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a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

December 7th

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 9:53 am on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

“Abandoning Net Neutrality, FCC Chair Backs Two-Tiered Internet Fees”


          Josh Silver the founder of freepress.net was featured to discuss the new rules the Federal Communications Commission has put forth that will abandon net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principal that guarantees the internet of being free and open to the public without interference from companies attempting to create a monopoly. Currently, the biggest players in the internet are Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. These companies want to create a two tiered system that will allow for them to charge higher fees for faster internet connection. Not only does this mean there will be only a couple of companies monopolizing the internet, but it will lead to their full control over the content of what is and is not being shared. Comcast has already been charged with blocking a site from use and is pushing to prevent modems from being bought that would allow for a faster internet connection. Just as Josh stated our current day policy has not been able to catch up with the speed the internet has taken off on. Hopefully it is not passed on December 21st, but if it does it will be the start of a scary time.

“The Yes Men Fix the World” (2009)

          The first thought that came to my mind was, “hilarious!” Wow, this seems like a great movie. It kind of reminded me of the Michael Moore movies, but with a completely different twist. These two men impersonate real life CEO’s and surprisingly get far and at times even away with it. They manage to stay impressively poised through it all and are extremely believable in the positions they aim to portray. It is not only for a laugh, but there is meaning behind what Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno do. These two men expose the truth which otherwise would never be revealed by those responsible. I still can’t believe he was able to get on a world-wide news network pretending to be a spokesman for Bhopal Chemicals. I love when he responds he wasn’t lying but it was instead, “an honest representation of what they should be doing”. This is a very creative, original, entertaining, and seemingly effective way to spread the truth and taking necessary steps in creating social change. I can’t wait to see the film.

Media and Sovereignty

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 2:28 am on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 

          Media has become large part of our culture, identity, and everyday lives. There comes a point where we often time fail to notice it. Prince begins his article with the inception of media and goes on to cover its continued role in society. Entities whom are threatened by new technology are sure to respond to it. National powers have ensued rules and regulation on media to prevent the fall of its control. Though, the media has continued to transcend borders and spread democratic values. In Western views there is an ongoing dance to maintain order and security while not over stepping the freedom to distribute information without interference. Here I will give an example of a powerful corporate actor challenging both citizens and states in an attempt to maintain and strengthen their media monopoly.
          Fox News Channel is a cable and satellite television news channel. It is very successful and in 2009 it was rated as the second most watched news channel in cable television. There are some controversies and criticisms surrounding Fox News. It has been charged with being a channel that depicts the news through a right wing conservative lens. Of course Fox News denies these claims and identifies as an unbiased trustworthy news source.
          Roger Ailes is the current president of Fox News Channel. Before beginning with Fox News in 1996 Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Obviously he was very politically involved and is highly likely to be saturated with Republican views. By maintaining republican views, interests, and ties as the president of a news channel he is sure to run the network with a Republican bias. This is a private corporation using and controlling media to strengthen their political agenda while maximizing profit.

November 30th

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 2:09 pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chapter 46: The Christian Revolution” by Philip Jenkins

                Philip Jenkins begins by describing the common notion of what Christianity is. Jenkins focuses particular attention to its followers. It is known to be the religion of “the haves”. Most Christians are imagined to be white, of an older age, and wealthy. Honestly, when I think of Christians this is what I picture. Christianity is frequently associated with white nations or Western imperialism. In reality it has declined in these places, and has taken a turn southward. In countries such as: Asia, Africa, and Latin America, “Christianity is not only surviving, but expanding” (Jenkins). One third to the world’s population identify as Christian, and it is predicted that by 2050 one fifth of them will be non-white Hispanic. I was shocked at the idea. Jenkins states knowing this should cause us to think before saying, “What Christians believe.” This didn’t make sense to me. It is the people who believe in the religion that are changing, not the religion itself. There is a trend in these Southern Christians to be more conservative. These people, “will develop a powerful Christian identity in culture and politics” (Jenkins). There is a question posed about what this means globally. Will there be a global unity that takes place? Jenkins hypothesizes Africa and Latin America will share common issues and have the ability to identify with one another.  

Audio (stream): “Inside American Islam,” On Point, NPR, 9/14/2010. Top Islam expert Akbar Ahmed just visited one hundred mosques in America. This is his report.

The Muslim scholar Akbar Ahmed who holds chairs in Islamic studies visited one hundred mosques in seventy five American cities and towns. He published his finding s in “Journey into America: Challenge of Islam”. His main point was to study how it feels to be Muslim American in the current state our society is in and the challenges in forming a new American identity. Akbar Ahmed found that we are currently living in a time of dramatic change and crisis. With all the pressure everyone is feeling it was only a matter of needing a spark to light the fire. The spark was the recent New York mosque incident and the pastor in Florida. It was interesting to hear that people never admitted to feeling at unease to Ahmed, but due to his education and training he was able to still detect it. He sees a large part of the problem caused by poor Muslim community leadership. He describes a lack of collectiveness, and cohesiveness coupled with so much diversity and variance producing a weak and unstable community. Ahmed believes this only makes it easier for few to spark a crisis and overwhelming problems to occur. He concludes his book with a debate of what kind of America our country wants. The scholar also goes out of his area to study history and how it relates to our current situation. Much of the issues are credited to post September 11th attacks. I was surprised to hear him put most of the blame on Muslims for being unorganized and not educating Americans who “want to understand Islam”. If Americans really wanted to understand Islam they would work to be conscious people. Just because someone or a society doesn’t understand a group of people doesn’t justify their prejudice or acts of discrimination. A journalist from Los Angeles speaks on the show. He has valid points and is precise in most of his statements. Though he lacks the critical analysis, courage, or consciousness needed to find the underlying truth, controversial opinion, or meaningful statement.

November 23

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 7:11 pm on Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 

“Chapter 42: Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims”

The chapter begins with undressing the generalizations of Islamic radicals. I will be honest and admit that I never had a clear idea of the Muslim and Islamic religion, and to this moment I can say the same. These cultures, traditions, practices, and religions were not directly around me. Like most people in our society I will admit to being ignorant when it comes to the topic. I’ve made a conscious effort never to assume or make generalizations, but simultaneously have not made an effort to become mindful of the topic either. I was surprised to find that not all leaders are seminaries. Most come from a range of other professions and backgrounds. I wouldn’t assume a priest in the U.S. to have once been a college professor, engineer, or lawyer. It seems as though people interpret the Koran to what best fits them instead of studying the meaning it was intended for. This is how so much diversity and different groups can arise from the same beginnings. I didn’t realize how great a role religion played into the educational system. The state has the power to decide what is put in and what gets left out. This is another factor that adds to the diversity. It is not only important but essential that we realize the diversity and true meanings of these groups. Once we do I believe we will begin to see ourselves reflected in them.

“Audio Stream: In Israel, When a Jew is Not Jewish Enough”

Moving from California to Queens, New York has been a huge adjustment. One of the first differences I noticed on the first day of school was the huge Jewish population here. In California I did not know a single Jewish person. Not one. Jonathan Levit’s story left me in shock. I couldn’t imagine how he felt attempting to go back to his homeland and being denied. Particularly coming from the United States a place where people work so hard to retain their heritage. He describes his frustration of being able to fight and serve Israel, but not being able to become a citizen. I couldn’t help, but compare it to the experiences of current undocumented immigrants. Immigrants, who work, pay taxes, serve in the army and will still be denied citizenship. This group of people are left with no rights or protection in the “land of the free” that they so faithfully serve. Like the man said at the end it is astonishing those sixty years after the Holocaust the biggest issue is that people want to become Jewish. It is obvious that the orthodox and ultraorthodox Jewish want to keep things as pure and traditional as possible. This is something that is almost impossible to do. Things change and evolve over time. When it comes to a culture or religion almost none are in their original form. Maybe it is best looked at not as something weathering away, but instead of as something that is constantly becoming.

Tango: The dance danced all over (Creolization)

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 7:10 pm on Tuesday, November 23, 2010  Tagged

           Dance is often used to describe a particular culture. It almost always originates from a specific region, and spreads to other places. The rate, time, and reasons for a dance to spread to other places vary. For the purpose of this assignment I will focus on the dance, Tango.
           Tango originated in the country of Argentina, but more specifically in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was used as a port during the slave trade. The dance originated with African slaves and free blacks, and spread to barrios in the early years of the 20th century. To dance tango was a sign of masculinity or machismo. The music and dance could be found in brothels and was always improvisational. It was associated with people living in the slums of the city. The dance was looked down upon and thought of to be sinful by those of the upper-class. To the elite it was nothing but vulgar indecency.

