Saturday, December 11, 2010

World Text Analysis Essay

What does a credit card offer you? On average you will receive between twenty and thirty credit card offers each year promising “free” money, points, and the freedom to buy what you want when you want. This sounds like a pretty good deal if you are a college student with a life time of debt, I mean spending, potential. What might be a good question to ask however, is if you have to give them anything in return, any freedoms, any dreams. In the movie Slumdog Millionaire, Maman’s orphanage is used to show how globalization offers a higher standard of living at the high cost of personal freedoms.

The issue of globalization is a multifaceted one that needs to be defined. Globalization according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “the act or process of globalizing : the state of being globalized; especially :the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets.” What this practically means is that the free market economy is incorporated by as many countries as possible and all the resources are added to the global market. Additionally, since some markets are going to be able to provide different resources for different prices they will, at least temporarily, go down as you purchase from that market that produces that product more cheaply. A great description of globalization is given in the essay Globalization and the Contemporary Development of Marxist Philosophy saying, “Simply speaking, globalization is a geographical concept, and it means global integration…but what is it that pushes and drives globalization? It is mainly capital. Globalization, above all, is the global and unitary operation of capital” (Kang Ouyang 645). Therefore, to be successful in this globalized market you must work to gain capital. To have status, you must have “things”, with all the vagueness that the word implies. It might be argued there is nothing wrong with wanting “things”, yet what cost do those come with. One might ask if this world view has negative implications and what would those look like?

Maman’s orphanage is a superb visual example of what globalization both offers and costs to those who embrace its precepts. Salim, Jamal, and Latika are on their own once their parents are killed. They have entered a globalized world and the must now provide for themselves. They are living in the trash dumps of the city with very little to eat. Mamon comes in the “orphanage” truck signifying security and safety. He then entices them and lulls them into security by giving them Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s was well known for being one of the first companies to truly achieve a globalized product. What these boys in this scene are being lured with this nothing less than the promised better life of globalization, in a bottle. When they arrive they are fed well and given much more food and toys than they had before they came to the orphanage.

This is the way it is with globalization. It promises the items of the nations of the world. It even promises lower rates for products of just about anything one could want. Yet, what does it do to the common worker and your home industries? They are able to get more things for cheaper, as long as they have a job. The catch at the orphanage in the movie is to be blinded and work for them, and so too the worker in the globalized world is left “blind”. They are totally dependant upon the system and its success, being placed where they are needed, if they are needed. Security in particular is sacrificed. The literal blindness in the film, of the children singers is translated into a figurative blindness of the future. This is talked about by Catarina Kinnvall when she writes, “The abstract character of modern society, with its implicit anonymity and alienation, has made the lives of more individuals migratory, ever-changing, and mobile as they are uprooted from their original social milieu” (Catarina Kinnvall 744). Once you accept the system and comply with its values and workings you are bound by its rules. If Jamal and Salim had been blinded they would no longer have been able to travel India and life as they saw fit. They would have had the rest of their lives dictated for them. And Jamal would have lived the remainder of his days separated from Latika, unable to pursue his love because of his bondage. While this seems extreme, this is a very real out come of enslaving oneself to the globalized way of life with all its expensive benefits. This part of the movie acts as a visual microcosm to the greater whole of the globalized worldview and its lesson of the sacrifice inherent in globalization is one that is important to us today.

Globalization offers a higher standard of living at the high cost of freedoms as is evidenced by Maman’s orphanage in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Globalization itself can be defined as the spread of the free market system and a dependence on capital. It can then been seen in the film that Maman’s orphanage functions just like globalization as it offers increased food and items, yet ones very vision is reliant upon the system, and the people who are running the system, for guidance. This portion of the movie was a great visual mediation of an individual event that could be applied in many places around the world. Always remember that when you enter upon a financial commitment to ask yourself if you are truly getting something that adds to the vision you have for your life. Otherwise, it is simply going to keep you from it. So, when you receive that next credit card offer and the word free is staring you straight in the eyes. Tear it up and smile, for now you are truly free to live and dream.

Works Cited

Catarina Kinnvall. “Globalization and Religious Nationalism: Self, Identity, and the Search for Ontological Security.” Political Psychology Vol. 25, No. 5 (2004): 744. 9 Feb. 2010.

Kang Ouyang, Yumei Liu, Lingling Zhu. “Globalization and the Contemporary Development of Marxist Philosophy: Precondition, Problem Domain and Research Outline.” Frontiers of Philosophy in China Vol. 1, No. 4 (2006): 645. Web. 9 Feb. 2010.

Slumdog Millionaire. Dir. Danny Boyle. Fox Searchlight Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, 2008. DVD.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anyone Hungry?

