Archive for January, 2012

FCK H8.

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Musings
Tags: , , ,

As I was sitting here staring at my computer screen and trying to think of how to incorporate the FCK H8 campaign into another blog post, I decided to simply google FCK H8 and see what came up.

I have to admit, I was shocked.

It seemed like every other result was someone’s blog or a website writing about elements of the FCK H8 videos that have nothing to do with the message they are trying to convey.

I’m curious – what do you take away from watching their videos?

Yes, there is heavy use of swearing, but that is the point. Gay has been used as a derogatory term for as long as I’ve known the word existed. I think the outrageousness of dropping F-Bombs constantly also sheds light on the lunacy that is behind many of the ideas out there in the world about homosexuals and their rights as human beings.

There are also children swearing. Does this take the controversy too far? I don’t think so. Considering all of the horrendous things that are done to homosexuals on a daily basis, watching a video that grabs my attention is the least of my worries. Obviously, there has to be a line drawn somewhere – but in my mind this does not go over that line. Also, as my father pointed out to me – the television industry has done much worse to children with commercials for candy and hazardous toys.  They just dress it up and make it look pretty.

And finally, a point that numerous people made was that there shouldn’t be gay people kissing each other. Are you kidding me? The folks that write these responses are so ignorant they cannot even see that they are only proving the point that FCK H8 makes – if you hate gay kissing, it really just means you hate gay love.

I can only shake my head. The internet provides a platform for anyone’s ideas. Even hateful ones. What people will not admit in person comes out loud and clear when you can hide behind a computer screen. It makes me wonder how safe the internet really is. Hate crimes are a criminal offence, but spreading hate on the internet is done seemingly with impunity.

Obviously, I am biased. I wholeheartedly support people who are homosexual  (including myself) having equal rights and respect that any heterosexual person gets. People might be using technology to communicate their message of hate, but I am using it now to communicate my message of love.

References:

Ricardo & Reuters, M. (2011, May 18). March Against Homophobia. [photograph]. Retrieved January 28, 2012 from http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/148113/20110518/international-day-against-homophobia-gay-rights-pictures.htm

FCKH8.com. (2010, October 4). Straight Talk About Gay Marriage. . Retrieved January 28, 2012 from http://vimeo.com/15550574

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In “Technics and Civilization,” Lewis Mumford states a case for the mechanical clock being the birth of technology – of standardization, punctuality, and even modern capitalism.

To own a watch was a decadence only the bourgeois could afford, and it was seen as a symbol of success.

Say what? Of success – really? We have become literal slaves to time. Even Mumford could see in the 1930s that the ideas of adding time and saving time, though abstract and socially constructed, are treated as if they are absolutely real. That is not to say the consequences of “time” or “saving time” are not real, in fact that is the point I’m trying to make.

Ever list “time management” as a skill in a job interview? I know I sure have. Ever sit back and think what that means, exactly? That you are particularly good at organizing all the hours of your day so that you can be as efficient as possible? Does being especially efficient make me happy? No. While I can understand that being organized leaves me more time – pun intended – to do what does make me happy, I always feel the dark cloud of time, accessibility, and technology hanging over my head.

Has technology robbed us of all the joy in life? Okay, even I admit that was a little melodramatic – but think about it! We grasp onto these new inventions like they are a cure for a terminal illness while we’re in our death throes. Do we ever stop and think about what it might mean to us as a society?

I honestly do not know how I would manage my life without technology, and especially keeping track of time – I wholeheartedly admit it – but it is this idea that I have to “manage” my life in the first place that bothers me.

An interesting video including audio of the infamous Zimbardo of the Stanford prison experiments speaking about personality characteristics he’s theorized are associated with certain orientations to time:

Critique of “Technics and Civilization” p. 12-18 by Lewis Mumford:

This was a particularly interesting reading and a great reading to introduce in week two of our Communications and Technology course. I speak only for myself of course, but I can imagine most people having their minds blown to truly think about this “product” of time that is created by the machine that is the clock. Of course, time is only a social construction – but that hasn’t stopped us from attaching such great meaning to time that it pervades every aspect of our lives. At least, it has stealthily made its way into nearly every aspect of my life, like a socially constructed ninja. I found the reading quite interesting, and thankfully, not so long that I couldn’t summarize it’s key components. It presents information in such a way that asks the reader to think critically.

Time: Stealthy like a Ninja! Image courtesy of superiormartialarts.com

 

References

Mumford, L. (1986). The Monastery and the Clock. In Fernyhough, L. (Ed.), Comm 105: Communication and Technology. Course Package: Winter 2012, (pp. 1-4). Victoria, BC: Camosun College Bookstore. (Reprinted from The Lewis Mumford Reader, 12-18).

