“the same in the movies”

By: Kerry Loughran

Ironically, searching empowerment on Google images comes up with a white male and a superhero shadow.

Movies have a heavy influence on our socialization. There are efforts to appeal to audience members, and that’s usually accomplished by giving the audience something to relate with. Regardless of genre, you could probably find one main theme to relate with in your favorite movie. (I’m curious as to what that main theme may be to you; so comment on this post if you can identify one and are willing to share.☺️) Children -and even adults- often find inspiration in movie characters, or even the actors themselves. More recently, there has been an increase in minorities as lead superheroes with movies like Captain Marvel and Black Panther. I’ve heard comments from friends and strangers that a lot of minority people feel inspired and empowered seeing individuals like themselves in these popular, heroic roles. Movies have also created physical and digital places where people can meet one another and connect through commonalities and interests.

There are also bias representations of certain races, genders, age groups, etc. in movies that have influenced how we view those groups outside of movie settings. The same goes for physical places as well. For example, the physical place of Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles are glorified in movies and other media. Yet, the “city of Los Angeles” is usually used in reference to Los Angeles County; and if you have ever been to Hollywood, you know that it isn’t as beautiful and clean as it’s usually portrayed to be. I hosted a German exchange student for a semester in high school and I cannot put into words how excited she was to get the chance to visit LA. Myself and my friends kept telling her that some areas were beautiful but other areas weren’t very nice. As much as we didn’t want to take her excitement away, we also didn’t want her to be completely let down or disappointed. She ended up loving the county as a whole, but said she preferred other Southern California areas more and didn’t exactly want to visit LA again.

Los Angeles skyline, typical expectation
Los Angeles skyline, typical reality

That trip to LA made me realize that proper representation does matter: not just for people but places as well. We also took her to Las Vegas and she told us that Vegas “is the same in the movies.” Vegas is glamorized in many movies, don’t get me wrong. However, there are also well-known movies like The Hangover that show the less glamorous, and dramatized, version of Vegas.

As artists, filmmakers have freedom to portray things how they would like. But as many filmmakers also take after journalists, I think there is an underlying responsibility to portray things accurately… or maybe at least accurately to their personal views and disclosed as such.

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Memo: Verizon vs. FCC, Ongoing

TO: Verizon Communications

FROM: Kerry Loughran

DATE: 19 June 2019

SUBJECT: Verizon vs. FCC, Net Neutrality and First Amendment Violations  – No First Amendment Violations

ISSUE

Verizon Communications (Verizon) believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is violating the company’s First Amendment rights by establishing net neutrality rules. Due to Verizon being an internet service provider (ISP) and a telecommunications company, it is unclear as to where they fall under the FCC’s laws and regulations and how the First Amendment applies to Verizon as a company. The internet is argued to be a public good, so is Verizon arguing the First Amendment rights are violated on their behalf or the greater public’s behalf? Does Verizon have valid First Amendment rights with net neutrality rules?

ANSWER

Verizon does not have a valid First Amendment case. Verizon is an ISP and publicly traded company, and thus has the responsibility to serve the public’s best interest, convenience, or necessity because the internet is a public good and method of communication. Altering access and speed to websites conflicts with the public’s Fifth Amendment, not Verizon’s. As a service provider, the companies should provide a service to the public. Additionally, Verizon’s argument is not valid because it is illegal for companies to tamper with competition, which would be probable without net neutrality. In previous court rulings, Verizon still did not have valid First Amendment violation arguments.

FACTS

The First Amendment protects freedom to religion, petition, assemble, and the freedom of speech and the press; Verizon still has all these rights under net neutrality rules. The Sherman Antitrust Act clarifies that a company cannot control the market for a product or service; Verizon should not be allowed to control speed and access to websites because it limits who can access the services the websites have to offer. The internet is not owned and not governed by any central group; so Verizon has no right to alter what areas of the internet their users have access to because it is intended to be freely used across the globe.

Statistics Show

By: Kerry Loughran

I don’t think media products are all that different from other kinds of products. While there are definitely differences, I think the similarities are more prominent. Media products still have target audiences, and many of those target audiences are directed specifically towards men or women but usually men. In Miss Representation, it is repeated time and time again that women are more likely to consume media, TV shows, movies; yet men would not watch or consume media that women typically consume. Companies were asked to create content target towards men so they could reach a wider audience and advertise towards men, thus making more money.

Men, statistically, dominate executive roles in media companies. Miss Representation was released in 2011 and showed 4 of 13 women served the board of The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), 4 of 17 women served the board for General Electric and NBC, 2 of 11 served the Viacom board, 2 of 13 for TimeWarner’s board, 2 of 14 for CBS’ board, 1 of 16 for Fox’s board. Now in 2019, TWDC has 7 women of 23 leadership positions; General Electric has 1 woman out of 11 leadership positions and 4 women in 21 executive positions; NBCUniversal has 2 women of 7 board members, and the parent company –Comcast– has 13 women of 27 corporate leadership roles; Viacom has 5 women of 9 positions in the board; WarnerMedia, parent to TimeWarner, has 1 woman of 9 leadership roles, and AT&T -parent company of WarnerMedia- has 3 women out of 12 board positions; CBS has 6 women of 11 board positions, and Viacom owns CBS; and Fox has 1 woman of 7 board positions, and TWDC owns Fox’s Entertainment sector. The statistics of women in board and leadership positions may have slightly risen since 2011, but the majority of the positions are still held by men. With men dominating the leadership roles, they have a larger say in the media produced and released. They have the majority of the control and the power. This means that the economics behind these companies is dominated by men over women, taking away a lot of say from the women.

Message from your Boise Co-op

By: Kerry Loughran

We, the Boise Co-op, would like to send sincere apologies to you, our members, our customers, our community members, our employees, and all others affected by the recent Salmonella outbreak. We care very deeply about our customers, members, and community. Boise Co-op has no toleration for anything that may harm our customers, members, or community.

Our officials have diligently removed all food suspected to contain Salmonella bacteria and all food within close proximity to the contaminated foods. Each location is being thoroughly sanitized and reinspected. Furthermore, we will be in communication with our partners to identify the source of the harmful bacteria, as to ensure we prevent another outbreak which would harm our customers or community. Our foods, and their foods, will be examined for any other potentially harmful bacteria, as well as product mistreatment.

Salmonella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is known to generally cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps. The symptoms typically last 4 to 7 days. Should you experience some or more of the symptoms for more than 3 days with no improvement, we urge you to please contact your doctor or an urgent care in your area. If you have other questions or concerns regarding Salmonella bacteria, call your doctor or a local health care professional.

We, at the Boise Co-op, take responsibility for not providing our members, customers and community with quality, healthy, fresh foods and products. This is a situation we are taking very seriously, all comments and concerns we receive are reviewed by us and our vendors to ensure we are allowing all voices to be heard and taken into account. We are deeply sorry for any negative effects this outbreak has caused for you and are actively working to prevent anything like it from happening again.

Sending our deepest apologies.

Your local neighbors,

The Boise Co-op

the village location

Phone: 208-809-2200

2350 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, ID 83646

North End Location

Phone: 208-472-4500

888 W Fort Street, Boise, ID 83703

Coffee Controls Chaos

By: Kerry Loughran

Super Carlin Brothers is a YouTube channel I watch frequently and back in November they announced the creation their own coffee brand, Carlin Brothers Coffee. The story behind it is they would meet up to research, plan, and film their videos or just hang out; and they would always get coffee. It was something they enjoyed together and it brought them together. In support of them and their YouTube channel, I bought some and loved the unique flavor. So I took pictures (and videos) for the fun of it and it ended up coming in handy! I chose this image in particular because the colors on the coffee bag contrast well to the neutral colors around it. I think it portrays a calm, simple, content vibe while the coffee can be seen brewing into the cup. Also the shadow from the coffee bag makes the final statement stand out even more.

The image communicates that the coffee has a bright flavor. It can help you relax and regain control of everything going on, and it’s empowering the user that they took control. I used the technique plain-folks pitch because the product is associated with simplicity, and with simplicity comes relaxation.

I’m trying to reach a target audience of young adults. These are usually the people that feel like their lives are overwhelming, stressful, out of control, messy. This age group frequently expresses things in their life feel chaotic. The ad suggests that the product could help attain the need for control. It also conveys valuing simple moments, relaxation, environmental friendliness (see the bottom of the bag), uniqueness, control, and empowerment.

While having a life of excitement can be great, sometimes simple is better. Advertisements have a large role in shaping us and our culture. There are times, more often than not, where ads are overwhelming. Ads that express serenity and control (and don’t take over the entire screen) could help take away the tension people get when they’re overwhelmed with life and/or ads. A little bit can go a long way.

Should you?

By: Kerry Loughran

Social media is a wild thing. It gives just as much power as it holds. It can be used to share, support, empower, and connect. Unfortunately, the people on social media don’t always share positively, support the good people, empower those deserving, or connect us for the right reasons. It’s a bit ironic that the internet gives us so much freedom and power, yet most people use that freedom and power to take away the freedom and power of other people. Terms and agreements exist, sure. But think about it… are there really rules on the internet? The “rules” are frequently implied and people often talk about privacy and safety, but there aren’t strict do’s and don’ts that are enforced. Other medias? They usually operate as firms with a target audience, so they’re going to have employees with guidelines and rules for their employees to follow. They have more specific goals and think of consequences before releasing information. Individually run social media accounts? Nah. Every man for himself (or herself because #2019). People don’t realize they are choosing content to share for a target audience; people don’t have specific goals, besides maybe how many likes they want; people don’t need to think of consequences for sharing or posting something; it’s their content, their views, their opinions, they have the power. Just because they don’t recognize a target audience or goals, or don’t think about offending someone doesn’t mean they should.

Should you murder the driver that cut you off without a blinker because you can? No. Should you pick your nose in public then stick it under a table because you can? No.

The dude that cut you off? He might be a rude driver, but maybe it’s your future best friend. The table that almost got your booger? Odds are if there’s a table, there’s also probably a napkin … and it’s just kinda gross. How do dissatisfactory drivers and boogers in public relate to social media ethics? Well, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

You can call people out for make inappropriate jokes, and you should call them out; but you should also give them a chance to explain themselves. You can argue about politics on Facebook; but you should be open-minded. You can share things you’re passionate about; but you should also acknowledge when others do the same. In the scenario which you did when you shouldn’t? Admit it. More often than not, people tend to respect that… if you admit it sooner than later.

Social media has great potential and toxic potential. The only toxicity I’ve noticed people enjoy is the song Toxic by Britney Spears. Get rid of the nasty, toxic stuff you don’t enjoy, even if it’s the song, and slowly bring out the best in yourself and your social media!

  • For starters, they say happy is healthy; so to make you social media environment healthy, make it happy!
    • Positivity doesn’t spread as easily so be the warrior that makes people smile. You could even turn it into a game or challenge for yourself!
  • Take a breather when you need it.
    • They say that nothing is deleted from the internet. The stuff you “miss” will be there when you got your breath back. Use your breathing time to just do the social part of social media. Pet some good animals or go treat yourself to some food or both.
  • Life is made of little moments; try sharing some of those more.
    • Share the little things that didn’t go as planned or the amusing interaction you saw the other day. Trends are fun to follow, but don’t force yourself to have the same big moments as everyone else. Appreciate the little things and share those with everyone else. Who knows… maybe little moments will be big moments when you look back on them.

Soap bubbles are better

By: Kerry Loughran

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear or read “filters”?

Maybe it takes you back to the simpler times of 2010 with the filter app CamWow and Instagram filters. Maybe it makes you think of getting the filter replaced in your AC unit. Or maybe it reminds you of the time a friend said a curse word in front of a small child and someone accused them of not having a filter. But since we’re all working on variations of the same assignment, one of the first few things you thought of was probably the filter bubble.

Think about this scenario: you click on the links, like this blog post and suddenly your getting advertisements for photo filter apps and air conditioning repairmen. Going off that scenario, even with a provided link, you and I will probably receive different recommendations because of this filter bubble. Spoiler alert if you didn’t click on the hyperlinks… even though I linked my exact search result pages for CamWow and AC filters, we’ll probably get different results. How wild is that? Apparently it’s not wild at all, but even a recommendation from someone else will be customized to you by your internet browser. Despite all the results, it feels kind of limiting. You’re feeling uninspired and need something new? Too bad, you’re social media pages, your search engines, your advertisements, sponsored posts in your feed are all filtered to you. Not really anything new if you look at the grand scheme of it. The internet is so vast with so much content and information yet we’re receiving an incredibly small portion of it all.

I’m not sure I can speak for everyone on this, but in my personal life it’s significantly easier to hear about stories happening all over from different perspectives and opinions. My friends and family all have widely differing views and opinions on almost every topic, so I’m frequently getting a decent mix of information outside of my online media consumption. I actually think I’m more informed talking with my friends and family offline than I am strictly getting information from my feeds and searches (with checking their claimed facts of course).

“But Kerry,” you ask because I am pretending you are, “how can I stop my filter bubble? How can I filter in all the other stuff?” Well, I’m not an expert by any means. My personal advice would be to keep yourself educated of as many viewpoints of a topic as you can; be aware of your filter and don’t let it win; acknowledge the other side of things because knowledge is power. “My browser will still track my information,” I pretend to hear you say. Don’t worry. There are step-by-step ways to tear up your filter, confuse the algorithms, and relieve your stresses of online filter bubbles. So fix your filter, take a deep breathe, and enjoy blowing soap bubbles instead… I personally think those are much more fun.