Keller v. Greenwald debate

This was a very interesting set of letters. Both of these men had interesting points, and watching their letters get more and more passove aggressive was very funny. However, if I had to pick a side, I guess I would agree more with Keller. I believe journalism does indeed sound preachy when it panders to one side. Also, when a reader is fully aware of the writer’s opinion, they are more wary of the facts they are reading. Greenwald does point out that all journalism is opinionated, and I agree with him. However, I like Kelley’s explanation that journalists present both sides of an argument and let the reader decide. Also, if a reader knows what the journalist’s beliefs are, then they could choose to discredit their argument the point of the article. Greenwald thinks that journalists should inspire change, but I feel that presenting both sides of something is also important.

I don’t think that journalism is greatly influenced by the government. I don’t think they are not critical enough of the government, or that they try overtly to protect the government’s reputation, as Greenwald claims. Kelley points out that in the past, mot journalists wrotet he way Greenwald preferred, they were very opinionated. But again, without presenting two sides, ideas end up getting crammed down a reader’s throat. For the same reason that a liberal wouldn’t watch Fox 5 to get all of their information, if every journalist picked a side and were very loud about it, then they would lose some of their audience. It is smarter in this way, to present two sides of an argument.

Objective journalism is just something that people expect from their news sources, though the argument can successfully be made that nothing is objective or neutral. Maybe it’s idealistic to think that all journalists can provide evidence for both sides of an argument without having a bias, but it seems that that’s a very fair way of presenting information. Letting the audience decide based on fact instead of preaching it to them is what journalists should aim for in their work.

Final Review of House of Cards + Binging

House of Cards was a very well done political drama. Granted, I usually stay away from that particular genre, so maybe I am not an expert. However, I found that if any show could get you into watching political dramas, it would be this one. It’s fast paced, so it never bores the audience, but it still gives time for it’s characters to breathe and be fleshed out. I found myself liking this show quite a lot. In a lot of ways, I think this is due to the variety in the cast.

Not everyone is an old white male politician (though of course a good chunk of the politicians depicted are just that.) Frank Underwood, while fitting this criteria, is cunning, manipulative and sarcastic enough to keep the audience entertained. Claire isn’t just a “supportive wife”- she is his partner in most everything they do. Not only that, but the cast has about an equal amount of strong female characters to the male characters. Like I said, I am not well versed in the “political drama” genre, but I have to say I was not expecting to see that. Zoe is in no means as strong as Claire is, yet she also makes a well rounded character, and the other women on the show range from prostitute to distinguished politician. The whole setup of the show allows for a number of characters to interact with one another and to develop through the idea of “show don’t tell”. I think this is what attracted me to the characters in the first place. No one is shoving their backstories at the audience’s face, things are revealed gradually adding a hint of mystery.

House of Cards itself isn’t as boring as I though it would be. I wouldn’t say I was confused, but I did find myself pausing at some moments to register what was going on.The terminology took some getting used to (I am ashamed to say that I had no idea what a “whip” was until I started watching) but overall the plot wasn’t so hard to understand that I ever felt completely lost as an audience member. Not to say that the plot wasn’t intricate. There were a number of subplots, ranging from career choices to romantic relations. Yet it all felt very real. Claire loves Adam but has made the decision to stay with Frank years ago. She isn’t necessarily unhappy with Frank, nor does she not love him, but she is an adult who is allowed to feel conflicted sometimes. The only thing that I felt was weak about the show was Claire’s desire to have children . I just don’t see Claire as the kind of person who would want children, and for her to want to have a baby at the end of the season felt a little wrong. They did hint at it of course, but it still felt out of character. It also felt like the show was pushing the agenda of “all women want babies whether they say so or not”. I’m unhappy with it, but I’m looking forward to seeing Frank’s reaction in the second season about it.

The soundtrack was flawless. It was dark and melodic and fitted the show well. It created a great atmosphere for the majority of the events, and I found myself recognizing some of the more dramatic ones and realizing that something was about to happen. That is one of the highlights of binging, you start to notice little details. This was mentioned in Aaron Riccio’s article on binging, where he writes that his binging friends “picked up on subtle cues I hadn’t noticed late in that fourth season, were better able to get inside Walter White’s head, and became more a part of the series than I ever had”. Binging House of Cards allowed me to pick up on some music cues and subtle things that I would not have noticed if I had watched this week to week.

I feel that binge watching may work for some shows, but not for others. House of Cards can certainly be binged on, because it was made with that set up in mind. However, there are shows where I think the audience needs time to adjust their feelings about an episode, or a character’s death, or something major that happened. There’s also another problem with binging; not everyone will see it at the same time. While that may not sound like a problem, This article brings up a good point, “Dave Winer, a well-known web developer, wrote on his blog that he had reactivated his Netflix subscription to watch House of Cards but he was missed “the ability to discuss it with people online”. That is, if a show is released all at once, a person could either watch it right when it comes out or take the risk of it being spoiled for them. Not only that, but discussing it with friends becomes almost impossible when someone has to wait for the other to catch up.

Of course, there are shows where binge watching wouldn’t improve anything. Binge watching is a preference of the audience. While binge watching House of Cards will add the benefit of being able to watch characters develop very rapidly, binge watching something like Gossip Girl won’t improve the experience. It is just the preference of the audience to find out what happens as quickly as possible, and to catch up to the rest of the world. Syndicated shows still have a place on television. I doubt that that will ever change. Shows that are made for binging may be the future, but appointment television won’t vanish completely. However, there may be a shift in genre for syndicated shows. Binge watching allows for the watcher to pick up on subtle cues, so I feel that more complex shows will start being made specifically for binging, and the shows that do not require attention to detail will be aired on television at appointments.

House of Cards Season Finale (WHOAH)

I absolutely love this episode. By far, it was the most confusing, and heartbreaking episode yet. I never expected to like this show this much, considering I’m not one to watch a political drama. However, I’m completely amazed at how much I ended up caring about these characters.

I think my favorite character in this episode is Claire. We finally get an understanding of her motives and what is important to her. At first, I was confused about her dream about “the children”. Frank and Claire never mention any children in their lives, yet she said “the children”, as if it was obvious who she was talking about. Then later on, finding out that she had had three abortions, it clicked. She dreamed about them, as sad as that was. She wants children because she wants a legacy. She doesn’t want her and Frank’s efforts to go to waste. But she can’t tell Frank because she doesn’t want him to disapprove. It’s sad that she has to hide these things from her husband. But throughout the episode they are much more affectionate to each other than ever. They even go running together at the end of the episode. They’re going to need that sort of companionship when Slugline releases the information they have on Frank.

Zoe was also impressive in this episode. We finally, finally get her to do some detective work! She’s even a little intimidating when she speaks with Rachel. To be fair, Rachel plays it very cool. I didn’t expect her to arrive with Stampers, or Logan to follow them! That was smart of them. Her, Logan and Janine make a good team. On the one hand, I’m still rooting for Frank. I want him to succeed, because he’s smart and he;s come so far. But on the other hand, it’s fun to watch Zoe, Logan and Janine put the puzzle together. When they figured out that Frank only pushed Russo to run so that the vice president position would be available I felt like an imbecile. It never crossed my mind that Frank never wanted Russo to succeed.

The only thing I miss is Frank’s manipulation in the early episodes. I understand that we’re supposed to relate to him, and seeing him in a vulnerable position can do this. However for him to be played by both Remy and Raymond, I was completely surprised! Like I’ve mentioned before, I really like Raymond’s character, and if Frank and Raymond are truly teaming up, then I feel like they’ll be unstoppable. However, I also assume that Raymond will eventually become Frank’s largest competitor. I don’t think a deal between these two powerhouses can last very long, but I’m excited to see how they interact in the next season.

Speaking of next season, how DARE they end on a cliffhanger such as that! I can’t believe I have to wait well over a month to find out how this reveal will affect Frank’s career. At the same time, there are definitely 13 episodes left, so I feel comfortable saying that this won’t have too great of an impact on his career, at least, not for a while. Then again, this has been hinted at for the majority of the season, so I guess we have to wait to find out.

5/5 I’m so mad that I have to wait. So mad.

Blackfish

The film “Blackfish” does a wonderful job of making me feel guilty over something I loved as a child. I’ve been to SeaWorld twice in my life, and never did I expect that these animals were suffering so much. It never even occurred to me that keeping giant whales in fish bowls was a bad idea. Then again, I was a child. “Blackfish” points out a lot of things that people have been ignoring for over thirty years. The health and safety of captive killer whales is at risk, and I feel that this film does a good job of highlighting that.

I especially liked the inclusion of former trainers from SeaWorld that realized what was going on. They gave an inside look into something that the public isn’t informed about. For example, I always assumed that you had to be a marine biologist to train killer whales, but the former trainers all agreed that it was more about personality. I found that completely astounding. One thing I wish was in this documentary was a different perspective. However, I understand that a representative for SeaWorld wouldn’t want to be interviewed for a documentary like this. Still, it would have been a bit more interesting. (Not that it wasn’t already interesting!)

The moment that had me in tears was definitely the part where the truck driver was describing how they captured baby whales. It was heartbreaking, and you could tell by his face that he wasn’t proud of it. The only ones that were interviewed that I didn’t like were the sisters that saw the girl get attacked by Tillikum in SeaLand. For some reason, when they were talking about the girl’s death, one of the women kept smiling. It completely ruined the interview for me and made me sick to my stomache. How dare she smile whilst talking about someone who died? It was disrespectful and rude, and they were so flippant about the girl’s death that I doubt they were there at all.

In conclusion however, this was a very well made documentary. It had a lot of emotion behind it, and I think that’s important to have in a documentary that is trying to educate the public on the cruelty we inflict upon killer whales. It really makes me wonder if we inflict this sort of damage on dolphins and sea lions as well, or any other zoo animals.

5/5

House of Cards Episode 12

Frank’s plan to become vice president has been delayed, or so Linda told Frank. I wouldn’t so readily trust Linda however. Sure, he says his eyes are wide open, and that he won’t be blind sided, but I feel that Linda doesn’t really want to help Frank. I feel like she might be giving him empty promises again.
I’m also waiting for Frank’s involvement with Russo’s death to be revealed. He wiped the car but I can’t believe that no one saw Frank with Russo right before he died. I’ve also noticed that Frank has been talking less and less to the audience. The fourth wall has been put back up. His motives are more a mystery than ever. I know that he wants power, but personally I underestimated what lengths he would go to to achieve that power.

Janine finally puts all the pieces together. Or at least, most of them. I’m surprised it took someone this long to link Underwood with the events that unfolded over the past year. It’s nice to see her and Zoe working together, considering how catty they were to each other in the beginning. It’s also nice to see Christina join their little girl group.

In addition, I like Raymond. He’s direct with Frank and does not back down. His views on emotional decisions probably mirror Frank’s views on logical reasoning. I don’t think Frank should trust him, but I think it’s worth taking up his offer. The reveal that Raymond and President Walker knew each other well was very surprising. What surprised me more was when we found out that Raymond is the real reason Frank couldn’t become Secretary of State. I believe that Walker wants Frank to be his vice, but he doesn’t trust him. Raymond has nuclear energy, and Frank’s wife is closely associated wait Sancorp. If I had to venture a guess, I would guess that Raymond wants Claire to support his business, and call it clean energy.

As much as I like Gillian, I don’t see much of a point to her character. She is a foil to Claire perhaps, but she hasn’t done much in the past few episodes. I assume that she somehow reveals what Claire is doing with Sancorp or something. I still like Claire, but firing a pregnant woman is a bit much, even for her.

