Monday, April 14, 2008


I haven't been up to a lot lately. This is mostly because I have had a long, long stretch of time between my last exam and my final paper. Thusly, I have been doing an incredible amount of dicking around. Up until today this was something that I assumed was futile and a waste of life. But, turns out that my incredible sloth actually ended up being the reason why I found something to blog about. Silver lining? I think so.

I'm a little slow on the uptake about this, but apparently there has been a Toronto Media Activist, calling himself Phreak615 that has been hacking into Much Music's signal over the past few weeks. Exploiting the inadequate knowledge of new techonology by the company's employees, Phreak615 is claiming that he has direct access to Much Music's digital server and has rigged a way to broadcast himself.

I have seen these grainy, 10 second interruptions twice today. One with phreak615 holding up a sign with his website scrawled on it, while he said "I am Britney Spears," and another time a woman shrieking in a tone that was not totally audible with another plug to the blog.

Feeling somewhat optimistic in recent days, I'm hoping that this is the real deal. I want more than anything for someone with an actual agenda to successfully find a way to be subversive and to have this broadcast into the homes of the thousands of people who are watching. But, this is where my cynicism creeps in.

For someone who has gone to great lengths to discover a way to hack into Much Music's broadcasts and calls themselves a media activist, I'm not really seeing a whole lot of activism going on. Sure, it is a statement in and of itself that this guy has figured out a way to weasel onto the air and interrupt Mat Babel and Leah Miller's pithy dialouge about beautiful people and shiny new products. But, if you had that kind of a platform, and had enough drive to worm your way onto the television sets via one of the most recognized staples of Canadian television while (probably) breaking the law, don't you think you'd have something to say? Something beyond "I am Britney Spears" or only plug your blog that has no mission statement or sense of direction? I am intrigued that this man has been attempting to get people to create videos so that they can be broadcast as well but if you have no mission statement, then what are these people supposed to say? This entire thing to me seems a) a little lack luster and b) probably a huge con.

This is probably going to be revealed as some sort of wonderful promotion that taps into a cultural phenomenon, not unlike the that marketing that Cloverfield had. If this is the case, good one Much Music, way to tap into the viral video craze that those kids out there today sure do seem to love.

So, to wrap this up, on behalf of culturally interested people every where, please stop getting my hopes up Phreak615. Please don't lead me on to believe that these interruptions actually mean something and are not just shameless self promotion. Please do not abuse our soft spot for viral video and make this a marketing ploy that we are all bound to fall for because of our tiny attention spans coupled with a desire for rebellion sold us in a neat little viral packages. Please, let this be something that has some sort of cultural significance after all is said and done.

Or, at least let me in on the joke Much Music. I can take it. I like to laugh too.

Friday, April 4, 2008

14: bow out gracefully

So kids, this marks the end of my postings for the purpose of being graded. I'm probably going to keep my blog up, as I mentioned earlier today. I can't be sure as of right now what direction I'll be taking this. But, reflecting on the entire experience and looking over my work, I've come to realize that I put a lot of stake into co-optation and incorporation. I hope that I'll be able to expand on this theme throughout the summer, and incorporate more of Duncombe's ideas not only into my analysis of media, but into my everyday practices.

It's been great getting to know all of you; take care of yourselves. You know how to find me.



I was going to leave my blog as is for evaluation, but I couldn’t pass this up.

So, this my friends is a KFC compilation of southern rappers laying it down about how KFC is soul food, comforting, liberating and, brace yourself kids, heritage. I’m posting this mostly because it’s hilarious, but it also reminded me a lot of the Heath and Potter article we looked at a while ago.

Obviously this is about taking a lifestyle and appropriating it to sell politically incorrect chicken legs. The main stream hip hop culture has been no stranger to this sort of cross promotion and branding. I mean, let’s face it; no one loves Bacardi that much. Companies have been paying artists to throw in references to their products for a very long time, but why this really got me was because there was no attempt to make this seem as if it was being used for altruistic purposes. Beyond the name, “Hitmaker,” which would leave you thinking that this was an outlet for struggling artists to finally catch a break (which it does not), there is no indication that anyone can submit a song. Hey, if you can make a million dollars throwing in some references, it’s your business. But when KFC starts parading artists around with lyrics about its product being soul food, something that really “sticks to your ribs,” it’s very misleading and genuinely absurd. I’m positive that most of the people who come across this are going to think that it is as funny and as I did: Everything about it just screams lame. But, it does provide some insight into how marketing works and the lengths to which companies are willing to go to manipulate culture to sell.

Thanks for reaching out to the community KFC. Your hard work and dedication to the promotion of good family values is really appreciated in the community. Oh, and your commitment to proper nutrition? Stunning.