Mass Communications

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Black Christmas


I just recently saw the commercial trailer preview for a new scary movie coming out called, "Black Christmas", and the first thought that came to my mind was "Are they serious??"

Christmas is a holy tradition that millions of families participate and take pride in every year. I thought it kind of strange that they would remake and air again such a controversial movie. The movie, "Black Christmas" is a remake of the 1974 "slasher classic" about a psycho terrorizing a sorority house during the holiday season. (Being in a sorority myself, that alone frightens me just a little).
Being a movie lover (I absolutely love scary movies), I do have to admit that I am curious to see what this new movie is all about, but I am dissappointed that it comes out December 25, 2006- Christmas day.

Coming from a strong and religious family and background, I find it that my views are stronger than others.

When asking a friend on her thoughts about the movie, she replied to me nonchalantly, "It's just a movie- Hollywood's trying to get money. Stop being a hardass, Melissa!" (To my defense, I was definately not being a hardass.)

I feel that this movie takes away from the Christmas spirit of joy, love, and laughter. This movie somewhat sucks the life out of the jolly feeling of the holiday season. I believe that it is wrong to take such a meaningful Holiday and instill fear and sin into it, just for a movie.

Christmas is such a wonderful and important holiday to millions of people. The movie "Black Christmas" is diminishing the holiday spirit, and I do not think its correct to have made, again, such a movie.

But I am not going to lie.

I probably will be watching it- not on Christmas day, though.

See you at the movies.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Reese's Pieces


I always thought they were the perfect couple. I mean, both with blonde hair, blue eyes, and perfect complexions. They were so fucking perfect, that it almost made me sick to my stomach watching them. But whatever my opinion about them was, I had always thought they were going to be together forever. (If that is even possible).

Reese Witherspoon andRyan Phillipe had met on the set of "Cruel Intentions" in 1999, and had married that same year. Having two children, one of age 7, and one of age 3, I really did believe that they were going to be happily married.

I mean, when Britney Spears recently filed her divorce to Kevin Federline, who really cared? It was so obvious to the whole worl that Kevin was a complete idiot, but Britney just took too long to find out.

And I'm not saying this divorce was anything like Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. I'm not going to lie- my heart absolutely broke when I found out that they were spliting. It seriously felt like the whole world was ending!

But another beautiful Hollywood couple has split. And to me, it seems like Hollywood is what gets into the middle of happy relationships. Hollywood is the seducer or the seductress that pulls a happily married couple farther and farther away.

It's a shame. Reese and Ryan were the All-American couple. So who do you think is next?

Monday, October 16, 2006

The King


As perverted and gross as he is, I find myself glued and sucked into the controversial subjects of Howard Stern's radio broadcast. His thoughts and opinions about any event come light-heartedly, and often sarcastically. Although my parents had banned me from listening to "The Howard Stern Show", I find myself unable to. Dubbed a "shock jock", Stern's highly controversial opinions are mostly due to racial and sexual humor.

Like me, thousands of other American's seem to be shocked by his comments, but refuse to turn away. We are drawn to Stern's "I dont give a fuck who I tell off, I'm just going to tell it how it is" persona. And with his demeaning persona, Howard Stern has rised to the top, being one of the highest-paid radio personalities in the United States.

Proclaiming himself as the "King of all Media", Howard Stern uses his opinions to draw in audiences. And although his stories and opinions are very interesting, it is a shame that Stern does not use his radio broadcast to announce any relevant and important news coverage. With the power that Stern posesses, Americans could be informed about local and nation-wide news.

But then again, what makes Howard Stern so great is that he doesn't take anything seriously. He's here to merely entertain. Leave the other "relevant and important news coverage" to others like Oprah. I want to hear America's funniest Porn Clip. I want to hear about Rod Stewart and his fashion crisis. So come on, Howard Stern, bring on the controversial.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"The Kite Runner" Essay

Mass media is indeed a strong and effective way to use propaganda. Movies, commercials, magazines, and even books have a form of propaganda. In the book, “The Kite Runner”, Khaled Hosseini discusses through a fictional character how life was like in Afghanistan in the 1970’s, before the Russian invasion. Throughout the novel, there are many incidents that occur, in Afghanistan, then in the United States, and then at the end of the novel, back in Afghanistan. Although many think this book is a type of propaganda, designed to change America’s post-9/11 opinion, I believe that it is not.

