Life is just a game/art at Vermont farm

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



I agree strongly with Dediedre's comments on the unhelathy relationship between Bella and Edward. The film does start out hopefullly with Bella portrayed by a somewhat strong, independent "doesn't care if she fits in" kind of teenage girl. The movie makers have chosen intersting symbols: the pick up truck, her casual dress, her disinterested attitude in the social scenes around her. Her relationship with her parents displays her as a nontypical teen in her devotion to them without shame. Bella comes off as strong, kind, confident and comfortable in her own skin.
Then enters Edward, the antichrist of the strong independent woman. Edward looms about, allowing himself to see his sister's future happenings then reacting to them to save Bella from herself and her own decisions. Through his protection he engulfs Bella in complete control that is experienced by Bella as love.
What happened to all her strenghth and character. Did it mean mothing? Was it a facade of "getting along" until she was "saved"?. I think this comes eriely close to abusive/controlling relationships today and it worries me that this is what the media is offering to tweens and teens and adults as a love story.A girl is usually "groomed" for abuse in her upbringing, this is a confusing playout and I think it sends a message that : Yes, you ,too, strong young woman. You too can be loved (controlled) by a sexy pwerful (and dangerous) man. Then you will be complete." I still am shocked and disappointed that this is what Hollywood offers young girls, but, hey, the media is still a man's world until strong female writers, producers and directors are running the show.   

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Talking Point #9: "Good Girls/Bad Girls" by Tolman and Higgins

In Tolman and Higgisn article, "How Being a Good Girl Can Be Bad for You", the authors discuss how the male position of power, over recorded history, have left the female, especially the young adolescent female with the schizophrenic persona holding a natural sexual desire as part of her humaness and the cultural lesson that teach desire, lust and sexual pleasure, including the inital lstages of courting found in all species, threatening to human society, even  today, with our sophisticated mature mores.
The authors are saying that it breaks down to male aggression and female responsibility. The males in our society have "natural" rights to sexual acts and it is the females who must regulate the activity. Girls who express their own sexuality are protrayed as threatening, deviant and bad. This produces cultural anxiety.
The story "Atalanta" is based an a mythological story of a king attempting to marry off his daughter, as was the custom. The new Feminism of the '70s took this old story and put a spin on it that ALLOWED and even EXPECTED resistance to this action. The resonsibility was to her own happiness, and she took action to ensure she got what she wanted. This story reflected the power shift that was felt very strongly by society (some for, some against) during the '70s, and nothing was ever the same.
In "Alice in Wonderland", Alice challenges her society's expectations of being a "good girls' when she rejects the idea of marrying someone she doesn't like and who doesn't like her. It does not matter what each of them felt for each other, it is her family duty to follow through. She rejects this norm and has an adventure that gives her a chance to be the heroine in her own life.
"Bad Girls Good Girls" points out  that sociey operates to discourage women's sexual urges and men's sexual responsibility, and this creates less communication and more violence.
Atalanta from the 70's and Alice In Wonderland from 2010 showed responsibility to one's self is necessary "to live happily ever after".

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Final Presentation points: Teens and the Tatoo

I really like the idea of exploring Teens and Tatoos. I have gone from thinking they are such a bad idea that the kids will "SO" regret, to veiwing them as a cultural phenomeon. One interesting article:
which presents the ideas of  a teen's choice to get a tatoo as both struggling for identityand gaining a sense of control.  Safety issues, which reflect "risky behavior" is always an associated topic when talking about teens, and the article: covered ideas from health problems associated with teen tatooing to legislation introduced by Professional Peircers Organizations to control this aspect of the practice.
Parents outlook that beyond infections and regret,  tatooing may affect ways in which thier child may be viewed in their future by people who may have a very strong influence on their lives, potentail employers.
Do you refuse or allow permission?  I think teen tatooing is a very predominant choice in our culture and would be an interesting topic to present.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Hip-Hop and Colonialism: Recognition and Response  Talking point #7

Dr. Ball's four piece series on Hip-Hop focused on colonialsim in its relation economically to the repression of the Hip-Hop genre and its dominance by the strongly dominant music industry.  Dr Ball states that his point is that we must be not be "as concerned with the prevailing wisdoms contained in popular Hip-Hop journalism or the media reform that often describes  a struggle for power withinn a colony", so much as recognizing the colinization of the industry by the economic powers of the world, sepecially the media giants of the USA.
Hip-Hop's origin in the 1970s was based on expressing post civil rights era social issues and where disenfranchized young Black men found themselves. Hip-Hop offered a way with dealing with the this part of societies hardships through this music art form and subdued the violence that was strongly brewing while giving  a voice to the voiceless.  Organizers from around the world used Hip-Hop in their communities to address environmental justice, police and prisons, media justice and education. Global communities used this media for local activism.  This progressive agenda challenged the status quo. Then entered consumersim. Dr. Ball is exposing the economic powers that control or colonize these artists and their message.

I would like to hear what he has to say about the negative side of Rap/Hip-Hops rich little sister, Gangsta Rap. How does Hip-Hop identify with this violent, mysogynous and commercial sellout? I also would like him to address Hip-Hops role in pan-Africanism as he sees it and how this music form could have/did (?) make this movenent more powerful.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Talking point #6 Glee Yesterday, today, whatever...

We all know that GLEE is more than a story about stereotypical teens with a fabulous musical thrown in to keep thinks cooking. The point I want to make standing at this end of the tunnel is that teens today are no different than teens at any time.  Teens are by nature scared and searching, some with more foundation than others, but even with a strong supports system, will still be victimized by the most insecure.

Never Been Kissed exposes the bullying that is universal, be it an adult who does not fit the media's description of pretty/sexy/desirable (Beist, the coach) and reflects on media Dominant Ideaology that Christensen discussed or Raby's The Storm discourse of youth played out by the sexual Santana or the bully K.
Will makes a good teaching point that the kids had treated her, Beist, as they had not wished to be treated, but then totally ruined any solid point that could be made by riding in on his white stallion and kissing away her difference. I loved seeing her soft side. Yeah, we all have them, but she confused her role as a adult mentor and took the kids immature behavior personnaly and qiut. Wanting to be liked and acepted wins out over self confidence and liking who you are, being old or young. A potentially very strong figure brought down by bullying and insecurity.
Kurt's circumstance with being victimized was raw and real and exposed the weakness of the school systems to protect their kids. It is so real and so sad. I thought the private school as a "safe place" was a perfect comparison and made a very strong point. None of this is realistic, not meant to be. Exagerated, in your face, stereotypical characters and curcumstanances that happen everyday all the time. But, hey, they only got 30 minutes.e
The kids are the same now as they were in the past. Nothing changes.  Being different is ridiculed by bottom feeders.  It takes maturity to respect differences as a good and admirable trait. It comes with time and saftey and endurance. I am glad this is being played out on such a popular media format for all to see, discuss and think about. But it sadly looks, oh, so familiar.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning New Media Environments
by Micheal Wesch, Kansa State University
Talking point #5

In Micheal Wesch's article, "From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning New Media Environments", the author discusses the need for todays modern calssroom to convert the teaching style from top down authoritative knowledge of the teacher style, toward a format of digital information where knowledge is made, not found. Students must progress from cognitive memorization of facts toward finding and analyzing and especially creating information.
Wesch describes the process toward technology to be a form of social revolution because it empowers the student and changes the teacher-student relationship. Different types of technology are mentioned. The HYPERLINK allows information to be in different places at the same time. BLOGGING shows that anyone can create information, while WIKAPEDIA teaches us that an  information network allows students to work together to create new informatin environments.I was amazed to learn that NETVIBES are portals that can bring in any specif kind of information to our sites. Yeah, an old dog can learn new tricks!
I think the main idea of this article was the importance of the why and how of what our students are learning which adresses the form vs content format of education.So these are the tools available to create information but I think the bigger problem is using this technology to enforce real life , problem solving skills vs abstract content based memorization and to incorporate prior knowledge into what is being taught in school.
Authenic environments, created from technology can provide scaffolds for students to learn and to acess tools to learn not normaly encountered in schools. In a study examining Instructional Frameworks, Jan Herrington states the instructional technology community is in the midst of a philosophical shift, promoting real life situations through accessing information and tools to promote critical thinking and problem solving. The information is out there, it is up to educators to grasp and teach methodology to students and themselves to embrace this time in education.

