Thursday, December 6, 2007
  The surprise bachelor
What's with all the fuss about "The Bachelor" this season? I mean FOR ONCE the guy is real and doesn't fall for the reality tv crap and then he gets shit on by everyone in the media.

Brad Womack, a bar-owner from Texas, refused to BS the final two women about a future with him and ended up sending both women home. Though I was singing him praise, it seems like everyone else in the world was giving him the one finger.

Ellen Degeneres had him on her show this week and the poor guy spent the entire time defending himself. Why should someone have to apologize for not falling in love? I mean let's be real...I've walked into a frat house of more than 25 guys before and not ONE of them was date-worthy, let alone, MARRIAGE-worthy. Do audiences really expect this guy to find a wife out of 25 women on reality tv?!

I mean common', the show has a 1 out of 14 success rate. The two would break up anyway.
  Why is America obsessed with being famous?
After listening to Trish's presentation on teenagers' obsession with fame, it reminded me of a conversation I had recently...

I was chatting with friends at a party about school and careers and then one guy threw up his hands and said "f*** it! Lets start a reality show." He was dead serious and everyone in the group was for it. We talked about hiring a camera guy, having him follow us around for a few days, and then sending the tape in to MTV.

It didn't seem like a bad idea at the time, but now that I think about it- was this just a cop out idea to avoid the stress of graduation and a career? The lives of reality tv stars appear so glamorous, as if writing 20 page research papers and paying this month's rent are the last things on their minds. For example, the girls on "The Hills" became famous overnight and their entire lives are spent gossiping and club-hopping. Supposedly they have jobs, but I hear it's just for show. If they're getting paid to have fun, why shouldn't I?

Society is made to believe "The Hills" scenario is reality and since their lives seem so much better, we feel inclined to go after fame ourselves. But one has to consider, those girls are going to outgrow MTV in two or three years and then what? They're not talented, they have no education, and to be honest, they're incredibly boring.

Maybe it's time to rethink this fame thing.
  The black guy is the bad guy yet again...
So I was catching up on my weekly dose of "Dirty Sexy Money" and I couldn't help but notice...the one black guy on the show turns out to be the bad guy.

Simon Caldwell supposedly has bad history with the Darling family and is possibly linked to the murder of Nick's father.


It's so irritating when shows featuring a nearly all white cast make the superficial effort of including ethnic minorities and then go so far as to make them the enemy. The producers of Desperate Housewives did the same. When the Apple family moved onto Wysteria Lane, we knew they had a dirty little secret. Then halfway into the season we find out the son is a murderer.

For once I would like to see a primetime show that focuses on an ethnic family in a positive light. It would do some good to give audiences a taste of their culture and slash the negative stereotypes that society faslely believes is true.
  Misrepresentation in Video Games
Though the television industry has made an effort to improve minority portrayals, it seems video games have missed the message.

A 2001 study by the U.S. organization Children Now, entitled "Fair Play -- Violence, Gender and Race in Video Games" examined some of the most popular games to assess the extent of stereotyping. It found that:

-Most protagonists (86 percent) were white males

-Non-white males were portrayed in stereotypical ways— seven out of ten Asian characters as fighters, and eight out of ten African-Americans as sports competitors

-Nearly nine out of ten African-American females were victims of violence (twice the rate of white females)

-79 per cent of African-American males were shown as verbally and physically aggressive, compared to 57 per cent of white males

Pretty messed up if you ask me...

These video games perpetuate racial stereotypes to such an extent it's inevitable that they'd filter into society. Kids learn to associate colored men with violence, women as objects and often times victims, and white men as leaders with intelligence and good morals.

If television can make the effort, why can't video games?? It's about time they wake up and make some changes.
  Imus Returns to Radio
Don Imus returned to radio on Monday with his tail between his legs. His return comes eight months after being fired by NBC for a vicious racial slur against the Rutger’s women’s basketball team. The comment drew national attention—not in a good way—and it seemed like Imus was gone for good.

During his first morning on-air Imus vowed never to say “anything like that again,” but I am wondering if he can keep his promise. He also hired two black comedians, one male and one female, to join the show. It seems as though Imus is going to great lengths to clear his name. But it all seems a little bit too obvious for me. Hiring two black comedians to join the show doesn’t condone the comments that he made.