We are in trouble. Do we have a solution to all the hungry and starving around the world? Quite possibly yet you would never hear about it, because it so far has not been proven profitable to fix. That is what I was thinking about since last week in class. We live in a world that is focused on profit and gain. From my world view of Christianity I was challenged to see how things aught to be and just what my faith has to say about all this. One thing that I personally found interesting is that the inital and purposeful use of the tithe in the early Church was for the ministers, missionaries, hungry, and widows.
The "tithe" is the giving of the first ten percent of your wages to the church for these four purposes. I was thinking about the idea that this goes directly against the very capitalist nature that we have developed within ourselves. Could it be that this is a mechanism to fend off one of the greatest ills of capitalism, greed? Besides the religious meanings, could it be that this is an act used to break Christians out of the habit of greed? It would make sense to me seeing as less than ten percent of a churches members actually tithe according to studies. Greed is a truly powerful evil given room to roam in our system, and I believe that this is the reason Christians today find it so hard to give. Yet, in giving to church or other venues, is there not possibly a leeching of the illness from our system?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Presentation of Meaning

Added (11 December 2010)

Our presentation focused on the creation and explication of the media's as a means of relating all media's and their respective goals, uses, dangers, and advantages.

If we are going to be attempting to train our students to have the proper skills so as to use media, we need to train them on how media effects us all. By looking at all the different medias at different times and then showing that elements like music, language, speakers tone of voice, colors, setting, movement, lighting, and speakers gestures we can teach students about how to convey the most meaning in media and share the most meaning through media.

The end project would be the most exciting part of the class as student would create a movie in which they bring together all the elements of media that they have learned and with their own unique twists. I imagine that they could even focus on any part of any media they so desired if there was enough meaning behind it. Like a focused shot on a painting that they felt had meaning to the words that were being spoken in the background. I have really enjoyed the awareness that I have received from this book and hope to share such knowledge with those who I teach.

This is an interesting New York Times article that has to do with unique types of art. Might be something that the students could embark upon achieving.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Media Education

I am an English Literature Major. As such I have been often in the pool where I am encouraging my siblings and those around me to read more instead of watch television or play video games.

What I do really agree with is that there is a "special literacy" for media that people talk about and are expected to know. I was up at Standford with a friend and did not understand half the jokes and conversations. Later my friend showed me an assortment of around 6 YouTube videos that made sense of all those jokes. Therefore this is a very real "literacy" to me.

I am actually really struggling with this book because it makes sense, but I think I do have more of the mind set that classical literature is more nourishing to the mind.

I am looking forward to the end of this book and hearing how this literacy education should work out according to the author.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tech Presentations

I was really impressed by the numerous presentations that we witnessed last week. This really got me thinking even after my groups presentation was over about the use of technology within the class room. For my group, the use of Google's Document Presentation application was amazing. You could drag and drop pictures and YouTube videos directly into the frames and even the copy, paste, and editing functions were flawless. It was the first time that I had really spent this much time creating a power point of this scope and I actually can say that I had fun doing it. I felt it was a piece of artwork.

Our presentation aside I then began to think of other ideas and applications for media and technology in teaching a story. I thought of how cool it might have been if we had actually acted one of the stories out, without words. The only sounds and conversations coming from the computer and media that was being used. This was intriguing to me and I thought further that one would be able to set the mood for say, the storm in Shakespeare's "King Lear" by having the screen flash with lightning and the room be dark. Example:

This to me was a really innovative and creative way of incorporating technology without actually needing to memorize lines or even really be an actor, yet still share a story in a fun, visual, and compelling way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Does it only work on the weak minded?

Added (11 December 2010)

Media production

One of the great dangers of any media is that it teaches. Even if the author does not intend such an outcome the user of that media is receiving something. I think it is safe to say that there are many negative messages that can and are spread through all the medias. What was very impressive about this book "Media Education" by David Buckingham is that he aptly addresses that there are many motivators and forces behind a media that need to be addressed and taught about. Our students today are walking into a media mine field and they need to be equipped with the proper knowledge to be able to decipher through it. Buckingham mentions that looking at media production means looking at: technologies, professional practices, the industry, connections between media, regulation, circulation and distribution, and access and participation. This is of the utmost importance in my opinion because it is only after we have taught students these practices that they can begin to see the dangers, if any, that the messages of the media provide. Be it form of paper, airwaves, or light, these messages come from someone and with a purpose, even if that purpose is simply to enjoy.

Buckingham, David. Media Education. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2003. Print. Pg. 53-70.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Mythology?

What is it that makes mythology one of the most interesting realms for the modern day storyteller?

Whether it be comics or Teen fiction books like the Percy Jackson Olympian Series. There is a influx of mythological stories that are being retold and the public are eating them up.

There are a few factors, I believe, that make mythology so appealing. Firstly, there is a mist that surrounds the stories that give writers and readers freedom to use thier imagination. Also, there there is a validity that time seems to have given to the stories so even though as a reader I am thinking this is a fiction and using my imagination I also am really wanting this to be real, and its not "so" farfetched. Finally, Mythology has an enchantment that is rooted in the touching of the mortal and the divine. It is a interesting look that is very vogue to question these divine figures through fun or terrible stories.

These are some thoughts and I would love to hear yours!