Final Presentations

Final Presentations

Johnny Yan

Group 1:

Their group form of popular culture was a game of Jeopardy,  with the topic of immigration. Their questions are relevant and are very detailed. Their questions also contain very useful and important information about immigration, identification, and who and who can’t get certain things. We played briefly, but it was eye-opening game. I like the game of Jeopardy because not only it is a game, but it also tests your knowledge and allows you to learn, which is what the game did. It is effective way to address immigration because of those reasons, and I don’t see how it wouldn’t work with other people who also want to learn about immigration in a fun, proactive way.

Group 2:

Their group addressed the housing crisis in Portland though a medium of a zine/comic book. Each page had their own topic going through the process of the housing crisis, and how to fix it. They went through the history of the housing market, then explained how mortgages work and why it was important in the housing economy. Next, they listed out the homelessness issue, and how it came to be. Next topic was about Measure 26-197, how the measure will benefit homeless and/or low income people with affordable housing, which passed. They also talked about how the influx of population is causing the prices of houses to rise. They also had a topic off the market crash in 2006, and how it specifically effected Oregon. I liked the idea of a zine to cover a topic with so many scopes of the housing market. Using each page to briefly talk about a separate topic, and their illustrations were nice as well.

Group 3:

This group used a board game to explain the food crisis. By using health points, the player would go around the board going scenarios showing how scarce food is and why it is important to eat healthy. They offered a good opportunity to teach how to use food services, and learn about food as well. I like using a board game to teach others about how food services work, because we don’t really think about it when we buy our food. They made us think about the long-term effects of our food choices as well. It was a fun way to learn, while competing with health points.

Group 4:

This group used a podcast to address food scarcity. They interviewed the volunteer of the food pantry, and discussed who could get food, when to come, and why students should come. This podcast interview was interesting because students usually don’t have access to healthy food choices, and the food pantry is an available option, and it is free as well. Their goal is to end hunger, which is nice, and while they do target strictly students, non-students are able to get food somewhat.

The second interview was with the international Advisor of PSU. This interview was quite interesting as well because they discussed how international students are in a unique situation. Some are adjusting to their diets, while some don’t know where to shop for their food that they are used to, which makes it hard for them to find food they’ll like. The advisor said that some of the students don’t even know who to talk to, which makes it harder for them to find food as well.

I liked using a podcast as a way to interview as an avid listener of podcasts. But podcasts are effective because it is easier to listen, and you get direct answers from the source.

Group 5:

This group used a table-top role playing game, and tackles multiple problems. They tackled food scarcity, trans/gay community issues, immigration, and had more. They used some realistic scenarios, as well with some futuristic scenarios. The game was very well detailed, each player had their own skill, and certain amount of health. The game also didn’t have too many different scenarios, which was good because games like these do have a lot of scenarios (because it would be more time consuming).

A table-top role playing game is effective form to address these issues because it has potential to address multiple issues in one game, and each person faces each problem differently as well. If time wasn’t a listing factor, I could see this game being very detailed and even more of a educational.


Blog Post #5

Blog Post #5

Johnny Yan

Reflecting back on what we discussed and observed during week 6, the Wonder Woman film made me think how using the comics as a medium to subtly shine light on social issues. Similar from the 99 Heros comics from week 5, comics can send powerful messages to the youth, elders, and everyone between. As said in the movie, comics allow to escape reality for a brief moment and allows us to fulfill our fantasies as playing our heros. Comics, and the superheros within them, usually make up as our role models. They are what we want to strive to be. In the Wonder Woman film, it was long portrayed as woman couldn’t be a “hero”. Wonder Woman changed everything. Wonder Woman showed that women are capable of saving the world, that they can defend themselves, and is just as important and powerful as anyone else. She allowed women to take pride in what they do regardless of these “gender roles”, and men aren’t the only one who can do the heavy lifting.

Around 47% of comic readers are female (Schenker), and about 45% of gamers are female as well (Frum). However, just like in comics, women portrayed in video games are sexualized as well, and often worse than men. For a long time, women in video games were often downplayed as someone not important, or just someone to flirt with. “Many of these speak of the eagerness of the male characters to simply forgo foreplay and get right to the sexual act without concern for the females’ names or desires. Some of the jokes are, of course, not that bold in nature but instead are laced with heavy sexual innuendo and are utterly inappropriate.” (Miller). With that said, I do find it interesting that women game despite these gender inequality issues, but it no social issue has stopped women from doing anything, so it makes sense. Video games have been attacking this issue lately, with options to choose your character as a male or female, or just having a female as a main characters, “ Other strong female characters, like Elizabeth in “BioShock Infinite” or Ellie in “The Last of Us,” show the range developers are willing to put in their games to attract a wider audience and provide a different experience from games in the past.
Upcoming games like “Beyond: Two Souls” and a new “Mirror’s Edge” appear that they’ll continue to put women in the forefront of gaming action and narrative” (Frum). This is probably is what keep the female gamers gaming. Slowly, but surely the stigma of males dominating gaming is fading away.

What also makes video games so popular? It can give a first person perspective, giving you an emotional attachment to your character, therefore sympathizing any hardships your character goes through. As the NY Times article said it best, “Perhaps the medium’s interactive nature gives players a greater feeling of possession over it, or maybe its relative invisibility in the wider culture has given some players the wrongheaded impression that it’s their private preserve.” (Suellentrop)


Frum, Larry. “Nearly Half Of All Video-Gamers Are Women – CNN.Com”. CNN. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Miller, Samantha. “Gender Bias In American Video Gaming”. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Schenker, Brett. “Market Research Says 46.67% Of Comic Fans Are Female”. The Beat. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Suellentrop, Chris. “The Disheartening Gamergate Campaign”. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Blog Post #3

Reflecting back on what we discussed in class, the theme was the power of using graphic novels to display modern day news. When we think of news, we imagined news from mediums such as TV, radio, or the internet of a reporter and him/her reporting the news. Maybe an interview from the source here as well, but not much character to it. From the readings this week, the main takeaway for me was that the way cartoons is used for news gives news a different perspective, it gives the story for character, and it is much easier to digest. Maya Schenwar says (, “A lot of the reasons for doing the comics has to do with the necessity of having [readers] engaged with individuals identified in the story”, comics tells a story, and like in any story, you become attached to characters. As reading says, New Journalism isn’t just about reporting facts, saturation reporting and that these documentary comics that have a blend of journalism and biography/memoir is what makes Joe Sacco’s readings and Persepolis so effective. Sacco builds up these characters, and their stories seems almost fictional, but no. Their stories is very real.
Comics has been viewed as childish, playful form of literature. It’s basically a picture book with words in it, how can someone take it seriously? “You may think reading comics is easy, and like me, you’ve probably been sneered at for reading such low-brow material, but, in fact, they require the reader to do a lot of work”( I think that is how using news in comic format actually benefits in reporting the news. It puts the reader in a different mindset. When we read comics, we’re usually in a mindset that everything is going to be okay. From Garfield, to Marvel comics, everything goes back to normal eventually, and there’s a happy ending. In the book Persepolis reading, or Joe Sacco’s comics, there isn’t really a happy ending. And we’re just constantly reading until we get there, but it isn’t there. I think that is one of the ways it is effective. What also makes comic journalism so great is that the reader can interpret the story in many ways. Since it does uses many pictures, you can tell a lot from the story by just examining the picture. What I see in a certain picture, or part of the book may fascinate me, but not you necessarily. Which what makes Persepolis so interesting.  Yes, it is a graphic novel, however it isn’t very “graphic” at all. The faces aren’t very detailed, and the book is all in black in white. So how does it capture the reader? The way the story progresses is just enough to make you think. It makes you think “within the lines”, or in this case, within the boxes. You get the point straight forward from the picture, but the text may hold a deeper meaning. And sometimes it is the other way around.

Lastly, comics is also a type of media where it doesn’t take much to do or make. Really all it takes is having pencil and paper, and you can create a cartoon. It also helps if you can draw, but for Joe Sacco’s and Marjane Satrapi’s case, actual picture taking wasn’t safe/available. This is a type of medium where it is safer, because people are very skeptic of cameras in this day or age, and you can still captivate people with an effective drawing.