David Nye writes in Technology Matters: Questions to live with, that technology is certainly not a new concept as many of us consider it -as digital technology – and that for centuries we have been coming up with answers to questions we have yet to even ask. At first I found that a little hard to wrap my head around, I wondered why anyone would invent something without a definite need for it’s supposed purpose – but, then I remembered that logic is a foreign concept to most people in our society.

Are we headed toward a technological utopia? Does technology automatically equal progress? I can’t even imagine how people can look at technology and be blind to the effects it has had on our social skills, our relationships, our jobs, our education – our entire lives are dependent on it. While I can see there are two sides to this coin, and that technology has certainly helped us in a lot of ways, at this moment I can only think of the harm it causes by turning us into virtual machines expected to be “on” and accessible 24/7.  If you ask me, we’re heading toward a technological dystopia.

(Untitled Image of Dystopia, n.d.)

How do you feel about being expected to answer your phone, text messages, e-mails, and voice mails immediately after you receive them? This form of communication is by nature asynchronous, however, we treat it as if it can be synchronous – and I don’t know about you, but I definitely do feel the pressure to be accessible all the time.

References

Nye, D.E. (2006). Technology Matters: Questions to Live With. Available from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/camosun/docDetail.action?docID=10173620

Our reading for week three, and our first group project is chapter three of Building a Bridge to the 18th Century by Neil Postman. In this chapter, Postman asks many critical questions of technology at the heart of which is – who is technology helping, and who is it harming? Do you think about what harm you might be inflicting upon yourself when you turn on the TV and are bombarded with the ideals and values of others? I wonder how much time I’m actually saving and how much of my life I’m missing because I carry around my phone with the internet always at my fingertips. Is that even necessary? Am I going to fall over and die if I suddenly can’t look up movie times or check my e-mail? And yet, my phone is still sitting on the table not even three feet away as I write this. Perhaps the main message to be taken away is to be cognizant of our choices regarding technology use and whether that choice is actually our own.

The idea of technology harming us brings me to my ethical dilemma of the week. Last week when I started this blog, I noticed that I could use a widget called social vibe and choose a cause I believed in that would let readers make “donations” to that cause. So, I went through all the hoops and chose to support “To Write Love on Her Arms” which ends up being a donation of minutes of online crisis intervention and suicide prevention. It was strikingly similar to the idea of the FCK H8 videos and in sharing the videos, FCK H8 made donations to causes supporting the end of homophobia. I was very excited! Until I clicked “donate here” myself, and realized that in order to donate minutes (which I did, in the end) I had to participate in “interactive marketing” – an interesting form of communication – and then the corporations that were marketing their products to me would make “micro-donations” to my cause. Because I am against large corporations, I simply clicked through the ads in order to make my donations, however, I don’t assume every reader will be as aware of what the corporations are actually trying to do – which is to market a product to you, not to support a cause you believe in. So, I wonder… am I causing harm by supporting corporations which I don’t believe in… or helping by the eventual micro-donation to a cause I really care about?

For more info…  http://www.twloha.com/vision/

Critique of “Building a Bridge to the 18th Century” by Neil Postman:

I found this an incredibly interesting read. It may have been somewhat longer than the reading for the previous week, but I was interested throughout every page. It was a great introduction to a theme I am noticing in our Communications and Technology course: that with technology comes responsibility to avoid or mitigate the possible consequences. Consequences could be on purpose, in order to give power to some, and take it away from others (which is unacceptable and should be avoided) – or they could be latent consequences such as Neil Postman’s example of the latent social and political consequences of the television.

Courtesy of foodandthings.com

References

Postman, N. (2000). Chapter 3: Technology. In Fernyhough, L. (Ed.), Comm 105: Communication and Technology. Course Handout: Winter 2012. Victoria, BC: Camosun College. (Reprinted from Building a Bridge to the 18th Century, 36-57).

Born This Way!

Posted: January 14, 2012 in Musings
Tags: , ,

So, in taking this Communications and Technology course at good old Camosun College, the first thing that came to mind when I tried to think of something that I thought was related to the course was the FCK H8 website and youtube videos.

Let me explain..

1: I think they are getting the facts out about a very serious issue (homophobia) to a larger audience by using humour and sarcasm in a series of videos that are both on youtube and their website: http://fckh8.com/

2: Every time you like or share a video on facebook or twitter, a donation is made for whatever campaign that the video is associated with, for example the born this way video gives a 10 cent donation to the “Born This Way” Campaign 4 Queer Kids.

Am I the only one who finds this concept completely awesome? Just click a button and you’re not only spreading the message, you’re contributing to the campaign!

P.S. : If I have to edit this one more time I might jump off a cliff, and … FCK H8! 😀

 

WARNING: F-BOMBS AHEAD: