Monday, April 30, 2007

Andrea's weblog journey

I was interested to see what the story was with the woman who called her blog "My Boyfriend is a Twat" so I went exploring on her weblog to find out more. The site was largely deceptive in its title. As it turns out, this woman Zoe, she really has no hostility toward her boyfriend who actually lives with her and her 3 kids in Belgium. I find myself largely uninterested in her life as she explains as she shaved for the first time this year. I've realized that people write these things more for themselves, not for other people (especially strangers). I can see how it can be amusing to document your life, but not particularly entertaining to read.

I was hoping for a juicy tale about how she is getting even with an ex by posting all the horrible things he did on the internet so that he may struggle to maintain a normal social life. Although, I'm sure such disclosure would probably tread in that "unethical" area that we are trying to avoid. There may be no relationship drama on this site, but I was curious to see if others utilized their blogs for this purpose...
I hate my ex-girlfriend with the fury of a thousand supernovas.

What do you know! People need to vent any way they can.

Ben's Diary and Reading Notes

My Top Three FanFic Stories (all taken from

The first fanfic story I read was based on Seinfeld, the TV show. Entitled “The Schizophrenic,” it’s story was one of Jerry’s holiday stress and Elaine’s two-faced boyfriend. I would have to say that Seinfeld is my favorite TV show, and I was very surprised at how closely the story resembled an actual Seinfeld episode (in reading other stories, I quickly found that this is not a typical characteristic). There were scene breaks at appropriate moments, and even though the author was not very funny, his/her comedy and jokes seemed to be in sync with the scene changes as it is in actual Seinfeld episodes. All in all, as a fellow Seinfeld enthusiast I was impressed: the author had done a pretty good job at making their idea for Seinfeld a reality.

The next story I read was “Spin the Bottle,” a slash fiction episode of South Park. It caught my eye because it was written in the character Stan’s point of view (POV). South Park episodes are not written through any one character’s POV, so this approach was very different for me: I could not visualize the story as I could with the Seinfeld story. Also, it was very short (only a few paragraphs long), which means it was written for the sole purpose of creating a homoerotic situation with South Park characters. I thought this was funny because for some reason I had thought that slash fiction writers wrote about characters they found attractive, and this is not the case; some authors just write for entertainment.

The third fanfic story I found most fascinating was “Deed to the House,” one based on Family Guy. This was without doubt the most impressive fanfic creation I came upon: every detail, even the introduction, was written out for the reader and followed perfectly with an actual episode. It was the proper length and had the characteristic comical scene changes that makes Family Guy so great. It was funny, too. I liked this because being able to reenact TV shows made with other people’s ideas in my mind is most enjoyable; when I am able to visualize the ideas the writer has, and (more importantly) when those ideas flow well, I have the most fun.

I believe you will find these stories particularly noteworthy because they represent three different types of fanfic that are commonly created. “The Schizophrenic” was structured as an official Seinfeld episode would be, but some liberties (albeit minor ones) were taken not only with the characters, but also with the time frame (it was pretty lengthy). “Spin the Bottle” was totally unlike an original South Park episode: it had a different POV and characters acted in very uncharacteristic ways. It was much more personal in that it was written by the writer probably more for her (or his?) own enjoyment than anything else. Finally, “Deed to the House” represents the kind of fanfic that stays true to the original (and in my opinion reveals some serious talent on the part of the writer). It is not difficult to visualize the text as an actual episode, making it both very enjoyable and extraordinary.

This range of fanfic gives one a small taste of everything fanfic has to offer. Some authors take more liberties than others, but all stories are equally valid or acceptable. There are no strict rules that specify exactly what is fan fiction, and this is definitely what makes it so appealing to so many people. If one has an idea about a story, they can create it and have a place to go to share it with others. When I first began reading fanfic, I was for some reason stuck on the idea that the only good fanfic stories were ones like “Deed to the House,” where the storyline is exactly copied and one can easily visualize what is taking place. As I read more, I realized that all types of stories are equally valid, and that all types of fanfic each have their own special qualities. The three aforementioned episodes are noteworthy to me because they helped me see not only the broad range of types of stories within the fanfic genre, but also what each type of story has to offer.

My FanFic

If I were to create my own fanfic, I would do a either a continuation of the movie Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, or a prequel to Pulp Fiction, a story of the adventures of Vincent Vega. Both of those movies are in my top 10 all-time favorite movies, and I think I could have some good fun working with either of those stories.

Democratic Speech and Democratic Culture

The most interesting point brought up by Balkin was that when the scope of free speech is inhibited or narrowed, our ability to participate in the construction of culture and, therefore, the construction of ourselves is compromised. I thought he provided an excellent argument as to why freedom of speech is so important for a democratic society and how crucial a role it plays in a democratic culture.

In response to Allie’s question (“Should these people be able to do all this online whenever they want?”), I would answer that yes, for the reasons Balkin points out. We all have the right, as members of a democratic society and culture, to not only have the right to hear what others have to say (no one should be silenced), but also to say whatever we want, to contribute to the creation of the culture we are part of.


For me, the most important question Lessig raised in his article was if all creativity stems from borrowing and what Balkin calls “glomming on.” The experiences Lessig speaks of with the Japanese manga industry, I believe, answers this question in the affirmative. Everyone is influenced by culture: they take what they want and fashion their own identities, some changing what they take more than others. I believe very strongly that all members of a society should have the right to recreate what they see and put their own spin on it (just like the Japanese Doujinshi artists).


The amount of hypocrisy in the world today is really astonishing. When I read this article, I was amazed at how two-faced big businesses are, how ruthless they become when trying to maximize profit. Lessig’s statement in the beginning of the chapter is the basis for my feelings: at one point, all mass media industries were pirates at one point. I agree with many of the points brought up by Jackie--especially that industries "were at some point doing the same action they argue against"--and am a firm believer that some weight should be given to the view that all this illegal downloading does show that people are interested in music and the artist. I believe the arts should be emphasized more in culture, especially American culture, and while I do understand that not all bands are U2s and can afford to lose out on some record sales, I believe we all should be less critical of piracy and focus on what good can come from it.

Fan Fiction Reflections

My Reflections on Fan Fiction

Fan Interpretations of “The Office”

Reading some of the fan faction was different an interesting looking into this creative subculture of some notably talented writers. My favorite piece was a script written for the show “The Office”, which depicted a scene in which the boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) would attempt to have his office perform a play of “The Wizard of Oz” as a community service event for children with learning disabilities. The bickering over characters and the descriptions were absolutely incredible, and as a fan of the show I couldn’t help but notice the spot-on writing skills that would have fit perfectly into an actual episode. It was a very insightful read, and after that I decided that more examples would be interesting.

This next piece was also a very well done scene, having perhaps a bit more on the level of serious drama than the highly comedic first. It plays on the tensions that have developed in the third season between two of the main characters, both of whom had feelings for the other but could not act on it. The awkward feeling that is built up over the course of the scene is very well executed, and it relies on the comedic release from boss Michael to lighten the situation, as is often the case in the tense moments of the show.

The final piece that I read was slightly longer than the first two, and was a first hand account by the character known as Dwight, supposedly as a reflection on the relationship between the two characters addressed above, Jim and Pam. He notes how his influence on their relationship was crucial, as he truly was the reason they ended up together. Making use of much of the type of humor the character Dwight demonstrates on the show, Dwight characteristically displays his affection for obscure facts and deranged theories to demonstrate just how in control and in charge he was, or at least believed he was in his own, slightly-deranged mind.

Overall, the entire genre was simply fascinating, both in the amount of contributions and the amazing variety in topics, from video games to books to tv shows, and everything else in between. It seems a great medium for aspiring writers to receive criticism on their writings, suggestions for revision, or just offers a mode by which to entertain people with their efforts. The dedication to creating some of these scripts was extremely impressive, leaving this reader with an appreciation for the great number of undiscovered talents.

reading diary


i'm really digging how all of these articles mention "borrowing" one idea, making it your own, and then putting it back out there. bricolage is coming up in pretty much all of the articles that i read. i wonder, though, where the line is between plagarism and bricolage. regarding disney, all of this bricolage is fine and good, but what happens when you begin to have a major corporation (like disney) and they start extroting little kids, feeding them the same stories over and over again (ever think about how every disney princess only has one parent? ever wonder why that parent is always a doting, ignorant father, or, a cruel step-mother? ever think about the vast number of orphans in stories we tell kids? ever heard of Freud's family romance?), giving them the wrong impression of family, love, and life, and telling them stories that are just wrong. if you want to tell a kid a grimm fairy tale, tell it to them, but don't leave out the really tight parts. if you want to tell them a story and leave out the tight parts, don't tell them a grimm fairy tale.


interesting to see how we really did live with piracy for every new invention and piece of new technology. what's the big deal now? is it just a renewed sense of capitalism? are people pissed off because they're being "swindled"? this piracy debate is so antiquated, you'd think that by now, we would realize that if you create something for the public, they're going to try and find a way to get it without paying for it, just as much as you want to be paid for it.


this is my favorite part, regarding the "building of cyberspace": "...It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions..." my only response to this is that government, to this day, sees nature as a thing to be tamed. government is there to border off nature from civilization, and eventually, to conquer everything--moving everything from nature to civilization. the language that the author chooses is illuminating, and self-destructive.

digital speech:

"the purpose of freedom of to promote a democratic culture." fine. but this assumes that everyone is equal under the law, and i'm sorry, but everyone isn't. does this apply to every citizen? everyone who just happens to be in the us at this point and space in time? what about people who can't vote? what about students? what about illegal immigrants? does freedom of speech really exist for these people, and if it doesn't, how can it promote this democratic culture? does it do this through the interent? what about people who don't have access to the internet? what about the people left out?

a lot of what the author says in part ii suggests a reversion to oral tradition, where everyone could hear a story, keep it with them, remember it, make their own changes and adaptions, and then retell it in their own way. internet culture is a reversion back to oral tradition.

and when the author claims that "mass media products...have become the common reference points of popular culture," isn't that a horrible claim? isn't that kind of heralding the disintegration of our society? what about the reference points that we already have, like history and literature and art? what's to become of those?


When I started to read about slash fiction and fan fiction, I did not quite get what I was getting into. I started with slash fiction which seems to mostly be peoples projecting there sexual fanticies onto characters of movies. Something I did not find interesting.
As I moved through the readings fan fiction started to make more sense to me. I know many people who wish a show or movie would have a differnt ending or plot twist. For example on Gilmore Girls people want Lorili and Luke to end up together but it never seems to work. Fan fiction gives the die hard fans a place for them to make the stories fullfill their dreams for the characters. It also seems a place where people can contiue a show that is know longer on the air, and help fans connect together.
Somethings I found interesting is that most of the authors are female. What does this say? Do females get more attached to the characters in a show? Also can there be fan fiction for reality t.v.?
Lastly I wondered do the writers of this show ever read this for ideas. They could see what there fans wanted out of there shows. And if they did like the ideas could they use them or would it be illegal.
I have no idea what I would write for a fan fiction. I am not very creative, and never really get mad about how T.V. shows or movies turn out. I kind of feel that we cannot always have a happy ending and we can't always be dissapointed. I think the fan fiction I would write would be more of a in depth caracter anaylsis where I would write about the life they have beyound the movie or show. It would be hard to do that for a lot of characters because we already know about there lives. For example you could not do it on friends because we alredy know alot about there characters. But we could do it for a Law and Order character or an ER character, because those shows are more about there jobs then there lives. I could write about the struggle between having a personal life and such a demanding job, also about the indivdual ethical delimas they face in doing there jobs.

Allie's reading diary and fan fiction


I found it interesting that there are so many loopholes in the laws that allow piracy. I found it very interesting that they view everything of being pirated from some form in the past. It basically talks about how everything, or most things that we use are born from some sort of piracy in the past.


I think this article is just saying what most peopel already know. Disney has taken old stories and turned them into what people want to hear and know. It of course did this to make money. Although some people might view this as not a new idea, because it is based on an old one, i think that it is hard to make something new, when you can recreate something that is old and make it better. I have not yet decided my opinion on this type of "borrowing" and whether or not i agree with it.


I found this article somewhat ammusing. I think it is odd that "cyberspace" is talking to us and asking for its independance. I think it makes sense that we maybe shouldnt go so far in cyberspace and try to hv eit rule our lives. It is right, we don't know much about it, but I find it very odd that it is asking for its own independance.

Digital Speech

I think that this article shows that free speech is a totally different thing online. I feel that there is more free speech online then anywhere else. People can say and do basically whatever they want online. Is that too much freedom?? Should these people be able to do all this online whenever they want? The internet reaches almost everyone in the world, and everyone can say and do what they want. sometimes people can say inapproriate things, and that shouldnt be allowed evenr with free speech.

Fan Fiction

I had a hard time thinking about this and understanding it. I came up with something like a Gilmore Girls meets CSI show. I thought it would be interesting to have something such as a murder or someother detective type case go on in such a little quiet peaceful town. This case would get solved by lorelai and in the end it would bring her and Luke together for good. I think this would an interesting twist on a family show. And not to mention it would be a good way to finally get Luke and Lorelai together.

fan fiction

i was always kind of aware that this kind of writing must exist somewere in the world...we think up new and, in our opinion, better endings and outcomes to tv episodes and books all the time. i was shocked, however, to find so much fic on harry potter! it's interesting that the books that are the most profitable are also the most parodied--it's like we want to insert our mark on harry, too. i read fic that followed more or less along the lines of what i enjoy reading/watching for pleasure. i started out by wandering the vast jungle that is the harry potter fic, and ended up finding a slash fic that i really enjoyed. "how the king doth fall" is the story of harry after hogwarts, living in london as an auror, with his lover, malfoy. malfoy's dad just died and harry and malfoy walk each other through this hard time. the next one that i read was called "consequences," regarding harry being accused of ron and hermione's deaths. this one was very long--23 pages. i was surprised by the length and by the creative force of this fan fiction piece--someone obviously makes a great effort to bring her voice to the crowd of harry potter fan fiction. this piece helped me understand a thought in one of the earlier articles that i read on fan fiction, which indicated that readers of fan fiction get as absorbed in it as they do in j.k. rowling's stories that it brings them to tears and they beg for the story to be finished. then, i moved on to some tv shows that i watch. i was drawn to a sex and the city ff, but, after reading it, it left something to be desired. some fan fictions are entirely engrossing, like "consequences," and some are riddled with spelling mistakes and bad grammer.

all in all, it's just so much fun to read all of this fic. it's like trashy tv for book lovers.

below is my addition to the world of harry potter ff:

Harry wasn't sure if he was going back to Hogwarts on the first of September.

He spent the whole gloomy summer in his room on Privet Drive. It was gloomy, of course, because the Dementors were breeding now that Voldemort was again gaining support and followers. Harry chose not to share this information with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia—they wouldn't understand and besides, Harry didn't want to talk to anyone.

Harry lay in his bed looking up at the ceiling and tried not to blink. This was an exercise that he had come to perfect after weeks and weeks of practice. It helped erase his mind. Harry had too much to think about and preferred to not think at all right now.

The mist dragged across his window and matched Harry perfectly: gray, depressed, and watery. Harry could hold back no longer—he blinked. Behind his eyelids flashed that warm smile of Professor Dumbledore, his crooked nose, his twinkling eyes. Harry could still hardly believe that he was gone.

Nobody could understand how much Dumbledore had meant to Harry. Everyone mourned Dumbledore, but Harry had lost a father figure, a teacher, a friend, a guardian, and…more.

