Cultural Identity Essay
27 August, 2020
12 minutes read
Author: Elizabeth Brown
No matter where you study, composing essays of any type and complexity is a critical component in any studying program. Most likely, you have already been assigned the task to write a cultural identity essay, which is an essay that has to do a lot with your personality and cultural background. In essence, writing a cultural identity essay is fundamental for providing the reader with an understanding of who you are and which outlook you have. This may include the topics of religion, traditions, ethnicity, race, and so on. So, what shall you do to compose a winning cultural identity essay?
Cultural Identity Paper: Definitions, Goals & Topics
Before starting off with a cultural identity essay, it is fundamental to uncover what is particular about this type of paper. First and foremost, it will be rather logical to begin with giving a general and straightforward definition of a cultural identity essay. In essence, cultural identity essay implies outlining the role of the culture in defining your outlook, shaping your personality, points of view regarding a multitude of matters, and forming your qualities and beliefs. Given a simpler definition, a cultural identity essay requires you to write about how culture has influenced your personality and yourself in general. So in this kind of essay you as a narrator need to give an understanding of who you are, which strengths you have, and what your solid life position is.
Yet, the goal of a cultural identity essay is not strictly limited to describing who you are and merely outlining your biography. Instead, this type of essay pursues specific objectives, achieving which is a perfect indicator of how high-quality your essay is. Initially, the primary goal implies outlining your cultural focus and why it makes you peculiar. For instance, if you are a french adolescent living in Canada, you may describe what is so special about it: traditions of the community, beliefs, opinions, approaches. Basically, you may talk about the principles of the society as well as its beliefs that made you become the person you are today.
So far, cultural identity is a rather broad topic, so you will likely have a multitude of fascinating ideas for your paper. For instance, some of the most attention-grabbing topics for a personal cultural identity essay are:
- Memorable traditions of your community
- A cultural event that has influenced your personality
- Influential people in your community
- Locations and places that tell a lot about your culture and identity
Cultural Identity Essay Structure
As you might have already guessed, composing an essay on cultural identity might turn out to be fascinating but somewhat challenging. Even though the spectrum of topics is rather broad, the question of how to create the most appropriate and appealing structure remains open.
Like any other kind of an academic essay, a cultural identity essay must compose of three parts: introduction, body, and concluding remarks. Let’s take a more detailed look at each of the components:
Starting to write an essay is most likely one of the most time-consuming and mind-challenging procedures. Therefore, you can postpone writing your introduction and approach it right after you finish body paragraphs. Nevertheless, you should think of a suitable topic as well as come up with an explicit thesis. At the beginning of the introduction section, give some hints regarding the matter you are going to discuss. You have to mention your thesis statement after you have briefly guided the reader through the topic. You can also think of indicating some vital information about yourself, which is, of course, relevant to the topic you selected.
Your main body should reveal your ideas and arguments. Most likely, it will consist of 3-5 paragraphs that are more or less equal in size. What you have to keep in mind to compose a sound ‘my cultural identity essay’ is the argumentation. In particular, always remember to reveal an argument and back it up with evidence in each body paragraph. And, of course, try to stick to the topic and make sure that you answer the overall question that you stated in your topic. Besides, always keep your thesis statement in mind: make sure that none of its components is left without your attention and argumentation.
Finally, after you are all finished with body paragraphs and introduction, briefly summarize all the points in your final remarks section. Paraphrase what you have already revealed in the main body, and make sure you logically lead the reader to the overall argument. Indicate your cultural identity once again and draw a bottom line regarding how your culture has influenced your personality.
Best Tips For Writing Cultural Identity Essay
Writing a ‘cultural identity essay about myself’ might be somewhat challenging at first. However, you will no longer struggle if you take a couple of plain tips into consideration. Following the tips below will give you some sound and reasonable cultural identity essay ideas as well as make the writing process much more pleasant:
- Start off by creating an outline. The reason why most students struggle with creating a cultural identity essay lies behind a weak structure. The best way to organize your ideas and let them flow logically is to come up with a helpful outline. Having a reference to build on is incredibly useful, and it allows your essay to look polished.
- Remember to write about yourself. The task of a cultural identity essay implies not focusing on your culture per se, but to talk about how it shaped your personality. So, switch your focus to describing who you are and what your attitudes and positions are.
- Think of the most fundamental cultural aspects. Needless to say, you first need to come up with a couple of ideas to be based upon in your paper. So, brainstorm all the possible ideas and try to decide which of them deserve the most attention. In essence, try to determine which of the aspects affected your personality the most.
- Edit and proofread before submitting your paper. Of course, the content and the coherence of your essay’s structure play a crucial role. But the grammatical correctness matters a lot too. Even if you are a native speaker, you may still make accidental errors in the text. To avoid the situation when unintentional mistakes spoil the impression from your essay, always double check your cultural identity essay.
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Perception Institute: Research. Representation. Reality.
Representation: culture & perception.
Media, entertainment, and other forms of popular culture play a significant role in shaping our perceptions of others. For many of us, popular culture is the primary way we learn about people who are different from us. The problem, though, is that many representations are based on cultural stereotypes, which tend to marginalize and caricature members of nondominant groups. Through these representations, we see a limited, and distorted, view of others.
Both entertainment and news media are powerful forces in creating and perpetuating negative cultural stereotypes, especially about racial and ethnic groups. In television and film, characters from nondominant racial and ethnic groups often fall into formulaic tropes, and their storylines easily follow cliche narratives. The consistency of these representations reinforces stereotypes and makes them more readily available in our minds.
For example, black men and boys are systematically portrayed negatively in both news and entertainment programming. Many media images of black men are linked to criminality or poverty, and positive depictions are often limited to sports and music. One study of local news coverage found that black people are disproportionately portrayed as criminals, while white people are more often shown as the victims of crime. Despite the reality that most crime happens between members of the same racial group, the media exaggerates the prevalence of black-on-white crime. Though these representations are factually inaccurate, they are often left unquestioned because they fall in line with prevailing cultural stereotypes.
In order to transform perceptions, we must transform our cultural landscape into one that puts forward people of color in all of their complicated humanity, rather than relying on tired stereotypes. Popular culture is a critical vehicle in this work, as it can be used to promote more nuanced and varied representations. Perception Institute recognizes this potential—we harness social science research on the power of narratives to shift perceptions and use this evidence base to upend and expand current representations. At the same time, Perception Institute engages in empirical evaluation of cultural products to determine their impact on implicit bias, racial anxiety, and ultimately, behavior.
Learn more by exploring some of our events and products relating to narrative and culture change:
- Karma’s World
- Black Male Re-Imagined
- #PopJustice, Vol. 3: Pop Culture, Perceptions, and Social Change (A Research Review)
- Evaluation of Halal in the Family web series
- 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets Discussion Guide
- Telling Our Own Story: The Role of Narrative in Racial Healing
Theories of Cultural Representation
Faculty in theories of cultural representation.
Many faculty and students in our graduate program focus upon the intersections among bodies, minds, and cultural representations, both as part of historical, textual, and rhetorical scholarship and as programs of study within their own right. We are particularly interested in how cultures and individuals represent themselves to themselves and to others, how cultures appropriate language and literatures, and how language can construct personhood. Professors regularly teach feminist theory courses that are also informed by critical race studies, as well as theory courses that explore the intersections of biography, nationhood, and religion, and that historicize and contextualize the human body, considering health, disability, gender, sexuality, race and other identity categories. Recent seminars in the department that foreground critical and cultural theories in these contexts include “Triangulating Transatlanticism,” “Disability, Health, and the Early Modern Body,” “Issues in Feminist Theory,” “Critical Theory,” “The Posthuman: Rhetorics of the UnDead,” “Postcolonial Literature and Theory,” “Rewritten Shakespeare,” and “Media Theory.”
Course work in this area may include, but is not limited to, the following courses :
ENGL 6580 Topics in Multicultural Literature
ENGL 6600 Issues in Feminist Theory and Criticism
ENGL 6810 History of Literary Criticism
ENGL 6820 Contemporary Literary Theory
ENGL 6830 Topics in Criticism and Theory
ENGL 6836 Writing about Health and Medicine
ENGL 6850 Topics in Multicultural Literature
ENGL 8850 Seminar in Criticism and Theory
ENGL 8900 Current Issues in Rhetorical Theory
Areas of examination could include but are not limited to :
English Language, Old English, Middle English, Renaissance Drama, Renaissance excluding Drama, Restoration and 18th Century, Romantic, Victorian, American to 1900, 20th-Century British, 20th-Century American, African American, Rhetoric and Composition, and Literary Criticism and Theory.
