Blanca de Lizaur, PhD, MA, BA, Content specialist.

Magazine

In reply to a reader’s letter: <em>TVyNovelas’</em>  print-runs, and when to invest in media companies

In reply to a reader’s letter: TVyNovelas’ print-runs, and when to invest in media companies

For media people, Para:, Magazine
I eagerly read Edgar Santoyo (a member of the FCPS: School of Social and Political Sciences, UNAM)'s article, about “Espacio 2002”, a yearly event organized by Televisa to connect with Communications students throughout Mexico, and to improve its public image [Humanidades  # 232]. I agree with him that, unfortunately, the majority of professors and researchers in the field of Communications in our country, have never had the opportunity to work in media, with all the consequences this entails: Inexperience and resentment in many of them –true, ...and in many media, a “mafia-gang” style of choosing and developing new hires. I also agree that many intellectuals and researchers automatically belittle everything mainstream mass-media disseminate, as if you could exert any intellectual le
The media and their many problems: KIOSKS SLOW DEATH

The media and their many problems: KIOSKS SLOW DEATH

For everybody, Para:, Magazine
We find some foreign cities both amazing and disappointing. Their broad boulevards, mile-long blocks, mirrored buildings, cleanliness and order, amaze us. Their barren sidewalks, cold coffee shops (literally freezing, since the air conditioning is used to “drive” people out, so other customers can occupy the tables quickly), and the lack of the bustle and chatter of people are ...disenchanting. Seeing somebody else on the street, in fact, doesn't make one feel safer; it may even scare you. Our cities have “life” because there are people out walking, musicians, street markets, people at their windows, human groups of all ages chatting excitedly ─or just playing─, newsstands, touts, con artists everywhere…; and coffee shops or food stalls along the sidewalks and in the squares, with temperat
Have you ever wondered  WHAT “MORBID” CONTENTS ARE?

Have you ever wondered WHAT “MORBID” CONTENTS ARE?

For media people, Para:, Magazine
In our language, and according to the “Diccionario de la Real Academia Española” (Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), morbid means “a change in health [...], illness”. We may deduce that something is morbid when: 1) “it causes illness”, or 2), “causes unhealthy mental [...] reactions”. In English, and according to the Oxford Dictionary, “morbid” refers to someone “ …characterized by an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, especially death and disease…”. In literary terminology, a morbid device is used to attract people's attention; it's a “hook”. In previous articles we established that works with family-oriented contents, “cleaner”/"more wholesome" ones (that is: those that least violate the values, ideas and beliefs of their target public), t
Little by little, you can grow ACCUSTOMED TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING!

Little by little, you can grow ACCUSTOMED TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING!

For media people, Para:, Magazine
There are internationally recognized scientists and thinkers in Mexico.  One of them –and a graduate of our University (UNAM), invented an intravenous serum known as the Sodi polarizing solution, which is commonly used in hospitals all around the world.  I am obviously speaking about Dr. Demetrio Sodi Pallares –may he rest in peace. And all of his research, theories and therapeutic successes arise from a common seminal idea: The certainty that, with respect to our metabolism, an excess of intracellular sodium ions reduces the body’s ability to react adequately to illness. To state this more clearly:  The amount of salt we are used to consume, is bad for our health. A case in point: Western medicine arrived in Kenya long before the Western diet did.  Thanks to this, medical records ha
THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE MISSING SPECTATOR has little to do with the Digital Revolution

THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE MISSING SPECTATOR has little to do with the Digital Revolution

For everybody, Para:, Magazine
An important producer mentioned his concern that film –as in the complete experience of going to the cinema– was dying. There has been a progressive, constant and noteworthy decline in the number of spectators going to the movies over the last 30 years (not necessarily in the amount of money generated by these spectators, as box office prices have raised enormously during the same period).   In part, he blamed the economic crisis; but more importantly –and along with many others in the business, he blamed “videos” for the audience decline.  Who would want to go out to the movie theater when you can enjoy the film right at home, for free or for little? Of course this sounds both logical and reasonable; however it lacks appropriate contextualization. Why?  If “videos” were the only culpri
A test about media, YOU JUST WILL LOVE TO ANSWER!

A test about media, YOU JUST WILL LOVE TO ANSWER!

For media people, Para:, Magazine
In “The mysterious case of the missing spectator”, I made a brief reference to popular, low-end, or low-brow literature as the one that characteristically employs a collective aesthetic. What does this really mean? To clarify the explanation, I’m going to ask you to respond to a few questions regarding various types of works and characters that most of us know and like… . Complete the following sentences, filling the empty spaces with the missing word/s: 1) In a “cops and robbers” story, the “good guy” and the “bad guy” find themselves standing face to face, and one of them yells: “Drop it, buddy, or I’ll blow ___________________!” 2) At the most exciting moment of a romantic story, one of the main characters exclaims: “I’ll never leave you, my darling; nothing and nobody will
If it is not the readers’ fault, WHOM SHOULD WE BLAME…?

