I’ve got a confession… I love you BCM!

After transferring mid semester to BCM from Creative Arts I could not be happier, more at home and in love with BCM. I have learnt so much about myself and my capabilities with regards to writing, comprehension and future goals. Aside from this, I have learnt so much about International Communication, globalisation, media capitals, transference of media, urbanisation, climate change, etc, as well as how journalists cover these events and also how detailed and complex the ideas behind international communication are. And can I say, although I may have dozed off once or twice in lectures, I’ve loved every tutorial, every presentation and every blog post I’ve done and read.

Learning about Globalisation and urbanisation reinforced how culturally connected and disconnected we are. However as the lines between how accessible media flow between nations continues to blur, it becomes more and more obvious that the definitions of culture are changing and one nation cannot have specific claim to one particular culture. Being from a particular nation or state doesn’t infer that you have any particular connections to this either. For example, I have German heritage, but neither know the language, the culture or anything do.

In saying this, it is incredibly important to maintain a certain level of culture within a particular nation or state as well as keep an open mind to differences and acceptances.  I have enjoyed learning and reading other’s blogs, and hope to continue to do so in the future. Happy blogging!

 

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The West…and the rest

The increasing domination of ‘Western’ news coverage is almost comparable to looking at media capitals or a one sided view of where hip hop originated. With such a panned out view of looking at particular news issues, and focusing on only the issues that are immediately relevant to the Western state it’s easy to notice loop holes in the global news broadcasting world. It seems with particular interest to such things as the birth of the Royal baby, or the death of Steve jobs, a particular flocking tends to occur, however when we hear about the food crisis in Africa, or the refugee crisis in Asia it’s in minimal coverage do we begin to notice and apply such words as ‘global bias’ or a lack of ‘global focus’. Western media coverage is very much a dominating news value within the media, however how much, or how many people are we leaving behind in the wake of this ‘westernisation’ of the media? and can we consider this ‘parachute media’ to be homogenised?

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According to Peter Lee- Wright “a tendency to homogeneity has emerged” (p. 11)and leads to a disconnect between… what is considered ‘important news’. With regards to the War in Iraq, “American audiences are traditionally uninterested in and poorly informed on foreign affairs, unless they involve US troops” (Lee-Wright, P, p.6) this being said, it seems unless the Western state, (Australia, America, New Zealand, England, etc are specifically and directly involved in a crisis, the news won’t provide much, if any coverage of the event.

Irony: For Realsies

Only a few people in the world get ‘irony’, the rest think they do, and for the most part that’s ironic. According to Cracked “irony is the clash of opposites. It is the juxtaposition of what is expected against what happens; what you know and what you think you know”. Irony is almost perfectly summed in the British comedy Life of Brian:

However what does this means in terms of Television transference across borders. What is at a loss in TV comedy translations is a sense of irony, which according to Sue Turnball in her 2008 article ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught it in Embroidery: Television Comedy in Translation’ is “the gap between how the character imagines themselves and how the audience sees them” (p. 112)

It seems this ‘comedy of translation via irony’ is only acceptable on the basis of “inflection, timing, nuance, gesture and the balance of sound and silence” (Turnbull 2008, p. 112). Take for example, the award winning British series The Office and it’s American counterpart. A re-imagination had to occur in order for the American version to match the British following. Although it’s British counterpart is “sexually charged, lewd, threatening and uncomfortable” the Americanisation to which has occurred allows many allusions to American products and experiences, unique to the nation itself.

In the case of the British vs American Office, a distinct loss of irony has occurred through the ‘improvements’ made to the main character or Boss, Michael Scott. In comparison to David Brent, the British counterpart, Scott plays an all round nicer and more upbeat character. Could this mean that American’s don’t understand comedic insults as irony? Rather taking them seriously? Or perhaps American’s simply rally for the “up front, on-your-sleeve niceness”?

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And yet, is there anything wrong with this perceived glocalisation? I mean, doesn’t that follow that we, as the audience not only receive more choice and comparisons when it comes to transnational television.

Turnbull, S (2008) ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught It in Embroidery’: Television Comedy in Translation’ Metro Magazine Issue 159

Hollywood vs. Asia, where does Australia fit in?

With the impending hybridity of media forms and capitals, a prediction by David Schaefer and Kavita Karan suggests “India and China will wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance” (p. 309) within transnational cinema despite “the blurring of boundaries between…national and global culture” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 309). With India, Japan and China ranking within the top 5 countries accounting for film production, its no wonder there is a subtle ‘swap and trade’ deal between Hollywood and the Asian film industry. Although it’s obvious Asian cinema trade is quite influential within media capitals, it seems all major films continue to form around Hollywood, each sporting a various media similarities. According to Bose, “Indian films stood the best chance of challenging Hollywood’s hegemony in the movie making world” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 310).

Regardless of various “Bollywoodisms” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 312) emerging within Western media, such as those included in the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge, where the culture of Bollywood dancing has crossed over into the Australian/American film industry. Although this “give/take relationship” between various “cinematic contra-flows” (Schaefer, Karan, 2006, p. 314) and media capitals highlights just how accepting we are multiculturalism, I wonder how economically this is affecting the Australian film industry.

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With stereotypes such as those highlighted in Neel Kolhatkar’s youtube clip Australian Media in 2mins, it’s no wonder Australian media production has allowed other countries to surpass it. It seems size and economic status don’t matter when it comes down to the top ten film producers around the world, with the Philippians ranking in higher than Australia.

Regardless of Prime Minister Gorton’s inspiring statement “it’s time to see our own landscapes, hear our own voices and dream our own dreams”, it seem media production in Australia still has a long way to go in order to gain it’s 1906 status as “first feature length film” once again. Perhaps hybridising the filming industry in Australia as means of not only economic increase, but also is improving/establishing our status as a media capital and promoting Australia as a cultural hub. Rather than simply importing films and embracing Americanisms/Bollywoodisms/Asianisms, perhaps future media capital and exportation status may become a possibility.

