Friday, 30 March 2012

China and the US: A Unique Relationship

China is one of the oldest civilizations with the biggest population, and the United States, one of the youngest civilizations with one of the strongest economies. It is significant not only for the two nations but also for the future of the whole world for them to get along. The article considers the similarities and differences that these two strong nations seem to have giving a good view as two why they sometimes do and don’t get along.

The factors influencing the China-US relationship include economic, political, social and cultural elements. Undoubtedly, among them the economic factor is the most important one. Economic interests are at the heart of China-US relations. In 2001, trade volume between the two nations hit US$80,400 million, 8.1 percent higher than the previous year. Tempted by the colossal Chinese market, the US has become China’s biggest investor with an investment of US$4,858 million in 2001 and an accumulated investment of US$35,548 million. Since many American companies who have invested in China are multinational corporations, any fluctuations in China-US economic relations may affect the global trading and financial system, and may in turn exert
influences on the two countries’ political and diplomatic decisions.

Interestingly, China and the US have common interests. The White House needs China’s assistance and influence to handle North Korea and non-proliferation issues. America also needs China’s cooperation in fighting terrorism. However, Foreign policy is one of the reasons for misunderstandings and difficulties between the two nations. Both sides should realize the necessity to further understanding and respect for each other’s cultures, which, unfortunately, often has been neglected.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Xi calls for stronger trade relationship between China and US
Here is a link to an article published in February of this year which looks into the trade relationship between the US and China, and calls from the Chinese Vice President for a stronger trade relationship between the super power that is the US, and China which is an up and coming super power. The Chinese Vice President has labelled this as "new type of relationship between major countries". These calls were made at a luncheon event that took place in Washington DC. As this was a diplomatic visit taking place in the US and not in neutral territory, the Chinese would be likely to say statements that are aimed at pleasing and appealing to an US audience. What is needed is a stronger trade and military relationship in particular between these two countries.

The article mentions that ' relations between the two sides have been fraught with tension over trade and economic issues -- as well as diplomatic and military issues'. A range of aspects in the Chinese - American relationship are being highlighted in the article and how these have been over the years as well as the current situation between the two countries. Further in the article, future opportunities have been pointed out "the United States and China have a tremendous opportunity to build stronger economies and improve the lives of people around the world". This quote taken from the article was made by Muhtar Kent, chief executive of Coca-Cola Co. and chairman of the US-China Business Council. Two major world powers can create more of a positive impact in the world if they work together and combine their power, than they would separately.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Digital Identities Online: Social Networking, Being Who You Want.

My interpretation of the phrase "Digital Identity" is the identity you choose to belong to, whilst in the digital world. In today's highly digital society, things like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, Blogger, Bebo and everything else are very common.
Every day, a huge number of us use a social networking site, and the best bit about it, is that we can choose what we want to broadcast - we can create our own personas online, because we can be who we want.
This, obviously has it's upsides and downsides.

A particular upside I wanted to focus on this week is Tumblr. Tumblr is a blogging site, in which people can post pictures and clips of things that express their personal choices, styles and the things they like. I believe Tumblr is a clever way of getting teenagers and other people use to the idea that it's okay to be yourself; expressing what you want, in your own way. Being who you want because you can, because it's allowed, accepted and encouraged.
Similarly, the same idea is Twitter, twitter is mainly used for words, phrases, quotes, daily musings etc, whereas Tumblr is more likely to be images etc.

Now, on the other hand, even though sites like Tumblr and Twitter, even though they give you the option to express yourself entirely, they also give you the choice to create a new identity. This is where the digital identities become dangerous. If I can be whoever I want to be, whose to say someone can't be someone they're not? This is where chat rooms and false accounts on social networking websites become dangerous, for reasons I'm sure I don't need to get into, which is why Facebook invented the "private page" mode.

Are we all the same online?
No. I'm not even the same online as I am in real life. Online, I'm more confident about my beliefs, more expressive and more carefree. In real life, I may hesitate before telling someone I like Green Day or support Gay Marriage.
However; collectively, we could all be the same online. Class is eradicated online, unless you choose to make it very obvious. And there isn't any pressure to fill in what sex you're interested in, what sex you are, or what race you belong to.
In that sense of identity; you can be who you want, revealing how much or how little you want.

