Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

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Transnational Media: The Natural Spread of the Media Sandwich

Posted by opticalfibrosis on November 20, 2017

Transnational media is a natural thing in a globalized world. It spreads through nations, through various vessels such as social media, where it is shared like an STD at a commune.

A great example, that I am personally a fan of, is the spread of Hong Kong Cinema into the United States. Separate from the mainland, where the culture of China before 1911 is sanitized or otherwise not talked about post Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong cinema revisits aspects of Chinese Folklore such as the stories of Wong Fei Hung, a famous martial artist.  His legacy is espoused in various Jackie Chan movies such as the Drunken Master Series, or in Bruce Lee’s Fist of Legend, and Jet Li’s lesser known, and in my opinion, better made 1991 remake. Netflix has been able to spread and keep these classics alive, and to an extent fuel more creations from both Hong Kong and the mainland. It is obvious to tell which is which, since the mainland recently has been competing with Hong Kong in creating some rather bedazzling epics of historical conquests, such as Red Cliff, a 4 hour epic series that essentially “recreates” a battle from Han Dynasty China. It was John Woos first movie since Hard Boiled.

And that brings me to probably the most badass action movie of all time.

Hard Boiled was a Hong Kong 1992 classic that inspired, directly or indirectly, every Quentin Tarantino movie with its over the top action and bloodshed, along with The Killer, made around the same time. Both are considered the best action movies of all time, with the end scene in Hard Boiled absolutely destroying anything made in Hollywood for years to come. Hard Boiled lives on on YouTube, free for anyone to watch. (if you read this watch it)

Filmmakers like Yuen Woo Ping, famous for  Iron Monkey, among other Kung Fu classics and his use of Wire Fu brought revolutionary concepts to Hollywood cinema. Wire Fu is a film concept that visualizes the wuxia concept of using Chi to levitate and seemingly fight in the middle of the air. The concept was made famous in Hollywood after Ping brought it to fame in The Matrix.

Transnational media is also epitomized in the relative cult of personality that Univision soccer announcers carried over from Latin America, with men like El Perro, and others making famous the rapid speak of Spanish announcers and livening up what many consider mundane to watch on TV. Indeed, a British announcer would have one taking a nap after the first half of a soccer match. Men like El Perro brought soccer to the television sets of millions of Americans and centralized the phrase “GOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLL” in our stereotypical references to soccer.

News has also become transnational. CNN was the first news outlet to truly epitomize the news sector of “transnational media”. Before there was ever a CNN International sector, CNN carried the opening salvos of the Gulf War live from Peter Arnett’s telephone all to hear and see. CNN was noted for it’s live war correspondence from around the world, and inspired what we see in cable news today, both good and bad. CNN also inspired other transnational news outlets such as Al Jazeera, which has been credited for bringing concepts of free speech to the Arab World. Many authoritarian leaders in the Arab world have a particular disdain for it’s otherwise attributed role in inspiring the Arab Spring, and there is controversy in it’s otherwise Anti-American and RT-esque coverage of events in America’s political hemisphere. It is to be noted that they sure aren’t friendly of things today, which is definitely not surprising. Nonetheless, the fact that they even pay attention to whats going on here is central to the concept of transnational media.

And that brings me to the ugly side of transnational media. It’s otherwise seditious and infiltration-style usages by governments for some pretty ugly purposes. Let’s take Russia Today as an example. Any purposely sane and educated American would have picked up that RT was a Russian mouthpipe the moment it picked up Alex Jones tones. Of course, whats even uglier is when its found out that RT indeed has connections to Russian state TV and has friends in the Iron Dome.

During the election it pushed a number of Clinton conspiracy theories, attempting to drive the racial divide in America, poking and prodding at every tension it could, and encouraged many white supremacists, especially the online Alt Right clique who clinged, interestingly to the RT craze, as much as they did Alex Jones. The Russians succeeding beyond their wildest dreams, in turning the transnational media landscape into an informative and psychological battleground, and to this day continue, on certain outlets. It’s a wonder that a man like Sebastian Gorka, a man who apparently used to work for Hungarian intelligence, a tentacle of the FSB, continues to appear as a pundit on both Fox News, and various other local Sinclair Media outlets.

However, RT’s dizzying ballerina spin goes deeper than that. In fact, RT may be responsible for also legitimizing a brazen, bloody autocrat like Bashar Al Assad to millions of Americans and citizens worldwide, and also for pushing a completely false narrative on the Ukraine conflict. RT’s influence in American political discourse and it’s view on world affairs at a time when many Americans get their news from YouTube, is evident of yet another way for Russia, to carry forth it’s old school whataboutisms and other propaganda tactics into the transnational realm of media, and to manufacture consent against what was at one point, a legitimate rebellion against a crackpot despot.

