my final remix with the credits included
May 3, 2010, 2:45 am
Filed under: my video composition

Please click on the link below to view my remix video part 3, which includes the credits in the end, unlike part 2. Thank you.

Eventually, I’d like to make some changes to this video. I decided it would be more effective if, at each time the narrator says, “pull the string,” the viewer is presented with the puppet holding the sign that says, “Be prepared.” I like this better, because you can see the strings coming from the puppet, reflecting what the narrator is saying. Also, I might include the image of the man on the couch saying, “pull the string,” in the movie, Ed Wood, a few times, because it is a pretty comical and interesting image. Further, it will add to the professed male dominance that flows throughout the video, because it is an image of a male who looks very disturbed and angry. There are other plans I have in the future for this video, for I definitely do not consider it a finished piece. But I got other work to do for now. Thank you.


my works cited for my remix video
May 3, 2010, 1:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here is my works cited page for my remix video, the remix before the prefix: she still picks the apple.

bib for remix video

the remix: a comic with hidden sequence

The message of my video composition, “the remix before the prefix: she still picks the apple,” is both simple and abstract.  It suggests that at the root of the Bible story of Adam and Eve is the discrimination of women.  As Eve was tempted by the snake and picked the apple, she damned humanity, especially because she tempted Adam to eat it.  Eve, a symbol of all women, represents the woman as a symbol of mere desire, a tradition that still holds today.  She is the apple that Adam, the man, ate.  With Eve, the woman becomes a symbol of weakness, a symbol that will take man down with her.  Intertextuality, in relationship to this story, flows throughout my video.  There are many symbolic icons presented that represent something in this story, thereby allowing the story in a nontraditional format to unfold before the viewer.  First, the male saying, “I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast,” represents Adam’s choice to eat the apple.  Yet, because the fruit serves as a symbolic icon of woman, he also decides to eat the woman, thereby presenting woman as both an object of male desire and an object of male control.  Man will decide what he will do with her as he decides what he will have for breakfast.  In order to reinforce this idea, the symbolic icon of the apple is repeated several times throughout the remix, forcing the viewer to question its significance.  

The viewer is then presented with the image of a white male and a snake, along with the voice of the narrator that says, “The gods have a plan for you,” which quickly transitions to a different narrating voice instructing a puppet to, “Plan now.”  The back to back clips of this word “plan” is important, illustrating in their juxtaposition that the male puppet must plan, thereby revealing that the male is the god who has a plan for “you,” the woman.  The puppet, as a symbolic icon, signifies the falsity that rings from this belief that man is superior to woman.  The men who believe and live as superior to woman also live in falsehood.  They are puppets living in material worlds, and as Mr. Bungle goes to the boys room, he goes with a message for the young boys of our future.  He passes on this message of falsehood and discrimination of women.  A male voice is then introduced over the words, “Be prepared,” which says, “Pull the string,” signifying what man should do to keep his puppet world from perishing.  He must pull the string of his woman, control her, and force her to live as a puppet in his puppet world.  This is why he is told, halfway through the video, that he must, “Find a nice girl to say I do.”  In this line, she becomes his puppet, his object of control. 

Later in the video, woman chooses not to be the male’s object of control when she says, while in an office setting, “Someday I am going to run this place,” which begins a montage of images that represent her long and difficult journey to fight discrimination.  Her words are then quickly backed up with a strange puppet figure that rolls a bowling ball down an alley, not only knocking down, but smashing the last pin standing.  There is so much going on here.  First, the puppet figure is of an unknown gender, a symbolic icon of woman’s choice to break free of her gender identity as a label, as a form of imprisonment.  She might still be puppet, if she choose, but she is not his puppet.  Second, as she smashes down the last pin standing, she is taking her final step, her final punch against the discrimination she is battling.  Next, the words, “Undercover Boss,” appear momentarily, suggesting that woman has already achieved the title of boss in the working world of society today, but that men have not yet fully accepted her title and still discriminate against her newly found strength.  Then the viewer is presented with a quick image of a woman in her underwear in an office setting with a male boss directing her to hurry up, ended with the image of a male with pants on and a voice stating, “It’s time to wear the pants.”  The juxtaposition of female with no pants and male with pants, along with this demand of the narrator, suggests it is time for the woman to take control, not of man, but of her identity.  In fact, the next image is a woman in a dress, suggesting woman, in the end, will wear what she wants.  She will not even take demands from the male narrator who tells her to wear pants.  Further, the woman in the dress, from the Alice in Wonderland preview, is a very powerful woman, confident and content in wearing a dress, even as she places her aching feet on a pig, an expression of her choice to take a stand against the piggy choices of discrimination expressed towards women.  The pig is a symbolic icon of male as discriminatory. 

