Tuesday, March 18, 2008


For a while now, I have known about a British graffiti artist who simply goes by the name of "Banksy". The art to which he presents is not only a marvel to the eye, but as well, holds strong purpose. His street art varies from political, to inspiring, to just plain comical.
What is actually known of Banksy is very little, due to the fact he wishes to remain unknown.
"His artworks are often-satirical pieces of art that encompass topics such as politics, culture, and ethics" (Wikipedia).

Here's the link to his website, have you heard of him before? What do you think of his work?


"Banksy." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 17 Mar 2008, 00:13 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 19 Mar 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banksy&oldid=198747507>.

Pitching a Feeling...

My first reaction to the Think Different Apple commercial was, "Wow, how inspiring!" That is of course right up until the end, when the intriguing slogan, "Think Different" and the famous Apple logo popped up to reveal what was really going on. However, not all people would feel this way. I believe that in this particular ad, they're not pitching Apple products specifically, but instead they're pitching an idea. More specifically, a feeling.

Right at the very beginning of the commercial, the narrator says, "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels..." and he says it with a slight emphasis in his voice. The commercial wants to emphasize rebellion, because this is what sells. They want to pitch that idea, and that feeling of living life of the edge, and specifically being different.

By presenting this "feeling" or sensation of rebellion, the person viewing the commercial automatically associates rebellion and being different, with Apple. Not just Apple, but also buying their products as well. Rather than conform to become the regular Microsoft user, why not do something different?? I'll go out on a limb, and buy a Mac!! is issentially what is happening.

It's not just pitching rebellion however, it's pitching it so in a positive light. By showing distinct individuals in history, be it John Lennon, Einstein, or Amelia Airheart, a very positive and light-hearted connotation is delivered to the ad as well. It's good to be different, it's good to rebel!
Buy from Apple and you'll be doing yourself good!

Now, I'm not saying being different and standing up for what you believe in isn't right, far from it. Instead, I comment on how rather than pitching a product to sell, Apple had decided on pitching a feeling. And by the looks of it, it didn't seem like a half bad idea.

How Mod

In last evenings class, Ian had discussed Mod vs. Punk in Britain during the late 1950's and early 1960's. It had reminded me of this clip from, "A Hard Days Night", which features George Harrison stumbling into an apparent "top design" team's office for what seems to be an audition.
It's quite funny.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

After I heard a lot of hype about the recent performance of Kanye West and Daft Punk at the Grammy’s, I finally decided to check it out. Being a huge fan of Daft Punk, I was already mildly intrigued to see what all the buzz was about. Not only was I pretty impressed, but I also started to think about how brilliant this creative mixture is. I myself am not a huge fan of hip hop, but listening and watching Kanye West deliver a new spin to a somewhat dated track was both very interesting as well as entertaining. The single itself combines two very different genres of music, hip hop/rap and dance/techno, and creates a really epic sound that crosses over between the different genres. Of course this has been happening for years, remixing older tracks with new hiphop/rap based lyrics and turning them into new again, however
Daft Punk of recent have been touring to promote their newest album, and the original track itself, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” debuted only in 2001.

This also reminds me of another band, Ratatat, who recently did something very similar. The band, Ratatat, is a New York based group who play electronic alternative music. After releasing their first self titled album in 2004, Ratatat teamed up with multiple R&B/Rap/HipHop artists and remixed a majority of their singles in the same year, and released the “Ratatat Mixed Tapes Volume 1”. After the success of both albums, Ratatat made their next album in 2006, named, “Classics”, and then the following year in 2007 remixed “Classics” and created, “Ratatat Mixed Tapes Volume 2” (Wikipedia).

Another example would be Leslie Feist, commonly known just as “Feist”. After the success of her first album, “Let it Die” in 2004, and then in 2006 released “Open Season”, which consisted of remixes and alternative versions of her first released album. Although remixing is nothing completely new, musical artists are now branching out and teaming up with other artists to renew their already seemingly fresh work, and putting a spin on their own sound by collaborating. In the case of Daft Punk, by teaming up with Kanye West not only boosts the popularity of older tracks and albums, it also boosts their newest albums and concert tours. In the situation with Ratatat, instead of putting out just one album a year, they’re able to produce double that and create a larger fan base by crisscrossing popular music genres. I feel as though this is a new step into the future of popular music and sound, and the way bands can reach a bigger and better fan base in the years to come by crossing genres of music and collaborating new music.
This seems like a new way of reinventing predominantly new music.

