Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Glocalization? Hybridization?

In one of the articles assigned last week Hybridization and the Roots of Transnational, Geocultural, and Cultural-Linguistic Markets, Staubhaar argues that the term glocalization fits better Japanese process of accepting foreign cultures or systems rather than hybridity. It confuses me...

What is the difference between hybridity and glocalization???

He says it is questionable whether the concept of hybridity fits the Japanese pattern because borrowings from European culture were very selective under the guidance of the government.

I agree that Japan is a country which has always been modernizing itself by borrowing ideas or systems from other countries and japanizing them. Japanization of British-style broadcasting system after WWⅡ is an example.
However, isn't it still hybridization???

How about in the case of commercials and popular culture?

Gayatri previously put a video of Coca Cola's commercial as an example of glocalization.
Here is a Japanese version of Coca Cola Zero commercial.
Is it glocalization? Can we say it is hybridization?

How about this new type of music becoming very popular in Japan. It is a fusion of Japanese traditional three-stringed instrument Shamisen and Western rock and jazz music. Blending “the desired modernity” with “traditions we do not wish to cast away” created this type of music.
However, this blending is exactly what one of the main theorists of hybridity, Canclini, explained as current aspects of hybridity.
Here is a video of Shamisen Rock.
Do we call it hybridity? glocalization? or both?

Blogging the U.S. election, Egyptian style

Check this out... an article discussing Arab blog reactions to the U.S. presidential elections.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Since we were talking about global ads and hybridization, I thought I'd share some very localized ads for some global brands as a contrast to the last conversation.
Since I am familiar with India, thats what I am using. But its interesting how localized, large business conglomerates can get. As I said in class the last time, I feel brands like Coca Cola which are aimed at almost everybody in the international markets they enter, they have to become localized to sell. And so products like Coke which are going to be accessible to all, adopt very local flavors to their ads. Incidentally if you see this ad, there is a very strong message of national integration. When you see this ad, you will see many socio-economic classes of India, and the message of the ad is that Coca Cola binds us all (lol). I would be interested to hear what you say.

click on the link below to see the ad

The first is a coca cola ad

Another thing that I found interesting in India this summer was the rise of the Indian music bands using Western popular music formats. There were these new bands singing in what could be defined as traditional Western rock, electronic, experimental and house music that were really being noticed in a big way. They sang in English, Hindi or Bengali, but as we discussed in other examples for class, they were using Western formats for expression.

They have always been around since I can remember, but they are only now gaining popularity in a big big way with the help of new music labels, clubs which encourage live music, etc. This new music video by one of them really caught my eye, as I was watching it on VH1 India.

Click on the link below:

The band is called Shaa'ir and Func by the way and the song is called OOPS

Once you see the video, do you think this is hybridity? In my opinion, to a outsider looking in, this could be another example of hybridity in the way Homi Bhabha talks about it, when he refers to “cultures of postcolonial contra modernity” that are in fact “resistant to…..oppressive assimilationist technologies….but they also deploy the cultural hybridity of their borderline conditions to ‘translate,’ and therefore reinscribe, the social imaginary of both metropolis and modernity”.

Enjoy the videos and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Global Electoral College

Building on the other blog discussion we had about the U.S election in the global media (and by the way, anyone else really upset the debate on Friday may not happen?), The Economist website has an interesting little online tool called the "Global Electoral College". It sets up every country with a number of electoral votes and shows who those votes would go for. You can pretty much guess the outcomes in most countries, but it's still a fascinating idea - what if the whole world was allowed to vote for the U.S president, if it truly was a global election?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Banal Globalism


Do images like this one make "global" synonymous with "ready at hand", " a backcloth to a world of exceptional co-presence"(as Urry would put it) and can this "banal globalism", which creates "communities in anonymity", really be a substitute for nationalism while making "individual nations common property"? (Marx)

I am interested in what you all think...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

School Shootings, warnings and the role of the media

Today at work I was reading a couple of articles about that Finnish school shooting in which 10 people were killed and the shooter committed suicide: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/24/2372542.htm

I found a couple of things interesting about this case. I always assumed that these mass school shootings were an American phenomenon, I didn't realize that the trend had spread to other parts of the world. What really surprised me though is that the shooter put up a suspicious video on youtube the day before of him at a shooting range exclaiming at the end of the video "You will die next." The Finnish government knew about this video and the police questioned him the day before the shooting but did not see a need to revoke his gun license.

What I thought was interesting is the role that youtube played in this event. Youtube videos are a sort of media from the people, not from a broadcasting company. With so many videos and so much media out there, how do you know what information is ignorable and what might actually have an impact? People can choose what to believe or what not to believe but how do we deal with this "information overload?"

In between his shooting rampages, the Virginia Tech shooter sent a video explaining his actions to NBC. These shooters want to be heard on some level by the world and use different forms of media to do so. How do you think that the coverage of American school shootings affect phenomenon around the world?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yes I am going to be posting a lot of videos, embedding is fun!

So in this past week's readings as well as in the class discussion we talked about how while you can find examples of the media reinforcing a sense of nationalism, we don't see as many examples of the media reinforcing globalization. Well last night while watching the absolutely amazing season premiere of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (if you haven't seen this show, it's GLORIOUS) and this Microsoft commercial came on. I have a feeling Bill Gates has been reading that Waisbord article because I think he's trying to start the globalization - media bandwagon. It's a really short and effective commercial, and with statements like "I'm a PC...and I'm connected to thousands of others around the world", I think the message of globalization is so clear in this ad.

I have a feel that after this week, I'm going to be searching for these kinds of messages all the time in the media...

Oh and here's the Microsoft website about the "I'm a PC" campaign, where you can connect with other people around the world by putting up a picture of yourself with your computer. Globalization full circle!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How would this play outside the US?

I've been talking about the consequences of media globalization a lot lately. One of the implications is the easy by which media content can be appropriated and thus "travel" to media outlets around the world. This shocking video about the "protests" against the RNC in St. Paul, MN provides some food for thought. How might this "speak" for the U.S. to the rest of the world, especially when U.S. public diplomacy rhetoric tries to articulate the values of U.S. democratic institutions and culture.

Of course, posing this question raises another - who is actually hunting for stuff like this, and do levels of internet access constrain the impact of videos like this?

Media Hub in Dubai and also a Special Guest is coming

According to Ernest Wilson III, the dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at USC, Dubai is emerging as a site for new public dipomacy efforts as much as it is a burgeoning center for Arab media production.

Here's the article in the Khaleej Times.

To talk about this and other State Department activities, we're going to have a special guest next week from the State Department. Mr. Dan Sreebny is the State Department's Senior Advisor for Regional Media and Director of the Department's Regional Media Hubs Initiative, and he'll be talking to us about how the U.S. is using it's media hubs to promote U.S. interests and advocacy.

Voice of America website about the Election

Here's the official VOA website about the U.S. election, which explains our electoral process and the issues at stake in the election.


There will also be an event next Friday put on by the VOA discussing how international audiences view the U.S. election. Looks like a pretty interesting event.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On a lighter note...

One topic that has been on discussion in the U.S media lately is sexism regarding political candidates, in this with everyone's favorite Alaskan bear hunter, Governor Palin (yeah yeah, I know we're all getting a little sick of her at this point, but hey why not). Well there's a video that's been circulating the internet that many of you may have already seen, and if not you should see. It's from the Daily Show, talking about discrepancies in the news on the topic of sexism against female politicians, and hey, life's just a little bit better when you get your daily dose of Jon Stewart:

Now, while of course the topic of the video can bring up a whole slew of issues that have to do with politics and the media, one that I thought would be interesting to think about is the topic of humor, especially in relation to the news. I once watched an episode of the Daily Show where the conversation turned to the legitimacy of the Daily Show as a news source, to which Gore brought up the metaphor of the medieval court jester, which he reitereated in this Politico article: "What I do think is interesting is that some of the comedy news programs are so frequently more successful than the established news programs in presenting some of the more provocative — dare I say inconvenient — truths that emerge from the daily narrative of American democracy...Just as the court jester was sometimes the only truth sayer who could avoid having his head off in medieval feudal courts, a similar phenomenon appears to have emerged in our culture."

