Archive for April, 2011

Exploring the McDonaldization Concept

When we think about American food one of the first thoughts that might come to mind is the burger. This infamous American food is appearing more and more in other cultural contexts around the world thanks to American media promotion.

Burger King’s “Whopper Virgin” campagin, filmed in a documentary format and distributed virally onto the Internet, is an interesting example (see below).

In the advert they document an American film team that travels to certain “media – isolated” locations and makes them taste a burger. The ad was seen as highly controversial because it degraded other cultures. But it really shows the American standaridization that is ocurring in the world.

I would argue that it’s due to mass commercialism, but I might also add politics into this arguement. Until a few years ago, the United States was a super power in the world and one that imposed it’s presence on others through capitalism and political ties (if it had been soley capital power then Japan would have been the leader). The commercial and social movement of Americanization could also be refered to as McDonaldization…It somewhat reflects all of the things that McDonalds seems to embody.

And personally I find that rather scary (think Wall-E and the humans).

The Royal Wedding

The world watched Prince William and Kate Middleton say “I will” at the alter in  yesterday morning. A couple of hours later we saw them kiss not once, but twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. We are calling the event “the wedding of the century.”

I watched the live online streaming ABC News and BBC broadcast all morning, waiting to see what would come next. While intently watching all of the pomp and circumstance accompanying the event in London, I was also updated every few minutes by the twitter news feed embedded in the BBC site. Reporters kept track of the future Highnesses’ every movement and countless tid-bits and opinions about the day.

Royal Wedding news coverage dominated the top news stories throughout the day in the UK, France, Australia and the United States. had an entire page dedicated to Royal Wedding coverage.

I think this event clearly shows today’s media focus on infotainment. The royal wedding was entertaining and news, and viewers loved the story. The event also displayed the use of new media today. Millions tuned in to the wedding on tv, but also kept up-do-date with online streaming and twitter updates.

TV is Reality

The Japanese have always been infamous for their television shows. But this cartoon using a mashup of electro beats to assimilate a Daft Punk – like song seems to hit the new Reality TV phenomena right on the head.

The illustrations can be interpreted as the influence of mass media over society. While media continues to dominate our world, aspects depicted on the television screen suddenly are copied out in real life. The end result is a postmodernist world; where violence is desensitized, where media is all inter-related, everyone is connected, consumerism makes us greedy and television has a pro-war asthetic.

The cartoon ends in chaos with a telly placed ontop of the rubble. Quite significant, isn’t it?


Although this tv show is based off of the apprentice the entire show is clearly more serious educational and informative than the apprentice.

Some people asked me to post the link…enjoy

India’s New Internet Restrictions

I found this article titled “India Puts Tight Leash on Internet Free Speech” from The New York Times extremely interesting. About a month ago, the Indian government’s “Department of Information Technology” passed a law that allows for both private citizens and public officials to be able to report material that they find to be “disparaging”, “harassing”,“blasphemous” or “hateful”, and for whoever is responsible for that material must take it off the internet within 36 hours, or face punishment. This is a severe setback to a country whose population has continued to modernize and grow, and this new law will definitely place limits on internet discussions and debates, which have been rising in popularity lately. The new law covers social media sites such as Facebook, and includes youtube as well.

This is definitely a limit placed on the freedom of expression and speech in India, the most populous democratic state in the world. India’s efforts to curtail free speech on the internet show that there are still those in the country and the government who believe that perhaps this new technology and access to the internet are not the best thing for the growing nation. For a country that continues to expand and utilize 21st century technology (there are now over 700 million cellphone accounts in India), this is certainly a backwards step in the protection of the rights of its citizens.

Holy Tweets

As the beatification of the beloved Pope John Paul II is approaching this weekend, many Catholic pilgrims and followers will flock to Rome in the hundreds of thousands for the ceremony honoring the late Pope.  As for those around the world that are not able to make it to Rome and be in Saint Peter’s Square this weekend, they will be able to follow through Facebook and Twitter, which will be providing constant updates through the web.  This short video talks about the features that will offer through their Facebook and Twitter accounts while covering the beatification.  It will be quite amazing to see a highly anticipated worldwide traditional Roman Catholic Church be covered by modern day social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  This shows how media today is able to connect people around the globe and provide up to the minute updates about something as prolific as the beatification of the former Pope.

Here is the video:

Sexual Assault Issues Overseas with Female Journalists

This article is titled “CBS Reporter Recounts a ‘Merciless’ Assault” from the New York Times. It discusses the experience of Lara Logan, a CBS journalist, who was sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo, Egypt on the night President Mubarak stepped down from power. Logan was setting up to film a segment for “60 Minutes” in Tahrir Square, when she was ripped away from her co-workers and bodyguard by a mob of hundreds of Egyptian men and was beaten and sexually assaulted for an excruciating forty minutes. This article exemplifies the dangers that female journalists are exposed to in the Middle East and around the world, as this is not the first time this has happened. Female journalists receive a different kind of threat while abroad, instead of physical threat they are subjected to sexual violence that is rarely spoken about in the media. News agencies are now taking more efforts to promote awareness and increase protection of their journalists to prevent something like this from happening again.

I found it very disturbing to read this article, but intriguing at the same time. It was upsetting to read that her protectors were helpless against the mob of 200 to 300 men assaulting her. She quoted, “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.” It’s scary the price journalists pay to report front line news, especially in uncontrollable areas such as Cairo during the revolution. The media coverage overseas, especially in the currently revolutionary prone Middle East and North Africa, is clearly not safe and more measures need to be taken to prevent incidents like this.

Link to the article:


-Elizabeth Russo