Women, AIDS, and Activism, ACT UP Women and AIDS Book Group

One of my favorite parts about this article was the very first section of “CONSIDERATIONS FOR ACTIONS” — It definitely reminded me of the activist workshops that I attended recently and all the activist media outlets that talked about how to resist and speak up (in a careful manner).

It was also very interested that it was pointed out that “… in late 1986, the impact of AIDS on women was just beginning to be acknowledged. Although women had been dying of AIDS since at least 1981, this was denied by the press, media, and government until 1996”. I could see this being true, since the stigma of AIDS related mostly to gay males, but AIDS indeed infected many other types of people — either way, it was as though AIDS was seen as almost a punishment towards gay men for being gay (which is absolutely SO WRONG!).

The precautions and education of this AIDS crisis executed by these women for women was profoundly strategized and smart: between the safe-sex videos and the hair salon, these were goods outlets for people to get a hold of and learn more about this predicament.

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Hi all,

Thanks again for a fantastic semester! While you are more than welcome to continue the conversation here, please note that all blogs posts and comments were due on 12/8. I’ve completed my tally of the posts and comments so far, so any new material posted here won’t be counted for credit. Email me if you have any questions.

Very best wishes for a restful break and a happy New Year,

Prof. Herzog

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Interactivity and the Media

The media today provides a complete attention when it comes to tweeting, snapchatting, instagramming, and facebooking. When you interactive with social meeting it needs your complete undivided attention. While reading Karen Collins Implications of Interactivity: What does it mean for sound to be interactive? You can’t help but think about the how the interactivity affects how media is used.

Feedback and control she on how sound can change the way people interact with media, social media and video games. They spoke upon on how sound can make you even more into the game. I agree with this for example Mario Kart one of my favorite games when I was young. As you speed your car throughout out the colorful courses you can’t help but get more exciting from the music in the background. As the music speeded up as you get closer and closer to the finish line brings more and more excitement. What a rush made me want to play even more Mario Kart.

I think the music in the background can really affect the way you interact with a game or media in general. It detects and confirms if you are doing the correct thing or if you are actually winning the game. It make it even more compelling to play and even more exciting. Music has a way of transporting us in so many way. Taking us away from our hectic lives. When you are in the game world the music transports you even more into the game.

The article was very interesting to read and see the affect music has on interactivity. When I was playing video games when I was little I never really thought about the sound effect and music behind it. Now lo0king into it I understand the importance of music and how it changes everything when it comes to any type of media platform.

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Girls and Subculture

One thing that really struck me from reading the article was the part that mentioned how “girls had to be careful to not get in trouble and excessive loitering on the street corners might be taken as a sexual invitation to the boys.” THIS right here is something, I feel, is definitely a worry for girls today, whether they are in any kind of subculture (especially rock, punk, dark, etc.) It’s like we can’t be taken as seriously as the teddy-boys that roam around at night. We have to watch how we are dressed, make sure we fit the feminine “standards” of society, and continue to act like “ladies” rather than rebel or act somewhat human at all. If boys can be “badasses”, why can’t we?

Being different, wearing whatever we like, or hanging around the streets at nights with our friends shouldn’t be presumed as “promiscuous”. Especially back then in the 50s, guys were able to be a lot more flexible in fashion, attire, behaviors, and interests, but girls needed to hush up, stay put, and follow instructions. And it’s not fair when (as said in the article) that the industry was targeting BOTH genders and only one is allowed to get away with “experimenting with clothes and hair”.

There has been a major improvement of girls and their sexuality, choosing their own style, and doing whatever they like… but sometimes girls in subcultures can be seen as sexual objects for the boys in their groups, rather than a person who shares the same interest (for example: nerdy girls with comics or video game girls not being taken as seriously as they should).

It was even pointed out in the motorcycle girl subculture: in reality, these sexed up girls didn’t even know how to drive, and to be in a gang you had to be a sexy girlfriend of the guy who was already in the group. It wasn’t truly about breaking out and becoming a “threat” towards acting in a louder, more dominant matter – it eventually turned these cool chicks into walking fantasies.

It’s one thing to be okay and show off your sexuality, but it’s another to have it be taken advantage of and only be noticed for how “hot” you look. Girls are constantly told that they are suppose to be “glamorous” and copy the image of what the media/shopping industry wants to sell to the public – which isn’t okay. If you enjoy being all dolled up and following the latest fashion – cool! By all means, you do you! Do whatever your heart desires! You have that freedom! But when it gets pushed on the girls who don’t want to be a part of this, then it has to stop.

That’s why I do believe being a girl in a subculture can be tougher than it is to be a man in a subculture because there are so many embedded rules against what we can and can not do. We are not here for show – we are here to express ourselves as individuals.

It’s just so funny how we, as a gender, have been taught so many things like how to dress, how to flirt, how to catch a man, how to act, and so on. Just do whatever you want and partake in whatever you think is awesome.

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Across an Invisible Line: A conversation about music and torture

To say the least, I was greatly surprised about using music as a form of torture. I am not sure I heard this before and I am not sure how it entirely would work. The fact that there are numerous US-run detention centers that use music as form of torture in places such as; Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is very eye-opening.

In the article, both the interviewer and the person being interviewed note that this form of torture is seen as a “lite torture” using the “no-touch” approach. Because the people are not physically harmed there is less uproar about it. This is also why it is noted that American citizens have disconnection with this form of torture. We are exposed to this type of “western music” everyday at many times unwillingly as well, such as shopping malls. But what really is the main factor of this dissonance for the American people is the very fact that these tortures happen outside the domestic land. They are US-run detention centers but that is the very hint to know. US run in a foreign land. If it is not here, then it is of no issue to the American citizens.

What is also interesting is that a number of musicians as well as members of the bands such as Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine cosponsored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a public records request to shed light on the torture form using music. It is important to note that it is this kind of music that is being used to torture prisoners, mostly muslims. What I would like to know more though, from the article, is actually how, to detail this is used. I still don’t know the process of such torture, and would like to know how specifically it is done, and to what levels this is an effective mode of torture to gain information.

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“Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation about Music and Torture” Response

The reading by Suzanne G. Cusick and Branden W. Joseph titled “Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation about Music and Torture” is interesting because it’s in the form of a conversation. Before reading this article, I haven’t really thought about music relating to torture. The discussion of the issue that torture has been outsourced to other countries is something that doesn’t get discussed often. It goes along with the idea that if it isn’t happening in our own backyards, it doesn’t seem to be an urgent issue. Even if Americans are not fully aware of what’s happening outside of America, it is connected to us regardless; therefore, it should be addressed.

Acoustical bombardment is discussed and when thinking of this type of torture, it often gets pushed aside. Just because these techniques are ordinary, doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to torture people. While this form of torture is usually used accompanied with other forms of torture such as tampering with temperature, it is still important to discuss, even though it is often ignored. There’s a difference between music we intentionally choose to listen to, and music that is forced upon us. The discussion of how music isn’t something that can literally be touched, is interesting because it is easier for those who use music as torture to get away with questions of who’s the cause of the torture. The person who is doing the torture is able to walk away from the situation in a different way than if the torture was being done directly in front of the person being tortured.

A part of the article that was intriguing is the discussion of how as a culture we down play this form of torture because the music chosen doesn’t always seem serious. Just because we may perceive something as not relating to horror, doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a form of torture. Being able to relate to hearing music we don’t like isn’t the same thing as hearing with the intent of torture as it has been used. It’s important for us as a culture to know what is being done because without fully understanding what is happening, how can things get better?

This article does a good job of discussing music as a form of torture. Music, as a form of torture isn’t something that is a common topic of conversation. Why is it not spoken about more? It seems that because music is generally seen as a positive thing, music as a form of torture doesn’t fit into the ideal picture of music’s purpose. We associate music with various pleasantries such as when we listen to the radio, or when we go shopping. However, the use of music as a form of torture is something that doesn’t seem to be highlighted in the mainstream, which should make us question why this is so.

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Girls and Subcultures

The article addressed the question of a woman’s place in subcultures. McRobbie and Garber discuss how subcultures are usually associated with men. When thinking about a group of girls in a subculture, people usually tend to think of them as “dumb passive teenage girls.”

Women have always been told how to look and act certain ways. Society has been culturally conditioning women for years, teaching us that we are seen as having less potential and capability than men.

It was interesting reading the section where the authors talk about what roles girls are visible in. For example, they talked about the motor-bike girl who is seen as a new and threatening sort of sexuality. The mod girl offered a complex opportunity for girls that sprang from mainstream of working class teenage consumerism. Teenage girls in the 60’s worked in boutiques that expected them to reflect the image of the shop. Reading about the mod girl reminded me of my job now because I’m also expected to pose as a “model” for the clothing and products my job is selling to their consumers.

 

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Beyonce’s Lemonade

Watching the visual album in class was the first time I saw it in it’s entirety. I think it’s really important and amazing that Beyonce is using her voice to shed light on the important issues that America is dealing with in today’s society. Given that she most likely has fans who are younger, she’s helping to educate them and provide them with knowledge that they may lack.

I loved the way she used poetic elements to link the videos together so we would get an understanding of what kind of video it would be and what type of sociopolitical topic would be discussed.

It was interesting reading about what Perrott, Rogers and Vernallis had to say about the album and how they dissected the different materials between each music video. The article helped me understand things about the music videos that I hadn’t even though about before. Examples of how long tracking movements were meant as a way to create continuity between videos.

 

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Jay-Z, From Rags To Riches – Hip Hop

Though I do happen to listen to rap songs here and there, I must admit: I am not really one to know much about the Hip Hop culture itself. BUT! I do have to say: I entirely agree with Cynthia Fuchs’ article about Jay-Z and his “retirement” of his original thug image that he initially portrayed at the beginning of his career.

I have seen some of Jay-Z’s music videos (I actually did my cover song project on his song “99 Problems”) and I have listened to a few of his songs, so I did capture the change of direction in his latest works, in regards to his style and his reputation.

He started off as tough and reminded his listeners what he grew up with. He always related himself to those who grew up in the same conditions as he did. His work all related to his roots back in “the hood”, but as Cynthia pointed out, in his newest music videos and lyrics, one can see the shift from “neighborhood” gangsta to wealthy business man. He changed his whole persona to a more (at stated) “mature, wiser” rapper.

I also took interest in the “Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America” article. I am very intrigued with street art, so when it was mentioned at the beginning – I needed to know more about the relationship between hip hop and graffiti. I loved how it was described how hip hop is a combination of “everything in motion”, just like graffiti – the lines, the colors, and the design. Everything is placed together piece by piece and structured in specific, poetic ways.

I have actually seen this myself, walking around and catching glimpses of rappers like B.I.G on murals. Graffiti is one of the recognizable backbones of the Hip Hop culture and it’s depth/meaning is truly significant in this particular lifestyle. Plus, what’s NY Hip Hop without graffiti?

EXTRA: http://www.complex.com/music/2013/04/40-dope-rap-murals2/notorious-big-5 (GRAFFITI AND RAPPERS)

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“Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programming Music and the Architectonics of Commercial Space” Response

When going to a mall, it’s no surprise to hear music. In Jonathan Sterne’s article, “Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programming Music and the Architectonics of Commercial Space,” The Mall of America in Minnesota is discussed. It’s interesting to think of music as architecture, since it does end up as a part of certain places, particularly a mall. The use of music in a store in relation to consumerism is clever in a way. When people listen to music, they tend to feel calm and at peace. This can make people stay in a store longer; therefore, the people buy more items. Music in stores has become a staple, which many don’t even think about the music playing, they just listen to it because it has become the “norm”. Muzak or programmed music, as the article discuses, is in our lives, whether we notice or not.

The world we live in today is largely based off of consumerism. Music really is present in many parts of our lives. The acoustical space in the Mall of America, as the article mentions, is built in a way that focuses on music. The music in the hallways is subtle, yet the music in the stores is louder. The purpose is to make this music fit in quietly to the ambiance of the mall itself. The use of environmental music to keep people moving or slow them down, and is actually smart because it can serve its intended purpose without people really noticing, yet still fulfilling its purpose.

The difference between background music and foreground music is definitely something I notice when shopping. When shopping, each store has something about it that draws in consumers. Often times, besides the types of items the store sells, the music playing from within the store does attract customers. A difference between the two types of music I find interesting is that while background music intends to change someone’s mood, foreground music doesn’t. The precise way foreground music presents itself really fits into the Capitalist society we live in. Pretty much everything is marketed to us in a way that isn’t necessarily obvious, but still serves its purpose.

The important role music plays in lives of consumers is astonishing. The amount of preparation that goes into deciding what music would best fit in a mall is surprising because as a consumer, it doesn’t get thought of that often. While a mall is a large place, with people coming in and out all day long, malls still try to maintain an image of being pleasant. The programmed music throughout the mall is not supposed to be offensive, and it should appeal to the customers. This makes me think of the news today. The stories being told are often times tragic, yet the voice of the broadcasters is for the most part, monotone. This plays along with the idea of consumerism, and how things are always portrayed to work smoothly and happily, but in reality, there are a lot of aspects that do not get discussed.

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