In the twenty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson (Seems Obvious to Me) and myself welcome the Halloween season and friend of the podcast Salvatore DiSalvatore to discuss the body horror film from David Cronenberg, Videodrome (1983). In this episode, the conversation considers how prescient and thus still relevant this thirty-three year-old film is. We three consider how the film depicts common … Continue reading The Pop Culture Lens Discusses Videodrome
Official Call for Chapter Proposals Title: Colliding Inside the Squared Circle: The Convergent Nature of Professional Wrestling Editors: CarrieLynn D. Reinhard (Dominican University) & Christopher J. Olson (Dominican University) Purpose: The concept of convergence represents one of the most pervasive buzzwords in media studies, but with good reason. In essence, convergence concerns how the boundaries between different technologies, practices, and ideas blur together to create … Continue reading Convergent Wrestling: Call for Chapters
Online Learning Communities with a Dominican Flair: Arguing for applying the Dominican ethos to online higher education CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and Claire Noonan (Dominican University) Introduction It seems that everywhere one looks in the world of contemporary higher education, someone is making an argument for the elimination of faculty in favor of technology as the driving force in the learning environment. From the creation of … Continue reading Online Learning Communities with a Dominican Flair
As part of the project on understanding professional wrestling through the theoretical lens of convergence (i.e. convergent wrestling), I recently wrote out an explanation for how Christopher Olson (Seems Obvious to Me) and I see this concept of convergence being able to describe various aspects of professional wrestling. Now, being that we are academics, one way we advance our scholarship and our knowledge is by … Continue reading Professional Wrestling, Smarks, and Convergent Media
My first piece of advice is to focus on teaching your children how to be respectful when they communicate and engage with people, online but also in person. This means being aware of not just what you are saying but how you are saying it, and that how is immensely important in social media with its lack of emotional cues. Even a young child can … Continue reading Advice for Children on Social Media
On a special episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and I discuss a subject that has been one we have debated numerous times in our private lives and has become one that I have been focusing on as a research project: fandom, is it good or bad? http://ThePopCultureLens.podbean.com/mf/web/4kuzg8/Ep9FandomGoodBadUgly.mp3 We begin the conversation with a reflection on our experiences at the Chicago Comics … Continue reading The Pop Culture Lens: Episode on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Fandom
This essay was originally posted as part of my work for the Virtual Worlds Research Group at Roskilde University. This essay reflects my interest in how pop culture represents new media technologies, such as virtual worlds, as part of the process whereby a society / culture comes to determine what will be the acceptable and thus normal use of such technologies. My reflection on this phenomenon in 2011 suggests the tensions that can occur during such a normalization process; in this case, the seeming fear of virtual worlds that exists in the world. This interest led to the creation of my course “New Media in Pop Culture” launched in January 2014, which I will write about further in this blog.
Ghost Whisperer’s Ghost in the Machine: An example of pop cultural representation of virtual worlds
Since the fall of 2005, on Friday nights in the United States on CBS you can find the series Ghost Whisperer (NOTE: the series ended in 2010). The series is about a woman, Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who can communicate with, and thus help, ghosts. In the third episode of the fourth season, “Ghost in the Machine” (originally aired October 17, 2008), the ghost emerges from a virtual world to draw her into a case about one of the oft-discussed threats of going digital: online predation.
In this episode, virtual worlds are both defined through conversation amongst characters and visual representation for those unfamiliar with these new-ish cyberterrains. However, the use of the virtual world, created for the show, is less to explore what these cyberterrains are and more to use them for a traditional morality tale on the dangers of talking to strangers.