Googling Myself

Man, that title almost sounds dirty, doesn't it?

Growing up, I was a HUGE Mike Tyson fan. I'm talking about the
pre-prison Mike Tyson. The Mike Tyson who hadn't yet beaten his wife or been accused of rape. This was the guy who became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of twenty. He won his first 19 bouts by a knockout, including 12 that occurred in the first round. He was the baddest man on the planet. He was "Kid Dynamite!"

I remember clipping out pictures of Iron Mike in S
ports Illustrated delivering a blow to Michael Spinks with sweat and saliva exploding off Spinks' battered face. I played Mike Tyson's Punch-Out on Nintendo endlessly (How is it that Little Mac only comes up to the other fighters' knees?). I could never beat Tyson at the end of the game though. I remember one time I actually landed a punch on
him. That was a great day.

But best of all, his last name was the same as my first name. Tyson! I would tell kids at school that I was named after Mike Tyson, even though neither of my parents were boxing fans in the least bit at the time of my birth, and Kid Dynamite didn't explode onto the boxing scene until after I was born. Nevertheless I was so incredibly proud to share something in common with Iron Mike. I was certain to have a bonafide ice-breaker if we were ever to meet.

Fast-forward a few years... After the time spent in prison for rape, and after his messy divorce from actress Robin Givens, Tyson looked to get back into boxing and seemed to have put his dark past behind him. He stepped into the ring to face Evander Holyfield to regain his heavyweight title. Unable to overpower Holyfiel
d, Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ear, not once, but TWICE! With Holyfield's bloody and mangled ear lying on the mat, I knew that Tyson was never going to be anything but a psychopath.

Naturally, I tried to distance myself with the guy. When I lived in Korea, I would tell people my name and they would say, "Oh Tyson...
Like the famous boxer?" I would sigh and then tell them, "Yes, but I'm not a psycho like he is."

Now years later, Google has effed up all my damage control. When people google my name, my facebook and blog show up obviously. But there is
also so much more thanks to the athlete formerly known as Kid Dynamite. Here are some listings underneith the Google search "Tyson Camp":

"Tyson camp makes threats – Las Vegas Sun"

"Turmoil in Tyson camp"

"In the Tyson Camp, Truce is Tenuous"

and the worst of them all...

"Tyson Camp Dismisses Allegations of Rape..."

You can see why I would be upset, right? Obviously these articles aren't about me. And I guess it isn't so much Google's fault as it is the media who use the words: "Tyson camp." Why couldn't they use "Tyson entourage" or "Tyson posse" or even "Tyson people"? I know my last name isn't the most common of names, but I bet you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone on this earth named "Tyson Entourage".

But I guess that's what happens. I guess I'll just have to make a good name for myself to make these changes.

I just hope my future potential employers will have enough sense to distinguish that guy from me.


Some People Just Don't Get It

I was quite intrigued with the group's presentation today. Racist and sexist humor in the media have been on my mind lately. There was an interesting question posed at the end that, unfortunately, we didn't have time to discuss much. The question was: does racist and sexist humor merely perpetuate stereotypes in the media or does it point out the fact that stereotypes are ridiculous?
I'm kind of on the fence on this one. I think it depends on a couple of factors. First of all, it obviously depends on the joke. Jokes like the one that was brought up in class: "What's strong enough for a man but made for a woman? The back of my hand" obviously cross the line. Anything that depicts anybody being the victim of violence is never appropriate in my mind. Plus, it just isn't funny. Guys who make jokes like that, even if they aren't violent towards women, are just losers to me. Come up with someth
ing funny. That's just wrong and lame.
When Chappelle's Show was on the air, I did not miss an episode. It was just so ballsy and edgy to me. My friend once told me he didn't like that show because all Dave Chappelle did was make fun of white people. I couldn't believe what I heard! Had he ever seen the show? I think Chappelle made fun of his own race more than any other race. Plus, he took shots at everyone. No one was safe, and that's what kept me coming back. Chappelle took ridiculous stereotypes and magnified them in an effort to show the world how stupid stereotypes are. Educated people got the joke, and I think Chappelle did a lot of good to open peoples' eyes. He certainly opened mine. But unfortunately a lot of people are stupid. They see Chappelle on TV portraying these stereotypes about different races and take it as truth. That's one of the reasons why Chappelle quit the show when it was at its apex.

So I guess my point is that I see racist jokes and sexist jokes differently. I hardly see any value in sexist jokes. To me, they are just unfunny for the most part and less than progressive. I think of an uneducated backwoods hillbilly stuck in the 1950s coming up with all these jokes and burdening us with them. Racist jokes, I think, can be have a positive effect if used correctly. It can open people's eyes to ways in which they subconsciously act around other races. But it can have the same effect as a sexist joke if it is mean-spirited and/or the listener is too stupid to really get it.
And it's a shame because I sure miss Chappelle's Show


Am I Bad Person For Hating Women's Basketball?

I thought both groups today provided some interesting insight on women in the media.
I'll admit (and I'll probably get skewered for this) that I don't watch women's sports because I find them uninteresting. And I know I'm not the only one in the class that thinks that. I actually don't mind watching volleyball or tennis--and it's not because of the skimpy outfits. I think that both sports are something that men and women can play together.
But I can't watch women's basketball. The disparity level between men's and women's basketball is huge, and anyone who argues otherwise is crazy. I know several women who say they can't watch it either. Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that women shouldn't play basketball. I'm just saying that there are some sports I can't stand watching: hockey and women's basketball.
It was also interesting to learn how beauty is interpreted in other countries. The tanned, hourglass body that is considered "beautiful" in America is different than in Asia. When I lived in Korea, I could not figure out why Korean women tried so hard so lighten their skin.
They would go so far as to apply powder to their faces, and in many instances, they looked like they were wearing clown makeup. But I guess it's better than fake baking. Instead of looking like the old lady on There's Something About Mary by the time they're 40 they actually have healthy skin brimming with smoothness and elasticity.
But we should always remember that beauty is only skin deep, no matter where you're from, and a woman's merits should not be based on her external beauty.


Corporate Censorship

No offense to Errin, but this class really pisses me off. Don't get me wrong; I love our discussions, and I really do learn something everyday. But I really am getting quite irritated with the way some things are in our country. It seems like more than ever before heads of major corporations are the only voices in our country. With the media conglomerations and corporate censorship by Wal-mart and others, we don't really ever get a say of what we want to consume.
I was always led to believe growing up that Nirvana and Kurt Cobain were about one thing: being true to themselves. I was shocked and extremely disappointed when I read that they actually changed the title of the song on the album from "Rape Me" to "Waif Me". What's that all about? First of all, what does the word "waif" mean anyway? Second, I thought Nirvana would be above all of that greedy corporate BS. I guess I was wrong.
Also growing up, I was led to believe that members of the rap group N.W.A. were legitimate
gangstas rapping about their tough upbringing on the streets of Compton. I was never a huge fan of their music, but I always felt if there was a rap artist or group who had street cred, it was the members of N.W.A. Turns out, none of them were gangbangers in L.A. Only Eazy-E actually ever stood on a street corner to sell crack. Ice Cube actually turned down an academic scholarship to Arizona State to remain with the group (I know, it's Arizona State, but still). Eazy-E contributed to George H.W. Bush's campaign before dying of AIDS. And Dr. Dre once severely beat up a female reporter in public. Yeah these guys were real hardcore gangbangers.
P. Diddy is even worse. Despite what he'd like you to think, Diddy was no ghetto kid. He had a middle-class upbringing, was a model for Baskin-Robbins and went to a private Catholic boys' school where he was reportedly scared to bring home any grade less than a B.
I guess the point I'm making is that even for people that are media literate, it's hard to decifer if what you're consuming is legitimate art or not. Is the artist being real or is he/she just a puppet for the corporations?
These two video clips illustrate a humorous take on how a corporation can censor an artist. This Is Spinal Tap is a mockumentary about a British rock band from the early 80s. If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest it as it is delightfully entertaining. But these two videos kinda show how big corporations like Wal-mart can have a say in what artists put out there. I must put a disclaimer out there that the clips have some minor language issues and (deep breath) Fran Drescher makes an appearance. Watch with caution.


Cool Hunting and the like...

The film we watched this week was very interesting to me. First off, it brought me back to the days when I watched TV programs like "The Tom Green Show" and "Jackass" religiously. It's interesting to me because back in those days I was in high school and watched MTV all the time. I watched TRL even though I couldn't (and still can't) stand Carson Daly. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I even watched "Undressed." That show was so naughty to me, and yet I could not help but watch it.
I never realized what a hold MTV had on my youth until now. I bought
right into its marketing ploy and sadly spent too much of my high school days fixated on its programming. Thankfully, I have freed myself from the grips of MTV's claws. I guess I just got fed up with reality TV for the most part. But that doesn't mean I am free from the media. I still need my daily fix of Sportscenter and Conan (June 1st can't come soon enough). And I certainly can't miss TV shows like 30 Rock and Flight of the Conchords. So I guess while my taste in entertainment has evolved, I suppose the media will always have some sort of hold on me, which is scary and sad.
I also resonated with the concept of "cool hunting" that was explained in the film. I remember when I was in junior high, and I first heard of the band "Sublime." I was singing the lyrics to "Santeria" in school one day when a friend of mine stopped me.
"You know 'Sublime?'" she said.
"Yeah, they're one of my favorite bands now," I r
She then went off on how she discovered them first, and now she was upset that the band was going mainstream. The band wouldn't be "cool" anymore.
That's how it was as a teenager for me. Something could be considered totally cool one day and lose all of its coolness the next. In high school my friends and I would wear trucker hats and aviator sunglasses because we thought it was really cool and retro. When I returned from my mission and saw that everyone was wearing them I couldn't wear them anymore. To me, it had lost its "cool factor" now that it had been discovered. It's pretty selfish. It's like something that is so precious to us that we don't wanna share, something that gives us identity. Then everyone else starts doing it, or the media exploits it, and it's not ours anymore.

