Sunday, March 5, 2017

Read/check out this website and respond tomorrow evening, March 6th

Hey all;

I want all of you to be thinking about how you'll ground your projects in some sort of theory or set of theories:  about media, about education,about society, about give it something to stand on.

Check out the brief interview here with Henry Giroux who talks about Neoliberalism:

The website,, where you'll find this interview, is a fantastic site dedicated to media and activism.  You'll find there's a blog that includes writing, videos, music videos, etc., all  drawing on popular culture and using popular culture to make activist statements.

Check it out!  When you respond tomorrow evening, tell me a bit about what you think of Giroux's argument.  Where else in culture/society do you see evidence of what he's talking about?  Is this an explanatory theory that resonates with you, or not?

As promised, what I'll also do tomorrow evening is write responses to each of you about your proposals, which I haven't yet finished reading.  I'll end the evening with tips on how to prepare for your five-minute pitches, which you'll do March 13th when next we meet in person again.

Until tomorrow evening.....

Prof. Fry


  1. While watching Henry Giroux’s interview, I found his arguments to hold a lot of validity in today’s society. For example, when he discussed the “War on Youth” I automatically thought of things like violence and consumerism before he was done fully explaining the term. At a very young age we are taught that the latest fads can make you popular, make-up makes you pretty, etc. We are taught these things by advertisers of pop culture because they know that us youth are long-term investments because we represent an important social factor like Giroux argues. This ideology is evident when Giroux describes “soft war”, as children we are treated like commodities by financial elite (advertisers) because we “operate off the assumption that the only obligation of our citizenship is consumerism”. Giroux’s argument resonates with me because in society today, there is a pressing need to have the latest everything—whether it be a new phone or a simple software update—there is a pressing need which advertisers have created that pits us against one another instead of helping build each other up.

    1. This point about consumerism and citizenship reminds me of what Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer said in "The Culture Industry : Enlightenment as Mass Deception":
      "The man with leisure has to accept what the culture manufacturers offer him. Kant's formalism still expected a contribution from the individual, who was thought to relate the varied experiences of the senses to fundamental concepts; but the industry robs the individual of this function. Its prime service to the customer is to do his schematising for him".
      Nevertheless, I'm beginning to think that young people are increasingly "piercing through the mendacity" (to borrow a phrase from Cornel West). Look at Occupy Movement for example. I don't think this idea that citizenship is inextricably linked to consumption is total and complete. There is push-back.

  2. After watching the video and hearing what Henry Giroux said Neoliberalism to me equals individualism and selfishness. I think our country is at the height of Neoliberalism and the current administration, not just President Trump, but most of the Republican Party are okay with the state our country is in because it helps certain individuals become more wealthy. We long longer have a sense of community except, when individuals come together to fight for causes or protest, in my opinion. For example, the last article, "No Sleep Till 2020: Artists and Activists Plot the Opposition" expresses the concerns of my media activists and how they have picked a cause and are fighting for it. Outside of that, many people don't know the people who live in their neighborhoods or on their blocks anymore let alone feel like a community.

    The people who control the United States have a very Neoliberalism mentality. That was one of President Obama's biggest obstacle during his time in office, dealing with neoliberal government constituents because he did not have this mentality. He believed in unity and togetherness. I honestly believe Neoliberalism will be the demise of the United States.

    I agree with Giroux's thoughts on "War on Youth" as someone who has student loan debt, that people two generations ago did not have to accumulate to get an education, I find it does hinder your life as an adult. You have less money to establish yourself and you are paying back more money year after year.

    The Bible says according to Proverbs 22:7 (NIV), “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” When Dave was confronted with this Scripture, he had to really consider who was right—his broke finance professor, who taught that debt is a tool, or God, who never has anything good to say about debt.

    But without the proper education in this country, career advancement is limited. However, now with the internet, the youth have more options to control their destiny's more than they ever before. Now, teens can become millionaires with or without an education in the media world, but it's limiting to only a few. I do believe our entire school structure should be changed. Like Giroux mentioned, our schools are being run by a testing system that teachers don't have control over. They are limited to teach the information to pass the test, which limits children to only think one particular way and develop limiting skills. In order for our country to overcome the neoliberalism way of thinking, we will have to elect officials who think to build up communities not their wealth.

