Archive for the Popular Culture Category

“Here it comes!” “Global warming!” Ahhh!

Posted in Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Popular Culture, Risk & Fear on April 28, 2010 by jessicabarranco

After talking about security, and questions about fear and power, I wanted to share this link with everyone.  This is how I feel about the environment sometimes, so I hope that this episode of South Park will help answer any lingering questions about global warming.

Please enjoy!

Click on: Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow

Episode 908 (Original Air Date: Oct 19, 2005)

A GLOBAL WARMING STATE OF EMERGENCY is declared in South Park. The world’s largest beaver dam breaks and floods the adjacent town of Beaverton. As the victims wait for help to arrive, everyone in South Park tackles priority number one: who is to blame? Only Stan and Cartman know who’s really at fault.

Rescue ME Blondie

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, War with tags , , on April 21, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Punk heroine to the rescue! Beware of blondes and lipgloss

Well, I can’t find the actual comic strip to post… but I did get a kick out of the movie!

Just wanted to pass it on.

If my father was an earthquake, my mama was a hurricane

Posted in Natural Disasters, Popular Culture on April 14, 2010 by coolaccordionest

This week I wanted to stray from my creative writing stories and change my blog post up to flood our class with videos, blogs and links to things on natural disasters and pop culture.  One thing that really interested me about this class was seeing how apocalyptic and environmental issues are shown to us today. I wanted to get down to the basics for my research so of course I choose Google. I mean, what does every average American do when they want to know the answer to something or want to learn more about something?  As quickly as they can, they type whatever they’re searching for in some search engine.  So with the whole internet in front of me, I typed in “Natural Disasters and pop culture.”

This past year has been full of natural disasters from the Haiti earthquake to the less known flooding of Cusco, Peru and to the earthquakes and tsunamis of Chile.  When huge environmental crisis’s hit,  it seems like the whole world get’s involved.  An example of this is the earthquake in Haiti.  Everyone from the Red Cross to celebrities did everything they could to do their part. I mean, who knew that Shakira was a saint for finding time in her busy schedule to help rebuild schools in Haiti?  I sure didn’t until I googled natural disasters. 🙂 Even celebrities got together to remake the song “We Are the World” to get the word out Haiti (as well as to honor the late M.J.).

Our culture is in awe of anything that has to do with natural disasters.  I mean, look at this huge list of movies on disasters: LIST!
We could watch endless trailers on movies or hear a whole slew of songs about them.  I mean, remember just a couple years back when all the musicians got together to play at Live Earth — getting the word out about how to save the planet?

So now that I’ve bombarded our class with links and videos, what do you think this does for the average American? Do you think we’re better or worse off with all this information just floating around through the interwebs?

Although I already posted this song for the dust bowl, I thought it fit in really well with the category of Natural Disasters.

Also, here’s the link to the trailer Soylent Green.  I came upon it looking for documentaries on PBS. Apparently, turning people into crackers could be a possibility if resources really ran out. 🙂  [http://video.pbs.org/video/1443759794/]

The Voice’s View

Posted in Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse on March 31, 2010 by coolaccordionest

Josh’s heart seemed to beat out of his chest.  For months he had figured he was the only one alive in this godforsaken city, possibly the only one in the country or the world.  Now though, he had been proven wrong as he found himself standing in the dark with a girl pointing a gun at him.  Her dog was near, the fur on its back standing straight up.  She walked closer to him, her flashlight in his eyes.

“It’s okay.  I promise.  No need to shoot,” he said as calmly as possible attempting to block the extreme shine of the flashlight.

“How do I know that?  I have no idea who you are.”  She tilted the flashlight down.  From here he could get an outline of her and some details:  medium height, athletic figure, dark cherry red hair.  The song “Apocalyptic Love Song” by The Pop Culture Suicides starting playing in his head at the sight of her. God, how could he get so lucky?  The only other person on this planet and it turns out she’s an incredibly hot girl who knows how to use a gun?  Life doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

“I’m Josh, Josh Kane.  I’ve been living in this building since, well since everything happened.  Who are you?”

“Remy, this is my dog Ruby.  We live in a flat about an hour away in the city…” Josh stopped her.

“Woah, woah, woah…. In the city?  Are you insane?! Don’t you understand the dangers of living in the city?  I mean, the left over pesticides and toxins from the final cloud and the creatures from all the government experiments, just to name a few things.”  Remy glared at him.

“You’re going to lecture me on the city why you live her in the forest?  I don’t think you understand how dangerous it is to live out here.  I basically had to gear up for war just to walk out here.”  She shook her head as Ruby growled.

“Why do you live out there anyways?  What’s the point of risking your life so much?”  He looked at her as she held her breath.  Slowly exhaling, she started to speak.

“I live there because my mother prepared it for me.  When the cloud was coming she was incredibly sick and ended up dying while it passed over head.  Before she passed, she had created what she called a ‘safe spot’ so if anything happened, I would be okay and have a place to live.  That’s how I got the flat.  It’s equipped with everything I need and Ruby and I are comfortable and safe there every day and night.  Why’d you lock yourself up in here?”  Josh just stared at her for a second.  Add tough to the hotness factor, he thought.

“I had family working in the building and before the huge cloud came I was visiting them.  You must know they have a huge kitchen in this building right?”  She shook her head yes.

“Well, I thought it would be a good idea to hide inside the fridge when the cloud was overhead why everyone panicked and got in their cars or hid in open areas.  In the end, I was the only one who survived. Granted, it was really cold but I managed.  I’m one of those strange folks who wears hoodies in the middle of summer.”   He laughed watching Remy smile.  Glad she thought he was somewhat amusing.

“So… do you just plan to continually point that gun at me and have your dog growl at me?  I mean, that’s fine if you want but I could give you a tour and hook you up with some more supplies.”  He pointed at her.

“Oh right,” she said stumbling over her words.  “That would be great.  I’m sorry.  You don’t seem too deadly, at least for now.  I’ll follow.”  Josh nodded and turned around making his way towards “his place.”  He couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when she saw how he had hooked himself up in this building.  Not only did he have the whole place to himself, but he had the best room with the best view.  Not many people realized that the building was sitting on the edge of a cliff out looking the only oasis of Waverly.  He kept his hand on the string attached to the wall to find his way back to his room.

He smiled hearing Remy and her dogs’ footsteps following him.  It had been too long since basic human contact, let alone any contact with a very beautiful woman.  His guy thoughts were hoping that she needed to get her emotional stress out on him in a physical way.  He wouldn’t mind.  But for now, he would have to act somewhat normal because he would hate to lose his one connection to the human species.

“It’s just around this corner.  I think you’ll really like it.”  She mumbled yes and continued to follow.  “And here it is.”  He unlocked the door and swung it open.

The Toxic Avenger

Posted in Environmental Security, Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by coolaccordionest

“Hurry up, Ruby. Come on, girl.”  Remy looked back at her chocolate lab wagging her tail behind her.  The red suns’ rays beamed down on both of them as they trotted their way towards the forest.  It seemed hotter than normal this morning.  Remy looked down at her iWatch, only 114 degrees.  She wondered why she felt like it was out of the usual.  It could have something to do with the massive amount of supplies she was carrying for those “just in case” moments.  Today she planned on walking towards the government building for more supplies and to snoop through their files.  It wasn’t if anyone was there to stop her.

The walk to the building was simple if you could easily find the pathway.  Even though the droughts had come and the people had vanished, the land had started to rebuild itself.  Certain areas of the Waverly city had become densely populated with huge forests. A small stone pathway made its way from the main city to the forest.  Once you got there a small path was barely recognizable.  Remy knew she had to be careful do to creatures created a decade ago.

Before Remy’s mother Susan passed away, she had informed Remy of the government’s undercover plan to alter animals with toxic waste. The toxic waste used was left over and created from the decades when humans still believed it wasn’t completely harmful.  People had always laughed at the stereotypical ideas of two-headed cows, things like “the flukeman” from the x-files, villains such The Joker and heroes like the Toxic Avenger, but now the government’s undercover chemists and biologists where making it a reality.

In 2019, a group named SCAMM (Scientists Creating Advanced Mutated Mammals) started working on a program called Project Skyscraper.  Their idea was to use toxic waste in certain doses to mutate mammals creating a race of super species making them potentially faster, stronger, and generally better than before.  This project started off using mice and rabbits, testing them in minute doses.  At first the changes were barely recognizable.  The rabbits could hop a little bit faster and the mice could carry heavier loads.  The scientists started to get impatient with their project therefore testing bigger animals like dogs and cats on much higher doses.  Not only did the animals become incredible strong and fast but their senses also drastically increased.

