Talk to Me

BCM310, Uncategorized

Humans are human and animals are animals, right? In our day to day rituals we have no hesitation stepping on bugs or eating a beefy hamburger. We as human are the superior and animals are merely the creatures that fulfil our lives, whether it be in the way of food or entertainment or putting them to work, like a sniffer dog. However, the world of humans and animals can become intertwined, the way in which we see our animal’s changes and they begin to appear with human like qualities.

We call this anthropomorphism. The term ‘Anthro’ derives from Greek origin meaning ‘human’. The animals are given these human like qualities by us, the humans ourselves, to allow us to better understand, communicate and form emotional bonds with animals.

Giving animals personality traits like our own helps stimulate a reaction from within us so we can better engage with the animal and form a deeper connection. To form a connection with any other person we need to be able to communicate with them, so it’s obvious that we give animals voices so they can communicate back to us.

article-2339722-1a439a34000005dc-606_634x831If you’d ever seen any Disney movie surely you would have seen this in action. Disney has made countless tales that feature an anthropomorphised character. Disney utilises the imagination to transport the audience to a world where animals are just like humans. They have the same emotions, the same struggles and same dreams and desires. The animal characters can completely replace the need for humans all together in some stories. For example, The Lion King is a retelling story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, though uses lions who are the king of the jungle as the central characters.

However, in the anthropomorphised world there is quite often a somewhat realisation or awareness that the humans are the ones to be feared. In Disney films the animal characters are the ones often we relate or empathize with the most and our emotional bond is strongest with and the humans are the monsters or evil that we are against.

Finding Nemo, the popular Disney movie focuses on a father and son fish relationship, like a single parent family. The story begins with very humanlike rituals such as first day of school and swimming lessons, even though they are fish and already swimming? Human children relate to this so it isn’t questioned in the film. Nemo gets lost while swimming and captured by a scuba diver and taken back to his aquarium. It is immediately known that the human is the evil, the ominous tone and its large daunting appearance transform the human into the villain. Nemo is kept hostage in the aquarium fish tank and his experience is shown to be unpleasant and frightening. The theme of being taken away and captured by someone is a frightening thought to most of us, however it being extremely common in real life we often don’t give it a second thought, like when we go and choose a new pet and drag it away from its mother.tvlyyti

Although the fish and humans both speak English in the film they cannot communicate, emphasising the real-life relationship between animals and humans where there isn’t verbal communication. There is often a theme to the anthropomorphised characters of these movies that they are not understood by humans and that humans often do not take the time to understand the animals.

Humans are social beings and require emotions and feelings in their interpretation of communication. We target animals for anthropomorphising as they are most similar to us, as they do action and we can gather some form of response, e.g. a cat sits in front of bowl signalling it’s hungry or a dog barking signalling play time and through film techniques like animation we can transform our animals into very human like characters and can communicate to the audience with these personality traits and allow us to understand and form emotional bonds.

 

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The Struggle is Real

BCM310, Uncategorized

The pain of struggle can be very different for everyone, whether it be psychological, emotional or physical. To go through struggle or see someone we care about go through a crisis of struggle can be painful. We often try to cover our own struggle with laughter, it can be easier to laugh off falling over rather than focusing on the pain and embarrassment. A sense of humour allows us to cope with to pretend that we are not bothered by struggle. However, we as humans are not always as empathetic as we seem. If we were to witness another falling over, often our knee-jerk reaction is to laugh before we our assistance. Why do we enjoy watching others struggle? A complex question as human beings are quite complex themselves. A term used to describe enjoying another’s pain or struggle is schadenfreude.

To feed our appetite of watching suffering, our media has seemed to have the answer for this and we simply call it, reality television. cropped-reality-banner

Reality TV is the mostly non-scripted capturing of everyday people in unique situations. Everyday people trying to earn recognition or redemption. Reality TV formats often use competitions in hopes to win a prize. The early 2000’s is where we saw a real boom in our reality TV consumption. The TV program big brother solely focused on a group of large personality strangers being held in some would call captivity with no contact to the outside world. This kind of isolation from the real world leads to chaotic behaviour from the housemates and induces conflict between them, all to the enjoyment of the audience watching. The show is designed to test them to their limits and while they have nothing to but dwell on their emotions, the meltdowns begin to appear. These types of reality show commonly have a ‘diary room’ or some form of private space. A safe place for the contestants to spill out their deepest thoughts, however this acts as a portal for the audience to get an insight of how they are suffering.  The question of empathy is often raised with watching and creating these reality shows. Is it a reflection of how morally depraved we are?

Dr. Bruce Weinstein, who writes an ethics column for Bloomberg, says “if people didn’t want to invade people’s privacy, nobody would watch these shows.”

The key element for most reality shows is survival.  Survival is that state of existing and struggling through times of difficulty. The show ‘Survivor’ literally depicts this, hence the name, of people competing in physically enduring challenges with little or no food, eliminating each other off in hopes to be the final survivor and be rewarded for their suffering.

The recent hit show ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ in Australia has been a ratings success mainly to the fact that audiences enjoy watching the suffering. The suffering of these, well D grade celebrities give us a sense of power to watch these people who live privileged lives endure absolute torture. The suffering in this show isn’t what you’d usually expect in daily life, such as being trapped in a water tank with snakes and crocodiles or having to each an animal testicle of some sort. It is totally degrading but we love it. It gives the viewer a sense of pleasure and to the sufferer a sense of redemption that now they been suffered as we feel we do every day in our lives from minuscule things they’ve now earned our empathy.

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The idea to take away from suffering, even in the form of reality shows is that suffering provides character growth and that growth ensures our survival until the next suffering.

 

Virtually Obsessed

BCM310, Uncategorized

The self, one’s own persona and identity of who we are in the world, portraying an image of how we want to be perceived in society. This however, has become increasing different in recent years due to the rise of social media. Social media, is the network of online communicate we have with the online world and simply we just know them as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and well the list goes on. The actual self (flesh and blood) must now co-exist with its virtual self. The virtual self can be described as ‘digital’ representation of our ‘analogue’ selves in a digital environment i.e. internet. Our virtual self or online self is a carefully crafted and thought out representation of the person we believe to be or who we want other to believe we are.selfie-collage-transparent

We construct our virtual selves with well thought out captions and perfectly edited photos depicting a life that we lead, often that isn’t 100% real. The questions and concerns that arise here are largely based on is our virtual self our true self? Is our virtual self a form of branding ourselves or a form of narcissism? Are we just totally obsessed with ourselves?

One key feature of online presence in a social media world is the selfie. Haven’t we all been guilty of taking a selfie or participating in some form of group selfie? The first selfie originated in 1839 by Robert Cornelius as a self-portrait in early photography experimentation and now in 2017 has become a staple of one’s online profile, with approximately 93 million selfies uploaded each day. Selfies can be taken at any time and moment, in front of landmarks, at social events and even from events such as funerals all the way to tragedies. A recent example of this taking place was from the Westminster Bridge terror attack in London that saw a man taking a selfie at the scene. The online reaction from this was not at all positive being labelled ‘disgusting idiot’ to ‘worst human ever’. The reaction to this man’s selfie emphasises the blurred lines that is our actual self and our virtual self. He was not the only spectator at the Westminster scene to see the tragedy and the extensive media coverage there to witness also, it is not till he takes the action of self-documenting himself at this location where it seems a moral panic has unleashed.

The ‘Moral Panic’ theory from Stanley Cohen, is the perceived public fear of something that threatens societies morals. In this case society had unapproved of this action. So how does taking this selfie at this scene really differ from just being at the scene?

The selfie being a form of expression and allowing us to self document our lives has also been a way to brand and market ourselves. Apart from our actual selves with limited range of audience our virtual selves allow us to be our own brand. The example of this would be Kylie Jenner. Kylie has embraced the selfie more than any other celebrity and turned herself into one of the most followed and wealthiest celebrities on Instagram. In 2016, she earned more than $18 million, 20% of which came from Instagram endorsements, only increasing the popular rise of the micro-celebrity, though not always being paid financially but rather being paid with amounts of followers, shares and ‘likes’.31766bfe00000578-3460388-image-m-13_1456243328960

There are endless possibilities that our virtual self can benefit our actual self. We use our virtual identities to document our lives and a form of self branding and promotion. The selfie phenomenon has helped launch this, however has also stirred up a ‘moral panic’ in which we are becoming somewhat obsessed and seeking validation from others. The selfie however is a form of expression and does it really do any harm? It looks as though it’s here to stay and continue to be a tool to further construct our online selves.