Fake Professor Prank

I grappled with which Youtube video I wanted to upload here. I was torn between three videos: a video from William Derediewicz who focuses on the “disadvantages of an elite education;” a spoken word piece from Suli Breaks titled “Why I Hate College But Love Education;” and the selected video you see below. Regardless, I wanted to draw attention to how each critiques the educational system in America. So, I hope you enjoy the most comical critique of the three!

So, what did you think? Are you wondering how a prank, albeit amusing and relatable, points out hegemony in education and critiques the ideologies bred by it? Well, here’s what I think. I analyze this under Goldman’s assumption that “throughout history one of the primary goals of comedy has been to illuminate the ways in which we live in the world politically and to critique our legislature and laws.” This allows the video to function as an examination of classroom rhetoric and socially-constructed power dynamics in a classroom. Though clearly distinguished by the setting -a grand, populous lecture hall at what we could assume is a public university- wouldn’t we all fall for the same prank on the first day with a professor we have no prior knowledge of? Especially if the false professor appeared how we expect a professor to look. Wouldn’t we act accordingly because of conventions surrounding classroom decorum? I’ll leave that to you to discuss in the comments.

The Value of “Unplugging”


Today I was reading Business Insider and came across a story that made me think of what we were talking about in class a while back. Steph Curry recently did a partnership with Degree to do a MotionSense lab that allowed Degree to track his performance using different biometrics. While this is pretty cool, that is not really what grabbed my attention. 

Steph Curry admitted to using “sensory deprivation” chambers to help refocus him. With such a busy and hectic schedule that accompanies a very famous and likeable athlete, he commented saying, “And also, the sensory-deprivation aspect of it. It’s one of the only places where you can really get unplugged from all the noise and distractions that goes on with daily life.” I find it rather crazy that nowadays in our society we find it so difficult to escape and use time for ourselves, that we have to pay to use these chambers to really get that experience. 

Have you used one of these before? Do you think that these will become even more popular as technology and our lives progress? I was told by my professor that for every 30 minutes a person is looking at a screen, a person needs to be in complete darkness in order for their brains to fully recover and function at maximum capacity. I don’t know if he was right, but it is definitely something to think about, especially for us students. 

Who is Banksy?

At the center of the 2014 “documentary” Exit Through the Gift Shop is the enigmatic street artist Banksy. Many critics questioned just how real  Banksy’s film is, but on an even more fundamental level, many of us have probably asked: who is Banksy?

While it appears that there is a street artist named Banksy, he has, remarkably remained anonymous for all these years. This article from the New Yorker gives more information:

Banksy Was Here

Banksy’s work as been described as “anarchist” and “anti-war.” There are a ton of examples in this gallery:

The Ultimate Banksy Gallery

Of course, Banksy has branched out, doing normal canvass paintings. In a rather bizarre turn, he also designed this dark 2010 “couch gag” for The Simpsons.

Here’s Simpsons show runner Al Jean discussing the background of the opening:

‘The Simpsons’ Explains Its Button-Pushing Banksy Opening

My favorite part is that, in typical Simpsons fashion, the couch gag has nothing to do with the rest of the episode, so after all that darkness you’re treated to “MoneyBart,” which is exactly what you think it is. (Read: a parody of Moneyball.)

So, what did everyone else think about Banksy? I find it impressive that he has managed to remain in the shadows for so long, and I do find some of his work pretty neat.

A look into Economics in the Media Industry Through the Las Vegas Journal-Review


We recently discussed, in the class, the Economics in the Media Industry. This article addresses some concerns editors and journalist have about the impact of concentration of ownership and self promotion due to the recent announcement of a new publisher, Craig Moon to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its recent change in ownership to billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Craig Moon was the executive vice president of Gannett Newspapers and led it’s largest company USA Today from 2003 to 2009. He then worked from there in industry consulting. This concern amongst editors and journalist within the magazine stems from high business officials taking jobs as publishers and editors leading to concentration of the media. Not only has the change in publisher increased worries for the magazine the change in ownership has as well.

Sheldon Adelson is a multibillionaire and has ties to the Republican Party, as a benefactor and the owner of multiple casinos. This ownership has led journalists questioning the bias and political meddling the newspaper will now feature.

The changes to the Las Vegas Review- Journal, have increased bottom-line pressure, pushing out those up for the job with journalistic experience. I wonder if the paper will become more politically involved promoting Republican candidates that Adelson aligns himself with. I also question now if these endorsements will have an impact on its readers and the concentration of media. Will its news content now become more homogeneous? I feel as though this direction will lead to more of an endorsement of the Republican Party candidate as the race for president gets closer and closer, than news media content.

I thought this article was a good representation of the concerns of political and bottom-line pressure in the form of media, in well known newspapers. I would love to hear some of your thoughts about the new changes in ownership and management and what that means for the Las Vegas Review-Journal!

“Grease: Live” – a new media spectacle

Tonight “Grease: Live” will be airing on FOX. This is the fourth live musical produced but this time a new network has taken the reigns from NBC. This new phenomenon is a live musical production that the audience watches from their very own televisions without having to pay a lot of money for Broadway theater. Kail the director “likes the idea of mixing it up between stage and screen. ‘I deeply believe that theater should be for everyone,’ he told The New York Times.”

An article on CNN that talks about the show made me think about how media today is focused on broadcasting to a wide audience. It used to be that only people who could afford theater tickets would have the chance to view musicals and plays. Now a whole new channel has been created to bring the “live” musical experience to everyones’ homes. In this way the new experience is very positive. On the other hand are there any negative effects to creating this new media event?

These new live theater productions have created a massive spectacle. The directors have hired big name actors and actresses and they only put on one live show so the event has become a big ordeal. Has all of this extra attention detracted from the art of theater? Can watching a musical on tv even count as live even if it is being watched in real time without any editing? These are some questions I have considered and wonder what you guys think.

How far is too far?

As we saw in Generation Like, the rise of social media since the mid-200o’s has given both brands and people alike the opportunity to showcase themselves online to garner “likes,” “subscribers,” or “followers.”

The documentary also had a brief segment on Youtubers and how they use their viewership to their own advantage as long as they parter with brands to advertise their products.

However, there has been some controversy in the Youtube world. One Youtuber named Sam Pepper is known for pulling ridiculous pranks and stunts in front of the camera to capture peoples attention and get lots of views. One of his pranks received a lot of attention– just not in a positive way. It’s called “Killing Best Friend Prank” and I’ll embed it below.

Apparently Sam Pepper had teamed up with Sam (another famous internet personality) and agreed to trick his best friend Colby, into thinking he got shot. In the video you can see Sam Pepper kidnapping both of them and shooting Sam right in front of Colby.

People have criticized this video because of the raw emotion it showed, as well as its immorality. To see all the controversy, you have to do is read the comments and look at the number of dislikes the video received.

It seems as though people will do anything to get likes nowadays. What do you think of this video? Do you think Sam Pepper has gone too far? Is his behavior less immoral because all three people know each other (as opposed to pulling this prank on a stranger)?

Making a Murderer

We talked in class today about the logic of safety in a lot of TV shows, and mentioned the Netflix show “Making a Murderer”. In some ways it does follow the cookie cutter description for a crime/murder show, but in a few ways its also different. This article discusses some of those differences, and also addresses how it is still such a popular show even though it does not completely follow the logic of safety. One thing I noted about the show that is different (not mentioned in the article) is that at the end of the series the audience is not given a definite answer to who killed Teresa Halbach, as in most other crime shows we always know who the killer is. Let me know your thoughts!

-Taylor Block

4 Chords

I remember seeing this video about a year ago and thought it would serve as a good example for our discussion in class the other day regarding Frederic Jameson and the media culture. The video does a really good job at capturing   the concepts of parody and pastiche that occur throughout the music industry. Take a look!

Netflix Domination

Netflix and Chill

I read recently that Netflix now has 75 million subscribers, collecting 17 million of them this year, with 5.6 million in the past three months. Their shares have gone up 100% in the past year, and thus the Netflix investors and executives are optimistic for the future. However, this Netflix success is making a lot of TV executives anxious. One of the biggest differences between Netflix and regular television is that the content creators of Netflix series don’t have to worry about weekly ratings pressures like the creators of regular television series do. This is just another example, as also described in Media/Society, of how multiple variables affect media content and influence the content creators to produce shows that will be non-controvertial and focused on ratings.

Another point that was brought up in the article, is how much money Netflix spends on acquiring and producing content. This often causes them to produce meager profits, compared to how much revenue they’re pulling in. This is just another example of how much capital goes into the product of media, especially television and movies, and how important it is for networks, content creators, and online streamers such as Netflix to produce “hits” so that they bring in a ton of revenue to compensate for all of the shows that aren’t as popular.

I just thought that these were interesting points regarding the strengths/pressures of Netflix that I hadn’t know before! Let me know your thoughts on why you think Netflix dominates the online TV streaming industry!

-Amy Littleson

Can Fitbit Track Your Emotions

Israeli entrepreneur and law student Koby Soto tweeted a snap of his heart rate on the day he was unexpectedly dumped.

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