After finding this out, the next step for the scientists was to start human testing.  They figured that humans would have the same results as animals but they were wrong.  The first tests in low doses worked out fine, increasing health and wellness.  The scientists had the idea of turning these “doses” into pills to sell to the general audience. The pill was labeled Zoodacliftin (zoe-da-cliff-tine) and was sold for $300 for a bottle of 20.  The idea was to take one pill a day but as humans are, they started to over dose on the pills.  The effects became the opposite.  Everyone over dosing would get weaker and weaker, their senses going out of wack.  Quite a few people became blind, stopped hearing and smelling and even some lost the ability to talk.  When the people started to take a stand against the government, the government blamed the pharmacist saying it was wr0ng and unmoral of them to try and play God.  This brought up an upraise.  Not only were people dying of the drug, but now the war it caused.

Ruby barked towards Remy.  “Hold on, I’m coming, I’m coming….” She looked through the last bit of trees. Sure enough, Ruby had informed her that she was there.  The sign above the door read “Waverly Government Building.”  Remy opened up the door which let out a huge creak.  She slipped inside shutting it fast after Ruby entered.

Pat pat pat pat.

Remy turned quickly, hearing a set of footsteps.  Ruby growled at the darkness.   “Ssshhhh girl!” she whispered.  She brought out her gun and flashlight, pointing both in the opposite direction. The outline of a man turned towards her.

“Hello?” the voice in the darkness called.

“The Babbling of Dead Souls”

Posted in Popular Culture, Rhetoric, Uncategorized, War on March 23, 2010 by Rita

Heat. This is what cities mean to me. You get off the train and walk out of the station and you are hit with the full blast. The heat of air, traffic and people. The heat of food and sex. The heat of tall buildings. The heat that floats out of the subways and the tunnels. It’s always fifteen degrees hotter in the cities. Heat rises from the sidewalks and falls from the poisoned sky. The buses breathe heat. Heat emanates from crowds of shoppers and office workers. The entire infrastructure is based on heat, desperately uses up heat, breeds more heat. The eventual heat death of the universe that scientists love to talk about is already underway and you can feel it happening all around you in any large or medium-sized city. ” (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

For those of you who live in cities, you have my sympathy. I listened and watched the following video and I ended up with a migraine! I know that the vast majority of  city residents assimilate to the sites and sounds and eventually it all becomes White Noise to you.  As an adult, I found the sounds more than I could bear, imagine what it’s like for a newborn! The shock to the system or is it something they have already adapted to while in the womb?

SO HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Here’s a definition, for those of you who are still unsure what White Noise is: White Noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have White Noise. You can think of White Noise as 20,000 tones all playing at the same time.” (http:/www.howitworks.com What is White Noise?).

For those of you who didn’t care for the White Noise of the city, following are a couple of videos that might be more to your liking.

For your listening and visual enjoyment:

For your audio pleasure:

Here in America where no one is responsible or in control; all are receptors, receivers of stimuli, consumers. The recording and producing of White Noise machines, CDs of Nature sounds-like the ocean waves, bird songs, rivers, streams, storms, and rain [who knew residents of temperate rainforests had it so good? :0) ] is fast becoming a multi-million a year industry. If the noise of your community or neighborhood isn’t quiet enough or too noisy you can purchase your choice of White Noise.

The biggest conveyance of White Noise and information about White Noise is the television. ” Television is ”the primal force in the American home, sealed-off, self-contained, self-referring . . . a wealth of data concealed in the grid, in the bright packaging, the jingles, the slice-of-life commercials, the products hurtling out of darkness, the coded messages . . . like chants. . . . Coke is it, Coke is it, Coke is it.  (Don DeLillo, White Noise. 1984. New York. Penguin Books)

So… How much White Noise is in your life?


A Society Preoccupied with Risk and an Economy Unable to Think Past the Length of its _____….

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 11, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

It’s becomes a difficult dichotomy when the same risks that emerge in society are fed to us by mega-corporations in a globalized economy. As Beck and Buell point out, the knowledge of risk is available only with the tools of education and income, as well as the ability to avoid some of those risks. How are we to know what is safe to eat, drink, wear, and use when we put our faith in the companies that make them, to make sure they are, and they aren’t? Even when we have federal organizations like the FDA who are suppose to filter things like this. Its scary to think that even corporations whom we think to be healthier and more environmentally”friendly” are sued for human harm i.e. Odwalla. Who are behind these companies which we think to be from local farmers and on another level then the other products on the shelf? Well in the case of Odwalla its Coca-Cola, the Nike of the beverage market! Or what about Monsanto and the rBGH in Milk? ” Does a Body Good.”

