BCM 310 Animal Man-ipulation

The word “animal” in contrast to the word “human” presents a pretentious idea that humans are not to be considered as animals. If we as humans cannot identify ourselves with the other beings on Earth, we cannot show compassion. How are we to show empathy to a species that we see so parallel to our own kind? It is vital that we sympathize and understand that we are one with nature and not superior! I am a firm believer that everything in the biosphere has an equal right to live. But this belief makes me a hypocrite when I eat cows, chicken, fish, duck, rabbit, eggs ect!! This is why lately I have been considering vegan-ism. If I end up doing this, (despite my mothers protest against it..) this way of eating will still provide me with the vital nutrients that my body needs minus the loss of life, bloodshed, and pain inflicted on animals. Our enjoyment of the way meat tastes is not a good enough reason to justify the amount of suffering that the animals endure. Animals are immensely objectified in the media and even in our everyday lives. Even in the grocery store, we see the use of inanimate pronouns when we call animals livestock, meat, seafood, or game rather than cow, pig, chicken, fish, or elk.  This is an attempt to dis-assemble the image that this yummy food was once a living and breathing creature. Such pro-nouns are used to distract us from this idea and makes the animal seem as if he/she only has the purpose of feeding us and satisfying our needs and wants.

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In wild-life documentaries however, animals are turned into human surrogates through Anthropomorphism. There is a distinct contrast between how we disassociate ourselves when we are using animals for food, and how we overly associate with animals giving them human like characteristics when we use them for entertainment purposes. We must keep in mind that in wildlife documentaries, we are given a very selective and staged set-up where all human traces are edited from frame. We are only shown the animals when they are doing something interesting or cute that we can relate to as humans. There is always some sort of quest or narrative in these films, but unfortunately there is never a mention of the real struggles that these animals face in their changing environment. Climate change and global warming are very real concepts that are inflicted on animals due to the misuse of the planet on behalf of our own species, yet we are willing to edit that part out aren’t we?

This very concept of Anthropomorphism can be dangerous to animals, because instead of just accepting and respecting their wilderness, we objectify and human-ify them into something that is appealing to us. In the documentary “Black Fish” there is a specific scene where a trainer from Sea World says that the Killer Whale “isn’t doing tricks because he has to, he is doing them because he wants to”. What an absolute joke! These poor whales are restricted to a tiny metal pool that is no where near the size of the infinite ocean that is their home, and are deprived of food  to make them perform acts. Why would any animal want to be in that situation and be willing to cooperate because they simply ‘want to’? So it is clear that we manipulate (man-impulate…get it?) the representation of animals for our own benefit.

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We need to deepen our awareness of ‘self’ beyond the narrow ego to an identification with all living beings. Once we see ourselves in others our natural predisposition will be to protect: “care flows naturally if the self is widened and deepened so that protection of free nature is felt and conceived of as protection of our very selves”. (Naess in ‘Thinking Like a Mountain‘, p. 29) We need to stop portraying animals as mock humans and we must pay attention to their fascinating cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities because failure to do so leads to misrepresentations and demeans them.

References:

Thegreenfuse.org. (2017). Deep Ecology on the green fuse. [online] Available at: http://www.thegreenfuse.org/deepecology.htm [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Devall, B. and Sessions, G. (2007). Deep ecology. 1st ed. Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith.

Deepecology.org. (2017). Foundation For Deep Ecology | The Deep Ecology Movement. [online] Available at: http://www.deepecology.org/deepecology.htm [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Naess, A. and Rothenberg, D. (2011). Ecology, Community and Lifestyle. 1st ed. Cambridge, GBR: Cambridge University Press, pp.6-8.

BCM112 Message lies within thy Medium

When I first heard this phrase, I had no idea what “The Message is the Medium” meant. From what I eventually gathered, the “message” is, “the change of scale or pace or pattern” which a new innovation “introduces into human affairs.” (McLuhan 7) Usually, I would imagine that the message is what provides a meaning, the content rather than the form in which it is presented. McLuhan,  however, focused on the medium/form and suggested that in the past, what was communicated was less important than the medium that people communicated with.