I can see why many people would believe that this book was a form of propaganda. After the 9/11 attacks, many American’s viewed Afghanistan as being “evil” and “dangerous”. The Kite Runner helps people understand the life of a boy who lived in Afghanistan, to show that his life, in which was so different in so many ways, was just like ours. The definition of propaganda is “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.” Although I can see why other audiences would see this novel as a way to help the nation of Afghanistan, I believe that it neither helps nor harms. The novel was written in an astonishing and innocent style that it is hard to see the propaganda, if there even is some. Hosseini reveals the naked truth slowly and gracefully, that I could not see any use of propaganda.


After reading the novel, I have concluded that there is no propaganda. The feelings and emotions I felt after reading this novel was strictly out of great story-telling. If a Moldovan women wrote about the sorrows, pain, joy, love, and suffering of growing up in Moldova, would we see that as propaganda? We are only giving the Kite Runner a label of propaganda because of the recent history events. If 9/11 had never happened, would we be considering Hosseini’s work of art as a form of twisting and hypnotizing our minds? The work of Khaled Hosseini is marvelous, and we should not be questioning the fact that he is or is not using his story to warm our hearts and for us to see the Afghanistan people as caring. This story displays the love and the patriotic vision of Khaled Hosseini to Afghanistan and to the United States.

Before reading this particular novel, I never thought that the people of Afghanistan were bad, or evil, or murderous blood-sucking devils. I was never one to judge a whole nation by one man’s choice. But sadly this does happen. Nations all over the world hate the United States. Why? Because they hate Bush. We hate Afghanistan. Why? Because we hate Bin Laden. But why do we have to hate a whole nation, if we only just hate one man? After reading the novel, my feelings toward Afghanistan never changed. They were just citizens, just like me, living and trying to find the best way to survive. There were sad moments when my heart did tug and my stomach did a back-flop. But when it comes down to it, my feelings toward the nation of Afghanistan has not changed.

There are no excuses to what had happen on September 11th, 2001, but we cannot blame Afghanistan as a whole. If there was no fingers pointing, no racism, then there would be no question of propaganda in the story of The Kite Runner. Khaled Hosseini wanted to show the beauty and the grotesque of a country that we hate. He displayed his country beautifully, saying “this is it; this is Afghanistan, the beautiful and the ugly. Think of it what you may.” And we as individuals gather what we can from this novel, and view it in different ways. I am not saying my opinion is the right one, because I can very much see how one would argue that The Kite Runner is in fact a use of propaganda. But I personally consider this as just a fictional novel, consisting of hidden truths. I believe that this novel was written for the pure joy of entertainment. Propaganda may be everywhere, but The Kite Runner is a type of mass media without it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

BDTO- Part II

For any confusions out there, here is the article on the Mercury News website concerning my "BDTO" blog on my friend, Oanh Tran. It was published September 22, 2006.

Family suspected all along that woman was killed

PROBE LEADS TO HOUSEMATE'S ARREST

By Leslie Griffy
Mercury News

From the very start, the parents of the 18-year-old woman with the big smile were convinced she was killed in her East San Jose room.

Investigators weren't sure, pending the results of an autopsy. At one point police told a reporter that Oanh Kim Tran's July death was not being investigated as a homicide.

But after weeks of detective work, San Jose police say they have cracked the case. Police have charged Marlo Pillion Diano, 25, with murdering and raping Tran.

San Jose police wouldn't say much about the case Thursday, but a police report explains how investigators tracked down the suspect.

On July 20, Tran asked friends to call and wake her from a nap about 2:30 p.m.

The next day, friends used the key she'd given them to open the upstairs room she rented in an East San Jose home.

She lay dead on the bed.

For the two months after her body was discovered, her parents insisted she had been raped and killed. In pleas posted on a MySpace.com page created in Tran's memory, her mother spoke directly to viewers. ``Whoever did it,'' Tran's mother says in a video, ``you must report it so they don't do it to someone else.''

Police say the murder suspect lived in the same house, downstairs from Tran with his girlfriend and the couple's baby son.

Officers interviewed Diano the night they found Tran's body.

He told police that they didn't know each other well.

Officers plugged away on the case, though clues were few.

The cell phone friends had called her on was missing. The computer she last used to communicate with buddies, instant messaging them after she got home from work July 20, was gone, too.

Officers re-interviewed Diano. Did he know where a scratch on Tran's neck came from, they asked, according to police records.

This time, according to court documents filed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, Diano's story changed.

He knew Tran. They'd had sex a week before she died.

Diano said his jealous girlfriend scratched Tran with a key. But he denied he killed her.

He'd been in trouble with the law before, police say. He was on probation for domestic violence. During the assault, he'd threatened his baby's mother with a knife, choked and hit her.

After giving officers a DNA sample for the investigation into Tran's death, Diano left the police station.

It wasn't until Aug. 23 that the coroner's office confirmed what Tran's friends had long thought: She didn't kill herself with an overdose, someone had strangled or choked her.

DNA evidence tied Diano to Tran's death.

During a third interview, Diano handed police the SIM card from Tran's cell phone.

An interview with a friend of Diano's led them to Tran's computer. By Aug. 31, officers requested the district attorney bring charges against Diano.

On the MySpace site dedicated to Tran, friends sadly celebrated his arrest.

``Makes me mad to know he did what he did,'' one wrote, ``but I hope your (sic) having fun up there. Rest in peace baby girl.''

Monday, September 25, 2006

BDTO

They found him baby girl.


It makes me mad, to know what he said. To have the nerve to even make up a story like that. It makes me mad to know what he did to you. It makes me mad that it took them 2 months and 2 days to finally catch his ass. But they found him, and finally a little bit of justice will be served.

I'm glad that they caught him, but it still wont bring you back. Why did you have to go so suddenly? I never even got to say goodbye. I never got to tell you that I love you, and that I appreciate everything you've ever done for me. Just know, baby girl, that everytime I take a shot, I take it for you. You'll always be there beside us all, partying with us until the break of dawn. It's been a little bit over two months since you've passed, but there isn't a day that I dont think of you.

It kills me to know that I will never have a chance to talk to you. And you know, the night before you passed, I was about to call you too, just to see how you were. But I didn't. I just thought I'd have another chance, another day to call you. And there was that party, a couple nights before your passing. You were there, and I was suppose to go. That would've been the last day I would ever see you again, but I decided not to go. It kills me, Oanh, to know that I could've seen you. That I could've partied with you one last time. I miss you, girl. I can't even eat at Lee's Sandwiches anymore, it reminds me too much of you.


I love you, baby girl. You can finally Rest In Peace. You'll always live on. And I'm just sorry. Sorry that we never got to kick it one last time. Sorry that I can never tell you how I feel. Sorry that you had to spend your last moments alive like that. Sorry that we can't kill the mother fucker who did this to you. Sorry that you felt any pain. Sorry that you had to die alone. But just know, baby girl, that we're all praying for you.

I love you Oanh Kim Tran. Rest in Peace. BDTO Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm a LONER

Okay, maybe I'm not that much of a loner. But in this particular class (mcom72) I am! You can't blame me though. Being in a new school, entering college is hard. Not to mention this freaking campus is huge (compared to my little high school) and that the buildings have names that I can't even remember. (What happened to simple names such as"Building A" and "Building B"?)

This is going to be on of my very short posts. Probably the shortest one. Ms. B will probably not even give me any points for this, but honestly, I have written this for one purpose only.

To be in a group.

We need to form groups to do this project, and, as lame as it is, I have depended on this blog to find me a group. Like I said, I'm a loner.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RIP MAKAVELI

It's been 10 years, and your legend still lives on. You repped the Bay to the fullest, and made the whole world scream "WESTSIDE!" You were our pride and joy. You made the world open their eyes to racism. You made people recognize the hardships out in the streets of the "ghetto". You united a nation with your music.

Tupak Shakur, you are a legend.

From the day he was born in 1971, till his death in 1996, Tupak Shakur lived a life full of poverty, drugs, alcohol, and violence. It might be controversial for me to say this, but I think the life he experienced helped his music and his artistic talent evolve into a phenomenon.

Known to the world as the best selling Rap-artist ever, Tupac's death seemed to hit us by full force. We all expected him to get up, throw his middle finger in the air and curse at the world. But not this time. He was really gone.


His ashes were poured over Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, his aunt's land, his mother's land, and some was mixed with marijuana and smoked by "The Outlawz" (a rap group discovered by Tupac in 1995).

So let's take a moment and bow our heads, and give praise to the Bay Area Legend and the Westside King. Raise your glass of Hennessey and show respect.

Tupac, after 10 years, Rest In Peace.

"I believe that everything that you do bad comes back to you. So everything that I do that's bad, I'm going to suffer from it. But in my mind, I believe what I'm doing is right. So I feel like I'm going to heaven."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Anniversary

Disclaimer: This post was written with no sarcasm. This is a very serious matter.


I know the subject of 9/11 is a touchy-feely one. I mean, it still makes my mom cry just hearing about it. And those songs that they made for it- you know the remix versions of the Mariah Carey songs- still make my eyes tear up. It's the fifth anniversary. Can you believe it? It's been five years, and we still talk about it as if it had just happened yesterday.

Five years, and the affects of that tragic day are still in full effect. Have you been to the airport lately? I swear, you have to be there three hours earlier for a flight from San Jose to San Diego. Security is tight as ever, and with just the recent information about the terrorist attacks in Europe, there is no liquid aboard the aircraft either.

The whole world is on edge as the anniversary of 9/11 appears just around the corner. Airlines are filling with security gaurds. Gaurd-dogs are being ready and trained to sort through your belongings. Extra-precautions are being made throughout the United States. We're not ready for another wake up call. We're not.

It's time to bow our heads and pray. Pray for the ones we lost, and for the ones we wish we could never lose. Let us pray for the heroes of 9/11. Pray for the ones who lost a father, a mother, a child. Pray for the nation, our nation, our people. Let us pray for you and me.

Happy Anniversary, 9/11.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

1985

We've all heard that song- you know, the annoying one by the band, Bowling for Soup. (Sorry to all those Bowling-for-Soup-die-hard fans out there). But seriously, could you really like a song with lyrics such as "She wears a two way, but I'm not quite sure what that means". By the way, what is a "two way" anyway? If someone knows, please share. I'm very curious.

"Girl all the Bad Guys Want" was an instant smash hit. But their second single that made the top countdown was a little bit more hip (just a little bit). Their song "1985" reminisces the 80's decade of hard rock stars and celebrities. Although I wasn't even born in 1985, this song (the only one of Bowling for Soup's many hits) I found was extremely true.

When did Ozzy Osbourne become an actor? And when did Reality become T.V? The mass media has definately changed within the times. But what I'm really dissapointed in is MTV.

The one line from the song 1985 that stuck out to me the most was " On the radio was Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana, there was U2 and Blondie, and music still on MTV".

And I find that so tragic! What ever did happen to the music on MTV? Isn't that their acronym? Music TeleVision? You turn on MTV right now, and I guarantee you will find yourself watching a re-run of the dating gameshow NEXT. And then afterwards, there will be a re-run of FRESH MEAT, and if you're lucky, they will play a part of a music video while the credits are rolling.

I remember growing up and watching MTV all day. I remember coming home from school and turning on MTV to see Britney Spears (yeah, way back in the day when she wasn't fat or ugly or pregnant) dancing and singing to "Crazy".

Come on MTV. We don't need to see Hulk Hogan changing and brushing the little hair he has left on his head. We don't need to see Ozzy cursing the hell out of his dogs. We don't need to see random people making a fool of themselves on any corny dating game. On the other hand, we do need to see some more Justin Timberlake with his SexyBack. We do need to see Beyonce in her tiny outfits singing from the top of her lungs. We do want to see Panic! At the Disco closing that god-damned door.

Come on MTV. Play those music videos like it was 1985.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bohemiam Rhapsody

Napster went down. If the record companies had their way, Limewire and Ares would go too. Free downloading- whether it's music or videos- has become all the rage of the 21st century. Little of the many who download feel any remorse towards this illegal act.

But companies have been feeding and gaining on the topic of illegal free downloading. The company Listen.com has created a site that lets people listen to music freely, but restricts on downloads. Each person is given a playlist, and each month, a person is allowed 25 free songs to listen to. Purchased content is burnable to CD's.

