Monday, December 13, 2010

Bobby's section of the Final Exam


Although there are many negative aspects associated with the Global Subject and the Global Gaze, there are also some extremely beneficial uses for the technology. A quick point brought to attention early on in the text is a case where a Korean plane was shot down by Russian military because the civilian filled plane crossed into Russian territory unknown to the pilot. After this tragedy, President Ronald Reagan allowed GPS tools to be utilized by non-military ventures to avoid another such incident. Because of this type of technology, a situational circumstance such as this one could be avoided. While this global gaze related technology worked well in such cases as this on a large scale, it also can work on a more localized level.

A very prominent example of global surveillance tools helping society are surveillance cameras (with prices starting as low as $40 it’s no surprise that they are being utilized:, which are currently located in most stores, and even now in random outside areas. Many people see this as an invasion to privacy but in reality these technological devices (be it a camera or satellite) can offer unique opportunities to help out everyday life. A prime example would be in robberies. It is quite common that the video taken from a store could lend a hand to authorities in the apprehension of criminals such as bank robbers. A local example would be a Michigan woman from Lincoln Park being caught for five separate bank robberies ( and caught primarily because of her footage captured on the global detection devices better known in this case as bank camera. Another such example was presented in Greenville, SC where police released video footage and captured the assailants because of public outreach ( These types of cases consistently occur and help utilize the positive benefits of global observation.

As with all forms of technology, the tools can present positive and negative benefits to society and everyday life. With the adaption of postmodernism, especially in media and entertainment, people are often likely to judge and cast a negative opinion onto emerging forms of advancements due to their possibility for negative associations, but often this is a harsh choice that should be reserved until fuller understanding of the true advantages can be presented. This is definitely the case with surveillance video and satellite imaging.

Fahad exam "Weather Satellites"

My example is weather satellite and I will be talking about its positive aspects for the whole society. The weather satellite is a type of satellite that is mainly used to monitor the weather and climate of the Earth.
There are two basic types of weather satellites. Satellites can be either polar orbiting, seeing the same swath of the Earth every 12 hours, or geostationary, floating over the same spot on Earth by orbiting over the equator while moving at the speed of the Earth's rotation.
These satellites, however, see more than clouds and cloud systems. City lights, fires, effects of pollution, sand and dust storms, snow cover, ice mapping, boundaries of ocean currents, energy flows, etc., and other types of environmental information are collected using weather satellites. Weather satellite images helped in monitoring the volcanic ash cloud from mountains from all different regions. Image satellite weather technology has been around a while. It has become very important to the great advances in weather forecasts. We can get planet temperatures, humidity pictures, cloud pictures and wind data from the satellite depictions. Weather can decide on what we do for the day. For example, if there is wet weather, we can stay indoors and read or play board games, or perhaps catch up with our old friends. When there is hot weather, we can go outside to play and enjoy the sunlight. People who fish for a living can find out valuable information about the temperature of the sea from measurements that satellites make.
Weather satellites are useful f or many reasons. Pollution whether it's nature-made or man-made can be pinpointed. The visual and infrared photos show effects of pollution from their respective areas over the entire earth. Aircraft and rocket pollution, as well as condensation trails, can also be spotted. Almost every summer, sand and dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa and other dust storms in Asia and mainland China are common and easy to spot and monitor, with the help of weather satellites.
In remote areas of the world with few local observers, fires could rage out of control for days or even weeks and consume millions of acres before authorities are alerted. Weather satellites can be a tremendous asset in such situations.
I feel that weather satellite technology relates to the concept of panopticism because satellites can be used for tacking places and people. Though the technology itself is nothing but a blessing for its users which helps those making decisions on weather related issues, but it also puts them on the surveillance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maegan Byer Final Exam

Negative Implications of Geolocating Technologies
Completed by Maegan Byer of GroupTooAlso

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The example of the surveillance technologies that I am discussing are geolocation based services such as foursquare and other internet based phone applications that track an individual’s location and allow it to be publicly displayed. These technologies track the user’s specific location with an IP address and allow their whereabouts to be viewed by other people that are subscribed to the same service provider or have the same applications. This service is intended for people to be easily tracked by their friends and family without necessarily making contact with them.

The geolocation based services are invasive because they display an individual’s specific location. These services can be beneficial to parents that want to track their children and monitor their behavior. However, I feel these services can be more harmful than good because they decrease consumer privacy. The commercials that are created for these technologies try to encourage people to allow others to track them 24/7 for convenience. For example, in some of the Boost Mobile commercials, the actors appear as giant circle shaped people to represent the dots that you would see on your phone screen if you were tracking someone.

These geolocation technologies can be dangerous to the people using them because they make it easy for someone to watch their every move and even enable stalking. Other people are granted the ability to track your presence with this technology without your total consent.

Geolocation technology relates to the concept of panopticism because users are in a constant state of visibility. This increases the surveillance placed on people but disguises it as a fun application or feature of the phone or program. These locating services change our global gaze because it allows consumers to create a global presence and enhances our desire to do so. It allows us to continue to be aware of almost anything at almost any time. If we can track our loved ones and their specific location at any moment, there will be little left to what we don’t know about someone. Geolocating technologies challenge the unknown and are postmodern because the intense reality of being able to track someone has been turned into an expectation of society.

I feel that geolocating technologies may be beneficial to society as a whole in certain situations, but are dangerous to individual people that use them for unnecessary purposes. Instead of being portrayed as important technologies that hold incredible power they are portrayed as a fun gadget or neat feature to consumers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Final Exam Examples

Cell Phones - Theresa
Geolocation Services - Maegan
Video Surveillance - Bobby
Satellite Weather - Fahad

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Global Flow of Visual Culture

Cultural Imperalism

Cultural imperialism is an old phenomenon about sending country’s values in different nations. There are several ways to do it e.g. tv, radio, and internet. The whole world has become global village. For instance, American ideals of equality, freedom, and democracy now available in the world may give more freedom to women, children, and to minorities in all cultures, and will promote anti-racist, anti-sexist or anti-authoritarian messages and regimes. Examples to discuses cultural imperialism are Iraq, and Afghanistan. Setting up democracy in both the countries based on American ideals of equality was not an easy task for US. Starting off with President Bush who had a lot of obstacles in his way to make both the countries democratic. Some how he got succeed to built a democratic government in Iraq and helped the locals to elect their Leader democratically but in Afghanistan US values of equality and freedom to women has not found its place and it is still not being accepted as life style.

The U.S. and Soviet Union are known for their cultural imperialism that is a way for the countries to create an “non-invasive presence” in other countries. Although they are known for these types of tactics other countries are also using these types of media implementations as well. An example of this was the hit BBC television show “the Office”. It received acclaim in England and then the show was replicated in the U.S. with new stars and additional story lines to fit the entertainment ideas of a U.S. audience.

Cultural imperialism creates a line of presence to other countries that can be used to help people see a countries view that they are not native to. It can play both ways, but is often applied by a country with more power trying to impose a view and way of life on another country.

Global Niche Markets

Coca Cola achieves success in global niche marketing by featuring people from the culture the company wishes to reach and by using pop culture references from the culture. We think Coca cola is successful in many of its attempts at global marketing because often the commercials can be understand without knowing the language or the reference being made. Typical Coca Cola commercial show the consumer finding refreshment or relief in the drink.

In our first video, which is from Lebanon, this is done very well. All the consumers are saying "brrrr" to let the audience know that the drink is cool, refreshing and fun to drink. It's a great commercial that can be done throughout the world. All the Coke corporation has to do is hire new actors to reflect the country the commercial appears in.

The second commercial we found does a very good job of targeting a specific culture, which happens to be America. The commercial uses The Godfather to get the attention of the American audience. This commercial wouldn't translate well among cultures, but it is a good example of taking a culturally significant media and using it to target a specific group of people.

The second commercial.

Global Brands

Our example of a global brand is Subway.

The company has technically been successful because it has entered the global
market, but Subway might not maintain that success because of an inability to adapt to cultural tastes.

In Pakistan, for example, Subway uses the same recipes as it does in America, which are very plain and lack a lot of spice. Subway is not as popular in Pakistan as it is in America and we believe this could be because food in Pakistan traditionally has spices in it.

Meanwhile, McDnonalds, in addition to its regular items, offers special menu items that meet the needs of the country it operates within. It is well known that McDonalds is extremely successful in the global market and we believe that Subway would do better if it followed McDonald's example.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scientific Looking in Cultural Contexts

Discussion #1

How does the image or media convey the idea that the human body can be treated in the same manner as digital systems?

The article discusses how Michelle Trachtenberg used a site called to create an altered image of herself in a photo of her on the red carpet. This article appeared in Life and Style Magazine and discussed how she was able to create a visually slimmer version of herself knocking off fifty pounds with the usage of the body altering tools available on the site. The article continues to point out how this tool could create negative effects also, because woman may use the tool to see themselves “fifty pounds lighter” and create a personal goal to actually achieve this type of weight lose, even if it in an unhealthy amount of weight to lose. This digital imaging sets goals for people that may not be healthy, and these types of goals may not fully be believable without the assistance of such digital altering tools.

Do you feel that the image / media is objective, or is it using cultural expectations of scientific media to advance some initiative?

I feel that the media is objective because it discusses the pro of, which is that the tool can be used to see yourself slimmer and could create positive expectations and goals for weight lose, but it also discusses the negativity of creating unrealistic weight loss goals for people that are already very slim. In ways it has pseudo references to scientific media in the essence that it implies that the tool could create motivation for weight loss that would include dieting and exercise which entails scientific processes and comprehensions to effectively work.

