Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Watcha u selling Cont'd

I asked the question of what Holliwood is exactly selling and I am going to try and answer that. I am not very knowledgable when it comes to this kind of things but I am going to give it my best shot. I have watched a lot of movies, certainly not as much as some of my peers but enough to grasp a finite understanding of what the Holliwood industry is giving(selling) to the consumers. There is that American Mono-myth of a utopian society where everything is a happy ending and the guy always gets the gal. The problems are always solved and when you work hard there are rewards. There is always the pull yourself by the bootstraps indication which always ends up with a good ending. The bad guy is always caught and the good guy always rewarded. so u see everything is just good and perfect. Then look at the models in form of actors/actress. They are selling an image where everyone is going to try to fit in that image. What have you baught from Holliwood? Everyone has been a consumer of the Holliwood cultural capital. We have at one time tried to look like some actor/actress or even copied their lines and imitate them. Everyone seems to want to have that holliwood love ending or that love story. I admit that I have been buying a lot from that industry. For example, for those who have watched "The Cinderella Story", you might have to agree with me that it was very cute. Now even tho' I wouldn't have particularly chosen Hilary Duff for that character, the story was pretty cute. I was talking to my friends and we all agreed that a secret admirer would be pretty cute and then that perfect smart couple who all end up going to Harvard. Anyway, the point is that they are selling and we are buying what they are selling.

Watcha u selling?

It's bizarre to even think that people can sell and buy things without using money. I mean in this culture where almost everything is about money, you wouldn't imagine that our dress, clubs, types of cars we drive sell some kind of an image. Then I think back about what one of my classmates said about cars and restaurants. It's so true that we do have price tags for things according to what is culturally valuable. And whether we know it or not, we have placed ourselves in this range of I can afford..., and I can't afford... I remember going to Hershey park Hotel, and seeing all the beautiful gardens, rooms and the service. It was not long that I resigned myself to never being able to go there unless in the coming future, I strike it rich. Thinking back we also have this racial issue that we give value to. I was watching Selena, and for those of you who have watched the movie, you can recall the scene where Selena goes dress shopping for her friend. The minute she started looking at that expensive dress, the owner came and was like, excuse me maam, but I would advice you to look elsewhere cause this dresses are definately not your type. Now why was that the woman(manager) had that attitude? It either had to do with the way they were dressed or their race; maybe even both. So here is hispanic women wearing nothing fancy but jeans. They are looking at a dress that is really expensive, conclusion, they can't afford it. Price tag, with no basis at all.
So what is our culture selling to us? Specifically, what is Holliwood selling to us?

Monday, February 21, 2005


Man!!! Today's class excise was kinda of an eye opener just a little bit of what might be going on in the world of film making. I was supposedly a writer trying to get my script through the hands of the production companies. What stuck the most was that no matter how much money you put into the movie, you have to get paid. So I was in the beginner's luck club and I had this good storyline that seemed really promising. So what I didn't expect to see was the politics that are involved in the whole business. There are those companies who know they are good and they can hire anyone becauese of their reputation and stuff. Then there are those companies which are looking for the upcoming star and to become the next big thing. With that are those screen writers who are looking to write the next big story. There are those who succeed and those who just end up compromising to be able to get their ideas out.
Then the politics come forth with the titles cause as the Dr. Rudd called the people I realized that semiotics played a big role in the whole movie making business, especially when it comes to the advitisement. These people have to chose their signs and codes very careful because both the sigmatic codes and progmatic signs have to apeal to a particulat audience. it's all about the popular actors/actress and what kind of advitisement is there. For real, as I look back, there is no movie trailer that has all the boring lines in there. They want the lines that will attract the attention of the viewer and leave them in suspense.
Note to all, I have so little knowledge as far as the industries are concerned so don't take me at my word. i was just making observations from class today.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

my world, our world

Civil discourse is described as public talk. Hmm so if gossip is not necessarily Civil discourse...but we gossip a lot,then most of us who think that we are doing the human race some good by jabbering about nothing in particular should be a little disappointed. However, with the American's freedom of speech, each individual has participated in the Civil discourse one or the other. You watch television and there is a lot of public speaking involved. Mass media is full of civil discourse whether it is in movies, sitcoms, talk shows, or even sports. We can't help but be part of it because it is part of our lives. Everyday we are involved in some kind of discussion that slowly determines our culture. We probably never think about it as we talk or watch it on Tv, because it becomes us. We are shaping our world slowly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

