This coming year…

To all my friends,

I hope this coming year grants you opportunities and surprises beyond your wildest dreams.

I hope you make mistakes, because when we make mistakes we learn from them. Making mistakes means you have tried, tested and attempted something new, different and unique.

I hope your plans come together and if they fall apart that you understand that everything happens for a reason.

I hope you cherish the people in your life and the memories of those who are only with you in spirit.

I hope you find happiness, love and joy in a way that only you can.

I hope you take nothing for granted and celebrate the little things just as much as the big things.

I hope that when obstacles stand in your way that you don’t stop, you don’t worry and you don’t hold back, charge through them.

Be fearless, be happy, be thankful and most of all be yourself.

I hope 2015 brings you all everything you could ever dream of.

Lauren’s Christmas appeal

Some people want toys for Christmas, some people want world peace or a roof over their head. But not Lauren, Lauren wanted a blog.

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If your an eligible bachelor, don’t mind lots of cats and you enjoy the crazy type comment underneath and I’ll get you her number.

Happy holidays folks!!

People are like sheep.

Antonio Gramsci’s theory of Hegemony in explaining the ideological role of television.

In layman’s terms: people are sheep.

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Karl Marx believed that once the subordinate classes recognised their oppression they would eventually raise up against the ruling class, however Antonio Gramsci a classical Marxist viewed this process differently; he believed that society was not only determined by the economy, as Marx did but also by thoughts and feelings as well, “man is not ruled by force alone, but also by ideas.” (Bates, 1975, p. 351)

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Gramsci developed the concept of Hegemony in order to explain why revolution from the subordinate classes did not happen very often. One of his ideas was that the dominant classes used the modes of production, such as the media, to broadcast their ideologies to the subordinate classes and therefore normalised them. Society can see the dominant ideology simply as ‘common sense’ and consent to this ideology with the belief that it will, in some sense, benefit them. Storey explains, “Hegemony is maintained (and must be continually maintained: it is an on-going process) by dominant groups and classes ‘negotiating’ with, and making concessions to, subordinate groups and classes.” (Storey, 2009, pp. 124-125)
“The media also divert people’s attention from the exploitation and inequality characteristic of capitalist society by glorifying and encouraging consumption”. (Murdock, Golding cited in J. Fulcher and J.Scott;, 2011, p. 353)

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If you want to control the subordinate classes you give them a range of things in order to satisfy their resistance. The media have a heavy influence on the views and opinions of society. People can be manipulated into accepting their own oppression and inequality as ’normal, natural, an inevitable fact of life’. Television and the media is controlled by the capitalist elite within society, they have access to the means of production, which the subordinate classes are obscured from. Advertising Is a method of distraction, if people want material items to consume, they will feel satisfied once this has been achieved and thus will be happy, Gramsci argues that is part of the elitist ideology and by providing a means and need for consumption revolution can be avoided.

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Michael O’Shaughnessy states that “in contributing to the establishment of Hegemony, ‘popular culture’ (television)does contradictory things: it wins the support of the people while maintaining the power of the dominant groups and the oppression of the people. Herein lies the fascination and central contradiction of ‘popular culture’ and television in their ability to do both these things at once, gratifying the people and contributing to their enslavement.” (Michael O’Shaughnessy cited in Goodwin and Whannel, 1990, p. 90)

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Deal or No deal is an example of how contemporary television is relevant to the theory of Hegemony; it has a very strong ideology contained within the game, it offers the subordinate classes’ entertainment and pleasure whilst satisfying their need for revolution against the dominant classes. The banker represents the dominant classes and the objective is to ‘beat the banker’ as Noel Edmonds would say. The reward being a cash prize which when asked is often geared towards contributing to trivial desires, such as a holiday or paying off student debts. It emphasis’ how important luck is, subordinate classes see this in their own lives, they have just been unlucky, that dominant classes have just been lucky to be where they are, you can’t revolt against luck. When someone beats the banker, it provides pleasure for the viewing audience and other contestants, triumphant in victory and humble in defeat. It makes the subordinate classes feel as if something important has been achieved. Once the programme has ended the underclasses feel fulfilled that someone has challenged the banker, regardless of wither they have won or lost, and the notion of revolution and need for resistance is forgotten., by giving voice to the subordinate classes situation they are satisfied and refrain from taking any form of action. Another example of Hegemony in Television can be seen in police dramas and the crime genre, shows such as The Bill and Crime stoppers. The ideology of dominant classes is expressed by showing the subordinate classes what is right and what is wrong, it voices that those who commit a crime will be caught and will be punished. Often when we see these storylines unfold the criminal is from the subordinate classes and the victim is often from the ruling classes, subconsciously suggesting that the ruling classes are incapable of petty crime.“Using the ideal world-pattern, they also depict the rules to which every member of society has to abide, as long as s/he does not want to belong to the world of crime.” (Pinseler, 2007, p. 4)

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Hegemony characterizes social relations as a series of struggles for power, this struggle is constantly shifting and the dominant classes are constantly changing, for example if we look at the journey of, Judith Keppel now best known for her part in the bbc2 quiz show The Eggheads. Judith first appeared on the well-known, international show Who Wants to be a Millionaire and was the first person to win the million pound jackpot in the UK. If we consider Gramsci’s theory of Hegemony, the subordinate classes would be supporting Judith; they would want her to win, although she is a member of the upper-class society, simply for proof that the system could be beaten. However when Judith first appeared on The Eggheads, she became the system, a member of the dominant class who the underdogs needed to overthrow in order to win. Thus emphasising that Hegemony is never fully complete and is a constant struggle for dominance, this struggle means that classes are constantly competing for power and are using the media and television especially as their battle ground.

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Hegemony’s usefulness with regard to explaining the role of ideology in television can be questioned, the theory evidently points out that ideology does exist within the text in a variety of ways. Advertising sparks consumerism, and consuming provides satisfaction. Escapist programs provide the subordinate classes with aspirational values instead of jealousy and give them something to ‘strive towards.’ Certain genres express and maintain social order while others give the audience revolution which rather than fuel the need to revolt satisfies this need. However Hegemony seems to assume that all audience members are passive, and does not consider how an audience member who is active will react to the ideology within the programs. It also does not consider television consumption and the way in which people watch TV, it could simply be background noise and not religiously watched.

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My point is that people use the media as a form of escapism, they believe in small victories and would rather sit on the sofa than seek revolution from their lesser state within society. People have become numb to what they watch and the lines between reality and fiction are often blurred. What people cease to understand is that those who control the media control the content which we as a society view. The majority of what we view provides our need for escapism from the very reality in which we live, so quite frankly, the majority of the human race bare a considerable resemblance to sheep.

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Bibliography
Bates, T. (1975). Gramsci and the Theory of Hegemony. Journal of the History of Ideas , 351-366.
Femia, J. V. (1987). Gramsci’s Political Thought: Hegemony, Conciousness, and the Revolutionary Process. Oxford University Press.
Fiske, J. (1987). Television Culture. Routledge.
j.Hoffman. (1984). The Gramscian Challenge: Coercion and Consent in Marxist Political Theory. Basil Blackwell.
Michael O’Shaughnessy cited in Goodwin and Whannel. (1990). Box Pop: Popular Television and Hegemony.Routledge.
Murdock, Golding cited in J. Fulcher and J.Scott;. (2011). Sociology. Oxford University Press.
Pinseler, J. (2007). Power and Hegemony in Reality Crime Programmes. On the Relevance of a Cultural Studies Approach for Analysing Media, 4.

Bronagh Doherty

The Irish Diaspora: Why we all can’t wait to leave.

I like so many of my fellow Irish men and women will being leaving Ireland in a few short months in search of something more. I, like so many before me, will be travelling to Australia in search of new experiences, opportunities and quite simply, because I have nothing to make me stay in my home country.

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After finishing University in 2013 I graduated with a honours degree and a very hefty debt. Without much direction I moved back into my family home in County Antrim and began my search for a professional job, I completely underestimated how difficult this would be and although I was willing to relocate the rejection emails quickly began to mount up. The scary thing is that the majority of those who graduated in the same year as me are all in the same position.

So are we a lost generation?

With the retirement age lengthened and the number of graduates with similar degrees mounting what are the prospects for recent graduates. In reality there aren’t any! Entry level jobs are sparse and the amount of experience needed to land one is contradictory to trying to provide for yourself. Graduates are therefore stuck in their stop gap jobs without any real work experience, a hefty debt for a degree that is difficult to land a job in, in the Uk and Ireland and no one will give them experience.

