Archive Page 2

05
Oct
09

Year 3 – Deadlines to the Right, Deadlines to the left.

Well, here we are. Scary year three.

Now, I haven’t updated in a long, LONG time, and it’s quite plausible that I could have dropped this thing altogether, but I’m in my final year, and I’ll be damned if I’m failing this course.

I have a very large number of deadlines and despite being on a real day one, it’s quite worrying. So, time to put the time in, get to work and so on.

I’m actually being told to ‘blog’ right now. So I’m going to do it. There will be more a serious bent possibly – and I’m going to talk about work and so on.

Bold claim, look out world and so on.

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09
Jan
09

“Subtexts? I’m a MAN!”

It’s term time soon, which means it’s time I started this hideous online monstrosity again. So here we go.

Today’s adventure is into a deep seeded stereotype of the male gender.

Let’s Begin

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife, but cannot possibly read subtext or view hidden meaning in conversation with the other gender.”

– Jane Austin

Society and People will have you believe that men have the wonderful ability to outright ignore any hidden meaning in a conversation with the female gender – leading to years of Sitcom writing based around foolish men or over-complicated women. Most people would agree. A shocking 100% of women I quizzed believed in this stereotype, as did 100% of MEN. Shocking, I know. But that’s what happens when your survey base is comprised of 2.

There is a saying that every stereotype contains a grain of truth, and in my eyes, this grain of truth is usually buried very well under several miles of concrete suppositions and foolish ideas, but this particular assumption seems to have more of solid base than most. I personally would agree with it. Every girl or guy who has ever expressed an interest in me and has hinted to me might as well have just written it down somewhere and posted it to someone else, I’m that clueless.

Hell, you could hit me with a giant hammer with an angry face on it, all the time screaming bloody murder and I wouldn’t detect hostility. But that’s not quite our stereotype, but it’s a nice exaggeration and serves to aggrandize my point. (How amazing is that word?)

Now why is this? What reasoning do we take for this inability for men to see what lies beneath? Do we merely fall back and say ‘Men are from Mars!’ or decry it as human nature? Just one of those quirks? Well, a wise man said to me recently that the second you drop human nature into an argument or conversation you’ve lost, and I couldn’t agree more. Plus when people use the whole ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ quote, they’re just referring to human nature without realizing it, via a very popular metaphor.

Now, I’m just a mere student. I am not even studying sociology or biology so I have roughly zero research into this other than personal experience, so don’t be expecting anything other than wild supposition and circular thinking. I know, it’s terrible. But hopefully it’s written arrogantly enough to sound insightful or at least entertaining.

It strikes me that we have three major trains of thought as to why this could possibly be the case. Let’s investigate. And as I mentioned earlier with my lack of research, by investigate I actually mean spin wild conjecture.

  • Point the First – Men don’t want to realize.

Conversation is scary. Conversation about deep things like feelings and so on is even more scary. And so, if you take a scary conversation and then add to it an even scarier conversation underneath all of that, you have possibly the most terrifying thing ever. Like a spider covered in bees. Or a spider that could fly with a number of bees attached via complicated web harness to supply the world with terrifying insect based close air support. But I digress.

I don’t mean to say that all men find conversation scary, this is just wild sweeping conjecture that has now confirmed itself as extremely generalizing as well.

But it’s plausible to suggest that men don’t really want extra meaning to conversation for whatever reason.

One of the most commonly used phrases around the Sitcom convention is that ‘Men don’t listen’. The entailing hilarity comes from when the guys have a conversation about how they could not have possibly known what ‘she’ meant. Haha. How we laugh. See points 2 and 3 for the sources of such comedy.

But now, women (ha!), prepare for a scary thought. (Fear seems to be coming up a lot today…) Men don’t listen? Or is this the longest running lie in gender relation history. Maybe (I refuse to confirm neither deny) men do listen but in our way we rely upon a wide spread stereotype of men, perpetuating it for our own ends so as to escape commitment, work – whatever.

Isn’t that scary.

  • Point the Second – Women are responsible.

As long as sitcoms have had lazy writers, there will be typical exaggeration of gender stereotypes, and the dancing partner in the grim waltz analogy of ‘men don’t listen’ is ‘women are crazy’ or some variant relating to conversation. And if we are examining one wild stereotype we should look at the other side of the coin. Analogy metaphor metaphor.

