Banning Books

When I was younger I never knew that things like “banned books” existed. Maybe it was because I wasn’t that much into reading then. Or maybe it was because the books were in fact banned and I wasn’t supposed to learn about them. It wasn’t until I was in 10th grade and I walked by the school library that I saw a poster that read “BANNED BOOKS” in curved black letters with several pictures of book covers hanging below it. Banned books? How is that possible? Can people really ban books? I was surprised to say the least.

An article from CNN.com caught my attention as I began my research to learn about banned books. The first thing they mention was how Captain Underpants now tops the banned books listed. I never read the series but I have heard of it. The article goes on to talk about how in 1982 an association set up a week in September that honors the freedom to read, almost in protest to the fact that books are banned. The top reasons for a book being “banned” is because of its sexual content or offensive/violent actions and language. Most complaints come from parents and are aimed towards schools and public libraries. The writer of the article went on to explain how a book makes its way to the banned books. One person makes a complaint, another hears of it, makes their own complaint, and so on. Eventually so many have complained that schools and libraries have no choice but to take the books off their shelves. The writer also talked to two authors who topped the banned book list in 2012. What I liked most about this article was that it looked to the authors for their opinions on their books being banned. It shows how they feel and what they are doing differently. Surprisingly, most aren’t doing anything different. Justin Richardson, author of “And Tango Makes Three”, says that he was writing his books for a specific audience. If you didn’t like his children’s book that follows the tale of two male penguins creating a family, then the story wasn’t for you. All though the article was short it gave us a look at a couple different point of views on the topic of banned books, and informed readers of how big the deal of banned books has gotten.

How does one go about banning a book? Well it isn’t any easy process. Most complaints usually come from parents and then those parents have to go to their local, or school, library and put in a request for the removal of a book. WFMY News 2 of North Carolina went into more detail of the exact process for “banning” a book. Every library in the country should have a “request” form when people can request a book or even request the removal of a book. The request is then taken into consideration with a library and citizens committee, although the library director is the one with the final say. Often libraries will deny the request for the removal of a book. Libraries are strongly about being able to express freedom and allowing their readers to pick and choose what they can and cannot handle. The article expressed that the system is almost the same for public schools. A person can request a removal and a committee of the library staff, other students, and other parents will review the request. The school board makes the final decision.

Having articles like the above two gives readers a little more insight on the process that comes with banning books. It isn’t an easy and quick process, and although many books do get banned several are saved and kept on the shelves. Having these stories available to the public eye allows readers, and even nonreaders, to know what is happening in their book world. It tells us, including me, how important book banning is and what it happens.
The third website I used to gain my knowledge and understanding of banned books was the American Library Association’s website, ALA.org. The ALA is the biggest association who deals with banned books. They are the creators of “Banned Book Week” which usually falls in late September and has been around for more than 30 years. They take this week to really promote those books that have been banned over time. The ALA’s opening statement for banned books is that they “promote the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular…” ALA also goes on to tell about the difference between challenged and banned books. I didn’t know there was a difference until recently. A challenge is said to be an attempt at removing certain books based on a person, or even a group’s, objection. A banning is the removal of that material. The largest reasons for books being banned or challenged is because of the sexual content or offensive language found in the story. Some believe that by banning a book others are pushing our right as stated by the First Amendment. Allowing one person to remove a book from libraries takes the opportunity away from other people to enjoy that book. One person might find the book offensive but there are always plenty of people around who can handle the content. One of the ALA’s main projects is to support local libraries and school libraries across the country during the time of a book challenging. They strongly believe in protecting one’s right to read a book while not going against one’s right to vote away a book. They just believe a book should never banned based on one person/groups opinion.

I think having an organization like this is incredible. I agree with all of their points and wish that book banning didn’t exist. Books are amazing work of art and everybody handles them differently. Having an organization like this allows people to come together and learn about what is happening in the little corners of our world. It allows us all to go to one set site and learn as much as possible when it comes to banning or challenging one of our beloved books.

The three sources I used were alike by providing new information. The articles were not repeats and each explored a new topic. When I was researching I worked through a few other articles and noticed the same thing. The topic of banning books comes with several different opinions and it was hard to find ones that agreed, which is good. Anybody who reads these articles will be able to learn different points of views and all aspects of book banning.