Sadly the list goes on. Mega-corporations are taking over both production and advertisement, essentially controlling consumption. There are but a handful of organizations that own the media and their monopolizing grip continues to tighten.

We are a nation of democracy, but few of our powerful structures are such. The structure of military and of these corporations are not conducive to democracy, they are hierarchical structures in which he have no say.  Mega- corporations don’t respond to the voices of the polis, nor do they respond to the voices of government. These corporations more often then not would rather pay the fines they are issued in order to continue serving their short term interest rather then change their ways. It was recently estimated that the world’s top firms are responsible for $2.2 Trillion in environmental damage, but can you really put a price on that? And do consumers know the externalities of their purchases when they go to buy a T-shirt, or a cup of coffee? Let alone the the impact of public policy and goods: water and waste.

We can’t help but live in a risk-society, it is and will be a part of our daily lives forever. But how do we live as safely as possible in the face of giants? Risks are folded into every purchase we make by the companies that make them and we rarely will know what those are. We demand alternatives yet even those become corporatized, or are not as safe or environmentally friendly as we assume. Someone may become a vegetarian thinking that it is a safer and healthier and or environmentally responsible diet, but where does the soy you eat come from? What was done to the land to make room for those soy bean fields, and what do you think happens when animals start grazing on them? They shoot them, or they die from the toxicity of herbicides : )

Illegal deforestation to make room for soy field in Brazil

So what are we to do? I don’t know I just know things are messed up, and information and knowledge about the companies behind the labels we buy, is the first step to any form of change, though acquiring that knowledge is becoming more and more difficult, with companies attempting to skew their brand logos images and company mission statement more favorably i.e. Green-washing

If you care to laugh in the face of this… %^$%#

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse, Risk & Fear on March 9, 2010 by coolaccordionest

June 2031

Remy’s iWatch buzzed causing her to open her eyes to the blistering sun.  Falling asleep under the old gazebo wasn’t the smartest idea due to the dangers of the creatures and the weather.  Then again, neither was living alone.  Granted, that wasn’t much of a choice these days in the first place.

She picked up her backpack, making her way towards the flat.  Walking slowly, she thought back on her dream.  These days it was the same thoughts playing over and over.  The memory of when the global crisis warnings where just warnings and not reality, right before they really started to kick into effect.

The droughts, dust storms, and sweltering heat caused by global warming had been the start of it.  In school, she had learned about the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s but by the time the modern day dust bowl set in, no one could take anything from history.  It was already too late.  Overpopulation started to really effect the world causing famine, even worse pollution and very little pure drinking water.  Mankind continued to break the world with its nuclear waste and genetically modified organisms.  The question then became how long could we play God?  Now the Earth was rebelling against its people and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Remy remembered her mother talking about the environmental protests to save the Earth before it was too late.  The main thought was it was a government hoax to keep people in line.  Even celebrities who promoted the cause couldn’t help.  People were too stubborn and it was them and only them that could have prevented the mess Remy still found herself in.

Remy opened the door to her flat, walking into the biohazard arctic entryway.  She took off her clothes leaving them wash bin and hopped in the shower.  Because of the massive amount of pollutants in the air, she had to be careful to keep her apartment clean and free from anything that might make her sick.  She had to stay here to take care of Ruby, her chocolate lab, and see how the world would end up.

Remy dried off, put on clean clothes and entered the flat.

“Hey Ruby.  How’s my girl?”  Ruby’s soft coat rubbed again her hand.  “I should have let you go with me.  You could have kept me from falling asleep. That could have been really bad.”  Ruby’s sorrowful eyes replied back to Remy with a yes.  The lab was her only companion and sometimes the only thing that kept her sane.

“Let’s get us some food and update our Facebook status…. Not like there’s really anyone who cares to know.”  Ruby barked.  “I know, terrible joke.  I’m trying to stay positive.”

She walked to the kitchen looking in the pantry for something other than Spam.  When they said that food would last a nuclear fallout, they weren’t lying.  Looking down at her iWatch, she scrolled through the music selection.  Just like Billie Holiday, she had her love to keep her warm for a long time.

