The Story of Graffiti

It is not a rare occasion, when going along the street you clash with some puzzled and giant inscription. Vivid colors and intricacy lead you to stare, guessing and having a hunch what is written on the wall or building. That is the first impression people get about graffiti, embellishing their buildings. Indeed, graffiti style has emerged not long ago, but simultaneous simplicity and involute plot leave us nothing but astonishment and excitement. It is an issue of street-art culture, which signifies that modern art is not a prerogative of rich and intelligent people, but talented ones.

Graffiti is recognized as street art style that embraced outdoors of New York in 1920s. However, there are some ideas that it was only an outburst of this art, which has accomplished a long history of its development since ancient times.  As strange as it may seem, petroglyphic drawings in Egypt and Greece are likely to be the first steps towards graffiti, which were executed on statues, temples and even pyramids. They carried either religious or warning meaning. Medieval graffiti is associated with pre-Columbian America and the culture of Maya people and, in addition, Vikings in Northern Europe, who were engaged in runic writings. In Early Modern Period graffiti was left by soldiers in various parts of the world, who were eager to leave some written mark about their conquest or stay in the mission station.

All in all, at the beginning of the 20th century people faced graffiti style, which slightly differs from the modern version. Moreover, the culture of this street art style was enriched with new methods, terms, authors and, of course, ideas. A critic is also included, which features the question: are graffiti images an art or an act of vandalism? There is no doubt that most of the authors (so-called writers) strived for expressing own social and political perception, but it did not obstructed to make images (tags) alerting and well-performed. Mainly, they were observed on the streets of American cities, where young people “imprinted” their dissatisfaction with the President or certain politicians.

Many tags were created in order to point out musical preferences. For example, the most prominent tag of the 20th century is “Clapton is God”, which appeared in Islington station (London subway) in 1967. In this way fans of rock-musician supported the release of his new album “Bluesbreakers” and the rock-n-roll culture.  The decades of 1970s and 1980s are a period of protesting punk rock movement. Especially, it covered streets of Manhattan, where the most visible tag was an upside-down martini glass – a symbol of Missing Foundation (punk group of 1984-1992). By the way, Manhattan is also a native place of the first recognized graffiti writer – TAKI 183; his tags were all over NYC, pointing his name (Taki is simplified from Demetrius) and address (183rd street).

To date, lots of countries have admirable and talented writers, which decorate both their native streets and make great tags in different parts of the world. Some cases might be underlined. Miss Van started with painting incredible dolls on Toulouse streets and nowadays moved to Spain, sharing her art with fashion industry (Fornarina collection, particularly). Banksy is the most well-paid and the most mysterious painter of modernity. He hides real identity behind the pseudonym of Bansky and paintings criticizing politics. He alerts an attention with his nihilism and anti-capitalism views, which only encourage people to attend his gallery exhibitions all over the world.

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Cable TV vs Telephone Companies

The questions

5. In the coming years Cable TV will face very real competition from the telephone companies for customers. Give the competitive advantages of each industry and the efforts both have made in Congress and at the FCC to deal with perceived inequities in the competitive landscape.

Comprehensive Examination Question #5
Andrea P. Fuller

I. Cable Industry

A. Competitive Advantages

1. Due to the competition from satellite companies and more recent the telephone companies (mainly AT&T and Verizon Communications), cable companies (Comcast and Time Warner Cable-the two dominant companies) have to increase their services offered to their customers.
a. According to statistics, 90% of US cable systems currently offer HD video services as of January 2008 (Anonymous, In-Stat: Increased Competition Pushes US Cable Operators to Continue Investing, Business Wire, Jan 2, 2008)

2. Cable companies have limited competitive advantages due to their competing companies offering the same services. As a result, many cable companies are exploring offering improved services to keep customers.
a. Conversion of analog to digital (If customers have cable, on analog television, they don’t have to worry about the conversion from analog to digital on February 2009).
b. Increasing spectrum that increases the capacity of the networks
c. Capacity sharing through switched digital video
d. Node splitting, which improves
e. MPEG-4 provides capacity sharing (Anonymous, US Cable-New Strategies for a Competitive World, Business Wire, April 10, 2008)

3. Cable companies are now offering bundles to customers which includes cable, internet, and land-line phones

4. Cable is targeting small and medium business in offering commercial phone services (voice and data services)
a. Comcast is investing $3 billion over the next five years
b. Time Warner Cable is investing $6-7.5 billion for commercial phone

5. Time Warner plans to cut prices of telephone services 10-15% (Jon Hemingway, New Front in Cable-Teleco War: B2B, Broadcasting and Cable, October 1, 2007)

B. FCC/Congress vs. Cable Companies.

1. 70/70 rule
a. Under the Communications Act of 1984-which gives the FCC power to regulate cable companies when they feel they are too big.
b. FCC must use the 70/70 Test: cable must pass through 70% of households, and 70% of those households must be subscribed to a cable services.
c. State Representatives including Marsh Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) a bill to challenge the 70/70 Test.
a. Bill call for stripping FCC powers to reregulate the cable industry
b. Bill getting support from NCTA, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition ad America for Tax Reform (John Eggerton, Blackburn’s 70/70 Bill a Reality, Broadcasting and Cable, December 6, 2007).

2. November 2007: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin introduced a 30% percent cap on cable companies prevent large companies such as Comcast and Time Warner from growing or making acquisitions after its conclusion that cable
a. States that no company can own no more than 30% in a market
b. FCC goal of rule is to promote “diversity of information sources”
c. Cap opens cable market to independent programmers and telephone companies (Stephen Labaton, FCC Planning Rules to Open Cable Market, New York Times, November 10, 2007)
d. In 2001, the FCC tried to establish a cap for cable companies, but it was struck down by the US Court of Appeal on First Amendment grounds. (John Eggerton, FCC Releases 30% Cable-Subscriber Cap Order, Broadcasting and Cable, February 11, 2008).
e. In March 2008, Comcast sued the FCC over the 30% cap
i. Company is at 27% of 30% cap
ii. Claims that the FCC has no evidence for a horizontal cap especially with numerous competitions among other cable companies, independent programmers, phone and satellite companies.
iii. Comcast also accuses the FCC of playing favorites with telephone companies (John Eggerton, Comcast Sues FCC over 30% Cap, Broadcasting and Cable, March 13, 2008).

3. FCC End Cable Deals for Apartments
a. October 2008: FCC ban cable deals/contracts giving cable companies the right to provide services to apartments
b. AT&T and Verizon benefit the most after lobbying for the new rules.
c. Can lower cable prices
a. Keven Martin, chair of FCC: cable prices risen 93% within the last decade.
b. New competition = lower prices (Stephen Labaton, FCC Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments, The New York Times, October 29, 2007).

4. States creating laws creating franchises for telephone companies
a. Cable companies filing lawsuits claiming that cable will lose revenue, damage of reputation, and unfair competition (John Eggerton, Telecos Celebrate Franchise Wins, Broadcasting and Cable, September 29, 2006).

II. Telephone Companies

A. Competitive Advantages
1. 2006: FCC passed a reform video franchised legislative reform that made it easier for telephone companies to get into video through national franchising (John Eggerton, House Passes Video Franchise Reform, Broadcasting and Cable, June 8, 2006).

2. AT&T and Verizon offer new technology that has advantage over cable
a. Both companies have IPTV services
a. Unlimited number of channels
b. 2-way interactive services (Anonymous, US Cable-New Strategies for a Competitive World, Business Wire, April 10, 2008)
c. AT&T offers U-Verse in limited areas
i. Features includes 300+ channels, high-speed internet, phone services, DVR specialties, streaming live video from cell phone to tv, and games
ii. Criticism: U-Verse only targets affluent and avoid minority, low-income (Rick Barrett, AT&T U-Verse access debated: City’s low-income areas often lack cable alternative, McClatchy-Tribune Business News, December 11, 2007).
d. Verizon offers FiOS TV

3. Incentives
a. Verizon conducts Retention-Marketing
a. Provide incentives for their current customers for not switching to another cable company.
i. FCC refuse to intervene after cable companies pressured them to stop stating Verizon is violating law (John Eggerton, FCC Won’t Stop Verizon Communications’ Retention-Marketing Effort, Broadcasting and Cable, April 1, 2008 )
ii. Also offer incentives for new customers
1. Offered 19-inch HD TVs, camcorders and camcorders in December 2007
a. Cable companies only relied, promotional prices and good services (Toni Whitt, Cable war could be proving ground; Analysts watch Verizon’s use of incentives in effort to entice local consumers, Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 20, 2007)
b. Offering bundles (phone, cable, internet)

4. States are recognizing phone companies as video providers, and granting them licenses to compete with cable companies

B. FCC/Congress vs. Telephone Companies
1. One problem that telephone companies may endure is still being recognized by states as video service providers such as in November 2007 it was reported that AT&T spent $11.2 million lobbying for a franchise bill in TN.
a. Most money spent on public persuasion, and advertising between October 1, 2006 to September 2007.
b. Cable companies are claiming AT&T is trying to get an unfair advantage and cable will continue to fight (Andy Sher, AT&T, cable fight nears $11 million, McClatchy-Tribune Business News, November 20, 2008).

2. FCC bans phone deals for apartments
a. Unfair competitive advantage
b. Hurts consumers
a. Prevents residents from purchasing bundled services

Children, Obesity, and the Media

Questions

#7

I.                   Obesity

a.       What contributes to childhood obesity

                                                              i.      Media influence on eating habits

1.      Product Placement

2.      Commercials (Preoperational Stage- not being able to tell the difference between a commercial and the program; don’t understand the advertiser’s intent)

3.      Endorsements (e.g. Spongebob cereal)

                                                            ii.      Eating between meals, convenience meals

                                                          iii.      Sedentary lifestyle (being lazy)

                                                          iv.      Genetics

                                                            v.      Parenting methods

II.                Findings Based On Existing Legislation

a.       Bumpers- “After these messages…”

b.      Limits on commercial times- 10.5 min/hr (wknd) and 12 min/hr (wkdy)

c.       A character from a program cannot advertise their product (e.g. Spongebob cereal) during their program(i.e. in-program host selling).

d.      Cannot advertise websites if they encourage children to buy products.

III.             Solutions to Parents

a.       After educating yourself, educate children about healthy foods.

b.      Practice healthy eating habits as a family at a dining table, and buy healthy foods

c.       Set time limits on television viewing.

d.      Discourage eating while watching television.

e.       Encourage physical activities.

IV.             Assurances to Policymakers

a.       Keeping advertisers in mind, regulate “junk food” advertising on children’s television; regulations based on time of day- less in the afternoon when pre-school aged children are home.

b.      Balance out good/bad food advertisements. Have more outside activity advertisements.

c.       We can’t actually regulate the amount of television a person watches – that’s up to the parents to do

V.                Violence

a.       Definitions

                                                              i.      Cartoon- unrealistic- no consequences

                                                            ii.      Realistic- real consequences

b. Cartoon violence has less consequences so it’s more effective

VI.             Causes of Aggressive Behavior

a.       Media violence (all inclusive- video games, television, comics, etc.)

b.      Genetics

c.       Parental guidance/upbringing

d.      Education

e.       Socioeconomic status

f.       Religion

VII.          Regulations

a.       There are currently no regulations that focus specifically on violence.

b.      The V-Chip and the ratings systems (e.g. Y7, MA) collectively include violence in something they monitor; however, it is a bi-product of monitoring sex on television.

VIII.       Parental Solutions

a.       Educate children about violence and its effects

b.      Regulate viewing of violence w/o relying solely on the V-Chip and ratings system.

c.       Discourage violence in the home and elsewhere.

IX.             Assuring Policymakers

a.       V-Chip in all televisions (it was not implemented in televisions that were smaller than 13in)

b.      Internet television must be regulated

c.       Air PSA’s for non-violence by cartoon characters to increase effectiveness

d.      Television on other platforms should include ratings

e.       Have the FCC request the production companies of every television show submit a list of what types of violence is typical on their shows.

                                                              i.      The lists will go on a website that is regularly updated.

                                                            ii.      PSA’s and listings on “parental discretion advised” screens will promote the list and its website, informing parents of its existence

X.                Sound Bite for the next news cycle:

“With the joint efforts of our nation’s parents, advertisers, broadcasters, and cable companies, we will increase awareness of obesity and aggression caused by television through education and cooperative regulation.”

 

 

-Contributed by Brian, Kelly, Alex C., and Hakan-

looks like the marshmallow man had kids

looks like the marshmallow man had kids

Happy Election

Well this is it, the all important, all-consuming election of the century. Just everybody vote in your own best interest and we should be fine

Political Virtue

This argument comes from the conflicting claims to authority in the city.

 

The politician’s job is to create the regime that will best promote the good life within the city.

 

In order to do this he must give the authority of the city to the ruler or rulers that would best promote virtue within the citizens.

 

However all of the competing claims to authority over the city are incomplete in the truth of their claim. 

 

As a result the politician must use distributive justice and divide the city between the groups based on each individual’s contribution to the good life of the city.  Those who contribute the most to the good life should get authority over the city in proportion to their contribution.  Thus equality and justice are achieved.

 

The politician must use the idea of distributive justice when deciding who is to have authority over the city.   

 

  1. The city comes into existence for the sake of the good life this is why none of them are right in their claims about justice.

 

 

 

Aristotle contends that the promotion of virtue in the citizens of a city is the nature of political life and that distributive justice within the city is the only way to attain this end.    

 

 

 

  1. Human nature is inherently connected to the political association and this connection makes the promotion of virtue the end of politics.

 

 

  1. It is the concern of the politician to create a regime that best promotes virtue in its citizens, for this reason distributive justice is necessary to combine the conflicting claims of the citizens.

Recap of Blunders and Gaffs

Totalitarianism–2000

Hardness

The characteristics of a Totalitarian system that make it possible for large groups of people to be first dehumanized and consequently slaughtered are the ones that replace a persons individual morality with the state’s. The first thing to note is how much the state could influence the individual’s personal ideas and beliefs. Belief in Stalin and the ideal communist society gave one the excuse that all these atrocities were for the greater good. This, and the fact that going against the grain was likely to get someone killed are the more superficial influences on the average person. Rational self-interest and belief in the communist system may explain why people asked to commit horrible acts did so, but does not explain why so many of the people committing these acts were almost unaffected by them. “This man who was responsible for one of the most devastating evils in the history of humanity stood before the court a profoundly mediocre, indeed common, human being” (Todorov p.124). Such is the case of Stalin’s close advisor whose wife was killed by Stalin while he said nothing and did nothing. Faith in the party and in its leaders does not by itself lead to the kind of mass abandonment of morality that ended in genocide during the Nazi and Soviet regimes.

The large-scale dehumanization under these regimes was made possible largely from the average person’s own morality being replaced by the morality of the state. The individual’s ideas about murder, betrayal, and sympathy are replaced by the values of the ruling party through fear of the enemy of the state and most importantly, a war mentality. The totalitarian view is obsessed with defending itself against the enemy, be it an internal or external one. The idea that “The obligation to destroy an internal enemy of the state, Eicke said, is in no way different from the obligation to kill your adversary on the battlefield” (Todorov p.127) makes the people of the state into soldiers and thus promotes the betrayal of anyone not totally on board with the system. This also erases any sympathy for the enemy, even if the enemy is in this case, a neighbor.

These “enemies” were further dehumanized by their confinement and treatment by the state, making it even easier for the individual to kill them or just turn a blind eye. One prominent moral idea that the state tried to eradicate from public consciousness was sympathy for the victims. This was done by promoting hardness and indifference through jokes about murder and cold pragmatic language about death, “Addressee relocated to the cemetery” (Glover p.259). The victims or what the state would probably call traitors were not just made into animals, but extremely dangerous ones. They were dangerous to the cause of attaining of the perfect communist society and they were most dangerous to anyone who helped them or even knew about them. Rational self-interest was what let people pretend not to see but it was the strongly imposed values of the state and the idea that the state was infallible that allowed people to turn a blind eye to the nature of their own actions.