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Theory & Criticism
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What Is Culture and What Are Some Popular Culture Essay Topics?
Culture determines what is acceptable and unacceptable in any society. Social norms are borne out of culture. It is manifested through our art, music, dance, architecture, technologies, and writings. Holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are part of a larger culture. And within that culture, there are smaller cultures which have their own behaviors and norms. America is a melting point of cultures, making it one of the most vibrant places to live in the world.
Based on that description, it is easy to see why culture is a very common topic for essays. There is so much to write about regarding culture, and at the same time, essays on culture are very informative and enlightening. Essay topics on culture can be broad, or they can be very specific. Let’s look at some popular topics.
- Personal Culture Essay
This is a great option, particularly for those with rich and unique cultures. Writing about your culture is not only informative to the reader, but it also gives you a chance to explore and celebrate your heritage. In writing about your culture, you can discuss it as a whole or focus on a particular element you find more fascinating. You can also explore the history of your culture and all the influences that make it what it is today. If you’re feeling bold, you can even address the more controversial elements of your culture through an argumentative essay that is sure to impress readers.
- History of Culture
How exactly did culture come to be? Did we start with one universal culture that slowly evolved into thousands of other cultures? This is a great topic to write about in a culture essay. You can focus on the anthropological origins of culture and its evolution over time.
- How Culture Changes
Culture is dynamic, ever-changing to fit the times. There are many ways in which cultural change comes about, including innovation, revolution, and modernization. An essay exploring how culture changes and the challenges that come with this change would be fascinating and can even be developed into a research paper.
- Hierarchy of Cultures
Are some cultures better than others? Unfortunately, many people would believe so. Cultural superiority has been a controversial issue for a long time and a sore spot for humanity. Many conflicts in society can be traced back to the idea of cultural superiority. An essay on this topic can take a close look at what makes people think their cultures are better than others, and the distinction between high culture, low culture, popular culture, and folk culture.
Table of Contents
What Is Culture Essay and How Do You Write One?
Now that we have looked at some interesting topics on culture let us discuss exactly how culture essays are written. Whether it is a long or short essay on culture, it must be able to provide a well-defined theme or thesis along with supporting evidence. Just like any other essay, a paper on culture can take on different styles depending on the purpose of your essay.
- A narrative essay tells a story from the author’s perspective. Narrative essays are about story-telling with the main theme here being culture. Such an essay can be about the author’s personal experience with another culture. If you wanted to write about your experience in Greece, for example, a narrative essay would be perfect.
- A descriptive essay is all about the details. It is intended to paint a picture using words. This is a great opportunity to write about a culture you find fascinating. You could, for example, write about life in ancient Rome; taking readers into that culture while appealing to their emotions.
- Expository essays are about the facts. Here you would present an informative and factual essay about culture based on research. Expository essays are not about the author’s feelings or opinions but merely about what can be proven. A how does language affect culture essay would be perfect for the expository style.
- Lastly, there are persuasive essays. These are all about persuading the reader to accept your point of view. They use a mixture of facts and personal feelings to bring across a clear argument. For example, if you wanted to write about abolishing the harmful cultural practice of child marriage in India, a persuasive essay would be ideal.
A Culture Shock Essay Is a Great Place to Start
When it comes to writing about culture, the options are unlimited as we have seen. While it is quite enlightening to write about your own culture, readers are often fascinated by stories of other cultures, particularly those that differ greatly from their own. Culture shock is defined as the feeling of being disoriented when encountering an unfamiliar culture. Individuals who travel often or who live in culturally heterogeneous societies experience different forms of a culture shock when they come into contact with a way of life or a set of values that is unlike their own. Culture shock is actually constructive as it challenges individuals to expand their world-view and enhance their adaptability.
A culture shock essay can explore different themes regarding cultural disparities. It can be something as simple as language barriers or different modes of dressing. While simple, these elements of culture can present challenges for people, who are not from that culture. For example, most cultures across the Middle East value extremely modest dressing, particularly for women. Western societies, on the other hand, do not impose strict dress codes, instead of allowing people to freely express themselves through their clothes.
This would present great culture shock for a European visiting say Yemen. Other aspects of culture shock that can be explored through an essay include customs, norms, values, and food. The essay can focus on your personal culture shock experience, the benefits and challenges of culture shock, and even ways to deal with culture shock. The options are numerous. Let’s look at other culture essay example ideas.
Culture Essay Example and Writing Services
Our expert team of writers has completed hundreds of culture essays, and they are available to help you complete yours too. Here are some examples of high-quality essays written by our writers.
- An expository essay on the impact of African slaves on American culture
This essay looks at how slaves brought to the United States in the 16 th century changed the culture of the time and how these changes have persisted centuries later. Africans came with their own culture and had a major impact on American religion, art, literature, music, language, dressing, and behavior.
- Characteristics of Culture
This essay explores the elements of culture that make it what it is. Culture is learned, shared, and social process. It is also continuous and ever-changing. Each of these characteristics of culture in addition to others is discussed exhaustively in the essay.
- Princeton Culture Essay
Princeton University application essays feature different prompts that are meant to explore applicants’ views and knowledge on a number of issues. Each year, one of the prompts is designed to examine applicants’ views on culture. The 2019-2020 supplemental essay prompt on culture, for example, features a quote by Philosophy Professor Gideon Rosen. Our writers have helped applicants interpret this quote, and other culture prompts through very insightful essays.
We hope these essay examples have been helpful to you and have shown you what our writers are capable of. If you’re still trying to rack your brain around what is culture essay and how to write one, you don’t need to worry anymore. We are here to help you! Our writers deliver top-notch essays, and they are available 24/7 for you. You can pick one of the popular culture essay topics provided, or you can let our writers come up with a creative and fresh topic for you. Either way, we guarantee to deliver amazing work that you will be proud to submit.
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Leaders, Make Curiosity the Core of Your Organizational Culture
- John Coleman
Keeping a competitive edge requires constant questioning.
Great corporate cultures are not just good for performance, but for the flourishing and engagement of the people who work in them and to deliver greater meaning and purpose. But oft overlooked is the central role that curiosity plays in crafting an organizational culture. To unlock the potential of their institutions and the people within them, great leaders need to demonstrate consistent curiosity in four key areas. First, they must be curious about the values and motivations of their employees in shaping and maintaining a corporate culture. Second, curiosity must be extended to customers to find out not just about your products and services but about “why” your customers love your organization. Third, leaders must reflect with open-mindedness and curiosity on their own roles, especially as they change. Finally, leaders must stay curious about the changing nature of their companies and contexts over time, and adjust their cultures accordingly.
Organizational culture is a remarkable competitive advantage. McKinsey & Company, for example, has found that top quartile cultures outperform median cultures by 60% — and bottom quartile cultures by 200% — and that those company’s cultures are both difficult for competitors to replicate and allow the organization to better adapt to changing circumstances. These findings are echoed in the research of Alex Edmans of London Business School, who found similar outperformance among companies with exceptional cultures.
- JC John Coleman is the author of the HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose . Subscribe to his free newsletter, On Purpose , follow him on Twitter @johnwcoleman, or contact him at johnwilliamcoleman.com.
Home — Essay Samples — Entertainment — Pop Culture — My Experience With Pop Culture, Representation And Identity
My Experience with Pop Culture, Representation and Identity
- Categories: Cultural Identity Pop Culture
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Words: 498 |
Published: May 19, 2020
Words: 498 | Page: 1 | 3 min read
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Jezebel and the Question of Women’s Anger
By Anna Holmes
Earlier this year, Ben Smith, the former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News and a onetime New York Times columnist, published a book, titled “ Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral .” It explores the creation of, and the competition between, well-funded news-and-culture Web sites—BuzzFeed News and the Huffington Post among them—that began in the early two-thousands, just as the professional blogosphere was getting going. One day after the book’s May 2nd release, the Times published a Smith-authored guest essay , titled “We’re Watching the End of a Digital Media Age. It All Started with Jezebel.”
