The 90th Oscars: A Change

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The Me’s of 2018 have just come to a close (my name is Oscar). It’s very alarming to hear celebrities say my name so excitedly, or at all for that matter. The only other Oscar in Hollywood right now is Oscar Isaac and he keeps to himself for the most part. Maybe he is a me that came from the future to give me hope that I would grow up to be good looking and successful. Maybe he is just a harsh reminder of an Oscar that I will never become. Anyways…the Oscars.

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The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro was nominated for almost everything and won quite a few too: Best Score, Best Production Design, Best Director, and the big boy himself: Best Picture. The Disney animated film, Coco, also took home a couple of awards including Best Original Song and Best Animated

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The song “Remember Me” along with the other original song nominees were performed live. Objectively, the performance of Remember Me was the most extravagant. It is, after all, a movie about the Mexican Day of the Dead. We Mexicans are very extra, so I wouldn’t have the performance any other way. The three performers Gael García Bernal, Miguel, and Natalia LaFourcade brought a pivotal scene from the film to life. I was kind of hoping that the giant bell at the back of the stage would fall, but not squish anyone to death. *Spoilers for Coco if you haven’t seen it. Oops*

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Not one, but three prominent Mexicans singing a beautiful song in English and Spanish complete with a full mariachi band and choreography lit up the little Mexican boy inside me. He was shocked to see his culture represented on the largest stage in Hollywood. I don’t know if the theatre had the largest stage, but I’m talking about The Oscars. Primetime awards for the best of the best. Home to a committee made by and for old, white, men.

That is changing, maybe started by Moonlight’s win last year. This was the year of representation at the Oscars. Ladybird had a female writer and director, Greta Gerwig. Mudbound had a historic moment as a woman was nominated for Best Cinematography. Get Out was nominated for best Picture and while it didn’t take that home, Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay. Call Me By Your Name won Best Adapted Screenplay, being a story about gay love. A Fantastic Woman, a Chilean film starring the first transgender Oscar presenter Daniela Vega, won Best Foreign Language Film.

Insane. It shouldn’t be, but it is. In a Hollywood plagued with creeps, racists, and sexists, this year proved that the world is changing. The good are getting what they deserve. By the way, Taraji P. Henson used almost those same words to Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet on national live television to his face. If you didn’t understand why that was so awkward, it’s because he has been one of those accused in the Hollywood witchunts. Basically, you get what you put out into the world.

The way I pitched this year’s Oscars to my grandma, a traditional Mexican woman, was the inclusion of so many Latinos. Eiza González and Eugenio Derbez were presenters along with Gina Rodriguez, Rita Moreno, the afore mentioned Oscar Isaac and Daniela Vega, Lin Manuel Miranda, Salma Hayek, and Lupita Nyong’o. Alejandro González Iñárritu won a Special Achievement award for his film Flesh and Sand. He, Alfonso Cuarón, and Del Toro are the Three Amigos of Hollywood. Now all three of them have Oscars. I think I heard “Viva Mexico” 3 times during the ceremony. It gave me hope. Not just Latinos, but all marginalized groups are being given the opportunities and respect to demonstrate our talents.

After Frances McDormand’s speech, production companies are utilizing the inclusion rider clause, which adds the assurance of gender and racial equality among cast and crew. We need more representation on both sides of the camera. Look at Wonder Woman and Black Panther. Women and people of color can make amazing films. My grandparents came to this country in the 70’s. When we watched Coco, she said, “And people watched this. Not just Mexicans?” I told her how successful it was and all the great things that were happening in Hollywood by showing her how many successful female comedians there are. She replied, “But I thought they hated us? Why do they hate us and still like our art?” That I couldn’t answer, because I don’t know the true answer. All I know is that a new generation of creative people has bloomed and we are not going to allow the same roadblocks that hindered our predecessors to obstruct young talent anymore.

The Best GIF of the night goes to…Jennifer Garner realizing something!

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Out of Africa Analysis

Blixen the Vixen

She had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills (Out of Africa). Typically when watching a film based in Africa, the main characters are African. Considering how interesting Karen’s perspective, I will accept that all of the primary characters are wealthy Europeans. Karen is an independent woman, much like female characters are written in today’s cinema. While she so happened to fall in love with a man, she proved herself to be a smart businesswoman and political powerhouse. She had money and all she needed from Bror was his title. Unfortunately, he would consummate the marriage with the gift of a deadly disease. Even having been given a death sentence, she powered on. Her authority throughout the film is displayed through her interactions with several groups including the natives, the women, and the men.

When Karen first set foot on African soil, her privilege was evident. She wanted them to be careful with her fine crystal. Living on their part was pure survival and she was an adventurer. Life was a luxury to be enjoyed. Perhaps through proximity in work and residence, she began to sympathize with the natives. She ultimately is a caring person. She insisted on the village boy, who would later become her houseboy, to seek medical attention with his injured leg. She knew how to use reverse psychological in order to persuade him to get help despite his pride. She also wanted the local children to be educated. Karen pleaded that more privileged children did not ask to be taught how to read and the African children shouldn’t have to either (Out of Africa). Even the chief of the village warmed up to Blixen’s insistence to better the community, displaying his respect for her and her endeavors. She respected all the natives too, which is why it had never crossed her mind to utilize the natives’ land for plating. She worked side by side with her workers, something most plantation owners and especially no women would even think of doing.

