Saturday, October 1, 2011

Under Pressure



All my favourite movie scenes seem to revolve around killer rock songs...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something Borrowed

Warning: This review may be completely biased as I am in love with John Krasinski.

Something Borrowed seems to already have everything it needs to make it the cutest rom-com of the season. This film, based on the hit novel of the same name by Emily Giffin, tells the story of Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), a bright and successful lawyer, and her lifelong best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson), a carefree yet self-absorbed blond who always seems to get her way. Darcy is engaged to Dex (Colin Egglesfeld), a friend of Rachel’s from law school, but after a few too many drinks and some long-awaited confessions, Rachel and Dex find themselves sleeping together. Their affair continues, and Rachel must decide whether having the guy of her dreams is worth sacrificing the closest of friendships. Backed by a hilarious cast – including Rachel’s good friend Ethan (John Krasinski) and his obsessive stalker Claire (Ashley Williams) – Ginnifer Goodwin lights up the screen, playing up her sweetness perfectly and drawing the audience into her every emotion. Kate Hudson brings her natural charm, and both leading ladies get tons of laughs during an impromptu re-enactment of their sixth grade talent show performance – a choreographed dance routine to none other than Push It by Salt N’ Pepa. For a romantic comedy with a predictable plot, this movie manages to stand out for its relatable script and remarkable acting. Though I’m sure you can already guess the ending, this movie is worth a watch for the heart-warming way it takes you there.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bridesmaids



Just watched this movie again last night. This remains my favourite scene; so hilarious!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rookie Blue

I'm obsessed with this show! If you don't watch it - please leave this blog and go watch every single episode right now because it is seriously the best show on television. Firstly, it's filmed in Toronto with a mainly Canadian cast, HOWEVER, it looks so un-amateur-like and even got picked up by ABC in the States. And the characters...you know a show is great when you can't even choose a favourite. Right now, my top three are Swarek, Jerry and Dov...plus Gail is pretty awesome. Oh, and Chris! (See what I meant about not being able to pick a fave). The show's relationships are getting pretty intense - I'm rooting for Andy/Sam (who isn't?) and Gail/Dov (even though most people love Chris). The Andy/Sam lead-up has been going on for so long now; they better get together soon after last week's almost kiss! Why are you still here? Go watch this show NOW!

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

A great movie? Yes. A funny story? Not so much. While scrolling through movie choices, my family was looking for a light comedy to please everyone’s varying tastes, and after watching the laugh-out-loud preview set to upbeat music, we decided on It’s Kind of a Funny Story, starring Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts. The story follows Craig, a sixteen year old who checks himself into the mental ward of a hospital due to battling depression. Since the youth ward is under construction, he is placed with the adults, where he meets a variety of interesting characters, doctors and patients alike, who guide him along during his mandatory five-day visit. From the preview and title, I made the assumption that this movie would be comprised of some kooky patient jokes, a little bit of cheesy romance, and some predictable self-discovery. But in reality, this movie really had some dark and depressing undertones, as it covered topics like suicide, self-harm, and the hardships of mental illness. Oh yeah, and an impromptu musical number. Despite my surprise at the genre, the movie actually held up to my high standards, and is one the few movies in a long time that made me both smile and cry, and most importantly, left me feeling like I didn’t just waste two hours of my life. So I give this movie a four out five, because even though it featured some great acting, an honest and relatable script, and I most definitely recommend you see it, it really needs a new title.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

L.A. Candy Book Series

Going to post some of my reviews from now on :)

The L.A. Candy series is a collection of young adult books, consisting of three novels – L.A. Candy, Sweet Little Lies, and Sugar and Spice – written by Lauren Conrad. Yes, you read that right; Lauren Conrad. The reality television star has now taken her latest career venture in becoming a first-time author. Much to everyone’s surprise, the book series has done extremely well, with the first two instalments of the trilogy reaching the number one spot on the New York Times’ Bestseller List. The novels tell the story of sweet and innocent Jane, who moves to Los Angeles with her best friend to intern for a high profile event planning agency. One night at a club, the girls are approached by an up-and-coming producer looking to sign them on for a reality TV series, and when they say yes, the drama begins. The trilogy chronicles two seasons of the show, and all the gossip, fighting, and excitement that comes along with celebrity status. The L.A. Candy series is just like Jane’s personality – charming and sweet, but utterly predictable. Sure, there’s a plot twist here or there, a couple intensely heated confrontations, and even some cute romantic gestures, but as I flipped the final page and closed the cover of L.A. Candy, I was left wanting more. If you’re looking for a simple and light read, L.A. Candy has got you covered, but if you want something with a little more depth, I’d try a novel not quite as sugar-coated. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joseph Gordon Levitt

I've been crazy busy with work these past few weeks, so I haven't been on the computer much (that's a lie - I always find the time to check Facebook). Sorry for neglecting my blog a bit! To make up for it, please enjoy this delightful video from the Screen Test series by the New York Times Style Magazine with the charming and handsome Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tattoo Dreaming

I really want a tattoo, but I'm not quite sure which design I would get. I'm thinking about these ones, probably on the inside of my wrist, behind my ear, or on my ankle/foot.

