Archive | September 2006

Truth in Advertising

A friend sent this to me. I’m sure it’s pretty old, but it doesn’t discount the fact that it’s pretty funny.

And here’s part two:

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Street Art from Ghent, Belgium

Once again, I steal from the Wooster Collective.

64.4% of Chinese People Don’t Want to Be Chinese

And 38.1% of those people say that because they feel that Chinese people get no respect. I’ve been suspecting this for a while so I’m not as surprised as I am incredibly disappointed by the fact that this bit of what was formerly anecdotal evidence has been actually quantified.

A while ago, my friend told me that culture changes and our parents’ ideaof what the homeland is, is only a snapshot of what it was back then. Of course I argued that it’s not true as technology has allowed us to keep in contact and change and grow with the culture. But in retrospect it doesn’t matter because the pace of change in China is so ridiculous that the only way to keep up is to actually be there.

It’s sort of been a thing for some self conscience Chinese American kids to go back to visit the homeland either to alleviate the guilt of self induced whitewashing or to discover themselves and what it means to be Chinese. Now they can never do that. Well, I guess they can, but they’ll be tremendously disappointed.  

The stats are reported on Danwei.

The Pop Culture/Media Chokehold

In one of the many presentations we had last week, someone described their target audience as: these are the people who don’t wear traditional clothing themselves but appreciate it when a celebrity does because it means their culture is being acknowledged.

This thought is centered on the idea of subcultures seeking confirmation and validation from mainstream media, thereby making it the authoritative source on granting relevance. When mainstream media broke away from being the mouthpiece of pop culture to become the purveyor is when it started to understand how much weight it had to throw around.

Pop culture/media preaches conformity and the reason why it even bothers to acknowledge subcultures from time to time is to keep us complacent and trick us into accepting that change takes time. Change takes time? No it doesn’t. Suffering takes time. And revolutions start as a result of prolonged suffering and those only take a few years. So while mainstream media will drop something on everyone from time to time, it’s only enough to sedate us into thinking it is progress. At the same time, if we go back to the bit from class, pop culture takes the power of representation away from the subcultures and subjects them to the whims of giant corporations.

Consider this example I found in my coursepack. In 1996, Nike was preparing to break into the skateboarding market. However, this anti-establishment culture sees Nike as the ultimate enemy because it was so corporate. The ad agency then created a campaign that glorified skaters as misunderstood athletes. The results were considered great as the skaters used the spots to champion their cause and the general perception of skateboarding changed among the public (which is still debatable).

The problem here is that if Nike didn’t want to sell more shoes to this demographic, then they might still be persecuted today. It’s the idea that if they don’t get “sponsored” by big media and pop culture, they will forever be doomed to persecution. If they don’t get “sponsored” they have to sacrifice bits and pieces of their identity to fall in line with the norms- possibly changing the entire composition of the subculture itself.

Watch Hip Hop Enslave the Masses

Over the weekend a classmate was telling me about hip hop in the South. He was alluding to the localization of hip hop and how it serves the different communities around it. It made sense at first, but I still don’t buy it.

Hip hop about booty shaking goodness is not a speciality of the South. They’re just repackaging the same ideas and themes from commercialized hip hop. But as my classmate was pointing out, people who listen to this music have crappy jobs and they don’t want to listen to stuff about social issues and justic because they live it already.

I can understand the situation, but I won’t accept it.

Consider the influence hip hop is wielding: people have no money, but they listen to songs about money, and then they go spend money that they don’t have. Hip hop is so shamelessly commercialized that nobody owns it anymore because they’re all working for the dollar. All rappers want to blow up so they let the market dictate what they’re going to do. Likewise, if the market dictates the message, then it dictates the people who receive it as well.

This is why hip hop is dead. It has become a tool that corporations use to make money and maintain the socio-economic status quo. So, if we are still talking about localization of hip hop, they yes, I would say it’s been cosmetically localized across the entire nation.

I’m Evil

I have analytics for this blog and I’ve noticed that every week three or four people find this blog by searching: “evil things to do”.  

As you can see, I am the fourth most authoritative source on the internet concerning evil things to do. Oh, the magic of SEO and beware of my wickedness.

Facebook Frenzy

Facebook rolled out a feed feature that captures all the changes your friends make to their profiles and lists them for you to see. Everyone is flipping out about this because they see it as an invasion of privacy. However, what they don’t realize is that this information is all public to begin with and on top of that, only your friends can get your feed.

This not only shows people’s ignorance about their perceived privacy as well as feeds in general, but it begs me to ask the question: if they aren’t you friends, then why did you add them to begin with? I guess the 1,293 people on your profile are not all your friends.

The funny thing now is that my friend can’t drop people off his list because it’ll get recorded in the feed and everyone will know he’s a jerk.