Monkey see, Monkey do

Come one, Come all! See the monkeys! The recently restored film (in 3-D) “Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven” on March 20th held its first screening at this year’s CAAMFEST. The reviews look very positive and relinquish on childhood memories of the old 1965 edition. The story is about the protagonist named Sun Wu-Kong (meaning monkey king). It followers his adventures as he leads his monkey followers and goes off on his own quests. It originated from a 16th century Chinese novel.


Isn’t this wonderful? This means more Asian representations in main stream media (even better if the voice acting was performed by actual Asians instead of following yellowface logics). HOWEVER… although the movie may be quite lovely and inspiring, let’s take a quick glance of the implications using the theories of perception. Using the cognitive accessibility theory we might begin to make mental shortcuts that monkeys act foreign, have Asian names, and live in exotic lands with adventures. Then the spreading activist recognizes that now these shortcuts leads us to believe that “Oh, Monkeys are all Asian”. They may also assume that the way monkeys act, is the same way that Asians act, so therefore Asians are also monkeys! Now cultivation analysis tells us that this “media/Televised” foreign Asian is what Asians REALLY are.

Now I understand that it might be a stretch that people will begin thinking Asians and monkeys act the same just because of a film. But we must consider real citations and issues that may arise. We might not think of Asian as acting monkey-like, but what about being foreign? Because of the lack (or shortage) of monkeys in America, we tend to view them as being exotic, different, and all round not normal (even if you think they are good/cute). We also tend to view monkey adventures as exotic, different, and all around not normal, even fictional. Now if we are repeatedly exposed to the construction of monkeys following Asian cultures, can we assume a connection will be reinforced between Asian and foreign? This Orientalistic perspective soon is the dominant image. This is also a reason Asian Americans face issues as being forever foreign. I looked through popular media (mainly video games) to see the association between monkeys and Asians. To simplify my analysis I will just list names of monkey characters that draw connection to Asians (whether these names originate or not from Asains, I don’t know. But being an average whit American, I think I can draw on my perceptions to represent much of the population’s interpretations of the same “foreign” names)

Wukong  (League of Legends)    AiAi (Super Monkey Ball)              KiKi (Legend of Zelda)

Wiki (Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure)           Kongo (Monkey Magic)

SonSon (SonSon/MvC2 series)



So come one, come all! See the Asians! Or let’s instead learn from the past and present more resistant representations not associating monkeys with our fellow Americans.



Influence in Music

For many years and decades music has been the one thing that has brought everyone together. Depending on the type of music and ideologies behind that music are able to touch people’s hearts in many different ways. There are all types and genre and artist who have  are able to touch people hearts. With music, artist can have a great influence on people. With this influence it can help people overcome their hard times, make them want to do something bad, or help their mind relax and just have a good time listening to the music. There are so many different types of music that are in todays media and society. Everyone has their own types music they like to listen to, but are the things they listen to have a great influence on them, that are able to change the way they think and act? Yes, because in music there are different subcultures. Subcultures are just people or artist who believe in the same ideologies that are in a particular group. These subcultures develop a sense of belonging together and sharing the same ideas. In this particular the listening to the same music and have the same beliefs and there are many different subcultures. There are subcultures such as rap, heavy metal, rock, punk, etc……. For kids to listen to these musics has many effects on a child’s mind. These songs may include killing, robbing, smoking, doing drugs, sex, and many more. It just outrageous of what is being played in media. I’m not saying that music is bad but there are types of music out there that is in media, where kids are able to access them.
Personally as I was growing up and the types of music that I was surrounded by were bad influence on me and my friends. I guess because of what the older kids were listening to, we just copied them. The music that I remember that we listen to was more of gang, violence and drugs. There were others music that I remember listening to too but more of music that were gang related. As I was a part of this subculture, I can remember kids around my age that were talking about fighting and gang violence. Overall what I’m trying to say is that media and music has a great influence on society . Music can really change you in many different ways. It can be a good way or bad way.

(Can not add pictures for some reason…)

Major League Gaming


Video gaming itself is a culture, but within video gaming there are subcultures.  For example there are communities that only play massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) and then there are the communities that play competitive online multiplayer games like Call of Duty. This competitive subculture of video games is the focus of my blog post because it is a great example how easy subcultures can form thank to the power of the internet.

At the heart of competitive gaming is Major League Gaming (MLG). Much like Major League Baseball(MLB), Nation Basketball Association (NBA) and the Nation Football League (NFL), MLG is an organization that regulates and manages professional competitive gaming. The MLG arranges and broadcasts gaming tournaments to spectators around the world through with the help of the internet and ESPN. MLG was founded by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso with the goal of pushing gaming popularity to new levels.

The tournaments that Major League Gaming holds tournaments and competition events around highly popular competitive games like Halo and StarCraft. Teams or individuals can competite against each other for cash prizes, trophies, and bragging rights

Meteoric Rise of Electronic Dance Music and Its Subcultures

No genre of music has seen such a boom in the last decade that electronic dance music, or “EDM”, has experienced. From the 3-day Las Vegas festival called Electric Daisy Carnival, to the 2 weekend long festival held in Miami called Ultra Music Festival, fans are coming out in droves to these festivals to share their love of dance music. At these festivals the fans dance for hours on end to hundreds of artists at each festival. Electric Daisy Carnival saw more than 210,000 people come out to their 3 day party in 2012. The new wave of fans have re-contextualized what it means to be a fan of electronic music. Electronic music now provides the background beat of many hip hop and pop artists number one songs, and is becoming larger and larger by the day.

These festivals aren’t all sunshine and rainbows though. Girls are regularly encouraged to dress in the skimpiest and most-revealing clothes possible. Attached is a picture of a group of girls that you would commonly find at Ultra and EDC. Just like in the video about the “Tropes vs women in video games” video we watched in class, girls are being hyper-sexualized by their actions and the way they portray themselves through their clothing choices. The dominant ideology of girls being hyper-sexualized in the media is not going away anytime soon, and these festivals are not helping the cause.

Not only are girls continually letting peer pressure and media sway them to wear these types of clothes, but the drugs and alcohol abuse is still very prevalent at these shows, though not as rampant as you would have found 10-20 years ago. One couldn’t walk 50 feet through the crowd of Electronic Daisy Carnival without smelling marijuana, seeing teenagers drink alcohol from a water bottle, seeing people popping all kinds of pills in their mouths, among many other things. The rampant abuse of ecstasy of yester-year is still around pretty heavy in these shows. Essentially, these shows are just one humongous party, and it is extremely hard for a security team to control upwards of 100,000 people.

Even with all of the drugs and alcohol and shady business going on at these shows, you can see that the fans have genuine love for the music. It is also a growing trend to wear stuff that symbolizes peace and love and unity, or make hand gestures that symbolize these as well. It seems that the happy beats and general feel-good essence of the music brings people together, and creates a good community of caring people. I have met some great people that I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the rise of electronic dance music.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2010 At The Coliseum        Electric_Daisy_Carnival_2010_Los_Angeles

Subculture within Hip-Hop

Over the years, Hip-Hop has diversified itself from its original origins and even also from within has created multiple subcultures within itself. Starting from its early origins, Hip-Hip was used as a poetry form of brief rhymes and some beats in the background. Once in the eyes of mainstream with the Sugar Hill Gang being the first, it was used as party music accompanied with certain dances, the art of breakdancing. Within the 80s, the lyrics tended to go away from the party and got a little deeper with some of the great emcees, in my opinion at least, starting to emerge such as Rakim, or were hearing this music produced and got inspired by it. Late 80s, we started to see the Gangsta Rap and resistance to the government of such groups as the N.W.A. Once at the Gangsta Rap age, the first culture of Hip-Hop was raised, with the Pillars of Hip-Hop: MCing, DJing, B-Boying, and Graffiti, with knowledge being a 5th pillar for most while others associate it with MCing. Later within the 90s, the Gangsta Rap became more mainstream and more and more people starting joining this culture due to the popularity of rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and so on. Eventually the Gangsta Rap age started to fade by the 2000s, which led to the diversified areas of Hip-Hop and led to more subcultures within.

Generally though, the subcultures has always had the 4 pillars throughout from their creation. MCing, you have to know what you are saying, while also adding in some rhymes. This is why some of the older emcees are coming out saying that knowledge is key to become successful, because you have to know how to use words so creatively while also knowing what to say. DJing, know how to create your beats.  Know how to mix together some tracks while also creating your own, be original. B-Boying, know how to move with the music, and in the early days break dancing was the answer. Graffiti has changed to more of an art, just express yourself.

To describe the culture in few words, KRS-ONE said it best: “Hip means to know, it’s a form of intelligence. To be hip is to be update and relevant. Hop is a form of movement. You can’t just observe a hop, you gotta hop up and do it. Hip and hop is more than music. Hip is the knowledge, hop is the movement. Hip and Hop is intelligent movement”


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asian representation in Jpop

Jpop is a expanding representation of Japanese music that is being spread around world wide. Even if Jpop isn’t as fast growing as Kpop, they are growing exponentially and becoming to be recognized though popular anime shows such as Naruto, and One Piece; and used in various original Japanese made video games related to music or dancing; as well as various of festivals around the US to create an awareness of the Japanese culture. Though this the Japanese culture is expanding rapidly itself as well as their music and more and more people are beginning to be more aware. For instance, Idolmaster otaku’s which are people who are obsessed with Idolmaster which is a type of animated idol group which has grown over the years though their video games as well as anime. That and they have a huge fan base which is how their music is expanding though the US.


A reason for bringing up Jpop is because of  a Japanese idol Kylee Saunders, who is also a American citizen who lived in Arizona till she graduated from Hamilton High School. The point of bringing her up is because the songs she sings usually contains a kind of mixed cultural feel to it, and it is not because she is singing it in Japanese or inserting English words into her songs. It is because she has lived in America for most of her life, but also lived in a Japanese household. This makes a difference because her music is influenced by her cultural background and the type of music she listened to while growing up in a American environment.

Another reason for bringing up Jpop is because some of the music is also beginning to be represented in other culturally different music and idol groups. An example of this would be Kpop groups which expanded not only in the US but into Japan. And because Japan and Korea are near each other a lot of the music are adding a mixed of both Kpop and Jpop to make a culturally different feel to the music industry.




Physics and Mosh Pits

The intersection between math and music is seen through Vijay Iyer’s process of creating music. His background in math, his undergraduate and the majority of his graduate program spent on physics. Through this ability, he was able to mesh two unseeingly related fields and create a connection. It could be one of the particular features that separate him from different jazz artists. His playing is sporadic which is an acquired taste for most because it is different from a song with strong melody. Listening to his music seems to be almost spontaneous like other events in life. But maybe it is not as spontaneous as people would like to think.

In an interesting section of NPR music, there isan article done by Geoff Brumfiel. The name of the article is Mosh Pit Math: Physicists Analyze Rowdy Crowd. Through this article two graduate students from Cornell University present an unseeingly connection between two unrelated fields or phenomena, just like Vijay Iyer’s creative process. This connection brings together physics and mosh pits. From their observations, they described roles of people in mosh pits by variables that come together in an equation. The motion of the mosh pit is a, “random mess of collisions, which is essentially how you want to think about the gas in the air that we breathe.” This odd coupling of math and social gathering of metal heads is just interesting because it shows that there is always something deeper than what is first expected.

Vijay Iyer’s musical uniqueness is much deeper thanhis skin color. At first, this is all most people can see because it is the biggest marker that shows he is different. When people hear different sounds or the fact that he doesn’t play soothing jazz, they attribute it too the biggest marker: skin color. They begin to ask questions concerning how foreign he lives his life and how does his culture influence his music. Iyer quotes a friend, Pamela Z saying, “When people can see you, they hear something else.” When people first see Iyer, they do not really see him as a person with unique qualities for jazz. They only see his assumed culture and how that it influences his jazz. The fact that his biggest influence is Thelonious Monk shows he is a person, not a culture. When people see him as Iyer with no films around their eyes they may hear something different. Although, it is never guaranteed they will enjoy it.

mosh pit