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Zach’s News

1. State of the Union Obama announced that he would be giving tax cuts. Most of these cuts would effect the middle class if they are passed. It is thought that the changes will be hard to get through the Republicans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/us/president-obama-will-seek-to-reduce-taxes-for-middle-class.html?_r=0

2. This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. The biggest story of the week is the fact that that the Patriots deflated the balls prior to kick off. It is unknown if this was done on purpose or not.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/01/23/deflate-gate-science-underinflated-footballs/

3. Yemen is the home to the terrorist group al Qaeda. They have been said to have a hand in the attacks in Paris recently. They have also had several failed attempts to attack the United States.

http://nypost.com/2015/01/24/why-the-crisis-in-yemen-matters-to-americans/

4. The NYC major Bill de Blasio tells NYC residents to prepare for the worst. They have predicted up to 30 inches of snow and have a server weather watch. Also expect strong winds. This storm may be the worst in history.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Massive-Snow-Storm-Heads-for-Tri-State-289715261.html

Directed Advertising

Similar to the Big Sort article I would like to further discuss directed advertising and how that affects us. Directed advertising is ads that are specifically placed on our screens because of how we have used the internet previously. Before this class and this article I did not realize that when me and a friend from a different area and have different interests type the same thing into Google that we get two different results. I am extremely impressed with the technology that this must require but do not like the idea. I believe that these algorithms should be focused on providing everyone with the best and most accurate information possible rather than targeting audiences. To me this seems like an uneven playing field, we are not all able to access the same information with the same ease. The directed advertising is totally different in my mind though. For companies to get to profile their customers or potential customers and advertise base upon other interests that their customers most likely have is awesome for business. A make-up commercial is absolutely useless to me and a waste of money. But sports and things that I am interested in on my page will have me looking for more. To summarize I believe that using search history and other information to create this algorithm is fine while trying to advertise. This will have companies more willing to put their adds online which is a great money maker for cites. But I feel that Google and other search engines should not be guessing on what we are looking for according to past searches. This directs people to be single minded and not well rounded.

Media Pressure on Athletes

The pressures that Professional Athletes face is incredible. They are some of the most well known people in society and have to deal with all the pressure that goes along with that easy recognition. There are networks that cover each of the big 4 sports and are talking about players 24/7, both negative and positive. When a player makes a good play everyone sees it, but when a player messes up on or off the field everyone see that too. They are constantly being analyzed on every little detail by the press. After every game reporters jump into the athletes face to ask penetrating questions. Some athletes take this well, love the attention, improve because of the pressure. But for every successful athlete there are several more that could not handle the pressure. Quarterbacks are constantly taken 1st overall in the NFL draft, many think it is the most important position on the field. They are normally in their early 20’s and not ready for what will happen next. They come out of college being the most important person in an organization, this would be like starting a business major as the CEO of a company and expecting it to go well. Whole cities poor their hope into one man and it often proves to be too much pressure. Sometimes players do not work out because they do not have the talent or intelligence to make good plays at the professional level, but more times then not players are so scrutinized that they lose all confidence that they had as a player because after a Quarterback has a bad game it is talked about and shown to the public on just how bad they played.

Our society puts a great importance on sports, therefore people want to know what is going on and have as much information about their favorite team as possible. And athletes are paid some much money because of all the interest surrounding them but I am sure they would take a small decrease in pay to be able to just play the game they love and have fun rather then it be treated as such a cut throat business.

Colbert Nation

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This image is of Stephen Colbert. Or, rather, it is of his postmodernist personality – I have chosen this picture, in fact, because I believe Colbert illustrates the idea of the postmodernist personality. The concept of this postmodernist personality, at least as I’ve come to understand it, relies mostly on circumstance. At all times, we are capable of enacting a multitude of different personalities based on our context. In this sense, the postmodernist personality is a performance, one that is primarily dependent upon external forces. Thus, we have no individual personality, but are composed of many different personas, all of which comprise what we would normally consider to be the individual personality.

This seems to certainly be the case with Colbert. One of his personalities is a reimagining of a politically conservative pundit, such as Bill O’Reilly. Thus, his TV show personality is entirely a performance, one that relies on the context of the show. He is playing this role, despite his tremendously left leaning tendencies in “real life.” Colbert seems to be a particularly noteworthy example of this postmodernist personality because many are unsure of the genuineness of the pundit character he plays, exemplifying the performative nature of the postmodern personality. It is constantly in flux, and never wholly one thing or the other; it is constantly a mixture of many different personalities, and responses derived from an external context. 

Michael Jackson, 1992 by Jean-Claude Deutsch

Michael Jackson, 1992 by Jean-Claude Deutsch

I found this photo that I have seen a numerous times on an old facebook post one of my friends made. This is a photo of Michael Jackson in 1992 in Libreville Gabon. This is around the time of his Dangerous World Tour. I like this pic because getting on top of the car or busting through the sunroof to acknowledge fans was a common Michael Jackson move, but now the fan base is seemingly all old, high class, African men. Not a women in sight. It is interesting to see that the only people who had a chance to see Michael, or get close to his car, were middle aged men in business attire. Some people are trying to touch him with their finger tips and it looks like some are even trying to make contact with the hand making the peace sign. The two men in the back give it a political type feel because they make me think of secret service agents watching over an important person. This photo reminds me of the egalitarian values that he emphasized us to embrace during his life, which is why I like this photo.

La Grande Odalisque remake

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Searching around the internet and came across this image. It is a clear appropriation of the Orentialism painting La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1814. An Odalisque is a female slave who acted as a chamber maid to the harem of the sultan, who hopes to become a concubine. The Odalisque was the lowest in the Turkish hierarchy, and the most subjugated. This painting draws off that idea as this woman looks like an old prostitute, that hasn’t gotten many breaks in life. There are subtle differences between the two paintings though. This woman is more emaciated, whereas the woman in the Dominique painting is fuller, healthier looking. Emphasis is placed on the beauty of the Odalisque’s long back arch, almost to the point where it looks too long for human proportion. The woman in this picture has an almost grotesque back with the entire vertebrate visible, and her bony arm is what seems to be out of proportion, extending down to the ankle. The background in this picture is very minimalistic where La Grande Odalisque has lavish garments and silks. These differences may be meant to show the societal disjunction between prostitutes in the East Orient and the Western world, where prostitutes are more accepted.  

Blind Spot Troubles?

Blind Spot Troubles?

I was interested in the Mercedes Benz advertisement we analyzed in class and I did some googling into more Mercedes Benz commercials. This particular advertisement intrigued me because it was an illusion that served their purpose perfectly. It is so ingenious but so simple at the same time. It is saying the driver of a Mercedes Benz with “blind spot assistance” can look to the side without actually looking, like the illusion displays. The target audience for this advertisement would be older adults that have trouble turning their body to look to their blind spot or adults with children and need the extra assistance. The denotative meaning of this advertisement is that Mercedes Benz is now offering blind spot assistance. The connotative meaning of this advertisement is, if you are having trouble turning to your blind spot or have a rowdy family and need that extra help Mercedes Benz can help you.