Distractions by Jahne Brown

I took a deep breath and approached a middle-aged man peering intently into a glass exhibit. After asking where he was from and what political party he affiliated with I got to my favorite question, “What does America mean to you?” I waited for the typical response concerning liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. When I only received silence my freshman awkwardness allowed me to stand and wait for an answer that probably wasn’t coming.
After a few seconds, he finally responded. The middle aged man from Maine had been all around the world and had even served for the American army. He told me America meant so much to him, he couldn’t even put it into words.
“Is America living up to that definition,” I asked him.
Again, he took a moment to think. The veteran with so much passion for our country and the values we were founded on finally answered with a sigh, “No.”
His answer stuck with me. As I wandered from museum to museum, democracy related street to street, I looked for the signs of inadequacy that the veteran saw. Surrounded by American flags, museums, and Obama 2012 bumper stickers, I couldn’t see it. What did he know that I didn’t? It wasn’t until a friend brought up how close we were to the debt ceiling that it became apparent.
The man from Maine was right. Our country was founded on liberty, prosperity, and freedom. Not partisan warfare that leads to lack of compromise. America’s top officials are too busy protecting their party than protecting the people.
Although this holds true, our government does not hold all the blame. As is the American way, civilians get riled up about the habits of our government, and are quickly distracted by celebrity babies and drama. What happened to the heated discussions about the fiscal cliff, gun control, and global Warming? Well, the same thing that happened to the Afghanistan War. They were out shadowed by Kimye and imaginary dead girlfriends; topics that may seem innocent, but are ultimately not. Distractions prevent us from seeing problems and deceptions. They prevent us from questioning and forming opinions. If there’s one reason America is not all that it could be, it’s because of our own short term memory.
As exciting as the inauguration is, it’s simply another distraction-a distraction that will surely make us forget about the changes that needs to happen.

So this inauguration, promise to yourself that you will remember how much our country needs to accomplish. Remember the soldiers at war, the school shootings, and the economy. We owe a long term memory not only to ourselves, but to the veterans like the man I met today.


Classroom Response #4

The Kardashians, Casey Anthony, and Jersey Shore- are all products of America’s favorite past time: being entertained.  To an outsider, the obsession with drama might be called unintelligent, a waste of time, or simply self deprecating- but in our culture- it is the norm. Due to conglomeration, and a lack of public interest, major news corporations are steeping down to the public’s fascination with scandals and drama. Surrounded by all the craziness- a person may wonder if quality, hard hitting journalism is dead, or close to it. 

If thousands of artists all around the world are making beautiful pieces, but the only art anyone pays attention to is bad- is art dying?  No, art is not dying. As long as the need to express oneself is alive and well, so is art. Journalism is the same way. Although the vast majority of people are not reading quality journalism, it is still being produced. The pursuit for the truth is here and isn’t going away anytime soon. That’s why when interesting, relevant, investigative journalism reaches the public- it gets more of a response than the normal news the public sees. People still want candor- so the pursuit for the truth is still on. The desire of people to read journalism or view art, isn’t what’s keeping them “alive.” The desire of the artist or the journalist to continue on with their craft is. 

Journalism is still here and being rapidly produced. So it makes you wonder, what’s really dying, journalism or the public?

Classroom Response # 3

Today in class we talked about the paradox that is media coverage.  The media doesn’t cover political parties other than Republican and Democrat, because the public doesn’t care about them. The public doesn’t care about them because the media doesn’t report on them. Obviously, this creates problems. For one thing, the public isn’t getting the information they deserve. Even if they may not want or desire to know about third parties, they still need to. News mediums should be Elitists more than Populists, and give the public what they need to know over what they desire to.

The limited political media coverage also creates another major problem. The way media coverage is set up- if you want to do well in a national election, you have to either be Republican or Democrat. The two party choice encourages politicians to change or give up their views (by becoming a strict Republican or Democrat)  in order to have a chance at winning. Choosing to enlist as a third party would mean little to no chance of winning the election. For the politicians who are more interested in winning than making changes they feel are right for the country, the choice is simple. If they have to become a Democrat and support gun laws they will, even if it means going against their ideals.  Meanwhile, the politician who whole heartily believes in a principle that is not heavily supported by Democrats or Republicans is being heard by no-one. The coverage of only two parties attracts corrupted people, who’s only desire is to win, not to better the country. That’s not to say that all politicians that are Democrats or Republicans are in that party only because they want to win the election. All I’m saying is that the cycle of only recognizing two parties, encourages and attracts the warping of opinions. How many times have you seen a politician go back on their opinion, after protest from their party?  Several times- because many politicians are in the election for the win, not for the change. That brings an interesting question to mind. Are all politicians liars, or are all the politicians we cover, just trying to win? After some thinking, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of politicians are simply trying to win, and that is not the public’s fault, but the media.

Class Room Response #2 The Importance Of Newspapers


In class recently we discussed why newspapers are still around.  Newspapers are nostalgic,  a physical object, and non linear are just a few of the reasons that we mentioned. While I agree that these reasons are why newspapers are around in this day and age, I disagree that these qualities will keep newspapers around for much longer. For one thing, traditions change. Eventually the people who remember sitting down in the morning and reading newspapers will be no more. That’s not to say that the idea of newspapers wont be around. Newspapers will adapt with the consumers. For example, telegraphs are an old technology. The telegraph itself, is not here, but the  concept of it is.The idea that a message can be sent quickly and effectively is the reason for emails, and text messages.  Telegraphs have adapted into something that the twenty first century can handle. Newspapers will be the same way.  Kindles and Ipads are putting a new twist on an old tradition. They’re something you can hold, non linear, and they remind everyone of a simpler time. Though they are certainly not as a cheap as a newspaper, the more common they become, the cheaper they will be. Some people will still oppose to these technologies.  When a new technology comes out, the generation that knows no different always has a problem with it.Even Socrates objected to writing, something that is normal for people now. When you know no different, its hard to imagine that the new technology is better or equal. The people who weren’t around the new technology, will embrace it.  Change is inevitable, even to the mighty newspaper.


Response to Patrick Smalley’s “My Thoughts on the Printing Press Lecture”

The first time I read through Patrick’s opinion on the impact of Gutenberg’s Press, I automatically didn’t agree. It wasn’t until I thought about it a little more that I started to see Patrick’s point. The invention of the Printing Press, and every other event in this world, can’t be assigned a specific cause and effect model. That’s not how the world works. There are so many things that happen from point A to point B that there’s no telling, for example, that most people would or would not be literate without the Printing Press. The Printing Press was such an impactful invention, that the effect it had couldn’t be measured. On the other hand, I don’t think that’s what Mr. Miller was trying to get across to us. I think the lesson was more on how important media is to the world.

Overall, Patrick did a really good job on his response. It wasn’t shockingly long, but he still managed to get his point across. I liked how he thought outside of the box. I am used to accepting information from teachers without question, so it was refreshing to read such a different perspective on something a teacher said.  I agree with a lot of what he said.  Kudos to Patrick.

Patrick’s Response : http://averyprofessionaladress.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/my-thoughts-on-the-printing-press-lectureand-the-1qq/

Response to Erin Woggen’s “Magazine’s Largest Innovation”

Overall, I think Erin did a great job on her response. I didn’t think about photo journalism at all when I thought about the origins of magazines. It didn’t even occur to me that before magazines most print media was geared towards illiterate people, so magazines weren’t the start of photojournalism. Erin did an excellent job of pointing that out- and it makes her response more thorough. 

Erin said that she never thought about magazines not existing, which was completely different from my experience. Every time I think of magazines I think of shiny, thin paper books, stapled together. It was hard for me to imagine that magazines existed before the late twentieth century. I commend her for being able to look past the physical differences in the magazine- and look at the similarities in content. Even though magazines had to demassify- they still have a lot of similarities- like how often they come out. 

Erin also mentioned that magazines opened the door for America to spread culture past neighborhoods and towns. It’s interesting to think about what America would be like without a national culture. While I think that it’s very important for news and current events to spread nationally, I’m not too sure that it’s necessary for America to have a national culture.  Is national culture stifling diversity, or embracing it? I think that depends on what your view on it is, and at the end of the day, is only an opinion. 

Class Room Response #1

In class, we were talking about how mass media affects culture. Magazines, recorded songs, books, and television shows all have the potential to share ideas to a large mass of people. The conversation really got me thinking. Producers of mass media have an incredible amount of power.  Mass media influences how people see themselves, their society, and other people. So how much has mass media contributed to the not so great aspects of society?

In America it’s taboo to like girls. Women don’t like women because they’re too much drama and Men don’t like women because they’re crazy. This stereotype hasn’t always been so prominent in American culture. Why is it that so many people are becoming misogynists? With a little digging into popular culture, it’s not a surprise that they are. For the week of September 29, 2012 the third most popular rap song in the country, Pop That, used the B-Word to refer to women fifteen times. According to Merriam Webster, the b word is defined as the female of the dog or some other carnivorous  mammals; a lewd or immoral woman; a malicious, spiteful, overbearing women- sometimes used as a  generalized term of abuse; something that is extremely difficult, objectionable or unpleasant. “ The b word has become synonymous  because of the popularity of songs that use it. The radio plays songs that people like, and with the wave of people that dislike women, the radio is more likely to play songs that call women the b word or the h word.

Music isn’t the only factor though. Television plays its part in establishing and maintaining stereotypes. How many TV shows have you seen with a socially awkward Asian or a loud, sassy African American?  Too many, and it will probably remain that way. The most popular TV networks are in it for the money, not the content. Just look at MTV, whose most popular shows show women partying and getting drunk. MTV won’t have a show about successful girls getting into college, or receiving scholarships as long as that’s considered boring by the public. The public are craving shows that “expose” how a specific group of people act, like women, celebrity wives, and twenty- something’s living in New Jersey. With so many people tuned into television, it’s impossible for it not to be influencing how people feel about a certain group.

Some forms of Mass media have contributed to stereotypes, mainly because of the populist outlook that many producers have. So is mass media good or bad? Mass Media is neither. How Mass Media affects the world is up to the person writing, singing, or reporting.