The news hype around these revelations can be defended considering news as a ‘voice for the voiceless’ (Ward, 2009) but when does scientific observation, become controversy and not a waste of this medium for a voice. There are years of research that argue for and against the fluoridation of water, one more bit of evidence, shouldn’t make headlines.
The media attention around the topic of the adverse effects of fluoridation of water can be seen as fear-mongering. Fear mongering by the media is a way for the company running the story to create ‘hype’ around a trivial issue to keep the story in the public sphere so they can continue to run the story. While this is not illegal, it has various ethical implications, especially when the story appears much more important than it really is, over shadowing other important stories.
Dreher identifies that news is valued more for its cultural proximity, relevance, rarity, continuity, elite references, negativity, composition, and personalisation (2013). It can be said that fluoridation of water has received its unjustified media attention because of these elements. Because of this, Dreher implies that news such as water fluoridation is given more media value than equally as important foreign news stories.
It is important that as media consumers we are aware of global news regardless of it’s proximity and relevance to ourselves. I suggest finding and using regular news networks that, have a global network, are preferably independent and use multiple mediums.
How many comedy series from outside of your own country do you watch?
Personally, I’m Australian and watch some Japanese, British and American comedy shows but I hardly find them as funny as some of my local shows such as ‘Summer Heights High’, ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ and ‘The Paul Hogan Show’, Australian shows.
Susan Purdie identifies comedy as the breaking of rules involving behaviours and language, although these rules are often subject to cultural barriers. Much like the advertising fail, “where the bloody hell are you?” one cultures joke may be another culture’s insult.
Getting Angry at ‘Angry Boys’
Chris Lilley’s ‘Angry Boys’ was met with some criticism in the US, specifically the character of S’mouse, an African American Rapper and a parody of the mainstream hip hop industry. Looking at this cultural content from different nationalities perspectives can cause different responses.
Comedy is said to be characterised to a locality, meaning Australian comedy is different to American comedy because of location specific references. Other elements that should be taken into consideration include political views and popular demographic. America is infamous for an inability to laugh at themselves where as a lot of Australian comedy is based on mocking our own stereotypes.
There are cases where comedy can breach borders because of a similar ‘cultural DNA’. This means that two cultures that share similarities can sympathise and understand each others comedy. For example, Australia being almost like an evolution from UK culture, people from a UK culture can understand some of the irony behind Australia’s stereotyping comedy.
As we can see in this video, Irish comedian Dylan Moran at the Melbourne comedy festival combining his comedy from the UK and Ireland with Australian comedy for an Australian audience with relative ease. Another thing to note is the abundance of his jokes that ‘mock’ Australia, Australians and Australian ‘things’.
How To Go Global
Comedy is lost in translation when certain specific are just not understood by a culture. This can be overcome be sharing the shows format but localising the script.
With this shows such as ‘The Office’ can be successfully translated, in this case from a dark UK version to a much brighter US version.
National media industries all over are being faced with a kind of cultural homogenisation and as such are now producing local content for a larger audience to associate a global audience. With the rate of globalisation on the rise, pop media is churning out trends anyone can participate in to a point where these trends are infiltrating cultures in a kind of cultural imperialism (often seen as flowing from the west to the east). As a response to this, audiences are turning to the internet to find something ‘refreshing’, this is where glocalised content comes in.
David Schaefer and Kavita Karan discuss the topic of glocalisation and hybridity in their article, “Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows”. They identify glocalisation as, “where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenizing forces associated with cultural imperialism”. In this, Shaefer and Karan are saying by hybridising local content with popular global trends, film industries such as India and Hong Kong’s are making a place for themselves in the market instead of conforming to westernised patterns.
The final thing to think about is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is the act of taking elements of a culture and using them in a way that doesn’t incorporate their original meaning, essentially, stealing cultural aspects. This would happen in a film that takes influence from a culture but doesn’t reference or address it appropriately. The popularisation of an appropriated culture can devoid it of meaning as a culture, re working it as all access pop material. E.g tribal tattoos without reason.
“Traditionally, television studies have been resolutely national, focusing on
a medium contained within the regulatory, political, and economic environs
of the nation-state. International media studies maintained a similar respect
for state sovereignty attending to the exchange of cultural products between
nations or producing comparative studies of national media systems. More
recently, however, scholars are relinquishing the metaphor of national
containers, choosing instead to examine the ways in which contemporary
television is transcending frontiers and disrupting conventional structures
of domination” (Curtin, 2003)
Next to Hollywood, Hong Kong holds the next biggest television industry with over 200 channels being broadcast to over millions of people. The Chinese government is often criticised for its heavy censorship of media coming in and out of China, for example, a limit of twenty foreign films can be shown each year. Regardless of this, people are going on-line to find foreign media and simultaneously sharing local media, creating a two way media flow into and just as importantly, out of China.
Looking Through The Patriot Lens
From early Disney to modern news propaganda, western media has failed to accurately portray non-western cultures accurately. One would argue that globalisation has influenced the worlds interpretation of ‘foreign’ culture to be more sensitive and accepting but when western culture undergoes cultural imperialism over other cultures, it’s hard not to compare the east to what can be considered as ‘social norm’ in the west.
During 2012 there were two rape cases on the news, not far apart chronically but geographically, one was in Delhi, India and the other Steubenville, U.S. In the Steubenville case, culprits were sympathised with to protect ideals of ‘innocent western youth’. Alternatively, the Delhi case was reported quite crudely, implying the culprits in this case were ‘animals’.
One sided media flow has the effect to create a one sided image of cultures holding dominant ideal over others.
Let’s Not All Play The Blame Game
As some would point out , America has a bad case of victim blaming culture especially when considering rape cases. in the December of 2012, two young footballers raped and defamed a young female student. In the light of this, news networks were slammed for ‘sympathising’ with the culprits and identifying the victim as being part of the cause. While the girl was identified as ‘drunken’ and without name, the culprits on the other hand where labelled ‘stars’, ‘promising’ and ‘sorry’. One of the major news networks guilty of this victim blaming was CNN. Consider the following news clip.
In The Wake of a Colossal Media Capital
1993 saw Rupert Murdoch become the major share holder of Star TV, the number two broadcasting network in Asia, this includes Star TV India. Following this, a deal was struck so Star TV India had limited broadcasting in the local Hindi language paving the way for a flow of western media to the east. As we have established a media flows can propagate the establishment of a new media capital
In India, a young Delhi, University student was gang raped on a bus. Thus despicable crime was broadcast all over Indian television in a relatively ‘mature’ way, implying that India’s media industry is trying to be taken seriously. This case and its subsequent news broadcasts raised awareness of abuse against women in India and brought to the attention of the public a sexual assault bill that did not criminalize marital rape.
From this, we can observe that the development of a media capital can be beneficial to the local culture and society as well as support social reform for the better.
With a hip, hop and a hippity what?
I gotta ask, what is hip hop?
To Be Hip Hop You Must First Know Hip Hop
The history of hip hop is not crystal clear but it’s believed to have originated from the Bronx (A suburb of New York City) as a medium to express political views. On a deeper level hip hop is said to have it’s roots in Samoan and African rhythmic music.
Hip hop is often stereotypically seen as a form of media associated mostly with African Americans. and is synonymous with gangster culture, misogyny and rebellious youth. Looking at the history and contexts of hip hop I have found it to be a quite deep and cultural theme.
“Hip-hop has been accused of glorifying violence, misogyny and homophobia, and at the same time has been lauded for its ability to simply “tell it like it is.” Such controversial debates over forms of expression can rarely be boiled down to a simple case of wrong versus right. Instead, they are complex and multi-layered and must take into account the larger cultural context.” (PBS Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes)
It is widely accepted that Hip Hop consists of four (arguably five) elements; Break dancing, DJing, Mcing and Graffiti (With Beat Boxing being the possible fifth). These four elements combined empowered people of The Bronx to lyrically and visually express their discontent with society considering majority of people living in The Bronx are considered low class.
Hip hop as a form of music is often ‘hybridised’ by adding elements from other cultural forms of music to give it a sense of place and character. The term “glocalisation” has come up again and again when researching this topic, it refers to when something is globalised but in a way that it is customized to suit the locality e.g French Rap.
The Dark Side
Due to the hybridisation of hip hop, there are often cases where it is appropriated in a modern context
This 2010 car add can be seen as drawing commons between their car and being ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ but can also be viewed as trivialising the political and socio-economic issues in Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s hip hop song “The Message”.
