astern: illustration from Lane Smith and Dr Seuss's HOORAY FOR DIFFENDOOFER DAY (Default)
Amy Stern ([personal profile] astern) wrote2010-08-08 11:09 pm

Public Service Announcement

From now on, I'll be cross-posting everything from the Big Brother is Reading livejournal here.

Introduction Post - I explained why I was setting up the blog

Analysis of HUNGER GAMES chapter 1
Analysis of HUNGER GAMES chapters 2 and 3

If we had influence, Rudy would have won. - goals for the project

Of course. - irritation at not finding a list of clear goals for NCLB

[untitled] - my realization that media literacy theory pre-2000 is basically pointless for me to read

Everything Bad is Good For You - quotes from Steven Johnson's book

Teaching Media Literacy: a How-To-Do-It Manual and CD-Rom - notes from the book by Belinha S. De Abreu

Tabloid Culture - notes on the book by Kevin Glynn

A brief rant - "Not that any of this has to do with this project, except I guess to once again clarify my goals: to talk bout reality television in a way which neither acts like it's trash that's only good breeding grounds for sociological research, or a hidden work of genius only appealing to people who really "get it""

Media Literacy: A Reader (part 1) - quotes about diversity in reality tv
Media Literacy: A Reader (part 2) - other quotes from that book

Choose Your Own Adventure - "On some level, all you need to do to understand that reality television is fundamentally showing a bias and a point of view is to look at however your day has gone, and acknowledge that every person you've interacted with has a different narrative than you do."

You sold out your friends for a stack of greenbacks. - The Hunger Games vs Survivor All-Stars 1

This is what happens when I'm allowed to watch TV unsupervised. - the first (second?) time I applied for a reality show. For someone who doesn't want to appear on them, I've kind of done this a lot.

When we studied Archetypal in crit, this was not my first thought. - "I think the reason that Survivor's still on the air and why it's endured is great storytelling," Probst explained. "I've always felt that Survivor is Joseph Campbell at its best."

The canyon between "learning" and "lawsuit" - "So getting copies of seasons of reality television can be a chore. I happily paid money for anything that I could, and if there were more DVDs available for purchase I would have gotten them too. (Seriously, CBS- Amazon and Cook Islands at LEAST.) After that I exploited friends with video tapes, enjoyed a brief three-hours-a-week run on the Game Show Network, went through YouTube with a fine-toothed internet comb, and yada yada yada, I have acquired every episode of Big Brother and Survivor and watched almost all of them."

Squirming, but Watching a Dying Reality Star - "Even the article about Jade Goody being dehumanized by the media is dehumanizing her. That's an impressive level of fail, or possibly an impressive level of self-awareness. It bothers me that I'm not sure which."

"In Survivor, close gets you nothing." - "The thing about watching enough reality television is that you start to lose perspective. For example, you may be completely aware of what you're looking for, and have a detailed outline spread out across the floor by your computer next to where all your DVD player remotes are (hypothetically of course), but after a certain amount of time- or possibly just after reaching saturation point- you really can't think of anything except how it's even possible that Stephenie LaGrossa's French braid is always so neat."

The tribe has not yet spoken, because I have not yet asked any questions. - "In an ideal world I'd ask former contestants for their thoughts on Hunger Games, but I'm somehow doubting the probability of that. (NOT BECAUSE I ASSUME THEY CAN'T READ. For the record.) "

It's not easy being green. - "This is why I would be terrible if I were actually on a reality program: I overthink things. On the other hand, this is why I would be a great theoretical contestant. If I focus my neuroses like a laser, I can formulate what adds up to the ideal candidate. It's just that I cannot PERFORM that role because I am the kind of person who cannot handle speaking in front of a 20-person class, never mind dancing around half-naked while using language that would make my parents curl up in a ball and die of shame."

Like so many reality TV veterans before me, I had become a victim of editing. - "96% of the time I'm incredibly defensive at the idea that reality programming is a "waste" of my time, and the other 4% I'm left wondering if my love of Big Brother is the only thing standing between the planet and a solution to the world hunger problem."

THINGS PONDERED WHILE FILLING OUT THE BIG BROTHER APPLICATION - "Who counts as my "best friend" for this purpose? Isn't that kind of antithetical? I mean, one of the signs of being my friend is that I WOULDN'T subject you to investigation by the Big Brother casting people."

All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again - "CBS taking down all of the "Revenge of the Houseguests" and "Survivors Strike Back" blogs is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY."

The Work of (Writing About) Being Watched - "What Andrejevic describes as the biggest appeal of reality television is exactly what is removed in Hunger Games: audience desire that they could be one of the ones on screen."

BREAKING NEWS: Water is wet! - "implicit in nearly all news discussion I've seen of this is either shock (DID YOU KNOW SOME REALITY SHOWS MIGHT BE STAGED?) or condescension (SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW REALITY SHOWS ARE STAGED!)."

"Do you want to be part of the biggest upset in Survivor history?" "Yes I do." - "While I was watching I was so hyperaware of every piece of it- of the structure, of what was said and what wasn't said, of what visuals were chosen to accompany what words- that it really reinforced to me that all these times I'm saying reality teaches media literacy, I'm not lying."

After Twilight, it was only a matter of time. - "I guess it's a logical mistake, though. Where could they possibly get any decent footage to work from? These people were only on camera for three months straight."

Priorities: I can has? - "It's things like this that make me feel like a productive member of society."

If Drive had lasted more than two episodes, that would be here too. - "I love my unscripted media, but I wish it wasn't presented in the theory as such a dichotomy. I like scripted media too! It is not necessary to promote one by dismissing the other!"

The more you know! - Okay, THIS was the second time I auditioned for BB.

[untitled] - "No, please, Andrejevic, try harder to justify looking at reality television as a valid text. I don't think I've quite gotten your point. Christ, what is this compensating for?"

I typed this at 2 AM and forgot to hit "post". I apologize for incoherence. - "I don't know this was a conscious choice by the author, but this was certainly the highest amount of publicity BB1 garnered (50% increase from two weeks previous, according to the Andrejevic), and it might be the kind of thing that gets internalized."

Choose Your Own Immunity Necklace? - "I'm just saying- someday, someone's going to want to publish a children's tie-in novel for Big Brother, and on that day, I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON."

BRB, becoming Jerri Manthey - "Who has two thumbs and a copy of the Survivor Interactive Game for kids?"

Somewhere, my film professor from undergrad is crying, and she doesn't know why. - "Watching I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here (which Joe McHale from The Soup describes pretty accurately: "you take a little of The Surreal Life, a dash of Rock of Love Bus... a hint of Big Brother pettiness, toss in a dollop of the American Idol voting system, blatantly rip off Survivor format, and presto!"), it feels like people thought reality shows were much less complicated than they are. The camera angles are off, there are a lot of shots of people being discussed rather than people having the discussion, there are very few focuses on faces, and there are excessive confessionals to tie shots together because they can't figure out basic continuity. In fact, the timeline is screwy; things claim to be live and then we see things that happened "after" those things in an ad for the next day' episode. It's like they considered the logic and decided not even to try."

Sadly, this is just the tip of the reality nerd iceberg. - "I don't care that it's not actually outdoors, but I do object to them destroying the shoddily-constructed illusion."

[untitled] - "In short: They were taking existing footage, and editing it together to fit the storyline they wanted to tell. Which is absolutely fine, and if they explicitly recognized the irony it would have been awesome. Instead, it's just kind of depressing."

...And that's why you never use the wizard power. - "This is one of those game-changing moments that throws things into a tailspin, and while that's true about inside the house too, that's not actually what I'm referring to. It's fascinating to watch the dynamics as fans wake up and learn what happened."

Once again, the power is up for grabs. - "as the season goes on, I get torn between my feelings for the CHARACTER and my feelings for the PERSON."

This is why I prefer fiction. :( - "This is absolutely horrible, and at the same time, I don’t feel like the most easily accessible anti-reality television moral is necessarily the right one."

[untitled] - "When they're in the house they're in a vacuum, and anything/everything they say is influenced by their situation and production, but once they're out of the house all of a sudden the relationship becomes a new level of performative, and it feels like that level of humanity is gone. It's not the presence/absence of fans, to me, but rather their sudden introduction to a developing relationship."

There's a new American Girl doll on the market! Her name is Gwen, and she's homeless. - "I think American Girl is working very hard to politically indoctrinate its consumers. I think she's kidding herself if she believes Barbie isn't working equally hard to do the same. I know that this is a world where people ban books about gay penguins and Harry Potter ~promotes devil worship or whatever, but come on, expecting a series of books designed to teach kids about issues in history to be apolitical? Really?"

YAY - Now seems like an excellent time to mention that I'm one of the Round II judges for fiction picturebooks in this year's Cybils (that's Children's and Young adult Bloggers' Literary Awards).

When You Reach Me - my just-finished-reading-it !!!! post

In which I am defensive of Eric Carle - "Once a child is old enough to have preferences, though, the book is for them. Appealing to the adult is a nice bonus, but when it's time for bedtime, the adult isn't there for the story. Adults serve as conduits between the story and the child, and by being that conduit it's possible to develop a stronger relationship. But the adult's primary response isn't supposed to be to the text, it's to the kid."

Where the Wild Things Post - "Part of me is infuriated that they need to label this "an all-ages novel," because I find that troubling in the assumption that most kidlit has a cut-off age. On the other hand, from a marketing perspective, it's genius, because a lot of people do think there's a cut-off age, and between the involvement of McSweeney's and the Junk food tees and everything, this is a way to at least get hipster adults interested, which I guess is a step, even if it's ironic love of kidlit instead of the pure joy I wish everyone had."

