Sunday, October 28, 2012

Can eyes "speak?"

I woke up this morning tightly tucked in my blankets and hoodie sweatshirt. The only part of my body that was showing were my eyes. My husband and I were talking in bed as we always do before starting our day. I was speaking very passionately about a TV show I had watched the night before - but my mouth was hidden by the blankets. My husband pointed out after our discussion that even though he could not see my mouth and lips move he could "read" my eyes and he was able to know the severity of the topic I was talking about. In addition, my voice tone was also a key factor in how he could determine if I was joking around or being serious. This is just another one of those "Aha" moments with body language.

Image from personal collection

Thank You For Smoking - Movie Review

This film is very different in terms of the message being conveyed. Thank You For Smoking is about a man, Nick, who works for a big tobacco company who is pushing for people to use cigarettes. Which is completely not what I am accustomed to - I always hear of why people should not smoke and the negative effects connected to smoking. However, this film is more than just about a man pushing for people to buy cigarettes. The main message I picked out of the film is that people should work hard in anything they do, whether they believe in it or not, and that people should be confident in their abilities and talents. One example from the film I feel relates to this message is the scene in the first third of the film when Nick's son, Joey, is sitting at home trying to write an essay for school. He asks his dad a few questions and Nick responses by saying that if you argue correctly you will be "right" in the end. 

The only real situations that this film has with minorities or other races is that when the tobacco company employees speak of their "main customers" - the Koreans and Russians. In my opinion, this is strictly situational because this is just the employees perception of who does and does not smoke regularly in those particular groups of people.  

Some people who may be offended by this film might be those who have a smoking addition and those who have disease-related illnesses due to smoking and/or second-hand smoke. I think these two classes of people might feel offended because they might feel that they are "suckers" for these big tobacco companies since they are contributing by willingly giving their money to these rich people. In addition, people who have cancer or other illnesses due to cigarettes might feel that they are being made fun of or they may think that tobacco companies do not care about their well-being.  

The director used a lot of stop-and-go frames in this film. When something needed to be stressed in the film the picture would stop and the narrator (Nick) would speak the information.  

Overall, this film added much to my viewing experience. I think that it gave a great depiction of how to look at different view points of issues in the world.  

Flickr Image: Amagill

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Facebook, Twitter, and Other Symbols

There are many symbols in our world. For example, Facebook has their own logo symbol and it can be found on products and TV advertisements. This little symbol has a lot of power associated with it. Just at a glance a person can recognize what it is and the meaning behind it. In my opinion, this is an extraordinary gift that such symbols have. Just a few days ago, I saw a TV commercial for a common household product and at the end of it was a small Facebook symbols. Just by looking at that symbol I could tell that there was a page devoted to that company and/or product. Go out and look around for symbols you are familiar with and see where they appear at in our world.

Image from personal collection

Do Children Today Think Creatively?

When we all were young children we played make-believe, played outside until the street lights came on, and used crayons and water colors to make creative pieces of art. Today, students are beginning to lose out on valuable creative time. Schools are now trying to focus on math and science at early ages and the creative content areas such as art are being pushed out of the curricula. I wonder how this will impact our children as we progress into the future. Will students no longer have the opportunity to free-write or free-draw? Will students be forced to conform to schools' wishes to be great mathematicians and scientists? These questions come to my mind when thinking about children today and their sense of creativity. I am worried that future generations will not have the same creative opportunities I once had. This, I'm sure, will have a lasting and permanent impact on the children we raise and the people they will become in the future.

Flickr image by 5of7

Killing Us Softly

Recently I viewed the film, Killing Us Softly. This documentary was an eye opening experience for me. I have not given too much thought of gender stereotyping in our society. I guess I just always viewed it as "how things are" and "that is just how women and men are supposed to be portrayed." However, I was very wrong. When watching all of the examples in this film given by Jean Kilbourne I was overwhelmed with emotions that I did not know I had in regards to gender stereotyping. I was almost sickened by the images I saw. Women in pictures of advertisements nearly naked and men drooling likes dogs when women are pictured in this way. I asked myself, "is this really how society is?" When I sat and thought about this I came to the conclusion that sadly it is how society has made our bodies be a part of campaigns and advertisements for products. Some agencies are making great strides to reverse negative advertisements, but there is much work to be done to eliminate this atrocious act of society. If you have not seen this piece of work done by Jean Kilbourne I encourage you to take the time to do so. It will leave a lasting impression on you and will make you think twice about some of the advertisements in our world.

                          Evolution of Beauty - Dove Campaign for Real Beauty
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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Road To The White House...

The vice presidential debate on very entertaining in my opinion. Each candidate had his own way of responding accordingly to the other person's question. Joe Biden for example was constantly smirking and laughing at the position is opponent would take on an issue. At first, I found this is be funny, however, towards the end of the debate I started to become a bit annoyed at his facials. Paul Ryan on the other hand, was humorous in his way of taking a gulp of water every other second. This, too, was funny in the beginning, but soon was a distraction by the end of the segment. I noticed these gestures and they gave each candidate their own personality of the way they handle debates. Their body language was not subtle, especially that from Vice President Biden. His hands and arms were thrown up into the air multiple times throughout the evening. Overall, I think each candidate did well with the debate. I am looking forward to viewing more in the future.

Flickr image from superstardolls

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Election Debate - October 2012

As I watched the first debate of the election season I saw many verbal and nonverbal cues from each of the candidates. I found that their facial expressions said a lot of what they were trying to convey to one another. I sometimes found it to be humorous when smirks and eyebrows were raised in opposition to the other person's comment. They each held their own posture very well behind the podium they were standing at. They each had a professional stance and strong voices. Governor Romney constantly gave direct eye contact to the president when voicing his opinions on hot topics. The president was also very influential with this hand gestures when he was discussing issues that mattered most to him. I really notice the paralinguistic characteristics of each of the candidates. Voice tones were heighten or lowered depending on the severity of the issue being discussed. Overall, the two men debated well. Each took a stance on the issues they felt needed changed or restructured. I am looking forward to the future debates leading up to election day.

Flickr image by micheal_h_reed

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Movie Reflection

Recently I watched the film called American History X. This movie is captivating on many levels, yet is sometimes hard to watch. I feel that Tom Kaye, the director, is trying to shed light on the moral conflicts within ourselves. In the film, Derek becomes a neo-Nazi who in turn finds life outside of hatred towards others of different races. Derek's younger brother, Danny, starts to follow the same path. So Derek has a conflict within himself. He wants to embrace his neo-Nazi endeavors, but also wants to lead Danny away from it.  

This film is full of violence and racism, particularly racism against African Americans. I would say that this judgment is strictly situational. I say this because not all African Americans will act negatively toward people.

Tom Kaye's professional background may have impacted how this film was directed. He is a painter and photographer, so I feel that his visual eye had a huge influence on the nature of the film. The visual means Tom Kaye used in this film were black and white cinematography to represent past events and standard color cinematography to represent the present.  

Since this film is based around racism, I believe that African Americans and other minorities may find it offensive. People of this race may feel that their race is being stereotyped as a whole. In addition, misinterpretations may arise as well from neo-Nazi organizations.

In closing, this film was very emotional and thought provoking. The violence coupled with the acting made for an intense viewing experience.

Image from personal collection