Diasporic Media

Diasporic Media has an ever expanding definition, and cannot really be defined in a few words. However, it is used in regards to race and ethnicity representation and stereotypes. A prime example used in our lecture was the over representation of asylum seekers and migrants in the media –

Asylum seekers’ (and many other migrants) are largely at the first stage of struggles over representation – the stage where there is a huge need to simply contest very limited and negative images, misinformation and prejudice (Branston and Stafford, 2006).

While writing the introduction to this blog post, I happened to view an advertisement on the television for an Australian 1989 sitcom, Acropolis Now. The first thing I noticed was how stereotypical the characters were made to be, however it was “okay” because the actors themselves, were of the same nationality.

Acropolis Now was created by three Greek-Australian actors. It was set in a Greek cafe in Melbourne, a family owned business and is centered on the cafe staff. The characters embody “typical” Greek characteristics, which can be seen through their accents, costumes and practices. Wikipedia briefly describes the show –

Jim’s father asks him to run the family business, the Acropolis café, when he suddenly leaves Australia to return to his homeland Greece. The series centres on the activities of the cafe staff. Greek Jim Stephanidis (Giannopoulos), is the immature owner and his best friend, Spaniard Ricky Martinez (Palomares) is the sensible manager (who ended up leaving in Season 2). Memo (Kapiniaris) is the traditional Greek waiter, Liz is the liberated Australian waitress. Skip is the naïve new cook from the bush and Manolis is the stubborn cook from the old cafe. ‘Hilarity’ prevails from the clash of cultures and beliefs.

It also states that the television series was partially responsible for the term “skippy” or “skip”, referring to white Australians.

Although this was a successful sitcom, purely for innocent entertainment and of comedic genre, I find it hard to believe that this kind of televised material would be accepted nowadays, especially if the characters were played by non-Greeks.

It seems to be acceptable in society to create stereotypes like this in the form of satire, as long as the creators themselves are not of another race, ethnicity or gender. However, diasporic media can also create hope for equality in the media and break stereotypes as much as it can create them. Diasporic Media has the ability to present people who are asylum seekers, migrants and so on, as part of the community and representing another nationality.
What is your definition of Diasporic Media?

References

Crawfords, 1989, Acropolis Now, Crawfords, viewed http://www.crawfords.com.au/libary/sitcom/acropolis.shtml

Khorana, S., 2014 ‘Diasporic Media, BCM310 (Emerging Issues in Media and Communication), Week 11’, Powerpoint Slides, BCM310, Emerging Issues in Media and Communications, University of Wollongong, 19/05/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/course/view.php?id=2653

 

 

 

 

 

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Globalistion and the Media.

In media studies, it is important to understand how globalization has shaped happened in the world, especially due to development of technology.

Through globalization, we have managed to make the world appear smaller. For example, the closest country to Australia is overseas and is 2,000 KM away, however, a single satellite signal can join us together, and present to us what is happening all over the world, live.

Technology has not only given us the power to communicate to one another in the same area, but on a global scale. People are falling in love via social media, doing their shopping online and businesses are expanding internationally. Although we all live on planet earth, each country develops at its own pace and has its own true identity. Globalization has managed to impact on this, especially through television shows and movies.

A prime example would be the influence of America on Australia. The United States, being the home of Hollywood and the rich and famous, has always produced quality entertainment and dominated the industry since World War II. Their social expectations, cultural practices and overall way of life is reflected in their media, unintentionally influencing international viewers, like our very own.

In the 1960s, we ditched the didgeridoo’s and local acts for British Rock ‘n’ Roll bands and America’s I Love Lucy, which we were able to access through technology.

“During the 1960s, American cultural influences rapidly filtered into Australia – primarily via music, cinema, and television. There are a number of historical reasons for this.

America emerged from WWII as the dominant global economic power and was well placed to export its cultural products to the world, including Australia.

At the same time, Australians in the 1960s were well placed to receive American cultural influences. People were more affluent than ever before and communications and transport technology was advancing rapidly, enabling an easier transmission of American products and ideas into Australian society. American concepts like consumerism and material aspirations also fitted well with Australia’s new pleasure-seeking suburban ideals.” – (2014, Skwirk)

The Americanization of our country can also been seen in our language, fashion and general knowledge. Children and teenagers who are exposed to high amounts of American television can adapt American accents and be completely oblivious to it. There are also statistics on the amount of Australian’s that have dialed 911 in an emergency instead of 000.

