Sunday, December 12, 2010


Joseph Elias
English 313
December 13,2010
Social Networking’s influence on Popular Culture (Post-Modern)
Social networking is a mass media juggernaut that has impacted society with a barrage of paths to express ideals, communicate with the outside world in the realm of mass culture, as being part of this postmodern culture. Starting with MySpace, to Face book, and to now twitter, it’s technological influences has helped to become a part of our everyday existence. Though used in a positively and part of everyday, social networking’s influence on mass culture it still promotes other forms of cultural prevalent topics. Therefore, social networking has become a median of post-modern society to express them while not having to be in person to do it and has become a social means of discussion.
            “Post modernity is, to put it in a nutshell, a time of constant, everyday choice–for humanity as a whole as much as for the individual men and women.”(Bauman pg. 81).  We as a civilization live in the postmodern world, a society illustrated by an innovative ability to control there own perceived nature and worlds of illusion. It guides society into a virtual environment of images and simulations (YouTube, Oovoo, I-Chat) and encourages the acting out of desires, including desires that once seemed off-limits to action and experience. Ultimately, it seeks to turn reality into a simulation and make simulations seem real, so humanity will have the ability to control and create its surroundings at will. These social networking websites completely fit the paradigm of the world that social networking sites intend on delivering to its customers. Therefore, allowing users to invent facsimile reality, due to the fact that it gives us a sense of a capability to be able to reconstruct a universe for our own discretion.
            The fundamental functions of all three major social networking websites promote other ideals of the postmodern culture. They also encompass various forms of the ideals that our culture, such as consumption, identity, and our social interactions. Now more than ever has this been true as social networking websites have become part of our everyday existence.
Identity is the concept in which an individual identifies their character traits that leads to finding out who they are and what they do and not that of someone else, n other words it's basically who you are and what you define yourself as being. One would think that identity was personal, an individuals uniqueness would perpetuate there identity, far from it, is often imposed on individuals by societal expectations. Karl Marx (famed German philosopher) explained that identity in the past was more an economic theme instead of a cultural issue. He explains through the economic system of private ownership, society divides itself into two classes: the property owners (rich people) and the property-less (the rest of society) workers, or in other words Capitalism. Capitalism is economic systems in which the production and distribution of goods depend on invest on private capital and profit making. Capitalism is a social order where profit regulates the financial life and also the social structure by creating a pathway for High/Low culture to be created. The high culture is explained as the elite of society or individuals with an immensely better education or individuals, low culture therefore would mean the rest of society or the working class. The divisions of culture are widely seen, even in today’s music, television, and cinema.
         Social networking websites have opened the doors for identity re-creation, allowing people from around the world to engage in identity re-creations thus having the power to mold alternative personas. Face book for example hosts over 400 million active users a day (now boasting that they have over a billion users) engaging in the website on a daily basis to facilitate an ongoing dialogue of their identity and generating influence amongst their networks. Social networking’s defuses the ideals of the high/low culture by facilitating and personify the present day popular culture, by allowing anyone to join and enjoy the services that these websites present.
         Social networking users employ a number of features including notes, games, chat, joining fan pages, starting groups, posting statuses, and writing on other’s networking pages. Through these experiences, users develop their own websites to create their image, and to produce their own spotlight through a simulatedcelebrity” experience. Social networking basic function is online identity construction, or basically allowing users to define themselves by more than just their actual identity or in other words the categorizations we place on ourselves. The famed painter Andy Warhol explained once in the past that “in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes” and that holds true with social networking websites.
         Users ascertain the experiences of “celebrity” when friends, family and associates are allowed access to a user’s opinion, location and relationships; thus giving up the customariness of private life in exchange for a celebrity-like experience. As the post modern culture is explained again  “the opportunity of becoming a celebrity has spread beyond the various elites and into the expectations of the population in general” (Brooker). Social networking allows the common individual delve for a while into the life of celebrity while not in actuality being the celebrity, thus recreating themselves in a postmodern light.   
         Social interaction has dramatically evolved over the past generations, and has especially taken a heavy evolutionary jump with the addition of social networking.           As society has moved closer from the local to the global realm over the last several years’ communications technology has evolved dramatically. Technological advances such as the Internet, iPods, Blackberries and high definition television are all items that were either non-existent or unavailable to the general public less than twenty years ago. Especially now, more than ever have we seen technology become so prevalent in everyday existence?
           Herbert Blumer coined the term symbolic interaction, which is another postmodern ideal that is very prevalent in our present day; it is the process of interaction in the formation of meanings (symbols) for individuals. As Bulmer explains “people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation.”(Blumer pg 67) Society actions are based on symbolic meanings they find within any given situation. We thus interact with the symbols, forming relationships around them. The goals of our interactions with one another are to create shared meaning. Language is itself a symbolic form, which is used to anchor meanings through letters and words to convey messages to each other. Social networking is a great example of symbolic interaction, as in aspect that there is no real face-to-face conversation. We use symbols on our social networking websites to explain ourselves. Such as the like button on face book which, symbolizes an individuals agreement with a certain status they read, or when one comments on an individuals page on face book with shapes of hearts or smiles.
           The impact of social networking has affected the consumer profoundly. According to Nielsen poll adoption of social technologies has effectively reached total saturation. 80% of people in the US use social media, which is equal to the number of people who text via SMS or equivalent to the same amount of individuals who own DVD players. The fact of the matter is that Social media users already number in the hundreds of millions, providing the reach of traditional media but also the precision of one-to-one service and attention, which no other media outlet can compare too. This expresses the end of the high/low culture and promotes the post modern “popular culture”. As advertisement is subject to anyone, with no limitations.
           Social  networking in all it’s facets completely is delved in the post-modern ideal. It affects societies’ consumer base, it affects the image that individuals want to be perceived, and it even has changed our everyday interactions with each other. It completely is involved with everyday life for most of the world. In conclusion social networking is completely saturated into he fabric of society and will probably be a topic of discussion for generations to come.
          
          

        
           
                       
           
Works Cited
Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage, 2008. Print.
Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity, 2001. Print.
Blumer, Herbert. Symbolic Interactionism Perspective and Method. Berkeley [u.a.: Univ. of California, 2009. Print.
"Dr Will Brooker - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Kingston University London." Welcome - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Kingston University London. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. <http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/faculty/staff/cv.php?staffnum=354>.
Worldwide | The Nielsen Company. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. <http://www.nielsen.com/>.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Myspace Group Project


So the myspace group project was pretty interesting assignment to be a part of. I was able to attend every meeting except the first one (conflicting schedules). The Barker book  seemed to be the best text to use for this assignment as we all used it  to gather ideas to bring to the presentation. During the presentation I was in charge of dividing up the groups into two, it was interesting to the class answers to some of the questions posed to them. What was more interesting to me as well was the amount of individuals who told me that they do not use facebook, twitter, or myspace. I thought I wouldn’t meet any one that would be that far removed from technology, I end meeting five of them. All in all it was very interesting academic investigation.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

THE MEDIA HAS BEAT DOWN A BROTHER






It seems as if I’ve come to a crossroads in our lectures. In class we discussed of how Social ideals for looks for an individual should are formulated. The discussion in our class period we examined the use of media and how it’s shaped our idea of physical looks and how it has constructed us to follow trends and to accemelate an ideas of others. The media has the power to create the opinions of whole populations. I never noticed how much this would effect me and how much this idea it reminds me so much of my life. Growing up I attended a combined Catholic elementary and middle School and I was basically the only Black student in my class. I remember when I first got to school. A student came up to me and asked me “are you from Compton?” That’s where it first started. It seems at that time I guess those “in the hood” films where on the rise and everybody expected me to be that Black guy. That was tough for me, it seemed everybody felt like I needed to be treated like I used to hang out with Tookie Williams. I would here students talk to other students and say hello and it would sound a little something like “Hey how was your weekend?” Sounds normal right? Well same person asks me that same question but it more sounds like this “Yo dog, what was crackin for you this weekend?”  Then I went to a public high school that’s where if it weren’t for some special people in my life I wouldn’t know what I would’ve done. I remember like it was yesterday and I was hanging out with some friends at school I was listening to talk about growing up. We where talking about eating at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles as children and when our parents used to take us we would be excited. Then a guy who was in our conversation looked at me and said, “How would you know about that? Your not black, your African”. I know that my ancestry doesn’t technically come from America (I am of Ethiopian decent) but I am dark skin of African decent born in America. Doesn’t that make me Black? I grew up with African Americans all my life, all my neighborhood friends where black and looked at me no different, why would you? I couldn’t hang out with Ethiopians because they didn’t accept me either, I wasn’t raised in that culture, I don’t know how to speak the language, I don’t know what it was about, I thought I was Black. I never felt so lonely. I felt like I don’t belong anywhere, who can I identify with? 
Why must I be portrayed as a character from Boys in The  Hood? Why must I be considered and Uncle Tom for being black and trying to get an education? Why must I be hunting for Zebras and cows just because I have a large forehead and look a little bit different. Why must my middle name of Hailu be thought as some Zulu African Chant? 



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Response Paper


The topic I decided to use for my response paper is the typical radical romance and boy meets girl genre but with a twist. The piece of media I decided to use is a movie titled “Boomerang”. Even though the movie delivers the average radical romance there a twist within the plot.
            A romantic comedy is a dramatic story about romance told with a light, humorous touch. The romantic comedy often offers an experience of shared intimacy to couples married, dating, old, young, life-hardened that is fulfilling and pleasurable, and difficult to initiate or sustain for some people is that two protagonists, usually a man and a woman, meet, part ways due to an argument or other obstacle, then ultimately reunite. Usually the two protagonists meet and become involved initially, then must confront challenges to their union. Sometimes the two protagonists are hesitant to become romantically involved because they believe that they do not like each other, because one of them already has a partner, or because of social pressures. However, usually screenwriters leave clues that suggest that the characters are, in fact, attracted to each other and that they would be a good love match. The protagonists often separate or seek time apart to sort out their feelings or deal with the external obstacles to their being together..  While the two protagonists are separated, one or both of them usually realizes that they are ideal for each other, or that they are in love with each other. Then, after one of the two makes some spectacular effort to find the other person and declare their love.        
            This movie follows the same rhetoric of a romantic comedy that is explained in Tamar McDonald’s romantic comedy of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl and lives happily ever after. Though in this film, there is actually more subjectivity than that. As a somewhat sexual role reversal to conceptual thinking has gone on. As Eddie Murphy is characterized as the player he is actually the one through the whole film being played. As the character Jacqueline, who is this strong, independent, self made woman has actually in turn became the female version of Murphy in the movie. This is personified in the scene when Jacqueline leaves after the both of them had just had sex and instead of cuddling and showing affection she decides to leave. As he explains, "Hey, wait a minute," he thinks. "That's my trick.” Jacqueline personifies the type of woman that where created during the sexual revolution as woman decided whom the wanted to have sex. Her education and her corporate demeanor was completely opposite of Halle Berry ‘s character Angela who forces this film to follow the boy meets girl genre. She is Eddie Murphy’s rebound, as Marcus becomes exactly like the woman he has hurt after breaking up with them: hurt, alone, and depressed. As she begins to go out with him (throughout the film you will notice that she expresses her feelings subtly), she becomes his new love interest. She even takes him back after he has an affair with Jacqueline, which shows the sharp contrast between her and Jacqueline in the first place           
            Boomerang is great movie to examine the constructs of relationships how they differ between people. The movie is a great way to exemplify the ideas of gender role where man is supposed to act a certain way and as for woman. Boomerang also exposes societies out look of a strong woman as with Jacqueline not getting the happy ending as Marcus did, even though she played the same games that he did. The male chauvinistic ideals are lambasted but do examine the genre.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gender Role

The debate between the gender role of men and women has been a constant battle since the beginning of civilization. I know it sounds rhetorical but woman have sure had there uphill battles in there fight for equal rights and lets not forget how recent it was that women achieved there equal rights. It wasn’t until 1920 that women achieved the right to vote in America with passing of the 19th amendment. The uphill battle still goes on today, the disparities between the genders still exist. The lingering question is though, why does still go on?
Simone De Beauvoir’s “the Second Sex” tries to examines this question for us in a most interesting answer. She explains that the relationship between men and women is communal in the sense one cannot live without the other. Its biological, one needs the other to survive and pro create. Although she explained, “she is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her”, even in writing and speech they cannot free themselves escaping man. Think about the words: feMALE, woMAN, as she would explain that women throughout the past have been referenced as the other sex. She also explains also that the only way women where to exit this peril was to get up and see eye to eye with men. I believe this explains the idea of the Post-Modern woman, with the gains in technology and rampant globalization.It seems we aare the stage of seeing a lot of women in a lot of high ranking positions with more opportunities of course granted to them..  The funny thing is during this semester we discussed that globalization or the spread of capitalism. It’s funny because I remember discussing that capitalism is destroying culture but without-it women would be stuck in the same position. Correct? I guess that’s a question for another day



Sunday, September 26, 2010


Joseph Elias
September 21st, 2010



                                    Ethnography

Part I: Observation:
                        The scene I chose to observe was Cheviot Hills Recreation Park which is located in the west side of Los Angeles. Its address 2551 Motor Ave. Los Angeles, CA in the residential are labeled Cheviot Hills. I arrived around 2:00 on September 18th, 2010; I decided to sit under a tree on the northeast most corner of the park to get a full spectrum of the environment. It is a rather large park with a recreational Olympic sized swimming pool, an indoor gym, two baseball fields, two full court basketball courts and two court basketball courts, and a full sized jungle gym. I chose a Saturday to observe the park because of my many years as a patron who has visited this park most of my life I know that many people enjoy the park on the weekends. I began my observation by watching a full court basket ball game. There was one team with individuals of Middle Eastern decent versus a group of African Americans. It seemed as if the one team with Middle Easterners where familiar with each other, they where referring to each other on a first name basis. I was watching the next team form on the sidelines, I began to watch this for four straight games, and every single team was of the same culture or race. I next turned to view the little league baseball game going on towards the center of the park. The stands where filled with parents yelling support to there children as they where playing, especially the mothers. The older men who I presumed who where there fathers seemed to be coaching the children more than the actual coaches of the team. I saw one father actually pull his son by the by his wrist to the side and yelled at him for making an error in judgment on a fly ball, the child was probably between the ages of seven and nine. Around an open part of the park I had seen Latin-American family having a somewhat of a family picnic, it had more than twenty people. The men of the group set up goal for a soccer game that they will soon partake in as the women are preparing fold out tables and the food that is about to be served after the game. This becomes a little more interesting though when on accident during the soccer game, the soccer ball gets in between the game of basketball and an African American male decides to make a remark to the situation expressing a derogatory remark towards Latin-Americans at a member of the soccer players. This situation does not escalate as a group of the basketball players partake in applauding the derogatory remark by laughing and adding discriminatory jokes of there own, they also begin to spit derogatory remarks towards the other ethnicities around the park.  I was getting late into the afternoon and the park was beginning to die down. Elderly individuals/couples, young couples, and families begin which seems a nightly walk around the park; some are walking their dogs and parading around. One couple I noticed sparked the eye sight of the whole park it seemed, it was a Lesbian couple holding hands walking there two dogs around the park, it seemed as if that everyone passed them up would turn back and take a quick glance.
Part II: Analysis
            Gender role is defined as a theoretical construct in the social sciences and humanities that refer to a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific gender. In America culture, gender role has went through many critical advances that allow today’s people to live freely and actively without various obstacles in an individual’s way. Even though as a society we have evolved into a more liberal people and such we still participate in unpleasant rudiments of the past.
            In my time of observation, the social status of certain indivdual has not changed. The involvement of the group of African Americans contributing to this social discourse is evident. The slave/master idea begins to set in, I being an African American has lived and still lives in a predominately African American community. This also expressed in the constructs of how the teams where selected with one certain race in each team. This also affects other cultures because of the denial of mixing the teams with others. There is a impulse it seems in many blacks (especially the young men) who believe they must defend there culture at all cost and that is because of how the past has polluted their upbringing. The belief that it is still a “white man’s world” still resonates in this society today.
            The ideals of the American dream are also diluted in this social surrounding. Watching the fathers of those young baseball players expresses the male ego of father pushing son to become great no matter what the cost. Baseball is “America’s pass time” is one way bolstering the using gender role as an example from our readings of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with using sports as a way to promote the male bravado in the sense of showing of your assets (children, materials, spouse) as a success story creating a fa├žade, what could be a great father-son relationship could actually be disastrous. As for watching the Latin-American family who had no care in the world watching a pleasant soccer match between family members. Soccer, which is really not a popular American sport, is usually shunned down as only a foreigner sport, so it is not widely accepted. The majority does not accept it so it is not American, so it does not pertain in the social constructs of supposed American life. That would explain the hostleness of the sport to the men who where playing basketball because of how “non-American” it is.
            The famous writer Carlos Fuentes once said that “people and there cultures perish in isolation, but they born or reborn in contact with other men and women from another culture, race, or creed. If we do not recognize our humanity in others, we will not recognize it in ourselves”. These words speak truth with which goes in our society today. The norms of gender and racial disparity are apparent but not discussed. One day hopefully these norms will be come detested in our society but until then we must work at it.
           
                        

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cat on A Hot Tin Roof


The discussions of this text are very interesting because of the various relationships that are being examined through this playwright. Dysfunctional is not even the best word to explain the situations that are presented in the movie, it’s almost a melting pot of various issues, From an estranged relationship between father and son (Brick and Big Daddy), a dissolving marriage (Maggie and Brick) its subplots make eat much more interesting then I had anticipated. The play exposes the dark side of the All-American family. Brick is in constant internal warfare at the fact that his father only loves him for he represents the “All-American”. There are also some modern topics that are brought up such as homo-sexuality (the relationship of Brick and his past teammate and friend Skipper) and how to cope with life obstacles such as death. I believe that the movie actually presented me with a better idea of where the book was going. I personally believe that it was bright spot from where I thought that this book was going to be somewhat boring. The great thing about this play is that it really has a modern tone to it as well. It seems all these situations could have happened in todays world. 


I know that this maybe a little of topic but i found out they had a  version of the play with African American cast. With the likes of Terrence Howard, Phylisia Rashaad, and James Earl Jones  why in the hell do they have Diddy acting as Guber? You couldn't get anybody else????  c'mon son