April 25, 2005

Reflecting on Textual Memory

In the 5th grade, I was in a program at school called GATE. This program consisted of gifted or exceptional students. In this program the students were required to do certain projects and studies. One of the projects my group chose was the study of the Titanic and the history of the tragic voyage.

I recall even at such a young age, reading a book on the Titanic. This book consisted of pictures of the wreckage and the Titanic before the accident.

Before reading this book (whose title escapes me), I had some prior knowledge of the Titanic and that it was a supposed “unsinkable” ship that sunk, due to a high speed crash into a protruding iceberg.

However, once I started reading that particular book, I was placed inside the original Titanic. I seen the extravagance of the glass and silverware, chandeliers, rooms, the band, the food, the size of the ship, the rich people, and I even got a glimpse of the arrogance of the makers of ship and the confidence of the passengers.

Because of this text, I was able to witness all the memories of the survivors who actually seen in person what I was seeing and hearing in this book of pictures and testimony.

According to Margaret Atwood, “You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water.” Found in “Textual Memory: The Making of the Titanic’s Literary Archive” by Tim Woods and Peter Middleton.

Also, Paul Auster in his “Book of Memory’s” states, “Memory: Therefore, not simply as the resurrection of one’s private past, but an immersion in the past of others, which is to say: history— which one both participates in and is witness to, is a part of and apart from.”

I interpreted that he was implying that memory isn’t about bringing up the past, but is like an interest or fascination in others past and through history we witness and contribute to it directly and indirectly.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)

Strong Women as characters

Frances H. Early states in "Staking Her Claim: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Transgressive Woman Warrior that, " In the last several years, the rise of the indomitable tough woman has become an especially pronounced feature of television "episodics." The age of the tough-gal action show seems at hand, and women, warriors such as, Xena, the Warrior Princess, La Femme Nikita, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have become wildly popular, especially among young North Americans." (11)

I agree with this statement. All of the series listed above I watched and enjoyed. I can even admit that I was slightly addicted to the internal and external struggles of these characters. Nikita's inability to develop relationships with anyone outside the center or even her struggle with her relationship with Michael her co-operative. It was intense and extreme, but more importantly it was a woman going through it not a man. However, she was strong, independent, intelligent and beautiful, but she still had absolutely no control over her own life and what she did with it. Men commanded her around, men controlled everything; with Michael he was in control not her.

Xena was a different story all together. Xena fought all the men she encountered and more often than not eventually conquered them and some of them were Gods. What I found most interesting about Xena's character was the fact that she was beautiful and fearless. Yet, she could not keep a man around. Could be due to her constant battle for her life, or because she killed all the men around her, or because she was more interesting in her trusty sidekick Gabriel. Still, this series and the Nikita series sent the message that strong women can't have it all.

As for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, John Whedon the creator of the show states his objective, "If I can make teenage boys comfortable with a girl who takes charge of a situation without their knowing that's what's happening," Whedon insists, "it's better than sitting down selling them on feminism" (quoted in Bellafante, 83)

In this show Buffy at first was not in control of who she was. Giles had to inform her that she was the slayer by fate and destiny. She denied who she was and did not want to accept this, especially as a 16 year old, but once she did she took control. And Giles was not her father, or her sergeant, he was more of a mentor and guide.

What made this story so successful was the realism factor. I know Buffy is a super hero and kills demons and vampires, which is of course not real. However, the pressures of dealing with high school and teenage issues like popularity, fitting in, and friendship is very real and we have all gone through it at one time or another. And this is what made Buffy vulnerable and all the more attractive, because yes she was a slayer and saved the world with her friends on the daily, but she was an outcast because of it and struggle with this throughout the entire series.

Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are extremely important to the generation because of the messages within the show, and I was upset to see it come to an end.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)

Out of this World

Aesthetics initially, is a response conditioned through the senses; something used to sense beauty. Intrinsic means that something had it already within itself.

