Media Venter

a glimpse of Anngiely's opinions and random rabblings about media.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The media are communicators and broadcasters to our society. At times, the media can present a message to either influence people’s opinions, views and behavior. This tactic is also known as propaganda, "the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person." (Webster Dictionary) The novel, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, is a form of propaganda describing Afghanistan’s civil injustices, poverty, and their fanatic government leaders, the Taliban.

Hosseini, tells a story about the life of a wealthy Pashtun, Amir, and his Hazara servant, Hasaan. Throughout the novel, Amir goes through several life changing experiences, mostly in Afghanistan. The novel starts off with an obvious distinction between the upper and lower class. Amir was the top of the top, but unfornately for Hasaan he was on the bottom of the classes, a Hazara. Hasaan, along with other Hazaras were uneducated, frown upon and at times were often ostracized by the Afghanistan community. This is shown through this quote, “Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They are dirty as our blood” (41). In this scene, Assef, an upper class, describes Hazaras and the need to get rid of them. This is an injustice towards all Hazaras and displays the civil racism going in Afghanistan. This is propaganda because of the upper class's hatred towards Hazaras. This makes the upper class seem greedy and even racist towards their fellow Afghani people. Furthermore, Amir goes through life changing stages such as escaping Afghanistan, living in the United States, and his visit back to Afghanistan.

Amir goes back to his homeland of Kabul, Afghanistan to visit a sick family friend, Rahim Khan. He then later on finds out that he is on a mission to find Hasaan’s son, Sohrab. In his stay, he notices the huge differences between Afghanistan before he left and currently. “We had crossed the border and the signs of poverty were everywhere. I saw children dressed in rags chasing a soccer ball outside the huts” (231). This was a culture shock for Amir and gets worst. “The buildings that hadn’t entirely collapsed barely stood, with caved in roofs and walls pierced with rocket shells. Entire blocks had obliterated to rubble. I saw” (246). These scenes describes the poverty in Afghanistan. For desperation, Afghanis would do whatever it takes to earn money for food. In this incident, Amir sees a man selling his artificial leg. “He’s selling his leg. You can get good money for it on the black market. Feed your kids for a couple of weeks” (251). Everywhere Amir went in Afghanistan, poverty was evident, but sadly the Taliban had all the wealth. When Amir goes through the Wazir Akbar Khan district, he notices it was not as poor as the other areas. “To my surprise, most of the houses in the Wazir Akbar Khan district still had roofs and standing walls. In fact, they were in pretty good shape. Most of the important people live here now, Taliban” (260). This clearly shows inequality between the citizens of Afghanistan and governmental leaders such as the Taliban. These two scenes portrays Afghanistan as a poor and corrupt country. This is propaganda because it sheds some light Afghanistan's poverty dilemma to people who are unfamiliar with it. Moreover, along with poverty, the Taliban’s violence was a reoccurring problem in Afghanistan during Amir’s stay.

When Amir arrives at Rahim Khan’s house, Rahim tells the tragic news that the Taliban killed Hasaan. “The Talibs said he was a liar and a thief like all other Hazaras. So they took him to the street and order him to kneel and shot him in the back of the head. Amir in fact did not steal the house, but because he was a Hazara, the Taliban quickly assumed he did the crime. As a result, “Hasaan’s murders were dismissed as a case of self-defense. No one said a word about it. Most of it was fear of the Taliban I think. But no one was going to risk anything for a pair of Hazara servants” (219). Amir sets out to find Soraya and his friend and helper Farid comes along with him. During their travel, Faris points out a crumble village. “I had a friend there once. He was a very good bicycle repairman. The Taliban killed him and his family and burned the village” (244). This shows the Taliban’s insensitivity towards the Afghani people and their brutal punishments. Moreover, These two incidents were one of the many cruel events Hosseini wrote that the Taliban conducted.

The Taliban’s inhumane violence is clearly obvious and propaganda becomes more evident. This is shown during a soccer game. A Taliban leader stops the game during halftime to conduct a public display of execution. The Taliban then describes the convicted as sinners and deserving of their punishment of stoning. “Every sinner must be punished in a manner befitting his sin! How shall we answer those who throw stones at the windows of God’s house? WE SHALL THROW THE STONES BACK!” (270) “The man in the hole was now mangled mess of blood and shredded rags. His head slumped forward, chin or chest. When it was all over, when the bloodied corpses had been unceremoniously tossed into the backs of red pickup trucks” (271, 272). The message of this scene is to publicize the Taliban’s merciless acts towards to the Afghani people.
The Taliban murdered many and intimidated its citizens.

Amir finally finds Soraya and fights until the end against the Taliban leader. Before the two men fought, Assef, tells the story about Mazar on August 1998. He reminisces the acts of violence he did to some Afghanis. “Door to door we went, calling for men and boys. We’d shoot them right there in front of their families. Let them see. Let them remember who they were, where they belonged” (277). This depicts the irrational and emotionless choices the Taliban made. Moreover, these incidents can convey an audience to sympathize towards the country’s situation and victims, but also cause bad feelings towards to the Taliban.

Although this book is fiction, it has given me a better insight on the culture and more empathy towards the country. This book has not change my views on the country, simply because I am aware of the situation going on in Afghanistan. My views on Afghanistan are that it poverty-stricken, full of struggles, violence and injustices. Those who are not familiar with the situation in Afghanistan can definitely gain insight and also a change og views on this country.

Media transmits messages to its readers, viewers and listeners. Even though if the point is not bluntly said, such as the Kite Runner, if changes your point of view on anything, then by definition it is propaganda. The Kite Runner is clearly propaganda because it promotes the horrible conditions in the country, way of life for Afghans and the corrupted government, the Taliban. Whether good or bad, propaganda is meant to influence people’s opinions, something The Kite Runner does.

Damn, this magazine smells good!

I usually read magazines once a week on my down time at work. I’m usually more of a “US Weekly, Vogue” consumer, and embarrass to admit that I have a yearly subscription to Teen Vogue Teen Vogue thanks to my Aunt. For this September’s issue cover of Teen Vogue, actress Rachel Bilson is on it, along with bold headlines of “Nick Canon” and “Kristen Bell” This magazine is definitely geared towards teenage girls ages 12 to 17. (Hence the name “TEEN” Vogue) I’m 20 years old and magazines such as Seventeen, Teen Vogue are a bit too juvenile for me. Sadly, in reality I’m a consumer, since I read these monthly issues. For those not similar with the magazine Vogue, Teen Vogue has a similar theme as Vogue, which is fashion. Flipping through the pages, there are bright colorful ads for “Chanel” and “Dolce and Gobanna.” I only can speak for myself and if I saw these ads when I was 14 years old, I’d beg my grandparents to buy me some Chanel sunglasses. I moved on and checked out the editors page and to the looks of it, the editor was not very young and looked as if she was in her mid forties. Definitely, far from a person who knows about “teen.” Fortunately, the magazine did a special segment on their contributors. For the most part, the contributors looked in they are in their mid-twenties. The art director for the magazine, John Munoz, does the magazine’s layouts and graphic elements. In his biography and picture he seems hip and update to the teen world.

