This post is for an assignment for my Media and War class.
After leaving in France for three years, I can safely say that I had never before encountered such a nationalistic group of people. They are proud of their food. They are proud of their language. They are proud of anything related to their roots – or as the French broadly describe it – their terroir. While most countries around the world appear to be embracing globalization, the French are staunchly against their beloved homeland being molested by foreign products or ideas. But while one cannot stop the world from changing, one man can stop the construction of a McDonalds in the countryside of France.
In the BBC News article, “France’s farm crusader” by Justin Pearce, we meet José Bové – a bushy faced farmer who is immediately described as “a peasant Robin Hood” for his work as the underdog against a big, bad American fast food corporation. In 2000, Bové was caught attacking the site building site of a new McDonald’s in the Tarn valley of southern France. Although the destruction was not all too serious, it was the media’s reaction his actions that created the most fire. Bové became an international figure, often referred as a modern day Asterix for his spunky French spirit and his rather prominent handlebar mustache.
His story struck such a large chord because it was around that time when globalization truly started becoming relevant topic for companies and governments around the world. The real enemy was the United States, which had long ago begun to infiltrate foreign countries through Hollywood films and shows. For me, personally, it was interesting to read this article from over a decade past and compare it to the France I see today. In discussing the topic with a French friend of mine (over a dinner of MacDo, no less!), he nodded solemnly and proceeded to list out all the American series he had ever seen – beginning in the ‘80s with Little House on the Prairie and Dallas (to which he even hummed the theme song to). In all honesty, I had ever even heard of the show Dallas until last year when I took a course on Media Globalization here at AUP. However, according to my professor who hails from South-Korea, the show was an American phenomenon that had people around the world glued to their TV screens.
Although English is increasingly becoming the “world’s language,” France sees otherwise and continually seeks to protect their own beloved language from outside influence. This refers back to the idea of “terroir,” which is a term that is incredibly difficult to define outside of a French context. In the article, the author explains why American-style fast food is such a threat in France while it is somewhat more readily embraced in other countries.
"Eating is not a neutral act," he [Bové] told reporters - a remark which embodies a uniquely French take on philosophy and food.
Whether looked at in relation to geography, soil or locality, terroir is a vital keyword in the study of food, especially in France, where much of the nation’s ideology is firmly rooted in the image of a farmer. Terroir describes the sensory evidence of the plants, animals, and region from which they are produced. Since such traces transcend our most obvious means of perceiving food through taste, in France, terroir encompasses a cultural knowledge that is passed down through generations
Essentially, this is why Bové’s fight attracted such media attention. Asterix, or Vercingetorix (whom the cartoon was actually based upon), was famous for his loyalty in defending his country against imperialistic invaders. While Bové’s protest was not violent, it appeared to be more of a war of ideology and how one country should combat foreign interests in order to preserve a type of self-dignity.
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This is a video of an interview I had with a student broadcast journalist named Virgilia Hess.
Despite studying at Brooklyn College in New York, Hess, herself is a French national with bilingual capabilities. In April, she went back to her homeland to sit down with four AUP Americans studying long-term in Paris and to discuss the differences between French and American: academics, food, fashion, and nightlife.
As a current, part-time student at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), I was able to provide a brief glimpse of my experience there. But more importantly.. I was quoted about food. Surprise, surprise!
The intimidating reason why I disabled the “Ask Me Anything!” button for a year.
.. And of course, within 30 minutes of turning it back on - I get a question that I’ve pretty much already answered before. So anyone who does ask me something, please do me a favor and look through my blog first. I know it’s a lot of pages, but I go in-depth for a reason. Also, please ask me something that can’t be easily answered through Google.
I did apply to Scripps, but I was rejected. Plain and simple, mais c’est la vie. I still remember the rejection letter they sent me - it went along the lines of: “Just because you were’t accepted here doesn’t mean you won’t go on to do great things elsewhere.”
I could have done a lot of things differently, but I decided to go to AUP. Living in France for the past three years has been undeniably expensive; however, in my eyes, it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge, connections, and experience that I’ve gained along the way.
We all have different decisions in life and no decision is ever bad unless you don’t learn from it. AUP may not be the most renowned university, but rankings and GPA aren’t always everything. It’s the connections that you make and what you make of your education that counts the most.
So I recently noticed that a link to my blog was shared on a Facebook group for incoming AUP students.
It made me feel guilty.
I haven’t posted in 6 months and even then it was one lousy photo with absolutely no context to it whatsoever. “Huh. Loraine is in Lebanon?”
And even before that, I hadn’t really posted anything except for a few homework entries for one of my classes.
So, for you lurkers who stumbled upon my page.. Here’s my promise to you. Even though I don’t have much time left in Paris, I will make the most of these last months and update my blog again regularly. I’ll write about what the hell happened to me in the past couple years. I’ll answer your questions. I’ll even make videos.
I started off this blog so strongly that even though I stopped over time, I believe it deserves a proper ending.
…. And in the mean time, you should definitely AUP’s online magazine, the7eme.com. It’s where this small time blogger made the transition to a proper writer.. or should I say Editor-in-Chief. ;)
Loraine in Lebanon: An American abroad in #Beirut looking #forward to #FourMoreYears with @BarackObama! <3 (at American University of Beirut (AUB))
This is my last blog post for my Internet and Globalization class!!!
At AUP, we have a name for the students who often frequent the school bar. They are the “Amex Hood Rats.”
I am not one of those students. In fact, if anyone ever wants to find me, I’m probably curled up on my bed in my little cave of an apartment… just prowling the Internet. All day, every day. I think the Amex Hood Rats’ name for me would be “loser.”
According to this article/infographic, “The average student uses Facebook 106 minutes a day, or nearly 2 hours.”
I am also not one of those students. I know that I spend a great deal more time on Facebook than that and I blame that highly addictive game, Words with Friends. And also my inexplicable desire to stalk “friends” that I haven’t talked to in months.
This article essentially tries to reassure students that their Facebook usage does not affect their college GPA. I am not surprised. It doesn’t matter how a student spends their time. They could be drinking at the bar or just surfing the net all day. When it comes to studying, they’ll study if they’re a good student. Actually, the author Alex Wilhelm phrased it pretty eloquently:
“People who want to do something other than homework use Facebook as their favorite distraction; if Facebook didn’t exist, they would do something else. In other words, ‘bad students gonna be bad.”
I’m certainly not a bad student; I’m just a lazy and an easily distracted one. I’ll do my work eventually, but that’s after I spend hours clicking through my friend’s pictures or scrolling down my newsfeed. What’s weird though is that according to this line graph, I should technically be a student with a 2.6 GPA. Ouch.
Like any addiction, Facebook isn’t the problem. It’s how you use it. When it starts to interfere with the way you function and process information, that’s when you need to cut it cold turkey. For example, using it at home versus in class changes the context completely. At home, it’s just you and your laptop and possibly your final paper that you need to finish by midnight. As crucial as that paper is, it’s always a bit mentally relaxing to numb your brain with Facebook at least once in a while. If you’re truly a good student, that assignment will ultimately regulate how long you stay distracted. At school, it should be just you and your teacher. I know this is hypocritical of me to say, but since most classes last just about an hour we students don’t really have an excuse to take that Facebook break. Are we really attaining all that information as we passively listen? I would really like to see this study done in terms of students’ GPA in relation to how much of their class time they used to go on Facebook.
I’ll be the first case study. For the classes that I spent primarily on Facebook, I’ll let you all know how my exams go. In the mean time, I’ll try not let myself get too distracted during this study week! (But if anyone wants to challenge me in Words with Friends.. please do!)
AHHH, THIS IS THE BOSQUET GRAND SALON. I’ve had a class in here almost every semester for two years! #AUPREPRESENT <3
Many are the students who have contemplated this sleeping bard … Detail from the ceiling of the main meeting room at the American University of Paris, where we heard a talk last night by Marwan Bishara. The former AUP professor is now the senior political analyst for Al Jazeera English and author of The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions.
This is the final stretch! 4 out of 6 posts for my Internet & Globalization class.
A big dilemma for American college students is trying to keep up with their favorite television shows. It’s hard to watch TV when there’s not one to be found anywhere near them. Sure, the lucky college student may find a television in their dorm hall lounge, but good luck fighting over it. So what’s the solution here? Streaming, baby!
Streaming media is a way to watch a video or listen to a song in ‘real time’ without downloading it to your computer or storing it to your hard drive. Streaming is a relatively recent development, because your broadband connection has to run fast enough to show the data in real time. Files encoded for streaming are often highly compressed to use as little bandwidth as possible. This is the beloved answer for those who may not have a television set but do have a laptop and access to WIFI. However, this is the true nightmare for the media industry.
Brian Stelter discusses this phenomenon in the New York Times article, “Youths Are Watching, but Less Often on TV.” It is argued that the young are still watching shows for hours on end each day, but they’re not necessarily doing it on the television. How exactly is it that the TV shows we watch are free? Let’s be real here – nothing is ever free. When we are watching shows on the TV, we as the consumer are being purchased at the same time. Companies will pay television networks the big bucks to insert their commercial here or place their product there. Stelter theorizes, “The long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.”
Some advertisement industries are trying to cope by making the transition into digital and online video. Even now, every Youtuber must sit through a few seconds of obligatory advertisements before they can watch their video. But is it working? I, for one, am always most eager to mute a particularly long video commercial or “X-out” from a pop-up as soon as possible. On the other hand, I understand that it is my participation with the advertisements and my possible related consumerism that allows for the production of my favorite shows. However, this is really a Catch-22 because while I would try to at least tolerate a commercial, I can’t because all I can do is stream the shows since I don’t have access to an actual television.
My generation is highly in favor of what is free and readily available. It may be amoral but it is a lot easier. Maybe one day this mentality will backfire. For example, lower quality television shows may be more prominent since there’s no longer enough funding for it. Thankfully, however, the saving grace of television and advertisement industries is that it is mostly the youth that they are concerned about. The older generations haven’t made that technological transition and are still watching television, thus still providing that much needed revenue. Perhaps this is a wake up call to advertisement agencies in terms of how they should rework their marketing tactics.
In any case, I shall conclude with a list of my favorite streaming sites: