Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting a more powerful culture over a least known or desirable culture, whereby one way flow of international messages or media products, especially news and television flows, from a few metropolises, has led to the dispute over cultural dominance.  More specifically Electronic colonialism refers to the dependency relationship established by importation of communication hardware and foreign-produced software with a set of foreign norms, values and expectations that may alter domestic cultures and socialization process.

Let’s take a look at the ever expanding, profit maximizing, cultural imperialist, wonderful world of Disney…

So how does Disney use technology to dominate globally?

In 1923 a young cartoonist called Walt Disney from the American Mid-West created a character called Mortimer Mouse.

On his wife’s advice he changed the name to Mickey, added a voice, and created the first fully-synchronised sound cartoon.

Mickey Mouse was the first figure in a fantasy world Disney created during the dark years of the American Depression, a world where the baddies always lost and the goodies always won.

Mickey, Pluto, Donald and Goofy were part of a business whose success grew out of Disney’s inventive animation.

By this time Disney had made classics like Pinnochio, Fantasia and Bambi – but he had another goal, the Disney theme park.

But the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Walt Disney idea has not gone without criticism…

There could hardly be a better summation of the opportunity that American pop culture companies like Disney are enjoying overseas. With the end of the Cold War, the opening of China, and the worldwide triumph of American-style capitalism, the brand-name purveyors of American food, fashion, and entertainment have never had it so good. Hardly a city on the planet is without McDonald’s and CNN and Levi’s and MTV. American films are omnipresent and in some markets dominant, accounting for nearly three-quarters of movie admissions in Western Europe.

For many countries, especially in the developing world, the ever-growing presence of the US culture industry is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the pervasiveness of Americana can be seen as a sign of progress. US brands are symbols of wealth and modernity and freedom. Drinking coffee at Starbucks or taking the family to Disneyland signals the rise of a worldly middle class. On a more concrete level, Western companies often bring a measure of quality and service that are both a boon for local consumers and a prod for domestic firms to raise their standards.

At the same time, the enormous popularity of US brands overseas can pose a threat not only to a nation’s domestic industries but to its cultural traditions and sense of identity. In the developing world, cultural imperialism has long been seen as the handmaiden of political domination, another way for strong countries to take advantage of the weak.

No company conveys more powerfully the image of a conquering cultural army than Walt Disney. Its founder was a true-blue patriot who saw himself as a proselytizer for the values of the American heartland. The company’s products and services – unlike, say, fast-food hamburgers or sugary soft drinks – are not merely symbolic of the American way of life, but contain as part of their essence a set of beliefs about good and evil and human aspiration. Disney, moreover, has throughout its history been extremely shrewd about building mutually reinforcing products across many different kinds of media, with theme parks and TV shows, movies and merchandise, all working together in service of the Disney way.

The Disney Empire frequently stands accused of cultural imperialism, and of being a ruthless global business.

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1693448.stm

What do you think?

Do you think the influence and the ever growing presence of US- based companies like Disney in developing countries is a boon or a bane? Do you think it is a sign of progress, symbol of wealth, stimulates the economy and improve the standards of living of developed nations

or…

 Merely a threat to its cultural traditions and sense of identity? More so exploiting the natural resources of developing nations?

“They had two teaspoons of tuna fish, a sip of milk and half a biscuit each every 48 hours”

The miners have been trapped since Aug. 5 after a landslide caused the copper and gold mine to collapse.

The rescue of 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile for 10 long weeks sped towards a successful finale on October 13th with two-thirds of the men winched to safety, triggering joy around the world at their improbable salvation- brought to the surface in a narrow, missile-like capsule dubbed the Phoenix to symbolise their “rebirth.”

“I have changed, I am a different man,” said Mario Gomez, the ninth to be rescued and, at 63, the oldest of the group.

A team of six rescue specialists had been sent down to the miners to help them get harnessed in the Phoenix capsule.

