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Media, Communications & Trends

Becoming Media Literate


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Have you ever tried to do the Test Bechdel ? It is really an interesting test that reveals a lot about the film industry. So I tried to apply this test to the last ten movies I have watched.

Last 10 films watched : 

– The Artist (FAIL) : It is a silent film. But they communicate. But the woman in this film does not speak with another girl.

 – Intouchables (FAIL) : There are some women but they do not speak together.

– Harry Potter (FAIL) : Hermione is Harry Potter’s best friend but she does not speak with other girl, I think.

– Reservoir Dogs (FAIL) : There is no women in this movie.

– Dead Line (FAIL) : There is just a wife in this movie but she speaks only with his husband.

– The Departed (FAIL) : There is a women who is psychologist but she speak only with men.

– Never Let Me Go (FAIL) : There are two main female characters but I thnink that when they speak they talk about men.

– Drive (FAIL) : There are two female characters but they do not speak together.

– Morning Glory (PASS) : The main character is a woman, and she speak with a other woman about job.

– The Help (PASS) : It is a movie on black women conditions in the fifties. So women speak together about their social conditions.

The test applies to a movie you have watched. You have to ask you if there are two women in this movie, if they have a name, if they talk together about another subject than men. This test is quite difficult to apply for some films because you can remember if there are girls but it’s more difficult to know if they have name, if they speak together and to know their topic of discussion. The results of this test were surprising and a little bit heartbreaking. 8 of 10 films I watched have failed. In these movies, there are often male heroes and female secondary characters. Women are often personified as the companion of their husband, as a friend or as a person that man has to seduce. And it is really surprising to see that these women do not have name, they do not speak together, and if they do, they do not talk about something else than men. While that there are men, who speak together about politics, economic issues, family issues, and social issues.

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It is clear that this test shows that there is a lack of women representativeness. Women in these movies are often reduced to a function of friends or wife and when they speak they just discuss about love or other subject around men. But it is not necessary to remember that as men, women have an active life, they work, have hobbies, stories, friends, occupations, and passions. We can see that in  the two films that have passed the test, women are main characters, who talk to other women on other issues than men and their relationships with them. These films are about their daily lives, their work, friendship, their hobbies, politics issues etc. So they have many other topics of conversation.

It is interesting to notice that most movies have a male main character, and there are femals characters around him. However, it appears that film making is not the first art to under-represent women. In Literature, most of main characters are men and it seems that women have the ability to identify themselves to both male and female characters. On this basis, the main character is usually a man. But why can we not think that men would arrive to identify with a female characters. Indeed, men can identify to a female heroe who has the same preoccupations than men.

However it seems that film industry does not want to change this situation. Imagine if in most of films, the main characters are women ? Can you imagine that  Spider man is a women ? I think that it can be a real democratic upheaval ! I think that television is more democratical on this question because TV shows can be more specific and target a smaller audience. In this way, they can take more risks in representing women. I think for a studio who want to make a blockbuster it is more risky to represent women in another way than a pin-up or a housewife. But I think that it it is a risk to take !

Have you ever tried to reverse genders in a song? Replace “he” with “she”? Yet this is suggested by the Willy Test : you have to replace genders in songs to show gender differences, sexism or misogyny. So I tried to do this test on three  current popular songs. I tried to learn by doing this test that could hide behind the lyrics of these songs. Most of the time, people listen to and appreciate songs for their melody or rythm rather than for the mean of words. But when focusing on lyrics, this can become very interesting ! Lets do it !

I decided to do the test on three songs by three different artists :  I’m A Slave 4 U by Britney Spears, Sexy Chick by David Guetta Feat Akon and Run The World by Beyonce. I did not randomly selected these songs. First, I chose them because they are famous. But also because when I listened to them for the fisrt time, I was surprised or shocked. I chose them because even without having done the  Willy test, I knew they conveyed or defended gender stereotypes.

Britney Spears – I’m A Slave 4 U

I know I may be young, but I’ve got feelings too.
And I need to do what I feel like doing.
So let me go and just listen.
All you people look at me like I’m a little girl.
Well did you ever think it be okay for me to step into this world.
Always saying little girl don’t step into the club.
Well I’m just tryin’ to find out why cause dancing?s what I love.
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)(Do you like it)
Get it get it, get it get it (Oh)(This feels good)
I know I may come off quiet, I may come off shy.
But I feel like talking, feel like dancing when I see this guy.
What’s practical is logical. What the hell, who cares?
All I know is I’m so happy when you’re dancing there.
I’m a slave for you. I cannot hold it, I cannot control it.
I’m a slave for you. I won’t deny it, I’m not trying to hide it.
Baby, don’t you want to, dance upon me,
(I just want to dance next to you)
To another time and place.
Baby, don’t you want to, dance upon me,
(Are you ready)
Leaving behind my name, my age.
(Lets go)
(Like that)
(You like it)
(Now watch me)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Oh)
I really want to dance, tonight with you.
(I just can’t help myself)
I really want to do what you want me to.
(I just feel I let myself go)
I really want to dance, tonight with you.
(Wanna see you move)
I really want to do what you want me to.
(Uh Uh Uh)
Baby, don’t you want to, dance upon me,
(I just want to dance next to you)
To another time and place.
Baby, don’t you want to, dance upon me,
(Are you ready)
Leaving behind my name, my age.
I’m a slave for you. (Take that) I cannot hold it, I cannot control it.
I’m a slave (It just feels right) for you. (It just feels good)
I won’t deny it, I’m not trying to hide it. (Baby)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Oh)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Whoa)
Get it get it, get it get it (Oh)
I’m a slave for you. (Here we go now)
I cannot hold it, I cannot control it.
I’m a slave for you. (Here we go) I won’t deny it, (Yeah)
I’m not trying to hide it.

First, I selected  I’m A Slave 4 U, sung by Britney Spears. This song has shocked some people because in the dance clip, Britney Spears is pretty provocative when she is dancing and she is dancing  in very sexual way. The lyrics speak of a young girl who wants to be treated no more as a little girl but as a young women who wants to dance and get into bars. Especially for dancing with a boy and be guided entirely by him. Hence the title of the song. Moreover it is not a love song but a seduction song. It is interesting to reverse genders in this song because you can see a young man could have said the same thing, he wants independence and wants to live his life. However, I do not know if the sexual part could be sung by a man. Here, the song for me is indicative of a strong stereotype of women would be willing to become a slave in offering his body completely for sex, without controlling anything.

David Guetta Feat Akon – Sexy Chick

Yes I can see her
Cause every girl in here wonna be her
Oh shes a diva
I feel the same and I wonna meet her
They say she low down
Its just a rumor and I don’t believe em
They say she needs to slow down
The baddest thing around town
She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighbourhood hoe
I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful
The way that booty movin I can’t take no more
Have to stop what i’m doin so I can pull up close
I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful
Dam girl
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
A sexy bitch
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
Dam girl
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
A sexy bitch
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
Dam girl
Yes I can see her
Cause every girl in here wonna be her
Oh shes a diva
I feel the same and I wonna meet her
They say she low down
Its just a rumor and I don’t believe em
They say she needs to slow down
The baddest thing around town
She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighbourhood hoe
I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful
The way that booty movin I can’t take no more
Have to stop what i’m doin so I can pull up close
I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful
Dam girl
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
A sexy bitch
Dam you’se a sexy bitch
Dam girl

The second song Sexy Chick is a very famous song, right now. You should know that the original title of the song was changed in the United States because it was perceived as insulting and sexist. However, it is very easy to understand that instead of “chick” this is “bitch”. Besides, I found that replacing a word phonetically similar by another emphasizes this word and thus retains more the listener’s attention instead of not do it. In short, this song is for me just as revealing of gender stereotypes. Here, the woman is returned to its sexual function. She seems to be a bait, a pretty piece of cake in a showcase that men would taste at all costs. The title emphasizes the fact that women are sexual objects. And it is really weird because in this song, the singer says that he won’t to insult the girl “ I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful” but during the chorus he just insults her in using a kind of oxymore “sexy chick -bitch-”.  Imagine for a second to do the Willy test on this song, you will find that it would be too strange. A woman could not sing a song like this and talking to a guy in this way. Whereas today, this song does not seem to shock and it is played in every night clubs. Moreover, this weekend I observed in a night club that girls love to dancing on the words that insult them. Maybe they will not listen lyrics and just only the instruments !