I’m far too reliant on them, but they’re just so fun.

ANYWAY. Subtext has it’s limits and it could be that women overstep these, hiding meanings so deep you could find a sentence without a metaphor before it. I nearly used another one and so used a sarcastic one.

Let’s move on, shall we? I’m just concocting unrelated images. WOMEN COULD BE TOO ‘GOOD’ AT HIDING MEANING. That wasn’t hard.

  • Point the Third – Men just don’t realize

As hideously reliant as it is on human nature arguments and dull and boring chemical imbalance-esk assumptions, it could be that men are pre-disposed to a simpler train of thought when it comes to conversation. Conversation is a tool to say what you mean and there is no time for underlying meaning or hidden agenda. If you meant something else, then you should have said that.

And we all know how terrible men are at hidden meaning. The average stereotyped male wears his heart on his sleeve and thinks that raising an eyebrow is coy.

It certainly seems to make sense, but it’s only for the briefest of times. Why?

The Media.

AND YOU THOUGHT THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT OTHER THAN OCCASIONALLY MISQUOTED LITERATURE.

The Second Chapter.

So for the time being, we will taken this stereotype, this social convention as gospel, shall we? Because otherwise I can’t get to the other half of my small note and that would be irksome.

Now, the media. I consume a huge number of texts. We all do. And I’m prepared to admit I spend far too long discussing them with people. And I’m prepared to admit that I like my over-pretentious ‘art’ media as well – if it has a hidden meaning all the better!

It’s a scathing look at society? Fantastic!

It’s a huge metaphor? Great!

Killer 7?! YES! (I should mention that I’ve spent several hours just reading other people’s interpretations of the game.)

So in any case, why can I read several meanings into a batman comic or even more reading several into the conversation of Humphrey Bogard in Casablanca but can’t possibly tell when someone is hinting at anything. And it’s not just me. 100% of aforementioned men agree with my position.

And now I realize I’ve been writing this for far too long and it’s far too long itself, so let’s summarize.

I speculate wildly that men are far more disconnected from reality when consuming a media text. We become engrossed in the media and this highly lucid state allows men to be open to the realms of alternative meanings. It could be that this lucid state is matched by women, I couldn’t possibly comment. Bit in this lucid state, a high level of interpretation is available.

Now try and figure out the subtext of this one! HA HA HA.

08
Dec
08

Anonymous.

Anonymous – Culture Jammers at Large

For a less convoluted and much more concise analysis, visit Thom’s Blog.

For this assignment I am using the example of the Internet Subconscious – Anonymous.

The online group banding under the name of anonymous is a far reaching and (shockingly enough) incognito group that sometimes engages in culture jamming and other times in internet based attacks that seem to lack rhyme or reason. The group grew out of online message boards and forums, a very participatory medium and again due to the lack of organization, every member makes their own content.

There have been a wide variety of targets, ranging from the Church of Scientology to the seemingly innocuous ‘Habbo Hotel’. At this point, we see our first difference from most other ‘traditional’ culture jammers, whose methods more often resemble the college protests of the 60s. A large amount of Anonymous’ activities are based by manipulating existing texts, be they online or televised.

In our first example – the Habbo Hotel Attacks (Pool’s Closed) we see the strange strategies undertaken by Anonymous. Habbo Hotel has a system by which players cannot pass through one another and so by putting members in front of the only entrance to the pool, the pool becomes closed.

This is a slightly more literal take on the meaning of influence – the virtual avatars have removed a major feature of an online medium for no purpose other than apparent joking.

The Pool. Its Closed.

The Pool. It's Closed.

However, Anonymous did not limit themselves to virtual internet forums, but also have taken a ‘stand’ against Oprah (Oprah clearly doesn’t read things out loud ahead of time.). However, unlike the Habbo attacks, there was some sort of reasoning behind this assault. Or at least you can make out one.

The Oprah Culture is mocked without mercy here – referencing an online meme (DragonBall Z. It’s Over 9000)– in order to satirize the American fear based media. This also had the effect of giving a culture jammer airtime – breaking more traditional producer/consumer models.

By breaking this ‘golden rule’ of not interfering with a heavily regulated and scheduled show, Anonymous may have been trying to attempt change in the American Media Landscape.

