Sarracino and Scott claim that their book is neither pro-porn nor anti-porn. After reading a substantial amount of their writing, do you believe this claim, or is it simply there to defray criticism? What evidence do you have for their pro- or anti- inclinations?
I have mixed feelings over Sarricino and Scott’s claim to whether they take sides with porn culture or not. I agree that there is much deterrence about the positive side to porn in their writing and how it has torn its way through civilization over the years. It is obvious that they are a little upset with the way porn has creeped up on even the youngest of our kin and that the desensitization of sex in general has influenced society into accepting sleaziness as the norm. However, both authors claim that even though they may be against the “porning” in some aspects, they honestly admit that it is only natural for human beings to act this way, and that there is no turning back from what has already taken place. They are aware that people have instinctual urges when it comes to issues concerning sex, and even though it may seem a bit overboard to create obscene pornographic media, there is no denying that it is within the essence of being human that spawns the drive for sexual tendencies.
“Also, the content of porn, which has remained much the same over the vast intervals of time, and much the same in cultures far removed geographically, prods even the reluctant among us to acknowledge a simple fact about ourselves: we are, all of us, sexual beings. Denial of that fact leads only to repression that breeds hypocrisy and sexual dysfunction at the very least.” (Sarracino 197)
When referring to Walt Whitman’s poem about the naturalness of sexual urges in Chapter 8, Sarracino and Scott say “Who amongst us does not, on behalf of red-faced adolescents everywhere, cheer these lines loudly? More generally, we, the authors of this book cheer all the writers, artists, feminists, comedians, straight and LGBT activists, researchers, publishers, and others who were part of the long struggle to claim sexuality as a normal, natural part of human experience – and, more than that, as one of life’s surpassing joys.” To me, this proves that Sarracino and Scott do not completely favor the idea that porn is wholly responsible for the ever-present corruption in society today, but that there is some sort of “decency” to the way the “porning” has affected society. They claim that it has taken humanity, in this case America, many centuries to become this accepting to sex and its numerous benefactors, and that as time goes by, we can expect to see sexuality on a much more rampant state than it is now.
Is there cultural merit to the kind of fan productions described by Jenkins and Lessig, or are they merely derivative works devoid of creativity? What, if anything, do they provide to the public discourse?
According to Jenkins, “Fans are the most active segment of the media audience, one that refuses to simply accept what they are given, but rather insists on the right to become full participants.” What would Star Trek be now without the aid of their loyal “trekkies?” How would Harry Potter manage without his ragtag band of “muggle” followers? Let’s face it – without a fan-base, most productions would be non-existent. Fans are what make a specific creation memorable, and without the vivacity of this obsession, not only would the marketing aspect of the production be void, but the culture surrounding it would be as well. We live in a world where fan productions have more power than we think. When a producer is looking for genuinely marketable opportunities, what do they immediately turn to for ideas on how to make their creation more profitable? That’s right, the fans.
However, it’s not just the monetary aspect that makes fan productions valuable to society, but more so the “cultural identity” that forms when society coalesces with the fan-fashioned world that they’ve created. As Jenkins explains, “Fans have always been early adapters of new media technologies; their fascination with fictional universes often inspires new forms of cultural production, ranging from costumes to fanzines and, now, digital cinema.” Some may think that these fanatics are a bit obsessive, or maybe even crazy, but without his fans, pop stars like Justin Bieber or shows like Fox’s “GLEE” would be swept under the rug. Jenkins refers to two terms that explain how this all works – mass culture (a category of production) and popular culture (a category of consumption). He says that, “…popular culture is what happens to the materials of mass culture when they get into the hands of the consumer.” For example, he says that “…when a song played on the radio becomes so associated with a particularly romantic evening that two young lovers decide to call it “our song,” or when a fan becomes so fascinated with a particular television series that it inspires her to write original stories about its characters,” this is a product of popular culture, or in other words, this is what happens when as mass culture gets pulled back into folk culture.
To say that fan-based productions are merely derivative pieces of work that lack creativity is almost blasphemous. If anything, this process of fans piecing together their own work from the foundation of the originals is more positively effective than it is a nuisance. So, to answer the question on whether or not fan productions deserve any kind of cultural merit, the answer is yes, they do. Without the constant flow of fan-based creations, the market for that specific instance becomes suddenly stagnant, and the cultural identity of the product loses its value in society. Basically, human civilization thrives off of stuff like this, and it’s probably safe to say that without its presence, the world would be a ridiculously mundane place to live in.
: week 3, question 2 -
I have to disagree on the aspect of textbooks. Although books are published by various publishers, they must meet a certain academic level. That is, they are written by scholars, usually PHDs in their respected fields on a generally accepted historical view. It’s true that the medium that they are consumed makes less room for critiquing than a film, but before they can become textbooks in a classroom, they also must go through an analyzation process. In public schools, the board of education must review the books and in private schools, it’s up to the administration to accept it based on their own review and analysis. I’m not denying that books can be biased, but they are less so than they were in the past. Your argument suggests an extremely high level of bias which may have been more acceptable during the McCarthy era but society as a whole has liberalized a great deal, especially in the area of text books. My textbooks from high school offered a great deal of analysis to both sides of the country. For an example, in American History, the book presented the unjust actions of the US government on Indians during territorial expansion. In European history, the book explained as to why the Nazi government justified invasions of neighboring countries. If there was an agenda going on, it was definitely to explain history from many perspectives.
