Final Blog Post: Initial Survey and Short Interview

With this final blog post I will discuss the culmination of BCM210 topics discussion, different types of research, and our second assignment which involves putting this research into practice with a survey and short interview, to test the waters of our topic and deduce what may need amending for the final forms of research.

As I explored in my previous literature review, my group area of research is the progression of romance films through the ages and how they have affected audience’s ideals and perceptions of romance and relationships. We will be focusing on three films that we feel represent three significantly different forms of development in this film genre, An Affair to Remember, Dirty Dancing and Friends With Benefits.

Our group first devised a draft survey that included, amongst others, the following questions:

  1. Have any romance films influenced your ideas on relationships/romance?
  2. Do you think the media has an important role in shaping opinions on romance?
  3. Have you seen any of the following films, An Affair to Remember, Dirty Dancing and Friends with Benefits

From the survey I devised some interview questions and conducted a mock interview with a participant I felt would provide me with some more traditional answers considering the age bracket, the answers I received were as follows:

  1. Do you think romance films are popular? Why?
  2. Yes they are very popular, I think it’s because they are teaching the younger generations to focus completely on love and romance, on fluffy feel good things but not realistic things
  3. do you feel romance films have influenced your own views on romance and relationships
  4. Yes absolutely, but ultimately for negative reasons, I think they made me feel like I would never be good enough to find love, never pretty enough, or with enough money
  5. Do you think romance films have influenced society’s views on romance and relationships?
  6. They have made everything acceptable, they only touch on what the surface of what love is, there is no depth or quality to the relationships they project, they say that you can do whatever you want with whomever you want and everything will work out fine.
  7. Were there any films in particular that strongly influenced your views on relationships?
  8. I think Gone with the Wind comes most to mind, it is just so beautiful and lovely and when I was younger I accepted the love and relationships within it, but as I got older realised how unrealistic they were.

I felt it did not prove difficult to transfer the original survey questions to interview form, as this topic is one of content and substance so the survey initially needed questions to obtain more depth than statistics. It is clear from these answers that the participant is a learned individual who while does believe in genuine relationships feels that romantic films do not project the truth, and with this project I very much look forward to hearing the many different sides to this argument and exploring the true influence these films that I so adore have on society.

Romantic Films and their influence on an audience- Text Analysis

Hollywood has an incredible hold over the world, it can project a person to massive stardom, bring attention to worthy issues such as poverty or women’s rights, and even shape the way society approaches everyday issues, such as romance. For my groups research topic we will be further exploring this affect romantic films have on society, the key demographic young women and adolescents, and in this text analysis I will explore the research paper “The Effects of Romantic Comedies on women and Female adolescents,” by Cassady Green, a paper that focuses on the psychology behind this influence, and analyses some key films that effectively illustrate the papers points.

To explain why these romantic films make such an impression on the noted demographic, Green begins researching a very core theory known as Social Cognitive Theory. This theory that suggests “Individuals commit to memory behaviours they have observed to be later used as models on which to base their own behaviour,” particularly if the subject of the behaviour is alluring to the audience in some way. In terms of romantic films, it can be deduced that according to this theory, women use romantic films as a basis to learn and develop their own relationships. This theory guides the further analysis of how these films alter a women’s perception of relationships, often not for the better

This research paper was very much analysed by qualitative not quantitative means, three categories used to analyse some popular romantic films and demonstrate their effect on society. The first two categories, regressive fantasies and post feminism are very effective in exploring how romantic comedies can affect the expectations in relationships, Green exploring how these films often embrace medieval and fantastical approaches to courtship, with the male doing all the chasing and orchestrating of grand unrealistic gestures. This leads into the post feminism point, as most women in romantic comedies are painted as desperate or incomplete if they do not have a man by their side, and this view is a big step back in the eyes of feminism.

However it is section three of the paper that most grabbed my attention as it is an issue my group has already discussed and fully intend to incorporate into our research assignment. This final category explores many of the recurring themes romantic comedies often incorporate, themes that society very much takes on board through the media.  “A basic function of the media is the creation of representation or simulations-reproduced versions of reality,” and because of this audiences truly believe what they are viewing. The concept of ‘soul mates,’ is a big offender, movies promising there is only one person especially made for you, that they will intuitively know you, and that your relationship will be completely different and better than anyone else’s sets society up for a lot of disappointment.

