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

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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
Steven Pinker: THE PRESENT FAILURE OF ELITE ART TO ATTRACT US  is linked to the blank slate theory.

Steven Pinker: THE PRESENT FAILURE OF ELITE ART TO ATTRACT US is linked to the blank slate theory.

Multimedia, For media people, Para:, Videos
In his book The blank slate; the modern denial of human nature (published in 2002), Steven Pinker, MIT and Harvard neurolinguist, gathers scientific evidence that all humans are born with innate traits, which are inherent to our species. In the present talk, Pinker remembers this book and how everyone around him expected it to generate an irated, intense, reaction against –which it did.  Implicitly, Pinker thus accepts the impressive pressure that is exercised over researchers, university teachers and thinkers in general, in order to prevent them from standing for anything that may adversely affect current agendas (political, economic, social...) –their limits differing broadly from the ones most people think. In other words:  Intelectual leaders are subject to the same pressur
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
When and WHY MASS MEDIA DIE

When and WHY MASS MEDIA DIE

Multimedia, For everybody, Para:, Videos
1st International Conference ‘A favor de lo mejor’ [In favour of what is best, in media], National Auditorium, Mexico City, D.F. Panel: The horizon ahead (for mass media), April, 21st, 1999, 5pm. Transcription --corrected by author: ¿WHEN AND WHY MEDIA DIE...? Along the centuries, many wars have been fought on paper;let us now talk about those spontaneously fought by consumers... I have very little time to convey to you the results of 14 years of research –14 years during which I have studied what people want to see and hear in the media. Today I will present what I consider the most surprising conclusion arising from my work, something even I could not anticipate at the outset of my studies. I will limit myself to the discussion of this one discovery, because you, my au
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
Steven Pinker: On language and thought, …AND THE PREEMINENCE OF CONTENTS IN MEDIA

Steven Pinker: On language and thought, …AND THE PREEMINENCE OF CONTENTS IN MEDIA

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In 2007 Steven Pinker, MIT-Harvard neurolinguist, published The Stuff of thought, which complements his magnum The language instinct. Anyone interested in understanding human language and thought, and the miracle of the human word, will enjoy these two books, as well as the present video. Here, Pinker examines the way our human languages work, how they express what happens in our minds, and how the words we choose communicate much more than what we realize we are telling.  He also indicates that through analyzing human languages, we can come to understand both our species and our minds –our nature. The price Pinker pays to stand for the universality of the human species –for the existence of a series of common traits that are innate to us by nature,  is ideological, as ideological is
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
The evolution of the INTERNET and its social networks in SPAIN, by David Soler

The evolution of the INTERNET and its social networks in SPAIN, by David Soler

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A public relations and advertising expert talks about how the internet and social networks have evolved in Spain, and how they have changed our lives.  He is clearly partial to them, but knows his subject and offers impressive numbers. One does wonder, however, why when we talk about media, it is so difficult to find someone who doesn't fall for the old trap of seeing them as either 100% evil (those whom Umberto Eco would call "apocaliptic"), or 100% good (those whom Eco would call "integrated"), when like every other human reality, media are only means we can use for better or for worse. If we want to put together the true image of reality, then we need to gather both the lights and the shadows it presents to us. We already have the lights; we now need to look for the shadows, in order
DOMESTIC PROFESSIONS, a brief “dictionary” for media people

DOMESTIC PROFESSIONS, a brief “dictionary” for media people

For media people, Magazine
Our telenovela writers have gleefully decided to call nannies "governesses", without having the slightest idea what differentiates them. Their goal, quite laudable, is to encourage us to talk about them with more respect. To do this, in my opinion, we do not need to assault our language, but rather bear in mind they are human beings, and that we need them very much, in this world in which both the father and the mother are often forced to work out of the home. In the Judeo-Christian world, the domestic worker maintains a complex relationship with his employers, half professional, half familial. The obligations set out by Judeo-Christian religions for the employer of a domestic worker, are quite similar to those a head of family has regarding his relatives. In Spanish they were cal...