Author Archive

12/01/2011

Jersey Shore, reflecting Public Diplomacy?

I could not believe my eyes (not ears) when Professor Hayden mentioned that Jersey Shore could be considered as a form of Public Diplomacy. Whether he was joking or not, I decided to investigate to see how much impact Jersey Shore has around the world.

According to Entertainment Weekly (http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/01/07/jersey-shore-ratings-record/), as of Jan 9, 2011, 8.4 million of viewers watch Jersey Shore. The ratings had increased by 63 percent from Season 2 to Season 4. This show started in December 2009, and it still continues today. Jersey Shore is a TV reality show with 8 roommates, all Italian to be specific, and the show consists a variety of dilemmas, problems, situations (not Mike the Situation, although he does cause some situations), and of course, the mother of it all- drama. Apparently, in my opinion, people like drama. People would choose to see Snooki punch a guy’s face rather than watching story about a lost dog that has finally been found. People would want to see Mike, the Situation, bash his head into a concrete wall in Italy, rather than reading a story about how a local bar in Frederick, Maryland made so much profit from college students that came home for Thanksgiving break within 4 hours.There it is, DRAMA, and Jersey has it.

Perhaps, if the show remained in the United States, I probably would not have considered Jersey Shore as a view of Public Diplomacy. But, because MTV expanded its’ network to Italy, Jersey Shore’s season 4 was filmed in Italy (which, in my opinion, was a horrible idea). After reading this article on the Wall Street Journal, Meichtry states”One of the town’s chic eateries has posted a “No Grazie, Jersey Shore” sign outside its door, instructing cast members to stay away. The cultural superintendent has barred the entire cast from being filmed in the city’s hallowed museums.” This shows me that people in Florence, Italy did not even want Jersey Shore to come in the first place. What does that reflect about America in a way? Of course, MTV is not going to stop just because some people do not want them to come. MTV, possibly having the American’s usual arrogant attitude, went ahead and did their filming of Jersey Shore regardless of how the locals felt. To me, that is offensive. And unfortunately, it does serve as a form of Public Diplomacy in a way. We send ambassadors overseas to represent us. Obviously, the cast of Jersey Shore was our ambassador for quite a while, and probably by now, the Italians probably think that Americans are filled with lunatics who love alcohol and sex and DRAMA. What’s more is that the people in Florence, Italy did not want Jersey Shore coming over to “re-define” the Italian way of life: “The clash of cultures is rooted in opposing views of what it means to be “Italian.” (2011). Yikes…

More information about Jersey Shore and Italy can be found through this link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576353810943734854.html

I recall my friends in London and Ireland posting their Facebook statuses: “Jersey Shore is coming to visit? Oh no!” Well of course, I could not agree more. I could sit back and laugh at them, but then I realize Jersey Shore is representing us. I might as well post up on my status saying “OH NO!” as well! I could go on with the negative perspectives on Jersey Shore and how they can reflect Public Diplomacy in so many wrong ways, but I am trying to find a few positive ways of how they are representing us… the problem is that I can’t. Can you?

Well, as the Italians in Italy might say, Gli americani sono pazzi 🙂 (Americans are crazy people).

 

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11/17/2011

Our new imaginary friend: The IPad 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you were a kid, have you ever had an imaginary friend? I sure did. I remember signing to the wall in my bed before I went to sleep because I imagined there was a girl who looked exactly like me and this girl wanted to be my friend. Even if my imaginary friend never physically appeared as I wished she would, I still felt connected to her somehow.