I personally think the role of humor in the media is fascinating, in that it has fewer limits than are other mediums. What do you guys think? Is humor an effective media tool in getting a message across, or is it just a joke that shouldn't be taken so seriously? Is there too much humor in the media, or maybe too little? Should Jon Stewart be taken less seriously than he is?

Oh, and Palin ranting is welcome as well :D

Monday, September 15, 2008

The United Rumor & The Power of Aggregated News

I should note before diving into this topic that it's related to the post below this one on the financial crises.... but since I haven't posted on the blog yet, I figure this is worthy of its own thread. :)

Through reading news and talking with my roommates today, I learned that last Monday, a report that United was filing for a second bankruptcy made its way around news websites across the U.S. and caused the company's stock to plummet (from $12 a share to $3 a share) in the early hours of market trading on Sept 8. The only problem? United never filed for a second bankruptcy! By the end of the day, the rumor was cleared up and the share closed at $10.92, which was only a 11 per cent loss. But with a loss of $1 billion recorded at one point throughout the day, this clearly shook up both United and the markets. The full NY Times story is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/business/09air.html.

Of course, the big question afterwards was: Who was to blame for all this? The story goes that an Chicago Tribune article (about the first and only United bankruptcy filing in 2002) was posted to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel Web site and included in a report by Income Securities Advisors, a business research firm, on company bankruptcy filings for 2008 (because the date when it was reposted was fresh). This report was posted to a Web page on Bloomberg News, and the headline was included in a news alert (text, E-mail, etc. I'm guessing) for Bloomberg subscribers. I think it's pretty safe to assume that many people on Wall Street did not fact check that headline before plunging into trading action.

I think this example raises a lot of issues with the lightning speed spread of news around the world. I can't even begin to fathom how many minor headlines are picked up each day by Google (thanks to software that aggregates keywords and relevant information) and circulated around the country and world. I've participated in many conversations in past journalism classes about the importance of fact-checking all information before relaying it on to an audience, even if you risk being the last source to report that story or information. (Better to lose a few readers than lose your credibility!) Of course, the Chicago Tribune claimed the 2002 story can only be found in the newspaper's online archives, and nobody has assumed full responsibility for starting the rumor. So perhaps credibility doesn't even become an issue anymore, if the information goes through so many different sources?

Just some things to ponder. The American economy is very sensitive to the news of major U.S. business collapses (sorry, not very savvy with the business/economic lingo!) these days, and rumors like that have the power to do notable damage to the stock market once people accept them as fact... which can happen almost immediately. What kind of power does this give Google? Could this kind of crisis happen again, or have investors and news aggregators/analysts learned their lesson? What impact could a false news rumor like this create in the future? I should probably stop here-- I have a tendency to write a lot-- but thoughts on this are very welcome!

Financial Meltdown

Many of you may realize that global financial markets are susceptible to perceptions as much as actual negative data. Consequences of the current Lehman Brothers collapse have started to radiate out into global markets. My question here is: how much of this is sustained, amplified, or at least framed by foreign media outlets? What kind of narrative will emerge from this outside the U.S.? And, is it something that the U.S. can possibly control?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Global Media and trend diffusion

Reading the Washington Post Book World, this weekend, I came across the article on Thomas Friedman's New Book on the environment.


If history is to be believed, then I think that when Friedman writes a book on the environment, everyone stands up and listens. He told us about the contradictory drive for prosperity and a search for identity in the 90s with his book the Lexus and the Olive Tree. Then in the early part of this century, he told us how the world order is changing, how Americans should be aware of the carpet shifting under their feet, and he was once again globally applauded in explaining a complex world through his concise, direct and no-nonsense style.

