Week 14 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

Week 13 didn’t really have any new material since we were about to go on break, so we’re gonna talk about the conversation that came from week 14. The conversation was one where though it had elements that I knew about, I was able to learn a good amount about the early stages of regulation of the radio, and TV. First thing that I want to discuss was the re appropriation of the song The Watermelon man. It was interesting to hear the many different remixes, and covers of the song. I think all that shows is when a song sounds great, or elements of a song is great then people get inspired to use it. As was said in class music travels, and you can’t stop people from the way they want to vibe to something as people want to be free to create, and enjoy as they please. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it as I’ve said in a previous blog post, as long as they give credit where credit is due. I think even a shoutout is something. Of course some compensation money wise would be better for the original artist, but something credit wise is better than nothing, and trying to play it off as your original work. I’ve heard of The Watermelon man instrumental before, but I would’ve never known the great Duke Ellington was the originator. I don’t know the exact version I’ve heard before, it may have been the latin infused version by Mongo Santamaría, but I definitely didn’t know it was Duke Ellington’s song originally.


The early stages of regulation of radio, and TV was information that didn’t shock me, but was good to learn. I heard many times growing up about TV back in the early 70’s when my parents were kids, and for example how you had the major networks in NBC, ABC, and CBS, and then a couple others but there weren’t an abundance of channels until cable came onto the scene which of course happened in the 70’s as well. The government being able to regulate radio and TV is something that I also knew about, and it made sense the FCC did so not just anything would enter the bandwidth/airways. You had to comply with the so called fairness doctrine to broadcast under the FCC. The thing about that is the FCC can limit creativity if your product doesn’t fall under their guidelines. That’s why services such as Youtube, Netflix, and other streaming services are so important because they don’t have as many regulations (especially Youtube). I think it’s great that they provide videos, and programs that aren’t regulated by the government, and come off overall more genuine. Under the FCC, you can see some programs look as though they are trying to push an agenda whatever that might be. Overall it’s always interesting learning the history behind the services that we utilize today so often.

Week 12 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

I don’t have too much to say this week, but I just want to highlight a particular thing from Stephen Witt’s book How Music Got Free. Of course a big theme of the book was piracy and what I would call the revolution of the MP3. Reason I would call it the revolution is because this was the time when MP3’s first came out, and enabled for the first time a way to download music for free, but illegally according to law. The one thing in particular I wanted to talk about was how he compared music piracy of the 90’s to drug experimentation in the 60’s. Honestly when i think about, he’s not totally off in what he’s saying. At first sight it makes you say “huh” but when you think about it more in detail you get exactly what he is talking about. Since it was such a new wave, and people were curious about it without thinking too much about the possible consequences they are definitely comparable. The thing about it, I would say streaming services, which just became big a few years ago, is what really stopped this trend because though it was probably happening at a higher rate in the 90 with MP3’s, I remember people talking about trying to download albums, and music off the internet for free just a few years ago in 2014. Shoot to be honest, I’ve even downloaded music before that could be considered piracy, but the reason I did it was just like why everyone else in my generation did it in trying to get some music for free because we couldn’t afford buying it. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I could support an artist, and I had some money to, I definitely would, but times growing up as a teen, and early in college a lot of times I didn’t have the money to buy music, and I know for me personally I wanted to stay up on the latest music. That was the case for a lot of people, so I could only imagine how bad it was in the 90’s when it was first introduced. I understand the grip the artist would have as well because it took time, effort, and money to create the music they created so they wanted compensation, but when your young, and don’t have the revenue to buy the songs you resort to doing things like pirating music. Also people just wanted to help out other people in keeping them up with the latest music. Overall, I agree with Witt, and though it is an illegal practice, it was a way of listening to all the music you wanted to without paying, and tell me what kid, teen, and young adult is going to resist that opportunity.

