07th Aug2017

Connections

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week, our talented writers have written great pieces for you to enjoy. Leah has written a piece about how our subjective experiences affect our ability to connect with others. Stephanie Schaffrath ponders whether social media is worth the loss of privacy that comes with it. Finally, Veli Mnisi writes about all of the great shows on offer that have come with the current Golden Age of Television.

Have a fantastic week and a Happy Womxn’s Day to all of the strong womxn in your lives.

Enjoy!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Technologies and Connections

07th Aug2017

The Golden Age of Television

by admin

The early 2000s are touted to have ushered in a Golden Age of television. This is proven by how we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where series such as Game of Thrones (GOT) and How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM) are two of many pop culture products we’ve looked forward to at some point in each of the past few years.

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One of the above series boasts impressive, and possibly first-of-its-kind production values, as well as career defining roles for many of its actors who emerged largely as unknowns. The other, follows an increasing trend of having powerful women of colour in the starring role, as well as an exploration of queer relationships and identity. The latter is by no means new, as we’ve witnessed with programmes such as Will & Grace, but HTGAWM provides a poignant view into queer issues, and issues faced by powerful women through the lens of a highly diverse cast. Naturally, a series may be subject to cancellation regardless of the diversity of its cast and nuanced storytelling, but on the basis of its ratings HTGAWM seems to be safe for a few more seasons.

Alongside the evolution of the types of television shows we’ve been viewing over the years, has come an evolution in the way we view those very programmes. Netflix has become an increasingly popular way for people to watch their favourite shows, providing streaming media and video-on-demand services. In 2013, Netflix expanded into film and television production, as well as online distribution. A series that boasts Game of Thrones’ exceptional production values and high budget, its own soundtrack, a young and predominantly black cast, as well as an exploration of how New York City at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco, queer issues and LGBT+ Ball Culture, is Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down. The Get Down is also a Netflix production, distributed by the streaming network.

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Moreover, The Get Down is quite unique in that it encompasses all the above, including its cancellation. The series was released in two parts, resulting in 11 episodes, and officially stopped airing on the 7th of April 2017. This has been seen as forming a troubling trend of the cancellation of shows with diverse casts. Another such programme, is Doubt, produced by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland production company. Aside from decent ratings and a well thought out storyline, the series featured the character of Cameron Wirth, a transgender attorney played by transgender actress Laverne Cox. The series was also ground-breaking in that it showed what was possibly the most nuanced and informed portrayal of a romantic relationship between a transgender and a cisgender person. In addition, Cameron Wirth was shown to interact with friends who also happened to be transgender, and who have also had similar lived experiences.

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This article does not seek to prove that shows such as these have been cancelled because they have diverse casts doing the absolute most in stellar roles. It merely seeks to express concern; with all of these cancelations, who is going to tell our stories? This is particularly alarming when we consider that Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal (starring Kerry Washington) is nearing is final season and How to Get Away with Murder was only meant to last about 6 seasons, nearing its fourth. The fandoms notice and aren’t reluctant to express their derision. The Wachowski’s Sense8 was also recently cancelled, prompting numerous campaigns to bring it back. The show will now return as a two-hour special to give fans closure and allow them to grieve.

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It is most disappointing to witness the death of shows such as American Crime, The Real O’Neals and even Devious Maids – with a talented leading cast of indomitable Latina women. But we can thank the heavens for Black-ish, its spinoff Grown-ish, Fresh Off the Boat and Issa Rae’s Insecure. These shows carry the torch by representing people of colour, complex women and, in some capacity, the queer community as well. We can also be thankful for how amazing South African television is right now. Harvest on etv, starring Vatiswa Ndara and Masasa Mbangeni is a personal favourite right now, displaying impeccable writing, acting and cinematography. There is hope yet. If there was ever any evidence that this is indeed the Golden Age of television, this would be it. As South Africans, we’ve also begun telling our own stories, and we’re doing it impressively.

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07th Aug2017

Truth, Dare and Command

by admin

Is social media truly worth breeching our personal privacy?

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This month I have decided to play a little round of truth, dare or command. This week we shall begin with truth because I doubt that anyone can truly claim to be innocent when one is asked whether one has Facebook stalked their ex for months after a break-up? Raise your hand if you are guilty, because I most certainly am.

In today’s world, there really is no need to call up a friend anymore; all the information we need is just one click away. If you go through a break-up, the greatest fear is not losing the actual person, but rather the embarrassment of changing your relationship status to the dreaded “Single” option. And heaven forbid you spot their Tinder profile whilst casually checking out social media’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. All in all, I think it is safe to say that social media can be rather detrimental to our social lives- how ironic.

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Not to say that technological developments are all bad. In fact there are plenty of amazing benefits such as keeping in touch with old friends and family members who are living abroad. Plus, we have eliminated the anxiety of waiting for those dreaded high school reunions in order to see just how much everyone else has changed. And now we can even find and befriend people on Facebook, whose names we probably don’t even remember. Thanks to technological advances, Facebook can track exactly where we have been throughout the day, people we are likely to meet, and make friend suggestions. Now that’s what I call service!

But then where do we draw the line? What should or shouldn’t we post on social media? What is deemed private and what is suitable for public knowledge? Last week I went to see a newly released film called “The Circle”, starring Emma Watson, that left me with a sense of wonder combined with fear. Every day I find myself in awe of the technological developments that have been made over the past few decades. But as the famous author C. S. Lewis once said “You have to let go at some point in order to move forward”. So then, what are we having to let go of; our right to personal privacy perhaps? The question we should be asking ourselves is whether the benefits of technology are truly worthy of that kind of sacrifice?

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07th Aug2017

What Makes It Right for You to Think It is Right?

by admin

Subjective

Simply to hear and to be sure to be loud enough for them not to resist your roaring sound. One thing that cannot be debated is that we all have our own ideas around life, love, happiness, and our beliefs regarding what should and should not be. For a moment too long you find yourself in a deep interaction with a ‘stranger’; you share a lot in common, or at least you think you do. There is also that vibe that you thought you had forgotten about since your mind has made most of your past emotions and connections you shared disappear. You then begin to feel that the air has become so thin that it cannot even be shared between two people.

 

Your instinct, or your gut feel if you prefer to call it that, tells you that it’s okay and that it’s fine to open up and be free. It’s very easy to find yourself liking a person but yet so , it can be very easy to also dislike and doubt the actions they present to you. So now tell me; what makes you think I want more from you?  That you can make your move quicker. If it all needs to be clear then let it be seen and shown across all of the spectrums. Or simply to hear and to be sure to be loud enough for them not to resist your roaring sound. One thing that cannot be debated is that we all have our own ideas around life, love, happiness, and our beliefs regarding what should and should not be. For a moment too long you find yourself in a deep interaction with a ‘stranger’; you share a lot in common, or at least you think you do. There is also that vibe that you thought you had forgotten about since your mind has made most of your past emotions and connections you shared disappear. You then begin to feel that the air has become so thin that it cannot even be shared between two people.Your instinct, or your gut feel if you prefer to call it that, tells you that it’s okay and that it’s fine to open up and be free. It’s very easy to find yourself liking a person but yet so, it can be very easy to also dislike and doubt the actions they present to you. So now tell me…

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