Thursday, 28 October 2010

HCJ lecture 3 - Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist who invented psychoanalysis. He died in London and was a huge celebrity at the time. He believed that men's problems could be solved with psychoanalysis. He was also a cocaine addict, he praised the drug's antidepressant and stimulant effects.

He was seen as a sexual renegade at the time, he considered sex as a central motivational factor for many of our actions. He was influenced by Locke's idea of the "blank slate" - everything we know comes from our education and society.

He believed that women instinctively feel like they were castrated. They lack of power as they have no penis, therefore they love their father and reject their mother. This opinion is of course debatable since Freud is well known for being misogynist.

According to Freud, self love is a barrier to progress. He thought that to be able to scientifically analyse a case, the scientist should take a step back and observe the patient without trying to influence them in any way.

His main legacy is the notion of Unconscious: the conscious brain is not in charge, everything happens in an underlying part. His theory is that the mind is divided in three parts: the Id is the animal instinct, our most basic desires are gathered in the Id - desire for sex, violence, food etc. The Id is repressed and "censored" by the Super Ego, which contains rules and codes our parents and society taught us. The Ego is the conscious part of our mind, which is a sort of balance between our Id and Super Ego. There is a constant battle between Super Ego, Ego and Id.

Still according to Freud's theories, there are five stages of development during our childhood:

the oral stage: time when the baby is breastfed
the anal stage: time when the child learns to be clean
the phallic stage: time when the child is obsessed with his penis - this is also the time when the Oedipus complex appears: symbolically, the child wants to sleep with his mother and kill his father. The child usually overcomes this phase, realising that his father is stronger and could castrate him.
the latent stage: nothing really happens.
The genital stage: the child is obsessed with his genitals.

Men have found a way to hide their "Id outburst":

In order to burn sexual energy, people turn themselves towards a more "correct" activity - sport, arts, reading etc - this is sublimation.

Displacement is turning shameful thoughts into something/someone else.

Projection is sending feelings onto someone else.

Rationalisation is giving a more socially acceptable explanation for something you did that wasn't socially acceptable. If you hit your kid, you wouldn't say that you did it because it was stress relieving, would you?

The key to psychoanalysis is that you are hiding something from yourself. Freud believed he found the way people deal with the Unconscious part of their mind: hypnosis, pressure method, free associations and dreams. All these methods allow people to evacuate some pressure.

Freud was attacked by various people and he's nowadays mainly considered as a writer. Some scientists had a problem with Freud's theories as there is no way to prove them wrong/right.

However neuroscience later found out that the brain was disposed in a similar way, as there are three different layers:
the reptilian brain, which is in charge of motor movement, and basic needs/feelings. (Id)
The Limbic system, in charge of emotions. (Super Ego)
The neo cortex, in charge of language and communication. (Ego)

Reich disagreed with Freud, and in fact believed the opposite. He thought that people were genuinely good and that society was turning some of them into dangerous and violent people. He thought that repression of sexuality was what made people unhappy.

Friday, 15 October 2010

HCJ lecture 2 - Modernism

Modernism is an early twentieth century movement that reacted against realism. Modernism rejected the values of the Enlightenment and the idea of a Creator. This movement was mainly about changing the norms and rules of Classicism in literature, art and music.

Arthur Shopenhauer was a German philosopher born in 1788. He was a pessimistic who believed that physical, emotional and physical desires can never be fulfilled - desires are useless and illogical. He influenced many philosophers, including Nietzsche.

Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Germany in 1844. He was a very influential philosopher. He treated various matters, such as morality, religion, and will. He was against Christian morale and undertook the task of reevaluating religious values.
He famously wrote in Thus spoke Zarathustra "God is dead". This book mainly deals with the notion of Overman. Zarathustra has the revelation that God is dead, and therefore tries to convince people that they should overcome themselves in order to be better people. His aim is to improve mankind, and create a kind of "Superman". I personally think that this idea that people can overcome themselves is just another doctrine, and that it's not in any way better than any other religions. Christianity is also about being better people, and Jesus was leading people towards their truth. I don't think Zarathustra is different from Jesus. Unsurprisingly, Nieztsche's views were associated with Nazism, as Hitler - among others - tried to create a perfect human race, the Aryan race.

Another influential modernist artist is Richard Wagner (1813-1883). He was a German musician who broke the rules of classical music. He was a very controversial personality given his personal life and views on politics. He had numerous love affairs and wrote antisemitic essays. He wrote Jewishness in Music, in which he accused Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture. He also criticised Jewish music, saying that it was artificial and shallow, and that they produced music just to make money.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

No brain, no gain

We've all been told many many many times by Brian and Chris that
being a reporter/journalist is hard work. But the thing is, you never realise how hard it is until you actually do it. Well, I have learnt a lot this week.

The first thing I have learnt is that you have to be organised. You need to know where you're going with your story idea, and you should have thought through every details of your news package. When reporting a news story (okay, I admit that my news story this week wasn't brilliant), I have the feeling that if I don't plan everything in advance, I am not doing my job properly.

My news story this week was about Student Finance.

On Sunday night, I researched some figures and the history background. I looked for the people I could talk to on the University website and prepared my interviews.

On Monday morning, I went to talk to the two people I wanted to interview. They both agreed to do an interview within 24 hours with me. I then started to think about the pictures I would put in the package, so I went to get permission to film from the Student Union president and the Catering Manager.

At 12:00 we had our first news team meeting of the year.

At 12:30 I had an interview with the Welfare and Equality Officer. Stu came along to help me with the filming, which was really helpful. It's really nice to be able to fully concentrate on the interview without having to worry about the camera. Thanks Stu!

In the afternoon, I filmed some pictures on the campus - students in the learning cafe, SU bar and SU shop.

I then carried on with some vox pops, helped by Madeleine with the filming. She gave me some very useful advice about the different angles you should take when doing vox pops. Don't film them all from the same angle. Each vox pop should be visually different and interesting.

On Monday night, I work on the editing. I didn't want to arrive the next day in from of my computer, not knowing how to start the package. Therefore I planned each picture of it, the voice over, where and how they would be etc. I didn't quite stick to this plan, but I thought it was a safer option to work like this.

On Tuesday morning, I arrived early at Uni to get more pictures to illustrate my package. It turned out I didn't use these ones because it just felt like it wouldn't fit well into the package.

At 10:00, I went to interview the Student Finance Officer. I was helped by Maddie once again, which explains the great quality of the picture!

At 10:30, I was ready to edit my footage. Don't worry, I'll spare you the long and painful -but necessary editing part. I left TAB9 at 18:00.

The next morning, I had to "polish" it. Catherine helped me to adjust the sound levels.

At around 11:30, my news package was finally ready.

This is how I produced my first news story. Many thanks to everybody who helped me!