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April 9, 2008

The Ability of Comics to influence Readers in times of War – Colin McGuire

Comic books have long been used as a form of propaganda in varying degrees. During times of crisis and war, comic books use their ability to impose influence to send out messages to readers concerning various wartime issues. Comic books take into account the use of characters, stereotypes, and story lines to produce a more effective reaction from its readers. The comic books were not limited to a certain age group or class. Children, adults, or anyone in between could read them. They used characters with stereotypical aspects as examples to portray villains in an animated way, while representing true-life enemies in actuality. The artists and writers were able to include complex political and social issues, but in a more obvious form than current movies of the time were able to. The aim and goal of the comic books were to give children hope for the outcome of the war. The comic books were upbeat and patriotic, and through engaging characters were able to help children gain a sense of contributing to the war effort. They called for boys and girls to do their part by collecting scrap paper, metal, war bonds, and to remain aware of secret enemy spies. The comics pushed for involvement of the United States in the war and for an Allied effort. Through the comics, juveniles were able to associate real enemies with those of the animated ones in the comic books. The issue of women in comic books played along the same story line as that of reality. In the comic books women held more domestic type of heroic roles and not those of combat. This was a necessity for many Americans as it was not acceptable for a woman to be in direct combat.
The most famous and patriotic superhero was Captain America. Captain America fought enemies both domestic and abroad. The most distinguishing aspect about Captain America was that he had a sidekick, Bucky Barnes. Captain America, like many other American superheroes had a uniform that consisted of mostly red, white, and blue.
Comic books were successful propaganda in creating support for the troops and also for the United States government. Many comic books were political in nature and covered the frustration of Americans during World War II and the attacks of 9/11. There was a high desire for comic book companies to relate their heroes to greater conflicts against terrorism. Comic book agencies were effective in their attempts to get their message across of support for the U.S. (Cord)

Scott, Cord. Written in Red, White, and Blue: A Comparison of Comic Book Propaganda from World War II and September 11. The Journal of Popular Culture. P. 325 – 341. November 2, 2007.

H.Getachew- Saving Private Ryan and Postway Memory in America

The reading, Saving Private Ryan and Postway Memory in America by John Bodnar argues the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan by director Steven Spielberg intensely depicts the “brutality of the war? while protect the “image of the American Soldier? (805) Spielberg remembers parts of the war and neglects the rest.

Bodnar explains the war movies of the 1940’s glorified “collective goals over individual one.? The images showed and promoted individual sacrifice for the American people. The American soldiers were represented as the good guys, who don’t want war but are fighting the evils to protect the American freedom for all. The images hardly showed any brutality or death. Hollywood was required by the OWI to make pro-war movie that showed America in a positive image. But the movie Private Ryan “does not say that personal sacrifice is glorious as does or free of death and trauma.? (817) This kind of challenging common war movies ideas started in the 1950’s. During that time the American public started to question war. It became more comprehensible that war was devastating and meaningless. In Noir films Americans can see how they can be just as evil as the enemy. It looked how mankinds acted in time of war, regardless of nationality.

Private Ryan focused on “moral individuals rather than by democratic reforms? (808) The movie exams the pain and the tram of the soldiers and the sacrifices they made, but it follow it up with a larger message that they did not die in vain. “The pain of the American combat soldier is revealed but is ultimately placed within a larger frame of patriotic valor. (806) Bondnar agues that movie looks at the war in a context of individual behavior instead of the larger ideas and values of war. Director Spielberg choice this method of remembering the past in a more individualized way, because of “the conservative politics of the film? I agree with Bodnar that by glorifying the soldiers in movies like Saving Private Ryan, to some degree it also glorifies the war.

I think Hollywood has come a long ways since the 1940 in its depiction of war movies, but there are still some topics that are not covered in the movie because of fear. There are only a few movies at this time on Iraq war and it has been 5 years still not one popular film that directly address the war and the American foreigner policy. Like the movie Saving Private Ryan, the mainstream American media is looking at the war in individual stories like soldiers and the family they left behind, but afraid to challenge the war itself.

Review on Eric Lott's "The Whiteness of Film Noir", by Jenna Johnson

Eric Lott’s “The Whiteness of Film Noir? is thematically based on how within film noir exists heavy undertones of racial differences and the crossing between moral borders based on racial stereotypes. To summarize his thesis, Lott argues that the “specifically racial means of noir’s obsession with the dark side of 1940s American life has been remarkably ignored.? More specifically, Lott states, film noir’s “moral focus on the rotten souls of white folks… constantly though obliquely invokes the racial dimension of this figural play of light against dark.? In other words, Lott asserts that while analyzing film noir, considerations of racial differences are a necessity.

Lott’s article relates the themes and style of film noir to several films, one of which we have close knowledge of, “Double Indemnity.? He points out numerous racial details in this specific film, such as the “black custodians and janitors? of Walter Neff’s workplace, a man who comes into Neff’s workplace with his “Greekness [that] suggests his potential for moral lapse,? and the Mexican restaurant Neff takes Lola to, which apparently makes Neff “now a moral resident of Phyllis’s Spanish house.? I agree that there are several spots where racial differences are remarked and possibly even meaningful to the plot in “Double Indemnity,? however, Lott goes very far in some of his assumptions, tying his ideas together with loaded words and phrases in order to prove his point.

There is mention of the some of the same “influentially racial? instances in film noir in Charles Scruggs’s article, “ ‘The Power of Blackness’: Film Noir and Its Critics? (notice the difference in title choice). Scruggs also points out the same case of the Greek man in “Double Indemnity? and how Barton Keyes fears the “casting [of] a long shadow upon the ‘social fabric’ of his insurance company.? However, Scruggs makes this point for a different reason than Lott, which I believe is merely to demonstrate the possibly racist feelings of the characters in the film, or in general, Americans of the time. Lott takes racial inequalities and their effect on moral behavior and makes them out to be almost the sole symbolic reason behind film noir’s reputation for moral degradation in American society.

Lott says that “[f]ilm noir is a cinematic mode defined by its border crossings,? referring to characters crossing racial and cultural borders and therefore becoming lesser people, in a “condition of moral disrepair,? because of it. True, the morals of society were portrayed rather drastically negative in film noir, but the overall basis for this was not one of race. Lott may argue that “[t]he ‘dark’ energy of many of these films is villainized precisely through the associations with race that generated some of that energy in the first place,? but the real energy behind these films was their style, devious plots new to American film, their deceitful characters, their unique cinematic techniques, and most of all, their mystery.

Ned Rupp - "Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture?" article review

“Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture?? by Ehrenreich, Hess, and Jacobs, is an article which discusses how The Beatle’s emergence in American popular culture in the 1960’s started the first real women’s, or more specifically adolescent girl’s, sexual revolution. The article states how young girl’s mobbed, fainted, and otherwise lost all self-control over The Beatles as an act of rebellion against sexual repression, and the sexual double standards, which they had faced all of their young lives. Girls saw The Beatle’s as an outlet which they could finally release all of their pent up sexual aggression on, “To abandon control – to scream, faint, dash about in mobs – was, in form if not in conscious intent, to protest the sexual repressiveness, the rigid double standard of female teen culture. It was the first and most dramatic uprising of women’s sexual revolution? (Beatlemania 524).
The article continues to talk about the mania, and swarms of girls, that surrounded The Beatle’s everywhere that they went. It explains how the mother’s of the girls who were swooning over The Beatle’s probably adored Frank Sinatra, who was the closest thing to a sex symbol in music in the 1940’s, yet they couldn’t accept their daughters infatuation with The Beatles. The article also talks about the idea of how the girls are simply conforming, “They needed to subsume themselves into the mass, ‘to become transformed into an insect.’ Hence, ‘jitterbug, and as Dempsey triumphantly added: ‘Beatles, too, are a type of bug . . . and to “beatle,? as to jitter, is to lose one’s identity in an automatized, insectlike activity, in other words, to obey.’? (Beatlemania 526). Infatuation with The Beatles was what was “in? in the 1960’s, much like yoga and Starbuck’s today; if you weren’t a fan of The Beatles you were considered an outsider. The problem with this, as the authors explain, is the parents of these kid’s had very different ideas of what conforming to society meant. They expected their daughters to be abstinent until marriage, and not “give themselves up? in any way until they had a husband or were in love.
I thought the article was very interesting, and seemed to be very truthful from the movies and other articles I have read about The Beatles. I mean, The Beatles had to stop touring because they couldn’t hear themselves play over the screams. Girls completely changed when they were in the presence of The Beatles. Girls who were once polite became barbarians, it was almost as though girls lost all sense of their old-selves and became a homogenous group of rabid, squeaking maniacs. This barbarism was pointed out well in the article, “In early November, 400 Carlisle girls fought the police for four hours while trying to get tickets for a Beatles concert; nine people were hospitalized after the crowd surged forward and broke through shop windows? (Beatlemania 524). Today this kind of behavior is normal (maybe not to the same extent, but close), or used to be, with groups like Blink 182 and Green Day. It’s a good thing that the “Beatles girls? paved the way.

