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Sara Ashy

The Christian Gypsy

Whispers

Wow!

It’s been a long time since I have shared a blog post. All of my previous posts were a part of University assignments or art projects but now I am writing for me. I don’t know if anybody else will ever stumble upon this blog or care to read the sentences I write, but that’s okay.

What do I write? So many things I could dabble into. I think that I should first say that I feel led back to this Blog by a Still Small voice. My blog has been brought up when showing my aunt my photography final, so I logged on and read my last post. It’s so evident that God was speaking into my life then, months before I had made the decision to return to church. Since then, writing has been brought up a few times in conversations with peers. I write all the time, but it’s very limited to my journal and an occasional insightful Facebook post of mine. So why am I writing now, at 12:52 in the night on a random Thursday? I’m still not sure, but by obedience I am here.

More times that not, we don’t know why God tells us to do things. We don’t understand that little whispering voice and often brush it off our shoulders like it was nothing. We crowd our lives with “busy” as an excuse to neglect the voice speaking to us. We stop becoming sensitive to the Holy Spirit, your ‘gut’ feeling as others might say. The first battle is slowing your pace in order to pay attention to what He is saying, and then the second part would be to act on obedience when what He says is not what we expect or want to hear.

I have this little prayer that has stuck with me for a while now, and I believe it really helps me become still and sensitive to the words of the Holy Spirit. “God, I ask that you give me the ears to hear what you speak, the eyes to see the works you are doing, and the discernment to understand what path you want my life to follow.” That’s kind of the jist of it. It changes slightly from time to time, but the idea is the same.

Anyways, I feel like I have filled my obedient duties of cracking the blog entry silence. Hopefully this will lead to more posts. Until next time, goodnight!

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The Makings of My Consciousness

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“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.” 
― Kahlil Gibran

Words- are they meaningful without thought behind them? Or is endlessly babbling okay too? I think a lot, I don’t know if it’s more than usual but often I will dissect everything about anything before speaking about it. Other days I speak before thinking, and the result usually isn’t great in my favour. What about the times when you know what you want to say but can’t speak it? I think our language is so complex and the way its connected between the consciousness and physical tongue is sometimes broken. 

We need to communicate in other ways than just language and talking. Body language, art, actions speak louder than words, so why don’t we always use these forms? I think I’m just going to stop talking now and let that sink in- besides, I have nothing else to say.

 

 

The Makings of My Consciousness Pt.2

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“The darker the night, the brighter the stars, 
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Recently I lost the greatest woman on earth, my Nan Roberts. She had the sweetest soul, and held so much love for her children, grandchildren and God than I’ll ever know. We found out she had cancer, then a month later our family was laying her to rest. We didn’t have time to digest that she was ill before she already passed. The worst feeling I felt was that there was nothing anyone could do to help her. 

I grew up strongly Christian; my mom made sure we went to Sunday School every week, said our prayers and grew up learning values that every person should follow. As I grew older, I drifted from those roots. It wasn’t that I was a disbeliever, but other things were more important to me than going to church every Sunday or saying prayers before eating and sleeping. I still carried the values I was taught, but everything else got pushed to the back burner spiritually. 

My Nan knew what was happening. Her wish was that people wouldn’t be sad that she was gone, rather be happy for having her as long as we did. She said close to her death “if I have to die for my family to turn back to God, than that’s what I’ll do.”

My Nan’s death jolted me back to God. I was pulled back with mixed emotions. I would get mad, sad and confused all in the same minute. I used to lock myself in my room, dive under my sheets and ask God “Why her? Why did you have to take the best woman on Earth so soon? She didn’t deserve this!”. Even though I was mad and everything wasn’t making sense, I felt like God was telling me to open my arms back to Him. I was so upset and grieving all the time that it felt like nothing could get better again, until a voice somewhere back in my mind quietly whispered ‘yes it will’. I also started getting these vivid dreams of my Nan in places of solitude and then she would drift away with God. 

They were signs, all of them. I feel like my heart has changed and I have this will again to go back to church, talk to God and accept that what he does is for the best. I bet my nan is dancing around with angels right now, rejoicing because what she had hoped for before she died came true-our family all turned back to God with her passing. 

I miss you all the time, and I know you have become one of my Angels. 

The Makings of My Consciousness

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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 
― Albert Einstein

Who are we? Are we really the person that other people see? I feel like this is a question that I battle with in my own mind over and over, and it always seems to emerge when I am at conflict with something happening in my life. The world that exists in my mind, the unspoken part has turned into this utopia of chaotic disorder.  I’m not trying to sound melodramatic, I am trying to organize my thoughts and I’m finally writing it out. It’s a little comforting to write- I am speaking but not with my voice which makes all this feel a little easier.

I’ve noticed a change in myself since the past summer, and it’s not a person I want to continue being. Things are duller, I’m not outgoing or sociable like I used to be, I get upset easier, and when I do my emotions take over and I shut down. Why ? My negative actions aren’t something I try to achieve, but somehow they always creep my way. . I want to hide in the smallest place I can find to try and quiet my mind. My mind, the consciousness within it and my physical body start a war with each other and nobody ever wins. 

Perhaps the one place I can find quiet and clear my mind is when I am in my hubble of art. Whether it’s painting, drawing, skating, and newly working with digital photography I am somewhere in the quiet zone. When presented with this for my final photography project, I decided to take it and run. In the middle of being so upset over my mom’s never ending hospital stays, my finance, undetermined life in the summer months, and hopelessly missing my home I saw this project as the light to my dark tunnel. A chance to take a self portrait and reflect on myself, something I have needed to do for a while now. Maybe this will help me take control of my consciousness, and start me on the right path again. 

This is just the beginning, let there be much more to come. 

News, Trust, and “Truthiness”

After reading several classmates’ blogs concerning satirical news reporting, I have found that my viewpoint on such news reportage is quite different than others. Although it is agreed satirical news shows such as the RMR and the Daily Show are forms of culture jamming, some peers argue that culture jamming and its humour are the sole purposes for such shows, and they do not contain valid information about politics. Amy criticizes, “Rick Mercer often focuses on the social criticism of an issue or event and uses wit as a weapon, as opposed to being educational” http://lifeoflowe.wordpress.com/ . Being a strong advocate of Rick Mercer, I disagree with Amy because Mercer does address serious political issues and raises interesting questions during his rant period down the graffiti alley. Amy is correct is her standpoint when she says Mercer uses wit as a weapon. My counter argument to Amy is that in order to understand his wit and what he jokes about is based on a background knowledge you must already have on such political issues via other news sources. The RMR simply acts as additional information to what is already happening, and makes you think deeper into situations-that sounds educational to me!

Lynden raises a point I never thought to consider. He suggests that “The way the news is portrayed on these channels allow the audiences to look at the news in a comedic way and allow them to get a good laugh here and there when the news gets too tough” http://boston94.blogspot.ca/ . News can be very depressing, which is why I stopped watching news on the television and searched for my own news via internet and my smartphone (cue blog response # 2). Pairing with Lynden, Adrienne also explains “Technological advances make it so we do not have to sit down to watch the news… therefore because of the entertainment element of satirical news programs, they become the more desired” http://adriennereds8.wordpress.com/ . I believe that both of these thoughts by my classmates are relevant to each other because the comedic perspective of shows like RMR draw us into the television set and make us feel better about a possible situation that Canada and our politics are facing. These shows can serve for comedic purposes or educational-the best of both worlds.

Are satirical news shows viable to our public sphere? Absolutely! By arguing that satirical news is important and educational means that it will affect the public sphere. The public sphere will be maintained by satirical news reporting because it creates a balance between traditional news and the ‘other’. Because we live in a diverse culture we need many viewpoints on politics and issues within the public sphere to keep that balance. As the biggest Rick Mercer fan, I am also conscious enough to educate myself through further means which keeps me active in the contemporary public sphere. 

This Cute Guy Singing With Total Strangers Stuck In Traffic Will Make Your Heart Melt

Thought Catalog

I can’t tell what part of this video is my favorite — it’s somewhere between how adorable the guy is, how happy everyone is about hearing the song, or how into the dance moves some of the drivers get. Even though, knowing myself, I would probably just scowl at him as I rolled up my window (I don’t do well in traffic), I am happy there are some drivers out there who are in a good enough mood to make for an amazing impromptu sing-a-long. Yay! [tc-mark]

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Is the Fake News the Real News?

Anyone who doesn’t believe that satirical news reporting is a mainstream form of culture jamming must be blind. Satirical news reporting has become the video form of ‘traditional’ culture jamming, where artists re-draw advertisements to send alternative messages on the streets. Even Rick Mercer attempts to fit the mould of culture jammers by ranting in alleys of graffiti filled bricks. It’s not quite guerilla, but close enough in my opinion.

The difference between the Rick Mercer Report (and similar stations) to a fellow artist with the same objectives is the amount of people they reach. Rick Mercer is broadcasted across North America, and is easily accessible on a global scale. His show is aired on trusted stations such as CBC, and Mercer keeps public interest by his wittiness and versatility. “Comedy can be subversive as it attracts attention in memorable ways and allows jesters to challenge authority”pg.223. Rick Mercer does exactly that. He is looked up to as a respected public figure, and is constantly poking fun at politics while raising serious questions about political issues. People tune in each week to watch his culture jammed show, which quickly spreads to the masses.

Satirical news media is important to the public sphere because it breaks down politics and world issues to simpler terms, instead of getting the usual government run around. It is important to have such media because “consumers control the interpretation of the message, but they don’t have the access to the means of constructing their own media products and sending responses straight back to its producers” pg. 217. To address this idea, satirical news reporters help the masses interpret the messages the media and government send us, and help those who are less knowledgeable about the government system become educated in an innovative way. The second part of the statement claims that we cannot respond to media producers, however I believe that satirical news reporters are our voices collectively, whom respond to producers on our behalf.

From personal experience, I can attest that I have learned more about politics and the justice system through the Rick Mercer Report than I ever did in the classroom. Shows like these have gained my interest and expanded my knowledge in politics and government, which makes me more aware of what is happening in the public sphere around me and affects how I think and act within it.

So yes, ‘fake’ satirical news is the ‘real’ news. Shows like the Rick Mercer Report do talk about real government issues in their own culture jammed way. Satirical news reporters are not only useful to the public sphere, but they heavily affect the masses and their views within the sphere. Satirical news reporters are very useful to the masses, however I can assume that people in positions of power dislike Rick Mercer. After all, he does post photos of them on his website and allow the public to photo shop them into embarrassing situations!

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Citation:

O’Shaughnessy, M., & Stalder, J. (2012). Media and society: Fifth edition. South Melbourne, Australia:  Oxford University Press

Demonstrable Demographics

Most advertising agencies hail on their audiences with very similar tactics to target a demographic. After seeing thousands of advertisements hailing and trying to interpolate women and age categories each year, the underlying messages become quite clear.

Once reading my classmates blogs’ and seeing how they dissected various advertisements, I found that advertisements targeting a female audience brought femininity and gender identity to their ads. Whether the advertisement is promoting something as a “lady-like” thing to do or it’s presumed that because you are a woman you should like this product, there is always a hidden message or connotation telling us the ideologies of women. Shaiann claims that the Just Fab Shoe Commercial “is successful in its attempt to represent my values as a ‘shoe-a-holic’…”http://shaiannrichards.wordpress.com, which is just one example of ideologies of women and what we should like and consume. Sydney also makes similar claims in her explanation of Gṻd Shampoo and Conditioner, however her ad hails its audience by using an icon endorsing the product as well, “since Carly [Rae Jepsen] is the image of femininity and quirkiness, she is someone that young girls tend to idealize” http://sydneyballam.wordpress.com/ , and in turn favour the product. If one were to believe everything from these advertisements all girls should be shoe obsessed, shower singing superstars. I can’t deny my likeness for shoes or my occasional shower outburst, but the ads shown seem more dramatic than the reality.

I also belong to another demographic because of my age. Advertisers also attempt to hail on age groups, and Sarah found a unique YouTube advertisement called “Child of the 90’s- Internet Explorer”. She explains that “The advertisement refers to 90’s kids at “Generation Y” which creates a sense of unity and acceptance into this group of people, it then went on to insinuate that the 90’s generation is better than the 2000’s by almost degrading comparisons…” http://st12tq.wordpress.com/ . I found this particularly interesting because Sarah is exactly right; this ad is trying to make us feel better about ourselves and the generation we grew up in so we gain trust in the product and feel connected to it. The ad successfully hailed me as well but I failed understand why I should buy the Internet Explorer product because I was born in the 90’s. In my eyes this ad fell a little short in selling their product, because as a 90’s kid I never used their product until to 2000’s when internet became mainstream. This ad unrealistically represents my demographic because Internet Explorer isn’t true 90’s kid culture, although it’s trying to convince viewers otherwise.

Throughout all the advertisements hailing at the demographics I fall under, I do believe there is truth behind the way the advertisement agencies represent such demographics, however I find that there is a slight inaccuracy and unrealistic component that still distances me from such advertisements.

What the Hail?

A few weeks ago I came across an advertisement that went viral on YouTube called “Girls Don’t Poop”. I found it particularly funny because of its subject matter and how the advertisement approached the subject of, well ya know… poop.

Here’s the recap if you haven’t already seen it for yourself: A lady in a formal dress with pearls and neatly put-together hair sits on a toilet in various locations in public, while talking about her ‘tenacious skid marks’ and how she uses a product called Poo-Pouri. The product covers up the smell of her number two and ‘makes people think you don’t even poop at all’. The advertisement also demonstrates how the product works and compares it to ratings of the IPhone 5 on Amazon. Sounds like an out-of-this-world product, right?

The ‘Girls Don’t Poop’ advertisement hails the attention of all women, no matter class, age, ethnicity etc. Its humorous take on poop makes it much easier to talk about as a product, which helps Poo-Pouri gain sales and popularity. This ad successfully addresses an entire demographic of women because of our gender identities and expectations, thus “… being labelled as ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ may determine your behaviour to some extent.”(pg.185) It’s not a lady like thing to talk about poop, and can be embarrassing when you get caught running out of the bathroom after a peculiar smell arises. Even though going to the bathroom is a normal human function, the ideologies of women and men visiting the loo’ are quite different, and are often unspoken.

The mode of address in which the “Girls Don’t Poop” ad also hails its audience by directly talking to ‘you’. Subsequently, the You Tube ad seems to fit the template of “… television and radio, where there is often a ‘direct address’ by announcers to ‘you’, the listener.”(pg. 186) Even though the targeted demographic is women, the advertisement also reaches out to men because of the address to ‘you’. I’m sure out of the 19 million views, a few had to be from the male audience.

I believe that this advertisement has very successfully represented the norms of all women and our ‘no stink’ policy when using a public washroom. The way that the script is read so matter-of-factly by a posh woman with a funny accent is especially appealing since the content of the commercial is quite crude. Now excuse me while I have to go the bathroom.

Text used:

Media and Society, fifth edition

Micheal O’Shaugnessy, Jane Stadler

2012

Here’s the Advertisement link if you would like to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKLnhuzh9uY

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