Advancement in Sports Research Question

Throughout my entire life, I have always been a sports fanatic. I enjoy watching and participating in virtually any sport known to man and I am always interested in trying sports new to me. With so much of the world changing as technology rapidly progresses, I thought it would be especially interesting to look at something I personally have never really spent too much time on before; what effects do he rapid changes in technology have on sports at a professional and amateur statuses?

Growing up, I was always around sports. When I wasn’t participating in some organized game within an organized league, I was most likely doing one of two things. I could probably be found either watching some sport related program on TV, or more likely, I could be found playing some type of athletic game with my friends. It didn’t even have to be an actual game either; plenty of times we would combine multiple sports or come up with a completely new sport in our minds simply because we had a love for sports.

A large influence on my infatuation with sports was my older siblings. Being the youngest of four children, I spent a lot of time looking up to my brothers and sister, and they also spent large amounts of time talking about or participating in sports. Also, some of my earliest memories are set at professional sporting events. For instance, I recall being a young child and attending a hockey game when a hat trick was scored. At the time, I couldn’t get over the fact of how joyous the fans. I remember watching the hats rain down onto the ice and being slightly confused as to why people were doing so. Whether it was being at a game in person or watching a game on TV with friends and family, I always found myself completely invested. It sometimes may have reached an unhealthy level.

Two of my personal favorite things in the world are the Olympics and the World Cup. Not only have I played soccer my entire life and consider myself a fanatic of most sports, but the unity that comes along with these events is unparalleled. For an entire month, the entire world is captivated by sports. Something so ancient and so simple brings people together in a way nothing else can. With the technological advancements we have seen in recent years, the involvement of the viewer, in my opinion, has increased thanks to the ease and multitude of ways to remain informed on the events. The fans from all over the world can forget about problems and wars and violence for a month and focus on sports.

I have a general love for sports. I’ve spent countless hours watching, participating, and researching them. I’ve sat through an entire triple overtime playoff hockey game without moving due to superstitions. I’ve been in love with sports as long as I can remember, and that’s not only for the entertainment it brings me. Playing sports was always a way to clear my mind, forget all problems, and simply enjoy life. Some of my best memories are centered on sports and that has led me to constantly wanting to know more about the subject. Taking something I am so fond of and combining it with topics from our class, I thought the changes in sports due to changes and advancement in technology was a great idea. Sports and technology intertwine. Both are constantly changing, and both have the power to change our lives.

The Exaggeration of Television and Movies

Zachary Konno

COMPSTD 2367.04

Seth Josephson

March 11, 2015

As humans, we look to various sorts of media in order to entertain ourselves.  Some play video games to escape from everyday life.  Some listen to music to feel all sorts of different emotions.  Still others read books to take off to fantasy worlds where the trials and tribulations of their own lives can melt away.  However, the most popular forms of media, especially for Americans, are television and movies.  This essay will discuss both of these media because they are very similar, as they are both audiovisual sources of media.  Although many television shows and movies try to rely on realism or plausibility to draw in audiences, many exaggerate what the scenario would actually be like in real life.  This essay will focus on the media of television and movies, the exaggeration that both of these use, and how the use of exaggeration can have a negative impact on the mass audience, while focusing on a specific genre and how this genre relates to the use of exaggeration as a whole.

Movies and television are audiovisual forms of media that are loved by audiences of all ages.  By today’s standards, they are the ultimate form of entertainment, bringing in billions of dollars every year.  Actors and actresses are some of the most famous people on the planet and are adored by countless people.  Movies as a medium transform human life in multiple ways.  They allow people to take on the thoughts of the lead character, forgetting about their own lives for a short while.  In the case of movies set in the past, Moller (2011) says, “It is not enough to simply call a medium of cultural memory, such as a movie, a representation of the past…” (p. 67).  They do more than represent the past—they bring it to life.  Movies also are a way to bring about social change.  Films such as American Sniper and Precious both are examples of how a film can change the way society views the world, with the former bringing more attention to the military and those soldiers affected by PTSD and the latter bringing more attention to the millions living in poverty throughout the United States.  Movies can often bring about political change.  Room (1988) writes, “In the years before Prohibition, the movies had been seen as major supports for the temperance cause” (p. 12).  Television as a medium can transform human life too.  When it is actually used on a television, advertising during commercial breaks can cause many viewers to buy a specific product.  Commercials can often take on a political agenda as well, showcasing campaign ads for city council members to prospective Presidents of the United States.  Langdon Winner (1980) says in his article Do Artifacts Have Politics? that either technology can be created for political outcomes, or political agenda can use established technology to bring about favor for a certain candidate (p. 122).  Product placement and brand name mentions also contribute to the political agenda of a movie or television program.  Secondly, when television programs are viewed on streaming services, such as Netflix, it allows the viewer to “binge-watch”, or watch multiple episodes in a row.  This can lead to sleep deprivation, lower grades, or even dehydration at times.

One ploy that many movies and television programs use is to base them off of “real life events.”  Viewers will watch these specific programs or movies because they feel as if the events can happen to them in real life.  They feel some sort of rush from this, whether it is the sheer terror of a “real life events” horror movie or the adrenaline-rushing gun fight in the story of a real policeman.  These exaggerations can do injustice to the people who actually had to live through these circumstances, especially if one’s rise to fame went through hardships not explicitly expressed in the movie or television program.  Exaggeration can also spill into movies or television programs that, though, are not based on real life events, could possibly happen under the right circumstances.  This term is referred to as “realistic fiction.”  One television genres that uses exaggeration, under the context of realistic fiction, is medical television shows.  This genre will be explored in the coming paragraphs.

As explained before, one genre of television that utilizes exaggeration, under the context of realistic fiction, is medical television shows.  Medical television shows put the viewer into the heart of a hospital, following the lives of doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other personnel both in and outside of work.  Since the shows are not set in some fantasy world or dystopian future, the viewer is led to believe that what happens in these shows could very well, and might, happen in real life.  Once the groundwork for a “believable” setting has been established, producers, directors, and writers can toy with the facts of specific diseases, procedures, and everyday life of a hospital, having blatant incorrect details of information.  One example of this type of program that greatly exaggerates everyday life in a hospital is ER.  ER is set in the emergency room of the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.  While this show does focus on the emergency room of the hospital, where more life-threatening injuries are treated, the degree and amount of injuries is highly disproportional.  “ER, for instance, was about the heroic things doctors do to save lives, and every episode was rife with calamity,” writes Joanna Weiss (2009, para. 4).  This is simply not the case with most emergency rooms.  Many patients that come through the ER are not in any sort of life-threatening state.  They are simply there because they feel some sort of discomfort, big or small, that needs attention faster than that would be provided by scheduling an appointment, or a cut or bruise that needs quick attention.  ER makes it seem as if every patient who comes through the doors of an emergency room has a gunshot wound to the chest or a metal spike protruding from a leg.  Granted, this show is based in Chicago, where the crime rate and urban atmosphere are likely to result in more serious injuries; however, the amount of serious injuries is still absurd.

Another medical television program that relies on these same principles of exaggeration and incorrectness, set within a believable setting, is House. House, often referred to as House M.D., follows Dr. Gregory House, a medical genius who leads a team of doctors at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey.  One way House is guilty of having incorrect facts is through the use of made-up diseases.  “Even though all medical dramas have at least one doctor advising the script-writers,” writes Farrimond (2011), “they are still be pretty liberal with the truth” (para. 26).  Since the viewer is most likely not a medical expert, he/she will not be able to tell if the disease is made-up or true.  Many times, producers and writers will prey upon this unknowing of the audience, making up certain diseases that have sensational, often ghastly, side effects.  This is where the exaggeration portion of the program comes in.  Dr. House is forced to exert all of his medical genius to solve the case of the rare and deadly disease, usually minutes or even seconds before the patient dies. This is simply not the case in hospitals.  Doctors upon first examination, or after a few basic tests, can determine what illness the patient is suffering from.  Another way House has incorrect facts is by the myth that doctors do everything.  Using sarcasm, Farrimond (2011) writes, “Not only do Doctors have IQs off the scale and can diagnose and treat any condition; but they are also experts in operating MRI scanners, analyzing blood samples in the lab and performing complex surgery!”  Doctors heavily rely on the work of lab technicians, nurses, and surgeons.  It is completely ludicrous to believe that doctors could fit in the time to do all of these jobs, as well as the time it takes to work with the patient.

A third example of a medical television program that similarly uses exaggeration and incorrectness is Grey’s Anatomy.  Grey’s Anatomy is set in the Seattle Grace Hospital in Settle, Washington.  One way in which Grey’s Anatomy uses exaggeration is through the use of many calamitous injuries.  Similarly to ER, Grey’s Anatomy has a high disproportional rate for the amount of urgent injuries or diseases.  A large amount of patients that come in have been in serious accidents that need immediate surgery.  While this show may not utilize exaggeration as much as shows like ER, it utilizes many different examples of incorrectness.  One example of incorrectness Grey’s Anatomy has is the treatment their doctors suggest for multiple diseases.  Grey’s Anatomy has the doctors suggest uncommon, untested, or at times made up treatments for multiple diseases.  This is done to sensationalize the show, making it seem like the patient has a 50/50 chance of pulling through.  A second example of incorrectness this show has it the professionals’ disregard for protocol.  The doctors in this show often times go behind their bosses backs if they think they are correct in treating a patient.  They may also do this without the family’s consent, or even without the patient’s approval.  A third example of incorrectness prevalent in this show is the amount of relationships between doctors.  Farrimond (2011) writes, “…the hospital has been transformed from a bad-smelling institution for the sick to a hip and modern Club 18-30!”  In between shifts, there are always doctors, surgeons, and nurses in the show “hooking up” in break rooms, which rarely to never happens in real life.  Weiss (2009) writes that Grey’s Anatomy is “…a torrid romance novel disguised as a medical show.”  Additionally, many interns have relationships with higher-ups in the hospital, which is taboo in real life and very rarely happens.

One medical television show, however, that is actually fairly accurate is Scrubs.  Scrubs follows a doctor by the name of J.D. at Sacred Heart Hospital.  One way in which Scrubs accurately portrays hospital are the specialty stereotypes.  In the show, the surgeons are jocks, the doctors are nerds, and the psychologists are very sensitive.  This is actually very representative of how people in different professions in hospitals are actually like.  Secondly, Scrubs accurately portrays how it is for a doctor or surgeon to perform a procedure for the first time.  In the series premiere, J.D. hides in a broom closet with his friend Elliott as they hide from a code, or an emergency with a patient.  When J.D. finally does have to respond to an emergency with a patient, he messes up and has to ask for assistance from one of the veteran nurses.  Thirdly, the relationships in Scrubs are a lot more realistic than those of the likes of Grey’s Anatomy.  In Scrubs, you often see residents and residents in a relationship or interns and interns.  Rarely do you see the “lower” workers in relationships with the chiefs of staff or head surgeon.  The fourth and final way in which Scrubs is a more accurate depiction of a hospital is the competition between doctors or surgeons for a promotion.  Many episodes will feature a an intern brown-nosing a physician, often to get better patients, better hours, or a recommendation to be promoted.  All in all, Scrubs is a much better depiction of a hospital because it does not try to sensationalize it.  Sure, every once and a while there will be a patient with a life-threatening disease or injury; however, Scrubs focuses on the lives of doctors when they are not caring for a patient.  It focuses on them as they themselves go through the daily grind of being a doctor, from catching up on sleep in the break room after a grueling 18-hour shift or eating lunch in the cafeteria.  Scrubs is different because it does not try too hard, unlike other medical shows.

There are many ways in which the exaggeration and incorrectness of medical television shows has a harmful effect on viewers.  Similarly to how McLuhan (1967) believes that a form of media can shape the mass media, which can then lead to group thinking (p.9), the media of medical television shows can have the same effect.  They can cause viewers to believe that what is shown on the program is actually what happens in a hospital in real life.  They can expect to be rushed to the emergency room when they have a problem, when it actually takes almost an hour for a person to be seen by a doctor.  People who go into the medical field may think there will be action around every turn, when much of a doctor’s work is patient care and analyzing charts.  Viewers may believe that the treatments they see on these programs actually work, trying these on themselves and harming themselves in the process.  Finally, they may believe that doctors do everything in a hospital, leading to MRI technicians and nurses to be undervalued.

