Understanding our Society

Jennifer Harris

Media Literacy

Jennifer Harris

Mrs.Danley

12 CP Language Arts

7 January 2016

Media

The definition of the word “media” is the means of communication that reach or influence people widely. Some popular examples of media are TV, social networking outlets, and radio. The media can broadcast almost anything to large masses of people in order to send a message. Media is a very valuable resource when it comes to spreading information across a wide range of people.

I think that being media literate means being able to analyze and evaluate messages conveyed by the media. It is important for people to be media literate because we need to be informed about the things that are happening in the world around us. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to our knowledge of what is happening in our ever-changing society. For example, the news is a very effective and popular form of media. In a hypothetical situation the news broadcasts that there will be an earthquake in Suwanee. However, about 65% of people in the area don’t watch the news. When the earthquake hits, only the 35% of people who watched the broadcast and are media literate are protected. That means that about 7/10 people will not be protected from the natural disaster simply because they did not pay attention to the message that the media was broadcasting. That hypothetical scenario may be a tad dramatic, but it still conveys the importance of the media. I believe that increased media literacy will lead to an increased knowledge of the world we live in.

Smore #2

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

5 February 2016

What Can I Do

Human trafficking is the illegal movement of people for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Slavery still exists; in fact, it is the 2nd biggest organized crime in the world. There are several movements that utilize technology to spread awareness like the “End It” Movement and the “Bring Back our Girls” Movement. One thing that I will do to contribute to ending human trafficking is to personally get involved with the “End It” movement. I will draw red “X” on my wrist in order to spread awareness. People will ask me why I have an “X” drawn on my wrist, and then I will have an in-depth discussion about what human trafficking is and how others can get involved. Additionally, I can donate money to multiple movements dedicated to ending human trafficking. The “Bring Back our Girls” Movement takes donations 24/7. Being an unemployed teenager however, I don’t have limitless funds, so I’ll probably start by donating $5-10 (donating something is better than donating nothing). A massive percentage of human trafficking begins online, so I will start by addressing and spreading awareness of the issue using social media and/or technology. This will help to interrupt trafficking instead of facilitating it. Because technology makes it easier for traffickers to manipulate potential victims, spreading awareness is vitally important.

Smore #3

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

8 February 2016

Commercial Analysis

In the Coca-Cola commercial for their new product, Coke Mini, popular television characters are used to convince viewers that Coke Mini is a product worth having. The advertisement persuades viewers by using acclaimed characters (The Hulk and Ant Man), providing action and adventure (superheroes chasing each other for the last coke mini), and by using silly humor (the Hulk’s hands being too big to open the can). Utilizing these marketed techniques, Coca-Cola released this commercial in order to persuade people that they need what they didn’t need before, Coke Mini. Using a playful tone, this commercial is directed toward children.

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Smore #4

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

10 February 2016

The Men We Don’t Adore

Advertisements in today’s society present men as being lazy and stupid. They are stereotyped as being good for only one thing, physical labor. They are also perceived to be incapable of having deep thoughts and critical thinking skills. These commercials have a massive impact on today’s society, but this can be both a positive and a negative thing. Women are shown as strong leaders, while men are simple-minded creatures. As a result, women believe that they are strong and highly capable of greatness, while men believe that they are subordinate to women. I have concluded that advertisements dictate societal values rather than reflect them. For example, if a commercial told us that women are more attractive while wearing a certain brand of makeup, a large percentage of women would wear that makeup brand and believe that they were more attractive. A more common example is men’s inferiority to women. Even when we were discussing this in class, many males made comments about being “stupid” or “not as smart as girls”. I think that this ironic because in the past women were stereotyped as being dumb and submissive, but now the tables have turned.

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Smore #5

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

12 February 2016

Manipulation in Advertising

The media manipulates viewers in advertisements by using hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is defined as an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction. For example, Coca-Cola has recently shown their support publically for ending childhood obesity, while in reality their sugary products contribute substantially to weight related issues. Companies want to look like they’re encouraging positive change while simultaneously promoting their product to viewers. Because of this reality, viewers are manipulated into purchasing a product despite the company’s hypocritical motives.

There is also a massive amount of hypocrisy in advertisements in general. Think about all of the Valentine’s Day ads. They promote love and happiness, but often include fighting and bickering amongst couples. Advertisements can also manipulate people into thinking or acting a certain way. For example, because men are often portrayed as simple-minded and passive when compared to women, they often believe and act like they are inferior. Advertisements are extremely influential on how society views social issues and topics. We may not even notice it, but ads in the media have the ability to manipulate and control our thoughts and actions. I think that advertisements should be more closely filtered because of their significant impact.

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Smore #6

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

22 February 2016

Should Apple Fix

After reading all three of the articles, I have concluded that Apple should aid the FBI in unlocking the terrorist’s phone. In Apple’s released statement, they characterized the FBI as being the villain. However, they twisted the FBI’s words so that they seemed like they were asking for more than they actually were. All the FBI wants is for Apple to update the terrorist’s phone with a “special version of iOS” so that they can brute-force unlock it without erasing the phone’s contents. In Apple’s statement however, they said that the FBI wanted them to create a figurative backdoor into the iphone. They claimed that the creation of this “master key” would put all apple users at a greater risk of attack.

The reality is that the FBI just needs Apple’s help to unlock one singular iphone- the iphone, mind you, of a terrorist who killed 14 innocent Americans! If Apple would simply provide their support with this monetary task, the FBI could find out who the shooters were communicating with, who may have helped plan and execute the attack, and where the terrorists traveled before the attack. This newfound information could ultimately help provide justice for the numerous families whose lives were shattered by this devastating loss.

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Smore #7

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

26 February 2016

Smore #7: Agree or Disagree

In order to assure the country’s freedom, I believe that the government should be able to spy on its citizens. However, this ability should come with limitations. Surveillance in public places will help reduce the amount of crime because criminals will know that they’re being watched. I do think that allowing government surveillance in private homes is a breach of personal security. However, if the government suspects that a person is a threat to national security, they should be allowed to keep them under surveillance. They should be able to listen in on their phone calls, read their emails, watch their movement, and track their location. All of these things will increase our country’s protection. Is there a possibility that the government will abuse its power? Yes. But sometimes you have to sacrifice for the good of the country as a whole.

What if 9/11 could’ve been prevented? All of those people could still be alive. Their heartbroken families could find joy and peace. If the government was able to spy on its citizens, they could’ve identified the possible terrorists and stopped them from carrying out their plan. All of those poor victims could’ve been spared. I firmly believe that the safety and security of the majority of the population is greater than a few people’s “feeling of security”.

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Smore #8

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

21 March 2016

Smore #8- Get It Straight

While looking through the “Politifact” website, I found that many politicians will often say whatever will make their campaign appeal to the American population. They often make vague and irrelevant statements that are technically credible, but many of the relevant facts that they quote are fabricated. For example, republican candidate, Donald Trump said, “a YouTube video shows Thomas DiMassimo, the man who rushed Trump at an Ohio rally, dragging the American flag on the ground like it was a piece of garbage”. While this is true, how is this really relevant to how he will lead our country in the future? Trump later said, “GDP was zero essentially for the last two quarters”. This statement is relevant to the American population’s standard of living, but it is false! In response, Politifact.com stated that “Economic growth in the last two quarters of 2015 was modest: 1 percent and 2 percent. But that’s not zero”. It is important to research the legitimacy of each candidate so you can make an informed decision when you vote. Honestly, I don’t believe that most people fact check their candidate, because we want to believe that the things that the media tells us are true; This is unfortunately not the case. We need to research and make sure that the facts being fed to us are credible or we’re no better than the Party members in 1984.

