La Divina Commedia di Dante

<i>La Divina Commedia di Dante</i>
I took this in Florence (Nov. 2010) at the Museo Casa di Dante

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hip-Hop and Colonialism: Recognition and Response IV

Hip-Hop and Colonialism: Recognition and Response IV
Dr. Jared A. Ball

I don't know if it is from burnout, exhaustion, senioritis, or some combination of all of the above but I really struggled with this article. I picked three quotes that jumped out at me. Please respond and comment because I would love to hear what others think about this. Looking forward to class and feeling less confused - hopefully.

"Ours must be a concern over how, in this case hip-hop, can demonstrate the existence and need to overthrown the colonial status or the very existence of colony."
This is a really powerful statement. That one medium could express the need to - and I think at times does - overthrown the colonial status and/or the very existence of colony. Thinking about colonization as a white person is a bit uncomfortable and I find myself thanking God that I'm not English! Here is a genre of music that transcends what a typical genre is. It is about records or getting on the radio, but rather it is about a message of overthrowing centuries upon centuries of oppression. Wow. That's some serious stuff. I cannot think of any other medium - other than black spirituals - that come close to this. Eddie Izzard is one of my favorite comedians and I think he finds exactly why it is music coming out of the black community that is so powerful.

The part I'm talking about begins at the 3:26 mark. I recommend the entire clip - and all of his stuff for that matter.

Out of deep oppression comes a form of expression that is so powerful it can call and challenge the greatest institution - or at least one of the greatest institutions of all time - colonization.

"The goal was not to reduce the issue to the failings of this or that individual but to draw attention to the colonizing process of which requires use of members of the colonized population to mouth the views of the colonizer."
This is one of the sentences I had to read a few times to figure out what it means - I think. I think what this is talking about is normalization: the process by which oppressed groups change their behavior to mimic that of the dominant ideology. An example of this is the character Will in the hit show Will & Grace. Will is very much a straight man - or at least he often acts that way. Many scholars write about Will & Grace as a straight relationship without sex. (I wish I hadn't sold back one of my books from POL 350 (which was cross run with WMST) last semester which had a great article on this). I'm not really sure what Ball was getting at with this quote but my guess is that it is important to note the ways that popular hip-hop is attempted to be normalized to fit dominant ideology which derails the objective of drawing attention to the oppression of colonialism.

The last quote - at least in terms of this blog entry - that really jumped out at me was this one:
"However, it misses that important point of colonialism which is that individual or even small group collective agency is no even match for the power of mass media and communication or their ideological content which they are employed and design." I think Margaret Mead would disagree with Dr. Ball here. I'm pretty confused by this. I was under the impression that much of what Dr. Ball is saying would echo Dr. Mead, no this quote. Or, does this quote speak to the magnitude of colonialism? I'm not really sure. This just struck me as a very powerful reminder of the magnitude, and over whelming power of dominant ideology.

Comment/Question/yada yada yada for class
What do you think of this final quote: However, it misses that important point of colonialism which is that individual or even small group collective agency is no even match for the power of mass media and communication or their ideological content which they are employed and design."? What does it mean to you?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Extended Comments: Deirdre "Glee Episodes, Raby and Grinner"

If it would be sufficient, I would just say "Amen" to Deirdre's blog entry about Glee. Her analysis of the text through the lens of SCWAAMP is spot on.

There is however, something I disagree with Deirdre on. In her entry she write, "There is a lot of focus on problems like bullying and emotional intensity in the teenage years, which is based on real-life problems teens are facing today. However, by representing this issue in the media, in a sense it is perpetuating ideas discussed by Raby such as 'the storm.'" My interpretation of the storm discourse from Raby was a more negative one. That it is a discourse with the focal message that teenage lives are nothing but problems and risks. This is not the discourse, in my opinion, that the creators of Glee are attempting to present - particularly in regards to bullying. I think the discourse being presented in "Never Been Kissed" is one of connectedness, belonging, and hope.

This episode was done in response to the pandemic of young LGBT people committing suicide as a result of bullying. While there are other things going on in the episode, a clear focal point is Kurt's experience as a young gay man at William McKinley High School. These themes are carried over into "Furt" as well. Having been in a similar situation as Kurt, I would have killed for a teacher like Mr. Schuster. Not that he is perfect - not even close - but that he reached out to Kurt when he saw he was being picked on. He reaches out to Kurt, granted not the most helpful way, but he saw what was going on. To often when young LGBT people get picked on in schools teachers and staff just look the other way. As the episode continues there are the slipped in gay jokes and homophobic and heterosexist comments. This wasn't very hard for the writers to come up with, it happens all the time. There is a very clear discourse of heterosexism in society in general and that is portrayed very well here.

The relationship Kurt builds with Blane is a great one. What a great thought to know that you are not alone. That there are others going through the same thing.

Looking at "Furt" the whole blow up with Finn and Kurt sets the stage for one of the final scenes in the episode where Finn sings to Kurt. Trying to think more positively, it shows that people can come around, and that they have to go through their own coming out process when their friends/family come out.

There is hope that those around you will come through. The other members of Glee stick up for Kurt. His parents make a sacrifice to send him to a different school. He learns the joy of falling in love, and being able to stand up for who he is. That is ultimately the best message this show could send - the best discourse it could use. Blane helps Kurt to see how important it is to not let others push you around, to stand up for who you are. It doesn't matter how someone identifies or what their age. This is a message for all people.

Deirdre's response to the overall stereotypical nature and dominant ideology of the show is right on. However, I wonder if using stereotypes is a way of general understanding that the writers can use to push better messages. Even if someone is gay - and a stereotype at that - they still must be treated with dignity and respect.

Thanks for your comments Deirdre always a pleasure to read .

Glee Reflection

Hello All,
Sorry my Glee reflection isn't posted yet. I did not have a very relaxing Spring Break. When I planned on doing my Glee Reflection - sitting in the Atlanta Airport on Saturday - I couldn't get wifi. I've seen the episodes, but haven't had time to respond. I will get something up today. Sorry for the delay.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I can't find the episodes of Glee online. Has anyone else been able to find them?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Did You Know?

On Saturday I was at my Diocesan Convocation, we watched Did You Know? 2008

I thought these are a great example of what we are talking about in class now with our Digital Autobiographies and Wesch's New Media Revolution.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Boys Don't Cry 2011

Before you watch this please watch the video below titled "Boys Don't Cry."

The movie "Boys Don't Cry" is a story about a young FtM (Female to Male) Transgender individual. It is what modern day folk are calling Transition files/stories/vlogs etc. The is rather triggering, but it is a brilliant commentary on the life of Transgender individuals both then and unfortunately now. My digital autobiography is a spin off of this idea. Enjoy.

p.s. The opening frame says
To: Teenagers in/and the media
Subject: I thought you should know . . .

Boys Don't Cry

This is a very powerful movie. If you haven't seen it you should Netflix it. More about this later.