After listening to the team who gave a presentation on the “imagined community,” it made me really reflect on how this imagined community actually achieves people feeling connected to each other without even meeting each other in person and how we can develop new “imaginary friends” online.  I started to reflect on the different features of the imagined community other than the World War Craft game or the Eva Online or even Facebook. Then the IPad 2 came in mind. I live in a house with 9 women. Oh, don’t worry, it is a big house that fits all of us. 🙂 Two of my roommates just ordered their IPads 2. When the new IPads 2 arrived, I felt like the IPads 2 became their new imaginary friends. They were so focused on playing with the features that were in their devices and did not interact much our other roommates. Sure, I understand that they are excited to get their new toy, but I saw how they developed their own “network society” just by owning an Ipad 2. They played different games that were featured in the IPad 2. They connected to different online interactions with other people who also had IPads 2 as well. It was like an IPad 2 community. For example, there is a game called “Word Friends.” My roommates would sign in then they would meet other people who also have IPads 2 and interact with them online by playing that game. It is almost like playing the game “Scrabble.” Not only that, but there is also another game called “Family Feud.” Both of my roommates played Family Feud with each other and enjoyed each other’s company by just playing online. They did not have an in depth conversation in person or talked to each other face to face but they enjoyed each other’s presence just by playing against each other on Family Feud. My two roommates felt connected together. They created their own imagined community by using their IPads 2.

I am not even sure if I want to order an IPad 2. It might be exciting to join that network society where I would establish my common ground with other people who own IPads, but do I really want to do that? To become part of that virtual world? Have another imaginary friend aka the IPad 2? Being part of that social network does not mean I will meet every person face to face. I might meet some people online through my IPad 2 that I might feel connected, but never will physically meet that person. Do I want to have that? I am not sure if I am ready for that yet. I am just fine with a blackberry phone and a PC laptop that still keep me connected with school, family, and friends. But, to be part of that new imagined community of IPad 2 members, that…I will need to consider.

 

 

11/09/2011

Michelle and Barack Obama take over…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After last night’s discussion on the e-gao article and how there are hidden transcripts in political cartoons, the first thing that came into my mind was this picture from the New Yorker. I remember seeing this picture a few years ago so I went to Google, hoping to find this picture again. After a long search, I found this picture. This picture was shown during one of my undergraduate courses. My professor asked us what we thought of this picture and what we thought the hidden message was.

The message behind this picture is really strong. This kind of picture can affect the perspectives and our thinking of those who are involved with politics, and it even affects those who are not involved with politics. Take me, for instance. I am not a politician nor I know a lot about the politics. However, when I saw this picture, it immediately influenced how I viewed Barack and Michelle Obama. It caused a little bit of anger grow inside of me thinking that they had some conspiracy or hidden agenda behind the closed doors. It made me question if I even wanted Obama to be my president. It also had me concerned that something drastic will happen to USA because of him. It is funny to see how one simple picture without any words or written dialogue can affect my perspective on the political system, Obama as our president, and my role as a US citizen.

If you really look at the details of this picture, you will find a few humorous pieces like Michelle Obama has an Afro, which we never seen she has. Or the skin color- their skin is illustrated as light tan, close to white. If you look behind Obama, you will see a portrait of Bin Laden, but only half of his face is shown. Or how about the fact that Michelle and Barack Obama are standing on a picture of a “world” on the floor. What are the hidden messages behind these? It does make the reader think.

A simple cartoon illustration can ignite a political movement, political power, or even a protest. After reading the e-gao article and discussing in class, I have never realized how powerful a drawing can be. It does influence our society and each individual in many ways.

11/03/2011

What’s my part?

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is growing rapidly. People across USA are joining together for this issue. As shown the video above, some of my friends are involved with this for Occupy Oakland.

To be frank, we have been talking a lot about OWS in class and I never really understood what was going on and why people were reacting to this. I decided to watch several videos and ask people around. I finally get the concept, but I am still uncertain what I should do. I have this mixed feelings about this protest. A part of me agrees that this needs to happen. The government needs to wake up and listen to us. We should not let only 1% control our economy when this is our world too. What’s more is that I completely can relate to the issue about cops/other authorities becoming more violent over simple peaceful protests. We say we have the rights to express ourselves, so if we protest in a peaceful way, we still get trampled over/beaten up by cops. I can relate to this because Gallaudet University had two protests: 1988 and 2006. Both of them were about our university’s presidents.

In 1988, we protested to have a Deaf president after a hearing president being elected. We won. The protest was non violent.

In 2006, we protested to have another president after one president being elected. Again, we won. This also was a peaceful protest.

I participated with the 2006 protest. It was an unbelievable experience. However, since we were protesting in a peaceful way, we still got mauled over by cops. I personally have experienced being thrown down by a cop just because I was standing n front of the gate, not letting the cops in with the new president. My friends and I were not violent. We just clutched our arms together and stood attached together peacefully. Yet, the cop took out his baton and started to shove us out of the way. He got to me, twisted my arm, and pinned me to the ground. I did not even fight back. But, that experience has taught me to realize- where were my rights? Freedom of expression? That’s a contradiction.

The OWS makes me feel like my university’s protest all over again. I do feel that I should support it. But the other part of me is resistant to supporting this idea because I don’t see how our protests will actually CHANGE the government system. The government might hear us out, recognize our problem, and try to soothe our anger. But, will it actually change? I am not sure. Are we really wasting our time? We cannot just tell the rich people to pay more taxes. We cannot tell those 1% to stop controlling our economy and shut down their businesses. Our governance is already deeply rooted in the system. It is almost impossible to change. Is it even possible to “de-institutionalize” our government system to satisfy everyone? I don’t think it can be done. I am proud that we are protesting to wake the government, but I am also ashamed to say I do not even know what my part in this should be because I am uncertain if our energy should be wasted on something that will not change.

10/27/2011

Technology = Networking

It was mentioned in class that Bruno Latour would be upset if we looked at technology as the only way to have networking. He believed that human contact is also part of networking, not just technology. I still kind of disagree with that. I believe that networking is based on technology, yes- everything. There was technology in the cave man era and there is still technology today. Technology back then would be like drawings on walls, writing in dirt, writing on stones, inventing the telegraph, sending letters, owning a type writer, and so forth. These are all different forms of technology that fit in the time eras. Today our technology is based on computers, cell phones, the internet, and the whole shebang of megabytes. Now, my question is how do people “socialize?” How do people meet? If Latour says that the expression of socializing is part of networking, I would agree, but HOW would it begin? People would need to meet. But, how would people meet? They would call each other. They would write letters to each other. They would send emails to each other. Or if you want to go back to the cave men era, they would probably send out fire signals from one territory to another. That is still using technology in one way or another. Therefore our networking is BASED on technology. Our social life, human interactions, begin BASED on technology. So, my perspective is that our networking is all based on technology- even from the old days to the modern days. Care to agree or disagree?

10/20/2011

Get Connected, Worldwide, Rock on!

“After watching this video, you will forever be scarred” announced Dr. Hayden in class last Tuesday.

Scarred? I wondered why. As the MDA Senior Management Rap video began to play, seeing the people in business suits singing a rap song, and especially with their choice of dance- yes, I am scarred. Now I have the line “Get Connected, Worldwide, Rock on!” from the song stuck in my head.

In class, we all discussed about cultural hybridity. It was an interesting session for me because I never really noticed cultural hybridity until recently. I felt like all the commercials are just “commercials.” But after pointing certain scenes that portray cultural hybridity, it made me realize that I overlooked many others as well.
I do wonder if we have had an influence to Singapore because I came across this commercial (you tube video above). Seeing a man in construction clothes, an old woman, a skater, a man in a business suit, a young teenage girl, and especially a man dressed in Viking clothes; they are all singing about JG Wentworth. It is a corny song that has everyone singing “877-Cash-Now!” But seeing this has made me think that it is possible we set that kind of influence that it is okay for “businesses” to create a funny song to attract more clients. I am not sure if it works? Sure it might attract more viewers, but more clients? I would not call JG Wentworth myself.
Speaking of cultural hybridity, I am trying to figure out if I see any cultural hybridity in the JG Wentworth commercial? Other than the different races, I do not see any cultural hybridity except for different clothing. If you see anything, please do share.

10/12/2011

Over abusing the suffix “-ism” ?

Along with this midterm craze, I guess I managed a few minutes to post a brief blog about something that has been bothering me for quite a while.

I have never really focused on the suffix “-ism” (which itself is an abstract meaning of ideology, a movement, a philosophy applied to a term beforehand) until I learned the word “Audism” at Gallaudet University. Audism is the idea of oppression towards a Deaf person by either another Deaf person or by a hearing person. After learning that vocabulary several years ago, I began to see the over use of “-ism.” There are common words that already have “-ism” included such as racism, colonialism, imperialism, buddhism, excorism, and more. Not that I see it as a wrong thing, but I am beginning to think that people are creating their own words with “-ism” to make them into a new theory or perspective.