Digital Identity

Digital identity has become extremely important in the modern world, particularly with the birth of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace in which people are encouraged to share their experiences with members alike. Communication which was once shaped by spoken and body language has transformed into the world of technology, which at times can seem highly efficient what with faster communication between individuals and the ability to hold contact with someone you wouldn’t necessarily, due to simply being ‘friends’ with them on facebook and receiving their daily updates. However digital identity does have a negative side. Through the evolution of technology it has allowed individuals to become isolated from reality. Something seemingly harmless such as an Ipod, can be viewed as having a negative effect on someone’s life which is illustrated in the article ‘How technology effects us’. The author writes ‘by putting in your earbuds and immersing yourself in music while in public, you are disconnecting yourself from the real world’. This means that the individual is separating themselves from everyday life, we are not experiencing new things, making personal relationships and our brain is often not working to its full potential through problem solving and the like. In the extreme case, it disallows us to fully function as adults in society, and could create a number of problems, particularly for generations to come who will be immersed in this evolving culture more so than we are now. Technology is the new way of life, and with it constantly evolving, it is steadily becoming harder and harder to live without it. Digital identity could create problems for us in the future due to increased unawareness of the dangers technology can bring. Traditional forms of identity such as gender, age, race and so forth are becoming less important, and this can be seen on social networking websites such as Facebook where often these identifiers are disclosed by the member. You can almost exist anonymously within the world of social networks if you choose to do so. Because Facebook is so familiar to us, we do not realise the potential dangers in treating people such as this as if they are safe. Would we share so much of our life with someone we had simply met on the street? The world is becoming a lot more open and with the encouragement of less social interaction is set to become the leading source of identity of society.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Twitter is an online social networking service and micro blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 300 million users as of 2011, and in mid February 2012 Twitter had reached an estimation of over 500million users. In 2011 reports suggested that the company generated over 300 million tweets and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. Twitter has been described as "the SMS of the Internet”.

Twitter is without a doubt the best and quickest way to share and discover what is happening right now. Twenty-seven minutes before mainstream media broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death on Saturday night, the story was on Twitter. A tweet— sent at 4:57 p.m. PT from the Associated Press that confirmed Houston’s death which was retweeted more than 10,000 times. However, the first tweet to reveal the news was sent at 4:30 p.m. PT. The tragic news of Houston’s death spread fast on Twitter. In fact, about 2.5 million tweets and retweets occurred in the first hour, amounting to more than 1,000 tweets a second.

This isn’t the first time news a large-scale death announcement was first reported on Twitter. A computer programmer in Pakistan inadvertently live-tweeted the military raid on the Osama bin Laden compound. “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 a.m. (is a rare event). His message later received global media attention following the news of bin Laden’s death.
A new Twitter record was set in 2011 during the MTV VMA after Beyonce announced her baby news the singer kicked off her performance of "Love on Top" by telling the audience, "I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me." After the song, she unbuttoned her coat and rubbed her five-month baby bump. Beyonce's announcement set off a tweeting frenzy that saw 8,868 tweets per second that’s the most tweets per second ever recorded for a single event.

Twitter is a multi-million dollar company which everyone has seemed to jump on the band wagon. Tv broadcasters like Channel 4 now hashtag their Tv shows at the bottom of the screen so people can tweet about them and then they will gain a rise in popularity. News Broadcasters also now have twitter so they can rise in popularity but also people then can follow them and gain insights into journalism and broadcasting. Celebrities have been the main reason why Twitters population has increased, as many people like celebrities and are interested in their gossip and it’s the quickest way to entertain their gossip hungry minds is by following them on Twitter.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Digital Identities

Since the dawn of the 21st century, America along with the rest of the developed world has well and truly entered a digital age. This has been helped with the creation of social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Youtube to name just a few. Whilst Myspace may now be considered to be a thing of the past Facebook and Youtube are still very much incorporated into the every day lives of those classed with the identity of 'Digital Native'.
The concept of 'Digital Native' has been used by academics such as Marc Prensky. Presnsky who has written an article entitled 'Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants' has looked at the impact of what digital technology has had and will have on the education system. The principle issue here is how are teachers (digital immigrants) supposed to educate students (digital natives), when the students are more advanced in their understanding of the technology that they are using 'the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language, are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language' (Prensky, 2001). Here Prensky has mentioned language which is something that helps define our identities. The digital language is not limited to one country but is worldwide. Digital language is only foreign to the digital immigrants who fail or struggle to adapt to this digital technology. To overcome this barrier in education, teachers who are digital immigrants need to be more open minded and forward thinking, in order to effectively teach and captivate a generation that has taken on a digital identity.
Social networking sites such as Facebook originated in America, so it could be said that America is leading the way in digital identities. Our online identities are all controlled by those writing them and decided by ourselves. We have complete control over what information about ourselves we put online, and it can even be made up. People only see what we want them to see.
Could our digital identity be affecting our real life identity? An article which I found on the Guardian called 'Facebook's 'dark side': study finds link to socially aggressive narcissism' (an article I found coincidentally via facebook) looks at a link between social media and networking sites and how it is impacting the way we behave in real life. In regards to digital identity 'Facebook provides a platform for people to self-promote', this supports the idea that digital identity is what we create. The idea of a digital identity can seem appealing as we have full control over it whereas we have no control over where we are born or who our parents are, which are the more traditional definers for identity. What this article suggests is that since we can control who we are digitally we are becoming vainer in real and more self obsessed. How we look and come across to others online is becoming more important. This would suggest that digital identities are more important than real life identities such as ethnicity to those of the digital native generation.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Importance of Class in America.

The website above is an article posted by Tim Egan a New York Times correspondent, in which he talks about America’s new class division – Universities. I found it particularly interesting as it highlighted the importance for an American, to be of a middle/higher class background in order to succeed in life, showing us the importance of class in today’s societies. Egan says in the article that ‘nearly 60% of people who ten years ago chose not to go to university now work as labourers or in the service industry-also known as “would you like fries with that burger”. These figures are an example of the better social status and earnings of those that go to University, which often working class families can not afford. The mocking comment of “Would you like fries with that burger?” is interesting as it shows how the lower class are viewed. To hold a job such as this is menial and beneath them it seems.
The importance of class lines is outlined a lot in the article, particularly when talking about his daughter. He talks about the ways in which he brought up his daughter, believing he did not raise her into thinking success comes by a top class University. Egan says ‘Here, one of the guiding principles is that we left behind, in another time zone, old society pretence about class and privilege’. Yet, a new generation has surfaced in which class matters, and this centers a lot on University as it is something that represents wealth and superiority through further education. Evidence that is shown in the article to support this is ‘The gap – in earnings, social standing, and comfort – between Americans with a university degree and those who never went beyond their senior year of high school has nearly doubled over the last 25 years’. With pressures such as this placed on society the class division is being projected on to the youth, and this in turn widens the gap between the classes of society.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Class System

When reading many articles about America’s Class System the major thing that kept reoccurring was that it’s very much a touchy subject, which many people have views/ opinions on but are sometimes reluctant to talk about unless probed or asked.

‘When, recently, asked what I am writing, I have answered, A book about social class in America, people tend first to straighten their ties and sneak a glance at their cuffs to see how far fraying has advanced there. Then, a few minutes later, they silently get up and walk away. It is not just that I am feared as a class spy. It is as if I had said, I am working on a book urging the beating to death of baby whales using the dead bodies of baby seals.’

This is a very interesting topic that some people have a hard time addressing as some people tend to shy their heads away from it or stick their heads in the sand and try to act like something it’s wrong with America’s class system. Actually, you reveal a great deal about your social class by the amount of annoyance or fury you feel when the subject is brought up. A tendency to get very anxious suggests that you are middle class and nervous about slipping down a rung or two. On the other hand, upper-class people love to topic to come up: the more attention paid to the
matter the better off they seem to be.

‘If you reveal your class by your outrage at the very topic, you reveal it also by the way that you define the thing that's outraging you. At the bottom, people tend to believe that class is defined by the amount of money you have. In the middle, people grant that money has something to do with it, but think education and the kind of work you do almost equally important. Nearer the top, people perceive that taste, values, ideas, style, and behaviour are indispensable criteria of class, regardless of money or occupation or education.’
In America they lack a European system of inheritance titles and ranks. The society changes faster than any other on earth and Americans seem to be almost puzzled about where, in the society, he or she stands. The things that confirmed class in the 1930's - white linen, golf knickers, chrome cocktail shakers, vests with white piping - are, unlikely to do so today. Belonging to a rapidly changing rather than a traditional society, Americans find knowing where you stand or what class you belong to harder than the Europeans, something that they don’t like to be reminded of as they see themselves as ‘a shining city on a hill/lighthouse beacon to all other nations’.

Understanding The Class System In America

I chose a website this week, which posts blogs on a regular basis, called Joe Bageant. I chose to specifically look at their essay "Understanding America's Class System."

He starts off by comparing Chelsea Clinton's 15K wedding, and the political elites to the "cheap seats" and those who favor "gas marks and waxy little squares of toilet paper."

Joe makes valid points about "Washington's political elite being as upwardly removed from ordinary citizens as the ruling class from the political class." "For instance, they do not work for a living in the normal sense of a job, but rather obtain their income from abstractions such as investment and law." Joe then goes on to explain that the ruling class does infact not work at all.

The ruling class is here meaning the 1% of Americans that own 50% of America. The top one percent of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 45% of Americans combined.
I have seldom met an American who thought this a good thing, and seldom met one who understood how the ruling class got so rich. Simply put, it was through constant cultivation of bigger and more labyrinthine government, creating legal and technical complexities to sluice money nationally and globally in their direction."

So overall, this simply edited website, with little multimedia inserts apart from Joe's essays, holds an essay in which the ruling class is completely torn down and picked apart by a self-confessed Redneck author who actually died last month.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Kasama Project

The Kasama project is a communist project. Their slogan is 'the emperor can burn down villages, the people are forbidden to light a candle'. They are seeking to put communism not just on centre stage in America, but internationally as well. Kasama is intended to act as a catalyst in order to achieve this.
What initially drew my attention to Kasama in relation to class struggle within in America, was an essay that features on the site, ( This essay focuses on a particular area of America in regards to class struggle and inequalities, that is in Arizona. Between 2006 - 2010, Arizona had between 20.0 - 29.9 percent of its population living in poverty (U.S Census bureau, 2006-2010 American community Survey).
The essay by Joel Olson which is entitled 'What's It Like To Live In Arizona Right Now' states that Arizona's economy if founded on 'copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism)', these are known as the '5 C's'. Three classes have been defined; the elites, white middle class and the working class. Not only is class struggle an issue raised in this essay, but also a divide between the different ethnic groups. This is noticeable in as much that the middle class have been defined as being 'white'. There is also mention of the working classes being predominantly 'largely Brown, largely poor, largely poorly educated, largely ignored'. This would suggest that there is a link between ethnicity and class in Arizona. In general terms the ethnic minorities are in most of the low paid, low skilled jobs. It has been pointed out that many ethnic groups such as Latinos, Blacks, Chicanos and Native Americans are denied higher paid jobs based on their ethnicity.
Another class struggle that is brought up in the essay is the arguments between the elites and the middle class. 'The frayed alliance between these two classes has created the political mess this state is in today'. Olson has suggested that the middle class are there for the elites to have a 'junior partner to dominate'. In terms of this so called alliance fraying, whilst this is happening the working class meanwhile are, turning to grass roots democracy and operating outside official political channels. How Olson has described this is as, 'This path they are carving is quite possibly a model for working class struggles throughout the nation.' What is being argued here is that the working classes are being ignored as the elites and middle classes are too busy arguing amongst themselves on various issues such as health and education, that they are ignoring the working class.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Pentecostal Religion and Identity

I have decided to look at Pentecostalism as they have quite a lot of influence around America especially in the southern areas and it does seem quite interesting. I have also just looked at a Pentecostal Church in Florida.

Pentecostalism can be seen as a renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event honors the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age of the early church. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term Apostolic or full gospel to describe their movement.

The Mission of Pentecostal Church of God in Christ of the USA, Inc., is to equip individuals through biblical teaching, preaching, and demonstrating the life of Christ resulting in transformed lives being lived out in the Spirit of Excellence and their vision is to see transformed believers actively doing the work of Christ by reaching the lost, strengthening the weak, and encouraging the faithful. The group PCOGIC seems like quite an intense religious group as they have their church trademarked and incorporated which suggests that they make quite a lot of money from their organization; also they have a page on their website for members only which supports that view. They have 6 ministries all over Florida which suggest that they take their religious view very seriously and that they want to spread the word of God all around. They also have an official Logo which has been copyright protected and consists of a Lion and Fire. They have then provided reasons and scriptures from the Bible as to why they choose those 2 pictures.

Latter Day Saints & Mormonism in America.

After initially looking for a minority faith in America to look at this week, I eventually chose to look at American Mormonism, on the LDS News Website. It turns out the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and Mormons make up the fourth most popular Christian denominations in the United States.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City in Utah, the LDS Church considers itself to be a restoration of the church founded by Jesus Christ.

On January 8 of 2011 an article was posted on the LDS Church News website which brought attention to the number of LDS and Mormons present in America's government; The majority leader of the US Senate and the most senior Republican senator are two of the 15 church members serving in the 112th United States Congress this year - these members were sworn in on January 5th.

The religion itself has an official website, which plays biblical videos and modern day videos which back up their beliefs on a constant loop.
The website also looks into depth on subjects such as the first presidency message "Why do we need Prophets?" as well as keeping the Mormons up to date with the latest general conference.
There is an events section; which allows Mormons to get involved in a varied range of events including a general young women's meeting.

However the website does stray from religion and move onto a more marketable approach occasionally; the online official LDS store for example. Where one can subscribe to magazines, order LDS clothing, music, media, art and the equivalent of what looks like Mormon-written self help books.

The website encourages the teaching and spreading of the religion with sections entitled "visiting teaching messages" or "prepare a lesson or a talk". The LDS also offer services in "teaching the gospel" as well as becoming missionaries for the "humanitarians".

In the interest of the growth rate of the religion, it would seem that the National Council of Churches has named the LDS Church the second fastest growing church in the US. However, it did take a full 117 years, until 1974 for the LDS to grow from the initial six members to a staggering one million. Still, missionaries were a feature of the church from its earliest days, extending to Native American lands, then Canada. Then in 1837, England. The religion then spread across Europe.
According to the website more than 50, 000 missionaries are serving missions for the LDS Church at any one time. However, most of them are under 25, which makes the majority of them men; men can serve from 19-25 whereas women can only serve from 21+.

There is also a section on clearing up some common misconceptions, the most prominant and heavily debated of them all:
1. Mormons practice polygamy.
- Joseph Smith, the original mormon did, however now in the 21st century, polygamy is not practiced.

Religon And Identity: Mormons.

The religious group I chose to look at was the Mormons. The Mormon religion is a denomination of Christianity, they believe in Jesus and God, but also have the ‘Mormon book’ which is described on the website as a Holy Scripture, with form and content similar to that of the bible. From their website it is clear to see that religion is a central part of a Mormon’s identity as it is the most important part of their life. Faith controls their live it seems completely, through being told how to live. Mormons believe that there are different levels of kingdom in the afterlife, and depending on their level of commitment to the religion and how they act will determine which level they will end up on. They also believe that any human can become a god in the present life, through equal commitment and hard work. This shows how Mormonism rules over their lives, for a Mormon religion is highly important as it chooses your status and what kind of life you will have after you are dead, which is highly important to a Mormon.
Community and family values is another central part of their lives, and this can be seen on the website through ‘chat to a Mormon’, ‘Meet Mormon’s’, and various searches to find Mormon churches and communities near you. This shows that religion is such a central part of their identity as Mormons find it important to find other people of their faith, as it what connects them and it is them who they want to converse with. On the website there is also a lot of focus on families claiming that ‘The family is central to God’s Plan’. The family aspect is important as it shows that Mormons find it important to pass on the teachings to their children, to teach them the correct way of living, denying their children the freedom of choice. This represents religion coming before any other American value like their freedom of choice, showing its importance to their American Identity.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Anglican Province of Christ the King

The Anglican Province of Christ the King is protestant faith group in America. It was formed in 1977 and is a body of the Anglican church. They have over 40 congregations across the country and are committed to practising a traditional form of doctrine and liturgy. Their slogan is 'Apostolic Christianity in the Anglican Tradition'. A point of upholding family values is stated on the site. Family values are an important and popular aspect across America, with many politicians stating that they stand for good family values. There is also the notion of the 'all American family'.