Russia also carried reports from the Syrian conflicts through YouTube war diaries, often misreporting the organizations it covers, labeling FSA militias falsely as either Al-Nusra, or other jihadist organizations. They also presented a one sided view, often embedding with SAA forces and others, presenting them as an organized fighting force, which anyone knows was anything but the truth before September of 2015, when Russian Forces began a modern blitz against rebel forces. It was also instrumental in manufacturing an offensive of public opinion against whatever was left of a legitimate rebel organization on the ground in Syria, blanketing all groups as terrorists, a narrative that the Trump administration has also interestingly picked up.

Indeed, transnational media has presented itself as more of a feral beast of warfare, than of any force of social change for the good.


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Posted by Cody Mason on November 20, 2017

The wide variety of media throughout the world is astonishing. You can find yourself in an almost endless habit hole by a simple google search. While this is good and bad at the same time, I think its mostly good for business. This chapter closely related to the talk I attended last week about then globalization of media either into the US or out of the US. Relating this to a personal level for me, takes “car culture” from japan and brings it into the US. The JDM car culture brings ideas and styles into the US and is expressed through us. Excessive camber (the inward tilt of the wheel), Widened body panels, loud exhausts, and bright neon lights are just some of the modifications that originated japan and were brought over here by globalization of the tuner community. In the late 90s, drifting, which is sliding the car sideways in a controlled manner, was brought here from japan; and when that came, the style came with it. The US car scene is always a couple years behind japan, this is because the japanese companies produce products in japan, then they are displayed on vehicles there. The americans see these cars in videos and pictures that are spread on the internet, and then the US adapts those parts into their cars. One component I’m now incorporating into my car is vertically opening doors aka lamb doors. These were seen as a  laughable modification a couple years ago, but a few popular Japanese tuners are installing these on their cars. Luckily I have become friends with these tuners via Facebook and instagram giving me a head start on the fad. Although its not directly media that is spreading, its a fad and style that is spreading because of media.

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B L O G # 2 6

Posted by vscodey on November 20, 2017

Messy Media should be the title of this chapter. When everyone dumps all of their media content into one place, the internet, with no established channels of communication things become a little crazy. As Mary Louise Pratt described this as “the arts of the contact zone” it is suggested as a social space where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grabble with each other. When it comes down to it the people will do what they want and figure out ways to access things that are illegal in many ways. One way talked about in this chapter is how a group of volunteers in China will have a television drama translated into Cantonese, add subtitles, and put it into circulation across China within 24 hours of the television drama’s release in the United States. The Chinese have a cult following and do this with the television drama, “Prison Break” and I am sure with many others as well. This action by the groups in China is considered copyright infringement, and those groups are frowned upon by the media industry and are known as Pirates. These actions were taken by the Chinese and not by means of generating a profit rather than just supplying goods to their people, but it does come with consequences. Production companies in the United States may not consider working with companies in China because of this simple fact, even though the content is not available to them as it is here. Being able to satisfy the world is not going to happen but finding your niche, a group of loyal fans that prove themselves to your product is oddly satisfying enough for the U.S market when it is all about that money.

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Blog 26: transnational media

Posted by shelbythite on November 20, 2017

Personally, I found the section “Diverting Entertainment” the most interesting in this chapter. It explains how the show Prison Break has a very specific audience that watches the show, even though it is illegal for them.  Although the television series was created in the United States, it has a fanbase in China. Obviously, there is a language barrier when watching a show from another country, so some fans have dedicated their time-and lots of it- to translate each episode of the show 24 hours after it airs here. Even though these fans are translating the content out of their own free will and aren’t expecting any sort of payment for their service, are being labeled as “pirates”.

I also enjoyed “The Earth is not Flat” portion of the chapter. Throughout this class we have learned the spreadibility of media, but this does not mean that the internet has somehow destroyed all of the barriers that separate consumers and participators. We are all still very different. We search very different things. And we have access to very different resources. Though the internet makes searching and finding content much easier, the process is different for everyone.

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Posted by chazyoung22 on November 20, 2017

When reading through the FOLD Project about how fans influence TV shows, it reaffirmed some of the things that we had discussed in class, and it taught me some new things. Fans obviously make huge contributions to shows, but as mentioned in the FOLD, there is no greater contribution than keeping the show itself going.

I haven’t seen Friday Night Lights before, but after reading this, I am strongly considering watching it. Learning about how dedicated the fans are, even after the show has been off the air for so long, people still are so passionate about it. I think that it is really cool how people get together and do stuff like that. This shows the power that the fans can have.

I also haven’t watched How I Met Your Mother, but based on the fan reaction to how the 9 seasons end, it doesn’t sound like I’ll be watching it anytime soon. I’m not sure if they ever got the alternate ending, but even if they didn’t, they made a small impact. I don’t plan on watching the show due to all of the complaints about it, which, no matter how small, is an impact.

Fans have a huge role to play for TV shows and their success. If producers use the feedback to their advantage, they could make a hit show and have their audience grow every day. If they don’t, they could have thousands of people complaining about the show on social media and stopping others from watching the show.

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Blog Post #26

Posted by chazyoung22 on November 20, 2017

As we’ve talked about in class, social media has its ups and downs. You can find someone that is exactly like you and shares your views, even if they live in a completely different country. This is a new thing for our generation. The only problem with it (sometimes) is that you can find someone that is exactly like you and shares your views.

That is sort of what this section discussed. Transnational media, meaning that media is now able to be everywhere. It is able to expand outside of just the United States. However, there are limitations to this. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there are countries that have more limitations on what they can and cant do on the Internet. For example, there could be a country that has a lot more censorship than the US, so something you posted may not be visible to them. For this reason, media is not completely transnational yet.

This makes you really wonder, what would the world be like if everyone was able to join in on the conversations that we have every day on social media. It could be a very different world. I had never really thought about this until doing this reading. It is crazy to think of a group of people that aren’t connected in some way. This is mostly due to the fact that we are all so connected, especially in the US. What would the world look like if everyone could have their voice be heard?

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blog post; #25

Posted by megisbell on November 20, 2017

In America, we use stereotypes often. We use them to make fun of ourselves along with other countries, other races, etc. Other countries use stereotypes to make fun of us as well. Stereotypes of Americans are ethnic generalizations and oversimplified images or ideas about American people, and are found in many societies worldwide. Remember americans here are defined as citizens of the United States. Stereotypes of Americans have been collectively permanently decided by so many societies out there. They are then manifested by a society’s media, literature, creative expressions, and general public opinion. So basically we get the bad reputation just by some assumptions taken over by media.

Some of the following stereotypes are more popular than the others, and some are not directed exclusively toward Americans. Most of the stereotypes are negative, but some are positive.Negative stereotypes of other cultures and social groups are common in virtually all societies.

There are a lot of different stereotypes, to name a few negative American stereotypes; obese, materialistic, racist, rich people. Of course while some fit the bill on these, a lot of Americans don’t. This can then lead to more assumptions and the hate America deal.

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Blog Post #25

Posted by chazyoung22 on November 20, 2017

Transnational media was in the reading this week, and with the widespread range of social media, many different things are possible. For example, it is possible to be connected and have a conversation with someone on the opposite end of the earth. I think that this is very cool, and it is also beneficial to us in many ways. For example, we can learn a lot from other countries. We can see what works for them and what doesn’t. We can then use that to improve our way of life. This also opened my eyes to who lucky we truly are to live in the United States. We have so many freedoms here that other countries do not have, especially when it comes to the internet and social media. For example, China has many more regulations on their use of the internet.

There are possibilities beyond learning, however. Of course companies are going to want to take advantage of this transnational media. The more places that know about whatever it is that you’re selling, the more opportunity you have to make money. And everybody wants to make money.

Transnational media is definitely a tool that we can use to better ourselves if it is used in the right way. That is the same with anything. But I would say that it is a good thing that we have the capability to learn and expand our knowledge and potentially friends with social media.

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Final Project Proposal

Posted by shelbythite on November 20, 2017

Paige, Clark, Conner, Chaz, Shelby

For our final project, we are planning on making a website that satirically describes and somewhat critiques the spreadability and profit motives of corporations and social media companies. We will do this by several means for several different sections, including:

  • Video watching tenure and subsequent profit
  • An attractive and clickable logo to spread
  • Very buzz-wordy and concise articles intended to convey short messages
  • Photos meant to only visually appeal to audiences, not to portray an accurate depiction of the service or product
  • Extensively displayed means of sharing the articles, showcasing the true intention of the site
  • Etc.

Overall, we got our inspiration for this idea from the book’s discussion about corporations’ desire for spreadability which they quantify to mean that their product or service is profitable or valuable.We partly got inspiration from the “generic brand”video, which uses transparent scenes from multiple commercials. The intent of this is to extract emotions from the audience without actually supplying anything real. This allows marketing companies to target those who “cave” to their emotions easily, therefore they are more susceptible to purchase or pay attention to whatever it is that the company is presenting them with.  We also derived our inspiration from our in-class discussions talking about the quasi-diabolical intentions of the media and corporations to be popular and well-known and the means they will use to accomplish that end.

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Blog post 26

Posted by Georgia Nuckols on November 20, 2017

With today’s spreadability, it comes as no surprise that media from different cultures and continents has intertwined itself. This transnational spreadability was mentioned in one of the first things we read for this class. It involved the middle east and a revolution there and how journalists in other countries were able to find out what was going on in that country based on twitter. The ability for media to cross over is a huge advantage for people to learn about other countries and cultures that are different from their own. I actively follow the BBC news twitter which keeps my twitter feed full of things that are going on oversees. This can range from politics to entertainment to sports.  This transnational spreadability helps keep people of other countries and cultures aware of what is happening outside of their bubble.

But this easy accessible transnational spreadability is not available to every person. Each country may have a different approach to the media and what can be said. Here in the United States, we are allowed to post and say whatever we want particularly towards the government. Other countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia do not have these luxuries, where most social media sites have been banned. This is used as way to keep their citizens from receiving outside information but people have been able to figure out ways to get around the blocks that have been put in place. This has been used to get information out of a country that may be mostly locked down so people that are not from there may know what is happening. Transnational spreadability has made the world more aware of what is going outside of their sphere.

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