Free Finals Essay Sample
1. Stuart Hall's essay on media events in the late '70s and early '80s uses the terms "overt racism" and "inferential racism" as a way to organize his discussion of media representations. Overt racism refers to open and unhidden acts of violence towards a particular group because they belong to a certain race. Overt racism often targets small groups in society and may even involve violence instigated by international groups and the acts of violence go unquestioned. Inferential racism on the other hand refers to .communication of negative messages especially by the media that cause the society to form a certain outlook or perspective towards certain races. These messages are always in direct but can easily be construed as depicting a certain race as inferior. These two terms, overt racism and inferential racism relate to each other in that they are means through which discrimination against a certain race is propagated. The media also plays a great part in both forms of racism in that, in the overt racism it fails to communicate the ills being perpetrated against a certain group of people while in the inferential racism it communicates messages that cause certain communities to be discriminated against. These terms - overt racism and inferential racism - and the concepts they represent can be used to analyze the historical events depicted in Zia's essay describing events in 1982. In Zia's essays, the Asian community faces a kind of discrimination that is being dished upon them openly by international races. Everybody blames the Japanese for the economic crisis caused by high prices of fuel leading to the laying off of many employees. The Japanese are blamed even when they have nothing to do with the change in prices and all they have done is take advantage of the situation by manufacturing cars that do not require a lot of fuel. The media plays a part in this kind of overt racism because it does not play its watchdog role in society. It takes part also in inferential racism because it depicts Asians as belonging to an inferior race. This essay is similar to that of Stuart because it depicts the hardships that a small community has to face against the big races.
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2. Class readings by Donna Haraway (1985) and Martin Heidegger (1954) present visions of possible functions of technology and technology's implications for/ impacts on human social lives. Heidegger depicts technology as a means to an end. He insists that technology is designed by humans because a certain end needs to be achieved and if technology as a means is utilized to its best ability then the best results will finally be achieved. He then argues that if the technology is not utilized to the maximum then the intended end will not be achieved by it.
Haraway on the other hand states that human beings have so much incorporated the idea of technology into their daily lives and everyday actions that their lives and they themselves have even turned into cyborgs. Cyborgs as she defines it as a hybrid that results after the union between a machine and an organism. According to Haraway technology is so much a part of our lives that even human beings have turned into machines because they work like them. In her work Haraway tries to urge human beings that if technology is going to be such a large part of their lives then they should make the best of it to ensure they get the best results.
In these two class readings, both Haraway and Heidegger see technology as a big part of the lives of the human beings. Heidegger defines it as a means to an end while Haraway sees it as a complete and totally necessary part of the postmodern human being.
I agree more with Heidegger point of view because I feel that while we may have gotten to an era where technology is really important in our daily lives, we have really not made it such a part of us that we cannot survive without it. As a result technology is just a means we use to achieve certain ends and even when such taken is taken away we can still figure out a way to achieve those ends. This contradicts Haraway's argument that technology is really such a big deal in the lives of human beings that they have turned into cyborgs. As a result of this I find Heidegger's piece much more compelling.
3. As far as the methodologies outlined by Zia and DJ Spooky in their readings with respect to the question of representation, there are very many differences in the works of both scholars. For example Zia proposes representation of the minority to such an extent where they do not suffer harm while people turn a blind eye. Zia faces his argument on the fact that, had the Japanese has a group to play a watchdog role, they may have been able to protest against the perpetrators of the social evil of overt racism against them. Zia continues to add that the Asians knew that they could not walk into the streets and protest because they were such a small group compared to the world that had united against them but the case would have been different - they would have demonstrated had they had a support system. Zia feels that the Japanese were disorganized and thus proposes that for the survival of such a small group unity and order is paramount. DJ Spooky on the other hand advocates that the ideas of originality, authenticity, contemplation, and genius be replaced with the affirmation of appropriation, collaboration, ephemerality, and shock. Although this system may have its adverse effects on society like the likelihood for most institutions in society to lose their authenticity, his argument might be what works because getting rid of the individual identity and adopting a social and united identity ensures that the aspect of the strength that numbers provide is well taken care of. Although groups need to be organized, when it comes to the issue of facing certain issues in society, forming a group and forging a common ground is what is more likely to work. According to DJ Spooky, instead of being represented by a small group in society that is just a faction taken out or separated from the entire community, leadership and representation should either involve a larger group of people or the representative be divided in such a way that every person in society gets to play a representative role in one way or the other.
4. Walter Benjamin and DJ Spooky offer an aesthetic based on the rejection of ideas of originality, authenticity, contemplation, and genius and the affirmation of appropriation, collaboration, ephemerality, and shock. This affirmation leans towards a promotion of the technological reproduction or artistic work.
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In this move from the first aesthetic attitude of originality, authenticity, contemplation and genius to the second aesthetic attitude of appropriation, collaboration, ephemerality and shock a few things are gained while a few are lost. Some of the gains include the fact that the artists will benefit as far as disseminating their art work is concerned. This is because the second attitude provides for an option where an artist can produce an original piece of work and then reproduce it enabling him to widen his profit margin.
However the unique existence of a work of art is lost in the appropriation, collaboration, ephemerality and shock aesthetic attitude. This is because one of the things that make art valuable is the fact that it is the original piece, painted in a certain place by a painter who did no other similar piece. The process of reproduction and replication however takes away this. This point can however come out as an advantage when the art of photography is considered. In photography, reproduction of an original can help bring out features that the human eye may not have captured but the lens did. In such a case, technology can be used to enlarge certain aspects in the photograph changes the focus in the photograph altogether. However, whether an artwork is made better or not in its reproduction, the fact still remains that its authenticity is lost in this process.
Another thing that may be lost in the reproduction is the time in which the work was done or the age if represents. A reproduction will always be fresh when it is reproduced. This is different for an original as the piece can easily be examined scientifically to determine when it was done.