All the men were pale, and wore special dark sunglasses to protect their weakened eyes from the natural light. Many tasted freedom overnight, stepping out of the rescue capsule to breathe in the cold air of the Atacama desert.

They were immediately taken to a field hospital at the mine for tests.

Flash back…a narrow escape.

Living in hope, miners were told it will take at least four months to rescue 33 miners trapped underground in Chile.

However, rescuers made contact with the miners by lowering a probe into the mine, 17 days after the men became trapped. Rescuers provided them with clothes, medicine, antidepressants and games down the 700-metre borehole, which has the diameter of a grapefruit, to help keep the men physically and mentally fit.

The miners forced themselves to lose about 10kg each after having survived on half a glass of milk and two mouthfuls of canned tuna every 48 hours until supplies ran out. They have been told to watch their weight so they will be able to squeeze through the narrow escape shaft that is being drilled, and given tape measures to ensure they keep their waists below 90cm.

The men sent samples of water from underground tanks to the surface for testing, and rescuers sent down fortified mineral water.

The miners maintained good health, but officials continuously looked for ways to help ease the psychological pressure. They set up special lighting in the tunnel to mimic night and day, with dull red lights to help the miners sleep.

Miners have used vehicle batteries to power lights and charge their helmet lamps.

The miners and their relatives exchanged letters through the shaft.

“You have no idea how much my soul ached to have been underground and unable to tell you I was alive,” Edison Pena said in a letter to his family.

Officials were vetting letters sent by relatives, to avoid any shocks, although some disagreed with the method.

“It’s very important for the miners’ mental health that they communicate openly with their families, and without filters, either by letter or by phone,” said Claudio Barrales, a psychologist at the Universidad Central in Santiago.

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11056607

The power of Media…

The media has turned the accident in the small gold and copper mine which has gripped audience globally, a spotlight on mine safety in Chile, the world’s top copper producer. Moreover, it also serves as a reminder of the dangers of working in a mine.

The media blames the mine company, Companie Minera for not complying with the safety regulations- it had failed to install an escape ladder that would have led them quickly to the surface. San Esteban knew that in the event of a collapse, there was no emergency way out. Chile’s Minister for Mining, Laurence Goldborne, says the men would have escaped in 48 hours had the ladder been available.

Sixteen miners had already died in accidents at the San Jose mine before the recent collapse. Since San Esteban ignored an order to install the escape ladder, the miners should be able to expect huge compensation for their ordeal.

Relevance to class discussion…

The story of trapped Chilean miners is a form of communication which institutional sources address relatively large, heterogeneous and anonymous audiences physically separated from one another, also known as mass communication.

According to Charles Wright the purpose/function of this narration is to inform (surveillance) the audience of the happenings on the mine fields, the dangers and risks involved, and  of course to take measures to prevent such accidents from happening by taking this issue seriously, by looking into reinforcing safety regulations.

This can also be further explain by the Moderate effects communication model– whereby it is believed that the ability of the media to influence its audiences remains- media is not powerless, it still exerts some influence on the audience, for such gaining the audience sympathy and empathy, and getting them to relate to such dangerous working conditions of miners- and eventually getting personally involved to help resolve such problems is the media’s ultimate goal.

The media has conveyed its message successfully, because this story has touched the hearts of many given that millions around the world watched the rescue live, expertly engineered by the Chilean government. In the US, almost 11m people watched the start of the rescue on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC – almost six times the cable news stations’ usual audience.

The success of the story is accomplished by the Agenda setting function- which refers to the media’s ability through repeated news coverage, to raise the importance of an issue in the public’s mind.  True enough the news is on the front page of every news article globally and locally, making the headlines on e-news as well, hence the importance is very much emphasized through repetition.  Furthermore the media is also very influential in this case because the public does not have any direct experiences with the issue addressed by the media, hence making in an unobtrusive issue.

So what do you think about the power of media? Is it influential? How does this story impact you?