I feel like Imus is attempting to create a smoke-screen effect to hide his reputation. And it is going to take a lot more than that to gain even an ounce of respect from me, and I don’t think I am alone in that sentiment. Then again, maybe he is making a genuine effort to clear his name. His new co-workers better keep him in check.
  Video Games...the New IT Handbag?
I thought after finishing my second paper on video games that I would finally be able to forget them, but unfortunately I have had no such luck. I feel like video games have become the new it designer handbag: everyone is talking about them and everyone wants them. But why?

I received the best answer to that question during an interview for my final video game paper. "Girls shop when they are angry or upset or just for the fun of it and I use Halo 3 the same way," said a regular video game player. So I guess Michel de Montaigne and Sigmund Freud were right with their modern view of entertainment as a recreational tool to relieve stress, boredom, and unhappiness.

We all are attracted to different forms of entertainment for different reasons. However, it seems unfair that Neiman Marcus closes and video game systems stay open all night.
  Racial Double Standard
I consider myself to be a very open laid-back, non-judgmental person, or at least I really try be—Most people “sum-up” or judge a person they meet for the first time within a ten seconds; I try to save passing judgment on people until I know them better.

That being said, I could care less what color, religion, sex, or political views are…If you want to dye your skin blue and worship a grape, go ahead! I am not going to try to convert you into believing what I believe and I would hope that you would respect my beliefs and not try to impress upon me your beliefs. However, this mutual respect is not always the case, as I have personally found out, probably due to the preponderance of extreme-conservative Christians that live in the South. I grew-up in a unique and diverse background, so I was subsequently exposed to each aspect of my heritage and encouraged to find what “spoke to me.”

However, it is not so much the complete disrespect for personal choice in believing in whatever, whomever, or nothing at all, that really agitates me; it is the racial double standard in this country that truly frustrates me. Perhaps, I just do not fully understand the African American culture…

For example, I never understood how or why it is okay for fellow blacks to call each other the “N-word,” which by all accounts carries a negative connotation, yet it is implausible for anyone of another race to use that word. Or how blacks can call whites, “crackers,” which also seems to carry a negative connotation, but no one raises an eyebrow? Furthermore, after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin, who was then running for re-election was quoted as saying that he wanted to return New Orleans to a “chocolate city,” and again no one really objected to this racially divisive comment. Why?

Why does it seem as though only whites can be racist? No matter the color of our skin, we’re ALL human, so can’t EVERYONE be susceptible to racial prejudice….?
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
  Human Asian Characters
So last night I was watching Law & Order: SVU (Special Victims Unit-for those that do not watch it) and I was amazed at what I saw….

For the first time, since I have watched the show, did an Asian character react strongly to a situation Not only did this character’s actions add dimension to the character, as most Asian characters are portrayed as one-dimensional and unfeeling, but his outburst/ reaction to internet pedophiles made him seem human.
It seems as though, often-Asian characters are portrayed as unfeeling robots. Asian women are usually portrayed as exotic sex toys, and Asian men are usually portrayed as asexual, un-relatable personality facets. Why is that?
  O.J.'s Mugshot
One little known racial controversy that took place in the United States not all that long ago is the controversy regarding O.J. Simpson's mugshot.

As many know, the shot was published on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, yet something was still very different between the two.

In case it isn't obvious, the image on the right has been heavily manipulated to make it appear much darker than it truly is. Time was accused of perpetuating the stereotype of a violent black male while at the same time separating the "white-washed" O.J. even further from his white constituents.

Quite frankly, I feel that by publishing this image, Time rebuked some of their journalistic power. In addition to perpetuating racial stereotypes, Time also published a highly doctored image and I, as a viewer, can't help but wonder what else they aren't letting me see.
  From Class...
I was in New Orleans when Katrina hit... well the day before it hit. My friends and I flew in on a Friday literally buying our tickets that day...we wanted good food and a fun time...something that did NOT happen.

