12th Grade Media Literacy

James Frew

Media Literacy SMORE Final

The media is a complicated beast to tackle. On one hand, mass media is our main source of information, but in reality is it the truth that we are getting? Nowadays, the media distorts and uses information very liberally to support their own views. In the end, the only thing that is reliable is the facts themselves, and you have to form your own opinions on the facts that you are given. Every media outlet, no matter what source you get it from, they were always be some sort of bias, whether it be strong or weak influences. However, the media as a whole is a very good tool to keep informed on current events. So what does it mean to be media literate? To me, media literacy is the state that one can achieve when he or she has gathered information from a variety of media sources, and can make their own opinion based on what information he or she was provided with. Now, there are many different forms of media found throughout our everyday lives. There are books, magazines, newspapers, television, music, the internet, etc., and each of these can have a significant impact on a person’s life, depending on how much of the media is consumed by said person. However, true media literacy is achieved when a person is completely informed on a variety of topics, and has an opinion on these topics that they constructed for themselves.

24 Hours With or Without Social Media

Social Media has become a large part of every young person's life. For some, it serves as a way to keep connected with friends, but for others it serves a more sinister purpose. It can be used to bully, to obsess, and to instill hatred in one another. For some, social media is a liberator, but for others it is a cancer. When I spent a whole day without social media, it was more liberating than it was debilitating. I realized that I didn't need to check to see if I had a message from someone every other minute of the day. I could relax, and let go of any social responsibilities that social media helped bring forward. I could go a whole 24 hours without checking to see what a person was doing throughout their day. I realized how little it all matter. Could it not be alright that I didn't know what someone was having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Why should I be concerned with every waking moment of another person's life? The answer is that I shouldn't be. And now, after abstaining from social media for a whole day, I am no longer concerned with other people's activities and lives, but my own.

Article Fact Check

Terrorism has become a very large part of American politics, as it should be. One couldn't go a single debate without reference to the horrible tragedy of 9/11, or the countless other terror attacks that have befallen our country. However, when people start to talk about certain topics, they begin to let their own personal opinions sway them, and that is where there is a problem. On the March 3rd Republican presidential debate, terrorism came up. Global businessman and billionaire Donald Trump had some questionable statements, as he often does at these debates. He stated, " A man flies in the World Trade Center and his family gets sent back to where they were going- and I think most of you know where they went and, by the way, it wasn't Iraq. But they went back to a certain territory. They knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening." Now, we can just analyze this statement from a purely logical standpoint. How would Trump know such specific details? The answer is that he wouldn't. But there is more to come. There were a total of 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, and only two of these hijackers were married, and "only one had a girlfriend." The executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip D. Zelikow stated that "they sure weren't living in the United States." It may just me be me, but I trust the executive director of the 9/11 Commission over Donald Trump, who has constantly made claims that have no merit. Donald Trump is a showman, and he says things that are just blatantly false a lot of the time. But in the end, he isn't worried about being factually correct, he is worried about convincing the American people that he is fit for president, and based on his track record when it comes to simple facts, most would say he is not.

Life of a Prole

It is a very interesting idea that is presented in this chapter, and the topic is very perplexing. Some would blow it off as a common conspiracy theory, and most of the time I would join them. However, for the sake of debate, it is interesting to think about. We could look from an outside point of view and think about this objectively, it doesn't seem too far fetched. Especially when we take into account the massive amounts of advertisements and products that are constantly shoved down our throats. Could this be the government trying to control our society and herd us like sheep? I don't personally believe that this is true, but many are of the belief that the government is controlling our society through the use of social media, sports, movies, reality TV and other things. The fact that the government could be, as they do in 1984, controlling every piece of information that enters the realm of existence, is a very frightening thought. This is shown when tragedy hits Winston's home country's military, and they spun it to be a positive thing. And then subsequently they lower the chocolate ration and spun it into a positive thing. No matter what failures the Party endures, they convince the common people that everything is okay, just as was done after the Tienanmen Square Massacre in China. It is very frightening to think of what kind of insight George Orwell had to predict such a government rising, and fascinating how this government runs. They censor their information, in order to keep their citizens in submission.

Failed Rebellions

In the Beer Hall Putsch rebellion of 1923, a coup attempt was made by the leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler. This was Hitler's first attempt at coming into power, and he failed, while also being wounded in the process. In this rebellion, Hitler and his top followers led approximately two thousand men into the center of Munich. After the police confronted them in the streets, violence ensued. 16 Nazis and 4 policeman died in the skirmish. Hitler himself fled the scene, claiming he was needed elsewhere. This failed rebellion would serve as foreshadowing for the impending political revolution that Hitler would lead. This rebellion was extremely powerful, but more in the way that it served as a growth of inspiration for Hitler. After this event, Adolf Hitler was imprisoned. Hitler would then write Mein Kampf, his political diocese, which inspired millions to follow his hateful regime.

The original intent of the Beer Hall Putsch rebellion was to completely overthrow the government in Munich, and put the Nazi Party into power. It was said that Hitler was inspired by the March on Rome, led by Benito Mussolini just a year before. Hitler and his associates wanted to establish a completely new government, and overthrow the Wiemarch Republic that stood. Hitler used the technique of sheer force and intimidation to fuel this rebellion. He led 600 men into a hall, and threatened anyone who tried to leave with death. Hitler and his followers set up machine guns and had personal weapons of their own in case any opposition appeared. Once he gained the hearts of the people in the Beer Hall, they marched on Munich, and this is where his rebellion failed. His followers were met by police forces, and violence broke out. This quickly settled any rebellion, and Hitler was imprisoned.

Edward Snowden

Depending on the political point of view, some view Edward Snowden as a hero, and others we him as a villain, and a traitor. In the context of 1984, O'Brien and Winston are both in the same boat as Snowden. As of right now, Winston has the potential to become Oceania's version of Edward Snowden. Winston has the deep seated passion for the truth, that he has had to keep contained for his whole life, while living under the Party that is. What Edward Snowden did completely exposed an activity of the American government that's its citizens were completely aware of, and an activity that the majority of those citizens thought of as wrong and immoral. Now, back to 1984, O'Brien has been at this work, opposing the government, for what we can assume is years. Winston, at their introduction, was astonished by O'Brian and was ecstatic that he would be able to be a part of this new found Brotherhood. Winston has something very dangerous inside of him. He has the fuel of insurrection and justice for the citizens of Oceania. The only thing that is required now is the spark. And O'Brien is that spark. So with any luck, and some skill, O'Brien and his Brotherhood, and the new member in Winston, we will see the Party be exposed for what it truly is.

O'Brien and Winston

In 1984, the idea that a person's perception of reality is only what the Party says it is. This brings up many contradictions in the reader's mind as well as Winston's mind. When Winston is being tortured, the main idea that is being pressed on him by O'Brien, is that his reality is what he makes of it. That believing is perceiving. O'Brien says "Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else." This supports O'Brien's idea that no matter what Winston actually sees, he can believe something else based on sheer will of the mind. Winston can make reality what he wants to make it. O'Brien's goal is to make Winston be a part of the "collective and immortal" Party hive mind. "The individual mind.. can make mistakes," O'Brien says. O'Brien wishes to make his perception of the world a reality to those whom he inflicts his tortuous techniques upon. When an individual becomes part of the collective and immortal mind, the Party's power grows immensely. And in the end, power is the only driving force behind the Party's dominant oppression of it's Oceanic citizens.

Reflection One

Throughout this Media Literacy course, I will admit that I have learned a lot more than I initially expected. Our reading of 1984 certainly helped broaden my view on a variety of topics such as perspective, reality, and morality. 1984 truly was one of the best books that I have read, and the analysis we went through along the way was beneficial to an extreme extent. I believed myself to be Media literate before I took this course, and I still stand by that opinion. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything. I believe that my knowledge of Media Literacy has greatly deepened and expanded. This class seemed to be a lot less stressful than any other Language Arts class I've taken, and I appreciate that considering I am a second semester Senior. If there was one thing that I could change about this course, I would make it much less worksheet oriented and much more current events and relevant media oriented. We would analyze what is going on in the real world today, then read pieces of literature that corresponded with those themes. I feel as if our work with Edward Snowden and 1984 was definitely my favorite part about this course. With 1984 being such a fantastic novel, it made it much easier to read. The fact there were current day events that related to the themes in 1984 was also a great addition. The idea that we can learn so much about our own society through the reading and analyzing of a novel from a different time is truly fascinating to me. 1984 taught me more about what people used to fear in the 1940's and what people even fear today. In conclusion, I felt as if I learned a great deal in this class, and felt as if I have obtained a strengthened knowledge of what is going on in the world around me.

Reflection Two

I am of the idea that social media is a problem, and that we have become slaves to it. I honestly think that the whole idea is simply absurd. People get addicted to a variety of things everyday, the only reason people are more aware of this addiction is because they are always connected to the people with the problem. In essence, we would be speaking about heroin addiction more, if the needle that heroin addicts used would tell everyone the moment that it was being used. I do not believe that society is becoming a slave of social media. This addiction is like any other, and is certainly unhealthy. However, this addiction can be controlled, just as most addictions can be controlled. I feel as if people who post these videos on YouTube and Facebook are just as guilty as those who enable the social media addicts. This person posted a video on social media in order to warn about the evils of social media. It seems pretty hypocritical to me. It also seems as if the man who posted this video will surely get paid for the amount of views it gets, so he is just exploiting a hot topic in order to get paid. I'm not sure if everything I said was entirely accurate, but it seems as if this rapper was not entirely genuine and invested in the problem, because if he was he wouldn't post a video on social media to try and raise awareness. Surely there are better means to try and fix this problem. The only way to control an addictive substance is to not let in control you, which most people are capable of. In conclusion, I would say that social media can surely be addictive, but just addictive as every other addictive object there is. We must do our best to help people who are struggling with this issue, but the solution is most definitely not to post a video on social media about said problem.