How media does changes your life? Do you easily get influenced by the media?

Or do you just filter the important information, making your own judgments and conclusions and not solely depending on the media?

Advertisements have bombarded in every minute of our lives, from washing detergents to TV dramas. According to studies an average American comes across 1000 ads on a daily basis. Media awareness has created importance of advertisements in our lives, from persuasion to informative. Today I am going to forward an interesting article about banned advertisements that most of us are unaware. In a fast moving corporate world, advertisers do actually cross the line of ethics and morality and forget about the human essentials of culture.

Culture is a shared set of values, norms, goal that is usually practiced in an organization, group or a society. Different culture exists in different parts of the world. Culture is represented through art, literature, costumes, customs, food, music and traditions in different community. Secondly understanding the importance of culture, how culture gives a unique identity of its own.  Culture is shared and passed from older to younger generation, to understand culture it’s translated into symbols. Religion, art, language is been the essential means of transfer of cultural values amongst generations.  Culture bonds a tie in people of a community together, culture is one symbol that brings people together.  We can always notice through the traditions and customs that people are recognized through their festival, food, clothes and cultural values they share together. Most importantly culture is like a principle and a philosophy that links people together.

According to Hofstede, culture is the “collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another…includes system of values and values are among the building blocks of culture”.

Furthermore, Cultural values provide the context within which a society’s norms are established and justified

Let’s take a look at a commercial that violated the society’s norm, hence banned!

China banned a Nike television commercial titled “Chamber of Fear” which was broadcasted on the local Chinese stations and on state television’s national sports channel as the commercial insults national dignity. 

It shows James, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ reigning NBA rookie of the year, defeating the kung fu master, a pair of dragons, and resisting the temptation of traditionally garbed women in a video game-style setting.

Such mockery of the Kungfu master is unacceptable intolerable and more so a taboo, because he is a well respected figure in the Chinese culture.  Moreover, the dragons are considered a sacred symbol in traditional Chinese culture.  Hence the Chinese cultural symbols are all defeated in the Nike advertisement.

China being a patriotic and conservative nation, will not tolerate such commercial which is seen as insulting, demeaning and disrespectful to the country’s pride.   

The advertisement “violates regulations that mandate that all advertisements in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland’s culture,” the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said on its Web site Monday.

“It also goes against rules that require ads not to contain content that blasphemes national practices and cultures.”

The commercial was intended for the James 19-year-old’s Air Zoom LeBron II sneakers on films featuring martial arts icon Bruce Lee.

Nike had to apologize for the embarrassment they bought to Chinese audience.

Source: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/4-12-9/24817.html

Relevance to class discussion

From the commercial it can also be seen that the marketer deliberately emphasized on the non verbal cue’s to communicate the message effectively to the audience. For example, the commercial resorted to vocal non verbal cues, namely vocalic (sound other than words) and Kinesics (body language) namely symbolic, affect displays and adaptors.  The reason behind resorting to non verbal cue is primarily because the commercial was targeted at the Chinese consumers- and China as a country is considered to be a high context culture, hence does not place much importance on the transmitted message, but instead focus on information on information programmed in the receiver and the setting, and places much importance on body language and non verbal cues. 

Subsequently China is also known as a collectivist society, whereby much of the country’s social behaviour is determined by the views, needs and goals of the in-groups (families, friends, love ones) rather than one self, and exert high level of interdependency.  For that matter I personally think this advertisement is not effective- besides violating the cultural aspect and offending the national pride, the advertisement also fails to take account the collectivism nature of the Chinese society, whereby the marketer should employ the use of groups’ i.e. (families) which would be more appealing to the Chinese consumers instead of an individual celebrity. 

So what do you guys think? Do you believe China is a collectivistic society or an individualistic society?

What are your suggestions- how would you advice marketers to successfully advertise in China? 

Overall what do really think about the commerical that was banned in china? Do you think the Chinese government over-reacted? or did they do the right think by banning the commercial?

