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Thomas Pearson

Reality Is Overrated

Month

August 2015

The Cinema

https://i1.wp.com/www.activitysuperstore.com/images/pics_large/LCIN.gifIt was a cold Friday night, raining, very heavily. My friend Ash and I think of stuff to do other than lazing on the lounge in front of the TV watching Simpsons re-runs (The Mr Burns “see my vest” one in case you wanted to know) then I decide that we should go out and do something. Half an hour goes by, with the usual “can I be bothered?” and “do I have to get out of my trackies?” thoughts going through our heads when we decide to go to the movies. We look online at session guide and see the movie ‘Vacation’ and decide on that one. ‘Vacation’ is the reboot/sequel to the classic 1980’s National Lampoons Vacation, European Vacation movies etc. As of course as everyone does now, we watch the trailer on YouTube. A few cheap laughs and some known actors as well as Chevy Chase from the original. We then decide the movie is worth our “hard earned” money to see at the theatres.

As Hagerstrand has defined, we have had to deal with our Capability constraints. This is one of the key constraints I feel most people encounter when going to the movies. The actual effort of going, do I have enough energy to sit in the cinema for over 2 hours? I feel the answer can be varied depending on days. This type of thinking leads towards Coupling constraints. Debating on which cinemas we want to go to, if I want to be out in a social setting on a cold night and interaction with other people.

We sit in the cinema, after purchasing our tickets and not being tempted by the candy bar (which we noticed nothing has prices on it, making you have to ask to see if you can afford it or not). It’s a 7.50 session, so not exactly late, though the cinema isn’t very busy, 20 people max. There is many couples, all relatively young. My friend and I both groan as we automatically assume that young people will talk during the movie as we both do ourselves. We often will talk if the movie makes reference to something we like or anything like that. We are sitting pretty much in the middle of the cinema, so we can have the best view or screen. All the couples are sitting either in front rows or behind us. We have that relief feeling that we don’t have anyone directly near us though also somewhat insulted that nobody wants to be near us? Like are we those weirdos you see on the train no one wants to be near? As the movie is playing, I really need to use the bathroom and ofcourse have that dilemma in my head “do I hold it?” then I won’t stop thinking about needing to go and wishing I could just pause the movie, this is the Authority constraint at play.  The whole movie theatre experience is an Authoritarian environment. You pay for your ticket, pay for food; sit in assigned seat (supposedly), you don’t talk during movie, you can’t pause or rewind the movie.

So when driving home after movie I really began to saw how Hagerstrand’s human constraints really affect daily life and rituals such as movie theatre trips. In the modern world today we have more freedoms with our technology than ever before; we have greater access, and interaction with our media. The cinema experience is an experience that is declining with future audiences. Statistics from Screen Australia show that attendance rate of movie goers has dropped with the average person attending the movies 10.7 times in 1994 to 6.8 times in 2014 that’s almost a 50% decrease. Screen Australia believes that media consumption is changing, people want more on-demand and easy access media from outlets such as Netflix & Apple store. Price is also another factor that now attributes to less movie goers, a British study showed that the average price for a movie trip, including ticket and food or parking fees now adds up to $17 making it a costly experience to do on the regular. As a student myself I’m thankful for student pricing some cinemas offer, also carpooling when you can and eating beforehand, so I can still experience the cinemas and continue to support this industry that is struggling in today’s world.

The NBN

http://www.nqtelecom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/slider-nbn.jpg

The NBN?
The NBN stands for the ‘National Broadband Network’ and is a government owned initiative that involves rollout of replacing the old copper telephone lines and replacing them with new fibre optic lines.

What does this mean?

New lines means faster internet and who doesn’t want faster internet right?

This rollout across Australia has been a slow process, I only just found out this week I’ll soon be eligible for NBN internet, when two men knocked on my front door asking where my line was connected.

So this week I decided to visit back to my nan’s house, refreshed ready to ask her some more questions, this time not about her past TV viewing habits but about her present internet usage.

My Nan lives in a unit in Cronulla right by the beach, beautiful place to live, though I wasn’t there for the scenery.  Nan has an unlimited broadband account; I notice her large internet modem sitting in on the kitchen bench.  I asked why she needed an unlimited account and she’d because it was just easier to not having to worry about data. This was somewhat understandable as my nans always has friends over or some random family members staying with her, so assuming she provides them with her Wi-Fi password they have use all the internet they like. It’s now a form of hospitality, internet Wi-Fi that is. The majority of hotels/motel provide complimentary Wi-Fi or to be purchased but it it’s something that we all look for now when choosing accommodation. My nan has many internet devices, her laptop, iPad, her iPhone, her smart TV and her Apple Tv, wait her iPad mini, did I mention that? She has one of those too. So with so many internet devices (many Apple devices as I noticed) I asked Nan about her internet speed. She was quite happy with her speed of internet but admitted if she was streaming on ABC iview or something it would be a little bit slower than normal especially during internet peak hour. I was intrigued as to what most of her internet usage consisted of. She explained that she uses internet for everything, her laptop was for more work related tasks and web browsing, her ipad was for more social media and YouTube viewing, her phone automatically connects to the Wi-Fi as well and she’d use that for social media as well and her Apple TV for downloading and streaming content. So as I learnt there was a lot of internet activity for one individual in one unit.