The other two things presented in the video that deserve explanation are the drawings of the female and male faces and the wink of the cat.  First, the juxtaposition of the drawings from a happy female face to an angry male face suggests that as the woman progresses, as she works toward achieving leadership qualities and happiness, the male grows angrier with her.  The cat, a symbolic icon of the female, also suggests some form of sarcasm.  As the viewer hears a woman in mourning say, after viewing the angry male drawing, “Well, at least he got his dying wish,” the cat then appears and winks.  In other words, the viewer is being asked to challenge these discriminatory beliefs of women, and, especially if he is male, to ask if this is really what he wishes to happen.  The sarcasm of the wink lies within the question, “Will any of this really matter once you die?”

Finally, McCloud mentions that, “When you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself,” yet, “When you look at a photo or realistic drawing of a face, you see it as the face of another” (36).  Upon reading this for the first time, I felt it was a very profound statement to make.  Afterwards, when coming across the videos with the cartoon drawings of the woman and man faces, I instantly considered what McCloud said.  In result, I thought it would be really interesting to include them in my video in order for the viewer to recognize, even if subconsciously, which face he or she identifies with, either the happy woman who is progressing or the angry man who is dissatisfied with her progression.  Consequently, the viewer is forced to see aspects of the self more deeply, even if these aspects are unwanted.  The viewer is forced to see if he or she is discriminatory of women.

traditional writing as nonexistent: the plural in participation

Creating my first video composition was very exciting.  I consider the process to be both similar and dissimilar to the process of traditional writing.  I do not feel all writers would feel it is similar, but I feel it is in one specific aspect.  In creative writing, unlike academic writing, the writer can still hit an out of the park home run without knocking the ball out of the ball field.  In other words, in creative writing, much like in video composition, the composer can be unpredictable, they can compose that which contradicts truth, and in so doing present it as truth.  In this way, video composition becomes, not postmodern writing, but rather postmodernism in form.  Hence, even if a video composition does not express postmodernist ideas, it is still a work of postmodernism in and of itself for more than one reason.  First, as suggested before, video composition demonstrates that traditional writing, in fact, does not really exist.  Video composition exposes traditional writing as being a truthless truth, as something that presents writing as a form of specific rules.  These rules melt away in video composition.  Writers are finally free to write, to create, to shine, without this absolute truth of writing pouncing out their capacities.  In video composition, as in postmodernism, truth becomes something different for everyone within a participatory culture that says, “It is okay to be different just like everyone else.”

In her article, Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key, Kathleen Blake Yancey says, “Today, we are witnessing…a writing public made plural” (300).  She suggests that internet genres, like video composition, divorce the writer from the once perceived solitary role of the writing tradition, and instead force the writer to become an active participant within his or her culture.  Again, video composition challenges our typical notions of traditional writing, thereby revealing its nonexistence.  Clearly, to state that traditional writing is nonexistent is a radical statement, but nonetheless true.  As Yancey also points out, when quoting T.S. Elliot’s Burnt Norton:

                  Words strain,

Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,

                    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish.

In quoting these words by T.S. Elliot, Yancey is not suggesting that traditional writing is lousy, and therefore perishes to nonexistence.  Rather she is suggesting that traditional writing no longer exists, and as long as writers continue to try to force it to exist, namely linear composition as the only true definition of writing, their words will strain under the burden and perish.  Video composition challenges these notions of traditional writing while also revealing Yancey’s “new key in composition.”

stats or maps: where are the pictures?

A couple of my favorite lines in Kirshner’s, I Live Here, is, “A statistic is forgettable.  It’s never going to move you the way human contact can.”  I loved these lines for several reasons, most importantly probably being the fact that they describe why Kirshner developed this book the way she did.  The pictures and semiotics used in this book were bringing us closer to that human contact.  We didn’t just read about abortion, but we actually saw it as image.  We didn’t just read about a child as soldier, but rather we saw a child soldier as image.  These images helped us to touch the girl getting an abortion, the child being aborted, and the child soldier.  I think when we only read about these occurrences, they always seem to stay “faraway” from us.  But when we viewed the images of these occurrences, we couldn’t stay faraway.  We were forced to become more deeply engaged in these horrifying circumstances.  They no longer seemed far from home in a distant land somewhere, like in the land of statistics.

My favorite book of the four was the Notebook, its setting being Africa.  The interconnection of experiences between the people with “the wasting the disease,” death, coffins, and a new baby on its way was amazingly portrayed.  Further, without the images I would have never experienced this interconnection.  The image of the mother on the back of the bike, almost about to have her baby, and the son attempting to pedal her to the hospital sent chills down my spine.  But most of all, the book would have never worked the same way without the image of the mother holding her newborn child in a graveyard.  This image shows more vividly than all of the alphabetic text in the book what is happening.  The moment a child is born in Africa is the same moment it is strangled by “the wasting disease” and death.  These children do not have a chance.

a remix of icons: what does it all mean?

When creating my remix video, I considered McCloud’s Understanding Comics.  I included many icons in my video, some specific in meaning, others more abstract.  For example, the apple appears numerous times in my video, not representing an iconic picture, but rather representing an iconic symbol, because it represents an idea, philosophy, or story.  In my video, the apple is suggestive of the Bible story of Adam and Eve.  Throughout history this story has been used to justify discrimination against women, because Eve was tempted by the snake to pick the apple.  As Eve picked the apple, the woman damned humanity, thereby transforming the woman into a mere symbol of desire and destruction.  Before I discuss my video further, please click on the link below to watch it.  It is titled, the remix before the prefix: she still picks the apple.

There are many other icons in this video, in fact too many to explain all of them now, but I will mention a few others.  First, the snake is also, not an iconic picture, but an iconic symbol.  It too represents the snake in the Adam and Eve story, namely that which tempted Eve.  Second, in many of the clips a puppet appears, the puppet itself being an icon of an idea, namely falsity.  Yet the puppet represents falsity in several aspects.  First, it represents the false nature of discrimination men express against women.  They are trying to make women their puppets that they can control.  This idea will become more apparent to the observer once I place my additions in my video.  I will soon include a scene from the movie Ed Wood in which an older man says, while sitting in a chair, “Pull the string,” two times.  Second, the puppet represents that men become puppets themselves when they choose to discriminate against women.

With all that being mentioned, I also found it so intensely interesting that McCloud said when we observe a photo of a realistic person, we see that other person, but when we observe a drawing of a cartoon, we see ourselves.  In result, when I came across the commercials with the drawings of the female and male faces, I knew I had to use them.  They were, what McCloud would call, abstract images that did not eliminate detail, but rather focused on specific detail in order to amplify meaning (30).  In my video, the female cartoon is happy and male cartoon unhappy, or rather angry.  When watched in consideration with the other icons and images in my video, the observer should be able to identify with the female as happy and the male as unhappy or angry, thereby clarifying for him or her what this means in relationship to the rest of the remix.  To be continued…

letters as pictures

Last week in class, we discussed the book, Understanding Comics.  During our discussion, the question was asked, “Why can’t we replace one form of writing in pictures for another?”  At the time, and even still currently, this is a difficult question to answer.  Not because it doesn’t have an answer, but because we are not accustomed to perceiving the letters in the English language as pictures or icons.  Yet the fact is that they are pictures.  In some way then, as frequently as many of us, like myself, say we can’t draw, this isn’t true.  If we can write letters, then we can draw.  We are, in fact, professional drawers.  I do not think then that we could not answer this question last week because we didn’t know the answer, but rather because our minds have been conditioned since children to perceive the written word in a certain way, a way that values letters more than other pictures, icons, or modes of expression. 

I also have been thinking a lot about what Robbie’s wife said.  She said that books leave more room to imagine what’s happening in the story, because the pictures aren’t painted right there in front of you already.  She said this is why she does not like reading comic books.  In some way, I can really relate to this feeling.  There is a special feeling in reading a novel and imagining the scenes that are occurring.  In fact, I would have hated reading Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice, with pictures added to it.  I loved imagining the scenes in this book.  It was, what I would call, a very intimate moment with a book.  Ironically, I cannot help but wonder now about the original question presented, which suggested that letters are also a form of pictures.  Therefore, I was already observing pictures when reading Austen and experiencing this intimate moment.  What I believed to not be there, namely pictures, was there.  My question for myself then, and for others, is what determined this intimate moment really?  I once believed it was the lack of pictures, but this clearly isn’t true.

Overall, I still really love to read a book with only words and no other pictures, yet I also really loved reading, Understanding Comics.  I think this just depends on the type of book you are reading.  The information presented in this comic book, along with Hall’s book on semiotics, captured my attention intensely, which I feel was because of the other images contained within both books.  The images made me want to continue reading, whereas a book presenting this sort of information without images would, for me, get pretty boring.  But books like Austen’s novel do not need added images.  The emotions and scenes are painted right there for you in the images of the letters.  When we read Austen, we feel Austen.  When we read a book on semiotics, we are trying to figure it all out.  The added images help us to do that.

E. A. Poe once said that whatever is written in a novel could just as easily be written in a short story.  When reading, Understanding Comics, I thought about how this statement could be applied to comics also.  It seem to me, as I mentioned in class, that in just a few bubbles you receive as much information as you would an entire chapter in a book.  I really think the added images in comic books help the story to be told in less words.