Reading the Media

I can’t believe I am doing this; a piece of homework willingly, albeit three months too late.  Not been this eager to do any since were were asked to make a castle for History in year 7, two weeks we were given and I was done in a couple of hours.

This particular piece does interest me, it is how people perceive the media; whether we are slaves to it or whether it’s used to meet our needs.  It is split into three theories; the hypodermic needle, uses and gratification, and encoding and decoding:

  • Hypodermic Needle model — assumes the audience is heavily influenced by the media and it affects our behaviour. (passive audience)
  • Uses and Gratification theory — the audience uses the media to serve a purpose or fulfill their needs, whether it be to escape from the hustle and bustle of reality or for something educational, stuff like that. (active audience)
  • Encoding and Decoding model — how the audience reads the message set by the producer, whether our understanding of it is the intended message or not.  It may not necessarily be the producer’s message, it could be the opinion of someone hired by the producer. (combination of both) This is split into three further readings which I more or less explained:
    • Preferred — your reading of it is what the producer intended
    • Oppositional — your reading is the complete opposite of what was intended
    • Negotiated — you accept parts of the intention and reject the rest

Stuart Hall (not the paedo) coined the encoding and decoding model sort of as a compromise of the other two; pretty much saying we agree with it, we disagree or we do both to different aspects of it.  It doesn’t cover all bases, we can just leave the TV on for the sake of it and watch ever it throws at us and not have an opinion at all, I reckon that’s covered by uses and gratification.  In addition, you don’t need to be brainwashed by the media like how the 12 year old One Dimension fans are — the hypodermic needle model — in order to agree with it.

What can influence our opinion is how we regard this particular person; if you like them, you’re more likely to brown nose them and cling onto their every word.  If you can’t stand them, you’re more likely to dismiss everything they say.  People of reason would take away any personal feelings they have towards the opinionator, passing judgement on their words and not on their character.

The Pat Nevin 'Tactical Masterclass': Close down the winger and leave the striker clean through for an easier goal.

The Pat Nevin Tactical Masterclass: Close down the winger in possession (who went on to score from a tight angle) and leave the striker clean through for an easier goal.

So the other night, there was a programme on BBC2 called Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes, looking at sexism in the internet age.  As predicted; it was hilariously one-side and turned into a case of ‘wah wah wah women are always the victims‘, ‘men hate women even more now’ and ‘how dare men exercise their right to free speech’.  The show was pretty tedious, I think the whole point of it was to antagonise men — which is sexism in itself — and I was surprised the vox pops of the women not being offended by rude jokes weren’t cut.

It was showing skits of controversial comedian Frankie Boyle poking fun at a woman whilst ignoring any of his material on men, and similarly-proclaimed Brendon Burns talking about 21st century feminism.  To top it off, it had a clip of David Cameron quoting Michael Winner’s ‘calm down, dear’.  So all the show did was turn personal swipes and attacks in the virtual world into a matter of general misogyny, the moral of the story there being; feminists think they are sacred and are all-round better to us mere mortals, critique them at your peril.

I took this to Twitter and commented on how opportunistic feminists seemed to be and I inevitably got a reaction off women, which did nothing but bolster that theory much further.  Their 100 year old pursuit for equality has now reached levels comparable to Islamism; they can make fun of men without a fuss but vice versa, you have a deathwish.  Stand up for women’s rights and you’re a true gentleman, stand up for men’s rights and World War III is on the horizon.  Even had one telling me that 95% of objectification in the media is of women, only to be told that was just on magazine covers sans lad mags, which still seems odd.  Are they counting the little inset of Britney Spears snapped on the beach in her swimwear on the front of Now!?  What a disconcertingly vague statistic, what is the percentage of total magazines with objectifying covers?

The Islamist logical fallacy.

The Islamist logical fallacy.

As long as the two genders coexist, plus with these hip “trans” ones coming in for those who love to be marginalised by society, there will always be a rivalry between the sexes.  To put it humbly, oppositional reading happens all too often in their world and it’s followed by a mass knee-jerk reaction.  It only takes one chicken to cluck a different tune to everyone else to get them all kicking off, it’s a matter of their skewed-up word over the true intentions.  Calling one ‘love’ will result in a reaction not too dissimilar to spitting in their child’s face.

