Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Power of Control – Pravita Ramratan

Out of all the topics we have discussed in this class, the theme of control has most resonated with me. As demonstrated in “Exercises in the Restoration of History” and “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge,” the dominant groups in society, which were white, land-holding men, kept their workers and slaves from becoming educated in an effort to keep them working. The lectoras in John Ross’s piece has kept the workers pacified, but the dominant group believed that having an education would encourage the workers to leave or run away. The theme of control also goes hand in hand with the theme of manipulation. Through advertisements, people are manipulated into buying certain products, which demonstrates control over consumption. In addition, those who control the coverage on news outlets also control the flow of information. Instead of reporting on important issues that need our attention, people are fed stories about celebrities. This controls the actions of the public by keeping them distracted from things they should care about, and this distraction arguably keeps some people pacified as well. Control over the flow of knowledge and over what people consume block their ability to think freely. We are swayed by biases and the one-sided stories we hear and it directly impacts how individuals function in society.

Pravita Ramratan 1D08



Crystal Huang – UNITY

My favorite readings so far are The Ends Justify the Jeans, Frankie Mae, and The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In The Ends Justify the Jeans, it demonstrated multiple definitions of what blue jeans meant throughout history. A pair of jeans is symbolic because it is something that is tangible, an article of clothing that captures history in style and fashion. They are the fabric and threads that bring societies together. I think it was interesting how a pair of jeans represented communication, therefore making it a form of social media. As for Frankie Mae, this was the most different story of all the readings, and it ties in well with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Case for Reparations. Unlike most success stories, Frankie Mae demonstrated a character who failed and gave up. Not only that, but this character was also a young girl. “Long as you live, bitch, I’m gonna be right and you gonna be wrong. Now get your black ass outta here.” It was impossible for Frankie Mae to carry the weight of her race on her shoulders. It showed the oppression, structural violence, and importance of unity. If it wasn’t for slavery, the upper class would not have the opportunity to be wealthy and enjoy a luxurious life. It is a tragic story, where there is pressure from all angles. As an individual, there was no way Frankie Mae could stand up to the landowner alone. On the other hand, Frankie Mae’s father didn’t exactly have an option either – it was either to succumb to oppression and slavery or lose his job, salary, and starve his entire family. It is a complex world and these issues still exist today, in one form or another. These are important issues to share and talk about.

Crystal Huang 1D08

Book Detachment- Marlee Jeudy

What really resonated with me during this semester so far was the story and the message behind Fahrenheit 451. This book was written in the 1950’s and pretty much predicted the future based on how people will act on an everyday basis because of technological change. Almost every professor I’ve had in college mention the amount of work they use to do when they were undergraduates because there weren’t any computers or smart phones to depend on. Their entire education was dedicated to books. I compare the past to life now and it seems amazing that people eliminated books from their agenda. We are replacing books with google and ebooks because we have a tablet to look on. The other day I walked into my neighborhood library and only the elderly were deciding on books to read from the shelves. During one of our lectures, Professor Ewens mentions Plato who was a Greek philosopher. He wrote a book called The Republic and it is based on shadow puppets that represented reality. As a metaphor, he is saying that humanity is being destroyed because the people are confused and they are taking pleasure in their own collective self destruction.

Catherine Walker – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

One topic that has really resonated with me over the course of this semester was Professor Ewen’s lecture and interpretation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes prisoners chained in the dark recesses of a large cave. They are unable to turn their heads and they can only see the cave wall before them. Behind the prisoners is a fire. There is a roadway between the prisoners and the fire where puppeteers perform a show. The puppets cast shadows on the cave wall, and the prisoners see and hear the shadows and echoes cast by the puppets they can’t actually see. Plato sees this as an allegory of how we can mistake appearances for what is the truth. The shadows of the puppets aren’t the truth, they’re just an element or an interpretation of the truth. I found this whole concept to be extremely interesting especially regarding how it relates to the modern media. We see advertisements and movies and social media posts and think of them as the absolute truth of the world and the people around us, but really they are just shadows or reflections of reality. By thinking this, we become prisoners who can never be really enlightened and who can never see the full truth. If we see the “puppets” for what they really are, then we can be freed.

Camila Hernandez:Ignorance is Bliss

What has resonated with me during my brief time in Intro to Media are the works we’ve been reading which beg the question-Is ignorance really bliss? Or more importantly-is bliss more important than knowledge and understanding of the world? In my personal life, I’ve found myself shying away from news and information that alter my mood. But ultimately, this decision takes away from me experiencing important human emotion and empathy. Fahrenheit 911 did an excellent job of narrating the damage intentional ignorance can do to the individual and to society. Also, the case for reparations opened my eyes to why we need more authentic journalism and historical reports. I believe that if we are exposed to more truth, people will be more understanding and tolerant which will lead to a more peaceful state.

was ist Hipster – Hug0 Urqu/eta

Media – the literal plural of medium, embodies all the tools (mediums of communications) past, present, and future available, to convey a message through space-time.

As time moves forward, the methods available at our disposal are ever-growing, ever-changing, and more importantly, evermore accessible. As a result, shifting the all-mighty power of communicating an idea from the few to the many. Providing the everyday citizen, with total control on what they may convey, or how they choose to convey, whatever information, including, of course, themselves – ourselves.

Living in a present day, self-regulating, ever-judging, panoptic society, It is easy to understand why the way we choose to portray ourselves has continued to change, as various forms of media have become more readily accessible. These tools allow anyone to completely embody what they may see as an ideal form of themselves.

Why imagine it, only in your thoughts, when you can tell the world, that the fictitious version of who you desire to be is in fact the real you.

Enter – Ideal™ in a can, we now have the ability to purchase our ideal. Why work hard to improve yourself when its good enough that those around you think it so, it may even motivate them to work harder – at improving their portrayed image – maybe a can of Ideal XL™.

For the most part, we all desire to be individuals, to be unique, to be exemplary, but if we are all special – no one is.

Even if we create a: style, thought, form, only unique to ourselves – we cannot keep it to ourselves, it identifies us, as such, it forms the projection of ourselves to the world. Unfortunately, this also means that it is only a matter of time before it is added to the next batch of Ideal™ – commodified and ready for sale.

There will always be the actual few needles in the haystack – but for the rest of us:

“We the People”-Betania Ramirez

One of the subjects that caught my attention was Jean Wheeler Smith’s “Frankie Mae”, Fredrick Douglass “Learning to Read and Write and Bill Moyers “Is the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column? Frankie Mae and Learning to Read and Write explain from their own perspectives about one of the most impacting events in American History – slavery. It was one of the most crucial time period for African Americans when they weren’t granted  freedom because of the color of their skin. Bill Moyers “Is the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column” speaks on a similar subject. We are trapped in this cage of information where we don’t even know if what we see on television or read in newspapers is real. Even in lecture we discussed how complicated it is for people to know the truth. People are so stuck to the money that they prefer the program that contains more ratings than the one that brings out truth.


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A theme that has resonated with me so far throughout the course has been how important self-education is . We see censorship, manipulation and control of the media has occurred in the past for many different people. Wether the oppression of the tobacco rollers in the factories or african-americans thru slavery,  literacy has been used as a harmful tool to control and restrict groups.  These people were not as fortunate as we are today . They had to fight for their right to education and bathroom. Slaves were not even taught to read . It was not until Frederick Douglas changed this precedent. Furthermore, the course has made me appreciate the opportunities that we have in today’s society. Our ancestors did not receive the same privileges and resources that we now have access too. This has made me even more appreciative and thankful for the rights they fought to earn for us . In addition, self-education has been highlighted to me from the course.  Learning is never-ending and you must always be a free thinker. We cannot always believe what we are told .  Each person has their own opinion and perspective and this is what makes us unique . To control literacy is to keep them dependent on you . The media controls what they do and do not want us to see. Everything has been chosen carefully. Nothing is random


When you read the lyrics of this song without the video and beat , you realize K’NAAN is rapping to tell a story more than make music. He is talking about his own tribulations and experiences of life as well as that of others who have served the same fight he is portraying.
K’NAAN says
“How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way
How did Gandhi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all
Didn’t do it to gain power or money if I recall “
He is saying that these people fought for the good and rights of their people for no personal gain but in a pursuit to create a better world. They are role models and to be honored for their selflessness that was wise beyond their years. Furthermore, the rapper is questioning how they did it , inferring that nowadays , it is so unusual for people to stand up for their rights.
K’NANN also raps
“All I can say is the worst is over now
We can serve the hard times, divorce is over now
They try to keep us out, but they doors is open now”
Here he is recalling the divorce that was apartheid in America. It is in the past as he says , “the worst is over now” . He says “they doors is open now ” referring to the newfound equality for all people in this country.
It is fair to conclude that K’NANN is not only a rapper but in fact a historian sharing the facts of the past to educate the youth so they will not let the same oppression occur again

Continually Learning – Jaime Rinaldi

When I think of the Media 180 class, knowledge, communication, and energy come to mind. Without the care for knowledge we would live in a completely different world. Without the use of communication via vernacular, the stories of the past would probably be lost in translation conveying different messages from each story teller to the next. This has been happening for centuries, only today messages change more rapidly via social media. Books and other concrete forms of retaining messages allow for us to hold on to these stories, whether fact or fiction, for longer periods of time. Without energy we would not receive and retain these messages with much appreciation. We are continually learning and a class like this provides a spark for change with every meeting.

I truly enjoyed the movie ‘Style Wars’ and book ‘Fahrenheit 451’ because it emphasized how important it is to question authority and challenge the known. In ‘Style Wars’, the group of artists both young and old worked together creating messages via graffiti. They proved to not only themselves, but to the public that they could make it “all city” no matter what forces were trying to stop them, even including Mom! The graffiti artists received hate from “bombing” the subway cars as some of the public thought it looked messy or ugly. It is more than ten years later and look who is being talked about, the artists not the ones resisting it! In my opinion, public space should be filled with art, meaningful messages, unfiltered pictures and words that could potentially spark a thought leading to positive change! Today, we see silly pictures in the “news” and headlines that rarely convey impactful messages. There is an emphasis on the blind obedience of the public. Nodding our heads with every opinion we hear, going along with it because we are too busy to care or look deeper into the stories we are told is a major problem. We are all guilty of it. This is conveyed through ‘Fahrenheit 451’ as Bradbury reminds us that the essence of being human is threatened when there is a failure of memory. Memory essential to survival and progression. You can help to change the system by not giving up on yourself and others. We all should continually expand our knowledge by reading more and learning from each other through communication. There is an opportunity to spark positive energy from one life to another at any moment, take the leap and try to make a change!