Points to discuss in class:
No Child Left Behind emphasises Teacher Accountability and test scores which reflect rote learning is how teachers are measured. How do we incorporate use of information technology and creation of knowledge within this atmosphere?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Tale of Discources by Rebecca Raby Talking point #4 Argument

In a Tale of Discources by Rebecca Raby,she describes discourses as that which organizes what we know, speak and interpret in the world around us. These eventually claim the status as truths in our culture  Raby breaks adolescent discources into 4 categories and uses the method of interviewing grandmothers and their teens to view how society and these relatives see these girls and how these girls see themselves inside each discource.
"The Storm" describes experimentation and uncertainty and Raby says that parents may project their own discomfort about adolescence (their own?) onto their teenagers.This is listed as an opportunity to manage their growth.
"At Risk" can include any behavior and may be used to justify control by parents.
"Social Problems" states that adolescence are, by nature, risk takers, but today it is happening in a much more dangerous environment, according to those grandparents interviewed and society at large.
"Pleasureable Consumption" Consumerism and adolscence become equated.Teenage years, are depicted in the media, as the idealized age.
I think the jest of this article is the contradictions presented when adolescent grandmothers were interviewed and asked their impression of these discources . Are they cultural truths? Do all teens act and react in this manor? The problem being that societal expectations places teens in the venue to explore and identify the adults they are to become. The problem is that the teens development is to be organized along parent expectations. A sort of: "look, see, hear but don't touch."
Raby found that the girls were frustrated by the message. They are there to challenge the status quo but that challenge is neutralized by social standards. Raby's main point in this article was that adolscents are confused by the parent expectations that they grow and mature but block experiences that may help them achieve this.
These is a fine line between too much and too little, and parents get no instruction book at the baby store. One depends on parenting skills learned and found. I did not like the way Raby used "supposed" so much in this piece. I find it full of expectations that are not fair when evaluating your subject..

Linda Christensen: The Myths That Bind Us" Talking point #3

In Linda Chrsitiansen's piece "The Myths That Binds Us", Christiansen describes a "secret education" to young people instructing female children to react in submission to their male counterparts. Reference to Disney movies to make this point is strong and relevant. Diversity is depicted secondhand creating stereotypes. Theses stereotypes have become imbedded in our social picture. Unraveling these hidden meanings can be painful to some as youthful memories are often intertwined with media productions, as Disney films, and can be described as a dissection of dreams.
As a young mother I had been exposed to the women's movement in college and began looking for these hidden and sometimes blatant sexist stories. I filtered Grimm's Fairy Tales finding one horrible image of women after another. As my daughters got older I talked about these rhythms, stories and films to them and what was wrong with these depictions. Their eyes were alittle wider than mine going out into the world.

Grinner: Hip Hop Sees No Color Talking Point #2 Reflection

Hip Hop Sees No Color is an analysis of the media and multiculturalism. The old standbys of color means poverty and failure and being white means power and success. The film, The Last Dance, deals with the effects of poverty on the characters. White characters are portrayed as the strong and powerful and the black characters, the weak. This film was made over 10 years ago and it still rings true. The films that followed continued to show balck women in positions of weakness with music media presenting womens in sexually charged submission.  In the last 5 years, sit coms are coming one the scene depicting sucessful black middle class families. Race is often forgotten and comedy rules in regard to family tries and tribulations. Is this progress? Is the back producer protraying what is seen as equal curcimstances of balck America?

Croteau: Media and Ideology Talking Point #1 Quotations

Croteau wrote of ideology in the political sense of justifying actions of those in power, by distorting reality.  The ideology of scholarship is the basic system of meaning which makes sense of the world. In contrast, the media ideology is a key between images and ways to define social and cultural issues. "The media is the battlefield upon which cultural warfare takes place."(pg 162). It appears we are invited to defend our realism but first we must define it. In this article we are challenged to look carefully at the "patterns" (pg163) in media text, instead of analyzing one film in isolation.  Looking at famous films in which the weaker heroine depends and is rescued by the stronger hero, one wonders what came first: the chicken or the egg? Was our societal media simply reflecting the ideology between men and women since the beginning of time or did the regning  media  create an even stronger version of what had always come before? Croteau wrote that " mass media are commercially organized to attract audience for profit, there is good reason to believe popularity will be more important to media producers than a commitment to any specific ideology." (pg 164)  The question I pose are the resulting films in the middle of the 20th century a distortion of reality or a mirrow on what was popular?I do not defend media powers, but one must understand the enemy before going into battle.

Personal Note

My name is Mary Spyres. I am a School Nurse-Teacher in an inner city (Olneyville) elementary school in Providence. My "well population" of kids numbers over 400 and remembering all their names is difficult, largely due to their hispanic origins. Its important, and I try. I am a  health laison between these families and the system as so many do not have insurance. I provide health services and screenings directly to the students and I teach health courses. I finished my EdM in Health Education at RIC back in 2002, and, no we did not blog. I am held as a genius within my family because I can text to my kids and "no one else's mom can". So this class has revealed my weakness but will challenge me to grow new synapses, which I hear is a good thing at any age!