Hurricane Irene, Internet Argument, and Punishment

As the Northeast prepared for Hurricane Irene last week, southerners who had weathered dozens of hurricanes sent both insults and helpful advice to their less-experienced neighbors in the north. The internet was abuzz with people wondering why New Yorkers were incapable of understanding what to do in a hurricane, and snarky retorts concerning Texans' inability to manage mild ice storms abounded. On, the Australian redditor Xsophos posted this infographic comparing Irene and Hurricane Katrina with Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which hit Queensland, Australia this year. 

Image credit:  ABC News

Some American redditors promptly took offense, thinking that the post was intended as an insult to Americans' preparedness or fright, even though Xsophos offered no commentary about Australian superiority or the danger involved in any of these storms. One user sarcastically calls Australians "lucky" and another thread devolves into Australians insulting American sexuality and Americans making snide remarks about Australian censorship, as well as comparisons of flora and fauna.

YouTube & Fair Use (Part II)

Image Credit: Scott Nelson, Creative Commons, Attribute, Share-Alike

Last week, I addressed only the first stages in a YouTube copyright dispute. Should a copyright holder wish to issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice, the process is a bit more involved. This past year, the company introduced the YouTube Copyright School, a kind of “traffic school” for copyright violations. If a user receives a copyright violation notice, she is forced to watch a five-minute cartoon about copyright and complete ten questions regarding the content. As I mentioned above, on the third such copyright notice, the user is banned from uploading to YouTube for life. YouTube commissioned the creators of The Happy Tree Friends to craft the video tutorial, and so far, the video has received over half a million views, with around 1600 likes and five times as many dislikes. While the video certainly informs users of their rights and responsibilities under copyright, it uses visual rhetoric to present copyright law as frightening and complicated. Such a characterization contributes to the chilling effect on using copyrighted content to create YouTube videos.

YouTube & Fair Use

Recently, one of my YouTube videos was automatically removed for "copyright violations." I decided to take a closer look into YouTube's policies and found they may be dissuading users from exercising their Fair Use rights. 

Lesson Plan - Teaching Poetry with Image Databases

Image credit: My video "reading" of Donald Revell's "Election Year"

Last semester I began to experiment with various programs, particularly iMovie, as I think about how I'd make digital technology part of a course that focuses on poetry. In a brief post, I included a model iMovie file, and speculated as to how such an exercise might be used. Today, as we wrap up National Poetry Month, I'm posting a lesson plan that articulates the possibilities for this exercise more directly.  

TOMS' "One Day Without Shoes" - Awareness, Activism, Advertising?

"One Day Without Shoes 2011," TOMS via Youtube

Today TOMS shoes conducted its second annual One Day Without Shoes campaign in which anyone (wherever in the privileged world) was encouraged to go without sandals, boots, sneakers, etc. The intention behind the event is to "raise awareness" for what it's like for the millions in less developed countries who daily go without adequate protection for their feet and, as a result, are at risk for serious infections. At the risk of sounding like a cynical jerk, I'm going to raise some questions about how the campaign attracts an audience through compelling visual tools and ultimately how it benefits those for whom it claims to be raising awareness.

Reboot: Teaching You Tube by Emily Bloom

Youtube is (as self-reflexive as my video book)via MediaPraxisme

 H/T Justin Hodgson

Last month, MIT press published Alexandra's Juhasz newest scholarship in what they are terming a video-book format. Vectors Journal has hosted the online work, which collates together a set of videos by Juhasz and her students. The videos work within, as they reflect upon, Youtube. Last year, viz. writer Emily Bloom featured Juhasz's journey into the pedagogy of Youtube. Bloom helps to crystallize Juhasz's arguments about mediocre video, Youtube's popularity versus its radical potential, and the practical difficulties of teaching in the medium. Bloom's original post is rebooted after the break.

War Games - Isao Hashimoto

"1945-1998" by Isao Hashimoto

Originally created in 2003 by the Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, "1945-1998" maps all 2053 nuclear explosions during that period.

When Humor Hurts - Domestic Violence PSAs (part one)

Image credit: The OPCC via YouTube

H/T to Rachel for suggesting the topic sending me the clip

Although Halloween is behind us, and we've packed up the glam make-up and eaten all the goodies, I'd like to call your attention to an interesting use of bunny suits I recently came across.  Or, perhaps "interesting" isn't quite the right word... inappropriate, insincere, ineffectual... these seem more apt.  While this ridiculous domestic violence PSA has already been addressed by Irin Carmon over on Jezebel, I think there are some more fundamental issues we can tackle from a rhetorical standpoint.  Ultimately, the commercial leaves me with questions about when humor actually hits the mark and when it just goes horribly wrong.

Multi-Media New Orleans



magazine street

"Hey Cafe Magazine St. Uptown NOLA Jan. 2010" by Infrogmation

Via Flickr

This weekend, I visited a friend in New Orleans.  On Sunday, we sat in plastic chairs outside a coffee shop along Magazine Street, with my friend sipping a Diet Dr. Pepper (her addiction) and me indulging a tall glass of latte (my addiction). Let's not mention the almond-butter infused croissant.  As my host surveyed the Times Picayune, I took in the people passing and the variety of businesses and signs.  George Harrison "My Sweet Lord" was echoing from a restaurant across the way, and the morning air was mildly warm and a little smelly. We chatted with some NOLA locals sitting at the table nearby:  a mother and toddler, who was dressed adorably in an orange jack-o-lantern hoodie.  We talked about the Saints game (the toddler could cheer "Who Dat") and about Halloween festivities the coming evening.  When the toddler threw down the plastic lid from his chocolate milk, his mother coached him to one of the over-flowing trash cans on the sidewalk. 

Glitter re-visited (deadly and disembodied)

Image Credit: Norton

H / T to my mom for sending me the video in response to last week's post

Last week on Viz I posted about glitter as an undermining agent in images of solemnity.  In this commercial for Norton security software, the glitter use results in deadly (and delightful) consequences.

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