You gotta love Hope, Lucy and Faith

So in honor of hybridity, i think I have come up with the perfect show for those who love "I love lucy" and "Hope and Faith". The perfect show....according to me off course. SO I haven't come up with the perfect title yet but I am thinking that "I love Lucy" has become a little to fabricated. It will definately be a sitcom about a holliwood wannabe. It is the ulticamate compromise between Lucy's burge into show biz and faith/Hope's already acclaimed fame in the holliwood political realm. Blonde off course and hmm a clutzy. There has to be a family involved because it will be cool to see and inserts some "moral" lessons(good luck with that). Then there has to be a husband, cause in both cases they do make the shows very interesting. They have to be there to bring us back to reality. It would be interesting if famous (or pretend famous) actors/actresses would make an appearance once in a while. There will be other family members who will be showing up whenever a famous person makes an appearance, if only to have those embarrassing moments. So a character who is Lucy, hope and faith all in one. She will have those embarrassing moments, those sensible moments and the very out of the ordinary moments that would make the marriage perfect.
Anyway, this was just a thought. If anything jumps out, I will add on as I continue to watch both shows.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Why I watch it....hhmmmmm?

The West Wing and NCIS will definately be my favorite shows. Why I watch them, I could always blame it on my guardians who introduced the shows to me.
I was not big on TV and I never really watched any kind of shows. Other than watching seventh Heaven and a movie once in a while, I rarely sat infront of the TV. Then I started watching Sports night, which was produced by Aaron Sorkin. Then I watched the American President which was quiet humorous. I liked his script so I began watching the West Wing. I started by watching the old tapes that my guardians had. I have been following it ever since. To me, the show is like a comedy. The charecters are what draws me to the tv set every wednesday at nine. Nobody knows what Josh is going to say that will make the whole White house come to almost a stop, or maybe what kinda of humor C.J might bring in. Then there is the love-hate relationship between Josh and Donna. Whatever happens, there is always that mystery that lies ahead of every show, which I am drawn to.
The same goes for NCIS. ALthough I hate watching bloody stuff and violence, I love solving mysteries. In NCIS, the characters are funny and are always on the move looking for clues of who the killer might be, or who the real enemy is. I make predictions and then end up seeing if I was right or not.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Will & Grace

I never really watch this show but today I was taking a nap so I took the remote and started scrawling the channels and it was the only thing really to watch.
Then i remembered the plotlines we talked about in class.

Plotline " C" is introduced in the first segment before the credits. Conflict -Will, Grace and Jack are talking when the Grace's mum calls and says she is in town.
The credits roll after the commercials.

After Grace going crazy about her outfit, Grace's mum is introduced...Well she is a little nutty. She is an actress who acts and sings about everything. She tells grace to change her shoes but thinks Will is great...a couple of minutes later she suggests they(will, grace) get married.
As they Play poker, Karen and Jack are having their private conversation.
Karen thinks she is pregnant and she doesn't want to take the test but Jack agrees to take it with her. Jack, Karen, Will and Grace make fun of the marriage idea...then Will says "Even if I was straight...I wouldn't marry Grace" Everybody laughs at the line all except Grace. There is a hurt Look on her face that we see before the commercial....
At dinner .Grace is bothered by Will's statement. She says she would marry Will even if she was gay. Grace mentions that Mum always wants to be the center of attention. However, the defense is that the mum acts so therefore she has to be the center of attention. Will comes in and greets them but Grace hates him so she refuses to say hi.
The really conflict is why Will wouldn't marry Grace.
In explanation, Will Calls her a flower ( which is associeated with being tended to) She had called her mother a big fat rose before Will calls her the center of attention ( she might be like her mother) Later, Grace reads her diaries ( She discovers Willl is right)
There is a mother and daughter talk when Grace's mum comes in. Grace is told that she is a wonderful woman and to embrace who she is. Will comes in apologizing and mum gets on him
The mother defends her daughter then goes to get a pedicure. She leaves the room as dramatic--singing. As Grace closes the door, the cloth from her mother get's stuck..they laugh
Even though there is no mention of how the conflict gets' resolved, the audience automatically assume that Will and Grace are fine. After this show, I watched about four of them just to see if the pattern was consistent. I was really kind of amazed. Nothing really changes. Although I might not really get into the habit of watching this show, I know that there is a pattern that is followed.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Diagenitic world of News