So what now? For me it’s time to leave.

With no prospects, no property, and no clear road ahead it’s a logical decision to leave. Whether it’s to the UK, Europe or further afield there are better employment prospects and more opportunities to see the world. For someone in their twenties with no responsibility, anywhere apart from here seems like the promised land.

There are so many options it can be a little overwhelming depending on where you want to visit, however a plan is only a Google search away. Companies such as STA Travel and BUNAC offer excellent packages especially if you are considering Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Offering group flights with fellow travellers who are also jetting off on their own, they offer a safer, more comfortable and adventurous way of beginning your adventure if you are willing to pay a little extra for the company.

For more recent graduates USIT Ireland is a fantastic option, offering J1 student internship visa’s to the states anyone looking to travel and further their career at the same time should certainly consider it. The only downfall is that a J1 visa is only open to graduates who are within a year of graduating and you must secure your internship yourself which offers different complications.

USA summer camps are also a great option for people wishing to experience a taste of travelling. You can apply online and the interviews are held in any of the major cities across the country. They want enthusiastically and energetic people who are good with young people and would enjoy the summer of a lifetime.

But whatever you choose now is the time to do it. If you have recently graduated, have little responsibility, and crave new experiences then grab any chance you can because you will regret it if you don’t.

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12 best and worst things about Christmas

1. Your Christmas dinner

Now this can go either way depending on the skill of the cook. But if you are like me and love your grub it’s the most long awaited dinner of the year. Although anyone who eats Brussel sprouts needs a good kicking.

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2. Christmas clothes.

From Christmas jumpers to sparkly outfits it’s really Just an excuse for a new outfit. Jumpers are an acceptable item if they look like your granny authentically knitted it but if it looks like Buddy the Elf crafted it in the North Pole with flashing lights and 3d components then I’m sorry but you sir, are an idiot!

3. Do not enter

This is a sign that should be displayed outside every Primark in the world throughout the month of December. Unless you have a death wish or enjoy a good fight with a granny over the last size 12 then steer clear of Primark.

4. Kids become more annoying.

It’s inevitable, too many sweets and Christmas spirit and that loveable kid turns into a Santa hunting demon wielding an Argos book and demanding the latest Barbie handbag. (Do they still make barbies?)

5. The Christmas pounds

I’m not talking about money. You’re lucky that Christmas grants an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe because you’re going to need it after the consumption of ten boxes of quality street.

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6. The Christmas market.

Everyone waits all year to cram themselves into an overcrowded German beer tent that is dripping with sweaty condensation. Where there’s never enough room. The bouncers keep telling you to move so they can fit more smelly farting men in and you end up covered in the German beer you intended to drink; which consequently ruins your flashing Rudolf Christmas jumper.

7. People are happy.

Unless you work in retail people are generally more happy around the holidays. It’s nice to see so many people smiling and greeting each other full of festive cheer.

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8. Big or small; presents are awesome

It’s great to appreciate what you have. There is also so much satisfaction in giving. For me, I appreciate a new pair of socks just as much as I appreciate a piece of beautiful jewellery. The thought really does count.

9. There is nothing like a warm fire.

When it’s Christmas you never begrudge yourself a night by the fire, in cosy pyjama’s with ANOTHER box of quality street.

10. Christmas TV

Home Alone, Santa Clause, Die Hard (don’t care what anyone says it is a Christmas film) The only time of the year it’s acceptable for fully grown adults to watch Disney films for eight hours straight.

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11. Shit, we didn’t get them anything.

There are always unexpected and unannounced guests who come bearing a gift bag and you haven’t gotten them anything. Time for the usual scramble round the house and you hand them an opened box of biscuits and a bottle of cheap wine. :/ My Bad.

12. The whole families together…

And there can’t be any bickering. It’s Christmas Day, the magical day where siblings get along and everyone puts their differences aside. It’s only one day after all how hard can it be?

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Wall-e Film Analysis

This is why I don’t watch films very often, I end up analysing them to death but this is my favourite one and I found it really interesting so thought I would post.

Analytical Film analysis: The narrative structure and intertextuality of Disney Pixar’s ‘Wall-E.’(2008)

By Bronagh Doherty.

