Unpopular Culture

Possibly triggering language!: Lyrics in today’s pop music have misogynistic tones, and some are out right promoting rape.  Usually misogynist lyrics are linked to rap and hip hop but they transcend all genres of music.  Just to clarify, Misogyny – dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.  Although we do tend to focus on hip hop and rap, these country artists pushing “good American values” are just as misogynistic.  They may just seem more subtle because they are framing it in the idea of dominant culture, which unfortunately is patriarchal.  Tyler Flarr’s song Redneck Crazy is downright horrifying.

I’m gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight, but I’m up for anything tonight

Did you think I’d wish you both the best, endless love and happiness
You know that’s just not the kind of man I am
I’m the kind that shows up at your house at 3am

He is blaming a girl for his behavior, being driven “redneck crazy.”  This is misogynistic in the train of thought that women are the root of all his problems.  SHE drove him to this, SHE did this to him, its not any of HIS behaviors that made her leave him.  He then proceeds to talk about stalking her to her new lovers house and threatens violence against both of them possibly.  These lyrics are all signs of an abusive personality.

http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/warning_signs.html

If you read through these signs you will see how they relate not just to this song but to a larger social problem at large that we see in many many pop songs.

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is riddled with abusive language and words that have been uttered by so many rapists to their victims.

http://www.psmag.com/culture/mouths-rapists-lyrics-robin-thickes-blurred-lines-66569/

Even in genres of that you wouldn’t think to look at as having these ideals can surprise you.  The band This Time Next Year’s song Alex in Wonderland is a good example.

If you’re walking home tonight, say your prayers keep to the streetlights

I won’t be the only one that lets you down. You’ve shown your true colors
You’ve lied to yourself, now there’s no boy at your door

The last line especially, “now there’s no boy at your door,” is especially misogynistic, as though a girls only value is a boy showing up for her.

There are so many examples of misogyny in all genres of music, and through the media as a whole.  These thoughts and ideals also lead to a much much larger social issue of Rape Culture.  Media sways the way we think and the way we view the world, if these attitudes continue to prevail nothing will change, and we will continue to live in a society that treats women as inferior and as non humans who are objects for men.

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2013/12/the_top_10_misogynistic_songs.php?page=3

http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

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Fads and Trends

A few fads I found myself involved with were Texas Hold’em, energy drinks, emo, high top sneakers, and the “Kick a Ginger Day” fad.

Texas Hold’em is a poker game where you are dealt 2 cards and then there are 5 cards on the flop.  You make the best hand you can using five of the cards.  This fad started around 2005 and quickly gained popularity.  There were tournaments broadcast live on channels such as ESPN.  Players came for prize money of up to millions of dollars.  It also lead to the trend of online poker.

Energy drinks like Redbull have been around since the 90’s.  In the early 2000’s many more companies sprung up such as Lost Energy, Monster, and NOS.  Me and my friends bought these to bring to parties and easily drank 3 or 4 a day.  Today however the trend is dying out as people are realizing the potential health risks involved with consuming these.

http://www.nationalathletics.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147:the-energy-drink-fad&catid=66&Itemid=101
Emo is a form of music that is short for emotional.  It is generally characterized with whiny vocals and lyrics about girls.  It came from the post hardcore era from the 80’s with bands like Joy and Rites of Spring.  The fashion was bangs that covered your eyes and generally dyed dark, with dark clothing and boys wearing girls jeans.  This fad has lead to other fads and possible trends such as hardcore emo, and scream.

emo

High top sneakers like Air Jordans were very popular in the 80’s.  This is an example of a fad making its way back.  Today you have brands like Air Jordans again, and skate shoe companies like DC, and Adidas putting out high tops.  Celebrities are rocking high tops.

http://www.thefrisky.com/photos/15-celeb-ladies-rocking-rad-high-top-sneakers/

So there was this fad started by South Park, that claimed gingers (redheads) have no soul, and that they couldn’t go out into the sun.  It was bullying, and being a ginger myself  and this fad starting my senior year of high school, I had been targeted.  My own “friends” were relentless.  Really stupid fad in my opinion.  It went as far as people creating pages on Facebook promoting these days, which were every friday.  There were even incidences where cops had to be called to schools.

ginger

One of the most obvious trends, that probably most of us in this class can identify with is social media, in particular Facebook.  Facebook has become many people’s source for information, and even at times news.  With all the fake and misleading information presented on FB I think we will see a shift in young people’s consciousness’s because they are being presented fake news as facts.  Everyone has become come connected to everyone through this medium.  There are psychological studies being done to show the effects of using Facebook.  Advertisers and even the NSA watch our every move through there.  It’s scary, 1984 kind of stuff.

