Kimberly Cox

Posts Tagged ‘communication’

From The Archives: Media Eating Its Head

In 21st Century Culture on August 4, 2011 at 2:55 AM

Media Eating Its Head.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: POST ONE

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This article remains as relevant today as it was when I published it, October 31, 2009.

The motif of 21st Century news media and information technology affecting our culture demonstrates an unintentional theme manifest throughout this blog. Originally, GidgetWidget 2.0  began as an experiment. I never imagined myself still here and blogging two years later. Most of all, realizing many of my published articles explore and question the affects of media on the social and political theaters. Our ability to distinguish propaganda and how technology affects our understanding, these represent motifs emerging from the Archives. “The Media Eating Its Head,” may be the first, building up to articles like MINING EMOTIONS: WHAT MAKES US SO INVINCIBLE?   or 21st CENTURY STORY TELLING AND ART: PART ONE 

My Twitter bio states that I read the Western Canon for fun. The truth is, I continue reading and learning the Classics not because it is fun, but because of its relevance. Its value, dear reader, diminishes with every ad hominem tweet.

We are very much the same as our Ancestors. Whether we follow the pattern of mistakes, or whether learning from these mistakes we avoid the horrific consequences, remains to be unseen.

Now in many ways it was natural to our ancestors, moved by a single resolve, to fight the battles of justice: for the very beginning of their life was just. They had not been collected, like most nations, from every quarter, and had not settled in a foreign land after driving out its people: they were born of the soil, and possessed in one and the same country their mother and their fatherland. [18] They were the first and the only people in that time to drive out the ruling classes of their state and to establish a democracy, believing the liberty of all to be the strongest bond of agreement; by sharing with each other the hopes born of their perils they had freedom of soul in, their civic life, [19] and used law for honoring the good and punishing the evil. For they deemed that it was the way of wild beasts to be held subject to one another by force, but the duty of men to delimit justice by law, to convince by reason, and to serve these two in act by submitting to the sovereignty of law and the instruction of reason.

— LYSIAS, FUNERAL ORATION [17 – 19] from Perseus

In what manner has the use of reason and logic changed over time? Enough so that in the 21st Century, with access to infinite resources and information, its application is falling into a state of entropy.

If you see the ignorance manifest in our media and in the digital landscape, then how can you not ask your readers to look more closely and notice it? We have intelligence, enormous potential; but will we throw it all away so easily? Our Ancestors have. They chose the Bread and Circuses, and the consequences which followed stand out as the Dark Ages.

We are hardly invincible but yet, why do we presume we are?


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COPYRIGHT 2011 BY KIMBERLY COX

~ GIDGETWIDGET™

Monday NYC Theatre, 2005: “From Tel Aviv To Ramallah”

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, Millennial Generation, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on June 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM

From Tel Aviv To Ramallah  was a production I attended, spontaneously and alone, on a rainy Monday night in Manhattan, late 2005.  As many theatre patrons know, Mondays are the day of the week when many theaters are dark (no performance.) But sometimes, these are the best opportunities to catch the magic of live theatre. And here’s how I managed to catch this one particular night which resonates more and more with each passing year.

Here in New York City, a smorgasbord awaits the avid theater-goer. Even if you are on a budget (students or starving, Bohemian artists; or cash-poor adventurers, like me,) folks have ways of getting tickets. The catch is, most discounts demand the person be ready to go the day-of the performance.

Well, there’s a reason why I love seeing theatre, at the last minute, with no expectations. To elaborate, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict inspired a number New Plays Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway in 2005 and I found myself trying to attend as many as possible. A handful of these plays challenged perceptions, offered insight, a human story, all those things that made other productions worth the risk. To bluntly put it: if I allowed the synopses and especially, the critical reviews, to pick and choose which productions I saw then, I’d have missed the best one.

The habits for overtly political theatre may be a time honored tradition in theatre history but what is it more akin to in the 21st Century? What politics are we addressing and how?

Every time we sit down for a performance arts piece, centered around modern day conflicts and cultural-politico-socio-ideologies, we risk exposing ourselves to the moribundity of Populist Theatre. (Not just theatrical mediums but all media and its audiences are more easily are mistaking political for populist propaganda.) A bad-habit we are all forming, because it is becoming all to “normal.”

That is, to employ mechanisms like “definitive archetypes,” portraying only selective pieces of information, building upon one opinion, one perception of a war, stereotyping each of the cultures involved. Pounding cheap, theoretical conjecture into an audience already over-saturated in Op/Ed news and information.

In the case of certain productions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and also, the War On Terror, the human experience serves only to cater for the intent of Populism. To add emotional impact, ignite the zeitgeist, am I correct?

A reflection of the humanist struggle when the forces of Political or Cultural Movements subsume a person’s existence?

See, this is why I like walking into a production, understanding the risk, not knowing much about it, and hoping for a jewel.

As part of the Out Loud: New Play Reading Series at Ars Nova in 2005, the show From Tel Aviv To Ramallah performed for only that one night. And for those 75 minutes or so…  Man, I wish I could bring Yuri Lane and his solo production here, today, for people to see. I think its message is more important than ever.

At a small but inviting performance venue on 54th, between 10th and 11th Avenue, I took my seat among the small audience. Two young men, maybe 16 years old, were sitting in front of me, excited to see their favorite beatbox performer and drinking Red Bull. They came in from Connecticut. They were not expecting a powerful piece of theatre and neither was I.

Yuri Lane avoided all the aforementioned pitfalls for the Political and Populist Theatre productions. He did it simply. With minimal design, he told us a story. Using his skills with beatbox, language, rhythm, gesture; using three light cues to distinguish SR, SL and Center; finally inverted pictures, multimedia projected on the backdrop, he set the scene for a fable about one young man from Tel Aviv and one young man from Ramallah.

Instead of showing us who was wrong and who was right, he told us of Amir and of Khalid. The idea that dreams and ideals of youth exist in separate microcosms outside the larger reality of (the Israeli-Palestinian) conflict set the story in motion. We learn about two different, but also similar people, whose goals are not unlike yours or mine. One wants to be a DJ. One wants to own an Internet Cafe. They share the threat of attacks. And their journey shows how a gradual diffusion of the greater reality into each microcosm, negates the youthful idealism for a future independent of violence and injustice. Both have their dreams compromised. Both must transition from adolescent to adulthood. Both must face each other in the end and the choices they make, leading them to the final moment of the play. A vision of peace comes down to two young men, who make one choice. Peace, perhaps, may not be realized by Treaties or United Nations intervening, or a great leader’s solution, but perhaps, it begins with a choice. An understanding.

And the audience is left without any clear answer about who is right, who is wrong and why one side is bad versus the other. Why would we presume an understanding? How to solve the permutations of a conflict, as deep and complicated as the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities?

Rachel Havrelock wrote and directed this play.

Is our civilization so solid that you do not fear to shake the pillars on which it rests? Can you not see that all falls in upon you if one column be shattered? Could you not have learned if not to love one another, at least to tolerate the great virtues and the great vices of each other? Was it not your duty to attempt –you have never attempted it in sincerity– to settle amicably the questions which divided you, the problem of peoples annexed against their will, the equitable division of productive labor and the riches of the world? Must the stronger forever darken the others with the shadow of his pride, and the others forever unite to dissipate it? Is there no end to this bloody and puerile sport, in which the partners change about from century to century– no end, until the whole of humanity is exhausted thereby?

ROMAIN ROLLAND, “Above The Battle,”

Journal de Geneve_, September 15, 1914.

Confessions Of A Multimedia Spinster

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, Millennial Generation, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on June 18, 2011 at 9:49 PM
Saturday, June 18, 2011
 
NEW YORK CITY

It begins with only a whisper. Like a single spark igniting a firestorm. Holding Strategic Business Contingency meetings among their executive management has proven ineffective. What they thought was a new platform full of promising financial opportunity has indeed generated additional revenue streams, but their focus has been and remains OFF of the “little guy.” All it takes is the smallest catalyst to trigger a chain reaction the news media and corporate conglomerates fear the most.

Executives rely upon a traditional business operations model to work for this new platform: Managers overseeing Editors overseeing their roster of Independent Contractors, Work-For-Hire (the legal term is Work-MADE-For-Hire, but it’s now losing that very important word, ‘MADE’) and Temporary Staff responsible for generating the designated content for the product. These “little guys” are working under the same parameters they always have. For example, writers are contracted to produce content for the company under the same auspices as the writers working for Marvel or DC Comics in 1980. They get their paycheck and whatever intellectual content they generate is no longer theirs, but owned indefinitely by the company. Even if an employee creates a character or product that becomes a multi-billion dollar franchise, she has no right to financial compensation beyond her Work-MADE-For-Hire contract. Why do you think Jack Kirby’s family has been in a legal battle with the Marvel Empire for a share in the billions of dollars the company makes from Kirby’s creative genius?

High above the New York City street traffic, the corporate executives meet to discuss their Strategic Business Contingency plans, again. This time, they’ll have to face a double-edged sword. Or else risk exposing the sweat shops of their information entertainment divisions.

Employees hired to generate content for these growing Multimedia and Digital platforms are neither compensated, nor feel obligated, nor have reason to maintain Confidentiality as they did before. Non-Disclosure Agreements used to keep company policies and internal operations away from public scrutiny. But when hundreds of people are treated as expendable and with the nubile, job-seeking youth always in supply, the question for these media mega-giants will be how to save face when their former employees wise up and use the anonymity of multimedia platforms to air the dirty laundry.

What is the first corporate media giant you think of when you hear that a “former employee reveals how he was told to lie in his coverage, writing for ______ ?”

