Cooking witht he Rebel t3i
Many Bothans Died Bringing Us This Information
The room was dark, yet it had to be after noon. I missed a call. I always miss a call. The car ride home was quick, though I don’t remember climbing into bed. The night. Oh god, the night was horrible. Between the screams of pain and nonsensical speech, terror has never been as heartbreaking.
What was he trying to do? All he wanted was for me to be around for his last night here. The pain was overwhelming for him. The days of the past month have all blurred together. He knew he was dying. You could see it in his eyes. They had a sadness about them, hiding behind the bewildered, frightened stare. His eye once were brown. But the sickness turned them yellow. Not a bright yellow that you would equate to youth or joy. No. Instead, it was a yellow that could only be found in spoiled milk. Yea, that’s what they looked like. Spoiled milk. Those spoiled milk eyes had a way of looking past you. He knew I was there, but the way he looked past me I could have sworn I wasn’t alone. His face was unshaven, sunken in at the cheeks. Most people have never had the discomfort of watching a man die over a long, agonizing period of unimaginable horror.
I have once before been graced by the presence of death. Yet, at the time I didn’t know he was there lurking in the shadows, disregarding my prying eyes. Death doesn’t wait. He doesn’t need to. At the time, I could hear my father arguing with my grandmother. The words never met my ears. Instead, my attention was fixated on the frail figure one bed down. She smiled at me with those now familiar spoiled milk eyes looking at and past me. “I’m sorry I can’t help,” she said with a tremendous amount of joy and sorrow, “I’m going home! He’s coming to pick me up soon.” I looked at her, bewildered. This woman had called this very nursing home “home” for almost four years. She had no family. No one was coming. None the less, I responded, “Don’t worry about it. You should probably rest if you’re going home.” A smile spread across her tired face and she sighed. “Yea…” I had only looked away for a moment, but the shrouded specter receded from the shadows. My eyes returned to the frail, old woman convulsing. Her arms were flailing, her chest was heaving. And as soon as it had started it had stopped. He left her lifeless corpse out in the open for everyone to see. At the time, I thought nothing of it. She was sleeping or trying to get my attention, any attention. After all, she was a lonely old woman in a nursing home. It wasn’t until my mother answered the phone a few hours later that I learned she wasn’t looking for attention — she was being taken home. And here I was again, looking at a dying man in the eyes. This time I knew this old friend was in the room with me. My dad, however, did not see this intruder as a friend. Maybe that is why he wanted me there. He knew about my previous encounter with the ‘fiend’. Perhaps my presence kept the fiend at bay just long enough for a goodbye. This final night, instead of my father being my protector of the dark and unknown, I would protect him. The hospital room deserves no description. Only a few lights yellowish lights illuminated the two stiff beds. At the far end of the room was a bay window that looked out over the unlit city. For all intent purposes of this story, we can imagine my father laying in one of these beds surrounded by a dark void. Its hard to describe the dying. As I said before, his face was sunken in and unshaven. His eyes filled with an off-putting yellow. He had less hair then ever before. He used to shave his head after trimming the dog, but this — this was different. Wiley and unkempt, stringy and sparse. Instead, necrosis covered the top of his head. Where only a few month ago sat pleasant white hair, a black void pealed from his skull. His eyes rolled from savior to tormentor all night. For being bed ridden, he was quite mobile, swinging his arms and head as much as he could. Like a drunk trying to sway himself sober, my father fought off sleep as if it were an unseen enemy. His eyes moved wildly, only focusing on any one spot for less then a few seconds. Then he was peaceful. He would shut his eyes and smiles, if only for a few moments. “Tell me about your teaching job.” He would ask of me. I obliged, telling him of what I expected, the good pay that I would receive, and the many benefits it would provide. He seemed so at ease at hearing these words.
“Dad, you know we will be okay, right?” “Yes.” “It’s okay for you let go. We love you so much.” “I know.”
Then as soon as the peace came, it left. Unruhe is the German word for unrest, which is precisely what it was. He soon forgot where he was. “Joe, Joe.. Get me my green bag, I need to do my exchange.”
“Dad, we’re in the hospital. You don’t need to do an exchange.”
“Dammit son, don’t argue with me. Just get me the bag.”
Tears started to soak my face. “Dad, feel your stomach. What’s missing?”