Despite their use of text based assaults, the internet spawned ‘domestic terrorist group’ (Fox News does their very best to show their fantastic journalistic ability.), Anonymous has also taken to the streets in their crusade against Scientology – advocating for ideological reform in person, in what is to date, Anonymous’ most traditional of assaults, and understandable.

This campaign has taken place online as well, with many youtube videos being produced adding an online element to the crusade.(The Infamous ‘Message to Scientology’)

However, as with every organization that prides itself on freedom of expression, there are many members who are out to ruin the seemingly harmless protests and activities of anonymous. Because of the very nature of anonymity, many people commit activities under the banner of ‘anon’ and there is very little anyone can do to dissociate these rogue elements from the main ‘anon’ group.

Attacks have been carried out on Hip Hop forums, much of which took the form of racist epithets and malicious attacks on an epilepsy support forum placing strobing banners. Anonymous has no organization or member list, and many members who were attracted by the strong voice of the online anonymous may now wish to dissociate themselves from the group.

Not your traditional Protest Slogan.

Not your traditional Protest Slogan.

In conclusion, anonymous is an exceedingly interesting cross section of the internet – those who stand up and are counted as a member of a group, drawn in by the anonymity of protest and virtual avatars. But at the same time, there are those who use this for aggressive actions, shattering the connotation of ‘activism’ as being necessarily a ‘good’ thing. One thing is certain though – when anonymity is near assured, no one is safe.

13
Nov
08

Second LIIIIIFE

My Avatar in Second Life.

My Avatar in Second Life.

Here it is! Take it! OHH YEAAAAH.

19
Feb
08

The Next Day

Well then, with all my delusions of grandeur, I really must knuckle down and make a proper entry. Now, I’m predisposed to coming up with Half-Baked concepts and most of them never see beyond my tin of notes (If you’re interested, it’s a ‘segsations’ tin) so I thought, I’ll put them on the internet. So, here we go. This weeks segment is mischief themed – so don’t be expecting grand life changing ideas.

 

Idea 1 – Sonic Grenade

Now, I’m not laying claim to the concept for a sonic grenade – they’re called flash bangs and add something to my concept. My concept, however, is more similar to blasting someone out with sound. The device is shaped like an old WW2 German grenade (if you’re not familiar, kind of like a potato masher with the mashing bit filled in). The ‘grenade’ is a large speaker and the tube contains a swivel arming system (twist and throw) and a USB port. From this port, you can upload any sound clip to the sonic grenade and then it’ll ‘play’ that upon arming.

 

Mostly, I would use it in a minor (verging on major) annoyance device, hurling it into rooms and sprinting away, as the device bellows “SONIC GRENAAAAADE!” over and over again while the inhabitants desperately try to disarm the thing.

 

When it comes to mischief, I tend to err on the side of mind games, so the grenade’s messages would become ever more devious and mocking. “YOU CAN’T TURN IT OFF!” for example. I very much doubt I’ll make much money out of this device, and doubt even more that I’ll make any friends with it. But then, if people insist on leaving their phones in a room they’re not in while the phone is either texted or rung every 7 seconds, they should expect the occasional sonic grenade.

 

Idea 2 – The Toilet Poster

Now, it’s pretty much a fact that the toilet is the most personal room in a house – a lock is a staple in toilet design, due to the highly personal nature of the room. So what better way to shatter the privacy than with a little mischief firmly footed in voyeurism theory. People (on the whole) are not particularly fond of being watched during this particular process – so a poster is placed on the inside of the toilet door. The design is a picture of anyone (probably works better with someone the intended victim knows) pointing in the victim’s direction and the slogan “I am watching you PEE!” emblazoned underneath. I imagine it would be highly disturbing without an actual invasion to privacy.

 

Idea 3 – My Book

In a slight break from tradition, here’s something slightly more serious – my first book book. In that it’s not a comic book and it’s not a book of pointless things. This is a delightful book about living my life in a certain way. Life is a series of challenges from day to day, starting off with the ever devious ‘Should I get out of bed?’ and the terrifying ‘Peanut Butter or Blackcurrant Jam?’. And despite how difficult and important they seem at the time, the average day is unflinchingly dull and monotonous. So I thought I’ll mix it up and make life like the game shows that entertained me in my youth (and, if I’m honest, now.).

 

Thing is, it’s not easy to live life like a game show, because all the game shows around today are terrible. ‘Eggheads’ is people playing against a team of pub-quiz hustlers with the world’s most gigantic egos. Golden Balls is terrible because it’s the death of Jasper Carrot’s career and the only way you win is to crush your friend at the end. Congratulations, you’re rich and have shown the world that you’re a backstabbing jerk. So, when I say I want to live my life like a game show I’m talking about classic and important shows – like University Challenge, Funhouse, Terror Towers, Gladiators and of course The Crystal Maze, probably the greatest game show in the history of all shows.

 

So, week to week, I’d try to recreate a game show of choice on the weekend before becoming quiz master during the week. And of course, my house mates will be contestants, whether they like it or not. All on a student budget. And I’d give it a clever title. Ideally, I’d call it ‘Starter for Ten’ but unfortunately, that’s already a book (and film).

 

When I read this back, I’m sure that my book seems far more trivial than how it appears to me in my head, but believe me when I say I’d really like to do it. I can even validate this book from a narrative theory position.

(Beware! Theory ho!)

Using lesser narratives and easily recognisable public references, I’m trying to turn a day to day un-chronicled life into a narrative which relies on cues from game shows. This allows me to analyse the effect of highly manufactured environments on regular people. Will they draw on the stored cultural images of famous game shows or will they refuse this social experiment and wander around in a bemused fashion? Hopefully they don’t ALL go to the second one, or it’ll be a very dull book.

02
Feb
08

A Terrible Realisation

I was recently shown in one of my lectures the web diaries of some of the previous years IMP class and I must say, I was suddenly thrown into a realisation that I had been wasting a valuable chance.

I’ve always been of the opinion that coming to university and taking the class I took, I would be suddenly thrown  into a world of what I deem a less pretentious “Coffee House Culture”.

The term “Coffee House Culture” as I understand it has something of a negative connotation – that one becomes overly pretentious and sits about in armchairs ‘blogging’ (A word that I find so aurally displeasing, it leaves a foul taste in my mouth upon uttering it – similar to how I believe a dark incantation would do if this where some Lovecraftian horror.)  on their brand new Mac Book Air (Which through it’s release is exceedingly useful for my point – a fantastic weighting of aesthetics over actual use or practicallity.) talking about inconsequential matters in overly flowery language (and at this point, I deeply hope I’ve not stepped there myself.) trying to appear profound infront of their usually circular internet group.

Now what I wanted was to be deep in conversation about slightly more meaningful things using overly flowery language so that I could reach some actual profound meanings through educated discussion. Furthermore, I wanted to be a single voice in a group of people who were all so individual – so much so that they demonstrated it on a level of dress and habit. Myself, I believe in a more atiquated manner system and have a predelticion to the fashions of the late victorian era. And I wanted to be one of many people who walked around in eccentric dress with complicated reasonings behind them.

However, I was so ready to cast aside ‘blogging’ (ugh.) as the tool of the starbuck scener that I couldn’t see it’s use in matters such as this. So, I’m going to use my journal a whole lot more. I have a real journal as well – one of my favourite things is to record a thought on paper so much so that I’m usually carrying in excess of three notepads – but that is far more of a private journal for perusal at different times. This web journal I believe would be best suited to display my character – a modern day portrait of my character etched in words and images.

I am who I am, and I am not ashamed. Not one bit. I just had to realise that it was ok to say so on the internet as well.

16
Jan
08

Oh, that’s right. I’ve got one of these blog things.

I had completly forgotten over christmas. Here’s some silly ideas that’s I’m placing on the internet so if I ever see anyone do them, I thought of them first.

1. The Harry Dean Spitfire Movement – I’m trying to raise money to firstly learn to fly and then purchase a spitfire. Fortunatly, Dave has said he’ll go half way on it. So, Dave wait for a few years and then BAM! You’ll owe me 65 Thousand Pounds.
2. Bumper Cars that are REAL cars. You can’t cut me up if I’ve got a bumper car.
3. Noir Glasses. I want to make some glasses that stop all colour. Instant 1930’s film-o-vision.

That last one will make me rich, and I’m desperatly trying to figure out how I go about it, because I really really want them.