Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Living with Terror - Jeanne Cavelos

Jeanne Cavelos's article Living with Terror argues that 9/11 produced a new and immediate fear that have left Americans suffering with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder and the series '24' provides a perfect treatment programme. 9/11 opened the United States eyes to the hatred towards them and erased their illusion of invunerability and showed that some disasters cannot be averted. September 11th created an anger in many as they felt a loss of control and Cavelos argues that Jack Bauer allows people to take control of the situation and so fills this void helplessness. More importantly it provides America with an alternative scenerio to 9/11 and gives an insight into what could have been. Cavelos also contributes to the torture debate stating that viewers do not believe everything the show depicts is real and so fits perfectly within my FYP. It is important to note that my interest does not lie in whether or not it is right to use coercive methods of interrogation, but what it tells us about the fear America posesses since the attacks of 9/11 and the insecurities of many liberal societies all over the globe.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Beauty Myth in relation to keywords.

The first keyword I am going to use with my FYP is 'Globalization' by Lisa Lowe, Globalization in regards to Lowes definition is important when looking at The Beauty myth because the reason this 'myth' has become so successful and big is because of its domination ,not only in America but Globally.
As Lowe writes, globalization is a form of 'cultural imperialism [..] that has flattened national and cultural difference' This is evidently true when looking at Miss world contests for example that have helped to spread the American idea of 'perfection' and 'beauty' across many different continents.This seems typically American and similar to the spread of American fast food outlets all over the globe.

The other keyword I used was 'White' by Pamela Perry as my second chapter is on how the beauty myth affects African American women .
As she write that 'those deemed white might receive a public and psychological wage of status and privilege' When looking at successful African American women it can be argued that they themselves are whitened or choose to whiten their image in order to progress.

Looking at successful chat show host Tyra banks for example who dresses 'white' uses weaves and wigs in her hair and overall performs 'white' in order to progress,showing how African American women are also affected by the beauty myth, even more so than white women?

I have explored these further in my presentation.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Why Studying the Television Series '24' is Relevant to Understanding American Culture

In my presentation I show how the keywords 'War' & 'Patriotism' (especially Extreme Patriotism) fit within the context of 24. Then I shall address the controversy of torture and whether torture can be seen as patriotic. To Americans Jack Bauer is a hero because he loves his country, but then patriotism is at its most powerful in the US. There is no doubt of Jack’s devotion to his country, time and time again he does whatever it takes with no regard for his own life. He has every reason to hate the United States, but he keeps putting his life on the line for it, almost like a robot with no ability to resist the call of callous heroism. However, like the great villains of fiction he has a terrible side to him, a side that allows him to torture and murder without guilt. In more peaceful times Jack Bauer would be considered something of a thug as he has a nasty habit of shooting first and asking questions later. Jack is a civil libertarian's nightmare whose predilection for violence and rejection of established law enforcement procedures and policies would ordinarily make him a candidate for prison overalls rather than the cult hero he has become. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the powerful hold that Jack has on our emotions as we follow his adventures week to week.

The main questions I bring to my presentation is, Is torture acceptable in a post 9/11 world in accordance to the 'ticking time bomb theory'? Especially in relation to what is happening today in Afghanistan.

Keywords for my FYP

As I have previously discussed, my FYP topic is centered around the beer industry and beer consumption within the USA. The two keywords that carry the most weight when related to my topic are: Community and Corporation. Coincidentally, this is a fortunate use of alliteration.

Community, whilst not immediately an obvious choice proves to be useful when discussing the "Craft Brewing Renaissance", in that various breweries are not interested in competing with one another, but whose only goal is to enlighten their immediate population with a localised product. This would be a product that maintains a local character, and is specifically marketed towards the immediate consumer.

As an inverse, Corporation applies to the other end of the "Brewing Spectrum" if you will, by being solely driven by the profit incentive, and monopolisation. However, there is a general consensus that the corporation is evil and is therefore demonised by the public, in that the individuals values are at risk. This is not necessarily true within the brewing industry as it has become apparent that whilst many independent businesses are becoming part of the Corporatus- or body of a corporation, values remain intact, but the benefits of a wider consumer base are now open to consumers.

I will also briefly speak about Capitalism in relation to Craft Brewing, however though not in as much detail as the previously mentioned keywords.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Keywords related to my FYP

The focus of my FYP is the interpretation of the Zombie text and whether its reading as a metaphor for Consumerism is the most accurate, or whether the argument that Zombies are a manifestation of Puritan American fears of the 'Other' is a more accurate analysis.

The two keyword essays that will be addressed are Carla Kaplan's Identity and Michael Warner's Secularism. These texts will be used as it is possible to argue that Zombie texts provide an interesting insight into notions of identity and self, and fear of the loss of the self is a deeply rooted puritan fear. Secularism is equally valid as the Puritans are arguably, historically, a notably secular group, with a deep distrust of anyone 'outside' of their society.

I would like members of the group to attempt to think of questions surrounding this topic, especially surrounding the notions of consumerism and notions of identity in relation to apocalyptic texts.