Enough of this now, covered the fallacism of feminism and its philosophy more than enough on here but it is important for the context of this post as I am going to utter three words; Grand, Theft and Auto — the idea of the feminist dystopia since 2001.  If you have been living under a rock or been comatose for the last ten years; Grand Theft Auto is critically acclaimed and is, arguably, the most popular video game franchise — probably behind Mario.  The real question is; is a game named after a vehicle crime and on its most recent release, features three guns, a police pursuit and an attack helicopter in action on the cover really controversial?  What did you really expect from it?

I’ve been a fan of the series ever since I owned a PS2, with GTA: Vice City being one of the first games I got with it, along with Primal — before that actually, going round to my old friends’ houses to play it.  I’ve 100%’d all nine GTA games from III to V barring the two handheld Nintendo releases, I am currently one rank away from the gold ‘Above the Law’ trophy on GTA Online, I have a 444-song playlist of tracks featured throughout the series which is over a day and 9 hours long, so you already know my stance on it.  Whose opinion are you more likely to listen to on the subject; someone who knows it inside out, or someone who’s jumped on board the anti-GTA bandwagon and got caught up in the hysteria based on hearsay and not experiencing what it has to offer?

Attacking the police with a tank isn't why GTA is controversial, apparently...

Attacking the police with heavy artillery isn’t why the GTA series is controversial, apparently…

So why is Grand Theft Auto controversial among feminists?  Is it because you can steal vehicles, brutally resist arrest, rescue stranded drivers on a level crossing, slaughter animals, speed, take drugs, jaywalk, drink drive, obliterate pedestrians, collide with traffic, hijack military hardware paid for by the tax payer, take injured people to the hospital, cross red lights without turning right, start gang wars in residential districts, fire a rocket launcher in public, encroach the solid white line separating the directional flow of traffic, hit and run, put out vehicle fires, fly aircraft into skyscrapers, eat fast food, conduct heists, crash into signs and lamp posts, give the homeless money, plant an ignition bomb in an unsuspecting victim’s car, deal drugs, ride a bicycle on the pavement?  Nah, it’s because it’s sexist.

According to them, the only controversy is that you can get it on with the common prostitute and exercise your statutory rights and get a refund by killing her.  It is shocking I must say, you don’t get all of your money back sometimes although other times, you do get interest.  It is fitting that in GTA V, they have included Fear’s ‘The Mouth Don’t Stop (The Trouble with Women Is)‘ from 1985 in the soundtrack.  It is just a shame that they are too OUTRAGED to actually play the game, it is as if they are offended for the sake of being offended and aren’t offended through first-hand exposure, strange.

The BBC programme also cried about how you can visit strip clubs like in real life, as well as the in-game media being sexist and ignoring the fact the game satirises reality.  See, spoofing Facebook and Sprite here, two birds with one stone.  Americans who love the series are oblivious that it has been taking the piss out of them and their plastic culture for 13 years.  BL: TNBotS focused on the in-game billboards for reality TV series Serious Cougar and one for perfume brand Le Chien, complete with slogan ‘smell like a bitch’.  If you don’t like being the butt of parodies or satire, even on behalf of other people, move to North Korea or Belarus.  That’s the problem with living in the west, we have this really unfair principle called ‘free speech’.

Satirical or insultive?

Satirical or insultive?

Someone was SHOCKED and APPALLED at these biased findings, taking it to Twitter to express her OUTRAGE that you can slaughter whores in an 18-rated game.  She posed the question what if there was a game you could kill animals or children, like the murder of animals is far worse than that of humans.  I think game developers don’t feature children in gun-happy games for that reason, Rockstar — the developer of Grand Theft Auto — released Bully in 2006 where you were a mischievous boy at boarding school.  No guns, no hardcore violence, just the mild stuff we see in cartoons.  As expected, it caused an outcry from the usual suspects before it was released so R* renamed it in Europe to Canis Canem Edit — which didn’t stop its original name being retained for the special edition release in the same territory.