When we arrived, we had heard word a hurricane was coming but everyone there said they always get those warnings and not to worry. The next day, we went to an amazing restaurant, I had a horrible feeling about everything. Nothing felt right. So I ordered a strong drink and made the decision to look at flights out.

NO FLIGHTS were leaving. Okay, next, looked at trains to take us out. A train would take 4 days to get back to Dallas, and I had a test that Tuesday. All the rental car places were closed, so we took a car to the airport and stood in line with hundreds to try and find a rental car. Honestly, I stood in line with some pretty shadey people. There was a lot of arguing, and hot temperd people around us. I was scared.

I was there with my Louis Vuitton suitcase, and my VERY southern roomate (who was wearing a flowered summer dress) and we waited as my boyfriend attempted to get us out of New Orleans. We did not look like we belonged.His credit card was denied...Great. I was not old enough to use my card to get the car. So, I attempted to use my fake -id to do it. No such luck. With my boyfriends social skills he was able to call his bank, transfer funds and get (not joke..) the very LAST rental car.

Off we droke to Shreveport to escape. Traffic, police, people was a nightmare. Anyways, you are probably wondering why this pertains to media effects...but let me get there.

Hours later, we arrived at my friends grandparents house, we were safe. We were glued infront of the television as we watched Katrina creep closer and finally cause chaos.

I watched the Ritz Hotel take a bus full of WHITE people out of the hotel and leave people that were not clients behind. It was crazy. I watched the media create a vision a monsters ( the black looters) when the whites were doing the very same thing.

My father, who is NOT racist, was sick with what he saw. He started to judge the residents (blacks) of New Orleans due to the fact they were looting during the disaster. Yes, many were stealing, but MOST, were surviving. They had no other choice. Our WHITE president , did nothing for a long time.

The bias of the media effected a number of people and their thought on the people of New Orleans. The city has a lot of problems to begin with. I feel the media created a very bias side and, although there was much dishonesty going on, what we saw in class with the "black looters" verse the "white residents" made me sick. How very racist that coverage was.

Long story ...
  Are You Serious?
Okay, I am the type of person who thinks people that rely on facebook for information are ridiculous, but something happened the other day that really pissed me off, and honestly I am embarrassed to say it.

My boyfriend's best friend recently broke up with his girlfriend, and me, being the polite person I can be, wrote her a facebook message asking if she was ok and if she wanted to get coffee...nothing but nice right?? Well, she (a 25 year old girl) DE-friended me on facebook! And for what ? Being associated with her ex? How rude.

But honestly, I am more mad at myself for letting FACEBOOK piss me off. I have written before about how annoying it is when people change there status to MARRIED and all of a sudden everyone is talking "Your getting married!" and everyone starts to

I want to get off facebook just because I feel juvenille using it, but its so fun to see old friends and bull-sh*t with new ones etc. I don't know. It is just crazy how these new media outlets can effect the way I feel and what others feel. I don't know if this is a good thing or not?

That is all for now.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
  Majority of missing persons in the media lack minorities
As I read about the most recent occurrences in the Natalee Holloway case, I realized something: Missing persons of a certain race, age, social standing and economic means are far more likely to get their missing persons' face plastered on every news channel from here to Timbuktu. While on the other hand, those who do not fit into a particularly square hole are less likely to receive no more than a 20 second spot of the 10 o'clock local evening news.

Don't misinterpret what I'm saying - the Natalee Holloway case is just as important as the next, but why, after two and a half years is it still in the limelight? What makes Holloway's case more worthy of the world's attention?
According to President's DNA Initiative, "there are as many as 100,000 active missing person cases in the United States, and every year tens of thousands of people vanish under suspicious circumstances."

Consider some of the most popular missing persons stories in the last few years - murder victims Laci Peterson and her unborn child, 'runaway bride' Jennifer Wilbanks, and most recently Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic. Anyone familiar with these cases can spot the pattern; they’re all white females in a particular age bracket.

There are many reasons for why these case show up on the media radar. Perhaps they were particularly unique, or maybe their families have certain economic or social pulls within their communities. Whatever the reason these stories are clearly given much more attention than the other thousands of people missing in this country alone.

