WRIT371

My Critical Photo Essay

Here’s the link to my video and my works cited (video clips, music, and consulted resources (though I didn’t list ones I read but didn’t use within the project, sometimes you just have to read for your own knowledge base)). You can check out the NoSleep Podcast here, the subreddit here, and the CreepyPasta Archive here.

Works Cited

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What Were You Saying? I Forgot. Can I Google It?

Memory is a tough thing and it is something I struggle with on a DAILY basis. It started when I got my first phone; back when the phone was JUST for phone calls. Texting was new and no one did it yet, you sent an email from your phone instead. That when I went from knowing every phone number I’d ever been given to knowing… three, and two of those bring me food so I’m not sure if they even count (it’s a few more than three but for drama I’m gonna change it). It was a strange change when I had to start keeping my phone in my pocket and look up numbers to dial on the house phone if I wanted to call before 8pm (calls were free after 8pm).

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My first phone that I had for years, and was the third owner, of was the second phone from the right. Its antenne was about a foot long.

Thompson addresses this with his short anecdote about the incident in Starbucks, though I’m never asked a friend a question in Starbucks without some rando answering it, and it really got me thinking to how awful my memory is, or at least my perception of it. I’m going to share with you how I realized I couldn’t rely on my phone for everything.

Last year, during Spring of 2017, I went to Tokyo for spring break. It feels like it was longer ago but when I look back through my planners it seems like it was yesterday.

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There are a few posts I’ve actually made on this blog about this trip, but it was a series I didn’t finish and for continuity’s sake, I didn’t want to feel pressured to finish them just yet so, I set them to private.  But it was in Japan that I realized I am on my phone way too much.

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I have a very rudimentary understanding of the Japanese language, mostly because I can’t remember it when I need to use it. But I figured I was halfway through my second semester of the basic language class and I’d just KNOW it when I got there. I had always wanted to go and instead of paying off some of my debt, I spent about 995 dollars on a flight and a hotel and went. There is a lot that I went through to get there, but it was fine in the end.

Now, I had never been to Japan before and I had no idea how complicated getting around would be. I had rented a pocket wi-fi but, when I picked it up from the post office in the terminal, it wasn’t charged. So getting to the train (which are never late and when they are the company releases a national apology) in the 5 minutes I had given myself from the purchase time was complicated. It was like I had literally forgotten how time worked.

17353301_10154558767269372_5692534856175956293_nI am not one to get lost, but I did in Tokyo. I did my best to memorize the map on the train but it was quickly gone from my memory once I stepped foot onto the platform. I instinctively reached for my phone which I had turned on in the airport and then realized I had been roaming for about an hour (thankfully I didn’t get any calls and the phone had just been on). But my phone was no use it had no service.

I felt stupid. Absolutely stupid that I hadn’t thought about this beforehand and I struggled to find my hotel (which was literally 150 meters from the surface entrance of the station I got off at). I thought I’d be able to rely on my phone right away, I had it all written down on my Google Drive. Guess what you need access to in order to get to your Google Drive?

My hotel was so nice to me, they could tell that I was lost, tired, and sweaty. The clerk17309816_10154553032404372_852940244408385175_n that checked me in did his best to speak English and I appreciated it because the Japanese I had practiced on the plane had apparently stayed there, recirculating in the vents above US-bound passengers heads (I also didn’t find them when I flew home).

I could have just printed a map onto a piece of paper and followed it from there. I didn’t because I rely so much on my phone I just figured it wouldn’t be an issue. But I think I needed to get lost in Tokyo. Not only is it one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been in, but it is also the best place to get lost. The crime rate is incredibly low (not to mention I’m a damn Ice Giant) and people keep to themselves. I needed to get lost though to re-engage my brain into how I grew up, surviving off of memory. It made me realized that I am too dependant, and if I did have a Japanese phone plan I wouldn’t have had this problem. I’m not entirely comfortable in how reliant I am (because the machines are coming for us all) but I now understand that I partially allow myself to be because it does make life easier.

Our brains aren’t chess-playing computers, they can’t compute every outcome ever in seconds. The amount of knowledge that our phones allow us to store and recall isn’t a bad thing. But I also think it’s important that we take a step back away from the loads of information we try to process on a daily basis and remember that our brains can remember things as well.

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WRIT371

I Got Lost In The Post Truth World Dinner Party I Wasn’t Invited Too

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I read more of the book than we are commenting on today because I couldn’t put it down. I’ve got a thing for conspiracy theories and the first part of this book just revels in the hinting of them. One is a theory I heard a lot about growing up, that 9/11 was an inside job (I was in the 5th grade when it happened) and the other the Kennedy Assassination. Most of what I knew about the Kennedy Assassination was what I learned from Dale Gribble on King of the Hill, but as time went on and I got older it was definitely one of those things that intrigued my interests. It was more interesting than something I found believable.

But, anyway…

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I appreciate how Manjoo has the dinner party example in the first chapter. Even though this book came out before the big social media boom (it came out the year I joined Facebook, when you still had to tell them which university you attended) I think that his example is quite telling to which direction the world has gone in. No one really checks their information anymore. Memes (even if I disagree with how broad of a term that has become) are spread without checking the information they contain and as the information is so easily shared. You see information that you agree with, hit share, and that’s it. Half the time the information is inaccurate or was created to echo what the intended sharer already believes. The other half of the time the meme is plagued with nonsensical minions or tinkerbell (I have limited knowledge into why this is a thing but I do know these memes are incredibly popular with woman over the age of 35 and I DO NOT understand it in the least).

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Seriously… what the hell is this and what does it mean?

I see more minion memes than ever because my friends are getting older and having kids and are overcoming that age boundary and I’m scared. Another reason I’m getting rid of a lot of my social media is because I can’t handle the weight of the minions much longer. Thankfully my mother hasn’t descended into the madness but I’m ever prepared for the day when it happens.

When we think of the information we exchange and the information that we want to hear as minions it is easier to track the ideas that Manjoo puts forth. Sure, we’ve got the Instagram models at the dinner party, we’ve got the family oversharing in facebook live streams and youtube videos, we’ve got the weird uncle that just shows up in your house during parties that is on his ninth beer and is fading between yelling and whispering about politics. All of these people attract their own audiences and those audiences start to refuse to listen to others. Minions begin to fight the tinkerbells, because both of them their they are right and the other must be wrong. More and more parties join the rabble and then it just becomes noise.

Noise that we don’t have a button to push to hear what we need to hear to help us grow.

WRIT371

I’ll Tell You What I What, What I Really Really Want

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This gif isn’t related to what we’re reading – kinda. But the title of Pariser’s 7th chapter has just… got this song stuck in my head. When I was five the Spice Girls were life, don’t judge.

What I really want to talk more about is Pariser’s section on robots. The reason being is because that is why I originally came to MSU. My plan was to build longevity robots to help keep seniors in their home longer. I don’t like nursing and care homes, I think there are people who are placed there just because they’ve become a burden on their family. Younger and younger seniors are being shipped off to care homes and I think it’s interesting the greed that is behind that. Anyway, get off my soap box about elder care. I wanted to (and still want to) build robots to help the elderly maintain their independence in the home. Not only to help with chores but because the elderly do face issues of being lonely. Loneliness is a prominent issue in the United States and the UK when it comes to the elderly. Which is why programs like A Place at the Table, an adult foster care home in Minnesota, are so important. People get to busy to care for their aging family members and APatT works to give the elderly in their care social experiences to help keep them happy and healthy. It prides itself on providing personalized care for every senior living with them (though their license only allows 4 people at a time). My idea that robots can provide a lot of these same services isn’t false, but APatT provides something a machine can’t, the human based interactions that we crave.

That being said, I am so uncomfortable with the idea that I can be reduced to a code in a system. I know I already am. I know that this blog post connects with my social media while that social media is found via a string of letters and with my involvement in socialImage result for matrix stream gif media almost my entire life is accessible via that string of letters. Come December that is going to change, because I’m removing myself from a lot of social media in the coming year (with graduation, prospective jobs, and so forth). But there will always be a string of letters that makes up who I am online. Pariser touches on topics in chapter 7 that make me so uncomfortable. I hate the idea of facial recognition software, if only because I don’t want to be accused of crimes I didn’t commit but am accused of committing because the software said it was me. I always feel like I need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall when he goes through security. I have a gif for that but it’s very flashy and I don’t want anyone coming across it and it triggering a seizure disorder.

We are numbers already. Everything about us comes down to a number. Our numbers are bought and sold everyday.

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WRIT371

It Isn’t Broken If I Say It’s Broken If You Say It Isn’t

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Godin seems like the dad in every 90s movie. He thinks he’s super funny and makes corny jokes, but at the same time has some very interesting and informative things to say. This video is from 2006, my freshman/sophomore year in high school. Websites like his weren’t common like they are today, memes weren’t really memes yet and we didn’t call them that. But we’d howl over Badger, Badger and stupid signs like it was 2018. Now we can create memes on our phones without having to know some level of animation or Photoshop. When there weren’t content creators as we know them now.

I know that this post is suppose to be about design, and I didn’t fully get that until I was trying to figure out what I was watching a TED talk about using colors on medical reports. The Wysocki article was harder to read, because of the design and layout of the article. I won’t like I gave up on that a few times and I’m still not sure if I totally understand what it is I read; which I, again, contribute to the format. It felt so disjointed and broken. Which brings up back to Godin.

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Godin talks about broken things; things that not everyone will think are broken. Like the piece of art that Banksy shredded right after it was sold (Vox is going to disagree with me here). Because the piece was ‘broken’ it was immediately more valuable to those willing to buy it. It wasn’t broken to them OR they found the brokenness of the piece added to its perfection. I personally find it ridiculous because Banksy has become such a commercialized commodity while still promoting itself as a anti-mainstream entity. I know that not everyone will agree with me on my idea that Banksy isn’t just one person but is an idea within itself. That theory comes from how accessible the art has become, how quickly new pieces appear on different corners of the earth (sometimes within the same day). It isn’t that it isn’t art because anything can be considered to art to someone; but it is something that has lost the originally significance that I think it once held. It’s hard to explain how a piece by Banksy is something I no longer consider art because of it’s commercialization but I also support artists selling their work. I think that has something to do with how I feel a bit betrayed by it. When I was younger Banksy was a cool idea; it had a lot to do with no selling out and keeping true the the art form. And I feel betrayed now that the pieces are selling at auction for millions of dollars.

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We could say that the website Godin refers to, thisisbroken.com, is also broken. There hasn’t been an update since July of 2007. The website still works but without a update it has become dated and ‘broken’ in some way. Broken meaning that it no longer serves the purpose it once did and it’s purpose now is to stand as a relic of how far we have comes.

WRIT371

Critical Photo Essay Proposal

I always find myself thinking of what I can do as a final project in classes and I usually find myself coming back to the same kisspng-slender-the-eight-pages-slenderman-drawing-fan-ar-slender-man-5ac0c8129d70f7.5609326015225835706449subject. Others who have taken classes with me in the past are probably sick of what I’m about to propose, but my critical photo essay is going to be within the realm of digital folklore and the horrors therein.

As a short horror writer I am no stranger to the ‘scary stories’ that one comes across online. I’m a subscriber to the creepypasta wiki, the reddit forum r/nosleep, and am a fan of several short horror narrators.  I’m also no stranger to the news that surrounds these types of stories. Online horror forums have become the Image result for smile dogbreeding ground for news stories warning parents of the dangers of being involved in these stories as well as real life crime being committed in their name.

My goal with this project is to explore how the writing of a creepypasta has grown out of longer fictions, like those of Stephen King, and how it has become applicable for such a large audience. What used to be scary stories to just tell in the dark have evolved into something that is readily available at every time of day and has had to adapt to be quickly read and, more importantly, quickly written. My question to be researched is:

“How has the written horror story changed over time to adapt to the ever changing, growing, and more technologically adept world?”

“Why is this important to you?” or “Again, Kas? You’ve done this project so many times already, why again?” are questions that may be crossing Image result for creepypastayour mind. It isn’t that I do the same project over and over again, but that I continue to expand my knowledge and understanding of a topic. This is important because this is what I do. As a horror writer it is my job to know how the genre is evolving and how I can properly apply my abilities. With a world like ours I know that in order to be at the top of my game and to be continue to be relevant in a quickly changing genre I need to know these things to help predict future moves.

I’ve done so preliminary research for this project, specifically, within the following sources:

The Genre of Horror by Mgr. Viktória Prohászková
(http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_4_April_2012/16.pdf)

This thesis is about the horror genre, outlining it, and describing the dominant features of the genre and variations of content. It provides a brief overview of the development process in the realm of literature, film, and computer games; outlining its appearance in other fields of culture and art. It characterizes the readers and viewers of horror the horror genre and their motives for seeking the genre. This is important to my piece as it helps shed light on the workings of the genre and how it goes about defining subgenre and application.

How To Write A CreepyPasta
(http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Creepypasta_Wiki:How_to_Write_Creepypasta)

I include this website because it is important that I study how the writing process between the different stories has changed over time. It discusses what types of fear an author can subscribe their story too and characterizes the narrator as someone giving a first person account of a true story. Creepypastas have helped the genre evolve to being a first person experience from the third person narrative (thinking along the lines of IT, Ringu, or At The Mountains of Madness; which are all told from the third person).

The Lure of Horror by Dr. Christian Jarrett
(https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-24/edition-11/lure-horror)

Though the Critical Photo Essay isn’t a paper on psychology, understanding the psychology of what draws someone into the horror-sphere will aid in the accuracy and the pinning down of why people are interested. This essay gives information on why people engage with the things that scare them and theories on meta-emotion. The essay also talks on Dr. Norbert Mundorf and his studies into the slasher films of the 80s and 90s. The reference section of this essay is also very vast and will aid in further research.

Limits of horror by Fred Botting
(Montana State University Library, 3rd Floor)

This book delves into the history of monsters and ghosts and how the have evolved over the last 200 years, as well as the means of conveyance that have evolved with them (from fiction to film to video games). This book includes the evolution from gothic to cybergothic and looks at the range of literary, cinematic, and popular culture while examining the changes of the genre and the questions they pose for understand contemporary culture. This book also examines concepts like the uncanny, the sublime, terror, shock, and abjection in terms of the bodily implications. It advance current critical and theoretical debates on gothic horror and proposes a new theory of cultural production based on Freud’s idea of the ‘death drive’.

“Spread the Word”: Creepypasta, Hauntology, and an Ethics of the Curse by Line Henriksen
(https://muse.jhu.edu/article/689102/pdf)

This article deals mostly with one of the original creepypastas, Smile.dog, and the ideas behind haunted email chains; as well as digital urban legends. This article goes on to explore modern ethics in a digital world. Through the lens of Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology– a haunted ontology– this article explores what digital monsters and curses may teach us about those ethics as a question responding to that which haunts and hoaxes.