2004’s GTA: San Andreas responded to the criticism of gamers’ voluntary reaction to the socially immoral and downright illegal activity of street prostitution by including a pimping side-mission; where after you chauffeur a couple of slappers around one of the cities and save them from unruly and shortchanging clients, they start paying you for hanky panky instead.  There’s also a mission in the game where if you save one from a SWAT raid on a motel, you will be rewarded with a health boost, where’s the praise for that?  Oh yeah, feminists only emphasise on the negative.  Make a female-friendly game but with just a single bad act where a woman gets slapped and put in her place for being a bitch, all the feminist attention will be funnelled onto that one event and all positive aspects will be ignored.

There is a far more misogynistic game out there, by the way, one that rewards the player for killing women.  It is another of Rockstar’s titles, 2010’s Red Dead Redemption.  It’s just as critically acclaimed as its cousin because it isn’t Grand Theft Auto, it was not surrounded by a media frenzy and doesn’t have a reputation of that level.  You are awarded with an achievement for killing a random innocent woman by hogtying and placing her on a railway line, for a train to run her over.  Red Dead is very similar to GTA but this one takes place 100 years before the events of the latest installment of that, set in the badlands of the Wild West and at a time when the first-wave feminist movement had already peaked and going off what we know from Westerns, it’s being an accurate representation of the times.

You only care about this when you're told to, otherwise you wouldn't give two tosses.

You only care about this when you’re told to, otherwise you wouldn’t give two tosses.

There is a lot of woman violence that takes place within Redemptions‘s universe but it’s up to Mr Marston, the protagonist, as to whether they should be saved.  Sometimes, you get a bit of in-game cash from the rescued victim if you do, sometimes you don’t but saving them does not contribute towards 100% completion or an achievement.  The fact of the matter is, people who are offended by video games never play them, they get upset over the bits the press tell them to weep about.  There will always be games that are more morally questionable than Grand Theft Auto but because Grand Theft Auto is Grand Theft Auto, the usual crowd will always point the finger at it.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which was released in 2002, managed to call this brand of feminism around 10 years before it became prominent.  A guest on one of the in-game talk stations called the women against her idea of feminism self-hating misogynists who are trying hard to be accepted by the patriarchal society, along with fellow radical feminists whom she considers to be half-arsed in their misandristic approach.  The interview may be exaggerating certain mid-1980s beliefs, the period the game was set, but the fact it has became more relevant after time and now draws a pretty accurate picture is what makes it astounding.

Violence and criminality in general has existed long before games consoles were advanced enough to render 3D models and the press know that, they use the most prominent media outlet at the time as the scapegoat for society being dysfunctional.  If it wasn’t video games, it was music.  If it wasn’t music, it was TV.  If it wasn’t TV, it was films and do you know what is the main influence for each of those mediums?  Society, real events are what give the writers inspiration for their work.  Let’s use GTA: Vice City as an example; the game was heavily influenced by Scarface, which was a remake of a 1932 film of the same name, which in-turn was based on its namesake novel by Armitage Trail from 1929, a book that was a dramatisation of Al Capone’s goings-on during the prohibition era.

Capone didn't have a scapegoat but sure did influence the ones of today.

Capone’s actions were most definitely incited by someone like Al Jolson, if we go by today’s scapegoat mentality.

That Emily didn’t reply to me directly on Twitter but she had the cheek to reply behind my back, saying that I should ride shotgun on the anti-GTA bandwagon with her and get offended by nonsense that doesn’t affect me.  No ta, petal, I’m able to stand up for myself and don’t want to end up as a self-victimising opportunist who can’t look at and hear anything without getting upset.  I grew up with Crash Bandicoot and later, along with GTA, Pro Evolution Soccer but you don’t see me jumping around eating fruit or playing top-level football.  GTA V was the first in the series my mates got into, not because they had enough of the controversies, but that it seemed too much effort for them to maintain the protagonist in GTA: SA‘s wellbeing by eating every 48 game hours and hitting the gym.

I like crashing high speed into oncoming traffic and killing the other driver on impact in the game, do you think I’m going to attempt that in reality?  I must add, that pastime was more fun in GTA IV, as they actually flew through the windscreen.  Saying that, I have seen the result of a head-on collision many moons ago, skipping detention for an open day at North Trafford College only for the roads to be closed off.  Games are supposed to be fun, not boring and too demanding.  If I wanted to do all this realistic and low-octane bollocks outdoors, I’ll go outside instead.

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