  3. After listening to Giroux's argument on Neoliberalism, I can agree with his notion on the "Hard War" being waged against today's youth. When he mentioned the criminalization of children's actions, such as dress codes, I immediately thought of the extremely dress codes placed on young girls and women; even the slightly "violation" of these codes - which MAY be something as trivial as wearing leggings - often results in the girls being shamed for their bodies and styles of clothing.

    Additionally, I agree with Giroux's point when he states that the youth is increasingly publicizing private facts. Recently, Facebook came under fire when a teenager committed suicide over Facebook Live. While it is not Facebook's fault the individual committed suicide, Facebook DID provide a platform for the viewing of the event, which in a sick way harks back to public executions. Children are increasingly unable to draw the line between private and public facts, which only benefits social media platforms as children will post about everything and enable themselves to become target audiences for companies.

  4. Neoliberalism is described as a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism and Dr. Henry Giroux's confirms that in his argument. Today our society is facing that mindset or at least we are heading in that direction. Economics can easily take over the decisions made in a country because it automatically makes a measurable value of the work that is done in a country. Measuring equality, the general satisfaction of a nation, and other social matters is difficult so neoliberalists believe that the economy and capitalism will save the society under any situation. However, having money being the focus of a country's policies removes humanity from the society and instead its inhabitants are only seen as investments. In the short term focusing on the US's influence on the world's capital is very important since the idea that money equals power is still prevalent, but in the long term it is not productive especially when it comes to those in charge of the future, the youth.

    Dr. Giroux's belief in the idea that "hard war" will develop due to the development of neoliberalism is a policy to be fearful of. The youth are the future and their upbringing will be displayed in their actions as adults. If youths are not raised to push themselves instead of being held back by practices that are suppressing their capabilities, then there is no future. What is worse is that the cycle of a capitalistic society will continue because now they have their workers. Students that are not motivated or are not given incentives to surpass their limits will end up in entry level jobs or even incarcerated. The youth would be used to the prison like environment of being actually incarcerated since Dr. Giroux believes that neoliberalism will form a “criminal youth complex” that will criminalize their behavior from an early age.

    This theory resonates with me because were I not encouraged by the government and in turn my professors and parents, I would be incapable of striving for a career in television or production. What a lot of people do not realize is that policies eventually effect the mindset of the entire country. If there is no hope or if people are not told to aim higher then it is sure that it will not happen.

  5. I’d start by saying it was a little disconcerting watching a video on RT – I’ve learnt it’s a propaganda arm of the Putin government. Nevertheless, any criticism of social structure is welcome. I think Henry Giroux is being a little too apocalyptic here. Everything is capitalism, everything is commodification, there is no room for democracy. Young people are being controlled and surveilled and that this surveillance is being turned into entertainment.
    While there are problems with American culture – for example, reality shows that I consider to be the bread and circus of modern society and what I find to be most disturbing, shows about prison life (on MSNBC of all places) that turn the torment of that experience for a few to entertainment for many. But consider how active the youth have been since the DT election. Recently I learnt that an activism app, very similar to the one I had discussed as a project in Katherine Fry’s class has actually been invented and is being used to generate interest in activist events going on in a potential participant’s general area. I’m reminded of the chapter “Photoshop for Democracy” in Henry Jenkins’ book – “Convergent Culture” and what it discusses about grassroots movements in the age of the internet:
    "The web’s low barriers to entry expand access to innovative or even revolutionary ideas at least among the growing segment of the population that has access to a computer. Those silenced by corporate media have been among the first to transform their computer into a printing press."
    Needless to say, the youth have taken to social media with gusto. In the wake of the last election,
    I have seen a cornucopia of anti-Trump and anti-establishment ideas and critiques circulate through social media – so I’d say the youth are hardly repressed and destroyed. This brings me back to RT. A channel that is backed up by a government that literally murders its citizens has some nerve bringing on speakers that spread dystopian paranoia about the destruction of the youth due to capitalism run amok.
    I’ll end by extracting and placing here a Trippi quote from “Photoshop for Democracy”. Even though Jenkins is skeptical, this is what we learn about Trippi’s arguments for what he calls the “empowerment age” – “If information is power, then this new technology – which is the first to evenly distribute information – is really distributing power. The power is shifting from institutions that have always been run top down, hording information at the top, telling us how to run our lives, to a new paradigm of power that is democratically distributed and shared by all of us”.
    So I wouldn’t be so sure to proclaim the death of democracy and the youth waking up in a neoliberal hell-hole. There’s plenty of room for anti-neoliberal activism, actually undergirded by media technology, particularly ‘new media’ technology.

