Archive by Author


7 Nov

Summary: One of the top five, perhaps even top four, rappers and songwriters of all time is Nasis Jones; better known simply as Nas. His song are written to strike a chord with anyone who listens. He does not shy away from controversial topics (No Kanye) or important issues in the world. In 2003 he released a single from his album God’s Son called “I Can” which is a motivational song for urban youth. 

Analysis: Throughout the song Nas reminds children that their individual success is based on staying out of trouble,

i met a woman who was becoming a star, 
she was very beautiful leaving people in awe
singin’ songs lena Horne, but the younger version,
hung wit’ the wrong person, got her stunger than irwin,
cocaine sniffi’n up drugs all in her nose

Drugs and crime are a rampart part of life in the inner city; with teachers not challenging nor encouraging the students in the classroom, the kids are left to believe they are a lost cause and turn to the only option they think they have. The previous excerpt is a reminder that one needs to stay clean and away from bad influences in life. Nas further harks on education with the line “ya thinkin’ life’s all about smokin’ weed and ice, you don’t wanna be my age and can’t read and write.” It may be fun and exciting to do drugs and forget about school when you are young, but it will catch up to you and leave you wishing you had studied more.

The most important part of the song is the chorus. This is not because it holds the most meaningful information, but it is delivered in a way that stays with you. Instead of delivering it himself, it is sung by children in a call and report fashion, encouraging the listener to engage further into the song.

I know i can, 
be what i wanna be,
if i work hard at it, 
i’ll be where i wanna be
i know i can, i know i can
be what i wanna be, be what i wanna be
if i work hard at it, if i work hard at it
i’ll be where i wanna be, i’ll be where i wanna be

Although things may seem bleak, you can make it out of poverty and be “an architect, doctor, maybe an actress,” but you must work at it, nothing will be given.

Another commonly misconceived rapper is Tupac. While he has many meaningful songs, I want to focus on a particular teaching of his: T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. This stands for “The Hate You Give Little Infants, F***s Everybody.” If we as a community do not focus on educating the youth and give them a positive image to model, the cycle of addiction and violence will ever be broken. This is based off social learning theory, where actions are imitated and learn through viewing the actions of others.


Conclusion: Pro-social images and media may not always come in a clean and clear-cut fashion. In order to be effective and retained, the message must be properly tailored to the intended audience. Both Nas and Tupac did a good job at tailoring their message for their listeners.



A Wise Critical Analysis

25 Oct

Going into the the lecture, I knew the vast majority of the attendants would agree with what Tim Wise was going to say. I mean, who isn’t going to say racism is bad, at least out loud. I am one of those people. Wise was an excellent orator and presenter, exhibiting not only great knowledge and passion, but it was all founded in good research. I was most surprised about the salary discrepancy between white males ages 25-29 and black males twice their age. I also was impressed he addressed many counter arguments to his theories, a step commonly missed when presenting an oral thesis. One such was the notion he was doing this as part of a hustle, capitalizing on racial problems just to make a buck. I find it easy to go on about what I agreed with and how noble his cause his, but I’d rather take the other side and point out things I don’t think were completely sound.

The first of which being how he looked down upon people who get jobs based off recommendations; stating they the best and most qualified candidates are overlooked. While this is true, I do not think this is a form of racism, perhaps it is a barrier for other races, but not racism. The company acknowledges, at least JPMorgan Chase, that this method does not yield the absolute best recruits. However, it does yield the recruits with minimal risk. If an employee of many years of quality service puts his/her reputation on the line, chances are that person will be a quality employee too. This is not to say social capital is not exploited, but this instance the intentions are good.

Wise also degrades the “stop-and-frisk” law that is currently being reviewed in New York City. Once again, this law has good and grave intentions. It is not designed to stop crime, or even get illegal things off of the street. This law stemmed from the Supreme Court Case of Terry v. Ohio where an officer was allowed to pat a person down to check for weapons; not to remove them, but to ensure the officers safety. Once again, this can and is abused, but it is a good law to have.

Overall the lecture tied in with class excellently. It touched upon things like Social Identity Theory, where members of various races typically stick with themselves and ultimately identify with that group. He did a great job of addressing dominant ideologies in a way that the masses could understand, most notably in a way that did not come off as preachy, but as challenging ideological analysis questions. Throughout the lecture I took an oppositional interpretive code, just to see if I could find any flaws in what he was saying. Surprisingly, I was unable to find many. Actually, the only flaws I found were primarily superficial research that was not fully understood; not entirely his fault, but he probably lacked education in those areas to comprehend the intended purpose behind things. (The stop and frisk law and recommendations). I greatly enjoyed his lecture and intend on sharing him with members of my social group.

George Lopez

3 Oct

Summary: In this episode of George Lopez, the sitcom, Max (the son) decides he wants to join the equivalent of the Boy Scouts. George, having been in it himself is completely supportive. After a few of the meetings Max comes home spouting off various quips on how “hippies are hugging trees and kissing leaves to stop hard working men from advancing their businesses” and how “foreigners are coming in a taking all of the jobs.” George becomes concerned and offers to have the next meeting at his house so he can witness exactly what Max is learning. During the meeting, the den leader starts talking about how the government is eventually going to come take away everyone’s weapons and that they have to be prepared to fight. He also goes on to mention how the kids need to watch out for people who drive low riding cars that play “carnival” music. George takes offense to this and speaks up, only to have the den leader reply “Oh, George! I’m not talking about you-mexicans, I’m talking about the no-speakies, but if it makes you feel better we can change it to blacks.”