“Oh shit, how am I supposed to do this now?”
“You’re not, dad. Just wait till tomorrow morning. Tomorrow you go for treatment.”
“Goddammit. Goddammit, son. I. I can’t. Just get me a straw, I’ll do it myself.”
I think what follows is what rips my soul into a million pieces, tears at my heart continuously, blocking all creative outlets and leaves me broken. I prayed, trading all of my own blessings for my father’s peace so that he may be relieved of his suffering. I find myself often wondering if this was the right thing to do. I am crushed.
The rest of the night was filled with horrifying shrieks. To my relief, my mother appeared at dawn and sent me home.
The room was dark, yet it had to be after noon. I missed a call. I always miss a call. The car ride home was quick, though I don't remember climbing into bed. I needed to go back. It was a quiet ride back to the hospital. The sun shone brightly in the cloudless, blue February sky.
What follows is an account of the death of a great man. A wonderful man. Someone who I miss dearly. Someone who I aspire to impress and look at me with proud eyes.
As I entered his room for the last time, everything and everyone was moving at a thousand miles per hour. The young oriental nurse is changing his leg bandages, my mother is screeching incomprehensibly, and the man just lays there with his eyes wide open.
He asks my brother for a drink of water. It can be said that water is the last thing a person asks for before dying. Jesus Christ himself asked for water just before his death. The nurse asks me to help her with the bandages on his leg. The necrosis on his head doesn’t compare to his leg. The death of tissue and various cultures had left his thigh muscle and bone bare. I held his leg with love.
As my brother returned with a cup of water, my hero took his last sip. I don’t remember his last words. But after this point, I will never hear the voice of my protector again. After his final sip, his eyes start to wander. His breathing becomes erratic and fast paced. The only thing I could do was hold his hand. I can still feel his rough, clammy palms in mine. The sky outside turned black as rain started to pour from the sky. The family huddled around the broken, worn husk that was my father and we said our last goodbyes. Yet, he stared back at us silently, breathing rapidly. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him. What did it feel like? What could he see? Instead, I joked with my mother about various observations. The palliative care doctor joined us, but she only took up space. I think after seeing my mother, she decided to leave us to the dying man that slowly seemed to fade from our existence. No one came in after that. Then there was the death rattle.
Sunlight filled the room. The rain had stopped. So had the breathing. There were no doctors or nurses in the room, just the family and a body. I did the only thing I thing I could think of, grabbed a stethoscope and checked for a hearth beat. Bump. …… Bump. …………. Buuuuuuummmp.
Silence. And he was gone. His eyes half open. His head cocked lifelessly to the side. His mouth was partially agape. And I pronounced him dead. At this point, our eyes had dried out. Maybe five minutes passed before the next nurse came in, and even then she tried to hurry out of the room.
“Umm, wait.” My mother demanded.
“What?” replied the nurse, impatiently.
“Well, hellooooo… I think my husband is dead.”
The nurse took a look at the body, rolled her eyes, then checked for a pulse. After taking a look at the three of us, she tried to hurry out of the room a second time.
“Well?” ask my mother, stoping the nurse in her tracks.
“Yes. He’s dead,” snapped the nurse. And with that, she left.
The house was eerily silent when we got home. The big tan chair seemed eternally empty. As soon as the door slammed behind us, the phone rang. My brother rushed to it and answered.
The phone beeped off. “No one was there.”
Recently, I’ve come in contact with an elect from “America’s Most Hated Family.” She didn’t contact me. In fact, before my simple tweet regarding faith, she had no idea that existed. Admittedly, I’ve been tipped off about this young woman by another twitter user/director known as Kevin Smith a. I, by no means, have a professional or casual relationship with Mr. Smith and only used his weekend long tirade as a stepping stone. Never the less, I made the attempt to speak with Miss Megan Phelps-Roper.
Let me start off by explaining a few things about social media and twitter in particular. As I have previously discussed, there is a screen provided by the amount of bandwidth and decay of time provided by the world wide web. This protects the users on either end from immediate backlash, but also provokes and encourages the establishment of relationships. Theory suggest that as bandwidth grows, so does civility. As to say, users will be more brutal through text, then they would on video. This does not mean that youtube producers (I use producers to distinguish between those who place videos on the net and those who just comment) will be any less brutal, however, this effect is greatly diminished from content created through an anonymous web board. This also goes to say that the majority of cruel videos posted within Youtube are not placed there by the subject.