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Narratives are cognitive patterns that we construct to make sense of the world. They convey our longing for consistency, closure, and a single unified meaning. According to the theories of Levi-Strauss (1955:1966) and his studies of Mythology, film narrative is a construction of binary opposites which help us make sense of our social world. Narrative is a product of all cultures; story-telling, myths and folklore that have been shared from generation to generation throughout the world in order to help produce ‘meaning.’ Turner (1988, P.32) States, ‘Myths negotiated a peace between men and women and their environment so that they could live in it without agonizing over its frustration and its cruelties.’ Many film theorists suggest the same can apply to film narrative as it naturalises the inevitable and the inexplicable, homogenising societal norms and practices. Brooks has said, we are now “immersed” in narrative. Brooks (1984, p.3) From our parents, from our friends, and from strangers; in school, at work, and at home; in newspapers, novels, advertising, film and TV; factual, fictional, or somewhere in-between, the number of narratives we are exposed to even in a single year must run into many thousands. This assignment studied Disney Pixar’s Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class) examining the narratives binary oppositions in relation to other film narratives which are drawn upon in the film and explain how they naturalise contemporary societal norms.

In the establishing shot at the start of Wall-E, the camera slopes from outer space to a landscape that looks uncannily familiar but undoubtedly different. What seem at first like skyscrapers turn out to be neatly stacked mountains of rubbish on a vast wasteland. The quiet is broken only by the unlikely sound of a song from Hello, Dolly! — Originally considered to be non-diagetic sound is actually heard coming from a solitary (inhumane) figure quickly moving around a junk-strewn landscape. Apparently, humans never changed course on pollution and consumerism, and sometime in the 22nd century they were forced to leave a planet they had turned into a giant rubbish dump. But they left without turning off a robot they’d left behind; this is the plot of Wall-E. The first half hour of Wall-E contains very little dialogue, uncommon for a contemporary film; the silence is filled with music and the beeps and whirls of two robots as they attempt to communicate with each other. Emotions and storylines are played out through gestures made by a malfunctioning robot that has developed a slight technical glitch: a human personality. Marketed as a futuristic fantasy film directed at children, Wall-E, like many other animation films holds satirical humour aimed at cultural life that adults will enjoy. Following Todorov’s narrative theory, the equilibrium at the beginning of Wall-E is destroyed when another robot lands on Earth, Wall-E presents the robot with a plant which signifies that human life on earth is once again sustainable. Wall-E however has fallen in love with this new and improved robot and follows her into space by holding on to the spacecraft. When the captain of the Axiom (the humans’ spacecraft) attempts to bring them back to Earth the equilibrium is disrupted by the plot’s villain Auto who tries to destroy the plant. The equilibrium is only restored when the plant is brought back to the captain by Wall-E and the humans return to Earth. In the final credits we can see the captain teaching the humans about farming and production in order to keep human life sustainable on Earth. We structure our understanding of the world around categories of difference and similarity which are often a conflict between good and bad, below are some of the binary oppositions, that Levi-Strauss believed helped to make meaning, that can be seen through both characterization and themes in Wall-E:

Wall-E: Auto (the robot who tries to stop the return to earth)
Good: bad
Earth: space
Nature: Technology
Health: obesity
Environment: Pollution
Anti-consumerism: Consumerism
Anti-Capitalist: Capitalist

The main conflicts in Wall-E are the influences of consumerism and the effects of pollution, a problem reflected in our own society today, Wall-E could be considered a warning of what is to come if the humans don’t make lifestyle changes. The humans who have been deported to space have turned into obese and passive consumers, who spend their days on virtual holidays, talking to each other virtually and staring at a screen all day. The film deals with the issues that are affecting todays’ society, and reflect Marxist views that a single large corporation can take over the world. Wall-E is not the only Pixar film which features the ‘Buy ‘N’ Large’ company logo, it can also be seen in Up (2009), where the company tries to buy a house off an elderly man, to knock it down and build a shopping centre. Many critics in the blogosphere have argued that the Wall-E is unsuitable for children as it deliberately conveys environmentalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-technological propaganda — and aims it at an audience of children, who some argue still lack the critical faculties and intellectual sophistication to evaluate all relevant aspects of the issues presented. The ideology (obvious to adults) in the film is shadowed by the classic narrative traits of the classical Hollywood romance genre, all Wall-E wants is for the sleek robot EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), which interrupts his earthly rubbish collecting routine, to hold his hand like the characters on his favourite video tape Hello-Dolly!
This form of narrative is the most common and can be uncovered by looking at the theories of Vladimir Propp (1968) who researched the common properties of folk-tales and defining common ‘spheres of action’ that can be found within the story. These are outlined below and used to show their relevance to Wall-E:

1. The Villain- Characteristically in Wall-E the villain is Auto, who tries to stop the Axiom (the space craft, perhaps a nod to Blade runner) with a sidekick called GO-4, from returning to Earth. Thematically however the villain is ‘Buy ‘N’ Large’, who have promoted consumerism and contributed to the pollution of planet Earth.
2. The Donor/ Provider- Wall-E, as he finds and provides the plant which means the humans can return to Earth.
3. The Helper- The helper in Wall-E is both the Axiom’s captain and the rogue robots that Wall-E helps escape from the factory. Wall-E is also helped by M-O (Microbe-Obliterator).
4. The Princess- EVE
5. The Dispatcher- EVE
6. The Hero/ Victim- Wall-E
7. The False Hero- Auto, he first appears good but turns out to be evil.

These properties can be applied to countless numbers of films for example, the helpers are similar to the dwarfs in Snow White, Wall-E is similar to Dreamworks Shrek or the Beast from Beauty and the Beast who falls in love with someone who is seemingly out of their league only to eventually capture their heart in a display of romance and bravery. Turner (1988) states this, ’underlines the possibility that film and the primitive fairy-tale serve similar functions for their respective audiences. ‘These properties are still relevant to contemporary film however; the purpose has changed alongside society. It could be suggested that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Shrek (2001) and Finding Nemo (2003) were used as ideological tools to naturalize difference in society. The dwarfs’ bare similarities with the malfunctioning robots in Wall-E, both groups would be categorised in Propp’s spheres of action as the helper’s. Shrek and Nemo have similarities with Wall-E as being the unlikely heroes. If film relates to social issues it could then be rational to suggest that contemporary productions such as Wall-E, which has similarities to Blade Runner, as it shows human colonialism in space, are forms of warning humanity about the effects of consumerism and pollution. Also that our reliance on advancing technology can damage relationships among humans, in Wall-E the humans have become the impassive robots and the robots have become the humans. Wall-E and EVE can be seen dancing around the Axiom in space and building friendships while humans have become stationary and passive, only connecting with each other through technology, this is only broken when the humans are forced to recognise each other because of the disruption of their daily routines as the captain struggles with Auto to bring the humans back to Earth. The animation of the film allows the audience- the majority of which are children, to consume these connoted messages passively.

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As the works of Julia Kristeva, along with other poststructuralist theorists, has taught us, any text is a combination of others, a part of a larger fabric of cultural discourse. “A text is a multidimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash”, writes Barthes in 1977 (P. 146) Film theoreticians Raengo & Stam (2005)explains: “The text feeds on and is fed into an infinitely permutating intertext, which is seen through ever shifting grids of interpretation” (P.57) The depth of intertextuality in Wall-E is continuous, referencing other films such as Blade-Runner (1982), I Am Legend (2007), Hello Dolly!(1969) and many more. Thompson (1997) suggests such analogic equivalencies are quite consistent with cognitive schema theory: consumers learn about novel products by thinking about them as similar or dissimilar to product concepts they already have in memory. References to other texts produce a multi-layered intertextual fabric, in which each thread potentially unravels the narrative possibilities suggested by the other threads. Intertextuality functions to increase ambiguity, and is therefore thematically relevant to narrative theory. Wall-E’s behaviour and personality is somewhat reminiscent of Chaplin-esque slapstick humour, particularly when he causes chaos in the factory, a nod to Chaplin’s little tramp in Modern Times (1936), it is easy to see where Pixar got the idea of having very little dialogue at the start of the film. “Meaning becomes something which exists between a text and all the other texts to which it refers and relates, moving out from the independent text into a network of textual relations” Allen (2000,P.1). An interpretation of this use of text could be a suggestion that humanity needs to look back and remember simpler times where technology and social issues were different, and production and agriculture thrived; thus corresponding with the narrative themes of anti-consumerism and environmentalist views in Wall-E. The incorporation of HelloDolly! serves the same purpose, when the clips of the film appear brighter on screen connoting happiness and better times, referring back to a time when human interaction was more important than the latest trend or newest technological advancement. I Am Legend (2007) and Wall-E share a similar establishing narrative, a vast city landscape that is now a brownish haze of rubbish and squealer, also similar to The Day After Tomorrow (2004), these references derive meaning in the form of a warning that if humans continue on the path of consumerism and pollution they could potentially destroy their planet. In the waste level of the Axiom spaceship, a nod to the rubbish compactor in Star Wars (1977), Apple computer mouses, PC computer parts and other remnants of our disposable culture can be spotted. Intertextuality distorts the outlines of texts, making them an “illimitable tissue of connections and associations” (Barthes 1981, P. 39). However this wholly depends on the reader’s knowledge to make all the necessary links.