If you said, “News Corporation or FOX News,” then I am afraid you are too easily swayed by the media propaganda.

I am referring, actually, to this article about AOL: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out

This will not be the last testimonial from a person who has been a writer or producer behind the “news” that millions of people consume every day. AOL and News Corporation are furthermore, not the only companies who operate under similar moral/ethical ambiguities as detailed apropos of this article. The truth is, THEY ALL OPERATE THIS WAY. In fact, it’s getting worse due to the online start-ups. The Huffington Post, for example, was a brand built and made profitable by the “little guys,” who in this specific case, were generating content for FREE and received little to no compensation or credit when Arianna Huffington sold it to AOL.

When I say the decline in journalism today has reached a breaking point, I mean it. It’s no longer publish or perish. It’s Spin. Whoever can spin the best story gets the most hits. The better the Spin Doctor, the more valuable you are to the corporate executives sitting in their Strategic Planning meeting.

Understand, what you read as news is really just spin doctored information produced with the intent to out-spin its rival multimedia platforms. Expecting journalism to be what it used to be remains more than ever before, an exercise in futility.

“Don’t believe what you read in the papers.”

It’s all propaganda. It’s all a telephone game. Wake up and smell the coffee–it stinks!

Recognize how the media itself is spinning out of control. We’re all caught in the Spin together. If the audience does not stop consuming what these media giants are producing, then they will suck us all straight down with their spin-doctored “news.” Do we want to end up back into the Dark Ages?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I will keep saying it until more people begin to realize it’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a mysterious new dynamic in our reality:

There is a new species in the habitat and it’s not biological. It’s viral.

DEVELOPING…

Copyright 2011 by Kimberly Cox, All Rights Reserved

Alice’s Bucket List: Hashtag On Twitter, Epic Win

In 21st Century Culture, NEWS AND COMMENTARY, TWITTER CULTURE on June 9, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Within moments of seeing the first message on my stream, the hashtag #AliceBucketList was trending worldwide.

A 15 year old girl with terminal cancer just started a blog on Blogspot.com. There are only two entries thus far, but what stands out immediately? Her Bucket List.

And guess what’s on it?

…. TO TREND ON TWITTER? Some may argue no, this is not on her “Bucket List,” but by creating the trend, more people are going to see her blog and reading it.

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Here she is, Alice Pyne, http://alicepyne.blogspot.com/?spref=tw

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Again, within moments, enough people retweeted the link to her blog and the Hashtag, #AliceBucketList, to start it trending worldwide. Behold! Twitter can be used for good. Yes, there are the #Weinergate ‘hashtagging’ species of Twitter users, but the power of this little hash symbol ought not be underestimated.

Alice Pyne helps us see how the communication and message capabilities across a social network platform like Twitter, can be used for good purposes. Despite being separated by geography, user names, and computer screens, we can actually come together and spread a little love and support. Will this really make a difference in someone’s life? Consider the case of Alice and her Bucket List as an example. She makes a difference in our lives.

Cancer is a monster many face but the importance of self-education and cancer awareness, preventative medicine and also, community support, is something every single one of us must face, NOW. Not too many folks know what to do if they are diagnosed. Not too many folks know there are things we can do to help cancer patients. But this new platform for communication has allowed for there to be a forum to access and share information like this, so more people can learn and a difference can be made.

So, to Alice, I want to say thank you.

DEVELOPING, June 9, 2011: 01:50 FROM June 8,2011: 23:45 (EST) from 19:00 (EST)

I find it fascinating that I experienced an ad hominem attack from a random Twitter user who stated in a tweet that I endorse, “Lying by any means.” I do NOT advocate for using a lie to get attention. The question is, within the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, are using “hooks” as they do in marketing and advertising, examples of “lying.” Is this an example of a “False Hook,” and an immoral event on the social network? What do you think?  See the latest from the BBC and David Cameron’s support for Alice’s Bone Marrow Donor Aim

First Attempt at FOGGY DEW, Live Recording

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, I Can Sing!, NEW! on June 4, 2011 at 4:06 AM

      In case the WordPress Player gives you problems, you can also listen to the same recording on SoundCloud (link below)

This is a beautiful song, one I am sharing as I am learning to sing it. Forgive my faults as improvement will come. But it’s much harder than I ever anticipated. Plus, my “instrument” is rusty and breathing exercises are a must. Why? Well, if you’ve ever tried to sing “Foggy Dew,” the way Maeve Mulvany sang it, then you know how FEKKIN’ HARD ‘TIS!!

But songs like these ought not be forgotten. If they can still be heard in music halls or pubs, live and without any force except for the balladeer’s story, then I would be honored to be able to sing it one night, myself. So, hence, a work-in-progress and my sincere gratitude for the support.

PS. You can tell me if you think it sucks and why. I know it needs improvement. Feedback helps. Even if it isn’t positive.

here: http://soundcloud.com/gidgetwidget/foggydew_1

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