This blog will begin a long running series of research posts and articles related to our culture. Since the content is going to be expansive and much of this information may be used in a potential future book (After my U.S. Route 95 book is completed and published), this series could run deep into 2022 depending on the information that is found. These research posts will not be on a consistent basis and topics on this blog may still change depending on my interests during a particular period of time or changes that continue to impact our rapidly changing world. With these ‘conditions’ explained, let me give you an update on the research involved with this series.
I am currently in the process of reading two books that make important and sometimes critical comments about our culture. Wonderfully researched, the books are Gad Saad’s The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense and Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity. Non-fiction books that discuss current aspects of a culture usually are never evergreen, but both of these novelists write books that will be appreciated by generations in the future. Murray’s book feels like a 21st Century update to Charles Mackay’s legendary novel Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds written in the U.K. back in the mid-19th Century. The Saad book discusses how personal ideology and the human mind, which is constantly looking for meaning in a complex world, can become fixated on ideas that can have a long-term negative impact on any society if adopted by a large amount of people. Because human beings are complex and we think differently, these sort of utopian ideals usually descend the human race into authoritarian and freedom destroying dystopias. The mind when fixated on an ideology can worship this ‘mind worm’ like a religion and once your brain becomes fixated on it, no amount of common sense or rationality that may question the legitimacy of this ideology will ever be able to convince the practitioner that their belief is incorrect. In fact, the person will often double down and become more radical and ideological when confronted with contradictory facts. I have not begun Murray’s book yet. But when both these books are completed, they will be added into this blog series with reviews likely posted on the ideas discussed.
The much broader aspect of this research involves the ten classes I took to complete my Master’s Degree at Arizona State University between August of 2019 and May of 2021. Since becoming a professor is a personal goal that I wanted to achieve during the golden years of my life (My late 40s to 50s), I needed to get a Master’s Degree to qualify as a high school or junior college teacher so I can work up to being a university professor (Which usually requires a Doctorate). Since my career was in Television and Film Production, there were only a few paths I could take unless I wanted to start the entire college process over again at the Bachelor’s level. An MBA would be good for my personal career, but it required getting another Bachelor’s degree prior to admission to the program. Biology has always been a topic of interest but despite the amazing innovations occurring in biotech, this also required starting again from scratch. I could have gotten a Master’s of Science in Technical Communication. Since I am already working as a Technical Writer, this seemed redundant and pointless. Plus the fact that I live in the Temecula Valley which is not close to any university and getting rejected by University of California, Riverside for graduate studies made getting an online education necessary. Due to the large number of online choices, I chose Arizona State University, the college that got my wife her Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. There were three post-graduate categories I qualified for: Social and Behavioral Sciences (Because my California State Fullerton Bachelor’s Degree is in Communications with an emphasis in T.V./Film Production), Arts, and Communication and the Media. All Art degrees required being on campus in Tempe, AZ. So this route disqualified itself. Social and Behavioral Sciences was intriguing because anthropology and sociology are topics that have interested me since high school. Many of the Social and Behavioral Sciences graduate degrees revolved around “social justice” degrees, something that has never interested me (But will be discussed in much greater detail later), The options in this program were Sociology, Social Technology, Political Psychology, Organizational Leadership, and Geographic Education. The latter option, Geographic Education which is a large part of my current Engineering Design job, decided to no longer accept applicants. So this was disqualified. The middle three options all required degrees that I did not possess even though my personal interest in these subjects was increasing. Because of the need to again achieve a Bachelor’s Degree before entering these programs, these options were out. This left Sociology. On the Communications and Media side (My personal expertise), there were only three options: Communications, Film and New Media Studies, and Digital Audience Strategy. The latter option, Digital Audience Strategy, revolved around SEO and analytics which is something that has never interested me. I am currently learning SEO in the promotion of this blog and felt like a Master’s Degree was redundant. Leaving the final three options, I picked Film and New Media Studies for two reasons. First, the need to understand the media climate and the rapid evolution of the politics in this country is something that every high schooler and college student needs to learn how to navigate. To me, this is an area of education that is likely to explode over the next decade. Second, the degree was a Research degree meaning that I can use the tools provided to write my own books and publish professor approved research. So the choice was made to pursue my MAS in Film and New Media Studies.
In achieving this degree, I read hundreds of research articles related to the subject matter. There will be much more information on these articles as we dive deeper into this series. But to give you a list, these were the ten classes I took to achieve my degree.
Los Angeles: Film and Culture
Hollywood Film Historiography
Cultural History of U.S. Television: Theory and Method
Media Stardom and Celebrity
Digital Media Studies
Crime & Violence in American Film
Media, Technology & Society
While the focus on film took up half my classes (And was only interesting from a mostly historical and in the case of authorship, philosophical perspective, revolving around an industry that is in terminal decline), the other five classes taught many important facts about our cultural and societal evolution of the past 20 years. But besides the 85 to 90% of the interesting ideas promoted in these classes, much of my focus will be on the remaining 10 to 15% which relied heavily on topics of “social justice.” Arizona State University is located inside a very conservative and freedom loving state. So the education I received with this degree caught me off guard based on my previous education at Cal State Fullerton due to the one-sided perspective that the students and professors seemed to promote that revolved around their own personal beliefs. I was used to intellectual debate in my classes. While it still did exist in many of my classes, many of the debates were very one-sided towards a preferred argument that the professor was looking to promote. They were promoting the intellectual perspective for critical race theory. I am going to discuss in this series how engrained this form of teaching is and how in the quest to achieve “equality” or “equity”, what these professors are actually doing is dividing our country into tribes and creating more racism. I can not emphasize how dangerous this form of education is towards the future prospects of this nation.
I will also add in an article or two on a few other topics. Mega-corporations are embracing the concepts of critical race theory. I will dive into their “historic” stance against racism. I also want to look at two industries in decline, Hollywood, and the Professional Sports Leagues, which have both dived deep into this new era of social justice. I will begin my writing next week on the topic of Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy this series. Have yourselves a good week!
EXPERT OF SOME