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Smore #9

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

23 March 2016

Smore #9: Ain’t Rebellion Fine

Our world’s history is filled with stories of rebellion and defiance. A plethora of people around the world are willing and able to rise up against oppression. One major explanation, developed by Ted Robert Gurr, for why some people do eventually rebel is called "grievance theory." This theory holds that if people are mistreated long enough and badly enough, they will eventually, given the chance, take up arms against their oppressors. Though rebellions are risky, as they don’t always guarantee absolute success, they are still often widely impactful.

By definition, a rebellion is “organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another”. Rebellions can be wars, particularly wars for independence from the ruling government, but many rebellions never come to armed conflict. Most of the time they're wars of words, or even just small-scale rule-breaking that is supposed to make a larger point. That’s what I believe makes rebellions so powerful, they’re often used for a cause that’s bigger than the people themselves; it can be a change that impacts everyone on a local or global scale.

People are inspired to act because of a cumulative state of oppression. As April Kepner explained on Grey’s Anatomy, “What hurts us is cumulative. We absorb blow after blow, shock after shock, painful hit after painful hit”. Some examples of techniques used in a rebellion are boycotts, domestic governmental actions, organizing people, and gaining momentum. Some common examples of boycotting are withdrawal and renunciation, walk-outs, silence, renouncing honors, and turning one’s back. Some common examples of domestic governmental actions are reverse strike, stay-in strike, nonviolent land seizure, defiance of blockade, political intervention, overloading of administrative systems, disclosing identities of secret agents, seeking imprisonment, civil disobedience of "neutral" laws, work-on without collaboration, dual sovereignty and parallel government.

In today’s society we can see examples of rebellion in small acts of personal defiance. There are many recent examples of American citizens rejecting government regulation. Frank Newport stated in his article, “Americans are more likely today than in the recent past to believe that government is taking on too much responsibility for solving the nation's problems and is over-regulating business. New Gallup data show that 57% of Americans say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals, and 45% say there is too much government regulation of business”. Americans are voicing their opinions, even if they contradict the government; these are initial indicators of a rebellion.

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Smore #10

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

25 March 2016

Smore #10- The Government Wins Again

I some ways, I believe that we are living in 1984. The technological possibilities of surveillance and data collection surely surpass what Orwell imagined. As technology advances, the possibility of government surveillance increases, and technology is advancing rapidly. The notion of digital privacy is laughable. When I think about Edward Snowden and his work at the N.S.A., it wasn’t much of a leap to imagine him and his colleagues working in some version of Oceania’s Ministry of Truth. He completed his daily tasks just as Winston went to work everyday, and like Winston, Edward Snowden grew resentful of the overbearing hand that the government had in his life. In 1984, the Police Patrol snoops in people’s windows, and Thought Police, with more deceptive power, linger elsewhere. Big Brother, the totalitarian figurehead, stares out from posters plastered throughout the city, and private telescreens broadcast the Party’s platform daily. In our current society, the government spies on us in a subtler and more insidious way; it hides behind our computer screens. However, Oceania’s surveillance state operates out in the open, since total power has removed any need for subtlety. This sounds like a version of what Snowden describes: “The N.S.A., specifically, targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default.” Because of this, it’s safe to assume that our e-mails, texts, or telephone calls—even if we are not saying anything interesting or controversial, and even if no one is actually monitoring our communication, the notion that our personal digital messages will remain private forever, or that they will not be saved or stored, is probably naive. Regardless of the actual scope of the government’s snooping programs, our digital privacy is becoming nonexistent.

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Smore #11

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

31 March 2016

Smore #11: Is technology sent from Heaven?

I do not agree with Orwell. The people of the world today are capable of more advanced thinking partially because of the advancement of technology and science. I understand and agree with what Orwell stated about the past- technology stopped advancing because of the long wars and revolutions. This however does not define the future. We can and have already increased our thinking and knowledge as a result of our expanded access to information. Technology makes it easier for us to gain knowledge quickly and easily; Does searching for information on the internet or other forms of technology require critical thinking? No. But does this search lead to and facilitate critical thinking? Yes. The benefits of the advancement of technology outweigh the costs.

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Smore #12

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

19 April 2016

Smore #12: Happiness vs Freedom

I agree with the majority of society and believe that happiness is more important than absolute freedom. Imagine that no one restricts the actions of anyone else. Greed and selfishness will overpower goodness. When given complete freedom, you get a society similar to Lord of the Flies. I don’t believe that we should belittle our liberty, however I think that being happy is one of the most important things in life. If you’re considered to be free, and you’re not happy, is it really worth it? Freedom on its own is of little importance because without happiness, life would have no meaning. The deep satisfaction that comes from growth and accomplishment provides the world with purpose. While you need some freedom to obtain higher pleasures, we shouldn’t only strive for freedom. Freedom, without the promise of happiness and pleasure behind it, would be hollow and meaningless.

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Smore #13

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

26 April 2016

Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting his or her own memory, perception and sanity. A gaslighter manipulates information and even physical surroundings to make its victims confused, and then denies that anything has been done. This is done in an effort to force their will upon the victims without resistance. The victims will begin to doubt themselves, question their own sanity, and slowly, lose their sense of reality. The gaslighter is often a strong and assertive personality or an authoritative figure. They will impose a new reality beneficial to their own cause on to the victims.

We, as Americans, are currently being gaslighted by our government and the media. We are being deceived into fighting wars that we don’t necessarily need to fight, spending too much of our national budget, and demolishing our relationships with foreign nations simply because our leaders tell us that it’s the right thing to do. The only way to combat this is for us, as citizens, to rise up and voice our opinions, even if they are contrary to what the government tells us to believe. We must dare to express our independent thoughts, and fact-check the words of those who lead us.

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Smore #14

Jennifer Harris

Danley

Language Arts

6 May 2015

Smore #14: Performance Final

The answer to our society’s social disconnect and heavy reliance on technology is simple- unplug every once in a while. We don’t have to completely shut out social media and technology; We just have to be intentional about finding time to connect with each other and the natural world around us. Don’t be so enamored with your cell phone; Look up at the world around you. Take in the beauty of the simple things surrounding you, like the sky and the trees. Arrange to meet up with people face to face; There’s nothing like genuine, tangible human connections.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am addicted to social media. I can be without it for only a few days, and I’ll feel like I’m isolated from society. I do, however, believe that I can control my addiction. I can set a time limit for the amount of time I spend on social media. I won’t cut it completely out of my life, because it still has many benefits, like keeping in contact with people who are distant, or staying updated on other people’s lives. I’ll have to be mindful and aware when I use it; I can’t let it consume me. I need to ensure that I actually enjoy the precious moments in life instead of just posting about them.

I think the trick to enjoying social media without becoming a slave to it is time management. Setting limits for yourself is important. Being on social media for 1-2 hours is reasonable; Being on social media for 8-10 hours is unacceptable. Look up from the phone, and enjoy life; Take hold of everything it has to offer!


Smore Reflection

After taking this course, I feel like I truly understand how important it is to be aware of what’s happening in our society. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to media literacy. We, as a society, need to be able to comprehend the information presented to us. We need to be aware of the fact that every ounce of information fed to us by the media isn’t true. We need to be able to form our own educated opinions, and not be afraid to go against what is popular.

This class is different from other Language Arts classes I’ve taken because it is based more on current events. It almost feels like a Social Studies class (with a lot more writing). We watch a lot of videos, which I enjoy because I feel like information is easier to retain when it is presented visually. We also have relevant discussions about current events and ways to improve our society. This class has encouraged me; It’s made me feel like my opinions matter, like they could potentially influence others. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about this class. I’ve learned a lot, and I actually enjoyed it.

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