John Thompson had stated that “messages transmitted by the mass media are received by specific individuals situated in definite social-historical contexts”. He was quite right in asserting that though the media messages are broadcast to a large audience, the messages are ultimately consumed at the level of the individual. The way the message would be treated would depend on their social-historical contexts. For instance, the general level of education of the media audience is a factor that determines their historical context. People in an agrarian society in a third world country will be poorly educated and their ability to grasp media messages would be limited to that extent. On the other hand, an urban audience will have a wider perspective about different aspects of life, which means they are better equipped in understanding and . . . Read More
The Suicide Note poem, written by Janice Mirikitani, is about a young Asian-American female college student who commits suicide by jumping out of her dormitory window. The last words, thoughts and feelings were recorded in the suicide note she leaves behind. This note, written in the form of a poem, allows the reader to see what induces an individual to take his/her own life. The poem describes the line of thinking of a despaired college girl, who relentlessly feels that she is not good enough. Mirikitani presents the poem in the form of a suicide note written by the poor girl to her parents. This was a heartbreaking incident that should never have happened in the first place. So, what is it that pushed this girl student over the edge? Whose fault is it? Where to place the blame? This essay aims to look into these angles and offer an analysis.
This suicidal girl has a perfectionist streak in her, which compels her to be highly critical of . . . Read More
Cycles of economic boom and bust are regular features of market economies. The global recession that set in during 2008 is the most recent episode of this phenomenon and is likely to be repeated in the future as well. Although the scale and magnitude of these crises have somewhat reduced in the period after the Second World War, they have been big enough to be termed critical policy failures of governments across the world. And in the neo-liberal economic order of the world today, national economies are ever more intertwined, making it impossible for any one nation to insulate itself and its people from the effects of the crisis. This is most obvious when we take a look at the data pertaining to the recent global economic recession, precipitated by the collapse of credit derivatives. (Weale, . . . Read More
The unwanted and unsolicited e-mails that Internet users are forced to receive is known as Spam. These mails are usually commercial advertising, quasi-legal services, get-rich-quick schemes, etc. intended to mislead and deceive the recipients. The cost to the perpetrators of Spam is very little and it is the recipients and Internet service providers who pay heavily as a result. The most common form of spam is that delivered in e-mail as a commercial advertisement. However, over the course of electronic media history, people have spammed for various purposes other than commercial, and in different media than internet. Spammers have developed a variety of spamming techniques, which vary by media: email spam, instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, and mobile phone messaging spam. (Fight Spam on the Internet)
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Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian philosopher, linguist, literary critic, communications theorist and a professor of English literature. He is the founding father of the field of study now termed “media ecology”.
In Marshall McLuhan’s pioneering work on print culture, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, he presents the view that communication technology profoundly affects cognitive action and ultimately affects social organization.
For instance, the speed . . . Read More
The movie North Country was based on the book ”Class Action: The Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law” which tells the story of Lois Jenson, who filed the first class action lawsuit for sexual harassment in American history. In the film, Theron plays the daughter of an iron miner (Richard Jenkins) working in a mine in Northern Minnesota Mesabi Iron Range. When Josey leaves an abusive husband and moves back to her hometown into her parents’ house, she was not welcomed. Her father assumes, without even interrogating his daughter, that it was her infidelity to her husband that had created the situation. Even her own son thinks that she is a whore. What this shows is the tendency to assume that it’s the woman’s fault in any conflict with men. Such biases were more prevalent in the chronological setting of the film, which covers the last few decades of the 20th century (Rosen).
All Josey . . . Read More
The 350 years of association with the United States have provided Jews with certain unique freedoms and advantages compared to minorities in other parts of the world. However, the challenges they had to surmount had been quite considerable. Not least of which is the Catholic and Protestant theologies, which label Jews as the “Children of Darkness” (Kampelman 585). The Jewish community including the Eastern European group was subject to hatred crimes throughout their American history.
The first Jewish settlers arrived on the shores of America in 1654. They were greeted with hostility the moment they landed in New Amsterdam. The government of the day also treated them with contempt and denied them religious freedom as is evident from Governor Peter Stuyvesant’s view that “If we grant liberties to the Jews, we will have to grant them also to the Lutherans and the Papists” (Kampelman 586). It was indeed a long and hard struggle for the community to gain basic . . . Read More
Synopsis: The film is a narration of various events in the life of an android – Andrew Martin (Robin Williams). Though the robot was programmed to perform menial household tasks, it soon starts to show signs of sentience. The Martins take note of this and allow Andrew to express his creativity. They make millions selling Andrew’s works. The story spans 200 years, during which Andrew learns the characteristics of human beings and longs to become one. Parallely, he battles to prevent his creators from terminating him.
Review: Bicentennial Man is an adaptation of a novella by Issac Asimov in the Robot Series. The novel ‘The Positronic Man’ was based on this earlier novella and co-authored by Robert Silverberg. It is directed by Chris Columbus, whose previous projects include the Home Alone series, Step-mom, Dare Devil, Fantastic Four, etc.
Soon after being ported to the Martin household Andrew develops a taste for music. Moreover, he shows curiosity and a . . . Read More
Lying only 145 km from the coast of the USA, Cuba had always been of concern to the United States (America still maintains a naval base there to the present day at Guantanamo). The relations between the two nations took a U-turn with the onset of the communist revolution in 1959. Fidel Castro’s consequent rise to power made Cuba a real and present danger. The pressing concern for the United States was the potential symbolic threat that a communist neighbor would prove to be. The fiasco that was the Bay of Pigs invasion, intended to dispel and if possible eliminate Castro, was an affair of big embarrassment for the Kennedy Administration. This further strained the diplomatic relations between the two countries. (Frankel 53)
At this juncture Castro was left with little option but to strengthen relations with the Soviet Union. It benefited the Soviet Union to respond to Cuba’s call for protection, as setting up a base so near the American coast was of strategic . . . Read More
Let us analyze the ethical aspects of human genetic engineering from a utilitarian view point. The practical implications of utilitarianism can best be conveyed in the context of recent advances in biotechnology. Now that the human genome has been decoded, the ramifications of a utilitarian ethic go far beyond socioeconomic and legislative reform. In a period of post-genomic medical progress, they extend to the influence of the pleasure-pain axis itself. By unscrambling the molecular substrates of emotion, biotechnology allied to nano-medicine permits the magnitude, value, duration and allocation of happiness and misery in the world to be controlled eventually at will. More controversially, the dilemmas of traditional casuistry will lose their relevance (Utilitarian Bioethics). This is because our imminent mastery of the reward centers ensures that everyone can be heritably better specimens – a utopian-sounding prediction that currently still strikes most of us as comically . . . Read More