Narrative structure is universal; the narrative theories of Propp (1968) and Levi-strauss (1955:1966) illuminate the fundamental values governing the movement of narrative. This research on Wall-E shows that both the structuralist theories of Levi-Strauss and the folklore studies of Propp can usefully be applied to many different texts from a variety of cultures, which can help their audiences derive meaning from and relate to these texts as they address the cultural issues within contemporary society. “By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.” Eco (1994) Themes in film progress alongside society however the narrative structure of the majority of films remains the same. Wall-E could be described as Pixar’s most original unoriginal movie, the film, like most movies, is just the same story told in a new way. The robots are gendered to reinforce common narratives of heterosexual relationships of the classic boy-meets-girl love story even further. Although the interpretations of Wall-E’s ideological themes hit home, the film is a complete contradiction of itself. With the production of merchandise and advertising that will inevitably surround the film Disney Pixar is encouraging consumption and pollution, as children will want the merchandise which will eventually become waste materials. ‘Films can be regarded either as entertaining fictions, as reflections of reality, or as cultural artefacts that shape and constitute our understanding of social and organizational life.’ Huczynski & Buchanan (2004, P.708)

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References
Allen, G. (2000) Intertextuality. London: Routledge
Barthes, R. (1977) Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives, in: Image-Music-Text. London : Fontana.
Barthes, R. (1981) Introduction to the structural analysis of the narrative. Birmingham [England]: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham.
Beauty and the Beast (1991) [film] Walt Disney Feature Animation: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise.
Blade Runner (1982) [film] Warner Bros.: Ridley Scott.
Brooks, P. (1984) Reading for the Plot. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press.
Buchanan, D. and Huczynski, A. (1997) Organizational behaviour. London [u.a.]: Prentice Hall.
Eco, U. (1994) Six walks in the fictional woods. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Hello Dolly! (1969) [DVD] USA: Gene Kelly.
I Am Legend (2007) [film] USA: Francis Lawrence.
Modern Times (1936) [film] USA: Charlie Chaplin.
Propp, V. (1968). The Morphology of the Folktale. University of Texas Press.
Raengo, A. and Stam, R. (2005) Literature and film. Malden, Mass. [u.a.]: Blackwell.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) [film] USA: Roland Emmerich.
Shrek (2001) [film] DreamWorks Pictures: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) [film] USA: Walt Disney.
Star Wars (1977) [film] USA: George Lucas.
Thompson, C. J. (1997), Interpreting Consumers: A Hermeneutical Framework for Deriving Marketing Insights from the Texts of Consumers’ Consumption Stories”, Journal of Marketing Research, 34, November, 438-455.
Turner, G. (1988) Film as social practice. London: Routledge.
Wall-E (2008) [film] Pixar Animation Studios: Andrew Stanton

Lost friendships

This happens to everyone in life at some stage or another and there are really only a few options.

You can accept it for what it is or you can accept a broken friendship and try and move on but either way it’ll never be the same as it used to be.

Losing friends is hard, especially with people you have amazing memories with but people develop different interests, fall out, or simply grow apart and that, unfortunately is a part of growing up. However one thing is for certain, you will always make more friends.

Sometimes it’s just not worth the investment in trying to rebuild a broken relationship as there will always be underlying cracks.

What you realise in time is, that not everyone you lose is a loss.

Aren’t you scared?

I have had a lot people asking me about my posts on mental Illness and social anxiety. The most common thing people ask is, ‘aren’t you afraid of what other people think?’

The honest answer is no, not even a little. If what I write helps someone understand or raises more awareness then I have no reason to be afraid.

When I was secondary school I didn’t know what was wrong with me, why I had different reactions to certain situations compared to other people. Why conversations and the things I had to say would die in my mouth. I’m so much healthier and happier now that I know the cause, now that I am more equipped to deal with it and understand the why’s.

So no I’m not afraid, because in life people are already judging me for so many other things so I might as well give them something worth talking about.

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My point is that sometimes our worst traits can coincide with our best.

Northern Ireland: Explained by Father Ted

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I think we can all agree that religion is a tricky and brittle topic in the North. However there are very few people who actually know their own history and culture. Unfortunately the hatred from both sides of the spectrum are bred into the children of this land; who develop opinions through their parents and environments rather than through knowledge.

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For some strange reason bricks represent quite a lot here. Between the colours of the curbs to how far you can throw them at moving targets.

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I think the world in general are aware of the stereotype that the Irish are drinkers or drunks and although we have our fair share of pioneers the stereotypes pretty close to the mark.

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One must be careful about what one says and to whom one says it, for some reason we are a very defensive nation.

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Frequently said when you’ve said something to someone that you shouldn’t have said something too.

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Every other nation would be proud to see their fellow countrymen and women on the TV… But not here. Why? Because they sound like morons that’s why. Cough Nadine Coyle Cough.

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We may be known internationally as people with a gift for the gab, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. So don’t come for a visit and expect everyone one to chat you up with silver tongued chat up lines, we have plenty of Gabshites as well.

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Some people still love a good mass! Kitted out in their Sunday best the godly people in the country still arrive in their droves for 12 O’clock mass. As well as being enlightening and informative for the soul it’s also great for a good old gossip. My granny goes everyday!

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Between greeting your nearest and dearest to your worst enemy we seem to have a fairly good range of inventive and aggressive insults. Warning: expect a lot of foul language… especially from the women.

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‘Don’t tell me I’m still on that feckin’ Island?’

We all may complain about it but there’s nowhere quite like home. We love it really.

10 stupid things all girls do

1. Never take a jacket

It doesn’t matter how many times someone says bring a jacket. We can think of a number of reasons not to… Where will I put it… I don’t want to carry it… It’s not that cold. Ten minutes later when you’ve left the house you’re freezing and know you should have brought the jacket.

2. We always text him back

We promise ourselves that we aren’t going to text that guy who’s been messing you about but the second he texts you, you just can’t help yourself. So instead you promise yourself that you’ll make it obvious via text messages that your not happy with him…. He never gets the point.

3. Buy stuff… Then never wear it.

We hmmm and haaa in the shop about buying something we aren’t sure about and nine times out of ten we buy it put it in the wardrobe and only look at it again when you’re giving it to charity.

4. ‘I don’t mind, where do you want to go?’

For some unknown reason girls just can’t make decisions on where we want to go to get food. It’s a universal thing, you should probably just stop asking, put on your big boy pants and decide for yourself.

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5. Get ridiculously annoyed when our hair won’t sit right.

This is the bane of our existence. Can sometimes result in tears or a hair brush being thrown across the room. Is the most common cause of girls deciding they aren’t going out anymore.

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6. Never know what to wear.

We try on 7 million outfits. We wear the first one we’ve tried on and knew we were gonna wear in the first place but we just had to make sure.

7. ‘I’m Fine’, ‘it’s fine, have fun’, ‘no of course I don’t mind.’

In reality we are not fine, in fact, we are the furthest from fine as we can possibly be. And everyone knows it, you know it, we know you know it, you know that we know that you know it, but we still try pretend that we are totally FINE.

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8. ‘I hate her!’, ‘OMG Jen how are you, you look great.’

We’ve all done this (guys also do this) at least once in our lives, we dislike people yet are completely lovely to their face, yes it’s bitchy but you are hardly going to ignore them or tell them you hate them ,’Hey Jen, ya slag.’

9. ‘Why am I crying?’

We cry for very silly and sometimes entirely unknown reasons. PMS’ing or not, sometimes you just need a good cry. We know it’s irrational but that little puppy was just soooo cute and it looked really sad…

10. Never make the first move.

Whether it’s sending a text or leaning in for a sneaky kiss, we can’t bring ourselves to take the leap. Fear of rejection, scared to bother that person or not wanting to appear too keen and trying to play it cool are all common causes.