Reflection

It has now come to the end of my BCM111 course, and this means the end of my blog (for bcm111 anyway) and I thought I’d share my experience this time round J After having this blog for my previous bcm subjects, I really got a feel for what our bogs should be like and I feel that throughout this course I have been able to further develop my skills as a blogger in a beneficial way; I’ve found that my writing style has become more advanced and sophisticated and I have spent more time planning for these blog posts and I believe that this has heightened my sense of how my blog posts should be written. I’ve really enjoyed reading other peoples blogs, the standards are so high and its been a privilege to be a part of such an intelligent and creative cohort and I congratulate you all J This will definitely be a useful tool for future subjects and for life in general and I am grateful for being taught such a valuable skill.

News Values and the global media, who really counts?

Modern news reports will often follow a set of frameworks to best convey the seriousness/severity of global news stories, particularly in the mainstream media such as global 24/7 news channels BBC World and CNN. But there are increasingly noticeable flaws and strategies to these news reports that may hinder the audience’s perspective on such issues.

To  recognize these issues we first need to look what journalists perceive news to be and what values are attached to these views. It is important for us to ask questions such as what is news and what makes it. In order for a story to be newsworthy, it must have both cultural significane and relevance to a certain demographic, particularly that of their predominant audience. As well as this it must have features that have rare qualities and in order for it to be breaking new it must not have been released anywhere else. Most news related sources in the mediated public sphere will have reports and news stories about the rich and famous, giving insight into the average household how the other half lives, simply because its interesting and entertaining. They can also refer to elite nations.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2013/10/geneva-ii-last-exit-peace-20131020101943735372.html

 

There has become alternate news sites to the often biased mainstream sources, which focus on the people being affected by whatever unrest is going on. These sites such as Al Jazeera are shifting the common ideas of Western news values to focus on  middle eastern issues and the emerging idea of peace journalism, effectively changing the concept of the “War on terror” frame that many western news stories overdramatize.

Americanisation, will it ever stop?

The Australian Tv series “Kath and Kim” is possibly the most culturally accurate reresntation of the average bogan Australian. And why was it received with such positive responses? Because the humour within the is completely relatable to its predominately Australian audiences and always will be.  This is because the content of what they actors are saying and doing is culturally recoginisable and is a parody of  the average Australian.  So its safe to say that when the US decided to release their own version of the Australian series, it came as quite a shock and was not the hit success that Kath and Kim AUS certainly has been. The characters were simply not conveyed in the same hilarity to that of their Australian versions; the cultural humour and context wasn’t conveyed in the same manor. The cultural references didn’t translate through th American charater’s performance as they weren’t emoting the same humour as the Australian characters are known for.

 

 

 

This “Americanisation” of comedy tv series is becoming ever-increasingly popular, for instance two fo my favourite British comedy/drama tv shows Skins  and Shamless both ran in Australia for about 3 seasons each, only to be stumped by American versions of both shows. And the results were cringe-worthy; not only did the US versions copy the plots of each British episode exactly scene for scene, the charaters were poorly portrayed and the cultural references just didn’t translate into American culture; it was almost parody-like and wasn’t enjoyable to watch. I recently saw a trailer for the American version of the British comedy series The Inbetweeners  and I have to say tis really through me over the edge. Why does it feel like America is always having to one-up other nations in the television industry?

 

 

So its clear that this growing trend is not about to stop anytime soon, but for these American versions to be successful, they must incorporate their own cultural jokes and influences in order to appeal to their local and global audiences,

The rise of Chindia in the global film Industry

Since the trend of westernizing indian and chinese cultures by the Hollywood film industry, attentions of the global film industry have been turned to the potential of the Chinese and Indian film industries to contribute their own cultural films and to challenge the Western-dominated film industry.

The emergence of new technologies(DVD’S, VCR’S, tapes, internet streaming) has been one of the major factors attributed to the increased availability of trans-national films, as viewers around the world have been allowed access to films that may not have necessarily been made available or screened in their country.

A good example of cultural hybridization within a film , is that of Canadian director James Cameron’s Avatar, which up on being released in 2009, was named the world’s highest grossing films of all time.  It cleverly constructed its storyline in close alignment with traditional Hindu religious fable Ramayana in which there are several apparent similarities between the two; both the characters from Avatar and Ramayana  have blue skin, the plot of both depicts a battle between “foreigner invaders” and the native people of the land they are protecting and the use of bows and arrows as weapons used against the humans, as used by Rama and his followers in the Hindu tale. This blog further discusses the similarities:http://www.mallstuffs.com/blogs/BlogDetails.aspx?BlogId=286&BlogType=Spiritual&Topic=Avatar%20Movie%20similarities%20with%20Ramayana%20and%20hinduism

The close similarities between the two texts offers a visual example of just how westernized the Indian religious culture has become, due to it’s growing popularity amongst a western audience. Although these similarities may not be so apparent to the general audience, they are still present and have resulted in immense success for the film and more exposure for Indian culture, which may not have been achieved if presented in an Indian produced film of the same nature as Avatar.

So it is becoming clear that the concept of “Chindia” is rapidly growing within the Western film industry and continues to produce successful films such as Avatar, Slumdog Millionaire and perhaps where it all began, the classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and it will be interesting to see what follows.

Thank God For Media Capitals.

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I honestly think that i’d be lost without my favourite American comedy 30 Rock if i didn’t have access to its seasons in Australia and this is only possible, so i learnt, through the flow of content around the world rom media capitals such as America. It’s not only tv shows that are possible via media capitals; music, news and movies have also been made available between nations and they are having an effect on us daily.

In This week’s reading, Michael Curtin defines media capitals as “places where things came together and consequently, where the generations and circulation of new mass culture forms to become possible.” Here’s a brief little example of the shift in media capitals from Chicago to Hollywood:

Originally, in the 1950’s Chicago was a major media capital as a regional centre of manufacturing, transport and communication (Curtin, 2013) and gradually became a central base for radio broadcasting between the 1930s-1950s in which soap operas and domestic comedies were among the popular radio programs were broadcast. As television was becoming increasingly popular and developed, many of these radio shows were adapted into tv shows and this proved to become rather unsuccessful for Chicago’s leading tv broadcasting networks and now movie productions, as their focus during the late 1950s was predominately on theatre and stage shows. It was also becoming apparent that the cost of production of many of the Chicago films being made was becoming too high and expensive for many of the studios in Chicago. Increasing amounts of New York radio stations were promoting Hollywood actors and their films which seemed like a more efficient way to promote up and coming movies. So as a result, Hollywood took over movie production from the advertising companies as they were more equipped to do so and the role of Chicago and New York as regional economies and cultures centres was destroyed.

So as we can see, global media capitals play a major role in our everyday day media usage, most of what we watch on tv is from America and the UK because they are the dominant sources of global media presently and it’s hard to imagine life without their cultural influences on Australian television.

 

Hip Hop and Cultural Identity

My experiences of Hip Hop would probably have stemmed from listening to such artists and Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Macklemore, yet this is about as far as it goes. When I was told of the roots of hip hop in America and Samoa, I was amazed to learn of the different styles and genres of Hip Hop itself, including dance, DJ-ing, Breaking and MC-ing and the concept of sharing your life’s stories and achievements/downfalls through song or dance, also known as a “creation narrative.” Hip Hop originated in both African American and African cultures and it has also emerged from Samoa, as April K Henderson explains in her article “The Vinyl Ain’t Final” in which she continues to explain that young people of Samoa were able to gain “status and respect” through their dancing and “rather than contradicting or opposing traditional forms, street dance was what… enabled the children of migrants to have the confidence to learn and perform traditional dance at Samoan gatherings. Essentially, individuals were able to express themselves in a peaceful but also effective form of dance, which showed their connection to their culture and native land or “Diaspora”.

Kanye-West

One interesting aspect of Hip Hop is that originally, it was used to express the hardships and struggle of the minority groups of America. Take rapper Eminem for example, when first starting out in the rapping scene, he would rap about his traumatizing childhood, the struggles of growing up in Detroit and the poor relationships he had with his parents. If we look at such hip hop artists as Macklemore, he raps about the current issues of today such as gay marriage and those less fortunate than himself, so it could be said that whilst hip hop is expressing more broader issues/topics, to some degree it is still in favour of the minorities in it’s culture.

A common term used when discussing Hip Hop is “identity”. What does identity mean? To me the identity of an individual is their characteristics, shaped by their culture, which defines them as a person. Yet a question was raised during this week’s tutorial, “Can culture help change your identity?” Personally, I believe that whilst culture is always a part of your identity, I think that an individual’s life experiences, relationships and the place that they come from, will continually alter and shape their identity and that our identities are continually changing as we grow and prosper.

Diversity in our community

Since moving from Sydney to the Southern Highlands midway through 2003, i’ve noticed the lack of diversity in the community that i have been subjected to, in particular the high school i attended. The students there were predominately caucasion Australian’s and so upon starting my tertiary studies at UOW, i have experienced a huge culture shock. I have been amazed at how diverse the students and staff base are in their cultural backgrounds and i feel that this is such a positive factor amongst others, of our University. I think it’s wonderful that International students are given the opportunity to study and live in this beautiful country of ours, and what better place to be than Wollongong?

Studies have shown that international students are highly motivated and determined when it comes to their education and work ethic, which seems to be lacking amongst Australian students in certain demographics. I think we should all be taking a leaf out of international student’s mentality and strive to be our best and achieve the best result possible. I also think that we should be inviting and open to sharing our experiences with others as this is a perfect way to boost moral and support in our community.

However, in this weeks reading “International Students: Negoiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes” (Kell, P & Vogl, G) there are several issues that have been raised by international students upon their transition into Australian education, such as University. For instance, interviews with several international students showed that the majority of them found it difficult to understand “Australian English”, due to the slang and lazy culture that Australians adopt when speaking and because of this students couldn’t understand certain expressions or sayings as they had learnt the proper grammar of “English” itself and this proved challenging when the students were trying to fit in with their peers. It’s clear that Australian culture is centred, for most parts, around the pub and club scene and many International students aren’t able to go out and drank for both financial and/or religious circumstances and this became detrimental for them as they found it harder to meet and form relationships and friendships with Australian students who had a strong affiliation with the drinking/partying scene. Overall, international students found that Aussie kids were difficult to maintain a conversation with, as the cultural barriers between them often left them with little or no common ground, aside from topics such as the weather and travel and it was also suggested that: “In contradiction to the image of a friendly and ‘laid back’ country, to some, Australians can appear ambivalent, distant and disinterested in international studies and foreigners in genal.” 

This is seemingly concerning, yet if i take a moment to observe interactions between international students and Aussie students at UOW, they all seem to be friendly and positive conversations and everyone is made to feel included.  I think it is time to banish cultural stereotypes and impressions regarding international and Australian students in order for everyone to function harmoniously in our learning environment and to embrace our diversity as a University.