The Fall of the Wall

Berlin WallThe Fall of the Wall was an event I partially helped plan. The event centered on Germany in the 80s, specifically 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. On November 9th, 1989, a string of events led to the ultimate fall of the wall that separated families, friends, and loved ones for forty years.

The event consisted of games and educational presentations. The idea was to recreate the experience, then watch a film based in Germany. We wanted to make the event as authentic as possible, so we had liverwurst, German potato salad, German chocolate, etc. In addition to that, we had a makeshift wall separating the room into two sides: East and West Germany. We even had gate guards just like at Checkpoint Charlie.

The featured movie was Goodbye Lenin. The movie was about the fall of the wall and a young man’s struggles to keep his mom alive by keeping the fallen wall a secret. The movie addressed people’s reactions to the fall of the Berlin Wall and how their attitudes changed over times. It also showed the deep contrast between the old and the young.

It’s true that people were very excited to be able to cross the borders without having to fear for their lives, but there was a sense of nostalgia among the older generations.  They missed the simplicity of those days, when they had less options and less stress in terms of consumerism.

What I found strange was the fact that mom did not know what Coca Cola was. It made me realize how cut off from the world that side of Germany must have been.

I think most of the complaints from the older people came from the fact that the sudden change and growth of the consumer culture was like a culture shock. I distinctly remember the scene when the mom stepped outside of her apartment building and it seemed as if all around her, the world was louder and more vibrant and busier.

I think what the movie tried to portray the sudden change and the shock that many people went through after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. It wasn’t entirely happy, some were more stressed than others.

By akoubadorcas

Oktoberfest: It’s Not All About Beer

OktoberfestWhen is Oktoberfest? Here’s a hint, it’s not October. This was the question I repeatedly asked people who attended the Oktoberfest that the Year of Germany Committee organized.

Oktoberfest happened on October 17th from 11-3 pm.

The event was set up almost like a workshop with different stations. The coolest part was the fact that students had to get their “passports” before they started visiting the booths.   Each booth was an on-campus club, and it represented a well-known German city.

There were multiple games at every station and students had the opportunity to learn a small fact about Germany. So, this brings us back to the question. When is Oktoberfest? Of course many students said October; but the actual answer is in September. Oktoberfest is a huge annual festival in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a major part of the Bavarian culture, and many more cities have modeled an Oktoberfest after the original one that occurs in Munich.

The festival used to last sixteen days, but after the reunification of Germany; it was changed to 17 or 18 days, depending on the first Sunday of the month of October.

Oktoberfest is not known as Oktoberfest in Munich, and it actually starts in the last weeks of September.

Reinhardt decided to have a miniature Oktoberfest in honor of the Year of Germany. Being there alone would have made me think that Oktoberfest is a big beer festival. Although people consume large quantities of beer, they also get to eat traditional German food. Reinhardt’s Oktoberfest featured huge soft pretzels with melted cheese. Those were delicious, and I went back for more many times.

In Munich though, they also serve: sausages, white sausages, red cabbage, cheese noodles, and many more authentic traditional German food.

Although Oktoberfest is not all about beer, the Germans are very serious about the type of beer that people can consume at the annual festival. There is even a specific criterion and only a few breweries actually meet the criteria. For instance, the beers have to be at least 6% alcohol in the beers and they must be brewed within the limits of Munich.

Overall, when I was setting up my booth for Helping Hands at Oktoberfest, I didn’t realize that the mini festival had such a cool history. I enjoyed the food, the games, and the people who came. Oktoberfest

By akoubadorcas

Children and Fire: The effect of Fear and the power of Choice

Of Children and Fire by Ursula Heigi

Of Children and Fire by Ursula Heigi

Ursula Hegi’s Children and Fire is a novel that discusses the little village of Burgdorf for the fourth time. This time, Hegi takes us to the village through the eyes of Thekla Jansen. Thekla Jansen is the young lady who replaced her former teacher, a Jewish woman.  At the time we come into the village, everyone is talking about the fire that ravaged the Reichstag on February 24th, 1933.  Most of the story occurs on February 24th, 1934, the anniversary of the burning. As the story progresses, we, the readers, get to see everything as Thekla perceives it. We follow her on a self-discovery journey that forever changes her personal views of herself and the world around her.

One of the reoccurring themes in Hegi’s Children and Fire is the idea of fear that permeates the soul and life itself.  The book opens up with a dialogue between Thekla and her students about the burning of the Reichstag. As all the students talk about how afraid they were at the time, Thekla finally admits the fear that she felt during those days, “I was afraid, too,” Thekla Jansen says. “Especially those nights after the Reichstag burned.” (pg 5).

Even though it’s very hard to summarize a book in one sentence, Thekla’s statement, I believe, is the best representation of one of the major themes of Children and Fire: Fear.

The thing about fear is that it leads people to act in a ways they would never want to under normal circumstances. But I believe that fear says a lot about a person. As a matter of fact, I believe that the true person comes out when people are afraid. There’s always the good and the bad in people, in addition to the hidden. These hidden personal attributes are the things about ourselves that we work really hard to suppress or hide because they’re not socially acceptable.

In Thekla’s case, fear showed the part of her that is only self-serving. What I mean by that is that she seemed to only look out for her best interest in every case. While we discussed the book, some students expressed sympathy for Thekla and all she endured; but to me, she was more of a hypocrite than anything else.

She had many instances where she could redeem herself after what I consider a betrayal of her Jewish teach, by accepting the job after she was driven out of the village.  As a teacher and an adult, she is a very influential part of the village; and she’s an even greater model for the students she teaches. They all look up to her and I’m certain her word is law.

Then why is it that, even after she experienced the contagious atmosphere of the rally, she couldn’t warn her students of how easy it was to get caught up? Throughout the novel, she closes her eyes to the truth and creates a sort of alternate reality that does not require her to speak in opposition of anything that is occurring.

I firmly believe that she noticed how the Hitler Youth was more than just a small group that allowed young kids to grow up in a close knit community. They were slowly getting brainwashed. I think she saw this, but did not want to believe it. Although she did not think that was good, she did nothing.  Too afraid to get rejected and pushed out like the others, she quietly sat back and watched the events unfold. As long as she was not getting hurt, then it was not a major problem.

I don’t completely blame Thekla for her mindset. We’ve all been in a situation where we ended up sitting down when we could have acted simply because we weren’t directly affected. Part of human nature is that instinct to live and survive. She wanted to survive those days of fear. She wanted to be able to tell her story to her children and her children’s children.

I think her world came apart when she found out that she was part Jew.  The Aryan nation was expanding, and although people didn’t say it aloud, they were slowly in taking those views of the perfect German who was worthy to live. Thekla had created a sort of security blanket for herself. She could use her “pure blood” as a reason to stay alive if times ever got worse. Learning about that stain in her heritage was like someone ripped her blanket from her hands and burned it. She had no choice but to change her line of action. This is why I don’t think she had a change of heart, because to me, her actions were still driven by fear and the desire to survive. She didn’t try to help others. Thekla continued to look out for Thekla.

By akoubadorcas

No Money, No Honey

Pole-DancerExotic dancing is quite an interesting profession. While the women who do it profess power and pride, the majority of society looks down on them.

“No Money No Honey” tactically delves into the subject as Ms. Cowell interviews these women about the ins and outs of exotic dancing.

According to the article, there is more to exotic dancing than a woman dancing in a sexy manner to get tips.  “No Money No Honey” describes a few of the interactions that occur among strippers, the bar’s staff, and patrons.

The stripping club becomes more than just a club when the ladies are on the floor during their sets.  It is a club I think most of us imagine naked women when we think of pole dancing or stripping, but as the article points out, nudity does not occur during every set.

It seems as if overtime, the patrons, the strippers, the club owners, the DJs and the bar tenders unknowingly created a culture for their little world.flavour-days–creating-moments-of-inspiration-to-Influence-corporate-culture

The more experienced strippers help newbies; this is like a training session in any regular job.  The intermediate strippers show them how to determine which customer will be able to give a respectable tip.  They also teach them how draw patrons’ attention and basically fool them into giving as much money as possible.

With time, the newbies learn the tricks of the trade and they even create their own routines and tricks.

Each girl’s performance somehow reflects her personality through her costumes, her signature moves, her interactions with the patrons, and the services she is willing to offer. And one of the most interesting points that Jasmine made was that the dancers placed a value on their bodies.

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This means that if customers do not give tips, they do not get a show; hence “no money, no honey.”

The way Cowell recounted performances on the dance floor made me think of the hunter and its prey.  In the exotic dancing world, the dancers are the hunters.  They crawl tentatively on the floor, in skimpy outfits, slowly making their way toward the eager patrons.stalking-animal

The club’s patrons are the prey. They sit, some wide eyed, others nonchalantly and others are ready to throw money onto the floor.

As the dancer makes her way toward the crowd, she sizes up the different people sitting in front of her. Who will be her first victim? Which man or woman looks ready to offer some good money?

The show only goes on if the customers actually tip.  Once a dancer feels like no one is paying her anything for her work, she can walk off the stage without a look back. Leaving many customers highly frustrated.

But when patrons actually pay, they can expect a show. Sometimes, there’s a bit of role-playing. Other times, they see intricate acrobatic tricks on a pole. Some people even pay the dancers for private table dances.  stripper_shutterstock-e1374686922248

From the first step the dancer makes onto the floor, she begins to silently interact with each and every person, and she slowly makes her way towards the most promising catches.

Exotic dancing is a business and every girl aims to make as much as possible during her set (her time on the dance floor, measured by three songs).

Bar tenders act as protectors for the exotic dancers, and DJs serve the public relations men or women for them.  They usually introduce the upcoming girl and encourage patrons to come forward and generously tip the dancers.

The world of exotic dancing is quite interesting. To me, it shows how humans have a need to create a structure that becomes culture.  The dancers could just find a place to dance, do their routines, get their money and leave.

Instead, they create relationships among each other and hierarchies that indicate the proper behavior.

How does exotic dancing tie into globalization? You see, exotic dancing is not just in the United States. It takes many forms all over the world.  There are belly dancers, traditional dancers for different ethnicities all over the world.  Since beauty and sensuality differs in different societies, the exotic dancer’s appearance and “tricks” also changes.

Pole dancing as a job and as a sport has reached the ends of the world.

More women are taking pole-dancing lessons to have fun, be sexy and get more confident.

Someone once said,  “[being a pole dancer] is like eating chips in church, everyone looks at you disgustingly, but they all secretly want to be you.” I think these trends show how many people in a way have a secret desire to be exotic and wanted.

ku-medium

By akoubadorcas

The Beauty in Cultural Diversity

imagesWhat is culture? The term encompasses so much more than just “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.”  Culture, to me, is the actual essence of living; and every individual in every society embodies the culture he or she experiences on a daily basis.

What this means is that every one of us carry culture in some way, shape and form. Culture is all around us, in music, our languages, the way we speak, the way we dress, the way we think and process stimuli, the way we style our hair, the foods we eat, even the way we consume material things within our society.

Each one of us is born into a culture, but as time evolves we have the ability to choose the cultures we want to embody. In some instances, people learn the norms of many different cultures so they develop a completely unique outlook on what it means to belong.

Norms serve as social guidelines for what is acceptable and what is not within a culture. Social norms range in degree of importance and differ from society to society. For instance, In Nigeria, people bow when greeting a person who is either older or socio-economically above them. Meanwhile, in the United States, greeting usually only occurs between and among people who know each other very closely. In certain instances some people don’t greet each other at all, they simply interact as friends.

This example goes further to show how the guidelines for respect differ in different societies. While Americans don’t always mind greetings, it is extremely disrespectful not to greet someone you didn’t physically sleep next to all night long.

And even though greeting a friend is just a folkway, a norm for casual interactions, it carries different implications in different instances.

Norms are not only guidelines, but they also help create naïve realismNaïve realism occurs when one believes that his/her cultural behavior, values, beliefs, and symbols are the only true way to live.

Naïve realism ties very closely to ethnocentrism, which is believing that one’s culture is above all others. Ethnocentrism has both positive and negative effects on individuals within a society. On one hand it creates pride in one’s culture; but on the other hand, it leads individuals to see the world with only one cultural veil.

americanethnocentrismEthnocentrisms can cause individuals to become very close-minded about others whose culture differs from their own. Ethnocentrism causes the individual to disregard the fact that there are many was to see the world. It creates a naïve reality that can greatly inhibit a person’s ability to fully experience and enjoy other cultures.

One way to really enjoy others’ culture is through observing their cultural behavior and artifacts. Cultural behavior includes traditions and rituals. For example: bowing in China, kissing on the cheeks to greet friends in France, and casual handshakes in the U.S.  Cultural artifacts are the material aspects of that culture. This includes architecture, decorative arts (masks, paintings, writing, sayings, etc..)

Cultural behavior and cultural artifacts act as a peephole into other people’s cultures.  When one studies informants, a term that anthropologists use to describe the people they observe in order to acquire cultural knowledge, one slowly gains understanding of that culture. The more you study, the more you begin to see things as those around you.development

There is a method that leads to better understanding of other cultures, and it is called intercultural praxis.Intercultural Praxis

Intercultural praxis is a process of critical and reflective thinking and acting that empowers us to verbally, interpersonally, and communally navigate through the intercultural world we inhabit.

1112455097_6e2d78c48bIn other words, intercultural praxis is like a camera lens with different zooming and color effect options. As you travel through the world, you have the ability to change the zoom and color effect settings in order to see dissimilar things in a different light.

Curious-storyThat camera lens requires inquiry, which is the desire and willingness to learn. This is the first step towards getting rid of one’s naïve realism. In addition, cultural praxis requires framing. Cultural frames are basically norms, beliefs, values, symbols, cultural behavior, etc. that guide individuals.

Intercultural praxis also requires a certain awareness of positioning, your geographic placement that relates to our social and political position. This would be something like the nationwide voting trends among the south, north, Midwest, and west.

Not only that, but intercultural praxis also includes dialogue, communication through words. Language is the greatest manifestation of dialogue.

There’s also reflection, which is simply the capacity to observe yourself in relation to others and allow yourself to change accordingly.

tumblr_lsep9dlLfG1qf6if3o1_500The final process of the intercultural praxis is action. This basically includes emulating the cultural behavior you studied and now understand better.

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Overall, culture is a beautiful thing. It adds depth and variety to the world. Since cultures vary from place to place, in order to truly appreciate the varieties we must remove the veils of our own cultures and use the camera lens of intercultural praxis to gain more understanding.

Collage Blog #1

Year of China Festival: How Society Affects Us

I helped set up the Year of China Festival.  This particular event created a certain appreciation of Chinese art.  There were beautiful lanterns, sayings written in Chinese script, little Buda figurines, and many more.  The most interesting part of the day was the music.  Quite honestly, it was a frightening sound.  The traditional Chinese music differed from anything I had ever heard.  The music sounded as if there was a ghost moaning in agony at the thought of never being among the living anymore.  Most of the music I heard was sombre and mysterious, because I did not understand the words spoken.   To me, it was a just a mixture of sounds enlaced to make a ‘song’.  The rhythms and melodies were also very different from the music I am used to listening to.

The music had the biggest impact on me, because it showed me how different people perceive beauty and talent differently.  Which led to a further thought of how even our likes and dislikes are a social construct.  This thought brought me to the realization that even though we, as individuals who are active members of our societies, like to claim that we are individuals who can stand above the influence, the influence is all around us and we can never completely stand above the norms and values of our society.  Some people stand at further  away from the middle ground than others.  This ‘middle ground’ is the place where society gives us a guide on what we should do and who we should be.  The middle ground encompasses the norms, values, symbols, gestures, and beliefs of a society.  Every individual is pushed toward that middle ground, but each person has the choice to deviate or stay along that path.  Either way, we are all somewhat tainted by our societies.norm

By akoubadorcas

Year of China Blog 1: Star Gazing and the Qixi Festival

799px-Niulang_and_Zhinv_(Long_Corridor)The star gazing was the first event of the Year of China.  We all sat outside, on the gym’s lawn, and patiently waited as the stars began to emerge one by one.  The night was still as Dr. Gregory began to speak of traditions in China.  He focused on how Valentine’s Day differs in China. Dr. Gregory first explained that Valentine’s day in China is formally known as the Qixi Festival or the Magpie Festival. This festival is very different from the American Valentine’s Day.  It is not the traditional day for cant and roses; Qixi, is the day for young ladies to show their domestic skills in order to attract a husband.

The most important part of the festival is the carving of the melons.  Young women who can skillfully and beautifully carve melons are deemed to be eligible bachelorettes.  This greatly differs from the American tradition of the man bringing some type of present to his woman to display his love for her and vice versa.  In China, as Dr. Gregory pointed out, ‘Valentine’s Day’ transcends the superficial, in the sense that this is a day when a single woman may go home with a new fiancé and potential husband.

The reason why we all went star gazing was because of the story behind the Qixi festival.  This story differs from region to region, but the plot always centers around star crossed lovers.  The variation that Dr. Gregory told us was that of the Princess and the Cowherd.  The princess was a fairy whose mother was a goddess.  Her job in heaven was to weave clouds.  The young woman became very bored with her job and her live in heaven and decided to descend to Earth for some fun.  Upon arrival, she met the cowherd.  They fell in love and were married without her mother’s consent.  Once the Goddess found out that her was married, she became furious.  Her daughter had not only married a mere mortal, but she also had two children by this cowherd.  The Goddess immediately ordered her daughter back to heaven. The cowherd was saddened by his wife’s disappearance; when his oxen magically began to speak to him.  The oxen explained that the princess had gone back to heaven and the only way he could get to see her was if he killed him and used its hide to be able to fly.  So the cowherd killed his beloved oxen and used its hide to fly t heaven with their two children.  When the Goddess found out, she used her pin to create a river in the sky (the Milky Way).  The cowherd and his children could not cross to the other side, so he sadly watched as his fairy wife also sadly weaved clouds on the other side.  But once every year, the Magpies come and create a bridge for the lovers to meet and once again be careless.

This story was sad, but beautiful. It showed how differently people perceive love and Valentine’s day all over the world.

By akoubadorcas

The United States and Cultural Imperialism

Today, with the advancement of technology, the world has become increasingly interconnected.  With this increase in connection and  communication, countries’ borders are also increasingly blurry as cultures cross borders and new people adopt new ways of life and new manners of thinking.  Generally, the world powers have crossed cultural boundaries all over the world; and among these world powers, the United States has had a tremendous international influence. The United States’ cultural imperialism is apparent through the media, but Americans have grown increasingly ethnocentric despite the increased cultural diversity in the U.S.

First of all, cultural imperialism occurs when one ‘dominant’ culture infuses itself into another culture, sometimes this destroys the native culture.  Over the years, the media have facilitated America’s cultural spread.  It’s as if the whole world knows the United States, and most people have a sense, even if misguided, of what it’s like to be an American.  The United State’s cultural dominance is apparent predominantly through fashion, music, and movies.  For instance, some people strive to wear merchandise from American designers such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren’s Polo, and Dona Karan’s DK.  Stores like American Apparel have locations all the way in Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, and Brazil.

In addition to style, American Pop music reaches every corner of the world.  In places like Nigeria and Ghana, not only are people listening to American artists, but they also have their local star who are basically African versions of American celebrities. For instance, Ghana’s Itz Tiffany made a name for herself as Ghana’s own version of Nicki Minaj.

*Itz Tiffany is a young female rapper*

Not only that, but the United States also has the largest film industry in the world, so American movies play in over 100 countries every day. These movies are often remade with local flavor, but the more people watch American films, the more they try to emulate the norms they observe.

With that said,  many Americans have a growing sense of ethnocentrism due to cultural imperialism. Ethnocentrism is the tendency to view other people’s culture’s from one’s own cultural perspectives. This basically means, that the person judges other cultures based on the norms of his or her own society. The problem with that is that many Americans don’t try to understand other cultures before labeling their norms as strange, bizarre, or even barbaric.  The idea is that Americans have grown used to being emulated, to the point that there is sense of cultural superiority rather than respect and intrigue for others.  This leads to a general misunderstanding of others and stereotypes that place a whole people into one square.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Americans are not the only ones who display ethnocentrism. The ethnocentric attitude is present in every society, and people have to educate themselves in order to understand others with cultural differences.

*Accepting cultural difference*

One of the main issues with cultural imperialism is whether individuals from the dominant culture actually accept other people’s cultures or do they become culturally exclusive.  The book pointed out that only 2% of the movies that come out in American theaters these days are foreign. This means that people are less likely to watch foreign films. What does this say about Americans?  Are people actually rejecting other cultures in favor of theirs or is it just a preference because they understand these norms better.  In the 1920′s and 30′s, people were more likely to watch foreign films.  As the U.S’s cultural imperialism expanded, people simply became less interested in foreign media.

In conclusion, cultural imperialism has had many effects on American culture and the world.  As American influence expands, it seems like more Americans are losing interest in other cultures. In a way, even though cultural imperialism is creating a connection among all the nations, it is also creating a disconnect among different people.  Despite the cultural diversity in the U.S there are many people who don’t strive to understand other who are culturally dissimilar.  Hopefully, this generation, which is considerably more open minded than previous one will be more inclined to travel and learn about the different ways people live today.

By akoubadorcas

The Voices Heard: How is Media Consolidation affecting the Music Industry

French philosopher Dennis Diderot once said “Good music is very close to primitive.”  This was the main point that the documentary Before the Music Dies. Even though Dennis Diderot lived in the 18th century, he expressed an idea that many feel is becoming our reality.  The idea here though is that because of media consolidation and deregulation, music has not only become generic but it also has lost its depth. After 1996, radio stations fell under the control of a few powerful mother companies, music became for the masses, and an increasingly number of people have abandoned their radios in search of more meaningful music.

First of all, 1996 marked the end of one musical era and the beginning of a new era of popular culture. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed the radio station industry, which had been mainly privately owned, to drop into the hands of a few powerful companies.  The radio was the first electronic mass medium; and when it first became a household item in the 1920′s, there was a requirement to operate in the public interest.  At the time, the number of licensed radio operators went from 322 in 1913 to 13581 in 1917! Most of these companies did not sell advertising time, but by 1930, nine out of ten radio stations sold advertising time.  This slow shift from no ad time to practically everyone advertising, marked the beginning of the trend of affiliation with large networks for financing.  These days, the number of radio owners continues to drop as an increasing  number of large networks own radio stations.

Because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, communications companies who had their eyes out for smaller companies to swallow up were able to go on immense shopping sprees. For instance, Clear Channel communications  immediately purchased 70 other companies and a few radio stations.   In addition, before Jacor became part of Clear channel, it owned 233 radio stations in 55 different markets! With less and less companies owning radio stations, there has been less variety in the music world.  The goal now is to get those who can make a ‘hit’ and sell as quickly as possible. The music industry as now become a race track where every media company is trying to reach the best looking people who will attract the most listeners.  This point leads to the idea that the music world has now shifted from looking for talent to looking for beauty. As the various artists in the the documentary Before the Music Dies, the artists that came before the consolidated mass media would not have a chance in today’s industry.  Artists such as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, who are considered prodigies,  would not have made it in today’s music industry because of their bindles. It’s simple as that, the movie pointed out that today’s musicians must look good in order to even have a chance.

In addition to good looks, one must be willing to fit the entertainment mold.  It’s no longer what genre the musician himself wants to communicate to audiences, it’s all about what will sell as quickly as possible.  As mentioned earlier, the music world has now become a race track. These few companies at the top of the food chain, like Clear Channel Communications, are all racing to make the most money as soon as possible.  This also brings us back to the radio requirement to adhere to public interest.

 

As the mother media companies race for the finish line, is the public interest really still the first thing on the priority list?  An increasing number of music consumers believe that their musical demands have not been met.  These days, only a few artists have the honor to be heard on the radio. People like Beyoncé, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, One Direction, Chris Brown, etc.  These artists are entertainers that fit the popular culture of music mold and their albums sell out as quickly as they come out.  Popular culture does not appeal to all listeners, so now people have found different ways to find interesting musicians who have escaped the popular music mold or who were simply not allowed to be themselves as they tried to make it to the top.

*Both these songs portray women who have had enough*

Today, there are multiple music forums and websites that display self released artists and others who are not commonly displayed in the mainstream media.  Websites such as pitchfork.com, refinery29.com, and themusicninja.com are all websites that adhere to those who do not feel entirely satisfied with todays’s radio music industry. In addition to these websites, youtube.com, and pandora.com also allow consumers to explore the music world to find new undiscovered artists.

So, in conclusion, ever since the radio world has become more consolidated, musical variety has decreased.  The mother companies have  made a model for musicians to follow. It is a mold meant to bring money as quickly as possible, with no plans for long term artists.  People are now exposed to only a handful of singers who fit the requirements, so many consumers have resorted to finding unknown artists through different mediums. I am not trying to say that the mainstream television performers are not talented; the point I am making is that there are more talented people who stay behind the curtain simply because of their appearance or their reluctance to change their musical styles. Personally, I believe that media consolidation will continue to decrease musical variety on the radio, but this only becomes a problem when consumers stop using all their resources to find music that adheres to their taste.

 

By akoubadorcas

Global Issue: War, Propaganda, and the Media

 

 

Globalissues.org is an informative website founded by Anup Shah, a man of Indian decent who grew up in England.  The site’s main focus is addressing the various social issues that plague the world today.  The website, whose articles were mainly written by Shah, focuses on controversial issues such as racism, world problems such as hunger and poverty, and even war and weapons.  All the articles are written in order to accurately represent global issues.  Shah says that many issues are misrepresented in today’s mainstream media, which is one of the reasons why he decided to write articles sharing his findings on issues of interest to him.  He believes that a significant amount of poor quality media that misinform the public.  Shah says, “Many global issues appear to be misrepresented in the mainstream for various reasons such as politics, profit motives, to stifle debate, suppress dissent, and so on. Some of these issues may not be receiving enough—or any—mainstream media attention and therefore there is a lack of enough open and public debate, while other concerns seem to be getting a biased attention only” .  This quote proves that Shah has a passion for educating media consumers.  Shah has a wide range of sources that he uses and refers to in his articles.  He has more than 7000 links, in addition to multiple books and scholarly journals he frequently reads.  His basic goal is to inform readers where mainstream media fail.

Shah’s article “War, Propaganda and the Media” is a perfect example of all the resources he uses in order to give a mainly unsullied view   on war and how the media affect public opinion during times of conflict. The article focuses on how propaganda and the media affect the mental state of those involved in regional or international conflicts. “War, Propaganda and the Media” sites multiple experts on propaganda and how the media changes during times of conflict or while tensions are building between the adversaries. Shah uses a variety of quotes from great thinkers like American Journalist Walter Lippmann, British Prime Minister during World War II Winston Churchill, and even quotes from authors such as Mark Twain.  In addition to the direct  quotes, Shah also uses links from other websites that further support the different point he raises about propaganda.  Some of the links, like  U.S. intensifies the war of words, lead to other articles on the global issues website.  Other links, like Fighting dirty, lead to other websites where the reader can uncover more information.  At the end of the article, Shah placed further links that direct readers to other articles related to propaganda in specific areas of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

*Hitler and Fumimaro Konoe (Japan’s 34th, 38th, 39th Prime Minister). This poster was funded by the Department of agriculture.
Children avoiding the Shadow of Nazism

 

 

*This poster was made right after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Parents were the most vulnerable to this poster because they felt that their children and the next generation was in danger of being over taken by Fascism.
“War, Propaganda and the Media” mainly focuses on how propaganda precipitates war in times of building tensions, and how the media communicates increasingly distorted information to the public in order to receive support.  The article opens with a quote, then Shah explains how conflicts involve both the mind and the battle grounds through propaganda.  He basically gives a simple yet analytic definition of propaganda.  As the article progresses, Shah delves into how the propaganda is mainly sugar coated facts that raise favorable responses from the masses for the ‘victim’ portraying the ‘enemy’.  Shah effectively remains neutral about the issue of propaganda as he explains why propaganda works.  The overview of propaganda is negative, for instance he starts out saying that ” People wish to believe the best about themselves and their country”.  Even though propaganda is obviously depicted as a great evil, Shah is able to recognize that he media used to make and distribute propaganda is “very professional”.

Despite the fact that the majority of the article focuses on propaganda, Shah does not fail to discuss the effects of the media’s involvement during times of war.  Shah points out the dilemmas that reporters have to go through, especially when trying to decide how much of the truth should be communicated to the rest of the world.  The main focus of this part of the article is how much more controlled the media becomes during times of conflict. The sections pertaining to the media in general during times of war also contain multiple links that further the argument.

All in all, globalissues.org is a site that was meant to educate the masses about social issues around the world.  “War, Propaganda and the Media” greatly educates readers on propaganda and the media during wars.  Shah emphasizes that the media is a powerful potter who molds public opinions, whether through propaganda or news.  With that said, he also stresses the power of knowledge and honesty in order to respect democratic values.  the wealth of information, and the undertone that accentuates the importance of knowledge means that this website allows readers to become analytic thinkers who can pinpoint areas of weakness in the mainstream media.

*This video is a parody, but it portrays how some of us are so unaware of the world’s problem because we are so wrapped up in our own world.

 

By akoubadorcas