The Crazies: effective biohazard containment

Posted in Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Risk & Fear on March 4, 2010 by rcspray

So this weekend I watched a strangely apt movie: The Crazies. The plot line of this fantastic remake is basically this: Government plane transporting biological weapon crashes in the marsh that the town of Ogden Marsh (http://ogdenmarsh.com/) uses as its water source. Rather than warning the citizens of the danger, the government waits until the townspeople start going murderously crazy to contain and shoot – everyone. After this mass genocide is over, the government deals with the remaining toxic contamination by NUKING the city (which is in the middle of farmland Iowa) and writing it off as a mild chemical explosion from a nearby plant.

Welcome to Ogden Marsh, Iowa. The friendliest place on earth.

This movie deals with three themes of this week’s reading: the responsibility of the government to warn citizens about the affects of chemicals, nuclear radiation (always an effective way of stopping another manmade, rapidly mutating toxin – superheat and irradiate) and the perception of risk.

The very idea that the government is shipping biological weapons across American soil and not even bothering to notify the citizens when something goes wrong makes our skin crawl, though as Rachel Carson points out toxic chemicals are used everyday (especially in farmlands), and everybody sees it as the norm – not even questioning whether massive food production is so important we have to poison ourselves and the environment for it.

And then they set off a nuke and downplay it, like an inverse Three Mile Island.  I’m especially fond of the idea of minimizing the effects of one manmade chemical with another, but isn’t that often the way we deal with it? (Like the fact that you can get cancer from radiation, but then you go into radiation treatment, never really made sense to me). Is the effects of one toxin better than another? And what about the effects of compounding toxins, which Carson deals with in her selection? (I want a sequel where the blood-crazy infected of The Crazies combines with the cannibal monsters of The Hills Have Eyes)

this +

this = awesome(ly relevant)

But see, in The Crazies, all this happens in the space of three days. It is a single disaster that drastically effects everyone involved (you’re either dead or two surviving heroes). The risk is very real and undeniable, whereas the effect of everyday toxins is not only slow but unacknowledged.

The Death of Adam

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, Religious Roots, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 by cjreevesii

It seems plain to me that one of the reoccurring themes in my 418 Eco- Collapse course is how devastatingly man has continued to ravish the planet. However, one type of man in particular seems to be getting a lot of flack now-a-days: the framer. When I think about the last couple of novels and essay’s I have read, I can’t think of one that does not point its sullen finger at the farmer for some sort of deprivation or other. Over the past two weeks in particular, I have had the pleasure to sink my teeth into the delectable fruit of two great works: Silent Spring (selections) by Rachel Carson and The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Both of these books relate in grave detail why they think framers are to blame for the amount of environmental damage that has been caused upon the earth. They showcase real life events such as the “dust bowl of 1930” and show us figure crunching data of how farmers raping the land are to blame.

Well, if convincing readers to agree with their accusations is their goal, I will admit I’m slowly being convinced. But, don’t take it from me. Listen to the experts who say that non-sustainable farming practices hurt public health, drain small communities, abuse animals and pollute the environment according to a 2 and 1/2 year research performed by Pew and Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health[1]. This report highlights how modern day farming can harm everything in its wake. It can impact species by creating drug-resistant bacteria strains. It can pollute the planet. It also can damage the soil, but most importantly it can be harmful to you as well.

There is a phrase I heard some time ago that goes, “Think globally; act locally,” and nowhere is this rationale more appropriate than in your everyday life. If these local farms are that destructive, are we all falling susceptible to the “costs of human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes[2] ?” What happen to the days of the natural farmer that authors such as Edmund Spencer would idolize?

This brings me to my last and final point. The original farmer was the first man to walk the planet. We know him today to be called Adam. Appointed by God, it was his job to ‘teal the earth and grow living things (plants).’ If that was the case, how did we come so far from the beginning of a pure motive given by the direction of the Divine, to now irrationally destroying the earth?

If we continue in this pattern of destruction, I will caution to ask is it time to kill Adam?


[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/29/AR2008042902602.html?wpisrc=newsletter

[2] All quotes were used from www.washingtonpost.com from the article Report Targets Costs Of Factory Farming  By Rick Weiss

Checkout this BBC documentary about sustainable farming below