And so it seems to me, that if Friedman is talking about the environment, then the circle must be complete. The environment debate has been on the table for long, and indeed, people like Al Gore have done a lot for the cause. But Friedman, with the kind of influence he has, will be read more. I can almost imagine pirated copies of this book being printed in the narrow streets of Bombay where it will soon be sold on traffic lights for mass consumption that Mr Friedman will never know about (or get the money for), but will definitely benefit from.

In this light, my question then is....how much do we rely on the global media for diffusion of world trends. Would 'globalization' as an ideology be as big, had the media not had a domino effect in proclaiming its arrival across the world. Would the Olympics be in our consciousness or collective history in the same way, had the TV channels not broadcast the living daylights out of us? And indeed, would the millions of people across the world who wear jeans, watch American sitcoms and lap up Michael Phelps glory on the news have America on their minds if it was not for the media? Have you noticed any other recent trend diffusions in the media?

Do let me know what you think

Monday, September 8, 2008

News from the other side

If any of you recall, during our first class we discussed Russian news/propaganda for a minute when I introduced myself as being from Russia, and I thought maybe it would interest people to see some of the articles I was referring to. The main site I like to look at is www.pravda.ru - if the name seems familiar at all, it's because Pravda was the name of the main Soviet newspaper, which I've seen referenced a lot in pop culture (I once heard a joke - what's black and white and read all over? Answer: Pravda), though this isn't the exact same one because that Pravda was closed down when the Soviet Union fell, although apparently some of the editors/writers of the Russian Pravda were connected to the Soviet one.
What I think is especially interesting though when looking at these is thinking just how closely "politics" and "media" really are - in this case, wars are not always secluded to a battlefield, and there are more than just soldiers, politicians, and diplomats involved. The whole idea of "hearts and minds", more often than not, is a strategic reality.
Now, I'll forewarn you: Pravda is known for being a tad bit more sensationalistic and nationalist than other sources, but it really gives a good representation on how people in Russia (as well as Russian people in the U.S, such as most of my relatives) tend to think - other sources such as www.vesti.ru or www.kommersant.com are more discreet but for the most they share the same opinions.
So here's a few articles I thought were really interesting. And please remember: while they are kind of funny, a lot of people take them really seriously, and have the same reaction of "what propaganda!" when they read Western news. Always at least two sides to a story...

Russia Stands Up From Its Knees
Russian FM: Georgia's Treacherous Attack
Western Media Blatantly Misinterpret Conflict in South Ossetia
Cindy McCain Visits Serbian Kosovo (opinion article)

P.S In researching the history the Pravda, I found a funny Russian saying that had to do with the name of Pravda (which means "truth"), and the name of the other important Soviet newspaper, Izvestia (which means "news") - v Pravde net izvestiy, v Izvestiyakh net pravdy, which means "In the truth there is no news, and in the news there is no truth." Cynical, but considering some of these stories as well as the one on Iran posted before, it has some truth to it...

International politics of the image

Some of you are aware of how Iran faked the pics of its missile test launch recently. It does, however, raise some interesting questions about the role of media in crafting arguments in international relations and indeed, justifying policy reactions. This incident also touches upon continued debates about the viability of visual argumentation in general.

Here's the article.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Global Election

Has anyone been following the presidential election on foreign media outlets? I can tell you this will be a recurring theme of the course. In the meantime, I am digging up some interesting clips. But here's something to consider - what does foreign media coverage of the election say about how the rest of the world perceives the U.S. democratic process? Does the election function as good "public diplomacy?" Or, does it track U.S. style political coverage?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Global Media and Vegas?

I just spent the weekend in Las Vegas for a wedding. I was wondering if anyone had a sense of how Vegas was "constructed" in other media around the world? Also, are marketing slogans, like "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" being broadcast in other countries? Vegas is an interesting case, because it relies heavily on its tourism industry and is increasingly looking to foreign tourism. What might also be interesting, I think, is how symbols of "the foreign" are themselves represented in architecture of Vegas hotels.

Looks like their local industry is at least saying they're doing something about it. I'd like to see what that looks like.