Week 11 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

The main topic for this week was copyrighting, and sampling. The subject matter was interesting because though I did know a decent amount about copyrighting, and sampling from either other classes I’ve been in, or from my knowledge of the music industry, I did learn more in depth information about both that I didn’t know about before. I want to start out with the example given in class about John Locke. I heard about Locke before, but I didn’t realize how much of a jerk he was. To think that the land belong to them who were foreigners to this country was beyond explanation. He tried to say that since they laid roots down, and were attending to the land that the land belonged to them instead of the Native Americans. He felt as though they were not people who worked the land, and cared for it properly which was false. Again that was just a way for him to rationalize them taking over a piece of land that wasn’t theirs. Trying use squatter rights as an excuse. It’s ridiculous. That was a great lead into the conversation about Copyright though because events like this showed the need for those laws, but at the same time if Native Americans even had laws like this the new settlers wouldn’t respect them anyways. That’s just the reality of things. To move forward from that, I think the copyright rules how they are prove to be fair. Reason I say that is because there is only so much that is new under the sun, so ideas will be recycled, and made into better pieces of work. While the copyright is in effect, it’s only right to pay homage to the person who created the idea, but once the 120 year period is up then people should be able to do what they want with the intellectual property. What I found the most interesting was the conversation about the public domain. I didn’t realize Disney got a lot of their movie and story ideas from there. I believe I did hear that some of the stories came from older stories, but to see how they are able to get them was interesting because honestly they are doing what you should be able to do to an intellectual property once the copyright has ran out in improving the idea, When you see the origin of some of the stories, a good amount of them were kind of morbid, so it was a good thing they were improved upon.


With sampling, since I do like music a lot, and am a communications major with a concentration in media & criticism, I have heard a lot of what we discussed in class. Like the funky drummer for example, I’ve seen a few hip hop documentaries where I saw him explaining how he doesn’t mind totally that people use his beats, but he wants credit because that is his piece of work. That makes sense, and artist/ producers who use it should give a small portion of money to them as compensation for using his work. That being said, I don’t believe anybody’s work should be seen as off limits because as a artist you should be free to create. I get both sides of the argument honestly. I just try to put my foot in the shoes of someone like the funky drummer, and try to think how I would feel about people using my work in their works without giving me credit, that would suck especially since the drumline has been used a lot. I didn’t realize even the powerpuff girls used his work in their opening theme song, that was crazy to find out. Then again as an artist, as I said earlier, you don’t want to be constrained when you create, you just want to create, and have fun in the process. It’s one of those things where it’s a tough conversation because both sides have a valid argument, but the rules being how they are, you have to give credit in some way to the originator of the work, and honestly it’s only right to do so.

Week 10 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

The post this week is about something that we all have used at a point in our lives whether it was to randomly look up a fact, or for research purposes, though if you go back to grade school teachers hated for us to utilize this service. I’m talking about Wikipedia, the encyclopedia of information that is ever growing. I personally like the service as it carries a lot of good information. Many people will knock the fact that people can go in and edit the information, but there’s many benefits to that as well. Sure you will have someone who will change information for comedic purposes, but it doesn’t stay that way for long as you have many people who constantly edit the service. The great thing in my opinion about Wikipedia is that information stays up to date. If something happened 5 minutes ago, like a team winning the Super Bowl, it will be updated that quick. It’s a pretty amazing service to be honest, and we can start by thanking the creator of the modern encyclopedia in Denis Diderot. Not saying someone else couldn’t have came along and had the will to do what he did, but his will to want knowledge organized changed the game forever. Another person of mention is Richard Stallman who was an early hacker who came up with the four freedoms of software that were inspired by FDR’s four freedoms. Within it, one thing that stuck out that he said was that the idea of copyright didn’t exist in ancient times, in which he was saying that copyrighting limits the freedom of creating, restoring, and passing along information, and is a dangerous thing. I agree with his premise when it comes to the sharing of information because as new developments come out, the information should be able to be edited to make the information better. It also makes sense in doing anything creative to an extent, but as long as the person is alive, and has ties to an idea or product they created they should be able to benefit off of it since they created it, which of course is the rules according to the law (120 years for an intellectual property). Quick mention of the study of sound which to be honest when talking about it my attention wasn’t all the way there, but that’s besides the point. One thing I wanted to point out was it is pretty amazing how medieval cathedrals were designed to manage sound. At that time, as far as we know they weren’t knowledgeable in the study of sound since the study of sound happened around the late 19th early 20th century, and yet they knew how make the cathedral in a way where the sound would fill the room they way they wanted it to. That’s pretty amazing to me, but you have to figure that people knew how to do things even if they necessarily didn’t study the intricacies about it.

Week 9 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

Class this week was a little different in subject matter, but I understand why it was necessary. It was a interesting subject matter to me at least. The subject matter that was talked about was the Civil War, and within the conversation I was shocked to learn a few things that I wasn’t aware of. In my opinion I do believe slavery was the cause of the war, and facts prove that this is the case, but what I didn’t realize was though the North/ the union didn’t agree with slavery, most didn’t believe or want people of color to be equal to them. In most historical accounts, and documentaries i’ve seen on slavery it seemed as though once slaves crossed the Mason Dixon they were safe, and free unless of course their owner sent catchers out to get them. It’s just the fact that I didn’t realize they had that type of thought process towards people of color especially sense it seemed as though in the account that I’ve seen that most northerners were alright with blacks. This isn’t to say that all Northerners felt this way, but it was surprising to me that it was how most northerners felt towards blacks. I knew how President Lincoln felt already so that wasn’t as much of a surprise.


The main point of the class was to look at the documents and how they were heavily biased and untrustworthy. The biggest example was from Steiner who claimed that there were 50,000 slaves who fought with the confederate which was a huge lie. No doubt there were slaves who did fight for the confederacy, most more than likely against their will, but for sure it wasn’t 50,000 slaves. Examples like this is why you have to be careful with the information you intake, and where it comes from because it could be untrustworthy information. Another example of it comes from Frederick Douglas, and Butler in which the outcome was that they forced Lincoln’s hand in allowing blacks to fight.in the Union army because it was already happening, and would help the Union win the war. Frederick had to do what he had to do in his document which influenced Lincoln to do what he did. Butler was explaining what was happening with his army so he didn’t really stretch the truth, but still shows how effective his document was in influencing Lincoln’s decision. It’s just interesting to see the photos, and how everything wasn’t as it seemed in some of the documents, and it really makes you think about what you’re reading, and who wrote it before believing what you may see at face value.

Week 8 Thoughts

December 7, 2018

Any talk about music this semester peaked my interest. I’m someone who has a big interest in music, and am always interested in learning about the origins of music. We had a lot of discussion about the genres of early America, but the one thing in particular I’m going to talk about is black people, and race records. Of all my years of listening to R&B music I never knew that the genre was first called race records. That was crazy to find out. It makes sense because of the social climate of that time, but I would’ve never guessed that R&B records were called race records. Of course the music stores were segregated just like everything at that time due to Jim Crow laws, and they would have race records separate from the other records. If you think about it has much really changed today? What I mean by that is when you go into a store like best buy, it might not necessarily be segregated, but in a way it is because Hip Hop, and R&B are always near each other then Pop, alternative rock are near each other, and then any other genre they may carry. Still today the dominant race doing R&B and Hip Hop are black people, and any other genre is still dominated by white people. Of course there are a few anomalies, but overall this is how it is. Unlike back in those days of course people of all races go to any section they want, and some of the biggest consumers of hip hop are white people. In those times you would be looked at sideways if you didn’t go to the section that had the “music of your people”.


In Miller’s book he talks about how the mistral music is found deep in Americas roots. That was on display through all types of music at that time from folk to race records. It was interesting to find out that the great Louis Armstrong would perform some of the songs, but what he did was deconstruct them and make the songs his own. Dina of course being one of his famous examples of this. One last thing that peaked my interest was the conversation about King Records which was the label of labels back in the day. It was ran by a jewish man in Syd Nathan, and sold music for everybody as it had a department for hillbilly folk type of music, and then had a division for race records. The couple of things that peaked my interest the most about King was that the legendary James Brown was apart of it, and this is something that I may have heard of before as I’ve seen the movie Get On Up, but I guess it was something I didn’t pay attention to too hard. The other thing that peaked my interest was the fact that King Records would put out the same song they released to one target market to the other target market so that everybody could enjoy the song even though it was sung by two different artist. They definitely were about making money with a move like that, in those times it was very smart to do that.

Week 7 thoughts

November 19, 2018

To start out I would like to say that this week of class was very interesting. What made it so interesting is that not only did I learn a little more about the origins of music, but also how I learned that something that I thought was a joke for the longest was reality, and that is the 1,3 and 2,4 cadence. All my life me, and my family have joked about numerous white people not having any rhythm whatsoever. I really wondered why exactly was this the case. I felt as though these select white people were overthinking the beats that they were listening to because it wasn’t that hard to be on-beat. With all of that said, to find out that European culture claps on the 1,3 cadence was an interesting discovery. I never really realized that even living in Germany for a few years, but thinking back to how their music was crafted in Europe, it made all of the sense in the world. It was also interesting to learn about the African influence behind Latin music i which I’m not totally shocked because it’s something that I believe I heard of before, but to go deeper into it in our discussion in class, it was interesting to find out how much influence African music had overall.

R&B was the other big discussion in class. I’ll say that i did know about the great migration of Black people from the south going to the North as I’ve learned about it through my years in school growing up, but what I didn’t know was that R&B was initially called Race records, At least I didn’t pay too much attention to it in the past.White people owning the record labels at that time wasn’t surprising at all, and wasn’t new information, what I didn’t know was that there was a black owned record label during that time called Black Swan. That’s something that was never mentioned to me growing up. It’s amazing how far the music industry has come looking back at it. Not even 100 years ago did record labels not allow for mixed records, but of course some bands did it anyways, and got away with . An example of this is Eddie Lang who was with the brothas in a band. The last topic of interest from this week was Muddy Waters who of course was a black man who grew up on a plantation in Mississippi in the early 20th century. I  heard briefly about him, and Chess records before, and just looking back and seeing the impact that he had not only in America, but beyond in a place like England was absolutely incredible especially for a man that was illiterate in Muddy.

Week 6 thoughts

October 13, 2018

I can for sure say that this topic that we discussed for this week of class peaked, and kept my interest. It’s a topic that many people still have some hard feelings over including myself. The overarching topic we talked about was the all mighty minstrel show. The shows that depicted my people as slow and uneducated, but surly entertaining. The craziest part about it was it wasn’t any type of uncle toms to start out, but it was white men depicted as us as they would black face their faces. Sure it was entertainment, and sure they put on a great show, and a lot of music that set the foundation of our countries genre’s came from it, but you have to think at what cost though. The cultivation theory comes to mind when talking about this topic because though some people could separate the show from actual life, a lot of people couldn’t, and that’s how they perceived black, and brown people when they dealt with them. Black and brown people couldn’t be taken as seriously as they should be with a show like this. White people definitely looked down on black and brown people because of this show. Sure it wasn’t all white people at all including some of the people who were in the minstrel shows as they saw it as strictly entertainment, and some even saw it as an outlet to bring the music of black people to the light, but again you have to ask yourself at what cost because it was very evident that many people who saw the show had the mentality that black people were below them, and it only further that rhetoric. Though I can admit they put on a performance for sure, I hate the idea of the show, and how my people, black and brown people were depicted. No matter what anyone says, they didn’t have to put on black faces to do what they did, they could’ve just displayed their talents as the white men that they were, and I know it was an avenue for even some black people, but I know me personally I couldn’t do it because that’s the way that people perceived my people being all of the time, and it made black and brown people look bad overall. My point is though the show was filled with talented people, and is the core of a lot of American music, the show could’ve been put on with out the depiction of black and brown people being the way it was.

Week 5 Thoughts

October 13, 2018

Remember last week when I said that lesson had it’s dry spells, well this week definitely one upped it. Like the week prior, there is a lot of necessary information to understand for this course that we discussed, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this was a week of class that was tough to sit through. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have parts that I found interesting cause it did, and that’s what I’m going to go more in depth about.

One thing that was kind of interesting to me was the information theory that Claude Shannon brought to light. As was stated in class Shannon believed that if something was said over and over again it loses it’s meaning, and he also believed that everything can be reduced to information by stripping the meaning of it to fit whatever purpose it’s needed for. He has a point with what he said when I think about it. At first I was thinking this isn’t necessarily true because there are many thing I don’t believe lose it’s meaning after being said or done over, and over again if the correct action is put behind it. For example, if someone said they loved basketball, and they go out and ball almost everyday, that statement still means something years down the road just as it did when that person first picked up a ball. Then we did the example in class with garage band, and then my perspective changed a little bit. When professor showed how easy it was in the he could sample the gospel song in his beat that he made on the fly just to make a dope beat, I definitely saw what Shannon meant. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sampling because many songs that I listen to have samples throughout them from words to how the beat is done, and with that said depending on the song the sample doesn’t lose it’s initial meaning, but a good amount of times it does. You have many instances where a sample is just used to make a dope instrumental in which there is no meaning behind that. Overall I do agree with his statement to a point because I believe it depends on the subject matter, and how that information is used.

The other thing that peaked my interest was the information on hypertext, and browsing the internet. I never really just sat down to understand how all of this came about, and who was behind it. Tim Berners Lee was a lot more innovative than I thought he was, and if people don’t know who he is they should take the time to get to now because he had a lot to do with something we use daily. He came up with the web browser. I’m sure when he created it he knew it was going to be innovative, and life changing, but maybe not to the extent that it is today. That invention really took off in a major way as we now know. Even within the first few years it went from 130 websites to over 200,000 which is incredible in itself. I respect Berners Lee because he didn’t want the internet to turn out how it did turn out in being like TV with a bunch of ads, but rather a place where people can share information without worry, I can’t tell you enough how annoying it is that we have all of the ads that we have while browsing the internet. The fact that someone, or a system is tracking your moves as well is a little weird. I understand it’s done to make browsing easier so it can be more catered to the things that you are interested in, but to just have been on footlocker for example, and look at a shoe or two, then go over to ESPN, and see a ad about that same shoe on the side of the page is weird. There is no better word to describe it other than that. It’s even more annoying when you see ads you don’t want to see, and it seems impossible to click out of it, so it kind of sucks that web browsing couldn’t have stayed the way Berners Lee initially wanted it to be. Again, class for this week may have been pretty dry, but the great thing about this class is since we are talking about technology it doesn’t stay too dry for long especially with the videos and examples given.


Week 4 thoughts

October 12, 2018

What can I say about this week of class? Well for starters there was a lot of information that was given that can definitely be considered important in the grand scheme of things when it comes to our knowledge of our technological past, but I’m not going to lie the topic was pretty dry overall. I did find one concept pretty interesting though, and that was the concept I believe that came from Max Weber in pretty much saying the more individualized that you are the less free you truly are. I’m not sure if I agree with that assertion though, and his reasoning is honestly kind of suspect in my opinion. That assertion was that when you are individualized you are grouped into a much larger group which is a way of tracking people. Within that assertion I agree that it will probably be easier to track an individual who stands out, but to say that you are less free being an individual is ridiculous to me. How can you be grouped into a larger group if you’re being authentically yourself? That shouldn’t be possible.

Another thing that was interesting was the conversation on the Military industrial Complex. I heard of it a few times before being in this class, but I never took the time to really understand what it was. To now know it’s the conjunction of the government, and our military, it makes more sense to me. The interesting thing about the Military industrial complex is that out of it came the development of computers and the internet, and it was all due to the Cold War. The last thing that really peaked my interest was the origin of the G.I. Bill. In my first few semesters in college I was able to use some of my fathers G.I. Bill he received through his military service so when the topic was brought up I was intrigued. All this time I didn’t realize that the Cold War was the reason the G.I. Bill came into existence. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that having a degree became more mandatory due to the Cold War and the G.I. Bill. The Cold Wars impact on our country is pretty incredible when you think about it, so much of what we use and take for granted today is a result of this race against Russia. Though the overall lesson had many dry spells involved in it, there is a lot of information that I now know because of this weeks lesson.