My final question was about the NBN.

Nan explained that the NBN hasn’t reached her area yet, although she’d be keen to upgrade, she would like more information on NBN pricing and actual speed rates of new internet before upgrading to it. She also explained how that her building may have trouble getting connected as she has tried to get Foxtel in the past and due to the unit block not having a Foxtel satellite she can’t connect to it. That that a funny thought, the idea of not having the freedom to access something modern like pay television or high speed internet in this day and age. Whenever my nan and myself finally gain access to the NBN network we are both sure it will change our internet habits and change our demands and expectations of speed and connectivity in the near future.

The Audience

The Audience

We, the audience have changed a lot over time, as from last week’s post, where I interviewed my grandmother on her television viewing growing in the 1950’s. She described how watching television in the home was a luxury as well a treat. Family and friends would gather around one TV and watch what was playing without much interruption or interaction. She would have a dozen friends over at a time to watch Mickey Mouse Club or whatever was playing at that time.

The audience for many decades till the 21st century had always been ‘monologic’. That is broadcasted towards with no interaction. We were told our news and watched our television programs without conversation. In today’s world, we have media platforms such as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter where we can communicate with anyone from around the world, at any time, in any place. Now not only can we commute to one another on social media, we can now use social media to commute to our broadcast media. There are forums, chat groups and ofcourse the hashtag. Have you noticed now that with every show, especially reality programs such as, The Block, X factor, Master Chef and The Bachelor has a live feed scrolling at the bottom of your television screen? These shows allow a ‘Dialogic’ medium between the media and its audience, we no longer have to be spoken to, we can interact and converse with other viewers about a TV show. The show ‘Q and A’ and made its format on the basis of its interaction with the audience. The Show uses a mediator who poses a controversial topic each week where a panel of guest speaker, mostly politicians and media personalities who debate the issue, while given questions by the audience members and comments of the live twitter feed that many of its viewers use to voice their opinions and feelings.

Global Citizens…and Australia

We are now living in a globalised society. The phenomenon that is globalisation has taken over how we live our lives not only have we never before, as individuals or Australia as a whole been so connected to other parts of the globe by means of communication, like for instance friends currently in Europe are able to keep in contact with me at every moment.  They’re currently in Scottish Highlands as seen on SnapChat, making me extremely jealous right now. Globalisation is much broader than that.

Globalisation is the interactions and also integration of things such as people, companies, nations and politics driven by economic trade, environmental issue, media relations and information. This transition into globalisation has been fuelled by rapid technological advancement.

https://eisjcommunity.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/eisj-global-citizen-2013/
https://eisjcommunity.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/eisj-global-citizen-2013/

Globalisation has created us into ‘Global Citizens’ a role that we now play, not just as local citizen of our country but a citizen who has interactions internationally, a citizenship where we must acknowledge and respect people of our globe who hold different values and beliefs as they come from a different culture than our own.

A class debate this week about globalisation and us being global citizens led to me reflecting on Australian’s and our own cultural identity and how we are now global citizens. We are one of the most multicultural nations in the world and one of the luckiest places to live in the world, in terms of quality of life, so why did one day in 2005 change our history forever?

The Cronulla Riots in 2005 I’m referring to.

Late 2005 saw high racial tensions in the Sutherland Shire between the ‘surfies’ and the ‘lebs’ after a lifeguard was bashed by an alleged Middle Eastern person. By Sunday 11th December, mass text messages had been sent out; the Westerners (surfies) wanted to reclaim ‘their’ beach from the middle easterners who also used it. That morning while all wearing Australian flags as capes, 5000 people went to the streets rioting, abusing and physically attacking anyone who looked of Middle Eastern descent. This event sparks significant outrage in media but also praise by certain journalists, e.g. Alan Jones, and questioned whether white Australian’s were racist and held ethnocentric views.

Ethnocentric view being the belief that one’s culture and beliefs are superior to another’s based on our comparison of our own without further knowledge,

Since our existence, the “Aussie” way of life, especially in the shire region has always been thought of as laid back, larrikin and beach loving. This is a cultural identity that has been perpetuated by media, e.g. movies like Crocodile Dundee.

http://crocodiledundi.weebly.com/uploads/3/8/8/4/38849747/3363776_orig.jpg
http://crocodiledundi.weebly.com/uploads/3/8/8/4/38849747/3363776_orig.jpg

This ‘cultural identity’ is imagined, it is only an invention. There is no law on what Australians ‘should be’. Current statistics say that 43% of Australian’s have at least one parent born overseas and 30% of Australians themselves are born overseas. We the citizens of our nation and citizens of the globe need to look beyond the stereotypes and accept others race and culture in order to have a fully functioning globalized society.

Tell-A-Vision

It’s Wednesday night and my Mum, Nan and myself are all out for dinner.

07 Dec 1934 --- 1930s Man Newspaper Reporter Wearing Hat Typing Smoking Cigar --- Image by © H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis
Image by © H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis

My Nan, Wendy is 68 years old; she spent her childhood years growing up in Port Macquarie as the middle child of 3.

