Posts tagged ‘project two’

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.



March 4, 2013

Corporate America


March 4, 2013

Joe Chemo




March 4, 2013

Copyright vs 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 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.