FREEMIUM ISN’T FREE

“How do you get people addicted to crack? You give it away for free, you give away a little taste, and, and then, some people can’t stop themselves” Jimmy Valmer

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This week we will focus on three main concepts:

  • Persuasion: Enriching your understanding of the role that the media has in culture.
  • Video games: Hold an important role in shaping cultural and societal changes.
  • Cartoons: With a comical appeal to society, they aid in the discussion of cultural problems, politics, and other controversial issues.

In South Park episode, “Freemium Isn’t Free” Canada creates a phone app that preys on the addiction of the weak, to help make money to build Canada and make money off of addicts. The Canadian VP of Apps and Prince of Canada come up with 5 simple rules for a sure way to make money:

  1. entice the player
  2. Compliments and flashing lights and sounds to make the player feel good
  3. Train them to spend their fake currency
  4. Do the switch-a-roo spend real money on fake currency
  5. Make the game about waiting

When Randy discovers Stan has an addiction, he intervenes. And Stan tries to find a way to stop. He begins by creating a viral media uproar, letting people know that Canadians are taking advantage of people with addiction problems.

“Okay it’s Done” Cartman

“What’s done?” Stan

“ The word is out. Terrance and Phillip hire pushers, to make money off addicts. I tweeted it; it’s trending” Cartman

With games such as Clash of Clans, candy crush, Lineup. We definitely have persuasion following us on a daily basis. We get hooked on games especially after a long day of work or school. Games seem to entice us and relax us at the same time. Games are also persuasive and enticing. They are definitely cultural aspects in the modern day. It’s a way to be competitive with your co workers and also a way to relate to others. We definitely follow what others are doing, and don’t want to feel left out, it’s a way of acceptance. Cartoons link to this because they are a way to bring up issues that are generally avoided by the public. Cartoons break the tension on tricky subjects.

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“Yeah and the most unbelievable part. It’s totally FREE! You should download it to your phone right now, I mean, come on, if it’s free why wouldn’t you?!” Jimmy Valmer

Open Mic

There is always something to do or somewhere to be. It’s hard to find alone time or even a few minutes to relax and take a breath. Whenever I get the opportunity to get some “free time” I definitely try to take advantage of it. A few semesters ago I was able to take a class for fun, a ceramics class, I always enjoyed building things and making things with my hands and so this was the perfect opportunity for me. I got to make a few interesting pieces and was able to bring some home with me. They are definitely conversation starters.

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Reality Horror

Ahhh the magic of reality shows… seriously it’s all an incredible act. I truly believe that there is no-to-little truth in REALity television shows. It’s incredible to believe how television networks such as TLC have changed their original perspectives in the name of profit. As Charles B. Slocum states in his article, “the economics are too attractive to ignore. Reality makes for cheap TV.”

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There is no doubt that TLC’s network:”19 Kids and Counting,” “Long Island Medium,” and “Breaking Amish” have experienced a downward spiral. Most of these types of shows are offensive, ridiculous, and over exaggerated they are simply designed for mindless watching. To have individuals ridicule the lives of other in order to feel better about their own.  It is incredibly ironic that TLC is the host network for these ridiculous reality shows when they used to stand as an educational network that. As Kristen Acuna states in her article, “[TLC] started branching out its content for a more mainstream audience.”

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TLC’s motto is “extraordinary people and relatable life moments” fall short from the truth. The show that I have watched previously has been, “Extreme Cheapskates.” This show is honestly depressing. I remember watching an episode where a woman around her 20’s was pregnant, she would dumpster dive for prenatal vitamins. Another where a woman would refrain from showering to save water, refuse from flushing to save money…I couldn’t finish watching when I saw her dumpster diving in restaurant trashcans for dinner…saving lettuce, eating expired foods for her dinner guests! These people aren’t doing this out of necessity! Can’t believe it I guess extraordinary people is an accurate representation of the networks show.

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http://www.crushable.com/2012/10/17/entertainment/tlc-extreme-cheapskates-wtf-kate-hashimoto-dumpster-dive-underwear-scary-468/

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Blackfish

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“Blackfish” is an amazing documentary that focuses on freedom for killer whales. This documentary definitely does a great job of pulling at the heart strings while presenting a powerful case against the captivity of killer whales. Killer whales or orcas are recognized as one of the most loving, intelligent, and playful animals of the sea. This documentary is centered around the popular orcas and the “dangerous and deadly attacks” that they have now been recognized for. This movie brings light to the malpractice of SeaWorld, not only to the individuals that worked there but also the orcas that live there. The company definitely decided to withhold information from their trainers and put their lives at risk and also commonly practiced confinement, solitude, and separation of the orcas. To this day I still cannot understand how the continuous breeding of a known aggressive animal could be practiced in the name of profit, to think how many incidents could have been avoided is unbelievable. As stated in the film by a former SeaWorld trainer, all these animals are emotionally and psychologically destroyed animals at this point, as stated by SeaWorld trainers, “ [animals] aren’t forces to perform tricks, the animals really really want to!” Unfortunately it all boils down to a company using their wealth to increase their profit margin while neglecting and abusing the rights and safety of others. It’s a rovolving system of never-ending oppression…

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Something about the news makes me Chuckle

I have to admit that when the time permits I much rather watch “Fake” news instead of “real” news. At the end of the day this “fake” news is more challenging, rewarding, and honest than the big media channels that are constantly watched and moderated. I enjoy watching Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, and David Letterman.  I think that parody news has a major effect on the political system and will continue to hold a significant hold for years to come. As Sotos goes on to state in her article “Fake News as a Fifth Estate”, “It’s a lot easier to run a government with a separation of powers when nobody’s checking the powers” this is what they are considering the 4th estate as failing.

This week’s video on The Colbert Report’s “Fallback Position – Migrant Workers” perfectly puts into perspective what Rachel Sotos states in her article, “Fake News as a Fifth Estate” Sotos states that, “fake news serves an institutional function, not by filling gaps, but by serving as a ‘constitutional check’ on the mainstream press.” This “constitutional check” that she specks about is a much needed aspect in our society. These satire comics are actually here to educate us, many of them actually care about us and want to make sure that we are aware of what is going on around us. I often find that I learn much more from watching satire than reading the newspaper or watching the local news.

I do believe that part of the great power that is held by parody news is the “Blame game” that it holds over our government system and Politician’s. If someone is looking for community awareness and recognition, in a positive way, they want to ensure that they are going the right thing before they get unwanted and publicized attention from the media.

Video Games

I normally don’t play video games. I find that with a job, school, and a fully energized doberman pup video games can easily take up too much of the little bit time that I have. I don’t consider myself much of a gamer now, even though my fiancé would disagree. I don’t own a gaming system but I do own an iPad. I occasionally download an app and play for 20mins or so,but the one game I am currently addicted to at this time is Clash of Clans. Now I know that a game is just a game…that I shouldn’t take an attack personally BUT vengeance is on my daily agenda
when it comes to this game. Liam pretty much sums up how I feel in this video.

Even though I don’t consider myself a gamer, I do remember the distinc beeps, boops, pops that would resound in the background of video games after passing a new level. I remember staying up at night and playing video games with friends, specifically Mario and mortal combat. I feel that people play video games because their fun, give people a break from reality, and because they make you feel like a kid again.

As stated in Christopher Beam’s article Death from Above, there is a problem with video games and certain individuals. “While improvements in technology make video-game violence ever more realistic—and desensitizing.” Some people unfortunately believe that a video game IS real life. They go around believe that there are no real consequences for certain behaviors. It has become news in the past where individuals act out scenes from video games injury innocent people. I think that we should make sure that individuals understand the difference between real life consequences and virtual ones.

Cartoons — Can we learn stuff?

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This week we it’s all about cartoons, I do want to start off by saying that I definitely enjoy watching The Simpsons,  this television series of  the hilariously entertaining depiction of an average middle class family definitely hones in on many political and controversial issues and spins them into a comical and casual occurrence.  I believe that this is one of the longest standing successes in American television. I remember that my mother prohibited me from watching these, “wildly rude and inappropriate” cartoons, yelled to me in Spanish of course. Even as a kid I still found them entertaining. I would chuckle and laugh at rude jokes and scenarios that I could relate to, I remember that I would sneak over to a friend’s house or watch them when my mother wasn’t looking.