Media Capitals? More like Celebrity Hubs

In a modern society, celebrity gossip and news has infected the lives of ‘normal’ people as “Hollywood exports continue to dominate global entertainment markets” (Curtin, 2003, p. 202) We see magazines such as OkMagazine stories such as Big Brother: Hot in the House or Relive the many times Taylor Swift disses ex Harry Styles at last night’s MTV VMA’s as becoming ‘big news’. Celebrity stories are spreading all over the world through the media hub known as Hollywood.

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Media Capitals, as in cities that “represent centres of media activity… not necessarily corresponding to geography, interests or policies of particular nation-states” (Curtin, 2003, p.202), a “nexus or switching point” (Curtin, 2003, p.204) such as Hollywood have become a buffer against more important issues around the world, such as those on ABC News. Television shows such as The Bachelor, Next Top Model, Big Brother and talent shows such as X factor have poisoned networks all over the world into believing that Western society behaves in a certain way.

In particular Next Top Model has spread to over 50 countries, highlighting how “the global tries to become local” (Curtin, 2003, p.202) and how the flow of media from one place to the next is based on media saturation and publicity. However it’s important to recognise the rising Media Capitals within Asia. Cities such as Hong Kong and Beijing are not only geographically appealing for a media hub, but they are also exporters of “economic, social and cultural flows” (Curtin, 2003, p.204). The Asian media market is growing larger everyday, with Western society now being exposed to more and more TV shows, based in Asia and TV shows examining the Asian culture. As an example, we see Next Top Model adaptations in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.

In the words of Tyra Banks, if you “wanna be on top”, understanding Media Capitals, especially for Hollywood stars is of great importance in maintaining a facade of talent.

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A 3d View of Hip Hop

imagesAs a trend, the connectivity of Hip Hop, has manifested itself all over the modern world. Today, we see young and old, all partaking in this form of movement as an expression of dance. However, culturally, this was not always accepted within society. New Zealand Anthropologist, April K. Henderson’s article The Vinal Ain’t Final: Hip hop and globalisation of black culture highlights a the different lenses we use to view Samoan hip hop dancers. Like 3d glasses, one lens is blue (tradition) and one red (modernity).

Through the red lens, we see “a young boy on the island of Savai’I, then Western Samoa, sailing a hand made canoe along the shore. He is smiling, waist-deep in seawater, clad only in a floral wraparound lavalava” and through the blue lens, we see a different depiction of Samoan youth…young male dancers in the graffiti-tagged clubhouse of the American Samoan dance crew Famous Original Blood Brothers… the dancers are clad head-to-toe in athletic gear-bandannas or hats on their heads, Adidas jackets or hooded sweatshirts, and converse or Adidas brand shoes”.

This cross-eyed confusion between red and blue lenses creates a new and complex image to appear. This complex 3d image is of a mixture of elements including globalisation, (refer to my article here), concerns of loss of culture through Americanisation and also the idea of monotonous uniformity as well as the connectivity of hip hop via globalisation, with special regards to Samoan youth as examined by Henderson’s article.

Just like the idea of 3d movies, Hip Hop is more than simply a form of dance, rather it is a gateway into connecting people together through, a consecutive experience between a group of people. For Samoan dancer Petelo Petelo, this new 3d image merges traditional forms of Samoan dance and hip hop and “enables the children of migrants to have the confidence to learn and perform dance”. His testimony to dance has inspired many other Maori and Pacific Islander dancers into a new cultural pride and national identity consecutive with the merging of tradition and modernity. This merging of red and blue has created a powerful new 3d image incorporating a modern sense of identity and connectedness within the Maori community.

“If you’re from Africa, why are you white?”

Despite living most of my life in the country town of Wagga Wagga, to which I have the most ties with, I still consider myself a born and bread Queenslander. Although I have a German heritage, I am not German. I have never been to the country, I do not speak the language and I have no known familial ties to the country. I believe my identity is formed via how and where I am raised, as well as a combination of personal attributes developed along the way.

However, if I were to become an international exchange student, how would my identity be perceived and how would I adapt to this foreign environment? This question seems to be an increasing dilemma for those students taking the plunge into overseas study.

With the ability to “fashion a self”, international students can “choose who they become…(and) change themselves in the country of education”, as spoken by Simon Marginson in International education as self-formation. This means they are able to fashion a new identity, harmonising with the new country they are living in. Yet, this harmonisation can only occur if both parties have a willingness to accept and merge together to form a new identity.

It can be incredibly daunting to enter a new and unfamiliar situation, think of your first week at high school or your first day at a new job, then times it by 10000. Not only do international students, especially those from non-english speaking backgrounds, have to pick up on our ‘Aussie slang’, they also must quickly adapt to our culture, as if it were a ‘sink or swim’ environment.

According to Marginson, “Using strategy of hybridity the international student combines and synthesizes different cultural and relational elements, blending them together, into a newly formed self”. This is their way of adapting to our new environment, think of Cady, from the 2004 film, Mean Girls. She adapts to her new environment by conforming into the popular “plastics” group. Although, as mirrored in the film, this can cause drastic ramifications for finding her way back to her “place of origin”. And by that, I don’t mean Africa.

After adapting to this new formed identity, the international student, may find it difficult when returning home as not only have undergone changes, but their perception of the world may also have changed. This idea of ‘self- formation’ re-affirms Marginson’s conclusion that “we need to give them (international students) dignity, as persons with equal standing and rights as ourselves” this means, not doing a Karen, and asking someone “if you’re from Africa, why are you white?”

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