Andrew Guild explains Americanization of Australian’s culture as –

“a sad and terrible thing. It is a process whereby ordinary Australians are bombarded everyday with images of American lifestyle, so much that it merges almost unnoticed into their own lifestyle. It is a process whereby our home-grown entertainment industry is overwhelmed by the enormous powerhouse of the American economy, with drastic effects upon the modern Australian nation.” – (Ironbark Resources 2007)

Globalization has helped technology advanced, which has exposed these influences on our nation. In a never-ending cycle, Australia has been at risk of losing it’s cultural identity.

Monkey see, monkey do.

For a more detailed report on America’s influence on Australia, I highly recommend reading ­­­The Americanization of Australian Culture.

References

Butt, M.S., 2014, ‘Globalization, its impact on mass media’, The Nation, viewed 12/05/2014, http://www.nation.com.pk/national/24-Feb-2014/globalization-its-impact-on-mass-media

Guild, A., 2004, ‘The Americanization of Australian Culture’, Ironbark Resources, viewed 12/05/2014, http://www.ironbarkresources.com/articles/guild2004americanisation.htm

Khorana, S., 2014, ‘Globalisation and The Media, Week 1, PowerPoint Slides, BCM310, University of Wollongong, 12/05/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/course/view.php?id=2653

2014, ‘British influence on the Australian culture’, Skwirk, viewed 12/05/2014, http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-14_u-189_t-507_c-1880/american-and-british-cultural-influence-1960s/nsw/history/australia-s-social-and-cultural-history-in-the-post-war-period/social-and-cultural-features-of-the-1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We blame you, Sky Ferreira.

We’re in the 21st century and unfortunately, we are still facing issues of race and ethnicity in the media.

Sky Ferreira, a 21-year-old American pop singer, recently released a music video for her song ‘I Blame Myself’. The video depicts Ferreira, as a leader of a black, male gang in Compton, California. The singer was attacked via social media for stereotyping her performers and was accused of racism.

041714-sky-tweet2 Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 2.02.17 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 2.02.23 PM Sky Twitter

Although I personally believe Sky Ferreira had no intentions of racism or stereotyping, I believe it’s pretty risky of her to release this, despite whether or not she believes race is an issue in the video.

After watching the music video, it is pretty clear why some people are offended.

  • The music video is set in Compton, California, an area known for being “ghetto” and occupied by African Americans.
  • The performers are all black and are dressed as stereotypical gangsters.
  • Sky Ferreira is the only white performer in the music video, and she appears to be the leader of the gang.
  • Towards the end of music video, police are involved. This creates an assumption that people from Compton, black or white, are associated with crime.

We live in a culture now where you must tie toe around everything you do or say, online or offline, to avoid being offensive or causing controversy, especially when you’re in the lime light. This isn’t just the case with race and ethnicity, similar issues are seen in feminism, equality and so on.

Since then, Ferreira has come out publicly, denying the accusations of racism –

I know that you have to be socially aware & mindful of others but when I look at this video I don’t see race as a issue. Stop trying to search for something that isn’t there. Comments like “rich little white girl exploiting the black people & the ghetto” … I never exploited anyone & I don’t use people in any shape or form. My brother is half black. My cousins are black. My family is Latina & Native American. Some of my family is in the video. I wasn’t raised in a “white” house hold & I’m not little & I have financially supported myself since I was 15 years old. I’m a woman, not a fucking little girl. Because I have pale skin & green eyes doesn’t mean I was raised in Beverly Hills and have Swedish film investor parents or whatever some have created in their minds. Would you feel more at ease if I danced with a bunch [of] blond white boys at a mall? Should I consciously only cast white dancers for now on? If I’m racist does that mean you’re pro-segregation?! I’m from LA & shot the video there. I referenced 90s hip-hop videos and Michael Jackson because both of those things inspire me & played a big part of my childhood. – (Beaumont Thomas, 2014, The Guardian).

How do you feel about Sky Ferreira’s latest music video?

