Monday, September 29, 2008

The American Cultural Empire

Globalization is a growing reality in this world and, as the other presenters and I noted last week, holds both promise and danger for society. As someone who has traveled abroad and seen the enormous amount of American culture present in other societies, I can say that I found it fairly fascinating, but also scary. I feel as though we don't always realize just how much influence we exert in the world at times, and just how much exposure other nations and peoples get to our lives here. Cultural imperialism exists, and it is up to us to be responsible about how our culture gets represented to others.
I spoke about the dangers of our cultural empire on Wednesday, especially in regards to television. So much of what's on TV here in the U.S. portrays Americans so poorly (take any show done by Paris Hilton, for example), and to a certain extent, as Celeste noted, we are responsible for this- we are the consumers, demanding this type of content. The United States is the largest, wealthiest, and most influential country in the world at this point, and with the rise of globalization, cultural imperialism is bound to happen. What we must do, however, is accept John Louis Stevenson's challenge, pick up the 'white man's burden,' and be more responsible consumers. Only then can we make sure that, as long as we are exporting so much culture, that it is wielding a positive influence.
On the other hand, listening to Calli's presentation on Wednesday, I realized that I had been looking at globalization from a very one-sided position. Globalization is a truly remarkable thing, and the sharing of cultures and ideas so easily is an amazing facet of our society. We do live in a very small bubble, and I believe America must open itself to other cultural influences. In order to be good members of a globalized world, we must all be more willing to listen to foreign music, watch shows from abroad, and experiment with film and other media from countries that may be completely different from us. We are a nation of immigrants, and should embrace that legacy of diversity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Globalization in the Media

Regionalization is an aspect of globalization where countries or regions tailor the media according to their culture, values, and/or language. Because of the prominence and spread of American media, countries often use regionalization with media coming from the United States. An example of this is Disney’s Disney Channel. It is an American-based media outlet and is shown in many countries worldwide. Some countries have used regionalization and translated Disney shows into their language and/or created shows tailored to their culture to broadcast on the Disney Channel in their country. An excellent example of this is Disney Channel India. They have created a TV series that reflects their religious values and created a movie in their own language.

Matthew Hess, the first presenter, addressed a reason why countries use regionalization: the perceived assault of American media. He spoke specifically of the American cultural imperialism that is evident in Spain. I found his personal experience in Spain to be extremely interesting and helpful as he provided specific examples. He said that American media was everywhere from imported TV sitcoms to the music young Spanish people enjoyed. An important aspect of television and film media that Matthew pointed out was that what does go abroad is controlled by only a few companies.

Kallie Dee Wesson also pointed out that the music industry is controlled by only a few companies. She asked the interesting question, “are too many audiences being spoon-fed as a result?” On the other hand, Kallie said that many individual artists are learning to diversify their music in order to appeal to the broader world audience. She said that this diversification is important because music is the most globalized media. However, Kallie pointed out that music is also the most localized of media. All countries have their own unique form of media. Kallie said that her concern was that the American audience is not diversified enough and should take advantage of the globalization of other cultures’ music.

All of us as presenters spoke about different aspects of the globalization of media and especially the globalization of American media. While each presentation was important, I feel that the end discussion was the most helpful as we discussed the common issues facing us in this period of globalization and connectedness. First, we agreed that international media was controlled by only a few companies and should somehow be subject to more regulation. Also we saw that, as result of this oligopoly, American audiences were not being exposed to as diverse a culture as they should be experiencing. The conclusion we came to as an answer to this problem was the most interesting. We need to cease thinking of ourselves as passive actors in a medium controlled by uncontrollable entities. We must remember that the media industry is consumer driven and we are the consumers! Our actions, ideas, and desires will shape media’s future.

Celeste Cox

Music is Global: Where is your beat from?

In presenting a case study on the globalization of music, I learned many things about what is happening around the world in the music industry. I was amazed to see the affect this is having on artists, producers, and even listeners around the world. In the class discussion and after listening to the two other presenters, I think it is a just assumption to say that globalization is affecting every single person in the world in one way or another. As we were discussing whether globalization of media is good or bad, I saw some different viewpoints that I had never really thought about. Ever since I went to Spain to study abroad I’ve thought that globalization is a great but potentially dangerous issue if we are not aware of it, but after listening and participating in the class discussions I feel that maybe it actually has more of a negative effect than I realized. It was very interesting to hear the opinions of the class on whether or not America should try and control the export of our media and/or the import of other media. Looking into these topics made me realize just how much we as Americans are missing by not opening up to the ideas of the world. MTV International, as I discussed in my presentation, is an excellent example of how useful and beneficial globalization can be for everyone should we choose to use it. Well put by one of the other presenters was the presumption that we are “living in our own little bubble here.” I completely agree with that statement and would strongly encourage anyone and everyone to broaden their horizons and see what else is out there instead of just sitting and accepting the media fed to us daily. Matthew’s presentation on cultural imperialism really sparked my interest because I too have seen that first hand in Spain and Africa. Having been there really enhanced my learning on the subject of globalization of media because I can think of a personal example for almost every concept. I think this is an exceptional topic of controversy and discussion and I am glad to have had the opportunity to look a little deeper into the global aspects of music and see how it is actively changing due to this process of globalization. Below are a few great links to check out if you’re interested! Thank you for reading!

[Kalli D. Wesson] MTV International Great article on the globalization of the music industry. Yet another great article discussing the changes in music due to globalization. Really amazing glimpse of globalization! Please watch!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the United States was considered to be an industrial society. At this point in time regulatory issues involving false advertising and unfair methods of competition began to arise within the United States. The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 created the Federal Trade Commission as well as prohibited the unfair practices, acts, and methods of competition in interstate commerce. Areas in which the act covers pertaining to fair and free trade competition include Deceptive Practices, Price Fixing, Merger Prohibition, and unfair competition. The FTC was put in place to monitor and enforce the laws put in place by the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 in order to regulate the behavior of businesses.

In class I discussed the role that the Federal Trade Commission has in Advertising for profit or business purposes. The idea that commercial speech is not considered to be a part of the political marketplace of ideas prohibits the protection and freedoms that are entitled to noncommercial speech in the First Amendment of the Constitution. When referring to commercial advertising, the laws require that objective claims must be truthful and substantiated. For example if a business advertises “We have the number one product on the market” then by law the statement is required to be truthful as well as have sufficient information in order to prove so. However the laws regarding deceptive advertising consider “puffery” or subjective claims to be fair game and are not monitored by the FTC.

The question brought forward in class was how free speech and commercial speech differ in advertising. After further research I have found how controversial this subject is and that many lawsuits throughout history have helped to define and decipher between free speech and commercial speech. In the history of legal matters regarding business corporations right to free speech, many lawsuits have helped decipher exactly what can be determined as legal when pertaining to businesses. For the most part courts have agreed upon the fact that businesses are allowed the right of political speech (free speech), but there is a very fine line between political speech and commercial speech that is some cases can be very unclear and problematic. It wasn’t until the creation of the Central Hudson four part test that courts were capable of identifying whether the government regulations violated the first amendment rights of free speech. Furthermore, courts continued to make decisions narrowing down what would fall under free speech in advertising.

This case study has opened my eyes to how the regulation of communication in the media has affected the laws and policies of our society. I have been amazed at how much the government plays a role in controlling the media, as well as how much effort is put into the protection consumers. Thank you for your time

-Farron McCauley Carmichael

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The USA Patriot Act

Soon after I began researching the USA Patriot Act I realized that is quite a controversial subject. The debate and discussion following my presentation further proved this point.

The USA Patriot Act was passed approximately six weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It made its way through Congress promptly and did not seem to be analyzed very closely by those who voted on it. One of my classmates brought up the fact that many of the bills and acts that are voted on by the U.S. Congress are probably not read as closely as American citizens would hope. While this is very relevant, it does not lessen the impact that impulse had on the Patriot Act. When the Bush Administration first introduced the act to Congress, they asked that there be no hearings held on it.

A thought provoking question pertaining to whether or not the intelligence agencies used certain avenues of the internet to track terrorists before the USA Patriot Act was also asked. This student stated that the act simply made these actions “admissible in court.”

One student expressed that the USA Patriot act did not bring up many concerns in their mind. If I am not doing anything wrong, why should I be worried? This is the opinion of many Americans. However the Fourth Amendment pertains to every American citizen and it is a sad reality that many Americans, especially immigrants, have had their personal privacy invaded since the Patriot Act has been enforced.

While the USA Patriot Act does bring up many questions of its own it also aids us in answering the question, “Who controls/monitors the media?” In many aspects the government can control and monitor our uses of the media. We as Americans have the opportunity to choose our government officials, therefore, we do have some say in how the government manages mass media. My fellow presenters further demonstrated how corporations and citizens influence the media. It was made evident that there is no “one” group or person that has complete control over the media.

The USA Patriot Act was initially passed to provide law enforcement agencies with up to date, technological tools to help protect America. However, it is obvious that many personal privacy concerns have been derived from this act.

If you are interested in learning more there is a series of interesting videos at

Britnee Brotherton

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The FCC Won't Let Me Be.

Since its establishment in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission has been a prominent figure in the field of telecommunications’ policy. But what exactly is it and what it’s authority. Several misconceptions may arise when discussing this entity. My intent is to shed some light on the topic at hand. By understanding what is the FCC, what it does, and its effect on the media, we can further clarify the issue.

The presenter before me spoke about the Patriot Act and mainly touched on the privacy vs. security debate. Her emphasis on the government’s observation of our telecommunication activities was great reminder of the questionable policies in place. The final presentation about the Federal Trade Commission was quite an eye opener as well. The speaker general thesis reflected on our nation’s role in determining the legality of advertising. All of the topics helped further answer the question: Who controls the media?

Ultimately, there is no exact answer. It would be impossible to delegate the percentages of the media influenced by the government, corporations, and ordinary citizens. Despite some of the “Draconian” elements of policy conveyed this week, the government merely edits the final product to a certain degree. To avoid the defeatist stance of believing “Big Brother” tells us what to think; I strongly believe it is the people who control the media the most. We are the ones with the power to determine the government officials or to consume certain types of media.

We have the power to affect the world around us. What exactly is the future of the FCC? I believe that Americans will become even more socially liberal thus resulting in less of a need for the entities like this. Also media outlets will begin to self-monitor more. Ultimately, this committee will drift further into the role of spectator and gradually lose its authority.

Thank you for your time.

(Corey Green)

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Media Markets: Xbox Live marketplace

The Xbox live Arcade has opened new ways to purchase games. No longer do you have to go to the store to buy a game, it can be downloaded in your own home.

This all began with online gaming in the 1990's. Although this was the emergence of online gaming, online gaming did not reach the gaming consoles until the turn of the century. Four years after Xbox live had released, the idea of an online marketplace was put into action. For the first time, people could download old arcade games strait to their xbox console. This idea was perfected on the release of the second generation of Xbox consoles with the Xbox 360 online. By the time they released this console they had a much more in depth interface of the Xbox live market with tons more games, apps and patches and downloads. These games were all priced between $4.99 to $14.99. As recent at 2007 there have been over 25 million downloads of these types of games.

In an article by Rolling Stone, they claimed that most of these arcade games targeted older audiences with the "Retro Gaming". This included games like Mrs. Pac-Man, Geometry Wars, and Robotron 2084. All of which are advertised for on the Xbox live dashboard.

So in conclusion, this simple idea of connection your Xbox to the internet led to the emergence of a new, sucessful marketplace for all kinds of small-file games.
Trey Binford

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Social Functions of Blogging

The media surround us everyday, from newspaper content to advertisements on the radio or political commentary on television. Whatever the case, media has had a deep impact on society both politically and economically. One such media tool is that of the Internet which has attracted attention for its function in building “virtual” communities and maintaining cultures.
On Wednesday, I used the case of blogging as a representation of a social function of the media. We came to the understanding that blogs contribute to the functionalism theory which states that society cannot function without the media, but also that the media serve the needs of our society and our cultures.
We discussed blogging as a form of media that facilitates the growth of communities and maintenance of culture as people come together to communicate diverse topics like religion, culture, politics and economics. When citizens engage in such activities, there becomes a link in changes in politics, society and economics.
These online communities allow for the formation of public opinion as people get together and freely discuss and identify societal problems. It is through this kind of discussion that influence political action. Hence, blogging is a form of social networking that influence society.
Through class discussion, we also learned that blogging is not limited to facilitating the growth of society and maintnance of culture but it also serves other functions like surveillance of what is going on around us, it is used to discuss various interpretations of diverse topics, and most people use blogging for purposes of entertainment alone.

Discussion Questions:
I. How does blogging facilitate culture and society?
II. How do blogs contribute to the functionalism theory?
III. What is the functionalism theory?

Convergence in the U.S. and its Affect on Media Markets

This past Wednesday, I gave a presentation on convergence in the U.S. and how it has affected media markets. I started by looking at the four functions of media which include surveillance, interpretation, values transmission/socialization, and entertainment. I chose to focus my presentation on what I thought was a great example of convergence, the iPod. The book defines convergence as the integration of mass media, computers, and telecommunications. However, we discussed that convergence is not limited to the integration of those things but it is also the convergence of different cultures, different generations, institutions and corporations. We discussed how convergence has become the new norm in our day and age and we later heard from another classmate who talked about convergence and the XBOX.
After talking about convergence, I informed the class what this is doing to old media markets such as the bankruptcy of three of the largest box office chains and the decline in effective advertising causing a rise in product placement. These are due to the rise in downloadable TV shows and movies right on one’s computer. This convenience is discouraging individuals from traveling to the box office and watching TV shows fully because now they can simply download and watch without the hassle of movie theater crowds and commercials.
I chose to talk about the iPod specifically because I felt that it was an idea of convergence that most people in the class could relate to because most people our age either own or have encountered an mp3 player and since the iPod is the most well known, it was the player I chose to use as my example. Not only does this product converge music, games, pictures, TV, and movies all onto one product, but it also brought about new media markets such as the downloadable TV and movie market and a new market for podcasts.
This case study opened my eyes to just how popular the iPod really is and how successful things like podcasts and downloadable TV shows and movies have been. I was also very interested in my classmates’ presentations about blogs and convergence with the XBOX. Each presentation gave a different perspective on the chapter and gave great examples from the material in the book.