Another trend I’m very much into is MMA (mixed martial arts) and BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu).  They both became popular around the same time, as we saw in the first UFC event, Royce Gracie dominated much larger competition with bjj.  No one had ever seen anything like it before.  If you watch UFC or any mma today, bjj has become the staple for people to train in.  BJJ competitions have also taken on a life of their own.  There are many MMA and bjj magazines as well as news sites and blogs.  Its televised on Fox and they hold pay per view events every month.  The trend is continuing to grow and they hold events worldwide.

I remember watching the X-Games for the first time when I was in middle school.  The X-Games is an extreme sports competition that is held every year.  It involves skateboarding, motocross, bmxing, as well as snowboarding in the winter.  I went out and immediately bought myself a bmx bike.  I rode it from town to town trying to do tricks and emulate what I saw on tv.  I never got good at all, but I tried.  The trend has died out a little, but they still have annual X-Games.

With technology ever evolving, what we see in the media and who we see it coming from has evolved.  There has been a trend over the last few years of people video taping the police.  There is becoming a growing disdain and mistrust for the people who are supposedly hired to serve and protect us.  But with so much evidence and video footage it has become apparent that they aren’t here for that at all.  They are here to maintain the status quo and protect property.  This is a trend I could write an entire book on.  Cops are killing children, and wrongfully arresting so many people.  I personally will never ever ever ever call the cops.  Warning: possible triggering video, contains violence!

Probably my favorite trend is street art, or graffiti.  You could say graffiti can be traced all the way back to Egypt, because all it is is wall writing and drawing.  Today paint markers and spray paint are the tools of choice.  It generally is meant to be political or describe underlying social and political issues.  Modern graffiti in America originated on the east coast in Philadelphia and only slightly later in NY.  Many people have what is called a tag, which is a moniker.  Street art ranges from very small, such as writing your name on a post office sticker to huge elaborate pieces that take up entire building walls.  My personal favorite form of street art is known as wheat paste.  You draw or paint on some kind of paper and glue it to walls.

sticersimple sticker

wheatthis is a pretty big wheat paste

bug pastethis one spans an entire wall

These are truly labors of love, and can be dangerous to pull off.

Stalking the Wild Argument

I found an article in “The Denver Post” titled GOP’s underhanded push for over-the-counter birth control by Lisa Wirthman. Her thesis is Republicans “new found interest” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make birth control more expensive for women.  “It’s a disingenuous move that could actually make the pill more expensive for women, and ignores the growing popularity and effectiveness of long-acting contraceptives that are reducing unintended pregnancies here in Colorado” (Wirthman).  She focuses on Colorado Senator candidate Cory Gardner (no relation).  She says Gardner claims over the counter birth control would be cheaper than that of the ACA.  Wirthman says that since the pill is already covered, that would be like paying for it twice.  If birth control is sold over the counter, insurance companies may discontinue covering them, leaving women to continue to pay the premium.  Free doctor consultations could be seen to be replaced with a visit to pharmacy visits where you would have to pay to see if you can get birth control.  With the ACA in place women pay up to 69% less for insurance.  With over the counter birth control long lasting forms, IUD’s, would not be available.  Often these long term methods require a doctors visit making them impossible to sell over the counter, they are often also more effective.  Wirthman says that in Colorado, IUD’s have lowered teen pregnancies by 40% and teen abortion by 35%.

I found an article from Huffington Post on Cory Gardner, he does take this stand that we should forgo the ACA and offer over the counter birth control.  I could not find any evidence anywhere to support his claim that over the counter would be less costly.  I found the opposite actually.  If women are paying zero dollars out of pocket under their insurance, you can’t get much cheaper than that.  According to Health Affairs blog it can cost up to $371 annually for contraceptives out of pocket, or 51 work hours at minimum wage.  Over the counter forms can cost upwards of sixty dollars for emergency contraceptives.  I found an article at Daily Kos, that confirms the large drop in pregnancy and abortion in Colorado.  Almost all this information can be found just by using Google.  It was fairly easy to find information as this is an issue that has been going on recently.  There is almost no information to support Mr. Gardner and his claims, but plenty that backs up Wirthman and her arguments.

Pop Culture Tour

This may sound kind of odd, but I have a huge emotional attachment to anime.  So much so that I find it impossible to watch certain ones alone.  I can remember staying up late to watch “Cowboy Bebop” and “Inuyasha” along with countless others, on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.  Not caring if I got enough sleep to make it to school the next day.  This was my introduction into anime.  At first anime was not well known and often pirated into the U.S.  Early anime influenced American anime shows like “Pokemon” and “Dragon Ball Z.”  Today you can walk into stores like Hot Topic and find all kinds of anime memorabilia and clothing.  Hayao Miyazaki’s films from Studio Ghibli have had huge success in the U.S. with “Spirited Away” having won an Oscar.  In “Toy Story 3” if you look careful enough you can spot a Totoro doll, from Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro”.  And in “Bob’s Burgers” there is an entire scene modeled after “My Neighbor Totoro.”

021710_totoro

That’s Totoro in the background

I collect records.  Mostly punk/hardcore/metal.  I have over 200 which really isn’t that many.  I started collecting my freshman year of high school.  I stopped for a while and then a few years ago I meandered into a record store.  I found vinyl that I wanted to own so bad in high school but could never find.  So it has become kind of a journey to bring back that part of my life.  Each record reminds me of some time in my life, usually in a very nostalgic way.  Vinyl records over the past decade or so have made a resurgence, especially in the punk scene.    In the second half of 2012, 2.9 million records were sold.  If you ever find yourself at local shows or even shows at bigger venues, at all the merch tables you will find bands putting out vinyl.  I haven’t found any record stores out here in Arizona that sell punk records yet though. 019 What I wish my room looked like

I am a huge UFC fan.  UFC is a mixed martial arts competition that has been around since the early 90’s and has since become one of the most watched sports in the U.S. and around the world.  I myself have trained on and off in over 9 different martial arts or combat sports.  Unfortunately due to several injuries I was never able to compete.  It’s something I would love to get back into and if only to train and not compete.  I can remember being in high school and watching fights thinking it couldn’t be that difficult, and taking it out into the garage with my friends where we would fight each other, often bare knuckle.  While average fighters don’t make nearly as much as your average athlete in other sports, world champions make several million dollars per fight.  With it’s growing popularity I’m sure over even just the next few years we will see fighters earning what they deserve for putting their bodies on the line.

It’s so much more than just two people beating the shit out of each other, there is a lot of skill required.

gameifying

I would like to start by saying that I hope all educators would be open to any new techniques when it comes to teaching. The current way the education system runs is flawed. Stratification in the system and tracking create an unfair advantage to those already at a disadvantage and allows for the privileged to have more privilege. “Progress encourages progress,” we should always be encouraging students. I really liked the concept of starting at 0 and earning points to progress. Working towards a goal is more rewarding than starting with everything and the fear of losing it as you go. Making the students feel like they can help each other to accomplish goals is also a great motivator for all students to try harder. Offering rewards instead of threatening to take something away is a much more positive way of getting students to try, and it doesn’t add extra pressure or create anxiety. Especially at a young age when children are not so much in control of their lives because they have to listen to parents and teachers, to give them agency over at least part of their lives may encourage them to be more independent in other parts of their lives. And if children have a higher sense of agency they will set higher goals for themselves and keep trying if they don’t succeed the first time. It’s like the Pygmalion Effect, or self fulfilling prophecy, if you tell a student from the start they are disadvantaged it will get into their head. Then when they don’t succeed they’ve lived up to the expectation placed on them. If you place greater expectations on a student and continually encourage them and all those around them to support each other you will see a much more positive outcome. Everything they have talked about in “Gameifying” has implications of encouraging students. I was particularly interested in the plot your route game. Encouraging curiosity and critical thinking is the best way to create new knowledge. Reiterating and regurgitating information isn’t learning its memorization. Having them go back through information and seeing knew connections allows them to see that it can take them into directions they may not have seen the first time through. This way they are always connecting information to other information and creating new knowledge. I think that the concept of “gameifying education” maybe coupled with some other new ideas about teaching such as the Kagan strategies and we will start to see a big change in our education system. America has dropped in the rankings worldwide in education, its time for a change.