Pillow Talk

In the 1959 romantic comedy film Pillow Talk, Brad Allen is a successful music composer and womanizer living a luxurious life in New York City. However, with a simple change in accent, Brad suddenly transforms into Rex Stetson, an innocent countryman all the way from Texas. By faking a new accent, Brad is able to grasp a different persona and trick Jan Morrow into believing that he is not the “sex-manic” living upstairs but an inexperienced new-comer to the city life. Brad first takes on his identity as Rex when he encounters Jan at a nightclub. When the two finally begin to talk, Brad suddenly introduces himself in a Texan accent in order to hide his identity.

I found it extremely interesting how the audience was able to see Brad in an entirely different light. He was no longer the playboy who would make phone calls with multiple women, but an innocent and selfless man. Although Brad presented absolutely superb acting skills, his Texan accent was the key factor in his complete change of image. His accent sparked a myriad of stereotypes that caused Jan to misperceive the real “Rex Stetson.”

Jan immediately fell in love with Rex’s mysterious nature. Since he came from a completely different background, she was attracted to his foreign views and values. Immediately after their first meeting, Jan loved how different he was from the other men she had met and wanted to help him adjust to the city.

I had noticed that Brad’s accent not only gave him a nonnative image, but also made it seem as if he were more accustomed to the rural, nature life. This made him look as if he were an innocent man with great inexperience with women. His Texan accent allowed him to speak in a softer tone and helped portray himself as “the perfect gentleman.”

After observing the act of code switching throughout the movie, I was stunned at the transformations Brad was able to make. In my opinion, I do not believe that Jan would have taken a great interest in Brad if it had not been for his change of voice. By taking on a new accent, Brad was able to act differently from his normal self and slowly become more immersed in the character of Rex. Even after watching the movie, I still felt uneasy about the fact that Jan was able to accept Brad’s actions, despite the never-ending lies that took place during their entire relationship. This not only strengthened my view on the power of code switching, but also allowed me to understand the complex nature of human beings.

Code-switching

After reading the article, “How Code-Switching Explains the World,” I was very intrigued by the whole concept of code-switching. Although it was my first time hearing the term being used, I felt as if I had already known this expression. Thinking back, there are so many instances where I had seen or had personally experienced this unconscious practice. I would see code-switching happening at my school, when all the students would suddenly change their tone of voice upon entering the classroom. I would see it occur during swim practice, when my coach would speak in a more didactic tone and seemed like a completely different person from his normally laid-back self.

The place where I experience the most code-switching is at my local church. I attend church every Sunday and experience a great diversity of code-switching forms. The service is carried out in Korean and is attended by members of all ages. When speaking in Korean, I noticed myself talking in a calmer tone and using words that I would not normally use when speaking in English. For example, when replying how I am doing, in Korean, I would say something in the equivalence of “Yes, I am doing well” when in English, I would naturally reply with a “Yeah, I’m good.” Although these two replies may seem similar, during the course of the conversation, they produce completely contrasting conversations.

I also noticed that my surroundings greatly influence my behavior. Although I am still around the same group of people such as my friends and family, the sole change in setting brings out a different side of my personality. I would speak slowly and would always be cautious of my word selections. I would address my friends and family in a more respectful manner and refrain from saying any jokes or funny stories.

By reading about code-switching, I was able to self-reflect on how this practice takes place in my life. I realized that code-switching does not necessarily mean one to “pretend” to be someone else; it simply describes the change in behavior and speech in order to adapt to a certain setting or audience. I am content that I was able to learn about this new term and become more observant of not only my behavior but also the behavior of others.

Facebook Profile

For many Facebook users, Facebook is a place where people are able to express themselves and share meaningful or in other cases, trivial events that are happening in their daily lives. However, over the years, I realized that my individual involvement with this networking service has drastically decreased, regardless of the many significant events that have recently occurred in my life. It is pretty ironic that my Facebook profile states absolutely nothing or in some cases, presents the complete opposite about myself.

I joined Facebook on December 7th, 2007 for no particular reason. It was a trend. It was a fad. And, it was rumoured to be better than MySpace, so I signed up immediately. Back then, there was no pressure when uploading photos and no need to double check spelling when writing a post. I had nothing to hide from the 15 real friends whom I was sharing the information with. Today, I have over 500 eyes scanning each and every mark I leave behind.

I realized that as I grew and as Facebook itself expanded, my attitude towards the website had completely changed. I felt as if I had to protect and seclude myself from others, slowly forgetting Facebook’s concept of sharing and connecting. I noticed that I had started to change my privacy settings to restrict others from gaining access to my already inexistent Facebook life. I began to think twice when accepting friend requests and untagged myself from hundreds of photos. I don’t know why I was acting so paranoid at the time. I had nothing to hide, so why was I making such a big fuss?

Thinking back, I feel that my actions were sparked by insecurity. I felt uncomfortable with the whole concept of hundreds of people scrutinizing my actions. There were many instances when I tried to deactivate my account, but each time, there was always a reason why I could not. I did not realize that there were so many other functions that this networking service provided. If I were to delete my account, I would not get access to all my extracurricular Facebook groups and have to rely communicating with my friends via text instead of Facebook messenger. I finally realized how much Facebook really does contribute to my daily life and how varied all the tools this site offers. Gradually, I became more accustomed and felt comfortable to disclose a piece of my life to others.

Although I am content with the service that Facebook provides its users, my profile still only consists of occasional group photos and a series of birthday posts listed year after year. My profile states that I have no interests, no religious views, no favourite quotations, and no memorable life events.

I recognized that Facebook has become less about myself as an individual but has been used as a network to connect with others. It holds such diverse functions that are able to serve many different kinds of people. Whether it is through uploading photos, making posts, or creating events, this media site provides a playground where people, no matter how different they are, can come together and interact in a million different ways.