show is "too slutty," "that all the girls do is run around having sex or talking about having sex," and "that it is just wrong." My boyfriend is an old-fashion, Southern gentlemen so I can understand to some degree how exposure to such openly sexual women would trouble him.

However, while my boyfriend hates Sex and the City, he loves Nip/Tuck. He recently rented all the previous seasons so he could watch each episode again in preparation for the upcoming season. Personally, I love both shows, so naturally I was puzzled by the fact that he was bothered by one, but not the other. "Why do you have a problem with the sexual content of Sex and the City, but not Nip/Tuck?" I asked him the other day. He kind of fubbled with his response, but ultimately settled on something about how Nip/Tuck only has one man being extremely sexual and it is not the entire focus of the show while Sex and the City explores the sexual escapades of four women and it is all the show is about.

I can mildly see his point of view, but not really. However, I do find it fascinating to hear how people rationalize one form of sexual content over another and what they think makes one form more acceptable than another. I think there is often a double standard and it is viewed more acceptable for men rather than women to be depicted as sexual in the media and in life.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
  Random thought
I have been wondering for a while why critics and the public freak out so much about sex in movies and television? It's not that I'm all for it, at least not every part of it. But other countries, such as European ones, are way more explicit than us! But yet, as we grow up we come think of this reaction as normal.

Is it the way we were rasied? Because on a wide variety of other issues or technologies, we seem to be groundbreaking or rapid. Why is it that this issue doesn't follow that pattern? I don't necessarily think it's good thing if we did, I'm just wondering what the difference is.

Maybe it's the way we handle sex. If we showed we were able to handle ourselves better, and be more responsible in the real world maybe things would be different.
This blog is a companion piece to CCJN4394:Media Effects taught by Dr. J. Richard Stevens at Southern Methodist University.

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