Archive for April, 2013


Posted in Question with tags on April 26, 2013 by mlenos

After reading the assigned essay on the history and nature of countercultures, let’s think about contemporary countercultures – groups of people who define themselves in opposition to mainstream culture.

I’m thinking about 1990s “hipsters” (the concept has changed far too much to still be considered a counterculture – hipsters as we used to define them are extremely mainstream now).

The 1990s hipsters identified themselves in opposition to mainstream popular culture – so lots of “obscure” music and films – in fact, “mainstream” became the ultimate Hipster Insult for film, music and television.

The thing about 1990s hipsters was that there wasn’t much to be in opposition to. The US was relatively economically stable, it was pre-9/11, we weren’t at war… so as opposed to earlier counterculture movements (which were heavily politicized), hipsters were kind of boring, in retrospect.  If the only thing you’re opposing is cultural media, you’re not much of a counterculture movement.

What contemporary counterculture and subculture movements can you think of?  What were they in opposition to?  What did they represent?


YouTube and Convergence

Posted in Question on April 22, 2013 by mlenos

Heads up – some of the videos might contain profanity, so probably best not to look at these at work, or in a school lab with the volume turned all the way up, or with your grandmother, or whatever.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about YouTube and about the different kinds of YouTube videos in existence.  What do we use YouTube for?

Watching music videos…

Making responses to those videos… or, even better, parodies of those responses…

Giving instructions on how to do something…

And again, parodying those videos:

So, here are five categories to get us started.

1. Music videos (provided by the music industry)

2. Response videos (made by fans)

3. Parodies (made by fans or haters)

4. Instructional videos (made by regular people)

5. Parody instructional videos (made by regular people, comedy writers, etc)

What other categories of YouTube videos can you think of?  And who makes them (companies? regular people? Bloggers…?)

Game Culture

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2013 by mlenos

Read the entire Wikipedia entry on Video Game Culture.  You can export/download the entry as a PDF if you prefer to read it on paper.

In the comments, let’s talk about games. What games do you play regularly, and on what platforms?  Do you see gaming as a social activity, something you do on your own, or a combination of the two?

On my super-ancient PS2, I like to play Medal of Honor and Katamari Damacy on my own.  When my friends come over, we usually play fighting games – either Soul Calibur II or Mortal Kombat. I also have Namco Museum, so we can play older games, too. If it’s a particularly rowdy night, we might play Karaoke Revolution.

I mostly only play at home with my friends; I see gaming on the PS2 as a social activity – something to do when friends come over, or if out-of-town guests are staying with me.  On the other hand, I might play Angry Birds on my phone when I’m waiting in line at the bank, or Muffin Knight on my iPad or Henry Hatsworth on my Nintendo DS while I’m on a plane.  Those are very non-social gaming activities to me – just things I do to waste time if I don’t feel like reading a book.


Posted in Question, Reading with tags , on April 5, 2013 by mlenos

Read the two articles provided in class.

In the comments, talk about an advertising campaign that you like – an ad that caused you to buy a product, or consider buying a product – that is brand specific. Meaning, for example, if you need to buy a new phone or computer, are you influenced by ads that you see?

So, when my last iPod broke, I knew I was going to buy another iPod because I think that Apple makes great products (and has good customer service), but I also really liked this commercial, featuring Feist (a singer I like).  So that probably influenced my decision, too.