The impact of media on these cases is outstanding. Broadcast and print media sometimes frame the cases and tie the potential crimes to a single person. This can be helpful but primarily destructive.

People of every race, age, social or economic standing deserve their spot on the national radar of missing persons. It is important as journalists to monitor to how much attention we put on certain cases versus others.
  Balck and White...
Ok, so building upon our class discuss about minorities in the media and the "expectations" and/or "requirements" for "belonging" to whatever respective ethnic group....

I went to a rather racially/ethnically diverse high school; at least in my opinion...Anyway, I had a bunch of friends who were half-black and half-white. Moreover, they always seemed to be able to "float" between the each clique; which somehow was segregated by race. So if Jason Whitlock [ ] is right, how do those that are both black and white "float" from the black cliques to the white cliques without getting any fall-out?
Monday, December 3, 2007
  The "Dish" on Diversity...
I was watching an episode of Rachel Ray's talk show the other day. I was excited because it was a Friday episode and every Friday Rachel meets with Lara Spencer (from The Insider) to discuss the weekly "Dish." During the "Dish," Lara announces her must-have list for the week. This past week one of her favorite items was the book "Hero" by Perry Moore.

Hero is a novel about a gay superhero. Hearing about this book made me think about minority representation in superheroes. I did a quick head count of the superheroes I grew up with: Batman--white, Superman--white, Spiderman--white, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--mutant (ok whatever, they don't count.) My point is, I could not think of one African American, Native American, or Hispanic superhero that was a part of my childhood or even adulthood.

Superhero movies have become increasingly popular and these characters are continuing to be casted by white, male actors. Why is this? We live in a country that stands for equal rights and social acceptance yet it is not being portrayed in the media. I know I would not think twice if the next Batman movie casted a non-white man as the main character. I think having Halle Berry play Catwoman was a great step in the right direction towards equal minority represent ion, however, more similar actions need to be displayed in order to truly make a difference.
  Oxford Town
Coincidentally enough, a Bob Dylan song came up in my iTunes almost immediately after I got home. That within itself is not entirely coincidental, as I listen to a lot of Dylan, but this was a song I've only listened to a couple of times and have never paid particular attention to - Oxford Town. Oxford Town is off of the 1963 album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, which is just one reason why I found the lyrics particularly meaningful.

Oxford Town

Oxford Town, Oxford Town
Ev'rybody's got their heads bowed down
The sun don't shine above the ground
Ain't a-goin' down to Oxford Town

He went down to Oxford Town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford Town

Oxford Town around the bend
He come in to the door, he couldn't get in
All because of the color of his skin
What do you think about that, my frien'?

Me and my gal, my gal's son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
I don't even know why we come
Goin' back where we come from

Oxford Town in the afternoon
Ev'rybody singin' a sorrowful tune
Two men died 'neath the Mississippi moon
Somebody better investigate soon

Oxford Town, Oxford Town
Ev'rybody's got their heads bowed down
The sun don't shine above the ground
Ain't a-goin' down to Oxford Town

I can't imagine that Dylan's reflection on segregation and racism was widely accepted at this point in time. 1963 was still a volatile time in the Civil Rights movement. A quick search led me to Oxford Town's true meaning, as well. According to Wikipedia, "[Oxford Town was] Dylan's sardonic view of the unfolding events at the University of Mississippi. U.S. Air Force veteran James Meredith was the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi, located a mile from Oxford, Mississippi and 75 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. When Meredith first tried to attend classes at the school, a number of Mississippians pledged to keep the university segregated, including Mississippi's own governor. Ultimately, the University of Mississippi had to be integrated with the help of U.S. federal troops."

I can't help but wonder how the mainstream media of the time (presumably white and somewhat prejudiced) felt about Dylan's decision to fight for an African-American cause...
  How would you feel...
Okay, so I was watching my normal tv programs thinking about minorities etc... The shows were Will and Grace, Friends, and Sex and the each of these I noticed a common aspect. EVERYONE is WHITE! I can't believe I didn't notice this before. I mean, I wonder what someone of a diffferent color other than white thinks of these shows...Or maybe it is not that big of a deal. I just wonder, if I were black or hispanic, if I would watch these shows. Does it even matter ? I need to ask some of my friends that aren't white to find out. I just thought that was odd.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
  Shot at Love? Not a Chance in Hell.
So I realized we’ve already passed the sex portion of the class, so I guess we can just file this under “reaction to media.” What do you get when you combine a private strip club, an endless wardrobe of naughty lingerie, a leather-and-whip-filled dominatrix dungeon, and lots of booze? Well you get a new MTV reality show, of course. I am absolutely ashamed to be sitting here watching “Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.” It came on after the Hills… what can I say. Similar to a train wreck, I just couldn’t turn away.