Heart made of treble & bass clef.

"a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor" - love this font!

"fall down seven times, stand up eight" - like it better in the first font

Monday, June 20, 2011

50/50 Trailer



Can't wait for this movie....the JGL obsession continues come September.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Comparison: Independent vs. Mainstream Media

One major news story making headlines across Canada today is the pending strike by The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). As of June 1st, postal workers across the nation plan to halt their jobs, demanding Canada Post to not go through with its planned changes to the postal program, including lower wages for new workers, less paid sick days, and a (slightly) higher retirement age. With a story so recent and popular, it is no surprise that it would be covered by various forms of media, both independent and mainstream. Though only one truth can really exist, the media is infamous for spinning the news anyway it wants, and through this comparison, we'll see that where you get your information from may prove to be more important than the story itself.

INDEPENDENT SOURCE: Halifax Media Co-op (via Labour Start Canada)
http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/david-bush/7373
LabourStart logo.

MAINSTREAM SOURCE: The National Post
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/05/31/tasha-kheiriddin-will-canadians-go-postal-over-a-cupw-strike/


Comparison 1 - The Owner & Bias

The Halifax Media Co-op is owned by the Dominion Newspaper Cooperative, which is a grassroots newspaper published monthly by independent journalists. From the mission statement found on their website, they are proud to be independent because they feel as though it provides them with the opportunity to create factual news stories to inform the public. They come right out and say their bias, which is "towards the perspectives of those most affected by events." This makes their newspaper out as the underdog, like many independent sources. This does have some advantages, meaning many untold stories get heard, but it creates a bias towards the underdogs of the world - those left out, forgotten, or seen as less important. The voice of this newspaper will likely be empowering to the regular people, and most likely never on the side of wealthy, corporate, upper class citizens.

The National Post was previously owned by Canwest before they hit financial troubles a few years ago, selling their media assets to Shaw Communications and their newspaper ownings, including the National Post, to Postmedia Network Inc. Before the sale, Canwest owned Global TV, E!, Showcase, Slice, HGTV, and other huge stations in Canada. Though the newspaper is not technically linked to these TV players anymore, Postmedia and Shaw definitely have some associations in the corporate world. Postmedia Network Inc. itself also owns some advertising companies as well as a bunch of local newspapers across Canada. Being a corporate source, especially one with a large set of assets, makes the National Post very careful of what it publishes, staying favourable to all associated business ventures. Also, since it is a privatized company, this newspaper must support and adhere to the corporate world, never putting down wealth for fear of seeming hypocritical - quite the opposite of an independent media source.

Comparison 2 - Dedication to Story

Not much of the National Post was devoted to this story about the postal strike. Though it was featured on the home page, it was more towards the bottom and not accompanied by a picture like many of the other articles. Through a search, more articles were available on this topic, but the National Post probably doesn't want to call much attention to this dilemma, as they are greatly biased towards one side and don't want this obvious favouritism to decrease their reputation as a reliable news source. Also, the unhappiness of workers makes the Canada Post look bad, so reporting on this story would just show to readers how upset postal workers are if this is such a big deal, rather than downplay their anger.



On the contrary, I found the Halifax Media Co-op article on an independent news site completely devoted to labour stories in Canada. Needless to say, the entire upper half of the website was filled with links to stories about the possible strike. This is favourable to independent sources because they want to shed light on issues that affect "regular people", for the purpose of sticking it to the mainstream corporate world.

Comparison 3 - Explicit & Implicit Messages

The National Post and the Halifax Media Co-op have very different messages, even though they are reporting on the same story. Both stories have very blunt explicit messages, which is somewhat surprising, as news source usually like to at least seem unbiased. The National Post article gives the explicit message that the postal workers are being unreasonable and "playing an obnoxious game" for not accepting Canada Post's new rules while many are struggling to find jobs in this economy. The Halifax Media Co-op takes the side of the workers, saying that their jobs are already hard and under-respected, and calling the restructuring of Canada Post "an obvious ploy to weaken the [postal workers'] union."

Even though the message is slightly obvious, both sources are implicitly saying who they support in this debate - the National Post supports Canada Post and the Halifax Media Co-op supports the CUPW. This leads to the other implicit message of the story - the political support that each source is known for. The National Post is wide-recognized as being pro-Conservative and extremely pro-corporate, which is why they would support a strike, in hopes of the government seeing that it is time to privatize our mail system rather than keep it as a Crown Corporation, another point mentioned favourably in the article.

Why We All Must Support Our Postal Workers
An image from the Halifax Media Co-op article.
On the other hand, the Halifax Media Co-op is, like most independent sources, anti-Conservative, as the current leading political party never seems to consider the underdog over the white collar worker. They are against this strike, saying that it will provide further incentive to privatizing the mail system, and that a "defeat of the postal workers would be a major blow to the Canadian labour movement," showing they are on the side that is not with Stephen Harper, no matter what that side is. This point is driven right from the beginning of the article, which opens with the hook, "In all honesty it is as simple as this: You want to fight Harper? Then support the posties!" The sources' views on the strike all come down to who they support in parliament.

Comparison 4 - Included & Excluded Voices

Since each news source has a different view on the story, they tend only include the voices that support the same side they do. In the National Post, the author herself puts down the demands of postal workers, but to make her opinions seem more like facts, she cites many percentages of the Canada Post usage going down. Also, she adds in her thoughts within the statistics, like in this line: "In its contract negotiations with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), it is proposing to create two tiers of employees, grandfathering current hires and offering new ones a cheaper (but still sweet) deal." Who's to say if the deal is still sweet? She should just stick to the facts. Also, later in the article she talks about other countries who have privatized their mail systems and how they see this as favourable, hinting that we should follow suit. She doesn't include any voices of the postal service workers, because they would likely disagree with her arguement. Towards the end, she includes a quote from the CUPW, but immediately afterwards points out that what the union suggests would not work without privatization, spinning everything in the National Post's favour.



In the Halifax Media Co-op article, the main voices are those of the CUPW overall and postal workers. Without specific quotes, the article goes on about how postal workers deserve better treatment and the many hardships involved in working for Canada Post, even before this dilemma. This is somewhat suspicious because if all these bad things are true, why would they not get confirmation from a worker to authenticate these stories? This article is more obviously an opinion piece, rather than the National Post article that pretends to be factually-based, so it does not have a lot of reliable sources to prove what it is saying, and not many voices are represented, for they may discount the points the opinioned author is making.

Comparison 5 - Benefits & Disadvantages of the Message

If the message in the National Post is accepted, it benefits first and fore-most the Conservative government. Their advocation for privatization of the mail system is clear, so if readers accept this, than they will agree with the beliefs of Stephen Harper and his interest in a privately-owned Canada Post. Also, this article's message would benefit Canada Post, because it is calling the possible strike unreasonable and pointless, and therefore agreeing with their restructuring of the workers and leading other readers to believe that this is right. However, this message disadvantages the postal workers because it does give them the chance to share their side of the debate, and immediately targets them as the wrong-doer in the situation without allowing them a fair explanation.

If the message from the Halifax Media Co-op is accepted, quite the opposite affect will ensue. This article benefits the Canadian postal workers, completely taking their side and standing by them on all their demands. If this message is accepted, it also would benefit all union members in Canada, as this article points out the importance of unionization over giant corporations. In contrast, this article greatly disadvantages Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, as it puts down their idea of a privately-owned mail service, and goes into great detail as to why their plans would not work, causing the audience not to support them. And of course, it would disadvantage Canada Post by making it look like the bad guy in this fight and seem unjust and cruel to its workers.

Both articles also disadvantage the public in general, seeing as they are obviously biased, and don't give Canadians the proper chance to learn the facts and form their own opinions. This is a fault in many media sources as the hidden agenda of an article usually takes precedence over factually informing its audience.