Twitter is a low bandwidth technology. It is built for text messaging. Thus, it gives the individual user the power to contact, berate, insult, bully, or simple chat. I chose to simply chat. Another important feature of twitter in the ability to post within the limits of 140 characters. This can be seen as a further restriction of “bandwidth” and can cause another lapse of civility. It also promotes an air of general directness in messaging, causing the users to stay on point.
I tweeted at Megan because I felt she was more approachable than the older members of the church. She is very personable and easy to talk to. She also very feverant about Christ and God. While we have discussed the bible at great lengths in our few tweet sessions, we also spoke about one of my other passions — communication. In doing so, I offered to analyze their videos and communication methods. Today, I want to dwell on video.
I took a look at the 5 page PDF that Megan linked me that listed all of their attempts at multimedia promotion of God’s Message. It is extremely hard to make any attempt to analyze their methods without addressing their message.
Plain in simple: Obey God. Stop Sinning. Stop making excuses. Just give it up.
Generally speaking, their message outside of the multimedia realm works. It enrages the audience, causes controversy, sparks conversation. But isn’t that the point of any well positioned argument or deposition? To promote conversation and evoke some emotion?
Their multimedia message is quite different. Other than the videos recorded with the eldest (and Leader) of the clan (who, to me, comes across as cruel and hateful), the tone of the expository video is quite calm. I believe that this works in their favor.
Let me again reiterate. These are my opinions on the methods used.
Within the documentary “America’s Most hated Family”, we are introduced the WBCSteve who produces much of the church’s content. He is described as a filmmaker, a documentarian. I state this because of the lack of depth within many of their films. While, yes, many of them are “stylized”, the style serves no purpose other than applying a film feel. This filtering and layering process is seen on many young filmmaker attempts as they try to bridge the gap between film and digital video. I also see this in many other non-WBC-church video productions in an attempt to create a “hip” vibe. Please, cut it out.
The digital medium does wonders for documentary and provides a “real” feel that is detracted by fake film scratches.
The church does a great job at putting together information within these videos, citing sources and bible verses. However, the audience can only look at a talking head for so long. Cut away. Show the audience something. If the speaker is speaking about abortion, show a dead baby. But, please, do something more than small graphics to the side.
Steve shoots most of his material in front of a green screen. Given that the church is on the road often, I would suggest getting footage of pickets. Also, he needs to take more time in post-production to feather the edges of the subjects. This will smooth the data deleted from around the subject.
Recently, the church released a H8 campaign, organizing a twenty minute explanation and rebuttal of many passages that counter-protesters use. Sadly, the production is more of the same. Talking heads on a green screen with a stylized scratch filter overlayed. The hi-res photography placed between sections are particularly well done. For that, I applaud the photographer.
I welcomed the well thought out rebuttal, hoping for a much greater insight to the life I profess to be living. The segments with female subjects, while stern, provide a sense of hope and love to their listeners. Their male counterparts on the other hand (minus two), I feel, only spew hate. I may be wrong, but I feel the male subjects within this video are not in it to provide warning, but instead have a more insidious demeanor. it could be poor direction or the men themselves, but they aim to hurt, not to mend.
One, however, stuck out to me as passionate. At 9:30, there is a male subject that not only calls on the viewer to be proactive against sin, but tells them to hold WBC accountable for their sins. This is a heavy, yet extremely fair and bold statement. I applaud him.
As I said before, the video was more of the same. It provides a very interesting insight into the mind of God and WBC. To my readers I leave you with this, listen to every argument and decide for yourself. WBC makes a very valid point that people are not enraged by the church, but the message. We all walk a very different path and God calls us at different times. Read. Converse. Make up your own mind. This church believes that as soon as you hear God’s rules you are bound by them. The truth is that you were bound by them since birth. I believe that you have until death until you truly understand God’s will and submit, as exemplified by Christ’s acceptance of his fellow on the cross. This doesn’t mean you say “Yea yea, God’s great.” and bam! you’re in heaven. No! You must truly have learned to love and revere Him. I know I will be branded as an enabler by this particular group, but I do not mind. I find peace in the Lord God, my savior, and I only wish for those who truly want it, to find it.
