This Is So Cool

This isn’t an assignment, but I wanted to post it anyway. One of my favorite drum songs.

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Photo Ethics Assignment, Week 4

In response to the question and article, “Is This Photo Ethical?” by Eric Kim, my answer is “it depends.” On the one hand, the photo of the dead girl illustrates the seriousness of a societal problem in a particular part of the world. It sheds light upon and informs many who would otherwise have known nothing about it.

On the other hand, it graphically shows the body of a dead 15-year-old girl. By U.S. journalistic standards, this is unacceptable. We typically don’t give such graphic details about minors in this country, much less provide readers and viewers with names of minors involved in disturbing or socially taboo situations. The photograph and its accompanying caption and story did both.

Therefore, whether the photo is ethical depends on where it is published. As it stands on Eric Kim’s Website and some other acceptable places, I consider it to be ethical. But if it was published in the Florida Times-Union or the New York Times – certainly not.


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Photo Essay: “The Gig”

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The Language of New Media, Chapter Two

Chapter Two, The Interface, started out interestingly enough by discussing one of my favorite movies, Blade Runner. I remember seeing the movie with my brother Stan and discussing its relationship with Apple’s Macintosh computer (he is a Mac freak).

In this chapter, Manovich goes on to describe the computer interface in semiotic terms, as a vehicle, or “code”, that delivers cultural messages via multimedia. He delves into different theories and concepts involving new media design and new media art – something in which Apple is the industry leader.

Manovich also gets into what he calls “the language of cultural interfaces”, which addresses the ways users interact with their computers/devices. As with my law textbooks, I’m going to have to go back and read this stuff again. And as I said before: This guy is deep.

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The Language of New Media

Modern media within the public realm that are considered to be “new media” include the Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, and virtual reality. But new media also encompasses new television and film technology (digital, 3-D) and more. New media today is almost always associated with the computer. In chapter one of Lev Manovich’s “The Language of New Media”, Manovich states that “new media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computing and media technologies.” He then summarizes some of the key differences between old and new media: numerical representation; modularity; automation; variability; and transcoding.

Manovich seems innocuous at first when he points out that new media can be found in older media technologies as well, such as cinema. He writes, “…filmmakers had been combining moving images, sound, and text (whether the intertitles of the silent era or the title sequences of the later period) for a whole century. Cinema was the original modern ‘multimedia’.” But then he goes on to say the notions of digital and interactive media being able to separate new and old media are actually myths. The historical references he uses to support his argument: photography; digital imagery and software; digital television; theater; painting; sculpture; architecture; cinematography; media theory; psychology; poetry; philosophy. This guy is deep.

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Marshall McLuhan

I mentioned Marshall McLuhan when I was considering entering the Converged Communications program at FSCJ and was told he was “no longer relevant.”  Since then, I entered said program and have encountered him as official program material in each of my two semesters. He was briefly discussed during the first semester, and then an excerpt from one of his books, “The Medium is the Massage”, was given as assigned reading during the first week of my second semester. The introduction to the book only confirmed his “relevance” to 1997, so let’s take a look at some quotes from the book and try to figure this out:

“The medium, or process, of our time – electric technology – is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and re-evaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted. Everything is changing—you, your family, your neighborhood, your education, your job, your government, your relation to ‘the others.’ And they’re changing dramatically.”  Relevance: Check.

“It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media.”  Relevance: Check.

“Electrical information devices for universal, tyrannical womb-to-tomb surveillance are causing a very serious dilemma between our claim to privacy and the community’s need to know.”  Relevance:  Check Check.

“The family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by electric media—movies, Telstar, flight-far surpasses any possible influence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world’s a sage.”  Relevance: Check Check Check.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Besides, I wouldn’t want to rub it in or anything…


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