All of this information and these websites matter because it informs people of things they may not have knew existed. I was able to learn about the process of banning books, why it happens, and what some authors do when their books become banned. Knowing this information can give people an insight on the books that are read in the school systems and why those are the choices. These articles had a lot of good information and could inform anybody in just a few minutes.

I strongly suggest everybody talking a look at ALA website and browse all the organizations that are connected to them. They have several different divisions and committees that people can look through and learn about. I do believe it is even possible to join the ALA group and put your opinion out there. No book should be banned and no one person should be able to ban a book.

On a personal note I find the idea of book banning insane. I feel like it is one of those things that should be a personal decision and not made by someone else. If one person doesn’t like a book then they should state their opinion and never read the book again, they shouldn’t make it so that nobody else can stop by their local library and read it themselves. I was very pleased with the information I learned during my research and I feel like these websites have encouraged me to research more.

I don’t know about anybody else but knowing that a book is “banned”, even if it is just in libraries, makes me want to read the books even more.

What do advertisements say about who we are?

Commercials are one of the most loved and hated things that come with our growing media. Commercials are on the TV, the radio, and even the internet. Commercials are one of the biggest forms of advertisement, and are made for everything. There are commercials aimed toward pet owners, children, car owners, the elderly, the single, the married, and so on. They seem to never end. Each advertisement says something different, and many of them say something about who we are. I chose to evaluate a “Lazy Phone Ad” by Motorola. Like Allstate and Geico, Motorola has created several different versions of the “Lazy Phone Ad”. The one I chose starts with a man named Jared driving through the middle of nowhere and notices that he needs gas. He reaches over and tries to unlock his “phone”, which is being portrayed by a human. He asks for the nearest gas station and the phone barely reacts by mumbling about needing to be more comfortable. The phone slides into the backseat causing Jared to reach back for his “phone”. He takes his eyes off the road and almost gets in an accident. To avoid running head first into a semi-truck he serves off and runs into a nearby lake.

When I watch this commercial I think of many different things. First, I examine the humor of the advertisement. The person they have playing the phone has some good comebacks that make me smile, if not laugh. I think Motorola adds the humor to help catch, and keep, the attention of viewers. Something I also realized while watching this commercial, and the others like it, is that we are technology driven. We count on our phones for everything. We expect it react in a certain way and to get us where we need to go. Sometimes our phones can fail, like in the commercial. Jared asks for the nearest gas station and the phone thinks he is asking for something with glass. This leads to show that the technology we so love and trust may not always be there for us. Just like so many other things, technology can fail at certain times and they can cause some serious damage. Jared, who is so worried about his phone not following his directions, almost lost control of his car and caused an accident. This also shows how technology driven we are. We will do anything to make sure our phones are close. Having such advanced technology makes us believe we can multi task, which can end up being dangerous. The ending point of this commercial is to advertise the newest Moto X phone which has a “hands-free” feature. Our use and creation of technology is growing every day, and is trying to lead us into a less dangerous direction.

I think this commercial, and the ones like it, are so successful because they add some humor to each one. When we find something funny we usually want to stick around and see the end result. Another reason why these commercials keep growing is because the company is relating the plots to real life situations. We like to see this because we feel the ending product might really be able to help improve our daily lives. While I don’t like seeing the dangerous side of things, like taking your eyes of the road to grab your phone, being advertised, I do like the ending. We are being showed the latest creation and how it can be very useful to us. Many people will find this “hands-free” deal amazing and more people are likely to then buy the phone, which is Motorola’s whole purpose.

AGx

Code of Ethics

Recently The Denver Post, posted an article about a man who changed the wording of his interview with Governor Hickenlooper. The article, Hickenlooper Admits: Amendment 66 Money Can Go To PERA is said to be wrong right off the bat. The Denver Post reports that Governor Hickenlooper never said the statement listed in the title. The executive director of Secure PERA, Lynea Hansen, states that “…the opposition read into a comment by our governor to make it say what they wanted it to say…” This being true says that Denver Republican Joshua Sharf, missuses the “Seek Truth and Report It” portion of the Code of Ethics. He violates point one, which reads “Test the accuracy of the information from all sources…” and “Deliberate distortion is never permissible.” (pg426 If you want to report information, you should report it with accuracy. Interviewing a person and then changing what they say isn’t going to get you anywhere, because that person is going know whether they said those words or not. If you have something to say, say it right. A journalist should know that inaccurate information is going to be looked down upon and most often ignored.

Taking on different part of the Code of Ethics, The New York Times uses a good sense of minimizing harm when reporting of the 5 family members that passed away in a rock slide in Colorado. They followed the first point, “Show compassion for those who may be affected…” and “Use special sensitivity….” (p426) well. They only quoted people that spoke highly of the family, and they kept the details light. They didn’t go into horrible detail of the family deaths, and they kept the use of the minor’s role limited. The whole article gave off a feeling of sympathy. Instead of making readers sad or horrified, it gave a nice look into the family before the tragedy happened. The New York Times was sensitive and didn’t post more than one small picture, which followed the code of not letting picture headlines mislead the readers. Overall their information seemed accurate and sympathetic. Their report wasn’t disorientated and avoided conflict.

Sources:

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24357552/colorados-amendment-66-ignites-battle-over-pera-pension

http://www.jsharf.com/view/?p=2704

Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin, and Bettina Fabos. Media & Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2013. 8th Edition.

Books! Are we losing publishers?

Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future” by Evan Hughes, is a Wired article that talks about the changes that have come to book publishing. With the new creation of digital books on special readers for them, publishing houses are struggling to keep a head of them. The pros and cons between printed books and digital books are becoming a very popular topic in our time. While digital books are ecofriendly and quite a bit cheaper, they are only available as long as we have electricity. Printed books, which can damage our environment and come with many costs are able to be around for much longer than any digital product. I believe this article was created so we could a deep looker at just how different the two trends are.

When reading this article a pattern that was easily noticeable was about money. It seems as though the biggest concern is about how is making/losing the most amount of money because of the new digital e-books. Publishing houses are worried that their editing, binding, and printing costs are losing them business because editing is the main cost of going digital. Printing books can be so expensive that publishing houses have to up the cost of the finished products, and because they don’t have to be printed to be digital more people are finding them to be cheaper online. Another trend is the e-book itself. A good amount of the reading community has switched over to e-readers. The paper free, easily packable, and constant recommendations help make the e-reader worth it, and more and more people are discovering that fact. Personally, I won’t ever get over owning an actual book, no matter how expensive and unsafe for the world they are.

Thinking about what I would like to more about, I realized I would like to know just how many people prefer e-books over actual books. Are books ever so important that they refuse to be bought digitally? Or are they so unimportant that they don’t mind either way? Also how does going digital effect specifically the paper companies? How much do they lose? How much adjusting has to come with each new digital creation? What do we lose and what do we gain by going digital? One last thing I would like to know is the difference in cost to make paper books against digital books, and what is the difference in revenue between the two choices?

This article is important because it shows us how much our reading world is changing. We are able to learn what is happening and just far it could go. We are told what could happen if we continue to follow this trend and the effects it could have on readers, writers, and publishers. Who knows, the effect of going digitally could end up being fantastic, or it could be damaging, either way we need to know. This article helps get our minds flowing and thinking about our reading future.

In order for us to participate in this discussion and learn more about the cause and effects we have to get more into reading. So many people don’t care not only about reading but about how they read the information. We need to decide how and where we are going to read. We have to decide what we are going to read. We should also decide which form of reading we learn the best from, and the form that fits who we are the most. It is all up to us on how the reading world turns out. I personally love, love, reading and I love the paper form of books. I would hate to see the printed world of books disappear. I love technology but nothing beats holding an actual book and being able to flip the pages.

AGx

Are we losing newspapers?

Before reading “Newspapers: Stabilizing, but Still Threatened” I already knew that newspapers were a dying medium. This article didn’t help to change my mind on that. In the past few years newspapers have seen big changes. At first it seemed like newspaper revenues were increasing following the decline in 2007, but the increase didn’t stay long. Newspapers in Miami started to see a growth in auto and real estate ads, but by 2013 the growth was quickly declining again. Ads were a very important part of newspapers. It was a main source of income for the paper companies, and as businesses started pulling away from the papers companies began to worry. Newspapers owners were high in debt and things like the internet and social media were taking over as the #1 news source. Newspapers have been struggling for quite some time. In 2007 the decline in newspapers was terrifying. Just after 2010, the papers companies started paying attention to the growing demand of social media and high internet usage. They participated by creating digital paywalls that allowed their print to be accessed from the internet. In doing so many of the companies cut back the number of weekly prints which helped save them money. They also thought they would please more people. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The concept of newspapers going digital seemed almost ironic. People were losing interest in the papers but they weren’t happy when it went digital, most likely because they still had to pay. One thing that didn’t increase with the digital paywalls was advertising. Newspapers were steadily losing their ads. Going to the internet, and even mobile, wasn’t helping. They continued to lose important revenue. By now, it is so easy for people to look up the current news and local stories on the internet. Readers get the information quickly, and although it may not be accurate, it is updated often. Going digital seemed like a good idea and eventually did start to help the companies, but it did take a while. In the end, I believe the printed paper is a doomed medium. If newspapers want to survive the companies will have to lose the idea of the papers and create a new online trend.

AGx

Music and Television

Just like radio, TV has played a huge role in the growth of music. Way back in 1952 a TV show called “American Bandstand” was one of the first television shows to focus just on music. Later, in 1981, music on television really took off with the premier of MTV. The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” kicked off the show and was followed by a continuous amount of music videos. MTV, which was dedicated solely on music, took the day’s most popular music videos and played them throughout the day. HBO also had a short program called “Video Jukebox” that played music videos for half an hour a day while Superstation WTBS had “Night Tracks” that focused more on the music videos of black artists. TV’s role in music has changed greatly since 1981, and more so since 1952. Eventually, TV producers started to use music and music videos as a way of advertising. They figured if the band/artist promoted their product then more people would to buy it. For a long time it worked. As television started to grow the use of music videos became less and less. MTV started to add regular TV shows to their channels and both “Video Jukebox” and “Night Tracks” were long gone. Channels like VH1 and CMT still played videos but it was usually at set times during the middle of the night or early morning. The use of music itself, though, became widely popular. Commercials began to use music in their backgrounds and TV producers began to use tracks to create a more “realistic” feel in shows. TV shows now are advertised with the latest hit as a way to grab attention, which often works for me. Now a days, you can’t watch a TV show without hearing music from bands that you, or at least someone, knows. The promotion for music or TV is about as big as anything else promoted. TV allows for the same and different, new and old, popular and not, music to be played constantly through commercials and shows. Promotion is taken to another level through the many award shows television displays throughout the year. There are many shows dedicated just to music such as the Grammy’s, VMA’s, and CMA’s. Almost every other award show (the Emmy’s, Teen’s Choice Awards, and the Oscars’) all use music and live bands throughout their show as well. The amount of music on TV today is almost unlimited. If you are looking to watch music videos on your television you can often head to VH1, CMT, and occasionally MTV. If you are just interested in listening to music, pick your favorite show and settle in. You’ll hear your favorite band, or a new one, soon enough.

Music and the Radio

There is no doubt that radio has played a prominent role in the recent life of music. Radio, in my opinion, has actually helped it grow. With the use of radio, music is now able to travel. As long as you aren’t driving through the middle-of-no-where-Wyoming then a person should always be able to have radio at the touch of a few buttons in their car. Radio has helped music grow by putting the sound out there to reach millions more of people. With the help of radio, local bands, like Lola Black, are able to have their music reach a wider population through continuous air time. Area 93.3 has also helped local bands became more popular by selecting new local bands each night and playing them on their “local’s only” hour. Through different radio stations, such as Mix 100 or KYGO, people of Colorado are able to listen to their favorite bands without the hassle of owning an iPod or creating a playlist. We are also able to listen for new music that might make our ears happy. Although radio’s main playlist is the current most popular music, it has changed by adding in less known bands throughout the musical hours. The nice thing about music is that you never have to stray far from the radio to learn about it. Everyday more and more bands are being added to the days playlist and gaining exposer. Most of these bands are often raved about directly on the radio station and on their social network pages. The accuracy of the information on the bands is often right on. Any new news is usually never made up and pulled from the bands themselves. During musical breaks, the radio stations take the time to promote music they either have or haven’t played and they also take the time to promote other things, like upcoming concerts, local businesses, and worldwide events (the Grammy’s, iHeart Radio Music Festival, etc.) No matter the type of music, you are more than likely able to have a radio station to listen to. If you like jazz perhaps you will check out KUVO, or if you like oldies maybe The Fox is your station. The radio and music are like best friends, without one the other would struggle in some small (or large) way. As of right now, there will never be a problem finding music on the radio.

Comparing Music

With music being around longer than most of us that exist now there is bound to be some influence from older styles of music in today’s famous bands. As one who really loves music I am excited to compare one of my newer favorite bands to a band that was incredibly popular back in the 1980’s. Listening to Twenty One Pilots’ “Holding On To You” I instantly heard influence of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right“. Although they aren’t identical they are the same in the way that they are both categorized as “hip hop” bands. The Beastie Boys were one of the first white “hip hop” bands to become highly successful. They combined the beats of rock music with the tone of hip hop music to create a whole new sound. Twenty One Pilots doesn’t bring the beats of heavier rock music in like the Beastie Boys did but they do use a large amount of the drums mixed with the keyboard, creating another new sound. Twenty One Pilots specializes in rapping their music more than they sing it which is where I see the big influence of the Beastie Boys. The rapping and hip hop styles aren’t as defined in these two bands as they are in artist like Eminem but that doesn’t stop they form being categorized with him. Beastie Boys and Twenty One Pilots are two bands that could follow the category “rap rock” more than anything. “Rap Rock” is an alternative that blends hip hop with modern rock. Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, and Limp Bizkit could be described as “rap rock” as well. This type of music has grown over the years and has reached several types of bands. Many bands/artist started by just collaborating with each other such as Aerosmith with Run DMC in “Walk This Way” and over time bands started coming out fully influenced by this style, following the Beastie Boys footsteps. The sound has changed over time by more rock being introduced to the bands than hip hop. There aren’t many bands that could successfully fall into the same category as the Beastie Boys or Twenty One Pilots which is what I think makes them unique when they do happen.

xAG

Opting out of Google’s Data Mining Machine

1) In Doug Miller’s Wired article, the problem of data mining is brought to our eyes. Google, a billion a year dollar company, has recently decided to start collecting every little bit of information people research on the internet or their Android phones. Doug Miller brings up the fact that the CNIL has decided to take action against Google for changes that need to be made in their privacy policy. According to this group we are be violated in terms of privacy rights. It is said that we should have a choice if our information searched can be mined or not. It sounds like the author and this French data protection agency are wanting us to look up and see that this is a serious deal. They feel we are truly loosing out on a basic part of our rights as a human being. What am I wondering, what I feel is left unsaid, is how do we, as the users, actually feel about this data mining? Do we think it is as big of a deal as CNIL and Doug Miller? Do we think that North America needs to jump on this boat and follow along with the French? Do we really care?

2) In this article it talks a lot about protecting our students and government issued jobs. It talks about how Google wants to be able to advertise more and how they are betraying us to do so. Google is doing this for one major reason, more money. It doesn’t matter who they hurt along the way they just want the checks. I feel that what needs to be studied more is how Google is using this information they are gaining. Are they really using it to get more advertising? Are they really making it to “help out” the searchers? What are the benefits from data mining? Is it really that bad of a thing? The information in this article is far from outdated. Data mining is never truly going to go away and this problem is always going to be there. It is part of who the internet is.

3) The question that kept going through my head is: does this article matter? In some ways I am sure it does. The people who really care about their privacy are going to care. They are going to love this article. They are going to feed off of it and use like no other. I think this article was created to help inform people of what is going on behind the closed doors of big cooperation’s. It was created to help us understand that we aren’t even “safe” to use our Android phones because we are always being watched. I suppose we should care because we should know what is going on when we type in “google.com” We should know where our information is going, what is happening with it, and how we can change it.

4) I believe that Doug Miller wrote this article to help us understand what is going and maybe he did write it to scare us a little. People really want this data mining to be stopped and it can be scary to know that Google is looking into our Gmail accounts to get this information. In writing this article he probably hoped to make a stand and get ideas following on how to stop all of this from happening anymore.

5) The biggest thing that could be done is to add some benefits of data mining. People like the CNIL and Doug Miller are only in this to scare us, to make a move to change data mining, but what if there are pros to this thing? Shouldn’t we know? I think we should figure out a way to give people pros and cons before making a serious decision. Having pros would help people understand the little details of data mining and it would allow us to think if this is actually such a threat.

I personally don’t care about data mining. Heeeeeello! It’s the internet. Do people really expect full privacy from here? The internet is made to the public and with a few clicks you can find out anything you want. There may be privacy but don’t it expect the internet to hold your life secrets.

http://www.wired.com/insights/2012/10/google-opt-out/