In conclusion, medical television programs, such as ER and House, are just one example of a genre of television or movies that uses exaggeration and incorrectness for a more sensationalized viewing experience.  The producers and writers of these shows are only looking at ratings or ticket sales, never thinking of the negative impact these programs or movies can have on the minds of viewers and the mass audience as a whole.  As society begins to rapidly move to a completely digital way of life, making the transmission of ideas much faster and easier, hopefully those in charge of these media of entertainment being to realize how great of an impact they have on society as a whole, and will work towards making this a positive impact instead of a negative one.

Works Cited

Farrimond, S. (2011, January 19). The top 10 medical TV myths. Retrieved from

http://realdoctorstu.com/2011/01/19/the-top-10-medical-tv-myths/

McLuhan, M. (1967). The medium is the massage. United Kingdom: Penguin Books.

Moller, S. (2011). Blockbusting history: Forrest Gump as a powerful medium of American

cultural memory.  International Social Science Journal, 62(203-204), 67-77.

http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b07ad

2b-4339-49af-b00d-8fb2db356d0c%40sessionmgr4002&vid=1&hid=4204

Room, R. (1988). The Movies and the wettening of America: The media as amplifiers of

cultural change.  British Journal of Addiction, 83, 11-18.

http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=

b327d4f0-a5ad-4f0a-b629-3c9db8fc05dd%40sessionmgr115&vid=1&hid=118

Weiss, J. (2009, May 6). Scrubs: Goofy, cartoonish, and the most accurate portrayal of the

Medical profession on TV. Retrieved from

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2009/05/scrubs.html

Winner, L. (1980). Do Artifacts Have Politics? Daedalus, 109, 122.

http://innovate.ucsb.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Winner-Do-Artifacts-Have-Politics-1980.pdf

Netflix is the Massage

As mentioned before, Netflix was able to change the television industry. But how was it able to change it in just about 25 years? From having good marketing strategies to the timing. When Netflix was founded it knew that people enjoyed buying and renting movies. To make it even more convenient, Netflix started a DVD delivery system. As Marshall McLuhan mentions that we focus on the obvious. We know that there are changes, the advantages and disadvantages of a new system but rarely do we know that the new system or invention had changed our lives. Sometimes it is a long change, other times it is a subtle change that we don’t even realize it (Mark Federman)  “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication” (page 8) bring up a good point on how Netflix works. The content of Netflix is great but the reason why it could become so big wasn’t because of its content but the nature of the media. It is convenient. We don’t have to store physical DVDs or go to a store to get a movie. We can see anything easily anywhere.

Netflix being electric technology could change the way society is now because “electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without knowledge of the workings of media” Which is true, Netflix was introduced in 1997. There were a lot of technological improvements but we still didn’t understand it well enough. We didn’t that it was slowly changing the DVD industry because we couldn’t understand it well enough.

McLuhan also mentions that a medium is the message; it is an extension of us. It is proven to be true with the analysis of different mediums. In this case, Netflix is an extension of us. We might deny that it isn’t an extension of ourselves but we are the reason why that medium is so big. Even the content of the medium is tailored to our preferences and our likes. By watching certain movies and television shows, Netflix can give you a suggestion of other movies and television shows that you might like to watch. That isn’t the only thing that it is a part of us. It tries to be like us by having a “brain”. It categorizes the contents into different parts very much like our brain. Netflix is also able to tell you the likes of others by getting information from other social media like Facebook.

McLuhan argues that the message is the medium. The content or the use of the innovation is not the message. The message is the “change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it” (Mark Federman) In the case of Netflix, it isn’t the content of Netflix or how it was founded but possibly the changes of lifestyle of us as humans and the changes in users in the internet because of Netflix. It is the change of point of view in people because of Netflix. Because of Netflix, people have found ways to learn about less known shows and movies and some have a positive attitude toward the movie industry when knowing it isn’t all “Hollywood”. The point is that the obvious changes aren’t the actual message. The message is hidden, it is not obvious.

For McLuhan, the changes, the innovation was television. It is interesting to see how that had change over time. Television is still around but the way it is watched has changed a lot. But I also believe that McLuhan knew that there would be changes. Just like he said “the medium, our process, of our time- electric technology – is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted” Many innovations have change the way our society works from our personal life to our social life. The changes have its advantages and disadvantages but many things that we took for granted in the past and in the present might not be there anymore in the future because of the many changes.

In conclusion, like many different mediums, Netflix was able to change the way our society is. It reshaped and restructured how our personal and social life is. It changed the way different industries that we took for granted, disappear or restructure.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark Federman, “What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message?”. Utoronto.ca. July 23, 2004. http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/article_mediumisthemessage.htm
  2. McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Massage”
  3. Image: http://s3.amazonaws.com/digitaltrends-uploads-prod/2013/12/netflix-movies-expiring-jan-2014.jpg

Artifact Politics – Netflix

netflix_logo

What is a VHS? a DVD? It is surprising how some might not know what they are. Newer laptops don’t even come with a cd drive. When Netflix was introduced, DVDs sales have decreased greatly. What it Netflix? Netflix is a streaming media that has variety of movies and TV shows with a monthly fee of $7.99. Netflix had change the way people watch movies and television shows.

Netflix has revolutionized the TV and DVD industry. When Netflix launched in 1997, it killed the DVD and video stores. Subscribers could watch an unlimited number per month. Video stores such as Blockbuster reported bankruptcy. Netflix’s DVD service wasn’t the end of it. By having entire seasons of TV shows would allow subscribers to binge watch the TV shows. Netflix had its competitors such as Hulu but Hulu had advertisement in their videos. Another advantage that Netflix had was its expansion outside of the United States. Netflix is available in other countries such as Canada, UK, and Mexico.

To get even more subscribers, Netflix started ordering its own shows. Shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” have received many Primetime Emmy Award nominations. So what was the difference between the shows ordered by Netflix and shows shown on TV? The opportunity to watch the entire season is one of the many reasons. Television shows would have one episode each week, with commercial breaks and hiatus during breaks such as winter and summer. Netflix’s shows would release the entire season so subscribers could binge watch the entire season or watch a couple episodes a day without waiting until the next week.

I believe Netflix follows both a democratic and authoritarian political arraignment. It is democratic because subscribers get to choose whether they want the service or not. . If you don’t like it anymore, you can cancel your subscription. Also, Netflix is not the only streaming site that people have to subscribe. People can choose between different streaming sites or watching TV shows and movies the old fashioned way, television or buying the DVD. It is also authoritarian because if you do subscribe you would have to pay for a whole month. One would be stuck with Netflix for at least a month. It is also authoritarian in the video industry. It was able to cause many video stores to go bankrupt. I think that Netflix disrupted different industries but at the same time reinforce other industries. Video stores and DVD industries have died because of it but many new industries in the technological world have benefitted from Netflix. Netflix also reinforces communities and families by having a streaming site that can be shared with other family members. It created a new industry and the creative writing of movies and shows without needing to be in Hollywood. It made an online community. At the same time, it has disrupted international governances because Netflix is not available in every single country so some would buy a VNP or use programs to change the country they are in.

So what is the future for television? Netflix has an answer. According to an article from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky, Netflix believes that in 2025 televisions will have 48 million tv channels, more smaller shows that makes up Internet TV, commercials will die out, everyone will have a Smart TV, and live sports will probably be on Netflix. That is saying how much bigger Netflix is planning on growing. Netflix is known for not having commercials and as the personalization technology improves, it will be able to know what movies and TV shows, subscribers want to watch which will create 48 million TV channels. Netflix being a streaming site, it requires internet. With more and more Smart TVs in the market, people will switch to them in order to watch Netflix everywhere, from your laptop, tablet, and now TV.

In conclusion and just like how the article from Business Insiders say: Netflix started as a simple mail-in DVD service to now a powerful streaming site and with original shows. Netflix was able to expand quickly from 1997 to now. It was able to change the video industry. It created a new way to watch television. And even with competitors such as Amazon and Hulu, Netflix was able to stay on top.

Footnotes:

  1. Issie Lapowsky, “What television Will Look Like in 2025, According to Netflix”. Wired. May 19, 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/05/neil-hunt/
  2. Veronique Dupont, AFP, “Netflix Has Revolutionized The TV Industry Several Times In Just 17 Years”. Business Insider. September 12, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-netflix-the-revolution-that-changed-the-us-tv-landscape-2014-9
  3. Image: Netflix Logo. http://www.ranklogos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/netflix_logo.jpeg