Inside "Aesthetic Judgments of the Natural Environment and Aesthetic Communication, you will find aesthetic qualities listed by Gestalt.
It consists of sensory qualities that have to do with the senses. Affective qualities like metaphors and personification. Imaginative qualities like a mystery. Behavior qualities, which are responses to affective qualities and reactive qualities like when, so you laugh or cry? Responses to affective qualities. Character qualities, majestic overall. Symbolic qualities "butterfly means freedom". Historical qualities, something that makes you think of ancient tradition.

In class we discussed trying to fathom amazing things in the world and it's beauty. For example, how the world was created. The world and how it all connects so perfectly is amazingly beautiful. But I, as a human being, really can't fathom it's complete beauty. Like the sun and how its a ball of burning gas that will eventually burn out, but has been burning for millions of years. It's really impossible to understand it.

However, my point being, there are many aspects of beauty and what we consider beautiful. Nature is one of those things that is beautiful and continues to amaze us, the more we learn and try to understand it.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005

Informal Presentation Print versus Online journalism

Online Journalism vs. Print: What happens to the traditional journalist?
By Denishia Salter

In a time where blogging is considered journalism and thousands of websites are being built daily; it seems that traditional journalism, may be in danger of becoming extinct.

Even the Journalism major at Seton Hill University has changed to a New Media Journalism curriculum, preventing me from receiving the proper education in traditional journalism that is imperative to attain a job in the very near future.

All forms of information are being sited on the internet; anyone with a computer can obtain the latest news on Google, which is updated almost down to the minute. So if online journalism is supposedly quicker, cheaper, and more convenient, how the hell can a traditional journalist survive besides just going with the flow and adapting their style of writing for an on line audience?

So considering this question, I realized that I was actually taking one class that still considers traditional print media; which is my magazine writing class. However, magazines are being placed online as well, along with all the content found in the print magazine.

So why would anyone want to sit in front of a computer all day when you can curl up with a nice book in bed, on a plane, or even in the bathroom? (Don’t pretend like you haven’t read on the toilet before!) I mean no one just brings their laptop to the bathroom, do they?

So again why and how could online replace print? I then decided to compare for myself the differences between online and print magazines, and what better magazine to examine, than one of the most popular magazines in the world, The Cosmopolitan?

When viewing the online Cosmopolitan, I found that it was similar to the cover of this month’s print issue; except for all the links and pop-up movie advertisements flashing continuously throughout the screen and in the middle of the articles, was distracting and annoying.

I also noticed that I couldn’t just click on past issues and read through them. I could only view the cover. However, the website advertises for you to subscribe to the print magazine on every page. Why advertise online for the reader to buy the print version? Because print is where the money is and the magazine is not making any money from readers browsing through the articles on the internet for free.

People aren’t even paying for music anymore so why buy a magazine? Of course, cost always plays a role when it comes to buying anything; especially during a time where a gallon of gas cost more than a McDonald’s happy meal and a pack of gum.

Besides the racy articles, the first thing I notice in Cosmo are the infamous quizzes. Are you a great girlfriend? How sexy are you? Online you can take the quizzes by clicking on your answers and they add up your results. Instead of just taking the quiz and filling out all the answers in pencil, so you can erase them and someone else can do it; you can just click on an icon and email it to a friend.

That is very convenient and maybe even faster. But doesn’t that ruin the effect it has when you huddle together on a team road trip and giggle secretively in the back of the bus while taking goofy test or reading “50 ways to please your man” with your girls? Or passing the magazine around a restaurant table looking at the pictures of the, “guy without his shirt of the month.” You get my point.

No matter how convenient, fast, cheap, or high tech the online media is, I don’t think it will ever replace the interpersonal communication involved with sharing magazines and ripping out the posters with your friends and putting them on the wall. Or reading an article and everyone circling what they found most funny.

My purpose was not to determine whether or not online magazines are superior to print magazines or vice versa. I wanted to determine whether or not traditional journalism, like magazines were still popular or were being over shadowed by online magazines.

My point being, online journalism is an evolution, it’s even easier to get published online. However, I honestly don’t think that it can replace the concreteness of print magazines, books, and newspapers. Well at least until they make a computer the size of a book…ok so they do have computers that size. Still, as long as print is making money traditional journalism is here to stay.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005

Aesthetics Part 2

The following is a list of links to blog entries that consist of more topics on media Aesthetics. The first half was more of a historical documentation however, with these entries there were was more modern primary text and media.

Poets, writers, painters, sculptors, and musicians are all creators of beauty, whether it is the beauty of the word, knowledge, or music. These aesthetics aid in the happiness of the individual self. Artists and poets contribute substantially to the happiness of humans. Read more on, Aristotle vs. Plato: The Poet and the People. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

In chapter four, Sounds, Henry David Thoreau examines the sounds around him. It seems that he wants people to not rely so much on learning from what’s in books and on paper. He thinks we should look around us and learn from our own experiences more. He asks the question, “Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?” He talked about how he didn’t read during the summer he “hoed beans.” Continue reading Sounds and Solitude

Those who write or paint know for a fact that inspiration is all around us, it's just a matter of time before we see it. Continue reading Poems and Paintings.

Johanna said, "The Brooklyn Bridge is often considered one of the most beautiful bridges ever created. At its completion in 1883, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world." Read more

Besides the fact that I found Metropolis to be one of the longest, most tedious movies I have ever seen in my life; I actually found some points in the movie that peaked my interest.

Anne said, "It simply means an artist is showing their feelings--expressing themselves (you can look at Amanda's blog for further details on this term). I also found out from Wikipedia that "expressionism centers on the artists vision rather than on the viewers impression."”

In the essay, "You Are Standing at the Beginning of a Road: Examining Will Crowther's "Advent", both the history of the game and Crowther's himself are explored. Continue reading More of the "Adventure"

An Intro to Galatea 2.2,This novel by Richard Powers can be described as many things, however, after reading the first 88 pages I can honestly say that I am somewhat intrigued by the characters relationships. Characters

Galatea 2.2 finale-Anne commented in her blog about how she felt that the novel was sort of jumpy and confusing as far as the language. I do agree with Anne on this observation.

As a child I always had trouble just simply hearing someone talk and picking up on something they are trying to tell me. My mind tends to roam all the time from one thought or distraction to another. Continue reading Learning How

Brenda Laurel in her book Utopian Entrepreneur, says that as one they "mainfest a different ethic simply through the force of their choices and actions." (7) Read more

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Utopian Entrepreneurship

Brenda Laurel in her book Utopian Entrepreneur, says that as one they "mainfest a different ethic simply through the force of their choices and actions." (7)

Laurel's actions and choices consistent of creating company that produced video games for girls. She claims that through research they found that girls were not interested in playing "boy games" that consisted of action, graphics, shooting, etc. Laurel decided that girls needed a video game that explored the realms of teen problems like cheating, jealously, peer pressure, love, friendship, etc.

So her and her staff of mostly women created Purple Moon which was successful as far as bringing these teenage girls together and sending out the messages and themes that they wanted girls to understand.

That's all fine and all but seriously that was not going to make any real money. First of all, because she did completely exclude the male sex. And secondly, there are girls who like to play supposed boy games.

I for one grew up playing video games like Madden, NBA Live, James Bond. And now a days they have games like Vice City. That a lot of gilrs love to play.

My roomate told me that she likes to play video games that involve drugs, violence, and basically criminal activity becaus she will never be a criminal and never experience life as a criminal so she does it through the video game.

There are other games like the Sims, that let you build your life as a person and throw parties, go to work, eat, sleep, and do everything like you would do in real life, that guys and girls both like to play. It's not violent and there are no "slow movie marshmallows" and both sexes play it.

I think that yes it's true that video game market is generally made up of guys. They tend to get into video games very seriously and well I for one can play a game for awhile and then I lose interest. I don't think it matters what sex you are it depends on what you like. And I also don't think what type of video game you play determines what type of person you are in real life.