Image Sources:
http://www.participaction.com/ecms.ashx/SpecialThanks/NPMASTHEADCOL300BlkTag.jpg
http://www.labourstart.org/canada/
http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/david-bush/7373
http://www.northerngoldexchange.com/ESW/Images/canada-post-logo.gif
http://www.cpcml.ca/images2011/WorkersEconomy/PostOffice/File/101013-MedicineHatCUPWDayofAction.jpg

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Bin Laden Story

As I'm sure we all know, as of May 1st, 2011, almost 10 years after the tragedy that was 9/11 took place, Osama Bin Laden had been killed. This story, whether good or bad, has taken the media world by storm. Headlines, news shows, and journalism specials galore have devoted much coverage to this revolutionary event. But in this climate of questions, where the media is our only source of information, how can we know who to trust? Each news story has a carefully selected vocabulary of words, painting a different picture of what really happened that day in Pakistan, and what this controversial death means for both the United States and other countries. Here, I'm going to take a look at two very contrasting news sources, the Fox News and Al Jazeera, to compare what they have to say on this hot topic in current events.

Fox News - American Source
Chairman & CEO: Rupert Murdoch
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/01/sources-al-qaida-head-bin-laden-dead/



Although this article is very short, as it was published the night of Bin Laden's death for the purpose of providing basic information, I chose it because the language used in it really stood out to me. The article has a very basic message in terms of its story, saying that Bin Laden was confirmed dead by President Obama, and giving simple details on the attack itself, the crowds outside the White House, and the other attacks Al-Qaeda is responsible for. The article is clearly told from the American point of view, not even mentioning Pakistan once, either as the location of the killing or as an accomplice in the attack. Though this article is trying to be informative, it doesn't do a great job because the author made sure to put in his or her opinions, and left out some very important facts in the story.

The article constructs Bin Laden in an extremely negative way, which would be expected, as he is allegedly responsible for the deaths of many Americans - but that's just the thing, Osama Bin Laden has never been fully proven as the face behind 9/11. Sure there has been speculation, and Bin Laden has openly admitted to being at war with the United States, but Fox News is incorrect as they refer to Bin Laden as "the glowering mastermind" behind Sept. 11. They continue this negative characterization by listing previous attacks Al-Qaeda is alleged to be involved in, which serve no other purpose in the article except to make Bin Laden seem much worse of person, and falsely link him to other tragedies. In contrast, this article constructs Obama as a national and global hero, noting him as the leader of the operation that killed Bin Laden and quoting his words that, "justice has been done."

One very striking thing about this article from Fox News is how they describe and construct events. They over-dramatize everything, calling the president's speech a "dramatic late-night statement," and citing 9/11 as the event that led to "America's entire intelligence apparatus [being] overhauled to counter...terror attacks at home." They bring in irrelevant information about other American terror attacks, and blame the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq directly on 9/11, when this is a topic that has received much skepticism. This article's message disadvantages Pakistan, never crediting them for any help in the attacks, and also disadvantages Americans, in the sense the they are being fed half-truths. If this message is accepted, it will further boost the American pride in believing they have saved the world and it will lead citizens to feel as though the war on terror is over, when in reality, it may only just be beginning.

Al Jazeera - International Source
Owned by: Oatar Media Corporation
Chairman: Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani; Editor-in-Chief: Ahmed Sheikh
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/20115251555423645.html


This article is one we looked at in class, and I chose it since it stood out for its almost positive Osama Bin Laden construction. This is not just an article, as it is entitled, "Obituary," implying that Bin Laden lived a life worth being looked back on and commemorated. The tag line sets the tone for what is to come, reading "With his long beard and wistful expression, Bin Laden was one of the most instantly recognisable people on earth." The article continues on to explain Osama's life story, and features information on his family life and becoming a radical. This article provides a huge contrast to the one from Fox News, as it is told from the perspective of Bin Laden supporters, and paints an image of a man fighting for his beliefs.

Al Jazeera, in this particular article, constructs Bin Laden as just a normal guy who decided to become a leader to rebel against the evils of the world. By going into detail about Bin Laden's family life (i.e. losing his father at a young age, his wives and children), the author does a great job of making Osama seem more human, and provides a way for people to sympathize with a man who is really a terrorist. The article also gives a neutral/bordering on positive characterization of Al-Qaeda. They never refer to them as a terrorist group, and only ever say they were blamed for certain attacks, making them out as always the victim and never the bully.

If this article's message is accepted, both Al-Qaeda and Osama supporters will gain backing, as this is basically an advertisement for Middle East terrorism. It chooses its language so carefully because it never directly says "Osama is awesome," but words like "leader," "champion," and "wistful" have strong connations of supporting what Bin Laden stands for. This article does not show all sides of the story, which is a common fault in media, and therefore disadavantages readers from receiving the truth about what is going on in the world. When articles are so biased as this one, it is hard to know who we can believe and where to turn to for answers.

Image Sources:
http://wybuyxo.blogspot.com/2011/05/fox-news-obama-bin-laden-dead.html
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zfgJrnXPMXY/Tb6Ci2u55UI/AAAAAAAAANs/Ki80Tr6KLtk/s1600/osama+bin+laden+al+jazeera.jpg

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Canadian Advertising Standards

These ads have all run across Canada for many consumers to see - but are they really appropriate advertising? According the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (http://www.adstandards.com/en/standards/the14Clauses.aspx) some of these advertisements may not be holding up to Canada's regulations.

Dawn Animals Commercial

This commercial may have violated clause one of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, Accuracy and Clarity. From the statistics displayed (Dawn has saved thousands of animals in oil spills), the commercial is making the statement that Dawn is so gentle they can use it on animals, but in reality, as a consumer, I am not really sure that Dawn is the best thing for animals. The commercial implies that Dawn has some life-saving formula and is so helpful, but really it is just a dish soap. I don't think this ad has gone as far as violating the code though because it does not make false claims so much as oversimplify the truth.

Scotiabank Commercial

This commercial comes close in violating clause four, Bait and Switch, and clause five, Guarantees. The ad talks about joining Scotiabank and getting a free flight, but as we know, no giveaways are ever that easy. At the end of the ad, a voiceover quickly explains some conditions to the free flight, but this part is short and quick while distracting the audience with bright and colourful text. Although this ad does not directly violate the code, it uses the ever-ambiguous line "some conditions may apply" which doesn't really give the consumer all the necessary information, and leaves us thinking the deal is better than it may actually be.

Rogers

The ad may violate Accuracy and Clarity, which is clause one in the code. It claims that Rogers is Canada's "most reliable" network, but what does that really mean? How can you define reliable? It also makes the claim of "best surfing," but again, that term is so unclear. I think the ad actually does violate the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards because if they claim to be something that can't actually be explained, that can be seen as a false claim. The truthfulness of the message is very distorted and not forthright, so it is essentially tricking the consumer and creating an illusion without a definite meaning.

Ellen Tracy Trench

I think advertisement definitely is close to violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals. By having two tall and thin women wearing nothing but a trench coat, with one flashing a gaping man, this ad is extremely distasteful. Clause fourteen recognizes that distasteful are not necessarily a violation, but this ad could be classfied as demeaning towards women. It objectifies women and creates stereotyped gender roles of men judging women for their body. It directly implies that naughtiness is associated with wearing this coat, and the action of the naked woman is clear. The ad is not appropriate to be seen by younger audiences, and because of its degrading representation of women, it comes very close to violating clause fourteen.

American Apparel Socks

I have no doubt that this ad violates clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals, for similar reasons to the Ellen Tracy Trench. It features a woman wearing nothing but socks, and the pictures of her on the left of the image give somewhat of a porn feeling to the ad. The ad seems like it is selling more than just socks - also the career of an adult film actor! It goes past the point of distasteful because it is also degrading towards women and provides an offensive representation of how women are viewed and clearly objectifies Lauren Phoenix, the star of the ad.

Dolce and Gabbana

So far I would say that this ad is the most inappropriate of the one's on the blog, once again violating clause fourteen. It features a group of strong and shirtless women standing over a woman in a powerful position. This implies sexual dominance of the men and victimizes the woman. Not only does it objectify woman, but it also condones gang rape and the powerlessness of women in comparison to men. This is an example of violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals because it represents women in an unfair way and promotes violence against us, and therefore is not acceptable ad to run in Canada.

Nike Ads
 
Though the first Nike ad is not visually inappropriate, the copy on it is ignorant and prejudiced, violating clause fourteen, which seems to be violated often because of its open-ended rules. In this ad, it says that going to watch your son in the ballet is bad, because boys should be doing "masculine activities," like playing soccer with the shoes being advertised. This is extremely offensive to all men who are not stereotypically "masculine," saying there is something wrong with them. In this day and age I thought society was moving forward in losing stereotyped gender roles, but this ad goes ahead to violate clause fourteen, proving that intolerant still exists. The second Nike ad is similar in its message, showing an implied sexual scene between two men and saying that it is "not right." I do not think this ad goes as far as to break the code since the message is extremely well-hidden, but still has something wrong about it. This ad is only distasteful for its subconcious message against being gay, but unfortunately I think it would be hard to prosecute against as breaking the code on clause fourteen.

Burger King Seven Incher

Some would say this ad comes close to violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals, because of its underlying sexual messages. Compared to the second Nike ad, this ad's sexual connotations were very obvious, pointed out immediately by the image, the slogan, and the name of the sandwich. This ad doesn't discriminate against women in the same way or level as the Dolce and Gabbana ad, but does in some ways make them out as sexual objects. This ad would be hard to prove as violating the code because even though it is distasteful, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards clearly states that offensiveness is not always enough to ban an ad from being shown across the country.

Image Source:
ymmediastudies.wordpress.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bowling For Columbine

For this week's blog post I am going to answer questions 2-5 on the viewing guide of Bowling for Columbine, all of which pertain to the topic of violence and its portrayal in today's American media.


2. According to Moore, how does the American media create a climate of fear in the U.S.? List some of the effects of this type of media.
In the United States, the media does an amazing job of creating both fear and paranoia in many citizens. Most news stations love to over-exaggerate and dramatize any story that comes their way, whether or not that story is actually as big as they make it out to seem. Especially with murder stories, the news makes citizens feel as though there is a heightened risk for violence in their country, and causes everyone to worry about a world that isn't necessarily as dangerous as it is perceived to be. By creating this panic and constant worry, the media itself is the one who benefits. The more scared people are, the more they turn to the news for information, because we are taught that knowledge is power. But is the media's first priority really educating citizens? No. They are simply interested in control. When they are the only source Americans have for their news, the media can do or say whatever it wants, and people are blindly willing to trust it for the sole purpose of easing their own worry. We have becomed so petrified, that as a people we have let our fear take over our critical thinking skills needed to recognize the media's hidden agenda.


3. Explain what is meant by "if it bleeds, it leads."
This phrase was introduced in the film to explain that murder headlines are always the top story on the news. This has always been something I realized, but this film really provided great insight as to why the media does this. Whenever we flip onto a channel looking for information, the media makes sure to feature violent stories to incite our paranoia and continue the controlling theory explained in the previous question, which will keep their ratings high.


4. Why are crime rates in some cities dropping but fear of crime is rising?
In short, the media doesn't care how many murder stories really exist, so long as they have enough to fill their time segment. And even if there isn't many, they are known to endlessly stretch out small bits of information to keep the stories going. As seen with the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden, CNN spent five minutes talking about just the location he was in! We watched them zoom the map from many angles and analyse distances, but really, they were just filling time to stay on the story. A statistic was mentioned that crime rates are 20%, but media coverage of crime is up by 600%! This is the perfect proof of how exaggerated news stories are and that integrity is never the media's first concern.

5. According to Dick Herlan, who has produced COPS and World's Wildest Police Videos, why do these shows choose to focus on arrests of people accused of petty crime rather than corporate criminals?
Well, this guy did a great job of avoiding the real question, but the answer is simple - violence sells. In a media world getting gorier and gorier by the minute, we have become used to the sight of violence and now we won't seem to settle for anything less. Though we act like violence is troubling and unsettling, let's be honest - we love a little blood and guts to ease that part of us wanting to peek through our hands as we watch someone getting hurt. Shows like COPS are genius, because although the crimes are small, they give the police the opportunity to be violent and dramatize the situation, rather than film the boring guy in a suit having court hearings. Another reason is the treatment of the criminals - police feel superior to lower class criminals and love exerting their power over them, but white collar criminals get better treatment due to status and wealth. In these times, better television means more violent television.

Image Sources:
http://speeddatingpro.com/images/ripocazo.jpg
http://assets.hulu.com/shows/key_art_bowling_for_columbine.jpg
http://spf.fotolog.com/photo/47/52/52/charly_hell/1247231186966_f.jpg
http://news.humcounty.com/images/cop_arresting_criminal.jpg

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canadian vs. American TV

QUESTION 7 - CHARACTERS: DESCRIBE THE MAJOR CHARACTERS; IDENTIFY STEREOTYPES (SOCIAL, CULTURAL, RACIAL, GENDER-RELATED)

SHOW ONE - FLASHPOINT - CANADIAN

Ed Lane

-white, male, 40s
-main character of the episode viewed
-stereotypical "tough guy", loves risk
-after shooting the killer, he doesn't admit how it has affected him
-doesn't want others to see his emotions, sees them as a sign of weakness
-wife at home worried about him
-has to miss son's rehearsal, family comes after work

Jules Callaghan
Amy Jo Johnson
-female, brunette, petite, unfeminine, 30s
-tomboy
-stereotypical female police officer; tough, manly
-drinks beer with the guys
-unafraid in hostage mission
-talks back to guys
-single and appears uninterested in relationship

Sergeant Greg Parker
Enrico Colantoni
-leadership role
-bossy but still friendly
-looks out for members of his team
-good at thinking on feet
-supports Ed in shooting decision

Sam Braddock
David Paetkau
-blonde, short hair, early 30s
-new to the force
-smooth talker
-likes Jules and flirts with her
-sarcastic, smart-alec, self-assured

Criminal

-foreign
-does not speak english
-violent, agressive
-stereotypical scary look; dark hair; dark eyes, long baggy coat

SHOW 2 - THE CHICAGO CODE - AMERICAN


Jarek Wysocki
Jason Clarke stars as Detective Jarek Wysocki in The Chicago Code.FOX/Justin Stephens - Tuesday, February, 1, 2011, 8:1 PM
-white, male, late 30s
-loves sports
-serious about his job
-looks to superintendent to control other officers
-sees himself as superior to others

Teresa Colvin

-female, brunette, petite, unfeminine, 30s
-tomboy, tough
-ambitious in job which lead to high rank of superintendent
-in danger due to high position and needs to be guarded all the time

Ray Bidwell

-blonde, short hair, early 30s
-new bodyguard for Teresa
-connection between them, but flirting is not obvious
-very protective of Teresa and works overtime to look out for her

Caleb Evers
Matt Lauria stars as Detective Caleb Evers in The Chicago Code.FOX/Justin Stephens - Tuesday, February, 1, 2011, 8:1 PM
-young, nerdy, hard-working
-sports rivalry with Jarek
-Jarek and him work together on case
-makes mistake of promising to find killer
-works extra hard to prove he could keep the promise

 Main Criminal
-black, 20s, deadlocks, tattoos
-killer found to have murdered ice cream truck owner
-not much personality is revealed, but stereotypical racially by appearance

OBSERVATIONS
As you can see, though the shows styles (lighting, pace, graphicness) were very different, one element The Chicago Code and Flashpoint shared very closely was their characters. Each show seems to have a matching pair of identical people (both in terms of physical appearance and personality), such as Teresa and Jules, tough police tomboys, or Ray and Sam, young blonde guys noticed for their smooth flirting. These common types of characters give into the stereotypes that we think of when imagining a police team; a tough older leader, an arrogant or bossy guy, a hardcore no-nonsense tomboy, and a cute good-looking blondie - all found on both shows. This shows that even though the shows are made and star people from different countries, the people are still the same, and that stereotypes are things that are cross-cultural, and unfortunately, universal.

Another way that these shows both play into stereotypes is in their racial choices. Both police task forces were comprised entirely of white males, both with the exception of one female. This is very unrealistic because both Toronto and Chicago are multi-cultural cities and it is highly unlikely that all police officers there are really white. This decreases the shows believability and the amount of the audience that can self-identify with characters. The Chicago Code did feature one black main character, a politican, but he was a not a member of the police force or main character in the episode viewed, and is later found out to be corrupt. Another racial problem was in the ethnicity of the criminals. On The Chicago Code, they dealt with many crimes in the episode, and in every one the criminal was black or hispanic! This is a terrible generalization and even though there is a large black population in Chicago, it does not mean there are no white criminals in these low-income neighbourhoods. With Flashpoint, there was only one crime in the episode, but again it played into a cultural stereotype. The man holding a victim hostage was a white male, but of course he was made out to be foreign, not speaking a word of English. He was aggresive and violent while yelling in a Slovak language, which added to his "crazyness" and the fear the audience had towards him. Both shows give the oppositional reading that white people are the "ideal race" and create the feeling that criminals are "different from us". Even when a white person was the criminal in Flashpoint, they had to do something to isolate and differentiate him from the typical white population, because god-forbid a criminal be white and Canadian, which would hit too close to home. This says a lot about North American culture and our inability to recognize the potential of criminals in any race, and as well as how the media forms in and out groups that only lead to negative and unrealistic stereotypes.


Image Sources:
http://shows.ctv.ca/FlashPoint/Bios/
http://www.jillgolick.com/2008/09/staring-down-the-barrel-of-the-flashpoint-pilot/
http://www.windycitizen.com/blogs/staff-blog/2011/02/04/chicago-code-tv-on-make-city-shines-in-fox%E2%80%99s-new-cop-drama
http://tv.yahoo.com/chicago-code/show/46511/photos/1
http://hotseries.ir/showthread.php?tid=885
http://www.daemonstv.com/2008/07/10/flashpoint-scorpio-pictures-videos/

Friday, April 15, 2011

Canadian Content

The following is my playlist for a two hour radio show on 94.7 - Rock & Roll Canada
Canadian Songs are highlighted in red.


1) Completing this assignment was (suprisingly) not too difficult. In class, when we compared our favourite forms of media to those that were Canadian, music was the type with the most overlaps, because there are definitely some great Canadian bands and artists. In addition, since we live in Canada, and have the CanCon rules for radio, the songs that are Canadian on my playlist are well-known ones. Lastly, since the regulations for radio are only 35% Canadian songs per week (7 out of my 20 song playlist), there is still a lot of room for acts from other countries and all the songs that are loved and popular today.

2) To ensure my playlist was engaging I wanted to use songs I like and would enjoy hearing on the radio, because I think I have similar taste to a lot of radio-listeners. Since I like rock music, I made the station "Rock & Roll Canada," so that the people listening to it would know it plays rock music and it would therefore attract the audience it appeals to. It would attract Canadians specifically because it features some of the all-time best Canadian rock groups, as well as classic rock songs that appeal to people from any area. Also, I made sure to give the regulated air time to Canadian bands, but only chose those that are considered famous in our country.

3) I think CanCon regulations are necessary because they are a huge part of keeping our culture separate from that of the United States. Since the US has a much larger population and therefore more talent, the CanCon rules ensure that the talented people, both performers and behind the scenes, of our country get their chance to share their gift. Our music, television, and movies are an important part of what makes us Canadian, because these forms of media are all around us and have an influence on who we are. CanCon is necessary to ensure that we distinguish our nation as one with a specific talented and well-known media scene, leading to a good sense of nationalistic pride.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Motorcycle Drive By



summertime & the wind is blowing oustide
Love the crowd singing along. One of music's best kept secrets.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Teen Representation on TV

I wake up to the sound of my beeping alarm clock. I hit the snooze button at least three times before I crawl out of bed and into the shower. The water is freezing because my brother has decided to take an unnecessary twenty minutes to cleanse his body. I hate cold showers, yet somehow find them a part of my daily morning routine. Blair Waldorf, on the other hand, has probably never heard of them. In her Upper East Side condo she is awoken by her maid and served a well-balanced breakfast in her silk bathrobe before climbing into her  steamy shower. Oh, how I envy the luxury of warm water.
I leave my house with dripping wet hair and quickly walk my fifteen minute stroll to York Mills C.I., just as Blair is being chauffered in her limosine up the block to Constance Billard Academy. I run to my small and messy locker, grab my books and -trying to squeeze past thousands of students - race off to first period, math. Math; such a basic name compared to Blair's Speech and Debate class, or her Italian Literature class, and let's not forget the ever-popular Introduction to Japanese, all of which she is perfectly on time for seeing as the voluminous hallways of Constance never seem to be filled by their mere one hundred students.
Finally, it's lunch, and I make my way to the crowded cafeteria, as Blair takes a seat in the garden courtyard. For Blair, the lunch hour is time for drama. She has her "minions" bring her a low fat yogurt or lightly-dressed salad - no sign of carbs here. She deals with the scandal of Serena's much-older boyfriend, the shocking death of Chuck's dad, and of course, banishing little J from the school steps, Blair's throne of queendom. Me? I'm just muching on my tuna sandwich, listening to my friends complain about their upcoming biology test or whatever rom-com is playing this weekend.
The school day is finally done. I arrive home and plunk myself down on the couch in time to watch Ellen before starting my homework, just as Blair is off to her world renowned designer mother's fashion show. My oh-so-average parents arrive home from work around six, and along with my me and my brother, eat a low-key family dinner - something along the lines of chicken and rice. Blair meets up with her cute boyfriend at a New York cafe for a quick bite - something along the lines of caviar and creme brulee. Later that night, we both climb into our beds, curl up to our pillow, and fall asleep. A typical day in the lives of two teenagers seemingly from two different planets.
Okay, so that was slightly exagerrated...but c'mon, whose life wouldn't pale in comparison to the great Blair Waldorf's, queen of the Upper East Side on the CW's Gossip Girl? I guess now's the part where I'm supposed to say I would still choose my boring life over that of Blair Waldorf's; but no - the honest truth is I'd rather be her. Maybe she's assertive and spoiled and controlling and selfish, but above all that, she knows who is she and who she wants to be, breaking the stereotype of the rich New York City socialite. And for me, that confidence is worth giving up the simple pleasures of my everyday suburban life. Not to mention I'd be dating Chuck Bass...

Image Sources:
http://flavorwire.com/43390/gossip-girl-musical-two-fer-sonic-youth-and-leighton-meesters-single-somebody-to-love