STEP 1: Roar your terrible roar. - "Right at this minute I am on page 83 (of 285- the beginning of Chapter 12), and I am having Thoughts and Feelings about it, and specifically the way Dave Eggers's book portrays childhood versus how Maurice Sendak does."

This entire article is one giant "That's what she said." - "You want to know why I deny all of BB9 except for the existence of Chelsia and Big She and Sharon's interactions with the guinea pigs?"

"Inspirational Stories," Coach? Really? - "I can't tell if Coach parodying himself or being sincere. I SERIOUSLY CAN'T. Which I guess is what turns a good character into a great character, although I'm not entirely sure what it says about a person."

Not dead, just sleeping - "A lot has happened since I've updated here. Two months of exposure to kids' books (and let me tell you, the BEST PART of working in a bookstore is spending my lunch break every day reading kidlit)! The season finales of Survivor and Amazing Race! The fall and rise of Kirkus! My finally seeing a doctor!"

The Tribe has Spoken - "It's really hard to remember that ten years ago, this kind of reality TV wasn't even on most people's radar. Reality programming meant Cops and seasons of the Real World. In one interview, I learned that Sue Hawk's rats vs snakes speech was ranked in a list of top ten memorable speeches. They put her with Martin Luther King Jr."

If you liked it then you should have put a shiny gold sticker on it - "I don't really feel like there's a standout book in YA that's definitely going to be Printz material, which is why most of the books I'm reading right now are YA. I was hoping it would clarify what I think, but no. I just keep squealing over how good whatever book I happen to be in the middle of is."

Reading Rainbow - "The problem with books- and by "problem" I mean "awesome thing," in case that is unclear- is that you never run out. There's always something else just waiting to grab your attention and refuse to let go."

As if he had never seen the world from up so high before. - "I cannot think of a better use of my snow day than drowning in this book."

[untitled] - "The reason Big Brother is my favorite reality show (side note: every time I say that, a little part of fifteen-year-old me dies) is that it offers the most opportunities to match up what ACTUALLY happened and what the show says happened. I think a lot about the representations of "reality" on BB, because it's the only one where it's possible to side-by-side it."

Objects in the camera may be closer than they appear - "All-star seasons of reality shows are basically my catnip, because the returning players are all aware of how they were portrayed the first time."

Our whole relationship had been tainted by the Games. Normal was never a part of it. - "It's not so much that these conversations are giving behind the scenes gossip- they're not really supplying anything I don't know, because I am a crazy person who follows the lives of reality television personalities like it's my job- as they are discussing the aspects of it which, well, deal with media literacy: the way things change from when they happen to when they air, and playing the game versus playing the show. Although obviously no one is discussing it as media literacy, because they see it all as their own personal journeys and how they've been portrayed and also because they aren't nerds like I am, they're somehow managing to talk about it anyway."

Cult of the Author - "It was the teen author equivalent of an NSync concert. People were shrieking. People were crying. People were wearing shirts made specially for the occasion. And this is where I have two trains of thought."

Reflections on Survivor (--see? it's a pun!) - "This is great because (a) I have things to cite, but also because (b) self-awareness is one of the things people always think reality stars lack, and I think those people are wrong, and this proves it."

The (sur)reality moebius strip - "In some ways, being reminded of the artificiality of the construction of reality makes the linear storytelling seem more natural."

IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG, JEFF PROBST WILL BE MY CONSTANT. - "When asked if she puts real people in her books, Katherine Paterson said "No, because people in books have to be believable, and real people aren't.""

Survivor: Judge Judy Edition - "If the criminal court system worked like Survivor does, the jury members would be people like the victim, the victim's best friend, and the defendant's favorite aunt. Every person on that jury lost the chance to win one million dollars, and the person to blame- directly or indirectly- is standing in front of them, asking to be granted that money that could have been theirs. Of course they have a personal stake in the verdict. And part of the game- a very large part of the game, actually- is getting rid of people who would never vote for you before the jury starts forming, and being delicate in voting people off once the jury begins."

THAT'S what I'm talking about. - Jenna Morasca (winner of Survivor 6) tweeted that Hunger Games is "one of the best books I have EVER read!"

"It's not the ography that bothers me. It's the porn." - "I think I want to write something comparing Metal Children to Chris Crutcher's The Sledding Hill, which are remarkably similar and yet different."

your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear - "It creates this artificial dichotomy of "you" and "them," establishing an in-group (fans of the show) and an opposing faction (the people who make the show). And it positions the people who produce the feeds as the mediating force between "you" and "them". Except the entire concept of the feeds is the idea that they aren't mediated: that they're just seeing real people in real time with no edits. But of COURSE they're mediated, in a million little ways, like choosing which camera to show and who the camera follows and even how the shot is framed."

Also, collages I posted when I attempted to post one every day and then promptly got distracted:
In the Night Kitchen
Catcher in the Rye
Gossip Girl
An Abundance of Katherines
The Bermudez Triangle
My Heartbeat