Analysis: Several stereotypes are portrayed during this episode. The blatant ones are: of mexicans being illegal aliens that are here to take jobs away from industrious americans, but refuse to speak english, environmentally aware people as being hippies, and black people being criminals. The one that is more implicit is the den leader, who is a right-wing conservative bigot, that doesn’t trust the government. This is one of the few shows that casts more minorities than caucasians. I find it curious that this show would have one against stereotypes, when a vast majority of the jokes said by George Lopez himself are derogatory to hispanics. However, he does it in a light way where I believe all races can enjoy the joke. George also makes jokes about caucasians and other races, but later in the show they are typically proven incorrect or he gets reprimanded in some way for them. Although it is race heavy in comedy, I think it is one of the better shows in terms of portrayal of middle class families. It shows a second generation immigrant rising through the ranks of an landing gear manufacturing company to managing the entire operation. They struggle with money, as do many Americans, but unlike other shows the families living conditions are within the means of the families salary. 

Conclusion: This show provides a good example of intersectionality because it deals with hispanic minorities across multiple socio-economic statuses and how each one deals with adversity.

Big Buck Theory

23 Sep


Group: The Big Bang Theory on Class Structure


     This episode focused around Leonard accepting a job to do research for Stephen Hawking. His good friend Howard referred him for it, knowing it would fulfill one of Leonard’s career goals. It seems like a perfect opportunity until Sheldon reminds Leonard how great things are going with his girlfriend, Penny. Leonard and her have had an off an on relationship over the years, so he does not want to strain it by going away for 3-4 months. Penny luckily was very supportive and encouraged Leonard to go. The episode ends with her dropping him off at the airport.


     Initially I did not see a class theme in this episode until I remembered a line out of John Lennon’s Working Class Hero, “They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool.” Although not directly nor entirely applicable to this episode, it did trigger a memory response about other episodes and overall themes. The males on the show are all intelligent, successful, and accomplishing what they want in life. Penny, on the other hand, is a struggling actor/waitress from Nebraska that moved to Los Angeles to pursue her life’s goal. As we studied in class, women are often portrayed as inferior to men and the previous statement exemplifies this. The men are put together and advancing in their career fields, but the uneducated woman is stuck working for minimum wage while objectifying her body for a few extra dollars in tips. The two groups are also personifies three Capitalist Ideologies: The American Dream, Rugged Individualism, and Protestant Work Ethic. Penny is the clear cut example of the American Dream because her life goals are to become famous and wealthy. Her pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of things. The men on the other hand, are an example of Rugged Individualism because they know to advance in their careers as researchers, they have to stand out from others. They also have to constantly continue their education in order to discover something new and contribute a unique idea. They know they are solely responsible for themselves. Both Penny and the men show the Protestant Work Ethic by continuously working for what they want and not giving up, even through failures.

     Referring back to the Lennon quote, the upper class can be classified by education and the working class by its lack of. Prior to Penny and Leonard getting together, she dated various guys who may or may not have graduated high school. Leonard and the gang felt superior to them and made rude comments that the dates did not understand; they could not understand how someone could be so stupid, basically despising his existence and worth. Another episode Penny was feeling inferior to Leonard because he was so smart. She did not like the fact they had trouble talking about his job; she wished they were on a closer intelligence level. Since it was impossible for him to lower himself, she decided to enroll in a community college. 


Conclusion: Although not blatant, the Big Bang Theory suggests that being upper class is prefered over the working class.

The Big Bang Theory: Mascuninity

11 Sep


Summary: In this episode of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard feels spited when he has his confidence crushed of dating Penny. While the group (Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, and Penny) is at to the comic book store, the owner, Stuart, candidly draws a bust of Penny. This allows a segway for Stuart to flirt with Penny and obtain her phone number. The two go out on a date, leading Leonard to tell Howard “take me to a place with girls.” They go to a local club along with Raj who is dismissed from the group after ordering a series of drinks deemed inappropriate by Howard. Through many efforts Leonard and Howard were unable to court any ladies, but Raj was shown making out, and later going home with, an overweight woman.

Analysis: When the group first walks into the comic book store everyone in the store turns and stares at Penny, who is an attractive non-nerdy female. They tell her not to worry, “[the other customers] are more afraid of her, than she is of them.” Raj also comments how pathetic the reaction the customers give is, which itself has a dose of irony since he is incapable of talking to girls sober. This primes the main point of this blog. While Leonard, Howard, and Raj are at the bar, Raj attempts to order a series of drinks so he can talk to women. Every drink he ordered is generally considered a ‘chick drink’ or as Howard puts it “a perfectly acceptable drink for a man to order at a bar where no women will ever go,” or in other words, a gay bar. These examples help reinforce the notion of masculinity in media, as well as the ideology of heterosexuality. Raj called out the other customers for not being men, because they gawked at the sight of a women. He further played it up by informing them “Yea, that’s right…she is with us!” in attempt to make himself look more powerful, exactly what an ideology does; even though he goes mute when he hasn’t been drinking around a lady. Howard throws Raj’s lack of masculinity back at him while at the club for ordering a drink that only a women should drink. Howard basically says “since you are not a man, you cannot be associated with me.” This is all in benefit of males who act similarly to Howard, and the demise of males who may enjoy things that are considered feminine. The audience might interpret this as saying males who do not conform to the norms of what a guy should act like, are themselves second rate to masculine males.

Conclusion: This episode suggests that masculine acting males are superior to feminine acting males.