April 12, 2009
Bluntly, there is no other way to express where I have been the past six months besides the words: “I screwed up.”
In a nutshell, I suddenly abandoned my healthy readership, and disappeared into my supposed alibi consisting of sad excuses of overloading homework and events. I took a break, fiddled with a possible culturedecoded.com, and ended up less than I started with. And although I understand that most likely some of you — my readers — may not read my work again, I want to apologize for my naive pause from blogging and come back just as I left Culture Deocded.
An overwhelming amount of events have occurred in the political world as I have left, and I want to discuss them as soon as possible. A President Barack Obama has taken countless actions to bring the free world back to where it once was, some of which I disagree with and some of which I agree with. Iraq has remained a focal point in the middle east, and there is still question in the air over when american troops will really pull out. Somalian pirates have put a fixture in the previously quiet Gulf of Aden, and America is torn over what actions should be taken. The president has purchased a long awaited dog, and Vice President Biden has taken swings at Karl Rove, and the press is taking sides.
As far as the status of the blog, I encourage all of you visiting and returning to leave comments on what you think about the issue at hand. A successful blog is not just written by the author, but by its readers, and if you contribute, there will be very interesting conversations for a long time.
So without further ado, I will continue where I left off, and work as hard as possible to initiate political discussions that will benefit everyone.
November 9, 2008
In conclusion of two gruesome years of brutal campaigning and rhetoric, global attention and nationwide anxiety, a president has been elected in the form of an eloquently-speaking 46 year old — Senator Barack Obama.
The opposing party has since acknowledged their defeat and seemingly ambled in the direction of moving on, but anonymous political finger pointing from John McCain’s aides at to past running mate Sarah Palin and back have sparked various amounts of media airtime, and again the media bias topic has been thrown onto the table.
So in final closing of the election, this question is more or less ready to answer: is the media in fact biased to one side and if so, by how much?
I think that in looking at this topic, many can see it in very different ways, based on their political views from the election. It is not a rare sight to see both liberal and conservative blogs and strongly left or right press outlets sending out daily attacks at the media, and that is not where or what would be constructive to do in actually answering this question. Instead, what we have to work with are simply facts and what has happened.
Blame in this corner generally comes from clips of news anchors strongly defending or attacking a political figure, which can be taken in different ways based both on the context and the topic.
Fox News, attacked daily for bias, has in fact been “exposed” numerous times of taking anti-Obama clips from interviews and failing to air the rest, which most of the time is in fact against McCain. And respectively, frequently attacked MSNBC has not only been accused of bias toward Obama, but has also devoted air time to attack the supposed “right” media.
But with this aside, to accuse the media of bias is more or less a completely impossible argument to complete in a non-partisan manner. The talking heads most politically attacked are merely hosted by media outlets and not necessarily backed by them — with the exception in my opinion being Bill O’Riley. But in fact, I enjoy viewing O’Riley even though I know him as conservative, in the same way I enjoy watching Keith Olbermann because I know him as a liberal.
But above this, I honor both O’Riley and Olbermann for simply attacking each other, brutally pointing out mistakes in simply the form of media that we Americans have come to know. I personally perceive Fox News as conservative and MSNBC as liberal, but have come to not simply face these facts, but absorb both in light of what each media outlet has to say, and take it into context when choosing what to believe how to believe.
So I’ll open this up to the commenters: What do you think — is there bias in the media, by what magnitude, and how is it perceived by you?
October 17, 2008
There is no disputing that the decision to nominate Sarah Palin as the Republican’s vice presidential pick was certainly a surprise, causing the press to have one of the biggest political field days in history. But in the end was she strategically a gain or loss for the McCain campaign?
I think that this essentially is the problem: what is a gain, what is a loss, and what was Palin meant to do — things certainly debatable but not entirely clear.
But nevertheless, the centrist point here is that John McCain is (in his own words) “Running to win, and winning to govern.” What this is perceived to mean is that McCain is essentially running for the oval office and frankly doesn’t mind whoever contributes in getting him there.
So with this mindset the question can be more or less tackled, starting with the concept that Palin’s effect on the press was positive or negative.
I think the answer to this is yes and no. As explained a countless amount of times, Palin’s immediate burst into the political media was very much a success off the bat, but the (to be theoretical), the chaos that Palin threw at the press has in a sense died down — to the point where Palin is at the point of strategic questioning. And as we have seen lately, this has been proven to be damaging to the McCain campaign in the long run.
And how has this happened? Palin’s immediate political success can be largely credited to timing. Announced the day after Barack Obama’s final democratic convention speech, the McCain camp essentially used the general political media attention to their advantage, and in doing so not only sweeping away both parties’ attention from the Democrats, but also setting an extremely flammable fictional wildfire in the media. And this I ultimately credit to Palin’s extreme demand in the first few weeks she was in the political spotlight.
I, as many other people also pointed out that while the Sarah Palin “wildfire” was burning, Palin wasn’t actually conducting much press herself, shown in the fact that she has yet to break ten television interviews.
And although this may have been extremely efficient for both Palin and the McCain campaign, it hasn’t politically helped the McCain campaign in the long run — both sides of the press are now politically and strategically questioning Palin, in my opinion one of the factors in McCain’s deficit in the polls.
So I ask the commenters, has Palin helped John McCain strategically and politically — and has Palin truly solitified the base and gained votes not possible by McCain himself?
Overall, has she been worth it?
October 6, 2008
Today Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin presented her second speech in as many days on the topic of opponent Barack Obama’s political involvement with past leader of radical group Weather Underground — a subject repeatedly punched by the McCain campaign. Palin’s words were responded with boos and shouting alike from the McCain supporting crowd, a harsh way of showing they wanted more.
But has this been the response from the general public, especially neutral undecideds?
The popular trend has been no, but past and present pollster stats have had a history of contradicting this claim. But in contrast, Barack Obama’s recent climb in the polls have been widely linked with the fact that his campaign has been running a lower percentage of attack ads.
But in truth it really comes down to the campaign making their attacks carefully and with strategy. Although incredibly dated, my case in point is knockout campaign ad “daisy” by then-presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson. The ad (click here) was truly a textbook attack that although was in fact a PR gamble, paid off handsomely for the Johnson campaign, and is even credited at times in part for his presidency win.
Why? Though a gamble alone because of its topic, the ad was in fact very well played. The Johnson campaign found a large stumble by opponent Barry Goldwater where he stated that nuclear bombing Vietnam was a possibility.
For those as young as me, to put this into prospect: the political importance of capitalizing on the uncertainty and fear of a nuclear war in 1964 was by all means not the equivalent but rather of the same concept as a candidate in this race falling on a political pot of gold. In other words, finding something (most useful would be a quote) coming out of the opposing campaign that involved the prospect of funding the people who are suspected to have started the financial crisis.
What is my point? There are essentially three steps a campaign must take to orchestrate a successful ad — a juicy and controversial topic (in Daisy’s case a nuclear war), a somewhat truthful piece of information from the opponent (the more untruthful it is the more skilled the director must be), and finally a non-generic: “and this is why you should vote John ’64” quote.
And “daisy” not only hit straight on all of those topics, but also found time to put fourth an intense start (the young girl counting roses that turns in to a T-Minus countdown for an nuclear bomb) that has made people think and argue for decades.
And what does this have to do with the 2008 presidential race? In a strategic sense, almost everything.
In my opinion, Obama’s lead has come from two things — his policies and the topic of this post — McCain campaigning.
But not as you might suspect — I am not discrediting McCain for his negativing campaigning itself, but rather the fact that it has not successfully followed all the points to make a successful PR ploy. This is simply because he has thrown out way too many talking points as ads, and hasn’t followed what has worked in the past and will continue to — a central arguement.
September 22, 2008
I was recently asked by a friend of mine about my stance on the elections. And although I try to keep non-partisan in my posts for the sake of the blog as well as my reputation, I will admit that I am an Obama supporter. And as a thirteen year old seventh-grader, I would like to point out that I don’t think he is something of a Messia or persuasive cult leader, as the frankly true stereotype for political teens would suggest.
I support him. My job here on this blog is to follow both parties’ political moves and strategies, and this has also opened me up to his policies, which I do believe can send America in the right way.
But I don’t, however, think that John McCain is any sort of enemy. He isn’t running for president because he is a communist intent on dissolving our government, he is running for office because he wants to change the direction that we are headed in. I just believe in my opinion that he will not change America in the way that we want him to, and that his health is a serious risk.
Which takes me to Palin.
I would call myself a strategic commentator as far as my preferred topics, and I will say without doubt that McCain’s choosing of Sarah Palin was pure genius. It took the media by storm and was prepared long in advance (I’ll get to it). The story of a extremely-far right woman governor as the Vice President of the United States with a chance to become the leader of the free world had added a new chapter to politics, getting five-paragraph opinion pieces out of food bloggers and leading to complete chaos inside the media. It got everyone’s voice out, and that is exactly what it intended.
And meanwhile, it let Sarah Palin prep for the debates. Setting a fire inside the press as well as the blogosphere, the pick not only let the media go opinion-galore in arguments and editorials, but it let Palin go out of the MSM and prepare for what is to come — mandatory debates that she must complete without falling flat.
But it was a PR stunt.
Politically, it placed a rocket under the Republican party, but what people fail to understand in my opinion is the permanent placement here is the fact that one must think of a vice presidential pick as a vice president, not a burst of nitrous on a racecar. A CNN news commentator put in extremely well:
As a Democrat and political strategist, I am excited [with the pick of Sarah Palin], but as an American I am scared out of my mind.
I completely share this man’s point. I am both scared and offended that in a time needing drastic change, a campaign would choose someone to not only place the second highest office in the most powerful country in the world, but pick with such strategic care and literately no thought of the future. Obama told the media after the Sarah Palin frenzy that he choose his running mate Joe Biden because he wanted to change America and he thought that Biden was the best person for that cause.
And this is precisely why I both pushed far away from supporting the McCain campaign and now have a fascination towards Sarah Palin and what she will do next. As a non-voting 13 year old who (by definition) shouldn’t be talking about this stuff — rather playing outside in the sprinklers), is also a political commentator, I am terrified of the McCain campaign because this seems like their plans for America, and completely amazed with the strategic marvel of Sarah Palin.
September 10, 2008
As political talking points near to its grimmest stage in this election, and as breaking news of oil corruption surface along with internet and media rumors about Both Obama and Sarah Palin’s faith and position, one might assume from 4 years ago that the citizens of the US are defensive. Far from it.
Record numbers have tuned into media outlets, millions more have voted for the first time in the primaries than ever before, and everyone fifteen year old to eighty is online to tell us about it. And in this time of political backlash and attack ads, the US is alive with opinions and commentary from everyone including the average citizen to Matt Yglesias.
There are comments everywhere on blogs providing opinions on the biggest rumors the web can offer, and writers are accepting and answering them. For once people now have a credible voice, whether its Russell Brand or me, Politico or CNN. It’s true that political swiftboats, sexism, racism, and blatant lies still exist, but there are people talking about them.
So what would we call this? It’s change. Republican or Democrat, left or right wing, Green or Libertarian, this is change, and there is no denying it.
I think Barack Obama should be elected president, and there are people who think John McCain should be elected as well. And with fifty-five days to choose that, America’s got a heck of a lot more negotiating and arguing to do. But at least we are. At least someone pointed out the youtube videos of Sarah Palin speaking at her church and Jerimiah Wright blasting the US in his, and at least Bob Salsbury made his joke.
So if there’s one thing we can all agree on, its that disagreeing with each other is what will get a better president in the oval office, it is what will fix our economy and debt — it is change, no matter how you look at it.
September 8, 2008
Some of you may remember one of my first posts: Why The 64 Is the Best Ever, detailing how gaming was back in the good old days of horrible graphics, fidgety joysticks, and great, long hours of playing games with good plots. This post sparked me two write two more in the future, the first highlighting on the decline of gaming all together, and the second on why movies based on games have turned out well.
But although I feel that gaming back in the old days was better and more memorable, as a thirteen year old kid immersed in pop culture and its gaming, my mind has swayed back and forth whether new school games — even though they significantly lack plot — were more fun.
Then I ran into David Wornica, a blogger who tributes gaming to the 1980’s. His blog: Eight Bit Memoirs, was more of a punch to my face in the form of “why would you ever think that today’s gaming would be better?”
It also brought out those great moments of playing 8-bit, 1D Zelda and NFL games, and although not playing them with 1080p full-def (in fact those screens were the size of my palm), they were the most fun I have ever had with electronics. So thanks, David, for reminding me, and frankly all of us that gaming will always stay in the 80’s.
September 6, 2008
You know chaos is imminent when a major celebrity media giant pulls a hit and run on politics’ hottest story.
US weekly recently took it too far — the rumor-first celebrity gossip magazine stumbled into the political ring, taking with then millions of loyal subscribers into a media they had never before ventured in. The magazine put up a clearly biased cover story of Sarah Palin, getting hammered by everyone from base-bloggers to the heavy hitters. (picture and caption not created by author)
What does this really show? And why did US Weekly decide to pull this off? In my opinion, the magazine forgot how much of an influence they were and got carried away, setting off bias and sexism accusations and even an official boycott.
But although Palin may be politically incorrect and in a PR sway at the moment, a clear bias like this not just hits hard on deep based Palin supporters, but struck a nerve on most everyone who has a computer or a television. And this is why US really got slammed — they made a simple miscalculation, guessing that Palin would be “done and over with” a week after the article was written (when the actual magazine hit the shelves).
So because of this, US Weekly’s “miscalculation” as catapulted into a nightmare, and the rest of the world will decide if they want to throw in the coupe-de-grace.
August 31, 2008
Recently the difference between the silver screen and the numerous thirty-inchers hooked up to gaming platforms, dotting bedroom’s across the globe has been merged. But has it been abused?
Adam Elkus wrote a piece that I recently discovered, titled Game Over, Curtains Close, which gives an interesting analysis toward why video-game adapted movies have always been worse than their predecessor. He lets in the common argument from disappointed gaming fans: that the cast of the movie, its director, and its plot pails to compare to the superiority of the original game.
But this is contradicted entirely with the case of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which was written, directed, produced, and scored by the exact same people who made the original game. Consequently, the movie was a complete flop — going straight to DVD.
So what really is the difference between video games and movies that is so large, yet undiscoverable? Elkus argues that because video games are active and movies are not, watching a video-game based movie would ultimately be a direct contrast to watching your friend play video games over his back for two hours.
Although I do believe this is true, I think there’s more to the argument than that. In truth, a movie may be different morally than a video game, the audience is a big factor. Movie-goers are simply different people with different tastes than gamers, and that carries out to the theaters. And no matter how original the remake may be, it simply will fail because no one watching it will enjoy.
And because a movie is the opposite of a game, a gaming movie will never succeed in the box office. Simple as that.