While in middle of our meal I look at my Nan and say

“I would like to ask you about your TV experiences during your childhood”.

My Nan begins to laugh, as many memories come flooding back to her. Nan first reminds me that when she lived in Port Macquarie in the late 1950’s, her family was one of the first to own a television and in those days they were a ‘luxury item’ and people would only own one.

http://waynestelevision13.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/5/6/14563764/3282673_orig.png
http://waynestelevision13.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/5/6/14563764/3282673_orig.png

I immediately chuckled as I’ve grown up with at least 2 or more in the house and had my own TV since I was about 13.

I ask what made her laugh and Nan tells me the story of her Dad, my great grandfather or Poppy as I’ve always known him, would create his own colour TV. I look at my Mum; both of us puzzled, we both look back at Nan and ask to explain.  She reminds us, well me, that TV was only ever in black and white back then. “Poppy would use cellophane over the TV screen for colour, blue cellophane for the sky, green for grass and red for soil or ground”.  Nan recalls it not working very well but it was very amusing. We all laugh as it seemed rather dodgy, though it was inspiring that my Pop was like an innovator of sorts, making TV in colour and not just accepting black and white picture.

My next question to Nan was about the TV viewing habits of the household. She starts by telling me that because TV’s were a ‘luxury item’ not many families owned one. So people would stand outside electronic stores like Harvey Norman and watch the TV’s through the window and there would be a loud speaker so people could hear them. We all found that to be a strange and unusual thing, that you couldn’t imagine people doing today, though it still does if you think of the new iPhone or iWatch.  Their family had one of the first TVs in Port Macquarie and Nan remembers that after school all her and her siblings’ friends would come over and watch TV for hours.

“At least 20 kids would be in the living room until dinnertime” said Nan, “Then after dinner and the kids were gone the family would gather around and continue TV watching”.

“Who was in charge of the remote?” I asked.

“There is no remote Thomas!”
“You had to get up and turn the switch” Nan laughingly said.

https://accordionuprising.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/leave-it-to-beaver-barbara-billingsley-cast-members-show-june-cleaver-passed-away1.png
https://accordionuprising.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/leave-it-to-beaver-barbara-billingsley-cast-members-show-june-cleaver-passed-away1.png

This is a great example of Gen Y person being naive to previous technology. After being rather embarrassed I asked Nan what TV shows she remembers watching. This is quite surprised me. Nan explained that there were a lot of American TV programs. Her favourite shows being the ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’.  “A lot of traditional family TV shows, which focused on the typical nuclear family. These shows were designed to be uplifting and hold traditional family values which people needed after the War.”

We notice that this was sort of the start of ‘Americanisation’ of Australian Culture, which we are so immersed in now and barely take note.  Nan’s biggest highlight was watching the 1956 Melbourne Olympics on TV. The first time anyone had seen the Olympics onscreen. She laughs at the simplicity of the footage as it would be nothing compared to the coverage of today’s standards but back then it was a big thing.

Nan then describes another of her favourite shows ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’. She described it as a British sketch show, where the white people would sing and dance while dressed up in blackface.

I nearly choked on my food. “What?!” I said.

“It was one of the most popular shows of the time” Nan replied.“The family would all sit down and all watch the minstrels”

My Mum and I both cringe and reflect on how inappropriate it would have been. However it gave us a good laugh for the rest of the night, and reminded us at how simple and insensitive television audiences were back then.

TV was primitive was back in the 50’s and audiences were only watching television for the first time.

Intro

Yo!
I’m Thomas Pearson, a second year Communication and media student and ready to get my blog on…quite literally.

I am studying BCM240 this spring as well as two other subjects that require weekly blog posts. This will be quite the test of my time management skills, as I’ve already learnt are not that great. In saying that I will admit the media space around me takes part in that. Like most young people I am on numerous social networking sights like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and obviously WordPress that I’m using now. My friends still hassle me that I’m not using Tumblr or Pinterest yet, but honestly my excuse is I do not have the time to dedicate to more social media sites.

Now that we live in a time where social media is so important and is relied on for contact and staying up to date, we have more power and access to information than ever before, that is for stalking people you used to go to high school with right? … The answer is yes. However I’ve begun to realise that social media can add to extra stress and pressures on social interactions. Like for example, I have this one friend who only uses Facebook messenger to chat to me. Not only was this draining my precious data I started to catch on that it was best to catch me on not replying, using the ‘Seen’ icon. Now everyone is guilty of looking at a message and thinking “Yep” and not replying. Not every useless message needs a response. Its like honestly being stuck with someone by your side 24/7, where if you didn’t respond to them it would be rude or you would appear angry, well it is the same even not in the physical sense.

I find that these days it is very difficult to escape the tech world and media and having people trying to get your attention  all hours of the day wherever you may be e.g. driving, dentists chair, RTA, and work, that’s just a few to name this week already, can change or put pressure on social norms and cause tension within interactions.veepAnyway I don’t mean to rant, I am very much looking forward to studying this subject this semester and learn and laugh a lot along the way.

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