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References

Barnes, T., 2014, ‘How to Promote Racist Stereotypes of Black People, Brought to You by Sky Ferreira’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://www.policymic.com/articles/87949/how-to-promote-racist-stereotypes-of-black-people-brought-to-you-by-sky-ferreira

Beaumont-Thomas, B., 2014, ‘Sky Ferreira attacked for ‘racist’ I Blame Myself video’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/apr/17/sky-ferreira-racist-i-blame-myself

Friedlander, E., 2014, ‘Social Anxiety: Sky Ferreira, Avril Lavigne and the Prince of Oblivious Appropriation’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://www.thefader.com/2014/04/28/social-anxiety-sky-ferreira-avril-lavigne-and-the-price-of-oblivious-appropriation/

Gordon, J., 2014, ‘Sky Ferreira Defends Herself Against Accusations of Racism in “I Blame Myself” Video’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://pitchfork.com/news/54818-sky-ferreira-defends-herself-against-accusations-of-racism-in-i-blame-myself-video/

Leigh, M., 2014, ‘Sky Ferreira, racism, and being politically correct’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://pop-verse.com/2014/04/18/sky-ferreira-racism-and-being-politically-correct/

Moskovitch, G., 2014, ‘Sky Ferreira’s New Video Sees Singer Accused Of Racism’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://musicfeeds.com.au/news/sky-ferreiras-new-video-sees-singer-accused-of-racism/

 Tsjeng, Z., 2014, ‘Is Sky Ferreira’s new music video racist?’, viewed 05/05/2014, http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/19614/1/is-sky-ferreiras-new-music-video-i-blame-myself-racist

Sky Ferreira – I Blame Myself (Official Video), YouTube Video, Vevo, viewed 05/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWo7SC-tG4U

Every girl’s imaginary boyfriend…Gender and the Media.

When researching this week’s topic, an article I read recently came to mind instantly – Stop Saying “I Have a Boyfriend”.

Basically, the author discusses how when we women go out partying or appear at social gatherings where most people go to “pick up”, that using the excuse “Sorry, I have a boyfriend” when being hit on is belittling our female rights. The author, Alecia Lynn Eberhardt, included a tumblr repost to support her argument –

Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.

After being in deep thought over this article, I started to agree with it. I’ve heard more of my female friends use the “I have a boyfriend” card as opposed to my male friends saying “I have a girlfriend” in order to dodge a bullet. Although I don’t think we are downgrading the female race by using this excuse, especially since it can become handy in some sticky situations, I don’t think it is necessary. But who do we have to blame for this? The media, of course. The representation of women in the media has been an ongoing debate for the past two decades. Our roles in the 1900s significantly reflected our beliefs and traditional ways of doing things, and unfortunately we are still some-what stuck in that time zone. The article also points out how women need to be more assertive – a trait that is often not associated with females, but with men.

Overall, I think it’s quite sad that we are still battling gender issues in the media after all these years.

One of my favorite examples of gender double standards in the media is on fat-shaming and celebrities. You can read it here at MamaMia.

References

Eberhardt, A.L., 2013, ‘Stop Saying “I Have A Boyfriend” To Deflect Unwanted Attention’, XoJane, viewed 28/04/2014, http://www.xojane.com/relationships/stop-saying-i-have-a-boyfriend

Aesthetics and Journalism combined.

A concept I studied last semester has come back to haunt me again, and although it’s quite hard to understand at first, it has some pretty interesting material. Creative cities and public media spaces.

A movie theatre is a perfect example.

Think about it, tons of people come together to engage in the same activity – sitting in a dark room in silence, watching people reenact life on a huge television screen. This takes us to the concept of ‘public engagement in a private space.’ Have you ever wondered why people are shushing you when you’re chewing loudly on your popcorn? Or why the lights dim before the show? It’s a private space, and it can be defined just by its audio and visual appeal. This also brings us to the term ‘aesthetic journalism’ which Dr. Marcus O’Donnell introduced to us in this weeks lecture. Aesthetic journalism refers to ‘art journalism’, a kind of journalism that involves appreciation of the arts, including films, literature, music, theatre, design and so on.

Another example used for this concept can be public protests. Activists who have a strong, compassionate belief in an issue – such as animal welfare – come together in a public area and protest against negative impact.

I’ll finish off with a quote from Alfredo Cramerotti, author of Aesthetic Journalism

The relationship between journalism and art is a difficult territory to chart. What I call aesthetic journalism involves artistic practices in the form of investigation of social, cultural or political circumstances. Its research outcomes take shape in the art context, rather than through media channels.

References

Cramerotti, Alfredo, 2011, “What is Aesthetic Journalism,” in Cramerotti, Alfredo, Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect, London, viewed 07/04/2014, http://thinkingpractices.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/cramerotti-aesthetic-journalism.pdf

Dr. Marcus O’Donnell, 2014, ‘Media Spaces’, Lecture Powerpoint Slides, BCM310, University of Wollongong, viewed 07/04/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/205807/mod_resource/content/0/Media%20spaces.pdf

Extra, Extra, Read All About It…Online.

Throughout my Journalism classes, we are constantly reminded of how it is a dying career and how having an online presence is now essential for reporting and obtaining readers. There is more than enough evidence to show that one of the greatest inventions ever, the Internet, has changed the face of journalism forever. Through technological convergence providing a new range of platforms and accessibility, anyone can act as journalist, this being called citizen journalism. New media has proven that every user’s experience has value, and can provide first hand recounts of popular and important events. Carl Sessions Stepp, while reviewing We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People By Dan Gillmor, states that –

Blogs, e-mail and chat groups represent just the first wave. Close behind come camera cell phones and other mobile video devices that can turn almost anyone into a potential on-scene reporter. Distribution tools include Internet postings, cell phone smart messaging and peer-to-peer file sharing. On the receiving end, consumers can skip traditional media almost entirely by using syndication programs to customize their news based on topics of interest.” – Why Everyone’s a Journalist, 2005.

So, is journalism really dead, because of The Internet? In my opinion, no. In fact, I believe the Internet has made journalists’ jobs easier, by allowing them to obtain stories quicker and find appropriate information when needed. The difference between real journalists and a kid with iPhone is verification. The Internet is filled with a lot of irrelevance in regards to stories and “facts”. And of course the option of being anonymous makes it harder to validate where material has come from. I do believe however, that due to this shift in technology, that Journalists and media outlets should use social media in order to reach wider audiences and maintain their relevancy. This way, traditional journalism could be seen as advancing, instead of competing against social media and citizen journalism. What do you think about the future of Journalism?

References

Stepp, C. S., 2005, ‘When Everyone’s a Journalist’, American Journalist Review, viewed 30/04/2014, http://ajrarchive.org/article.asp?id=3803

Eat Sleep Rave Repeat.

In this week’s lecture, we studied the public sphere. A term that I have become familiar with over the years throughout my BCM course.

Just to recap, the public sphere can be defined as the following –

  • “The public sphere is . . . a metaphorical term used to describe the virtual space where people can interact. . . . The World Wide Web, for example, is not actually a web; cyberspace is not a space; and so with the public sphere. It’s the virtual space where the citizens of a country exchange ideas and discuss issues, in order to reach agreement about ‘matters of general interest’ – ([Jürgen] Habermas, 1997)
  • “The public sphere is . . . a metaphor which keeps us focused on the distinction between individual, personal forms of representation–over which we have a large degree of control–and shared, consensual representations–which are never exactly what we would like to see precisely because they are shared (public). It’s a liberal model which sees the individual human being as having an important input into the formation of the general will–as opposed to totalitarian or Marxist models, which see the state as ultimately powerful in deciding what people think.” – (Alan McKee, 2005)
  • “Blogging reverses a trend that had become increasingly worrying in an era dominated by mass media, namely the erosion of what the cultural critic Jurgen Habermas called ‘the public sphere‘–an area where citizens gather to generate opinions and attitudes that affirm or challenge the actions of the state. Mass media offered the illusion of diversity while narrowing the range of real choices available–the ‘600 channels and nothing on’ syndrome. Blogging has revived–and begun to expand–the public sphere, and in the process may revitalise our democracies.” – (John Naughton, 2009)

Typical examples of public spheres include coffee shops, newspapers, protests and so on. However the first thing that popped into my head when thinking about a group of people coming together, sharing similar interests and beliefs, was a music festival.

I’ve been to a total of five music festivals in my lifetime, although that may not be much, I’ve endured the entire experience. I always found it fascinating walking through the Olympic Park, passing multiple stages blasting music and watching people scatter everywhere to dance. It is like we are all brainwashed – and I can guarantee you, if our grandparents saw us they’d probably think we were. There is no judgement, just everyone coming together to dance to a computerised beat. There is no verbal communication, just dance.

Of course not every music festival is the same, so typically, the people you see are also interested in the same style of music and have come for a good time. This makes music festivals a type of public sphere, as fans of the music genre come together to listen to their favourite artists. People are also able to critique particular sets and celebrate life through dance and song.

Music-fans-dance-during-Day-3-of-Coachella-2012-on-April-15-2012..-Frazer-HarrisonGetty-Images-for-Coachella--930x619coachella2012_009

 

In my personal opinion, I believe the public sphere allows freedom of speech, expression and brings down the barriers of racism, discrimination, and gender equality.

Click here for more images from music festivals.

References

Dr. Marcus O’Donnell, 2014, ‘The Public Sphere of Imagination’, Lecture Powerpoint Slides, BCM310, University of Wollongong, 24/03/2014, https://esplay.uow.edu.au/ess/echo/presentation/8e99b70a-7b2d-4fbf-aa8a-f7285ef81c92?ec=true

Nordquist, R., Public Sphere, About.com Grammar and Composition, viewed 24/03/2014, http://grammar.about.com/od/pq/g/publicsphereterm.htm

 

 

It’s Britney B*tch.

In the era of reality television and the selfie, ‘documenting the personal’ has become our topic in this weeks lecture – and I have never been so ready to discuss the positive and negative effects of its exposure.

Over the years, we’ve seen some celebrities hit extreme stardom, to the point where they cannot step foot outside their own home due to crowds of screaming die hard fans and paparazzi capturing their every move. It is no wonder that these people, who have almost anything handed to them on a silver platter, suffer from mental illness and drug abuse. They are confined to their own minds, as everything they do, whether it be in private or public, becomes everybody else’s business.

Let’s take Britney Spears for example –

Britney Spears

Britney Spears.

The all american girl, singer and entertainer who became known as the Queen of Pop in the early 2000s. After having the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist and being ranked as the world’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes, Britney Spears was sitting on a $220 million dollar net worth. With world tours and courageous performances, she became an international success, a household name and was followed by paparazzi everywhere she went.

However, it was her mid life crisis and downward spiral that really got the people talking. In 2006, Britney ended her two-year marriage with American dancer and father of her two children, Kevin Federline. A year later, she had been admitted into a drug rehabilitation facility and was photographed a day later shaving off her entire head.

Britney Spears.

Britney’s public mental breakdown became global news, however that didn’t stop the paparazzi. After being spotted outside Kevin Federline’s house, Britney attacked a photographer and his vehicle with a green umbrella. The photos visibly proved that Britney had finally snapped, questioning the ethics of journalists and photographers.

In early 2008, after losing custody of her children to ex-husband, Kevin Federline, Britney reportedly locked herself and one of her sons in her home bathroom. After three to four hours, police and paramedics were finally able to release Britney from her home, after threatening to kill herself. Photographers surrounded her Beverly Hills home as well as hovering helicopters. Britney was carried out into an ambulance, where she was taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

Since then, Britney has made several come backs into the music industry and starred in her own documentary, Britney: For The Record. In regards to the idea of the documentary, Britney’s manager, Larry Rudolph, stated that “It evolved out of a conversation that Britney and I had five or six months ago where the big question was what she was going to do in terms of talking to the public, presenting herself to the public. She really wanted to be able to tell her story, talk about where she’s been, where she is today and where she is going. She wanted to do it very honestly, but on her own terms. I think there is a part of her that is tired of allowing the media to guide her image and her story. She wanted to tell that story herself.” This brings me to my focus point. A woman whose entire career has been in the spotlight, including her family life and personal struggles, feels the need to film her life in order to prove to the public shes human, just like everybody else, and has made mistakes. Despite her accomplishments and success, she still seeks public acceptance, validation and social gratification – and this documentary will gain it. How so you might ask? Mark Andrejevic (2002) quotes, “Being ‘real’ is a proof of honesty, and the persistent gaze of the camera provides one way of guaranteeing that ‘realness’. Further, in a teeming society wherein one’s actions often go unnoticed by others, the reality of those actions can be validated if they are recorded and broadcasted – they become more real to oneself to the extent they become real for others. Submission to comprehensive surveillance is a kind of institutionally ratified individuation: it provides the guarantee of the authenticity of one’s individuality.”

The question I’m asking is, why? Why should people in the lime light have to justify their actions during times of grief, separation and hardship, in order to avoid a negative image? In perspective, issues of mental health are sensitive, taboo topics in society, and to make a public remark on a person dealing with that struggle, would be looked down upon and disrespectful. What we stand for, believe in, our morals and values, are completely neglected when our lives are recorded and shown to the world. Another issue to consider is, where does the line draw between paparazzi and the well being of others? Perhaps a reason for the importance of privacy is to also protect ones self from damage, mentally and physically.

So, why do celebrities like Britney Spears, seem to not apply? Because their private life is a part of the public world, thanks to media outlets who ‘document the personal.’ However, due to the emergence in technology over the years, it is just not media outlets who provide audiences with information now. Citizen journalism has allowed ‘documenting the personal’ to also become, front page news.

To shed some positive light in this post, I’ll reflect on the success of two little British girls you may have heard of or seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – Sophia Grace and Rosie.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn-media.ellentv.com/2013/11/01/110413-11041-sophiagracerosie-480x360.jpg

Rosie (left) and Sophia Grace (right) on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

It evolved out of a conversation that Britney and I had five or six months ago where the big question was what she was going to do in terms of talking to the public, presenting herself to the public. She really wanted to be able to tell her story, talk about where she’s been, where she is today and where she is going. She wanted to do it very honestly, but on her own terms. I think there is a part of her that is tired of allowing the media to guide her image and her story. She wanted to tell that story herself. – See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/11/first-look-mtvs.html#sthash.VA07V0ce.dpuf
It evolved out of a conversation that Britney and I had five or six months ago where the big question was what she was going to do in terms of talking to the public, presenting herself to the public. She really wanted to be able to tell her story, talk about where she’s been, where she is today and where she is going. She wanted to do it very honestly, but on her own terms. I think there is a part of her that is tired of allowing the media to guide her image and her story. She wanted to tell that story herself. – See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/11/first-look-mtvs.html#sthash.VA07V0ce.dpuf
It evolved out of a conversation that Britney and I had five or six months ago where the big question was what she was going to do in terms of talking to the public, presenting herself to the public. She really wanted to be able to tell her story, talk about where she’s been, where she is today and where she is going. She wanted to do it very honestly, but on her own terms. I think there is a part of her that is tired of allowing the media to guide her image and her story. She wanted to tell that story herself. – See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/11/first-look-mtvs.html#sthash.VA07V0ce.dpuf
It evolved out of a conversation that Britney and I had five or six months ago where the big question was what she was going to do in terms of talking to the public, presenting herself to the public. She really wanted to be able to tell her story, talk about where she’s been, where she is today and where she is going. She wanted to do it very honestly, but on her own terms. I think there is a part of her that is tired of allowing the media to guide her image and her story. She wanted to tell that story herself. – See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/11/first-look-mtvs.html#sthash.VA07V0ce.dpuf

In late 2011, a woman from Essex, England, uploaded a home video from her iPhone of her daughter and niece performing Nicki Minaj’s Superbass. Dressed in their signature outfits, pink tutus and tiaras, eight-year-old Sophia Grace and five-year-old Rosie became YouTube famous almost instantly, reaching over 43 million hits in less than two weeks since the original video had been posted. Just under a month later, producers from The Ellen DeGeneres Show contacted the girls, requesting for them to be on the show and to perform.

Since then, the girls have revisited the Ellen show multiple times, met with famous celebrities,  reported live on the red carpet at the 2013 Grammy Awards and have starred in their own movie, Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure, coming to DVD this May.

Now despite the obvious talent of the singer, Sophia Grace, (Rosie is considered the ‘hype girl’), and the adorable, innocence they possess, much like any other eight to ten year old, there is a series of issues to consider in regards to exposure. From what was meant to be a personal documentation, filmed in the privacy of their home, being uploaded onto the Internet for the purpose of probably sharing it to family and friends, has gone viral and been viewed by billions of people, all around the world. I’m sure we’d all like to believe that we live in a happy, safe environment, however that’s just not the case. Without even realising it, the parents of Sophia Grace and Rosie have exposed their daughters to the media and potential predators of the online community. Now because these girls haven’t even reached puberty yet, have gorgeous Essex accents and are literally bubbling with excitement every time they appear on television, we tend to overlook that we are applauding two very young girls for their renditions of sexually explicit songs. Nicki Minaj may be a nice lady and enforce staying in school, but her lyrics are clearly not suitable for this age group. Beth Glaser (2012) states, “Her lyrics are vulgar and demeaning, and elementary-aged children aren’t mature enough to discern pop culture from reality. In addition to Super Bass, they’ve also sung Minaj’s “Moment 4 life” and “Starships,” and recently the two girls branched out with dirty pop song, “Domino” by Jessie J (if that song isn’t explicit about it’s sexual message, I don’t know what song is). What does it say about our culture that little girls rapping explicit lyrics is considered to be endearing? And where are these girls’ parents? Sophia Grace and Rosie are talented, but they need to be performing age-appropriate material.” It goes to show that with citizen journalism and emerging technologies and platforms, that public and private lifestyles have become more easier to consolidate.

When it comes to fame, it seems like you have to make a deal with the devil – sacrifice your personal, private life for fame and wealth. In covering two different cases, I hope I have conveyed my understanding of how ‘documenting the personal’ has become a prominent trend in distinguishing public and private life.

Next week, I will be discussing the public sphere of imagination.

Until then, goodnight, unless you’re still interested in a bit more entertainment –

References

Belkin, L., 2012, ‘Sophia Grace And Rosie: How Do You Parent Daughters Like These?’ The Huffington Post, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/dominic-brownlee-sophia-grace-dad_b_1327233.html

Carper, J., 2008, ‘Britney Spears Goes into Meltdown, This Time She Looses Visitation Completely’, Yahoo, viewed 23/03/2014, http://voices.yahoo.com/britney-spears-goes-into-meltdown-time-she-looses-778667.html

Davies, M., 2013, ‘I’m Worried About Sophia Grace’, Jezabel, viewed 23/03/2014, http://jezebel.com/im-worried-about-sophia-grace-511472192/all

Glaser, B., 2012, ‘SICK OF SOPHIA AND ROSIE’, Stitch, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.stitchfashion.com/?p=18995

Dr. Marcus O’Donnell, 2011, ‘Documenting the personal’, Lecture Powerpoint Slides, BCM310, University of Wollongong, viewed 17/03/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/197431/mod_resource/content/0/Documentary.pdf

Martin, D., 2008, ‘First Look: MTV’s ‘Britney: For the record”, Los Angeles Times, viewed 23/03/2014, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/11/first-look-mtvs.html

Taraborreli, J R., 2008, ‘I fear my friend Britney will kill herself’, Daily Mail, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-507788/I-fear-friend-Britney-kill-herself.html

The New York Times, 2008, ‘Britney Spears in Hospital After Standoff’, The New York Times, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/arts/05brit.html?_r=0

Vincent, A., 2013, ‘Sophia Grace Brownlee: Britain’s new child star’, The Telegraph UK, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/10228626/Sophia-Grace-Brownlee-Britains-new-child-star.html

Warner, B., ‘Britney Spears Net Worth’, Celebrity Net Worth, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/singers/britney-spears-net-worth/

Wenn.com Source, ‘Britney Spears Repeatedly Threatened to Kill Herself During Police Standoff’, Hollywood, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.hollywood.com/news/celebrities/5033842/britney-spears-repeatedly-threatened-to-kill-herself-during-police-standoff

2008, “Hit me Britney one more time’, Daily Mail, viewed 23/03/2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-437993/Hit-Britney-time.html

 

 

 

 

 

Two can’t keep a secret, if one of them is Julian Assange.

After sitting through my hundredth lecture on Julian Assange, I finally sparked an interest into the international, online organization of government secrets, Wikileaks.

To refresh your memory, (as I had too myself), Wikileaks, staying true to its name, is a website that publishes top secret documents and news leaks from anonymous sources, typically journalists and whistle blowers. It was launched in 2006 in Iceland and is directed by Australian internet activist, Jullian Assange. According to their website, their purpose is “…to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists. One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” – Wikileaks. Wikileaks has become front page news on several occasions, raising questions about our governments, military actions, mass surveillance, privacy and other issues. One of their biggest leaks was the 2010 Collateral Murder video, which revealed footage from the July 12 2007 Baghdad airstrike, where two US Army AH-64 Apache helicopters attacked a group of nine to eleven armed and unarmed men during Iraqi insurgency. Two of the men were journalists, working as war correspondents for Reuters. Along with the release of other documents, such as the Afghan War Diary, The Guantanamo Files and the US State Department Diplomatic Cables, the public were being able to access raw, uncensored material that had been regulated and hidden by higher authorities.

Other than writing about my disgust of war and what is it good for, especially after being exposed to Collateral Murder video – which our lecturer, Marcus O’Donnell, points out is very similar to a first person shooter video game, (another issue brought to the medias attention), I walked past this:

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As I stared into the CCTV surveillance, used at Bondi Junction station for my safety, I wondered who was on the other end of that camera lens and where this footage could end up. Was this CCTV really used for my security, or is it collecting content for a confidential project?

Everyday, people all over the country turn on their televisions to watch the news, trusting the woman on the silver screen to provide them with information on what is happening in the world and why. But what about all those stories that are hidden from us, that organizations that Wikileaks have exposed us too. How do we know we are being told the truth or at least somewhat of it. If CCTV cameras are being placed at every corner of every street we walk on, for the sole purpose of our safety, why aren’t we given access to see footage like the Collateral Murder video, where soldiers are said to be protecting our country, fighting for our safety.

Surveillance companies have incorporated their own little gizmo’s and gadget’s into our everyday tools, such as our mobile phones. At a panel in 2011 chaired by Julian Assange, Pratap Chatterjee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism stated: “that your phone could be used to record and send information about you even when it is in stand-by mode. That data included location, recordings of your conversations and even photographs. This spy software could run on iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows mobile kit.” – Leach, A., 2011. Representative Steven Murdoch from Cambridge Security group added, “We’re seeing increasingly wholesale monitoring of entire populations with no suspicion of wrongdoing – the data is being monitored and stored in the hope that it might one day be useful…Without controls on this industry, the threat that surveillance poses to freedom on expression and human rights in general is only going to increase.” – Leach, A., 2011.

Once again this leaves me thinking why. Why are government bodies allowed to hide material of war, violence, intervention and so on, when we are given almost no say when it comes to mass surveillance in our very own homes. Who is given the right to make the decisions upon secrecy on behalf of our nation? Are government bodies really protecting us from sabotage and espionage? Or are they covering their tracks in the actions they make without the nations consent?

In case you’re still unclear about the point I am getting at, I am basically questioning – why should we give higher authorities access to our privacy, our freedom, for their hidden unknown usage?

What are your thoughts on Wikileaks and Julian Assange?

References

Assange, J., 2014, About Wikileaks, Wikileaks, viewed 17/03/2014, https://wikileaks.org/

Davies, N., 26 July 2010, ‘Afghanistan war logs: Story behind biggest leak in intelligence history’, The Guardian, viewed 17/03/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/25/wikileaks-war-logs-back-story

Jarvis, J., 4 December 2010, ‘Wikileaks: Power shifts from secrecy to transparency’, BuzzMachine, viewed 17/03/2013, http://buzzmachine.com/2010/12/04/wikileaks-power-shifts-from-secrecy-to-transparency/

Leach, A., 1 December 2011, ‘Assange: ‘iPhone, BlackBerry, Gmail users – you’re all screwed’, The Register, viewed 17/03/2014, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/01/julian_assange_surveillance/

O’Donnell, M., ‘Wikileaks’, Lecture Presentation, BCM310, University of Wollongong, 10/03/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/193463/mod_resource/content/0/Wk2-wikileaks.pdf