"Ratatat." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 15 Feb 2008, 16:20 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 Feb 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ratatat&oldid=191665903>.

"Open Season (Feist album)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Jan 2008, 23:57 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 Feb 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Open_Season_%28Feist_album%29&oldid=186922296>.


After reading Dave’s post regarding the new “Virtu-Sphere”, I was sort of freaked out. On the one hand, this is awesome. On the other… has it seriously gotten to this point? The website itself claims that “Virtu-Sphere is an international award winning product that revolutionizes the way man interacts with computers”, which is completely true. However I feel as though it’s almost a step backwards in the sense that man is erasing reality and turning it into VR.
“The Virtu-Sphere enables 6 degrees of freedom – one can move in any direction; walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances without encountering real-world physical obstacles”.
This is a perfect example of remediation, taking something such as an interactive gaming system, like Nintendo Wii, and evolving it into an interactive virtual reality, such as the VirtueSphere. However, this product aids in eliminating human interaction, and reality itself. The same way that the “ear-buds” signify that those listening to music do not want to interact with those surrounding them, the Virtue-Sphere gives the impression that those playing within the system wish to interact with that which is surrounding them, not reality. Not to sound old fashioned, but what ever happened to just playing outside?It is a giant step in technological advancement, but a step backwards for human interaction.

VirtuSphere Inc. "About VirtuSphere." VirtuSphere. 2006. VirtuSphere. 15 Feb 2008 .

Funny vs Shocking

While watching an interview with Jon Stewart on Crossfire, he states that, “..the show that leads into me is puppets that make crank phone calls…”. The line is both very funny but brings up a good point, that perhaps the viewers not only want to receive the news, but also wish to be entertained.

Jon states in the interview also that Crossfire rather then “doing theatre, should be doing debate”. The nightly news has more or less become about and shock value rather than it is about delivering the news. This has become both repetitive and tiring to the public.
Jon Stewart stands by his claim that he is not a newscaster but instead is just a comedian. If this is the case, then why are so many turning to The Daily Show as their form of news? Do they wish to be entertained or are they keeping up to date with what is going on in the world? I believe it’s probably both.

As Laura Shirk posted in one of her blogs, “It is unprincipled to claim themselves strictly as comedians. They are, in fact, distributing news to the public. Therefore, I see them also as newscasters” (Shirk). With this I completely agree, however the show is based solely on parody and the use of political satire. By doing this, it can appeal to a larger field of viewers.

I believe that The Daily Show is a step in a new direction, or at least it is for now. There was a time when the nightly televised news, and before that radio broadcasted news, were the main sources of news consumption. Now “fake” news seems to be opening up a more appealing way to deliver the news. It's funny instead of shocking.

Shirk , Laura. "Reality Strikes Back." [Weblog Blogger] 17 FEB 2008. 17 Feb 2008 http://approachestomediastudies.blogspot.com/.

"CrossFire." CrossFire. Jon Stewart. CNN, CNN. 15 OCT.

Windows XP and 98's Garage Band

this was featured on www.digg.com , and it reminded me of Apple's Garage Band. using sound clips from window's XP and 98, a quick song clip is created. obviously it would have taken a little more time and effort to create this then it would on Apple's program.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


“They describe the ever-increasing transformation of the news into a corporate commodity. Thoughtful newspaper editors like Jon Carroll fear that corporate ownership is eroding the quality of our newspapers, telling an interviewer: ‘Newspaper-owning corporations- and I mean all of them, not just my employer- have an unwritten pact with Wall Street that requires unsustainably high profit levels. Each year, news papers shed reporters, editors, photographers, designers, and news whole. Each year, readers get less. Each year many of those readers turn elsewhere for their news.’” (Schechter, 3)

John Stewart
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as defined by its website, “takes a reality-based look at news, trends, pop culture, current events, politics, sports and entertainment with an alternative point of view. In each show, anchorman Jon Stewart and a team of correspondents,… comment on the day's stories, employing actual news footage, taped field pieces, in-studio guests and on-the-spot coverage of important news events.” (Comedy Central)
However, the site also phrases, “One anchor, five correspondents, zero credibility.” (Comedy Central)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is an alternative broadcast featured on Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom. The show is best known for using satire to parody the mainstream news, more specifically corporately owned, right wing nightly news stations and their broadcasts.

The public audience for years have relied on these night news broadcasts as a way to receive and transmit information regarding world events, and current up to date facts. However, post 9-11, more and more of the public have been searching for alternative news. This is because of many factors, including the public being tired of watching repeatedly overplayed news coverage on world issues, and the hype and propoganda which is being deployed by even the more trusted news stations. Jon Stewart proves to be both entertaining, as well as informative regarding current events and updated news. “The Daily Show has been airing for 6 years, has 1.7 million television viewers, a wide audience who view TDS online, and a larger segment of age 18-31 viewers than any other U.S. nightly news show (Friend 28)” (Boler, 3).

Is it good or bad for people to rely on satirical based broadcasting to gain information?
“One’s understanding of political jokes obviously depends on one’s understanding of politics…” (Boler, 2)

- although it is productive for the audience to be turning to shows like John Stewart as an alternative to the mainstream media, it may not be wise to base all attention to satirical “fake news”
- audience must be able to comprehend the general idea of what is happening in the news, politically, socially, and economically, in order to not only comprehend the humour and appreciate it, but also to help enhance a better awareness of what is happening and to form either conforming or opposing opinions.
- if people are uninformed, The Daily Show instead can be defined as “mindless entertainment”.
- without being conscious of other news sources, the public not only alienates themselves
to one viewpoint, but as well is left without a better understanding of what is being viewed.
- because The Daily Show is owned by the Viacom corporation, there still lies the posiblity of the corportionations views and opnions being broadcasted, instead of satiracal “fake news”

In the Death of Media, the "TEN STEPS OF WHAT TO DO", the first and perhaps most valuable step is for the audience/public to “Become conscious of the power of media in shaping our political agendas. Recognize the important of learning more about its impact, and why media has to become an issue in all social change work” (Schechter)

Schechter, Danny. Death of Media: And The Fight To Save Democracy. Melville House Publishing, 2005.

Boler, Meaghan. "The Transmission of Political Critique after 9/11: "A New Form of Desperation"?." Volume 9, Issue 1Mar 2006 5. http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0603/11-boler.php.

Comedy Central, "About The Show." The Daily Show With John Stewart. Comedy Central. 04 Feb 2008 .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today in the "New Yorker" (Online), it was published that "Without a Hit Razr Sequel, Profit Drops for Motorola". Many have either have heard of, or have, one of these nifty little gadgets whose proper use is being a cell phone, but range from a variety of different uses such as a portable messaging device to a video camera or what have you. I myself don't have one, but I can't help but notice its massive popularity both among my friends and the general public.

Unfortunately now it seems as though Motorola cannot keep up with themselves... by trying to renew their "old" Razr cell phone, the company faces the challenge of perfecting a number one seller which, obviously, is going to be more challenging then expected. "Executives said demand for Motorola’s cellphones had slowed and the company was losing market share. In the fourth quarter, the company earned $100 million, or 4 cents a share, down from $623 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier" (Holson, 1). I have to ask, is this lowering in profit due to the fact Motorola put out a best seller and can't reproduce a product as good as the "Razr"? Or is it just that they can't keep up with yearn of change? It seems more plausible that it is the latter of the two. "...analysts say cellphone makers not only need to be more savvy about what consumers want now, but also need to better anticipate consumers’ future needs — even before they know what they will want themselves" (Holson, 1).

What is most concerning about this statement is the fact that cellphone makers "...need to better anticipate consumers' future needs...". As long as it's a functioning cellular device, aren't the rest all added features? What are the other "needs" exactly? In reality what is being said is that cellphone makers need to keep up with the consumers' wish of multiplying and advancing media. This puts into perspective the idea of remediation... a perfectly functional and popular device becomes no longer desirable, because consumers want something more improved and more efficient.


Holson, Laura M.. "Without a Hit Razr Sequel, Profit Drops for Motorola." New York Times 24, JAN, 2008 24, JAN, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/technology/24motorola.html?_r=1&ref=technology&oref=slogin.