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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Disney Culture: Good or Bad for Children?

Disney, in terms of its cultural messages, has become a topic of controversy of the past couple of years. Parents are afraid that their children will absorb this subtle message and grow up to be un-accepting people. People are claiming that Disney movies force ideas into children’s heads that will cause them to think one way or another.

Different people are saying that Disney is pushing white supremacy because until just recently – they did not have a diverse set of Princes and Princesses. Another thing they have been claiming is the racism involved in Disney movies. People have said that all Latinos are portrayed in Disney movies as hyenas, like in the Lion King, or as chihuahuas, like in Lady in the Tramp. They have also said that they movie Beauty and the Beast is inappropriate because it shows how abusive the beast is and that it teaches little girls to just stick it out through abusive relationships.

I find all of these arguments to be very frustrating. I was a kid who grew up completely immersed in Disney. My sister and I grew up watching all of the movies, we had princess dolls, Disney character bed sheets, lunchboxes, you name it. We were absolutely surrounded by Disney characters. Even considering that, neither of us have ever shared the thoughts that the naysayers have. When I watched the movie in my class, I was a little appalled because I hadn’t considered any of this that way.

Growing up, I never considered the racial factor because, to me, they were just fun animated movies. In reference to the Beauty and the Beast movie, their claim in particular never resonated with me at all. If anything, I learned that it didn’t matter what you looked like on the outside, everybody is worthy of love on the inside. In reference to the “no diversity”, Jasmine from Aladdin is Arab, Pocahontas is Native American, and Mulan is Chinese.

After taking some time and thinking about the movie, Mickey Mouse Monopoly, and considering the opposite side of the story, I realized that one of the most important things involved with all movies, not just Disney, is that it’s important to talk to your children.

My parents screened all of the things we watched or listened to when we were little. If we wanted to buy a CD, they looked up the lyrics and listened to the songs before we were able to purchase it. If we wanted to watch a new TV show, they had to watch and episode or two before we were able to watch it.

If parents just take some time out of their busy schedules to talk to their kids and make sure they understand the meaning of the movie, we wouldn’t have this issue. Yes, corporations have effects on the way people think. Yes, corporations are able to sway customers to buy this way or vote that way. But I don’t think that happens until a little later on in life when people (adults) are more able to understand the goings on in the world. So my message, let the kids enjoy the Disney movies. If you want to go after Disney to make more diverse movies, fine. But don’t make claims that kids are being brainwashed when they really just want to hear a bunch of African animals sing about The Circle of Life.

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Hockey: A Common Obsession

To those who know me, it is absolutely no secret that I love hockey. The Washington Capitals are my favorite team but if there is a hockey game on, I’ll watch it, regardless of the team.

I think it is by far the most exciting sport and I can’t get enough. It has almost gotten to the point of obsession. I love following the standings, which teams are in the playoff race and which aren’t, which players are placed on Injured Reserves and which players are coming back, which players are ‘Shanabanned’* and which players have their contracts renewed.  And…I guess it also doesn’t hurt that quite a few players are attractive 😉

Brendan Shanahan during a Shanaban

That brings me to the first blog I enjoy reading which is called What’s Up, Ya Sieve?. It’s a blog written by women, for women. It is a very informative blog that still has a fun side so I would say that it is a combination of both a news blog and a personal diary. There are two main writers who go by the names of Pants and Chuck and they are very knowledgeable of hockey, having been fans for some time. For the women who like hockey, for the sport, but don’t understand what happened in a certain game or why a player was Shanabanned, they are able to explain it. For the women who are dragged to games by their significant others, they have the playful features like ‘Foxy Fridays’ and ‘Mikey Mondays.’

Henrik Lundqvist is one foxy goalie

Foxy Friday is a weekly feature where the authors choose one of the “foxy” hockey players from around the league and post a write up of their achievements and fun facts, while also including some gratuitous pictures.

Mikey Monday is their other weekly feature which focuses solely on Mike Green from the Washington Capitals. Pants and Chuck both admire Mike Green’s hockey abilities and facial features so he gets his own day of the week. Plus, the Washington Capitals are one of their favorite teams so every Monday, this is a blog post dedicated to the progress of the Washington Capitals in the season or just a picture that they liked of Mike Green.

Mike Green

To me, this is mostly just a fun blog to read but it is also a credible source of information. Whenever the girls make the informative posts, they take (and cite) their information from credible sources – such as NHL.com. The target audience for this blog is clearly female, which is probably one of the reasons I like it so much. You would be hard-pressed to find a blog that is dedicated to female hockey fans because it is generally such a male dominated crowd.

The next blog that I’m fond of reading isn’t one that is directly devoted to hockey, but it is on a topic that is very prevalent in hockey. The blog is called “The Concussion Blog” and it is (mainly) written by an athletic trainer with quite a few years worth of experience dealing with concussions of his own and those of his athletes. (There are a few guest writers as well). This is more of a news blog that covers all there is to know about concussions in every sport; including how to prevent them and how to treat them.

The Concussion Blog reports on all of the concussions that occur in both professional and college sports and it acts as an interpreter to explain, in layman’s terms, what is being said. The blog also includes various articles written by different medical professionals. The main purpose of this blog is to educate the masses on the severity of concussions. It is to explain what can truly happen with second impact syndrome and explain that all of this concussion talk is not leading to “the wussification of sports”.

