Archive for the Symbolic interactionism Category

Is Vogue magazine Racially profiling?

Posted in Commercialism, Controversy, Culture, fashion, perception, Race, rant, Sociology, Symbolic interactionism with tags , , , , , , on March 31, 2008 by howsoonis08

On the cover of the newest edition of Vogue magazine is an example of racial profiling?


Take a good look at the new cover, and think about some of the emotions and profiles that come in mind… King Kong… primal…. primitive…dangerous…aggressive…powerful…criminal… Aren’t these thing we should be moving away from? Especially on the cover of a magazine that represents ‘high’ society in North America?

“So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it’s not innocent,”

“Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening reinforce the criminalization of black men.”

Whose standpoint is coming through in these pictures? What is mistakenly being represented? Keep in mind that this is the first black man to ever pose on the cover of Vogue magazine…

I am not taking a side in this argument, what I want is to generate discussion on my post… Pease let me know what you think!

Misconstrued Perception

Posted in Coffee, Commercialism, connoisseur, Consumerism, fashion, Indie rock, music, rant, Symbolic interactionism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2008 by howsoonis08

Is consumerism and commercialism altering perceptions on the art of coffee and music? In my opinion…without a doubt.


What is “indie”, or “indie rock” for that matter? I used to think that I knew. I used to think that indie music was short-form for independent music. The genre of indie rock is now more of a fashion for consumer culture and another way for capitalists to turn music into a commercialized product. They play with the label of indie rock, attributing it to underground culture and counterculture. Just another way to falsely assure the masses that they are “individual”, “unique”, and part of a countermovement to mainstream culture. It is used now to incorrectly describe the bands sound in affiliation with their independent label, or means of production. It’s a blanket term that covers many artists, grouping them into a category that appeals to a society who is constantly looking to rid themselves of characteristics of the collective; conforming to a symbol of individualism, despite the fact they are doing the exact opposite. Indie has been appropriated by commercialism to mean something that was originally not intended; it has new meaning now. It was only a matter of time before someone was smart enough to see that they could market this idea.

I’m not judging anything about the music itself. There are many artists coming out with the label of “indie” that are wonderful to listen to, and by no means should artists be judged by their label. Also, I’m not saying that there are not truly independent bands emerging from various music genres. I just wish that truly independent musicians wouldn’t get tagged under the genre of “indie”. Am I symbolically representing myself through the music I listen to? Most likely… but I would say that their is very few that could get away with saying no. Do I mean to? Not necessarily… I did for a long time, and now realize there are definitely more important things in life than defining yourself by symbolic culture. Althought I’ll never get away from it.

Now what about coffee? How have peoples perception of coffee changed? There are about 13, 000 Starbucks around the world, and in multiple countries; opening Starbucks every 6 minutes… About 44 million people a week go to Starbucks. Starbucks coffee is the most caffeinated coffee on the market. So what am I trying to get at? I want to argue the fact that Starbucks is altering people’s perception of coffee from something that is a taste sensation, to something to feed an addiction. Among other things that I think is horrible about Starbucks, this is what I’m going to try to argue. Usually when I talked to people about coffee, the response is usually something like this: “I really needed a coffee this morning, I had a horrible hangover and needed to get picked up.” Where is the enjoyment in that? Doesn’t it seem as if people are using coffee strictly for the caffeine, as a means for energy? I’m sure that symbolic imagery also has some sort of ties, but my opinion leans more towards coffee as a means of caffeine. It really is a shame that more people don’t take the time to appreciate all things that go into coffee and all aspects that change the qualities of coffee. We need to remember that we are trying to make something consistently that naturally doesn’t want to be consistent. Starbucks and other coffee chains have constrained coffee to something that can be repeated over and over again with very little frequencies of variability. So what Starbucks is doing is dealing caffeine legally and consistently. Of course this is just my opinion, and I would love to hear discussions!!

And for some neat indie rock picks, check out: Pavement, Guided by Voices, Built to Spill, Jesus and Mary Chain, Polvo, and solid old Sonic Youth

(Am I secretly representing myself symbolically through these bands?? Fuck… This just gets confusing.)

Blowing off steam…

Posted in abnormal, fashion, psychology, rant, Symbolic interactionism with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2008 by howsoonis08

This entry is a little off topic… but I thought that it would be perfect for a quick little discussion starter!

Earlier today in my abnormal psychology class we were discussing mental status examinations. We went over the criteria described in these simple exams (Appearance and Behavior, Thought Process, Mood and Affect, Intellectual Functioning, and Sensorium), and for the remainder of the class we were to watch the introduction to the movie Stay. Early in the movie you are introduced to a psychiatric patient by the name of Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), and our task was to use the mental status exam criteria to analyze the patient. This was all fine and dandy… until that is… until our professor paused the movie and had us report back to him what we had gathered thus far.

The first thing we went over was appearance and behavior. Everyone seemed to be giving reasonable answers: lack of facial expressions, no eye contact, reserved, tired, etc… Until someone in the front said:

” Well he looks kinda umm emo, so he might be depressed?”

Holy fuck! Are you serious! This is a third year course, and that response was totally ridiculous! Number one, for someone who dresses “emo” it is a fucking fashion!! Not something that shows mental signs of depression! You don’t wake up one day feeling sad and say “shit… I’m reaaally depressed… I’m going to go out and by new clothes… most likely black ones…. with a new hair swoop…. and buy a Dashboard Confessional CD…..” (I’m sorry for being stereotypical. It’s mainly for emphasis. I don’t like it when others do this either. Furthermore, the fashion trend I am referring to has just been popularized in 2000. Before, “Emo” was a music movement from Washington and Chicago areas and was very respectable) Also, this is as shitty as diagnosing someone with a lack of concentration by saying, wow that guy is really dressed like a raver… he must not be able to concentrate at work because he is constantly thinking about raving. Secondly, being so-called “emo” has nothing to do with someones mental health status… although I sometimes wonder.

Fashion is part of symbolic interactionism, and is part of how someone presents and constructs ones self; constructing “identity.” If you want to place a status of mental unstableness on people who dress with “emo” style, you can turn around and do that to any other consumer!