Writing about Film and TV (Writing for the Arts 2)

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Neill, Rosemary. “Cable TV box sets spark a cultural revolution.” The Australian 8 December 2012 :
The first thing I have to say about the article is that the word “hip” sticks out like a sore thumb. But then I guess the demographic for the Australian is not one that I particularly fit, so after I stopped cringing the main thing that I took away from the article was how much our viewing habits have changed in the past 3 years since this was written. Since then we have had the paid online streaming which has picked up where cable has left off with netflix and “binge watching? taking the place of dvd marathons. This article in pointing out the way that industry and consumers have evolved to meet new formats is peculiarly reminiscent of current articles about whole series drops such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” that have taken the telivision series in a new direction which does not rely on recaps and reintroductions of complex plot points and characters to keep viewers engaged and up to speed.
I decided to watch and review the new Doctor Who episode this week, which I’ll be honest, I didn’t hold high hope for as last this season has been pretty unspectacular thus far. I’m not sure why they have chosen to have the Doctor mirror Capadli’s percieved personality so closely when they have such an amazing character and dramatic actor at their disposal. It was an effort not to delve into “epic fan girl” mode when writing about this so I wrote 2 versions, one aimed at casual viewers and the other aimed at “whovians”.
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Writing about Music (Writing for the Arts 1)

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Kent, Nick. “Sid Vicious – The Exploding Dim-Wit.” The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music 1972-1993. London: Penguin. 1994. 179-87.
The reading was a quite brutal close up look at one of the most iconic moments in the 70s punk movement. I found that it might be a bit emotive for my tastes but then I did not have to behold the offense spetical of Sid and Nancy’s downward spiral close up. The article paints a pretty bleak picture of the kind of grotesque behaviour that the punk movement was sometimes involved with.
For my thumbnail album review I listened to Kingswoods album Microscopic Wars. Even though Kingswood’s sound has matured since their days as an undiscovered unearthed band I still find myself ultimately reminded of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the deaf”. This is by no means a negative and Kingswood certainly add an Australian flavour to the stoner rock genre.

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Topic 5: Writing the Report (Zeitgeist Genres 4)

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Bringing them Home. Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. April 1997.

The heartbreaking “Bringing them home” report introduction powerfully states the case to be answered by the Australian government in emotive but not overstated language. Rather than overstating the need for the inquiry the introduction include direct submissions from individuals in order to demonstrate the true, and very personal impact of the actions taken. The seriousness of the findings means that the words must be factual, but because of the enormity and scale of the injustices and cruelty that occurred simply invoking the humanity and vulnerability of the victims is enough to make this an incredibly powerful text.

Topic 4: The Blog and the Zeitgeist (Zeitgeist Genres 3)

Keen, Andrew. “Introduction.” The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday, Currency. 2007.

Keen’s “Introduction” paints a pretty bleak picture of what is expected of blogging and social media journalism. He invokes the “infinite number of monkeys” who will eventual write Shakespeare to emphasize his view of the hit and miss (and miss again) nature of putting media in the hands of the people rather that having the system of old media, in which the news was generated by the 4th estate, separate from other classes.

I have to say I found his alluding to open online media as “mob rule” a little bit retrograde. It’s almost as though his implication is that not everyone should have a voice, or that some people’s voices should be louder than others. I post on a blogs from time to time so I went with a topic that I used to write about for a British blog, urban exploration, in particular about abandoned mining towns. It’s a niche topic but does attract a fair amount of curiosity from people who travel or are interested in alternative lifestyle and tourism.

Topic 3: From New Journalism to Creative Non-fiction (Zeitgeist Genres 2)

Capote, Truman. “Last to see them alive.” Excerpt from In Cold Blood (1966). London: Penguin, 2000.

Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, in particular the excerpt given as one of this week’s readings, delves into the subjective experience of others in impossible detail, filling in the blanks in the authors knowledge with conjecture to help the story progress and be more engaging. These leaps between the facts and Capote’s narrative have the effect of rendering any neglected or omitted details or events significant. This method of implication by omission is a very powerful literary device and one that seems to appear by both choice, and necessity it much creative non-fiction.

All the readings this week, whilst some of the factual accuracy of some of the events is a little murky, allow the reader, as in the personal essay to view and event or series of events from within, or above. The emotive and engaging method of delivery packs more of a punch than a drier recounting of facts. I chose to write about the daily debrief I have with my 8 year old about his day at school. I exaggerated some of the more comical aspects of the conversation and made some creative leaps about his thought processes in order to bring the writing exercise in line with new journalism.

Picture: By Eric Koch / Anefo (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Topic 2: My Zeitgeist: The Personal Essay (Zeitgeist Genres 1)

George Orwell in his story “Shooting an Elephant” shows clearly how the personal essay can be used to explore a wider social issue through the lens of personal experience. The initial naivety of the protagonist and his uncertainty of his place in the world he find himself in assists us in seeing a side of colonial power struggles and empire in a way that we might otherwise not be privy to.

My zeitgeist is one of changing gender perceptions, parenting two small children, mental illness and conducting both study and work online. Although I had a wide variety of zeitgeist issues I could discuss I struggled with this genre of narrative, as through my studies I have primarily been writing academic essays, and the change from objectivity to subjectivity was an immense challenge, particularly as every draft I came up with felt a little conceited and self-centered.

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