I moved on to the Fashion section and it had plenty of pictures of celebrities with fashionable clothing. Also, an article in this section explains that “wide belts” are in and the “find the best buys for jeans.” Obviously, teenagers are often concern with their image and the need to keep up with what’s in. These are definitely subjects teen girls are interested in. Next section was beauty and health. One article that caught my attention was the beauty Q&A. Astrid, 14, asked “How can I get my weak nails into tip-top shape?” This says a lot about the readers of the magazine, girls as young as 14 are reading it and are concerned about beauty. The magazine is answering the questions young girls are worried about, which is helpful. Back to the cover story, “Young Hollywood, ” has various full page solo pictures of celebrities. From experience, this is a great strategy to lure teenage girls to buy Teen Vogue. For example, if one of their favorite actors, actress, musicians, etc is on the cover, they might buy the magazine to read up on them, but most importantly rip the pages of their favorite celebrity. Being a former teenage consumer, I would actually buy Teen Vogue because of the celebrity picture. This is a great tactic for this magazine and other teen ones to gain revenue. Everything in this magazine (ads and editorial content) is definitely appropriate for teenage girls. It has everything a teenage girl would want, fashion, celebrities, hot guys, advice and plenty of clever ads.

Oh yeah, who doesn’t love those sample perfumes in magazines?
Euphoria by Calvin Klein is really making this magazine smell good. Definitely an added this Teen Vogue’s advertising!

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Out with the old, in with the new?"

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For this blog assignment, I read the San Jose Mercury News' Monday, September 25, 2006 issue. First, I read the actual newspaper, then proceeded to read it online. With both the newspaper and San Jose Mercury News online, I believe there are pros and cons. Personally, for me, it does not matter whether I read it on a newspaper or online because I am still getting the same news. Although, you get the exact content, some may believe, like myself that the newspaper holds a sentimental value. I mean, who does not love reading the Sunday newspaper along with some delicious breakfast and a good ol' cup of Starbucks in hand? How about reading those corky Sunday comics? Those are definitely my personal favorite. In any case, the newspaper and the online site has differences and also some similarities. Lets start off with differences.
In Monday's issue, the newspaper was separated with six categories: Front page, (which usually consists of the top news stories) the Valley, (news going on in the Bay Area) Arts and Entertainment, Sports, Tech Mondays, and Classification. The San Jose Mercury News website’s home page did not contend a front page; rather it had updated news. This brings me up to another difference; the online site has news updated about every hour, where as Monday’s paper had news that occurred before it was printed. What about convenience? You can carry around a newspaper wherever and whenever. Heck, you can even take it with you all the way to the North Pole! For the website's case whenever you want like an actual newspaper, but the only problem is you’ll have to you sit down to a computer and go online. If you have a newspaper, you can read any article you’d like on it, but not for the website. For some articles, you must subscribe and pay a fee. Since technology is up to date, the website offers variety. For those tech junkies, there are pod casts, videos, audio play, and blogs. Also there are a few helpful sections such as there is a search engine for events around the Bay Area, site services, (i.e. Yellow pages) and even a dating section! (Oh lala!) Obviously, the newspaper does not offer any of this simply because its just paper. Surprisingly, with all these differences, they are also similarities.

Articles in Monday’s newspaper were exactly the same as the ones online. Although advertisements were placed in a different formant, both the newspapers and the website had plenty of them. Lastly, the website had news, sports and entertainment sections like the newspaper.

Even though the differences outweigh the similarities, the most important similarity is the articles are exactly the same. As long as the content of the stories are the exact, does it really matter whether or not if it’s in paper form or on a computer screen?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Random side note, does anyone know how to link websites? I've been trying to figure it our for awhile now. If someone can tell me how, it'll be greatly appreciated! =)

Propaganda... what is it? Before Thursday lecture, I never had a clear definition of the word "propaganda." All I knew is it had to do something with the infamous Hitler. According to Merriam-Webster Online, the definition of propaganda "is the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person." All in all propaganda is used to influence people's opinions.

After thoroughly understanding this word, I realized propaganda is everywhere. It may not be as extreme as Hitler's but it still exist in today’s society. Propaganda may be seen or heard on television commercials, music, movies, and even on the Internet. The most recent propaganda I've come across is an Anti-Tobacco commercial, the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, and a rap song by Chamillionaire, "Riding Dirty."

