Archive for March, 2011

#7 – Still doubting the power of Internet?

March 26, 2011 15 comments

The release of the above video had since became viral and caught the attention of netizen as well as the media. The ‘UCLA girl’ controversy had caused Alexandra Wallace to become an overnight sensation. Various news agencies covered the controversy and reported the story. However, I observed the 2 major opinions of the press based on the tone of media coverage – free speech versus the negative effects of Internet.

First, The New York Times gave coverage to this controversy with the underlying point that the content should be taken purely into the context of free speech, despite it degrading to the Asian group that she was talking about.

On the other hand, The Huffington Post covered it highlighting the repercussions of Internet fame and how youths are now more reckless with Internet (uploading pictures, sharing thoughts without even censoring and thinking about the outcome etc).

Based on this controversy and the media coverage observed, I believe agenda setting function was adopted to raise the issue. Aside from reporting the news, the difference in several of the media’s tone of coverage shows the difference in agenda the news agency is adopting. In the case of New York Times, they supported the stand of free speech, and that curbing it would only be a threat to education. For The Huffington Post, as much as they disagree with the content of the video, they highlighted what Internet has done to the youth of this generation. Based on the coverage, I agree with Huffington’s Post stand on the creation of reckless youths with Internet.

Based on the definition above, the Internet is a new communication technology, with facilitating communication as its aim. People seem to lack the grasp of the power Internet has with its ability to reach people across geographical location. Even though the purpose of the video was for Wallace to rant, her action showed her lack of judgment. Sure she is unhappy, but ranting on the Internet specifically uploading her video on Youtube is a dumb action. Did she really not anticipate her video going viral considering the content?

Since the video gone viral, Wallace had received death threats causing her to leave school (not expelled though). However, one of the thing that struck me was how is she going to move on from here. Is it possible for her to be accepted into a new school or even getting a job as she is widely known as racist? The Internet is a medium that can affect your future; people can look up information on you on the Internet and it might not be flattering. You can ultimately limit your opportunities in life based on the information and pictures uploaded on the Internet.

I still think Internet is the greatest invention. However, when you act recklessly thinking that you are too small to make an impact in this world, think again.

So what do you think about the controversy? Has the Internet created a reckless generation?


#6 – Glee bringing sexy back

March 12, 2011 14 comments

Recently, the sensational American hit series Glee featured the topic of sex and homosexuality in their latest episode, much to the dismay of The Parents Television Council (article here). Sexy, aired on March 8 featured the guest appearance of Gwyneth Paltrow (episode trailer here).

Firstly, the Parents Television Council is unhappy with Gwyneth’s character as a teacher, who rips her shirt with her students while dancing to ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me’. Next, the show mocked the celibacy club, defining it as a place only for nerds. Abstinence was deemed as un-cool in this school.

Lastly, they were also disturbed with the discussion of sex tapes. “Most notably was the discussion between a couple of students about wanting to become famous by making a sex tape,” said Isett, referring to Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Lauren Zizes (Ashley Fink) — who decided not to make a tape after Paltrow’s sub teacher, Holly Holliday, informed them it would be child pornography because they’re under 18. “Exactly what kind of message is that?”

Aside from those scenes, I noticed 2 more scenes from the episode that were not deemed as appalling. One of which is when Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) were figuring out if they had feelings for each other, highlighting the issue of homosexuality (lesbian in this case). Another is when, “Kurt Hummel’s (Chris Colfer) father responsibly explained sex and the ramifications.”

Based on that episode, I observed the presence of cultural imperialism. USA is dominant in the exportation of their mass media products to all over the world. This includes their television series, which has a huge following and fan base worldwide.

Cultural imperialism is the one-way flow of international messages or media products that led to the dispute over cultural dominance. It brings about the messages of imperialism and ideological propaganda. One of the concerns is that it causes real damage through disruption of basic social and cultural institutions.

It seems that the USA is more receptive towards the exploration of homosexuality issues on television along with the ‘sex talk’. I observed cultural imperialism in place, where it is fine to talk about sex and homosexuality openly. Comparing the cultures of the West and East, the East prefers to discuss the issue in discreet. Are we supposed to accept this idea that contradicts with the Asian culture?

Then in this case, is cultural imperialism good or bad? Good in the sense that it is an outreach and opening our minds to touch on the taboo topic in the Asian culture or bad in the sense that we are merely accepting the ideas the West impose on us through the shows?

From my point of view, cultural imperialism need not necessarily be bad. I think the television programmes acts as a powerful tool that can help us learn about foreign culture but due to its ability to shape’s one mind, it can also be a harmful tool that cause us to merely follow what is seen. I do not think that we can resist cultural imperialism. All we can do is to stay open minded yet hold on to the values of our society.

What do you think about cultural imperialism? What are some of the shows in which you observe cultural imperialism?