Friday, 30 March 2012
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Online, people can be whoever they want to be, meaning people can become more socially mobile, for instance, somebody who is shy and struggles to make friends at school could create an account on a social networking site and write what they really want to say, or even create a new personality for themselves on the internet. This has both its positives and its negatives; firstly, on a positive note, it means people feel less lonely and can make new friends, thus meaning they feel happier about themselves and may become more confident as a result of this. However, this confidence of the identity they create on the internet is unlikely to translate into the real world, and this problem of social seclusion they felt before is actually increased because their life is almost solely online, so their people skills in terms of face to face interaction actually begin to lessen.
In terms of websites such as YouTube, people who become video bloggers, or 'vloggers' as they are often referred to now, can use the website as a perfect platform to talk to other online members about what they feel in everyday life. Sites such as youtube and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are good to keep in contact with others, but when you begin to put your real life onto the internet, the boundaries between online and real life are destroyed, meaning that people will often become very obsessive with their online life and become less socially mobile with their real-life friends.
Dating sites are also another internet sensation that have been created, especially within the last decade or so. These are good in the sense that it allows single people who are looking for a partner to meet others online, despite the fact that the motives of the website are positive, the end result is often not as successful as the two people who have met over this dating site may have perceived it to be before they met face to face; this is because people create false personas and pretend to be someone they're not, as on dating sites you can hide the characteristics of your personality that you don't like and replace them with incorrect information. People may also put photos up from a few years back to make themselves look more attractive, as they don't want potential partners to be put off by what they look like now.
To conclude, I believe that the internet means people can easily become more socially mobile and that in the current state of the world, everything, including shopping and banking are moving onto the internet. Obviously there are both positives and negatives of this, but this easiness of communications and creation of identities will eventually lead to laziness; meaning the numbers of people with obesity and a lack of social skills will increase.
The best form of communication has always been to be face to face, this allowed each applicant to not only take in the information being discussed, but also decipher the way in which this information or conversation was presented. This would then increase the chance of understanding what the other person was trying to describe, and therefore rule out a large percentage of misunderstanding. This is different to; let’s say texting, because the facial expressions and tone of voice will help further recognize what aim was trying to be achieved, texting leads to mis-interpreting, for example; “Ok, that’s fine”, now this can be received in many manners, negative or positive. The problem with face to face communication is confidence, sometimes it is harder for people to say the things they feel as with facial contact there is only one chance, however online communication contains different results, many people find the confidence to express themselves further online than in person as they will not see the first hand reaction of others. This is way online identities has become so big within the last 10 years, everyone can create a ‘better’ version of themselves if it involves a computer. An online account of someone can be controlled and regularly changed, this means that the person controlling their own profile will have complete control of how they present themselves, this leads to people showing their best attributes, for example; FaceBook profile pictures will be played and tampered with until there is one that make the owner happy with how they look. This digital identity will therefore cancel out any flaws an individual may have, and replace them with ‘perfect’ representation.
There are many different online or digital identities people can access; FaceBook, twitter, YouTube to name a few, what these identities do is reveal the person to the world. FaceBook has become very popular over the last 5 years, many people spend hours on it every day, checking out what their friends are up to and also ‘stalking’ others. When creating your own profile you can carefully select what is presented and to whom, there is privacy settings which dictates who can see their profile, FaceBook also gives a chance for the applicant to search the millions of other FaceBookers, which can lead to obessesions. The problem with FaceBook is that, there is now another way for people to tell you and your friends how they feel about you, this can be a good thing, but sometimes it can turn into bullying, because of the extra access people can post messages or images that can offend the victim. There has been many examples of FaceBook bullying where the victim has been left demoralised and psychologically hurt, and also recently employers have been able to see what sort of person they will be employing is like, leading to discrimination.
Another form of digital identity is Twitter, the online social networking system where you can follow your favourite people or celebrities and see what they are up to. Twitter may have a character limit, but this does not harm the effect of people expressing their deepest feelings, sometimes this can also become an obsession, where by the public will follow their ‘hero’ 24/7. A notion that has occurred recently is twitter ‘rants’ where the profiler will complain about a recent issue, for example; footballers complaining about their managers team selection, this can lead to punishments and fines. Twitter is just (put lightly) another form of global exposure, similar to that of YouTube, where everyone can show their silly, funny, bad, impressive and emotional side. A notion that has occurred recently is twitter ‘rants’ where the profiler will complain about a recent issue, for example; footballers complaining about their managers team selection, this can lead to punishments and fines. Twitter is just (put lightly) another form of global exposure, similar to that of YouTube, where everyone can show their silly, funny, bad, impressive and emotional side. YouTube is the most popular website on the internet, with many people from all over the world tuning in everyday, it has become the playground for online sensations and is the hunting ground for individuals to advertise their talents. For example; Justin Beiber has become famous with the help of YouTube, his music videos were found by music moguls and the rest is history.
The way in Digital and online America is becoming, seems to be creating a lot of success and money, however I feel that one day people will not have the need to go out and see their friends face to face, because doing it online is easier. America will then lose a physical identity which has in past put them in front of others nations as the leading and forward thinking country.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
living in the virtual world. Her obsession became so extreme that Carolyn was willing to abandon her family to start a new life with the man who is her husband in the virtual world. The question is, therefore, what makes this website, which has three million members, so compelling enough that people are allowing themselves to become totally manipulated by the virtual world? The fact of the matter is that the idea of a digital identity is appealing because we have full control over it and it offers people a chance to escape their daily lives.
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Sunday, 18 March 2012
They look at the positives and negatives of Murray's views in a critical way; as an overall summary, they finish their article with a conclusion which is food for thought; Changing a culture is difficult and takes time. With the crisis facing our republic today, "hope for change" may not be good enough. This is a very effective point because it is almost realising that America's culture may never change and that this class divide will always exist, and will continue to widen as time progresses.
Murray looks at the time periods of 50 years ago from today and the present time, he clearly states the differences that exist and how society has changed; he puts this down to peoples views on things such as religion changing and this is the root of the issue. In the article, they emphasise the statistics of divorce amongst the different classes within the United States. Within the middle class white population, 80% of them are married and the divorce rates are far lower than what they are in the lower class families; could this be down to people losing faith in America, after all, it is being rapidly caught up by China in terms of its economic power; and from the latest economic recession and people losing jobs, people may be becoming disheartened with America and are unhappy- which has then been projected onto their family lives and marriages.
In the article they do briefly look at the notorious '1%' of Americans who have so much of the wealth, but they say it has more to do with the ruling elite such as leading politicians- Murray urges these elite members to preach more about virtue to the lower classes.
This article is effective in the sense that it weighs up Murray's book and critically analyses it; and how well it represents the issue of America's deepening class system.
With the recent issues of income inequality being brought to the forefront of the American social conscious with protests such as the Occupy Movement calling for farer wealth distribution, it's not wonder that issues of class divides and poverty will play a key role in the 2012 presidential election.
Bruce Watson states in his article ('It's official: Wealth gap has turned America into a seething pit of resentment') for the Daily Finance that the Pew Research Centre found '66% of Americans believe that there is a "strong" or "very strong" conflict between the rich and the poor'. Watson acknowledges this staggering statistic by noting that just three years ago, only 47% of respondents shared these opinions. The number of those who responded with 'very strong' is, intact, the highest it has been since the question was first asked in 1987, showing a vast change in public opinion over a relatively short period of time. This tells us that there is serious distrust in American wealth and how it is distributed.
Watson therefore asks if America is the 'melting pot or boiling cauldron', suggesting that this change in public opinion is directly related to the rich getting richer and the 99% remaining on the same levels of income. This, in turn, has raised more awareness of class within America. Particularly in the case of white Americans, the research figures show an increase in opinions towards class conflicts by more than 50%, jumping from 43% to 65%.
Essentially, during the past three years, more traditional sources of friction -- race, gender, religion, sexual preference, age and national origin -- have become vastly overshadowed by distrust over wealth.
Politically, democrats have always been more likely to notice a class divide, but it appears that the latest results show an increase in conflict between classes for both republicans and democrats. This plays a significant role in the presidential race and the search for a republican candidate. Watson quotes Rick Santorum when he attacked both Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney for using the term 'middle class'.
The governor used a term earlier that I shrink from. It's one that I don't think we should be using as Republicans: "middle class." There are no classes in America. We are a country that don't allow for titles. We don't put people in classes. There may be middle-income people, but the idea that somehow or another we're going to buy into the class-warfare arguments of Barack Obama is something that should not be part of the Republican lexicon. That's their job -- divide, separate, put one group against another.
Similarily though, Romney shares opinions with Santorum, and this can be seen in the quote that Watson reports in his article.
You know, I think it's about envy. I think it's about class warfare. When you have a President encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99% versus 1% -- and those people who have been most successful will be in the 1% -- you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.
These two republican ideas, however, go directly against what the statistics are showing for the American people as a whole, political parties aside. As Watson goes on to say, another poll by Bloomberg and The Washington Post found that 53% of Republicans believe that taxes should be increased on households making more than $250,000 per year. These statistics show a growing number of worried republicans who have also found themselves struggling with the unfair wealth distribution, some of which has been experienced by Mitt Romney himself as he struggles to identify with the poor, middle class and even upper middle class of America.
Watson concludes his article by saying:
While it remains to be seen how much the struggle between the rich and the rest will affect the next election, one thing is clear: For a growing number of voters, one eye will be on the ballot box, and the other will be on the bottom line.
This summary may seem ominous, but the sentiment is felt across America nationwide. While the 1% of Americans continue to live frivolous lives, the rest of the population live in fear of losing their jobs or being out of work due to injury as they cannot afford to lose pay or else they won't be able to make rent the next month. In a first world country, the middle class are homeless, their children are hungry, and all they are being told is that it will get better, even as the American dream fails to live up to expectations.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
super-rich (in league with government tax policies, subsidies and other give-aways) and the media to keep alive the fiction of America is a classless society free of class war.’ In terms of the American Dream, although many people maintain that getting through the class struggle is to work hard, insomuch that the poor refuse that poverty is permanent, it could be argued that Rosen argues that the Dream is not possible until America admits and recognises the fact that they have this societal problem. It will not allow people to move forward, until the problem is addressed and a solution becomes imminent. Rosen argues that this class struggle is a key aspect in America’s identity, and needs to be addressed in order to create equality and a free class America.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Where and why and what solutions?
Can you find similar examples?
See you Monday,
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Sunday, 11 March 2012
1. Promote the development of an American Buddhism by adapting and blending the American linguistic and cultural traditions and values and the Tripitaka in ways loyal to the Buddha's basic teachings, but also identifiable with American ideals and values.
2. Bring together American Buddhist organizations and individuals of all traditions to encourage cooperation for the common good.
3. Promote appreciation and understanding of each other's traditions and values among the various Buddhists groups and within American society.
4. Cooperate with other organizations to promote peace and harmony.
5. Assist in implementing worthy projects of Buddhist organizations of varying traditions,
6. To help encourage the development of a uniquely American Buddhist culture to include new liturgies and music.
7. To work toward the founding of an American Buddhist Seminary for the training of Dhamma Teachers and monks.
They have been gifted the Bodhi award which is bestowed upon them for the tireless teaching of wisdom and compassion. This shows how seriously they take their teachings and how much they believe in promoting their religion throughout America.
The intensity in which they go about spreading the world of their religion is representative of them believing that they don't really fit in that well with the rest of America. This is probably largely to do with the high majority of Christians within America, and as the immigration rates of the Hispanic population carry on to increase, it also means the prevalence of the Catholic religion will grow and become dominant within the country- meaning Buddhist's power and the percentage of the population that they hold will lessen. At this current point in time, 0.7% of America are Buddhist, although this sounds very low, the population of America is around 300million, meaning approximately 3 million people in the country are buddhist, which is a relatively high number of people- meaning that the messages that they are trying to promote could potentially be quite easily spread.
For detail on location and membership of religious groups, this website provides a foundation for discussion and analysis. There are useful insights into the character of religious groups.
See you Monday,
- Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures and Congress
- Speak out in the public arena and in the media
- Train leaders for effective social and political action
- Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
- Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith
- The Oneness of humanity
- The common origin and unity of purpose of all world religions
- The harmony of science and religion
- Equality of women and men
- The elimination of all forms of prejudice
- A spiritual solution to economic problems
- The establishment of a world commonwealth of nations
Friday, 9 March 2012
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
take action on the pressing moral issues of our time.' The group demonstrates that religion in American is closely linked to morality and helping others. However, the group does not have an official religion, as it states 'We come from diverse faith traditions.' This is beneficial, because it means the group encompasses a variety of different viewpoints and further, no religious group is discriminated against. Therefore, although America is mainly a Christian country, with 80% of the population stating they are Christian, other religious groups are also significant and can help to improve America.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Obama's view on gay marriage is very typical of many people within America at the present time, and more commonly people from the pasts views on same-sex marriage. After receiving what appears to be quite a simple request from the host, "Define marriage", Obama instantly responds and reinforces the fact that he believes marriage is the connection between specifically a man and a woman; which is greeted by a lengthy round of applause from the audience.
Although he does state the fact that due to his Christian beliefs he thinks marriage is something that is holy and involves God, as well as the man and the woman; Obama cleverly makes sure that he doesn't think gay people shouldn't be legally separated as it would go against their human and civil rights- this ensures that he remains popular amongst his people as the president.
What this does show is that America is quite socially undeveloped in respect to its view on gay marriage. In the UK and plenty of other countries worldwide, gay marriage is acceptable and is within the law, however, in some states in the US, it is illegal- proving how Americans aren't always the most welcoming of change and aspects of their culture that are deemed to be different or abnormal.
