For the Media Share regarding Kelefa Sanneh’s “Gettin’ Paid”, I made this image:
Based on the reading, something that I took away was that with the emergence of primarily white audiences consuming hip-hop, rappers have started to deviate from the nitty-gritty lyricism of the 90’s and have opted to shell out music that instead caters to a variety of audiences, in the place of music that has primarily been targeted at African-American audiences or audiences that can relate to the lyrics that contain topics that range from poverty, to gang violence, and to the daily struggles of everyday living that was unique to the MCs of yesterday. This emergence of “corporate rap” opens up a lot of arguments that are both for and against the new direction of rap, but in my Media Share I wanted to illustrate how “modern” or “corporate” rap could be interpreted: In the wake of a new audience, rappers have started a new culture in rap that caters to the new audience in the interest of relevance, prominence and clout instead of focusing on bringing attention to the harsh realities and the truths that the ancestors of rap have intended.
For Media Share 10, I decided that the piece of media that I felt closely resembled the points detailed in Kelefa Senneh’s “Gettin Paid” is the results of the 2020 Presidential Election results:
Although Senneh’s article wasn’t really a topic of politics, I found that the similarity in the article and the elections is change. Just as the Executive branch of the United States’ leadership is shifted, so has the approach of industry behemoths like Jay-Z. From being a rapper to a businessman to a man who adheres to trends, the accounts of Jay-Z shifting his approaches to rap and business resemble the shiftings brought about by Presidential elections, whether they be political shifts, primary ideologies within a country, social shifts, or whatever shift may occur.
After reading Jace Clayton’s “On Rap and White Noise”, I found this image to mimic the observation of the song’s “suddenness” in static and the abrupt end. The photo is a screenshot from a firework video, wherein lightning strikes a flying firework out of nowhere, and we are able to see the randomness or suddenness (hardy har har) in natural life, and to me, that shows how nature and human life are similar in that anything can happen at anytime and sometimes, we can’t do anything about it. No human had control over the lightning hitting the firework, the same way no human has complete control over their life’s events. Sudden change is a constant in our lives, and that’s just the way it goes.
After reading K-Hole’s “Youth Mode”, I realized that the style of thinking represented in the article is very confusing, and requires a bunch of bullshit to be present in order to fully adapt to that style of thinking. With ideas and attention-grabbers such as “The assertion of individuality is a rite of passage, but generational branding strips youth of this agency. Belonging
to your generation becomes an inescapable truth — you’re a
Scorpio whether you believe in astrology or not” and “In the same way that a video goes viral, so does potentially anything. The likelihood that you and Michelle Obama wish upon the same star is greater than ever”, I think, who gives a fuck? What kind of idiocy really allows someone to believe in shit like astrology, or care whether you and Michelle Obama wish upon the same star or not? All these ideas and forms of thinking are full of bringing consequence to the inconsequential, and it fills me with distaste for human behavior that actively pursues this ideology. I think many of the people in the world are so enamored by the appeal of clout, recognition and notoriety that they become fucked up versions of their base humanity: they all do stupid or irrational shit for the chance at views, shares, and a sense of accomplishment when in perspective, our window of existence is so small that one would rationally aspire not to be a fool while they exist. It’s this ideology of “I wanna be accepted by other people” that really makes me hate interacting with people that are constantly seeking other’s validation and acceptance because I believe that the only acceptance you need to have is from yourself. No bullshit from others, no pressure to conform, but solely your happiness is what should be kept in mind.
I think it’s really unfortunate that I missed this week’s Zoom meeting, because I really found it informative and the discussions about theses could’ve been really good if they just had that little push in discussion.
The first 10-15 minutes were Prof. Almeida discussing the library’s website, walking us through the different sections and areas that were available to us, and talking about levels of reliance/dependability, starting from encyclopedias, to books, to newspapers, to trade magazines, to academic journals. She also revealed to us her key for research: keywords. She discussed how Google and the library website’s primary search engine covered numerous topics, and if we wanted to be specific in our research pertaining to social issues and music, we had to use specific keywords that narrowed the search to what we as writers would want to reflect. In her website exploration, I would have asked if the site included a citation program, since I was wondering if I had to do the tedious task of copying links over to third party sites that generated MLA citation, but she went over it so that works out well. The subject guides she showed us definitely looked like something that I’d make my best friend, as it had a lot of step-by-step stuff, and that kind of detail is really helpful. I saw that one of the sites listed under “Find Scholarly Articles” was JSTOR, and I briefly had flashbacks to last year when I gave up on trying to use the site after having no idea how it really worked. It was for an AP Lit paper, so I was kinda worried where to get citations from, but I figured it out and swore to limit contact with JSTOR from there on out. Despite the bad memories that resurfaced, Prof Almeida thankfully switched topics before I could start foaming at the mouth. I thought her presentation was concise, engaging and really informative, as I now know about the vast pool of resources available for me. She seemed like a nice person, and I was wondering if she’s in any way related to Laurindo Almeida (who I discussed a bit in my Media Share 1).
As for class, I really found Prof Street’s description of good texts being lists and having a narrative to be really smart, insightful and observant, because after he said that, I slowly realized that every piece of literary work I read that inspired me had that sense of narrative be effectively tied together in a subtle way that tickled my curiosity. I also liked the descriptions of a definitional thesis, as it made me realize that I made this same form of thesis for the aforementioned AP Lit paper, I just never realized it because we never had to dive into such distinctions. During the text discussions, I liked when Mehreen pointed out the lists in the first paragraph as I didn’t see it until she pointed it out; it proves that I understand narrative being crucial to good text, but also that I need to improve on sniffing narrative out. As for the part where Prof Street asked where sexual preoccupations fit into modern Internet Addiction, I would have said that it fits into the niche of people riding the surge of sexual/explicit content such as OnlyFans, Premium Snapchats, and other mediums of porn that are no longer confined to traditional porn websites. I think that with quarantine and the pandemic, most people don’t go out and have reverted back to a baser side of humanity, focusing on the baser instincts of humans, like eating, sleeping, and satisfying their more sensual predispositions. It’s kind of weird to see such a dramatic rise in both supply and demand of porn recently, and I think it ties into the addiction Prof Street discussed near the end, where he described some attitudes displayed or are related to internet addiction. Some people will be inevitably addicted to such explicit content, but hopefully such addictions regress into tamer urges.
I feel like this week’s class was a bit quiet, so I’m kinda leaning into the idea of fostering discussion, since all the juicy talking points are all in the air, and it’s fun to discuss these ideas among a group of peers.
After reading The Evolution of Internet Addiction, Addicted to Addiction, and The Viral Virus, the summation of what I learned is that despite the internet’s significant benefits (i.e: helping humans connect to others all over the world [most especially during the pandemic], allowing a quicker and more convenient access to resources like news and general information, allowing society to establish a common ground through social media and the like, and making life easier in general), too much of it can be a bad thing. People can develop addictions, dependencies and other negative behavior from unregulated internet usage. Yes, the internet makes life so much easier, especially with it evolving to something that has become a basic necessity for modern society, but when people see how easy it makes life, they can either get too comfortable with it, or they forget that a life outside screens exist. This becomes dangerous, because when every man, woman and child on this planet becomes a slave to their screens, we might become living corpses who forget how to truly live life and be healthy. (This paragraph ending is a bit bland, and for that I do apologize. But then again I’m making this at 6 AM with no sleep from the day before. Whatever happens, happens, right?)
I made this meme to kind of point out the good and the bad about internet usage. The stonks meme is such a funny medium to address stuff that isn’t as easily addressed or stuff that is hilarious once it is pointed out. And you can kind of say that memes are really a good way to express thoughts and ideas aside from being posts on shitty Instagram meme pages and subreddits. After all, almost everything is a tool whose purposes and effects are subjective to the user, right?
For this week’s media share, I decided to create a meme that reflected what I felt was a point being reiterated throughout both of the texts about the internet and addiction; which was that people who are “addicted” to the internet in one way or another usually start out as people just looking to stem the flow of boredom into their lives. Everyone’s just looking for a distraction and an outlet of experiencing life in a manner that doesn’t specifically require their input, rather all they need are hits, clicks, and shares. That’s reflected in what I made because we can conclude that there’s a definite domino effect when people see something interesting and engaging, they crave more content like that, and this attitude slowly snowballs into dependence on the technology and media of today’s world.
The ideas of reversing such addictions are all well and good, but from a practical standpoint, with the ongoing pandemic in mind, the norm is undeniably technologic. Almost nothing happens in recent years, and especially in today’s world where nothing happens without digital or electronic records existing. Due to the limited capacities of the outside world, we have found solace in the arms of the cold digital world. And although there is the idea of normalcy coming back when the pandemic is over with, you kind of get to thinking about the ramifications of such a long period of time spent on the screens. Will we ever find a way to combat addiction and bring more humanity into our lives again, or are we doomed to constantly be eluded and tantalized by the embrace of the Internet?
After reading Dayna Tortorici’s My Instagram where she discusses her gradual addiction and dependence on the Instagram app, the idea of Skynet and how it affects those in the Terminator universe popped into my head. It’s weirdly similar how her problems with identity dependence due to app addiction mirrors the same dependence on technology that allowed Skynet to become the technological behemoth that John Connor faces in the future.
When Tortorici was detailing how drastically her life changed because of technology, the only thing that clicked in my head was how the Terminator universe was forever changed when Skynet became self-aware and nuked the world to hell. The magnitudes of these two events aren’t nearly the same, but stripped down to the bone, these events aren’t really different at all. Life for both Tortorici and 3 billion people were changed due to technology, and that’s as clear as the comparison gets. Tortorici’s dependence on the app led her to experiencing Instagram subcultures, life changes and made her see how different life is being shown in order to cater to Instagram audiences, while humanity’s dependence on computer systems led to the near-destruction of their world and species, and made them have to fight for their very lives and future.
It’s also really interesting and a bit scary how the trackers in Instagram and other similar media like Facebook view photos and human lives the way Terminators view their surroundings. Instagram image recognizing data is listed in basic detail such as “1 person, smiling, text”, and “night, sky, outdoor”… that’s SERIOUSLY and creepily close to the way Terminator data is shown to be processed as depicted in the movies: “Scan Mode: Analysis Complete. Fit Match: 100%”, “Target Acquired. Analysis: Series 1000 Terminator Prototype”. It makes you wonder what would happen in real life if we developed our technology sufficiently enough to be close to Skynet. Are we capable of such feats? Should we even attempt to try? The way technology is advancing nowadays really makes you wonder if the science fiction books about technology leading to conflict are really just science fiction…