4/5 I like the reveal that Raymond is close to the president, but I feel like it would have more of an effect if he was introduced earlier.

House of Cards Episode 11

If Frank is shooting for the vice presidency I’d applaud him. I never saw that coming! The way he played both the president and vice president was hilarious. I haven’t mentioned this before, but the soundtrack for this show is spectacular. It’s a little jazzy and sometimes a little creepy. My favorite track is the one that’s a little off-putting, the one that lets you know to pay attention. This isn’t the first episode I’ve noticed it of course, but I forgot to mention it before.

Zoe seemed a little spiteful when she entered Frank’s house for the first time. She wanted to establish dominance over Claire for coming into her apartment, but I felt like that was a tad much. I mean sure, Claire also walked into Zoe’s apartment, but she didn’t really do anything. I think the reason Zoe got mad was because Claire’s presence finally opened her eyes to how degenerated her apartment is. It’s funny to me how Frank ends their intimate relationship this time, and it seems to work better. Maybe this is what he wanted in the first place, as long as it was on his terms.

I’m so sick of Adam. He knows that Claire’s married, not only to Frank but to her work. If he can’t understand that then he’s no good for Claire anyway. And his deep v-necks! Why does he always wear such deep v-necks!

The girl who plays Russo’s daughter’s voice is so flat when she speaks to him that I had to laugh. It was a really emotional scene but she had absolutely no infliction in her voice, so the part when she said “It makes me sad,” sounded hilarious. Which is also really upsetting considering that was the last thing she said to him.

Which brings me to possibly the one thing I never thought i would see in this show. Frank just up and murders Russo. The crazy thing is that I think Frank only planned it when he saw the whiskey bottle in the car. I never thought that he’d bring up the “pain” speech from the first episode. I guess it’s Frank’s idea of mercy, killing Russo. Nevertheless, I never would have guessed that Frank would do something like this by himself. Usually he’s get Stamper to do his dirty work. It doesn’t look like this was planned, because otherwise he would have gotten Stamper to do it.

5/5 Holy moly I can’t believe Frank murdered Russo.

House of Cards Episode 10

Whoah! Zoe finally uses her own resources to find out that Claire has betrayed Frank. I never thought Frank would find out about the betrayal this quickly however. She addresses that she has not felt like his equal for some time now, and I feel as though it is about time. When he mentions the hot flashes I felt exactly like how her face looked. Frank is manipulative, and Claire knows this, but she is not used to being manipulated. Russo also finally confronts Frank. It seems as if the first ten minutes of this episode are entirely dedicated to everyone confronting Frank and showing him that he’s losing control over those closest to him. We see a side of Claire that we haven’t seen before. Claire’s relationship with the photographer is a stark difference to her relationship with Frank. She actually laughs and jokes around with Adam. I was a little shocked that she had such a good sense of humor! And she dances!

I thought Isaac or whatever would definitely not show up again. Yet here he is! And Zoe finally goes after someone who cares about her and is her own age. It’s a Christmas miracle. I’m completely won over by Isaac. He seems to genuinely care for Zoe and was a perfect gentleman when she asked to stay the night. Zoe was right – he’s completely adorable. Which makes me sad because I assume he’s going to find out about Zoe’s past with Frank and get upset over it.

I am very upset with Russo. I guess he’s just not very good at resisting temptation. Watching him bomb like that on the radio was completely embarrassing. But still, I had very high hopes for him. And I honestly thought Stamper was helping Rachel out of some sense of guilt over her situation. I’m guessing this is a way for Frank to have something to hold over Russo’s head. Or at least, to completely ruin any chance he might have had of running for governor. He’s also gained Linda on his side again. It’s funny how at the start of the show Frank was determined to get revenge on her, yet now she is completely won over by him. I can’t imagine how Russo will recover from this – or if he will recover.

4/5 I want Claire and Frank to get back together because I really miss their tag team interactions.