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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

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

Telephone Games: Today’s News Media Without Journalism

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on April 6, 2011 at 6:48 PM

PROPAGANDA: Control The Media - The Media Controls Us

CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

April 6, 2011 — New York City

So, I’m adding some new links on my Blog Roll and went to the ArtsJournal: Theatre Daily News site for its http address, when an article from a few days ago caught my attention. “The Tangled Web of Broadway’s Spiderman,” read the headline. And like an idiot, I clicked on it, hoping to find something valuable. Of course, what I found and read was exactly the opposite. As 88% of all music has the same chord progressions, 99% of all news media, today, has the same “Opinion Progressions.”

Yes, the Idealist in me proves powerfully stubborn because of a personal faith in our culture’s positive aspects. Especially when it comes to seeking Journalism in an era when News Media has been absolving itself of whatever moral and ethical structure journalists hold as unspoken and sacred. The Newshounds and journalists out there, risking their lives in the field and/or battling to maintain a standard for the moral and ethical guidelines of their profession, DO EXIST. But can we, the readers and consumers, tell the difference between Op/Ed Conjecture and Op/Ed Journalism? Specifically, are we aware of how to differentiate between an article forming its conclusions based on incomplete information and one that forms its opinion from a complete analysis of evidence and source material?

Remember playing “The Telephone Game” or “Operator” when you were a kid? I do. I think my first memory was from around 1984…. The teachers instructing us how to play, as we, little fidgeting students, sit in a circle on our classroom floor….

“Now, I am going to whisper something in Ada’s ear,” the teacher said, “then Ada’s going to whisper it into Nat’s ear, and so on. Now, after you have passed the message along, try to remember what you heard and what you whispered to the person next to you. Once it goes all the way around the circle, I will ask Ada to tell the class what I whispered in her ear. Then, I will ask Tommy, who will be the last person to hear the message, to tell the class what he heard. Let’s see what happens!”

Everyone erupted into astonished giggles when we heard Ada’s answer and then, all began laughing uncontrollably when Tommy answered. I forget exactly what the little messages were, now that I’ve grown up, but I remember how much they were changed as they passed from one person to another. For kids, discovering how easily misinformation occurs and how silly it is that words can be misunderstood or changed, makes for a fun game. We all were shocked and excited by what occurred, eager to play again. All talking at once, telling each other about “what I heard and passed along,” because it all differed from the original message and then, even differed from the final message. For children, this is a wonder to learn and a big deal when first confronted with this kind of inexplicable chain of reaction. I’ll never forget the experience and the lessons of this little childhood exercise in communication.

After a few rounds of playing “Telephone,” eventually someone realized it would be even funnier to deliberately change the message. After the results caused mass hysteria among the 18 pint-sized rugrats, they quieted everyone down and turned the game into a lesson. Suddenly, it was no longer about playing a game and we listened solemnly to our stern teacher. “See what happens when we gossip? When we whisper secrets to each other? How easy it is for us to either misunderstand or, ON PURPOSE, change the story, even by just a little bit?  This is why we do not tell secrets and why you cannot trust gossip to be real. Because even if we are honest and do not mean to, we all can easily miscommunicate and easily misunderstand.”

CONTINUE READING

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No Shit, Sherlock: Darwin, Tech and Cylons

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY, Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 at 6:24 AM

COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY: Think It Won’t Change Your Brain? Think Again.

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“We are exposing our brains to an environment and asking them to do things we weren’t necessarily evolved to do,” he said. “We know already there are consequences.” –Adam Gazzly, Neuroscientist, University of California, San Francisco

From June 2010, Article by Matt Richter for The New York Times

And at first they were concerned about the lack of Classical Education.

More precisely, failure to adhere to the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric.

Skipping the Grammar and Logic foundations, curriculums began jumping into the last stage, Rhetoric. “This is why so many elementary texts insist on asking six-year-olds how they feel about what they’re learning, long before they’ve properly had a chance to learn it,” Susan Wise Bauer writes in her book, The Well Educated Mind. Explaining how the Trivium secures a student with a firm foundation of understanding, she makes a compelling argument apropos of how and why education has adhered to this structure since the Renaissance. The building blocks necessary for the mechanics to process information and apply knowledge are critical, she explains, and leaping to the last stage has affected our culture. “This mental short-cut has become a habit for adults, who are ready to give their opinions long before they’ve had a chance to understand the topic under study. (Listen to any call-in radio show.)ª”

Thus, many adults growing up in the late 20th Century think Logic is something said by Vulcans and Grammar is the difference between a verb and an adjective.

Dorothy L. Sayers, a British mystery writer, gave a speech at Oxford in 1947 proposing a return to the classical education and provocatively questioned how the loss of the classical “tools of learning,” manifests [ Full Text may be found here ] :

Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy is higher than it has ever been, people have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined? …Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side?  …And when you think of this, and think that most of our public affairs are settled by debates and committees, have you ever felt a sinking of the heart? …Is not the great defect of our education today–a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble I have mentioned–that although we often succeed in teach pupils “subjects,” we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them HOW to think: they learn everything except the art of learning.

Within half a century of this speech, prolific Classical Scholars like Victor Davis Hanson refudiated the entire world of Academia by declining to accept tenure, substantiating his reasons most notably in the 2001 book written with fellow classicist John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise Of Classical Education And The Recovery Of Greek Wisdom. Modern education systems had squeezed out the Classics to the extent where few Universities and Colleges offered undergraduate programs in the Classics. The world of Philology had grown into an elitist collective, reputing any new scholarship instead of properly refuting the compelling arguments made by the scarce, rising Classicists.

Meanwhile, Cable News spawned FNC, MSNBC, CNBC (et al,) and something called “THE INTERNET,” was evolving rapidly. By the time the Millennium came and the Y2K Scare was over, public phone booths had turned into urinals and 1-800 Numbers became www.ifyouaredepressedthengetfreepillsthatwillmakeyouhappy.com

Fill in the blanks between 1989 and 2010 with whatever historical event you believe is relevant, we’re still here today and we’re still facing The Law of Unintended Consequences.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, then I suggest you google it. (Please, if you use Wikipedia as a primary reference, find at least two secondary sources to substantiate what you learn there. If you do not see the point in doing this, stop reading now and reply to that SMS Message with, “IDK FML!”)

To summarize, the introduction of moveable type in the west represented by the Gutenberg Bible triggered a ripple effect across several centuries. Including (among other things) the Scientific Revolution, The Christian Reformation and an Agrarian Revolution which immediately resulted in the Industrial Revolution: The Law Of Unintended Consequences reveals how technology changes the human environment.

Students of Military History will note how the relationship between technology and tactics in the theater of war remain out of sync. Advanced weaponry rarely meets with an adaptation in military tactics and strategy, thus resulting in enormous casualties.

And at first they were worried about kids watching too much television instead of reading books.


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SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on January 5, 2011 at 8:59 PM
PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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NEW YORK CITY     —     My background is in theater, cable and radio network news, and most recently, comic books and film. I have been, like most folks in the theater community, following news about the broadway production of Spiderman. I chose to refrain from commenting until now. All my reasons aside, I do feel a need to play Devil’s Advocate and offer a few thoughts for those who are speaking out against SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. Not because I want to advocate for bloated productions with mind-boggling financing, A-List Producers/Designers/Performers, extreme spectacle, unprecedented technical demands, and the ensuing consequences, like injuries to actors and crew or a production that fails to deliver. I offer these thoughts only to suggest points that are NOT being made and because innovation invites failure, criticism and things that are unfamiliar.

My strong opinions on the difference between theatre, spectacle and popular entertainment have made me skeptical of this production since first hearing about it years ago. Too many times, I believe, we have all experienced broadway and film productions that seem to forgo storytelling and rely on visual spectacle alone. Often, this characteristic seems to go hand in hand with high production costs and millions of dollars in financing. (Primarily because pulling off the technical demands and costs behind spectacle require A LOT of money.) All of these less-endearing elements come together and are highlighted by the news surrounding this much talked about Spiderman musical.

And what a plethora of news coverage there has been. The New York Times has certainly been enthusiastic about covering all the flaws and problems, to the tune of what I have come to see as a biased editorial directive. People in the theater community feel strongly about certain aspects with good reason, but witnessing a concerted effort to negate a production before it’s had the chance to stand and speak for itself, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. We cannot realize innovation anywhere, especially in the theater, without risk, without unfamiliar or non-traditional production elements or process. For news coverage to discount the fact of how unprecedented this production is and then, selectively choose to leave out information regarding the problems an “average,” big broadway musical faces, fails not only this production, but any future for innovation in the theater.  Before Spiderman gets off the ground, to label it a pariah and a flop just doesn’t give anyone a fair shake. The final production in performance ought to stand and be judged on its own merits, not while it is still in development, pre-preproduction, rehearsals, tech and finally, previews.

Most of all, there is an essential point about this whole production people are overlooking and it’s right there in the title: Spiderman. When was the last time anyone saw a comic book translated into a theatrical platform? Aside from the Vampire Cowboys and other companies who actively are producing material from comics for theater, I am unaware of anything since a failed attempt at Superman sometime in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Not a single bit of the news and blog coverage seems to bring to account how translating a comic book to a theatrical platform for performance on broadway demands an extreme approach. We ARE talking about a MUSICAL based on SPIDERMAN, for heavens sake. The concept alone is extreme. Realizing it calls for exponential demands beginning with incorporating the source material with the music and with the production design framework of theater.

Until I see the production of SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK for myself, I cannot advocate for the show beyond throwing caution to the wind. Whether or not Julie Taymor has achieved a new precedent remains mostly left to conjecture and Op/Ed debate. Either way, all that matters to me is seeing us (the theater community) realize a new theatre in the 21st Century, especially considering the legacy of innovations made by theatre practitioners and theorists in the 20th Century. That requires a fearless approach and commitment to a vision because, as we have seen with this production and many before it, innovation and change will not be welcomed with open arms.


Copyright 2011 by Kimberly Cox


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