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gwen's blog


I'm not sure if this is something everyone already knows about, but YouTube and MySpace are in trouble with copyright laws. They rank 2nd and 3rd for the most videos shown per day (next to Yahoo (?)), and many of the videos posted by users who don't have the rights to do so. YouTube is throwing cash to Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group in order to avoid a lawsuit, and MySpace has some deal with Snocap I'm sure could be better described by our class MySpace expert (sorry I'm bad with names, no sarcasm intended). As we've seen with the South Park videos, YouTube is working on technology to keep users from posting copyrighted material.

i used to think if i ever became the lead singer of a punk band i would call it "no self control"

I don't know what happened in between that rebellious young sprite and this washed up college student struggling to finish six blogs before I leave this desk. I was going somewhere with this, but I forget where. So in lieu of that I think this would be a good time and place to do a quarter-life assessment.

I sit in front of three parking tickets, from various times in the past few weeks when I've lost or otherwise neglected my car. I found my bike last night while skateboarding because I thought my bike had been stolen. I left it on the bike rack outside our class last wednesday. In fifth grade I thought I had been shot but really a kid had just thrown an egg at my head. I did accidentally stick a tack in my temple last year however. I also thought kiddie porn was "kitty porn" until last year. A documentary I was making for an independent study is due tomorrow but both Pitzer's and my harddrive are out of space so I'm not sure what to do. Mario, I copped your suicide idea for my final media sketchbook film. Lindsay, the music you asked about from our prank-remake video is DJ Schmolli "satan.omen.death," chosen by Mario. And Clay, I feel like I'm leaving you out of this list of people who won't read this, did you know Lawless brought your Bush bombing video up at the trial? I can't remember why, but oh, did she bring it up. And I'm forgetting Professor Fitzpatrick: I'm sorry I haven't responded to your email, as you can see I've been busy blogging but I will get to it asap.

None of us will get jobs

It looks like newspapers are following suit:

"In the space of two months, [the LA Times'] publisher and beloved editor were fired because they refused to submit to further budget cuts demanded by the corporate parent, Chicago-based Tribune Co."

The LA Times apparently had famous industry-leader editors who helped carve out a space for Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century. The paper was once hugely respected and popular, but between 1990 and today, the LA Times' circulation fell from 1.2 million to 800,000, largely because of online news websites. LA is also such a broad and diverse region that one newspaper for the entire population is a difficult feat. (My Creative Journalism professor this semester emphasized the growth of niche markets in journalism over the past three or four decades.) The LA Times also has the pressure of covering Hollywood/entertainment stories, which aren't seen as serious work (by critics or reporters) while newspapers like the Washington Post get to focus on the government. (I read this in the Wash. Post so it might be a little biased:)

NBC 2.0

It looks like broadcast news stations in DC are firing all their old anchors. The "NBC 2.0" initiative is a program by NBC Universal to cut costs ($750 million) and 5% of its positions. Because people watch news mostly as habit, news stations have little pressure to keep top personalities on the air or pay them more than others to come back.

The article doesn't mention whether these changes are taking place because viewership is down, or management is just getting greedy:

x plastaz

That there's a link to the premier Maasai hip hop group in Tanzania. The Maasai are a tribe known for their refusal to abandon tradition (my friend drank blood out of a goat's chest cavity with them last year) despite the globalization of the region around them. I wonder what the average Maasai thinks about X Plastaz; whether they serve as an empowering force for youth (or at least women) stifled by Maasai culture, or an unwelcome trend diluting the authenticity of traditional Maasai music.

Robbie Conal (USC poster artist)

There's the website for the USC guerilla poster artist I mentioned in class. He has an email list you can join, and from time to time he sends out info about midnight postering sessions.

Authorship in Documentaries

This semester I've been making a documentary about the wards at a youth detention facility up on Baldy. The initial idea was to assess the arts programs provided at the camps, specifically a program Pitzer organizes where the wards make music videos with their own beats and raps. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm honestly never happier than when I'm up at those camps. It just inspires this indescribable admiration when you talk to a kid five years younger than you who has been through so much more, and shown so much more strength than you can imagine, and still looks at you like an equal as if your life hasn't been a joke compared to his.

i started on chapter 3 to make myself feel better

Chapter 3

Modern Japanese Culture, Art and Apathy

An angle that remains largely unexplored in the study of artistic activism is the result of individual countercultural sentiments without a larger subcultural arts movement within which to unify. The current artistic and activist climate in Japan allows an examination of countercultural sentiments when surrounding artistic subcultures targeting a mainstream oppressor are absent from the environment.

Unlike the high rates of violence in South Africa, criminal activity is rare among youth in Japan. Yet several other symptoms reflect a different type of alienation from mass culture: Japan's birth rate is among the lowest in the world, while the country suffers more suicides than any other wealthy developed nation. In 2005, there were roughly 10,000 more deaths than births in Japan, officially marking its shrinking population (Zielenziger 9). Equally disturbing, Japan has the most hospital patients with mental illnesses of any nation in the world. The nation's mental institutions record an average stay as over a year long (Zielenziger 142).

i'm entirely unable to make a single decision about anything ever

I started writing my thesis chapter on South Africa, and I'm not sure what it was, maybe the fact that I've never been to South Africa to see a real SA'n play, or never spoken face to face with someone who lived in SA during apartheid, but I just felt like I was writing a research paper. Everything I wrote was taken directly from another source, and primary sources (either scripts or films) are pretty hard to come by.

Also, our theses are supposed to be cumulative expressions of what we've learned, our most passionate arguement about our the issue we care most deeply about. Anything I strive to prove about South Africa only applies to South Africa. I can always say there are parallels with other regions, but without going into it in depth, it's just words.

Globalization & Music

While trying to decide between focusing my thesis on the U.S South Africa or Japan, I was doing a little research on protest art in Burma/Myanmar (look up the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, it will bring tears to your eyes). During the protest of 8888 (on 8/8/88) near 80% of Burma's citizens organized peaceful marches and nonviolent protest of the dictatorship's violent and economically devestating regime. I looked up some of the songs sung during these protests, expecting to find traditional Burmese music. Instead, they sound like techno-disney made by an 8-yr-old on a 4-track cartridge. Take a listen: