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Locked

On Cancel Culture

Oftentimes, a book or poem will be criticized for having racial or otherwise derogatory slurs. Most of these books will be from less modern times, when the usage of such slurs were still acceptable. Other times (though much less often), a book will use slurs in order to emulate language used in a particular time period (ex. the n-word for pieces set during the Civil War era). These books may be ‘cancelled’ because it is deemed inappropriate to use slurs during modern times.

However, as mentioned above, it is also common for books that are considered classical literature to be cancelled as well for using slurs. Where does ‘cancel culture’ draw the line when it comes to classical literature? Should classical literature be ‘cancelled’ for liberally using slurs when it was common in that time period? What about pieces meant to specifically emulate language from an olden time period? Is it acceptable to read literature (and specifically, make movies) that use slurs?

  • "cancel culture" is very rarely actually applied to literature. To Kill a Mockingbird is still taught in schools worldwide, let alone the united states. most of the time "cancel culture" is only invoked when celebrities are held accountable for their actions – Bombatwombat 2 months ago
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Taken by Grimoiria (PM) 1 month ago.
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Celebrity & Pandemic: Is Celebrity Culture Dying?

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen celebrities and high profile people use social media in a way that has roused both negative and positive response. However, a quick internet search of celebrities and the pandemic leads to overwhelmingly negative titles: A headline for the NY Times says "Celebrity Culture is Burning" and BBC asks, "Is the age of celebrity over?" Think of images of celebrities on their private islands, flaunting their wealth, and hosting parties — all while preaching "we’re all in this together!"

To think more specifically, some examples that comes to mind include: the celebrity-sung "Imagine" video, or John Krasinski’s web-series "Some Good News," or even the host of sourdough videos made by celebrities on their Instagram stories.

How is celebrity changing/how has it changed during the coronavirus pandemic? Are there any examples or sources of joy and positive affect coming from celebrity culture? Or are the overwhelmingly negative headlines right to say that celebrity culture is burning?

  • Very interesting. I cannot say that I've seen any of these other articles you've mentioned, but I'd be curious to read them now, and see what arguments they make in defense of that thesis. I suspect one death knell for celebrity culture was that much maligned celebrities-singing-"Imagine" video, with its palpable chasm between its authors' expected reception and its actual audience's kneejerk cringe. However, on the other side of the coin, I would argue that Covid has presented new templates of celebrity that did not exist prior. Anthony Fauci and (our Canadian counterpart) Theresa Tam have long been well-known in medical and epidemiological circles, but the pandemic turned them into household names. On a different corner of the same side of the coin, I wonder if Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin would have ascended to celebrity status they way they did if not for the pandemic. Lastly, if celebrity culture is in fact declining, I wonder how much of that is necessarily a direct result of the pandemic -- correlation not being synonymous with causation. One significant (non-Covid) factor that I can see as being responsible for this decline is the rise of so-called "Cancel Culture" (which is a complicated subject, too big to unpack here), in which celebrities are being held accountable for their problematic actions/statements/views, and being stripped of their power as a result. In addition to dispossessing existing celebrities of their cultural capital, this trend may also prove to make acquisition fame a less desirable goal for others, who might be dissuaded by overwhelming public scrutiny, social media's acceleration of the process, and the knowledge that very minor transgressions can fuel Twitter-mobs just as much legitimate sexual assault and/or bigotry. Just some food for thought. – ProtoCanon 2 months ago
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  • Interesting. If you ask me, celebrity culture can take a hike. It turned my stomach to hear them preaching about empathy and togetherness when as you said, they weren't losing anything or making sacrifices. You could also talk about how some celebrities *attempted* to spread joy but actually exploited certain groups (e.g., celebrities or news anchors using feel-good stories of people with disabilities doing everyday things as "hope in these uncertain times," so to speak). – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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  • I actually think that celebrity culture is, in many respects, the same as it ever was. Celebrities have always attempted to champion whatever causes were relevant to the day, even if they had no bearing on their actual lives. Furthermore, just as there have always been people willing to lavish attention and love on celebrities (and always will be) so too have there always been people willing to write them off as narcissistic, shallow and-out-of-touch. What's changed, I think, is that with the pandemic people have fewer things to distract them from the activities and sanctimony of the celebrities. Additionally, it does seem to me that the type of celebrities that people flock to are different. In other words, while people used to lionize movie stars and singers, now they are more likely to focus on the lives and actions of political figures instead. For instance, I notice lately that a lot of people have been treating the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, as if he were a god. On the opposite side are those who are doing the same thing to Dr. Fauci. At the same time, both of these people have as many utter detractors as fans, just as with any other celebrity. – Debs 1 month ago
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  • This is an interesting topic. The pandemic has truly changed how we view celebrities because we have been able to view them on a day-to-day basis and see that they aren't so different from us after all. We have always had this idolization of celebrities without really considering their flaws and true nature. This pandemic has been interesting in being able to strip everyone down to who they really are and show that celebrities aren't exactly something to be idolized. Or even just showing how out of touch they really are with the rest of the world. While people are struggling to pay rent or find food, and they are lavishing in multimillion dollar homes, complaining about the pandemic. It has truly stripped away the glamour and revealed the wide disparity that I believe we have been willfully blind to before. – SSartor 1 month ago
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An Analysis of "Spilling the Tea" on YouTube

Consider why YouTube channels discussing "tea" have become so popular nowadays. Are they the modern-day version of gossip magazines? What does this say about the viewers, who watch these daily videos speculating on people’s lives and actions? Why do these videos get so many views?

  • This would be a fantastic article. I've been thinking about this recently too. I think it pertains to the idea that we are all now 'journalists' and 'media outlets' in our own right. I think it's also rooted in celebrity culture and the rise of the 'reality TV star'. Which gets complicated when the 'TV' show is actually hosted on a Youtube channel and the director is also the star of the show. I think they're so popular because we love to build people up and then tear them down. And it's kind of like high school x 10000. We get to watch the popular kids self-destruct and the cliques we're not allowed into fall to pieces. – LottieWoods 2 years ago
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  • The idea of YouTube drama channels as the modern-day version of gossip magazines is quite a useful way of describing the phenomenon. I think it helps explain their popularity in terms of their turn-over rates when it comes to addressing stories/rumours. Viewers are able to consume content at a faster rate and the YouTube drama channels are able to address 'tea' more instantaneously, unlike tabloids, which have a far less flexible publishing schedule. However, the consequence is that content creators are much more incentivised to go looking for drama and 'tea to spill' in order to churn out as much content as possible in order to maintain an audience for their channel. – KatieR 1 year ago
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  • As someone who likes tea videos, i find it's popular simply because of the drama. Although I think all Tea videos should start adding a message for the reason of making the video not just because it's a cool story to tell. Natalia Taylor does this the best. Her videos always have some moral or some warnings for the benefits of her audience. Either to warn us about the red flags she missed or spreading the word about a certain issue. – Amelia Arrows 1 year ago
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  • This is a really cool topic! I have definitely fallen victim to this cycle, where you end up watching three separate videos on a beauty guru you don't know, and they all say the same things. It is almost like a FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) effect where you want to know what's going on and pick your side based on the 10-minute video. – Sammy101 1 year ago
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  • I think to understand this aspect of modern day culture we have to look at the circumstances surrounding this time. We live in a age where everyone can see what everyone else is doing most of the day. Some social media apps such as snapchat even allow for location tracking. When you are a fan of a particular you tuber and so often this youtube "tea spilling" involves creators who you are a fan of there is also a aspect of tribalism involved. – Aidan 3 months ago
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Different forms of product placement in mass media

Take a sweeping look at the first instances of product placement within video entertainment in various mediums; TV, YouTube videos, movies. Product placement, in this case, would specifically be the integration of branded products into the world of a story itself. Perhaps place them in different eras. Have actors gotten better at interacting with products naturally? Have advertisers gotten better at their product placements? How has this genre of advertising changed?

  • I think it would be helpful to centre this discussion within a specific region/culture, since the practice often varies depending on advertising regulations and cultural practices. For example, product placement in Thai dramas isn't usually designed to look natural, while Korean dramas are known to have large amounts of product placement that might be harder to spot. – vikkihuihuihui 5 months ago
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Social media and the rise of anxiety/depression among age groups

Analyze the relationship between the birth of various social media platforms and the rise in cases of anxiety/depression. Is there a correlation? Or, as mental health continues to be de-stigmatized, has there just been more acknowledgment of the issue? Senior citizens are said to benefit from social media due to a sense of connection. How does this compare to other age groups?