    Source: Convergent Culture by Henry Jenkins.

  6. While watching Henry Giroux’s interview I found myself thinking about children growing up in the modern world. I completely agree with him regarding his three step of the “War on Youth”. I’ve worked with children before in daycare centers and babysitting while getting my college degree and have seen multiple experiences I could not assimilate with my childhood. I will never forget witnessing a two year old knowing how to open an iPhone with her dad’s passcode. I can only imagine how advanced her and her generation will be when it comes to technology and the latest gadgets that will be out during her time. This is also similar to Giroux’s first category of the “War on Youth” known as the “Soft War” in which the youth is exploited to commercialism and treated as commodities. Who knows what devices the kids will want to purchase next simply because they're advertised everywhere or the entire community owns the latest toy. On the other hand, I also cannot forget times I’ve heard toddlers being bored and not knowing how to play without a technical device. I cannot image the extent their creativity will expand when considering the simple act of playing does not allow a kid to be as creative as one could be. Consumerism on children clearly limits their creativity. This also reminds me of Giroux’s comment on education and how children are only educated to believe that “the only thing that matters is testing”. It’s very structured and labeling one’s knowledge to a simple number that holds no deeper significance. I strongly believe children need to be pushed to think more creatively and outside the box rather than being graded on their limited memorization skills. The government along with the market essentially manipulate children's minds while growing up in order to fit into the structured society.

    Hopefully the link will work. This gives me hope. The article delineates how millenials have embraced socialism and social democracy and have scant regard for the neoliberal doctrine. It also makes mention of the debt that they've had to endure - something that Brittany also wrote. The Future is Progressive.

  8. This theory definitely resonates with me because he describes the society we are living in. One thing I found hard to relate is Youth issue. Specifically the dress code one. I think that young people in America are given way too much freedom, absolutely unnecessary one for someone that young. Therefore I can disagree with the dress code issue. I strongly agree with his argument about the school system, but it is the same not only in the US. Colleges are built to unfortunately give basic knowledge and not so much give a space to create. The issue with consumerism is like a national disease, debt is another huge issue. But social media and exposure, I am not entirely sure how is government involved in to this propaganda. I mean it does not stop younger people from being on Social Media, but this is something that has to be fixed internally, within schools, communities and families. I would like to discuss how government can have this effect on youth, I can see why would they want to have all this info, but I do not see them promoting SM. If anyone wants to give their opinion, I will be happy to discuss!

  9. Giroux's interview was very interesting and while I do agree with some of the things he said he was also ominous. The "war on youth" was true because I have little sisters who are in high school and they have told me if a student does not come in dressed correctly they can get in trouble or even sent home from their school. I agree with him about people sharing their lives on social media and it being stored on a "NSA computer" like he said and then if it something that is bad it can potentially be used against you in a job interview.


  10. After watching DR. Henry Giroux’s explanation of Neoliberalism, I feel that he expresses a very important idea: less mental constraint and more free expression. I feel very lucky that I can take such a class and can conduct the Media Activism Project. If this were in China, I would have been in prison. Like all non-democratic systems, Chinese government only allows one voice that is the government propaganda. Therefore, this project is a very good experience of testing American democracy and a substantive challenge to authoritarianism. Forced Live Organ Harvesting is not simply an issue of doctor’s moral decay of making lucrative profit out of selfishness, but a state sanctioned policy of slaughter against humanity. The significance of my project is a real test of different political systems. Before I took part in the project I may be only a reporter; after I joined and experienced the project, I became a media activist. DR. Henry Giroux’s video has reminded me of so much. The above is the one that just came across my mind.


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