Today in Class we had this whole discussion on news. Who would have thought that news was fiction. So can I really trust these news, How credible are they? I thought that Newscast was one thing left in broadcast media that was not fabricated, but I gues that I was wrong.
I taped some news and then went back to watching them. There are several things that I noticed about the news that i prolly just overlooked the first time.
The most interesting story that captured my attention was of the FBI offices situated in WV. For a minute there I am like hmmm...WV? THis is the state that I spend three of my four years in America. The state that just the mention of it bring laughter to Ohioians. The state that is as I am told "is not real America"
Ashley W. you have to agree that Clarksburg is not the place to put a big important FBI agency. The reporter is even admits that it is unexpected.
Paradigmatic choices on scenes are really interesting. First there is the wide shot of what looks like the area sorounding the offices. There is scrolling banners on screen, showing the huge settlement that the offices are situated. The camera moves in a way that makes the viewer feel really intimidated. It's more like they are telling you, "be very afraid, but don't worry, you are safe." To emphasize the importance of the story and of the agency, they allow us to hear the secretary talk on the phone. Two secretary, one talking in what is called normal language and the other talking in codes. There is an exchange between shots taken scrolling on the massive computers (to be specific, on a ground as large as a "football field"), and FBI agents. It feels like whatever is in there is beyond our reach. Everything seemes to be controlled by computers and nothing else, as the shots move from one angle of computers to the other.
Hey, maybe WV is not lost at all. Cause that is the place you will call whenever you want to do a background check. THat's the place where fingerprints of criminals are kept. So yes, WV is important. Not to leave 9/11 out but ...Saddam's fingerprints are kept there..WOW

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A walk in the clouds

So I went to walmart the other day and saw this movie. I read the back of it and it seemed interesting so I got it. Everytbody was telling me how cute and funny it was so I sat down this weekend and watched it. Lol...funny is not what I exactly thought when I saw it. Cute definately, but not so funny.
The credits roll on what might be defined as a close up of wine...because later you find that it's all about grapes and who knows what and who did what, in the growing of grapes in a particular family. The music is spanish and once in a while they will speak in spanish.
The opening shot is in Black and white for a minute and wide, giving us a perspective of what may come later. Then there are different perspectives in the different shots that evoke a lot of emotions. For example, the father almost all the shots were taken close giving us a feeling of intimidation. It went very well with his the character that he portrayed of a very controlling man who overworks himself. Other family members except for the grandfather seem far because of the intimidation given by the father,
Then there is split shots from the past to present. Interesting enough, the soldier (keanu reeves) keeps dreaming of war. Everytime there is the same scene except there is an addition. First, he meets Victoria who appears in his flashback as a woman soldier sleeping or dead. The second nightmare, Victoria is with a child and she is being shot at. As the story continues, about halfway through the movie there is one more flashback which is of the war slash the present, where the soldier is more like daydreaming instead of having a nightmare.
I watch the movie and as far as the technology goes, there is really not much there. But the shots are family friendly. They move with the actors manipulating the various angles making you feel distant yet very close to the story.
Hope I haven't ruined the movie for those who haven't watched it yet

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Video Game!!!?!?!?!?!?!?

Even after reading and having a new appreciation for video games, they are still a mystery to me. Not to be in a category of their own, video games are among the many aspects of the American culture that I would never claim to be an insider. Joining video games are football, baseball, shopping, and golf. Then there is that endless seating infront of a TV set but that is a totally different club of their own. I have never gone to the boys dorms and missed to see a crowd of two to three boys in a room ardently devoted to the screen fighting what I tend to call the imaginary opponent. Then I have seen my brother just seating there for hours playing all kinds of games. PlayStations, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy, etc are all Greek to me. It would quite an amount of time and energy to get me "inside"
So to understand where these video games come from, I went on-line to do some more research. My first question of course, is about who produces these video games. Off course this is mass media so, man, I will have to really narrow my search down. First i went to see who are the producers of these games. The first website I visited was Honestly, i was totally lost. All the names are so strange and non-existent in my world. But the images are so disturbing that I exit from there. So I go to The one Game that is really famous there is Diablo 2. There is an explanation of what the game is all. From what the disctiption says, it looks like another Lord of the rings kinda of story, then I look at the pictures and I have second thoughts looming in my mind. Malorry once said in class that Video games belong to the devil...i can really see how that can be. The cover of the video game is a complimentary of orange or the color of fire, red and black. To be specific, it looks like what some of us would perceive as the pictured of hell with the face of the devil on the front. So I ask myself what are these people inviting me into? I read it more like, welcome to hell. On the strong survive through this perils that are ahead of you. I can almost hear some evil villain laughing..mmaaaahhahhhhaha. So mallory, I do understand that you would think the devil himself was behind the creation of these games. But to these people who are devoted to the art of gaming, they see it differently. They see a challenge that needs to be taken and a journey they need to embark. They get into a world of villains and evil all around, and they become the heroes of some sort.
Still..this understanding doesn't bring me closer to understanding the whole idea of video games.

