public sphere?

Is there a certain place I get my news? Where is my public domain for discussing issues presented in the media? Well… As I mentioned in my last blog post on who owns media, I don’t go searching for my news, I stumble across it on social media. Thus, my news comes to me, social media is my ‘Public Sphere’.

The Public Sphere: A media theory imagined by Jurgen Habermas. Is the idea that there is a virtual community, which does not thrive in a fixed space, where you can get the news and debate about your ideas. Now, in an online space, once you comment your opinions on certain news topics there is a 99.9% chance someone in going to comment on your opinions. Keyboard warriors make it very easy to criticize and counter your ideas – though there are people who comment and agree, but sometimes people love to share their negative thoughts to debate over the topic with you. 

My public sphere operates like so:

Me: *follows news site and/or trashy gossip magazine*

Trashy gossip magazine: Posts article: Is this star-studded couple on the rocks?!

Me: sarcastically comments: “lol this is dumb and fake news

Brenda, age 15 from Queensland: replies to my comment: How dare you say that about them! You’re the worst human EvEr. L

And the discussion begins…

But my question is… if I’m mostly receiving my news from my social media accounts, is my public sphere being manipulated? Am I accidently limiting my chance to debate and deliberate on all kinds of topics? The issues that get presented to me aren’t really worldly topics, unless its something drastic like the Christchurch Shooting. Is it my fault that my public sphere is so small and nearly non-existent? 

The only time I can say there is semi-meaningful discussions is; if I bring an issue up on twitter and then someone decides to reply to my thread and then we share thoughts and ideas– but then my social sphere is also limited to those who follow me and are able to see the tweet. Today there are more challenges to our conceptualisation of the public sphere then there were when Habermas imagined the theory. Since the 90s, the Web has gained a massive share of the news market. The ‘Sphere’ is even more rapid and connected (Enli, Gunn Bruns, Axel Christensen, Christian Larsson, Anders Olof Skogerbo, Eli, 2015) Twitter has served as a new public sphere for political communication and has either broken or redeemed political candidates in doing so. Being on an even battlefield on social media people can speak freely and tweet at politicians to discuss issues – if the politician decides to respond. (Fuchs, C 2013)

Am I a lesser intellectual for the choices I make when I like a certain news site on Facebook? Is it my responsibility to go out and purposely enhance and expand my ‘public sphere?’

Until next time; THINK and swoon.

Hannah x

References:

who truly owns our media?

“MINE?”

Who ‘owns’ the media we use? Whose job is it to feed us the news we need, or they need us to hear. Who is responsible for influencingthe way we imagine the world to be? Who is spoon feeding us the “truth” on their thrown of lies?

The Australian mainstream media is controlled by media moguls. Bruce Gordon owns WIN television. Kerry Stokes owns Seven West Media among having many shares in other companies. Then there’s the big daddyof media ownership – Rupert Murdoch. 

Although Murdoch has been in an ongoing “downfall” he still maintains ownership on many of the news platforms we see every day. After many scandals like the 2011 phone hacking scandal in the UK, which caused one of Murdoch’s popular newspaper companies to shut down, he still lives and reigns. Murdoch is like a monster in a movie slowly moving and growing until the big scary climax in the end andthere something truly troubling about the lack of consequences he faces for the constant “downfall” he’s in. (Cooke, R 2018) 

As a millennial, I’ll be perfectly honest, I do not seek out my news. If I see an article pop up on my timeline, I’ll read it from time to time. But it is rare for me to purposely seek out a newspaper or online article. That’s why the difference between – someone having control over newspaper or TV network news, and those who own ‘media platforms’- is more important today. News is instantaneous. You can be notified about something occurring across the world, the second after it happens. Even if you don’t go looking for the news, it’ll pop up on your timeline without you asking. But it begs the question again… can I trust this news? Is it real or fake news? 

FAKE NEWS

Murdoch isn’t the only media mogul in a “downfall”, Mark Zuckerberg the Harvard drop out turned young billionaire is constantly receiving praise and backlash for his creation; Facebook. The 2016 US Presidential election sparked a big problem for Facebook. The company was said to have provided Cambridge Analytica private information on undecided voters and push the Trump campaign on them. Now the Facebook algorithm regarding our privacy is being heavily questioned. 

As someone who has always been sceptical on how much information I provide online, I’m constantly questioning the “news” that I’m being provided. It’s so hard to know what’s real and what’s click baited – how can I trust the sources being provided to me from other sources? Is it all fakenews now? 

And I have to ask…

How can one truly “own” the media?

Until next time, THINK & swoon.

Hannah x

References:

Cooke, R 2018, The endless reign of Rupert Murdoch, The Monthly, viewed 3rdApril 2019, https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/july/1530367200/richard-cooke/endless-reign-rupert-murdoch

Meredith, S 2018, Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: A timeline of the data hijacking scandal, CBNC, viewed 3rdApril 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/10/facebook-cambridge-analytica-a-timeline-of-the-data-hijacking-scandal.html

AUTHOR NA, 2003, “Seagulls”, Disney Fandom Wikipedia, accessed 3rdApril 2019, https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Seagulls_(Finding_Nemo)

SNL, 2016, “Fake News”, Giphy, accessed 3rdApril 2019, https://giphy.com/gifs/snl-saturday-night-live-season-42-l0ExrFHyNJAEuBCKc

“boys will be boys”

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be, Gillette 2019

At first glance, you may not believe this is a “complex image”. But it is. What’s represented here is ‘toxic masculinity’. Do you recognize it? 

In January razor brand Gillette released an advertisement/short film, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”, (Gillette, 2019) addressing toxic masculinity and how the #MeToo movement can be addressed by men. The ad shows what’s been imbedded over centuries within the media and how it’s normalized the mistreatment of women, the idea that being feminineis a negative thing and being “masculine” is the only way a man should behave.

This image could mean nothing to someone, a throw away joke even. “Boys will be boys”, just doing a simple activity in simple everyday life. But to someone, who’s experience misogyny first-hand the looks on those many faces could mean something disturbing. 

The advertisement caused an uproar which is what the company intended to avoid in their hopes to push men to band together, quoting actor Terry Crews in the ad, “Men need to hold other men accountable”

Is this the best a man can get?” asks the voice. “Is it? We can’t hide from it. It’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off. Making the same old excuses.” Yet that’s exactly how many reacted; defensive, fragile and cowardly. Many took it among themselves to ‘boycott Gillette’ sharing images throwing away their razors. For a woman, particularly one who had their own “me too” story, this short film was important. The suggestions being made about men’s behaviour is too familiar. 

If you haven’t seen the video, please don’t assume the intention is to slam all men for bad behaviour. The film ends with clips showing the acts taken by men to bring each other up, help one another be the best versions of themselves. It would take a truly defensive man to assume that the ad is saying allmen are wrong.

This image will never be neutral. It will never be one sided. The Male Activists will say these images paint a bad picture of men and that men are nothing like that. The Feminists will say this is the only way men act. The ideological stand point of the world will never be the same, it will never be harmonious. There are too many interpretations to this ad, too many yes’, no’s and maybes. I personally have wavered with my reactions to the film, is it going to encourage those in the wrong to change their ways, or is it going to add more fuel to the fire. “The boys of today will be the men of tomorrow.”And I truly hope that’s good news.

Until we meet again. Swoon.

Hannah.

Reference: Gillette, 2019, We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0, accessed 24/3/19

the world is a stage.

The Opening Set of The Show – the gates of Heaven? or a Salt Lake City sunset? – we will never know.

If the world’s a stage, are we the performers or the audience members? 

One of my favourite places in the world is sitting in the audience of a theatre, right before the show or play is about to start. If you’re lucky, you can hear the actors back stage finding their places or the band practising their beginning notes and chords. 

The last time I had the pleasure of experiencing this thrill was last year watching the ‘Book of Mormon’ at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. 

I had to see this show, I needed to. From the moment I found out that such a musical existed with; white men in ties dancing around to songs about their forbidden urges, to then white ‘straight’ men dancing away from warlords in Uganda, to then ‘Africans’ cursing God through a ‘hakuna matata’ style ballad… I knew I had to see this show live. The whole point of the show is to be utterly offended and walk away liking it.

What I found strange to any other theatre experience I’ve had before was that the audience were very vocal about every little moment the writers intended to gain a reaction from. When a racist joke was made the audience were not afraid to laugh at it, at the highest volume their vocal range allowed. And when a shocking comment was made the cohort gasped in unison. I found myself becoming a viewer of the audience, aswell as the show.

Though the subject matter was very controversial, especially for those of Christian background, it was touching. Through the racial profanities, derogatory language and catchy musical tunes the show really gasped what is was to be part of a community with a belief in anything – in everything. The most important thing I took away from experiencing this show was the thrill live theatre. The most fascinating thing about live theatre is that no two shows will be the same. Yes, it’s the same choreography, the same actors, the same lines – but there is no possible way that it can be performed exactly the same each and every night. With a show like ‘The Book of Mormon’ no two audiences will react the same, laugh the same or cry the same. What I took away from the show was a unique sense of comradery with the 1,999 strangers among me in the theatre. The joy of show business.

Until we meet again. Swoon.

Hannah x