Social Identity and Society

Alton Lutz

Media Literacy

What is media literacy? Being able to interpret what people are saying through their expressions online and in print. Media is anything that you see or hear. Media is the medium of our culture. We consume it and never think twice about it. What good is it if all it is to us is shapes and colors? Learning how to read is the first step. Then we have to learn what things mean based on how they are written. Some things are meant to make you laugh, some to make you cry, others to inform you, but they can have all different kinds of effects. Being able to understand the work as intended by the author is crucial in a world where almost all communication is done through media. It used to be that you could just read a newspaper or listen to the radio and get all the news that you need. Now with the availability of computers, smartphones, and TVs, understanding the messages are more important than ever. If you can’t keep up, you won’t be competitive for jobs, able to hold conversations about current events, or even be responsible for what is going on in your world. Soon enough there will be new technology and this will be elementary level and those who don’t more with it will become obsolete as well. It has never been more important to be connected and intelligible than ever before. Our world now works online and soon all aspects of our lives will be there. How will you be able to survive if you can’t even figure out what is going on around yourself?

America the Beautiful and Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola, the world famous soda company, aired a Super Bowl commercial (2 Feb. 2014.) to inspire a feeling that we are all united by their product. They show different people gathering and having good times while people sing America the beautiful in the background and each verse, the language changes. The point that Coke is trying to make is that we are all different and have our own traditions and customs, but that everyone can come together over their product. The commercial has a happy and proud tone intended to appeal to Americans in general, not just one demographic but rather all of them.

Family Mourns the Loss of Valued Members

Alton Lutz, Observationist

Thursday Apr 3, 2014


SPOKANE – A suburban family was rocked by a recent tragedy. During a recent electrical storm, lightning hit the house, and untimely claimed the lives of their desktop computer, Xbox360, and DVR.


No humans or animals were injured, although the devices were beyond all repair. The home owners did have insurance, so the electronics will be replaced. What cannot be replaced are the memories saved in the pictures on the computer, the progress through levels on the Xbox, or the months worth of content saved to the DVR.


“We will rebuild,” said homeowner and father, James Smith, “part of us is gone with those electronics, but the can be replaced.” They did not back up any of their content or data. The family commented, “We didn’t think it could happen to us, please save yourself the pain and backup your data now.”


This pain can be prevented. With some common sense and 5 minutes of your time, you could set up your computer to automatically backup your information online. It makes no sense not to do it.

Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead Or Alive

1984 and Wanted Dead Or Alive Explained

Bon Jovi sings the song Wanted Dead or Alive, which sings about a vagabond, gambling motorcyclist. How does this fit 1984 perfectly then? Well the first stanza starts out “It’s all the same, only the names will change,” and Winston Smith, the protagonist, works for the branch of the Party that changes newspapers, photographs, and other forms of media to fit the Party’s claims and political agenda. Here he may have to change the numbers of a particular good produced, change the date of an event, or even delete or create an entire human life. The two lines following go “Everyday it seems we're wasting away, Another place where the faces are so cold.” This is a perfect description for the society of 1984 because the Party has bleached all creativity and personality from peoples lives. There is no freedom of speech, press, or even opinion. Constant monitoring by the Party of their citizens via telescreens, microphones, and spies leaves citizens to fear their own thoughts. The party so graciously made accommodations for this anxiety by introducing crimestop, a subconscious, mental V-chip that cancels out any thought that could be counter-Party. The third stanza relates to a specific scene. After Winston is captured and being held in the room but before O’Brien gets there, Winston is sitting in the holding cell and people are coming and going as the Ministry of Love so justly decides their fate. In the cell, there are four telescreens, one on each wall. Naturally, they are always on and the room is never dark. This ties into the line “Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it’s not for days, And the people I meet always go their separate ways.” “Their separate ways,” meaning, of course, Room 101 or the grave. Going back to an earlier part of the story, Winston starts a diary, when he is at home alone. The correlation to this scene in the song would be “And times when you’re alone, all you do is think.” Conclusions and visuals could be drawn back and forth all day but these are the strongest both visual and in theme.


Reflection over the Class

Through my experience this semester, my ideas of what social media have not changed. What this class did do for me is give me a better of what it means to be media literate. For a person to be media literate, they must be able to do a few things. They have to be able to accurately perceive what is happening in the world around them through media, develop their own opinions and reactions to events and occurrences, and protect themselves from the dangers that lie in social media. I learned a few things here and there about media and society, but what I really learned were things about myself. For example, before Macbeth, we read quotes about oppressive governments, one of which was by Ben Franklin and said "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." The reason this quote is so relevant to social media is because of current events like the NSA spying and the concerns over the ability of employers and the IRS to view your social media accounts. The relevance is shocking. 250 years ago, people dealt with the same essential governing issues that we have today. The only difference is that in today’s world we have heightened stakes. The populations are larger and so are the margins for error. If you make a mistake and put up the wrong photo or make an angry post, should you be forever held to that standard just because a potential employer and see it? This class went deeper than other language arts classes because of the connection to currents events and the relevancy to things that we experience on a daily basis. Not only was the class itself heavily rooted on a computer, but the social and societal issues we talked about that plague us in the struggle to find concessions between our security needs and our personal needs as individuals. Down the road, technology will change. A personal friend of mine has written a textbook for the digital media class he teaches. While lobbying for support from his colleagues, he said “for a class taught about computers, should we not have a text available on the computer rather than in a form of media that has been available since 1439?” The argument he makes with this statement is to move education further with the technology. To keep this class relevant in the future, landmark cases such as Edward Snowden, should be discussed in companionship with current events and issues. This will keep the attention and concern of the class. Personally, if something is going to affect me, I’d like to know about it and have a say if I can.