If it is not the readers’ fault, WHOM SHOULD WE BLAME…?

For media people, Para:, Magazine
. IN DEFENSE OF POPULAR COMMERCIAL MAGAZINES, NOVELS AND COMICS . I- DO YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY READ? –Don´t young people read?–  I asked myself in a subway station, before a poster encouraging them to read. I must say that at that moment, dozens of young adults walked right by without stopping to read –not Shakespeare or Cervantes, for goodness sake– but a simple notice board. –And the rest of the population? Do they read?–  I could answer the question myself, recalling the results of a survey published not long ago in one of the then nationally distributed newspapers in Mexico (El Heraldo de México; September 30th, 1991). Indeed they do; in spite of the depressing predictions which shed a bitter and fatalistic vision of the future of our society, the majority of those who responded
O, YEE PROUD PRINTED LETTER…!, or How we have come to forget the worth and value of orality and “normality” in the last 100 years.

O, YEE PROUD PRINTED LETTER…!, or How we have come to forget the worth and value of orality and “normality” in the last 100 years.

For everybody, Para:, Magazine
. An incredible but true story... - I -             I once was told that many years ago, the Mexican Ministry of Education undertook an important mission: That of measuring the I.Q. (Intellectual Quotient) of our indigenous peoples, in order to adequate our school system’s curricula and conditions to their real needs.  A large number of teachers, psychologists and pedagogues armed themselves with batteries of written tests, and set themselves to the task. The results, however, couldn’t have been more disheartening: Most communities sampled –according to the experts, scored so low, that we should consider our “Mexican Indians” to be intellectually disabled...! The project and its results were quickly silenced and buried. No-one dared to publish its “discoveries”, yet no-one could tell
WHAT HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE READ…, when nobody watches

WHAT HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE READ…, when nobody watches

For media people, Para:, Magazine
Pygmalion and Galatea… A professor gave his graduate students a poem written by a prestigious contemporary writer. A few minutes later he asked them what their favourite lines were, but nobody dared to answer: The poem, in spite of the author's reputation, was simply terrible. And although we have been trained to consider "beautiful" that which possesses great technical skill (even when the message, what is being said, is clearly horrible), the poem in question was not even technically noteworthy. That said, there is a kind of tacit agreement amongst members of the literary world that they should show their high regard and appreciation for works that the rest of them have praised, regardless of their true quality; and thus why many of us have occasionally been forced to praise “highbrow
NO RETURN ADDRESS? Then how can we tell your message is trustworthy…

NO RETURN ADDRESS? Then how can we tell your message is trustworthy…

For everybody, Para:, Magazine
            Anonymous messages…  –most of us distrust them.             When we talk about letters, we are suspicious of those that reach us without a signature and a return-address.  When we talk about general information, we tend to distrust rumours, because we don’t know who started them and what they are expecting to obtain through them.  And anonymity constitutes, as well, the main difference between a pamphlet and a legally distributed magazine –magazines are required by law to include information about who publishes them, and where these persons can be located, so that both you and the authorities can reach them if necessary.             This proves particularly important when you talk about electronic media, because of their massive and indiscriminate reach.  In regards to tradit
How to make a movie say WHAT YOU WANT TO

How to make a movie say WHAT YOU WANT TO

For audiences, Magazine
. An author's message... Many years ago, one of my university professors refused to explain what “the message” of a literary work is, because he himself didn´t understand  what it was.  I soon realized that he did know, but was cleverly avoiding confrontation with his students in regards to values, ideas and beliefs, given that the “message” of a story  usually exposes its author’s ideology. The ideology ­­–and this is important– colors every piece of information we transmit, and particularly every literary work, every work of art, every mass media product.  Ideology, in fact, intensifies (positively or negatively) the feelings these works awaken in us. Consequently, the “politically correct” version (that is: the “ideology-neutral” version)  of a tale such as Snow White  is perceived
IN REGARDS TO “CINDERELLAS”…

IN REGARDS TO “CINDERELLAS”…

For audiences, Magazine
TELEVISION...: BETTER NATIONAL (Mexican, in this case) OR FOREIGN?             The other day a friend of mine told me, that her intellectual husband had forbidden her to watch Mexican telenovelas –“He's right”, she said, “they're all ‘cinderellas’”–. Nevertheless, he does not object to her watching each and every episode of “La Niñera" (Nanny Fine)... Such a statement merits special analysis, because it is based on prejudices that are firmly entrenched in our society. “La niñera”, ultimately, is also an adaptation of “La Cenicienta (Cinderella), but with a huge difference: While in María la del Barrio (Maria from the Neighbourhood), La Usurpadora (The Imposter), and other similar Mexican works, at some point we see the protagonist taking classes and “polishing his/her rough edges