Tag Archives: BCM 310

Tuning In

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What makes a good job? Is it having flexible work hours? Being able to do work your interested in? Having job security? Well  professors David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker suggest that there’s actually seven features that make a good job.  In their book Creative Labour they write that the ‘Features of a good job’ are split into seven different traits: Autonomy, Interest/involvement, Self-realisation, Sociality, Self-esteem, Work/ life balance, and Security.

After reading about these seven features, I started thinking about the jobs that I wanted to go into. How would I know if they were ‘good jobs’. I have always had an interest in radio journalism, so to find out if radio journalism was a good job I went straight to the source and talked to some radio journalists.

 

Siobhan McHugh is an award-winning writer, podcaster and documentary-maker. With over 40 years experience in radio. Siobhan was very gracious and allowed me to conduct an interview with her looking her long history in the industry.

 

Elizabeth Jackson has worked for ABC radio for many years, and has a great insight into the ever-changing industry. Elizabeth also runs a class at the University of Wollongong that focuses purely on radio journalism.

 

 

 

 

Anthropomorphism

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In 1828 Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville published a collection of lithographs like the above, entitled Les Métamorphoses du jour, a series of seventy scenes in which individuals with the bodies of men and faces of animals are made to play a human comedy. Humans have been seeing themselves in animals for a long time as I think can be seen in Grandvilles work.

Anthropomorphism is defined as, “ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human.” The human race does this to everything, even to the most mundane nonhuman like things. Like for instance, I personally have a name for my computer, (its frank btw) and will often yell at it when it’s not working properly. This kind of thing is harmless if you know that it’s absurd, I know my computer has no emotion or personality. The problem comes about when we project human emotions on other animals.

Now there has been plenty of research into the emotional range of different animals, and it’s clear that some have a huge range that one could argue is not unlike a human. The problem is that we commonly misread these animal’s emotions. An example of this I’m sure some of you would be familiar with is reading a dogs face as guilty, when actually it’s frightened.

I think this projecting can be harmless at times, and I’m sure there’s plenty who won’t agree, but I find it hard to say that when my Dad and I used to give voices to the different animals in nature documentaries,(because I’m cool), we were causing any harm. The harm it can cause though is when we are presenting our projections as fact, and this is said much more eloquently in Clive Wynne’s paper, What are Animals? Why Anthropomorphism is Still Not a Scientific Approach to Behaviour. He writes,

The kind of anthropomorphism that must be avoided by serious students of animal behaviour is unwitting “naïve anthropomorphism.” This is when someone allows their natural tendency to see living things as having a human-like mentality to operate in an “unacknowledged, unrecognized [form], or used as the basis for accepting conclusions by circumventing the need to actually test them”

This is where we find, I think the main issue with the documentary, Black Fish.

Blackfish

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, Blackfish is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. It concerns Tilikum, an orca held by SeaWorld and the controversy over captive killer whales.

The biggest problem I had with this film was not necessarily the huge focus it put on talking about the psychology and emotional state of Tilikum, but that the comments made and the way of filming showed what the people in the movie were saying was fact, where as in actual fact what they were saying is still pure speculation.

There has and is still research being done that specifically focuses on the brains of killer whales, and it has been able to show a lot about how their brains are made up and how they work. Even experts in this field though can at best take an educated guess at how they think, how they communicate, how they interact with one another.

One of the main reasons it’s hard to do anything past speculation at this point, is that killer whales brains are significantly different to ours. Not that we don’t have the same parts of the brain, it’s just that killer whales have parts of their brains much more developed than our own. Specifically when looking at emotion it’s important to look at part of the brain called the limbic system. In humans this system is associated with emotional life and behaviour as well as the formation of memories. The key difference between humans and killer whales in this respect is that when compared to human’s killer whales cingulate gyrus, or limbic lobe is much larger in proportion and is also made up of three different lobes. When looking at this way that the killer whales brain is made up scientists are able to hypothesise to the extent of their aptitude for emotional expression, but no more than that.

I think what we have to think about when looking at Black Fish, and certainly my take away from it, is that even if there is no definite proof that being kept in captivity has significant impact on the emotional state of killer whales, the fact is that killer whales are highly intelligent, complex, and social animals and shouldn’t be spending there life doing tricks for our amusement.

Thanks for reading.

Hayden

#Selfie #Nofilter

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I’ll be the first to admit that in a few moments of weakness I have succumbed and taken a selfie. (Please don’t think any less of me.) I’m sure most, if not all of you have as well, it’s something that a lot of us have just taken on as part of our everyday, even for me someone who doesn’t post on social media very often (helpful if you’re a BCM student…not) and I’s also a bit camera shy, the amount of selfies I get dragged into by my friends could fill a photo album.

When I think of the word selfie I would be lying if my mind didn’t immediately go to teenage girls making duck faces in front of the mirror, trying to get gratification from the hundreds of followers they have on Instagram. What I’m discovering this week as I take a closer look at the selfie though, is that, that image is probably a caricature at best of your average selfie taker.

So where do we start when looking at the selfie?

Well I find the beginning is always the best, but where is that?

Well we could argue that the first selfie was by Parmigianino back in 1523 when he created Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror, but when we think of selfies I think we think of cameras, so that would take us to Robert Cornelius in 1839, who had to first put the film in the camera and remove the lens cap then sit back and remain perfectly still for one minute. That was just to take the picture; he then had to process the film. The earliest use of the term selfie though was in 2002, and I would argue that is when the selfie as we know it came to be. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it was an Australian to first use the phrase; we have a bit habit of shortening words.

On 13 September, at 2:55 pm, Nathan Hope (Hopey) went onto an online forum to ask about the dissolvable stitches that were in his lower lip. They were dry and uncomfortable. After a bit of chat back and forth, the account user known as ‘My Evil Twin, Beryl’ asked him how he came to get these stitches, and at 3.19pm, he typed in reply:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped over and landed lip first on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip.”

He then posted a ‘self-photograph’ showing the stitches in his lower lip.

And then he continued writing, and posted, the very first written use of the word ‘selfie’,

“And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

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From this humble, and slightly humours beginning, the selfie has now become a global phenomenon, with people all around the world sharing there selfie’s. I’m sure most of you have heard at least one news story about how selfies are ‘evil’, if you do a quick google search you can find dozens of articles about how selfies are a sign of narcissism, or people are all becoming addicted to selfies, or even that selfies can give you wrinkles.

There seems to be a lot of fear being pushed on us about selfies, and the really sad thing is that like a lot of what the media sells us the fear is unwarranted.  Take for instance the stories of selfie addiction.

Martin Robbins, a science and culture journalist argues, that individual cases of selfie use and abuse “being reported by private doctors who make money from treating the conditions they describe” quickly turn into indictments of culture at large.

As for if selfies are a sign of narcissism, I would say further research needs to be done. As far as I can find the closest any research has come to showing that it does is in a 2015 polish study, that looked at 1296 men and women, and showed that there was some correlation between being narcissistic and posting a larger amount of selfies in the men that were part of the research. Another study done at Ohio State in 2015 though, showed there was no such link.

 

Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts down in the comments.

Cheers.