Scattered around Harry's room were birthday cards, old faded copies of The Daily Prophet, pieces of food, owl droppings from Hedwig's cage, old bits of birthday cake his friends had sent him, dirty clothes, and letters. Letters were scattered all over Harry's room—heaped up in little hills in the corners, stacked up on his dresser and bedside table, and thrown off in random directions from his bed. They were from all sorts of people. Reporters wanted to know exactly what happened the night that Dumbledore died--Rita Skeeter actually dared to ask for an interview. The Order of the Phoenix wrote letters daily to try and cheer Harry up, as they were too busy to come by and check up on him. Ron and Hermione wrote almost daily. They were both staying at 12 Grimauld Place, helping out with the less dangerous activities. The house was still full of strange Dark creatures, so mostly, they were firing off spray bottles full of magical potions to kill doxies rather than firing off their wands. They would tell Harry about conversations they just happened to overhear, though, and they'd keep him up to date on the various people who would drop by.

None of it interested Harry anymore. Thoughts of Ron and Hermione just made him think of Ginny. And Harry would have liked it if Ginny never crossed his mind again. He would get sick with anger whenever he'd think of Ginny and that one night.

He tried not to blink, but the images just came rushing past the back of his eyeballs.

He couldn't help it. The swirling images overwhelmed him, made him dizzy, made him faint. He couldn't help thinking of that night, right after Dumbledore's funeral, and how he was wandering around the castle, at a loss for what to do, under his Invisibility Cloak. He heard the echo of swift moving feet in the other direction. Naturally, Harry's instinct told him to follow the soft sounds of running and see what the trouble was. He adjusted his cloak around him and headed off in the same direction that the sound came from. The sound slipped behind a tapestry concealing a hidden staircase that Harry knew would lead to the Slytherin dormitories. Harry hesitated for a moment. Who could be running at this hour into the dungeon? And why? What could be so important? Just as Harry's thoughts were reaching their boiling point, he heard a giggle.

He thought he recognized that giggle. And it seemed as thought he hadn't heard it too long ago.

He followed. Whoever was running was certainly in a hurry. Harry had to be very careful in his pursuit—running quietly and trying not to knock into suits of armor was a hard task. He knew that he would have to catch up to this runner quickly. Harry took a shortcut that he remembered being on the Marauder's Map. He emerged from the other side of the hidden tunnel just in time to see a shadowy figure rounding the corner. But, it was too big to be one person. And the figure was too wide—it was two people standing very close. They moved more slowly now, stopping after a few paces. What was going on?

The hallways in the dungeons were too narrow for Harry to stand there waiting for the people to get nearer to him, so he slipped into an open classroom. They stopped right outside of the door, but Harry dared not move. When they finally got to the door of the dormitories, Harry gathered his courage. Very slowly, he stuck his head out the door.

What he saw rent the pieces of his heart, so torn and broken from the events of the day, into bits so small, they might never be able to be placed together again.

Fan Fiction

While reading over some of the fanfic on fan I was struck with an epiphany. Fan fiction really reminded me of something that I couldn't put my finger on for a long time, then it hit me. Adult Swim. I don't know if any of you are familiar with the television program that comes on late night on Cartoon Network but it is great. They show a lot of off beat cartoons that usually tie in a wide variety of characters and topics. One that in particular reminded me of the fan fiction I read is Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This show is way too weird and wild to try to explain so I suggest that anyone curious about it after this post should just check it out either on youtube or go to - and check it out. Anyway I bring this up partially because I feel that this is the audience that my fanfic would appeal to. So here it is.... The X-files meets the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Basically the storyline would begin as many x-files do with the hook. IN this case a young child walking his/her dog through New Jersey at night through a neighborhood. Next thing u know an eerie pair of hands grabs him/her. Then the plot goes on to explain that this is not the first time that this has happened.... so on and so forth. The aqua teens are introduced as alien invaders who are capturing these children in order to use them has a human energy source (in giant hamster wheels attached to some type of generator in the basement) to run the electricity at their home.

This may seem strange, but I think that my target audience would really enjoy this plot line because it has a lot of the intrigue that the aqua teen show offers along with many many opportunities for comical tirades by the various characters. Also the combination of these shows could offer some kind of background as to where the aqua teens came from and how a giant box of fries, a milkshake and a meat wad came to be alive and living together in New Jersey. Higher quality programming has not yet been written. If you are still in doubt, I implore you to check out the show for yourself, or you can go see the movie in theaters. Once your mind has been exposed to this show you'll understand where I'm coming from.

Fan Fiction & Reading Contemplations - Julianne Seubert

Seinfeld Fan Fiction

Fan fiction illustrates how the internet enables individuals to exert their control over things which previously remained inaccessible. For example, through fan fiction devotees are able to dictate how their favorite TV programs and movies play out. Hearken back a decade, and the only way people could respond to their favorite movies programs was through conversation or reviews. Yet society has undergone such a radical transformation in that individuals can now script their own episodes through fan fiction. Accordingly, Seinfeld has always been one of my favorite programs for the characters witty banter and comical antics never cease to entertain me. Consequently, when browsing’s list of television programs, I made a point of scouting out Seinfeld. Reading the various plots that fans have come up with is a testament to how individuals can use the internet to convert television into a creative outlet. For example, I came across a script entitled “the Schizophrenic” which exhibited such a striking similarity to a real Seinfeld episode that I was surprised it hadn’t been published. Moreover, Fan fiction enables individuals to connect with others by sharing their ideas with fellow enthusiasts: creating a network of individuals united by their creativity and interests.

Rules and Regulations of Fan Fiction

I found it interesting how strict the rules for fan fiction are. For example, when I came across the guidelines for Star Wars fan fiction it stated that all stories must be set in the Star Wars Universe only: no crossovers with other media or the real world. This is rather interesting, considering Star Wars fans cultivate their relationships with other Star Wars fiends via the media. Yet no one objects to these rules: they have become an accepted component of the fan fiction culture. I also found the review process quite exhausting. In regards to the review process, states: “At least two reviewers must approve your story before it becomes archived. A reviewer is a fan fiction archive volunteer who has read extensively in your type of story. For example, if you submit a Luke/Mara story, it will be assigned to two reviewers who love reading about Luke/Mara and have read many stories of that type. If two reviewers disagree, the story gets sent on to one of three editors, who has the final word. Note that reviewers and editors are not beta readers, although some may function as both.” Reading this infused me with a newfound respect for fan fiction authors. They must cut through so much red tape in order to publish their script, yet they continue to persevere in order for their story to be shared. It also shed light on the credibility of authors, for the intense review process is used so that the script aligns with the original published work. Moreover, fan fictions reliance on the internet illustrates the power of the web as it enables amateur authors to find mainstream success.

The Guardian,,1336775,00.html#article_continue

Fan Fiction is incredibly influential as it has the power to penetrate ones emotions. Fan Fiction weaves characters into the reader’s fantasies: creating an erotic yet powerfully serious read. I thus found it interesting that fan fiction is scorned by individuals who cannot get past the sexiness of the genre. Yet while this provocative writing does entice readers, I think it represents the reason individuals are able to live vicariously through their fantasies. Walters states “By putting in the sexuality, the humor and the irony that the original tales often lack, these writers can change the way some readers see the works, and not always negatively.” Thus individuals, who aren’t interested in the published version of television series or movies, are suddenly paying attention because of how fan fiction authors creatively incorporate the humor or sexuality that the original versions lack. Moreover, the fantasy that pervades fan fiction is a testament to how individuals can cultivate relationships through their imaginations.

Friends meets Sex and the City

In regards to a piece of fan fiction I could write, I think that creativity is essential to appealing to an audience. Part of the motive devotees write fan fiction is because it allows them to add things to a show, movie, or book that they would like to see incorporated. Accordingly, if an individual had a creative twist or hilarious antic that they insert into their script, individuals with the same interest will be drawn to it. Something that I have always been infatuated with is when two TV shows fuse together (think back to our childhood days when they made the “Flintstones meet the Jetsons” movie.) Consequently, in regards to a fan fiction script I would propose bringing two sitcoms or dramas together (or maybe a sitcom and a drama) and then coming up with the plot.

