Breaking out of the ‘Avenger Fatigue’

An On-Going Battle with Superhero Movies

Last week, I went to the cinemas alone and sick to watch Marvel’s “The Avengers: Infinity Wars”. I strategically coughed when the loud shit was goin’ down. I wanted in on the Internet’s excitement. I heard the praises and was fully prepared to be blown away. I had to watch Infinity Wars! I added snaps to my SC story captioned “I’m so ready” and “omg wtf just happened”. I headed home post-film at 11pm and asked myself the first of many questions – “why does it feel so empty and unsatisfying?”.

I have a shameful confession.
I don’t think the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that great.
It’s value is not worth the overwhelming hype. I feel like I’m not a fan, but a slave to buying tickets to an overrated franchise. Why would put myself through another MCU film when I reacted violently neutral to the trailer’s release? Why would I just go along with everyone else loving this film?

In my first year of high school, Iron Man came out. Like many other teenagers, I was vulnerable to trends such as geek chic. 2008 to me was a boom in pop culture and MCU deeply embedded themselves under the cultural skin. It grew with me during my formative years. I even wrote a critical essay exploring feminism in Iron Man 3 for university.

Sure, DC and non-MCU Marvel films came out along the way. DC had the successful Nolan Batman trilogy and Wonder Woman but we were typically served with Flops with a side of Rotten Tomatoes. I didn’t feel the same pressure to watch DC in the same way. What is it about MCU that keeps me hooked and buying a ticket to watch Avengers: Infinity Wars?

James Cameron recently commented on the franchise, “I’m hoping we’ll start getting ‘Avenger fatigue’ here pretty soon” to IndieWire. Finally a label to the tiresome releases! I’ve had enough of superhero movies! I’ve endured 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe and tolerance for being under entertained.

It has been one obligatory ferris wheel ride at every theme park visit overlooking the same view of Chrises. Sometimes it’s refreshingly enjoyable like Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. Most of the time, I’m treated to 2-3 hours of my eyes glazing over while the Avengers are just doing whatever. Each movie convinces me I should watch it to proceed forward. I keep coming back hoping I’ll be treated with bright colours, memorable and nicely paced jokes. I resisted Doctor Strange for as long as I could, protesting the whitewashing of The Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton), but I had to watch that too. I give into the cliffhangers and unfinished storylines. I overlook the forgettable villains, character development, action scenes score and plot. It’s like I’ve been brainwashed but not today, Satan Lee! Not Today! (I don’t actually any beef with him, he seems like a very sweet guy but I couldn’t help myself)

So, I invite you all to step aside and ask yourself, “Do I really like MCU or am I just along for the ride?”.
Why do feel like I have to go them all despite being flat and monotonous? When will the never-ending story end? So many questions left unanswered but most importantly, Who wants to go see Avengers 4 next year with me?


It’s been almost 4 years since my last post in 2014 but the prodigal son returns again.
I’ve since changed majors, degrees, then universities – with a gap year of identity crisis thrown in for good measure.
I’m still writing and analysing media so hopefully anyone out there interested can look forward to more content! haha Possibly an analysis of Disney’s Mulan coming up. Until then, thanks!

Tiffany

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Skype and Brun’s 4 Key Characteristics of Produsage

Skype and Brun’s
4 Key Characteristics of Produsage

Produsage is a term coined by Axel Bruns and is a compound of the words ‘production’ and ‘usage’.  According to Bruns it is “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement.” and this concept is described as user-led content creation via the users’ ability to build, collaborate and change content information in a variety of online environments. The role of the audience shifts from passive consumption to active production.

Bruns argues that produsage has four defining characteristics;

  1. Open participation,
  2. Fluid heterarchy and holoprism,
  3. Palimpsestic artifacts and granularity and,
  4. common property and individual rewards

Bruns used the online resource website, Wikipedia as his example if media meeting the four features of a produsage model. However does Skype hold up to qualification in terms of produsage?

