MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
I was really impressed by today's class discussion regarding the topics that you all chose to do your thesis on. The range and breadth of subject matter that was covered was amazing, as I was intrigued as well as challenged to continue to sharpen my ideas for my own thesis. I also really appreciated how helpful everybody was to each other in giving helpful suggestions and questions so that we can really tighten our content. This is a short post, but I just wanted to let you all know that I was definately impressed today, as well as wanting to encourage you all to press on with your thesis despite whatever circumstances arises.
Has anyone tried out this new flash game called "Line Rider"? My friend introduced me to the game for the first time yesterday, and it is a remarkable game because it is so simple and yet the most complex game I've ever played. The site is at:
The point of this game is to draw the course of a "line rider" who will follow the path you draw. The thing is it follows certain laws of physics, and so the course has to be drawn intentionally. Once you play this game, you'll begin to understand just what can be done because the sky's the limit. Check out this site for what can be done
I wrote this post back in September as I mistakenly reviewed Manovich earlier, but I'd like to post it again since this time it's more relevant to our upcoming discussion (yes I can be a little bit slow times).
Being a videogamer since I was a wee little kid, it was really nice to read about the scholarly merits of computer games as a true form of "new media". Manovich writes how "In short, the computer database and the 3-D computer-based virtual space have become true cultural forms- general ways used by the culture to represent human experience, the world, and human existence in this world" (215).
I have yet to share my thesis topic so without further ado, here it is.
In my thesis, I hope to investigate the media representation of Jackie Robinson, looking specifically at his rookie year and how technique, content and language strategies of different forms of media influenced his iconic status as African-American's first Major League Baseball player. Some questions I have are how constructed was the idea of "Jackie Robinson, African American hero", by whom, and for what purpose. I'd also like to juxtapose Jackie Robinson's rookie year media representation to the media representation of the second African-American MLB baseball player, Larry Doby, and to compare the similarities and particularly the differences, and examine why there are these differences.
During the presentation, the small little example of "Eliza" and the quite limited interactions we could develop with her made me think about how I am so glad that the chats I have are with fellow human beings. Also, as I was walking home, I was thinking about chat sessions and if it's possible to find some merit in it as a literary form. Based on my own personal experiences, I know this sounds kind of like an ego-trip, but I admit that I have saved past chat sessions which I believe deserved to be recorded and stored. Whether I was able to reach some type of higher thought with the person I chatted with, or whether we were able to develop a witty conversation that could even have a narrative structure, I thought it was imperative that I did save these enlightening chat sessions. As I was walking back to my room I thought of it might be of real interest to examine chat sessions in the light of the discussion we have been having in class regarding authroship. Can a chat session be looked at as a literary form that deserves a place in this debate of authorship? What does the ability to save a chat session influence its authenticity as a literary document?
Scott McCloud makes an examination of cartooning as a "form of amplification through simplification." He explains, "When we abstract an image through cartooning, we're not so much eliminating details as we are focusing on specific details. By stripping down an image to its essential "meaning," an artist can amplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can't" (30). I like how he states "amplification through simplification" as a way of "amplifying meaning in a way that realistic art can't". I saw a really good example of this in these stick figure post cards that are sold at Pomona's Coop store that play with simple lines and circles to make fun at the expense of real physical life of curves. These stick figure post cards clearly was "stripping down an image to its essential 'meaning'" in order to present the joke in an "amplified" way which realistic art might have a harder time achieving.
The book that inspired my thesis topic, I have been able to have the time to sit down and relax with "In The Year of The Boar and Jackie Robinson," a children's novel written by Bette Bao Lord, and a personal childhood favorite. I fell in love with this book as a child for many reasons, and possibly the biggest reason is that it centered around Jackie Robinson, a childhood hero, the Brooklyn Dodgers, my all time favorite baseball franchise, and it was a rare book that had an Asian as the main character (Chinese female immigrant) who happened to be around my age (elementary student).
The book is about a young Chinese girl who immigrates to Brooklyn from China during the 1950's and her adventures (and misadventures) as she adjusts to living in America. The book also chronicles her love for Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. I definately recommend this book to anybody who would love to sit down and read a book, for the simple joys of just reading.
As much as I miss the Wednesday night seminar class, I am glad that we had this week off because I had the chance to view the theatre production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. It's a very ingenious play that pits two time periods that seem anachronistically different from each other, but eerily similar in the type of intellectual and humanistic struggles each of the characters from the time periods goes through. I highly recommend this play, as the performance and production was amazing.
In regards to Arcadia and authorship, I found connections between authorship and recognition, reputation, authorship as a medium of social hierarchial movement, and the fleetingness of honor that comes with being "penned/published".
Being a videogamer since I was a wee little kid, it was really nice to read about the scholarly merits of computer games as a true form of "new media". Manovich writes how "In short, the computer database and the 3-D computer-based virtual space have become true cultural forms- general ways used by the culture to represent human experience, the world, and human existence in this world" (215). It is amazing to me how technologically advanced "cultural forms" have come from it's early days of sticks and stones. I wonder though how far this form, especially in the form of video and computer games, has come in the academia. I believe that the current academic culture has deemed videogames as a form that is meant only for children and teenagers as a form of leisure and fun and not so readily acceptded by the academia. Yes, I played "Oregon Trail" as a elementray student, but I have yet to play an appropriate computer game since highschool or coming to college for class. One would not likely see a history class playing a game of "Age of Empires" or "Civilization" or "SimCity" for economics class though the benefits and "the human experience of being in the world," would be tremendous. I would not likely play a game of "Zelda" or "Final Fantasy" to learn about the narrative structure for an English class, though I have been just as awe-struck and amazed by the beauty of their stories as much as "The Odyssey" or "Romeo and Juliet".
Reading Janine Marchessault's "Is the Dead Author A Woman", there was an excerpt that really stood out for me in defining authorship in relations with women. Marchessault writes, "If there is a resistance to feminism on the part of some women, a desire not to identify, and a desire not to identify with women, it is perhaps because a history, without memory, continues to divide us negatively" (Marchessault 88). A "history without memory" is no history at all, especially when it concerns a collective identity where memory is the cornerstone of defining that identity. In the case of women's authorship, this lack of history leads to a dissipation of influence, authority, and control of women's identity as authors that instead of bringing about a powerful source of affirmation of women author's collective identity both socially and politically, "continues to divide-- negatively."