Tag Archives: communication

Comm 370 – Week 1

26 Jan

Below follows the first entry in my online journal for my Communication and Diversity course (Comm 370).  In the course, we must keep a journal that chronicles our experience with diversity and the readings that are assigned.  On my separate blog for the class, I only have it open to two people, but I figured that I should open it up to more people.  In this sense, I want to present an honest portrayal of my difficulties in exploring my subtle prejudices as an embodied white male.  Some of my realizations are hard for me to come at, but I hope that I can be as up front as possible to show that everyone has a little bit of prejudice and that the best thing we can do is to confront them rather than to hide them.

So, here we go:

In my previous Media Studies class with Derek, we looked often at the powers within the media and how there has been growth, integration, globalization, and concentration of ownership.  Nevertheless, the figures are no less startling.  I found that the concentration of ownership to be the most frightening with big groups and families influencing the media they control through their biases.  Previously, we studied Disney and how the corporation continues to reflect the ideals of Walt Disney himself through their propagation of “family values” where the women are put into their place and anything that is foreign should become Westernized.  Specifically, I always come back to thinking about Disney Corporation buying out Marvel Comics in 2009 (I believe).  Now, I read a lot of comics, but I’m more of a DC kind of guy.  So, the buyout didn’t directly affect me because I don’t really follow Marvel comics all that well, but, nevertheless, it was interesting to think about this family value corporation owning a comic book company.  Sure, Disney vowed to remain fairly “hands off” with the comics and wanted more of a direct control over merchandising, but it has been unsettling. Then again, Time Warner has owned DC comics for a handfull of years.

The whole notion of ideology also plays a large part in the corporate media world.  I referred to it as a “bias,” but corporations are really trying to further their ideologies.  In this case, News Corps furthers a conservative agenda through Fox News.  The key resistance is through “an insurgent multiculturalism” as it “attempts to show how various people’s voices and experiences are silenced and omitted from mainstream culture, and struggles to aid in the articulation of diverse views, experiences, and cultural forms from groups excluded from the mainstream” (Douglas Kellner, 8).  I feel as if these groups can better announce themselves through online culture.  yes, some people with minor blogs may not have as large of a platform to express their views, but when groups of people ban together to express an oppositional view, the media can be challnged.

Another key point of Kellner’s short essay is “the economic factor” which “explains why there are cycles of certain genres and subgenres, sequelmania in the film industry, crossovers of popular films into television series, and a certain homogeneity in products constituted within systems of production marked by rigid generic codes, formulaic conventions and well-defined ideological boundaries” (10).  I feel like this economic concern is from corporations discovering what sells in the current market and then shoving it down the population’s throats.  However, one must consider what the population is made of to discover what works; who has the money to express their views in participating in media culture.  In that respect, many voices go unheard because they do not reflect the majority of the population, and that is when oppositional views must be expressed in order to promote a fairer society that isn’t based solely on the money that can be tossed around.

Hegemony has been something that I’ve considered in many of my Comm Studies courses, but Lull sums it up with describing it as “the power or dominance that one social group holds over others” (33).  Hegemony can thus be the driving force in keeping many of the oppositional voices quiet.  It works subtly but powerfully to solicit only the popular viewpoints.  It is very interesting to me to find people or groups that attempt to counter or destabilize hegemony.  When a film promotes a masculine agenda by demeaning women, then the most powerful response that can be made is for a large group of people to realize that that depiction is wrong and to show their dissatisfaction through writing, action, or something else that can destabilize and draw attention to this hegemonic force.

Hall’s categorization of racism on 83 plainly but effectively demonstrates the two driving factors in racism: overt and inferential.  I believe that the American society (in most cases throughout the country) has become more inferentially racist than overtly.  However, it is still racism and can still have devastating effects on the structures of society because they become ingrained with racism to quell the voices of those who would oppose the foundations that have been built with racism in it.

Overall, I believe the most compelling article (seeing as the first bit was more so building a foundation for media studies) out of the group was Thomas Nakayama’s on “Dis/orienting Identities: Asian Americans, History, and Intercultural Communication.”  The article explores Nakayama’s experience living as a fourth generation Japanese man in the Southern United States.  His argument that those of Asian descent may never be fully considered American was quite interesting because I had never fully considered it before.  There are all these different assumptions about Asian people, and, to me, sometimes it’s a little strange to hear someone who’s Asian speak with a clear American accent.  Therefore, I’m at fault in the whole process, too.  For example, I’m friends with Samantha who is of Japanese and Italian descent.  Though, she looks primarily Asian.  My best friend Monique and I always refer to her as “My Little Asian” as if it’s a pet name.  She takes it fully in stride and realizes that we’re only joking.  I consider her fully American because I have never known her any differently.  However, when it’s someone who’s Asian that I don’t know, I have some trouble in recognizing that they’re American just like me.  In that regard, my viewpoint unsettles me to realize that I’m not fully open to others and come from a fairly privileged perspective.


Print and Televisual Advertisements and the Effects of Humor

12 Dec

Print and Televisual Advertisements and the Effects of Humor

Elliott Sawyer

This study investigates the use of humor in both Print and Televisual Advertisements to study the persuasiveness of humor in advertising and the difference between the two mediums.  Zhang, Buijzen, and Valkenburg all suggest that advertisements are much more attractive to a consumer when using humor but they may not be as effective for selling the product.  Strick, van Baaren, Holland, van Knippenberg, and Zhang all suggest that humor does increase the positive attitudes towards the ad, but not necessarily towards the brand.  This study bridges the gap between other studies that focus primarily on either Television or Print ads.  Participants (N=27) completed measures of attitudes towards the ad, humor in the ad, and purchase intent. The hypothesis that the humorous televisual ad would have the highest attitudes and purchase intent out of all four categories was not supported by the data.

I just finished writing up my study.  So, please read some of my academic work.  My results are quite startling.  I can send anyone a copy of my study, but please do not reuse it without permission.  The purpose of posting on my blog is to let people see what I’m up to, and to further academic knowledge.  This was done for my Comm Research Methods class.

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Visual Tropes in “Barack the Barbarian”

27 Oct

Here’s a bit of a COMM 200 assignment I’m working on right now.  Keep in mind that the audience for this short piece is my professor(s) and other COMM students who may not know that much about comic books. Either way, I figured people might find it interesting:


Although the selected piece isn’t a direct political cartoon like one seen in the newspaper and instead from a comic book, the individual frame from the story can still be considered containing tropes especially when isolated from the whole comic.  The most obvious trope within this frame is hyperbole.  The comic takes modern day figures and instead imagines them in a barbaric time.  Plus, Sarah Palin’s womanly features such as breasts, hips, and flat stomach are enhanced and John McCain’s indecisiveness (shown in the text bubble), and short staunchness are also exaggerated. Irony is also employed since Palin’s sharpness in speech debate as a weapon is replaced with an arrow which could also be considered somewhat of a synecdoche.  The effect on the reader/viewer that the frame may have would possibly be humor because of Sarah Palin dominating over McCain despite McCain having the higher standing.


This cartoon is actually the cover to Barack the Barbarian #2 where Barack fights against “the screeching enchantress” Ann Coulter.  Alliteration can obviously be seen in the title of “Barack the Barbarian” and the text before it of “Righteous Retribution.”  Once again, hyperbole is employed in the comic to suggest that a small framed woman can carry a giant sword and the American President dresses up in wooly underwear slinging around axes.  Possibly, the text on the cover may be an apostrophe since the text is addressing readers of almost terror comics (from the 50s) instead of the political pundits that may find the comic funny.  Irony is also common in this cover because the cover is constructed like a crime or terror comic of the 50s while positioning modern day figures on the cover in an even older, barbaric setting.  The weapons of each character may also stand as a metonymy for the respective character with Coulter’s sharp sword being associated with her quick stabs at people in politics.

Facing the Future

3 Sep

Alright, the blog’s been carrying itself quite well without us posting recently.  I mean, with people searching for such terms as: “atom eve nude,” “sailor scouts lesbian,” “sailor moon fucking,” “gay sonic hedgehog,” and other sexual things, we’ve upgraded to 20+ views a day.  The Super HeroiHOT segment has become fairly popular, and more will come soon when I gots me some free time.

I’ve just been really busy.  I have mostly all reading classes (2 English + 2 Communication) where I’m constantly having to check out an article or have a book in my hands while maintaining two jobs and playing ultimate frisbee… my entertainment comes next (after Megan) and that doesn’t necessarily equal more blogging.  I’m trying here, but expect less updates for a little while till I get in a pattern of things.

I’m listening to Megan practicing for her show tomorrow night and she sounds amazing.

I really want to become a professor.  Professor Preiss was talking about the process of going through all the schoolings and publishing dissertations and having 100 people apply for one job, then about tenure.  I want it.  I want to be published.  I want to teach.  One of my jobs is being a course assistant for Professor Owen on a Freshmen film class, and I got to teach some things for about 20 minutes today, and it just seems so natural.  I want it.

Megan’s playing a song where she mimics the sound of a heartbeat.  I’m not fully paying attention, but my heartbeat’s speeding up.  It’s mesmerizing… I’ve had to stop a couple times to type this sentence.

Oh, in case you haven’t heard… Disney bought Marvel.

We’ll blog about Megan’s show, and I’m getting pictures. 

I need to update Stephanie Brown’s Super HeroiHOT page…

Type for you to read soon…

A Tale of Two Movies

16 Aug

The-Time-Travelers-Wife-eric-ban-1.jpg image by thisbookforfree

I saw two movies this weekend… on the same day.  I fulfilled my melodramatic love with “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and then exploded into “The Hurt Locker.”

Both films satisfied, but which one came out on top?

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End of the School Year

15 May

I suppose I’m just going to write about college and the sorts.  I’m basing my experiences on my first year at the University of Puget Sound, but I feel like they can be expanded to pretty much all colleges and Universities.  I also realize that Megan’s already covered some of these in her posts, but I suppose you can get my opinion on them.

The Goodness that is College (if you’re me):

  • The knowledge is overwhelmingly awesome once you’ve figured out relatively what you want to do.
  • Professor’s are normally pretty friendly and don’t seem to half-ass it as much as they do in high school.
  • Professor’s don’t mother you, but they do care about your performance.
  • Deadlines are always flexible if you have good reasons.
  • Campuses look nice from afar.  They’re also like a little oasis in a really poopy city.

The Poorness that is College:

  • Roommates suck ass… no matter what.  Sure, you can become friends with them, but they’re still going to suck at some point.  Most times, your roommate will be a douchebag… like mine!
  • Facilities does a great job… on every building that parents or members from the community are the most likely to view.  The area surrounding the Dorms will always remain dirty.
  • On that note, other college students are not respectful of their environment and often litter.
  • Other students are incredibly loud and annoying.
  • Most people in dorms have absolutely no idea on how to respectfully live with other people and expect the cleaning staff to pick up after them like their mothers.
  • The dorm bathrooms will always be disgusting except for the first couple days that you move in and about 1 hour after the staff cleans them.
  • RAs are the most unhelpful members of the community ever.
  • If you truly hate your living situation or even dislike it then attempt to switch rooms/roommates within the first two months… Otherwise, you’re stuck with them for the whole year.
  • Mark your territory, and don’t let anyone borrow your stuff without making sure they’re completely committed to paying you back or replacing it should anything happen.
  • Quiet hours are never enforced.
  • People are usually disrespectful assholes in the dorms, and you have to become one back in order to survive.
  • It costs a shitload, and it doesn’t seem like the President or Boards truly have a sense of the needs/ wants of the students (i.e. shitload of funding going into a shitty sport team, but hardly any going to a sport that has promise but is club *cough* Ultimate Frisbee Team *cough*).
  • Athletes get priority for anything and everything.
  • Our food’s supposed to be some of the best in the state, but it gets old fast and it’s fairly disgusting (funny that I say this when the Nutrition Consultant who figures out the menu is talking behind me… yeah, I’m at work blogging again).

That’s just a brief list,  oh well.  Sure, I have a lot more poor things, but I feel like the knowledge in the goodness list really outweighs a lot of things.  Many of these things will disappear when we live in an apartment next year (except my sister’s coming here… so, I’ll probably hear about them from her).

On the topic of great news, my possible future employer enjoyed my introduction video to show off my skills with Harbinger Fitness Accessories.  It actually caused her to laugh outloud.  So, I’m pleased… except, she had to ask me to take the video off of YouTube because it could potentially negatively affect Harbinger’s image thus causing her to lose a client.  I took the advertising direction more for humor to tap into a separate audience, and, I admit, I went a little far.  Anyway, I’m glad she enjoyed it while it lasted, and I’m going to be speaking to her on Monday about my future employment.

 Also, I got an e-mail from my Comm Professor who I really love, and she wants me to be the Course Assistant for COMM107 which is the same Freshmen core I took this past fall.  It’s basically an excuse to watch (some of the same) movies and help people out.  It will only require about 4 hours a week, and I’m going to get paid for it.  I hope it doesn’t affect my employment at CHWS, but it’s a really great opportunity to flesh out even more ideas and hear some alternative viewpoints.  I’ll be finding more out about it later since I just got the e-mail today.

Here’s a really cool website exploring legends in comic books, and I’m probably going to pick up the guy’s book today.  For people who aren’t comic book nerds, there’s still some really interesting legends that relate to television, movies, and other mediums that you may enjoy.  So, I linked to the list/directory of every week’s Legend so you might find a topic that looks interesting to you.