Beyonce – Run The World

Girls, we run this motha (yeah!)
GIRLS!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Some of them men think they freak this like we do
But no they don’t
Make your cheques come at they neck,
Disrespect us no they won’t
Boy don’t even try to touch this
Boy this beat is crazy
This is how they made me
Houston, Texas baby
This goes out to all my girls
That’s in the club rocking the latest
Who will buy it for themselves and get more money later
I think I need a barber
None of these ** can fade me
Im so good with this,
I remind you im so hood with this
Boy im just playing, come here baby
Hope you still like me, ** pay me
My persuasion can build a nation
Endless power, our love we can devour
You’ll do anything for me
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
It’s hot up in here
DJ don’t be scared to run this, run this back
I’m repping for the girls who taking over the world
Have me raise a glass for the college grads
Anyone rolling I’ll let you know what time it is
You can’t hold me
I broke my 9 to 5 and copped my cheque

This goes out to all the women getting it in,
Get on your grind
To the other men that respect what I do
Please accept my shine
Boy you know you love it
How we’re smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bare the children
Then get back to business
See, you better not play me
Don’t come here baby
Hope you still like me
** pay me!
My persuasion can build a nation
Endless power
Our love we can devour
You’ll do anything for me
Who run the world? Girls!
Who run this motha? Girls!
Who run the world? Girls!
Who are we?
What we run?
The world!


The last song Run The World is a hope in this so stereotyped world of music. This Beyonce song is for me a step forward because this song is feminist and telling women to take control of their world and not be dominated by men.  Although much effort has been done by governments and that mores are evolving gradually, there is still a long way to go before the time that housework is shared equitably, that women’s wages are equal to men for a same work performed and that women are no longer considered only as a sex objects flesh but also as beings to love. For indeed, the most of time and overhall, men sing songs on the body and the physical attractiveness of women, and women sing on their romantic love and spiritual attraction that they have for men. So I think that popular music has to change to be less stereotyped and more progressive !


To illustrate the convergence of media and the importance of the U.S. giants of Big Media and their vertical integration and synergies, it may be interesting to study the promotion and distribution of a film. For this, I wanted to choose a film released recently and therefore to study the campaign deployed before and during the movie. So I chose the French film The Artist, who has been very successful in France and who knows now the same situation in the United States. He had many awards at the Golden Globes and is nominated in many categories for the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 26. This film was directed by French director Michel Hazanavicius. It was produced by Thomas Langmann. The main actors are Jean DuJardin and Berenice Bejo. The music was created by James Bource. La Petite Reine and ARP Selection are the studios which produced the film. There are different distributors for different countries. Entertainment Film Distributors is responsible for distributing the film and promoted in the UK. In France, posters, promotional magazines, advertising, and exploitation campaigns, the official website of the film, press interviews, press releases, derivatives (such as posters, the soundtrack to the film) were developed by teams of Warner Bros France.

I expected by choosing this film that Warner Bros which belongs to the media giant Time Warner, will be responsible for communicating and promoting the film. And that he could deploy its channels, its magazines, its newspapers as ideal platforms for promotion and that a cross media promotion could take place. However, I was surprised to learn that it was The Weinstein Company, which last May did get the rights to distribute and promote the film.

The Weinstein Company (TWC) is an American film studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 2005.  Just after the brothers left the then-Disney-owned Miramax Films, they had which co-founded in 1979. They retained ownership of the Dimension Films label of Miramax. While TWC is a mini-major much smaller than the six media giants (Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation,Viacom and CBS, Bertelsmann and General Electric/NBC Universal) in the United States, it is nonetheless a real war machine.

Harvey Weinstein, who worked long time for Disney, is an  experienced and prestigious distributor, and a talented communicator. In fact, TWC was responsible for promoting many films that became cult like Pulp FictionShakespierre in LoveThe King’s Speech or more recently Iron Lady. This media company does not have a various number of channels, magazines and newspapers as Time Warner or News Corps, but manages to deploy powerful media campaigns. For example, TWC was able to promote the film The King’s Speech which was named best film against all odds. This year, U.S. President Barack Obama was the first american viewer to watch The Artist, projected in August at the home of Harvey Weinstein in Tribeca.

For this, the main actors, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, and the director Michel Hazanavicius agreed to play the game and blocked their calendars until February, 26th 2012 to participate in interviews and other events to promote the film. Moreover, the concept of the film has a certain advantage, it is easily understood in all countries. The action, which takes place during a pivotal period of American cinema, may not leave the Academy of Oscars indifferent, not to mention the numerous allusions in the film echoing the works of this period. Projections are scheduled in New York, in Hollywood, at the American Film Market in Los Angeles, in many festivals … The Weinstein Company, with its professionalism in the field, which earned over the years numerous awards, therefore falls in battle.

We can see that the  movie’s official website is related directly to TWC. We can see that many newspapers belonging to media giants as Time -who belongs to Time Warner- published flattering articles on this film and place first in their top 10.  Newspapers as The Guardian or Los Angeles Times which wrote extensively about this film. Large websites specializing in cinema as DeadLine or Fandango promoted the film.

In the U.S. tabloids, TWC has succeeded in creating a new star, Jean Du Jardin. It appears in several articles as a rising star as was the French actress, Marion Cotillard. Despite the French accent and his bad English, TV channels  are fighting for the actor on their TV sets.  Just a few weeks of the ceremony, Jean Du Jardin participates in many shows including the famous U.S. show The Late Show. TWC has also managed to create a buzz around Uggie, the dog of the film.

Moreover, many products have emerged before and after the movie as film posters or for instance the soundtrack which is currently is available on Sony Music or on Amazon. And I think that after the Oscar Ceremony, a lot of products, press articles and TV  shows come out around the results and awards of the film.

Finally, we saw in the analysis of promotion and distribution of the film The Artist that even if the distributor is not part of a big media company, they may still succeed promoted for a movie. Of course, be part of a huge media company would facilitate the cross media promotion, the dissemination of promotional messages in various media channels of the media group. But it is also necessary that the film is as good as the communication process implemented by the media company! The media business and power are not everything !

Gans’s Basic Journalistic Values # 2

I chose to study the newspaper The Wall Street Journal week-end Saturday/sunday, February 4-5, 2012. When I look at the front page, I can see three main articles. Each articles refers to one or more basic journalistic values shown by Gans. I will try to explain the relationship between articles and Gans’s values.

If we focus on the first article of the front page, entitled “Jobs Power Market Rebound”, we can see that it refers to the Responsible Capitalism value. This article explains that in January, jobs power market was in full extension and unemployment rate declined. Here is highlighted the value of Responsible Capitalism. Indeed, it highlights that the economy is doing better, that economic activities are more competitive and allow to hire new people. We can notice that this value is underlined by some other minor articles in the newspaper. Indeed, there are nine articles which talk about business and finance. But some of them are rather negative about economy. As the article on the company Caterpillar who close a plant in Ontario.

When we look at the second main article on the front page, we can see that this article, entitled “For Wounded Vet, Love Pierces the Fog of War” refers to many Gans’s basic journalistic values. To sum up, this article is about the life of an American soldier and his wife after the war in Iraq. This former 21 years old soldier suffers from excessive violence, insomnia, stress disorders and amnesia. He is struggling to resume normal life, and sometimes he can be violent or very sad. The article traces his life, his childhood, when he joined the army, his friends killed in action, his first victim and his returning home. This article stresses the value of Social Order. Soldiers who returning home are shocked and they can no longer adapt to daily life, to the social order. This article also discusses the notion of Altruistic Demoncracy since these soldiers gave their lives to protect the values of the United States. They have suffered and will suffer again for the public interest. Finally, this article portrays this couple as a symbol. These individuals represent couples whose husbands went to war and return home. Those couples who face great difficulty in rebuilding and re-planning the future.

When you look at the third main article on the front page, we can notice that the article refers to Individualism value. In fact, this article, entitled “In Super Bowl, Giants go long for a number Cruncher” deals with the career of a man who is football fan, how he is becoming a strategist of this game, and why he decided to open a website on which he analyses games and gives some advices to the Giants and several other teams which used that to prepare for their opponents.This article finally answers to the Gans’s value of Individualism because it deals with the carreer of an individual who makes a difference. It represents the loyalty of fans to the sport of football, he is the symbol. In this time of super bowl, it represents two key figures in the sport, supporters and strategists.

In addition of these three main articles, some others items talk about Leadership (another Gans’s value) showing by example that Goldman CEO Blankfein has reduced nearly half its stock bonus. An article talking about the fact that hackers have managed to intercept a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard. This article illustrates the value of Social Order because hackers challenge the public order.

To conclude, I tryed to explain which values I found and the evidence for them in each articles in the front page.  But I think the list of Gans is not quite complete and not perfect. For instance, when I read newspapers and especially the French and English newspapers, I find there are a lot of articles dealing with international news. I do not think that journalists talk about news in other countries just to compare them with those of our country. I want to relativize the first value of Gans, that of Ethnocentrism. I think that news are not everytime focus on our country and it is not especially good news on our country. I also want to show the importance of volunteerism, of associations’ actions, of humanitarian activities, of environmental issues or of corporate social responsabilities. I think it lacks a value to cover this aspect of news that is omnipresent in media. We can call it Social and Environmental Responsability.

Since the creation of telegraph, each new media which appeared, complements the other pre-existing media. For instance, radio complements newspapers because it can inform people instantaneously when an event took place whereas newspapers cannot deliver news directly. Television allows people to have in the same time, sound and images.

But Internet appears as a medium which includes the other media.  For instance, you can use Internet to see some TV shows, news or movies. You can use Internet to read newspapers or magazines, to read some articles, books, or to listen to the radio and music. You  have access to each media just by one channel, Internet. And now, you can have access to the Internet at anytime and anywhere with many different supports as computers, digital tablets, smartphones or connected TV. But it seems that Internet is more than a multimedia or a transmedia.  Internet is a new kind of media because there are news forms of mass communication :  the arrival of social media on the Internet as social networks (Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon,Linkedin…), forums or blogs.

I made this introduction because when I look what is my media consumption I see that I spend 5 hours a day on Internet. I do not watch TV on a TV set. I do not buy  print newspapers. It is been long time that I have not turned on my radio in my bathroom. But I am not saying that I have stopped to consume media, on the contrary, I consume lot of different media and longer.

Looking every day during three days how I use media – how long, which kind of media etc- , I notice that I spend a lot of time on the Internet and especially on social networks. I use social networks because they allow users to keep in touch with friends,  to see what they post, to be informed  about their lives. In addition, when you are far from home, this new need to keep in touch is even stronger and verified. Social networks can also provide contents and especially news. Users can use social networks to exchange interesting links, videos, articles, pictures. You can call them as “User Generated Contents”. And  this exchange of information turns out to be a real explosion of knowledge. That is why I enjoy going on social networks as they allow me to stay in touch with my friends but also with the world.

But social networks are not sufficient to stay informed. News on social networks are too short, not checked, not done by journalists and there is a lack of details. That is why I visit websites or applications of the main newspapers or newsletters. News are more complete, better informed, checked. In my opinion, newspapers are more legitimate to deliver true news. But it is true that there are some blogs who deliver great information.

Besides, on Internet, I also consult TV news channels to watch sound and images. When I want a short and fast news, I watch TV news channels or I listen to the radio. I do not watch programs, TV shows on my TV set (because I do not have it) but on my digital tablet. And in this way, I can choose programs I want to see.

It is true that I spend too much time on Skype, it is because I come from abroad and therefore I call my family regularly. In my daily life, I use Skype less and more my cell phone.