While clearly a lot more research is necessary, the impact romantic comedies have on society, young women in particular, is a clear and fascinating area of study, and as a young women and admirer of romantic comedies this will be a very interesting journey for me to take.


The Golden Rule

Knowledge is power, or so many people say. It’s all about who you know, what you know and just how you know it. Through research society can constantly gain this intellectual currency, incredible lengths taken to obtain that key tid-bit, the one piece of knowledge no one else has. However this thirst for knowledge, the human desire to delve and explore has been seen to bring out very questionable methods of research, making the exploration of ethics necessary and constantly developing

You know that golden rule ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’, the one your mum drilled into you so much your eyes ached from the rolling. Well turns out it was pretty spot on advice, and is ethical treatment at its most basic form.Strict guidelines and principles have been created and continue to develop to ensure ethical research is conducted in all areas. While there are many variations depending on the field and level of research, all ethical research involves treating individuals with fairness and respect, ensuring all participants of research are fully informed and voluntary and respecting the privacy of all involved.

While all of these principles seem fair and straightforward, there are many examples through the ages that seem too horrendous to fathom, but were very real, very unethical circumstances that often involved disregarding the lives of fellow people. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was one such case, a study that was attempting to test whether people with this STI were actually better off without treatment, as the treatments of that age were ineffective and in some cases dangerous. While at the time it seemed a beneficial process for the greater good, there was absolutely no consideration for the individuals, their health or wellbeing.

Every aspect of this study showed a complete disregard for ethical research, from start to the tragic finish. Participants of the study were misled and uninformed throughout the entire process, from the advertising that got them there that promised free treatment when in fact most received no treatment at all, to not being informed of many of the risks or the actual process that was taking place. When the very simple cure for this illness was discovered, basic ethics were again ignored as instead of shutting down the study and providing individuals with the cure, they were left uninformed to suffer and die, the study finally coming to a close 25 years after the treatment was discovered.

This horrific scientific study completely devalued the human life and, among many other cases, shows very clearly why ethic principles must be clear and defined, to ensure the fair treatment of all involved in research, no matter how high the stakes. It can be startling to see just how far people will go in the name of research, and this type of selfish approach to the consideration of others is what those developing principles of ethics and morality are always striving to extinguish for good.


Click to access weerakkodyn2.pdf

What We Really Need to Hear

Though not my groups decided way of research, I will use this blog as an opportunity to continue my exploration of my initial inspiration, Russell Brand and his influence in the media. The text I have chosen to analyse is one that very effectively summarises the core aspects of Brands influence, focusing on the recent event of Brand being voted the world’s fourth most influential thinker in Prospect magazine.
This article by Hannah Ellis-Peterson is one of little bias or lack of research. Peterson outlines very clearly the process of selection of Brands accolade, first a shortlist of 100 people is compiled based on strict criteria, then it is up to the public and only the public’s votes to choose the top ten. With many quotes from Brands latest book Revolution included, it is clear this The Guardian journalist has done thorough research on the subject. However as opposed to taking a harsh stand or jovially supporting, Peterson presents both sides and opinions of Brands book very clearly, making even as steadfast supporters as me understand some peoples lack of warmth toward this brilliant comedian and activist.
Even I, 100% Brand supporter always at this brilliant man’s defence, can acknowledge when presented with the options Peterson has provided that Russell Brand is by no means the absolute authority on what he speaks. With research into other articles and reviews Peterson nails down a very key critique of not only Brands book but his whole approach to social issues, the “constant changes of tone from whimsical memoir to sombre pseudo-philosophic discourse.” With Brands incredibly fast paced dazzling kind of humour and speech, it can often be hard to distinguish a line approaching joke at the expense of The Man, or a serious new philosophy that could change the nation, this constant crossover sometimes seen as lacking substance and credibility.
However with one quote Peterson surmises not only the books great strengths, but the reason behind Brands incredible impact on the world, just why people are listening so intently to someone who may not appear to belong in politics or social activism. “Using his platform in the media to draw attention to the stories that it ignores.” Russell Brand is using every opportunity at his disposal to reach the masses, Youtube, radio pod-casts, penning journalism articles, more than attracting attention with his larger than life presence, and using that attention to inform people of issues that they really need to hear.
It’s not the jokes, not the fact that half the time his videos involve him wearing just a towel or some bizarre yoga garb. It’s the fact that he has been so active in real issues, with real people.