First, I'll start off with the Anti-Tobacco commercials. This commercial used to run on television a couple months ago and I found it terribly disturbing.
“The Truth” is an anti-smoking advertising campaign, which derides the tobacco companies. This commercial is clearly propaganda because they are attacking tobacco companies by convincing the public that tobacco companies are killing about 12,000 people a day.

Out of all the propaganda I came across lately, I found the movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore to be the most extreme. A quick summary for those who have not watched it is director Michael Moore criticizes George W. Bush with the war against terrorism. Through footage and interviews, Moore illustrates his argument on how Bush and his administration brought the U.S.A. into worse trouble than ever before and why American citizens should not support Bush’s cause. This movie bashes Bush and on the current war in Iraq. It is a very intense movie and is truly a fine example of propaganda.

Lastly, is the song by rapper Chamillionaire, “Ridin Dirty.” According to the rapper himself the song’s statement is about police racial profiling African Americans.

“They see me rollin’ They hatin' Patrollin and tryin to catch me ridin dirty. My music so loud. I'm swangin.' They hopin that they gonna catch me ridin' dirty.”

This is the chorus of the song and explains police trying to catch Chamillionaire “riding dirty,” meaning racially profiling the rapper, who himself is African American. Chamillioniare is artistically attacking police though his song and are convincing listeners and fans that authorities are racial profiling African Americans, simply based on their race.

These three of these examples all sends out a message to influence opinions and/or behaviors.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I decided to search online on a history timeline on publishing. According to, it states that the first known publish book, The Diamond Sutra, was produced in 808 in China. As the world progressed, in 1440, Johann Gutenberg, invented a wooden press, and published, a Latin Bible. A couple centuries later publishing became more sophisticated and the first paper book was published in the United States. Fast-forward towards the 1980s, about 70 percent of books bought was paperback and technology was on the rise, publishing became commonly used. Currently, books are now sold through various book chains such as Borders and online retailers. (Amazon) Also, there has been the creation of E-books, which are electronic versions of printed books and can be viewed online. Obviously times have changes since the days of the third century where information was stored on animal skin.

Books have been around for a long time, so why hasn’t it progress to something more advance? For example, if we could burn CD's, why not books? Unlike downloading songs and burning CD's, books are much difficult to copy. Who seriously would sit down and take the time to copy each page of an 800-page book? Not me! Books are just simply convenient and also symbolic. When I was younger one of my favorite books was Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss. I can’t stress how many times I read that book. When I was older, I read Hop On Pop to my little cousin, and to my surprise she loved it. I decided to give it to her and hopefully one day she can pass it on to her child. I had lots of books when I was younger and donated most of it to either Goodwill or to underprivileged children. Although, I got rid of most, there is one in particular I decided to keep, a children’s book called Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit.

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I absolutely loved this book and will probably never give it away, unless if its to my children. This book is like one of those “blankeys.” Even though if it’s old and tore up, you still keep it for symbolic reasons.

Even though E-Books have been created, I believe books will always be around. Personally, for myself, E-books are a little too difficult, because I would be reading a whole novel on a computer screen for many hours. Also someone in class brought up an excellent point that E-books sometimes can’t save what page you ended on! That’s a bit ludicrous to me! So no worries everyone, I believe the future of books is secure.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Downloading music? Admit or not, many of us have done it. Even though it is a long shot that this act can be fully abolished, I believe there is a way for it stop or at least decrease the amount of downloading. Currently, music records companies are threatening downloaders that what they are doing is a crime and will be punish. I believe companies should advocate in a less threating way. These companies should try to reach out to downloaders less emphatically.

Lets start off with advertising. This strategy is a great way to spread the word out and has been for many years. Music companies should come together to stop this act. First, music companies should contribute and supple money to create campaigns against downloading music. A way to start this is to produce several clever advertisements with famous music artist(s) advocating to stop this act. This is a great strategy because many fans are loyal and might listen to what their favorite artist(s)’ message. As long these advertisements run, such as in television/radio commercials, magazine advertisement, etc, it will eventually decrease downloading.

Another strategy music record companies and their artists themselves can do is advertise at concerts. Obviously, concerts are packed with people who are music fans. Most likely of course, they too are illegally downloading music. Somewhere at the concert, a booth or a workshop can be set up. Before and after the concert flyers even keychains allocating against downloading can be passed around along with several people at booths can educate people of the illegalness. Since the iTunes Music Store have many downloading songs legally, they too can be at concerts promoting their stores and even give a huge give away for anyone who signs up for the iTunes music store.

Lastly, since technology is flourishing, there is a possible way to create a system to prevent file sharing online. Yet again, musicians and record companies and even the government can come together and invest money to create this system. Even though this investment might be pricey, it will eventually balance out because file sharing will be demolished, thus, record sells will increase rapidly.

I know it’s easier said then done, but I believe these ideas can essentially work, in the long run, not immediately. You must start somewhere to gain results.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm bummed out that I didn't get the chance to watch Katie Couric on CBS Evening News last night. According to the Washington Post, Couric roughly had about 13.6 viewers and was ranked number 1. This is definitely a huge turning point for the media especially for women. Yes, Couric is the first woman to have a solo evening news for a major U.S. network. She had many mix reviews. Los Angeles Times' Paul Brownfield said "nobody can turn a frown upside down the way Katie Couric can,” but Washington Post critic Tom Shales said "brisk, engaging job of getting the strange new show off the ground, but the show was too jammed with new features." I believe this show will be a great change for the media, especially since the nightly news is predominately men. Couric will now compete against Brian Williams NBC "Nightly News" and Charles Gibson at ABC's "World News." Luckly Couric's transition won't be as difficult because she of her audience from NBC "Today." I guess I'll just have to watch it tonight to see if it's any good. I hope society is ready for a nightly news women anchor and embraces this change.

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In other news, according to, who do celebrities love the most? Their family? Their friends? Their 2384093 million dollar homes? Nope, themselves! Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young of the University of Southern California's study conducted a study of 200 celebrities and will soon appear in the Journal of Research in Personality. Apparently, celebrities are in loved with themselves more than the average person. This is also known as narcissism. For those who do not know the meaning of a narcissist, USC's Keck School of Medicine would define a narcissist as "someone who constantly craving attention, overconfident and lack any empathy." Sadly, the most narcissists of all are reality television stars. HAHAHA! WOW, seriously why would anyt reality celebrity think they're an A-listers. Its quite simple, all you have to do is start a fight with someone or eat some bugs and you’re in! All in all, I don't think it was really necessary to conduct a study to prove this. Let’s take a good look at Paris Hilton. Enough said.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today’s lecture in class was quite interesting. One topic in specific, downloading music online, intrigued me the most. In 2000, I used Napster for the first time and believed it was the best device ever created. I’m a huge music buff and being able to download all the songs I wanted was like heaven. Not only could I download all the songs I want, but it’s absolutely free.

The real question that repeatedly occurs is if downloading music online is ethical. I’m definitely stuck in the middle when it comes to this controversy. As a constant media consumer, downloading music online is simply a way for me to enjoy something I love. Come on, songs are constantly on the radio, and that too can be easily recorded. What’s the difference? I understand why artist(s) especially mainstream ones, are against downloading because obviously they are losing profit. Yes, they’re just like us and also need to provide for themselves and others.

Someone raised a great point about downloading and said, “The actual musicians’ CD profit isn’t directly going to them. Maybe if it did, then I would be more willing to buy.” Not only that, but there’s a huge distance between yourself and the artist(s). I guess that’s the reason why I don’t feel like I’m “stealing” because its not like I’m going up to Beyonce and stealing her CD right in front of her face. What about the underground, low-key musicians? I have many friends who are in bands and believe downloading music is a benefit because they get their songs out to the public and build an audience.

In conclusion, downloading music online has its pros and cons, but at the end of it all, it benefits myself.