She thought it was love, but was it really? What is love? She asks that question every day?

I wish I was the love guru that could assist her, but really I’m a disaster too!

She questions me, Is love really unconditional? All about giving, and not expecting? I really don’t think so…

She thought she loved him, but was it love lust or infatuation?

I remember being there for her when she most needed me, I advised her..but at the end of the day I can’t make the decisions for her..

Well let me narrate you through my friend’s love story-gone bad, introducing the Knaap Model of Relational Development along the way, which is considered the most influential models of relationship describing the progression and development of relationship as a series of 10 in two phases

Stage 1-5: coming together

Stages 6-10 coming apart

Coming together…

Stage 1 (Initiating)

They met, it was by chance, through a mutual friend I recall- yet the chemistry sparked instantly. 

I told her they were getting ahead of themselves; take it easy, be rational, and don’t let your emotions take control… But really, at the end of the day love is one of a kind that it really does put a deaf ear to everything, just like the over used cliché “Love is blind”? I think it was that…  I felt like whatever I advised her was meaningless, it went in one ear, and left the other before a day could even pass by! But its ok I did my part, I was just being a good friend, who genuinely cared for a friend.

Well they started the whole 24/7 “wifi” kind of love – phone calls, chatting, skyping, you name it! You bet..They utilized all the social media made available! They talked day and night, but seldom met because of the rents! So they did all the screening and filtering on the phone.  They thought they were made for each other, and it wasn’t even a few weeks? Sigh…

Man, at times I did wonder if I was losing a friend. Whenever I called, the phone was busy, or a reply snapped at me “Can I call you back”…I’m thinking do I have a choice?

She told me “Everything seems so perfect, it’s so surreal”! I could only roll my eyes and think to myself, yea right? Life is not a fairy tale with happy endings.

Stage 2 (Experimenting)

Well they did enough of talking on the phone, what she called “small talks” to learn about each other.  Because of their cultural differences, she told me a lot of their conversations were learning about their culture, and trying to understand and respect each other’s differences.   I do remember her telling me, every time she tried to talk to him about her culture; he didn’t pay much attention and always changing topic- but it never mattered to her! Well at least not then…

 She said it didn’t take much time at all before she felt really comfortable with him, and started disclosing her personal information, because she trusted him dearly.  I thought it was too soon…

Well don’t get me wrong, I’m really not a stalker! It’s just all I hear from her during school, after school, classes, and breaks, and on the phone was about HIM! So I feel that I’m practically in a relationship with this guy I don’t even know, yes weird!

So the love story goes on…

SKIPS Stage 3 (Intensifying)

I don’t recall her telling me much about their level of commitment; I guess he was a player sort? I really don’t know?  But she told me she really did love him, but every time she gets emotional about their commitment he wasn’t too comfortable, she just gave up and said that’s just how he is!

What a pity..Had it been me I’d probably leave him then and there…

Regarding getting physical, like I said it was more of a “wifi” love, I guess because of her parent’s and culture/religion, going physical wasn’t accepted, and certainly not at the age of 17. 

Stage 4 (Integrating)

Well what’s next? The whole thing with going public, I still don’t get it..I guess ‘cos I’m more of a private person?

So one day I was surfing the net, doing the usual, checking out face-book, and I see her relationship status change. I’m thinking, this is so strange, he is not even ready to commit to her, but yet they want to make their relationship status public, and let the world know they are in a relationship? How ironic? From the conservative family that she is from, such publicity is not tolerated. 

I was really pissed, I called her and asked her about it, and all she could tell me was “I don’t know he wanted me to change it”…I asked her back, did he change his status as well? and to my surprise (well not really, because honestly, I never got good vibes from him to begin with) she was silent, and a few seconds later she just hangs up.  Out of curiosity, I went onto his facebook, well guess what…his relationship status was single?

