Blog Post #4

Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation about Music and Torture

Music and torture is not something you normally do not see together in the same sentence or idea. It is interesting to see how someone can take a simple thing that everyone loves and turn it into a form of torture. When people think of torture they normally think of something physical being done to another person. People tend to forget there are non-physical forms of torture such as temperature, starvation, isolation, and more. It was interesting when Suzanne G. Cusick brought up how “music can produce a subjectivity, which is the belief that comes attached to the notion of music providing access to the sublime, it then follows that a godlike music that can, so to speak, give life, can also take it away”. Music plays a huge role and is present in every day life. Each song can tell a story and eventually it can connect with whoever is listening. If a song is being used for torture, it can be done in many different forms. One way, it can be used to annoy the listener by playing the same song over and over again. Or have a song with nonsense lyrics. Another way is to taunt or show the irony in a situation. If the listener is in a terrible situation, it would be ironic if an upbeat song talking about how great life is is played.

Journal 4: Killing Me Softly with his song: an initial investigation into the use of popular music as a tool of Oppression

David Guzman

December 8, 2019

Journal 4:

Killing Me Softly with his song: an initial investigation into the use of popular music as a tool of Oppression

In most people’s lives, music is seen as something to enjoy. Whether that be from listening to your favorite music artist or listing to something new, music, for the most part, is enjoyable. One of the things that I never realized or knew about is how music can be transformed into something pleasurable to something unpleasant. In the article, Killing me Softly with his song: an initial investigation into the use of popular music as a tool of oppression by Martin Cloonan and Bruce Johnson, the writes examine the way popular music is used to bring people down. The writes mention how the people who are studying music tend to ignore the adverse effects that pop music might have. The writes say on page 28, that people who have studied pop music generally “underplay the negative impact of popular music.” This line made me realize that the harsh impacts of music are rarely spoken about; this is probably the reason why I do not know about the oppressive side of music.

An example that the writer showed for music as a tool for oppression is of composer Wagner and how his music can be seen as unpleasant to some people. Wagner’s music can often remind people of the holocaust, and this was evident during the first performance of Wagner in Israel. An eighty-year-old Polish survivor of the holocaust was upset by this performance that he swung a large plastic rattle around his head until he was kicked out. With this example, it showed me that people could interpret music in different ways.

While people can see between art and ideology, some people cannot, and this can lead to either a positive or negative reaction. Cloonan and Johnson mention the line of “distinguish between art and ideology” (31), as we start moving forward with social media and our lives become more open to everyone to see, I believe that the idea of separating art and ideology/artist will become more prevalent. We all have to start deciding whether or not to consume art from some artists based on their actions; these decisions will lead to a lot of discourse of what is correct or not correct.

The article also talks about how music is used to cause physical pain. The article mentions that at one point, the United States Army used “repetitive and loud” music during a blockaded at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City in December 1989. This idea is insane to me because of how creative it is to think of music as a pain-inducing tool. I have been listing to music for a long time now, and I have never thought of using music in this type of way.

Blog Post #3

Manufacturing Creativity: Production, Performance,
and Dissemination of K-pop

K-Pop has been slowly rising in popularity and gaining attention these past years. It’s gotten so popular that it now appears on our social media and news websites. Gil-Sun Park states, “The global dissemination of K-pop would not have been possible without global social network service (SNS) sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter” which expresses how important social media is in today’s society. Social media helps people instantly gain access to something outside their country with no issues. It was really interesting to learn about how Park is breaking down K-Pop and explaining why it’s so popular and how it’s different from the American and Japanese music industries.  Park believes that the success of a K-pop song relies on a mix of innovation and sustainability. They have a balance in which the American and Japanese music industries do not have. They tend to lean to one or the other.

Learning more about the top Korean music company was an eye-opener. As a CEO of a company, one would assume that they would at least have a small team to help manage things at the start, however, Lee Soo-man did everything himself: recruitment, training musical talent, hiring composers, producing and marketing music videos albums and more. After the expand, Lee Soo-man still controls the creative aspects of the company and leaves the business department to someone else. It was interesting to learn the secret of SM’s success was not only to outsource the song’s production, but to take that production and to tweak little things about it from its lyrics to certain instruments to make it have unique feeling that is only found at that particular company. Other big companies such as YG and JYP have tried to imitate how SM does things, but was unable to do so. Instead they took different approaches. When PSY was in YG, he understood the importance of YouTube and social media. That was why his hit songs Gangnam Style and Gentleman trended and was a hit globally. JYP on the other hand, has his groups collaborate with international stars. For example, he had his group, the Wonder Girls, tour with Jonas Brothers. Recently, Jackson Wang  from GOT7 has been seen collaborating with singers and songwriters part of 88rising like Rich Brian and Joji.

