Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is the Word 'Porno' Too Much?

Kevin Smith's movie, Zack and Miri Make a Porno has been critisized as of late and even banned by a number of U.S. theatres that refuse to play it.

"So what's the problem with this movie? The word "Porno" in the title. Aside from Larry Miller's theater chain, fifteen newspapers along with several TV stations and billboard owners have been refusing to promote the flick across the country because of that word. As Philadelphia deputy mayor Rina Cutler said in a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal, 'If they want to call the movie Zack and Miri, that's fine, but Zack and Miri cannot make a porno on my bus shelters.'" [1]

"Kevin Smith's" movie, however, is "surprisingly tame and sentimental." There are "...a few flashes of nudity, a handful of love scenes played mostly for laughs, and a whole lot of foul language. In fact, the film's raunchiness level is comparable to that of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Sex Drive, all of which screened at Megaplex theaters." [1]

Furthermore, and what might be the most interesting of all of this, is that theatres do not seem to second guess the showing of graphic horror such as Saw V, "which features beheadings and explicit self-mutilation."[1]

Why is it that sex is always more controversial than violence? Isn't graphic horror, death and killing more unnatural than sex? Which act is more uncivilized? The ratings system always seems to target nudity much more rigorously than it does blood and violence?

What do you think of all of this? What does this say about our society and our culture? How do you know?


The movie poster for this film has also been a bone of contention - again seemingly due to the word 'Porno' in the title. In an interview, Kevin Smith told Entertainment Weekly, "When you've got the word 'porno' in the title, naturally, the marketing materials are gonna be scrutinized more closely by the MPAA, I understand they've got a job to do, but c'mon...this image isn't that dirty; they're both fully clad." The poster depicted above features Zack and Miri as stick figures due to the fact that the original poster was deemed to be too risque. Smith is right when he says that the lead characters are "fully clad". The poster, however, is quite suggestive.

Check the following link and give your opinion on the poster. Was the original too much? Was the MPAA justified in deeming the poster too suggestive? What does this type of controversy do in the long run for films suich as Zack and Miri?

**NOTE: the poster was not banned in Canada. What do you think of this?


[1] Crow, Jonathan. 'Zack and Miri' Banned in Utah. 30 Oct. 2008. 2 Nov. 2008

"Zack and Miri Movie Poster." 2008. Online image. Yahoo! Movies. 2 Nov. 2008.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Hey! Hey! You! You!" - The Case of Avril Lavigne

We have been discussing the finer points of copyright in class and, as I hope you see, it is very important and a very real concern in today's technological environment of new media. You have heard the two songs in class and now you can watch / listen to this montage that I found on YouTube. Read the articles posted on Homework Hero and duplicated here and come up with your own opinion. As always, refer to the specific aspects of the case in your response and engage with your peers in discussion. Sharing ideas with the class here will add depth to your own reflection and, ultimately, will make you more successful.

Required Readings for the Copyright Case Study
Jamelia Case Study Reading
Avril Lavigne Plagiarism Case
Avril Denies Plagiarism Case
Avril's Case and the Lawyers
Chantal Says She is Sorry
Chantal Retracts Her Criticism

NEW! Settlement reached in Avril Lavigne 'Girlfriend' lawsuit

Another Great Article with Some Interesting Statistics

After you post about the Avril / Rubinoos situation, do some research and find a copyright infringement case that we have not discussed in class. Post it on your blog. It doesn''t have to be music related (but there are a lot of examples here), just something relatively high profile. Be sure to state the facts of the case, provide links (embed YouTube clips for us all to compare), and provide your own opinions based on your specific knowledge of the Copyright Act and the effect that infringement has on both the artist, and on the public as a whole.


  1. Brief posts will not count or be considered, but well thought-out and supported posts will be evaluated using your Media Discussion Rubric!
  2. You MUST post a comment on Avril's case as discussed in class and in your readings AND on something else of your own research! References in MLA format are required (try the citation engine at the bottom of Homework Hero).

Monday, September 29, 2008

ALERT! The Fashion Police are Coming!

Okay, while I was watching the MTV music awards, I couldn't help but stare in curiosity at Lil' Wayne and his *very* low riding baggy jeans. Now, I like baggy jeans. In fact, as a man who is quite thin, I like to wear pants that don't overemphasize my thinness. This is not to say, however, that I want to swim in them.

There are a number of cities in the United States that are cracking down on low riding and saggy pants. The rationale here is that is is indecent to see someone's underpants - seemingly with the idea that undergarments are indecent or equivalent to one's private areas. Fines and potential imprisonment are the penalties.