The topic of hip hop appropriation is a complex one. Some would argue that hip hop belongs to it’s Samoan and African/ African American roots as well as any other minority or any member of a low socio economic class. On the other hand white males such as Eminem and Macklemore as well as white females such as Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus continue to dominate the charts around the world (See: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis). I see hip hop as not belonging to a group of people but people belong to hip hop, and through my tutorials, I’ve found others agree. If you have the talent and you have a message to share, hip hop is a global media form to be shared.
I was born in Australia, my mother was not. My first language is English, some of my friend’s are not. Chances are that you have some kind of multiculturalism in you, even if you’ve never left the country, you may know someone who has; perhaps an international student?
Studies have shown that international students desire interaction with locals, meaning that without this interaction, there leaves much to be desired. I have been recently asked if I think international education is the rich intercultural experience it could be” and after serious thought I’ve settles on; it’s rich but not as rich as it could be. Allow me to explain.
Interviews with students by Peter Kell and Gillian Vogl identified that difficulties around developing relationships between local and international students centered on differences in social cultures such as where people went to socialise (Australia is more a pubs and clubs culture), what people talked about in passing conversation and above all; language barriers.
We Australians don’t often realise how strong our accents are to anyone of a different first language. We throw around phrases such as, “G’day” (Hello) and “I’ll shout ya lunch” (I’ll pay for your lunch) without giving much thought to how unique these phrases actually are. This and our unmistakeably rising tone within sentences that lead foreigners to think we’re asking a question when we’re just stating something can confuse and isolate people new to the Australian vernacular.
Being more approachable
There are six universal facial expressions, one if which is smiling. Smiling is recognised all over the world and is a great way to make someone feel comfortable toward you. International students learning English to come to Australia often focus on reading and writing and our rough vernacuar can come as a shock, listening to us speak can then become a real struggle. To better accommodate our international counterparts, try speaking slowly and clearly, it helps to be aware of what phrases might not be immediately translated.
I’d like to introduce the term, “cosmopolitanism” and a “cosmopolitan”. Oxford dictionary defines a cosmopolitan as someone who is “familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures”. Hopefully one day we can all call ourselves cosmopolitan.
Lastly there are groups around the world who are trying to make the world a more ‘cosmopolitan’ society and a method I found to be effective is suggesting and exploring the ideology that, ultimately, we are all international students.
Globalisation… Should we fear or welcome it with open arms?
Globalisation refers to the unification of nations under a culture influenced by technological developments, economic, political and military interests. Globalisation can be looked at with a utopian view Marshal McLuhan refers to as “the global village“. This can be seen as a culture where media serves the general population to share unbiased information and bring people together.I found this to be realistic in some cases but there are many channels of media and with media ownership narrowing each year, the views of mainstream media is being chiselled into the voice of media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch (Newscorp) and Gina Rinehart (Fairfax Media), only to be combated to by blogs and independent news features online.
HSBC’s traditional trendy advertisement suggests valuing cultural differences and democratisation. But on the other hand potentially displays a dystopian view where culture has been de-contextualised fundamentally becoming ‘just another cultural icon’. This dystopian view encompasses how globalisation can devalue individual culture. If body art that signifies identity and belonging to a unique culture is shared without universally, is it not devalued? I’m not saying culture should not be shared, perhaps it should be valued for what it means and not what it is. Tattoos are tattoos but traditional body art is unique.
Communication technologies allow for faster and broader communication, thus making the world ‘smaller’. This has led to the concept of ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson 1991, p.6), this refers to the idea that members of a community are part of such community regardless that they may never know most of its members.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Todd Gitlin argues that globalisation will herald cultural imperialism, a situation where. instead of diversifying, cultures conform to an economically superior western culture. On the other hand Henry Jenkins argues that media flows are not unidirectional. I’ve often found myself listening to European dance techno while playing Japanese video games on a laptop from an American company (Also, I’m Australian). Globalisation is under way and is causing social and cultural impacts worldwide, there are varied attempts to interpret the impacts of globalisation but at this point in time we can only try to understand these changes in order to steer ourselves in the best direction.
Anderson, B 2006, Imagined Communities, 1st ed, Verso, London.
O’Shaughnessy, M Stadtler, J 2012, Media and Society, 5th ed, Oxford University Press, USA.
McLuhan M, 1962, Gutenberg Galaxy, 1st ed, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Canada.
A communication and media blog for the digital zombie in all of us