For example, imagine what would happen if you brought the characters from “Friends” together with the characters of “Sex and the City”? The result would be quite enjoyable. There is no doubt that Joey, Ross, and Chandler would have a field day with the classy and gorgeous New Yorkers Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte. However it would be deliciously unavoidable to have a few vicious catfights between the women interspersed with many extravagant shopping trips. But hey, this script actually could be plausible. Think about it: both shows are set in New York, both appeal to young adults and adults, both lace comedy and drama throughout their plots, both enrapture audiences with beautiful characters and scandalous relationships. Honestly, fusing Sex and the City with Friends would surely appeal to fans. Fan Fiction is powerful in that it enables individuals to sculpt the experiences of their favorite characters. Fans of Sex and the City and Friends would thus have a heyday if they got to sculpt the experiences of such a diverse array of characters. Of course scandal would be essential to the plot, but then again, we live in a culture that is infatuated with watching beautiful people engage in appalling antics.

Digital Speech and Democratic Culture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, and Piracy

I have always thought of the technological infrastructure as conducive to democratic culture in that it supports free expression and democratic participation. However, in his essay “Digital Speech and Democratic Culture” Jack Balkin addresses how those same technologies can also create methods of control that limit participation. Individuals can use telecommunication networks to become active participants in the production of public culture. However, Balkin posits that businesses that control telecommunication networks seek to limit participation because it is inconsistent with their economic interests. Moreover, the very same technologies that offer these possibilities also offer media companies a myriad of ways to push their favored content and products. Consequently, these businesses will try to halt participation that is inconsistent with their economic interests because they want to direct internet users to their own goods rather than towards their competitors. Interestingly, Balkin makes the claim that business strive to push consumers back into their pre-internet roles as “passive recipients of mass media content”. Paradoxically they encourage interactivity that facilitates the purchase of their own goods. This is an extremely important fact, for I had previously been oblivious to the fact that technology can actually limit individual’s democratic participation.

One of the most points in John Perry Barlow’s essay “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” is that Cyberspace is supposed to be a realm void of privilege, prejudice and power. Cyberspace is supposed to be realm where individuals are free from society’s judgmental wrath: a sanctuary where the keyboard is the medium for self expression and chartrooms lead to the cultivation of relationships. Accordingly, Lawrence Lisseg’s article about Piracy serves as an example of how individuals are being deprived of the rewards they deserve for their creative property. The Declaration of Cyberspace works to acknowledge how the internet should be a frontier of self-expression and identity formation. While piracy isn’t an issue of cyberspace rights, it is an issue revolving around individual rights. By using someone else’s creative property without permission from the creator, the artist is being violated and taken advantage of. Similarly, government intervention in Cyberspace violates individuals for it leads to the formation of a hostile virtual society governed by laws rather than the mind. When the government tries to enact laws in cyberspace and when artists lose credit for their own work, the human mind is being robbed of the right of creative expression: a demoralizing violation.

Week 4- Readings

I also found this chapter about Walt Disney and the “borrowing” of Steamboat Willie which featured the one and only Mickey Mouse to be extremely interesting. I can’t say I am surprised though that Disney or the industry would do this type of action, but I am surprised that this issue or story hasn’t come up more. I think plenty of people would be interesting in knowing the true story behind the making of one of the most popular animated characters in the world. I thought Josh’s comment: “Recently, a law was pushed through Congress extending copyright limits (so it takes longer for things to enter the public domain). The law's main sponsor? Disney. The company was fearful of other people using the highly recognizable character of Mickey Mouse” was extremey ironic. It is interesting that Disney would do this considering the way they came about Mickey Mouse in the first place.

Declaration of Independence:
I found some particular parts of this article to be interesting. I liked the line that read:
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity. Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

I think this is a legitimate argument. Through cyberspace there is hardly any prejudice or place where people fear being themselves. People are basically permitted to express any opinion or idea without being punished or outcast, which almost goes against what was written earlier about there being cyber-guards in different parts of the world monitoring what occurs in cyberspace.

It seemed as if everyone commented on how most of these big companies that complain about piracy were at some point doing the same action they argue against.
Imagine the injustice of the thing. A composer writes a song or an opera. A publisher buys at great expense the rights to the same and copyrights it. Along come the phonographic companies and companies who cut music rolls and deliberately steal the work of the brain of the composer and publisher without any regard for [their] rights.” This is a very good point and it is a big injustice, however I must admit I am a culprit of downloading/downloaded music through such programs like Napster and Limewire. It is not that I am trying to deliberately hurt the composer; on the contrary, I like his/her music which is why I am downloading it in the first place. It is more out of convenience that I think people use these programs which are easily available with the internet. As for the radio, I think the radio helps promote music and artists so how can the article really say that the radio gets something for nothing? Sure the artists may not get money but they get exposure which in turn leads to consumers wanting to buy their music, listen to it, and perhaps even go to a concert.

My take on our readings


I was interested in the part of the article that talked about the doujinshi market, and how these artists try to innovate and improve upon the designs of manga creators. This notion got me thinking about Wikipedia and about how anyone is able to alter the information on that site because it is based on the notion of free speech and the free-flow of information. However, I think were the problem arises with Wikipedia as opposed to the doujinshi market is that Wikipedia deals with facts while doujinshi deals with art. While a doujinshi artist may do a poor rendering or alteration on a manga creation, someone who posts false information on Wikipedia has the power to alter thought, and thus is detrimental to the individuals who read their posting.


I found this article to be very readable. I was particularly interested in the idea that there are gaps in the law that have allowed for various kinds of piracy with regard to new kinds of technology. I began thinking about how the technology of the future might experience the same kind of struggle. I also wonder about gaps in the law and legal loopholes that may exist with regard to Second Life. For instance, when one spends $L in Second Life, there is no sales tax. Could a state government step in and insist that with the procurement of goods of either the physical or non-physical kind should come some form of tax? I wonder where the government might be able to take this further...


I'm going to be completely honest; I found this article to be kind of bizarre. However, I felt that some of the issues that the declaration brings out relate to the concerns I addressed regarding the "Pirates" article. Most notably when the author states, "we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us...Cyberspace does not lie within your borders." This reminded me of the idea I had about governments eventually trying to interfere with SL commerce, as well as the notion that they might at some point try to restrict certain kinds of SL activities. I feel it is extremely hard to legislate when a new kind of realm has presented itself.

Digital Speech:

There were several things I started thinking about while I was reading this article. For one, I feel that the author is exactly right in saying that digital technology "creates a new set of conflicts over capital and property rights" (3). This goes back to what I said before about the issues that digital technology has provided legislators. The issue closely ties in with the notion that freedom of expression is a right, and one that shouldn't be taxed on monitored. Something I was a little confused about was the idea of the website called "Television Without Pity." It seems like there are already a number of television programs out there which do the same thing: making fun of other things that are on TV. Example: The Soup. Another issue I found myself struggling with was when the author said that "People used to talk about last night's television programs at the water cooler the next morning; now they can publish their thoughts and distribute them to a global and anonymous audience" (11). I feel that there is a lot to be said for the power of face-to-face interaction, and it bothers me that this kind of interaction can be so easily traded for an "anonymous" audience. Aside from seeming very anti-social in nature, this method of expression distances people from their fellow human beings. Additionally, I also believe that people should be able to stand on their own two feet and be willing to express their opinions to a real audience rather than a digital one. I feel that builds character.