It is obvious that the fashion of low-riding and saggy jeans represents a direct influence of hip hop culture on today's society. In turn, hip hop culture is influenced by prison culture where the baggy jeans represents a one-size-fits-all policy in institutions where belts are not allowed (to protect the inmates).

The question that arises from these "fashion laws" is that many find it unconstitutional. So, I pose the question to you. Do these laws violate the individual rights of the accused? Should people be allowed to wear whatever they want? Be sure to discuss with your rationale and reference to the material provided.

Some articles to read on this topic....

Low Rider Pants Won't Fly in this Louisiana Town

Blog response to the Louisiana Issue

Do Saggy Pants Laws Violate Rights?

Fashion Police in Flint, Michigan

Here is Lil Wayne in action - Check out those pants!

Let's see what Brigitte thinks.....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Journey to Media Literacy

Welcome to the blog for Mr. Puley's 2008-2009 Media Studies class at OP!

To fully understand the wonderful world of media, it is crucial that we discuss what we are exposed to. Continually ask yourself how someone else would interpret a media product and then consider what factors determine that interpretation.

The understanding of media grows exponentially with discussion and that is what this blog is for. We are NOT bashing media, or each other. Stay on topic and post comments, considerations, and criticisms to the material presented and help yourself and your fellow students to grow!

Let the journey begin!
Check out Past Blogs at the following links for ideas and direction!

You Want a Piece of Me? Britney Spears and the Spectacle of Fame

**NOTE: The following assignment is your first blog entry for EMS30: Media Studies and involves your response to the study of Paparazzi and the business of gossip that we have been studying. Your response is, ultimately, informal, but must adhere to proper spelling and grammar rules. Be sure to write following the assigned criteria for editorial writing. ALL borrowed information MUST be documented using MLA format at the end of your post. USE INTERNAL FOOTNOTING TO INDICATE BORROWED MATERIAL!

NEW! Police arrest Kanye West at LAX after fight with photographer. CLICK HERE

NEW! Lindsay Lohan Hits a Paparazzi - CLICK HERE

Last year, at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears made her "comeback". Unfortunately, it was less than stellar (to say the least). Moments after, the internet and gossip pages were full of criticism and ridicule about her singing, her dancing, and her body. Was it fair to critisize Britney's figure? What does this ultimately "say" about us as people and as a society?

Refer to your answers to the article: The Spectacle of Fame, and the documentary, Britney: Speared by the Paps....

What role did the media and the paparazzi play in her emotional “breakdown” and erratic behaviour prior to this event? Is Britney an innocent victim or a contributor to the frenzy? Be sure to refer to as many media products as possible (i.e. articles, documentaries viewed in class, music videos - i.e. Pieces of Me and Rumors). As always, it is necessary for you to provide three things: 1) your opinion - based on your studies; 2) the opinions and ideas of others - with examples and proof; 3) some form of commentary on the issues with suggestions and analysis - with substantiation (examples and proof).

Celebrity Worship Syndrome: Is America's Obsession With Stardom Becoming Unhealthy?
Celebrity worship addictive: study

Refer to your answers for the article, As Paparazzi Push Harder, Stars Try to Push Back: Do you agree with the celebrities that are "fighting back" to protect their privacy? Should celebrities expect for their daily lives to be newsworthy? How far, if at all, is too far for the paparazzi?

What is the "Britney Law"? You will need to discuss this in your response.

And, finally....

What is the media saying about Britney's 2008 MTV appearance? Is it positive or negative? What are your thoughts? Conclude your blog with your suggestions for the paparazzi and celebrity news coverage in the future.

If anybody knows how to make an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, it's Britney Spears! Click here to see what I mean!

Britney Spears + Russell Brand = Boffo MTV VMA Ratings!

For a great opinion on Britney's "crotch" photos, Click Here.

Read these articles to help shape your opinion and to provide background!

Is it Fair to Savage Britney's Figure?
The true meaning of VMA?
Kanye West's opinion on the Spears incident!

Celebrity Worship

A third of people reportedly suffer from Celebrity Worship Syndrome, a fascination in the lives of the rich and famous that can become a dangerous addiction. Why do people care so much about celebrities? Has celebrity worship become a new form of religion? If so, is it legitimate or false? Do gossip magazines provide "a fix" for those obsessed with gossip? Here are some sites to get you started...

Celebrity Worship Syndrome: Is America's Obsession With Stardom Becoming Unhealthy?
Celebrity worship addictive: study


Britney Spears at the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards

Is Britney back on track?

Emma Watson comments on privacy issues (Hermione from Harry Potter)

Lindsay Lohan: Rumors

Britney Promos for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards