Reading Notes: The Pirate’s Dilemma Ch 4

AP Language, Notes from Stallings

May 21st, 2009

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Article on the fashion industry I mentioned yesterday.


Great (if short) discussion today. If you didn’t catch it the first time around, check out pages 81-3 for a great explanation of how to write a paper:


A good remix is defined by its signature original elements. . . . You may decide the originality is already there; an original process or take on sampled material counts. Or you may end up with one tiny piece of the original mixed with an entirely new score of your own. Either way, your originality should outshine the borrowed elements, or at the very least, present them in a new light.


Marc Ecko Tagging Air Force One


You should also check out Ecko’s explanation. He’s a great apologist for the DIY ethos and free speech. He also makes money from this ethos (his products represent rebellion and free speech, therefore those wearing them are as well). Think back to our discussions on cliques and the high school hierarchy and see where this leads you.


The Wooster Collective is a fantastic blog that showcases street art from around the world. Worth taking a look. And another. And another. And an article on TAKI 183.


It’s worth noting that graffiti is illegal; it wouldn’t be a message of change and rebellion if it wasn’t. Gladwell mentions the other side of the argument in his book The Tipping Point, and his point is summed up well here, in an article where gangs and graffiti always go hand-in-hand.


In sync with Marc Ecko’s use of graffiti in advertising, the opposite:


The authorities raised the stakes once again with harsher vandalism laws and sentences, so artists . . . worked faster and smarter, using techniques borrowed from the advertising industry and the high art galleries that had adopted graffiti. (Mason 119)


Mark Jenkins’s website. With pictures!


Have fun, see you tomorrow.

Reading Notes: The Pirate’s Dilemma Ch 3

AP Language

May 20th, 2009

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I present to you: THE REMIX



Radiohead is a (leit)motif of this unit…

Create your own Shepard Fairey-style Obama poster

Remixing youTube (NPR story)

Reading Notes: The Pirate’s Dilemma Ch 2

AP Language

May 19th, 2009

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If you haven’t watched the video yet, do so.


“Pirates create positive social and economic changes, and understanding piracy today is more important than ever, because now that we all can copy and broadcast whatever we want; we can all become pirates” (Mason 35).


Reginald Fessenden Image from WikipediaMason makes a clear argument here, drawing from the history of our country, music, and movies: Nearly every major innovation has piracy in its history.

See Reginald Fessenden, for instance, who made news with his “wireless station.”


Today we discussed the fact that companies have jumped on the DIY bandwagon (and the charity and “green” offshoots of this), understanding that consumers are looking for the feeling that they are “making a difference” or “outsmarting the man” by buying products that give them a feeling of empowerment. Regardless of whether you feel this is appropriate, sneaky, or just a smart move, it highlights the fact that this ethos has gone mainstream.


“The mainstream news media are being undermined by bloggers and citizen journalists offering a wider variety of local and niche coverage” (Mason 49-50).


This is leaking into other arenas, as well. We now have blogs (as Mason describes on 48), youTube (which allows people to get their video out, but also provides a forum for citizen journalists to effect change [think Rodney King]), a general acceptance of “street art,” a rise in superhero culture (ask me about this one), and a general sense of self-empowerment fueled by the free tools at our disposal. Punk isn’t dead; punk went mainstream.


[T]he only way to stay on top is to offer the best content, the most variety, and the latest, most entertaining, and accurate information. . . . [W]ith millions of bloggers vetting each other, inaccuracies in stories on the most popular blogs are usually pointed out quickly. (Mason 55)


We’ll talk about this tomorrow.

Pirate Author Video Interlude

AP Language

May 19th, 2009

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Poptech video from The Pirate’s Dilemma author Matt Mason.


And, The Principality of Sealand=awesome.


Stay tuned for chapter notes.

Reading Notes: The Pirate’s Dilemma Ch 1

AP Language

May 18th, 2009

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Arthur Rimbaud Image from Wikimedia Never thought hair could be so important, eh? Mason begins with an explanation of Richard Myers’s (Richard Hell’s) hairstyle, and why this iconic image (and the DIY lifestyle choices it implies) are relevant to the discussion of what to do with pirates and rebels in their many incarnations. Hint: It has to do with “knowing one’s enemy.” Of course, the larger question is whether these individuals who have cast themselves out from society are “enemies” or not. (I’m betting not, at least as we’re used to thinking of them.)


Mason’s point that the punk DIY mentality has outlived the music in its original form is an interesting one (Mason 12). Of course, DIY is not new; it has been borne of necessity in previous generations, but the fact that (until recently, of course) people chose to turn to creating their own possessions rather than purchasing them is a major paradigm shift. Now we have Instructables and Threadbanger (the latter has obvious ties straight to the Punk culture).


Punk is dead: Punk memorabilia auction at Christie’s

Time Magazine’s Photo Essay on the 30th Anniversary of Punk Music.

Depression Cooking with Clara


“Youth cultures often embody some previously invisible, unacknowledged feeling in society and give it an identity” (Mason 13).


What do you think of Mason’s list of artistic movements that were based on the subversion of ideas (Mason 15)? You are familiar with Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, right?


Mason’s “the world was a stage, now it’s a punk rock concert” analogy is inspired:


“At punk shows the band and the fans occupy the same space, as equals” (Mason 19).


Maybe a bit of summer reading would drive this point home.  We can talk about Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom’s The Starfish and the Spider tomorrow, but the essential point of the book is that organizations with a hierarchical structure (as Mason argues that the consumer world is on page 17 and 18) are easily broken, highly inflexible, and under great risk of corruption (think Chrysler and recent failed banks) while organizations with a non-hierarchical structure (all members equal in authority and responsibility) are much more hardy, flexible, and self-policing (see Wikipedia and, as Mason argues, punk rock concerts and the new incarnation of the DIY movement).


In an interesting twist, however, Mason outlines the “establishment’s” co-opting of the DIY message.


“Antiestablishment slogans became the hallmark of big

businesses interested in promoting themselves by supposedly empowering us with the D.I.Y. ethic” (Mason 22).


Starbucks has their Ethos water (though they’re still selling bottled water), and of course, the recent “green movement” is simply another extension of this. It may be good for the environment, but it’s better for the company. The question remains: Is this such a bad thing? Starbucks claims that they have raised over $6.2 million for charities, and Tom’s Shoes has implemented a “buy one donate one” program since they began operating. Mason argues that this type of “punk capitalism” (26) strongly illustrates the desire of consumers nowadays to subvert the system.


My favorite site (well, one of them) perfectly illustrates his explanation of “creative destruction” (26). Etsy is an online marketplace where creative individuals can sell their handmade items worldwide. Without going through a large box store. Think Radiohead’s In Rainbows.


…and we’re back where we began.

Costs of the Red Campaign