Here are 3 stories that I thought you guys might enjoy:

1.) "Moments" (
This is a piece of fanfiction which examines the lives of Tony and Michelle from "24" on days which are not the ones featured on the show. It is an interesting piece because it gives more insight into Tony and Michelle as actual people. However, for fans of 24, Michelle's characterization as a woman who is utterly consumed with her actions and interactions with Tony seems completely off base with regard to everything we have seen of Michelle's character previously. However, it is a fun story to read because it interesting to analyze why the writer chose to portray the characters as he/she did, as well as to determine how you would have shown these characters in a different light.

2.) "Napoleon goes to Disneyland" (
This one cracked me up, it's about Napoleon Dynamite (and Deb, Kip, Pedro, and Lafawnda) going to Disneyland. Where it could have been trite, it offered some really humorous dialogue. The author plays well on the awkward silences that the original film presented. My favorite parts were Pedro's comments about the park and rides, as well as Napoleon, Deb, and Pedro's experience in the Haunted Mansion. You should flippin' read this!

3.) "Always Together, Never Over" (
This story picks up where a very short scene ended in the movie "The Notebook." It deals with the interaction between Allie and Noah after Allie meets Noah's pseudo-girlfriend, Martha. I think this was an interesting scene to write about because the film kind of glosses over the fact that Allie was so emotionally alright with the fact that Noah had been seeing someone else. However, there are moments when Allie becomes more emotional than her character in the film would have become. Aside from that, it offers an interesting perspective into the movie.

My idea for a fan-fiction story:

I would like to write a piece based on the show "24." The story would describe how Jack Bauer got together with the girlfriend he had at the beginning of last season. To me it seemed like he did a lot of settling with regard to his choice, and I wondered if maybe he had done this because it was a way of maintaining his cover; his girlfriends in the last were very complex people, while this new girlfriend seemed extremely one-dimensional. Also, I would like to delve into how Jack ended his relationship with this woman.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


This article was interesting but also I think it is retelling an old fact. Most of the Disney stories are fairy tails that have been made to be mass produced. Many of there movies are based on tails from many many years ago. There is always this fascination with original ideas in our society. But how can one think of a new and original idea when working in the a place like Disney. You have a turn out movies every year that you know will make a profit. That is when ideas are "borrowed" because people that make these movies are not trying to tell a good story they're trying to make money. In fact I read an article that was an interview with the Dreamworks executive who admitted that they didn't spend as much time as Pixar on the quality of the movie because they worked on quantity. They turn out more movies a year to make more in the annual profit then they don't have to rely or risk hoping that an individual movie will make enough money. As where Pixar relies on an individual film to make profit and so spend more time of the development of the story. People are thinking in business terms here, as well they should be. They are not concerned with the story but how much the story can make them. As for true originality it is something that can't really be achieved. People are influenced by everything around them there is no one who hasn't seen something or been inspirited by something in the world. This is the most important distinction I believe we must make; Is it inspiration and influence or it is stolen? Ideas are seen as original because they have taken something from their lives and turned it into their own. Think of when a band, for example, is being interviewed, one of the main questions their asked is who influences them? Are we going to accuse them that they aren't being original because they say they've been influenced by such and such band? Originality can be found in those who understand the difference. In business like Disney I don't think originality is their first priority.

Again this is an issue that is driven by money and profit. Piracy is something that has been around for many years as Lessing says that even industries come from a piracy. I makes me think when you see an advertisement for something such as and ipod and then suddenly Sony has something just like it but its called the Zen. Is this piracy, didn't Apple come up with that idea first! That is a product that was on the market and out before all others and now there are look alikes all over the place. I know that Sony didn't take the ipod and resell for a profit but I feel that if you wanted could claim that this was a form of Piracy. The problem is how would one govern such a thing. The Internet has incredible power. It is much bigger and reaches more people then anything ever before. It is something so vast I am unsure how would one start to stop people from doing anything and everything on the Internet.

Jack M. Balkin's Digital Speech and Democratic Culture:

This was a very interest article. The issue of free speech is something very delicate. The Internet has opened a whole new aspect to free speech that couldn't be found in any other form. It is based on free speech and has expanded only because of the freedom that can be found within it. Without the freedom of the Internet people I don't believe would have been so interested in it. Here you can create, do, and say whatever you want. The Internet reaches millions and can be accessed by millions. So then how to bring some kind of structure to the Internet. Balkin is right that these new technologies have changed our outlook on freedom of speech we as ordinary have more power today to reach a world audience. That means that anyone with an opinion or thought can post it on the internet but should these people be able to have this freedom. I have found some very disturbing things on the internet. Even on our own Santa Clara website after the theme party issue was brought up there were some very racist comments made. These are the things that we work against in our society. There are so many issues that need to addressed with regards to the use of the internet and I don't believe that they are all going to be solved anytime soon.

John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

Barlow brings up some very interesting claims about how Cyberspace has no need of industry or government interference. It seems that industry is what drives some of the internet. There are whole businesses that are established within the net. And going back to the talk about free speech there has to be some kind of govern of such a world because if any civilization is going to survive then there must be some kind of rule and order to it.

Fan Fiction

I read through the definition and illegal problems with fan fiction and found it to a great way for people to take a new spin of a old idea. I feel like its a way for a fan to express themselves using an idea that they love. I was trying to think of some movie or show that I found to be most interesting to me and thought of adding another episode of Rome where they explain the life and story of the foundation of Rome before Caesar. Starting with the story of Romulus and Remus taking a look at what created their myth of she-wolf and tell their real life story. Maybe explain how they were found when they were living in the wilderness. Their being raised by the shepherd and their relationship as brothers. Finally the founding of Rome and how Romulus become king. Also how Remus got killed because of mocking the fortifications of Rome. I think this would be interesting to those who watch the show because they want to see the beginning to the end. I think that this will give a new modern spin to the story and also an interesting look on how myths come into being. I believe if your going to start telling a story such as the story of Rome people would want the whole story. It would be great to see how such a small colony can turn into one of the greatest empires in the world.

Reading Assignments

Fan Fiction:
I found that I enjoyed the fan fiction more when the original story didn't have a concrete ending. It is probably because I already have the ending set in my head and it's hard to move away from that. Also, because the ending is so vague and leaves the audience still questioning, the author doesn't have to force a transition into their own story. When I started searching for different fan fiction stories, I didn't' know what I was supposed to be looking for. I did, however, get the hang of it when I realized that you just don't want to read some stories, and others you get sucked into pretty easily. Of all the fan fictions that I read, I enjoyed "The Truman Show Continued: Immediately - 2005," "Osgood I Just Don't Swing That Way!" and "
If I were to write a piece of fan fiction myself, I would write one from The Prestige. It would start from the middle of the movie when Alfred Borden first introduces his magic trick and will continue to tell his side of the story. It would include his plan of cutting off his partner's fingers in order to have a double for the show as well as the love affair with Olivia and his wife, Sarah. Alfred would then be the one questioning how Robert performs the same trick, and discovering the numerous amounts of dead Roberts underneath the stage. A moral battle instead of a competition will then rise between the two men. A battle that Robert failed to acknowledge. Readers would be interested in my fan fiction because the movie does answer a lot of the lingering questions, but at the same time only tells the story from one point of view. You spend the whole movie thinking that you know who the righteous man is, but finish it questioning good and bad, right and wrong. It's surprising to what extent people go to in the name of competition and obsession. This movie would appeal to a number of people because it was generally a good movie but inconclusive. You don't get the full range of emotions involved in Alfred's life, and his fight to keep things in control. He sacrificed many things in order to show Robert up, and we see the consequences of those decisions, but miss the journey.

This article was really interesting. Most people are interested in Disney. Just the thought of it brings back memories of childhood, and every year millions of people young AND old visit Disneyland, hoping to relive their days. This article, however, brings a new light onto Disney. I wasn't aware of how much of Disney's ideas were copied and or tweaked from an original. Even the infamous Mickey Mouse wasn't the genius of Walt Disney to begin with. Similar to this, the Japanese comics, doujinshi, are illegal modifications of the same comic, characters, illustrations, and all. The interesting part about these doujinshi comics is that there are so many of them in circulation and yet nothing is being done to crack down on illegal practice. They are being sold at every magazine store, and almost every person is reading them, yet no one is getting reprimanded for having them.

