Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friends With Money, a film written and directed by Nicole Holofcener in 2006. Friends with money represents different lifestyles, relationships and the problems a couple can face. The film features four female friends from different social classes.
Social class was expressed by wealth, education and occupations. The first scene in the movie was a scene of Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) cleaning houses. We saw Christine (Catherine Keener) in her office writing , which gave us an idea of her job as a television writer. Jane (Frances McDormand) the third character works as fashion designer. Franny (Joan Cusack) a housewife who does charity work. In all three occupations, social class was clearly displayed, where Olivia from the lower class, Christine and Jane from the middle class and Franny from the upper class. Wealth was the result of a good job. At some point in the movie they were delivering the idea of the more wealthy you are the less problems you have, and we saw that when Christine and Jane were talking about Franny and Matt (Franny’s husband)’s relationship and how they have a problem-free life.
Conspicuous consumption also took a place in this movie, we saw Franny’s husband buying their daughter a 95-dollar shoes, Jane’s husband buying her a fancy handbag for her birthday and Olivia’s addiction with Lancôme products.
Conspicuous leisure was shown in different ways through the restaurants they go to, buying tables in fundraisers events, women wearing designers’ dresses and jewelries and men wearning elegant suites and ties.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I noticed that at the event, people basically didn't know one another, yet they've interacted with each other as if they knew each other for a long time. I'm going to try to see it in a sociological way, and that these people bonded with each other without much thinking(which lead us to social interaction, a method of way people interact with one another.) They formed an in-group; group of people who share same interests(which is interest in Japanese animations and cartoons in this case.) and they're also classified as otakus(which is a term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly, anime, manga, and video games.)
I think these people were acting very friendly with one another because they shared the same social status or position at that event, they all got the chance to cosplay, participate in the events there of video game tournament and some quizzes. And also as fans. They probably wouldn't have acted the same way if they were around people of different interest(I know I wouldn't) they know that not everyone is interested in anime and even some people consider anime fans "weird"(I actually heard that from a classmate just before the event started, and I became defensive, because I'm also a fan of anime, so thats the solidarity that I felt with other anime fans) and I'm going to quote what that person said to another person while talking about the event, " I've never really seen an anime fan that's normal, they all act weird."
Since I participated in this event as a person who sells their work, I got to meet different people. It was really interesting to see that even though they all share same interest, they came to me with different motivations. Some people came to talk to me about business opportunities, while some others wanted to buy my work, and some just wanted to look at what I had. Even though they shared the same interest, they were all different.
Finally, I want to say that I think the event was a really successful one, it's the first of its kind in Qatar, even though it was not sponsored it was a success alhamdulel-Allah. Plus what I also think made the event succeed was the big number of people who gathered for it (I believe more than five-hundred people visited VCUQ that day/night) I think it's just that when people share the same passion+position, things can work out very well (though people were from different ages and professions, I believe that they were considered equal that day, because they gathered as fans that day, not as professors, students, nor anything else.)
I hope that in the future, more events like this one will be held. It's really nice to see people of the same interest interact with one another.
"Football, the beautiful game, is in a world of it own and follows the mores that exist in a typical bureaucratic system."The above quote is a lie.
Football...well, sure it is the beautiful game, but it also has high end politics that are powerful enough to bring up a nation in the eyes of the world, unite social groups, raise the players' social status to that of idols, and even bring down a community or country that takes the sport very seriously.
However, a football club is, in reality, a bureaucratic, for-profit company that sells tickets and merchandise to fans who come to watch the players who are marketed as celebrities. The clubs hold assets, with annual profits that can go as high £255.7 million as Arsenal Football Club in England reported last season. FC Barcelona of Spain, though, reported 420.2 million euros in the 2009-2010 season. They spend on the stadium, facilities, staff, players, their home and away kits, and managers. Every penny spent has to be calculated for carefully due the ridiculously high amount of risk involved.
|Steve Macfarlane @ Arsenal FC (source: Flickr)|
Interesting, isn't it?
So what happens when they don't spend right? Quite naturally, they report losses. In extreme cases like the Glasgow Rangers, it can even lead to bankruptcy. The footballing spirit of the community falls because hearts are broken. Ticket sales drop sharply, and players leave to save either their own careers or even to bring some much needed cash into the club, as Kaká famously did for AC Milan back in summer of 2009. He moved to where losses and the global recession did not exist: FC Real Madrid, currently managed by the uber-popular José Mourinho.
The characteristics of a bureaucracy are pretty clear cut. There is a set division of labour, authority is always hierarchal, positions are filled based on objective criteria only, every decision made is duly recorded and there are written rules.
In Real Madrid, the hierarchy and bureaucracy exist, but, at the same time, they don't really. President Florentino Pérez actually (and unnaturally for him) broke the mores of this type of stratified organization by actually giving Mourinho (a.k.a. The Special One) full rein. This way, Mou now makes larger decisions than what would normally be allowed. He also disregards Perez's warnings and defames others in press conferences if he, or his team, were attacked in anyway - that's him exercising some informal negative sanctions.
Well, yes, he does protect his players. Although, there is a sense of alienation where the President is involved. 'If you don't win, you are axed'. The players become tools for various marketing strategies for the sake of high profits in an organization where only few monopolize the power. Classic oligarchy.
Mourinho does not really seek to eliminate this, but he does not abandon the players either. He serves as a link between the two groups. In the end, the players end up weeping like girls when he decides to leave (Drogba custard, anyone?) .
This is just an example of how an organization actually works in reality.
To be very honest, wherever I look - for me, and for Mourinho - true bureaucracy is either extinct, rare, or completely non-existant. Oligarchy, however, does commonly exist in a lot of places, and certainly so at Real Madrid.
Brian Davidson of brazilfooty asks this:
"Is a little bureaucracy a good thing?"That I don't really know. Perhaps you might have an answer for him~
Therefore, I am an individual who gives 2 hours of her time to help these workers learn a few English words, so that their bosses and employers have an easier time communicating with them. ROTA is also a utilitarian organization. A utilitarian organization indicates that the organization has a specific goal/ purpose and implies that some members get paid for running the few aspects of ROTA and is usually a matter of individual choice. I can strongly say this organization is not a Coercive organization. The aim of ROTA is to increase access to educationalfacilities in a crisis situation. The chairperson H.E Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani and a few other Board members provide guidance and direction for the charity.
ROTA is a non-profit organization, and thus there is a limit of trust and liability issues that have to be kept under control and supervised regularly. These benefits of having rules is a functional point of view, a positive way to see an outcome in every bureaucratic organization. There is an achievement, which is education that is given and received by a range of individuals.
In Doha Qatar itself it becomes a social conflict because many Indian schools barely receive information about ROTA trips abroad or several local projects because the organization only picks people who have a certain amount of skills or study in Education City. Education City most of the time tries to get university or Qatar Academy students to participate in these projects, in order to build their Community and Service skills and approaches. The picture below is of a Carnegie Mellon University student teaching the cleaning staff of his University. As a teacher myself, I have noticed that there are no teachers from The College of the North Atlantic or Qatar University. The next picture identifies how serious ROTA takes their educational services because it shows the training sessions that occurred for all the upcoming teachers in Education City.
“Make a Difference and take Action” says ROTA.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Identifying the social status of consumers to know their buying decision : a useful tool used by designers
I live in the households of college students. I am cool, trendy and minimalistic. Students find me stylish and friendly. They love spending time with me and look up to me for ideas. Students say to me that the greyish silver suit, which I wear usually to university, looks good and matches with my personality. It makes me look handsome, honorable and slim.
I am also a best partner for all the design professionals. My compatibility and hardworking ability inspires them. I allow them to multi-task and give them a clear view of the latest up to date information. They consider me crisp and clean.
For many businessmen, I speak of elegance, efficiency and intelligence. I am a commodity that is most sought after. Therefore, I keep working hard to keep up with the pace and inform them about the latest and upcoming trends.” Mr. Mac Book Pro.
A slim young women with dirty blonde hair and a great athlete, Nariana knows how to take care of her physique. She is a health and fitness advisor, who not only conducts morning shows, (being a morning person) where she teaches exercises but also answers calls and gives the viewers beauty tips according to their skin type. In one of her interviews Nariana says " In order to live longer one should wake up early, do yoga, train and after taking a shower treat yourself to some healthy food." I think this best describes her true personality because she is always so active, full of energy, fresh and smells beautiful. Wearing a pure golden ring on her finger with fully manicured nails, Nariana looks fabulous.
In our last Sociology class, we discussed women and gender. Considering how there is an overwhelming majority of females in our class, the topics on femininity, neo-feminist cinema and power were highly intriguing.
I have witnessed and experienced a significant amount of sexism, not only from males but females too. Mothers in particular. They seem to conform to their roles as being housewives and homemakers; cooking and cleaning are an integral part of a married woman’s daily routine. Men, however, conform to their roles as being the breadwinner of the household. If men are placed in a situation where they can’t be the providers of the family they will submit to playing no part whatsoever in helping around the house. This is because they feel emasculated and since socialization portrays working around the house as a female’s responsibility, men would rather be useless than serve a purpose.
I have first-hand experience, in my own household, of my brother telling me to make him meals because I’m a female. I have also experienced something similar from my mother. She advised me to learn how to cook earlier on, in order for me to provide meals for my future husband. Parents, and the family, are the most prominent agents of socialization in any individual’s life. This explains how people can justify that they’re right for whatever reason – may it be on buying a house or car, or making the right choice on a certain issue - because their parents have cautioned them on what is right and what is wrong.
This week I attended the student-faculty dodge ball game. Seeing as the majority of students are female, some male students expressed bitterness because they saw this as disadvantageous to the students’ team. “The only reason we’re losing is because we have so many girls on our team,” said one male.
Men seem to be under the impression that women can’t exert physical power. This is mainly due to socialization – movies such as Rambo and the Expendables convey masculinity through strength and violence. But even when women play roles that show ‘power over’ others, which means getting others to do something even when they don’t want to, it isn’t interpreted in a serious manner. This is mainly because men find women playing aggressive roles attractive, and almost all of these roles played by women are sexualized.
Although the faculty won the dodge-ball game, there were quite a number of females on their team as well. The males on the student team purposely targeted the females on the faculty team, assuming that they would be the “weak” point. But the females played a large role in contributing the large number of points the faculty team won by, which shows that it is merely a social construction that “women are physically weaker than men.”
Monday, March 26, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
This Hindi word for “land tax” became a household name in 2001 with the release of a namesake Bollywood movie. Lagaan, Once Upon a Time in India takes the viewer on a very believable time-travel to the Indian subcontinent of the Victorian Era. The movie revolves around poor villagers coerced to pay backbreaking taxes to the British and their struggles to rise above the oppression.
Lagaan instantly turned into a box office hit, grossing a considerable $9009043. It was hailed by Britain’s Empire magazine as one of the “100 Best Films of World Cinema” (Top Earners 2000-2009, retrieved from BoxOffice India.com).
This 3 hour 40 minute historical fantasy was described by the New York Times as “a carnivalesque genre packed with romance, swordplay and improbable song-and-dance routines” (Somni Sengupta, New York Times, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagaan)
Using Lagaan as an archetype for all Bollywood movies, this blog is about the “improbable” and how it has become an integral part and parcel of Hindi cinema.
The “musical drama” Lagaan owes much of its length to a varied assortment of songs and dances, as do most Bollywood movies-- a concept that a western audience is not very comfortable with.
Consider, for example, the following love song between the leads Bhuvan (Amir Khan) and Gauri (Gracy Singh), with particular focus on Elizabeth (Rachel Shelly), the easily discernible British actress.
When Amir Khan was asked about the reaction of Londoners to this particular song, he flashed an amused smile at the camera and said, “I heard that audiences in the theatres began to laugh. They just didn’t expect to hear Elizabeth sing.”
One important characteristic that sets Bollywood movies apart are certainly the tedious and elaborate song and dance sequences. It is particularly peculiar seeing a bunch of well-choreographed dancers twirling around the leads. “I don’t get it,” says American student and avid-movie watcher Kathy Rivera, “The songs merely attach an unrealistic quality to the movies. What’s the point?”
The answer is rooted in a number of influencing factors, from varied levels of production and musical style to commercial life and audience reception.
That previous sentence was not intended merely to to add to my word count. Though it may sound complicated, the whole idea boils down to the way society is reflected in these movies. Indian culture is profuse with color and movement, hype and activity, as is evident in most festivals, like Diwali (festival of lights) and Holi (festival of colors), to name a few.
These aspects of society are mirrored in Bollywood movies through the highly ”improbable” dance and music. Such vibes and moves are best illustrated in the following song clip that shows Bhuvan and Gauri in a traditional Dandiya Ras dance.
The colorful songs are “firmly embedded in an Indian popular culture and are an integral feature of the genre, akin to plot, dialogue and other parameters” (retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Bollywood). Hindi cimema, in other words, not only shows you singing and dancing, it is about singing and dancing (Sociology Goes to Movies, Rajendra Kumar Dudrah, p48).
The many “disparate modes of story telling are bound in a coherent whole by songs” (Sociology Goes to Movies, Rajendra Kumar Dudrah, p48). Thus, they serve the dual purpose of stringing various movie elements together. It would not be wrong to say that songs are to Bollywood what a soliloquy is to a Shakespearean play-- they confer a certain metaphorical voice to the character’s actual emotions and sentiments.
Consider for example, the song Mitwa (Friend), from Lagaan:
When translated it means:
Mitwa, O Mitwa
Friend, O friend
Tujhko kya dar hai re
Why do you fear?
Yeh dharti apni hai
This earth is ours
Apna ambar hai re
Ours is the sky.
Tu aa jaa re
You come on…
The lip-synced song brings Bhuvan's sentiments to limelight as he calls upon fellow farmers to stand up against the subjugations of the British. Through the song as a medium, he reminds them that the country is theirs and they needn’t be intimidated by any outside forces. It coherently pieces the movie together, as the next scene shows the villagers responding to his call and following his lead.
Furthering the storyline, the next song “Chale Chalo” (Keep Going) shows Bhuvan and his friends perspiring away as they ready themselves to face the British in an upcoming match of cricket, a challenge that will decide their fate.
But these filmi songs continue to be "derided" in Western movie circles, often being blamed for “unrealisticity.”
I chanced upon an interesting comeback on a Sociology blog site (http://thesocietypages.org):
"I still hear Western film buffs argue that lip-synced songs somehow make a film unrealistic. Let’s get one thing straight — the use of music in Western films is no more realistic than in Bollywood films. We don't walk around hearing music matched to our mood in real life, but Westerners accept the fantasy because it is familiar."
Although Bollywood takes it one step further, often heavily peppering movies with songs, the dance and music are “essential aesthetic elements of the film… that draw on a stock of Indian cultural and social references and elaborate them through aural and visual spectacles” (Sociology Goes to Movies, Rajendra Kumar Dudrah, p63).
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Down With Love (2003), a romantic comedy set in early 1960’s can be described as a perfect example to establish the feminist movement that emerged in the 60’s. All the components of the ‘second wave’ feminism are portrayed in this film. According to the story, Barbra Novak (Renée Zellweger), an feminist writer wants to publish her new work “Down with Love”, basically a book that is capable of freeing all women and empower themselves by teaching them how to be able to ‘enjoy sex without a commitment’. The entire purpose of the book is to create a feminist world in order to boost the morale of women in workspace and in community in general. This concept of the movie is similar to the idea of the second wave feminism being a sexual revolution for women.
However, according to the plot, the message of feminism tends to fluctuate back and forth between second-wave and post-feminism, which is more accurately named as neo-feminism. Because Barbra Novak exploits her sexuality in order to obtain her goal of empowering women as well as expose the real identity of her arch rival Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor). She turns out to be a very manipulative character, and besides that she also deviates form her own principles (from the one’s she mentions in her book) in order obtain her goal. Thus establishing the post-feminist notion of “sexuality is a source of power”.