The creation of Rhapsody.com has become a great sensation. It allows free music listens- to any song you chose- and it charges for downloadable music. It is a wonder, why the record companies had not thought of this in the first place. Power would be in their hands- metaphorically and literally- and we all know the record companies are greedy bastards.

Personally, I think that downloading on Limewire isn't at all a bad thing. Sharing music, to me, is like sharing your book. You bought it, but youre generosity gets the best of you and you lend it out to all your friends. Don't get me wrong- I am a highly moral person, and my actions revolve around my good ethics, but sharing music is the least of my worries.

If the record companies had thought of the idea of sharing music, their egos would be so utterly high, nothing could bring them down. But since they didn't, they use the power they posess to tear it down.

Music downloading versus music sharing can be seen hand in hand. Without one, there cannot be another. Although the question of ethics comes into roll, music sharing will not die. With the cancellation of a site, another will arise. Sites such as Rhapsody will continue to grow, and will someday, be the only source of music we will be able to grasp online.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm a Bookworm, and the Radio is my Life

This past week, I conducted a fairly informative "Inventory", trying to figure out exactly what type of media consumer I am. The questions consisted of random topics such as "Do you own a computer?" and "List your average daily hours spent sleeping". While lazily trying to finish this inventory, I thought to myself, "How could this possibly tell me what type of Media consumer am I?"

When I finished this particular test, I was astonished at my results.

Apparently I am the biggest Bookworm in the state of California that doesn't get straight A's.

And, oh, the Radio is never turned off.

Once the shock of this wore off (5 minutes later), I came to the conclusion that, hey, maybe this test wasn't so wrong after all. I mean, now that I ponder this, I have to admit that my nose is almost always deep inside the pages of a book, like I was smelling the pages of it or something.

I do sometimes, smell the book I mean.

Anyways, that part of the results was correct, but what about the Radio? I can't even remember the last time I turned on the radio, but apparently it's my life. Movies, Computer games, Magazines, nope. They're not everything. But music, apparantly music is what makes my world turn round. And again, now that I think about it, the test wasn't so wrong about that.

This Media Use Inventory test is amazing. I learned that I get 8 hours of sleep every night. I learned that I never read the newspaper, and when I did, I was forced to. I learned that I watch an estimate of 2 hours of television a night (I know, that's a long time). This inventory made me see what type of Media Consumer I am.

Apparently I am a Bookworm, and the Radio is my life.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Media Versus Me

I would be a complete liar if I said that the media does not affect me and my lifestyle. How could it not? It’s what wakes me up every morning at the unbearable time of 7 A.M. It’s what I string my air guitar and karaoke to. Media is the pink Energizer bunny we all see who just happens to keep on going and going. Media is everywhere.

But is the Media good or bad?

Many opinions have been formed by this vague question, but I like to believe that my judgment is well above others. I mean, in today’s society, media has expanded greatly, in every shape, form, and color. Just the other day, I saw a stray dog with a sign across its neck reading “I’m dirty. Wash me at All-Pets!” We just keep on getting more technologically advanced aren’t we? From computers, to dogs.

But pardon me; we are straying from the topic. The media seems to be getting more influential by the second. Because of this sudden burst in media attention, producers are creating more ways to expand their new products. For example, Verizon just brought out their newest phone, Chocolate LG. If you didn’t read about, you saw it on Television. If you didn’t hear about it on the radio, you were forwarded to a link online. Our communication skills have been rapidly growing. Society, today, is extremely advanced.

But being as advanced as we are, it is sad to say that many of us fall into the “Media trap”. With media attention on Hollywood Sirens, such as Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, and Victoria Beckham (notice all three girls have one thing in common), young girls have been striving for the same unhealthy appearance that Hollywood seems to pride. Media conforms, and in the U.S, conformity is not always a good thing.

Maybe you see nothing wrong in conformity. Then you are a “Media is good” type of person.

Maybe you hate conformity and strive to be different. Then you are a “Media is bad” type of person.

Maybe you don’t like conformity, but you think media is important, and society needs it. Then you are a “The ends justify the means” type of person.

Or maybe you just don’t care. Then you are my favorite type of person.