Two centuries ago, if you lived in wanted to see the Mona Lisa (assuming you were educated enough to even know of its existence), the only way to do it was to get on a boat or a carriage to France (if you didn’t live there yet) and go to the Musée du Louvre in Paris. If you didn’t have enough money to do all that, tough titties.
Now, almost everyone knows what the Mona Lisa looks like, and even if they don’t, all they have to do is go on Google and search for it. No need to pawn off grandmama’s good silverware. In a time when "the computer screen has become the primary way in which mediated culture is experienced," information has been democratized like never before. You don’t have to be exceedingly wealthy to have access to digital media. You don’t even need to own a computer—all you need is access to one (say, from an internet cafe or an obliging sibling who’s away at work a lot).
There are several aspects of digital media that contribute to its democratization. One is its digitality. Because all information is in binary code, digital media can be manipulated, transferred, copied, and shared easily. Second is its decentralized network structure. Because there are many producers of digital media, there is a greater choice of what media can be consumed. Third is its interactivity. Digital media consumers are more active because they can influence and give feedback on the presentation of media. Last is its hypertextuality. Pages on the internet are interconnected, making navigation from page to page easy.
Because of all these aspects, digital media has the capacity to reach almost everyone, perpetuating a culture where everyone can participate and everyone can express their views on almost anything. This democratization of information through digital media is a result of the destruction of what German literary critic Walter Benjamin refers to as the “aura” in his seminal 1936 work titled ”The Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”
The aura of an object can be loosely defined as its authenticity, its unique existence in time and space. Everything from its creator to its exhibition history to its past owners contributes to the object’s aura. When an object is reproduced, the aura decays. “By making many reproductions,” says Benjamin, “it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence.” At that time, Benjamin was referring to the mechanical reproduction of films and photography. For him, the decay of the aura was a good thing because it allowed normal people to participate in a sphere that was previously exclusive to the elites. He would have been amazed if he found out just how much art and information have been democratized because of the reproducibility of digital media.
I’d have to agree with Benjamin on this one; I’m all for the democratization of mediated culture through the internet. I can’t stress how many times my ass has been saved by Youtube videos that explain physics and chemistry concepts like this one (perhaps moreso than my actual textbooks). I don’t fret when I miss a movie in the cinemas because I can easily get it online. I get almost all of my news online—I find it more efficient than watching news on TV because the updates are instantaneous. I can bond with my dad over new music because Soundcloud noticed that we both liked Joni Mitchell and recommended similar artists. If I’m doing a research paper on the Ancien Régime and I need the Duc de Saint-Simone’s Memoirs of Louis XIV as a primary source, I don’t need to fly all the way to France and do somersaults over bureaucratic red tape to get the original because I can access it easily on Project Gutenberg, and I don’t even need to know French because it’s all been translated. And I don’t have to go to an art gallery if I want to find amazing art because some of the art world’s best, newest, and most challenging art works are available only on the internet. All of these wouldn’t be possible if digital media wasn’t democratized.
A 3D printer making an Iron Man figurine. Photo by Tala Wong
Growing up, we had a lot of board games. More often than not, play pieces from these board games would go missing: the little plastic people that you put on cars in Life, pawns from our chess set, the One Ring from our Lord of the Rings version of Risk. It made me wonder. Why wasn’t there a store that just sold board game pieces to replace the ones we lost?
As I grew older, I realized that such an enterprise wasn’t the most lucrative idea: there are just far too many board games with far too many pieces to lose, and the board game industry isn’t exactly booming either. But what with recent developments in 3D printing, perhaps my idea isn’t so far-fetched.
3D printing is a process by which three-dimensional objects are made by piling layers of material one at a time. You start by creating a virtual design with a 3D modeling program (if you want to make something new) or a 3D scanner (if you want to make a copy of something). The 3D printer will use this design to create the object, layer by layer, out of one material: plastic, glass, food, even human tissue.
So if you can get past certain limitations (like the slow speed at which objects are created or the fact that you can only “print” with one material at a time), you can make practically anything. Even human organs.
Let’s think about the implications of this for a second. Artists will be given a new medium to express their ideas. High-speed 3D printing will revolutionize the way we mass produce things, making the process cheaper and more efficient. Patients won’t need to wait for kidney transplants that might not even come because a new kidney can be printed in a matter of hours.
New kinds of businesses will also emerge as a result of this 3D printing, especially since it’s been made more accessible. Take my ingenious idea for a misplaced game piece shop and tweak it a little. Imagine a 3D printing shop where you can go to every time you misplace or break something, from game pieces to laptop parts. I won’t have to wait a month for my stupid laptop to get fixed because Asus has to ship in a goddamned battery latch. Special 3D printing customization shops can satisfy even the pickiest hobbyist’s needs for certain products like cellphone cases and ridiculously customized guitars. The possibilities are just endless.
Such a revolutionary technology isn’t without its consequences, though. Using 3D printing in the mass manufacture of goods means that more and more people will be cut out of the equation as industries rely more on 3D printers. Factory workers and truck drivers will find themselves out of the job if the business owner decides to shut down large factories and set up smaller 3D printing hubs in different localities in order to cut labor and transportation costs.
As to what kind of culture 3D printing would promote, it would be difficult to say definitively. On the one hand, it could give rise to a culture where we value the things we have more. Instead of throwing away this chess set because too many pieces are missing, I can go to a 3D printing shop and have the pieces replaced. It could also promote a culture of creativity. Many 3D virtual designs are made available for free on Thingiverse, encouraging people to create their own designs or build upon existing designs and share them with others.
On the other hand, it could also give rise to an even more consumerist culture as 3D printing gives rise to whole new lines of products (did you see those guitars?). In our consumerist society, people who desire these products will do almost anything to acquire them. And 3D printing means there will be more shit to covet.
Has anyone considered exploring the language skill-building potential of video games? You get to learn the meaning, pronunciation, and contextual use of a word or phrase through in-game dialogue and interaction. Even something as mundane as in-game street and shops signs can be used, especially for languages that have their own unique writing systems. This was something that I felt Sleeping Dogs did with Cantonese quite well. Granted, it might not be able to replace traditional language teaching completely, but I think it could certainly serve as a supplementary teaching aid.
Objectification and body shaming in PETA ads (an introduction).
If you’re interested at all in becoming an animal rights advocate, my advice is to just look at whatever PETA does and do the exact opposite.
I’ve always hated PETA, here is one reason why.
He can open a number of specialty stores, including (but definitely not limited to):
Benedict Slumberbatch (For beds, sheets, and other sleep-related paraphernalia)
Benedict Camambertbatch (For fancy cheeses)
Benedict Camperbatch (For camping and hiking equipment)
Benedict Crumberbatch (A bakery)
Benedict Hamberbatch (A deli that sells fancy hams and sausages)
Benedict Gumberbatch (A candy shop)
Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch (An all-day-breakfast restaurant)
Benedict Cumberbatch (For dildos, porn DVDs, and other adult paraphernalia)
This coming elections, I think people should vote for Villar, Binay, Enrile and pretty much any of them candidates who’re in a political dynasty.
As a self-proclaimed political expert, I truly believe this is the only way to purge our government!
I can just imagine… with enough families in the senate they’ll be forced to play THE GAME OF THRONES, where you win or you DIE.
And through intensive research and juvenile photoshopping I have come up with a list of families, err… houses, that will be playing for the iron throne!
THEIR SIGIL: Black glasses on a field of yellow.
THEIR WORDS: “Kayo ang boss ko”
formerly, “Joey gave me STD”
formerly, “The Filipino is worth dying for”
POWER PLAYERS: King Noynoy Aquino, Queen Regent Kris Aquino, Senatorial Candidate Bam Aquino
Noynoy and Kris. The former, the president of the Philippines. The latter, the most powerful person in the country. Noy might be the king, but Kris can move mountains with her eyes.
Her crying on TV is the greatest weapon in House Aquino’s arsenal. With her tears, she brought down kings, lords, families, superstars and even healed Willie Revillame’s reputation after he killed people with a human stampede.
When Kris announced her resignation from show business and commitment to politics, every single person in the game were shaking in their boots. But like a true politician, she didn’t commit to her promise and announced a temporary leave instead.
THEIR SIGIL: A dinosaur on a field of wrinkles.
THEIR WORDS: “Never say die”
POWER PLAYERS: Lord of the Senate Juan Ponce Enrile, Senatorial Candidate Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile II.
You can’t beat experience! Juan Ponce Enrile has been operating in the background ever since forever. He was an instrumental figure in the 1986 People Power Revolution. In fact, he is a veteran of ALL EDSA Revolutions (including future ones).
Recently, Enrile strongly declined against the passing of the RH Bill, which was expected of him as he is a devout catholic ever since he converted in 1521, when the spaniards got here.
Now about his son, Jack Enrile. My little birds tell me… NOTHING. Because Jack apparently killed them all, that’s his hobby I heard. So let me end this part by saying, Jack is really handsome and would be a great senator! #sarcasm #regret #scared #imgonnadiesoon #YOLO
THEIR SIGIL: Black man on a field of blackness.
THEIR WORDS: “Bling bling money ain’t a thang” *unreliable source
POWER PLAYERS: Hand of the King Jejomar Binay, Lord of Makati Jejomar Binay II, Senatorial Candidate Nancy Binay.
The Binays are the lords of Makati, and when you rule the country’s business center, you get POWER. So when daddy Jejomar decided to step his game up, he succeeded, easily.
And now that we got a brotha up in that castle, why ‘dun we get a sistah up in there too?
Nancy Binay might’ve been receiving a lot of flak in her candidacy, but she will surely win according to the polls. I think it’s because simple folk like me, see her for what she really is, while her critics overlook her humility. She is nothing but a human being. Tao lang siya, nothing more.
(LITERALLY NOTHING MORE, THERE IS NOTHING, AS IN ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF NANCY BINAY BEING ANYTHING ELSE BUT A PERSON. TAO LANG TALAGA SIYA. YUN LANG!)
THEIR SIGIL: Broken handcuffs on a field of orange.
THEIR WORDS: “Para sa mahirap”
formerly, “The power is yours” (at the end of Edsa II)
POWER PLAYERS: Erap Ejercito Estrada the Mad King, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Senatorial Candidate JV Snow (Ejercito).
The Ejercitos once ruled our land much to the dismay of people who didn’t sell their votes. But when Erap was king he went mad with power, and made a lot of tactical mistakes, as well as enemies who wanted to take advantage.
So after a failed attempt to impeach the Mad King, the power of the citizens was summoned yet again! (BECAUSE IN THE PHILIPPINES, WHEN WE DON’T LIKE SOMETHING, WE JUST COMPLAIN IN UNISON ‘TIL WE GET WHAT WE WANT) And we people-powered another President to oblivion! Or so we thought.
Now the Ejercitos are slowly creeping back up to power. One son already has a seat in the senate, while his brother is campaigning for another. Also, the Mad King aims to rule our country’s capital’s capital where he plans to wed a Dothraki Khal, hatch dragons and legalize jueteng.
THEIR SIGIL: Silver sword on a field of babies.
THEIR WORDS: “Bawal mag-condom”
formerly, “We sow, a lot”
formerly, “Strength in numbers”
POWER PLAYERS: Senator Bong Revilla, Former Senator Ramon Revilla the Creator, Cavite Vice-Mayor candidate Jolo Revilla and millions of unnamed Revillas.
House Revilla doesn’t have any senatoriables this coming elections but one cannot deny the great tactic that they employ in the Game of Thrones. No, I’m not talking about their still-active participation in showbiz—I’m talking about Ramon Revilla Sr’s extensive intimate activities.
Votes get the wins and sure-votes are always from family members. And after years of sowing seeds in every fertile ground possible, one-fourth of the voting population is now affiliated with a Revilla descendant! Why win over voters when you can make them?
No wonder Bong Revilla has been acing all his campaigns! He’s rumored to be going for the Iron Throne this 2016. If that’s the case, Panday better find more sheaths for his sword!
THEIR SIGIL: Orange check on a dagat ng basura.
THEIR WORDS: “Hanep ang buhay pag may hanap buhay”
formerly, “Sipag at tiyaga”
“A Villar always pays his debts” (common saying)
POWER PLAYERS: Senator Manny Villar, Senatorial Candidate and The Lady of Las Piñas Cynthia Villar.
In 2010, the Villars thought they could buy their way into Presidency but unfortunately for them, their unlimited wealth met its match in the form of the Kris Aquino’s tears. Hoping to regain their losses from their last battle, House Villar is now investing on another franchise of the Senate, this time to be owned by Cynthia Villar.
Husband and Wife in the senate together is a great idea! With this new business venture, the Villars are projecting to double their profits. So obviously, they’re going all out again with the campaigning! Expect them to buy ad placements in every place you can think of.
Where our current Monarch is a Bond Girl..
And our future Monarchs are wizards…
Enjoy your stay.