Karen is not a woman of her time. She begins her proposal to Baron Bror by stating what was at risk. She hadn’t found love or a husband and would be denounced as a lonely spinster. Women needed a man to find happiness. She only needed his royalty. Such was the ideal of marriage. We are introduced to another female character, Felicity. She is very much like Karen in that they don’t adhere to female stereotypes. She states that she wants to “run her own show” like Blixen does. While she would like a man, she doesn’t want to belong to someone else. She supposes that women are “supposed to want to be taken” (Out of Africa). While the conclusion of their discussion isn’t captured, Blixen’s response insinuates that Felicity should want to be her own woman, to not wait like a princess in a tower. While on her first outing on safari Blixen is a damsel in distress, she is no stranger to a rifle and a few big game kills. She can obviously take care of herself physically as demonstrated by her take down of a charging lioness. She can protect herself among charging lions as well.

Blixen was often the sole woman among a pride of men. Still, she was often the most powerful or influential. During her first dinner with Finch-Hatton, she lets him know that a real traveler has no need for food or drink. She wanted to make it known that she was just as experienced as any other hunter. Surely, Blixen had been hunting since her schoolgirl days. One of the greatest scenes displaying her prowess was when Finch-Hatton and Barkley demanded to know what she was doing on her way to meet Delamere. Barkley says, “That’s ridiculous. We don’t send women to war”. Karen’s response is, “Well I’m going” as she gets on her horse and continues her journey (Out of Africa). She was the only person to match Finch-Hatton’s spontaneousness. Karen was the type of woman that would be found in today’s society, being that she was liberal in her marriage. Perhaps it was because she held resentment for his philandering or because the initial commitment was a scam, but Blixen was completely willing to let her legal husband go off to be with other women and eventually divorce her to be with one. Then again, she wasn’t being completely faithful either.

Karen Blixen would make a great Disney princess, although I’m not sure how they would convey the adultery and sexually transmitted disease. She was far ahead of her time. Considering her status and wealth, one wouldn’t be blamed for labeling her a privileged white woman taking advantage of African workers and land. The first 20 or so minutes and certain chapters from the book would create the same impression. Those same people must not have known of her contribution and sole management of her coffee plantation. How many Disney princesses can create their own empire during the week and take down full-grown lions from 50 feet away without flinching on the weekend? It is through her interactions with others and the environments around her that amplify her bravery and intelligence.O

Lois Lowry and The Giver Analysis

The Giving Lois Lowry

Dystopian literature has been around for ages. Humans seek answers to the unrelenting question of what the future holds. The last great dystopian novel was George Orwell’s 1984, published in 1949. Needless to say, it had been a long time until an author had delved into that type of world. In Lois Lowry’s most famous novel The Giver, she explored the idea of a seemingly utopian dystopia.

Lois Lowry was born in Honolulu on March 20, 1937 to an Army officer father and at age 19 married a naval officer. Her son would become an Air Force pilot and die in a plane crash. She was constantly surrounded by war and often wrote about the inner lives of innocent civilian families during those troubling times. Perhaps that is why she was so curious about a time where war would no longer exist. She sought a perfect society, without crime or grief (“Lois Lowry”).

The novel The Giver centers around a young boy named Jonas who lives in a seemingly perfect community without conflict. Presumably, the world is a post apocalyptic one as we see memories from the past including images of war. Memory plays a huge role in the story. It takes place in a monotonous world. Everyone is equal and the elders of the community make every decision for you. Some are chosen to be caregivers, engineers, or farmers, but only one is chosen to be “The Receiver”. The main character is given the title of “The Receiver” and fittingly so. The Receiver is the only one who has access to human history. They possess the mental imagery of colors, animals, music, and historical events. The basis of that ostracism of information is the idea that if all of the past, good and bad, is hidden from the general population then there is less to lead to conflict. Race and status do not exist in this haven. Everyone is healthy, partially due to bikes being the primary form of transportation and disabled, elderly, and weak newborns being disposed of, or sent to “elsewhere”. “Elsewhere” is in reality just the act of euthanasia, but no one including Jonas’ doctor father comprehend the horror in the action. Jonas serves as the hero of the series. From early in his life, he questioned everything and would eventually bring society’s collective memories back to the people with the help of the previous “Receiver” now called “The Giver”(Lowry).

The largest moral of the story is the importance of memory to society at large. Memory makes the individual and shapes them into the unique character that they are. Jonas began his journey into memory by learning about the beautiful aspects of history and culture. He enjoyed music, dance, animals, and slowly began noticing colors in his own life. As he progressed in his knowledge, he learned about war and cruelty. Because he and everyone he has ever known had never experienced such things, the memories he saw were traumatizing (Lowry).

This novel was a large contribution to American Literature. Written as a children’s book, with evocative imagery, intriguing characters, and understandable vocabulary, this novel resulted in a following breaking all age and geographic barriers. The book won several awards and is usually assigned to students in school. Its fitting that young children read this book as they are often oblivious to the dangers of the world and only see the beauty in it, the same way Jonas did towards the beginning of his journey.

The memories of the characters are suppressed using daily dosages of drugs. Lois Lowry says that this idea stemmed from watching her father being put in a nursing home. He was beginning to lose memory as is usual with old age. She showed him a picture of her older sister and he couldn’t remember her name nor the fact that she had died. Lois wondered if life would be easier without those painful memories. Is it true that ignorance is bliss?

The reader questions if such a world is better than the one we are living in. If you choose to eliminate half of what you know, are you taking away half of what makes up life? This begs the question, can you truly appreciate the good in life if there is no bad to compare it to? The conflict of choice is removed from “The Giver” characters. Even before they are born, their life is planned out for them. In addition to posing philosophical questions, this novel revolutionized young adult literature and paved the way for other dystopian literature such as “The Maze Runner”, “Divergent”, and “The Hunger Games”. The initial book was followed by three more to round out “The Giver Quartet” series. Each novel followed a new character in a different type of society until all the characters meet in the last book. For example, “Gathering Blue”, the sequel, takes place in the complete opposite of the initial futuristic community and rather shows a primal way of life. In 2014, the novel became a feature film and reintroduced the world to a new generation of children.

Dances With Wolves Film Analysis

 

Dances with Wolves

The film Dances with Wolves was a passion project of director and actor, Kevin Costner. I am inspired by prominent figures in Hollywood who go out of their way to embody important stories on the big screen, especially the stories of discriminated groups without a voice. Native American tribes were the original inhabitants of what is now the United States of America. Their sacred land was stolen and they were evicted from their homes and forced to the abyss in lethal conditions. So many times in civilization’s history, groups have been seen as nuisances in a more powerful group’s attempt at conquest. In lieu of America’s political climate today, we can learn from this classic piece of cinema. Dances with Wolves is an inspiring piece of art with a strong message that remains relevant to today’s American issues and should be admired as one of the staples of American cinematography.

Dances with Wolves is one of those movies that is legendary in pop culture yet I had never seen it before. I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that this film had won a few Academy Awards and is one of the few widely recognized media creations that used actual Native American actors. I was instantly shocked at the accurate portrayal of war. The gruesome reality is often glamorized for media. I put myself in Dunbar’s boots in that medical tent and believe I would have done the same thing. If he had allowed the surgeon to amputate his foot, the psychological scars of war would become physical and he would never be able to forget his past, that is if he survived the war (Costner). He felt like a pawn in someone else’s war. He looked over at the pile of fallen pawns before him, represented by fallen soldier’s boots. He identified with Cisco the horse immediately because Cisco had literally been branded a pawn of the military as well. When he rode into “No Man’s Land”, he was trying to die. When he survived, he chose to flee to the frontier. The Major aka “The King” was a manifestation of what become of most soldiers as a result of the trauma. Two Socks was the embodiment of Dunbar’s relationship with nature, he wants to get closer but he fears the unknown wild. For Dunbar, it was easier to stay at the fort and wait for reinforcements that would never come, than travel further west. All would change when he encountered the first Sioux (Costner).

The Sioux were very primal and instinctual, which may have been to their advantage. The first one Dunbar saw up close tried to steal Cisco, confirming his pre-conceived bias of Native Americans as savages and thieves. Still, Dunbar was intrigued by the mysterious people (Costner). If Stands with a Fist had been found injured by any other soldier, regardless of being white she would have been used to find the rest of the tribe and killed along with the rest. We know this because of how Dunbar was treated by the soldiers. As we know by Dunbar’s considerable choices, he was no ordinary man. He was willing to not only invite Kicking Bird and Wind in his Hair to his home, but shared his resources whilst sitting among them in equality. When he was finally trusted into the tribe, Dunbar found the sense of community he was lacking and an honest rebuttal to his own prejudice expectations.

I find the storyline of this film to be reminiscent of what is happening today. The white Americans believed in manifest destiny. It was their god given right to colonize the west, regardless of whom they had to fight for it. Hundreds of years later, the white supremacists of America seek to retake their land and power in society. They blame Mexicans for taking their land and jobs although they took Mexicans land-California and Texas- in a very similar way to the Native Americans. They see African Americans as savages and thieves because they do not understand them and fear their culture. The soldiers who found Dances with Wolves called him an “injun”, an outdated and offensive term for a Native American, because he had sympathized with them. He was a traitor in their eyes. It took patience and communication between John and the tribe to create understanding and even friendship, as displayed by Wind in his Hair’s progression from “I do not fear you” to “I am your friend”(Costner). We can learn from that relationship. They were able to teach each other. In addition to friendship, Dances with Wolves was able to learn his place among nature.

The contrast between the Sioux and the white men in attitude towards nature is evident in their actions. For example, early in the film we see Timmons, the oddball mule owner, toss a tin can over his shoulder into the open prairie. Dunbar is confused by the insensitive action, but Timmons seems to have no second thoughts. The white men also seek to claim as much of the land as they can, even referring to the Native Americans as “thieves” of their property (Costner). The Sioux in opposition treat the land as a provider of life, uprooting their whole home to pursue the buffalo. The white men killed the first herd for “tongues and hides”, leaving the rest of the carcass to rot in waste. A soldier shot Two Socks, seeing the wolf as prey rather than the friend that John had found in him. This film is a visually stimulating and raw representation of the American Frontier. The ending may have seen like a let down, but I would have expected nothing less that the true ending all Native American tribes faced. It is a reminder of America’s horrific past and a warning to prevent history from repeating once again.

 

Latino Stereotypes in the Media

Latinos are one of the largest minority groups in the United States, making up a large portion of the population. Still, the community is hugely lacking in the media. The few Latin characters provided are often categorized within certain clichés or stereotypes. Researches of all nationalities have tackled this topic from the standpoint of creators and observers. This paper will discuss those main stereotypes and what such portrayal is doing to the media viewers perception of the Latin community and what the repercussions within the Latin community itself are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Hombres and Spicy Senoritas

Telenovelas, or Spanish soap operas, are synonymous with overly dramatic acting, passionate dialogue, and intense storylines. Their characters are diverse in appearance, background, and behavior. In American media, this is not the case. The already small amount of Latino characters seen in mainstream film or television are often portrayed with a certain template in mind. The women must be fiery and promiscuous salsa dancers, or cleaning maids, or both. The men must be violent drug dealing criminals or garden maintenance, or both. Both sexes must be sassy and sexual entities. Although sometimes comical that the characters are predictable, the fact that those attributes are contributing to a nationwide mindset is a much larger issue at second glance.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Such characters have been used since the 1920’s. Social psychologists have categorized those attributes into six distinct male or female character archetypes. There is the bandito, the harlot, the male buffoon, the female clown, the Latin lover, and the dark lady. These can be seen still on both the small and silver screens.

For example, Sofia Vergara character Gloria on Modern Family could be categorized somewhere as a combination of the harlot, female clown, and dark lady. Still, modern Latino characters on television have made huge strides towards breaking that old cycle. During the 1960’s there were three waves of Chicano, or American born Mexicans, that sought to break those stereotypes through the use of costume, language, and even subtleties like posture to portray more than audiences had seen from Latino actors and characters alike (Ascarate, 2003).

Members of the stereotypes group often overlook the idea of a stereotypes character, but rather identify with the character’s experiences. The problem usually presented itself in Western or Sci-fi films. In Westerns, Mexican banditos usually were the antagonists. In Sci-fi, attacking aliens had the underlying tones of immigrants. Viewers would see all aliens like the Terminator and the Replicants alike. In the same manner, people in real life see documented and undocumented characters the same or all Latino actors as Mexican. In 1988, the film Graham Baker Alien Nation blatantly portrayed Latino immigrants as invading aliens (Ascarate, 2003). Some may say, “Its just a movie”, but research shows that films have an impact on real life society.

In the documentary, Window Dressing on the Set: Women and Minorities on Television (1977) commissioned by the US Commission on Civil Rights it was pointed out that portrays of Latinos as welfare workers or truck drivers serve to justify racism in real life and do have varying degrees of realism. The displayed imagery inclines viewers to create such mindsets and are more likely to discriminate Latinos in everyday life (Mayer, 2004). In another documentary, Latinos Beyond Reel by Miguel Ricker and Chyung Sun, characters like banditos and greasers instill phobia of immigrants. Even video games contribute to such stereotypes when they portray immigrants as villains in children’s games. In one game the objective is to shoot immigrants as they cross the border and in another you must track down Mexican drug dealers and kill them. It is no wonder that when children ages 6 to 11 are asked who their favorite Latino heroes are, they cannot think of one (Fojas, 2014).

Superhero films have become the largest grossing genre of film in the last couple of decades. In the past few years, only four Latinos have been leads in these films. Zoe Saldana, a Dominican actress, plays Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora is a feared assassin throughout the galaxy and teams up with four other criminals she met in jail to fight crime in space. Oscar Isaac, a Guatemalan actor, plays Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. “The movie is named after him! That’s got to be progress” some might say. Apocalypse is an ancient mutant who creates a gang to take over the world and is ultimately killed by the good mutants. Jay Hernandez, a Mexican-American, actor plays El Diablo (Spanish for “the devil”) in Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad is a film by DC Comics about criminals who are forced to form a team to do the bidding of the government. He is the perfect embodiment of a Mexican gangbanging stereotype. He has tattoos covering his body, wears a wife beater, hides guns and drugs in his house, and fights with his wife. He does show an interesting development, as he is the only character on another rag tag team of villains to learn from his past sins and refuses to hurt anyone else again, after he kills his family and a courtyard of criminals. He ultimately turns into a Mayan like shaman figure and sacrifices himself. Becky G, a Mexican American singer and actress, recently broke ground as the first openly gay superhero when she portrayed Trini in the 2017 reboot of Power Rangers. Aside from the characters full name, “Trinidad”(Spanish for Trinity) and the actress’s background, there is no outright proclamation of her race. Although she was a powerful and formidable warrior, she was still portrayed as the outcast of the team. Such films beg the question: Are these actors helping or hindering the progress?

In the 50’s, Latinos comprised 3% of all television characters. By the 80’s, that number had dropped to 1% and in the 90’s had risen to 1.1%. In 1999, there was a so-called “brownout” where there were little to no ethnic characters created. Still, these small percentages of characters were all secondary or non –recurring (Mastro, 2005). In 1922, psychologist Dr. Lippmann described stereotypes as cognitive categorization of alternative representation. Another psychologist Charles Ramirez Berg concluded that facially neutral Latino actors were more likely to be cast (Mayer, 2004). This was studied with 8 decades worth of Latino actors and actresses, both US and foreign born with ambiguous and indigenous features (Valdez, 2011). In other words, actors with less prominent Latino tells like brown skin or heavy accents are preferred by casting directors. For example, Jessica Alba is a Mexican American actress and is often cast in Caucasian roles and Rosario Dawson, a Puerto Rican actress, is often cast in black roles. Because they are not traditionally Latina looking, they are given the opportunities of other ethnicities.

Mary Beltran’s Latino/a Stars in US Eyes: The Making and Meanings of Film and TV Stardom she differentiated the increased participation by ethnic actors with the real progress of equality in the industry. Entertainment is scared to defy stereotypes. The actors aren’t always contributing just by being present in the shows or films; sometimes they even contribute to devaluing the image of the Latin community (Valdez 2011). Rita Moreno is one of the most distinguished actors ever. She is one of the only performers to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, and Grammy in history. She was born in Puerto Rico. She is most known for her role as Anita in West Side Story. She played Latina in that role and has since played many more Latina roles. Some argue that because she is such a staple in the Latin acting community and plays white roles, she is giving more opportunity to only white Latinos, therefore burdening the culture (Valdez, 2011). In other words the goal isn’t the equality in the industry but the “re orientation of a mindset that has contributed to the cultural, psychological, and political subjugation of millions of people…Movie stereotyping of Latinos has been and continues to be part of an American imperialistic discourse about who should rule the hemisphere”(Ascarate, 2003).

Many Latin comedians actually benefit from the Latin stereotypes. American born Mexican stand up comics like Anjelah Johnson and Gabriel Iglesias like to cash in on the idealistic Mexican family structure and accents. Others have struck gold with these comedy methods and gotten their own sitcoms. George Lopez starred in George Lopez for 5 years from 2002-2007, defying the stereotype by not only having his own self-titled show but by also playing a family man who rose to the top of the airplane part manufacturer. His character wanted more for his kids that he had as a child, portraying a more honest version of Latinos in America. Cristela Alonzo also had her own self-titled sitcom that lasted for one season called Cristela. She plays a prospective law intern with a boss that constantly bombards her with racist comments, yet she rises above it. Her mom tells her to get a more stable job rather than spend all her time at the internship, but she eventually chooses the internship knowing it will benefit her and her family in the long run. The sitcoms provide a perspective to a modern day Latin family (Fojas, 2014). Comedians are just one outlet of the industry that are taking on stereotypes, actors and directors are also working together.

Robert Rodriguez is a Mexican American director. He directed El Mariachi and often films in Mexico or his home state of Texas. He is a proponent of increased Latino representation in Hollywood. He likes to make more complex characters for viewers to relate to (Ascarate, 2003). According to the social cognitive theory, people see models of behavior and they relate to it and mimic it. Contrasting, the cultivation theory states that people make beliefs based on race from the media. Similarly, mainstreaming is the idea that TV creates ideas. Because of those two theories, people create prejudices. Young Latinos see little to no characters to resonate with which makes them believe they are unimportant (Katzew, 2011). That is, until they see characters they can resonate with.

In 2006, ABC aired the primetime dramedy Ugly Betty. The show starred America Ferrera, a Honduran actress, as a 22-year-old Mexican American from Queens, New York named Betty Suarez. She feels lost in the world until she lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine. Although her job was glamorous, Betty was not so fortunate. Her braces become iconic in pop culture. She was oddly dressed and was the ultimate geek. The show was based on a Columbian soap opera Yo Soy Betty, La fea (“I am Betty, the ugly girl”) with elements of a Mexican soap opera La fea mas bella (“The most beautiful ugly girl”). The whole idea was don’t judge a book by its cover. Betty was beautiful on the inside regardless of her exterior. The show was critically acclaimed with a whopping 16.3 million viewers during its premier and its ultimate accomplishment of two Golden Globes.

The show was one of the first to not only portray a thriving Latin family, but also a positive family at all. The show spoofed those Latino stereotypes like the dark lady, evening enlisting the help of Mexican beauty, Salma Hayek. She played Sofia Reyes the sexy nurse on a telenovela played throughout the first season. Not only did the show challenge race ideals, but also gender and beauty. Justin Suarez was Betty’s teenage nephew on the show. He was one of the first openly gay characters on primetime television, never mind the fact that he was a Latino. Regardless, his family accepted him. While Latinas are often thought of as beautiful by American standards, the character Betty was called out for not matching the US ideals of beauty (Katsew, 2011). Isn’t that the point?

A study was conducted in which groups watched shows on five networks from 7 to 10 PM on Sundays and 8 to 11 on Mondays through Saturdays for two weeks. Sixty-seven programs were studied with a total of 1148 major characters. 80.4% of these characters were white, 13.8% were black, 3.9% Latin, 1.5% Asian, and 0.4% Native American. For all of these percentages the majority of characters were men except for Asian where men and women were in equal quantity. Black characters were mostly in crime shows and Latinos were often in sitcoms. The Latino characters were usually good looking with accents (Mastro, 2005).

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The only problem is that stereotypes are not always this good. The races aren’t given a choice of which stereotype they are going to be given in the media. Will black characters be talented athletes or crack heads? Will Asian characters be antisocial and awkward or math geniuses? Will white characters be hillbilly rednecks or higher class aristocrats? Will Latino characters be sexy and smooth or beer bellied and drug dealers? Jane the Virgin on the CW is the newest incarnation of Latino actors fighting back against stereotypes. The show stars Gina Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican actress, who openly advocates for the progression of Latinos in her industry. Not only does she star in the show, but also she writes and has sometimes directed. Her character is a young Catholic single mom in an interracial relationship with aspirations of being a famous novelist. Although her child is her life, she knows that having a career that she loves is important. Her pregnancy in the show was somewhat of a miracle, but will the eradication of stereotypes also be a miracle? Keeping a close eye on Hollywood will be the only way to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Ascarate, R. J. (2003). Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance.

Film Quarterly; Berkeley, 57(2), 57–58. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/212325280/abstract/23259BEF8B97405FPQ/1?accountid=9715

 

Fojas, C. (2014). Latinos beyond reel: Challenging a media stereotype by Miguel Picker

and Chyng Sun (dirs.). Latino Studies; Basingstoke, 12(1), 143–144. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/1513283446/abstract/79E92923A5F445B9PQ/1?accountid=9715

 

Katzew, A. (2011). Shut up! Representations of the Latino/a body in Ugly Betty and their

educational implications. Latino Studies; Basingstoke, 9(2-3), 300–320. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/887747545?pq-origsite=summon

 

Mastro, D. E., & Behm-Morawitz, E. (2005). LATINO REPRESENTATION ON

PRIMETIME TELEVISION. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly; Columbia, 82(1), 110–130. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/216939382/abstract/7F7D78A4E8164419PQ/1?accountid=9715

 

Mayer, V. (2004). Fractured Categories; New Writings on Latinos and Stereotypes – A

Review Essay. Latino Studies; Basingstoke, 2(3), 445–452. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/222594243/abstract/79A89B00AD444BA9PQ/1?accountid=9715

 

Valdez, I. (2011). Latina/o stars in US eyes: The making and meanings of film and TV

stardom. Latino Studies; Basingstoke, 9(2-3), 346–348. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.library.acaweb.org/docview/887747581/abstract/7B4B0DDA09264FE0PQ/1?accountid=9715

 

The Death of Print Journalism

Journalism is one of the oldest, long lasting, and important professions not only in the United States, but in the world. As early as time, information has been documented and presented. Scribes of ancient empires could be considered early journalists. The field has especially had a huge impact in the development, history, and culture of the United States as a functioning country. The job of the nation’s journalists was to keep the citizens informed of important events. Muckrakers, politically investigative reporters participating in a type of journalism called “yellow journalism”, such as Ida Wells exposed politicians when they were being unjust (King, 2008). In other words, journalists were trusted. Some were even nominated by their peers to become politicians because they were trusted to tell the truth. In recent times, print journalism has lost the national influence it once had. Newspapers and magazines are no longer reaching as large of an audience. Print journalism may be a dying profession due to evolving technology, consumer ideology, and weak finances.

Technology’s Impact on Print

Many experienced journalists believe that the progressing technology and new online establishments are a leading cause in the deterioration of the field. Jerry Buhlman,CEO of Dentsu Aejs Network, explains the importance of technology today by describing the smart phones that half of the population rely on as a type of “second brain”(Kissel, 2013). Journalist, Phillip Meyer, is a strong believer of the idea and has even predicted that the last person will stop reading the newspaper around April, 2040 (Meyer, 2009). Meyer began his career as a reporter and editor for various news sources and has since then gained a lot of experience in print media. He eventually was promoted to “Director of News and Circulation Research” for the newspaper Knight Ridder, a news company that specializes in newspaper and internet. In 1981, he became a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, a leading journalism school. There he researched the practices of the newspaper, including the challenges it faces. He is not the only observer of the dwindling profession. Frank A. Blethen of the Seattle Times and Les Hinton of the Wall St. Journal believe that emerging online news sources are bad for the print business.

Google News is one of the emerging news sources taking over the industry. Les Hinton called it a “vampire of news content” (Wingfield, 2013). He is referring to the fact that Google News compiles several news articles into one platform. He thinks that it is profiting from the work of other news sources. Another media source that is gaining in popularity is Craigslist, an advertising platform. Advertising was once primarily down on the advertising pages of newspapers. Blethen accused the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, of disrupting classified advertising (Wingfield, 2013). Online advertising revenue is expected to rise 4.6 percent more by the end of 2015 (Connor, 2015). More businesses and individuals are willing to advertise on Craigslist than on newspapers, which is affecting the financial aspect of print.

Print’s Financial Turmoil

Elliot King, a journalism professor, believes that economics is important knowledge for all journalists to have in order to use their skills efficiently (King, 2008). Advertisement platforms, such as Craigslist, and subscriptions to online sources are breaking the financial pillars of print journalism (Wingfield, 2013). Readers of newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post expect free content. Those news sources are providing the same information that online sources provide with no profit. Therefore, the competitor’s profit increases (Kissel, 2013). The New York Times lost 74 million dollars and 40 percent of its ad revenue to Craigslist (Kissel, 2013). The Guardian, another big newspaper company, fell 50 percent in revenue to online publications between 2005 and 2013 (Kissel, 2013). It may seem like a large loss, but the impact is even greater on smaller publications. Some, such as The LA Times, become less relevant. Many more end altogether such as The Baltimore Examiner, Tucson Citizen, and The Kentucky Post (Kissel, 2013). 42% of the worldwide media expenditures today go to the television industry. 24% percent goes to digital outlets. Print sources spend the least and receive the least with newspapers spending 12.8% and magazines spending 6.9% (Connor, 2015).

Consumer Ideaology

One huge difference in online and print sources is the speed of information availability. Online sources are able to upload information about an event immediately as it happens. Meanwhile, print sources are restricted by the time is takes to write, edit, process, and print a full newspaper. Many of the more prominent sources are diligent in their efforts to be punctual. Jon Stewart, a political writer and TV personality, vocalized his appreciation for print media, claiming there is “merit in printing news 24 hours after it occurs” (Kissel, 2013) Availability is a factor that consumers take into account when looking for a news source. Another factor is unbiased honesty. Meyer explains, “Journalism students need to know that good journalism consists of news stories that are well reported and written in a fair and balanced way” (Meyer, 2009). In addition, he says that local news will become irrelevant if the writings are not honest. Local and national newspapers need more editorial investment. Meyer explains the “influence model”. News organizations traffic social and commercial influence. Socially, they get loyal readers. Commercially, they influence those loyal viewers’ purchases using advertising. Essentially what he means is that good journalism earns more money. Good journalism consists of credibility, accuracy, readability, and editing. The model is not fully tested and it would be very difficult to test thoroughly (Meyer, 2009). A big aspect of print journalism that is being affected is creditability. Online outlets such as Buzzfeed and Twitter allow “the average Joe to become a journalist” (Kissel, 2013). Still, some believe that online giants of the industry are actually coming to the aid of print journalism.

Assistance to Print by Technology Giants

Many owners of popular online outlets have been known to actually help the print media industry. Google News, the company accused of profiting off of others’ work, financed journalism fellowships for 8 people. Craig Newman, blamed for ruining classified advertising, financed an ethics book for journalism. The Co-Founder of Facebook, a popular news source for youth, saved New Republic magazine by purchasing the company. Jefferey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, bought The Washington Post also to save it from financial bankruptcy. The founder of eBay started an online Hawaii news service and Steve Jobs from Apple advised newspaper how to adapt to the “tablet era” (Wingfield, 2013). Leaders of the online media movement claim it is the fault of the print newspapers for letting the tech giants do the job better. Merrill Brown, the Director of School Communication and Media at Montclair State University and former editor of MSNBC.com, defends his online colleagues from the claim that they don’t care about journalism with “They value it and are concerned for the country”(Wingfield, 2013). Craig Newmark defends himself by stating “I am waiting for evidence”. He is referring to the idea that online outlets such as his website are discrediting the whole profession of journalism. He adds that there is financial data that shows that print media agencies are losing revenue over recent years, but there is not evident proof that points fingers to online outlets as the culprit (Wingfield, 2013). Esther Wojciki is a journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School in California. She teaches the fundamental properties of the newspaper to her students. She supervises her students when they work together to create their own newspaper and has even mentored pop culture icons such as actor, James Franco. She is also the mother-in-law of Sergio Brin, the co-founder of Google. She defends Sergio and other website owners with “They are concerned for American culture” (Wingfield, 2013). She understands that journalism and journalists have a huge impact on American culture. Some denounces the claim that Americans rely too much on the internet and do not read the newspaper at all, therefore ruining the future of America.

A Modern Journalist’s Perspective

Lucero Sifuentes, like Esther Wojciki, knows what it’s like to have a journalist perspective from both print and new age platforms. She is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, the same school where Phillip Meyer studied the newspaper. Since then, she has written for several newspapers and worked at a TV station. She agrees that technology is one major contributor to the end of print. She thinks technology makes it “easier to ignore print” (L. Sifuentes, personal communication, November 17, 2015). She adds that newspapers are simply less convenient that online news sources. She remembers an experience in which the news was reliable, but the channel through which the information came made a difference. “One of my political science professors at UNC made us order a tangible print subscription to the New York Times as part of the class requirement. We were told to keep up with the papers all semester in order to use them in our final projects. People had piles and piles of paper and couldn’t remember what day which story was. Online, there is a search database. It’s just way too easy. At this point, I get news alerts to my phone so I don’t even have to actively look for news stories. The breaking news comes to me. It’s hard to put in effort to go get a paper when others are offering you easier alternatives” (L. Sifuentes, personal communication, November 17, 2015).

Still, she believes that in order for newspapers and magazines to stay relevant they must embrace the digital age and make websites and apps themselves. Embracing technology will allow the news companies to stay relevant to consumers and financially stable. Many journalists would agree. In a profession where the information is their business, all journalists need to know what the consumers want. She supports this by positing, “I don’t think it’s important for the physical newspaper to stay relevant, but rather for news companies to know how to use their resources to stay relevant by using recent technology.” (L. Sifuentes, personal communication, November 17, 2015) She still has faith that the newspaper industry won’t go obsolete for a while. She states, “I don’t so much think print is completely over, because I think the older generations still appreciate it, but I think it will decline with future generations until these agencies are purely online” (L. Sifuentes, personal communication, November 17, 2015).

Conclusion

Journalists need to be reliable and energetic to gain and keep loyal consumers. There is infinite demand for the product that journalists produce and consumers will seek out the most credible and honest sources, whether they are online or in print. Print journalism is considered by some as the kind of “unloved relative” (King, 2008). Still, scholars around the world admire the career for its long lasting importance in American culture. Print media is losing popularity and it is possible that the evolving technology is a major cause for the decline in the progression of print media. In addition, consumers of news might prefer the availability of online sources in comparison to traditional print sources. Another reason for the field’s decline could be poor financial decisions by major newspapers and magazines. Regardless of platform, journalism has influenced American and world culture in many ways. It will continue to influence the lives of citizens all over the world, changing forms throughout all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Connor, J. (2015). Digital Advertising Climbs, While Traditional Media in Trouble. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/24/digital-advertising-climb-tradional-media-trouble_n_6930958.html.

King, E. (2008). The Role of Journalism History, and the Academy in the Development of Core Knowledge in Journalism Education. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 63(2), 166-178.

Kissel, M. (2013). The Decline of Print Doesn’t Mean the End of Print Journalism. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/29/decline-print-media-journalism-web

Meyer, P. (2009). The vanishing newspaper: Saving journalism in the information age. Missouri: University Of Missouri.

Sifuentes, L. (2015, December 16). [Personal Interview]

Wingfield, N. (2013). Technology Industry Extends a Hand to Struggling Print Media. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/business/media/technology-industry-extends-a-hand-to-struggling-print-media.html?_r=0

Into The Wild Sociological Analysis

Chris views culture as completely materialistic. The biggest scene to exemplify this view is the celebration dinner after his college graduation. Chris sits with his sister, mother, and father in a somewhat classy restaurant. His mother brings up the fact that his car is old and must be replaced. She says that his father and she are going to purchase him a brand new one. He quickly rebuts saying that he is fine with the car he has. It is clear that his parents care a lot about their appearance, and how their children make them look by association. A fancy car would not only demonstrate Chris’s success and wealth, but that of his parents as well. Chris knows this, so he goes on a rant saying how all everyone wants is “things, things, things”. In other words, he disapproves of the material culture and the value put on it. Material culture is the physical and tangible possession component of life. For example, in today’s society cars, clothes, and money are symbols of wealth.

In addition, he has a negative view of customs such as marriage. This is most likely due to the fact that the marriage he viewed all of his life was a sham or as his sister put it, a lie. He does not know what a healthy relationship is because he has never seen one before. Not only was the marriage of his parents a lie, but his whole family was a lie. First, his mom was the mistress of his father, who was married when he was conceived. Second, his parents constantly fought but stayed together regardless. Therefore, the pain was prolonged. The film never said this outright, but perhaps the entirety of his college education was his father’s idea. It did not seem as though Chris was the academic type. Although he is intelligent, I do not think he would want to succumb to the educational institution.

We see him interact with primarily one culture: hippies. But as Jane describes, there are many kinds of hippies, like rubber tramps and leather tramps. They, along with the residents of Slab City, did not have the standard views of life. Rather than have a career in the regular modern world, they created their own world apart from the complications of daily life. What they were left with were the simple joys in music, nature, and family. The same was with the foreigner hippies Chris met in the canyon. They found happiness in each other and freedom from society. He also met Wayne, who taught him hard work and what it means to provide for oneself. Still, the prospects of that lifestyle may have been ruined by Wayne’s eventually criminal trouble. After Chris returns from Mexico, we get a glimpse of what would have been Chris if he had stayed with standard culture. It seems as though the thought of it made Chris sick. The last culture he meets is that of the solitary elderly (after meeting some naked hippies in the desert). It is with Ron that Chris experiences spirituality and almost gets a sense of what having a loving father feels like.

I would not consider him a part of counterculture only because he does not actively oppose the main culture. Although he lived all of his life in standard culture, he decides that it goes against what he believes in and moves away to create his own in Alaska, by himself. It seemed as though Chris was tempted to join some of the people he met. Still, he decides that what he needed was to be apart from culture altogether, which in itself is its own culture.

Although Chris’s upbringing seems to have been common, what happened inside the house was much different. He experienced judgment and viewed abuse at its worst. I think Chris would have a conflict perspective. He knew what it meant to be high class and later discovered what it meant to belong to no class at all. We discover through Corine that Chris took many courses related to inequality, like one on condition in Africa. Those classes may have seemed irrelevant to most, but maybe they had an impact on Chris. Surely, he knew that society was unequal. Perhaps that is why he gave his savings to charity. In other words, money wasn’t always allotted to those who deserved it. Also, he has a conflict perspective on school as an agent of socialization. Chris may have had a college education, but he didn’t use it at all. I imagine he viewed institutionalized education as a training center for corporate drones. Students are expected to learn their craft and take their place in society. Still, they do not develop a sense of self or socialize. Students are too focused on getting into college and then getting their degree, and then graduating. Throughout the process, they never socialize for their own well being.

Humans must do this through experience, which is definitely something that Chris had. Corine describes that Chris was always adventurous. He was once found in a house down the street in the middle of the night, standing on a chair, with his hand in the house owner’s candy drawer. This seems like a metaphor for Chris’s adventurous vigor. He must leave comfortable society (his house) to walk down the street (travel) and get on a chair (potentially dangerous situations) to find the candy in the candy drawer (to find the meaning of life). Perhaps this assumption is a stretch, but it is not too farfetched. We may never know what truly went on in the mind of Chris McCandless. We do know what his home life was like. Aside from home troubles, his life seemed perfect (in culture’s standards). He had money, an education, and supporters. Only one thing is certain: Chris was certainly unique.