Monday, December 13, 2010

Final Reflection

Disclaimer: Please read my posts from the very first one to now. Which means read this post last. It is more understandable that way.

After reading the rest of my posts, especially the larger ones, I am sure you have gotten a reoccurring theme of gaming as a topic I liked to write on. Unfortunately, to your dismay, I am not a gamer. I have never played a computer game and I do not own any game systems. I am however dating a full (nerd and all) gamer. I actually am engaged to him. Going into this series of blog posts and considering the overall theme of radical romance, I decided that my focus would be on new digital media as a radical form of romance. Personally, I also wanted to use it as my attempt of understanding my fiancé’s obsession with gaming. Within this post I will identify my personal reflections and I will discuss new trends to digital media in relation to radical romance.
            As I had mentioned before, gaming has become it’s own culture complete with it’s own unique language and a new way to date. I referred to a web show, The Guild, which highlighted the distinctiveness of the gaming culture. My fiancé came across that show on his XBox and wanted me to watch it with him. Although I had never played and had no interest to play the fatal game, World of Warcraft, I found the show to be hilarious. My fiancé was laughing because he could understand and relate to the show and I was laughing because it made fun of those obsessed people. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the show, I just find it a bit silly to sit in front of a computer with one hand on a mouse and the other on the letters W A S D and attack someone with some wicked weapon to collect loot and win a dungeon.
I suppose that the reason I am focusing my blog posts on this theme is because of that fact, that I don’t like gaming and my fiancé does. It most definitely has shown in our relationship how opposite our opinion is on this subject. Just last week, his brother was trying to plan a Halo party, where a bunch of people get together with their XBoxes and the game and all play throughout the house. I think it is called a lan party. Unfortunately, when he came to let me know about this fantastic event, he spoke to me in all the wrong ways. Essentially, the conversation was “I want to spend twelve hours playing a video game and I know you don’t like it but you can find something else to do.” I am paraphrasing, of course, because going into detail of that lovely argument would just take too long. I just want to understand what is so amazing about video games.
So as I looked deeper into the content of gaming and thought seriously about its implications, I still don’t fully grasp the wonder of this hobby. However, I do have an understanding that it is a unique way to find relationships. When I talked to my fiancé about gaming and dating, he was telling me that avatars do date in the game. There are even shops in the game that sell engagement rings and there are functions that allow an avatar to bend to one knee and propose. Individuals can even have a full wedding ceremony to wed the two avatars. It is a bit strange but if that is how they want to get married then go for it.
Digital media in general has opened up so many doors to relationships. Not only in the gaming world but also through the dating websites. I remember when admitting you were on a dating website was considered lame. If you were on a website to help you find a soul mate, you were thought of as a loner, someone who cant find someone by meeting them face to face. Now there are so many people on dating websites, it’s as if meeting an individual in person is taboo. Although I know of some cases where dating websites work, I believe that overall, dating websites is a joke. I think that judging a person based on the websites definition of compatibility and their profile picture is not an accurate way to meet a person.
My fiancé’s brother is on a dating website and before he even considers a girl to date, he judges her based on her looks. Is she cute? Is she fat? If she is slightly larger, she is thrown out without a second thought. Then he sees how compatible she is. Does she game? Is she funny? And if that poor girl made it that far, he will consider contacting her and maybe going on a day date. Eventually, he will find something superficial to tear her down on and he doesn’t call her again. It is horrible how he treats others thinking he’s the shit. BTW he is not that cute (I would say not at all… that’s why I am marrying his brother). And he thinks he is so cool and so experience because he has gone on so many dates he can’t even count them all. It’s the best when he goes to my fiancé and gives him dating advice. Haha you know you’re not a good dater if you haven’t been on a second date. In the end I suppose it is about whether you have the right intentions by signing up on a dating website. My fiancé’s brother is an extreme case of someone who does not have the right intentions.
I have, on the other hand, known people who have meet their significant other on a dating website and has since married them. However, the few cases of individuals meeting someone they eventually married does not out weigh the many others who just want an easy way to find someone they might like. It’s like actually going out in public is so hard to meet someone. I feel like the more people use these websites for dating the less social they will be. They will not know how to meet someone and try to impress them in person.
I believe in the old fashion (how sad is that meeting someone in person is considered old fashioned) way to finding relationships. I can respect a guy so much more for having the guts to address me in person. It is hard and scary, but it is so much more worth it than judging a website profile or talking to them through texts. I think that my fiancé’s brother would be way less cocky if he realized that real girls are not interested in a self-centered guy. But that is the way this culture is heading. Soon everything will be taken care of online, shopping, social networking, and dating will all be done without leaving your home.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Social Networks

I remember America Online Instant Messenger (AIM); it was all the rage creating a funky screen name and chatting with friends online. As the Internet has involved so has social networking. It is no longer about simply chatting with someone, now there is websites that make conversing with friends more interactive. You can chat with them, send them messages, and comment on their pictures. You basically have your own personal webpage, so you can customize it however you want. When I was taking a speech class we had to do a persuasive speech on any topic and take a stand on it. I chose to do mine on Social Networking sites and how people spend too much time on them. Individuals have even coined the term “MySpace or Facebook stalking”. I have even found on select occasions surfing from one page to another interested about what kind of pictures a person has or how they are commenting to other people’s status’. However, when you are on social networking sites so much that you are posting every time you watch a movie, or go on an errand, or go to the bathroom you know your abusing the website. I stressed that there is more to socializing than obsessing over someone’s status. Even just now as I was typing this fantastic blog post, my sister was telling her friend that she messaged her a part of her school project to her Facebook. What happened to working together on a project while in the same room? Or having a conversation with a person on the phone? When you choose to post on your mother’s Facebook where you are instead of calling them, you know something is wrong.

Monday, November 22, 2010


It’s remarkable to think about how much television has changed throughout the last decade. I honestly can’t remember television shows before reality TV and raunchy teenybopper shows. If you consider what we watch nowadays, it is so much dirtier than before. I remember television shows where it was unheard of to cuss or even allude to sex. Not to mention alluding to characters being gay. Now with shows like Glee and Secret Life of an American Teenager discussions of sex and gays are prominent. Even same sex kissing has become a normal occurrence of television shows. Socially, these shows set a very clear example of what is expected in today’s society. We feel that we are encouraged to explore our sexuality and follow it wherever it may lead. What happened to shows that taught ethical and moral values? It makes me scared to have children knowing these are the influences that will teach them wrong morals.

On the other hand, every major television channel isn’t complete without it’s fair share of reality shows. There is a reality show for every genre imaginable. Dating shows like The Bachelor give desperate women a chance to win a guy’s heart. Even MTV has their take on dating where the individuals in the show are given obscure nicknames and use any (and I mean ANY) means necessary to interest the guy. And the competition shows like Survivor and So You Think You Can Dance give individuals a chance to win loads of money. I mean there are so many shows on every channel that I can’t even name them all. Reality television has become so prevalent that it is a bit ridiculous. But somehow society is absorbed in watching other people do silly things. It’s intoxicating, I even found myself having to pick and choose my reality shows so they don’t overlap in airings. Oh, but now with recordable TV, our show choice is almost endless. We can watch one show while we are recording another and watch that one later. And we can fast forward through those pesky commercials that find there way right in the middle of a juicy part of the show. So what do we do with all the television has to offer? 

Monday, November 15, 2010


Can I say sigh of relief. I can honestly say I was nervous going into this project. I had very little time for extra projects and I had never seen Seinfeld before. Fortunately the other members of the group did a fantastic job communicating via email making sure everyone was informed as to what was going on. I have never been in a group project where all the members communicated so well online (since that was the easiest way to send out information). We had started communicating weeks before the project was due, setting up times to meet to have a group watch of the show. Sadly, I was unable to meet because my work schedule was right in the middle of everyone’s free time. So I watched as much as I could find online (which was no easy task, its as if they don’t want to let you watch the show). We all spent time researching into the deeper meaning of the episodes as well as dig deeper into the theory of the Barker book. We split the topics amongst the group to better lead our discussion in class. Sandy, Jackie and Patriccia did an outstanding job typing up our information and organizing it for everyone. Like I said earlier, this group did a wonderful job communicating and staying on task. I think the presentation went beautifully.

In class we discussed several episodes and their relevance to radical romance. Honestly, all the episodes in all the seasons were oozing with radical romance. It was difficult narrowing it down to just a few. I feel the episode “The Deal” was a great one to present because it dealt with two individuals who created a deal so they could have friendship and sex without effects. In no way does that depict ‘normal’ romance. And then we discussed whether Seinfeld was the “norm” or the “other”. I feel like they are both. At the time when the show aired, I think it would have been perceived as the “other”. The topics of the episodes were so radical that it was the first time sex was brought up in a television series. Seinfeld paved the way for other shows to discuss these new topics. That is why I feel that now the show would be perceived as the “norm”. Our society has become so numb to these topics that we think of it as normal everyday life. It is so interesting how television and mass media has influenced our way of thinking. Just a few years ago, talking about gay people on television was unheard of let along same gender kissing. Now its hard to find a show that doesn’t have individuals portraying themselves as being homosexual.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Materialism and Pop Culture

Materialism is what makes culture, pop-culture. Materialism according to Susan Bordo is simply that we are not satisfied with ourselves. Bordo quotes "...we can 'choose' our own bodies." Either by diet and exercise or by surgical alterations, we can make ourselves into whatever we like. But how does that happen? How do we have such a disgust of ourselves? Culture. The life we live and the things we surround ourselves with tell us how we should be. Television, magazines, movies, and our peers all influence what is perceived as "beautiful." An interesting comment was brought up in class, the student inserted that when perms were all the rage, it seemed as if all the girls with straight hair wanted to perm it so it would be curly and all the girls with curly hair would spend hours straightening it. And it was so true. When I was little, I wanted to perm my hair curly because I thought it was so cool to have curly hair. I didn't end up doing it, and I am so thankful. The culture was telling me that that was what I should do. The American culture has ingrained in us the idea that we need to be dissatisfied with what we have. It has also told us that even if we are dissatisfied with what we have, it's ok because we can buy our way to happiness. It's sad, but it's the truth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Response Paper - Do You Want to Date My Avatar?

My response paper consists of this post and the proceeding two posts. I can’t figure out how to link more than one video into a post so I had to post them separately. And for the record, I don’t game… my fiancé is the gamer and I fully blame him for knowledge I do have for this absolutely confusing area of his life. The things I am discussing are from the perspective of the outsider looking in.

            Consider your childhood. Chances are you or someone you know was fixated on the anomaly called “gaming.” Although back then the fad was game consoles with simple graphics, now, since the rise of the Internet, the growing popularity is the MMO. An MMO is a mass multiplayer online game such as World of Warcraft. This game specifically has become a widely known entity with its unique storyline and the ability for each player to customize their avatar to whatever they want. The web series, The Guild, comedically represents six individuals that play this game in a group which is a guild and the trials each of them have in relations to this game. The main character Codex starts off each episode with a brief webcam video wrapping up her thoughts on the previous episode. Throughout the seasons the characters put forth a unique identity. Codex is trying to learn how to mend her gaming life and her real life together while Zaboo, who has no masculine appeal, is love struck by Codex. Vork, the guild leader, is constantly trying to find ways to money gouge. Tink is the one in the group who loves to game, but doesn’t advertise it to the real world. Clara is a mother who would rather play her games than to care for her children or her husband. Finally Bladezz is a cocky boy who thinks far too much of himself. In this paper, I am going to argue that gaming has become it’s own culture and is the essence of radical romance.
            By watching the first few episodes, it will become blatantly clear that gamers have created a culture all their own. According to Chris Barker, “[M]eanings are generated not by individuals alone but by collectives. Thus the idea of culture refers to shared meanings” (42). Everyone who plays the video game has a shared understanding of the games concepts. Even the language used in the gaming world is unique with its own syntax. Gamers use lingo to abbreviate their sentences so they can type faster while in-game. A gamer might type, "Dood, I got totally owned while AFK. Need REZ to pown those newbs" which simply means that individual died while away from the keyboard and needs to be resurrected to get back at the new players who killed him. Theorist Raymond Williams believed the “...meaning of lived culture are to be explored within the context of their conditions of production. In this sense culture is understood as ‘a whole way of life’” (Barker 46). Gaming for some individuals is more than just a game. It has become their life. When the majority of their time is spent in game, it becomes their “way of life.” Since gaming is its own culture, we can also see their interpretations of what is masculine and feminine.

Masculinity and femininity - The Guild

This clip represents the essence of masculine and feminine ideals of gaming. Codex had just ended the last episode by throwing up on a really cute neighbor and the other girls of the guild are encouraging her to pursue him.

            Traditionally, we view romance in the sense that the man is the strong and powerful type while the girl is the item to be won. In this web series, we see that the women of the gaming culture are strong and confident while the men are a little awkward and yearn for the women. As Tink said in this clip, “Women have all the power in sex” (Blow out). It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, all a women has to do is flash some skin and they can get almost anything they want. Barker explained his view on masculinity in this way, "[T]raditional masculinity has encompassed the values of strength, power, stoicism, action, control, independence, self-sufficiency, male camaraderie/mateship and work, amongst others” (302). It seems as if Barker's explanation of masculinity describes some of the female roles in the web series. As you can see in the conversation between Tink and Bladezz, Bladezz is so despirite to be with Tink that Bladezz has taken on her projects as well as buying her things (Blow out). Tink has the power over Bladezz, just as Codex has the power over Zaboo. Also gaming in general has become a radical place for romance.