Au Revoir mes amies!

The end of the semester. The time we all look forward to and dread simultaneously due to projects, papers, and final grades. It is a time to reflect on our past semester, the academics, extra curriculums, bad decisions, good decisions, and stories we will be able to tell for years to come. Or at least, that is what we all hope for. Continue reading

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New Horizons

Let me begin by commenting on the fact that I have never once been bored while in this class.The material we cover in class is always new, and the presentation of it is rarely boring. I would have to say that my single favorite reading in the class was the first one about how to become a cult leader. The fact that we can make a set list of ways to become a cult leader that have been proven to work in the past proves hat humans are predictable. We can examine behavior and identify patterns and from those patterns we can alter our own behavior to appeal more to others. To me it wasn’t homework to read this article, it was fun. Had I come across this article during my free time I probably would have to stopped to read it despite it’s length.

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A fond farewell

It’s the last blog post, a short but sweet one.  I wish we had taken some time to examine not just social memes, but internet memes as well, such as Courage Wolf or trolling. Some of the trends with them and how

Courage Wolf, A popular internet meme. Hope it inspires you for your upcoming finals

they have moved from just internet to social memes with a different meaning than what they did on the internet. I also really enjoyed post modernism. The last few days of class have been pretty cool and interesting and I would not mind continuing along that route.
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The end of the world, or just this semester?

Some of the most famous and beloved video game characters

One course related topic that I was really kind of hoping we’d touch more on was video games, considering just how huge of an industry it is right now and how much of our generation is engaged in some way with them. Not to mention that some of our communication department (I’m lookin’ at you, Prof. Delwiche) has apparently written articles about them, and has hinted more than a few times at being knowledgable about the medium.  I think they, like graphic novels, are definitely an underrated genre of media, but both are becoming increasingly complex methods of story-telling.

I really enjoyed all of Chuck Klosterman’s readings that we did for class, because I like how he writes about pop culture in a way that is both engaging and substantive, but not boring or deliberately obscure (*cough like Baudrillard, see below*) but I think if I had to choose my favorite one it would have to be “This is Emo”. Like all really good articles, I think Klosterman in this reading manages to reveal something that we all are aware of, deep down inside, but haven’t really brought to the surface to turn over in our mind. Because I think it’s very true what he says, that all this media portrayal of epic romances has set us up to believe that such idealistic relationships are possible for everyone, when really they probably aren’t (sad, but true). And I think it’s important to realize that you can’t have things perfect, though you can try to have the best for you.

And of course, my least favorite would be Jean Baudrillard’s “Precession of simulacrae”. To me, it just doesn’t make sense to be a philosopher and a writer if you can’t make clear what you’re trying to say. I think his ideas certainly have value, but his writing is so frustrating that it feels like elite snobbery, a way to ensure that only the best minds deserve to understand his ideas. I don’t like that. So yeah, mostly I have a problem with his delivery, not with his theories.

An idea of his that I did find intriguing was, “since the simulator produces ‘true’ symptoms, is he ill or not?” This is certainly a relevant question in medicine and particularly psychology today. Baudrillard brings up psychosomatics, and I immediately think of hysteric pregnancies as an example. This question has not only practical, medical value, but is also philosophically and theoretically important. It is certainly interesting to see how such a dilemma influences reality and simulation.

My plans for next semester consist mainly of furthering my sociology major and communication minor. I’ll be taking 12 hours of upper division, 9 of them in the communication department. And I would like to study abroad in London Fall 2012, so I’ll be applying to a program next semester. Hopefully I’ll be accepted, because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and I think travel is such an amazing way to gain experience in almost every aspect of being a student. Additionally, I hope to become even more active in all of my extracurricular activities next semester, and continue to enjoy my time in college, which has been so great so far. Though I’m only a junior, I’m already dreading graduation and going into the real adult world!

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– Fin –

I want to start this post by saying that I really enjoyed taking COMM 2303 this semester.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with having no communication experience – after all, my two years at Trinity have consisted primary of the hard sciences.  I had no idea how I’d fare in a class where the answer was based largely on subjectivity.  But after a slight case of deer-in-the-headlights when it came to talking about things in class, I think I really got into it.  Even though I didn’t always know how I was “supposed” to interpret various aspects of the class (readings, video clips, etc.), I enjoyed experiencing something that was out of my comfort zone, and honestly, having a bit of a creative outlet was refreshing.

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This semester was nothing but a simulation of reality…

This semester has been pretty fantastic. I really did enjoy taking this course. The media has always been interesting to me, and if this class is indicative of the other courses in the Communication major, I know the rest of my college career won’t be a chore. I honestly looked forward to all of Dr. Delwiche’s lectures. On Monday, I’d definitely like to discuss more about propaganda and the manipulative techniques associated with it. I never realized how many subtle things like signifiers and laugh tracks contributed to the overall meaning of the text.

Speaking of laugh tracks, my favorite reading this semester was “Ha, Ha, He Said” by Chuck Klosterman. Sitcoms like Friends are my favorite kinds of shows. I didn’t realize how formulaic these programs really are.

The cast of Friends, a sitcom that ran for 10 seasons in the late '90's and early '00's. The program frequently makes use of a laugh track.

When Klosterman generalized the opening exchange in an episode of Friends involving Monica, Chandler, and Joey, I realized how easily the laugh track convinces the audience that the generic jokes are funny. Here’s a clip from the same episode that demonstrates the use of a laugh track to manipulate audience reactions. I also enjoyed Klosterman’s other various articles, especially “This is Emo.” His arguments about our culture’s media-influenced idea of love versus  actual love were interesting. It so happened that we were assigned this article around the same time that I was reading Plato’s Symposium for another class. I enjoyed comparing Klosterman’s arguments about “fake” love with Plato’s arguments about love’s true nature. Klosterman’s sense of humor helped deliver his pessimistic messages in a more appetizing way. His writing was never boring to read.

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Another Common Curriculum Class Down. Yay?

The experience of reading Baudrillard

One of the perks about going to school at Trinity University is the knowledge you learn about a variety of subjects. The extra common curriculum classes attempt to make you a “well rounded” individual. While I hate taking extra classes, I will agree most of them are beneficial and somewhat interesting. The only class I truly regret taking is… Physical Geology Lab. All that class taught me was how to look at rocks and kill conversations. I believe one of the most interesting and beneficial classes was Media Interpretation and Criticism. Going into the class I thought the class was going to be a class similar to mass media. Mass Media was mildly interesting but nothing I truly enjoyed. Media Interpretation turned out to be very interesting. Before the class, I always watched movies purely for entertainment. I never looked for intentional moves by the director or subtle references. Media Interpretation opened my eyes to many new concepts and ideas. It made me more aware of some media’s intentions and a tad more pessimistic towards media; However, I don’t feel this is a bad thing. Continue reading

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