Mirror rorriM

Well, that has to be the worst title ever…

I found that, although the lectures provided a base, I learnt more from my fellow students. I believe this is because whilst reading blog posts I questioned, compared and contrasted my own understanding and viewpoints on the topics. Questioning, comparing and contrasting was definitely the time when I felt like I was absorbing material.

From the lectures, I found I learnt the most from week 2.  Whilst watching this lecture I realised that I’m one of those that blames the media for my problems.  It’s the easy way out.  I find that, since this lecture, I have been questioning studies that blame the media.  How was this research carried out?  Who conducted this study?  For what purpose was this topic researched?  Why is it important?

Week 3 proved my suspicions that the media changes and distorts select information for their own convoluted benefit, whatever that may be.  Again, I questioned all that was presented to me.  The underlying meaning of advertisements, shows, news reports and even music videos.  Everything seems to have hidden meaning that has an impact on the audience, sometimes without being aware.

My views about the media being owned by an extremely small amount of epic companies were confirmed in week 3.  Though my views about this were supported by a never-ending list of conspiracy theories.  When I found a news story that interested me I used to read other well-known, trusted news sources thinking I was expanding on viewpoints of the issue and getting different angles.  How mislead I was.  I knew the media was concentrated but I didn’t comprehend exactly how much this affected diversity within the media. 

Then the mediated public sphere was introduced.  I have always been a loyal viewer of Q&A.  When this was used as an example for the mediated public sphere, I admit, I got pretty excited.  At first I thought the fact that programs like A Current Affair and Today Tonight can spark debate in the public sphere hard to believe.  I think this was my “Today-Tonight-and-A-Current-Affair-are-crap” opinion getting in the way of my understanding.

Overall I feel that most of my suspicions about the media have been confirmed.  I had these views but I never had the evidence or the extensive knowledge of the nitty-gritty to express them.  This subject has provided me with this evidence and knowledge.

Advertisements

Belly Ache

image

Crime, money, drugs, violence, sex.  That pretty much sums up each Underbelly series.  Since its first season in 2008, Nine Network’s Underbelly has sparked national debate about its glamorous portrayal of criminal activity, the possibility of trials being influenced, disregard for victims, too much sex and violence and even the airing time.

The first season of this show was by far the most controversial depicting the Melbourne Gangland wars from 1995 to 2004 (Cummings, L 2008).  It was prohibited from broadcast in Victoria due to trials of those involved in the crimes.  Justice Betty King of the Supreme Court of Victoria was responsible for the suppression order on the first season of Underbelly saying “…every person charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair trial” (2009).  The court was concerned the jury’s perception would be clouded because of this interpretation of the gangland crimes.

The airing time of 8:30pm was also under fire from the Australian Family Association (AFA).  On February 11th 2008 they threatened to take the matter to Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy.   In 2009, AFA said the broadcast time was too early, that children and teens would still be awake to view the program.  They likened the sex scenes to soft porn, to which Channel Nine’s Richard Lyle responded saying “Those people who say it’s soft porn have clearly never actually watched soft porn because you see actual intercourse” (2009).

Underbelly’s sexy, ruthlessly violent and drug-driven criminals are quite different to those the series is based on.  Victorian Supreme Court Justice, Betty King, sums it up;

“Now as to the sex that all these criminals have – well really –  prostitutes, mistresses, wives, girlfriends, doubles, swaps, girl on girl – two girls – three girls all in spas and all these sexy and beautiful girls – in their dreams.  Has anyone ever had a good look at say Roberta Williams or Judy or Trish Moran or any other of the women actually involved with these men.  Most of the males in these killings were seriously drug addled, fearful of being shot or killed, ripped off by other drug dealers, bad business men, who often when they died owed a lot of money despite turning over millions in drug sales. Not a group to be envied or admired…” (2009)

image

It wasn’t only the fictionalised glamour of crime that provoked debate in the mediated public sphere.  Roberta Williams, gangland “kingpin” Carl Williams’ ex-wife, was a regular phenomenon on A Current Affair.  She released her book “My Life – Roberta Williams” on September 24th 2009, over a year after the airing of the first episode of Underbelly.  I don’t believe she would have written or released a book if Underbelly had not brought her to the forefront of the media.

image

Investigative journalist and true crime author, Rochelle Jackson, compares the Underbelly series to “…a sugary fix…we always want more”  in an ABC radio program (2012).

Does that mean Underbelly and the glamorous criminality it portrays is addictive?  What do you think?

Further reading

Australian Family Association, 2011 “Nine on notice over offensive prime time viewing”, http://family.org.au/site2/?p=333

Benns, M 01/06/2008 Sydney Morning Herald online, Glorifying criminals a crime, says critics, http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/glorifying-gangsters-a-crime-say-critics/2008/05/31/1211654371079.html

Cummings, L 2008, The Daily Telegraph, Tv’s graphic new Underbelly sparks outrage, http://news.com.au/entertainment/television/uproar-over-graphic-underbelly/story-e6frfmyi-1111115531309

Findlay, M 21/04/2010 The Age online, Wobbly Underbelly hides criminal truth, http://theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/wobbly-underbelly-hides-criminal-truth-20100420-srk8.html

Herald Sun, 2008 Herald Sun online, Border towns require ID for dvd sales of Underbelly, http://heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/tv-radio/want-underbelly-id-please/story-e6frf9ho-1111116291729

King, B Jst. 2009, “‘Underbelly’ – A True Crime Story or just sex, drugs and rock and roll?” Medico-Legal Society of Victoria, speech, http://mlsv.org.au/files/2003-2010/Justice-Betty-King-Underbelly.pdf

McWhirter, E 2009, The Daily Telegraph, “Underbelly is just pornography”, http://news.com.au/entertainment/television/underbelly-is-just-pornography/story-e6frfmyi-1111118898387

Media Watch 2008 ep.June 9 2008, “Gangland – Goes Gangbusters again”, http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2276506.htm

Soze, K 2012, The Underworld Blog, “Underbelly Series 1 real vs. cast comparison”, http://underworlduk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/underbelly-series-1-real-vs-cast.html?m=1

Listen

ABC Local Overnight, The Criminal as Celebrity, http://www.abc.net.au/overnights/stories/s3585541.htm

Media Monarchy

There are currently 15 prominent free to air television stations broadcasting in Australia.  They are mostly owned by 3 different companies and two by the Australian government.

What does this say about the information we receive from these sources?  Does the concentration of media ownership affect the diversity of viewpoints expressed?

image

The information we receive from those sources more than likely has bias and may not show the entire story or both sides of an argument.  This can be seen every weeknight on Today Tonight and A Current Affair.  They don’t take the time to research a topic fully and investigate all the facets of an event.  It could be concluded that this is laziness, but what if a news network does not run a story or only broadcasts one side of the story because they disagree with or don’t support the opinions or facts expressed?  This can create “holes” in our knowledge of a topic and what is happening in the world.

I am a passionate National Rugby League fan (if you didn’t already know).  Rugby league is only broadcast on Channel Nine and Fox Sports.  I only recently found out that the NRL is owned by NewsCorp.  A national sport owned by an international media corporation?  I’m sorry, but what?  Why?  I don’t understand.  Not only do the big players in the media own everything we read and watch on traditional media, but they own sports.

Is this minimum diversity of media ownership an innate need for the big media corporations to control?  I believe so.  As consumers, we are seen by the media as being easily influenced, not very educated, and being unable to question anything.

image

With the growth in user generated content, citizen journalism and collective intelligence we are seeing this “media monarchy” fail.  We, as prosumers are voicing our thoughts on topics, inspiring others to do the same, provoking physical activism on subjects and continuously learning from each other.  The internet has shown that legacy media has isolated itself behind walls of red tape, authoritative ideologies and an inability to compromise and learn new things.

image

The following is a trailer from a recent documentary, Shadows of Liberty, about the incredible control media has over society.

How much control does the media have in Australia?

It’s Just So…Glamorous?

image

In advertising there is usually something about an ad that creates a desire to have something, be like someone, or look like that.  But there’s something about this advert that eliminates all.

Is it because there is absolutely no eye contact within the text giving the impression of complete detachment?  Is it because the models are completely expressionless (except maybe the guy furthest from the front with expression that looks slightly concerned, but that could just be bad modelling)?  Or is it the fact that there is only one woman in swimmers being held down (yes, HELD DOWN) by a half naked man surrounded by four (there’s another on the right, but has been cut out in this) male onlookers?

On first glance at this picture it’s the sharpness of the clothes contrasting with bare skin that makes you stop to take notice.  But then it becomes apparent that there is a man dominating a woman, holding her down by the wrist.  All the men are looking down on the woman.  This gives the impression that she is below them, not just physically but in status also.  Though she is wearing the colour of passion on her lips, her face hardly displays passion.  Is it just me or does this have a “gang rape” feel to it?

I’m not an advertising master, but I wouldn’t want my brand associated with the glamourisation of gang rape.  Dolce & Gabbana defended this ad saying it demonstrated the power their clothes gave to wearers in society.  Hmm, right…

In my opinion, Dolce & Gabbana have used this picture to create a controversy based on this to enable them to the wonder that is free advertising.  This ad was released in 2007 and taken down in the same year due to the backlash received over the glamorous depiction of violence against women, mainly in Dolce & Gabbana’s home turf in Spain in which is was banned.  The NOW Foundation has list of offensive ads, this is second on the list.

It’s quite interesting when you Google “dolce and gabbana controversial ads” as it’s not just the one I’ve used that comes up.  There are several ads that have stirred the water over the years.

Do you think this promotes glamourised violence and rape?

Mind Your Mobile Manners!!

Imagine.  You walk into a shop, find the most amazing thing ever and just have to buy it.  You go to the counter to pay and as you are being served your phone rings, it’s the call you’ve been waiting for.  Do you answer?

What about when you go to a lovely, quiet cafe to sit back and soak up the relaxing atmosphere?  It’s not quiet for long when someone two tables over is having a loud conversation with their phone.  Not only do you soak up the atmoshpere, but you soak up everything there is to know about this person’s relationship.  You can feel the frustration emanating from those surrounding you and yet no one says anything.

image

Mobile technology has had a massive impact on everyone it is available to and it’s hard not to see the rapid changes in the past few years with the rise in social media.  So is the technology moving faster than our ability to deal with the social implications?  We all know our “please and thank you”s (at least, I hope we do…), they are the basic manners we learn as children.  Then there’s “elbows off the table” and “respect your elders”.  But let’s throw a phone in the mix.

Do we have any widely accepted “rules” when it comes to mobile etiquette?  I decided to do some investigating and found five main rules to consider when using your phone in public.

image

5 If you’re with people, don’t check your phone every five seconds.  It’s really off putting and doesn’t make you popular at all.

4 Don’t take phone calls in confined spaces.  This includes but is not limited to; buses, train carriages, toilets etc.

3 Speak softly.  No one wants to know about the fight you had with your partner last night.

2 Find the off button.  There’s nothing worse than being in a dark cinema and someone decides to check their phone during an intense scene.

1 Be mindful of those around you.  If someone is talking to you, put your phone down.

Although this is from an American study by Intel, I found it really interesting.

So…what are your mobile manners like?

Check out the Ten Commandments for Mobile Manners