The whole idea of piracy is based on the fact that the American people as a whole are money grubbers. Everyone wants to get paid for every little thing they do. There are even websites that give you money to take surveys. People want to get the maximum amount of money for the least amount of effort. So when creators actually do work, they want to get paid for it. They want to make sure that they receive everything that they deserve. That in itself is understandable. When you start off, you don't care as much if people pay you; you just want your piece of work out there for the public to view and/or listen to.

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:
The interesting part of this declaration is that there are basically no rules other than the Golden Rule. He says that this way of life may be better than the one in the real world, but I'm skeptical. However distraught real life may be, every civilization needs some sense of higher order. It would be nice if we could survive as a country or world based on treating others as you would like to be treated, but things happen; not all people are good, and when someone does something that isn't welcome, there needs to be a way to determine what is right and what is wrong. The Golden Rule, however righteous it may be, still has its flaws.

Comments on the Assigned Readings By Alexandra Seppala

Response to Jack M. Balkin's Digital Speech and Democratic Culture:

I definitely agree with Jack Balkin in that the Internet and digital technologies in general are changing the ways in which people use and interpret freedom of speech. I also agree that this is a pressing issue that must be examined. The Internet is basically created by free speech. If we take into consideration all of the fan websites, personal websites, social networking sites and blogs, the Internet becomes a means for displaying free speech in a completely open and uninhibited domain. Because of the freedoms associated with digital technologies, the issue of freedom of speech must be addressed. Just as the laws regarding freedom of speech outline certain codes of conduct, so should the Internet.

Response to John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

I found it very interesting that in the opening of Barlow’s Declaration to the Independence of Cyberspace he posed a warning to governments and to the industrial world. He attests that Cyberspace is “the new home of Mind,” which implies that the government and the industrial world lack intelligence. He also is claiming that these two entities are outdated and do not contribute to cyberspace in any way and thus, should not impose their rules upon the online community. Barlow ends by stating that the users of cyberspace will create their own “civilization,” which again implies that the world of cyberspace needs no assistance from the establishments that have been running our country throughout history. Barlow is making huge claims, which he does not do a good job of backing up. His declaration is very amusing, but does not have much weight in my opinion. Even cyberspace needs some form of governing, which would be based upon already established laws that our government has implemented upon our industrial society.

Response to Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture:

Lawrence Lessig addresses the issues surrounding free culture from a very unique perspective. Upon reading chapters 1 and 4 from Lessig’s Free Culture, I began to wonder about the freedom of the Internet. Just how free is digital culture? And more importantly, how long will it remain as free as it is today? Will the Internet become increasingly censored? Or will blogs and social networking sites continue to run free with hardly any rules or regulations? I believe that rules will be implemented eventually, and that it is merely a matter of when.

Option B: Fan Fiction by Alexandra Seppala

Grey’s Anatomy: The Morning After

The piece of fan fiction I would write would be a spin-off of the Grey’s Anatomy episode that followed the episode in which George and Izzie slept together. Instead of George’s initial memory loss, I would have him completely remember his drunken fling with Izzie. The two best friends would wake up in each other’s arms and realize that they had slept together. It would be really awkward at first and George would feel really guilty about cheating on his wife, but then he would realize that he was really in love with Izzie. He would announce his feelings right there and then and Izzie would admit that she had always loved George. Eventually, George would divorce his wife and him and Izzie would begin to date.

I think that several people would enjoy this piece of fan fiction because Grey’s Anatomy is such a popular show and—at least according to my friends and acquaintances—George’s relationship with Callie is less than satisfying. George and Callie simply are not right for each other. Izzie is a much more loveable character than Callie and her and George would compliment each other very well. I think that fans of Grey’s Anatomy would really love seeing Izzie and George together because they are best friends and they are always flirting anyways. It just seems like such a natural progression for Izzie and George’s relationship to turn romantic. George and Izzie would make a stellar couple and I believe that the Grey’s Anatomy fan base would agree.


This piece had a very interesting message, I was almost completely unaware of the degree of complications with describing who a creator is. I was also unaware of the level of "piracy" that Walt Disney was guilty of. Perhaps the most enthralling issue raised by this article is that of the Japanese Manga market and the competing doujinshi market. To answer some of the questions raised by the author about, I personally do not feel that Japan would benefit from a more strenuous prosecution of doujinshi artist. In fact, I believe that if Japan approached the issue with as much fervor as American legal powers then a very important artistic outlet would be lost. The freedom that the artists are afforded by the lack of legal recourse, I believe, is the reason that Japanese artists today are far exceeding the artistic works of American cartoonists who are stifled by legal barriers.

I agree with Lessig in his assertion that all major industries are built from pirating roots and that our generation for some reason thinks that this is bad. One thing that I wish that he spoke to is a possible explanation for this change in opinion. In ancient times imitation was considered the highest form of flattery, and in Greek cultures it wasn't art unless it was a copy or representation of something that already existed. In this case I feel that piracy is a good thing. For today's culture piracy wouldn't be an issue if we weren't so driven to earn money. Everyone wants to get paid, no one wants to just be heard: except on the Internet. Lessing should have included a section on how the Internet is changing the parameters of piracy and the legal ramifications of this new medium.

Digital Speech
I loved this article! I feel that this article picked up where the Lessing "Pirates" chapter left off. Balkin directly addressed how the shift from printed/physical productions to electronic publications has affected our definitions of copyright and free speech. My favorite point of his was when he verbalized how the Internet better illustrated a democratic society to exist. "Digital technologies highlight the cultural and participatory features of freedom of expression." This technology better facilitates a type of equality of persons involved in a democracy devoid of separations based upon class, or sex, or even race that are trodden upon within the "physical" democratic community.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fan Fiction

While browsing through fan fiction, I didn't know where to start. I had no idea what I was looking for, and what I was going to find. I started by just browsing for television shows and movies that had been of some interest to myself.
The first fan fiction I read was based off of the show "The Office." I love that show and watch it every week, so I decided to give it a chance. I was hoping not to come across a love scene involving my beloved character Jim; luckily I did not. I found this form of fan fiction very entertaining. It was like I was "watching" an actual epidsode. It was funny, and charming all at the same time. I found myself laughing and being able to picture the characters saying and doing exactly what the author had written. . After reading the responses from the readers, I wasn't the only one that was enjoying it.
The other fan fiction I read about was based off of the show Sex and the City. There were only two stories written, and I found one to be similar to the show. It was entertaining to read, but wasn't something that would draw me in. Because I wasn't as interested in these writings, I decided to focus my attention on "The Office." I went back and read other Office stories to see if they were just as interesting as the first one I read. I found that, for the most part, they were all pretty entertaining. It was as if a whole new season of The Office had started. The only difference is, it seemed to reflect the feelings of viewers of the real show. A lot of the Office fan fiction dealt with a relationship between Jim and Pam (two characters that I've wanted to get together for a long time!) It seemed that since the tv show didnt put them together, fan fiction authors would. This is the similar reason to why I would write my fan fiction based off of the television show The Office. I could alter endings and change things from the tv show to favor how I wanted things to turn out. I would want to focus the writing to the witty comments that are produced on the show. I wouldn't really get too involved in any romantic relationships. Nothing more that what already happens on the show, but still keeping it G rated. I wouldn't be too interested in how many people read my story.; that's not important to me. I think what is important is that people who are already fans of the show can come and appreciate the new stories.

Reading, Fan Fiction, Other...

Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace and Digital Speech and Democratic Culture

John Barlow is a writer, lyricist for the Grateful Dead, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and extremely vigilant about the sovereignty of cyberspace. Barlow published online “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”, in response to legislation coming from the White House; Barlow declares that cyberspace is independent of national-external sovereignty. In favor of Barlow’s argument, the federal court system of the USA ruled that the Communications Decency Act’s content based regulation of the Internet violates the US Constitution’s First Amendment. For many people of the internet generation, cyberspace offers an area for ideas to exist freely. Unlike Barlow, I do not feel the need to create a Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. The internet, for me, is simply part of social culture, a tool for reference and communication. I approach cyberspace with a more libertarian approach, where and if a problem arises that demands fixing, a solution will naturally arise out of a common desire by the people to solve the problem.

Chapter One: Creators

For some time now I have been in the belief that original stories and original story tellers are a rarity in our world today. Every movie that has come to the big screens over the past 20 years can be related to some story or movie that has been previously displayed. Although I am a critic of originality, I too, have trouble thinking in original terms. How does a person develop a story outside of the frameworks of good and evil, man and woman, love and hate? The basic concepts of storytelling have been so thoroughly overworked by mainstream media that thinking outside of the box is a very difficult and confusing prospect. The media industry appears to be giving up on original screenplays and favors producing marginally profitable remakes, sequels, and formulaic stories. Consider the movie “Ghostbusters”. “Ghostbusters” took off in the 1980s as an original idea, but swept up in the success of “Ghostbusters”, “Ghostbusters II” came out and then cartoons came after that. Eventually the originality of the “Ghostbusters” floundered in the flood of spin offs that the media industry squeezed every penny from. It took about 10 years for the media industry to decide that “Ghostbusters” needed to be revamped and redressed; and thus we were presented with “MIB: Men In Black”, a seemingly original storyline for the new generation that did not live through the “Ghostbusters” craze.

Chapter Four: Pirates

Piracy, for me, is not an illegal act that ruins an original piece of intellectual property. Piracy for me allows for the proliferation of innovation and draws away from invention. While the interconnected media giants fight against piracy, they must recognize that they themselves are at least partially guilty of piracy. The 1970’s DJ scandals are a prime witness to the meddling of the media industry and the industry’s connection to piracy. In the 1970s, the media industry was initially against DJs playing an artist’s music over the airwaves, UNTIL the media industry realized that playing music over the radio allows for a dissemination of information—the way and advertisement promotes a product. The radio soon became heavily invested with the media industry’s influence and desire to promote their best interests. DJs were often bribed to play music from one company over the other. Instead of promoting free airwaves and the “good time great hits” of the radio, the radio was dominated by media interests. The media industry enjoyed the promotion of their music through the radio until technology caught up with them and recordable tape decks, then cds, then recordable cds, then mp2, and then mp3s took the advantage away from the media industry. While the radio is able to wash its hands of wrongdoing because of its support from the media industry, individuals who download and play their own respective radio station from their computer are considered pirates-outlaws. Instead of viewing people who use programs like limewire, azureus, bittorrent, and other p2p engines as pirates, I believe they should be viewed as innovative citizens. People who pirate media are simply finding new ways of doing old things. These pirates have developed a new method of distributing media content—at the cost of the media industry’s bread and butter. Finally, the pirates that the media industry vigorously hunts have only presented the media industry with the challenge of inventing a new and better product.

Fan Fiction:

Perusing through the fan fiction websites that scatter the internet, I found myself more attracted to the fantastical tales spun by the cartoons of my childhood. In particular, I found that additions to G.I. Joes, Justice League, King Arthur, He-man, Superman, X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, and other cartoons were abundant in fan fiction. Unlike the enjoyable cartoons that I remember, most of these stories were spin offs that lacked the feel good feeling of the originals and they added an unpreferable ethos to the cartoons that distracted me from the story. Instead of visualizing the story, I visualized the person who would write the fan fiction. Therefore, fan fiction for me is unauthentic and usually a portrayal of the original characters being out of character.

He-Man -
G.I. Joe -

Justice League -

Batman/Superman Adventures -

X-Men -

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reading Assignments

I found this article to be very interesting. Since I am a huge fan of Disney movies I have this image of their movies as being very creative and "cute" (because I am a girl and I say those things). Even though their movies are still creative, this article shows that their productions are not always orignal. Ideas for their movies have been "borrowed." These borrowed ideas are turned into a unique piece because of slight alterations that were made. After reading Emily's blog, I thought to myself, 'What in the world hasn't been previously influenced?' She brought up the example of the fashion industry, and I found that to be a great example. If everything is based on what is "in fashion" that season, who does get ownership for the original ideas? I don't put industries down because of this "borrowing", and I don't think any less of them. This article just opened my eyes to how important competing people are in your specified field of interest, because from others you can redirect and reshape your own ideas.

Declaration of Independence
I really liked this article. I don't have a lot to say about it, but to me it pretty much said, "Leave us alone." I ilked it, it really held its ground and went against authority in a way.

Chapter four: Pirates
I found this article interesting because of the fact that big industries are fighting for protection from piracy when they themselves are guilty of it. Radio is a big example of an industry that is born of piracy. Everytime they play a song it is a "public performance," therefore, they need to pay the composer. Law states that the radio station needs to pay the composer but not recording artists. The article states, "The radio station thus gets something for nothing." I found that to be kind of shocking. Think of how many songs they play a day! Well, I guess I can't really get too involved into the lack of money paid to recording artists, seeing how i've downloaded my own music without paying.

Reading Assignments Thoughts

I found the mention of doujinshi very interesting in this article because of its link to our other assignment. Doujinshi is basically a more complex form of fanfiction - using someone else's characters in the artist's original or (more frequently) derived story. However, some of Japan's greatest manga-kas (manga artists) started out imitating others by drawing doujinshis - will the relatively new phenomena of fanfiction produce the world's next generation of successful writers as well?

As for the example of Disney, there's one fact that I found resonated particularly well with this story. Recently, a law was pushed through Congress extending copyright limits (so it takes longer for things to enter the public domain). The law's main sponsor? Disney. The company was fearful of other people using the highly recognizable character of Mickey Mouse.

How ironic.

Speaking of irony... it's funny how all these companies are complaining today of "pirates" taking all their money when in fact they were all pirates at one point or another. However, I disagree with the last line. ("Every generation welcomes the pirates from the last. Every generation--until now.") Our generation is perfectly accepting of the "pirates" - in fact, many of us *are* "pirates". It's the older generation that, unable to handle the growing capabilities of technology and the changing definition of property, is seeking to quash certain parts of the digital revolution whilst labeling the revolutionaries "pirates". We've reached the top of the triangle - people have gone from welcoming pirates of the old generation to welcoming pirates of the new generation - while the old generation's pirates are increasingly wary and unaccepting of the new generation's pirates.

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:
Wow. This was a very uplifting, defiant piece of writing to read. I liked it a lot - it creates a great "us vs. them" mentality - which in a sense, does exist. The American government, in particular, has been ham-fisted in dealing with the Internet. Certain acts of trod upon the freedom of many people on the Internet. And recently, I read a troubling piece of news that the EU was seeking to ban "hate speech" on the Internet - a scary proposition indeed. If even the Internet can be censored, where does freedom exist?

Digital Speech and Democratic Culture:
I found the part about "the scarcity is now the audience" quite amusing. One of the main problems for people wishing to make themselves known on the Internet is separating themselves from the rest of the faceless masses. Thus, in order to do this, they often do ridiculous things or adopt personas that attract attention. The most common example of this is the perfectly normal person who becomes a complete psychopath online, engaging routinely in the "flaming" of people with even slightly differing viewpoints from their own. This behavior may not attract good attention, but any attention is attention - and this behavior also helps to differentiate them from others in attracting an audience. Amusingly enough, this behavior has become so common that it is now impossible to tell many "trolls" from one another as more and more vitriol and rage fueled people seek attention over the Internet - leaving people who are actually civil and even-tempered as the odd people out. This new differentiation causes the calm Internet user to be more successful in gaining an audience, while the angry trolls are relegated to obscurity.

This at least differs from real life in one aspect: radio. While on the Internet, trolls are commonly ignored, some of the most popular radio hosts (Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage) are vile, hateful, and spiteful ignoramuses - and they continue to attract significant attention due to their angry rants. It's hard to find a calm and moderate radio host who has the same audience size that Rush Limbaugh boasts of. Of course, most of their listeners are probably not yet cognizant of this change occurring on the Internet (if they're even cognizant of the Internet at all), and if they were to discover the Internet, would quickly become one of the trolls most Internet veterans so despise.

Oh well, such is life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fan Fiction

I read this assignment with some familiarity mostly because I have interacted with the fanfiction community before - however, not with the movies and TV shows the example websites have, but with anime fanfiction. Anime fanfiction is more focused along the lines of "pairings", which are romantic interactions between characters whether or not those interactions existed in the source material.

For a while now, I've been watching (some would say "obsessed with") the anime Naruto, and when I wandered online one day to see what Naruto communities there were online, I stumbled upon the Naruto fanfiction scene. I've read my fair share of fanfictions, and even written a few (not my proudest moment).

Here are a few fanfics I've enjoyed...

A Little Harmony - One of the few truly believable "alternate universe" fanfictions, and the best I've ever read. This was also one of the first fanfictions I read - and when I learned just how addictive reading these things could be. I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning reading this (and ended up snoozing through a morning class... but it was worth it!). This is an example of a long fanfic with a developed plot.

Tools of the Trade - This is an example of the kind of story I usually write and enjoy the most - the genre's called "fluff". Fluff is usually less than 5000 words (often referred to as a oneshot) and more often than not features some sort of romantic tension or interaction. They're usually silly little things, but some of them are serious. There's only a very basic plot present in these.

Something Like That - A third example of a different genre of fanfiction: the "crack" fic. Crackfics feature the characters behaving very out-of-character or in random situations, and are usually humorous in nature.

If you'd care to read my writing (warning: I'm a talentless hack who can only write fluff stories :[ ), here's a little fluff piece I wrote for a fanclub's contest a few days ago.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Free Culture

Chapter One: Creators
Reading this chapter, I thought that author raised some very interesting points and supported these points with relevant examples. While we may not all think about it, a majority of what is created today is not totally original, it is modeled after a previous creation, but because of the tiny bit of infused originality, it is then seen as something new. With strict copyright laws in place in America, we are always concerned about giving credit to where is it due, which I totally agree with, but I think that it is important to recognize that a majority of what we are creating is just an extension of a previously existing idea and I think it is difficult to pinpoint ownership to just one precise person. I'm just throwing this out there but take for example the fashion industry. Every season, there is an "in" style, whether it be a particular color, style dress, or shoe. It isn't possible to decide who has ownership over this declaration, and it is actually original because each designer creates their own interpretation of that style. With that said, I agree with the authors idea of the necessity of free cultures where we leave a great deal open for others to build upon, because without this idea, we as a culture wouldn't have access to some the most important theories, forms of media, architecture, or entertainment because they would have begun and ended with their original creator.

Chapter Four: Pirates
Reading this article, I found it interesting that the main industries that are fighting the problems of piracy today, were actually industries that were born out of the act of piracy as it is defined. While I do understand what the concept of piracy is, I do wonder, and this may be a stupid question to ask, but if piracy is taking the ideas of a creative property of others without permission, can this be applied to ideas of using the same story concept for films be considered piracy? For example films that are labeled romantic comedies typically have the same idea that contribute to the plot or pop music utilized similar beats and lyrics, but just contain different spins on the same concept. Once again that may be a stupid question to ask...

Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace and Digital Speech and Democratic Culture
As expressed in both of these articles, the freedom of speech entails the ability to interact with one another, often disagreeing, agreeing, parodying or imitating one another. With the internet, the ability to say and publish anything that we want is made even more possible as blogs, MySpace, Facebook and other websites become more and more popular. Through this communication system, it is interesting now that people are able to fully express their opinions as Barlow explains without any privilege or prejudice of race, economic power, military power, or station of birth, so it appears to be the ultimate freedom. But it appears that certain governments are trying to regulate what is placed on the web, but isn't the web the ultimate freedom of speech that society has desired for years?

Fan Fiction

When I began my navigation of the Fan Fiction Index, I started by looking for titles that were relevant to what I am personally interested in or could identify with based on being of fan of the actual film or television program. Just beginnning my search through the titles, I was suprised by the variety of programs that people have taken and created their own spin on the characters and their stories. There was everything from Days of Our Lives to Harry Potter to the classic film Goonies. While I have never heard of the emerging genre of Fan Fiction, it appears to be on the rise and any popular program is up for grabs, with additions to be added through sequals and chapters to stories written by the same author. It could almost be seen as a television series in writing, as many people post responses expressing their excitement for the next chapter to the story. As I continued to search through the index, I chose to focus on some of my own personal favorite programs to see how other people chose to twist or create additional story lines. From the selection, I chose to really examine Law and Order:SVU, which is a show I can easily watch for hours.

As I browsed through various stories written about SVU, I found a few focused on the ADA character of Casey Novack, especially two titled "Charming the Incorrigible" and "Question Words." In these stories, I found it interesting how some authors chose to focus around her feelings of alienation as the new attorney and how she didn't feel accepted by the SVU squad and how she, as an overachiever, was determined to win their respect and acceptance. I think that I found these short stories to be so interesting because in programs like SVU or even CSI we are never really exposed to the emotions of the characters like the police officers or laywers, these plot lines are typically devoted to the characters who play the victims, so through this fan fiction, we are exposed to a different side to the characters.

With this idea in mind, I would propose the idea to continue on with the SVU series and continue on with the idea of exploring the thoughts and emotions of the police officers. Through this it would be possible to learn about how investigating such vicious crimes actually effect the characters on a more personal level, instead of just seeing them in their professional state as they investigate crime scenes. Here we would be able to see a more personal side to these characters, but I wouldn't want to include any romantic aspects to the stories.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fan Frenzie

While navigating the Fan Fiction Index, I explored the workings of the "movie" section. I checked out a few different films that I have recently enjoyed such as She's the Man, Mean Girls, and School of Rock to find out what people were writing about them. It was very impressive to find a lot of creative entries with potential for concrete results. Sequels could be born out of many of the entries I read, especially for those who dedicated time into creating actual chapters for a new storyline. There was definitely a large amount of entertainment value within the lines of these fictional stories. I would enjoy a flick following the lives of the kids in School of Rock as they age to middle schoolers and/or high schoolers. Plus, a Mean Girls 2 would probably be a great success since the first one did so well.

After reviewing a few of the entries on movies such as those listed above, I came across a title that I thought would be particularly interesting to our population. I saw in the list of titles Bend it Like Beckham, a movie which portrayed female soccer players in London who end up fulfilling their dream to come to America, coincidentally to play soccer at Santa Clara. Purely out of the desire to find out what was written about Santa Clara, I decided to investigate.
I first found a mock interview with the main character in the movie, Jess, in which she is being asked about playing at SCU. It's rather short, and it is clear that the person who wrote it didn't know much about SCU.
In another entry entitled "LA Virgins," the girls spend spring break in LA and end up romantically involved. I guess I should have caught on by reading into the title, but alas no. So the story is a very sensual femslash of two girlfriends falling in love, not pertaining much to SCU student life.

I think that it would be more effective if I were to write my own Fan Fiction piece on what happens to the girls when they arrive at SCU to play soccer. Having experienced being a freshman in various dorms, and now living with a female soccer player, I think I'm qualified to write a fiction piece on their lives after the end of the movie. It could follow episodes of the girls struggle to fit in with the team traditions, coaching, and more challenging league. In addition, it could show how they handle classes and socialization as college freshmen. It could entail the new strains on their relationships with people from home, with possible visits from family and boyfriends. Needless to say, I probably would not have the two girls fall in love with each other. They were straight in the first movie, and I would plan on keeping it that way.