           The Bandoneon is instrumental to tango music. It is interesting to find out that it actually comes from Germany. This is one of the first examples of how the music and dance have been influenced by other cultures.

           Young wealthy men would travel to these brothels and barrios where they would pick up the tango and bring it back to their communities and take it overseas during their travels. Tango eventually spread to the dance floors of the social elite in Paris and London in the early 1900s. Europe greatly influenced the clothing of tango. At this point the dance and music of tango drifted into a more sophisticated direction, and quickly turned into the new craze. Technology advancements also aided in the spread of tango.

           Due to Europe’s acceptance of a previously provocative low class activity Argentina shifted their position of Tango and proudly embraced the dance that began in their country. It is interesting to see how a receiving country can alter the views of the country that produced the product.

           Ballroom tango evolved from Argentine tango. Though both may look very similar there are distinctions between the two. Argentine tango is improvisational while ballroom is choreographed and premeditated. The difference in dance exemplifies the difference in cultural values. In the United States ballroom tango may be seen at competitions where there are judges and rankings. In Argentina there are milongas which are places where people come together to dance tango freely. The walk and technique also differ between both. In Argentine tango the couple dances with their chests very close or touching while their hips do not touch one another at all. Their faces are close together or even cheek to cheek. In ballroom tango the couple dance with their chests away from one another while staying connected at the hip. Their faces are often times positioned away from the other looking in opposite directions.

           Argentine tango brings life feelings into motions. Different people use different words to describe different forms of Argentine tango. It has been described as evocative, promiscuous, intense, interactive, and full of love, sexual desire, mutual energy, and grief. As tango has traveled from its origins in Argentina to Europe to the United States it has taken on new forms and evolved within each country. Tango has served to be a perfect example of creolization, an interplay between world culture and national culture. The continual modifications that tango has endured are proof that is anything but a global homogenous culture.

September 21

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 12:31 pm on Thursday, September 23, 2010

The reading, “How Sushi Went Global” discusses tuna farming as a globally organized business. Individuals, communities, and countries are linked through environmental regulation, international regulation, and the spread of culinary culture. Sushi has become popular across borders, and unites people through shared taste. The various countries have different ways of farming for tuna. In some places techniques of a small-scale fisher are used. While in others a more industrial approach is used with factory fleet. In conclusion Bestor doesn’t see globalization as homogenizing cultural difference, but instead as growing the franchise.

            I can see how the tuna business links people together, but this doesn’t mean the appreciation or understanding of another’s culture is taking place. The majority of the tuna farming is large-scale industrial like. The only thing that these farmers see in the nets is dollars, not culture. Just as when the colonists moved west they shot and killed buffalo on such a large scale that they were becoming extinct. Unlike the indigenous people who only killed buffalo that were needed and did so through ceremony. To understand another’s culture time, care, and attention must be taken to understand not only the food, but the process along with ritual. The franchise of sushi may be growing, but I wouldn’t say the spread of the culture is. As Japanese culture is served to people on the platter of globalization there is much room for stereotypes and ethnocentric interpretation.    

            In the article, “McDonald’s in Hong Kong” globalization is studied through the introduction of McDonald’s in Hong Kong. Watson claims that Hong Kong has not been stripped of their cultural traditions, nor become “Americanized” through this process. The acceptance of McDonalds in Hong Kong instead signifies a redefinition of the Chinese cultural identity. McDonalds is an American corporation, and the cultural differences presented in this article are very distinct. Though, I see McDonalds as being very stern in imposing their values, and way of doing things. The Chinese culture is to snack instead of consuming entire meals. McDonalds believes in “service with a smile”, and in the Chinese culture a smile is a symbol of dishonesty. The American culture is to eat quickly and then leave while the Chinese culture is to socialize and take your time while eating.

            In order for the affordable prices at McDonalds to be possible it is necessary that, “consumers be educated or disciplined”. Watson also stated that “McDonalds helped create a more civilized social order”. It is hard for me to give much credit to an article or person who is evidently very Eurocentric in their study. These are exactly the same words used when the Europeans first came to the Americas and conquered the land of the Indigenous people while enslaving blacks from Africa. How can an entity be in another’s land while simultaneously view the people as “the other”, and then position them as inferior? This seems to me to be best suited for the demands of a capitalist order.

 

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