In class recently, I kept seeing a lot of other words that are plopped in with “-ism” like someone said “sensationalism” then another person said “collectivism” and I recall someone bringing up the word “Apple-ism” during break time. (Note: the person said Apple-ism because of our “Apple Era” noting on Jobs’ death.) After seeing that word being put together with the suffix “-ism” I do feel that we might be over abusing the “-ism” word with any vocabulary we like. I mean I could say that forcing me to blog every week is considered as a blogism! Seriously? Or how about if some people are being prevented to have access towards media because they are not allowed based on their religion, would I call it media-ism?

I think that there should be some kind of measure with the use of “-ism.” Sure, we have the freedom to choose, but there should be some “regulation” to develop concrete ideas to ensure that the suffix “-ism” fits in with the chosen vocabularies.

Just a penny for a thought. 🙂 With that aside, good luck on your midterms!

10/05/2011

Media: A Placebo Effect

The placebo pill itself is viewed as a medical intervention. Sometimes a patient is given a placebo to convince the improvement of their condition. In other words, it’s a fake treatment that works.

With that being said, I view media as a placebo effect. I do not mean to imply that all of the information is fake, but I mean that the quality of information stimulates our thinking process which influences our actions in society may be a bit too stretched. For example, maybe the news tells us about Arab men and whenever we see one, we have to be cautious that they might be carrying a weapon or is a terrorist. Maybe that is a farfetched truth, but it will be “planted” in our minds whether we like it or not, then we end up walking around wondering if every Arab man has a gun up in his sleeve when the chances of that are pretty low. Another example is that I live in the north eastern area of DC. To be frank, it is not dangerous as it is shown to be. Unfortunately, we had shootings that happened right next to my house last week. That has not happened before, but because of that, the news said that we have to be on watch for our surroundings, watch out for any group of Black people near by because it is more likely they are involved with a gang and is suggested that they were involved with the shootings too. Sure, we have to be more cautious, but because the media suggested that we always be on the watch for any “group of Black people,” -that kind of thing plants a “fake medicine” in our mind which leads to every time I walk to H street, I see a group of Black people and I think it might be them when it is really not.

The media has a strong influence on our society. More information, more power. When we discussed about Michael Jackson last night in class, it made me think that every media company competes with one another for better “credibility” so they would be willing to do anything that would gain their reputation.  I am going to throw in another example here: The Royal Wedding. Goodness, I felt like it would never end. Yes, I am glad that Prince William and Kate got married. It was a beautiful wedding indeed, but seriously- Kate was on our magazine covers for several months now regarding the wedding, honeymoon, and even fashion tips. But one thing I noticed was that if one magazine talked about Kate, the other magazine would too, but with “more” information. I would see the People magazine with the headline of “The Royal Wedding: Kate’s secret tips of being a bride” as opposed to the Star Magazine which had a headline of “Kate and William, Happily Ever After. Honeymoon site revealed and more!” Okay, so there are two magazines which pretty much falls in the same category, but they are competing for who has more information. The more information a company has, the more power it has. Point being,- sometimes striving for the best and trying to obtain more information end up becoming the placebo effect.

09/28/2011

What is USA’s culture?

Have you ever seen the movie, “Brave Heart” with Mel Gibson in it? Do you remember the scene where Mel Gibson aka William Wallace screams, “Freedom,” before charging into war? After discussing about patriotism in class last week, it made think about our culture here in the United States of America. Do we even have a culture? Sure, we have some people who are proud US Citizens. They might paint their faces red, white, and blue on our 4th of July celebration or post out a big US flag in their front yard. There are some people here who can be very patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with that. I would label myself as a very patriotic person because I am a very proud citizen and I would sacrifice my life for my country, but when I get asked “what is your culture?” That is what pretty much backfires my vision of being very patriotic if I am not sure what my country’s culture is? For the past few years, USA has been getting a lot of diverse citizens. We have people coming in from all over the world. We have people being married to other people from different countries and being brought here to become citizens. We have different languages. We have different ethnicity and race. We have different beliefs. Most of all, we have different cultures. We do have some other people who have moved from a different country, but still practice their cultures and beliefs. Only in USA, you would see a Chinese person being married to an African American. Only in USA, you would see a Muslim temple next to a Catholic church. Only in USA, you would have restaurants of all kinds aka Indian food, Chinese food, African food, Thai food, and so forth. Our primary language is English, but in some parts like the small towns in Arizona, everything written down would be in Spanish. We are truly indeed a salad bar of the world. We have all kinds of people and cultures here. We still practice the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance (or in some schools). We have baseball games with hot dog stands. We have big houses with big lawns. But are these our culture? The reason why I question this is because two of my friends went to South Africa for a Deaf conference. They met many other Deaf people there from different countries. During the two weeks stay, each day was contributed to a country’s celebration of culture. The Chinese delegates on their day of celebration dressed in their kimonos, brought dragon puppets, a gong, and served rice with chicken. The Indian delegates on their day of celebration dressed in saris, put on beautiful jewelry, created henna tattoos, and served rice with curry. The Kenyan delegates on their day of celebration dressed in their tribal clothes, brought spears and chant songs, a drum, and served Ugali with Sukama. Now, when it was the USA delegates, my two friends were not even sure what to represent other than red, white, and blue. They thought of serving hamburgers, but does that represent our culture? Then they thought of signing the national anthem, but it was not enough.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that what defines USA culture since we are the salad of everything? I am still patriotic. I am still a proud citizen. But, I want to know what exactly IS USA ‘s culture?

09/24/2011

Scary Mother Earth…

Afghanistan

 

This is a scary world we live in, right? Or so we think. If you look up at any news website like http://www.cnn.com or http://www.foxnews.com or even http://www.aol.com, I can promise you that you would see different kind of news ranging from people dying to tips for fashion. It is amazing to see how much the information from the news can shape our minds. I do notice that the news has a major influence on what people think today. For example, the news would expose information about how dangerous a certain area is like Kenya. The news would mention that people are dying and there are countless diseases there. I am sure that people are dying and I am sure there are countless diseases, but there is also a good side to Kenya as well. Because of that kind of exposure, I know a lot of people who are afraid to travel to Kenya because of what the “news” said. Take my parents for instance. When I was selected to go to Kenya, Africa to represent the Global Deaf Ambassador organization, my parents did not want me to go. They were afraid that I would either die or get one of the diseases there. It is generally known that you are supposed to be cautious at all time no matter where you are. So, I told my parents that I would be cautious at Kenya, but I am not going to be paranoid. I went there and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Now, I live in the Northeastern area of DC. I have a few friends who live in the Georgetown area. They keep telling me that I should move out or relocate where I live because its dangerous. I asked them where did they hear about this, they said the “news.” There it is again. This brings me to my point about the mean world theory. It is a result of the cultivation theory. People are afraid to go to certain places because of what the media exposes their information about. Some people do not want to go to Aruba because they are afraid of disappearing like Natalie Holloway. Some people refuse to go to Mexico because they think the whole country is filled with drug lords. Some people are afraid to travel to Alaska because they think they would get eaten by a Polar Bear. It does not matter where you are, but every where is dangerous. Many people think Europe is always a safe place. They don’t realize that France, targeting Paris, France aka the city of love, is famous for pick pocketing. So watch your purses/wallets! However, because the news does not expose about that information much, people assume that it is a completely danger free zone. The mean world theory happens every day. It influences the way we act, the way we think, in our daily lives. We don’t take that street because the last time we heard, a person died there. We don’t eat that restaurant because the last time we heard, someone choked to death there. We grow our fear just because of what “someone else” says (the news). Yes, it is good to be aware of what is going on rather than assuming that we have a perfect world, but it is also good to weigh out which you think is the best information to keep in mind. Some of the information are over exaggerated. It got exaggerated too much to the point where a few people will never travel because of that. When I read the news, I always keep in mind that there is no safe place on earth. That helps me to reduce my fear of some certain places. I just gain my consciousness of my surroundings instead of being paranoid.

 

Would you do the same thing?