Beatlemania: A Sexually Defiant Consumer Subculture? –Katherine Rivard

Ehrenreich, et al. contend that the introduction of the Beatles in the early 1960’s was the onset of the female sexual revolution in America. The writers explain that such occurrences of hundreds of young girls screaming and “abandoning control? had never happened to this magnitude, and they argue that this was their way of protesting against the double standard and sexual repression females faced during their time (524). In analyzing why Beatlemania was happening, one suggestion was that it was a major shift for youth conforming with each other so not conform to adult mores and expectations. For young women to show sexual emotions openly was to prove their defiance. They go on to explain that a growing number of youth began to see flaws in the traditional American lifestyle, and that many of them decided they wanted something different. Rock and roll became a channel for youth to freely express themselves, and the Beatles were their inspiration because they promoted, “a vision sexuality freed from the shadow of gender inequality because [they] mocked the gender distinctions that bifurcated the American landscape into ‘his’ and ‘hers . . . [they] blurred the lines and expanded the possibilities? (535).
I found myself referencing this article often in my last paper. The Beatles effect on popular culture in America provided a significant contribution to not only female sexual liberation, but also to inspiring the counterculture as a whole through promoting individuality and openly rebelling against many mores and expectations set by previous generations. Ehrenreich and her colleagues present how and why Beatlemania contributed to the onset of the revolutionary 60’s, primarily the “changing roles of women? and society’s concept of “sexuality and what it means to be a woman? (Arrigo, Culture). The article articulates on the strong conservative values that oppressed free expression, youth’s growing skepticism towards the expected American lifestyle, and the ways in which the Beatles were able to use rock and roll to inspire youth to express their individuality. The article corresponds to lecture regarding the sociopolitical landscape of the nation before the Beatles and rock and roll's effects leading up to the revolutionary era in which greatly contributed to shaping popular culture and politics today.

Brian Andreen Article Review 1: Capitalism and Romantic Ideology in the Record Buisness

In general in this article the author Jon Stratton argues thethat the requirement to assert the individual in the face of the anti-structural versus the structural, is informed by the cultural manifestation romanticism and is fundamentally affected by economic capitalism.
In essence the music industry often repetitively plays the same set of music and music over and over forming stereotypes through repetition. This repetition makes the music popular and thus increases that type of music’s marketability and makes it easier to sell, thus enhancing the capitalist practice in the music industry. At this same time if no Romanticism was used thus driving the new types of music to be formed the field would become stagnant and thus profits would decrease. For this reason Romanticism is necessary for the success of capitalism as it gives new types of music that are repeated making new stereotypes. Also this gives small companies the ability to make their own stereotypes and thus become very successful.
He also argues that people want to be individual in their music choice while also listening to what is popular. It is a key balance for things to be marketed in such a way that people get this impression. When people can listen to a music that is fun to listen to, popular, and lets them feel individual at the same time it is very successful.
This topic ties in very well to what we have done in class. The American dream is to be popular and have lots of things, while at the same time being able to be who you want to be and do whatever you want. This type of marketing and the formation of music popularity fits right into that American Dream especially during the 1940-1960 period. After this people started to become disenchanted with this idea and away from capitalism.
As we discussed in class the development of new technologies such as the radio and the television vastly increased the ability of marketers to set stereotypes with their marketing. This furthered the capitalistic drive for the use and production of music, while at the same time make it easer for the new music to become popular and set it’s own trends as it could spread and become established much faster. This easy spread of new ideas vastly increased the spread of new music and romanticism. This further spread of new ideas served to increase even further the capitalistic goals of music producers.

Rob Skogen; Additional Thoughts

Just a brief aside to my original post…I know this puts me way over the 500 word mark, but I thought it might be worth sharing…

I took my daughter to the Children’s Museum in St. Paul this afternoon. Her favorite story characters right now (and I have to admit, one of mine too) is Cookie Monster. Well, it just so happens that he and his pals from 123 Sesame Street are on exhibit there through the end of April. Now, I vaguely remember that Anthony quickly mentioned their 1969 debut in one of his five minute romps through history back in February, but it was not until I took in the exhibit that the significance it all clicked together.

Scattered throughout the interactive displays geared for the kids was a chronological stroll through the political and social events of the past thirty years for the adults. There was even a picture of Hillary backing Big Bird dated 1995 when Gingrich and his cohorts were pushing their “Contract with America?, which included pulling the plug on funding for PBS.

Hillary_BigBird.bmp

The reason I wanted to mention this is because it weaves directly into the theme of childhood propaganda that was discussed in the article I reviewed. The baby boom generation created this vehicle to provide alternative programming to their children (and their children’s children). Rather than the “red, white, and blue? morality that their parents absorbed via the wartime comics as kids, our parents left a legacy stressing the ideals of the liberal revolution of their adolescence.

Kim Hanlon - "Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America"

Bodnar argues that the narrative of heroism, patriotism, and democracy that permeated wartime America began to decompose immediately in the aftermath of World War II.
Bodnar discusses many different war films from the 1940’s in the OWI era all the way to Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. He takes an in depth look at the meaning behind all of the different films. Some of the films, such as Crossfire, depict soldiers as being brutal and bringing their brutal ways back from war with them where they engage in illegal activity and even murder. In the film Battleground, soldiers are seen as beaten and bruised. They are ready to endure some kind of flesh wound so that they may be able to get shelter at a field hospital or maybe even go back home. Bodnar also looked at the film Champion in which a man throws away his relationships with his family and friends for a chance to become a boxing king. Bodnar looks at this film because of the hidden metaphor for the pursuit of fame and wealth. This metaphor is also seen in the film All My Sons where an industrialist puts profit before patriotism and country. This eventually results in faulty parts for planes that were used during war. American soldiers lost their lives because of his greed and he eventually takes his own life because of the guilt felt by his actions and consequences. Bodnar argues that films are becoming more about individual struggles and heroism rather than looking at the whole war itself. Saving Private Ryan is a good, modern example of this idea. Tom Hank’s character devotes his war effort to finding Ryan and bringing him home to his family.
I enjoyed reading this article because it shed new light on the many different themes and idea of war and how it is interpreted and remembered. Bodnar takes many different films from many different eras and looks at each one and the messages that are being displayed to society. I agree that war films need to be centered more on factual events and the individuals who really made a difference during these trying times. The truths about war are usually not told. The OWI did a tremendous job of covering up what war was really like and censoring the information that society was and heard. Sahara was one of the films of its time that made the U.S. look kind and powerful. The time frame that it was set in was somewhat interesting however. There would have never been a Black man fighting with the U.S., no matter which country he was from. The film also depicted the powerful, six or so, American soldiers fighting off hundreds of Nazi soldiers. The public has a right to know what their loved ones are fighting for and what is actually going on in other countries that their country is involved in. Films need to take the harsh reality and portray it to the public more effectively rather than jazzing it up to make the United States always look like the ‘good guys’. Our country needs to admit, especially to our own people, that we have done some very inhuman and terrible things, but that it happened and we need to own up to it. Our country is not proud of what we did, but it was something that did happen and society has a right to know the truth. Vietnam is a great example of a war that should never have happened. It is also a war that most Americans do not know that we lost.

Nothing You Can See That Isn't Shown: The Album Covers of the Beatles- Liz Eisler

In the article, “Nothing You Can See That Isn’t Shown: The Album Covers of the Beatles,? Ian Inglis not only argues the large influence the Beatles’ music had on society, but he also points to their forms of creative designs displayed in their album covers, and the dynamics it led to. Inglis states that, “The album cover might therefore be approached as a historical relic whose chronology can be precisely located, in much the same way as other ancient arte-facts, such as the chronometer? (Inglis, 96). Inglis provides a brief history/background of the importance and role of album covers, including protection, forms of advertisement, accompaniment to the music, and finally, a commodity such as commercial art. Inglis then continues on to examine the ways in which the visual images presented on the Beatles’ album covers readily interlinks with their musical production, displaying anything from a fundamentally conservative appearance to distorted faces.

While some authors we have read throughout the semester, such as Walley and Stark, have held negative views of the Beatles (claiming that their success was solely based on the rebellion of youth) and the influence they had on society, Inglis points out the connection they were able to make not only through their music, but through their ability to provide innovation to not one, but their entire collection of album covers. During a time when social movements were occurring, especially the women’s sexual revolution, the Beatles were able to provide “a physical link between [their] visual image and recordings, which in some way reflected the Beatles' current musical and professional identity? (Inglis, 85). In fact, Inglis even credits the imagery and creativity of the Beatles’ album covers to the expansion of the graphic design industry. With the invasion of Beatlemania in the United States, the Beatles were able to represent a “Fab Four? identity, illustrating a casual and playful style (Inglis, 86). As well, the Beatles were able to use their album covers to distinguish between different periods of time, and they transformation they were enduring. For instance, on the covers of With The Beatles and Beatles For Sale, all four members have stretched and distorted faces, perhaps symbolizing their immersion into the drug scene.

Thus, this article clearly examined various aspects discussed in class, especially the role the Beatles played in the transformation of society. Through their playful yet meaningful lyrics and image, the Beatles were able to encourage the youth of the 60’s to break away from conservative traditions and question authority. As well, the significance that the covers of the Beatles albums had on society was the ability to portray different transformations the group was enduring while at the same time breaking down social norms.

Vietnam and Music - Anthony Zerka

College students, clergy, and even veterans started to protest at universities and marching to government buildings to end the very unpopular Vietnam War has started. Musicians became activists as they wrote famous songs to help aid the anti-war movement. These songs, such as "Give Peace a Chance" written by John Lennon and "Revolution" which was written by The Beatles, would only motivate the protesters and begin to influence many to help with the cause. In the article, “War Music and the American Composer during the Vietnam Era,? written by Ben Arnold, discusses how artists of the sixties were expressing their opinions in their lyrics. Music has always closely followed the epics of wars. Whether it was to give support to our soldiers fighting for a good cause or to blast the war authorities of its decision and lack of consideration of the troubles it will bring in the long run. In the World War II era, music composers worked to help bring patriotism amongst the nation using optimism. Creating songs to back the war and the government was very common. "World War II was the last major war to be waged without wide-scale American protest." We have witnessed in class, that films being made were to show how grateful we are for our country and that we will fight to protect it. This was the classic idea when Hollywood made Sahara; we see our allies fight as one for the good cause. Showing our country that we support this war was the main focus for movie makers and artists. It has all changed when America declared war with Vietnam. Arnold states, "The Vietnam conflict was a new-age war, a war with a culture of protest, and musical life reflected this change." Watching the horrors of the war on the news only intensified protester's anger towards this very unpopular war. Songs became more powerful was they introduced a new ways of having the horrid sounds in their songs, such as bombs exploding, screaming, and other sounds. The artists and composers needed this realism to show what kind of war we are in. This article is heavily related to the topics we covered in class and in the required reading. Artists protesting the war in their lyrics and inspiring their listeners to become an activist of war became very common in the Vietnam era. We have learned through the The U.S. vs John Lennon documentary how people came together for one cause, to promote peace within the world and end violence. Each artists had the same mission statement which would arise different opinions. Nevertheless, no artists back down on their beliefs on a world in which war was non existent.

Chris Remy_Review of ‘Nothing you can see that isn’t Shown’

Ian Inglis wrties a short article in which he hopes to encompass album art as groundbreaking visual and aesthetic properties. His hopes are to be able to offer some observations to which may be applicable to an investigation of the dynamics of album art in general. He covers these grounds by introducing and discussing four main points. His first point is to address the basic role of album covers and that is to ensure the protection of the recording they contain. Secondly he argues that album covers are an advertisement for the recordings they contain. Thirdly album covers function as an accompaniment to the music. Finally he fosters the idea that the album sleeve can be seen as a commodity in its own right. In doing this Inglis focuses on 12 particular albums that were released from the Beatles. Also three assumptions about the covers are conveyed (85).


I first would like to say that I agree with this article and felt that iconography has a large part to do with the sales of LP’s, CD’s and other products. In this accord this article does present ideas about covers that I have never thought about and can see how this relates to other albums from different artists. The Beatles are portrayed as the ones who set the standard for other album covers and this makes complete sense. On that accord, the Beatles music and art not only had relevance in other bands but in fans as well. In the article entitled “Beatlemania?, fans increased their interest books of their good looks (Ehrenreich 525). All album covers had the pictures of the Beatles on them and well many placed them up as art in their rooms (Ian 84). Also the articles talks about the first song to be banned by the BBC- ‘A Day in the Life.? This can be directly related to the movie seen in class, “The US vs John Lennon.? This movie has many notions about being banned from certain areas, even from the United States.


Overall this article does contain a lot of interesting ideas about the art in album covers and even has significance in the lectures. In one of the weeks this semester, our instructor showed a series of Advertisements from Coca-Cola. These advertisements were imperative in the selling of coke products. This article shows that the selling of records was based on the advertisements that were on them. A direct link! Again, I agree with this article and think that it makes very good points of reference.

Alec Charais - Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America

John Bodnar’s main thesis in his article “Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America? argues that “the narrative of heroism, patriotism, and democracy that permeated wartime America—the story that Saving Private Ryan seeks to restore only partially—began to decompose immediately in the aftermath of World War II? (809).

Bodnar supports his position by discussing the direction Steven Spielberg took the film, and how in many ways Saving Private Ryan illustrated the ideals the American public perceived of its military-that the American soldier was known for his bravery, valor, morality, and honor. This is compared to the similar ideals that had been portrayed during the propaganda films such as Sahara that were censored by the OWI. This was to ensure that the American public would be reminded that WWII was a "people's war" and that democracy meant freedom.

In the aftermath of WWII, as America transitioned into it's role as a superpower, film began it's transition also. Bodnar points out that the role of film noir is similar to the victimization of the American soldier. The aftermath of war left both the country and soldier traumatized and fearful of further war. As Bodnar states, "nostalgia and mourning coexist" (811), meaning that Saving Private Ryan confronts the brutality of war, but spends the majority of its time showing the tension created by the pursuit of a lone man. In many ways this represents the conflict with how the country felt about war after WWII, and as a result very few combat films were made between 1946 and 1949 (811).

Bodnar continues to contrast the American public's perception of totalitarianism to individualism as he discusses the film The Sands of Iwo Jima that basically attacked the military perspective. While the American fighting machine was well equipped with the hardware to defeat the enemy, the desire of the fighting men to come home was greater and reconnect with their families was as great, if not greater. Again the trauma and turmoil of war is reflected in these postwar films, and that while the soldier can be perceived as barbaric he is ultimately still human.

This article provides an excellent timeline for many of the topics we discussed in class. One example is the reference to the OWI in it's censorship of propaganda films (Sahara) in the mid 1940's and how it helped shape America's conservative American culture. The transition in history and film from this conservative idea to a culture that was willing to engage itself against the government is evident as well, much like John Lennon did. One film we watched in class, Dr. Strangelove, really embodies the cultural shift from conservatism to liberalism with the mocking and questioning of it's leaders. Another film that shares a striking similarity to Saving Private Ryan and the way postwar film protrays the American soldier after WWII is Apolcalypse Now. Both films feature a rouge military commander leading his troops on a solitary mission, irrelevant to the outcome of the war, yet show us how brutal war can be.

As a result, the individual thinker in today's society can ask "why do we fight?"

Article Review 1 - Chimezie Ononenyi

STAGES OF FILM NOIR.
By Tom Conley

"Film Noir" has been the term used to describe a path through which film proders used during the 40's. Being that late 40s was a recent post-war time, there wasn't a better time that would set the stage for how films would be shot and cut.

The main acpects of film noir were particularly the lighting, proper body gestures, and especially the taboo that women weren't allowed to show bare skin beyond the body extremities. Such codes of producing films were respected by film producers, and thus they set the stage for what we would now regard as a genre of its own.

Tom Conley adequately made it clear that such genre was because of the times. It is also very understandable that due to the high standards and anxiety for the "reds" or enemies particularly after WWII would cause a major movement toward using Hollywood scenes as a medium to portray United Sates and its culture as being pure.

This in turn means that they had to enforce the bare skin taboo, and everything else that needed to be shown on the screen had to be exaggerated in order to make the pint clear.

Just like movies of today show the sign of the time and present culture, film noir is a two word explanation of what a 40s movies represented.

Beatlemania: A sexually defiant consumer subculture?-Nicole Carroll

As I read the article I found that the main theory the Ehrenriech explains is that Rock n' Roll was the most potent thing to enter the teenage life-especially in the girls who have mothers that grew up in the "housewife" era-because it changed the life of girls into a sexual revolution. This theory is displayed through the article when it starts out with a synopsis of the history of The Beatles. It tells us that 73 million Americans watched the Ed Sullivan show and how the scream got so obnoxiously loud that The Beatles became a complete studio band and no more shows were to be played. While bringing how popular the Beatles were to the table they are comparing how the swoons over Sinatra were different, but then it goes into how there was a Beatles Anonymous group being formed to try and get over them.

Later in the article it explains that before Rock n' Roll how pure the women were. How they didn't know where to draw the line, but then found the it was laid before sexual intercourse and that virginity was the most powerful gift you could give to your husband. They could kiss, neck and pet, but no further. This is where it got tricky when Rock n' Roll set in. This was a period of time where the teen markets was instinctively in growth through clothes, magazines, entertainment, etc. This was partially the advertisers and marketing people that are at fault for this growth, because they are aware of how vulnerable teenagers are at this time. This gave marketers a reason to use the Beatles in such a way that created mass hysteria of them arriving in America, which then created them to manipulate their own unique culture away from purity.

To me this article is a great summary of events that COULD have created the very unwanted sexual revolution, but no matter how hard a society presses against it...it's going to happen. Look at today we find that some teens are having sexual intercourse at the age of 10 and then becoming pregnant around 12 years old. The world is changing and creating a new way to live everyday. It's just the matter of whether you accept it or deny it and look over it. As soon as we can all accept it we may be able to change it. I surely don't agree with 10-12 yr olds having sex, but no matter how hard a parent tries they are going to rebel anyways. So why doesn't a parent teach them better ways about protecting themselves against pregnancy. I'm not fighting for this sexual revolution today, but it's happening and we need to realize it.

A Look at Lott - Jacob Dreyer

In Lott's article "The Whiteness of Film Noir" the play of light and shadow in film noir and how this shades the white man's soul with racial undertones is examined. Lott argues that the "blackening" that takes place of the white protagonists within film noir has a racial undertone to it. Previously, this decent to "darkness" was seen as a metaphor for the decay of society and the moral degeneracy of the character. Often the character is forced to choose between good/light, and evil/dark. This darkness is frequently personified as a woman, as seen in Double Indemnity, which the man must reject. What Lott puts forth is that this moral blackness also has a literal component. The darkness which the character embraces is a direct allusion to non-Caucasians. By becoming "black" the character is not just losing its moral decency, but adopting those indecent and criminal components that characterize the African American in American conciousness of the time.

Kendra Elm Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America

The article I read was titled Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America. It was written by John Bodnar and made very interesting connections between what happened in World War II and how those effects were scene at home and in war movies. One of the author’s main points was that films were one of the only ways that real wartime emotions were scene. This is true because the government put all kinds of rules and regulations on things after the war, but films like Saving Private Ryan showed how difficult wartime was, and how strong the men were who came home after it.

Many of the men returned with psychological problems, and in previous times it was thought that the men who broke down after a traumatic event were not manly. It was shown in his article that the way we get over a severe trauma is by forgetting about it and moving on, and then later it will come back to us. This is a very interesting aspect about post war America. As soon as the war ended things seemed to be great there were no real regrets and people were just pleased to be home and to have won. We begin to see later on, after a few years, what a devastating effect all the killing had on the men.

The author also talks about how the scenes in the film had an effect on the public. One thing he mentions is the design of the military cemetery. It is filled with rows and rows of white gravestones which when seen remind us of the tremendous amount of people who gave their lives for the country. Another scene he mentions is the famous opening scene on the beach. It gave hints of how bloodthirsty humans are, and that wartime is cruel. I’m not sure this is what the OWI had in mind when they put restrictions on film making but the overall message of the film was bravery of the soldiers and success of the American troops.

Ashley Bergman/Beatlemania: a sexually defiant consumer subculture?

In "Beatlemania: A sexually defiant consumer subculture?" Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs attempt to explain why the reaction to the Beatles was intense. Ehrenreich, et al, suggest that it was more than just the music that got these girls fired up, it was also a way for them to break free of oppressive gender roles. Girls were expected to be sexy without having sex in order to someday get a man to marry them. There were many rules they were told to follow and, according to these rules, the outcome if they did not strictly adhere to the rules would be catastrophic or at least extremely unpleasant. So dutifully these girls went to high school knowing this was the high point of their lives for once they got married they were essentially taken out of the public sphere and bound to the house. Enhrenreich argues that the Beatles helped these girls break free of their passive roles, lay claim to sexual feeling, and, the way that sports did for boys, helped the girls get some sexual release. It also didn't hurt that the Beatles themselves were somewhat androgynous: they had long hair and other feminine qualities that appealed to girls who were both a little afraid of sex and who were trying to break free of the gender roles as the Beatles had. The bottom line, though, was that the girls envied the Beatles: they were free to be sexual, strong, and do what they liked.

Ehrenreich, et al's argument is compelling and well-supported but it does not answer a very simple and crucial question: why now? What was going on at the time that made these girls suddenly decide that breaking free of gender roles was something they wanted to do? Enrenreich does, again, mention the fact that the Beatles are androgynous which goes along with breaking gender roles, but why at that particular point in time? From lectures we know the Beatles hit America at precisely the right time—things were going well in America economically yet socially and politically the nation was in turmoil. The Civil Rights movement was underway and JFK had just been shot: the country was in mourning and two months later the Beatles showed up. While it seems true that girls reacted so strongly to the Beatles because of their desire to break from gender roles, there must have been more of an impetus than just that. It seems likely that the girls were also using the Beatles as a distraction from their sadness. Furthermore, they were probably using their music as escape from their predictable life paths: as the Beatles were different in terms of personality and appearance than the crew-cut guys they were destined to marry and by laying claim to sexual feelings for them was another way to reject their futures.

Ehrenreich and company’s article is a good one with solid evidence and support for the argument, but it also ignores the larger world the girls lived in. By isolating Beatlemania to just an interaction between the girls and the Beatles leaves a lot of unanswered questions still about why Beatlemania was so intense.

“Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America? – John Bodnar

Many of the themes that John Bodnar articulates are politically controversial. I have never been interested in politics; however, I do agree with Bodnar’s views on the American politics of war. In particular, Bodnar focuses on the film directed by Steven Spielberg – Saving Private Ryan. The general theme of Bodnar’s article is that the typical American narrative of heroism, patriotism, and democracy that infused wartime America began to fall apart in the aftermath of WWII. Bodnar explains these “honorable and moral? virtues were based on an illusion that the American government wanted to feed American citizens.

At the time, in an effort to ease the anxieties of the American people about wartime events, the government made promises in an attempt to empower the American people. Bodnar explains, the “Forties’ call to patriotic sacrifice were contingent on assurances of a more democratic society and world…Franklin D. Roosevelt took pains to make democratic promises in pronouncements like ‘The Four Freedoms’? (Bodnar, 806). At the same time, the Office of War Information was enforcing Hollywood producers to make films that both “helped win the conflict,? and reminded “audiences that it was a “people’s war,? which would bring about a future with more social justice and individual freedom? (Bodnar, 806). The OWI was basically telling Hollywood to make films that depict the typical pro-US government and military as the heroes and champions of war.

Bodnar states as a central point to his argument that after 1945, ordinary Americans realized war’s incredible state of brutality, which caused people to associate the cruelty of warfare with other forms of malice in their lives and in society. More importantly, once war exposed how barbarous men could be, it did not take much to see that people became fearful of warlike behavior. Fellow citizens began realizing that perhaps the faithful and honorable American family-man was not inherently patriotic and loving, but was in fact “domineering and ruthless? (Bodnar, 809). This recognized the evil that lies in the hearts and souls of “the people,? which goes against the hope of a more democratic and prosperous future for America. As Bodnar states, “Once it was demonstrated that violence could be homegrown and did not reside only in the visions of dictators, it followed that America itself could produce victims as well as patriots, treachery as well as loyalty? (Bodnar, 809).

It was established decades ago that Americans held this point of view about warfare, so how is it then, that a film that was directed in the twentieth century (Saving Private Ryan) so gallantly displays the men of war? Bodnar’s view was that, while Spielberg’s film reveals the brutality of war, it ironically preserves the WWII image of American soldiers as innately averse to bloodshed and brutality. One of the most poignant points that Bodnar made was that Saving Private Ryan attempts to maintain the memory of patriotic sacrifice more than it desires to explore the cause of the trauma and violence. He further states that this film is more concerned with restoring the romanticism of heroism than it is with ending the problem of devastating wars.

In closing, the politics of warfare are sometimes hidden and difficult to dissect. However, Bodnar made it clear that the failure of Saving Private Ryan to evoke the memory of “a people’s war? reveals the film’s conservative politics. Bodnar closes with the view that the “past, present, and future are now contingent on standards of individual behavior rather than on democratic ideals such as a quest for equality, a just capitalism, or citizen participation in political life? (Bodnar, 817). In other words, America’s future is best portrayed by the honorable individuals, rather than by democratic reforms. This view is still present in American government today.

-Hasti Fashandi

Eric Gonzalez-- War Music and the American composer_Arnold

This was my favorite of all the articles so far because it brought to light something I was largely unaware of: the antiwar message and activism of orchestral composers. When one thinks of Vietnam era anti-war music what often comes to mind first are folk-artists such as Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Ritchie Havens, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young et cetera. But what is often overlooked are how Classical style composers used their art form to criticize American foreign policy in addition to more commercial music. I thought that this sort of activism was reserved to more recently emergent genres of music. I was surprised to learn that there is a great body of work done in the Vietnam war era by these composers.

Some composers wrote anti-war pieces even during the course of World war two, to which they paid a price in popularity and public regard . Mostly though, music was supportive of the war effort, some commissioned by the governement, some not. The great increase in anti-war activism among American composers would come as the Vietnam war slowly began to fall out of favor with the American public at large. Ben Arnold, the writer of this article notes over sixty works by major composers with an Anti-war theme. These pieces would take radically different forms. The first type would be very strange "art music"., music with a very experimental core this including songs with mixed sound effects including sounds of war machines and explosions. Others would write and capture the sound and essence of traditional hymns and classical music.

The overall message was to expose both the intrinsic horrors of war and in addition to the specific problems with America's role in Vietnam.

Marc Dunham - Review of "Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture?"

In her article “Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture??, Barbara Ehrenreich delves into the sexual appeal of the Beatles. During the early 1960’s, young women in particular experienced a large amount of sexual repression and behavioral expectations. To achieve the societal goal of finding a husband, raising a family, and becoming a stay-at-home mom, these young women had a very fine line to walk as they progressed through their adolescent years. They were expected to hold themselves in a manner so as to attract the attention of potential suitors, but were also expected to appear proper, sexually reserved (and at times indifferent), to ultimately be the ones to set boundaries for the males they intended to be pursued by, and to publicly scorn those women who faltered in their mission. The immense pressure placed on their shoulders in conjunction with the harsh consequences of failure began to build in the youth of America at the time. When the Beatles arrived, these women found an outlet for their repressed emotions. More feminine than other male stars like Elvis, the Beatles were non-threatening idols for the younger female crowd. Whether a conscious or sub-conscious effort, the unreserved fanfare by these young women represented the beginning of the women’s sexual liberation of the 1960’s.

At some level, all of the sane young women who adored the Beatles knew that they would never actually have romantic involvement with one of them, yet they continued their obsessive, and often-times frightening behavior. This is an indication that their underlying motivation was more for personal liberation than of actually attempting to find their suitor. Their behavior led to multiple avenues of emotional release. For one, the wild attitudes they exhibited were a stark contrast to the expectations of society for them to be reserved, sexually disinterested beings. Every scream at a concert, public appearance, or TV performance was like the whistle of a tea-kettle, letting off the steam building inside their heads. They also undoubtedly took a sense of gratification in the fact that every dollar spent on Beatles paraphernalia, every word of gossip to their friends, and every shout of support and admiration lifted their idols further into the stratosphere of superstardom. Knowing that these very simple actions could ultimately have such a monumental impact on the entire society whose intention was to beat them down must have been an extremely liberating feeling.

The Beatles presented an opportunity for the young women of the 1960’s to “stick it to the man? in a way that was difficult for society to outright condemn. This attitude transition provided a segue to the more intense and direct liberation movements prevalent in the latter half of the decade.

Jackie Robak: Banal and Magnificent Space in Electra Glide in Blue.... Mark Shiel

This article compares the movies Easy Rider and Electra Glide Blue, in doing so it discuses the many issues that go with the counterculture ear and how Hollywood has an input and influences future movies. I however think the thesis is hidden: the idea of space.
At first, the theme (or at least what I think the theme is) of the article is not brought out. To say it just talks about counterculture and movies would not even cover half of the article. To me this article is about space. Space between counterculture and strait American and the actual space in the movie. The counterculture transition that created space between the younger generation and the conservative “old west? was shown in the movie Easy Rider. The peace loving hippies traveling across the U.S. In the west they were met by a hippie commune that was inviting but down south the red neck conservative attitude was prevalent, this is the attitude that ending the lives of Wyatt and Billy. Showing “Moral corruption of strait America and an affirmation of the righteousness of counterculture escape?
They say that the movie Electra Glide Blue is the Flip side to Easy Rider. I think that the government was behind this movie because it’s the same idea, but it just makes strait America look good. Almost like when the government was controlling what could be put in movies like Double Indemnity. These two movies were virtually the same; the protagonist rides a motorcycle and gets killed in the end by the opposing side. The only difference was which is the good guy, the hippies or the right side. Even though this was a strong argument in the article I still believe that the thesis lies within the other definition of space.
They talked about space, as in the country, actual wide open space. And how in Easy Rider space is shown when traveling from place to place, and at the hippie commune they lived off the land. I thought that this was in some way contradictive. Because technically the “old west? is conservative, yet it’s the hippies who appreciate the land and show it in the movie. In Electra Glide Blue space was not important. The outdoors was just the outdoors, and they did not film it artistically like they did in Easy Rider.
That was not a topic we discussed or read much about in class. The battle between counterculture and strait American is known and seen in films, Easy Rider gave rise to the new genre of anti- government. Showing America’s flaws. Then to counter act that Electra Glide Blue comes in to say “no strait America isn’t the bad guy, look the hippies killed the police officer.? That is old news. What I thought was so interesting was how they discussed space visually and artistically. Maybe that’s how Easy Rider helped give rise to a new genre not the attack of the government, but being artistic in film and using the space of the country to convey it.

OAKLEY TAPOLA Review of "War Music and the American Composer during the Vietnam Era"

The overall argument of the author, Ben Arnold, is to draw to light the significant changes in scores written by composers due to the differing public opinions of WWII and the Vietnam War. Arnold notes that during WWII composers generally wrote patriotic scores that were intended to uplift the American public and while many composers worked from personal feelings of war all songs generally supported the war effort. What Arnold stresses is that the Vietnam War was new kind of war in that it incorporated a culture of protest. The media was no longer strictly propaganda; it made the public a participant in all aspects and every phase of the war. Because information about the atrocities of war was readily available the Vietnam War was far more unpopular than WWII had ever been. Artists of time began searching for a way to voice their protest and composers began writing antiwar materialinstead of the patriotic scores they'd been used to writing. Many of the scores included chaotic, electronic sounds such as actual recordings of gunfire and human voices crying out injustices and popular slogans turned back on themselves to be made hypocritical or satirical. Arnold reveals that, while the scores expressed sentiments that were very prevalent during the Vietnam War era, none of the composers experienced much success or recognition for their pieces. I believe that this is due to the fact that composed pieces of music, whether classical or avant garde as these pieces were, exist in a private sect of music that is somewhat inaccessible for the average listener because they require a little more thought and need to be sought out more heavily in order to appreciate them and process their valuable message. Therefore they are not popular in a larger spectrum because they are difficult subject matter to broadcast to a wide audience. There is no commercial value and no instant recognition. In such a turbulent time as the Vietnam War era it was the folk and rock artists that were successful because they were directly communicating popular antiwar ideas. They were highly publicized. This article’s information is relevant to our class because in considering popular culture music is consistently a medium that openly expresses the sentiments of the time. Music has always been dependent on its listeners and their voice because they determine what is successful by continually being interested in and supporting the principles being communicated through the music. If there is political/social movement music is generally directly affiliated because people support an anthem that represents their ideals. Especially with antiwar/protest songs people hear something in the music that broadcasts a shared attitude and spreads their message. Music is a powerful popular voice because it represents an entire group of listeners, not just individuals. Popular culture relies on groups of people to uphold its values and music is a direct extension of their wants, needs and opinions.

Miles Mendenhall_Schofield and Bing Crosby Article

I love the names prescription pills are given. Zoloft. Prilosec. Lunesta. I trust those names; the semblances of futuristic sounding syllables make me believe that they are from the future, of a higher intelligence. Like I’m swallowing microchips or something. You have to wonder if it wasn’t the same deal with Bing Crosby and WWII. In Marketing Iron Pigs, Patriotism, and Peace: Bing Crosby and World War II-A Discourse, by Mary Anne Schofield, Bing Crosby’s pro war persona is analyzed in terms of his political influence in WWII. In her introductory paragraph, Schofield ponders, “One wonders, perhaps, why Bing?? Yes. Exactly. Why Bing? For the same reason that prescription pills are given names that sound like far off distant galaxies: WWII needed to be marketable. The US Government sought to insert propaganda into pop culture, and Bing Crosby, being well known both in radio and cinema, was the perfect vehicle. Although much of Schofield’s analysis is based upon whether Mr. Crosby was inherently this way or if this patriotic personality was crafted for professional gain, the article’s overall goal was to highlight the manipulation of pop culture by the US government to bolster public support of the war. Schofield uses Bing Crosby as an example, if not the example for this covert tactic by explaining his involvement with everything from morale-boosting entertainment to selling war-bonds by holding charity golf tournaments. For me, this article not only raised the question of the public awareness of this tactic at this time, but if and how it is being employed today. I doubt the social structure of today would be receptive to such ploys as it is already skeptical of most government activity, but this should not denote that pop culture and its entertainment industry has been totally forgotten by the US government, merely exercised differently. The difference between the entertainment industry of the 1940’s and the entertainment industry today is stark, seen most tangibly in its expanse into our daily, even hourly, lives. Bombarded with advertisements and entertainment In a culture whose nightly news covers who was voted off American Idol the night before, the weight of any social or political problem is lifted from us by the influx of technology and entertainment offered by our culture and, in this climate, no sort of conviction for change can ever survive. Was this type of culture bred by government intervention? That’s for the conspiracy theorists to decide. But no one will argue that the distracted nature of our culture, because of its pop-culture, makes things harder for the US government. A public that is pacified is a public that will find no conviction to protest. As for me, I’m going go pop some Zoloft, drink some beer, and forget about this whole depressive thing.

Miles Mendenhall_Schofield and Bing Crosby Article

I love the names prescription pills are given. Zoloft. Prilosec. Lunesta. I trust those names; the semblances of futuristic sounding syllables make me believe that they are from the future, of a higher intelligence. Like I’m swallowing microchips or something. You have to wonder if it wasn’t the same deal with Bing Crosby and WWII. In Marketing Iron Pigs, Patriotism, and Peace: Bing Crosby and World War II-A Discourse, by Mary Anne Schofield, Bing Crosby’s pro war persona is analyzed in terms of his political influence in WWII. In her introductory paragraph, Schofield ponders, “One wonders, perhaps, why Bing?? Yes. Exactly. Why Bing? For the same reason that prescription pills are given names that sound like far off distant galaxies: WWII needed to be marketable. The US Government sought to insert propaganda into pop culture, and Bing Crosby, being well known both in radio and cinema, was the perfect vehicle. Although much of Schofield’s analysis is based upon whether Mr. Crosby was inherently this way or if this patriotic personality was crafted for professional gain, the article’s overall goal was to highlight the manipulation of pop culture by the US government to bolster public support of the war. Schofield uses Bing Crosby as an example, if not the example for this covert tactic by explaining his involvement with everything from morale-boosting entertainment to selling war-bonds by holding charity golf tournaments. For me, this article not only raised the question of the public awareness of this tactic at this time, but if and how it is being employed today. I doubt the social structure of today would be receptive to such ploys as it is already skeptical of most government activity, but this should not denote that pop culture and its entertainment industry has been totally forgotten by the US government, merely exercised differently. The difference between the entertainment industry of the 1940’s and the entertainment industry today is stark, seen most tangibly in its expanse into our daily, even hourly, lives. Bombarded with advertisements and entertainment In a culture whose nightly news covers who was voted off American Idol the night before, the weight of any social or political problem is lifted from us by the influx of technology and entertainment offered by our culture and, in this climate, no sort of conviction for change can ever survive. Was this type of culture bred by government intervention? That’s for the conspiracy theorists to decide. But no one will argue that the distracted nature of our culture, because of its pop-culture, makes things harder for the US government. A public that is pacified is a public that will find no conviction to protest. As for me, I’m going go pop some Zoloft, drink some beer, and forget about this whole depressive thing.

Miles Mendenhall_Schofield and Bing Crosby Article

I love the names prescription pills are given. Zoloft. Prilosec. Lunesta. I trust those names; the semblances of futuristic sounding syllables make me believe that they are from the future, of a higher intelligence. Like I’m swallowing microchips or something. You have to wonder if it wasn’t the same deal with Bing Crosby and WWII. In Marketing Iron Pigs, Patriotism, and Peace: Bing Crosby and World War II-A Discourse, by Mary Anne Schofield, Bing Crosby’s pro war persona is analyzed in terms of his political influence in WWII. In her introductory paragraph, Schofield ponders, “One wonders, perhaps, why Bing?? Yes. Exactly. Why Bing? For the same reason that prescription pills are given names that sound like far off distant galaxies: WWII needed to be marketable. The US Government sought to insert propaganda into pop culture, and Bing Crosby, being well known both in radio and cinema, was the perfect vehicle. Although much of Schofield’s analysis is based upon whether Mr. Crosby was inherently this way or if this patriotic personality was crafted for professional gain, the article’s overall goal was to highlight the manipulation of pop culture by the US government to bolster public support of the war. Schofield uses Bing Crosby as an example, if not the example for this covert tactic by explaining his involvement with everything from morale-boosting entertainment to selling war-bonds by holding charity golf tournaments. For me, this article not only raised the question of the public awareness of this tactic at this time, but if and how it is being employed today. I doubt the social structure of today would be receptive to such ploys as it is already skeptical of most government activity, but this should not denote that pop culture and its entertainment industry has been totally forgotten by the US government, merely exercised differently. The difference between the entertainment industry of the 1940’s and the entertainment industry today is stark, seen most tangibly in its expanse into our daily, even hourly, lives. Bombarded with advertisements and entertainment In a culture whose nightly news covers who was voted off American Idol the night before, the weight of any social or political problem is lifted from us by the influx of technology and entertainment offered by our culture and, in this climate, no sort of conviction for change can ever survive. Was this type of culture bred by government intervention? That’s for the conspiracy theorists to decide. But no one will argue that the distracted nature of our culture, because of its pop-culture, makes things harder for the US government. A public that is pacified is a public that will find no conviction to protest. As for me, I’m going go pop some Zoloft, drink some beer, and forget about this whole depressive thing.