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

Reflecting back on what we discussed in week 3 in class, watching the documentary series about how sweatshops are easily ignored when it comes to purchasing clothing items, and how that we are easily influenced by the price point, and not the labor/methods that are involved in making that item. It just makes me think that the day and age we live in, we look for the easiest, most efficient ways to do things, and we tend to ignore the problems that underlay these methods. Looking back 200 years ago, where we actually raised our food from scratch, fast forward to current times, we can just simply walk within a mile radius and find a common fast food chain and get a burger for a buck. Where that burger came from? How was it processed? Is it healthy? We don’t really care, because that burger was for a dollar, we tend to justify that it’s worth it because it doesn’t have no effect on us. This can be exactly said about the clothing industry, and on top of that, since these workshops are in foreign countries, we are blind from the whole process, therefore we give the benefit of the doubt to the companies and think that it is okay to purchase the clothes.

The article about how 8 out of 10 Americans watch cooking shows sort of emphasizes on how people tend to live simpler lives. First off, the cooking shows makes preparing the food look easy, which influences viewers saying “hey, I could do this as well”. Second, 57% have purchased something food-related and 36% have purchased an appliance, I kind of think of this as where they show all the cool things it can do, and of course it is going to look useful. However, when you actually have it, do you really need it? Because next thing you know, you’re back at McDonald’s because you’re too “lazy” to cook.

As Jodie Layne wrote “I don’t think that we needed to send three fashion bloggers to Cambodia to really grasp the disparity between the lifestyle of a sweatshop worker…”(, I thought the format of how the sweatshops displayed was a little off. Not only it felt like the trip for the three teenagers was really condensed, it felt scripted in a way as well. For example, were they able to talk back and forth with Cambodian workers that easy? Or was there a translator, and if there was one, why wasn’t the translator there?

Lastly, the Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” was an interesting way to show current events. It almost felt like he used food as a decoy, and used his resources to subtly show the social issues that was surrounding him. I mean, what was the point talking to the girl who needed to renew her visa in the cafe? In a food standpoint, there was nothing significant to take away from it. The main focus for that moment, felt like it was on her, and how she loved the city and how it was her safe haven from all the troubles that was home. The writer had a good point, maybe Bourdain was somewhat spoiled, and it is easy to love something where you don’t have to necessarily deal with the negatives everyday of your life. I think of this as renting a decent car, you’re going to drive it like crazy, and like it because you don’t have to deal with the repercussions later. However, Bourdian is aware of the issues surrounding him, and I think the sense of danger, yet the people in Beirut live in harmony is beautiful in its own way, and nowhere really offers that is what Bourdian’s trying to show here.

Blog Post 10/11 (#1)

Reflecting back on what we discussed in week 2 in class, the documentary “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” made me realize that advertising is everywhere if you pay attention closely enough. From movies, to TV shows, to Youtube videos, to sports games, it is everywhere. In a social environment, where media seems everywhere, having an advertisement is useful when it comes to promoting your brand. It doesn’t help that these brands are willing to pay on top. Personally, I think I do a good job ignoring these advertisements as I don’t watch much TV, and use ad-blocker when it comes to browsing the web. Yet, I still see them everywhere. I’m a huge sports guy, and most if not all sports networks are sponsored by some brand. For example, when watching a replay, it usually sponsored by All-State, or when watching football, they would say “the skyview from the blimp is provided by Geico”. I do believe ads are not getting out of hand when it comes to where it is at, and how it is being displayed.

It’s funny how I try to ignore ads, but for student clubs I participate in, we try to promote mainly through advertisements as well, using flyers and posting around campus, or having TV’s display our event. But that is the life we live in. It is way easier to use a simple flyer telling every detail about an event versus using word of mouth and hope people come through by faith/memory.

Documentaries is an interesting choice of medium for displaying events and other interesting news through a TV/movie scope. They provide raw cut material, and interactions, providing an authentic feel to it. I think that it provides a useful platform to educate others about events that usually are ignored. However, as Michael Moore said, make a movie, not an educational video. From his 13 points of how to make a documentary, it seems like one thing is for certain, make the film interesting as possible. Throw as much interesting, controversial content as you can, because that is what captures the viewer, not the facts necessarily. Which I mostly believe is true, I want to be angered, emotional, and wonder when it comes to documentaries.

“If they are a visually interesting experience, spark conversation and inspire people to engage new ideas, they’re successful. Films should not be reduced to advertisements, no matter how worthy the cause. They need to exist on their own terms. If they’re good, they’ll get people thinking.” ( I think that quote is important because as seen in “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”, the brands do seem to somewhat impact what the filmmaker really wants to do, and creates conflict. Creativity may be hindered in favor of fitting in this brand in some certain scene. I don’t think it bolds well for modern day TV/films.