One of the big questions that get raised here is whether mash-ups are “stealing” the work of other artists. I can’t answer that question directly, but let’s get started here with the first episode of of Kirby Ferguson’s brilliant series, Everything is a Remix.
Daily News Controversial Magazine Covers
While many of the classics are here, there are also some great recent choices such as the Rolling Stone cover that featured a glamour shot of the accused Boston Marathon bomber.
Today we have a guest blog post from the UNK forensics coach Aaron Blackman (who is also my Nintendo video game mentor) about a big group of video gamers who are playing and watching a play-through of the old Nintendo game Pokeman Red. Here’s his post:
Something extraordinary is happening on Twitch.tv right now.
An anonymous gamer has modded the original Pokemon Red video game to be played exclusively by the viewers of the stream. By inputting the controller commands to the channel’s chat feature (a, b, left, right, up, down, start, select), the game is played by several people rather than just a single person. As of this writing, there are 75,000 viewers, and potential players of the stream “Twitch Plays Pokemon.”
(Editor’s Note: As of my posting this, there are 73,833 current viewers and a total of 9.49 million total views.)
The commands entered into the chat have a lag of about 20-40 seconds, making the stream equally frustrating and entertaining to watch. Here is the link for the channel itself. The stream is interesting because it successfully combines the popular sport of watching someone play a video game on Twitch.tv, and actual participation in guiding the progress of the game.
The stream has become so popular that individual button inputs have taken a backseat to what has essentially become a hive mind. There are players who want to see progress in the game, and many others “trolling” the game by intentionally blocking progress.
For example, due to an abundance of random button presses, the in-game Pokemon Trainer continually attempted to use a key item in the game, the “Helix Fossil.” This item cannot be used until the end of the game and cannot be discarded. Those watching the channel have essentially made the fossil a deity in the fictional lore of the game. The players do more than simply pray to the “almighty Helix,” they actually assign nicknames to the Pokemon kept in the trainer’s team. The strongest Pokemon, a Pidgeot, is nicknamed “Bird Jesus.” Another Pokemon, Flareon, is nicknamed “False Prophet.” This fascinating piece of fan art showcases this deep religious theme the stream has adopted:
Religious art from the the Twitch.tv play-through of Pokemon Red.
A self-described social experiment, “Twitch Plays Pokemon” is an interesting phenomenon that is certainly rising in popularity. The channel does give some support to the idea that video games can create and foster communities. Will the hive mind be able to finish the game? Only time will tell.
In class today, we’re going to look at this video:
Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches
This video was reportedly viewed more than 114 million times the month it was released (through the many places it was posted) , making it one of the most viral videos ever. In the video, Dove compares how women see themselves vs. how other women see them, seen through the eyes of a police sketch artist who never actually sees the woman.
What was the result of these drawings? Why has this video been so popular? It resonates with women who tend to view themselves negatively
One critic points out: “Out of 6:36 minutes of footage, people of color are onscreen for less than 10 seconds.” (I might want to take a stop watch to it, but it certainly is less than 30 seconds.)
Ann Friedman of New York Magazine points out that this video still holds that one of the most important thing is to be beautiful in our own way. Friedman suggests that the message instead should be: “It should be to get women to do for ourselves what we wish the broader culture would do: judge each other based on intelligence and wit and ethical sensibility, not just our faces and bodies.”
Back in November of 2013, the rumor started circulating that cable giant Comcast was going to try to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC). This was news because Comcast, in addition to owning NBC Universal, is the nation’s largest cable provider and Time Warner Cable is the nation’s second largest.
(Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear. Time Warner Cable is a company that provides cable TV and Internet services to subscribers in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Maine, and Ohio. It is not the general media giant Time Warner that owns the Turner Broadcasting properties and Warner Brothers movie studio. So why the Time Warner in Time Warner Cable? That’s easy. Time Warner the media company owned TWC up until 2009, when it spun off the cable/Internet provider into its own company.)
Then on Thursday, February 13, Comcast announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase TWC for more than $45 billion in stock. If the transaction is approved by the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department, Comcast would have control of the programming going out to as many as 33 million cable subscribers. (Why is that number in doubt? There are roughly 100 million cable subscribers in the US. If Comcast controls more than 30 percent of those subscriptions, it could run into regulatory problems. So if the merger goes through, Comcast is likely to sell off approximately 3 million subscribers to fall below that magical 30 percent figure.)