Thursday, 23 August 2012

Week Seven: Protecting Culture.

As I previously mentioned in Week One, there has been an increasing awareness of culture and clash. Whether globalisation meant a loss of cultural identity for all countries involved. Being disadvantaged in this world of corporate giants can mean smaller scale countries are finding increasing difficulty in their representation.

However, there are some that manage to integrate multiple cultures to be heard. For instances, Sita Sings the Blues makes use of the late Annette Hanshaw's voice and recordings from her radio career in the 1920s and 1930s.

But the visual doesn't always necessarily match the audio material - culturally anyway. The film makes use of stories from the Ramayana, and there is a decided conflict of cultures. It defies audience expectations; combining 'Western' and 'Eastern' cultures in the one text.

Source: Click
This was taken by yours truly.
Also taken by yours truly.
Yours truly again.
Even making use of the concept of intermission, which my mother tells me was very common with Indian and Sri Lankan films at the cinema. She would always tell me that they would buy lollies and candy before rushing back to watch the film's second half.

With the above in mind, the intermission depicted in Sita displays characters from the feature taking bathroom breaks and visiting the candy bar as the clock counts down. I personally appreciated the nod to the traditions of cinema; it is a little ironic now as we watch from our computer screens and can simply pause the film if a break is needed.

The marrying of traditional and contemporary entertainment is one of joy. Having spoken of my own conflicting cultures before, I find this film can best contextualise how culture collides today.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Week Six: 'Alternative Media'?

Source: Click
What I think is the issue with people discussing Al Jazzera is that people are treating the programs and its content like it's 'alternative' to the Western media. Hence our problem again; we're still in the mindset of 'us' and 'them' in regards to the Middle East.

All media is subjective. All topic matter is subjective, and from whatever region is subjective. But we're still being steered in the direction of what is thought to be 'appropriate' news matter. We hear of shopping controversies on shows like A Current Affair that are not really news - but these stories are fast becoming the norm. Since when are we to absolutely judge television and its content?

There are even channels like SBS here in Australia that provide news from multiple countries and languages; Greek, Italian, Indian, Lebanese, the list goes on. Could these programs be judged as absolutely?

As Sun points out (2002, p.119), many diasporic groups in the contemporary global context use the Internet for community-building. Does this not apply to television programs? How can building a sense of community, for those who belong to a different country, be a bad thing?

And this is where another gap emerges, the 'race' gap. Even in trying to maintain all communities fairly, there will sadly be no room to deplete racism. Paradigms are difficult to shift for most people, and the one of race doesn't seem to be vanishing soon enough.

Sun, W 2002, ‘Fantasizing the homeland, the internet, memory and exilic longings’, Leaving China: media, migration, and transnational imagination, Rowan & Littlefield, Lanham, Md., pp. 113–36.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Week Five: Diasporic Cultures and Nationalism

Source: Click.
Even when people have migrated from their 'homeland', nowadays the notion of homeland is only strengthened with the evolution of technology. The ability to hear how one's country of origin is faring is expanded via the internet/world wide web, cheaper international calls, and the ease of world news access.  However, El-Nawawy (2003, P.68)points out that this is not necessarily available equal globally, in regards to Iraq.

When Chris talked about nationalism in this week's lecture (as well as explaining diasporic cultures), it struck me that I have not, as yet, managed to find a proper balance between my family cultures.

To explain, I'm half Greek Cypriot on my father's side, half Sri Lankan on my mother's, and born/raised here in Australia. People often get confused by my physical features and ask my 'nationality' or 'family background'. The next question I'm asked is whether I speak either language (I don't) and their response to this is that 'it's a shame'. I have half Cypriot, half Italian cousins, but I feel this mix can be better explained geographically than my own family history.

It does get confusing as both cultures have a certain set of values that often contrast each other. Most people have a sense of community within their families, but I myself feel torn in this respect. The concept of having ALL of my family in the one room is but a daydream.

Fortunately, both sides flew here and migrated here legally. I am, by definition, a second generation Australian according to this report from the Department of Immigration (2002, p.iv).

In short, I have not experienced diaspora myself. But I am here because my ancestors have.

El-Nawawy, M. 2003, ‘The battle for the Arab mind’, Al-Jazeera, the story of the network that is rattling governments and redefining modern journalism< 2003, Westview Press, Boulder CO, pp. 45-69, 217-218
Khoo, Siew-Ean et al, Second Generation Australians, Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs publication, last accessed 8/8/12

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Week Four: Alternative Journalism and Blogging

It's no surprise to me that alternative forms of journalism and blogging have emerged, due to the apparent oliogopoly of mainstream media. Not to mention the social networking sphere and the desire to share information, regardless of fact or fiction.

Singer (2007, p.118) makes the distinction between journalists and bloggers. Singer acknowledges that blogs can range from individual diaries to political campaigns and more corporate uses.

Bloggers tend to have more of a bias approach, in my experience. I'm not acknowledging that journalists can as well, but bloggers have more freedom in that respect. Bloggers have the potential for a broader audience, can review products and events, and can be more relaxed about the process.

I'm trying to imagine my personal blog being more corporate and I shudder. Having blogged on and off for the past couple of years, I've developed a personal style that I find relates more to my audience (which is mainly people who want to keep up with me). I've never really thought of myself as journalistic; I've only presented my world view and opinions for others to read. Sometimes I tend to review books or music, and sometimes I simply rant about day-to-day happenings.

I'm well aware of Singer's idea that bloggers and journalists seek the truth in different ways (2007, p.121), and what I present is, effectively, my truth.

Source: Click.
Another parallel for you this week is Jude Law's character in Contagion. Without spoiling anything; the role:  his reputation as a journalist and a blogger with an audience of millions is very well played to the film's audience. It also brings forth the awareness of people having an agenda - even in the middle of a crisis - and just how powerful the opinion of one man can be.

Source: Here.
The suit that Jude Law wore in Contagion became an
iconic symbol in the film's promotion and marketing tools.
Singer, JB 2007, ‘Bloggers and other “participatory journalists”’, in C Friend & JB Singer (eds), Online journalism ethics: traditions and transitions, M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, N.Y., pp. 115–50.