Jezebel is an influential feminist Web site that I created in 2007. Smith had devoted an entire chapter of “Traffic” to the story of the site’s creation, stumbles, and successes. He was complimentary, calling it “a new kind of cultural politics,” one that built “a community that rejected the old structures of gender and power, and tried to shape new ones.”
One could be forgiven for discerning a slight difference in tone between “Traffic” and the essay that appeared in the Times . Smith’s book took a deep look at the impact of a number of Web sites, but his Times essay seemed to make the argument that Jezebel in particular reflected a “remarkable new openness” and “uncontrollable anger” on the Internet. As he put it, “What makes Jezebel feel so relevant now is that it was among the first places to crystallize the powerful forces that would define social media over the next decade: politics and identity.”
I agreed that Jezebel embodied a “remarkable new openness,” and I was flattered by Smith’s acknowledgment of the site’s continued influence. But some of what he wrote gave me pause. His essay positioned the site as the start of an era that would culminate in the 2016 election of Donald Trump. I wanted nothing to do with it. As for “uncontrollable anger”? The phrase felt sexist and paternalistic.
I live in Los Angeles, so I wasn’t immediately aware of the conversation about the essay. People started texting me around 7 A.M. P.S.T. In the darkness of my cozy bedroom, I took a quick glance at the piece on my phone, admired the accompanying photo of me (it was a good photo, and I can be vain), rolled my eyes at a few of the conclusions, and then went back to bed.
About half an hour later, I was awoken again, this time by a phone call from a friend. It appeared that a small backlash to the piece was brewing online—namely, on Twitter. Some readers felt that, by focussing his attention on Jezebel, Smith was blaming women for outrage culture. I read this with interest—after all, women get blamed for a lot of things and aren’t credited enough for other things—but I also didn’t have the energy to respond to it. I placed my phone on my bedside table and pulled the covers back over my head.
I felt ambivalent. The essay had stirred up something from the past that I hadn’t been able to work out: what part, if any, I might have played in the evolution of derisive online discourse. Smith wasn’t purporting to answer this question—some of his language, perhaps deliberately, was a bit vague. But he did make a connection between Jezebel’s often combative commenters and the eventual users of social-media platforms like Twitter, accusing the site of unleashing “searing online mobs.” Jezebel had been created years before the wide-scale adoption of social media, back when people were still going to blogs and then refreshing them to see what new posts had appeared. According to Smith, “The unmediated passions of social media took up where it left off.”
Anger can be explosive. It can ignite social movements and chip away at calcified ideas about sex, gender, class, and race. It’s also fair to say that when women express it—or are accused of expressing it—they’re easily, sometimes viciously, mocked and derided. This is perhaps doubly true for women of color, who have to contend not only with sexist tropes but also with racial stereotypes and fearmongering around anger and tone. (Both my deputy editor at Jezebel, Dodai Stewart, and I are Black. The widely held assumption that the site was staffed only by white women possibly did us some sort of favor.)
But here’s the thing about tone: in many cases, it does matter. And though I was often politically and personally in agreement with our commenters, their over-the-top rhetoric could be alienating to me. I worried that this sort of rhetoric might offend new readers, and that it would be harmful to the new dialogue around gender politics that we were trying to influence and bring into the mainstream. Was there such a thing as “too much” anger? If so, who was I to determine what “too much” is? I felt torn, so I kept these questions mostly to myself.
When Jezebel launched, I was thirty-three, about to turn thirty-four. The events that led to the site’s creation have been written about many times before. So here’s the short version: disillusioned by the state of American women’s media, I was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create and oversee a women’s-media entity—in this case, a Web site. I imagined it as one with a lot of personality, with humor, with edge. I wanted it to combine wit, smarts, and anger, providing women—many of whom had been taught to believe that “feminism” was a bad word or one to be avoided—with a model of critical thinking around gender and race which felt accessible and entertaining. As one of my colleagues, Moe Tkacik, wrote , in an early post, “Jezebel is a blog for women that will attempt to take all the essentially meaningless but sweet stuff directed our way and give it a little more meaning, while taking [the more] serious stuff and making it more fun, or more personal, or at the very least the subject of our highly sophisticated brand of sex joke. Basically, we wanted to make the sort of women’s magazine we’d want to read.”
Of course, feminist Web sites and blogs were already exploring a new kind of politics among young American women. But, unlike Jezebel, they rarely incorporated robust and sustained pop-culture analysis, and they existed on the periphery of the Internet. (They also didn’t have the funding and other resources that my staff and I enjoyed.) These sites, independently owned, with names like Feministing, Feministe, Racialicious, and AngryBlackBitch, had cultivated devoted readerships, but their audiences were small, and their language was often academic.
Our audience, on the other hand, started off big and quickly got bigger, reaching more than ten million page views a month in the first year. (We had the benefit of being part of a larger blog network, anchored by Gawker , which we would overtake in traffic in less than three years.) I was delighted, if a little taken aback, by our readers’ immediate passion and loyalty. Within two months of the site’s launch, some readers were, unprompted, referring to themselves as “Jezebelles” or “Jezzies” in the comments sections of the site. Familiar screen names and avatars began to appear as regular readers populated the threads, talking with one another and, occasionally, with the site’s writers.
The majority of our commenters were very good. Smart, observant, well-read, vibrant, and dizzyingly funny, they added context and nuance to the stories we published and pressed us to do better. Within a year of Jezebel’s launch, they even attracted the attention of the New York Times , which described them as meeting for drinks and renting vacation houses together. But sometimes they were bad: sarcastic, mean, intellectually dishonest, and bullying toward one another. And sometimes they were horrible, behaving like a twisted Greek chorus trying to upstage the main performers. (Years later, as comments on Web sites began to migrate to social media, I would come to realize that they were the main performers.) “That’s sort of the nature of having a commenting community,” Erin Ryan, an early commenter who became a writer for the site, told me. “People start feeling like they should have a say in what happens there. And really that’s not how a publication works.” At one point, in 2009, I toyed with the idea of handing the site over to the commenters for a day, just to watch them fail.
At times we were accused of “tone-policing” our readers. And it’s true: we did tone-police, especially those commenters who were nasty or uncivil. We would take to the comments threads to warn readers about crossing some sort of line. When they derailed a thread, we’d ask them to move the discussion into the comments of a daily anything-goes post that I pointedly named “Groupthink.” (Most of the commenters didn’t seem to get the joke.) I could have, maybe should have, been tougher on them. My managing editor at the time counselled me to think of Jezebel as a virtual dinner party my writers and I were throwing. “You wouldn’t allow someone to be that rude to other guests or hosts. You’d kick them out,” he said. “Do the same thing in the comments.” But we rarely banned anyone outright. No one wanted to punish readers for being impassioned.
I like to think that, though the moderation was irritating to many commenters, it was also empowering. Readers knew that we were watching and that we cared about what they had to say. Someone once told me that the Jezebel commenters were so devoted, if often critical, because the community was made up of bright, ambitious young women who were underutilized and underappreciated at their day jobs. I thought that this was a fascinating, if depressing, observation.
I wondered, sometimes, whether my concerns about the comments were themselves sexist. Was I holding women to a standard of comportment? Complicating matters further was the fact that I’d started Jezebel and shepherded it to success on the back of my own anger. Though that anger, as I’ve explained, was legitimate and warranted—American women had been sold a bill of goods about who they were and what they wanted, or what they should want—it was starting to define the site, for both readers and casual observers.
I remember one blogger, a woman named Susannah Breslin, who, sometime after the site’s launch, accused its writers of “caterwauling about the patriarchy.” This made us laugh. Breslin’s accusation that writers on Jezebel yelled a lot—er, caterwauled—made sense. We were not without mischievousness (our parent company encouraged a certain amount of snark), but we also leaned into our anger—about sexism, about racism, about the erosion of women’s reproductive rights.
Other critics accused us of intentionally stoking readers’ outrage. In mid-2009, Slate’s women’s Web site, DoubleX, published, as one of its first posts, an article which claimed that Jezebel “is hurting women.” “It’s staffed by bloggers who are expected to produce around 10 high-traffic posts a day,” the feminist scholar Linda Hirshman (who passed away this week) wrote. “It didn’t take the bloggers long to realize that one way to attract a lot of traffic was to offer up outrageous behavior to the clicking public.” She recalled an evening in 2008 when two Jezebel writers got drunk during an onstage interview for the talk show “Thinking and Drinking” and made glib remarks about sexual assault. (These comments were then posted on the Huffington Post for all to see.)
I understood such hesitations—we had a big platform, and we were young and provocative and perhaps not ready for prime time—at the same time that I rejected them. In that instance, the outrageous behavior was not engineered, nor was the traffic welcomed. The entire staff was humiliated, and I was livid about it for months. Less of an embarrassment was Tkacik’s post titled “Ten Days in the Life of a Tampon.” (The headline about sums it up.) We were well aware that this sort of gross-out story might generate page views, but it was written not to attract outsized attention but to engage in a bit of truthtelling—in this case, about how women’s bodies actually work. I didn’t like it when feminists policed other feminists, though it had been happening for generations. And I wanted to think that we knew a little something about how to politicize a generation of young women—not by enforcement of doctrine but by example.
Still, a story about Jezebel was emerging: that we were deliberately provoking our readers. In July, 2010, the writer Emily Gould published a piece titled “Outrage World,” also at DoubleX, in which she accused Jezebel and other feminist blogs of cynically causing “firestorms” in order to boost page views. Gould went on to attack the site for exploiting “women’s worst tendencies” by pushing readers “to feel what the writers claim is righteously indignant rage but which is actually just petty jealousy, cleverly marketed as feminism.”
When I look back at the piece, one thing is obvious to me: some of the firestorms that began on the site accompanied legitimately infuriating reporting. The main example of a provocative post was a June, 2010, story that Irin Carmon, who would go on to do groundbreaking work on sexual harassment and abortion rights, reported about sexism at “The Daily Show.” Carmon spoke to writers, staffers, and a former executive on the show, who painted a picture of a beloved, seemingly progressive media organization that was, in fact, a boys’ club. (In 2017, Jon Stewart admitted, during an interview with Howard Stern, that she was right.)
The other thing I noticed was that Gould, like many of Jezebel’s critics, saw the writers as responsible for the commenters: if Carmon’s post provoked readers, then that was part of some master plan; if the commenters were enraged or cruel, this, too, was engineered by the site’s staff. During my time editing the site, I found these assumptions intensely frustrating. In reality, every day was a negotiation between trying to be fair to our commenters and insuring group civility. (Gould declined to comment for this piece.)
When writing this, I remembered a 2015 Jezebel piece by Jia Tolentino called “No Offense.” In it, Tolentino, who at the time was the deputy editor of the site (and now is a New Yorker staff writer ), tries to tackle multiple things at once, including how anger works on the feminist Internet and the ways in which digital media blurs the distinctions between readers and writers, creators and consumers. “There’s a large gap between ‘this is bad’ and ‘you should be offended’ that seems to vanish on the internet, and the harder we try to widen it on this website, the more we are constrained by that lingering expectation: that Jezebel exists, as some have always imagined it to, for the infantilizing purpose of telling women when they should get mad,” she wrote. Later, she added, “In theory, people still expect a feminist site to tell people what to be offended at; but what people seek from a feminist site is that the site itself will cause offense.”
I’m not sure that what people seek from a feminist site is that it will cause offense. I think they look for community. But communities can be difficult—chaotic, contentious, cacophonous. I recently came across a two-hundred-plus-page dissertation , published in 2019, called “Architecture and the Record: Negotiating Feminism in the Jezebel Comments.” It was . . . a lot. The author, Melissa Forbes, accused the site (again!) of choosing to “cater to outraged feminists.” I thought that she wasn’t giving the staffers, or our readers, much credit. But I was intrigued by Forbes’s observation that the comments provided a corrective to the feminism of the site’s writers. When the writers themselves were glib or cruel, she wrote, the commenters offered “a different kind of feminism from that practiced on the top half of the page.” I take issue with the idea that there are “different kinds” of feminism, though there are different “waves” of it. But I do believe that the commenters’ close reading of everything we did was how they forged community. They learned from one another, developed relationships, and discovered their own voices—and that was true even when they were (rightly or wrongly) angry with the editors and writers. As one commenter quoted by Forbes put it, “I have learned a lot from the kinds of articles you publish on this website, and even more from your regular commenters.”
That leaves the question of what, exactly, the Jezebel commenters had to do with the anger that exploded on social media. A few weeks ago, I spoke to the author and technologist Tobias Rose-Stockwell about his new book, “ Outrage Machine: How Tech Amplifies Discontent, Disrupts Democracy—and What We Can Do About It ,” which looks at the ways that enmity on the Internet is rewarded by social-media platforms, advertisers, and individuals. I told him about Smith’s piece, and my ambivalence toward it. I explained that, though I detested accusations that we had used anger to manipulate readers, I wondered whether the outrage culture on social media had its roots in comments sections.
Rose-Stockwell was not particularly familiar with Jezebel. (In his defense, he was not part of its target audience.) But he echoed Smith’s assertions, calling the early two-thousands comments sections of Web sites “proto-social media.” Sites like Jezebel, he said, were showing that it was “possible to bring people from passive consumers of news to engaged participants in the editorial process—something that was new for a media site.”
In 2007, when we launched Jezebel, Rose-Stockwell explained, reader remarks could not be easily boosted or reposted. Outrage or offense still occurred within the confines of communities. By 2009, however, social media—what he called “an opinion-serving machine”—was changing everything. That year, he said, “three key features: algorithmic feeds , social metrics , and one-click sharing fundamentally upgraded the speed at which we spread knowledge, propelling us into the modern viral era.”
In his book, Rose-Stockwell points out that virality did not emerge by accident. Social-media technologists prioritize posts using emotional language. These posts, in turn, can start “trigger chains”—in which social-media users are encouraged to react to inflammatory comments and “pick sides on topics about which we would otherwise have few opinions”—and cause “emotional contagion,” in which a person expressing an emotion leads to the “reflexive production of the same emotion by others in the same proximity.”
After I read this, I felt some measure of relief. The stories and topics we wrote about on Jezebel weren’t being “served,” in some premeditated performance or attempt at manipulation. They were organic. They were the point . And we were not abstract algorithms or “conflict entrepreneurs” (another useful phrase from Rose-Stockwell’s book, describing people who create or stoke chaos online in order to boost their own profiles). We were young women with agency and points of view. We were also, I should add, pretty funny. “I think that people didn’t give us credit for having a sense of humor,” Dodai Stewart, the former deputy editor, told me. “I don’t want to discount some of the more serious things, but, from my perspective, our meetings weren’t us sitting around with everyone red in the face, full of outrage and upset. We were having fun, mostly.” Erin Ryan, the former writer and commenter, took this a step further. “I don’t want to rag on anger,” she told me. “I think anger can be great. It’s the basis of a lot of great comedians and writers and opinion writers. I’d say Jezebel was a passionate Web site. But the passion wasn’t necessarily just outrage for the sake of outrage.”
In our conversation, Rose-Stockwell explained that he’s not trying to condemn outrage so much as look at it from a more systemic perspective. Outrage, online or off, allows us to understand the things that are wrong with society, and to work together to begin to fix them. It can unite people, he said, and help society to cohere around certain norms. In this sense, a lot of the outrage on Jezebel was, indeed, productive, contributing to a larger political and cultural project. I think that one can draw a straight line from the feminist Web sites of the early two-thousands to a growing mainstream discourse around gender politics and race and patriarchy, from Beyoncé performing in front of a sign that read “Feminist” at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards to the Women’s March in 2017 and the explosion of #MeToo that same year to the recent juggernaut that is the Barbie movie . (Yes, the Barbie movie. One of my former colleagues jokingly described the film as making her feel “like I was trapped in the Jezebel comments.”)
A few weeks ago, I reached out to Smith and told him that I’d been trying to sort out the discomfort I’d been feeling in the wake of his piece. I explained that I needed him to clarify what he meant when he said that Jezebel was the start of a particular digital-media age. What age was that?
“Social media,” he said. “That’s how I think about it.”
I pressed him. Was he saying that Jezebel influenced the tone on social media, the conversation, or both? Did the site augur something that was brand new, or reflect something that was already in process?
He replied that this was a question he’d struggled with while writing his book. “I feel like when I was writing, the thing that I was always running up against was, Did X cause Y, or are X and Y being carried along in the same stream?” he said.
I also wanted Smith to respond to my frustrations about that phrase “uncontrollable anger,” and the apparent ease with which he, knowingly or not, placed blame for the current political climate on outraged or opinionated women.
He conceded that his phrasing might have been problematic or inartful. “I’m not trying to invalidate women’s anger at all, but it does seem like that was part of the mix, and powerful,” he told me.
“I think that anger was part of it, yes, but I don’t think it was uncontrollable,” I replied. “I’d say it was very controlled, actually, because that was the way women learned they should express it.”
I see Jezebel not as the beginning of the end of the digital-media era but as a moment—a spark—within an ongoing discussion about gender politics. That conversation has led to new realities around sexual assault and harassment, pay inequity, and cultural depictions of women. It also makes some people uncomfortable—in part because it involves women expressing their anger in public and sustained ways. “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger,” Audre Lorde wrote in 1981, which can act as a “powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
If that’s part of Jezebel’s legacy, I’ll take it. It’s about everything I could have hoped for. ♦
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Culture and Representations: Why Culture and Representation Matter
Cultural representations play a critical role in determining how people view certain aspects of a specific culture. By bringing out unique aspects of a given culture, representations make it easier to create a shared understanding of the culture and shape how it is viewed by the general public. Without representations, it will be more difficult to explain key concepts about a certain culture and the world views that are held by people of that culture. Representations aid in deconstructing different aspects of a specific culture and influence how people perceive the culture in general. Viewing representation as one of the crucial goals of media will help to assist people from underprivileged backgrounds and belonging to cultural minorities, thus promoting equality and social justice.
Three Things Learned about Culture and Representation
Cultural representations are mainly the result of long-standing cultural practices and beliefs that unite people of a specific group. Culture includes established practices, beliefs, and ways of life that are unique to a particular type of audiences. People belonging to a single culture have certain aspects of life that unite them and encourage them to behave in a way that allows them identify as the members of a group. According to Arvind, representations refer to how people bring out these unique characteristics of their culture (38). Therefore, the latter must be represented in one or more ways by the people who subscribe to them. Cultural representations, therefore, are a means of both validating certain practices associated with them, as well as spreading information and knowledge about them. When cultural practices are represented in popular media, more people get to understand their significance better and share experiences associated with them with other people. Therefore, encouraging the media to shed light onto marginalized cultures and representatives of minorities should be seen as an essential goal.
The fact that cultural representation can be used as a basis of political power was also highlighted in the course content. Cultural representations in the media are rarely associated with political or manipulative power, but they, in fact, have a significant amount of power in influencing how people perceive each other. Cultural representations that portray people in a particular way eventually determine how they are perceived by people of other cultures (Arvind 38). The representation of certain elements of culture can also be used to change how people interpret that aspect of culture and how they exercise it. As the discourse on a particular representation takes place, the beliefs and views of people regarding that aspect of culture may change in an intended way. Cultural representations can be used to portray a certain characteristic of culture either positively or negatively, which gives the people or groups who create them some level of political power and influence. The power to control representations can be the basis of cultural oppression, as it is possible to shape and change how people view a certain culture.
The analysis of the social role of language, or semiotics, was also useful as it provided practical information on how language is used in representations to explain different concepts of a specific society. Language in itself cannot be useful if it does not influence the views that people have about different aspects of life. In turn, semiotics will help to discover the deeper meaning of how language reflects societal changes. Language is, therefore, analyzed as a social tool that is used in representations to explain concepts that can shape the views that people have about life in general.
Why Culture and Representation Matter
The study of representation plays a key role in understanding the different aspects of a specific culture. According to Arvind, all meanings are created by historical events that are influenced either directly or indirectly by cultural factors (39). The representation of culture is, therefore, a key aspect of all essential historical events that have taken place in the past. Studying and understanding cultural representations, thus, provides crucial information that can be utilized to analyze and understand different characteristics of a particular culture (Quijano 171). Since representations include main beliefs and practices that are associated with a specific culture, understanding them makes it possible to deconstruct the culture and understand the significance of its different aspects, such as language form and traditional practices.
The use of cultural representations also promotes tolerance among people of different cultures. Through the analysis of the subject matter, one gains insights into the beliefs and customs of people of different backgrounds and learns to appreciate them (Williams 49). As a result, cultural differences lose the value they have, as one finds more useful information about people belonging to minority groups. Understanding the significance of certain cultural aspects encourages one to tolerate people of that culture more, as there is a shared understanding of what certain cultural practices mean (Escobar 155). Cultural tolerance reduces the impact of binary oppositions, where conflicting aspects of different cultures do not have a common ground. Since there is a shared understanding of what cultural practices mean, the value of any existing differences diminishes, which makes it easier for people to be more appreciative of other people’s cultures.
Cultural representation also enables people to make sense of the world by enabling people to use language to express their thoughts and beliefs about different aspects of life. The linguistic and semiotic approach to representation relies on the use of language to create symbols and images that can be understood to mean something about a certain aspect of life. According to Hall, a key role of language is to explain useful concepts about different aspects of life that can enable people to have a better understanding of their society and the world in general (13). Cultural representations, therefore, rely on language to explain often abstract concepts about life or a specific aspect of a certain culture.
A World without Representations
In a world without representations, communicating existing cultural knowledge would be substantially difficult, as it would be challenging to explain the cultural knowledge in question in a way that is easy for people to understand. It will also be quite complicated to share information about key cultural practices, as symbols and images that can be easily understood will not be used. Knowledge and information about other cultures will also be limited, which would reduce social tolerance and make it complicated for people of different cultures to understand each other. Language would also not be an effective tool of communication as its social application will be significantly limited.
Cultural representations play a key role in communicating useful information about different cultural practices and their significance. Through cultural representations, it is possible to understand existing world views about certain traditions and customs that are associated with a particular culture. Representations are also a source of political power, as they can shape how people perceive a specific culture. By creating a shared understanding of certain concepts of life, cultural representations also make it easier to eliminate binary oppositions that would otherwise make it difficult to overcome conflicting views or opinions about certain aspects of culture.
Arvind, Padmaja. “Stuart Hall’s Circuit of Culture- Media Culture- With Reference to Film.” IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science , vol. 24, no. 4, 2019, pp. 38-40.
Douglas, Mary. “Do Dogs Laugh? A Cross-Cultural Approach to Body Symbolism.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research , vol. 15, no. 4, 1971.
Escobar, Arturo. Encountering Development : The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton University Press, 1995.
Hall, Stuart. (ed.) Culture, media and identities. Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. Sage Publications, Inc.
Quijano, Aníbal. “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality.” Cultural Studies , vol. 21, no. 2, 2007, pp. 168-78.
Williams, Raymond. “The Analysis of Culture.” Cultural Theory and Popular Culture , edited by Storey, J, Prentice Hall, 1998.
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Topic: People , America , Identity , United States , Creole , Sutler , Cohen , Culture
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Cultural Representation in Native America
According to chapter four, Native American religion has become a commodity today because people have taken advantage of the practice of shamanism in order to capitalize on the potential monetary benefits that come from it. People are assigning themselves “leadership roles” but are really just vying for control and exercising their hidden agendas (Sutler-Cohen 45). Knowledge and spirituality are thus transformed into profitable commodities run by businesspeople instead of true natural healers. By saying “You can own grandma’s songs,” Sutler-Cohen is referring to the practice of taking Native symbols and religious icons and transforming them into trendy or profitable items, like sports team logos or CDs (Sutler-Cohen 53). The practice of corporate shamanism can come at a cost to both Native and non-Native American communities because it takes away from the natural and spiritual experience that was intended originally by shamanism. Whiteley, the example from the textbook, uses corporate shamanism to make money and collect a “hefty stipend” from speaking engagements (Sutler-Cohen 44). According to Sutler-Cohen, people who claim to be “corporate shamans” are engaging in “their own brand of capitalist behavior” (Sutler-Cohen 45). This means that they are still tying in their corporate interests when shamanism is supposed to be about the natural, non-material experience of spirituality. According to Melissa Nelson, oral tradition and history is so important to cultural preservation and revitalization in American Indian communities because losing this tradition means that these groups would lose their culture and identity as well. Preserving oral tradition and oral history is the best way to preserve the Native American identity, especially now in a world that threatens to consume this identity and assimilate it into American culture. Nelson states that there are many challenges that come with using the word “traditional.” Firstly, traditional stories are used to teach lessons to younger generations, but many current generations do not care to listen to the stories, or simply do not listen, and therefore they do not absorb these traditions (Nelson 98). In addition, she argues that it is hard to distinguish what is still considered traditional among the stories that are told today, as these modern stories “span from the sacred to the profane” (Nelson 99). A piece of gossip should not be placed in the same category as a story that has been passed down through generations for centuries. Mexican Americans, or Chicanos, are still being challenged by being in the United States while still being descendants of Mexicans, because they have lost their cultural hegemony and have become indefinite and lacking of concrete identity (Alarcon 120). Most Mexican people refuse to give up the term “chicano” because of what it represents for them as a culture (Alarcon 121). Alarcon uses the term “Tracks of the Native woman” because she argues that women of all tribes, regardless of their Aboriginal origin, have the same issues to face in regards to identity and culture. Regardless of ethnicity, Indigenous women are part of many contradictions that make it hard to define a clear standard for their own identity or what constitutes their group identity (Alarcon 122). I think that Latinos should be counted as Indian Americans on the United States consensus because this is technically what they are. Indian American simply refers to the fact that these are the Indigenous groups. Indian groups are only called “Indian” because of a geographical error. It has nothing to do with their physicalities, or their individual heritages, and is only meant to refer to the fact that they were “native” to the land before explorers got there. In this same sense, Mexican people were the natives of their land before Cortes and the others got there. Therefore, they should be considered with the same regard as the other Native American tribes and other groups that were subject to conquest at one point in time. The survey on contemporary Creole identification suggests that many people are proactive about the inclusion of American identity in definitions of the Creole community today. The survey results show that the majority of Creole people believe that they should be allowed to identify as both Creole and Native American, by a significant majority (Jolivette 168). Many Creoles identify strongly with their French roots and do not wish to get rid of this identity, but they also see themselves just as strongly as Native Americans (Jolivette 168). In addition, none of the Creole people surveyed believed that they should only identify as one thing, whether it is Native American, white, or black. According to chapter 12, Creoles have dealt with racism and identity politics through maintaining a strong identity within the group. During the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, Creole people were largely affected, as they identified with many ethnic groups that were subject to racism during this time period (Jolivette 185). The movement caused them to struggle in self-identification and placed limits on the various identities that the Creole people had (Jolivette 185). By maintaining strong internal relations, the people of the Creole group supported one another and allowed for self-identification to flourish, even if no one was able to see this who was not a Creole. Creoles have worked to preserve their identity as both Creole and American Indian by strengthening the ties within their own group and paying respect to their distinct heritages from all identities. They have always united with one another by various aspects of their culture, including food, games, dress, dance, clothing, and music (Jolivette 185). By focusing on the cultural elements that bring everyone together, the Creoles are ignoring racial division and eliminating any ethnic divisions that people might feel within the group, which has led to a stronger identity. When Sutler-Cohen uses the term “mixed-race outcasts,” she means people whose ethnic background consists of a multitude of origins and identities. She says that mixed-race outcasts are “rooted in exile from all sides” (Sutler-Cohen 134). These are the people whose parents have come from a multitude of places and have found various groups to identify with, creating a collection of sorts. She does consider herself to be an outcast because her Jewish, Native American great grandfather had moved around various countries, collected various identities, and married an immigrant, resulting in her own lineage (Sutler-Cohen 134). I agree with her when she states that one’s ethnic identity can be a result of privilege because many people during certain times would have been more favored if they were thought to be white. She states “if you could pass as white, you did” (Sutler-Cohen 133). Throughout history, white privilege has been a dominant ideology in politics and human rights, and many people would have attempted to pass as white if they looked even remotely caucasian. She also states that many people argue that an ethnicity or ethnic identity is not necessarily tied to a physical place (Sutler-Cohen 134). Instead, it could simply be a location that one feels the strongest connection to, or feels very spiritual about.
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Culture and Representation in Comic Books Term Paper
In Chapter I ‘Representation, meaning and language’ Stuart Hall gives reasons for the concept of representation being an important aspect of the cultural studies. For a deeper understanding of the way’s representation links the meaning to culture, it’s essential to go through various theories of language being used for world representation. Because some people belong to the same culture, the same people also have similar methods of interpreting language signs.
This concept can be illustrated with the use of visual signs that bear a certain similarity to the object, individual, or other item they refer to. For instance, a photograph or a realistic painting of a tree in the garden shows how the visual sign is being interpreted by the individual’s perception. On the other hand, the signs that are spoken or written have no connection to the objects they refer. For instance, letters T, R, E, E have nothing in common with trees in nature (Hall 21).
The Chapter ‘Representation, meaning and language’ Stuart Hall, a cultural theorist explores the concept of representation as means of transferring the meaning into the language. The ideas laid out in the first chapter have built a foundation for a further research of the concept of representation and its manifestation in the cultural development. Stuart Hall defined culture in the framework of “shared meanings and shared conceptual maps” that are never enough for a complete concept representation (19). The target audience for Hall’s finding is predominantly scholars and students interested in the topic as the writing in some cases can be quite complex.
In my opinion, the representation can bear various forms and can mean different things to different people. In Chapter I “Representation, meaning and language” Stuart argued that the concept of the tree in nature is represented by letters T, R, E, E in a particular sequence, the same for the letters of other languages that also represent this concept. His idea that the letters T, R, E, E have nothing in common with real trees has pushed me to imagine the letter that did, indeed, look like trees.
The chosen image shows that if the word that represents a certain concept looked like the concept, the idea of representation would be much more simple for understanding. We look at the word and without even reading it or thinking about its meaning, we instantly see the concept conveyed by this word.
The Vocabulary of Comics
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud is another important study that cannot be compared to anything. In the very beginning of Chapter 2 “The Vocabulary of Comics”, the author makes some suggestions to the reader that drawings have no actual meaning in reality, they are just mere symbols that he prefers to call ‘icons’. Then he goes on differentiating between non-pictorial and pictorial icons that have a significant difference: non-pictorial icons have fixed meaning while the meaning of pictures is fluid and variable.
However, the main point of the chapter is establishing the fact that the majority of people will respond better do a drawn non-realistic image than to a realistic one. The modern culture is captivated by the simplified cartoon world that has a very little resemblance to the real world. This is connected with the premise that by simplifying the image, the meaning of this image amplifies.
Even the ‘narrator’ of the chapter is a drawn character that wears glasses and has no distinct features so that the reader does not get distracted by his appearance and better understands the message. In all media, storytellers know that the best indicator the audience involvement is the degree to which the audience identifies with the characters of the story. Thus, since viewer identification is closely linked to cartooning, cartoons have a historical advantage (McCloud 42).
The notion iconic used in Chapter 2 “The Vocabulary of Comics” by the author is equally linked to the concept of symbolism. The author explains its meaning, its role in the cartoon style as well as in the relationship between text, pictorial representation, and realism.
Scott McCloud is a known cartoonist and comics theorist, so the way he chose to narrate the book Understanding Comics is no surprise to anyone. Imagery is used to prove a point, in some cases, the point is conveyed with harsh wording the effect of which is being minimized because the reader sees drawings on the pages of the book. An important aspect to note is that Understanding Comics is a short book packed with a large bulk of information, however, because the theoretical information is presented in a comic book manner, it makes the book a captivating read.
Tweet: A comic book about comic books? Can’t imagine anything better than this idea. #understandingcomics explores some before unexplored concepts.
A Tweet is only 140 symbols, so it is very hard to narrow Understanding Comics down in a small sentence. However, the main thought to convey was the fact that a comic book about comic books is the smartest idea ever. Because it’s filled with some complicated terms and notions, and the text itself in parts can be confusing, the fact that it’s presented as a comic book makes everything flow. There is no doubt that both theorists and just those who love comic books will find useful and interesting information in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics . The hashtag is used for sparking a conversation with others who also read the book as there is a lot to talk about, even in one chapter.
The Nature of News
In Chapter I “The Nature of News” Brian S. Brooks, George Kennedy, Daryl R. Moen, and Don Ranly (The Missouri Group) explore the struggles faced by the traditional news organizations because of the emergence of new media for news like Twitter or Facebook. Convergence, which means an effort to use various methods of different media to reach a broader audience in news telling, has become one of the most critical components of today’s news reporting. Because of the technological revolution, traditional news reporting media are forced to also be a part of the current news industry and start blogs or share the newest stories on Facebook (Brooks, Kennedy, Moen and Ranly 4).
The progress has also begun to invite members of the public into the news industry as amateur news reporters. Such crowdsourcing in news reporting has become one of the main elements of the industry throughout the globe. Readers and viewers are invited to share their stories, videos, and photos. Such a tight cooperation between the news media and the public is a perfect compromise between the traditional and the modern.
Overall, the chapter also explores the role of the journalist, the responsibilities and the principles connected with the job. It is targeted at the audience that would like to become professionals in the news reporting field and would like to know every single detail that goes into the job. Written in a simple but informative way and filled with various anecdotal sidebars for showing examples, “The Nature of News” is a chapter that is worth reading aside from the entire book as it is alone a great resource for journalism students and those who are just curious to understand the fundamental principles of reporting and some proven ways to stay relevant in the media.
The chosen image represents the Chapter I “The Nature of News” by Brian S. Brooks, George Kennedy, Daryl R. Moen, and Don Ranly is the most straightforward way possible. It is a metaphor for the combination of new technologies in news reporting and the old tradition of a newsboy selling newspapers to the respected gentlemen on the streets. In my opinion, as long as there is a balance between the old and new, the technology and the tradition, news reporting will stay true to its nature, but will evolve and develop at the same time.
Despite the fact that the modern media are turning all of their efforts to technology for a broader convergence, a newspaper, for example, is a tangible object that represents the material aspect of news reporting, an aspect that should not be forgotten or understated.
Brooks, Brian, George Kennedy, Daryl Moen and Don Ranly. “The Nature of News”. News Reporting and Writing. 11th ed. 2014. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 3-19. Print.
Hall, Stuart. “Representation, meaning and language”. Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Ed. Stuart Hall. London, UK: Sage Publications, 2003. 15-41. Print.
McCloud, Scott. “The Vocabulary of Comics”. Understanding Comics. Ed. Mark Martin. New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1994. 24-59. Print.
“ Twitter Bird ” n.d. Web.
“ Word Tree as an Image ” n.d. Web.
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IvyPanda. (2021, March 26). Culture and Representation in Comic Books. https://ivypanda.com/essays/culture-and-representation-in-comic-books/
"Culture and Representation in Comic Books." IvyPanda , 26 Mar. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/culture-and-representation-in-comic-books/.
IvyPanda . (2021) 'Culture and Representation in Comic Books'. 26 March.
IvyPanda . 2021. "Culture and Representation in Comic Books." March 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/culture-and-representation-in-comic-books/.
1. IvyPanda . "Culture and Representation in Comic Books." March 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/culture-and-representation-in-comic-books/.
IvyPanda . "Culture and Representation in Comic Books." March 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/culture-and-representation-in-comic-books/.
- Chapter 1 in “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud
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Interpretation of igbo’s culture in things fall apart by chinua achebe, popular essay topics.
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How JFK’s Secrets Fed Conspiracy Culture
The contrast between the president’s idealistic public image and his own clandestine methods helped make his assassination an emblem of distrust in government..
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The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, remains America’s ur-conspiracy—a source of continuing skepticism about the possibility of official truth for both the left and the right. Sixty years later, it’s time to acknowledge that a major reason for this enduring suspicion is Kennedy himself.
Contrary to the image that he and his allies worked so hard to promote while he was alive, JFK was a man of secrets, and when he died he was engaged in many active conspiracies, both small and large. None of them was responsible for his death, but each would entail a cover-up to protect his legacy. And these cover-ups had a deeply negative effect on the American public’s trust in government, including its ability to get to the bottom of what really happened in Dallas in 1963.
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The Sneaky Sticker Shock of Subscription Culture
By David Mack
Mr. Mack is a former reporter for BuzzFeed News.
In recent years, much of my life as a consumer has shifted to what I like to call background spending. As I’ve subscribed to more apps and streaming platforms, significant sums of my money tend to drift away each month without my ever thinking about it. It’s as if it were a tax being taken out of my paycheck, one spent on something silly or indulgent like a subscription box of international snacks instead of — I don’t know — basic public infrastructure.
Think of it as automated capitalism. Spending without the hassle of spending. Acquisition without action. Or thought.
But while this swell of subscriptions was sold to me on the premise it would make my life more hassle-free, there was a certain sticker shock I felt upon discovering how much I was spending without realizing each month ($179.45) — after I’d already spent it, of course.
I can’t help feeling I’m being conned just a little. I admit I had forgotten I was paying monthly for the privilege of Apple TV+ after being hooked by the first season of “Ted Lasso,” then quickly falling off the bandwagon. When I reopened the app for the first time in eons, I was confronted with dozens of shows I’ve never heard of but to whose production budgets I’ve been contributing generously.
You see, the thing about background spending is it tends to happen, well, in the background without your full attention. And therein lies the point.
“Hand over your credit card details and let us take care of the rest,” these companies assure us. But by agreeing to this trade, we’ve become passive consumers who are allowing the balance of capitalism to tilt away from us. We have ceded one of our key powers as individuals: our agency.
And this laziness breeds more laziness because most of us can’t be bothered with conducting regular reviews of our subscription spending. Indeed, economists estimate that buyers forgetting to cancel subscriptions can increase a business’s revenue by as much as 200 percent. It’s no wonder these companies feel that they can jack up the prices . We’re too lazy or busy to even notice or cancel!
I know it’s not just me who is suddenly living life as a smooth-brained subscriber. The average consumer spends $273 per month on subscriptions, according to a 2021 poll of 2,500 by digital services firm West Monroe , which found this spending was up 15 percent from 2018. Not a single person polled knew what his actual monthly spending was.
It’s understandable why this model is so alluring for businesses. As companies questioned traditional advertising models (especially on social media platforms and digital publishers ), subscriptions offered the promise of “ selling once and earning forever .” (In a sign of the times, even social media companies like Meta and X, formerly Twitter, are now offering subscriptions .) And while subscription services have been around for decades (think Wine of the Month Club), more customers have been willing to sign up thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and the increasing ease of home delivery .
Demand is so high that the investment bank UBS has estimated the entire subscription economy will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025, more than doubling the $650 billion it was in 2020.
But while these subscriptions promise ease and happiness, not all of us are satisfied. Last year, the Kearney Consumer Institute found 40 percent of consumers believe they have too many subscriptions. Almost half of us also think we pay too much for streaming video-on-demand subscriptions, in particular, while roughly a third intend to reduce the number of such subscriptions, per an April report from Deloitte Insights.
There’s also evidence we are spending way more on subscriptions than we even realize. Last year, C+R Research asked 1,000 people to estimate what they fork over in subscription costs before having them itemize this spending. They found the average monthly spend was $219 — more than 2.5 times the $86 that people guessed.
It’s no wonder we’ve lost track of this spending given how subscriptions have consumed almost every aspect of our lives. Consider this: On a typical day, you might wake up and meditate, perhaps using the Calm app (yearly subscription : $69.99), before getting ready using makeup from your Birchbox ( $20 per month ). Then, as you eat breakfast, don’t forget to log your meals on your weight loss app Noom ( $209 annually ). After that, it’s just a quick Citi Bike ride to work ( $205 annual membership ) to your local Equinox gym (starting at around $200 per month ) where, instead of forking out for a personal trainer, you decided you could save money by opting instead to use an app like Fitbod ( $12.99 per month ).
During the workday, you might get a Sweetgreen salad for lunch (whose premier loyalty program costs $10 per month ) or perhaps just a coffee from Pret ( $40 per month loyalty program). When you get home after a commute spent listening to music on Spotify ( $10.99 per month ), be sure to check your lobby to see if any Amazon packages have been delivered ( $14.99 per month for Prime membership). And don’t forget to pick up your Hello Fresh groceries ( roughly $70 for three two-person meals) or your wine subscription box from SommSelect ( $99 per month for four bottles) or your new pet toys from Barkbox ( $20 per month for a year’s subscription).
After dinner, it’s time to unwind by watching ad-free streaming sites like Netflix ( $15.49 per month for a standard plan) or Hulu ( $17.99 per month) or Disney+ ( $13.99 per month ) or Paramount+ with Showtime ( $11.99 per month ) or Peacock ( $11.99 per month ) or Apple TV+ ( $9.99 per month ). And if you somehow can’t choose what to watch on any of those, maybe see what’s airing live on YouTube TV, which is similar to TiVo and cable but costs $72.99 each month .
Finally, as you get some shut-eye using your Whoop health and sleep tracker ( $239 per year ), you can rest assured any photos you took on your cellphone will quietly update to the extra storage you pay for in the digital cloud ( $2.99 per month for a standard Google One account).
You see, we’ve automated almost every element of spending in our lives! I’m almost convinced that somewhere in Silicon Valley a V.C.-funded tech bro is sitting in a room trying to imagine a subscription service for funerals that might overcome the central problem that we tend to only die just once.
And while it’s not supposed to feel exhausting or overwhelming, there’s a part at the back of my brain where it almost feels like it. I’m plagued by a buzzing anxiety that I could be saving money by consolidating or canceling some of these subscriptions, were it not for the nagging guilt that I have that, truthfully, I’ve lost track of what I’m paying for.
If we’re going to rebalance the wheels of capitalism just a little, we could do worse than to support a recently proposed rule from the Federal Trade Commission. In March, the agency suggested a “click to cancel” provision that would require companies to make it just as easy to end a subscription as to sign up for one. No more being forced to go into the gym to end your membership if you were able to join online! (For apps, Apple does already have a version of this cancel button buried within its App Store.)
Additionally, under this extra layer of consumer protection, businesses would need to remind subscribers annually about their membership before these are automatically renewed. This rule would mean any background spending would, if only just for one moment a year, be at the forefront of your mind.
If all that doesn’t work, I have another idea: an app designed to keep track of your various subscriptions and background spending so you can better control your finances. Oh wait, those already exist — for a recurring fee, of course.
David Mack is a writer and a former reporter for BuzzFeed News.
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .
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A musical parody of 'Saw' teases out the queer love story from a cult horror hit
Andrew Caira (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) star in a performance of Saw the Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of Saw at Manhattan's AMT theater. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
Andrew Caira (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) star in a performance of Saw the Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of Saw at Manhattan's AMT theater.
The Saw movies can be divisive.
The gruesome, almost 20-year-old horror franchise about a villain named Jigsaw who traps his victims in life-or-death games came out with its latest movie in September.
But that is not the only addition to the Saw universe. There is now an off-Broadway parody musical that has plenty of gore and sex — and also manages to be camp.
"This is a love story that I think people wanted for 20 years," said Stephanie Rosenberg, the director of Saw the Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of Saw .
A love story is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the series, but that's exactly what the musical is – and then some.
Turning gore into love
Think of the classic meet-cute: Two characters trapped in a room together on opposite sides, forbidden to touch. Their ankles are chained to a pipe and there's a dead guy between them. It's a completely normal way to meet someone – at least in the Saw universe.
"This started with two men in a bathroom with one person sawing off his foot," play producer Cooper Jordan said of the premise of the original film.
Jordan has wanted to bring Saw to life on stage for years: "I was just moved so much by it, that it was so daring at the time for what it was doing."
Jill Owen sings on stage during a performance on Sunday evening, Nov. 12. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
Jill Owen sings on stage during a performance on Sunday evening, Nov. 12.
Jill Owen (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) on stage. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
Jill Owen (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) on stage.
He isn't talking about the gore, which Saw would become well-known for pushing the boundaries on. The franchise's later movies garnered a reputation for being "torture-porn," though that label doesn't accurately reflect the movie's 2004 entry.
Instead, what Jordan was moved by was the movie's premise, which appears simple on the surface: live or die, make your choice.
John Kramer, the franchise's primary antagonist who goes by the moniker Jigsaw, is a cancer patient who once tried to take his own life, which resulted in a car crash that he managed to survive. But not without enduring great physical pain. Thus his philosophy to live or die was born.
Jigsaw begins to set up grisly traps where people are forced to make difficult, painful decisions. All of this is designed to test a person's will to live.
John Kramer's apprentices, who help him set up traps for victims, wear pig masks to hide their identity. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
"Jigsaw's message of cherishing your life and living your life to the fullest translates to this acceptance of one another that we don't have in this country right now," Jordan said.
Making the decision to reimagine Saw through a queer lens would not be a stretch given the source material, he said. Jordan's sister, Zoe Ann Jordan, researched the movie and wrote the book for the play. When she went back to the original film, she found queer wordplay built into the script itself.
"My sister called me and said, 'Cooper, they're gay!' and I said no," Jordan said. "And I watched it again and I was like, oh my god. We really didn't see this in 2004 when we were kids."
All of that underlying queer subtext in the movie is on full display in this musical parody.
Bisexual representation on stage
"This musical is so bisexual it is beautiful," said Andrew Caira, who plays oncologist Lawrence Gordon.
In the play, as in the original film, Gordon is trapped in a dirty bathroom with another man, photographer Adam Stanheight.
The play's script might just be as dirty as the bathroom the men are trapped in. It thrives on its raunchy and erotic humor.
The campy musical riffs on themes from the horror series, turning the scary movie concept into an irreverent comedy. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
The campy musical riffs on themes from the horror series, turning the scary movie concept into an irreverent comedy.
"You want to be funny, but the funniest thing you can do is play it absolutely straight," Jill Owen said. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
"You want to be funny, but the funniest thing you can do is play it absolutely straight," Jill Owen said.
"I've never come across a script quite like this where I've had to say the things that I say and do the things that I do," Caira said. "My parents saw the show and I had to tell my mom, 'Just a fair warning, this is a character that I'm playing and ... be warned!'"
Caira does a lot of outlandish things during the play, like dancing around with a blow up sex doll named Carla who is supposed to represent the woman he is cheating on his wife with.
The act is hilariously absurd, but it's a direct nod to Gordon's bisexuality. Throughout the play, it's apparent how Gordon struggles with coming out and going back in the closet.
"He's somebody who I feel like was sold on the 1950s dream of the perfect life and did everything in his power to accomplish that," director Rosenberg said. "And so his bisexuality does not fit into that picture."
Meanwhile, the man he's trapped in the room with, Stanheight, is more open with his sexuality in general. Throughout the play dozens of condoms fall out of his pockets and he references some sacrilegious R-rated activities he gets up to in his spare time.
"Sexually-hyphen-frustrating," is how actor Adam Parbhoo, who plays Stanheight, describes the musical. Parbhoo said that in order to sell the comedy in a parody, he liked to keep it grounded in reality.
"I feel like most comedy comes from real situations and circumstances and then the reaction to that is the funny thing. Rather than hamming things up for fun," Parbhoo said. "But there's plenty of moments in this that beg for hamming it up!"
Jill Owen plays Amanda Young, a rare survivor of one of Jigsaw's traps. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
Actor Jill Owen agrees with playing comedy straight to entertain the audiences. Owen plays both John Kramer — aka Jigsaw — and Amanda Young – a rare survivor of one of Jigsaw's traps.
In her multiple roles, Owen strikes that balance between being over the top and being serious.
"He [Jigsaw] wants them to fight for the life that they want and stop lying to themselves, and so that's something that I kinda use to get the character going," she said.
For 90 minutes, the audience watches as the characters on stage discover themselves and as the clock ticks closer to the deadline for Gordon and Adam to figure out how they will get out of their traps. What choices will they make to do so?
Saw fans know how the movie concludes and ultimately the play ends the same way. But it does so with a slight twist that will please long-term shippers of Gordon and Stanheight.
"Most of the show is, 'I need this guy, I need this guy, but I can't have him!' So it's just pure 90-whatever minutes of like ... ahhhh!" Parbhoo said.
Until, finally: A climax that starts with a pinky promise and ends with a kiss.
It's a (sort of) happy ending. Because ultimately Gordon and Stanheight stop lying to themselves about who they are and what they want in their lives.
Andrew Caira (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) play unexpected star-crossed lovers who are caught up in a deadly trap that tests their will to live. Natalie Keyssar for NPR hide caption
Andrew Caira (left) and Adam Parbhoo (right) play unexpected star-crossed lovers who are caught up in a deadly trap that tests their will to live.
SAW the Musical is an unapologetically queer and campy comedy that has a deeper underlying message. Rather than "live or die, make your choice," director Rosenberg said this play is about living your truth.
"We're here to be a place that people know that they're safe. That they can express themselves in their fluidity, in their gender expression, in their sexuality," Rosenberg said.
"We are a place to come to be a haven, to laugh with your loved one and hold their hand regardless of who they are."
SAW the Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of Saw is currently running in New York and Los Angeles.
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