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The episode that I choose to watch is from The Simpson’s, episode “My Fare Lady” season 26, episode 14. In this episode Homer once again manages to wiggle himself out of his responsibilities by burying himself in a pitcher of beer, leaving Marge with a very detailed driving list of destinations and chores that needed to get done in an orderly fashion for the kids. This depicts some aspects of contemporary culture since we are a multi-tasking society we get caught up in having to constantly reschedule, squeeze in, and run last minute errands. As stated in the article, “The Function of Fiction: The Heuristic Value of Homer” by Jennifer McMahan, “Because [fiction promotes simulation] it forces of individual to shed her conventional orientation and try it on another, Feagin contends that simulation “enriches and deepens one’s understanding of the representation situation and makes one better able to deal with a situation the bears similarity to it.”  We are constantly on the move and this episode made me realize how hard it is to do it all and how stressful this could be and how constantly being on the move can actually deprive an individual from enjoying the important things in life, especially when you are doing it alone and others rely on you. After analyzing this episode it really resounded with my experiences as a child and my mother taking on both the mother and father role for my siblings. Now I can truly understand why I am able to relate to these cartoons.

McMahan states that, “We learn from fiction not only because it offers accurate representations of individuals and promotes feedings for those individuals but also because it promotes identification.” Ultimately it seems like fiction is a useful medium for us to express truths and harsh realities in a comical and accepting way. We are able to use fiction to view different perspectives, experiences, and beliefs.
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Breaking Bad Analysis

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Breaking Bad is an amazing television show that kept millions of viewers on the edge of their seats for all five seasons. Walter White and Jesse Pinkman saturated the show with deception, manipulation, violence, and crime the biggest crime, says Samuel Chambers, is that Walter White was a bad teacher. In “Walter White is a Bad Teacher: Pedagogy, Partage, and Politics in Season 4 of Breaking Bad” Samuel Chambers brings to life the underlying pedagogy in the Breaking Bad television series with help from the french philosopher Jacques Ranciere . The relationship between Walter and Jesse was one of dominance against Jesse. As mentioned in the article, Ranciere is able to challenge the Walter’s teachings as well as the process he takes to teaching and relate them to a system of inequality of intelligence and knowledge between the teacher Walter and his student, Jesse. Throughout this series Walter relies on the belief that he is inherently more intelligent than Jesse. As Jacques Raciere’s puts it, “pedagogical theory can be called radical, in the sense of cutting at the root, because it challenges traditional pedagogy at its very heart: namely, explanation.”
This process is what Ranciere refers to as thee “explicative order” in the “Walter White is a Bad Teacher: Pedagogy, Partage, and Politics in Season 4 of Breaking Bad” article where Walter takes on the role of schoolmaster and the student is unequal when in comparison. This superior thinking is what ultimately leads Walter into failing as a teacher. Chamber then poses the question, “Who is a better teacher to Jesse: Gus or Mr. White”? The cruel, terrorizing, cold-blooded killer, drug kingpin Gus Fring or the egocentric, shameless, greedy meth-cooking fugitive, Walter White? Chamber explains that, “only a bad teacher tries to establish mastery by way of assertion of superior intelligence.” Chamber states that a good teacher is the one who chooses to inspire and emancipate their students, emitting a sense of equality while a poor teacher on the other hand will constrain a student by belittling and refusing to recognize a student’s accomplishments and progress, the tough love approach.
Chamber believes that Gus proved to be the better teacher to Jesse by introducing positive reinforcement and emancipation, he explains that “We can therefore see two requirements for an emancipatory teaching: first, the teacher her[him]self must already be emancipated, must recognize the radical equality of intelligence’s; and second, the teacher must refuse to stultify the student through explication and instead grant to the student the assumption of the equality of intelligence.” In reality could we really expect much more from Walter? He himself considers himself to be failure due to the decisions that were made straight out of college, so is it really a surprise that he turned out to be a failure as a teacher as well?
I do not believe that it is fair to analyze Water to that extent, before Walter was able to take Jesse under his wing Jesse was traveling down a path that was likely to end badly. I don’t think Walter when compared to Gus, was the worse of the two evils. I do believe that the main reason why Mr. White is a school teacher turned meth cook is because he considered himself a failure. However, I do not believe that her was a complete failure as a teacher. Walter was able to educate Jesse and actually teach him how to create the popular blue product that was in high demand. Considering how poorly Walter thought about himself I believe that he was able to educate Jesse to the best of his ability, this is why I don’t consider him a complete failure.

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Pirate Radio Extra Credit

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Pirate Radio is a comic movie that takes place in the middle off the coast of Britain. Pirate radio is an illegal and unregulated radio transmission that took place around 1966, which is stated in the movie as the Greatest era for British Rock and Roll; the ear of The Beatles, The Stones and The Who among many more. The idea of popular culture and government intervention really came to life to me in this movie.
In this movie it is stated that the government would only allow for rock and roll to be played for less than an hour a day, the government would refer to the DJ’s of Pirate Radio and its listeners as drug takers, law breakers, and bottom bashing fornicators, even though Pirate Radio wasn’t breaking any laws the government was adamant about finding a way to close them down. As stated in “This American Life’s 100th Podcast” Radio has been able to bring audiences together through music and content discussed. However, I feel that radio stations have lost the freedom to speak freely. Times have changed very little and we are monitored and regulated on what we can say on air and even what we can play. Because of this I still believe that the future of radio does not look too bright, If people aren’t getting the music and content that they want from radio, they will start looking for it in other places.
Pirate Radio even tried to keep the government happy by watching what they shared on the air, this reminds me to what Ira Glass stated in “This American Life’s 100th podcast”, “the false intimacy of radio, that feeling that we get together every week, you and me. I mean, literally, that’s what it feels like. It feels like you and me. You and me, even though we don’t know each other at all.” This very sense of intimacy is what we are missing now. There is a divide in radio where language and content is regulated, where the only thing that is heard is what is allowed.

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Act one — the story of radio as gleaned from the podcast.

This American Life’s 100th podcast displayed the individuality of radio. With radio the audience gets to experience a unique connection the presenter. As stated with Ira Glass, “the false intimacy of radio, that feeling that we get together every week, you and me. I mean, literally, that’s what it feels like. It feels like you and me. You and me, even though we don’t know each other at all.”

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I think that there is definitely something positive to be said about radio. Having the freedom to listen to someone speak about issues that directly affect you and hear different perspectives, even call in to make your opinion known, this is what radio should be. However times have changed and we are monitored and regulated on what we can say on air and even what we can play. As stated in the, This American Life’s 100th anniversary podcast radio has definitely experienced changes throughout the years but it has brought people together for years. Radio has been able to bring audiences together through music and content discussed.

Act two — the story of radio in your own life and experience.

Growing up as a first generation Mexican American it was difficult to find a “niche” where I could feel comfortable. It wasn’t only about finding a niche but also being able to find one where both the music and the people were able to relate to my culture and life experiences. I was fortunate enough to find this niche in radio. Growing up in Los Angeles there were a lot of individuals that were living through the same struggles and difficulties as I was. I was able to find a comic side to my experiences and I was able to relate to profound lyrics and understand alternative perspectives.

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As I was growing up I listened to the radio every day I remember I would wake up in the morning and listen to the morning line up. I would feel inspired and motivated, honestly sometimes like a rebel with a cause. The music that I would listen to would consist of a large combination of music but I find that I largely relate to the 90’s rap and Hip-Hop genres. I could relate to being commonly misunderstood and disrespected as many of the lyrics stated. I do feel like radio has changed across the years. I felt like the music played before stood up for something and now it seems like everything, even commentary is regulated to an extreme. I remember that it wasn’t uncommon to hear arguments and disagreements on radio about current events and perspectives. Now I feel like I could flip through 6 radio stations and hear the same 3 or 4 songs playing over and over, like a broken record. I can attest that this week’s line up consists of: “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronsin, “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding, and “Sugar” Maroon 5. (-_-) I miss the days where music was based on current events that impacted lives.

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Act three — the future of radio in society, as you see it.

I unfortunately do not see such a bright future in the radio industry. As stated in the New York Times article, the radio listening audience in many areas increased drastically in the time after hurricane Sandy, but this is largely due to the fact that in many areas, power was out for days, which in turn limited access to televisions and computers; in other words radio was the last resort for information for many individuals. Even Pandora, as popular as it is having hardships and proves this. Pandora have lacked profit, as stated in the Forbes article, “Pandora, in fact, has never been profitable, with more than $105 million in losses over the five fiscal years ending January of 2012,”

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