Archive for March, 2013

March 18, 2013

Barely Scraping the Surface of the Steubenville Rape Case

As a self-declared feminist, a media scrutinizer  and someone who knows how traumatizing rape can be (side note: I was never raped, but I can (unfortunately) say I know several women who have been and have listened to their horrific stories), I was particularly engulfed with the rape case out of Steubenville, Ohio.

There are countless images and posts around the internet (especially today, just hours after the guilty verdict for the two young “promising” football players) from people spewing their opinions on the case.


rape case


Notice how MSM are focusing on what the rapists are going through?  First off, reporters and networks should be unbiased, but if you’re going to say anything, anything at all about what the people involved are feeling–why, oh why, do you choose to sympathize with the men accused of rape and not even utter one mention of what the victim must be going through?   Why are you going to say it’s difficult to watch these young men sit in court–they are the ones that put themselves there.  Why are you saying that their lives are destroyed?  What about the young woman–no, the countless women each year–who have to suffer with reliving their rape each and every day?

I can probably go on and on.  For everyone’s current sanity, I will refrain.

Instead, read these:


Feel free to form your own opinions, but let me leave you with this:

Rape is rape,

Regardless of what the victim is wearing.

Rape is rape,

Regardless of where the victim is.

Rape is rape,

Regardless of what the victim is drinking.

Rape is rape,

Regardless of what the victim is doing.

Rape is rape,

Regardless of how much of a show the rapists put on in court.




March 17, 2013

Blackout Poem

Blackout Poem

“use profanity. wear a leather jacket, and Shades. put out. disrespect liars. keep hope. release the balloons.”

I posted a video of Austin Kleon, who’s the author of “Steal Like an Artist”, in which he brings up newspaper blackout poems. As someone who identifies with creative, I have been intrigued by this art since I first heard about it a couple years ago. I must admit, I stole a few extra copies of Shoofly (KU’s literary magazine…sorry) and made some from my peers’ words.

But, I’m just posting this one, which I believe is one by Austin Kleon, although I’m not 100% sure on that, because I just adore its simplicity and its message.

March 17, 2013

More on Culture Jamming

It was brought up on page 84 of Alternative & Activist New Media that culture jamming has become a standard feature in pop culture.  Its ironic, parodic, “in on the joke” quality and pastiche have been appropriated by a number of mainstream entertainment programs, such as: The Simpsons (whose “Lisa the Iconoclast” episode I have actually been tested on in my Culture & Media class a few years ago… you can watch the episode here), Family Guy, American Dad, The Daily Show, and the Colbert Report.  And as we all know (or at least should have figured out by now…) I kinda sorta love the idea of culture jamming, so I figured I’d explore a little more.

Shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report smartly utilize your typical 5 o’clock news style (down to the dramatic music and overly-enthused attitudes) to get their points across.  And, from a previous post here, we know that the most successful jams use the same medium as the target.  As stated in this article I found, The Colbert Report writers and comedians disseminate dissident interpretations of current political events, potentially jamming the transmission of the dominant political brand message.  Like other culture jammers, The Colbert Report subversively employs emotional and aesthetic modalities similar to those employed by political branding itself, thus interrupting it from within.  Unlike many culture jammers, however, The Colbert Report’s reliance on a humorous version of parody means that they can add their voices to the conversation in a seemingly innocuous way (after all, it’s just a joke).

That same article goes on to explain how, according to Lasn, the primary goal of many culture jammers is détournementwhich is a French term that literally translates to “a turning around.”  Makes sense.  Jammers want to “turn around” the image or idea or conversation.

But animated shows do things a little differently.  They can’t rely on real people wearing nice suits and a smile to mock current events or popular culture.  So they primarily use satire to ridicule and criticize, but, as any good jam hopes to accomplish, much of the audience is unaware of the “prank.”  See above link to The Simpsons for an example episode.  Another episode that comes to mind?  Family Guy‘s FCC Censorship episode.  You know, the one where Peter is upset with the FCC enforcing strict censorship laws on television so he creates his own network which eventually gets shut down by none other than the FCC.  It proves, to me at least, that the show is a little more than toilet humor and poorly timed jokes.





March 17, 2013

New Banksy

New Banksy

Tags: , ,
March 15, 2013

These 6 corporations Control 90% of American Media

These 6 corporations Control 90% of American Media

March 5, 2013

Compare & Contrast

Media criticism done on a napkin. Retrieved from Tumblr.

March 4, 2013

Icelandic Media Blackout

Have you heard any news from Iceland in the past two years?  I sure as heck haven’t – nothing since their currency crashed.  It turns out things are getting interesting there (hat-tip to Texas Arcane).  From the link:

ICELAND. No news from Iceland?… why? How come we hear everything that happens in Egypt but no news about what’s happening in Iceland:

In Iceland, the people has made the government resign, the primary banks have been nationalized, it was decided to not pay the debt that these created with Great Britain and Holland due to their bad financial politics and a public assembly has been created to rewri

te the constitution.And all of this in a peaceful way. A whole revolution against the powers that have created the current global crisis. This is why there hasn’t been any publicity during the last two years: What would happen if the rest of the EU citizens took this as an example? What would happen if the US citizens took this as an example. 

This is a summary of the facts:

2008. The main bank of the country is nationalized.
The Krona, the currency of Iceland devaluates and the stock market stops. The country is in bankruptcy

2008. The citizens protest in front of parliament and manage to get new elections that make the resignation of the prime minister and his whole government.
The country is in bad economic situation.
A law proposes paying back the debt to Great Britain and Holland through the payment of 3,500 million euros, which will be paid by the people of Iceland monthly during the next 15 years, with a 5.5% interest.

2010. The people go out in the streets and demand a referendum. In January 2010 the president denies the approval and announces a popular meeting.
In March the referendum and the denial of payment is voted in by 93%. Meanwhile the government has initiated an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the crisis, and many high level executives and bankers are arrested. The Interpol dictates an order that make all the implicated parties leave the country.

In this crisis an assembly is elected to rewrite a new Constitution which can include the lessons learned from this, and which will substitute the current one (a copy of the Danish Constitution).
25 citizens are chosen, with no political affiliation, out of the 522 candidates. For candidacy all that was needed was to be an adult and have the support of 30 people. The constitutional assembly starts in February of 2011 to present the ‘carta magna’ from the recommendations given by the different assemblies happening throughout the country. It must be approved by the current Parliament and by the one constituted through the next legislative elections.

So in summary of the Icelandic revolution:
-resignation of the whole government
-nationalization of the bank.
-referendum so that the people can decide over the economic decisions.
-incarcerating the responsible parties
-rewriting of the constitution by its people

Have we been informed of this through the media?
Has any political program in radio or TV commented on this?
No! The Icelandic people have been able to show that there is a way to beat the system and has given a democracy lesson to the world.

Please spread the news as Iceland is the role model now although sooner or later, the banksters will start demilishing their nationalized bank.


–Retrieved from:


March 4, 2013

The Young Turks

These days, there are countless examples of alternative media.  From radio to video games to press to visual arts.  Magazines such as The Village Voice and Private Eye are decent foundations for alternative press outlets that exist today.  They touched on the issues that were being swept under the rug or seen as too tough for MSM (mainstream media).

They came to be before the computer made it possible for anyone and everyone to participate in journalism–thus muddying the definition of journalism, but that one’s up for debate.

Today, The Young Turks is a prime example of alternative press gone right.  It’s compelling and effective in getting points across to the public who seek their input.  The network now generates millions of views each month and is the largest online news show.  They’ve even won awards.  Pretty credible if you ask me.  

TYT aren’t interested in appeasing advertisers, nor do they generally have to worry about content because they’re online and, luckily, rules are different.  They can report on things that MSM won’t or don’t because their interests are fair and clear.  They’re looking for the truth and aren’t afraid to dig for it.

See also: Indymedia

Here, New York City, LA, Chicago, and Portland’s independent media sites:

While you’re at it, watch This video I found on the Portland Indymedia site about wealth inequality in the US. Holy hell.

March 4, 2013

Adbusters & culture jamming


If I had to pick an expert of culture jamming (concentrating on tackling advertising companies) there’s no other group besides Adbusters.  Founder of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn, defined jamming as:

“…a way to fight back against advanced consumer capitalism.  I see the kind of consumer culture that we have built up over the last many years as being unsustainable.  It’s a culture that drives the global economy in a way that will eventually make it hit the wall.  Culture jamming is a way to this dysfunctional culture to bite its own tail.”  (The Alternative Media Handbook, page 168-69)

They specialize in parodies of well-known ads (such as Joe Camel being turned into Joe Chemo, because let’s face it, chances are if you’re a smoker, you’re going to get sick at some point.  And chances are, you won’t stop smoking because it’s been ingrained in you for all your life that smoking is “cool.”  Though yes, the ads depicting tobacco have been limited in recent years, finally.)  What makes Adbusters successful in getting their point across is their professionalism in how they present a jam.  They use the same medium that the advertising agencies use.  It “exploits the target’s own medium of choice turning the advertisement against its sponsor.”  Not to mention, at the owner’s expense.

I feel culture jams are an incredibly compelling act of activism against the mainstream norm.  They put issues in a new light by exposing the truth and creating a crack in the social discourse.  However, as we discussed in class, even though jams can create that crack, it’s difficult to utilize the cracks to the advantage of the people.

Culture jams are essentially pranks. And the most successful ones are the ones that go unnoticed.  Which, is why I feel they aren’t always wholly successful.

But, they have potential.  Loads of potential.  Lawrence Lessig, a prominent political activist for the reduced legal restrictions of issues such as copyright, has suggested “that the experience of twenty-first century media could be not just ‘read only’ but ‘read and write’.  Jammers temporarily block the flow of images–jam the culture–but they also improvise and create with those images–jamming with the culture, in the musical sense.  In both of these ways, culture jamming illustrates some of the opportunities and limitations of the emerging read and write media environment.” (page 179)

This does dig into a previous post on copyleft, but just imagine a world where manipulating the media that surrounds you is not a criminal act, but rather an encouraged art form.  A collage of the experiences, all of the experiences, that you are a part of.  Whether it’s music, movies, advertisements… Culture jamming could be the crack that opens up the discourse just enough to allow such freedoms.