I worked on “And She Walked into the Sea” a little more over last week. Here are the results.
I sit here, shirtless and wearing a cheap pair of bunny ears, mulling over Sauerbier’s overview of Social Networking Sites. Throughout the reading, I found myself referring back to this idea of the “screen” that has become a reoccurring theme in many of my arguments about new media and its users. This time, I refer to the dangers that Sauerbrier warns us about which lie, dormant or otherwise, within these social sites.
First, though, I would like to clarify this screen to which I refer. At the beginning of the semester, we were introduced with the idea that bandwidth is a limiting factor within online social interactions. We are told that as the bandwidth increases, so does civility. Yet there is still a barrier and a literal distance between the communicator and the receiver that prevents either side of creating or receiving a full picture of the communication. Thus, both parties are protected to an extent from immediate backlash or insecurities that may arise from a face to face encounter. Rightly so, I am then able to tell you that I am writing this while shirtless and wearing a cheap pair of bunny ears. More so, because of this screen we can also allow individuals we would normally not associate with become important parts of our everyday lives, whether we know it or not.
Sauerbeir writes about potential dangers within social networking sites that come in many devious forms. Pedophiles, scammers, cyber-bullies, and stalkers all fill the cyber forums waiting to attack. And while she acknowledges that these people exist and sites are doing their hardest to eradicate them, she fails to examine how to fully understand and defend ones-self from such attacks.
At the beginning of the chapter, we are given a very basic definition of SNS: a web site that allows users to (1) create a public or semi-public profile, (2) make a list of people to whom they connect or wish to connect with (3) and the simple ability to view connections they or others have made. The users agreeing to these terms have then set an arbitrary goal to interact with persons known or unknown and allow said contacts to gather information about them.
Through the veil that the internet enshrouds upon us, we as users allow interactions that may rarely occur in a “real world” situation. I am in no means trying to downplay the victimization of user by those who would other wise use this veil to take advantage. No, instead I mean to enable these would-be victims with knowledge.
In the past few years, there has been a heavy push in anti-bullying/anti-cyberbullying legislation in attempts to curb violence and suicide from school and college-age students. I propose that further exploration of the bandwidth/veil conundrum would help curb such depressing scenarios from our cyber lives. The veil works both ways. It empowers users to speak their mind or act inappropriately, as well as empowering those to allow people into their cyber live that they would otherwise ignore. In my own “brilliancy”, I’ve allowed a childhood bully to befriend me on facebook. While said bully has not offered me any insult or injury in years, I seamlessly allowed him back into my life under the guise of the veil.
Yet the veil only allows so much. It provides us a false pretense of immunity. It allows us to dish out more then we can take in or the idea that we can deal with harsh backlash. After all, there is distance between the communicator and the receiver. Yet, we can clearly see this isn’t the case. In many cases, communicator and receiver are too close, or become too close, and allow the cyber world to overflow into the real world.
In cases of scammers, we use the veil to believe that we, or the privileged few on our friendslist, are the only ones who can see our information. Viral questionnaires and surveys become innocent. Most people fill them out without question. When was the last time you actually read the questions?
Who was your first grade teacher?
What is the name of your first dog?
What city were you born in?
What street did you live on?
Do these questions seem familiar? They are all security questions. If you received this survey through myspace or facebook, one could assume that the originator (or even a friend) can access your e-mail address and use this information to gain access to you!
My suggestions: Look at who you are befriending. Are they really a friend? Look at what you answer. Is this information that you would freely give out?
Feel Free to Discuss.
Preface: This is a short exploration of E-politics through the guise of the group Anonymous.
When defining politics for communications, we are required to accept that the definition does not refer explicitly to any national government and their campaigns. We are instead asked to accept that politics refers simply to as the relations between people living in a society. This includes groups, clubs, classes, perhaps even parties. Due to the social nature of the internet (remember, the internet was created for communication so that small groups may interact over long distances), people have been able to gather under familiar banners and act towards a similar goal. After all, that is what a society does.
In the recent month, (though the group has been around for years) the general public has been re-introduced to the internet free-speech collective known as Anonymous. While there are numerous sources that give the group contradicting evaluations of their intentions (i.e cyber-terrorist or champions of free speech), I feel it is important to understand how a collective online society has been able to be so effective online and within the real world.
In order to achieve this, I propose that we look at the idea Hoffman present us with known as “Mobilizing Information”. Put simply, MI can be categorized as “Who, what (identificational), where, when (Locational), and how (tactical)?”
Anonymous is a group of individuals who created a society based on off-color humor and topics on webforums such as 4chan and ebaums world. As the name implies, the individuals within the group interact under the shroud of anonymity.
The Baltimore City Paper received this quote during a piece written about the group’s protest of Scientology:
“Anonymous has no leader or controlling party, and relies on the collective power of its individual participants acting in such a way that the net effect benefits the group. “Anyone who wants to can be Anonymous and work toward a set of goals…” a member of Anonymous explained to the Baltimore City Paper. “We have this agenda that we all agree on and we all coordinate and act, but all act independently toward it, without any want for recognition. We just want to get something that we feel is important done…”
One may ask “How does anything get done if these people don’t know who they are working with?” I would refer you to SIDE (social identification model of deindividuation; Spears & Lea, 1992,1994), which measures social or individual identity based within the context of anonymity. According to this model, a person who access a site with complete anonymity is more prone to “group think” and “leads to behavior that expresses the norms of the group”. In fact, studies have shown that individuals who work with one another anonymously over the internet create a stronger bond in friendship and can even grow romantically attached.
4chan and ebaums world are sites dedicated to off-color humor, insensitivity towards others, and “flame wars”. As a society that has been founded on these particular traits, it would be blasphemous to not fight for free speech, free thought, and transparent information. Thus, Anonymous has a mission statement.
While, MI has been used in examination of traditional media sources both online and off (i.e. major news outlets), none-the-less it can be used for all media sources. Twitter, e-mail, facebook, web boards can all be considered media outlet, as long as some information is being transmitted. What is interesting about these non-traditional sources is that MI can be readily accessed by the public and almost any source of information can be turned into MI (especially when you’re interacting with Anonymous).
As champions of free speech, Anonymous has been credited with opening channels of communications within the 2009 Iran protests, the Egyptian protests, and even offline protests of the Church of Scientology. Using web boards and IRC, members expand on current events that can be tracked through conventional (news outlets) unconventional media sources (i.e. twitter or e-mail) and decide to act upon them. As the group decides on action, it uses its various communication technologies to convey Mobilizing Information about protests, pranks, and web vandalism. This includes target names, addresses, meeting times, and ideas of how to carry out plans.
Hoffman, L.H., (2006) Is INTERNET CONTENT DIFFERENT
AFTER ALL? A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF MOBILIZING INFORMATION IN ONLINE AND PRINT NEWSPAPERS
Landers, C, (2008) Serious Business: Anonymous Takes On Scientology (and Doesn’t Afraid of Anything)
Bunz and Carlton’s article that revisits previous research done on communication media used between grandparents and grandchildren explores the digital divide between the aforementioned groups. Instead of focusing on haves and have-nots, it assumes that both groups have access current technologies to communicate with one another. While most of the findings point towards the idea that the elder generation will make attempts to use newer technologies, they tend to stick with traditional media for communications.
The problem I have with the article is that Bunz and Carlton fail to recognize, or barely glance over, two variables within their research: (1) the ease of transition from one media to the next, and (2) the fear of technology.
In their research, they found that grandparents were more willing to initiate contact using cell phones then any other form of new communication media. This finding follows that the elderly typically stuck to landlines to initiate contact. They theorize that this is because they are forced to acquire the skill and become familiar with the device as the younger generation continues to use it as the primary form of communications. However, they do not take into account the ease of transition from land line to cell phone.
Both devices work similarly and provide the same function. I believe it would be safe to assume that the transition from the land line to a cell phone would be relatively simple. With that point, the digital divide changes from haves and have-nots to needs and need-nots, in which the elderly feel they don’t need to use the device as often as the younger counterparts.
Next, I propose that fear of technology is another factor that Bunz and Carlton overlooked. While they touch on the subject saying, “… used in inter-generational communication or by the elderly in general, email
may act as the “entry drug” to higher frequency of interaction through multiple channels.”, stating that familiarity with e-mail allows the older generation to slowly integrate Instant Messengers as a form of contact. One could assume then that the inhibiting factor of the elderly using IM and e-mail is unfamiliarity and fear or intimidation of the media.