Many campaigns within America have led to same sex partnerships to become increasingly acceptable in the US, such as the 'It Gets Better' youtube campaign, which aimed to support gay people, especially gay american youths. A large majority of the comments on this video itself focus on how America is a "Free country" and gay people should be allowed to do what they want, and that the government should focus on more important things such as its own debt and the high unemployment rates within America. Despite these supportive comments and campaigns, there are still plenty of Americans who are very set in their traditional ways and are extremely against gay marriage because it goes against the bible- something which is very important as such a high percentage of the American population are Christian. This shows two very contrasting sides of the scale, and explains the conflicting views and importance that beliefs on gay marriage hold within America, in both a religious and a political way.
them is a lesbian. This women seems confident enough to not only express her relationship to her friends but also on national television, her confidence in telling, suggests that American seems to be fine with this type of sexuality. Even the show hosts are for gay marriage, saying it's their own choice, however one of the housewives disagrees with lesbian sexuality, describing it as 'not a real marriage'. She then further discriminates against it using her strong religious theory believing that god did not intend for this too happen. Therefore the religious culture or more so Christianity within America is presented as anti-gay, although this is from one women's perspective.
Friday, 2 March 2012
Thursday, 1 March 2012
'The David Pakman Show' discusses the issues surrounding the anti-gay legislation which was proposed in Tennessee in 2011. The 'Don't Teach Gay' bill, if passed, would mean that public and elementary schools would be unable to teach children about homosexuality in any form, instead only heterosexuality would be taught. This bill was proposed by state senator Stacey Campfield, who was unwilling to respond to the request to talk on the radio show. Gay people in America are unable to experience freedom from discrimination if those in high authoritative positions, such as Campfield, discriminate against them, because laws can be passed which will effect the gay community.
The talk show presenter Lewis questions, 'What is the logic here, if they' (the children) 'don't know about it they won't become gay?' Campfield seems to hold this view, however it is extremely unlikely that the lack of education on homosexuality will prevent people from experiences feelings of homosexuality, because it is a natural occurrence, rather than a choice a person makes. However, if the law is passed, the youth of Tennessee will be unable to express their true identity, in fear of being different and also in fear of discrimination, or possibly worse.
The law would force those within schools, such as teachers and principles, to hold the same views as Campfield on homosexuality. Therefore, youths experiencing feelings of homosexuality would 'literally have no-one to discuss it with.' The prejudice against gay people would increase and the support for gay people would decrease.Pakman states that there is scientific evidence to prove that 'early detections of the signs of depression can help prevent suicides.' If even psychiatrists are forced to limit their role within schools by not being able to discuss homosexuality, these youths would become isolated from society, as they attempt to discover their identity without any assistance. This seems incomprehensible, seeing as teachers are supposed to educate children as well as support them. In addition, school is not simply about learning, as it also involves learning about oneself and developing one's identity.
Pakman attempts to understand the purpose behind the proposal, by questioning if the bill would create 'a more moral environment, a more Christian environment?' The bill clearly shows Campfield's strong Republican views, because his aim may be to allow the Bible to be more closely followed amongst the youth. For example, God teaches Moses, 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.' Leviticus 18:22. The conflict between homosexuality and religion is still evident in contemporary USA today, because the country is still largely religious. Therefore, it could be argued that if an American is gay, they are disobeying the Bible and consequently disobeying the word of God. This would make them immoral and as a result, their true identity should be hidden from society as they provide an unhealthy example to others.
The legislation 'does bring up issues of free speech,' because teachers would be controlled, when instead they should be allowed freedom to a certain extent in what they can teach. But moreover, the youths themselves will be unable to discuss homosexuality, even though freedom of speech is a right within the Constitution. The absence of homosexuality within schools would hinder education instead of improving it, because gays exist within America therefore youths need to be taught about their presence. This law implies that gay people are unworthy of being discussed, but in reality, gays are able to become successful and exercise intelligence just like anyone else. For example, 'would a school library be failing to comply with the law if there was a book on the shelf where a character is gay?' The work of gay people should be used within schools because it offers a broader insight into the world we live in. Children should not be taught to view the world from a narrow-minded perspective. If America is truly the land of freedom and democracy, gay identity should be recognised rather than ignored.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
''So,'' she writes, ''this is not a story of some death-defying 'undercover' adventure. Almost anyone could do what I did -- look for jobs, work those jobs, try to make ends meet. In fact, millions of Americans do it every day, and with a lot less fanfare and dithering.''
Ehrenreich's picture of the working poor was taken during the best of times. Yet the comforting economic clichés offered by our pundits failed even under those boom conditions: a rising tide does not lift all boats; trickledown economics stops just south of the middle class.
We have Barbara Ehrenreich to thank for bringing us the news of America's working poor so clearly and directly, and conveying with it a deep moral outrage and a finely textured sense of lives as lived. As Michael Harrington was, she is now our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism.