Culturally dramatic Sherlock Holmes

We may not realise it but today’s television drama is based on the development of cultural anxieties. Drama is much easier to translate in comparison to comedy. What is meant by this is shown in the example of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes’s story has been one altered and adapted many times throughout television and film. ‘Rosemary Jann and Ronald R. Thomas argue that the stories justify and enforce familiar social codes of class, gender, ethnicity and nationality’ (Krasner, 1997 p421). Not only this, but we are able to relate to and understand the character as we reflect our own societal problems. Perhaps this is the reason for the large popularity of Holmes.

In conjunction to its popularity, Sherlock Holmes has recently ruled ‘in the public domain’ (Penny 2014). Holme’s character as a cross-cultural icon has now allowed people the permission to alter in accordingly. This means we can associate our lives in a deeper context if we relate it to cultural drama rather than understanding cultural tied comedy. As a consequence we adapt the way we link specific narratives that are more realistic in regard to our lifestyle.

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In terms of Holmes there was the detective narrative that attracted the viewers and exposed the character of Holmes. Which was then turned into the different cultural aspects associated with his context. Shown through the adaptions of Sherlock Holmes we see that even country crossovers allow adaption to be successful. The English version of Sherlock versus the American version ‘Elementary’ both expose a contemporary recap of the character. However, there has been criticism on the failings of each. ‘What progress Sherlock makes is a slow burn, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that narrative decision, or with seeing a piece of yourself in that characterisation’ (Asher-Perrin 2014). People interested in Holmes integrate their sound knowledge of the character and accept the adaptions made.

In the week 8 lecture it was said that ‘the figure of Sherlock Holmes represents an idealised Englishness’ (week 8 lecture, 2014). This means that there are tensions between the American and English versions as there are standards of the original character that the Americanised version can not retract.

There’s a boundary between prevailing the adaption of the show and failing it. Focusing on Sherlock Holmes as an example of television drama, shows evidence of the adaptability we have as viewers towards cultural content. It is evident in this example that television drama adapts cultural concepts to work in a successful manner. Hence why Holmes has adapted through television and film and is still a popular character. 

References:

Asher-Perrin, E 2014, Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaption, TOR, viewed 4th October 2014, http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation

Krasner, J. (1997). Watson Falls Asleep: Narrative Frustration and Sherlock Holmes. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 40(4), pp.424–436.

Penny, L 2014, ‘Laurie Penny on Sherlock: The Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’, NewsStatesman, 12 January, accessed 3rd October 2014, <http://www. .com/culture/2014/01/sherlock-and-adventure-overzealous-fanbase>.

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Balancing media coverage of global issues

Everyday we are faced with major world issues that challenge the way we think and understand certain issues. It is through the media that we are educated by these topics. However, there are issues that arise due to the way the media covers these. One example of this would be the tension between the media and the coverage of the Syrian crisis in comparison to the coverage of climate change.

Climate change has a major impact on every human being in society so the fact it has limited continuity in the public sphere in 2014 is a major global issue. It is said that ’journalists, like all of us, have a direct personal interest in a healthy environment and climate critical to sustaining their society’s and their own health and economic well-being’ (Ward, B 2009 p14). Despite this, In the BCM111 lecture we discussed the fact that we are dependent on the media to shape our understanding of this issue. If the concept was more regularly mediated then we would be required to ‘think global and act local’. So in the 21st century it is difficult to decide which global crisis is more important in our most covered news.

This concept is evident in the context of the people of Kiribati. Their lives on the small island state are being affected by climate change even when they have had limited contribution to it. This has led to their possible relocation to neighbouring countries. However, to this day my knowledge of this has been limited. In fact I know more about the Syrian crisis than any crisis in history.

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The Syrian crisis is evident in each form of media for us to adequately consider the challenge we face. However, it was said in the BCM111 lecture that ‘climate change poses the threat on us much greater compared to terrorism’. Ward (2009 p 14) emphasises the ‘voice for the voiceless’ and balance in his work. This example is shown through the influence climate change has had on the people of Kirribati. The most important aspect of this is the superficial balance and how these people can be assured justice when the media coverage is less than it should be.

Ward, B. (2009). Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, [online] 9, pp.13-15. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/esep00097 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2014].

Anon, (2014). Lecture 10, Global Crises and Global News: Pacific Calling Partnership, BCM111, University of Wollongong

National identity in a global world

In the year 2014 the news is exposed to us in a number of different ways.  In particular, TV, radio and online. Despite the diversity of news platforms the objective of presenting the news has changed. The global media is an issue as pressures of ‘who counts’ are considered. It is clear that both local and global media must be recognised, however the concept is surrounded by whether these clash or not. Khorana (2014) considers two questions, what is news and what makes news”? These are important in identifying the objectives behind news production.

When focusing on the idea of journalism objectives and what is and what makes news it is important to identify the eight news values that structure this. They include cultural proximity, relevance, rarity, continuity, elite references, negativity, composition and personalisation.

Identifying this idea and relating it to these news values is important in today’s century as we develop a knowledge behind today’s threat on journalism. Wright (2011) exposes the influence of the Arab Springs on the public sphere by indicating its coverage by international platforms. The Arab Springs were a number of protests against the government beginning in the Middle East in 2011. The coverage of these protests dominated international televisions. It is said that ‘The BBC’s global weekly audience rose by 6% to 239 million in 12 months, driven by coverage of the Arab Spring’ (BBC website, 2012). This example is evidence that ‘These more thoughtful pieces were beginning to establish a global context and comprehension for the movements sweeping the world’. (Wright, L 2011 p2). Perhaps the angle the media chose to cover this event affects audiences due to the way information is spread and discussed more thoroughly in the public sphere. Lee (2011) says that ‘foreign news offers a welcome distraction from discomforts at home, but also exposes stresses and strains within news organisations on both sides of the Atlantic.”

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Image accessible at: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18623791

We see the connections made to the news values based on this news coverage. Firstly, the story is negative with a positive light, meaning globally we are engaged due to the unexpectedness of the event. However, it is also evident that in order to maintain the attention of a global audience journalists must incorporate news features that relate to the audience on a national level in order for them to personally engage.

References: 

Anon, (2014). [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18623791 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2014].

Lee-Wright, P 2011, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 1, pp. 186-205.

Khorana, S (2014), Week 9: Who Counts in Global Media (News Values), BCM111, University of Wollongong 

Comedy crucial in portraying cultural identity

Due to the diverse competition in television and film, we have witnessed the constantly evolving nature of these industries. Especially in the form of comedy. Comedy being the large sector it is, has embedded a form of translation in the way it attracts audiences. This means that cultures recreate comedy and drama in television to alter it to their own culture’s values and humour.

An example of this idea, is the Australian made Kath and Kim. It is said to have ‘failed to translate for American audiences’ (Idato 2014). In response to this, in 2008 NBC Universal and Reveille Productions created an American adaption in order to make sure the ‘cultural references, character types and recognisable actors’ (Turnbull 2014) suited the audience’s tastes. However despite this, Idato (2014) stated that ‘The remake was cancelled after only 17 episodes, failing to capture the slightly offbeat suburban spirit which made the original series one of the most resonant Australian comedies of all time.’

Article Lead - wide6120553010fuvg1410505955668.jpg-620x349Original Kath and KIm

This is not to say television translations are unsuccessful. ‘Colombia’s Ugly Betty and the UK comedy The Office’ (Idato 2014) both were successful international adaptions. Turnbull (2008) explored what can and cannot be culturally translated in Australian comedy. In her work she quotes Andy Medhurst, who states ‘comedy plays an absolutely pivotal role in the construction of national identity’.

Perhaps the idea of comedy translation is an unreachable goal when the comedic preferences are so culturally tied. In the case of Kath and Kim (US) the ‘humorous’ message that was being portrayed may have failed in the eyes of the global audience. This is because the original series was based on Australian humour and that is a factor that people need to be familiar with in order to appreciate the comedic references.

Turnbull, S. (2008). ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught It in Embroidery’: Television Comedy in Translation. Metro Magazine: Media \& Education Magazine, (159), p.110.

Turnbull, S. (2014) ‘Week 7: Television in Translation’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong

Idato, M (2014). [online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/kath–kim-on-hulu-in-the-us-after-remake-failed-20140912-10fuhm.html [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Blurred lines between national and transnational films

For centuries, global flows have influenced cinematic production and consumption. In the case of cross-over cinema, a term coined to ‘encapsulate an emerging for of cinema that crosses cultural borders’ (Khorana 2013, p2) we have witnessed the ability to link global and local, national and transnational. Higbee and Lim (2010, p10) argue that ‘the concept of transnational cinema has been at once useful and problematic’. However, its main impact has been useful, as a form of hybridisation this global emergence ‘joins forces with the project of internationalising cultural studies’ (Khorana 2013, p2).

An advantage of the term ‘transnational’ is that it has a similar approach to that of the term ‘globalisation’. In relation to transnational cinema in Australia and the ties it has with Asian migrants, has had a significant impact on multiculturalism.This has had influence since 1980’a as terms have emerged to ‘describe cultural production of disaporic film-makers, including: accented, post-colonial, interstitial, intercultural and multicultural (Higbee and Lim (2010, p.11).

Another relevant example would be the influence of cross-over movies in India. Patnaik (2014) talks about their recent popularity in India due to the influence of globalisation. He says that ‘Indian filmmakers in the 21st century have ventured into new frontiers and sought newer challenges, which have resulted in many Crossover films’ (Patnaik, 2014) He lists a number of films that come under this category, with the most recent being English Vinglish (2013). Described as ‘set in an upper middle class household, Sridevi plays a typical housewife cum mother who is perfect in every sense, and yet feels unaccepted and inferior due to her lack of English skills.’ (Patnaik, 2014)

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There are many uses for the concept of crossover films and its ability to ‘transgress genre, audience, and cultural borders.’ (Khorana 2013, p3). We focus on the ‘scale, distribution and diversity’ (Higbee and Lim 2010, p.12) of the transnational nature of film. In simple terms, we are witnessing the blur of line between national and transitional film making. Which allows us the ability to perceive the film through the eyes of our own culture. We are able to view the new creators of cultural production as ‘transnational creative practitioners and their cinematic practices as crossover rather than as simply understood through their national andethnic origins or identities’ (Khorana 2013, p3). This means as a culturally focused society we are adapting to contra-flows of national and transnational culture in the film industry. As the audience this is what allows us to draw on traditional aspects of different cultures.

References:

Higbee, W and Lim, S. H. (2010) ‘Concepts of transnational cinema: Towards a critical transnationalism in film studies’. Transnational Cinemas, 1(1), pp. 7-21.

Khorana, S 2012, Orientalising the Emerging Media Capitals: The Age on Indian TV’s ‘Hysteria’, University of Queensland.

Patnaik, E. (2014). Crossover Movies – Have they clicked in India?. [Blog] caleidoscope. Available at: http://www.caleidoscope.in/art-culture/crossover-movies-clicked-india [Accessed 11 Sep. 2014].

Yew, L. (2014). Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas. Asian Studies Review, 38(2), pp.312–314.

Indian, Chinese or Western economic interests in Bollywood

In today’s society, you would be forgiven for associating the term ‘Hollywood’ with bright lights, cameras and famous personalities, however, what comes to mind when you think of the term Bollywood or even Nollywood?

These terms may not be as familiar as Hollywood in Australian society, however, as products of globalisation they have word wide audiences. At this point it is important for me to note the concept of ‘socio-cultural variation’, where East Asian filmmakers strategically include cultural content such as martial arts that appeals to audiences on a global scale. Schaefer and Karan (2010) argue that this is challenging Hollywood’s maintained dominance. They claim this cultural shift is ‘blurring boundaries between modern and traditional, the high and low culture’. As the audience, we witness this shift in a minor way. For example, most viewers would be surprised to note that Avatar as ‘the highest grossing film’ had borrowed the storyline concept from Indian mythology.

The term ‘Bollywoodization’ originated from the idea that a westernised shift has allowed audiences to succumb under the strategies of East and South Asian filmmakers. Schaefer and Karan (2010) express the idea that Bollywoodization is ‘absorbed into the conglomerate multicultural marketing toolkit’. Globalisation has encouraged the industry to be made more formal, institutionalised and broadened audiences. This has allowed contra-flows to shift cultural influence to the Global south. Ideally, bringing the ‘glitzy entertainment not just to the Indian diaspora’ (Tharoor, 2007).  Despite the industry’s ‘glitzy’ outlook, the industry has been criticised for being in partnership with China, known as ’Chindian’ as a challenge to the west. Which encourages the question of who’s economic interests behind this situation? Is it the pressures of competing with Western cultures or are Bollywood industries looking to express the traditional aspects of hinduism?

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In 1991 India’s government implemented economic liberalisation in order to boost the economy in the marketing sector. After this a large global of informal and formal channels began promoting and popularising Hindi films. Theories about ‘Chindian’ industries being based around the growth of the Indian economy have encouraged a focus on the relationship between East and Southeast Filmmakers and North American audiences. In this case, Bollywood has been said by Schaefer and Karan (2010) to be a concept driven by Western multinationals to promote American products. How’s that for cinematic contra-flows?

References:

Schaefer, D & Karan, K 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, isa. 3, pp. 309-316

If international students are ‘culturally fit’, they’re fine

In today’s technologically immersed society we are well aware of Australia’s cultural competence globally. In particular, the internet is rich in information about international education in a commercial sense. When researching information about exchanging universities abroad the most you’ll get out of the research is profit-making industries. However, the issue of the intimate topic of cultural identity when studying abroad is something overlooked.

It is said by Marginson (2012, p 1) that ‘ International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’. Marginson (2012) talks about international education changing the idea of ‘culture’ regarding language and identity. She says that ‘human identity is open, fluid and in motion’. The fact that Australia is a multicultural society often stimulates the assumption that foreign exchange students make an easy shift from their own country’s identity to their new one. Despite this fact, Marginson’s (2012) opposes the idea to the deficit model which assumes international students are ‘weak, lacking or helpless’. This topic is a concern as Australia’s ethnocentric attitude may have an influence.

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In psychological literature the term ‘culturally fit’ defines the idea of a student being happier and more successfully academic if they participate in the practices and values of their host country. Being ‘culturally fit’ in Australia would mean to change your own cultural aspects in order to see fit the Australian identity. On a minor level this attitude seems like a school yard type quarrel. So in order to prevent this school yard fight, Marginson (2012) has developed a concept of ‘self-formation’ using an image of an umbrella to represent ‘the growth of individual capabilities and the growth of sociability’ as ‘interdependent’.This idea assumes that this will change the way international students are identified and treated.

References

Marginson, S, 2012 ‘Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’ University of Wollongong