First of all, WHO is this Tila Tequila? From what I can tell, she is a sexually confused (and scantily clad) temptress trying to figure out which gender will bring her love. The group of potential Tequila-pleasers is divided into “16 sexy straight men and 16 luscious lesbians” who, through a series of sexually explicit challenges, fight for the key to Miss Tequila’s heart.

I am totally baffled by the concept of this show. I mean it’s difficult enough to find love, but shouldn’t she at least narrow it down to a specific gender first? It is like she is searching for the perfect accessory but she can’t even decide if she wants a great pair of shoes or a fabulous handbag.

(By the way, I am completely sensitive to the fact that many people do struggle with their sexuality… but Miss Tequila is reportedly not even bisexual… so says her boyfriend.)

Side note: a fight just broke out. I guess that’s what happens when you get a bunch of horny men and women in a room fighting for just one piece of meat. By the way, I completely object to referring to a woman as a piece of meat, but Miss Tequila has somehow managed to put herself into a rare category of exceptions, in my opinion.

She claims to be searching for love, but she doesn’t have the faintest idea of what love really means. She puts herself on this pedestal, while she basically tries to figure out who can pleasure her the best. If you think that’s the secret to love, Miss Tequila, you don’t have a shot in hell.
  False Representation
Watching TV this week, I noticed a bunch of false representations. It’s no wonder that there are so many ignorant people. I don’t think I went an hour without seeing some kind of negative or false representation. For example, I think that minority representation is very much skewed. After watching some shows on BET or Black Entertainment Television, it’s no wonder as to where the stereotypes come from. Just about every show on that channel has some kind of stereotype in it. After watching this channel, it seems like in order to be considered black that you have to act like you’re from the “hood.” I’ve had more than enough bad experiences dealing with ignorant people who think I’m “confused” because I don’t act in the ways that black people are portrayed in the media. But I won’t go into that because these blog would end up being ten pages. Now I’m saying that I hate they every single show that plays off of stereotypes, because most of those shows are made for comedic purposes. I just think its sad how people that watch a lot of TV think that TV “accurately” portrays the ways that members of any ethnic group are supposed to act.
  Spiral of Silence
In one of my classes Monday we had a guest speaker from NBC News, Susan Tolley. She was talking about how much competition there is between the area newsrooms and her own. It baffled me to hear how competitive it really is! Someone asked her what she thinks about entertainment becoming bigger than hard news. She of course thought it was wrong, but she understood how our generation wants soft news more and more.

One thing she said that stuck with me was that even though all of her reporters were appalled at the amount of attention Paris Hilton going to jail was getting, they are were intrigued by it. She said that if you had gone in to the newsroom at the time Paris was getting taken to jail, every reporter there would have been watching it live online.

It's crazy how much soft news affects us! Even professional journalists want to know what's happening in the entertainment world! Since we had been talking about this in class, I thought it brought out a great example pertaining specifically to our area of study.

The effects this could have on journalism are astonishing, of course. Hopefully it won't become bigger in time, to where even in newsrooms soft news will be the priority. Of course I'm sure that could never happen.

But Susan did say that news channels have to think outside the box to keep up with the public's demands. Online they have a section for each subject in the news, including entertainment. In the past, it seems like that section would have been cut out. But as long as it doesn't overshadow hard news, I guess it's ok.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
  Obsession with $$$-- the portrayal of the rich in media
Nearly every channel on television today has at least one drama or reality show based on the so-called lives of the rich. Because there are so many of these shows, it's easy to forget that these people--the fabulously wealthy moguls or the children of the aforementioned moguls--are a minority in the world population.

Believe it or not, it's not normal to make your assistant take your kids to a children's day spa for an afternoon diversion, as seen on E!'s Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane. Challenging your childhood bully to a boxing match in your elitist private gym and then having your CEO buddy step in to save your butt, as depicted on ABC's Big Shots, is also not an available option for the average Joe. And being horrifically embarrassed because your dad picked you up at the bus stop in his new luxury Phantom, like in MTV's Run's House, is not a feeling most kids will ever experience.

All we see these characters do is perform; we never view them rolling out of bed, hair in complete disarray and eyeliner smudged all over their faces. We see them coming out of their mansions in full make-up and stilettos at 9 a.m., handing the kids off to the paid staff and heading into a jungle of high-end stores.

We never see them having a huge, realistic fallout with their spouses. We don't see their children throw Oscar-worthy tantrums in the produce section of the grocery store.

And at the end of the day, no one really wants to see other people's world's falling apart. Everyone has their own set of problems. Who wants to witness more? And who is willing to put themselves out on the airwaves during vulnerable moments?

So we media consumers never see footage--scripted or not-- of the events that led up to Kimora and Russell Simmons' divorce or what happened to suddenly (or finally) make Hulk Hogan's wife call it quits. We watched Marie Osmond fly across the Dancing with the Stars stage, and we never had a clue that her son was battling a drug problem at home.

Media has pigeon-holed shows about the rich and famous. They want the wealthy to come off as irrevocably flawless. The snippets of their lives we view via the television are edited, relatively selective portions of their days. Money won't make all their problems go away; they're still people. If anything, the "more money, more problems" mantra is most likely closer to their realities. But, evidently, the media feels this would not have much entertainment value. So until something changes, the wealthy characters portrayed in the media will be on problem-free pedestals of their own.
  Toys and products catered by ethnicity and gender group
I was watching the Today Show the other day and saw a commercial for a "Hooked-on-Phonics" product. I think the product was called smart sticks; they looked a lot like hand-held video games (which is enticing in itself).

What I immediately noticed was that it had a Caucasian kid with his mother, and then it had a shot of an Asian kid with his mother. I thought this was a great marketing ploy by the advertising company.

My mom watches Univision. She loves to watch novelas (Spanish soap operas). The other day I was visiting with her and a commercial for WalMart came on. I couldn't help but find it amusing. The commercial gave the impression that everyone at Walmart (shoppers and employees) are Latinos.

I asked my mom if she ever noticed that there are white people that work and shop at Walmart (her response, "you're in America aren't you!" ha ha).

It's quite obvious that marketing and advertising firms know their demographics and cater to them. As I was watching Friday Nights they had a commercial for McDonald's with an all black cast. The demographics for this show are high in the African American community.

It's a lot like the demographics for a show like the View or the woman cable network Lifetime; every commercial break has a "diet type" advertisement.

My mom was telling me that when she was a little girl the commercials only had white people; there was no color, no Latinos no Blacks. She said the only time you saw a mexican or a black man was in the news.

Thank god time has changed and advertisers have become more diversified.
  Cyberbullying at its best
With graduation approaching me at full speed I've been weighing my post-undergrad options. I've always had law school in the back of my mind. And recent events both personal and public have pushed it to the top tier of my list.

I've become incredibly frustrated with an event that took place over a year ago but just recently became public. A 13-year-old girl hanged herself last fall after a full grown adult cyberbullied her via a popular online social network.

I've read many articles about this case and I'm trying to keep up with its developments as best I can. An outcry from community members has the public calling for new laws to protect people from such actions.

The next step is to decide if the bully committed any sort of crime. There is no such law in place that dictates how such actions should be handled or if they should be handled at all. Perhaps it's time for some new laws. A St. Louis Post Dispatch article I read this morning points out that attempting to regulate an ever-growing technology is risky and potentially impossible.

The United States needs a new generation of lawmakers who are willing to hammer out the details of online harassment.

I'm interested to see how all of this will play out. This case may set a precedent for future cyberbullying.
This blog is a companion piece to CCJN4394:Media Effects taught by Dr. J. Richard Stevens at Southern Methodist University.

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