MID90s // Global Film

MID90s // Global Film

Mid90s is a 2018 film directed by Jonah Hill, and is based around a 13-year-old boy named Stevie growing up in Los Angeles in the 1990s with his mum, Dabney and older brother, Ian, who is abusive towards him. The film follows his journey as he becomes friends with some older guys, Ray, Fuckshit, Ruben and Fourth Grade, who are skaters.

Ray, Fuckshit, Ruben, Fourth Grade and Stevie aka “Sunburn”

I personally thoroughly enjoyed the film. I really liked the aesthetics of the film and it made me feel somewhat nostalgic for a decade I never experienced. I also liked the laidback storyline, it felt almost as though I was watching a documentary or just observing someone’s life. As a teen girl, I think I was definitely apart of the intended audience of this coming-of-age story, as well as those who would have actually lived through the skate culture of the 1990s and for those interested in skating now.

Skateboarding 1990S GIF by A24 - Find & Share on GIPHY

To be able understand and enjoy this film, I think you need to have a knowledge of skate films and their specific style. Throughout the film, Fourth Grade is filming everything, from skating, to chats with some homeless men, and this all comes full circle at the end of the film when *somewhat spoiler alert* he shows all the boys a short film he has made called ‘Mid90s’.

One of the co-producers of the film, Mikey Alfred, is the founder of a Los Angeles based skateboarding and clothing brand, Illegal Civilization, who also produce music videos, short films and documentaries. As a fan of the content this brand creates, their influence is really felt through the style of the film. Many of the actors in the film are skaters in real life and are heavily involved with the brand. Most of them had no prior acting experience to this film and I think this is what also gave Mid90s such an authentic vibe.

Mid90s is an example of a homogenised film. It was produced in Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood. It has travelled around the world, and received nominations for awards in other countries, such as a nomination for ‘Best Feature Film’ in the Berlin International Film Festival. It centres around a subculture of skating that is local to the Los Angeles area, however was, and is found, all around the USA and other countries, mainly in Western society.

Toxic Masculinity and Skate Culture

Toxic masculinity is a manifestation of masculinities that is characterised by the enforcement of restrictions in behaviour based on gender roles that serves to reinforce existing power structures that favour the dominance of men (Parent, Gobble, Rochlen, 2018). It is typically characterised by a drive to dominate and by endorsement of misogynistic and homophobic views.

Jonah Hill wrote and directed Mid90s based loosely on his own experience growing up in LA as a skater in the 90s. As someone who had a limited knowledge of skate culture prior to watching Mid90s, I did notice and was somewhat shocked at the intense toxic masculinity that plagued some of the characters in the film. This is something that Jonah Hill actually wanted to emphasise in the film.

1990S Video Camera GIF by A24 - Find & Share on GIPHY

“I grew up in a skate culture in the mid-’90s, and within the film there is strong language—homophobia, misogyny, and avoiding intimacy at all costs. That was taught, and I wanted to show those things explicitly and honestly, to show the lessons we as a culture had to unlearn. To me, yeah, there is a real toxic masculinity to any time you’re about to feel something or connect.”

Jonah Hill to Taylor Antrim for Vogue, 2018.

Hill wanted to be honest about how kids acted at the time, and wanted to highlight how far our society had come in a couple of decades (Bahr, 2018).

References:

Parent, M, Gobble, T and Rochlen, A. (2018). Social Media Behavior, Toxic Masculinity, and Depression. Available at: https://web-b-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&sid=49178726-bb7d-42cd-a190-a125c88555c7%40pdc-v-sessmgr06

Bahr, L. AP Film Writer (2018) Q&A: Jonah Hill on toxic masculinity and skateboardingAP English Worldstream – English. Associated Press DBA Press Association. Available at: https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=n5h&AN=APd38c435cfb384b689239ad53bd3d288c&site=ehost-live 

Antrim, T. Vogue (2018). Jonah Hill Talks About His Powerful New Coming-Of-Age Film Mid90s, And Why He’s Glad We Don’t Stay 13 Forever. Available at: https://www.vogue.com/article/jonah-hill-talks-about-his-film-mid90s-and-why-hes-glad-we-dont-stay-13-forever

HIP-HOP // Cultural Appropriation

HIP-HOP // Cultural Appropriation

https://tonedeaf.thebrag.com/20-best-hip-hop-albums-of-all-time/

“Cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.”

Oxford Dictionary

Hip-Hop

Hip-hop, or rap, culture originated in the South Bronx of New York City in the 1970s. Hip-hop music developed as part of the culture. It is is defined by four key stylistic elements: rapping, DJing/scratching, sampling and beatboxing (RapWorld, 2019). Hip hop is heavily influenced by African music, specifically the griots of West Africa, and today is typically associated with African American culture.

With the genre’s roots so heavily influenced by black cultures, hip hop has been a way for black people to be able to express themselves and create music about issues affecting their community such as racism and police brutality. A perfect example of this is N.W.A, a popular rap group in the 1980s and 1990s who used their platform to speak out about issues facing the black people of America, particularly in Compton, a city in Los Angeles, California.

The Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop and Black Culture

“I argue that colourblind ideology provides whites with the discursive resources to justify their presence in the scene, and more important, to appropriate hip-hop by removing the racially coded meanings embedded in the music and replacing them
with colour-blind ones.”

Jason Rodriquez, Color-Blind Ideology and the Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop

It is evident through the appropriation by non-black people of themes typically associated with hip-hop culture and music that there is an element, conscious or subconscious, of a colour-blind ideology and approach to implementing these themes in their music.

In recent years, performers like Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus have come under scrutiny for cultural appropriation. Azalea is an Australian rapper who is accused of using a ‘blaccent’ and has been heavily criticised for “profiting from a culture that is not her own” (SBS, 2016). After Cyrus’ 2013 MTV VMA’s performance featuring twerking, a dance move which originated in hip-hop culture, she was called out for cultural appropriation by hip-hop artists, Jay-Z and Azaelia Banks.

Japanese Hip-Hop

In the past decade, hip-hop has become more mainstream within the Japanese music scene. However, it seems as though popular Japanese hip-hop artists are not just appreciating the genre of hip-hop, but are borrowing from other cultures without acknowledging the history and heritage behind them (Tai, 2018).

“What most people do is excavate a musical genre or a fashion trend from very diversified people of distinct cultures … It’s an act that collapses the complexity the people, their history and cultures.”

Emily Chow, African studies postdoctoral fellow at Hong Kong University.

In Japan, hip-hop artists and fans are taking their “appreciation” of black culture to the next level. Black skin, hairstyles and clothing have all been fetishised and become desirable and attractive “trends” for young Japanese people (Cornyetz, 1994). This style is known as ‘b-style’, which in most other countries, would be seen as blackface.

https://superselected.com/calling-shenanigans-on-japanese-b-style-the-u-s-doesnt-only-export-hip-hop-it-also-exports-cultural-appropriation/

This is further encouraged by the appearance of popular Japanese artists, such as Skull, a reggae artist, who seems to “conduct himself like a caricature of how he thought black artists performed” (Tai, 2018).

Without educating yourself on cultural appropriation and how much it can impact on an individual and their community, you could be completely oblivious to cultural appropriation. Many people believe that cultural appropriation is actually a form of cultural appreciation, however, there are way less offensive ways to show your appreciation for a culture that is not your own.

As a society, we have become more sensitive to cultural appropriation and how and where it appears. The music industry appears to be a place where cultural appropriation is rampant, and has been for many years. However, by calling artists out when something they put out is a bit off or offensive, we can help educate others and put an end to the offensive practise of cultural appropriation.

References:

Cornyetz, N. (1994). Fetishized Blackness: Hip Hop and Racial Desire in Contemporary Japan. Available at: https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/stable/pdf/466835.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A4109289ed251b83bd7696626c47ccf40

Tai, C. (2018). Asian hip hop: racism, cultural appropriation or harmless fun?. South China Morning Post. Available at: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/article/2148143/asian-hip-hop-homage-genre-or-cultural-appropriation-driven

Rodriquez, J. (2006). Color-Blind Ideology and the Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Available at: https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1177/0891241606286997

The History of Rap and HipHop. Available at: https://rapworld.com/history/

Dwyer, G. (2016). 12 TIMES CELEBRITIES LANDED IN HOT WATER FOR CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/12-times-celebrities-landed-in-hot-water-for-cultural-appropriation

Part 1: IDEATING // Astrology Lane

Part 1: IDEATING // Astrology Lane

In the first week of the Astrology Lane Instagram page being established, we saw major growth for the page.

The account on 15th August

In the second week (currently), there has been less growth as we have not posted. This has been a lesson in regular posting and its link to growth which has been particularly highlighted in recent readings and lectures in BCM114.

The account on 28th August

Interaction with the page was really great and we received positive feedback that stated our followers resonated with our posts, which was really encouraging. However, we are yet to receive any constructive feedback on ways to grow our DA.

We also noticed, through using the ‘Insights’ tool on Instagram, that our followers reflected the initial demographic we believed would engage the most with our content (13-30 year old women).

The Insights tool has been very useful as we are able to see how well posts are going in terms of how many people visited our page through that particular post, how many people saw it, how many times it was direct messaged to someone and how many people have saved it for future viewing.

Our two ‘best performing’ posts

We posted the first blog post to our WordPress account. We asked a question through Instagram Stories and tailored the post to answer topics that came up. It isn’t expected to gain much response as it is just in the beginning stages. We will continue to build on this and discover if it is worthwhile to continue.

http://astrologylane.home.blog

We are in the process of creating the Spotify playlists as accompanying content to our Instagram content, and these will be published within the next week.

“You ideate by combining your conscious and unconscious mind, and rational thoughts with imagination”.

Hasso Plattner, An Introduction to Process Thinking

With the words of Hasso Plattner, Ted and our tutors on our minds, we have continued to ideate through the process of creating our digital artefact and have come up with further ideas to test in the future.