With rising company, BigHit that manages BTS, they have taken all different aspects that the top 3 companies does and combined it into one. One huge thing that helped them gain popularity was social media. Rather than having separate  social media accounts they have interacted with their fans on one social media account for almost five years. Another huge thing that helped them gain popular was the size of the company. For five years, BigHit has only managed one group so all their focus was on helping them gain popularity. Also, since the members of BTS are not only singers, they also help produce and choreograph the songs, adding that unique feeling that can only be found in their group. Since the group’s original intention was to be a hip hop group, BigHit sent them to LA to learn from famous rappers that helped influence the way they produce and write their songs.

Blog Post 4

Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation
about Music and Torture

I found this article extremely interesting to read. I haven’t heard much about ,music as a form of torture but I always though of it as wild and disturbing – to take something that has the ability to cause such joy, relief, happiness, and peace and use it to literally drive them insane is crazy. It is also interesting the lack of conversation on the topic – “other people would rather not discuss anymore, issues that other people think have disappeared or become historical” (Joseph, 6). Similar to other controversial issues that society faces, the lack of comfort as well as the lack of knowledge on the topic forces it to get faded into the pile of “issues to deal with later” and later never comes or it comes too late. In the show The Walking Dead they use music as a form of torture to one of the characters and they play this song “Easy Street” almost all day every day for nearly a week. When he’d be close to falling asleep they blast the song again. In watching the episode I wondered why they chose that specific song. I wondered if it was because it was happy, upbeat and relatively annoying. But then again, any song can become annoying after being forced to listen to it all day every day. Different people would come by his cell to give him food occasionally and what i found interesting was that occasionally 1 or 2 of them would show empathy. Now granted, I know they aren’t the ones who gave the order, but they knew what they signed up for when they joined the saviors. A common theme of this show is that a lot of people are a part of the groups they would not usually be just because they are trying to survive so we see a lot of people doing and treating others the way that usually wouldn’t. The empathy I find interesting because one, you see that they have feelings and can sympathize, and two, because it almost feels as if they don’t necessarily feel completely responsible for the position the victim is in. This is something that in the reading they refer to as “torture lite”, which is like regular torture, just less humane? “We can conceive of ourselves as a people who don’t torture, even though we do torture, because “we don’t do torture, we do ‘torture lite.’” (Joseph, 15) The torturer is able to dissociate from the situation which I think is almost, in a way, more dangerous because you find less wrong with your actions which means there’s less of a chance of it being stopped. Similar to “Easy Street”, the reference to the use of Barney the Dinosaurs theme song as torture causes this form of torture to get taken even less seroiusly which leads to it being discussed less therefore it doesnt get addressed nd the topic, once again, gets buried. “Once we laugh at one technique, belittle it, and think it doesn’t have a significant effect, we’ve already entered a space—whether we know it or not—in which we, as a cul- ture, accept a form of torture as something we can think about with- out horror” (Joseph, 18)

Blog Post 3

Transcultural fandom of the Korean Wave in Latin America

“All 12,500 tickets for what was supposed to be just one show sold out in a record-breaking two hours’ “ – when I began reading this article I had to re-read this line, because I thought I read it wrong. I was already fascinated by the growth of KPop in the United States, but the thought of it growing rapidly in Latin american countries was intriguing because they don’t have the diversity that attributes to a lot of the growth of Kpop in the United States. The authors of this article emphasize the role social media plays in the growth which is becoming more and more common as media becomes the forefront of our means of communication and sharing. Kpop stars, especially the groups of Big Hit Entertainment put an incredible amount of time focusing on their social media presence p probably more than most if any popular american pop artists. They create apps with so much information about your favorite artists, behind the scenes, games, rewards; they form their own community. You don’t need to be anywhere near them or other fans, for that matter,  to be able to learn everything about your favorite artists and have them tell you about what they ate for dinner. And with options for different language they can literally reach across nations. To learn more about the Chilean people and their relationship with kpop they conducted extensive interviews in 3 locations letting them talk freely but also asking them about the influence of media in their relationship with K-pop. A common thread was the love of the connection they are able to have with the stars.because of the accessibility of communication and information via media outlets. With all of this information it almost becomes a competition of who knows something everyone else doesn’t and it establishes a conversation which leads to this community of people talking about their idols with. “In both religion and fandom, a drive to intimacy impels individuals to act in ways that go beyond the bounds of self to seek greater communion with the object of their adoration” (Min, Jin, Han, 611). This is huge for K-pop fans because it is very new to the States as well as other countries and many people, unless you have researched and really looked into it, don’t know enough about kpop to understand why their fans are the way that they are. Because we live, United States especially, such a judgmental society, many K-pop fans experience ridicule and are joked about and not taken seriously so this family and connection they have with each other is extremely important. With the help of media they are even able to communicate internationally and get to know fans of different cultures amidst what they refer to as “affinity space”. I just find it so crazy how even just a decade ago they would not be able to spread as rapidly and reach as far as they have in recent years. Many of the interviewees discovered kpop view social media or television and although they weren’t looking for it, they were intrigued which wouldn’t have happened without the media outlets we have today.


Journal 3: DIY Democracy: The Direct-Action Politics of U.S. Punk Collectives

David Guzman

December 8, 2019

Journal 3: DIY Democracy: The Direct-Action Politics of U.S. Punk Collectives

In the article “DIY Democracy: The Direct-Action Politics of U.S. Punk Collectives,” Dawson Barrett tries to explain the politics behind punk music and culture. The writer mentions how the punk movement highlighted DIY politics, which is a brand of politics that is more community-driven. DIY politics promoted change with a tight group of people. Punk’s DIY politics is about becoming an active participant in change and not waiting for change to come. One of the great things about this article is how refreshing the topic is to the legacy of punk. For me, most of the time, when I hear punk, I do not think about active political participation. I have always defined punk as anti-establishment and anti-government, always talking bad about the government, but never standing up and fighting for change. This article made me but connect punk to political activism and fighting for what it is right. This paper opened my eye to how much of a political force punk was to fight back the government.

A division of punk was made after the first generation of punk artists. The writer of the paper does a great job describing how the first generation fell off, leading to a new group of artists within the genre. This new kind of punk had more aggression and cared more about politics, and they had a DIY approach to music, they tried to avoid the music industry. While the old punks were considered to be sell-outs, the new punks gave the genre identity and purpose again. The new age of punk was also met with violent fans that took to punk’s new aggression harshly. New punk clubs were forced to move away from these groups of people. Clubs like ABC No Rio and 924 Gilman street promoted a safer and friendlier environment.

The mission statement of ABC No Rio and 924 Gilman street was to provide a safe space by confronting violence and oppressive behavior and to involve each member of the punk community by the process of consensus-based decision making. They did not want anyone in these types of clubs. The way that I interpret these clubs is as the stepping stones that lead to political activism within the punk subculture. Both clubs had policies against violence, racism, sexism, and homophobia. By implementing these rules in the punk’s venues, these rules slowly became the ideology of punk.

Blog post #4

Victoria Norman

December 4, 2019


Professor. Herzog

In the article The Audio-Visual iPod by Michael Bull goes in depth about how people are transported to a different world with the help of an iPod. With the technologies of the iPod, they transport the cognitive space to another through the potential of sound. Something that comes up about a strategy embarked on the use of iPods are they are different from traditionally accepted modes of urban aesthetics, known as flaneurism. Flaneurism can be seen as an appropriation of dominance towards visual and cultural studies. It can also be understood as a ‘displaced’ subject that place themselves in others shoes to see how the world is portrayed in a different perspective. What flaneurism really is, is an inappropriate concept for understanding of audio visual worlds for iPod and technology users. It is to experience daily life of an average citizen who is not made up of the ‘tourist’ gaze.

City space is another one representing the aesthetics of the street when listening to music. You are to experience habitual practices. The iPod here provides a person to find their way through the city streets and the other is to preoccupy their moods. Especially in New York, city streets can be hard to walk down do to the amount of citizens that are trying to go from one place to the next. When using an iPod, the person is distracted from their surroundings as well as being able to focus on where they are trying to get to even if they are listening to music. Having the headphones in your ears, it cancels out all noise that you would normally hear on the streets and you rhythm of sound is amplified. The iPod can be experienced in many ways. One being like you are starring in a movie. It does depend on the song and the mood being portrayed but most of the time it can be seen as if you were looking into a cinematic lens. An example would be when you are in the bak of a car, looking out the window while it rains. You put on a sad song either because you like it or you can relate to the message being portrayed.

Silence helps protect the subject from ‘the harsh realities of the world’ promoting both isolation and self growth. It can enrich the interiority contrasted with the boredom of the world we know. Aesthetic enhancement is the main goal for iPod usage. Based on the time of day or weather condition, it is conjoined together to help bond what music is on your iPod. You may already have a structured playlist that you pick the song you want to be available to you but you choose the song you want to play depending on how you feel. One thing that feeds into aesthetic enhancements are sound utopias. Movement itself embodies how the subject moves deepening on where you are. For example, in the city you see a lot of common things, people, cars, birds, its always changing wherever you look. “Illuminated words glide on the rooftops, and already one is banished from one’s own emptiness into the alien advertisement. One’s body takes root in the asphalt, and, together with the enlightening revelations of the illuminations, one’s spirit – which is no longer one’s own – roams ceaselessly out of the night and into the night.” Basically what the aesthetic is trying to depict is that the world is experienced in the ways we want to experience it. We want to engage ourselves with what interests us and having an iPod at our finger tips, we have control over how the city streets can be experienced.

blog post #4

Michael Bull discusses the effects of listening iPod with headphones on in the Audio-Visual reading. He explains how a person is transported to a different world through the ability of privatized sound thanks to the iPod. My first iPod was a red nano and I totally can relate to his statement that, “The use of an iPod enables users to create a satisfying aestheticized reality for themselves as they move through daily life.” I was obsessed with my iPod and would listen to music on car rides, doing my homework and even before going to sleep. It was such an important part of my routine that let me escape and just listen to my favorite songs at the time. In the chapter he talks about a guy named Jason and how he creates and audio-visual when listening to music or a book on his iPod. I think everyone has experienced this and looks forward to listening to music and being able to observe things around them or make things up in their imagination. Bull also says that it is common for iPod experiences to be related as being in a movie, which I think is funny because today there are a bunch of memes exactly about that. I think its interesting how a persons mood can affect what type of music they’ll be listening too, especially when certain songs can take you back to a specific time or person. I feel like today most people will listen to music on their iPhones which can be distracting since you can do a multitude of things that a regular old iPod couldn’t so I wonder how that can affect peoples audio-visual skills. I feel like headphones are extremely prevalent with a majority of people today whether they actually use it for music purposes or to deter human interaction when they’re out and about. 

Blog Post 3

Victoria Norman




In the article Transcultural fandom of the Korean Wave in Latin America: through the lens of cultural intimacy and affinity space , Latin American cultures have adapted the K-pop fandom. During the early 1990s, Korean popular culture was popularized through the use of television programs, such as documentaries, animations and dramas. It was not until 2010s when the wave of K-pop began to rise especially in Latin America. K-pop fans are depicted to be erratic and crazy and soon becomes social outcasts according to Chileans. The article states “Current scholarship on K-pop in Latin America has been primarily concerned with the different transcultural variables that make K-pop transitionally appealing to Latin Americans despite their lack of a shared cultural affinity and language.” Due to the fact the most Latin Americans don’t know the Korean language or the culture, they are willing to learn it for the purpose of being a dedicated fan towards the K-pop fandom.

There are three concepts that are identified for the popularity of Korean popular culture. It can be broken down into economy, globalization, and social media throughout the world. Social media, in fact, plays a very important role because it increases the use of the Internet in order to access content. A good point made by the author is “an algorithm of spectacular entertainment and relentless optimism resonates with teenagers in South American nations.” This means that using algorithms sets a way of sorting posts to a user’s feed based on relevance. It prioritizes content a user seems in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll actually want to see it. So when you have a popular Korean boy band like BTS, fans will want to see more of them and be up to date with the latest post.

It is interesting to see that Latin Americans’ have developed some level of intimacy with Korea with such strong passion and interest. The fans of K-pop adopt their own form of intimacy and technology within globalization known as ‘digintimacy’. ‘Digintimacy’ can be defined as ‘the concurrence of technologically rendered immediacy and cultural/psychological intimacy’. Having social media as a prime example allows for communication of intimacy be reciprocated and increase the K-pop fan base. I believe that having K-pop as popular as the music genre is, the more fans they will acquire along the way. Especially having fans in places such as Latin America, it really comes to show how dedicated the people are when wanting to acknowledge and be apart of a fan base.

blog post #3

In the article, Girls and Subcultures it discusses the different ways men and women were seen in subcultures. The author states, “Girl’s subcultures may have become invisible because the very term “subculture” has acquired such strong masculine overtones.” I agree with this statement that subcultures are usually associated with men. For example men can act however they want in their sports fandoms but when people think about a group of girls in a fandom they are considered dumb passive teenage girls. The section about the three different subcultures that girls are visible in was eye opening. For me the mod girl was most interesting to read because it talked about how in the late 60s more teenage girls were starting to work and were required to look the part at whatever store they were working at. I feel like this notion is still present today in stores, like when you walk in to Pacsun or Hollister it is noticeable that the employees are dressing to match the vibe of the store and might even being wearing that brand to work.