Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kite Runner Essay

The novel "The Kite Runner," written by Khaled Hosseini, is about a young man named Amir and the experiences he went through during turmoil in his country, Afghanistan. The beginning of the story centers around Amir, the main character, and Hassan. Amir and Hassan are totally different people. Amir is well educated, a Sunni Muslim, and his a Pashtun. Also, Amir tends to read a lot of books. With his nerd-like attributes, Amir tends to be somewhat disappointing to his father’s eyes. In contrast to Amir’s coward personality would be Hassan caring personality. Hassan, a Hazara, is Sh’ia Muslim and a servant to Amir’s family. Aside from his status as a servant, he would still treat Amir with a lot of respect. Hassan would basically do everything for Amir. Also, Hassan would also back up Amir, every time he is in a hostile predicament. Though Hassan was illiterate, it did not stop him from caring about Amir. On the other hand, Amir was very jealous of Hassan because Baba, Amir’s father, admired Hassan more. Amir would do a lot of things that would disgrace and abuse Hassan. There was at one point of the novel where Amir tried to frame Hassan by stashing money under Hassan’s bed. Then, at one part of the book, the Russian invade Afghanistan, causing Hassan and Amir to split ways. Later on in the novel, Amir would try to return to his Afghanistan and to mend his wrong doings to Hassan. Though this story contains a lot of melancholy moments, one can not tend to ignore the propaganda that was inject within this novel. This novel contains numerous propaganda messages that would degrade the Afghan people. Many of the messages in this novel contains things about rape and violence that can propel people into thinking that Afghanistan is a wretched and filthy place.
There is definitely a lot of propaganda in this novel. In the novel, there are a lot of fine examples of negative propaganda. Parts of the book contained imagines of rape and massive violence The negative messages portrayed in the book would make Afghanistan citizens look bad. Though not all the Afghans are violent rapists, the ones in the book whoever are ones being used as propaganda. The most notable horrific incidents that happened in the book are the ones that include the raping of Amir’s servant Hassan, the raping of Sohrab, and terror acts committed by the Taliban.
Amir and Hassan were peacefully flying a kite during and Afghanistan event. When Amir’s kite flew away, Hassan was the one to chase after the kite. After retrieving the kite, Hassan and Amir were confronted by Assef and his gang. Assef and his crew assaulted and attack Hassan while Amir watch horror. Sadly, this incident ended with the raping of Hassan by Assef.
This part of the book should disgust a lot of readers. Usually people around that age would not even think of rape or violence at all. Instead of seeing only good people, this scene shows a trustworthy person being violated by malicious human beings. This image can definitely be used as negative propaganda. The rape scene can convince people that Afghans constantly rape each other. It also conveys a message that sex is violence in the eyes of the Afghan people.
The were plenty more rape incidents that occurred in this novel. Another notable rape scene can be found near the end of the book. After learning that Hassan is actually Amir’s step brother, Amir went in search for Hassan’s son Sohrab. Amir was informed that Sohrab was taken to a children’s orphanage. After arriving at the orphanage, Amir learned that Sohrab was no longer there. Sohrab was adopted and taken away from the orphanage. At that time, Amir learned the person who adopted Hassan’s son was the same person who raped him many years ago. Amir came with the conclusion that Assef, the bully that raped Hassan, was the one to adopted Sohrab. After tracing the steps and finding the location of the two, Amir learns that Sohrab was also raped by Assef. Again, rape and children is reappears in the story. This image of adopting children from orphanages and raping them can truly horrify anyone that reads about it. The rapping of Sohrab can heavily be used as negative propaganda. Sohrabs’s rape can convince a lot of people that Afghans are evil rapists.
Other than the subject of rape, there were numerous references to violence and hate through out the book. Most of the time, readers would encounter numerous racial slanders against a group known as the Hazara. The Hazara are very low class type of people. A lot of people in Afghanistan would despise the Hazara. The Taliban, a radical terrorist group in Afghanistan, is well known for their violent behavior against the Hazara. Sadly, Hassan was identified as a Hazara in the book. Later on in the story, Amir learned that Hassan, who stayed in Afghanistan, and his wife were utterly shot dead by the Taliban terrorist group. Unlikely for the Afghans, this can be used as negative propaganda as well. The Taliban and other hateful Afghans can convey a message that Afghans are murders and killers of their own people. Messages of death and killing can cause many viewers to despise the wicked Afghans.
There are many more propaganda that are within this book. For the most part, rape and violence seems to be the more highlighted ones. With these messages of sins, war groups, the promote war, can use the messages to boost their moral into attacking Afghans. This type of propaganda can not only be used for hate, but it can also be used for war as well. The propaganda mentioned in the book can help dehumanized the Afghans, causing a lot more people to hate them easier.
Overall, the was an extremely sad book. With the disturbing propaganda images, it can really convince people to despise Afghans. This however did not change my view on the Afghan people. Instead of giving into the propaganda message, I believed that not all Afghan people are evil and cunning. In fact, I still believe that Afghanistan does not have that much bad people. It is only the radical and hateful groups such as the Taliban that can promote the image of an evil Afghanistan. This novel did change my views of Afghanistan at all. It’s just like any other country. Some countries have bad and good people. This was a good book just as long as the readers ignore the propaganda messages.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Magazine for a Hip Hop Head

I suscribe to many different kinds of magazines, Vibe, Game Informer, Nintendo Power, and numerous others. Out of all the magazines that I read each month, the one that I tend to enjoy the most would be Scratch magazine. Scratch is a magazine dedicated to true hip hop. Unlike other hip hop magazines such as Vibe, and The Source, Scratch tends to be less commercial. It would tend to talk about more about lyrical and more self-concious hip hop rather than mainstream, commercialized hip hop. Another reason why I cherish this magazine is because of it's content. The writers in this magazine would write very intersting Cd reviews. The great thing about this magazine is not only do they write Cd reviews, but they also write mixtape reviews as well. Another great factor this magazine has, is that it comes in multiple covers. If a person who want's to buy the magazine but doesn't like the cover, the magazine would give the person the option the buy the alternate cover instead. As I wrote earlier, Scratch magazine has more interesting articles than the other hip hop magazines. The reason why it has better articles is because Scratch would tend to write articles about things that would benefit the hip hop culture rather than the other hip hop magazines who would write articles about hip hop industry. Scratch magazine would most likely appeal to true hip hop fans rather than casual mainstream rap fans. Also, Scratch magazine would write articles about old school hip hop artists. It's sort of like paying a tribute to the pioneers of hip hop. With great Cd and mixtape reviews, excellent articles about true hip hop, and less commercial appeal, Scratch magazine would be my favorite magazine for a long time to come.

This is my favorite Scratch magazine cover. It pictures Nas, one of my all time favorite emcees, and DJ Premier, one of my all time favorite producers. Not only is this my favorite cover, it is also my favorite issue as well. It not only featured stories about DJ Premier and Nas's new album, it also talks about other notable hip hop figures such as Marley Marl, Rhymefest, and The Notorious BIG. This was January 2006 issue.

Here's their website, if anybody want's more information.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A lesson from Kool G Rap

As you know, the record industry is dying. Millions of people download and copy songs from the internet, thus causing the the industry to lose a lot money. Sooner or later, cds will cease to exist and all the new music will be available for download. As soon as cds become media it past, it can easily become a collectors item. A value of a Cd can easily become 10x it's original price. How do I know this? Well here's an example. A rapper by the name of Kool G Rap is considered to be hip hop legend. He gain his legendary status from his versitile flow and great storytelling abilities in the mid 1980's. Also, it is claimed that Kool G Rap founded gangster rap in the east coast. After releasing two of albums, he was ready to make his third and best albums ever. When his album, titled "Live and Let Die," was finally released in 1992, it lived up to it's expectation. Kool G Rap brought his raw lyrical talent while Sir Jinx, of the Lench Mob, brought the funky beats. Also in the album, there was song titled "Two to the Head," which featured the gangster rap founders. It had Kool G Rap, representing East Coast, Scarface and Bushwick Bill, representing the dirty South and Ice Cube, representin the West Coast. This album had all the ingredients to become a classic hip hop album. Though it all seems to good to be true, there seems to be one gigantic setback, the CD cover. The album cover depicted two caucasian males hanging from a noose, while two individuals fed their dogs in front of them. This cover drew a lot of controversey, which eventually led the album to be pulled off the shelves for good. Till this day, the album still remains out of print.

Today, the album is one of the most expensive albums I have ever seen. Just guess how much the price is for a brand new one at Amazon?

Now imagine all the Cds you own. Next, imagine each one being out of print. Now, imagine each of your out of print cds selling over 10x their actual price.

As for me, money sounds really tempting, but I prefer staring at my Cd collection rather than selling them.

On the side note, I actually own that album.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Two Faces of the San Jose Mercury

I was reading a San Jose Mercury News article about the safest big city in America. According to what was written on the newspaper, New York was able to claim the title as "America's Safest Big City," while San Jose got second place. Leslie Griffy, the journalist who wrote the article, seemed to be very shocked by the results. Griffy claims that the results were based on overall data gathered by FBI. This data specifically includes crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault. Even though New York might have an overall lower crime rate than San Jose, New York has an overwhelming high murder rate. It all depends on how the viewer looks at it.
After reading the Newspaper, I decided to read the same article online. To my surprise, I found that the article online and the newspaper were basicially the same, word for word. Though the newspaper and the online article were similar, there is one slight difference between the two. The newspaper version of the article contains pictures, bar graphs, and detailed statistics about crimes in large cities while the online version lacked all the above. The online version, though having one picture of San Jose, did not have any visual images at all. After comparing the different versions of the article, I conclude by saying that the Newspaper version is superior to the online version due to it's visual content.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hip Hopaganda

When people hear the word propaganda, they would usually think of the Nazi's and WWII. But for me, most of the propaganda I encounter would come from the music I listen too. As many of you readers can tell, I listen to a lot of hip hop. Out of all the hip hop albums I listened too, there are two albums that stood out from the rest, when it came to propaganda. Those two albums are "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. and"It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back" by Public Enemy.

This is probably the most revolutionary hip hop album of all time. N.W.A is comprosed of 5 members, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, Mc Ren, and DJ Yella. Each member played a vital part to the groups success. Ice Cube, Eazy E, and Mc Ren would rap the lyrics while Dr. Dre and DJ Yella would produce the beat. The songs they would create contain the harsh realities inside the housing projects in Compton. This album is not just a violent album, it is also very political. The album sends messages about police brutality, racism, and sterotypes within the ghetto. Not only did this album got people to realize that ghetto places exist, it also influence people to rebel against authority and injustice. The propaganda on the album was so serious, that the F.B.I. got involved. But the F.B.I.'s involvment didn't stop the N.W.A. The group fathered the gangster rap movement, which still goes on today. That's some serious propaganda.



Notable Tracks

Straight Outta Compton, F#ck the Police, I Ain't Tha 1, Gangsta Gangsta.

As N.W.A was fighting police on the west coast, there was another rap group that was making music that was "Louder Than a Bomb," on the other side of the country. N.W.A.'s east coast counter part, Public Enemy, was also making music that had serious propaganda. Rapper Chuck D, hypeman Flava Flav, and DJ Terminator X, had some political messages of their own. Instead of rapping about the gangster lifestyle, Public Enemy rapped about black power, self respect, and self determination. Chuck D. also talks a lot about black unity, ignorance, and fighting the power. This album can be compared to a wake up call or an alarm clock because the propaganda within the lyrics inspired a lot of people in the east coast to become more aware of what is going on around them. Also, that is why Flava Flav wears an clock. It's a sign telling people to wake up. This album is definatly one the best albums hip hop has to offer.



Notable Tracks

Bring the Noise, Don't Believe the Hype, Louder Than a Bomb, Party For Your Right to Fight.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Future for Books

Literature has been around for a long period in time. The reason why books have lasted so long is because it is crucial for human development. Humans put knowledge into text books so that other humans can read it and gain intelligence. Also, some books contains the imagination of authors. Once one of these books are read, it will entertain whoever that reads it. These factors, education and entertainment, are what keeps the books from disappearing. The need for education and the need for entertainment are supplied by books and novels. Basically without books, human society would remain ignorant.
It is true that books and literature are evolving. Some novels can now be read online. But for some apparent reason, it has not affected books in general. Unlike the music industry, the their is no website that get people into sharing their books online. I believe no one would ever want to share books online because no one would want to type up a whole novel. Just imagine copying every single word from a Harry Potter book, it would take some time. For music, all people need to do is burn it into their computer, which only takes a matter of seconds. Illegally copying novels are a lot more harder and time consuming.
Usually books are made for revenue. Most authors could care less about the money they receive from writing stories. They mostly writing stories because they love to write. Text books on the other hand are different. Just simply replace the words creative writing to knowledge. Text books are created because someone had a passion for something knowledgeable, and that person just wanted to pass the intelligence to someone else. Since books are all about passion, that means it usually won't make a lot of profit. That is why the music industry is failing. They prefer money over passion. Books are completely different from any kind of recorded music.
Another reason why books won't be popular on the computer is that, it's very difficult to read. Reading on a laptop or a computer screen is considered to be quite uncomfortable compared to reading a book. Also, books are very portable. You can take books possibly anywhere. That can't be said about computers and laptops.
Books are very important to human society. The only way for books to disappear is to have everyone in the world to be mindless illiterate zombies. I totally can see my grandchildren grandchildren reading books. As long as we have an evolving society, books will exist.

On the sidenote,

Today is the 10th Anniversay of Tupac's death.

R.I.P Tupac.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Ways to counter downloading

I have proposed several solutions to the downloading problem.

1. Lower CD prices.

I believe the main reason why people don't buy music albums is because it's too expensive. A new CD today roughly cost around $15.00 to $24.00. I believe lowering the price to $5.00 would sound pretty reasonable. With lower CD costs, more people will tend to buy them. Now with a lot more people buying CDs, the companies can make up the money they lost from the low prices.

2. Get free stuff from buying an album.

When a record company sells a CD, they should also include free stuff along with it. Free stuff can include hats, key chains, action figures, or other things. Including these giveaways is good because the customer won't feel cheated. This can help convince the customer not the download songs because if the customer downloads the song and doesn't by the album, then he or she would miss the opportunity to get that free item.

3. Have the artist form a strong bond with the fans.

Instead of the artist laying around in their mansion all day, they should go out and meet their fans. They should have concerts often. Also, they should have autograph sessions with the fans. Doing these things can make a very strong die-hard fan base. By having a strong relationship, the fans would do the best they can to support the artist that bonded with them. Also, the fans will feel guilty for downloading a song from the artist. The main reason why people don't consider downloading stealing is because the fans feel that their is no connection between them and the artist. If the bond between artist and fan were to strengthen, then record sales will strengthen as well.

Music is more a bigger influence now than ever before. People constantly listen to music all the time. It's in their Ipod, in the car, in their computer, and even inside their cell phones. Music is one biggest influences in people's lives. Isn't it about time we help the industry back to it's feet.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Power of Recorded Music

Back in my junior year in High School, I was a hardcore nerd. I would play video games and watch japanese animated cartoons all day long. I was such a big nerd, that at one point in time I actually caught all the Pokemon that ever existed. Yup, I was a definite loser. During those times, I thought that I would remain this way for the rest of life. I would remain a nerd until that one signiciant day that changed my life.
My friend and I were patiently waiting to get picked up from school. While we waited for our dads, we conversated about current events to pass the time. As we talked, I noticed my friend was wearing these big head phones. I asked him what he was listening too and he told me he was listening to hip hop. Since I wanted pass the time, I asked him if I could listen to his music. He agreed and handed me his head phones and his Cd player. I knew hiphop before, but the hip hop my friend was playing was different. It had this simple beat that would be looped over and over, while the rapper would rap something that would actually be lyrical. It was totally different from the hip hop I would hear on the radio. At that point, the music has melted my brain and turned me into a mindless a zombie, and I wanted more. I asked my friend who the artist was, and he said it was a underground hip hop group called Atmosphere. As my friend's dad came to pick him up, he gladly handed me the burnt cd inside his player. He told me that I could have it. After that inncident, my friend then continued to school me on the essence of true hip hop. Now I am a hip hop head for life.

I currently own around 350 hip hop cds. I would at least by a new hip hop cd every week. Also, I would suscribe to hip hop magazines, write hip hop songs, and wear hip hop clothes. Hip hop is
life. I am a completely different person from who I was junior year.

That is the power of media. Recorded music has the power to change your lifestyle. It has changed me from a pokemon hungry nerd to a serious hip hop analyst. Now, I am planning to become magazine journalist, and have a carreer writing CD reviews for a hip hop magazine.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What kind of Media Consumer am I?

The first thing that I do after I wake up is read the newspaper. When I get the newspaper, I would read the front page first because it has all the important events. I find it important to read at least the front page of a newspaper because if I don't, I would not know what is going on in our country. I consider this newspaper reading ritual a very important part of my morning.

Anytime I get some free time, I would go on the computer. When I go on Online, I would do two things. I would check my email and shop. I constantly check my email because it is great way for me to keep in touch with my relatives in the Philippines. Other than communicating with my family, I would also go online to shop. Often times, I would go to sites such as Amazon and Ebay and buy DVDs, video games, and CDs for really cheap prices. It's seriously much cheaper buying stuff online than buying it from a store.

When it comes to TV and movies, I consider myself to be a very light consumer. Since I am constantly out of my house because due to school and work, I do not have much to time to sit down and watch the Television. The only opportunity I have to watch TV is at 11:00pm after job. Often times I would watch the news and parts of the Tonight Show and that's basically it. For movies on the other hand, the only time I would watch movies is on a boring Sunday afternoon. Since there is no school and work on Sunday, it is the only time for me to watch movies that I would buy online.

I consider myself to be a very heavy consumer when it comes to music. I currently own around 350 hip hop cds. I listen to hip hop music everywhere I go. Whether it be in the car, on the computer, at school, or even at the comforts of my home, I constantly listen to hip hop all the time. Basically without hip hop, I would die!!!

Overall, I constantly consume media all the time. I would read the newspaper, I would listen to music in the car, and watch TV late at night. After reading doing this survey, I just realized how much my life depends on media.