March 17, 2013

New Banksy

New Banksy

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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: http://www.staresattheworld.com/2012/12/icelandic-media-blackout/

 

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.

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks  

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:

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/index.html

http://la.indymedia.org/

http://chicago.indymedia.org/

http://portland.indymedia.org/

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

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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.

 

 

March 4, 2013

Corporate America

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March 4, 2013

McGrease

culture2

March 4, 2013

Joe Chemo

culture1

 

 

March 4, 2013

Copyright vs Copyleft

copyright_copyleft

 

The idea of “copyleft” is brought up on multiple occasions, primarily in passing, in The Alternative Media Handbook… but what is it?

According to  http://www.linfo.org/copyleft.html Copyleft is “a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend and redistribute a creative work and all derivative works (i.e., works based on or derived from it) rather than to restrict such freedoms.”

What appears to make this such a controversial thing?  Money.  Well, the lack of it that the copyright holders or record companies (or whoever else has a hand in whatever is being used, modified or redistributed) are Not okay with.

There are a few Banksy quotes that come to mind (one of my favorite artists–check out his work or his documentary or even his book…you won’t regret it):

“You owe the companies nothing.  You especially don’t owe them any courtesy.  They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.  They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”

“The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit.  The people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff.  Any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours, it belongs to you, it’s yours to take, rearrange and reuse.  Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.”

While Banksy is referring to graffiti and how the art is seen as an illegal nuisance, his words can easily be applied to the issues of copyleft.

As brought up in The Alternative Media Handbook on page 65, the operating system Linux has been established under the ideas of copyleft.  The developers of the software actually encourage users to do just that–use the system.  People are encouraged to make changes as they see fit.  It’s a fantastic way to showcase the possibillions (billions of possibilities) of an open source system.  Here, issues of intellectual property don’t come up.

In RiP: A Remix Manifesto, issues of copyright are discussed in detail.  It mainly follows Gregg Gillis, AKA: Girl Talk.  He’s a bio-medical engineer by day, and a criminal by night.  Of course, artist may be a better term for that, but according to copyright laws–criminal.  His musical specialties are mash-ups made from collages of other artists’ music.  If you have the time and the desire, I recommend watching the movie (link above).  It also dives into Disney’s Steamboat Willie character and some…interesting… parodies.  Not to mention just how screwy Disney is in general with copyright.

My personal opinion?  I think copyleft deserves a chance, and all the money-hungry copyright supporters need to reevaluate their laws–most of which are entirely outdated.