Maybe it's the traditionalism in me, but I don't agree that. "The culture-technology circuit is at the heart of culutural evolution." (102)

I think that it's people who causes evolution culuturally and the decisions they make with the technology. Not the technology itself. Maybe I'm wrong, that's just my opinion.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

Learning How

As a child I always had trouble just simply hearing someone talk and picking up on something they are trying to tell me. My mind tends to roam all the time from one thought or distraction to another. My friends and I joke that some of us have ADD. It seems that I need to have someone explain it and show it to me at the same time; both the visual and oral stimuli together for me are more effective than just one. My point being is that all human beings have the ability to learn, however, we all learn in different ways.

In the novel Galatea 2.2, written by Richard Powers, it seems that the main characters Powers and Lentz believe that the best way for the computer to learn was to feed it controlled information, through interpersonal communication.

Though Lentz designed, built, and created the subsystems to which the computer could absorb, connect, and analyze the information; Powers was the one questioning and telling the computer whether or not it was correct based on how he felt about the topic or answer. This did work for awhile. However, soon the computer began to form its own theories and began asking the questions. To me this seemed more like a Socrates style of learning because Helen was then answering the questions with questions and making Powers think in order to obtain not the best possible answer but, it seemed to me like the most truthful answer.

In the Broadway play, Pick Up Ax, by Anthony Clarvoe, the character Keith Reinzi is thought to be the nerd who knows all about computers and numbers, but has no idea how to deal with business or social situations.

This is where his friend and business partner Brian fits in. He is the business man and Keith is basically the brains. But a crisis with the suppliers of the microchips they need to build their product has been bribed by bigger fish and they are soon to be out of business. Brian is “trying everything.” However, it is not enough. Keith the brain of the business is supposedly in rut and can’t think of any new ideas for products of the company and is basically getting old and losing his savvy.

Enters Mick, the suspiciously street smart business man with connections and a way to help Brian and Keith out of their crisis.

Throughout the play it is said many times that Keith has no clue about what’s going on and he just has no street smarts or business skills. Brian and Mick constantly dismiss him during meetings of business and throughout discussions.

Here in this play learning is very important. Keith the genius learns some new tricks that not even Mick with his “MBA” could see coming. And poor Brian is put out of his misery. I thought that on page 45 when Keith and Mick are talking and Keith explains why he hated school that it was very interesting to see how he felt about learning.

“The make you do everything 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7 8. Which I guess is an okay way to teach old ideas, but if your trying to find new ones you’ve got to go 1,2,3,4,Q,H, elephant, 12, ukulele, St. Ambrose. You know?”
Implying that abstract ways of thinking help you explore more creative and innovative ideas. And it proves at the end of the novel that Keith’s abstract way of thinking paid off because he came up with the idea to get rid of both Brain and Mick, remain friends with Brian, and become in charge of the company and control his future.

As far as Heller’s “Adventure” I wasn’t too sure how to take it. My only guess would be that he learned through first hand experience everything that he did and these tools helped him later in his life. That’s basically what I got from that story.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

April 06, 2005

Galatea 2.2 finale

Anne commented in her blog about how she felt that the novel was sort of jumpy and confusing as far as the language. I do agree with Anne on this observation. It was very difficult to read behind the words of what Richard Powers the author was saying through Richard Powers the character. I always felt as if I was missing something; like I just wasn't picking up on some deeper meaning.

Also, throughout the novel I paid close attention to the main characters and their internal and external conflicts.

I found that C. was completely and utterly scared of advancement and progression of any kind in her life and therefore she ruined her own life all the time. She finally comes to this realization after she and Richard are breaking up for good.

"I must be sick. Something must be wrong with me. I'm a sadist. I've spoiled everything that was worth having." (p293)

And at the end of the novel it became apparent that Richard truly wanted "Helen" (Implementation H) whom he gave that name; to actually become conscious. Richard proves this on page 294 when he asked Helen for her opinion about his book; instead of asking the computer for it's analysis of the information it has been given.

I personally feel that the characters and their problems are what made this book readable and endurable. Though they were very depressing, I found them to be interesting. Powers did a good job of making the reader care about them and how they were feeling and what was the cause. I was honestly hurt by Richards's unknown future and the failure at the end.

Posted by Denishia Salter at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)