Video games----Cont'd

So I take one more step and see what goes around in games production. There are graphic designs and compatable softwares for these games and many other things that I could never pretend to understand. There are other many production companies that I stopped at teh fifth one.
My guy friends and my brother Steve, are really into these games. They would lose sleep playing a game that has no end. Then I realize that the perception of Video games being from the devil is not totally correct, maybe because of my love for Steve. I might not really want to admit that he is being an advocate of the devil. But it's more than that. without claiming to be an Insider, I have began to see the other side of these games. The other side meaning those insiders who know too much about video games and love to seat down and play them. There are so many games in different genres. There are educational Video games, sports, fighting, puzzle, first-shooter, racing games and so many others. This is my first understanding of these games. If I was honest, i could say that some of these games sound interesting. Steve, bless him, has tried to teach me how to play sports games and no matter how much i want to play them I can't. I just don't get it. Once he tried to teach me to snowboard and my character kept falling and having unbelievable meets with the walls. It takes time, and a lot of concentration. Hand movements are a must something that i don't really excel in.
The gamers take a role of someone in that video game and no matter what genre the game is, there is always an obstacle to be overcome. So to them there is probably that sense of myth that can be found in each Video game. A story that gets to be told only by the player and no one else.
The whole Video game industry goes in circle, while the gamers benefit there is also the computer software industry, graphic designers, and the distributors. All these people in these different places enjoy the benefit of Video game production
If you have read these two posts on Video games, you will probably realize that I know nothing of this text. It is a strange language to me so please feel free to enlighten me.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Shaka and then...Cont'd

Previously, I did say that I thought I was inside as far as African History was concerned...yes I am in...but I am in one of those bottoms groups that carry the african logo with pride yet with no full comprehension of what it really means to be pround of who Iam. That was before I came to America. So What changed between watching the movie in Africa and watching it now? Not to mentiont that the movie has been really cut short with some parts taken out. I could imagine what Ms Steven's was thinking when she saw me jumping up and down at the sight of the movie. probably the same thing that was going through my mind when I saw my Zambian friends become ecstatic at the sight of the movie. Crazy. So what happened between me watching it in Africa and watching it now?
I have come to grasp a whole new meaning to this movie. I kind of put a new value to this movie. I found out that what used to be mindless entertainment actually means a lot more. It has made me realize where I am from. It has made me realize the impact that Shaka Zulu had on me as an African and me as human being. In a way, it is educating me about the history that I missed when i was watching this movie in Africa.
There is also that Christianity part of the movie. this was probably the first time in Zulu History that the idea of Christ was introduced. So for the christians in that area, this movie means a whole different thing to them.
Then there is the African Americans watching it, getting to know a whole history that they never knew about before.
So back to the question of African History, am I "in"? This movie has given me a little insight on this particular subject. I am definately in the bottom list of those who are "in'. Pride is an awful thing, and I have to admit, I have a big dose of this problem. When people asked me about Africa, I knew enough to make them think that I was very knowledgable about my heritage. However, I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten most of my history. I know only bits and pieces, . So I am not really inside as I thought I was before. This however brings me to another question: what qualifies me to be an "insider"?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Signs and more signs

Toby Mac's Cd's covers are alway interesting. It's no wonder I am looking at his recent Cd's cover. What would be supposed to be Toby's face is blown out on the cover in black and white. He wears a hat which half of it is out of the picture and wears some shades. If I was merely perusingthe cover, I would say that the hat would symblolize the hip-hop, funk side of his CD. Considarably, his hat goes to his ears, which is typical way that the people in the eighties that knew punk, funk music. The shades, hmmm maybe the rock music? Not a typical pose at all, he is looking to the left. Looking back at something? If I knew better, he might be symbolizing the past music. He is basically looking at the past music, and how everything was done back then and bringing it all in his CD. Living to the title Welcome to Diverse City, the songs have every little bit of diverse in it. There are red, orange and green stripes go vertically on top of his full blown left side, top to bottom. These colors are primary found in African-American clothing and Jamaica. So I gues there is diversity there, just by looking at the cover. Maybe let's go back to Sunday school, "Jesus love the little children, all the children of the world, all yellow black and white...." so the colors could mean something else. All the children of the world, not just black and whitel. So the signifiers do not point only to the different types of music found in the CD, but also it the different races are signified. Off course, we know the history of Toby's music and it would not be hard to see him having such a theme. Maybe we should have expected this after his first CD with his "love is in the house" song. But something has me puzzled, where is the city that we are being welcomed to? The background seems to be dark, any particular reason for that? The city seems to be a mystery. THe city of the unknown, so it's more like come and you might shed some light to what is going on the city.