Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Three Musketeers
Media -> Globalization -> Education
Meet Slumdog Millionaire

Well, Madam, we poor can also ask questions and demand answers.
And I bet you, if the poor conducted a quiz,
the rich wouldn't be able to answer a single question.
  I don't know the currency of France,
but I can tell you how much money Shalini Tai
owes our neighborhood moneylender.
 I don't know who was the first man on the moon,
but I can tell you who was the first man to produce illegal DVDs in Dharavi.
 Could you answer these questions in my quiz? (Boz). 
From Q&A by vikas Swarup, the book on which Slumdog Millionaire is based.

Home: people, poverty, depression
+ Telecommunications Equipment

The hero of Slumdog Millionaire, Jamal Malik, is as intrepid, indomitable and pure of heart as an idealized medieval knight . . . or a three musketeer; therefore, I’ve chosen Jamal as the champion of a story of my own.   In my story “the Three Musketeers” are: Media, Globalization, and Education.  Where the original Three Musketeers novel is set in the 17th century and recounts the adventures of a young man who suffers misadventure, my story depicts the misadventures of the 21st Century hero in Slumdog Millionaire, who integrates economic, political, and cultural systems across the globe uniting Media, Education, and Globalization – as the motto of the original musketeers announces, “all for one, one for all.”


Look with me first at 21st Century media.  Media is a catchall term that encompasses technology from paper and pencil to internet video conferencing that is making it easier and easier for humans to communicate.  No longer mere convenience but necessity, mass media outlets efficiently communicate information to large groups of people.  As a child chased by authorities through the streets of Mumbai, the people never even looked up from garbage-picking in the polluted river, or dying fabrics in the slum alleys, but Jamal had their attention when he appeared on the TV show.  As a slum kid rises from poverty to superstar in quest of true love, Slumdog Millionaire exemplifies the ability of media, when by way of entertainment, is not only able to communicate hope, but engages marginalized people as consumers.  As a tool that reflects the people who use it, Jamal utilitzed it to find Latika.  Of course, while media can be used to convery certain perspectives while ommitting others, the bottom line is however, that media is everywhere, and it is here to stay. 

"What can a slum dog possibly know?" is the question asked of Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire.  Allow me an educated guess. 
Although this is a touching feature film of hope and love, it is replete with  torture, child prostitution, begging rackets, and anti-Muslim massacres. This is a story of, not only, how life affects art, and art affects life, but how life affects education, and education affects life, as well.   "All for one and one for all." 
That Slumdog Millionaire won the  2008 Academy Award  for Best Picture proves that it's a work of art.  It combines sweet notes and harsh tones to adapt to its fable-like source material, Q & A by Vicas Swarup.  My hero ascends from the slums to triumph on Who Wants to be a Millionaire because his crushing past has provided him with all the right answers - his life affecting his education. 
The Associated Press said the child stars of the Oscar-winning work of art left the "red carpet" to India to a "heroes welcome."  Like the scene in Slumdog Millionaire where a celebrity flies in and police and heavily armed guards were needed to escort the children through the cheering crowds.
In the 1960s author Grace Paley argues in A Conversation with My Father
"Oh, Pa, this is a simple story about a smart woman who came to N.Y. C. full of interest, love, trust, excitement, very up to date, and about her son, what a hard time she had in this world."
Her father replies, "Actually that's the trouble with stories. People start out fantastic, you think they're extraordinary, but it turns out as the work goes along, they're just average with a good education. Sometimes the other way around, the person's a kind of dumb innocent, but he outwits you and you can't even think of an ending good enough."
In 2010 "average with a good education may be more than enough for a good life, even when the education is of life experiences. 
 Paley says to the father in her story, "No, Pa," I begged him. "It doesn't have to be. She's only about forty. She could be a hundred different things in this world as time goes on. A teacher or a social worker. An ex-junkie! Sometimes it's better than having a master's in education."
A masters in education would not have blessed Jamal with the answers he needed and has to inspire the Proletariat as well. In her short story, Paley is able to show that with  a more optimistic view she is able to transcend the past and forge ahead into the future.  Pale says, "I'm not going to leave her there in that house crying, (Actually neither would Life, which unlike me has no pity)".


An article in Economic and Political Weekly explains globalization in a movie like Slumdog Millionaire,“Popular Bollywood films with their appeal to the mass audience of uprooted peasants, factory workers, unemployed, uneducated and poor can decolonize the imagination of the Indian masses . . . efforts at indigenization, or forcing local cultures to adopt to one another. . . occur when western corporations impose their products on other economies"(Chakraborty). 
Westernizing] and interrogation [examination] of prescribed [approved] discourses [dialogues] of modernity [freshness, newness] and history deserve credit for making possible the creation of public debates within a culture where the majority of the population is non-literate, and unable to partake in elite discussions of culture and modernity” (Chakraborty).
While J. M. Tyree says in Film Quarterly, "the largest number of films in the world are made in Bollywood.   I want to add that in 2010, because people from all over the world work in Hollywood and Bollywood, a uniquely Indian movie is as nearly impossible as and exclusively American movie.  Globalization means a friendly fusion of diverse classes, cultures, tribes and tongues.  Unity and struggle infiltrates every corner of the universe through globalization. 

  "All for one and one for all."
Media -> Globalization -> Education

Meet Slumdog Millionaire
    • Apply the ideology of the international masses
      • Contradictions,
      • Differences
      • Similarities
    • Exposing, educating and unity of opposites
    • Mutual transformation in people of varying ideologies.
    • Equality and democracy, justice and injustice from the proletariat's point of view

Work Cited
Bos, Carole D. "Slumdog Millionaire" Date of access: December 8, 2010.
Chakraborty, Chandrima.  Subaltern Studies, Bollywood and Lagaan."  Economic and Political Weekly. Page 1879 of 1879-1884 Vol. 38, No. 19 (May 10-16, 2003).
Paley, Grace.  A Conversation with My Father.  New York: Noonday Press, 1972.

Slumdog Millionaire.  Dir. Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan. 2008.  DVD.  Fox. 2009.
Tyree, J. M.  “Against the Clock: Slumdog Millionaire and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”  Film Quarterly.  University of California Press: Summer 2009, Vol. 62, No. 4, Pages 34–38 , DOI 10.1525/fq.2009.   Posted online on June 4, 2009.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

David Harvey

  • Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities  (according to Andrew Bodman).
  • World's most cited academic geographer (according to Andrew Bodman).  [How space is created, viewed and managed by humans as well as the influence humans have on the space they occupy.]
  • Most recently he has been credited with helping to bring back social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form. He is a leading proponent of the idea of The Right to the City. [Lefebvre summaries the ideas as a "demand...[for] a transformed and renewed access to urban life] (according to Andrew Bodman).
This looked interesting, so I decided to look into "The Right to the City" concept.  I found: 

David Harvey has recently defined The Right to the City as being about "far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city." He has also stressed that: "It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization."
I don't know what I'm going to do with what I learned about David Harvey.  This doesn't help at all with my Slumdog Millionaire text analysis, and because he speaks another language than I do.  I realize he is speaking English, but I'm not talking an occasional turn to the dictionary, but concepts I'm only beginning to understand.  However, the youtube with the clever cartoons explaining as he spoke were fantastic!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

See what else Buckingham has to say:

  • Digital Media - the internet, mobile phones, computer games, interactive telelvision - now an indespensble aspect of . . . leisure-time experienes(vii).
  • I have explored moving image media such as television and film, how they are produced, the characteristics of media 'texts' and how they're interpreted (vii).
  • Computers and other digital media are technologies of representation: they are social and cultural technologies that cannot be considered merely as neutral tools for learning   [computer games and  the internet as media rather than technologies] (vii).
  • A great deal of learning involves technology of one form or another (if we grant that the printing press or even the pen are forms of technology); and a great deal of learning is inevitably mediated (again, if we grant that the book – or indeed the curriculum itself – is a medium, a means of representing the world, just like television or the internet) (ix).
  • The use of information and communication technology in education was seen as central to . . . process of ‘upskilling’ the future workforce and ensuring its employability  . . . From this perspective, then, the use of technology in education is a direct response to the demands of the modern economy  . . . a ‘computer literate workforce’(15, 16).  . . depriving a person of a franchise or right.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Education Specialist, Jane Tallim says,
Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day. It's the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media— from music videos and Web environments to product placement in films and virtual displays on NHL hockey boards. . . the instinct to question what lies behind media productions— the motives, the money, the values and the ownership— and to be aware of how these factors influence content . . . media education isn't about having the right answers—it's about asking the right questions. The result is lifelong empowerment of the learner and citizen.
Elizabeth Thoman, Founder and President, Center for Media Literacy, 1995 says, three stages of a continuum (range, gamut) leading to media empowerment:  The first stage is simply becoming aware of the importance of managing one's media "diet"— that is, making choices and reducing the time spent with television, videos, electronic games, films and various print media forms.  The second stage is learning specific skills of critical viewing— learning to analyze and question what is in the frame, how it is constructed and what may have been left out . . . learned . . . interactive group activities, as well as from creating and producing one's own media messages.  The third stage goes behind the frame to explore deeper issues. Who produces the media we experience—and for what purpose? Who profits? Who loses? And who decides? This stage of social, political and economic analysis looks at how everyone in society makes meaning from our media experiences, and how the mass media drive our global consumer economy.

Maureen Baron, Multimedia Administrator, The English Montreal School Board says, "The traditional definition of literacy, when print was the supreme media format, was the ability to decode, understand and communicate in print. But the world has evolved, and print is no longer the dominant media format—that role has been usurped by the electronic media. To be literate today, people must be able to:
decode, understand, evaluate and write through, and with, all forms of media
read, evaluate and create text, images and sounds, or any combination of these elements.
In other words literate individuals must possess media literacy as well as print literacy, numeral literacy and technological literacy."

Wally Bowen, Citizens for Media Literacy, Asheville, NC, U.S.A, 1996 says, Media literacy seeks to empower citizens and to transform their passive relationship to media into an active, critical engagement— capable of challenging the traditions and structures of a privatized, commercial media culture, and finding new avenues of citizen speech and discourse.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Media and Education – How Appropriate Is This?! :)

 October 19, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
I can't make either student consultation meeting for faculty members who are up for review for retention, promotion and/or tenure but I want to thank you for the opportunity to commend excellent teaching, particularly Professor Steven Wexler.
Because my heart is to become a great teacher, I research teachers before I register for a class.   I knew that I wanted Steven Wexler for Major Critical Theories, English 436, but I put off that class until I was out of classes to take, because I knew Professor Wexler required every student to create a blog.  As it turned out Professor Wexler changed what I was so afraid of into one of the most powerful of all my learning experiences at CSUN.
It was wonderful to have classmates’ weekly blog reflections available to inspire or dissuade.  We were teaching!  I was amazed at the extra effort and care that I put into my work because, thanks to Professor Wexler’s blog, scholars doing research on critical theory across the world would have access to my work.
Before Professor Wexler’s class I agreed with Karl Pister, Chancellor Emeritus, University of California at Santa Cruz theory.  He said, “Fish don't notice water and most of society doesn't think about technology.  But technology grows ever more powerful, and blindly accepting or rejecting it grows ever more dangerous.”  However, since Professor Wexler’s class, it is no longer merely a theory.  Besides Major Critical Theories, Professor Wexler helped me understanding that because c technology infuses everything in our world today, every excellent teacher will have to grow with it.

Friday, October 8, 2010



How annoying it's been to find the Bible's depiction of creation among myths, legends, fables and folklore.