Skype holds the title as one of the most popular media platforms to contact with loved ones through voice or video chat near and far. The application around the multitude of media devices such as phones, tablets and desktop can be updated for callers to use Skype with their latest technology with the ‘Check For Updates’ option. Those who are appreciative and loyal to Skype reassures users for reliable methods of chatting to their friends and family. Users can show their critique of program performance by submitting reviews through Skype as they occasionally ask for feedback on the call quality and they can also discuss issues and ask question through the Skype Community forum. This participation also leads to a sense of community between the registered users of Skype as they offer a customer’s perception and idea of satisfaction thus improving the product, creating success and customer loyalty. Therefore Skype creates community and is constantly improving itself.

Skype, however, is a closed media platform and the content cannot be customised or changed to the liking of a user. By keeping the program simple and easy to use, Skype provides assurance, ease, and efficiency to the users and by acting on copyright laws, this technology reduces the ability of hacking-further reminding the reliability of Skype.

References:

Bruns, A, 2007, Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-led Content Creation in Proceedings Creativity and Cognition 6, Washington, DC.

Bruns, A 2007, ‘Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation ‘, Proceedings Creativity & Cognition, vol. 6, p./pp. 1-3

Jenkins, H 2008, From Production to Produsage: Interview with Axel Bruns (Part One)Confessions of an Aca-Fan, Blogpost, 9th May, viewed 15th April <http://henryjenkins.org/2008/05/interview_with_axel_bruns.html>

O’Malley, R 2011, A summary of “The key characteristics of Produsage”…,HCI Crossovers, blogpost, 9th March, 14th April, <http://hcicrossroads.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/summary-of-key-characteristics-of.html&gt;.

Media Brainwashing “Everything is Matter…Except Energy, Of Course”

After the BCM110 Lecture plenty of questions popped up for me to consider on this blog’s topic. Who ‘controls’ the media? Why does it matter? Who owns the media I use? What difference does it make? Why should I care? My lecturer, Sue Turnbull talked about ideas of media ownership, various influential figures in Australian media and control serving to their own interests, ‘The Frankfurt School’ and media regulation informatively yet I still came out as puzzled and confused. So in response to that, I decided to tackle the issue on a level that I could relate to and how I can care about who ‘controls’ the media.

Let’s get a little anecdotal. My uncle is a Caucasian wealthy 70+ gentleman, and while I adore him, he does tend to say things like climate change and global warming doesn’t exist, my figure is a little too curvy and if lost weight, I might be pretty. I asked him once why he would think this way, and his reply was ‘Well, I heard it on the radio so I’m leaving my lights on’ and ‘I just want you to find a boyfriend already’. To me, a teenager girl exposed to plenty of body positive content for magazines like Girlfriend and social media blog, Tumblr, I’m not too worried about it and I don’t give in to absurd theories or ideals. However, the fragility of the self esteem and the compelling influence of the media is a real problem our society faces.

Much too often today everyday people see advertisements and their project level on ideals and standards, and as consumers, we subconsciously or not believe them to be true or not. It matters who controls the media, when they are setting such propaganda for their set ideals for beauty perfection and disregarding the limitation and standards of health and the human body. What is all this effort for? Well, beauty standards have been set for the goal of making profit. Corporations thrive on the low self esteem of their consumers and a delusioned need to fit that unattainable idea of perfection. Women never shaven normal body hairs until razors where introduced by magazines like Harper Bazaar and advertisements on summer dresses, early 20th century.

Spot the Difference (Mirror, 2014)

Miranda Kerr as recently set this example of distorted self image in this photoshopped picture. Previously posting the image on the right in November 2012, has edited her photo to show a slimmer waist and uploaded the image on the left to Twitter on 9th April 2014. She has since apologized but her fans, ranging to impressionable young girls may have accepted her ideal to be theirs too.

Reference:

Mirror. 2014. Spot the difference. [image online] Available at: http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article3400774.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Miranda-Kerr-3400774.jpg [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

When Will My Reflection Show, Who I am Inside?!

In the last few weeks, I found myself incredibly fascinated but cripplingly prone to procrastination. A terrible infection to my education but I’m writing like a madman, to get things done. I’ve learn many interesting things about the media, myself and lessons for life.

In Week 2, Students immediately dived into the nitty-gritty by considering the faults in the media effects model and concepts and theories in communication. I particularly liked this week, because I had to use a bit of psychology to understand the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ idea and the study of violence in children was educational and informative.


In Week 3, our lesson was about the exploration of possibilities of semiotics in reading complex signs and representation. While the confusing definitions of words and try to remember which is which was a challenge, I found that I understood the idea and found it good to learn about because it got rid of my assumptions of one reading of a text and made me a more openminded about the meanings of complex signs.
The topic of week 4, on media ownership, control and regulation and the knowledge of leading media moguls editing information to their own interest, had me puzzling and I found it hard to follow. I understand it now but in writing my blog I got a bit lost. I wasn’t sure about the content I was meant to be writing about and tried to bend the question to fit my issue and case study.
I also really enjoyed Week 6 and learning about the role of media and the notion of a mediated public sphere. I was something I found that I could really relate to and find relevance in my personal life as a content creator on the internet as well.

From my journey through the first year of university, learning in BCM 110 and BCM 112, undertaking a double degree course in Communication and Media with International Studies, I can now look at myself and see some red flags. I realised in week 3 that perhaps this is not my passion and the right course for me even though I genuinely loved this subject, the entertaining and informative lectures by Sue Turnbull, and the lovely easy-to-understand tutorials by Susan Efira. It might not be an accurate analogy but why be an astronomer, when I can be the astronaut. What I’m saying is that, I want to create media content, not study the effects and outcome of media on the audience and how it’s being distributed. I will pursue my passion of film making by transferring to Digital Media. However information I learn here has not gone to waste because now I’ve learnt to be more aware of the effects of the content I create, to consider the multitude of perspectives in the media and the detrimental effects of accumulating work. In the end, I enjoyed myself and know that what I’ve learnt so far might prove to be useful.

Venez comme vous êtes to Maccas

When you watch this short clip  (Giannoli, 2014) what do you see? On the surface of the video, we see the interaction between a father and son in France. The boy looks longingly at his class photo and receive a phone call, exclaiming that he misses the one on the other line. The father returns with their meals and reminisces about his youth and the ease in which he seduce the ladies. He says the line “Too bad your class is all boys, you could get all the girls” and his son responds with a sly peaceful smile.

Its pretty easy to decipher the message, Mcdonald’s is trying to portray. A boy is missing his boyfriend, possibly after graduation, and is comfortably in the closet while his father assumes his sexual orientation to be straight and brags about his ability of seduction. Though this is not as certain, we can even imagine different scenarios like perhaps the mother is absent in their lives and a single father is doing his bring his son up, so the son is hiding his homosexuality for now and we can even go so far as to say perhaps, the boy is coming clean and coming out to his father in the restaurant, playing on the words of the title.

Directed by Xavier Giannoli, The commercial is part of the French Mcdonalds’ campaign named as “Venez comme vous êtes”, or in English, “Come as you are” invites their diners to eat in peace and in embrace of their unique individuality. It was a statement of the accepting nature of the Mcdonalds franchise, their establishment’s atmosphere of being a comfortable environment and the understanding of the diverse variety in their French customers.

A variety of reactions came to light to express the different responses to the viral advert. According to Campaign’s web article,  (Banham, 2014) the man of poor journalism and controversial standards of news telling, Billy O’Reilly, known as Fox News anchor, compared the commercial to Mcdonalds encouraging terrorism by asking “Do you think they have an ad for Al Qaeda?”. ABC News (Gomstyn, 2014) has also wrote an article explaining some accusation of hypocrisy by LGBT advocates. Activist, Justin Nelson, the president and co-founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce “They were looking to portray themselves as an advocate of the LGBT community or an ally … when it was completely counter to what their actions here in the U.S. were.”. Another voice asked how a ‘closeted boy’ can assist the LGBT community.

Reference:

Banham, M. 2014. French gay McDonald’s ad causes controversy. [online] 07 June 2010. Available at: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1008289/french-gay-mcdonalds-ad-causes-controversy/ [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Giannoli, X. 2014. venez comme vous etes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SBuKuA9nHsw [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Gomstyn, A. 2014. Gay Group: Don’t Trust McDonald’s Commercial. [online] June 22, 2010. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/mcdonalds-commercial-france-prompts-charges-hypocrisy-us-gay/story?id=10975302 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Jenkins and the Downfall of Skype Mobile

427487283_640

10 years ago, Henry Jenkins said “convergence is more simply a technological shift. Convergence alters the relationships between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences. Convergence refers to a process, but nor an endpoint” in 2004. The way that audiences receive content constantly evolve as they transition from passive consumers to active prosumers. We are now the media. The shifting role of audiences and their participation in response to content is a key change in the world of media.

In relation to Jenkin’s notions that consolidation of platforms and technologies in mobile devices and new forms of community, participation and knowledge production with migratory habits, we can view my case study of Skype. Skype is a closed source media platform and its capabilities are limited by the willingness of users to invest in premium options. Despite being accessible to many devices such as mobiles, tablets, TV, homephones and game consoles, Skype has been too preoccupied with makings sales and getting profit to properly adapt Skype to a mobile format. The app design is inconvenient with its poor access of sent files, poor video quality, frequent crashes and call drops. Skype mobile is capable of basic messaging, and free voice and video calls but not much else.

Consumers have been granted access to increasingly popular apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Kik. With a collection of greater variety of companies and individuals to download from with a more concise focus of mobile messaging, users are migrating from Skype to a platform which are better suited to their needs.
Personally, use Skype for my PC whereas I have KakaoTalk on my iPhone because its easier to use and has the same abilities but more suitable to my needs and wants i.e. cute animated emojis, quick access to sent files, display customization and read receipts.

In our present day, we are able to see Jenkins 2004 predictions about the tensions and points of conflicts in media convergence in action in the media world around us.


 

– Leo Burnett, (2013), Henry Jenkins. Available at: http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/427/487/427487283_640.jpg (viewed 04 April 14)

– Jenkins, Henry (2004), The cultural logic of media convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 7(1): 33–43.

 

 

Skype and the Fight with Copyright

Everyone knows of it, but the concept is hard to grasp sometimes. The complexity of it and the blurred lines makes it difficult to be defined. People often tend to break the prewritten boundaries without any intention of committing criminal acts. It’s not exactly common occurrence for police to knock down your door for playing music during a family BBQ because it just isn’t a big deal. The laws of intellectual property is disregarded.


Often while my mother sits besides at her desk, she is often watching korean reality shows (pirated of course), I often wonder how on earth these programs could play clips of songs like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and even the harry potter soundtrack. Like what Eat Your Kimchi suggests, It’s although the copyright laws in South Korea aren’t strictly enforced or even exist at all!

Another case which is concerned with my chosen media platform, Skype is the March 2009 heated copyright suit between the company founded by Skype’s developers, Joltid and Microsoft’s Skype. A quick run down of the ordeal would be that for 2.8 billion dollars, eBay bought Skype in 2006 however not the rights to the program’s Global Index Software, a peer-to-peer technology produced by Joltid. According to CNET article, “Joltid terminated its license for the software after learning that Skype had allegedly acquired unauthorized versions of the source code, made unauthorized modifications, and disclosed the software to third persons”.As the founders sold Skype but not the rights to the software, it was not open content form of licensing. By doing so they were able to restrict the consumer’s capabilities of customization, profit by ‘Skype credit and premium subscriptions and the software is more easily managed and simpler to consult for technical problems.However, hypothetically if Skype was using an open content form of licensing, more variety of options are available, company independence would suggest that use of software can be continued regardless of the activity of the company, however this freedom might overwhelm users with confusions and chaos when you navigate on your own as there will be a smaller support group who are willing to assist.


 

CNET. 2009. Skype Founders File Copyright Suit against Skype. Available at: http://www.cnet.com/news/skype-founders-file-copyright-suit-against-skype/. [Accessed 01 April 14].

NY Times. 2009. Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/technology/companies/17skype.html?_r=1&amp;. [Accessed 01 April 14].

Business Week. 2009. Skype Lawsuit May Complicate Sale. Available at: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/09/skype_lawsuit_m.html. [Accessed 01 April 14]

Eat Your Kimchi. 2013. Copyrights In Korea. Available at: http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/copyrights-in-korea/. [Accessed 01 April 14].

Eat Your Kimchi, 2013. Intellectual Property and Ripping Shit Off in Korea, TL;DR Wednesday [Youtube Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9AwCkzr_e1E [Accessed 1 April 2014].

CNET. 2009. Sold Ebay Jettisons Skype in 2 Billion Deal. Available at: http://www.cnet.com/news/sold-ebay-jettisons-skype-in-2-billion-deal/. [Accessed 03 April 14].