Like seriously, I don’t know how I controlled my anger at that point.  I didn’t even want to befriend her anymore, I felt like she was not confiding in me, when I am ready to help her? I concluded that he wants to portray himself as a single man, but on the other hand show ownership over her? I’m sorry but I feel that is so corrupted and disgusting…

Coming Apart…

Stage 6: Differentiating

As expected, one sudden day she calls up (silence for a minute) then burst into tears, I was overwhelmed, I didn’t know how to handle the situation. Though I expected this day to come, but not this soon? In a way it was a blessing in disguise (phew!)

 She tells me they are having stupid conflicts every day over the smallest things- and he was always picking a fight, even though there was nothing to it.  He was doing this intentionally she felt, just because he wanted his own space, wanted to do his own things. Moreover she noticed every time they quarrelled he would never call and apologize, in fact she always had to make the first move, and say sorry even though she was not at fault. She could not take this anymore. Every time they fought it gave him an excuse to do something she would not have approved of otherwise.  What a looser?

So I was thinking this is the result from skipping to many steps in between, and I personally told her that she jumped into this relationship too fast.   I advised her to move on with her life, for he is showing no signs of interest anymore, he is totally disengaging himself from this relationship that is not even 6 months old. 

She told me she would think over it (I really did cross my fingers and hope she would make a right decision for once).

Stage 7: Circumscribing

She still tried, she really did…she wanted this to work real bad. Honestly I will never understand her, god have mercy on her.   After all he has done, she is still trying to make things work? Well maybe love makes you do crazy things… but that is not a valid excuse, trust me it’s not, almost pathetic!

It was so clear that he has completely lost interest and commitment (the little that he had) moreover, to make things even worse, rumours were even spreading in school that he was dating this other chick.  Exactly, you know what I was thinking…

Yet, she tried calling him repeatedly, almost like holding onto her dear life, it was really insane. He on the other hand slammed her with the same dialogue repeatedly, god he might as well recorded it and put it on repeat, “I don’t want to talk about it”…

Stage 10: Terminating

Thank GOD, she came to her senses finally, and ended this relationship.

I was so happy for her; she deserves someone more worthy, who would love her dearly. 

For me, I was just happy I gained back a friend who I thought I had once lost. 

My take…

But really, I still feel it is better to have loved and lost, than never had loved at all.

What do you guys think? Mind sharing your personal experience?

Do you guys believe in love? What is love? Is it conditional? Unconditional?

Does true love even exist? Or is it just a fabricated illusion? Or is it just infatuation?

IT’S A NEW MOVIE, A MUST WATCH!

Set in Pakistan, Ali (Ali Zafar) works as a television reporter for local news channel but wants to migrate to the US for better prospects. After being deported from US once and having his American visa rejected seven times, Ali approaches a travel agent who assures him of an entry to America if he can manage a couple of lakhs.

That’s when he stumbles across Noora (Pradhuman Singh) whose facial features come too close to Osama Bin Laden. Ali hatches a plan to shoot a fake video of Osama with Noora and sell it to news channels for big money. So he hires services of a makeup artist (Sugandha Garg), an Arabic scriptwriter (Chirag Vohra), a dubbing artist (Rahul Singh) and a cameraman (Nikhil Ratnaparkhi) to create the video footage that creates big furor across the globe.

Unfortunately his plan backfires when Pakistanis are forbidden entry into US due to security reasons after Osama’s reappearance. Further an American intelligence officer (Barry John) arrives in Pakistan to trace Osama’s whereabouts.

Importance of Non Verbal cues…Who would have thought they were that important?

I spy with my little eyes…

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzn4u9PhJUc&feature=related 

Two men (news reporter) come charging for the press conference- and is abruptly stopped by the guard at the door, using his hands and facial expression to show authority. This is known as Kinesics, the study of body movement, namely symbolic – when the police use his hands to stop the two news reporter. Moreover the police yell “Hey Stop!” this sudden change in the quality of voice, precisely the volume and tone to denote anger is known as Paralinguistic’s (study of vocal nonverbal cue).