Brand is making actual change to issues normally not given the time of day, Peterson exploring his successful fight against the eviction of residents in a housing estate in Hackney, and his continued devotion by creating a café whose profits will all go towards local community projects. Brand is a voice for the voiceless, acknowledging that change doesn’t need to come from those with all the power and money, but from the billions of people who populate this world and should finally have a true say in their own lives.


A New Brand of Research

We live in an era of constant information, new discoveries, the ability to research as simple as typing a key word into Google. Research does not require an impressive list of degrees or a lab coat, but simply a thirst for knowledge and curiosity about the changing world we live in. Last year in BCM110 we learnt about the incredible cornucopia that is the media, the different facets, owners, how it is expanding and changing society. Now that we have been introduced to this great new world, we can be shown just how to use it, how to gather and analyse information and contribute to the diverse media.

The form of research we will be exploring, scholarly research, is a much more intensive type of research, allowing a large and diverse range of information to be obtained and used. While the term “scholarly research” can sound awfully formal and official, the media offers an incredibly broad range of issues to explore and research, ensuring something of interest and passion can be found. With the seven steps of research we were encouraged to find a topic within the media that struck us in some way and pursue it.

I embraced a topic I have been interested in for a significant amount of time, but had no idea just how intensively I was already researching it. Russell Brand is a unique and wildly intelligent individual who is now leading an innovative revolution, using all aspects of the media to further his cause. Brand initially caught my attention as he became very popular on the social media circuit, and as I observed his direct and hysterical style of humour I began to research him more, gathering initial data. I discovered Youtube videos from his past, and articles he had written commenting on politics, fame and the social conditions of the world.

Though ones initial theory on this man could be to judge him on his open and progressive attitude to things like sex and fame, it became immediate that he was not only funny, but incredibly intelligent, encouraging me to form the idea that he would have a significant impact on the world. Through his multiple biographies and his web program “The Trews”I discovered an incredible wealth of research material not just on his career but on so many vital issues in the world, such as addiction and the hierarchy that still exists in most societies, and its abuse of power. Brands presence in the media not only addresses many of the key aspects of media and communications, such as popular culture and the role of authority figures, but challenges them, making him a fascinating and very relevant point of research. Though I am still very new to this type of research, it is very refreshing to be allowed to explore a topic of great interest to me, and continue to develop my research skills so as to make a significant impact to the media and the wealth of research we can obtain from it.

What matters in the global media?

With the growing diversity in the media all over the world, defining news and what should count on a global scale has become a much more complex thing.It often comes into question whether the news that the media projects is the objective truth or a very carefully packaged story. No longer the simple task of researching an reporting, what qualifies as news and what makes an impact is based on rigorous criteria and news values. From the narrative form, strong visual imperatives and composition of pieces to the relevance and cultural proximity of an issue in the social context, news is a vital part of societies communication. Relevant on both micro levels such as families and towns to complex bureaucracies, a strong flow of up to date information is a necessity in this constantly changing and evolving world of globalisation. With all of this criteria and specificity how news stories are framed and perceived in the media has grown and developed.The point of view, perspective and what information is included and excluded has significant impact on how social issues are viewed in the community, and evaluated in relation of what is considered global news. With examples such as the Egyptian Revolution, information about the issue was very carefully selected and included to project a very specific perception of the image. By including many aspects of the violence and destruction of this situation a spectacle frame was created, drawing focus to the superficial drama and averting concern for the true deeper issues. With these often bias news stories very carefully swayed in the chosen direction, it is thought western news values should be reconsidered and formed to create a more equal and inclusive public sphere where rights are considered, the voiceless are given a voice and important issues are explored with deeper consideration and equality.

Multimedia Projects: The best and worst

A collection of very new and very impressive multimedia creations to a media and technology novices eyes, while I by no means have the technical language or knowledge, this task has been an interesting way of putting my new skills to use and utilising many universal aspects of an appealing product. Out of this collection I settled on “Starved For Attention” as my favourite piece, and “Tomato Can Blues” as my least favourite. Before even considering the technological aspects, Starving For Attention immediately appealed to me more as a reader as it examines a very significant and universal issue, whereas Ultimate fighting and crime gangs, while thrilling and dramatic, caters only to a limited niche of people, and resonates little with me and many others. Moving onto the defining factors of multimedia projects, Starving For Attention was clearly superior to Tomato Can Blues, the former combining a host of technology including photographs, videos and articles, all organised in a simple categorized sequence. While complemented with artistic comic book style images, Tomato Can Blues lacks diversity of technology, and interactivity. Interactivity being a key aspect of these types of stories to draw the audience in and allow them to explore, Tomato Can Blues lacks any sort of interactivity, save for being able to play an audio piece. Starving For Attention incorporates interactivity with the many forms of media and technology, each of the stories topics presented as a picture,an effective title and a short synopsis that gives the reader only a glimpse, encouraging them to click the provided links to the media forms. The pieces outreach to the internet and further links and resources creates yet another large gap between them. Starved For Attention includes links to YouTube, websites about the featured photographers and provides an opportunity to share every aspect of the article with the simple click of a provided twitter of Facebook icon, giving this important world problem exposure. Tomato Can Blues, quite blatantly lacks any of this, making it very difficult to publicise or further research related issues. While both pieces tell interesting stories, Starving For Attention is strides ahead of Tomato Can Blues in its incorporation of modern multimedia aspects, displaying how these elements can be used very effectively to compliment and improve the quality of storytelling in this multimedia era.

Final Assignment Proposal

What is Hidden. An incredibly broad topic that leaves worlds of opportunity for interpretation. My initial inspiration for my take on this subject was some art on my walls, some sweet water colours of penguins and deer purchased from the university markets, the artist a second year student. The Hidden Talents of UOW, I thought would enable me to explore the diversity of the uni and give some deserving talents exposure. However on further reflection i felt this idea would stray from the Hidden aspect of the topic, and would simply explore artists and their craft. As I was still very interested in the artists and creativity in general, I came to a more involved topic that would allow me to explore a very relevant issue in today’s society that provided a unique take on What is Hidden. I have decided to research the issue of creativity suppressed in the education system, and the talents that have been hidden and persevered through a very academic dominated institution. This subject will allow for many opinions to be contributed, from teachers of different levels of education and artistic students also from different levels. I will explore artists personal journeys with the education system, and how their artistic ambitions have hopefully developed through the stages of schooling. I will also obtain the opinions of facilitators of this education, teachers, and their opinions of creativity, if it is important and how they think the education system deals with it. I feel this subject will provide many opportunities for both audio and visual complementation, as I intend to include samples of the artists work, including writing pieces, paintings and drawings and music samples of practices and performances. I also hope to incorporate many interviews of not only artists but others in the education system, providing a more diverse range of views giving the piece multiple perspectives and tones. Overall I hope for this piece to be an inspiring and joyful one that will give a voice to those who feel strongly about students rights to creativity, also providing much deserved exposure for artists who simply want to follow their passions without being hidden.

Sherlock Holmes: A timeless figure changing for the better

Utilizing social groups in all genres of television is an effective way to make them popular and relateable. As explored in the first part of the Television in Translation section of this course, shows such as Kath and Kim and Little Britain were so popular in their country of origin because they skilfully portrayed, with exaggeration and satire, elements of society that all could relate to. This was also a key reason why such shows were very difficult to remake and translate, as other nations did not understand the specific cultural references and humour. In this weeks exploration of the translation of Drama in television, we examined the use of an essential ‘Britishness’ in the many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, and how the timeless narratives and character forms have been translated to many cultures and eras.
Detective fiction is a universally loved genre, British and Americans alike relishing in the dramatic and suspenseful unfolding of crimes, albeit in very different ways. British crime shows and novels have stemmed from the traditional’English Country House’ setting, a crime committed in a conveniently secluded and cut off location so it is always an inside job shrouded in red herrings, bungling professionals, crime reconstruction and of course a plot twist. The original Sherlock Holmes novels, as well as the works of renowned authors like Agatha Christie, follow this narrative form, creating characters and stories that have been upheld for years. From Holmes the brilliant and seemingly deranged genius archetype was born, a character who has few personal relationships and never does what people want him to, or expect. In Krasners article “Watson Falls asleep: Narrative Frustration and Sherlock Holmes’ he explores the theory that Holmes is a representation of society, and peoples desire to find control within chaos, as he always does. Watson is cast as the Everyman, an imperfect but emotional role who attempts to wrangle and understand Holmes. The intelligent villain is always present, as is incompetent authority and Holmes’ homeless network who help him solve crimes. All of this paired with traditional elements of English culture such as hansom cabs and Holmes pipe have become key parts of this form of television, and have been very effectively adapted to translate well around the world. In shows such as Elementary, key characters and symbols have been maintained and combined with more modern aspects of American crime dramas to make translatable shows.
With America’s more law enforcement oriented genre, Sherlock adaptations have been made more modern and plausable, the traditional country house narrative a little too convenient and predictable for today’s audiences. In Elementary the setting is modern day New York, providing a relatable backdrop for the US audience, Watson is is a female, adding political correctness to the piece, and some clever character changes are made such as the women who broke Holmes heart comes back as the villain Moriarty, adding modern sexual tension and giving the otherwise brilliant man a flaw to connect him to the masses.
Remaining original but upholding the necessary iconic aspects and characters the many very successful adaptations of Sherlock Holmes have proven how effectively drama and different social groups can translate to other cultures, complementing the successful aspects of each other and continuing to contribute to a genre that will always be universally loved.

Media Capitals: Moving forward or back?

As I explored in last weeks topic, the film industry is becoming a diverse new entity that is producing products that involve a range of cultural affiliations. No longer purely nation-state oriented, the television industry is also “transcending frontiers and disrupting conventional structures of domination.” What was once a one way flow system, from the US to the rest of the world, has become a diverse multi directional system, stemming from sectors of the world that have become centres for the financing, production and distribution of television, known as “media capitals.” A city that has more then gained the status of a media capital is Hong Kong, a place that has become a “nexus or switching point, rather than a container.” With Hong Kong’s shift from film to television, and the combination of cultural influences “the city’s fortune as a media capital rests not only on its centrality, but also on its marginality.” Television produced in Eastern societies emanates aspects of both Eastern and Western influences, while maintaining an individuality that is not quite either. The music and videos of Cantopop is an excellent example of this merging of cultural influences, a style of music that is a hybrid of Western cultures while also embracing traditional Chinese instruments and the Cantonese language.

This genre of music didn’t truly become a part of popular culture until the 70’s when a number of Hong Kong production companies pushed it all over the world, truly highlighting this media capitals influence across boundaries and borders.
while this very different approach to the television industry and influence of many cultures is making a significant impact on the world, not all responses have been to embrace such eastern media capitals. Neo-orientalism is very much a concern in Eastern societies, still subject to stereotyping and sensationalism of their news and media. With the growing independence of nations such as India and China in the media, Western societies are still harbouring outdated views of the East, still trying to exert media imperialism over the world. While the world may project a progressive attitude toward societies that were once the ‘other’, many issues in the media are examined and criticized with xenophobic and racist portrayals. Similar to common stereotypes of eastern societies being potentially dangerous, irrational and part of an outdated collective instead of individuals, Khorana explores in the article that issues such as Indian students being attacked by Australians were portrayed as unbalanced, over dramatized and the situation was blamed on the Indian media as opposed to the actual attackers or the law enforcement.
While in many ways globalization is creating a significantly more modern and forward thinking world, barriers being broken down and cultures interacting and complimenting each other, the ever present Orientalism continues to bring the Clash of Civilizations theory to discussion, many wondering if there will always be power play between the West and East, or will true equality and progressive acceptance be acheived.