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Messages that are transferred through Technology have shaped our society and in return, have shaped us. An example of this is the shift from the transfer of information orally (i.e. people teaching one another things and sharing stories/experiences) to print based media (newspapers, magazines). In early orally-dependant cultures, the emphasis was on our sense of hearing and the dominant sense were the ears; whereas with the transition to print media, our focus shifted to an emphasis on the image and our sight.

I guess this means that the way information is presented to us can really shape our understanding of the message in which it is conveying. It isn’t until something changes in our society that we really can see the difference and realise the effects it has had on our understanding.

Referencing:

Medium. (2017). The Meaning of ‘Medium’ is the Message.. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/@andrewmcluhan/the-meaning-of-medium-is-the-message-9bbe732869a7#.jijwkohnk [Accessed 16 Mar. 2017].

The Medium is the Message. (2017). 1st ed. [ebook] pp.1,5,8,9. Available at: http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf [Accessed 16 Mar. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). The Medium is the Message. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko6J9v1C9zE [Accessed 16 Mar. 2017].

BCM310 Sorry is Sweet

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As a child, I frequently recall falling over on the pavement and scraping my knee (or just accidentally hurting myself), and feeling this wave of self-pity at the fact that it was such an unfortunate event that I had injured my poor knee and was bleeding (insert sad face)…boo hoo. This feeling of pity for my own pain was further triggered by family a member or friend rushing over to ask and see if I was okay. “Oh no, are you okay? Let me get you a bandaid” Oh the tragedy! And yes…a bandaid would be great.

But what about when we pitty and feel sorry for the “other”, i.e. someone other than ourselves? Pity for others can sometimes be a form of external validation that is based off feelings of superiority and the mentality that we are are lucky not to be in that position.

The mentality of: “If these people can go through this – then I can watch it/look at it.” – misses the point because it suggests some equivalence. Looking at suffering is NOT the same as feeling it because there is no physical pain that we feel when we view suffering. With religious art works that depict extremely grotesque deaths, looking at these depictions of suffering would stir you to devotion, reminding that your religious salvation was at stake. Looking at it is almost obligatory to help feel what the maters went through because of their devotion to God. Some may argue that looking at acts of suffering weren’t supposed to make you wish that they had ever happened; these were the destiny of maters because this suffering essentially is what turned them into saints and made them distinct from regular people. (Susan Sontag – regarding the pain of others)

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Our reaction to the pain of others can differ depending on the context. Graphic and gory images of people being hung and women being raped are supposed to make us feel outraged. However, images of refugees on hunger strike, inflicting suffering on their own bodies in an act to protest the living conditions in the detention centre can be seen as disturbing and an unnecessary infliction of pain. Thus, suffering can be hidden from us through the aestheticisation of suffering. Sounds fancy right? Sometimes we start to think that the pain we feel while looking at an image makes us feel upset and humane. The danger is that it can feel good to feel so bad for someone. It confirms our own humanity in a way and makes us feel good about ourselves. “Its sweet to feel sorry” – what a good person you are for feeling so sorry! But whose pain are we emphasising on when we see someone enduring suffering – the pain of the victim or the pain of the viewer?

So what is the right thing to do? Is it wrong for us to look at someone else’s hardship and feel sorry and in return feel good about feeling sorry? Should we ignore their suffering altogether and just view it from a more emotionally detached point of view? – This seems very heartless, but in a way is this even possible to do if you are an emotional and emphatic individual? During this weeks lecture at university, we were showed a scene from the film “The Blind Side”, and were discussing the fact that sometimes we focus on the wrong persons emotions. For example, we focus on the sympathy and humanity of the giver of help rather than the person in need. This person in need has probably been through a lot of tough things, but some how we still shift our focus to the person who pities them. During the lecture I couldn’t help myself from tearing up at the movie scene, and I immediately felt a sense of self-condemnation for feeling sorry for the character in the film. I was trying so very hard to prevent myself from getting emotional. This period of swallowing back the tears eventually ended and was followed by an immediate sense of guilt. Am I really sympathising for the victim or the emotions of the helper of the victim? “I MUST NOT feel good about feeling bad, I totally do not feel good right now.” – I thought to myself. If we try to ignore the pain of others, are we denying them the witness that they deserve?

I can certainly conclude that looking at suffering is a risky thing, but it is absolutely something that we do .

References:

BBC News. (2017). Can you teach people to have empathy? – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33287727 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Davidson, M. (2017). Why We Sometimes Enjoy Pity and How to Stop – Tiny Buddha. [online] Tiny Buddha. Available at: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-we-sometimes-enjoy-pity-and-how-to-stop/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Goo.gl. (2017). Image: Leonardo Dicaprio Cheers Meme – Imgflip. [online] Available at: https://goo.gl/images/51JM88 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

BCM112 ‘A Digi what?’

I have been watching YouTube videos for as long as I can remember! Throughout my YouTube viewing history, I’ve always wanted to have a go at creating my own content, but I just have never had the guts. Now is my chance!
Also, Trisha Paytas hits the nail on the head; this is exactly  how I feel about finally starting a YouTube channel! *Tears of joy*vHrFToG - Imgur.gif

I have been crochet-ing for about 2 years now and some family and friends have been asking me to show them how I make the things I knit. Making tutorials, DIY’s and tags will be a fun way for me complete my Digital Artefact! #bcm112

BCM310 Selfie Queens

So, how many selfies have you taken today? Because if you have taken 3, then consider yourself crazy! According to the American Psychiatric Association, feeling a constant need to take selfies is a sign of a potential mental disorder.
There is always that one person in our lives who is fixated on seizing every second of their day within a duck-faced selfie. It seems that there is a very particular pose that accompanies the infamous selfie; slightly squinted eyes, head tilted to the left, and of course, we cannot forget the pouted lips! As with many trends and phases that come and go along with generations of youth, moral panic comes into play. It generally tends to be the older generations who frown upon the current youth and have a “tsk tsk” approach to the self-centeredness and a grandiose view that accompanies these selfies. Nowadays, the selfie phenomenon has become a threat to societal values and interests. People often compare the selfie addiction to Narcissism and a vital need to be liked and have a sense of prerogative. It can be said that such individuals lack self-gratification and self-confidence.

If you’re like me, Instagram is simply a way to share photos of highly important things such as my dog wearing a red bandana, and the Thai food I ate last night. However for some it is much more than an app for procrastination and the good old stalk: It’s a way to make a living. (Ka-ching!)These people are just like you and me (perhaps more attractive..ahem), who form an online persona to gain followers and popularity. These instagram stars don’t see their audience as followers, but as fans. This increase of social media being used as a source of financial means has made it easy for Instagram users to be recognised as “insta famous” and given people a lust for stardom. It is becoming the norm for everyday people to become Instagram celebs with huge numbers of followers and paid sponsorships. From “#fitspo” to “#blessed”, these people use their online presence almost like a resume and brand name, further feeding into the black whole of the Instagram world.

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Maintaining a consistent visual image for your brand tot make the right impression on your target audience can be a challenging task. A challenge that can be reductive if not managed correctly, and you could be leaving out characteristics for a career that you don’t even know about. If you are crafting this online persona it may start to change who you really are. Do you REALLY like to drink “Skinny Tea” and eat Chia seeds for breakfast? Don’t you have any other hobbies other than using “Loving Tan” and whitening your teeth on weekends? Oh, and we musn’t forget the Kylie Jenner lip kits and colour swatches. Another challenge is how do you make sure that everyone who comments on your post is going to maintain your brand? At the end of the day, you don’t have full control over these things because your online presence is interactive and open to public opinion.

For those who say selfies are empowering, I really don’t think they are. What they really are is a technological reflection of the messed up way our society fools men and women into thinking that their most important quality is their physical appearance and attractiveness. Yes, it’s completely okay to take selfies; but we need to remember to live life in the present moment and not to live our lives before the eyes of others and for the approval or commentary of others.

References:

Psychology Today. (2017). Are Selfies a Sign of Narcissism and Psychopathy?. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/close-encounters/201501/are-selfies-sign-narcissism-and-psychopathy [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].

Gearup. (2017). Memes, Selfies and My Signature » Gearup. [online] Available at: http://www.bavils.com/memes-selfies-my-signature/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

dna. (2017). World Mental Health Day- Taking too many selfies is a mental disorder: Doctors | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis. [online] Available at: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-world-mental-health-day-taking-too-many-selfies-is-a-mental-disorder-doctors-2132950 [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Woronko, M. and Woronko, M. (2017). Addiction To Selfies: A Mental Disorder?. [online] Lifehack. Available at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/addiction-selfies-mental-disorder.html [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017]

The Oriental Mulan

The 1998 Disney movie “Mulan” was the very first Disney movie with an Asian background. It is based on traditional Chinese story about courageous young woman who went to war in place of her ill father by disguising herself into a male. Throughout the film, there is a definite focus on society in China during the North and South Dynasty period. Mulan, the main character, has a hard time adjusting to the army full of men and disguising herself, however in due course she makes some good friends and plays a fundamental role in effectively defeating the enemy. Also, later on in the film she falls in love with Shang, who is an army general and they decide to marry.

Mulan2_0Just to give us a rough background on Orientalism, the Orientals created a gulf and divided the world into two portions by using the concept of ‘theirs and ‘ours’. This distinction of being vastly different is the most discrete characteristic of the Orientalist mind-frame. This can also be alluded to as an imaginary geographical line. This permeation of our contemporary culture is described by Edward Said as “Putting on a pair of glasses that distort your vision…” As a result of these ‘glasses’ our perceptions involves seeing the East as different and far removed from the world of the West and Western culture. Orientalism has an unavoidable assembly to Colonialism. Post-colonial nations are almost always viewed as different or as the ‘other’ so consequently whatever the innovative influences developing merely from their determination is exposed to some type of discrimination and abandonment.In our case we can say that Disney tried to view the story from the view of Eastern people to the best of their ability, but during the discourse they couldn’t overcome the Orientalist views lying under their unconsciousness.

We can locate factors of Orientalism in the values through which characters pursuit in the movie. Sacrificing oneself for family in order to maintain the family’s honor is emphasized. Mulan, even disguises herself as a man in order to do this. Furthermore, there is an ongoing portrayal of the traditional Chinese belief of household gods. This is very distorted throughout the film as the household gods are illustrated as prejudiced toward females and narrow-minded, and this can be considered as a major disrespect for Chinese traditional beliefs. The characters throughout the animation all have very comparable features such a yellow-toned skin complexion, small eyes, thin lips, despite the fact that people of Asian background all have vastly different physical traits. There also many set Asian prototypes throughout such as the characters eating with chopsticks and drinking hot tea after each meal. A main inconsistency in the film is the portrayal of Mulan herself. Many of the clothes she wears, and her make-up alike, resemble that of traditional Japan’s rather than China’s. Many of her outfits are similar to the traditional Japanese ‘Kimono’, and her hairstyle is also very Japanese. Additionally, the flowers that are used throughout the movie in order to emphasise the theme are Cherry Blossoms, which is the national flower of Japan. The Great Wall of China appears in the movie several times even though it did not exist in the time period which the story of Mulan takes place…(boo boom chhhh). Mulan also uses dynamite as her main tool to defeat enemies during her battles, but dynamite was not invented at that time. In my opinion this is one kind of Orientalism, since the film makers merged two completely different Asian cultures into one, it shows that they simply didn’t care if they merged. Ignorant or what?

References

Breckenridge, Carol A. & Van der Veer, Peter 1993, Orientalism & the Post-colonial Predicament, University of Pennsylvania Press, United States of America.

National University, Arab American. “What is Orientalism?.” Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 April 2015 <http://www.arabstereotypes.org/why-stereotypes/what-orientalism&gt;

“Notes On Scholarly Books.”: Orientalism, Postmodernism and Globalism by Bryan S. Turner. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Arpil 2015 <http://notesonscholarlybooks.blogspot.com.au/2008/07/orientalism-postmodernism-and-globalism.html&gt;.

Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament Perspectives on South Asia.” Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 April 2015 <http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/25

“Orientalism, postmodernism, and globalism / Bryan S. Turner | National Library of Australia.” Orientalism, postmodernism, and globalism / Bryan S. Turner | National Library of Australia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 April 2015 http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/454742

Said, Edward 1976, Orientalism, Random House Inc., United States of America

Turner, Bryan S. 1994, Orientalism, Post-modernism & Globalisation, Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane London

The Great Fire-Wall of China

The use of the phrase “Great Firewall” as a likeness to the Great Wall of China, refers more so to the Great Firewall’s deficiencies than its efficacy as a sturdy barricade to the spreading of certain types of information and media sources in China. Both worldwide and Chinese media use it as a blanket term with ironic connotations. It refers to projects and legislation started by the Chinese government, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, that endeavors to control the Internet and is in fact the main apparatus used to achieve Internet censorship throughout the whole of Mainland China. The CCP policy includes criminalizing specific online speech and behaviors, disabling viewing websites, and filtering key words out of searches searched from devices situated in Mainland China. In 1997 the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s exclusive legislative body, passed a law that criminalizes “cyber crimes”.

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There have been hundreds of web sites that the government has blocked number and they range from the obvious (that of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious group that China banned in 1999) to the unlikely innocent English-language web sites such as The New York Times and Washington Post which were blocked until 2002. Get this, phrases and words such as “democracy” and “Tiananmen Square massacre” are actually filtered out from searches through agreements with search providers like Google. So it’s fair to say that it is illegal to know what a democracy even is!

Websites such as ‘The Great Firewall of China’ allow people living outside of China to trial “any website and see real-time if it’s censored in China”. It is a way to view websites from the standpoint of a Chinese user. The Great Firewall is a supplementary indication of China’s aspiration to construct an Internet environment that it can have total control over. These web filters work as a dual purpose in scanning out content that is considered critical of the Chinese government and simultaneously provides safeguard for China’s own developing web firms hostile to larger and stronger overseas rivals.

But with the implication of the Great Firewall analogy, like the Great Wall of China, will it in due course be unsuccessful as a shielding fortress? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

References

Barme, Geremie R., and Sang Ye. “The Great Firewall of China: At ISPs, Internet cafes, even state censorship committees, we meet the wired of China.” WIRED-SAN FRANCISCO- 5 (1997): 138-149.

Clayton, Richard, Steven J. Murdoch, and Robert NM Watson. “Ignoring the great firewall of china.” Privacy Enhancing Technologies. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2006.

“Great Firewall of China.” Great Firewall of China. Web. 8 Apr. 2015. <http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org

Products, Other. “The Great Firewall of China Is Nearly Complete.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

Xu, Xueyang, Z. Morley Mao, and J. Alex Halderman. “Internet censorship in China: Where does the filtering occur?.” Passive and Active Measurement. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2011.

Tapidi, Tap, Tap.

Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse alongside various other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers is a book written by Tom Standage in 1998. The innermost initiative of the book claims that out of the telegraph and the internet, the telegraph had more significance due to its ability to communicate globally at all in real-time (this being referred to as a qualitative shift), whereas the variation brought on by the modern Internet was just a quantitative shift.Morse_code_DC_Comics

The culture, which developed between telegraph operators, had some rather unexpected affinities with the modern Internet. Both cultures made or make use of multifaceted text coding, jargon and shortened language, both requisite network security experts, and both attracted criminals who used the networks to entrust fraud, hack private communications, and send unwanted messages. In due course, telegraph lines surrounded the whole globe, making the world a much smaller place. However, unlike the internet the telegraph didn’t develop into a viable news delivery platform the same way that the internet has in the present day. Even though the response to the change was comparable, the ability to react to it was not. Though there are many parallels between the telegram and the internet, there are also differences, and to further highlight these I would like to draw upon the news/newspaper industry. Newspapers had the ability to gradually use the telegraph to advance the concept of print publishing and allow their properties to increase in value. O the other hand, the internet caused a major alteration to the newspaper business model, as advertising and marketing moved online and the cost of publishing and the barrier to entry was changed in a fundamental way.

Although there were comparable consequences to the beginning of these wonderful technologies, newspapers have faced a much steeper set of challenges during the digital transformation. Waiting too long to react to the change and not initially taking it seriously enough has exacerbated this. Newspapers are still paying the price for that postponement, as each one struggles to find a way to remain profitable yet relevant in a tainted marketplace, something they never had to face in the age of the telegraph.

References

Cline, M.S. 2005, Power, Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality, University Village Press

Standage, T 1998, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers, Walker & Company, Bloomsbury USA

Stroh, M 1998, The Victorian net; The electric telegraph was the 1890s version of the Internet, The Sun, Baltimore USA