Furthermore, the police hold a rifle firmly to show his status, is very intimidating; however the two news reporters quickly counter his authority by showing their badge with their personal identity on it “press” which challenges the authority of the police, to show they are entitled to enter the conference. The showing of personal objects i.e. status, personal identity to convey meanings is known as Artifacts. The firm look and the confidence portrayed on the faces of the two reporters when showing off their identity, and looking the police in his eyes showing their bravery is known as Oculesics, the study of nonverbal meaning associated with the eyes. The police make a mockery out of the both of them, making sarcastic comments and claiming they are unknown and thus not invited, pushing them away, which is known as Haptics, the study of touch in communication, in this case, unwanted expression of power.

 The two reports still try their level best to battle their way into the press conference; however they are continuously stopped by the overly big size police, who is well dressed in his uniform, looking very intimidating (physical appearance- a non verbal cue). The police use his body several times to show disgust and frustration, this is also another form of Kinesics’, known as affect displays.

As one of the reporters (in green top) tries to challenge the police, the other reporter (in blue polo top) quickly holds him back (haptics), and tries to get him out of there by consoling him that the press conference would have stared any ways and there is no point attending. The fear and anxiety portrayed on the reporter’s face (in blue polo) is yet another form of kinesics, known as adaptors. It is clear that the reporter is no longer comfortable in the environment, hence tugging at the other reporter, and stuttering, signs of adapting to the uneasy environment. However, the reporter (in green top) refuse to give up, after seeing that the police let two other news reporter walk right into the press conference without any questions being asked, and in fact welcomed them with a warm smile and a simple head nod to show respect, which is another form of kinesics known as regulators.

In the press conference, the chief minister also shows his authority through the use of artifacts namely status associations. Moreover the use of Kinesics namely symbolic is also present when he points his figure at the audience to get his message across. He also regulates (another form of kinesics) his conversation throw his facial expression.

 The conference is interrupted by the reporters (in green top) mischievous act, crawling on the ceiling top, moving the lid to take a video of the press conference. The audience and the chief minister body language can be interpreted by kinesics, namely affect displays and adaptors)- as they show emotions of confusion, and start talking amongst themselves, where by some fold their arms in fear of the rattling sound of the ceiling.

At the Danka TV news head quarter, the video is quickly broad casted on TV by reporter Maqsood. The reporter uses Paralinguistic (quality of voice – volume, tone) to report the news on TV, showing his professionalism along with Oculesics to engage with the audience. When the press conference video comes on, to their surprise, with all the reporters had their mouth wide open in shock (kinesics-symbolic) and puzzled facial expression (kinesics-affect displays) . The guy dressed formally in white shirt with a neck-tie (physical appearance) ordered the technical staff to stop broad casting the video immediately. He gasps “Switch that off, you deep fried fool! Turn if off! What rubbish!” again these employ the use of paralinguistic’s as he raises his volume, tone, and pitch simultaneously. The technical staff panic, and took his time in stopping the video, hence the formally dressed man, came up to him pointed his hands at him, pushed him, and strangled him violently. This short scene employs the use of both Kinesics (symbolic, affect displays, and adaptors-on the part of the technical staff), along with paralinguistics, Oculesics, and haptics.

What do y’ll think????

SO after reading me rambling about the non-verbal cues in this short clip, what is your take? Do you think non-verbal communication is important in your daily life? Is it as important as Verbal communication? Imagine, just muting your TV and all you see is a bunch of hands swaying from left to right, puzzled faces, weird looking people…how boring? OR imagine watching a moving with your TV switched off, and only your sound system switched on? BORING? I would think so? Orr….simply imagine a movie in a foreign language with NO SUBTITLES, aha!  Please share your ideas..

My take…

Well, yes of course my conclusion is short and sweet 🙂 I believe both non verbal and verbal communication is equally important just like the “Yin and Yang” – the interaction of two energies that cause everything to happen, and they cannot exist without each other!

YES YES! ITS LADY GAGA AND HER FASHION YET AGAIN……………..

Lady Gaga accepted her award for Video of the Year in a Franc Fernandez-designed raw meat dress, shoes, bag, and hat making it one of the biggest fashion statements in VMA history. The singer is known for her theatrical sartorial taste so it was no surprise when she shuffled awkwardly across the MTV stage in Los Angeles.

A difference in perception…

Lady Gaga might have amassed awards at the 2010 MTV Music Awards but her meat outfit received criticism from the animal rights advocacy group, PETA who already released an official statement condemning Lady Gaga’s meat dress. “Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn’t want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots — not too attractive, really,” said PETA in their statement.

Moreover, “The City” star and People’s Revolution owner Kelly Cutrone was introspective, saying she found the frock frivolous in light of global hunger issues. “I personally think it’s not a good idea when people are starving in the world,” she said about food as fashion. “One person’s dress is another person’s dinner.”

On the contrary…

The fashion world appeared open-minded to Gaga’s fleshy statement- those who work in the world of art and fashion are quick to point out Gaga is certainly not the first person to use flesh to make a point.

“It was quite a dress! The first thing I thought of is an overlap of art and fashion — is I thought of artist Jana Sterbak. She, years and years ago, made a dress out of meat, and I think her dress was called ‘Dress for an Albino Anorectic,’ ” said Nancy Deihl, coordinator for the M.A. program in costume studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture. “Her dress still exists, and it’s all dried out and it’s already this kind of icon of meat fashion. It wasn’t fashion, it was an art piece.

Artist Mark Ryden, who has also used similar visuals in his own art, said he thinks the use of meat is just part of pop culture’s current zeitgeist. “Many people forget that meat was once part of a living creature. They can see it as simply a product you buy in a clean package at the grocery store. Seeing meat in the context of a dress is a bold reminder of what meat is and perhaps in still awareness of where the meat comes from. That awareness would hopefully be followed by respect and reverence and then would perhaps lead to the better treatment of the animals we use for food,” he said, referring to his own painting, “Incarnation.”

“I thought: courageous,” host Mary J. Blige said with a laugh when asked her opinion of Lady Gaga’s meat dress. “She’s a courageous chick.”

Actress and frequent “Glee” guest star Kristin Chenoweth couldn’t have agreed more. “I thought it was incredible,” she said. “Actually it was an incredible design. I wouldn’t be caught dead in it, but go girl!” Vegetarian singer KT Tunstall has leaped to the defense of Lady GaGa for wearing meat-style clothing, insisting it’s no different from dressing in leather.

So what did Lady Gaga had to say? ???

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres – Lady Gaga explained later that the fleshy look “has many interpretations”- The most common is that her steak-powered statement referenced her support for gays in the US military and opposition to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuals in the ranks.

Gaga tried to explain that the dress was a political statement. Discussing how she’d been escorted to the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles by members of the U.S. military who had been discharged from the service due to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Lady Gaga said: “It is a devastation to me that I know my fans who are gay … feel like they have governmental oppression on them. That’s actually why I wore the meat tonight.”

“Well, it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian,” she told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who is a vegan.

source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1647762/20100913/lady_gaga.jhtml

Relevance to class discussion

 Perception is the process by which we make sense of the world around us by means of selecting, organizing and interpreting information in order to give personal meaning to the communication we receive. It is highly influenced by psychological factors such as thought processes, character, and experiences. Moreover it is also influenced by social factors such as group culture and media.

Perception varies from individual to individual – it is highly subjective and deceptive, yet true enough it defines our reality. From this current issue, it is clearly seen that the way individuals, let it be celebreties, artists, or animal rights advocacy groups have different interpretations of Gaga’s fashion statement- this is because they perceive their surroundings, expeierence, and communication differently.

Before reacting and interpreting Gaga’s outrageous sense of fashion, these people select stimuli based on qualities like contrast, and novel stimuli. For example certain group of people may feel more strongly against Gaga’s meat dress because it is contrasting to their social norms and mentality, hence not acceptable- i.e. it is a taboo to dress in such clothing. For others like Artist Rayden- it is  truly a form of impressive art- and overlap between fashion and art- it is unique and captures attention.

My take…

I personally feel Lady Gaga dressed in a slab of meat is obnoxious, and a taboo. I believe she is a talented young woman, and should abide by society’s norm. True enough her sense of fashion is like a volcano, you just never know when it is going to erupt, however all along it was still tolerable, but this time she took it to the extremes. Many of the young crowd looks up to her, I feel she should impress them the right way, and not encourage such traumatizing dressing sense which is unethical. She should apologize to the media, and groups she might have offended to gain back her self-respect in the eyes of those people, if she wish to continue exceling in her career.

SO..What did you think of Gaga’s meat dress? What is your interpretation- A fashion statement or Taboo? Share your thoughts please:)

Thousands of Muslims around the world have taken to the streets to protest against threats by an obscure pastor in the United States to burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, which have sparked international controversy.

Despite the church in question saying it would not go ahead with the plan, demonstrations have erupted in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and the Palestinian territories

The threat by Terry Jones, the pastor of a small fringe church in Gainesville, Florida, to burn the Qurans had drawn international condemnation and a warning from Obama that it could provoke al-Qaeda suicide bombings and incite violence around the world.

“The idea that we would burn the sacred text of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for,” the US president told a news conference in Washington.

Other world leaders and international bodies have also denounced Jones’ plan to burn copies of Islam’s holy book on Saturday.

Moreover, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan, warned that burning the Quran could endanger the lives of US troops who might become the target of retribution.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called on Jones to “not even think” about burning Qurans because “it was an insult to Muslim nations”.

Interpol, the international police agency, warned governments worldwide of an increased risk of “terrorist attacks” if the burning went ahead.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/09/2010910144912849393.html

This current issue relates to the concept of various perspectives of communication discussed in class, specifically  social constructionist and cultural studies perspectives.

Social constructionist perspective defines communication as the key that surrounds people and holds their world together.  Moreover it is a process whereby people in groups, for example the Muslims use the tools provided by their culture to create collective presentations of reality through cultural traditions. Together the Muslim countries have come together on common grounds based on shared beliefs, attitudes, values, role and rules to protest against the burning of the Quran.

Moreover, the perspective of cultural studies also ties in because this issue suggests a close relationship between acts of communication and power amongst the Muslim nations- together the countries protested and imposed threats i.e. suicide bombings against the burning of the Qurans, and eventually by communicating through power, this outrageous act was not performed by the pastor.

I believe Terry Jones, may be insane, as some, including his own daughter, have suggested. But what excuse do sane and sophisticated people like Obama, Petraeus, and Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, have?

The pastor who wants to avenge the September 11 attacks by burning the Quran will not only cause hundreds of bloody attacks in the United States but also throughout the world.  It is outrageous and disgraceful that a pastor with a church of no more than 50 people can make this distressful plan, and is willing to put the lives of innocent victims at stake.

On the contrary, I would think being a pastor, defines humanity- a person who cares about society’s well being, and promotes peace and harmony.  Hence it shocks me to come across a pastor who thinks and acts otherwise, and is willing to stoop so low, to seek revenge and indulge in such unjust and demoralizing act.  It is totally deplorable. It is an act of total defiance, and an uncivilized act that must be condemned by any rational thinking person.

I definitely agree with Obama that this act would provoke al-Qaeda suicide bombings and incite violence around the world at the cost of innocent victims, and I pray that President Obama and the U.S. government will be able to do something to prevent this from happening.

Throwing this out to all the bloggers, what do you guys feel about this controversial issue?

Please share your thoughts, ideas and concerns 🙂