It's a Blog!

Leave it to Facebook February 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — rcgerhard @ 10:20 pm

When I think of the 1950s I see Leave it to Beaver. Mom in hoop skirt and heels doing housework. Dad; hat, briefcase, dress shoes. 2 kids, comfortable suburbs. A life where the biggest problem is a baseball through a window. I know of course that none of this is/was real, even in its time. It’s the 1950s façade.—A protective covering for a decade that was reeling from WWII and gripped by communist suspicions. So in some ways I can’t blame TV audiences for liking shows that cling to this image of normalcy. If I had thought I was safe by distance or civilian status from being harmed by war, and then saw the premier of the atom bomb, industrialized genocide and civilian targeted bombings in Europe, I would weep at June Cleaver’s feet for normalcy.  On the other hand however, the show does pull the apron strings a little too tight, which is why watching it today can feel slightly suffocating. The view on normal is very narrow. It is for these reasons that I have always told myself I could never have lived in the 1950s; it would be a nightmare. But more and more I see creepy parallels between the 50s and our time.

I read an article this week called Facebook Is Using You. It talked about data mining on Facebook. At first I think, ya blah blah blah, –they see what I like and advertise based on that, and if I apply to a job my potential employer is going to check it– blah. It can be a slight nuisance to make sure everything on your Facebook is in line for getting hired, but it’s nothing unheard of. I always think, I’m a pretty decent person; I don’t have raging arguments on my wall or drunk pictures. I must be safe. But no. Because the data mining goes way beyond this. It no longer just affects if you’ll be hired. It affects custody battles, taxes, your credit numbers –even immigration and citizenship. Shop at certain stores? Lower credit limit. You’ll have to read the article to get the full scope, but the essence is that through Facebook, government and business is all up in your business. And oftentimes this is to stereotype you. Like guitars? Denied a loan. It seems that the concept of normal is becoming again like it was in the 1950s, narrower and narrower. Suddenly I feel like June Cleaver washing the dishes in my kitchen. Only this time it’s not to prove that I’m not a communist, it’s to prove my citizenship, or keep my kids.


Comments on “How to Steal like an Artist” … I hate Proverbs February 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — rcgerhard @ 5:02 am

Dashboard  >  settings  >  tagline box

I feel like such a dummy for how long I searched for how to change the line under my blog name that read “Just another WordPress.com site”. Turns out the answer was on Google the whole time. Go figure right?

Anyway, I read an article for my Multimedia writing class this week that gives advice on how to be an artist. It’s called Steal Like an Artist  by Austin Kleon, and as you can tell by clicking the link, it has to do with the book by the same name. Two pieces of advice stood out to me on this list:

(1) Steal like an artist.  It made me think of a video I saw a few years ago about the “Amen Break”. Basically a 6 second drum beat that has indeed, as they say in the video “entered the collective audio unconscious”. Listen to it as it starts playing around 1:18 and tell me if you agree. The bigger point the video is making however is about artistic ownership if art & culture’s natural tendency is to build on itself.

(2) The second thing that stood out to me was the line in the article that “All advice is Autobiographical” and that “Your mileage may vary”. So true. It reminds me why I hate proverbs.  Proverbs = horrible advice. They need disclaimers that copy Kleon’s words. Every time I come across one I think of how many other proverbs advise the opposite.


Response to Michiko Kakutani’s “Text without Context” February 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — rcgerhard @ 1:48 am

I read an article this week that yet again bemoans the current system of media consumption. Surprise! Suprise! — Criticism of the internet is at its epicenter. Forgive me if I’m somewhat cynical about the contents of such articles. I’ve been reading them for years and I have yet to find one that is honest and exploratory of the new state of media and not angled toward some end. I would love for instance to say “I read an article that questions/discusses/explores the current system of media consumption”— but I cannot bring myself to do it. It is simply not an accurate expression of what and how the information is conveyed in this article.

What has led me to come to such a harsh conclusion?

(1)The article paraphrases words from books (paragraph 6 for example) without telling why the authors should be considered credible sources. Yes, they have the prestige of getting published and past the “gate-keepers” of the publishing house, but the publishing houses have an economic interest in diminishing the credibility of other media sources like the internet.

(2) Also in paragraph 6, the actual paraphrase points to the internet increasing the ability to multitask and diminishing the “ability to think deeply and creatively” without providing proof for either of these assertions.  Alternate information on multitasking such as —this— is completely omitted…. But then this bit of information is on the internet and is likely water cooler fodder that is more concerned with pandering to emotions than a sense of reason (see paragraph 13). Which leads me to the third problem I have with this article…

(3) It’s not falsifiable. There is nothing I can do, say or type on the web that can prove that the essence of what this article is arguing is wrong. This is because the essence of what the article is arguing (If I’m reading it right) is that what is on the internet is unreliable. If I say on this blog that the accusation is false, any proponent of the article may say “see argument A”.  This of course does not make “argument A” any truer, but it does make it seem more attractive.

(4) The article ignores the fact that it itself is posted on the web.

(5) The article ignores the unreliable and biased nature of older media outlets.