Other Kevin Ryans

Having a relatively common name like Kevin Ryan sometimes has a comedic advantage. I have google send me an alert each week with Kevin Ryans in the News (not a boy band name). Anyway, last week I found a Kevin Ryan in upstate New York (Buffalo) that bowled a 279 in a league game. He plays for the Midnight bombers.

Another Kevin Ryan near West Point missed his court date so police are looking for him. Check the bowling alleys.

Danbury Connecticut has a Kevin Ryan teamed up with Kevin Pape to score 45 points to beat the Bethel Royal Fish and Chips team. I really don’t care what game they were playing.

Black belt KR showed off his skills by breaking boards in Dallas. He is 12. Stay away.

There is a US Attorney (for the Federal government) that prosecuted a prostitution ring in 2005, with the help of 400 law officers, which lead to the “recovery” of 100 sex workers. He was asked about it in relation to the sex ring in Florida where some basketball (?) coach and friend of DaTrump got caught with his pants down.

The internet entrepreneur Kevin Ryan is in the news again. After making millions by adding advertisements to web pages (doublespace, or something like that), he is now a venture capitalist, spreading capitalism around as if it were peanut butter. Something about Bluegound Business, but the link is broken. That’s OK.

Another Connecticut Yankee named Kevin Ryan is a politician. The Hartford-based state Rep is pushing a bill to give a rural area of Connecticut more mental health resources. Kudos. A good one.

Some soap opera character has two personalities, one called Kevin, the other Ryan. Double duty. But does it count?

Another politician in New Jersey, mayor of the small town of Verona, looks like he is for legalizing marijuana, asking people who voted to legalize gambling which hurts more people. Yeah.

Yet another east coast polititican, Kevin Ryan from Lincoln Rhode Island won re-election to the health board.

That was this week. The guitar maker (luthier), the Irish race horse owner, the Irish hurling coach (owner?), the Dublin Professor (some science), and one in Germany often show up, but not this week. Any I beat them all to the domain name. I had a page redirecting to others for years, until Facebook came on the scene.

What about your name? Have you looked it up lately?

A sad day at school for kissing

During break time, between classes, I like to play interesting videos, mostly with visual content, to get students focused on topics that may come up in one of my classes. Here is the one from this week.

A videographer for WREN Studios paid 20 models to kiss another model on film. Beautiful to look at. Then VICE, a documentary company, did the same thing with normal people. Here is another one, much longer, using people from New York.

Normally, I only show one video between classes. In my Digital Media class, however, this has developed into a good chunk of a lesson on differences between YouTube and TV. I play the first video, and as two questions: 1)What video is this? and 2) How does it make you feel? They jot down notes, some key words, collect their thoughts and then discuss. Question one is intended to devolve into a critical thinking activity, when students want to know what kind of video this is. Who made it? Why did they make it? Who is the intended audience. Today, I had to explain that this first video was a viral video, an immediately very popular video last year. It was billed as a video from a creation agency, and featured 20 strangers kissing. Turns out, though, that the “strangers” are all actors. Wren is a women’s clothing company. This viral video was just a new kind of commercial.

The student reaction was slight discomfort, and in a few cases more than that, when two of the 10 “couples” kissing were gay. Vice Studios, makers of those new style documentaries, did another version, this time with real people, not actors. The same two questions elicited very different answers. One student pointed out that the second video above, by Vice, had more realistic camera work, showing off the reality of the “couples” kissing. But most felt even more uncomfortable, as there were unusual mixes, with a very tall guy and a short woman, mixed races, and people that did not look at all like actors. And some gay people as well. The sentiment I got from the class was that these people were not “normal”.

The third linked video is another about kissing, and I used it to contrast with the first two, in that it was filmed in New York, instead of London, where the second one was filmed. (Not sure where the first one was filmed.) The people recruited for this third were an even more unusual assemblage, but all came as volunteers through word of mouth to help the director with her project.

There was a lot more talking in the third video, and students picked up on the commentary, mostly light banter. Again the same two questions. Why would a director in New York with a Korean name make a video of people kissing. And ask her boyfriend to stand in for one missing volunteer.

Asked whether this kind of video would appear on TV, there was a resounding “no!”, followed by a couple students saying “especially not here in Japan.” We went through some of the reasons why this would only work on YouTube. At the end of class, I asked students to wrap up their thoughts about all three videos in a short post to our online discussion area. And two of these (done off the bat) made me sad.

“I prefer the first video. because, all of them are actors or actress. So, they kissed naturally.”

And the other…”The first video was better than the others. I laughed at first, but gradually  it made me disgusted to watch.”

Intolerance pops up in places I would not have thought. This will be an interesting semester.