Discussion #2

What are the effects of this type of advertisement speaking directly to consumers rather than medical personnel?

For the past couple of decades pharmaceutical companies have been allowed to market their products directly to the consumers and since the FDA is also relaxed about this advertisement method, the spending on such promotion has increased. The ads suggest the use of various prescription drugs for just about any medical condition that the viewer might experience. It is irresponsible of pharmaceutical companies to encourage self-diagnosis and unnecessary medicating. Practice among pharmaceutical companies in the use of online video and websites aims to raise awareness of a particular disease or condition often without clear disclosure of sponsor relationships. Designed as educational sites, where individuals can share their experiences with various treatments for certain health issues sites such as or are also useful to pharmaceutical companies. Perhaps most alarmingly, marketers have developed applications that allow companies to eavesdrop and analyze conversations by and among health consumers, taking advantage of users’ networks of friends to orchestrate peer-to-peer brand promotion. These new surveillance tools monitor conversations among social network users to identify what is being said about a particular issue or product. Increasingly, advertisers are using Facebook’s marketing apparatus, which is largely invisible to its users to develop a brand presence on its pages so companies can strongly connect to the social communications of a very large pool of consumers.

How do the abstract promises made by the pharmaceutical companies impact both the people they claim to help as well as medical personnel?

The advertisement of prescription drugs to the consumer and to the general public creates a need for a problem that isn't really there. By asking questions that are so vague (i.e., are you tired, not feeling like your old self, etc.) a consumer will ponder these thoughts until they have convinced themselves that there really is something wrong with them. This isn't fair to the consumer as well as to the medical doctors that are feeling the pressures of prescribing things that aren't needed.

Is promoting the use of drugs outside of a medical context ethical? Why or why not?

The viewpoints about the use of these ads are divided. Some feel that the ads provide medical education for the public, which may not be provided in another way and show the viewer other options that are available for their illness. Others feel that is unethical because the ads are encouraging people to use the drugs and request them from their doctor when they might not actually need that particular prescription. In addition, some doctors receive financial benefits for prescribing certain drugs when they could and should use something more suited to their patient.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Postmodernism In Film

The Truman Show

This movie revolves around a man that is trapped in a real life reality show and he is unaware of it. Reality shows are very popular today and feature many of things that happen in the Truman Show movie. For example, there is product placement, hidden cameras and unscripted scripts. According to our text, "Practices of Looking", postmodernism inspires artists to create products that allow them to examine their own position in the work that they create. A director is a type of artist and in The Truman Show, the director plays a very significant role over the everyday details of Truman's life. All actors in the show have a headset and the director is often show giving them cues and direction, including the instructions to successfully use product placement. This movie is written in a way that forces the audience to question whether directors really have the best intentions for the art they are producing and also question the commercialization of movies today.

Back to the Future, III

In Back to the Future III Marty McFly goes back in time to save his friend, the Doc, from being shot by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. In order to save Doc from dying, Marty has to work with the Doc's 1955 self. There are so many postmodern aspects of postmodernism in time travel movies and this one is a classic. One of the best parts of the movie that gives a slap in the face to time travel is when the Doc is actually slapped in the face by Clara, the woman he is seeing. He tells her that he is a time traveler and she doesn't believe him. She slaps him in the face and says that he is just saying that so he can get out of seeing her. In a lot of movies about time travel, the fact that it exists is just accepted. But in this film, it is not. Clara has a reaction that people would have in real life. In addition, there are tons of pop culture references because Marty is always trying to be clever in the movie and the people he encounters don't know what he's talking about. There is one scene that occurs in a "western" setting and Marty is doing the Moonwalk. That is a very good example of postmodernism in a film.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction is a good example of a movie that uses a lot of pop culture references and a lot of over the top antics to alert you to the fact that the movie is indeed a movie. The things that happen in the movie are so unrealistic to the genre of the film - Jerry Seinfield makes a cameo appearance, a girl's dress is blown by a gust of wind in the middle of a bar - that it is clear the writers are making fun of the genre that they participate in. So while the movie makes fun of gangster crime movies, they are meanwhile creating one. And Pulp Fiction becomes one of the most celebrated movies of its time.


The Trailer

The plot of Borat is that a man from a village in Kazakhstan goes on a trip to America to report on "the greatest country in the world" for a TV show in his home country. The star of the show, Sacha Baron Cohen, is British and throughout the movie he makes fun of stereotypes about everything from small countries to the "greatest country in the world", America. Postmodern is expressed in this movie by the actor making very outlandish statements, performing ridiculous stunts and there are numerous "gross out" moments. Obviously, all of these moments makes the audience aware that this is a movie and that it's not serious, yet the statements that are made do poke fun at things people actually believe about the countries Borat visits. This is one way for Cohen to force people to reflect on society, which is the goal of postmodern art.