Monday, October 26, 2009

Phones, Pro-Ana, Wikipedia, Abortion & Flash Mobs

Ok so, I write this long post about how I believe in sharing, cooperation, community, and collective actions using social media to create this utopia and really...while working, a real life episode of the Office breaks out involving a social media drama that includes elements of claiming ownership of my documents, misappropriate emails and puts me in a really bad mood. It was about 903 words of this stuff and though it might very well be related, to the public and media, I just decide...naaa. I'm not writing on that. Snooze...boring. It seems to indicate that I might not be compassionate and really, it is not worth the print...space...words that I could write about it as it happens almost every day. So enough.

I decide to comment about the social side of media and the public.

I love how the guy, Evan, gets his girl...I mean her phone that is. I love justice was served. It was so Southern-like, take the law in your own hands and make em pay, dude. That's what he did. He was relentless and he had the etools. It was very cool. Almost to the point of maybe a little uncool. Maybe a little over the top. Maybe a little stalker-like.

Me? I might just consider upgrading, and hey guy, just buy her a new frickin phone why don't ya? But hey, that's just me and we would have missed the whole point of the book. Right? So I read on about Xanga, mass messages, and bulk advertising.

Then Saturday, I have the honor and privilege of being a juror of my local high school art exhibit. 52 pieces of social insight to the young teenage mind. It was beautiful...awesome. One of my favs was quite a disturbing piece of Pro-Ana. It was so loaded with teenage angst. The skinny midriff, squeezed in the skin (and bone) tight tape measure belt, with all kinds of written messages in the corners about how no one can control this girl and make her eat...Ouch...Scary stuff. Many pieces were more than visual. They were loaded guns, shooting out cultural commentary. I loved this textural, visual, tangible, hold-it-in-your-hands type media. I guess you can say this is old school art but it related to the YM piece in Shirky's book about the Pro-Ana girls who overtook the YM social media project with their "thinspiration" make me puke til I am beautiful statement about what young girls perceive as what "Beauty is..."

As I read about exposures of cultural issues like phone theft, anorexia, child molestation, and abuse of power defended by the church, I see each injustice has a kind of viral characteristic to it...doesn't it? Viral media. Something is broken in public commentary. Something is sick and everyone is talking about it. And it is easy to talk when you are not face to face.

Then I read about Wikipedia's origin...being written and re-written, when defamed then reclaimed to include such essential topics of freedom of speech as abortion, Islam, and evolution. I thought...why not comment on one of these issues myself?

Then I flip on the tube and watch an old episode of Law and Order. This segment is very poignant to me as it is about a man who kills a doctor who aborted his son because he has a genetic disorder called Ehler's Danlos. Now this really ticks me off because I know the most beautiful, intelligent person, who happens to be about the best teacher in the world. She teaches for pennies in a low income area of Texas sometimes 10 to 12 hours a day, and would secretly do it for free. And yes, she has Ehler's Danlos. Abortion could have been a choice with this life and yes it is personal... and I personally, in my most feminist way, do not believe in it. Personally. This mutant gene-child is awesome, valuable, and grand in her beautifully created way. I am thankful that she was not aborted. Yes. Yes. Yes. And people say television doesn't have significant impact on the way people think and feel.

So (moving right along in concert with the book)there was the flash mob. FLASH and the PacWe Flash Mob occurred on Sunday...I didn't go. But I did see the value of it. I wish I had been there amoung my artist friends to fight the good cause for health care reform in the art-heart of Dallas - Artist Americans...I like that...wearing yellow slickers (for $2.00) It was truly a great cause. And after all, I did participate in spirit by viewing my FaceBook feeds while reading this book for class.

3 comments:

Chelsea said...

It was pretty American what Evan did, taking justice into his own hands, standing by his principles. Or maybe it's American of us to romance it that way. Television can be moving, can inspire dialogue, just like media can, and flash mobs can, and movies can, and music can, and art, really all of these when treated like art can inspire. Yay for art.

kristalbrook said...

I kind of hated Evan. While I understand that the young lady should give the phone back. It makes me mad that basically he got it back because he threw a big hissy fit and had the tools of a upper middle class white guy to extend the hissy fit to the world. It also drove me crazy that media outlets like the NYTimes chose to run this non-story. Where's the outcry for all the people unjustly imprisoned? Or how about a bunch cops showing up at the house of an irresponsible lender and taking his ass to jail. This anecdote was the perfect symbol of the "internet as great distracter."

Mary Goes To School said...

I thought that Evan was over the top. It's definitely interesting that he could do what he did with the resources now available to people in the internet age, but he was kind of obnoxious.

It's an example of commercialized media hype; like balloon boy or Jon & Kate or Octomom. Although all of these stories should have died a long time ago, they still live on all over the media, not because they are necessarily, relevant, but because that's what sells. Evan's story only lasted 10 days, but in those 10 days, the media hype was so extreme that he was able to bend the NYPD to do his will.

And you are right, the media has a profound impact on what the general public thinks.