For the next module, I’ve decided to work with the visualization of a set of data, or “seeing all the things.” My plan is to take scans of the pages of three horror graphic novels that I own and compare the color palettes to one another. I’ll create a composite image using the IMJ program developed by my professor, and see what observations I can make. I’ll be doing this for 30 Days of Night, the first volume of Revival, and the first volume of Nailbiter. I expect the first one listed to feature a lot of black, blue, and white towards the beginning, eventually including a LOT of red when the vampires finally show up to the setting of Barrow, Alaska. Other than that, there’s a fair amount of blood in each collection, and it should be interesting to see if that change in the palette occurs at roughly the same time over the lengths of the books. They all feature a fair amount of gratuitous violence, but the overall spread is another thing I’ll be analyzing.
The only thing that worries me is the designing of an attractive web page. Coding has never been my strong suit, but HTML doesn’t look too intimidating, nothing like Python or Ruby or some other esoteric grouping of letters, numbers, and various brackets. I think if I put some time into going through the codecademy lessons introduced to us at the beginning of the semester, I should be fine. The great thing is that I have the Digital Knowledge Center here on campus should I get super stuck anywhere. Should be interesting, and I hope I can deliver.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I thought I was immune to being swayed by the clickbait that plagues the Internet. I thought my college boy brain could easily pick apart all types of fake news and sensationalist headlines that dominate my Facebook feed, and I was damn wrong. I’ve fallen for the same things that everyone around me has, but this project has opened my eyes to how easy it is to check the facts surrounding an issue. The probability of the issue is I’ll fall for something again, but at least now I know proper procedure to correct myself.
My group worked on the reporting of an issue originally known as, “Black Activists Launch Monthly Fee System For Guilty Whites,” that told how direct members of the Black Lives Matter movement started a reparations system that preyed on the racial guilt plaguing white Americans. The original article was published by the Daily Caller on December 5th, 2016, and the subsequent reporting on the topic featured articles with more and more volatile titles to direct outrage at the members of the movement who started this fee system. In truth, the fee system is a subscription service that one can sign up for, with price points ranging from $25-$100, that will provide you with tasks to “be an ally.” The website for Safety Pin Box states that the two women who founded this service, Marissa Jenae Johnson and Leslie Mac, have worked with BLM, but are not direct affiliates of the organization, and that all the money received will go to benefit black women. Two of those black women are the founders of the service, and they do not state how they will use the money.
At first, I thought people were just trying to paint BLM in a bad light. The rhetoric of the titles suggests that these online news outlets were trying to play off of the outrage that some people would feel for African-Americans to demand reparations for slavery today, and I thought the article would be grossly over exaggerated. To my surprise, the Daily Caller was partly true. While the women are not claiming reparations for slavery or systemic racism, there is a preying on this idea of “white guilt” that the two women are hoping will financially benefit their program and, in result, themselves. There exists a level of ridiculousness with this issue. I know that racism is real, that it is alive and well, and I also know that I’ve only ever experienced one side of the issue. At the same time, just asking for money isn’t going to make the issue go away. Two black women telling you that you are a good, not-racist person because you give them money neither makes you good nor not racist. I wanted to highlight this point in my editing of the Digipo wiki, and I hope my group and I were able to get that idea and the facts across to other fact checkers.
No matter how well read or how educated you are, people will always be able to play to your biases. That’s why it’s so important to know how to research news reporting well, and to see if a site is all about telling you the facts or just about getting you to click on those ads for that sweet, sweet revenue. Childish Gambino said it best on the track “Redbone” off of his album, Awaken My Love: “Stay woke.”
Today in class, we’ve begun the unit on digital polarization and fact checking news articles on the web. From the twenty minutes of work I did in class today, I’m quite surprised to see how stories can be proven false so easily, or rather, how little energy it takes to find the real story, provided you take time and care to check official reports. Like the awful series of events that were the shooting of Philando Castile. Some friends that I discussed this with back when it happened told me that Castile was an armed robbery suspect. With just a bit of fact checking, that is proven completely false. Those claims came from an officer on the scene, remarking that the shape of Castile’s nose is what made him think he looked like a suspect. Looking at all the details, it seems like this officer is just trying to cover his ass now, and this is a different officer than the one who shot the man.
I’m with a new group of people for this project, and I’m excited to put names to new faces. More and more I’m becoming a morning person, which makes me more of a people person in this Digital Studies class.
As for the weekend, I don’t have much to do except experimenting in the Melchers dark room. I learned how to develop photos yesterday, but I think this weekend should be spent taking photos, getting better acquainted with my film camera and new lens. I’m gonna take some time to play a new game that just came out, Nier: Automata, for I caved and spent the $60. I haven’t paid full price for a new game, but I want to start creating written content responding to games as they come on the market. It’s what I want to do for a job, so I figure padding my own website with some pieces will help me out in the future when I’m applying for jobs. Austin Walker and Patrick Klepek’s discourse over the game on the Waypoint podcast also did a great job of pushing me to pick up the title. I love pieces of work that get into what it means to be human, and Patrick’s on his 32nd hour of play, so I’m thinking it’ll end up being good bang for my buck. I’ll let you all know once the 46gb monster stops downloading.