Archive by Author

Yo Gabba Gabba: A Pro-Social Show for Children

14 Nov

Yo Gabba Gabba is an example of a show that is working to promote pro-social ideals to young children. Yo Gabba Gabba is a show created by two dads who felt that there were a lack of children’s shows promoting the values they wanted their kids to see. Yo Gabba Gabba features DJ Lance Rock, the leader of the gang who narrates and moves the story along. When I first saw the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see a black man leading a children’s show, something that is very rare in today’s media. The other characters are magical creatures that live in different worlds and all play and learn to get along together. The characters feature: Muno, a one-eyed male cyclops, Foofa, a female flower character, Brobee, a male green monster, Toodee, a blue female cat-dragon, and Plex, a male yellow robot. The creatures encounter different issues in Gabba Land and work through them together with the assistance of DJ Lance Rock.

In addition, Yo Gabba Gabba features a variety of guest characters. The guest characters are different celebrities and musicians who interact with the characters. One pro-social example in the show portrayed Mos Def who came onto the show as Super Mr. Superhero. Mos Def showed the Gabba characters how to be super, and helped them save an alien who got lost and wandered into Gabba Land. I feel that the children watching the show would  be inspired by seeing Mos Def in a heroic perspective. i feel comfortable showing the show to children, because they learn that anyone can be special. Showing a diverse range of characters gives kids the ability to believe that they can be anyone.

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Thoughts on Tim Wise

23 Oct

There were quite a few surprising moments throughout Tim Wise’s lecture. One thing that I was completely unaware of was the change in perspectives on big government and their role in Americans’ lives. I believed that big government was always opposed by conservatives, for whatever argument they supported at the time. However, I did not realize that big government once served to help the white middle class. In the 1930s, big American government had many programs that helped to create and sustain the middle class. These programs and subsidies served only to benefit white Americans. Whites were very supportive of big government at this time because it supported them, but no one else felt these advantages. As big government changed to include other minorities such as blacks and Latinos, white Americans became angry that the benefits were being spread to include people other than just themselves. Public opinion shifted to a hatred for big government as whites protested that these very same programs that had just assisted them were being taken advantage of by lazy minorities. I never knew that the programs were established originally to benefit only whites, but I was even more surprised to learn that whites are now attempting to cut and eradicate these programs in order to cut down blacks, Latinos, and other minorities. I believe it is entirely selfish to undermine another person’s well-being and success just to enable one’s fears and stereotyped beliefs.

            I don’t believe that there were any aspects of the lecture that I disagreed with. I found everything he presented to be truly insightful and refreshingly honest in a society where race is constantly swept under the rug. If anything, I was disappointed by the comments from the neo-Nazi heckler that started trying to argue with Tim Wise at the very end of the lecture. To be quite honest, I knew that people on the far end of the spectrum like this man existed, but some part of me refused to believe that they really could still be a part of our current-day society. I wish that rather than him being so set in his ways, which were disturbing, the man might have attempted to listen to and absorb some of the things Wise had been talking about. But considering he was on the complete opposite side of the debate on race, it seemed very unlikely that anything productive would come from keeping him in the lecture hall. I hope that more people come to stand against these voices in the future until they are completely taboo from our current society.

            I think there are many different aspects of Wise’s lecture that could be applied to class. The most interesting part that seemed to be a recurring part of his lecture was the systemic whiteness that is currently holding our society back as a whole. I believe that many different issues in America can be tied back to this concept that whites dominate and hold minorities back for whatever reason or excuse is created at the time. I think that by being open and honest in both everyday life and the class about race and whiteness, we can make enormous progress in moving our society forward. Another part that I think stood out to me was that we should play the role of both subjects of critique and critics when it comes to racism. It seems fairly easy to look at other people and analyze their racist behavior, but extremely difficult when looking inward at ourselves. If we can acknowledge our own passive acceptance of white hegemony within our current society and look at ways to change it, I think that we can get to the root of the issues and change the structure of our society for the better.  

Class in Newspaper Articles

23 Sep

Genre: Upper Class

Summary:

I decided to evaluate the article from The New York Times, titled “JPMorgan’s Legal Hurdles Expected to Multiply,” by Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg (the link can be found here: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/jpmorgans-legal-hurdles-expected-to-multiply/?hp&_r=0). In the article, the authors detailed how JPMorgan has come under increased scrutiny and criticism for its suspicious financial dealings in the past. The main controversy as of now centers on JPMorgan’s selling of bad mortgage deals to investors, right before the financial crisis. Federal prosecutors are taking the investigation seriously and plan to charge serious fines to the bank: “the housing agency floated a price tag of about $20 billion for the settlement.” Currently, JPMorgan and authorities are negotiating a settlement, although investigations for other misdeeds are still under way.

Analysis:

This article seems to be framed to favor the average consumer who was affected by the housing and financial crisis; however, the lower, middle and working class is not mentioned throughout the article. Rather, the article focuses on JPMorgan itself and its traders, lawyers, and spokespersons. In a sense, the authors seem amused by the fact that JPMorgan is being held under such a strong spotlight. For example, JPMorgan’s lawyers, as shown by their reaction to the authorities’ estimate of the fine they would have to pay, were not expecting such a hefty fine for selling substandard mortgages: “were stunned by the size of the proposed penalty and expected to pay a fraction of that sum.” I found it interesting that the article seemed to show the arrogance of JPMorgan that they did not expect to actually be penalized for their actions. However, I did notice that the highest in JPMorgan, who most likely played a significant role in these dealings, would not feel any of the punishment for their actions: “No executive was charged in the cases. But the traders, who deny wrongdoing, face both criminal and civil charges.” I think that the writers of the article could have done more to address that the punishment would not be reaching the highest-paid people in JPMorgan. Given that they most likely played a role in these bad mortgage sales, one would think that they should take some of the blame. However, the authors ignore this and focus on the financial punishment upon the company as a whole and a few select traders, who will probably be chosen to serve as scapegoats for the scandal.

Conclusion:

Given that JPMorgan is undergoing a series of multiple investigations, I think that the authors of this article could have dug deeper to find out how this deception occurred, and why the punishment is not reaching everyone in the bank equally. By not pushing the issue, the New York Times does not fully explore the issue and its repercussions for the unmentioned middle, working, and lower classes.

 

Family Guy: An Analysis of “Quagmire’s Dad”

11 Sep

Group: Transgender people

Summary: I watched an episode of Family Guy called “Quagmire’s Dad.” In the episode, Quagmire announces that his father is coming to visit. The rest of gang excitedly anticipates seeing the man who raises such a sexually active and explorative man. Once Quagmire’s dad arrives, they immediately take note of and discuss his seemingly gay mannerisms. Peter and his friends try to tell Quagmire what they have concluded, but Quagmire refuses to believe his father is gay. Quagmire’s dad reveals that he is not gay, but a woman trapped in a man’s body, and plans to have a sex change operation. He undergoes the operation, and emerges as Ida. Later, Ida and Quagmire argue over the changes affecting both of their lives and Ida leaves to stay in a hotel for the night. Brian returns from a conference and sleeps with Ida, unaware of her relation to Quagmire (who strongly dislikes Brian). Brian shares the night he spent with Peter and Lois, who laugh at him; when Stewie tells Brian about Ida, Brian becomes violently ill at the thought of what he had just done. Ida and Quagmire come to terms with each other, but Quagmire becomes angry that Brian had sex with his dad. Quagmire beats up Brian, but Brian gets the last word in the confrontation.

Analysis/Application: Sexuality is a strong topic at play throughout this episode. Quagmire had a reputation for being very promiscuous, which according to the norms of our society, deemed him to be very masculine. Due to this expectation, the viewer was lead to believe that Quagmire’s father would also be extremely masculine and overly sexual. However, the revelation that Quagmire’s dad behaved in a highly stereotyped gay fashion violated the viewer’s schema of how Quagmire’s father would act and appear on the show. This schema was even further violated when Quagmire’s dad explained that he planned to have a sex change operation. At this point, Quagmire said: “Oh, please just be gay.” This implies that according to our society, being transgender is even less accepted by mainstream culture. It gives the  impression that Quagmire’s father has the choice between being gay or transgender, rather than recognizing them as completely different identities and way of expressing one’s sexuality. The audience may respond positively to this portrayal, given that it humors and makes light of the transgender lifestyle. This is further reinforced by when Brian realizes that he had sex with a transgender person. Earlier, he spoke very highly of Ida, speaking to her beauty and intelligence. But when he comes to find that Ida was once a man, he projectile vomits at the very thought for about thirty seconds. Although this is intended for comic relief, it also sends a clear message that transgender people are not accepted by the mainstream culture. Transgender people are considered strange and foreign to the audience and creators of the show.

Conclusion: The episode suggests that transgender people are not accepted by the mainstream culture, and the Western culture confirms that they are not part of the expected norm.