MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
In the beginning of the semester I hated the idea of the blog. I cringed every time I opened the website and glared at the blank page in front of me. NO! I won't share my ideas with the class! I hate the idea of class participation enough, don't make me show people how poorly I write, or how little I understand some of these readings. I don't do well with social pressure.
Little by little I warmed up to the blog. I saw it as a place to rant or share my ideas, post episodes of South Park and link to fun clips and articles. It helped even more after I started posting thesis-related entries that allowed me to explore my thoughts a bit and develop my argument.
I picked up a People magazine today to catch up on the celebrity trash I can't read at People.com. Normally I don't bother to read the "articles" (and I use the word lightly with People), because they always seem random, and, who buys People to read the articles anyways? I appreciate the pictures and two-sentence gossip blurbs- they are much more conducive to the brain-numbing activity I'm looking for when I fork over the $3.49 (?!) for the magazine.
In any case, I decided to give 'em a chance and read through the article "When There's Nowhere to Turn" by Joanne Fowler.
The article describes college students dealing with depression who attempt suicide (which, by the way, is the number 2 cause of death of college students, claiming 1,100 lives a year). The article starts out with the story of Ethan Helfand who tried to kill himself one night by overdosing on antidepressants (he had a history of depression and suicidal thoughts, reports Fowler). When he woke up the next day in the university hospital, he was told he could not return to his dorm room and had to check into a hotel.
I was going to post a follow-up blog about the Michael Richard's incident. Apparently some comedy clubs in Los Angeles have started charging performers for each N-bomb they drop (one performer racked up a bill of just under $400 dollars). Others have said "Come say the N-word here! We support freedom of speech!" But then I couldn't remember what I was going to write about, and the Kramer thing blew over, and so I decided against the post.
Then I was going to post about how adorable Brad Pitt's baby is, but decided not many people would find it exciting (I have an odd obsession with babies). If you are interested, go here and fawn.
So, after finals, and after spending like 22810384029 hours on YouTube, I decided that I was going to teach myself how to make stop motion videos over winter break. Don't ask me why, I've always been impressed by them, and claymation has always held a special place in my heart. I know there are some film/photography/art people in the class, and if anyone has done any stop motion work and wants to share some words of wisdom (or cool videos) let me know. Here are a few of my favorites so far:
So I've been looking at commercials so much for my thesis, and reading about how advertisers address women in commercials, that I just can't break myself out of that mindset. Probably a good thing, if I were motivated to work on my thesis right now (which I'm not, thanks to the Charlie Brown Christmas cd and the Steel Magnolias DVD my mom sent me). In any case, today was my LAST final, in Macroeconomics, if you're interested. I don't think it went very well, so I've been hiding in bed watching television when I see a commercial for Exclusive Smiles, a cosmetic dentistry practice by Gary Demerjian. What struck me about the commercial is how upfront it is. I can't remember the exact voice-over comments but it was something like, "Exclusive Smiles will give Susan a new smile, and maybe even a new relationship!" (in that knowing, hinting voice, as Susan frolics with some hunky men).
In what seems to be a constant stream of celebrities making discriminatory comments, I present to you the mouth-covering-incident!
During an interview on Live with Regis and Kelly with Dancing with the Stars winners Cheryl Burke and Emmitt Smith, Clay Aiken (guest co-host) was getting impatient that Kelly was hogging the interview, not allowing him to ask questions. First he tries to hint to Kelly that he wants to ask a question, and then he reaches over and covers her mouth. Gasp! Kelly gets a look of horror on her face, followed by a dramatic pause and then says "Oh, that's a no-no." Clay looks embarrassed and confused, and Kelly follows with "I don't know where that hand's been, honey."
While visiting my usual online haunts I found a blog to blog about! Virginia Heffernan's "Screens" blog discovered a new use of YouTube! And to think we had exhausted YouTube's potential--
Heffernan reports on a YouTuber who found a way to make money: homemade advertisements for big corporations! The goal was to finance two months rent in San Francisco by scamming The Man. The unnamed YouTuber picked up a vintage Nike t-shirt, gave it to a friend to wear at a David Rodigan concert (D.J. RamJam), and film the whole thing. Next, he sent a letter to Nike explaining the project, and when the video received 15,000 hits, the user received a check for $1,815.88 from Nike. As Heffernan points out, the video didn't attract viewers because it was an advertisement for Nike (at least not initially), it attracted viewers because of the DJ. After watching the video, it's pretty hard to miss the glaring Nike symbol in the background.
As an animal lover I consider it my duty to spend at least one hour a day fawning over baby animals doing silly things. As you've probably been able to tell from my previous posts, I take a lot of breaks from work doing useless things like reading about Paris Hilton, exploring new magazine options, and obsessing over Eric Cartman and the rest of the South Park kiddos. In any case, if you find yourself needing a little pick-me-up, check out Cuteoverload.com. At first it may seem strange, but you'll get sucked in, I promise. These people are hardcore about cute things, and have even developed their own language of cuteness, including words like baroo and muzzlepuff (admit, you're curious now, aren't you?). There's even a glossary of terms if you get confused. The website won a Webby Award (People's Voice Winner) for 2006, and has links to other websites dedicated to all things cute and fuzzy (although the rest pale in comparison, trust me).
TOMORROW, 6PM, WALKER LOUNGE the Pomona Women's Union is hosting a charity banquet. We'll be serving a four-course catered Indian meal for only $8! All proceeds to go Crossroads, a transitional home in Claremont for women who have recently been released from prison. It's a great charity and a good excuse not to eat at the dining hall (because the food is especially bad during the weekends...). If you're interested, you can buy tickets at the door, or to make sure you get a seat email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to have a ticket set aside for you (pay at the door).
Because people have been talking about celebrities and American culture in general, I thought this magazine article (taken, again, from BUST) would be appropriate.
In the Pop Tart section, Wendy McClure tackles the issue of "Why do we obsess over Paris Hilton?" And, to be honest, for as much as I hate Paris Hilton, I find that I'm also obsessed with her. Maybe it's because I love laughing at her, or thinking about how many ways I could make better use of her money, but in any case, I keep tabs on the girl. McClure writes: "Every time I've considered writing a column about Paris Hilton I've talked myself out of it. Because one day soon, I figure, she's going to drop off the pop-culture radar. It's inevitable, right? She'll just disappear into a puff of pink smoke- gone, forgotten, nothing left but a bittersweet memory and a T-Mobile Sidekick." But no matter how much we belittle Paris, tell her that she's like "a fart in a mitten" (someone actually said that, how genius?!), she sticks around, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. McClure writes that we need to stop blaming Paris for starting a trend of celebrities who are famous for no apparent reason, and start looking at why we've produced a culture which values this sort of person. "Maybe we ought to stop wondering how we should feel about her and wonder instead how we got to this particularly fucked-up place in time- where being young and female and famous seems to mean becoming somebody most other people would love to pelt with dog shit." As McClure rightly points out, perhaps the reason that Paris is sticking around for so long (and the reason that another Paris will pop up on the scene when this one is done and gone) is because of the sort of fame we've created.