2. Technically speaking, the First Amendment does not protect obscene material, even to this day. However, as a practical matter, it became increasingly difficult throughout the latter half of the 20th Century (some argue it is now nearly impossible) to get any particular expressive act officially ruled as obscene (see Sarracino and Scott, 172 for more detail). What impact has this had on U.S. discourse, and do you think this has ultimately been harmful or beneficial for U.S. culture?
Wiki.answers. com states”obscenity” is not protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment because there’s a problem when defining what is and what is not “obscene.” They mention the Miller Verses California case which stated that the given material should display or describe sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, it has to be described in the law and the content must lack serious value and must appeal to a ” prurient” interest in sex. Sarracino and Scott, 172 which involved Marvin Miller, who was head of California’s largest mail order business which had dealt with sexually explicit material, this included a large production in selling illustrated books which were labeled as “adult” material/ better known as porn (Wikipedia.org). This was justice for the critics of the porn industry. The impact that it’s had is more control over the hardcore porn but still soft porn is still pretty evident. Soft porn came about after the Miller case. Soft porn is socially accepted really, it’s everywhere we see it on reality t.v, music video and magazines. Popular culture has accepted soft porn really. I guess they are arguing that it’s harder to control “obscene” matter because of popular acceptance because it’s so mainstream now. For ex, Kim Kardashian’s sex tape and Paris Hilton’s sex tape. This are popular culture “public figure” icons, (not to me though) but where does the line get crossed now? Kim’s success stems from her sex tape so to me this creates discourse. I believe her sex tape was obscene, it was leaked out somehow and from something that is so frowned upon in the public eye, she turned it into a form of power and success. Many feminists would not agree with this notion, but in popular culture today, it seems that the “obscene” is a marketing success, for example when Paris Hilton was purposely wearing no underwear while wearing dresses and opening her legs in a fashion to expose herself while cameras were snapping away taking pictures.
Discussion this week will take the form of an “all play.” Rather than responding to specific questions, we’ll take a more open-ended approach. Please choose one topic, theme, or argument from this week’s readings that interests you or provoked a reaction and craft your own response to it….
My reflection on the Boyd online reading was pretty dumbfounded. I had no idea how the two social engines MySpace and Facebook which are in fact the two most popular social media sites. I remember when MySpace was the only top social engine, way before Facebook was born. If you think about these two social engines are very much apart of Popular Culture. In fact, they just made a special phone that has the Facebook button located on the bottom of the phone to instantly be connected to the social media site. I also bought an HTC phone from Sprint and it already had the Facebook App already in the phone. You also see major Pop Culture channels such as MTV who promote Facebook. Know thinking of it, I see the little Facebook icon everywhere. I was searching for pictures of this new sporty Volvo and out pops a comment box with my Facebook picture. It was crazy! I do agree with Boyd, I bet about 90% of Americans do have a Facebook, MySpace or even both. I remember that it took me so long to join MySpace when it first came out, I didn’t like the idea of random people finding me, mainly to hook up. It wasn’t promoted like Facebook where it was geared towards getting connected to High School and College classmates. Also, many well known corporations advertise and promote Facebook along with major celebrities. The entire division perspective among the class lines is very evident on Facebook. It seems like Middle to Upper class Americans use Facebook. No one never mentions MySpace anymore and if they do it’s connected as being “ghetto.” That notion ties into the users being below middle class, at least that’s my interpretation from Boyd’s article. This is due to Popular Culture and the influence of the masses to whats is in and what is out. Like record players versus cd players.
Should these Single Ladies get married already? I feel a little in-between. I DON”T like the message or the stereotypical concept of the show or the predictable writing. I DO like that it’s supporting black actors, its a hour long, a change from reality tv, and that it’s somewhat comical. Does it need a make-over? YES.
Yea, I was very excited when the show first aired but … after feeling out the characters, no bueno! The are three beautiful “dumb” acting women which really confuses me. I guess it’s supposed to be like a black sex in the city but I’m starting not to feel it anymore. So the one girl that’s now getting a divorce because she was being a skank is only 25? So how old is Stacy and Lisa supposed to be? Lisa is supposed to be this OG ex video chick and Stacy’s character is just all over the place. I think this show needs a make over, I should be in it!
2. Is there cultural merit to the kind of fan productions described by Jenkins and Lessig, or are they merely derivative works devoid of creativity? What, if anything, do they provide to the public discourse?
I agree with Jenkins on this one! The concept of that of “changing/conforming” works of art produced by mass consumers are indeed, very hard to distinguish from their original works but also forms of art as well. “Fans are the most active segment of the media audience” indeed… I do see today’s generation embracing this concept, look at Lady Gaga or Theophilus London.
In thinking about this question, I was thinking of on of my all time favorite groups, Rage Against Machine.As already shown in the readings, political ideas and institutions materially affect the ideology, character and thus content of popular culture, which is manifested through censorship and propaganda. These factors then determine what kind of culture produced, based on the rules of populism. Street comments that, as regards the rules of populism, ‘the only test of cultural merit is to be found at the box office, in the ratings or in the charts.’ Therefore, the only way for Rage Against The Machine to have complete autonomy over the presentation of their dissenting ideologies is to remove themselves from popular culture. They are no longer subject to censorship and regulation, and can therefore attack hegemonic institutions in detailed ways which were not previously able to do. Free from the constraints of a “soundbite culture”, identity creation and censorship, they are able to engage in detailed or lengthy expositions that the form and character of popular culture does not always allow for.
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