As it is an Anglican denomination it has its roots based in Britain. With this being the case, the faith group had organised an Anglican Heritage tour of England and Scotland last year. The tour lasted 10 days and consisted of visiting sites mentioned in Ecclesiastical history of the English people (Venerable Bede, c.673-735), as well as tours around the cathedrals at York and Durham.

This faith group focuses a lot on the 1928 Book of common Prayer. Rev. Larry Shaddix has described this book as 'a tool well suited for children in the establishment of morals and as an evangelical tool for teaching adults'. this fits in line with their emphasis on upholding strong family values. It is clear that this faith group is very family orientated. Evidence for this is shown in the fact that they have annual youth summer camps and annual family summer camps. By including and having a lot of activities and events aimed at families and children, it helps to ensure the survival of the faith group for future generations, as the children will grow up with the church.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Push. A Negative Critique.

A review by Amazon user V. T. Maiden

"We have become a culture that loves to wallow in every kind of dysfunction, psycho-emotional trauma, and human pathology. The more shocking, the more depraved, the better."

The critique I chose for Push is a one star review from's (US) website. It is highly critical of the book as a gratuitous shock-fest which portrays a horribly depressing picture of American life which feeds a dangerous "celebrity-obsessed, gossip-rag devouring, dime store psychology-consuming culture". There is very little criticism of the book on the grounds of literacy, character or plot, focusing instead on the very intense and explicit descriptions throughout.

In fact most of the review is a diatribe against the prevalent shock-culture of the United States. Which he (or she) criticises as being disingenuous and is little more than "take[ing] profoundly disturbing issues like child sex abuse, morbid obesity, and illiteracy, and exaggerate and sensationalize them to the point of grotesque circus fun-mirror caricature." Which is justified "by reminding ourselves how important it is that these important "issues" be brought to the light rather than swept under the rug." Maiden criticises this for turning people's misery into entertainment for "white folk" but also perpetuates stereotypes:

"These writers have become rich and famous, sought-after on college campuses, and are now considered authorities on African-American life and the hidden truths lurking within the tormented black psyche. In fact, the incestuous black father has now become a stock character of contemporary fiction (and even film -- remember "The Cider House Rules"?). Some may consider that progress. I consider it crass and cynical exploitation."

Personally I would not call this a book review seeing as it does not really criticise the book Push but rather it's themes and related literature. It is as I said a diatribe on American culture, and whilst I agree with it's sentiments I also feel that shocking gratuitous fiction designed to raise can sometimes help (such as The Jungle in regards to the meatpacking industry). However I do agree with Maiden's point that this sort of literature (and as television such as The Gerry Springer Show) is mostly viewed as a freakshow/shock-fest for the better-off.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Gay On Gay?

In this video, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Ellen DeGeneres (host of: Ellen) talk about the new additions to Harris' family.
Harris has always been very open about his sexuality, especially since his rise to fame.
It shows how far we, as a society, have come forward in terms of discrimination. Previously, in times passed, a lesbian who wanted to be a talk show host would have been laughed at and shunned for even daring to think she was anything more than diseased, and now to think that millions of viewers worldwide watch The Ellen Show either live, or online support Ellen in everything she does. Ellen is also the face of American Express along with stars such as Kate Winslet and Beyonce.

Not only the fact that a gay talk show host has one of the most popular TV shows in America, Ellen is also interviewing NPH about a very sensitive subject; his children. In the 50's, a gay man having children, or even the right to have children, seemed diabolical. in todays society it is applauded. NPH is unafraid to go into details about the conception of his two beautiful children, and details about his relationship with his partner, David. The fact that NPH feels comfortable enough to have this conversation with a woman, let alone a female talk show host is incredible, based on past discrimination of gay men.
This, personally, shows the growth of society in relation to sexuality.

Sexual Identity - Ellen Degeneres

Ellen DeGeneres, recently named ‘Most influential gay person in America’ by Out magazine, is an openly gay comedian and talk show host. She is also a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project, and speaks out about numerous issues that effect homosexual people, on her show. Because she is so influential amongst the gay public, she has become a role model and is therefore a perfect and interesting example of gay identity in contemporary America.
The video I looked at in particular was ‘Ellen addresses Her JCPenney critics’ which involved Ellen speaking out against an organisation called ‘One Million Mom’s’ who disproved of Ellen being a spokesperson of the clothes store JCPenney. They stated that ‘By jumping on the pro-gay band wagon, JC Penney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over the years, The majority of the JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there’. The fact Ellen speaks out against the backlash she receives is an acceptance of the situation, and a statement of being proud of who she is. She refers to the ‘haters’ being her ‘motivators’ which I feel sends a message to Gay America, in that they are going to get ‘haters’ within society, that unfortunately discriminate against them because of their sexuality but it can be dealt with and used positively. I think this can be related to society through the growing number of people coming out as gay each year as opposed to the smaller figure of the past. This shows that gay people are seeing themselves reflected positively through celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, which gives them the confidence to come out. More than 100 gay parades and festivals take place in America every year, which shows people are proud of who they are, through the widespread celebration of sexuality.
The attribute of Ellen’s I found the most interesting was the humorous elements she gives in response to the backlash. For example in the video, Ellen mocks the ‘One Million Moms’, and making fun at herself at the same time, for example “If you’re just tuning in for the first time, its true I’m gay, I hope you were sitting down”. This shows her light heartedness at the situation, in no part does she become spiteful or aggressive which I think stands true for American Identity amongst the public. People watching the show will see Ellen as a positive role model, in her cool nature in the face of adversity and therefore strive to live by her example.
The video ends with Ellen stating the values she lives by, she says “honesty equality kindness compassion, treating people how you want to be treated and helping those in need, these to me are traditional values”. I think this is particularly insightful as she is showing the public she is just like anyone else someone who holds true moral values, despite some people thinking her sexuality is immoral. I think this shows the ridiculousness of the prejudice situation, in the fact that it shouldn’t matter what sexuality someone is, as long as they are a good person, which Ellen displays. This rings true for the American population who as a minority, are subject to many obstacles in their life such as having no right to marriage. When comparing two morally correct gay people in love, to say someone who has had numerous divorces and can still marry, it doesn’t seem fair. However the fact that these prejudice issues are being discussed openly like Ellen does, it allows the spread of awareness, therefore the level of acceptance and understanding of gay people should be increased.
All in All through Ellen’s strength through adversity it has made her into a gay icon one of which has influenced Gay America. Although we cannot generalise Ellen’s ‘gay identity’ to the general gay public we can accept that the minority is made up of a diverse range of people. However, we can appreciate Ellen’s influence she has over Gay America, through her dedication for gay rights and comedic value, which may cause gay people to aspire to be like Ellen.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Sexual Identity- Gay Marriage Attacked

This video commercial was made by Nation for Marriage and is about Gay couples wanting Gay marriages and it argues against this. However, it should be noted that whoever posted the video is for gay marriage as they title the video ‘Gay Marriage Attacked in Retarded New Commercial’. They focus and portray the views of ordinary people like doctors, parents and priests. By doing this they try to make the watcher believe that these are the thoughts of everyone. The organisation refers Gay Marriage as a terrifying storm that has the power to change and cause damage. The storm or Gay Marriage is something that people should fear which is reinforced by one of the actors saying that she is afraid for the
future. The commercial says that everyday people’s freedom will be taken away, people will have to choose between their religious beliefs and their professions, churches will have to change or suffer the consequences from the government if they don’t accommodate same sex marriages.

They put forward the case that same sex marriages is not okay and the commercial tries to play at people emotions buy acting out a defenseless parent who has to allow her child to be taught that gay marriage is okay. The commercial tries to portray people who oppose same sex marriage as being helpless and that
there is nothing they can do unless they support ‘Nation for Marriage’ as they will give them their voice. They say they do what they do to protect the sanctity of Marriage and that without peoples support if Gay Marriage is allowed then it will ultimately ruin it.