To conclude, when I watch my media consumption I realise that I am a multitasking. In fact, I use lot of different media in the same time but on different supports as my computer, my cellphone or my digital tablet. And I can read an article on a newspapers, listen to the radio and post on my blog or on social networks simultaneously !

My Media Dairy :

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 

9:00 am – 9:30 am :  iPhone : to watch my messages (1 min), to go on my Facebook account (29 min)

9:30 am – 11:00 am : iPad :  to watch news on ABC News App and BFM TV (15 min), to see my email (5min), to go on Skype to speak with my family in France (40min), to go online on textbook websites to rent textbooks (10 min), to check my bank account (10 min).

01:00pm –  3:00 pm : on my computer : to go online, to post on Facebook and Twitter (30min), to go on Gmail to check my emails (10min), to go on YouTube to watch videos (clips, music) (20 min). To work on WordPress to create my RTVF blog (1 hour).

09:00 pm – 11:00 pm : on my computer : to watch a movie (The Graduate)(2 hours)

Friday, January 27th, 2012 

10:00 am – 12 : 00 pm : iPhone and iPad: to read my messages, to go oline on my facebook and Twitter accounts (30 min), to go on Gmail to check my emails (30min), to go on Skype to call my friends (1 hour).

11:00 pm – 11:30 pm : Computer : to go online to check my messages on Facebook and Twitter (15 min), to read my email (5 min), to read news (10 min)

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 

10:00 am – 01:00 pm : on my computer to read my mails (10 min), to go online on Facebook to post pictures of Stanford university that I took friday afternoon and read the timeline (1 hour). To speak with my family on Skype (50 min). To compare the price of textbooks on different websites and in the same time, to watch news on ABC news app (1 hour).

02:00 pm – 04:00 pm : on my computer : to work on wordpress and write an essay. To listen music and news on a american radio (i don’t know the name).

06:00 pm – 07:00 pm : to read some books about TV shows, films.

Total amount of time on : 

– Social networks (especially Facebook and Twitter) :  2h 45 min

– Mailing : 1 hour

– Surfing on websites (bank, sjsu, wordpress) : 3h20 min

– Skype :  2h30 min

– Cellphone : 5 min,

– Books : 1 hour

– Radio : 1h

– TV on iPad : 15 min

– Movies : 2 hours

– Videos online : 20 min

-Newspapers online : 10 min

In 2021, I wish I will be a billionaire because I will find a new digital concept on the web and I will be the boss of a new growing start-up !

In 2021, I wish  I will be a mum of many children and I’ll have lot of time to raise them but if I am the boss of a start up, it could be difficult !

In 2021, I wish I will have time to write because I like writing. Perhaps will I be an author of a novel ?

In 2021, I wish I will meet the charming prince  !  I’d rather meet the good boy with whom I will spend my life. But perhaps I have met him yet ?!

In 2021, I wish I will arrive to keep my friend relationships. Because Friendship is the best support in life. And if I am the boss of a new start up I will need some support !

So, in 2021, I wish I will be as happy as I am today. It is the only wish that I want to be granted !

Such as Georges Orwell in his book 1984, Jules Verne in Paris au XXe siècle, I attempted to write a short novel, to imagine the world in the next decades. My short novel talks about the life of a young man who lives in Bordeaux in south of France in 2030.

Many things have changed. Ecology and protection of environment are becoming a priority.  In streets, there are less cars and more electric bikes, scooters and trams. Streets are silent. People walks more (because good health is becoming a main issue).

In shops, people doesn’t pay with cash, but they just pay with their smartphones. Money is coming down to online payments.

With those phones, people can know where are their friends :  geolocalisation is becoming global. The world is changing with  digital innovations.

Before meeting someone in real for the first time, you can know everything you want about him and his activities in life thanks to social networks. Relationship between people is changing,  virtual is taking the place to reality.

So, in this short novel, I attemps to show how the world could be in the future. If you want read this short novel, you can contact me in private, or just wait the publishing of my short novel in the next semester, I wish !