Please feel free to comment any feedback below and follow us! x

Instagram: instagram.com/astrologylane

WordPress: astrologylane.home.blog

GOOD EVENING, EUROPE // Global Television

GOOD EVENING, EUROPE // Global Television

I’m a massive consumer of global television thanks to streaming platforms, Stan and Netflix. Some of my favourites include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The 100, Mindhunter, Downton Abbey, Jane The Virgin, The Office (USA), Community, and Parks and Rec, just to name a few.

As I’ve grown up, sitting down and actually watching television has become less and less common for me. You’ll only find me in front of the TV if there’s an NBA or NBL game or if Google Box or Survivor happen to be on.

However, there is one very special annual occasion that will always have me hooked to the TV for a solid few days….

The Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision Week has been held in May annually since 1956. It is, in my opinion, up there with any special occasions like Christmas, Easter, New Year’s and my birthday. My whole family looks forward to the nights we spend watching Eurovision, the days avoiding spoilers due to timezones, and the weeks after of rewatching all our favourites and guilty pleasures. According to my dad, my parents started watching it in 1995, and my family have followed it ever since.

The Eurovision Song Contest was introduced by the European Broadcasting Union in the mid 1950’s as a way for a war-torn Europe to come together in the aftermath of war. In the first “Eurovision Grand Prix” held in 1956, only 7 countries performed: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland. Since this humble beginning, Eurovision has grown majorly.

Switzerland won the first Eurovision Grand Prix with the song Refrain by Lys Assia.

As of 2019, 50 countries are eligible to perform in the song contest. This number is not limited to just European countries, making the competition global. Western Asian countries Israel, Cyprus and Armenia have been annual contestants since 1973, 1981 and 2006 respectively. Morocco also competed in 1980. The transcontinental countries of Turkey, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan also all annually compete.

One of the most surprising and recent inductees to the Eurovision Song Contest was Australia in 2015.

Eurovision’s Australian Success

Eurovision has been shown by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in Australia since 1986, by broadcasting the BBC’s coverage which was accompanied by Terry Wogan’s ironic commentary (Highfield, Harrington and Bruns, 2013). Wogan retired in 2009 and since then, SBS have sent their own commentators to create their own broadcast of the show.

“Ironic engagement with Eurovision forms an important, if not as central, part of the commentary for SBS’s broadcasts – not just on air but also among the audience sharing their Eurovision-related thoughts on Twitter”.

Highfield, Harrington and Bruns – TWITTER AS A TECHNOLOGY FOR AUDIENCING AND FANDOM (2013)

In the Week 2 BCM111 lecture, we were asked to think about what we think is the reason for the global success (or failure) of our chosen topic. I believe that Eurovision’s cult following and success in Australia can be put down to the comedic approach of SBS’s commentary, as well as the social media commentary of those watching at home.

Whilst European viewers may view the competition with a more serious, competitive eye, Australian’s love the “kitsch spectacle” of the show and many watch with a “detached, ironic posture” (Skey, Kyriakidou, McCurdy, Uldam, 2016). This is highlighted through the #SBSEurovision hashtag used across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Here’s a collection of some of the tweets from this year’s Eurovision:

Further Global Influence

Eurovision has inspired people around the world to establish their own adaptions of the contest. The Caribbean Song Contest began in 1984 and the Asia Song Festival first aired in 2004. The Eurovision Asia Song Contest is set to be held on the Gold Coast later this year and will be produced by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and SBS. There has been some controversy around the contest however, as it was originally meant to occur in 2017.

A performance from the 2018 Asia Song Festival

Political Undertones

Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without its slight undertones of European politics. You can count on the juries of Greece and Cyprus to give each other 12 points, Germany to receive very little votes (except in the case of Lena and ‘Satellite‘ in 2010), and for Russia and Israel to receive some boos from the crowd.

Voting patterns between countries have been studied and proven by researchers such as Marta Blangiardo and Gianluca Baio in ‘Evidence of bias in the Eurovision song contest: modelling the votes using Bayesian hierarchical models’.

Political protests are usually stopped by Eurovision officials prior to Eurovision week, however the use of live television broadcasts can impact on this control. This year, Eurovision was hosted by Israel in Tel Aviv. During the counting of votes, the cameras panned to the Icelandic group, Hatari, who were waving Palestinian flags that read “Free Palestine”.

Thanks to the concept of global media and television, Eurovision is a way for countries around the world to come together through their love of music, good and bad, outrageous staging, stunts and costumes and a little friendly competition. I’m already counting down the days until next year!

For those of you who are new to Eurovision, here is a playlist of some of my favourites, and favourites to laugh at. Check out the Eurovision Youtube channel for some great content too. If you’re a fellow Eurovision fan, tweet me some of your favourite Eurovision moments!!

References:

TWITTER AS A TECHNOLOGY FOR AUDIENCING AND FANDOM by Tim Highfield , Stephen Harrington & Axel Bruns (2013). Accessed online: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1611887/mod_resource/content/1/Eurovision%20and%20Twitter.pdf

Staging and Engaging With Media Events: A Study of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest by Michael Skey, Maria Kyriakidou, Patrick McCurdy, Julie Uldam (2016). Accessed online: https://web-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=d20d9f59-9d38-45cd-b2a9-5296ee480d37%40sdc-v-sessmgr02