I’m going to have to completely disagree with you on this one. I believe that nearly every existing text (not just textbooks) is biased in its own way. There is barely ever a medium that a scholar can come to when writing about history. Everyone has their own opinions, and rightfully so, but the Board of Education is one of the most biased organizations in American history. The Board is run by the government, and the government will always lean towards the side they think best suites them. Nowadays, kids are being brainwashed by mindless propaganda, and they are completely oblivious to it, and even sadder, so are their parents. The government wants to regulate what our kids learn, how they dress, what they watch, and even how many calories they intake during lunch. To me, this is not the decision of the government, but a choice that should only be made by a parent or legal guardian. Our founding fathers wanted less government, but it seems that the people holding power in office now are trying to change that. Without getting too much into politics, my point here is that there is very little possibility that bias isn’t an issue in things such as textbooks. Do you think that the governments of foreign countries we’ve bested in battle would put in their textbooks that we kicked their butt? Not likely. They will twist and turn any information that depreciates their ego. Textbooks are most certainly a biased education (and indoctrination) tool.
未設定: Week 3 Question #2 -
Simply put, the answer is yes and no. Popular culture’s and textbooks’ depiction of history are somewhat similar in that their re-presentation of history is in principle different from what actually happened. In other words, popular culture’s history is no more authentic than textbooks’…
The valuable points you have raised. “It is significant that the history of labor is completely eliminated in the American Adventure: a challenge to capitalism is a more serious taboo for Disney World’s capitalism (than black people or women’s marginalized position).” I understand American slavery is one of the most efficient labor systems. Now American slavery is globalized and women in Asian countries work for America at the lowest wages we human beings can imagine. I really want to know what Walt Disney thought about it. But I don’t think I have to ride on a time machine. Just go to Disneyland. Employees there are doing the same dull work over and over. Their smiles are all the same because they are trained at their university.
How about the Polynesian Cultural Center? Amazing! Kroc and Disney are still meeting there. We can find McDonald’s there.
When I read the article about Walt Disney his dream to create a “perfect utopia,” I felt a little disgusted. Not so much in a way that one shouldn’t hope for a perfect world, but more along the fact that Disney’s intention was to dominate the world and make it to his own liking. We’ve seen this scenario before with many of history’s most ruthless dictators. They wanted what they called a flawless, unbiased world that could live in absolute harmony, but in fact, it was their own selfish dream where things only worked how they imagined them to be. Disney may have had some good intentions at the start, but I don’t believe a world of true peace will ever exist; not with the ever-present flaws in humanity. There will always be those who hate others for the way they look, what they believe in, what they say (or can’t say), and no matter how hard we try, there will always be evil. Man isn’t perfect, and if we are to try and make this world a better place, we might want to start with shaking hands first.
Identify a contemporary example of a cultural form local to your own geography that is being impacted by global trade. What kind of impact is globalization having on that form? How are the cultural producers responding to global markets, and how does the local community feel about this?
The first thing that comes to mind involving global trade here in Hawai’i would be the tourist industry. People from all over the world visit our island with the preconceived notion of its unparalleled exoticism, or as they refer to it as, simply “paradise.” Little do most tourists know, Hawai’i isn’t as perfect as they think it is. There are ordinary, everyday people living here, working to make ends meet – with some even living in squalor. Hawai’i thrives off this industry of tourism, and without it, we would cease to be everything that we are known for, and be just your average, run of the mill traffic stop on the journey east.
Recently, there has been much talk about Hawaiian Airlines’ decision to begin flights to and from China. This is a huge economical opportunity, not just for Hawaiian Airlines, but for Hawai’i in general. We’ve seen how much of an impact flights from Japan have benefitted our islands, and now China gets its shot at us as well. This form of globalization could be just what America needs right now. For one thing, it allows America’s culture to reach the Chinese, and vice versa, resulting in a cultural exchange of customs, traditions, and even marketing venues. However, the questions we must ask are: “What will be the end result of this exchange? Will one end up more superior than the other? How will this affect our economies? Our jobs? Our everyday lives?” It is at this point we must consider the possibilities of cultural imperialism. As of this moment, the United States of America is what is called a “hyper power,” surpassing far beyond the realm of “super power” that China holds to its name. We are the more dominant of the two, both economically and militarily. However, this change in tourism brings both sides of the spectrum several key advantages. First and foremost – jobs. With our country in a recession, many have found it difficult to find decent work to make a living; these jobs will be extremely effective for those of us in need. Second, it creates a variety of mediums for more efficient and well-organized trade. This exchange is vital to both country’s well-being; seeing that we are one of China’s most important business partners, as they are us. And lastly, as improbable as this sounds, this could be a means to further form and maintain political ties between the United States and China. It is very unlikely, seeing as though China is still based on a communist foundation, but it’s safe to say that if we allied with China, it would be a huge factor in securing the Far East and its surrounding population.
My guess is that China is pretty excited right now, and I’m sure within the next few years, we will be seeing a lot more Chinese-influenced businesses around the island. As for how both parties feel about this cultural exchange, we must consider that there are probably those who don’t agree with this arrangement. I’d assume that there are still (and always will be) prejudice involved in any conflicting ethnicities, and that there will be some undesired consequences on both sides of the scale. However, as able-minded Americans, it is our responsibility to see to it that this deal goes through successfully, and we can only hope that this will be the beginning of something extraordinary.
Anderson suggests that televised science fiction often deals with historical events and Wallace tells us that even Disney’s “Future World” is largely a story about the past. Why does popular culture continually return to the past for its narratives, even in mediums like science fiction, which are ostensibly about the future?
I must say that before I read Anderson’s article, I never really thought much about the reasons we utilize the past for our benefit. Growing up, I was (and still am) intrigued by science-fiction’s use of “time travel” and those similar to it. However, it never occurred to me that these fictionalized settings had a more profound meaning than just to tantalize our imaginations. These issues of history in film and television through methods such as dramatized scenarios are a way to recreate points in history that we may have had very limited control over, or maybe little record of. Anderson feels that these events are ideal for the science-fiction genre and are an interesting way to theorize how things might have actually happened, though most certainly exaggerated for theatrical purposes.
As Anderson describes, with the enormous diversity of these historical scenarios, there is no “one way” to totally set in stone a specific explanation for what has happened; leaving a multitude of possibilities for film to capture for the amusement of the audience. He follows this by saying that even though this is true, there always remains a certain set of patterns or repetition for events that have no closure. Because of this, society constantly uses these situations over and over again, with different, or similar, approaches each time. Anderson believes that these revisions aren’t frequented because they are trying to determine the most authentic truth to the story, but that the goal is rather to maintain the “cultural interest and the instrumentalization of existing histories/memories for some other agenda.” Over the last century, this idea of fictionalizing the past for the intention of entertainment has become one of the most fascinating traits of American culture, and we can only assume that as time goes by, these ideas will keep getting wilder.
I believe it’s safe to say that both “popular culture” and “social class” go hand in hand in the world today. Hall believes that the significant influence of this popularity owes itself to the tribulations of the class system, with the lower, or “working class,” being the main catalyst. For example, take the years of African slavery back in America’s early years. There were many traditions that the Africans held dear to their hearts that were abolished and destroyed due to the enforcement of white supremacists. These “ways of life” included things like long-running family traditions that had been passed down over the course of history, but because some African families were torn from each other due to actions of the slave trade industry, these traditions were lost amongst the fray, and new ones forced their way in. Whether we like it or not, the more popular factions of society have a way with imposing themselves on others, which in time alter, and ultimately transform these traditional norms, and sometimes erase them from existence. Hall explains that the more dominant social classes purposefully intrude upon the inferior cultures and “things are actively pushed aside, so that something new can take their place.” He uses the example of society’s transformation from an agrarian-based lifestyle, to the industrial-capitalism we see today as a model for which culture and social class have drastically changed our way of life. Many times the superior classes use the excuse that “re-education” is necessary for reform, and that in the long run, it is in the people’s best interests to conform. However, some may argue that this is excuse is inadequate, and is merely there to justify their relentlessly selfish cause.
When reading this article, I find myself comparing it to the ever-existent flow of “fads” and their effect on society. If someone like Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore thinks that it’s cool to sag his jeans when in public, then in order for me to be cool, I need to do emulate him. It doesn’t matter what I think because I’m not as popular, so I’m going to disregard what my culture says to do because this is much better. I know this example may be a bit melodramatic and doesn’t really mix well with my previous example with the slave trade, but we must understand that fads such as this (or enforced rules) are only popular because someone of high status agrees with it, and because the majority of society are followers, they will imitate his/her example. It is disheartening to think that this is how the world works, but it is the truth, and there is very little we can do as followers if we keep falling into their traps.
My name is Dan and I am currently in my senior year up at UH Manoa. I am an Academy for Creative Media (ACM for short) major, and will be graduating after summer school is over!
Besides the fact that I chose this course because it looked interesting, I believe that this class has the potential of being a very awesome way to end my undergraduate experience.
As for what I enjoy doing, spending time with my family and friends is always top priority for me (and my education of course!). I don’t really have a hobby of sorts since I kind of try to do a little bit of everything, but I will say that I really love music. I don’t play a single instrument, nor can I sing to save my life, but I do enjoy listening to it nonetheless. I’m also fond of cars, mixed martial arts, and video games.
Well, I’m looking forward to learning with you all here in the near future and I wish all of you luck in your summer school endeavors!