I really enjoyed reading about Brenda Ann Kenneally’s photo’s and the stories they told. At first I kind of passed her off as just attempting to shock people with these photographs and as I went through them they really told a story and did a very good job at showing the dire straights some people live in. I especially enjoyed the story of Andy and appreciated how long she spent on this project. She does a perfect job of showing what growing up in that type of neighborhood can do. As great of a job she did at showing how the neighborhood can pull people in and not allow them to succeed or leave she didn’t do it in a very broad way.
Her photographs, while “Raw” and “Gritty” don’t do much to tell any other story than the one of the streets being a way of life and death. There are many people who have grown up in terrible situations who have continued in school and have made something of themselves. Yes that number may be a smaller percentage but they certainly do exist and aren’t hard to find. There are families living in these sorts of neighborhoods now whose parents aren’t on drugs and teach their children the right way to live who end up doing very well. There are also children whose parents are on drugs who end up not making the same mistakes and taking the same paths to destruction their parents before them took.
When you realize that there is a lot more to these stories than Brenda Ann Kenneally shows you start to see her and her work for what it is: One note. She has mastered that one note but hasn’t taken the time to learn any others to be able to play a full song and that is where she falls short. Yes, gritty, raw pictures taken by an outsider may be edgy and that might be what sells but how about doing something different and also showing the other side of things? Where are the pictures of the success stories to show these young children that they don’t have to go down the same road as all the ones before them?
I think Postman would change his tune if he saw the way the internet and new digital media could be used to tell a story. When you think of digital media in this age you don’t immediately think of all the ways it may be better than what someone could do just with print. Print is good but you can’t print enough and distribute to everywhere that something on the internet can be distributed to. The internet and the media on it can reach places that would otherwise not be reached by regular print. Kenneally does a good job of telling the story with a mix of words and photo’s that wouldn’t have the same effect if either were missing from the other. I think that alone proves that Postman has a flaw in his thoughts towards the new digital age.
I chose Scrutiny as one of the 8 “Norms” that Tapscott wrote about. His version and definition of scrutiny hinged largely on the younger Gen Netters scrutinizing information and being less trusting because they have a more broad sense of the world than his generation does. Our generation is able to get information at the drop of a hat and can usually find out if something is real or fake instantly. He used an example of him attempting to play a joke on his employees on April Fools Day. He had his assistant send out an email that said he would be working with Angelina Jolie and that she wanted to meet his staff. He also stated that she would attend a cocktail party that said staff was invited to. None of his young employees took this information as serious yet the older employees fell for it. I’m not sure if this is the best example as this was sent on April Fools and if an employee isn’t sharp enough to figure out that that is a joke then it may be time to put them out to pasture. He then goes on to use Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” as an example saying that it most likely wouldn’t have the same effect on the public today largely due to the internet and the younger generations skepticism. I would have to agree with this many times over. Something like “War of the Worlds” wouldn’t be able to happen today because we have way too much going on to let that get by and the internet would stop it dead in it’s tracks. I’m sure there would be a few people who would believe it but not the mass following that believed the original. I think Tapscott makes a very valid point and I have to group myself in with that and admit that I am pretty skeptical of everything. I was raised to question everything and work to find my own answers and make sure that they are fact. I also enjoy a broad range of reading materials so that I have some knowledge in most areas which helps me gather at least some Idea of what things may be real or not. I think this generation is better off scrutinizing things. It helps keep most information pure and can limit the amount of false information that spreads as the gospel.
The Author in this piece wrote about wresting and how the story lines in wresting have always gone along with and even to an extent mirrored what was actually happening around us in real life. Chris Hedges does a very good job of showing how wresting has blurred fantasy with reality so closely with their storylines they have been able to draw people in.to what is happening. People will follow these events that happen blindly because they draw from what is actually happening around us and use real events into fooling the viewers into thinking these story lines are actually important. Hedges goes on to say “ The Narratives of emotional wreckage reflected in the wrestlers stage biographies mirror the emotional wreckage of the fans. This is the deep appeal of professional wrestling.”
The Author then goes on to lump in Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey and reality television into the same category as professional wrestling. I can’t say I disagree with this as they are all very similar and try their best to pull us in by trying to relate with us on emotional levels. They do such a good job of it that they all have gained millions of loyal followers who swear by these shows. We grow such deep attachments to storylines because we can vicariously live through the people being portrayed on the screen. You lost your job because of the economy and you can’t really do anything about it? Well there are storylines in wrestling that are quite similar and you can see someone physically assault the people “responsible” for it.
I haven’t personally watches professional wrestling for the last 12 or so years (It has become a soap opera for men) but I can see how others can relate to it. I do however watch a few select reality shows and I understand that the author was more or less saying we use these to mindlessly get away. I get that, but I don’t think there is a whole lot wrong with occasionally watching something purely entertaining that doesn’t require a lot of thought. Our tv watching should be similar to our diets. We can watch good things or things with high nutritional value, but every once in a while you want the cinematic equivalent of ice cream. Yes it’s not good for you if this is all you consume but if it’s done responsibly in small quantities it can be beneficial to us.
I enjoyed this chapter of Hedges book and would like to read the rest of it sometime. I agree with a lot of the broader points he made. In some cases it can border on obsession with certain people. They watch these shows and get addicted to them and sometimes have trouble separating fiction from reality. I’ve had friends who watch wrestling talk about it like event in wrestling like it was really happening and had effect on our real lives. I think reality television and things of that nature are fine but mostly in small dosages. They aren’t something you want to indulge in on a regular basis or something you want to believe too much.