  • I think it is really interesting to consider how the role of social media differs between age groups. Generally looking at the relationship between social media and mental health without considering age would result in a loss of nuance. There is definitely ample research on the topic of mental health and social media, and I would encourage you to read these articles so you can take a new perspective in your article. – natpalumbo 1 year ago
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  • This article could potentially look at the removal of like-counts on certain platforms. Users can’t see how many likes another user gets on a post. Has this had any benefit? – Samantha Leersen 1 year ago
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  • Bass Reeves would be an amazing decision as a subject for a biopic. He was a lawman in the Old West who had unfailing genuineness, a profound feeling of equity, and hounded assurance to get the miscreant. He once even served a homicide warrant on his own child. He was one of only a handful few dark lawmen serving in the Wild West, and acquired close to all inclusive regard among his companions. Numerous antiquarians accept he is the motivation for the incredible anecdotal character The Lone Ranger – Musiclover1 8 months ago
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  • This idea is very pertinent for these days. It will have some shortcomings because the rise of social media has also coincided with a more open society and more mental health diagnoses. Still, this can be something to be explored in the research – harrietcorns 8 months ago
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  • I really admire you for bringing this topic onto the forefront of this site as it is a tremendously surprising topic, and one in my personal opinion our society has failed to take into any serious consideration. There is actually a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine that thoroughly discusses this topic. https://www.upmc.com/media/news/lin-primack-sm-depression. Social media is definitely a joyful medium of communication for a large number of individuals but can it can also be one of the most emotionally exhausting uses of of time for others. I definitely encourage to take a look at that UP article. Thank you again for bringing this topic up! Many people, I believe, are sure to benefit. – IDenby 8 months ago
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Published

The Age of the Observer

YouTube has become increasingly popular, almost like a "new TV" for younger demographics. On the platform, one can see a trend starting to happen where viewers want to watch other peoples’ lives through their vlogs and other content, such as unboxing videos and tutorials that the viewer never does but enjoys watching anyway. I call this "The Age of the Observer." This article would explore why this phenomenon is happening and explore just what kinds of videos people are watching. Some examples of channels creating this content would be Ryan ToysReview, both Jake and Logan Paul (where children vicariously live and envy the brother’s mansions, cars, clothes, etc.), and Jenna Marbles and Julien Solomita (especially with Jenna’s DIY videos and Julien’s cooking videos).

  • This is a really good topic to talk about, especially now that there is a lawsuit against YT from the LGBT community. Perhaps you could talk about the lawsuit and how YT is promoting creators that fit their "algorithim," despite being advertised as a platform for all. – Link 2 years ago
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  • Very relevant topic. Though I am not familiar with the examples of the channels you want to use. – AnnaRay 8 months ago
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Published

Issues of Consent, Representation, and Exploitation in the Era of Deepfake Pornography

In the era of rapid advances in artificial intelligence and computer graphics, it is difficult for an untrained observer to be able to avoid, as well as recognise as such, an altered image, and now increasingly also an altered video. Known colloquially as "deepfakes," a portmanteau of "deep learning" artificial intelligences and "faked imagery", these seemingly seamlessly altered videos present challenges for notions of authentic representation, and much has already been written about their potential applications to and influencing of political discourses. Still, several aspects of "deepfakes," potentially made manifest both through high-end editing software and open access mobile applications, remain critically underexamined.
Most evident among these is perhaps the instantiation of "deepfake pornography," which relies on the digital superimposition of real people’s, almost exclusively women’s, faces and voices onto pornographic videos, predominantly for the consumption of male users. Often, the superimposed images and sounds come, or are alleged to come, from images that are considered part of the public domain, have been posted publicly by the individuals depicted or ones in possession of copyright, and in other ways allow for transformative use. The implication is, perhaps, that women’s bodies are to be seen as physical objects that, in an era of the incresing accessibility of image- and video-altering software, may as well be digitally recreated so as to be consumed in a way that circumvents any pesky discussions of consent. It is therefore necessary to take a closer look at deepfake technologies along with the exploitative, often violently mysoginistic as well as cisheteropatriarchal and white supremacist social and legal practices that commonly underlie their predominant uses.

  • I would suggest dropping "pornography" and just focus on three issues associated with "deepfake videos: 1) How extensive an issue is this? 2) How authentic-looking are these videos and can they easily be discredited? and 3) Do they influence public attitudes or voting? – Joseph Cernik 1 year ago
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  • That, too, constitutes an interesting discussion, but one that is already receiving extensive critical and academic attention, hence the idea of expanding it by discussing one of the most prominent yet critically underexplored applications of deepfake technology, deepfake online pornography. – HangedMaiden 1 year ago
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  • Interesting topic – EdwardMcCarroll 1 year ago
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The Phenomenon of "Top 10" entertainment

"Top 10" type videos and articles on the internet are so prolific right now it’s like they fill up any negative space available on the net. Examine why that is and how this type of arguably cheap content has become so popular. Is it because of the platforms they inhabit? i.e, "the medium is the message," or is it simply because of the mindset of the generation? Interested to hear your thoughts!

  • I would not call "Top 10" a new thing, it has been around for decades. Perhaps how it has changed, say, of songs that have been in the top 10 in different years might provide insight into changing tastes. – Joseph Cernik 1 year ago
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