A marination on grading

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Oates Blog Post

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For the last blog post I'm going to be talking about the Oates article again. After discussing it in class, I still kind of disagree with Oates a little. The quote that Oates pulls from an NFL General Manager, "If we're going to buy'em, we ought to see what we're buying" is one that did not settle well with me. As someone brought up in class, football players can be considered as stocks and something to invest in. Their physical training is similar to education/training in other work environments. Their bodies and playing experiences are comparable to work experiences in different career fields.

But one thing that I did not notice until class was the QB's and the race they normally are. I thought Oates should have argued this point a little more. Most QB's are white in the NFL and the one's who are black are normally known for one thing, running. These being QBs like Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, and RGIII are all great QBs who are known for running. The observation that white QBs are better and can "lead" the mostly black players to a victory is something I thought was very interesting.

Blog- Oates

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For the final blog post of the semester I wish to continue the discussion we were having on the Oates article because I find it very interesting. I see what Oates is going after, and he brings up many examples that back up his point, however, I wish to reiterate the fact that these athletes make a lot of money. The NFL minimum rookie salary is $285,000! The fact that they make this money is outstanding. Now to bring this back to what Oates was saying, the players voluntarily do these things, unlike slavery where they were clearly forced to. Yes, they may not get drafted if they do not agree, however, I know I would do it if I was guaranteed to make that amount of money. I understand that Oates is an expert, but the points he brings up are not completely accurate. Also, most of these players get to do what they love to do, playing a sport they dreamed of playing at the professional level. While Oates does bring up some interesting points about idolizing these players, I believe the weigh in is necessary, not to mention every college embellishes weight and height for their players on the roster sheet.

NFL Blog

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I think the term homo-erotic is being applied a little too loosely in this context. Admiration of someone's physique might be homo-something, but certainly not homo-erotic. Further, I think weighing and measuring athletes whose athletic performance is in part dependent on their size is far from erotic. I will agree with a previous poster that there are many questionably homo-erotic or at least homophilic (I'm making that up to directly mean someone touching another person of the same sex if it isn't already a word) practices within the NFL such as the victorious/bonding butt slaps of teammates. I do, however, agree with the author on the points made about speech with in the NFL such as "stick it up their asses or down their throats"

So in summary, I think some of the points in the article really apply the term loosely and distract from the better points.

NFL Draft/Women in Olympics Discussion Question

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Though the two articles we read focused on the objectification of two separate groups of people (women in one case and African American men in the other), they both dealt with issues of white male power and hegemony. How are these two issues, the sexualization of women during the olympics and the homoerotic gaze in the NFL draft similar, and how are they different? What would have to change in our society to eliminate these issues?

Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft DQ

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I found this week's article to be very interesting. I enjoy playing football but have never followed it to the extent described in T. P. Oates' article. The draft process where the players undress and are weighed and measured really reminded me of the slave trade. Slaves would be placed on a stage and usually one's with a bigger build would be paid for at the highest price because they were thought to be more able bodied. My question is, if the NFL was to be fully dominated by African-Americans one day, would that be completely wrong? Would football be different if it were?

Oates DQ

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The author seems to imply that only black people play for the NFL. He implies that whites admire their strong bodies, but he never acknowledges that there are a lot of white people in the NFL with just as good of bodies. He also compares the NFL with the "same language as slavery" after implying that it is a majority black people. Do you think his analogy with the NFL like slavery with terms such as owner, player and trading is still accurate when there are in reality a lot of strong white guys in the NFL too? Or can this slavery analogy only apply to one race?

NFL/Olympics DQ

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There is obviously still a presence of the male gaze in terms of women in the olympics and it almost seems like the homoeroticism in football has one as well. Do you think there is any way to regulate the way the NFL players act toward one another?

NFL Draft - Discussion Question

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Do you think this erotic gaze Oates talks about would be different if the NFL's players were predominately white instead of black?

Women Olympians/NFL Draft Blog

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Both articles featured insightful accounts of elements of sexism, eroticism, voyeurism, objectification, and general othering practices in sports and sports media. While Oates focused on male assertions of power on other males in football (with occasional references to women's roles in relation to this practice), Jackson wrote specifically about traditional forms of male sexism manifested in modern media coverage of the olympics. Common themes in both articles were acts and discourse comprising objectification, the erotic (male) gaze, and assertion of male dominance.
The Oates work was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I was not unfamiliar with the concept of homoeroticism in football, but I had not considered its extreme presence in the draft, an event to which I regularly pay minimal attention. Especially interesting to me are attempts to subvert accusations of homosexuality (a practice all too common in sports) by justifying evaluative practices as being in the name of capitalism. While this may be true to an extent (i.e., knowing precise physical measurements of players has the potential to help coaches decide whether or not to invest in players), there is a strong undercurrent of sexual gazing that has negative implications for the players, such as those expressing their feelings of being likened to bulls at a fair.
What was and is extremely alarming about the ways prospects are evaluated lies in the extent to which they are dehumanized. Although there was a mention of their intellectual worth, the majority of players' importance undoubtedly lies in their physical measurements, a system of values hauntingly reminiscent of practices during times of slavery. Added to this likening is the growing prominence of black players in the NFL, easily allowing for assertions of white male dominance disguised as 'good business'.

NFL/Olympics Blog Post

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Being a sports fan, I have always noticed the homoeroticism that is present in the game of football, with the tight capri pants, the smacking on the butts of team mates and the pursuit of tackling down another man, however I was rather blind to the idea of the drafts homoeroticism. These practices are common in many male dominated sports such as boxing and the UFC. As I'm sure most people are aware, the first openly gay NFL prospect is participating in the draft this year. It has been a huge controversy as players, coaches and GMs all are having serious cases of homophobia due to fear that the straight players will feel uncomfortable with a homosexual man in the locker room. This seems to be nonsensical to me, as they allow reporters, male and female, into the locker room along with the spectators that are at the weigh ins prior to the combine. What makes Michael Sam's sexual orientation now become a spectacle? His sexuality has no bearing on his ability on the field and being apart of the male gaze in their draft period seemed to not bother the masses. This raises the question of a sexist view of homoerotic, male gaze for men being problematic when it is passed off as okay for men and women to critique female athletes in a derogatory way. There is very little coverage on their ability and very much focus on their bodies and looks in a very explicit way. I feel so torn and frustrated by the depiction of female athletes as it is a feat that females are recognized on the same scale as male athletes but there is still such little equality. Also, I don't feel so bad for the men in the draft due to the views and comments regarding their female counterparts. Though dominator culture and the male gaze is problematic in every aspect, and I feel it is wrong to not pity the men equally as I do the women, the disparities in the pay grade and respect levels are so huge that I find myself skewing that way. In some aspects, it feels like we are all back in the sixth grade in sex ed hearing an adult deliberately say penis and vagina to us and not being able to hold back our giggles. Society needs to grow up.

Olympians-blog

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I found this article really interesting, because I don't really watch sports or the Olympics and it kind of updated me to the sexism in that area of media. I thought it was messed up when London mayor Boris Johnson referred to the women's volley ball players as wet otters, I don't even know what that is supposed to mean, it doesn't sound sleazy like he is referring to the women as sex objects in that sentence but it doesn't sound good to refer to a woman as an otter. I feel bad for female athletes like the volley ball players who just want to be taken seriously and I bet its frustrating to see your sport advertised to promote the player's bodies in bikinis opposed to advertising the game for the sake of the game. I was curious about the ESPN issue the article mentioned and looked up pictures and I must say I was really impressed with how the women athletes were photographed, especially the paralympians. I thought it was really cool that the paralympians posed nude for this issue and I hope it helped people especially younger people who are physically disabled feel better about themselves.

DQ: Oates

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The Oates article "The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft" brings to light many of the issues of comodification of athletes. A particularly challenging point of contention for me was when the article discussed how the football players are paraded around and objectified in order to pick "the most capable player." I began to think about ways in which the selection of athletes and more specifically football players is flawed and offensive, but also struggled with how it could abide by more racially and ethically appropriate guidlines. What do you think a "ethically correct" draft would look like? How could this become attainable?

Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft, DQ

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One of the interesting discussions brought up in this article was with regard to race and power. I would like to delve deeper into the idea that the NFL Draft is way for white men to reclaim their sense of power and dominance over athletically "superior" black men. Is the commodification of black men and their bodies a continuation of many of the processes in the slave trade? If so, what are the implications of such an observation?

Erotic Gaze NFL Draft DQ

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In this article Oates suggests that the NFL draft has become a place for homoerotic commentary where American white supremacy finds power in viewing the predominantly black prospects as commodity. As a big football fan myself I was surprised at first by this analysis of the NFL draft but found myself agreeing with a lot of Oates' main arguments. I did, however, find myself wondering then where white football prospects fit into the picture. My DQ is therefore: In what ways are white football prospects viewed in comparison to the players of color? What constitutes these similarities/differences?

erotic gaze in the NFl draft

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I found this article to be very interesting and eye-opening to underlying racism in our society. Sure we see blatant racism all the time, but this article really shows racism that is being concealed or just wrapped in different packaging. I have caught glimpses of the NFL draft in the past, but I've never tuned in to more than a couple minutes of it, and I usually only see the part where the players are called on the phone to be notified that they are being drafted. When reading the details about the invasion of privacy and dehumanizing rituals, I am blown away by what is actually going on during the drafting process. Men are literally turned into objects for sale, and admired primarily based on god-like chiseled features.

We have seen this happen before, especially in the Olympics. Most of the time when we've seen this though, the objects are women. It is a common fact that men have historically looked at women as if they were things to possess, things to use, things to show off. In the Olympics, the women have incredibly athletic bodies, making them objects of desire. If a man could posses a woman such as an Olympic athlete, his dreams would be fulfilled: he would have the ultimate trophy.

The fact that Oates describes the NFL draft as being like a pageant of African American Male athletes being judged by the rich, white males, creates a new type of object of desire in our society. A new type, but also rooted in historical ideologies. Reading his comparison of the draft to slave auctions shocked me but at the same time it made sense to me. It is frightening to think how closely these events are related. Even though I know NFL draftees are compensated greatly for the commodifcation of their bodies and abilities, it still does not settle in as something that is OK with me. Every week during the NFL season, we get to watch these men lay their bodies out, susceptible to life-threatening injuries, and it is a huge spectacle to us.

It is even more interesting to hear what Oates says about the erotic gaze of the draft. Not only are these white men in complete control over the athletes, they are also looking at the athletes in such a specific way. They are looking at the athletes in a way that would not usually be socially acceptable, but since they use homophobic discourse and are in such obvious power over the athletes, it's completely acceptable. They are being racist by the way they are treating these athletes, but at the same time contradicting their racism by showing a homoerotic tendency for them. They admire all of the qualities of these draftees that could be considered points of sexual desire.

Now here comes the problem for me:
I have a great passion for sports and watching people with amazing athletic talent. When I watch football, my mind is focused on the talents of the players and hoping that my team scores the next touchdown. I don't like to think that football is a source of white supremacy because it takes away from my love for the sport. But I have to say, reading this article will make me watch the NFL and NFL news a little different. It will also make me think differently of those men who are in control over the athletes' contracts. It begs the question of whether or not this is something that should continue in our society. But if it isn't, who is going to stop it? The NFL is too rich and powerful to be stopped, so it is going to have to just be solved by steering the gaze away, some way or another.

Olympics Blog Post

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When I read the Role Reboot article about the London Olympics in 2012 (#sweetbrag I had a friend play the opening ceremonies concert) it reminded me of a lot of things I had read about the Sochi Olympics this past winter, which is pretty disappointing because it means that not much has changed. An article over at Slate pointed out that during NBC's coverage of women's downhill skiing, one of the commentators, Steve Porino, talked about how talented the women are in Sochi (which is true). What was problematic, though, was his following statement, as he said "All of that while in a Lycra suit, maybe a little bit of makeup--now that is grace under pressure." Keep in mind that in downhill skiing, the skiiers faces are completely covered by masks. So even when they are covered from head to toe, these women are still "expected" to wear makeup by Porino. It's absolutely ridiculous in every sense. Of course, there's the whole fiasco about women's ski jumping finally becoming an Olympic sport this past year too after lobbying from tons of different athletes, but you can read more about that here if you're interested.

Blog Post: The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft

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Both Oates' article "The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft" and Sarah Jackson's article "What's Wrong with The Media Coverage of Women Olympians" cover the two strikingly similar objectifying gazes placed on male and female athletes by the media. While the coverage of female athletes objectifies their bodies and neglects their athletic triumphs the coverage of male athletes, especially football recruits, places an erotic spin on the way the players are being judged. Both authors make very astute observations on how these individuals are subjected to the male gaze, however for very different reasons. Jackson uses the way women are described in the 2012 Olympic Games, fixating on how the media refers to even older athletes as "girls", virtually removing their lifetime of work and accomplishments. She continues to mention how the bodies and clothing of the female athletes are more on display than the abilities themselves. Oates likewise sees this trend in the NFL draft. Prospects for the draft are rounded up like cattle, stripped to their underwear, and paraded in front of a ballroom full of people. This practice has become so commonplace that the draft seems to "legitimate and mobilize a particular way of looking". This way of looking takes on an erotic tone since it is primarily heterosexual males commenting the on the physique of other males, a practice that is looked down upon in almost any other setting. This is normalized based on the skewed perception that the draft must always be this way. Oates even describes how the NFL general manager explains "It's a livestock show, and it's dehumanizing, but it's necessary...If we're going to buy 'em, we ought to see what we're buying". While this blatant statement seems jarring, in that it turns men into objects or commodities for purchase, it is also the way in which female athletes and non-athletes alike have been viewed across all platforms. With mentalities like these, in which this injustice is known and yet not addressed, little progress can be made to change the way things are.

Gladwell Blog Post

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I found Malcolm Gladwell's "Small Change" article to be very interesting due to the fact that he doesn't fully jump onto the Twitter/Facebook activism train. Gladwell speaks about Sameer Bhatia, who found a bone marrow donor, through Facebook and Twitter. Though this case turned out to be a success, there are numerous cases on the both Facebook and Twitter where photos of people needing money for treatments and such, are fake. There was a post sometime ago where a photo of a bald female was posted with, "Every like helps pay for the victim's cancer treatment!" Though this photo had over 100K likes, the most liked comment on the post was something along the lines of, "I don't have cancer, stop posting my photo up on Facebook!" These Facebook pages were using her photo to falsely promote cancer and in turn, earn likes. It then becomes disgusting after you realize that this is how these pages make money also, by using false photos (maybe even real ones at times) to generate views, and then post unrelated advertisements later to their newly won followers.

gladwell DQ

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Can social media ever truly effect social change? Or is slacktivism too prevalent. I'm thinking of the Kony 2012 movement (which I know is complicated). How about the movement for everyone to change their profile pictures to red and pink versions of the Human Rights Campaign logo in support of same-sex marriage. Are these actions useful or not?

Blog Post: Mirani and Gladwell

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The Gladwell article and response by Mirani were an excellent call and response to the prevalent concept of online social change in our current world. What I've concluded from the readings is that through the ease of contact, accessibility to many people of different channels of life, and the positive side of convergence culture, Internet activism has become an integral part of our modern society. I agree with Mirani's critique of Gladwell because he challenges what I see as Gladwell's weakest point--that online activism has more cons than pros.Though I think Gladwell does bring up some critical ideas, I think dismissing social media as a means to perpetuate movements is no longer an option as technology and innovations evolve. I think there is work that needs to be done within the online sphere to improve upon the methods of social activism, but I think the Internet has become a powerful tool. Our exposure to countless issues is greater than ever before. Our awareness is peaked. Something I keep coming back to in my thoughts surrounding these articles and this concept is that people who desire to be "active activists" will be. I've been heavily exposed to the argument that "everyone just scrolls past these major issues on their Facebook or Twitter news feed and does nothing but feel sad or sorry for the people involved." Yes, I think this is very true! I have been personally guilty of this. My point of contention with this rebuttal to online activism being "unsuccessful" is that this "scrolling past" has always been apart of our society. Even very involved and caring activists have to channel their passions. It is unsustainable to donate both time and money to endless movements. Though I wish it was a plausible option that everyone could help everyone, I think there comes a point to well, "scroll past" and send a good intention to a cause that may be out of reach at that moment. Where I see online activism booming is the point I mentioned earlier-- we are more connected to movements than ever before and that is not a bad thing. I have seen many great social change groups organize via the Internet. Overall, I think it is an important link to have from home (computers, smart phones, etc) to real world action.

Blog Post- Small Change

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The New Yorker article "Small Change" by Malcom Gladwell investigates the role of social media platforms in political and social movements. Particularly, he compares the civil rights movement, in which students performed sit ins and silent protests, with the Iranian revolution. In the Iran movement, at least in the eyes of Western cultures, Twitter was considered to be the driving force behind congregating the population together for a common cause. Yet, Gladwell makes an incredibly astute point by mentioning the fact that, "Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi." This is a key example of how the media outlets in the U.S. are almost, in a sense, fetishizing the Iranian movement and giving the U.S. credit, in a way, for the success of their accomplishments. In their eyes, because of this essential piece of technology invented by citizens of the U.S., our society was able to assist another country in fighting for their rights. Not only is this a selfish mentality it is also an incredibly ignorant way of viewing the situation, showing once again that we see only what we want to see and ignore the atrocities and injustices of reality. I have always felt that social media sites were assisting groups in relating political messages, which they often do, however there is no real replacement for physical action. Much like Gladwell's example of the sit ins in the 1960s when people come physically together and stand as one, their voices speak louder than words written on a website.

Mirani

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I liked this article because I have always thought that a great power was forming among young people as twitter began to become more popular. Twitter has become so popular that all it takes is one thing to be tweeted by someone and in MINUTES millions of people have seen it. Twitter allows people to speak their mind and if their ideas are shared by others, the idea starts to trend. An example of the power of Twitter happened just the other day when people found out about what Donald Sterling (owner of the Clippers) thought of black people. Sterlings ex gf only had to post it once and then it was in the hands of millions. Sterling is now banned from NBA games, just a few short days later. This article really catches in a few paragraphs the importance behind something like Twitter. Although our voices may be small on social networks, they are still present, and still make a difference. Without social networks, it wouldn't even be possible.

My DQ this week is: Although there are positives to social networks, there are also downfalls to having the world see so much information they wouldn't normally see. Do you think the positives outweigh these negatives? A negative for example, people on reddit thinking they could identify the Boston bomber.

Gladwell/Mirani DQ

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Although Gladwell's assertion that social media allegiances are perhaps less concrete (or motivated into action than past forms of organization have been) is perhaps valid, Mirani's point about the importance of the mere amount of information potentially in circulation seemed more deserving of attention to me. Will the concept of government censorship eventually become outdated and simply obsolete, at least partially moving the power of nation leaders into the hands of the masses?

Online Social Change Blog Post

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I definitely understand where both authors are coming from and agree with both of them on certain points. Something I was reminded of especially when reading Gladwell's piece was the "Stop Kony 2012" campaign from a couple years ago. It started as an internet video made by Invisible Children to draw attention to Kony, a supposed militia leader/war criminal in Africa who was supposed to have done awful things to a lot of people. It called for people to post "KONY 2012" signs and stickers all over the place on a specific date to bring everyone's attention to the issue so Kony could be found and taken down. Following the release of the video, there was a lot of controversy coming from a lot of people for various reasons. Some claimed that Kony had actually died years ago and therefore the campaign was pointless, some said the magnitude of his actions weren't depicted accurately in the video, some said the entire idea was stupid and promoted more "slacktivisim" than actual activism-especially since it primarily reached middle class Americans, and some controversy even came from journalists and people who lived in Africa who were offended by the video and the oversimplification of what was actually happening. In the end, I don't think the movement wound up being very successful. I remember the day when people were supposed to flood the streets with "KONY 2012" signs I only ended up seeing one sign crudely slapped on a garbage can.

I do think Twitter and the Internet can aid in activism, but I don't think we've figured out the right way to use it effectively yet.

Online Social Change BP

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Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
Small Change, Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted by Malcolm Gladwell discusses the pros and cons of social media and activism. He begins the article discussing the manpower and effectiveness of the civil rights era sit-ins and protests. He points to the hierarchical structured organization to the protest's success. Gladwell believes that meeting face-to-face, having leaders of a movement (hierarchy) and the "strong-tie" phenomenon associated with high-risk activism is what leads to the success of activism. Gladwell points out that activism via social media is not effective because it's network-based. The connections members of a cause have are not strong-tied like the connections during the civil rights era. The connections activists have on social media are almost all acquaintance based connections or no connection at all. There also isn't a hierarchical power structure within the cause, leaving much room for corruption and hacking. What I kept thinking about while reading this is how much activism today is actually "slacktavism", where we use our mouse to click on a cause, maybe donate $5 to something (and usually consume something in the process - whether that be a t-shirt or stickers), and all of a sudden appear to be a "do-gooder" and have the right to call ourselves activists. It's lazy, ineffective and poorly researched most of the times (KONY 2012, anybody?).

Sorry, Malcolm Gladwell, The Revolution May Well Be Tweeted
In Sorry, Malcolm Gladwell, The Revolution May Well Be Tweeted by Leo Mirani, Mirani argues Gladwell's main argument in his article featured in the New Yorker. Mirani's argument is that activism doesn't need to take the form of marching through streets demanding change; rather activism should be seen through information circulating via social media, and "changing the minds of people, to making populations aware of what governments are doing in their name, to influencing opinion across the world" (Mirani). I do agree that Facebook and Twitter and all other forms of social media have strengthened and have created a world of instant gratification with news spreading globally. My only problem with this is that the attention span of the average web-surfer is getting smaller and smaller (reference Is Google Making Us Stupid?) and our retention of what we read is shrinking. So, yes...I may read an article about how 234 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped, but what am I to do? Knock on CNN and Fox New's door and demand better media coverage? I can share the information with my friends (which I did) and hope that empathy will be struck in their hearts, but is that all that happens?

Old Growth Media and the Future of News
In Old Growth Media and the Future of News by Steven Johnson, Johnson's main point is that we can learn a lot from the past in terms of news circulation and delivery. He expects that in the future of the Internet and news, there will be "more content, not less; more information, more analysis, more precision, a winder range of niches covered". He believes that coverage of news via the Internet and print will improve quite a bit, whether it comes from large news sources or independent reporters and blogs.

Gladwell DQ

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Today in the age of Twitter, online activism acts simply as a mass of numbers petition. Activism such as the civil rights movement was more organized, had a hierarchy directing people what to do, and their plans were hidden from society until they did them, unlike Twitter where their desires are made public online and there are no surprises. Do you think the old ways of activism, which were more organized and surprising, or the new online activism, which is a more public petition, is more effective in achieving goals?

Gladwell/Mirani DQ

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Both of these articles brought up good points about activism and social media. It reminded me a lot about "clicktivism", a term I have heard in other classes. Clicktivism is when by simply "like"ing a page on Facebook, a person feels like they're inspiring significant change when in fact they really aren't doing anything. Mirani's statement "If activism is defined only as taking direct action and protesting on the streets, [Gladwell] might be right" is interesting. Where is the line between activism through social media and activism through physical protest? Do you agree with Mirani's position that activism can include using social media to educate and influence others? Why/why not?

Johnson Blog Post

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I really enjoyed Johnson's blog/speech about the future of news media. I thought that this line near the end of the article was pretty on point for a lot of industries right now, especially music - "we're going to spend so much time trying to figure out how to keep the old model on life support that we won't be able to help invent a new model that actually might work better for everyone." If industries don't figure out how to adapt to new media and technologies, they'll constantly struggle because society is using more and more technology to live their every day lives (like that Nest Thermostat we talked about last class). The news industry is definitely in a state of flux and it's going to be really interesting to see where it goes and how it transforms!

Gladwell/Mirani Blog Post

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The presence of mainstream social media within society has definitely changed the way people interact and activism occurs. Where Mirani claims social media has completely altered activism, Gladwell is more critical stating there is more credit given to the twittersphere than earned. I find myself somewhere in the middle of these arguments. It is undebatable that the presence of social media has shifted the interaction of society, the extent to which it has effected activism is more up for debate. I agree with many of the points Mirani makes stating that places like twitter can be singlehandlely accredited for the organization of certain events such as protests. While at the same I also understand what Gladwell is saying in that twitter and facebook also allow an incredibly passive way to "participate" in politics and social change. I think of the equal sign symbol that swept over the state of Minnesota during the "vote no" campaign. Changing your profile picture to this picture is able to happen with the click of a button, but actually embodying these ideals and participating in this lifestyle outside of FaceBook takes time and effort. So while I hear the points of both Gladwell and Mirani, I find myself residing somewhere in the middle.

Gladwell/Mirani Blog Post

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When it comes to social revolutions, I definitely take the side of Mirani. Though Gladwell makes some great points about activism and having strong ties with the people and the cause, he does not take into consideration what a global recognition can do for a cause, whether there are weak or strong ties to the issues for people. If twitter or facebook was around during the 1960s sit-ins, I'm willing to bet that other african americans in the south would have felt encouragement to stand up for their rights, even if they did not know the initial four people that were starting this revolution. Also, public recognition of injustices can lead to social change. A recent example is the issue with basketball team owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling. Sterling made some racist remarks that were highly offensive to people of color and people that are accepting of diversity. This conversation was recorded and put online. Before the internet, these comments and views may never have hit the press or publics knowledge. Because of the huge internet presence in peoples' lives, an example has been made of him. Sterling has been fined the maximum penalty of 2.5 million dollars and banned from the NBA (games, practices, NBA sponsored events, etc) for life. Without social media, blogs and online reporting, this issue may never have been addressed and mistreatment/discrimination behind closed doors may still occur.

Though revolutions have occurred in the past with the internet, revolutions with large social impacts may spread quicker and more support will ensue. Also, wrongful deaths, in my opinion, would shrink because of fear that there may be a revolt and larger social impacts.

Gladwell/Mirani Blog Post

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When it comes to social revolutions, I definitely take the side of Mirani. Though Gladwell makes some great points about activism and having strong ties with the people and the cause, he does not take into consideration what a global recognition can do for a cause, whether there are weak or strong ties to the issues for people. If twitter or facebook was around during the 1960s sit-ins, I'm willing to bet that other african americans in the south would have felt encouragement to stand up for their rights, even if they did not know the initial four people that were starting this revolution. Also, public recognition of injustices can lead to social change. A recent example is the issue with basketball team owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling. Sterling made some racist remarks that were highly offensive to people of color and people that are accepting of diversity. This conversation was recorded and put online. Before the internet, these comments and views may never have hit the press or publics knowledge. Because of the huge internet presence in peoples' lives, an example has been made of him. Sterling has been fined the maximum penalty of 2.5 million dollars and banned from the NBA (games, practices, NBA sponsored events, etc) for life. Without social media, blogs and online reporting, this issue may never have been addressed and mistreatment/discrimination behind closed doors may still occur.

Though revolutions have occurred in the past with the internet, revolutions with large social impacts may spread quicker and more support will ensue. Also, wrongful deaths, in my opinion, would shrink because of fear that there may be a revolt and larger social impacts.

Gladwell-DQ

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I found this article interesting in comparing how civil rights activists organized protests in the 60s to how people organize protests on FB and twitter today. Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, wrote that Twitter should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and I think that's ridiculous because everything is monitored and there is now way you could organize protests through a public medium without going unnoticed. If the web is monitored then aren't articles praising these social networks as useful tools to organize protests really benefitting the officials not the people?

Mirani/Gladwell Discussion Question

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Do you think that there is any way that social movements that begin to trend on social media sites can actually create and impact and make people want to go out and do something to help instead of passively "liking" the page and then doing nothing else for the cause? How could this happen?

Blog post: Johnson/Starr

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Starr's main argument seems to be that the loss of the newspaper is in fact the loss of general exposure to the world. In the good times newspapers maintained monopolies on consumers and advertisers which earned them excessive profits, "economic heaven" said Warren Buffet, which lead to the ability to report on a large variety of topics forcing readers to become more aware whether they actually read the stories or not. Excessive, monopolized profits allowed the papers to fulfill their editorial missions of providing a public service. When the paper becomes smaller, less diverse, and more fragmented, so does the public awareness itself. This creates more specified viewers, because people must seek out their interests and information (as opposed to being exposed to information generally in the paper). This creates more specific news outlets, which ultimately creates a more partisan public sphere due to the variety of information each member may have sought out, as compared to all persons having read the same paper. I believe this final concern is legitimate. A more partisan public is not a thing we need. But the answer is not to wonder about and fear the future of the newspaper; this is reactive. We need not feel bad for the disappearance of the newspaper, if anything we should be chastising them for their neglect to grow with the rest of the forest as Johnson described it. I really felt inspired by Johnson's article/speech. It, for me, was a refreshing new perspective on media and news in media especially. His new growth old growth analogy was amazing. Newspapers and print information really was new growth media; with all information being received at least one day late. Social media in general I think represents the old growth, and I believe that is Johnson's main point. Social media has been developing for over a decade now, and has done nice job of formatting itself. It has been a total evolutionary experience. Newspapers unfortunately failed to evolve with the media forest. It seems that the monopolized media format was so successful and so convinced of its ways that it put all its fight into maintenance, and little into progress. When Starr questions who will police the information wild west of the Web when the print paper is gone, Johnson answers that it should still be the newspapers. It was the responsibility of the newspapers to be the catalyst in the evolution of news and news media. Newspapers have long been the public source of reliable and critical (keeping an eye on the government) information. That shouldn't change necessarily, but the idea that newspapers are playing catch-up to the Web is disappointing when it should have been the newspapers demanding that the Web change with them.

Sender Blog

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While reading this article I couldn't help but think of other interactions between gay men and women. My autobiographical paper was focused on gay male privilege - particularly in the way gay men treat and interact with women.

The article I decided to analyze was this one;
https://medium.com/gender-justice-feminism/59fc5490b223

To summarize: It claims that gay men use their privilege of being men and engage in misogyny to cope with and feel more secure about being under privileged as gay men.

The Sender article has me thinking that Bravo using gay men in the programming is simultaneously exploiting or appropriating gay men as well as perpetuating the issues that the post I linked points out. Many of the gay men on Bravo are portrayed as sassy and quick-witted, often times pointing out flaws of the women on the show - which is exactly what the gay male privilege article points out. I think in order to better analyze the Sender article, we need to first understand the complex interactions of gay men and straight women.

Sender and Mayer DQ

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To understand why gay and lesbian viewers are secondary targets for Bravo's gay themed programs one has to look at the size of the audience. Sender explains why the main audience is a heterosexual female audience. I think dualcasting is still a great way to attract both, gay, lesbian and female, audiences without producing too many shows.

Why is gay television so fragile?

Is dualcasting being used by Bravo for exploitation?


Producers as Creatives was both interesting and boring. There is a large social structure behind television creation and it seems Mayer believes there has been a loss of creativity because if the vast assembly of workers.Mayer demonstrates this by viewing Brazilian factory laborers used to produce television. The assembly work done during production is taxing and sometimes very new to workers.

Is creativity really constrained by this television process?

If people are so prone to injury (Taylorism) why don't people find other work?

DQ Sender

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Do you think that producing shows with gay characters (specifically on Bravo) is aiming to incorporate a wider audience (opposite of heterosexual)? Or is incorporation of gay programming widely viewed because of the idea that open-mindedness is "in" and being gay is something to covet and celebrate in today's society?

Sender blog

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I found Sender's article over dualcasting to be interesting, however not at all surprising. I have always thought of Queer Eye and the other shows on Bravo to be aimed at white girls around my age. I actually never even thought that those shows had a queer audience because I assumed that gays would find it too stereotypical. I have a few close gay guy friends who from what I know, never even watch those shows. I find it humorous that Bravo gets the rep, "gay channel", considering all I know who watch it are affluent, white girls. Bravo did a fantastic job of playing on the "gay best friend" stereotype to generate an audience.

I found that the article was interesting for the fact that I had a chance to see the statistics about how much more of an audience Bravo gained with the introduction of queer shows. Another thing I found interesting is how much cable shows try to find their "niches". Some niches are very easy and clear to see, but I also think that they aren't as important as networks think. I know I can't speak on statistics about people who mostly stick to one or a few channels when they watch TV, but I assume most people just flip through channels to find something that seems interesting. "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is a great name to give a show in order to get people to stop and watch the show. If they would have went with a less-striking name, I don't think it would have been nearly as popular. Now the ratings are down because the shock factor and newness has faded. If networks want to keep getting more viewers, they need to come out with a new show every other year with an eye-catching name. The "niche" factor needs to be toned down because people don't want to watch one type of channel all day every day. When I turn on the TV, I go to a few channels first to see if there's good stuff (which is why niches do have some importance) but if it's something I've seen a lot of and I want something new, I just flip through all of the channels. I think the best channels are the ones that offer a variety of shows, instead of sticking to a very specific niche.

I agree with Sender's article that dualcasting is a necessity for gay-themed shows, but I don't know why Sender writes so much about that topic, considering it's such an obvious idea. It's obvious because the gay audience is a such a small fraction of the population, and not all gays like that type of TV programming anyway. Bravo so obviously targets young, affluent, white women, they hold no allegiance to the gay community and creating more gay-themed shows, which was the discussion at the end of the article. I do think the idea that Bravo successfully reached a female audience by having gay-themed shows is interesting, but only because I see it from a marketing perspective. Free publicity and high-end advertisements as Sender mentions, all show how Bravo was clever in their quest to gain a larger audience and a more specific niche.

So I guess now I'm just mostly wondering what the purpose of this article was... to talk about the importance of dualcasting for networks, or to show how poorly represented gay culture is in the media? After reading Sender's article, I didn't really get much else out of it than those two facts.

Mayer/Sender DQ

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The large presence of gay characters on Bravo's TV shows is there to satisfy the need for women to have a connection with a gay male, who (seemingly) has similar struggles within their relationships and friendships, career and everyday life as her. These characters allow Bravo to "rope in" viewers through a parasocial relationship which gets them their ratings. Is the facade of diversity in television going too far? Is commodifying peoples' sexuality/race/gender identity something that is ethically sound?

In regards to Mayer's article, the above the line crew being treated as an assembly line to match ideals of a producer is totallly true, in my opinion. I am currently in a media production class, and in the end the final product is what is judged, not the individual work put into each area. Aside from the brazilian mistreatment, do you believe the creative minds such as lighting directors, audio controllers, and technical directors, who create the aesthetic (visual and sound) elements are being screwed? How often does anyone hear of an "award winning lighting director" versus an "award winning director/producer"? Not only are their creativities being stifled but their hard work is going unrecognized.

Producers and Creatives DQ

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In this text Mayer states, "The limited articulation of creativity within the narrow confines of the creative class has the television producer and (nearly always) his trade oscillating between acting as an artist and acting as an assembly line worker" (page 403). This lead me to thoughts on how much creativity is narrowed within the realms of television. By using other readings from class my question is therefore: Does cultural convergence therefore inhibit or encourage creativity? Do new alternative forms of media allow for more creativity or is creativity still narrowed to hegemonic societal standards? Where does this threshold for creativity begin and end?

Sender DQ

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In Katherine Sender's article "Dualcasting: Bravo's Gay Programming and the Quest for Women Audiences" she talks about Bravo's focus on the women demographic. I thought that this was very interesting because I have friends who I've had say they'd like a gay friend. TV shows such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are exactly the types of shows that inspire this type of response to gay men. My question is, is the commodification of one's sexual orientation morally right? In what ways could gays be portrayed on TV to make it morally right?

Producers as Creatives Blog

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Mayer's "Producers as Creatives" reveals a group of people rarely talked about: media laborers. In common discourse on the state of media production and the roles of so-called 'creatives', too often discussions are focused on writers, directors and executive producers. Generally ignored is the dire importance (or even existence) of the men and women creating the products necessary for the circulation of content we all seem to endow with such praise.
What especially interests me is the binary fashion with which most people tend to refer to creatives. Such language effectively renders anyone outside the big three occupations I identified 'uncreative', an attribute that is problematic and generally subjective. Mayer highlights the Social Theory of Creativity, defined as "examin[g] how people coordinate their actions using a common language and tools already imbued with social meanings." This definition most certainly includes individuals considered 'below the line' in media production as well as, in some shape or form, every person on Earth. Indeed, I believe that we all employ creativity in our jobs as well as in day-to-day activities, and attempting to designate a precise group of people 'creative' works to silence the creative actions of anyone outside of consideration. Although ideally the term's definition would be extended to include everyone, it would certainly help to at least acknowledge the subjectivity of the concept and apply it to more seemingly 'uncreative' ideas and actions. Such an effort would work to de-silence media laborers and allow the general public to recognize creativity when they aren't looking for it.

Producers as creatives-blog

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So it wasn't the most interesting article and I am not sure if I got the concepts I was supposed to pull out of it, but hopefully after we talk about it in class it'll all become much clearer. From what I understood from the article, Mayer talks about how Hollywood and television producers destroy the creative inspirations of artists and how those artists become assembly-line workers. Like the television producers get all of the creative credit and the artists remain in the shadows and behind the scene. Mayer then relates this idea to how television sets are made in Brazil and explains how the laborers remain behind the scenes and get no credit for putting the creativity together. I guess this idea relates to other things we have been talking about in class, like the idea that consumers are producers of media, like with the whole Nike; create a shoe thing, or Lays: create a potato chip. Even if you participate in these interactive, individualistic ways to create a product, the truth is you are wasting your creativity on something someone else will get credit for, make profit off of and you still have to pay for the thing you made. By participating in these kind of things we all just end up as behind the scenes, assembly line workers. So I am not sure if that was the connection I was supposed to have made with this article, but I guess I have been thinking a lot about the other ones we have read on convergence culture.

Blog Post for Sender reading

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Sender's article explained the reasoning behind Bravo's gay-themed programming, revealing that the motivation for this type of programming wasn't to increase positive media representations for gays, but rather to appeal to a female demographic and to create a niche audience for itself. Additionally, Bravo wasn't being brave by creating gay-themed programming, but rather was responding to existing trends to develop gay television. By calling upon historical assumptions that gay men are trend-setting and "women's best friends", Bravo created programs which not only potentially appealed to an LGBT, but more importantly to an ages 18-49 women audience, which is more prevalent than LGBT viewers. Sender mentions that if Bravo were truly interested in creating programs primarily for the LGBT community, why are only gay men being represented?

Like many readings about representation in the media, this article was depressing to read because it discussed how yet another group of people have been marginalized in the media for the sake of attracting the consumption of another demographic. It only strengthened my personal opinion that media motivated by profit will never get representation right because media corporations' main objective is not to create diverse and accurate media, but to generate profits. Can representation in corporate media ever be solved? Certainly this doesn't mean that we should stop fighting for better representation. Rather, it seems like fighting for accurate representation in the media is like focusing all of your energy on individually fighting the symptoms of a cold, rather than focusing on the cold as a whole.

DQ: Sender

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In the article, "Dualcasting: Bravo's Gay Programming and the Quest for Women Audiences" by Katherine Sender, I thought her underlying points outside of her gay commodification arguments were thought provoking. A question I have after reading is whether on the grand scale of TV if the demographic target audience is usually a white heterosexual, middle class woman. Could this be true outside of TV networks like Bravo? Is appealing to the female audience more of the norm for TV than we think?

Dual Casting Blog Post

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After reading this article I have to say that I was a little surprised about the people who typically watch Bravo's gay programming to be women over many gay individuals. But after thinking about it for a bit longer it makes much more sense because first, Bravo would most likely want it's shows to appeal to women rather than gay men because they are a larger demographic, and therefore Bravo will receive more money if people continue to tune in. However, Bravo does this in a way where they expose these gay men as the very stereotypical gay man, white, stylish, and wealthy. I think that Bravo plays into this idea that we have talked about before with Sex and the City where gay men are represented as women's loyal sidekicks. This is why these men are portrayed this way, so more women will want to watch the show. Usually gay men are portrayed as people who comfort white women and give them advice on how to improve their lives. This actually made me think a lot about The Whites of Their Eyes, where Stuart Hall talks about the "Mammy" character who is this woman who takes care of white people in a rather loving and affectionate way, even though her rights are taken away by these people. I can't help but compare this to the idea of the "gay best friend" character. That although, they care for the white heterosexual woman and offer her advice in her life, he has rights in his life taken away by many other heterosexual people. Maybe I'm thinking about it too much but I thought that I might mention how I compared the two while reading this article.

Producers as Creatives DQ

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So I trudged my way through the Producers as Creatives article (I personally found the Bravo article more interesting/easier to understand) and I came away from it pretty confused. So, the author went to Brazil to see how television sets are produced, I get that. There was essentially an ethnographic report done, it was sort of interesting, the strict-ness and fast pace of the factory floor reminded me of things I'd seen in other parts of the world with people who make clothing. I guess my main question is how does this tie in with everything else we're talking about? I had issues even connecting it to the Bravo article. Maybe I just completely missed something - I'm hoping we discuss it in class because I'm not too sure about the connection there.

Blog Post

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For this blog post I would like to stray away from the readings due to something big that happened in the NBA over the weekend. To recap, The Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly made many racist comments to his girlfriend (or rather mistress) about how she had pictures with black people on her instagram. The recorded conversation between the two lasted more than an hour and is currently under investigation. Sterling also stated that he did not want her to bring black people to the games. This recorded conversation as hit the world of sports very drastically, and with the series tied 2-2 and heading back to Los Angeles on Tuesday no one knows what will happen. With the majority of players in the NBA being African American, the whole league has taken notice and there are bound to be protests on Tuesday. The players had their own protest on Sunday where they took off their warm up jerseys that had the Clippers logo on them and wore plain red warm-up shirts. The fact that all of this began from instagram photos is shocking, but what's more shocking is one of the people in the photos with her was a basketball legend, Magic Johnson. The fact that Sterling was so offended by this and told his mistress to take them down, is ridiculous and there is no place for this in the NBA, other sports, or even in our country.

Here is the link for the recorded conversation

http://deadspin.com/exclusive-the-extended-donald-sterling-tape-1568291249

Producers as Creatives BlogPost

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I was really confused while reading this article. I think the concept of creativity and factory work were too different and I had a hard time connecting the two. It seemed that this was a completely bullsh*t (pardon my language) article used as an excuse for western culture to justify the exploitation of cheap labour in third world countries. I thought the personal narratives of these young, female factory workers offered a really interesting perspective into how they find personal pride in their work, but it made me feel that this is a "feel good" article for the countries that are exploiting this labour. Though it explained the terrible conditions in which these labourers work in, the strength of the personal narratives on how 'prideful' and 'challenging' the work was outweighed the negatives that were presented. I also do not understand in any way the idea of how the exploitation of this labour contributes to television and media creativity. Is there something I am missing out on that could help me better understand this idea?

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