P.S. Does anyone know where I can find "The Tom Green Show" on DVD? I guess my sense of humor hasn't evolved as much as I'd like to think it has.


The Spin Stops Here? Puh-leeze!

Our class has discussed some pretty controversial topics over the semester. We've talked about radical feminists and white-hating black people; two subjects that get me pretty frustrated. But for me, today's class was so maddening to me--specifically on two separate levels. I'm pissed off as a consumer and also as a journalism major.
The video clip about "The Investigators" got me thinking about what other news stories are out there that the media are keeping from us. Surely that wasn't an isolated case where a story was killed because advertising dollars were at stake or there was another conflict of interest. There could possibly be life-saving information out there for some of us, only the media has other ideas in store for us. They determine what we need or want and force feed us that crap. Then they keep information from us that might actually be useful or necessary.
The video clip also shows that there is really nothing I can do about it. As a journalism major, I've been taught that my only loyalties lie with
providing the truth for the public. Not with money. Not with people. Not with major corporations. That's good and all, and in a perfect world that would be the case. But I constantly see examples that tell me otherwise. I want to be an ethical journalist. I want to provide the truth. But how can I do that if I don't have a job as a journalist? People that are loyal to media corporations and their respective conflicts of interests are going to be the ones with the jobs while I wait in line for food at a soup kitchen.
The point was brought up in class about how there were certain laws in place back in the early 1900's to break up monopolies in the coal industry. Where are those laws now? Why can't we enforce those laws? Fox News seems to be the most common violator of the public's interest. But I would like to know what other news stations have compromised the public's interest for their own. No doubt there are many.

Like I said, it would be nice to be able to do something about it. But the media aren't going to change itself, and it doesn't seem like the government is interested in forcing the media to change.
So if any of you have any good ideas let me know. Meanwhile I'll try to get in contact with Rupert Murdoch to see if he'll lend us his support.


The Fall of Hip Hop

I like hip hop music for the most part. I've never been a huge fan of gangsta rap, but I've always been a big fan old school hip hop or more of the underground stuff. I remember being introduced to artists like Eric B. & Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest at a young age and just falling in love with the energetic beats that made me just wanna move around. That's why I was excited to see this hip hop video in class this week.
I thought Byron Hurt did a phenomenal job producing the film. Here he was, a gifted black athlete who grew up loving hip hop, and then coming to a realization that much of the lyrics in hip hop music is sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and violent. He talked about being conflicted because he loved the music so much. That's why I have tons of respect for him for making a film like
this and helping open up America's eyes to this kind of trash in the media.
Hurt also talked about all of this energy being built up in places like the Bronx, where people lived poverty, and hip hop being the way to release all of that energy. Listen to lyrics of songs in the early days of hip hop and contrast them to lyrics of today. Hip hop founders like The
Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash wouldn't even make it onto the hip hop scene today because their lyrics are so mild. They didn't rap about killing one another or sleeping with a bunch of "hoes." It was about releasing that energy and having a good time doing it.
Then you have artists like Public Enemy and Mos Def who are very political. They rap about the goings on in society and are socially conscious. They may drop F bombs here and there, but it's about the context of what they're talking about. They're not trying to come across as hard or talking about it in a sexual sense. They're pissed off! Many people
let expletives fly when they get pissed; these guys are just expressing their anger with hip hop.
But unfortunately, we mostly just see guys like Nelly and 50 Cent, and guys talking about "supermaning their hoes."
We're all to blame. Artists are to blame; record execs are to blame; DJs are to blame; those of us who buy into the culture are to blame. We're perpetuating these stereotypes: that black men are supposed to be wild, violent, sexist and homophobic.
I had to watch this documentary again to get the entire concept that Hurt was talking
about. And I would recommend anyone to see it again. In the meantime, I'll just stick to my old school stuff.