Final Thoughts

Well it’s been fun, but its time to finish up on this blog. Looking back on the last month and a half on this topic, I have learnt a fair bit about the media in the modern age and issues that surround it. Things like the public sphere in the media to issues surrounding the ownership of news mediums, it has been some of the most interesting stuff I’ve learnt about. My outlook on media has definitely been altered by the many topics that our lectures have covered and the research that I did in making this blog.

From the information I have been given and had to research  I come up with a few things on the media oriented issues today:

  1. Media can influence us to do things, but not actions like murder, although I always found it stupid to blame TV and video games for violence…
  2. To look beyond the image and see the symbols and the the message it makes
  3. the dangers of total media control
  4. that public spheres are great places to discuss your opinion and forward concerns
  5. and the increase of CCTV cameras around the world is too damn high

These theories definitely changed my views in some areas, especially the one on images and semiotics.  I’ll admit I never did look into ads like that before, and images, like the Unhate Campaign, would have made me uneasy a few weeks ago.

I enjoyed doing this quite a lot. And I have sort of gotten used to the blog-making but its still. a bit of mess… hopefully I’ll get better at it in the future, although I think next time I’ll do video’s instead of words, writing isn’t my strong suit

Well that’s it for me, it has been fun writing this and I’ve sort of enjoyed it. So long and I hope you enjoyed the blog and finally one more message:

Video Games are an Art

The public sphere is a ‘space’ in which people debate concerns about certain topics, such as political ideals, recent events or certain television shows. Today, I’m going to discuss how video games are such a good topic for the public sphere to debate.

Now I know some people might read this and think about how much this has been debated already, what I want people to debate about is how the medium of video games can be used as an art form to express ideas or emotion.

Now the strongest image that most people see when the word “video games” comes up is the violence of games like “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield”. However, there are many games out there that defy this stigma. There are even games like “Spec Ops; The Line” that even point out the flaws of these games. A great example of this is the game “Loneliness”, a metaphorical game about depression and isolation from the world due to society.

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Now as you can see from the video, if you watched it, its quite a bland game, but the message you get at the end is strong. You go through the entire game as that dot at the bottom, and no matter how hard you try to make your dot join the others, you never can. Its quite frustrating and after playing it two times, I got pretty angry at the game. It’s only at the end when you get the message that the creator is trying to give about loneliness and isololation and how this is a leading cause of suicides in the western world.

now I know this game isn’t a popular media, but I support the use of video games as an art form to send messages, protests and emotion, and this game does it well in its simplicity. How it tries to show what it’s like to be alone through the dots is effective and can show make us feel in a way what it’s like to be truly alone. If more games like this were discussed in the public sphere, maybe more people can come to see how this medium can be used as an art.

You can find a link to the game here, it’s quite boring but keep on playing until you see darkness and the message at the end

Hearts and Minds: Media Control

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind” – Jim Morrison

In the media world today, a majority of newspapers, television stations and internet websites are owned by a select group of people like Rupert Murdoch or the Fairfax Media. This can be seen as a dangerous thing as control over the media can lead to control over our views and ideas through the news mediums. Today I’m going to explain why, in my opinion, the media should remain a public domain.

If a single entity was to own all media sources it would be quiet easy for that person or group of people to sway the opinions of the audience through the news channels and other media forms. A great example of this is during the reign of Nazi Germany and the way Joseph Goebbels utilized the many forms of media to use strong propaganda and sway the German people to support the Nazis and idolize Adolf Hitler. These forms came as poster propoganda, news stories, film (the poster on the right is one of the most famous ‘non-propaganda’ films) and the famous weekly Goebbels broadcast on German national radio. It was through the media that these two were able to sway a large majority of the people to support the party and its views. This induce a huge amount of anti-Semitic attitudes throughout Germany and its annexed lands and resulted into Kristallnacht in 1938, the ignorance of Germany cruelty to Jews, gypsies and communists in central Europe as well as the Final Solution in 1942.

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Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Limited

The Nazi State is just one example of totalitarian control over the media to control the minds of the people. Today, the media in Australia is slowly coming under the control of a select group of people such as Rupert Murdoch and Fairfax Media. This enables those in control to decide what we see in the media and influence our choices through advertising and running certain stories on the news. For example, Rupert Murdoch, who is a staunch supporter of the National-Liberal Coalition, could use his media sources to encourage people to vote for them. He does avoid doing it due to trouble he gets into because of it, although he is a heavy critique on the current party in power, Labour Party.

The Nazi Era in Germany showed us how powerful the media could be in controlling the people and how far you could push its limits. If media ownership continues to consolidate under a few names, this could happen again. We need the media to remain neutral, much like the ABC (Australia) to ensure that the media doesn’t become bias and used for gain and control

The Unhate Foundation, Spreading Love through Controversial Ads

The Unhate Foundation, founded by the Benetton Group in early 2011, is an organisation that aims to encourage a more peaceful world. Their aims are to;

  • fight against hate and discrimination across the world
  • support the new generations of the world
  • to support these endeavours through the power of art

However, this post is about its controversial ad campaign launched in November 2011, called the Unhate Campaign. This campaign is the first effort of the Foundation to achieve its goals. What makes it controversial is the way they used the political leaders in their ads.

Upon looking at the six images we see the famous figureheads of countries and religions, like Pope Benedict XVI, President Barrack Obama and the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il (that’s the actual title…) embracing their opponents on the world stage.

Just from what’s in the image alone is shocking to most people, however, the cultural impact these images had on these leaders’ people was outrageous. While done in good will with a message that is pure, the way it was done led to most people disregarding the message and leaning towards a stance of condemnation. To see these people whom some love, respect and follow is the ultimate insult to their country and themselves. In fact the one of Benedict with the senior Egyptian Imam was considered so disrespectful by the Catholic and Muslim world that the Benetton Group was forced to take it down by both sides. Following this, a lot of these leaders began to criticise the campaign and petition to the Unhate Foundation to pull down the images.

However, if these people were able to see beyond the image, they might see the message that the Unhate Foundation was trying to convey to the world. A message of love and ‘unhate’ (as they put it themselves). One where your background does not induce hate from rival countries. In my belief the way they have done this is well done, especially with the pairing of the leaders in the images, like Germany with France, South with North, the East with the West. It is the embracing of these foes that sends the sign that we should find within the images and embrace within our own cultures, one of peace, free of discrimination and of embracement of all people, no matter if we hate or love them.

A link to the Unhate foundation can be found here. Look them up, they are a great group that I fully support and their aims as a charity group are completely different from the run-of-the-mill charities that we see today. And if you want more on how controversial this was, just watch the video by the Young Turks and how they discuss their feelings on it (mainly the one on Benedict)