Concussions have, especially in the past few years, become significant problems in the NHL. In fact, it was the rise in concussions that led to Brendan Shanahan’s position being created. The NHL needed to find a way to prevent players from taking illegal hits and they are hoping that suspended players will help that.

Crosby discussing his concussion during a press conference.

The most well known concussion throughout the NHL was the one that Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with. Sidney Crosby was dubbed “the next Wayne Gretsky.” He has a multitude of accomplishments including being the youngest Captain to win the Stanley Cup and he scored the gold medal winning goal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Last January, he took an elbow to the head and was improperly diagnosed.

Crosby developed a concussion from that hit but was allowed to keep playing. A couple of games later, he took a standard hockey hit and the concussion was made worse. After that routine hit, Crosby was out of play for approximately 10 months dealing with concussion symptoms. It is thought that because Crosby is “the face of the NHL”, his concussion is what led to the supplementary discipline to illegal hits and the emphasis on educating people on how to properly handle a concussion. The NHL does not want something like this to happen again.

The third blog I’ll be writing about is called Puck Daddy which is a hockey addition to Yahoo Sports. Puck Daddy has several regular contributors but the main contributor and editor is Greg Wyshynski. Wyshynski uses humor to give readers a unique insight to the going’s on in the National Hockey League. Puck Daddy is the considered the number one hockey blog on the internet based on number of readers.

This is another news blog, but its use of humor gives it a more personal feel. Where What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is a mostly humorous blog, and The Concussion Blog is a mostly teaching blog, Puck Daddy is a perfect blend of both. Wyshynski and his writers are able to teach you about hockey without making it seem like teaching. Admittedly, some of The Concussion Blog, while very informative, can be a little boring to read. Puck Daddy on the other hand effectively uses humor and video examples to explain things. They walk you through the explanation so ‘regular folk’ can understand the sports mumbo jumbo.

While comparing the three blogs – I would say that, in terms of interactivity, What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is the best. All three blogs have the ability to let users leave comments, but What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is the only one where the writers regularly respond to readers’ comments. The Concussion Blog occasionally does but more often than not – it is just the readers talking with each other. I was hard pressed to find a Puck Daddy article where the writer responded to readers’ comments. That, though, could be attributed to the volume of readers and comments on Puck Daddy.

Puck Daddy logo

Of the three, my favorite blog is Puck Daddy, but What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is a close second. I like Puck Daddy because it has the most information about everything around the league and it’s almost never a boring read. What’s Up, Ya Sieve? gains the runner up because I’m biased and I appreciate a good Foxy Friday, every now and then.  😉

Should I continue blogging after this class, I don’t think my blog will be very similar to any of these simply based on the fact that I will most likely not be writing about hockey very frequently. If I were to compare my blog based on their writing styles, I’d say that mine would be most like What’s Up, Ya Sieve?. That blog has the most relaxed writing style and I highly doubt that I would be teaching my readers things very often. Mine would most likely be like a personal diary.

*Shanabanning – when Brendan Shanahan, the Vice President of the Department of Player Safety and Head Disciplinarian, suspends a player for a length of time due to an illegal hit on the ice.

All of the Excitement Without the Overpriced Beer!

It is very infrequent that I miss a Washington Capitals hockey game. Generally, the only time I miss a Caps game – it is being shown on the NHL Network and Towson doesn’t get that station. Luckily, the Capitals website is very helpful for those fans that are unable to watch the game AND even for those who are. Now, regardless of whether it’s on TV or not, you can enjoy all of the excitement of the Caps game without dealing with the crowds and the dent in your wallet.

Helpful Tools

All of the blogs and writings on the website can serve a double purpose. On top of being informative to returning fans, they can also be used as teaching tools to new fans. That is just one way the website is helpful.

The Caps website has many other helpful  features, including but not limited to: a preview that fans can read before the game, game notes that have the stats for both teams, headlines so that fans can keep up with some of the Caps off ice activities, and blogs that promote the Capitals but are not directly written by Capitals employees. These blogs are helpful so you get the take of somebody who doesn’t work for them (meaning they won’t have the sway of corporate ownership). The website even has the ability to listen to the radio call of the game if you cannot watch it.

Interactivity

For a sports website, the National Hockey League does a pretty good job at making the site interactive. The fans have the opportunity to participate in polls, upload fan photos, buy memorabilia, and watch videos from various practices, games, and behind the scenes events.

Another thing the website does well is its overall ease of functionality. You don’t need to be a computer genius in order to navigate the website and the highlight reel on the front page makes it even easier to find the latest and greatest information. There is a search bar in the upper right corner that adds to the ease in finding things on the website. After typing in a few key words – the search bar takes you to a page that has news, image, audio, and video results.

Visual Appeal

The site is visually appealing. The teams’ colors are red, white, and blue and their slogan is “Rock the Red.” Because of this, the majority of the website has those colors but it is done in a way that is classy and not overwhelming.

Overall, the website has something for everyone. There are the game notes and in depth analysis for the super fans, the Scarlet Caps designed specifically for the ladies, and even a kids zone so you can start the fandom in your children early. The only thing that I’d like added would be the video streaming of the game. Unfortunately, the NHL got smart and made that available, but only if you pay for it.

***Side note, the game I watched while writing this was the Washington Capitals- Montreal Canadiens game. It was nerve-wracking, but the Caps won in the shootout! 🙂 Two more points for the Caps and they stay in the playoff race.

8th is last place, but they are still in the playoffs!!