Chris Remy_ Review of Remembering the Dangers of Rock and Roll: Toward a Historical Narrative of the Rock Festival


Void with the hazardous effects of rock music, Schowalter dabs at the notion that many people feel this effect. As for Schowalter the effect is transmitted thru historical narratives such as the movies Woodstock and Gimme Shelter. He argues thru the text that even now the music is not really visible and its pernicious effects need to be made clear. Schowalter concludes his argument with the notion that it all is a simple conspiracy. In a way not to scrutinize nor inventory the arguments, Schowalter simply asks why do these critiques resonate and what source potentially informs them (87).


The article opens with supporting articles that paint the picture that rock music is “subversive, militant and a powerful force for radical change on this planet.? The article introduces Woodstock, the movie and talks about the documentary in great detail. Schowalter introduces the idea of a spell bond audience and how the film forgets about the music. He goes to tell us that it is a full-fledged obsession with the masses of concert goers (89). With introduction of Woodstock as a something devoid of oppositional politics, Schowalter goes on to tell us that Woodstock nullifies any conspirational political connotations it might have had (91). Overall the film Woodstock conveyed the reality of the festival, placing it as an important moment of the history of rock.


Another film, Gimmie Shelter is than introduced and discussed. Special emphasis is made on the climax of the film, to where a fan is stabbed and killed by a musician. Schowalter plays both sides of the debate on this sequence that it was either common sense or it was emblematic of the youth listening to rock music. Both of these paint the narrative of rock music. Placed in the middle of these is another movie Montere Pop. This movie doesn’t exploit the audiences it represents and the very exploitations upon which the detractors of rock and roll depend (97). Finally, in an attempt to pull all movies together the article and simply says that documentaries enjoy a special status in cinema as it wields a certain authority in its discourse.


I kind of a agree with the article in that documentaries are simple view of way thing happen. I don’t really agree with the way the article interprets such events. In the opening of the conclusion the author cites most recent cases of where music was used as defense means for murder cases. It wasn’t them who killed, it was the music! I am not saying that the author agrees with these things but the article paints the picture that he is more bias toward Rock and Roll music as a bad influence. In class we discussed many ways that music influenced society. How its lyrics would go as far as trying to ban the band from living in the country. Whether they talked about non-war ideas, like lyrics in some of The Beatles songs, or simply looked rebellious, like Elvis in his gyrating hips, music does have it affects on society. To go as far and murder someone, I think not. Documentaries are extremely bias on what they represent and in this case the article points out the bias. I just think that the authors reflection of how he concludes his article make it seem as if he is not in favor of rock and roll. I don’t agree with this notion at all. Its one thing to discuss the narrative that exists among documentaries and another to talk about music as it is the perception of people. Where one draws the line between realities is the real question this article should address.

Yu Katayama - The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

I chose the article called the “The Closing of the American Mind?, written by Allan Bloom. Bloom basically talked about how the music in today’s society is affecting the mind of the youths, and how it has changed compared to the earlier days when classical music was popular. He also referred a lot of his ideas to some of the philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, to compare the lyrics and the meanings between the music in the early 20th century and today. I think Bloom wanted to let the people know that music is one of the most powerful source of communications, and how the rock music in today’s society is leading or encouraging the youths to use drugs and to have any sexual intercourses. However, he knows that rock music is not a bad thing, but I think he is disappointed in the way the world is turned out today because of the change that’s been happening in music, which is causing the youths’ mind in a bad way compared to the youth back in the days where they were pure.

As we look back in the past, the world is constantly changing over time and it’s inevitable to go through some changes. In the article, the main change that occurred was the shift from the classical music to the rock music that we have today. When we saw the films in the first couple of weeks of class, I noticed that most of the background music was classical, but as we went further in to our class, we saw a lot of changes happening into music – Elvis, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and many more. However, I don’t think this is a bad change because people are experiencing some new music and messages that’s contained in the music. In fact, I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep the same idea over time because I think people will get bored and need to make some changes, whether it’s a minor or a major change, so that people will keep evolving and creates an opportunity to make the world in to a better place. I wouldn’t disagree with Bloom’s idea, but the rock music in the late 20th century, I think, made the world into a better place both politically and socially. If these changes didn’t happen, the world could had turned out to be in a different place, but it is also important to look back in the past and reflect on what Plato and other philosophers said so that people can see the difference in the ideas just like Bloom stated in the article.

Rob Skogen; Written in Red, White, and Blue: A Comparison of Comic Book Propaganda from WWII and Sept. 11 (April 2007)

Through a comparison of the approaches comic book writers took in supporting the war effort of the 1940s and in reacting to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Scott Cord puts forth the argument that, “[t]he realm of children’s propaganda has been a seldom discussed, but important, aspect of American life over the last sixty years. The comic book has served as a way to introduce the young reader to adult topics, and yet allow them to retain some sort of separation from reality (340)?.

Cord begins his discussion of comics as a propaganda vehicle with the introduction of wartime superheroes and storylines occurring before the United States entered the war shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Through the debuts of dialectically opposed characters such as the Shield (Jan. 1940) and Blackhawk (Aug. 1941) fighting for the same just cause, writers were actively pushing for American involvement in the war. Although the enemies they fought had exotic names and were from imaginary places, they were based on the typical stereotypes we have seen portrayed in the newsreels, posters and other OWI campaign pieces from the times.

This call to arms then morphed into a more general support for the cause once American troops entered the war. A whole army of patriotic characters were invented to fight the good fight and Captain America (1941) led the way, along with his twelve year old sidekick Bucky Barnes. Once the war was over, however, these superheroes were no longer needed and they were ultimately retired or readapted.

It was not until 2001 when Captain America was called back to his original mission. This time around though, depictions of the enemy did not rely on the blatant stereotypes that characterized the early comics. Instead, there seemed to be a “distinction between those who look different, and those who think differently and wish to do the U.S. harm? (337). There was also no concerted call for war. Yes, new comics debuted that were fueled by “adolescent fantasies of hunting down and killing those responsible? (338). But on the other hand, there were also new comics that deified the true, real life heroes – firemen, policemen, and paramedics (338). With the abundance of mainstream news commentary available to adults, comics gave a younger audience the means to process the events in their own ways.

This theme falls right into line with every topic of discussion this semester. The first week of class introduced the nature of the relationship between popular culture and politics. Understanding politics simply as a dialectic struggle between those that have power and those that do not is the basis for every conversation we have had. Of course this struggle can be considered at various levels within the stratifications of society – not just at the macro level.

Each week, we have reflected on how a specific portion of American society was affected by, or affected, the events of a particular time in history. Last week we explored the phenomenon of black radio and the juxtaposition of subcultures within the African American community – one seeking to assimilate into mainstream culture and another rejecting that ideal. In the weeks before that we looked into the counterculture movement of the various subcultures (hippies, feminism, etc.) to distance themselves from mainstream America.

One thing that remains constant through all of the changes that America experienced throughout the 1960s and 70s is that none of it would have been possible without a paradigm shift in the impressionable, young. That the massive baby boom generation was coming of age when they did, allowed for the changes to be successful on such a grand scale as we have seen. They consumed a completely different type of popular culture than did previous generations. When it came time call in the loyal army cultivated by the propaganda comics that Cord describes in his article, it was too little too late – they were outnumbered by the time they were needed.

April 8, 2008

Amanda Kennedy- Review of “Written in Red, White, and Blue: A Comparison of Comic Book Propaganda from WWII and Sept. 11? by Cord Scott


This Article compares the reaction of comic book writers after the events of the attack on pearl harbor and the attack on the world trade center. He is comparing how these artists expressed their opinions on the matter and how they worked to support or prevent war and to build up or tear down stereotypes.

He talks about the comic book writers from WWI and WWII and how stereotypes about certain groups increased depending on how things were going politically at the time. He says that characters such as the “mosconians? with German sounding accents were depicted as villains right after WWI, and that Asian villains and stereotypes increased as WWII progressed. (Scott 327-328) As for the super hero, he was a man of science and technology, but never used it for evil, and he also had the ideal body type. Propaganda such as this helps to combat anti-war critics such as Dr. Strangelove.

Scott says that comic books were a way to educate children about what was going on and what they needed to know in order to fully support the war when they grow up. They were also meant to give children hope and make them feel like they were doing their part by having them collect scrap metal, etc. (Scott 329)

Later comic book characters such as spider-man took on more political issues at home, but in a less direct way. In the 1960 spider-man took on campus radicals and drug addicts (Scott 335). Following 9/11 other comics started depicted less of the super enhanced super heroes and instead featured the every day heroes such as firemen. The point was to show that superheroes can’t be the quick fix and save everything, that there are more everyday heroes out there keeping the world safe.

In contrast to the earlier comics in during WWII, the comics following 9/11 stressed tolerance of ethnic groups, especially Arab-Americans. (Scott 336) Though unlike the comic writers of WWII, who were all a part of OWI, the comics writers after 9/11 were divided in their message. While the major names such as Marvel and DC were promoting tolerance and calming the need for revenge, smaller companies were depicting very violent events with plots that satisfied the need for revenge. (Scott 339) A similarity between the old and new comics is the lack of strong female heroes. Any female characters were seen as sex kittens, who even though they could handle themselves in a fight, they only did rescue missions or other less extravagant missions.

Overall, the point to this article was to show the impact that propaganda has on how children think about current events. There is also a growing audience for the comics that lies in people in their early 20’s. This could have substantial impact since these members of society are old enough to vote and really make a different in politics.


Cap_america_v4.jpg

Above image is from wikipedia

Amanda Kennedy- Review of “Written in Red, White, and Blue: A Comparison of Comic Book Propaganda from WWII and Sept. 11? by Cord Scott


This Article compares the reaction of comic book writers after the events of the attack on pearl harbor and the attack on the world trade center. He is comparing how these artists expressed their opinions on the matter and how they worked to support or prevent war and to build up or tear down stereotypes.

He talks about the comic book writers from WWI and WWII and how stereotypes about certain groups increased depending on how things were going politically at the time. He says that characters such as the “mosconians? with German sounding accents were depicted as villains right after WWI, and that Asian villains and stereotypes increased as WWII progressed. (Scott 327-328) As for the super hero, he was a man of science and technology, but never used it for evil, and he also had the ideal body type. Propaganda such as this helps to combat anti-war critics such as Dr. Strangelove.

Scott says that comic books were a way to educate children about what was going on and what they needed to know in order to fully support the war when they grow up. They were also meant to give children hope and make them feel like they were doing their part by having them collect scrap metal, etc. (Scott 329)

Later comic book characters such as spider-man took on more political issues at home, but in a less direct way. In the 1960 spider-man took on campus radicals and drug addicts (Scott 335). Following 9/11 other comics started depicted less of the super enhanced super heroes and instead featured the every day heroes such as firemen. The point was to show that superheroes can’t be the quick fix and save everything, that there are more everyday heroes out there keeping the world safe.

In contrast to the earlier comics in during WWII, the comics following 9/11 stressed tolerance of ethnic groups, especially Arab-Americans. (Scott 336) Though unlike the comic writers of WWII, who were all a part of OWI, the comics writers after 9/11 were divided in their message. While the major names such as Marvel and DC were promoting tolerance and calming the need for revenge, smaller companies were depicting very violent events with plots that satisfied the need for revenge. (Scott 339) A similarity between the old and new comics is the lack of strong female heroes. Any female characters were seen as sex kittens, who even though they could handle themselves in a fight, they only did rescue missions or other less extravagant missions.

Overall, the point to this article was to show the impact that propaganda has on how children think about current events. There is also a growing audience for the comics that lies in people in their early 20’s. This could have substantial impact since these members of society are old enough to vote and really make a different in politics.


Cap_america_v4.jpg

Above image is from wikipedia

Cameron Lee- Beatlemanai; A Sexually Defiant Consumer Subculture

This article attempts to analyze every part of the Beatles' impact on the American culture and economics. Aside from that she tries to break down what state the sexuality of the young women were in who adored the Beatles so much. It would give rise to a possible explanation of why they were so crazed with the Beatles in the first place.
In the beginning we look at the actual impact the Beatles had on America during their tours. Although it started small in Europe, once it reached the U.S. there were hundreds and thousands of girls waiting to just yell at the Beatles. This as we know, lead to them being barred from tour in some cities and in the ones they were able to perform in, being drown out by their own fans. They were the first to have that happen. After that it abruptly changes to looking at the sexuality of the young American woman and their position in society. This finally leads into the mass consumer power now in the hands of those screaming girls and they used it as much as they could. We see that the actual spending power each girl possesses is much greater to that of consumers now days and the producers were taking advantage of this new revenue source. The last section leads to the explanation of why the Beatles were so popular in the first place and that the young girls needed an outlet for their unknown and unperceived sexual tendencies. This growth leads them to a life of domesticity and care.
The article at hand does not seem to argue as much for the sexuality of the young girls, but that they were lacking any at all or they had none to express. The fact they were so young leads to the simple idolization of the Beatles and that they were more of a symbol of a changing culture. This would be the precursor of the feminist movement a few years later. Comparing this article to the film we saw in class, it seemed to mirror exactly what happened, just in a different order. Since the masses of young women were treating their sexuality as a commodity, it really detracted from their learning of the proper way to express themselves. It would seem that the Beatles would lead the young women to a mass catching up of what they needed to know.

Cole Storer- Beatlemania- A sexually defiant consumer subculture?

Beatlemania by Ehrenreich, Hess and Jacobs is an essay about the liberation of women and the double standards of female teen culture in the 60's. The essay begins by describing the screams of these teenage girls and the seemingly absurd actions they were taking to get close to the Beatles. The way these girls were acting, however, was not by mistake, they were protesting the sexual repressiveness of their elders, and according to the text, "It was the first and most dramatic uprising of women's sexual revolution"(Beatlemania,524). The argument of the essay is that the Beatles lit the ignition of the revolution of women in the sixties.

The Beatles created an entirely new subculture that had never been seen before in the United States, nor anywhere else in the world. They were a hit from the second they got off the plane in New York, and they sold out shows all over the United States. Their fame didn't end there though. 73 million Americans watched The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It was referred to as the night 'when there wasn't a hub cap stolen anywhere in America.' Ehrenreich then moves on to what the teenage girl was supposed to represent in the 60's. They were supposed to act a certain way, mainly withhold any sexual actions until marriage, and they were put in the position of keeping their innocence until that time. Basically, they were supposed to conform to what their parents idea of love was. However, they chose a very different route of conformity. That of the rock n' roll scene. From an economic standpoint the best thing for any entrepreneur to do was to enter the teen consumer subculture. Their song titles were turned into movies, Beatle's posters were everywhere, and you couldn't change the radio station without the Beatle's coming over the airwaves. These 4 regular guys from Liverpool had managed to come over here with their shaggy hair and turned our stifled teenage girls into outspoken young women.

This article goes along with the movie Speak to Me extremely well because they are both taking place in a time of revolution. One for women's rights and the other for the rights of African Americans. The people are all speaking out and lashing out in different ways to get at 'the man' who is holding them down, suppressing them from what ought to be theirs in the first place. For women, they were being told how to act from everything from sex to how they dressed. For Black Americans, however, it was a little more concerning with segregation and a lack of respect from the white community.

April 6, 2008

Jess Doll - "Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America"

The overall argument in John Bodnar's essay, "Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America", was "That the narrative of heroism, patriotism, and democracy that permeated wartime American --the story that "Saving Private Ryan" seeks to restore only partially --began to decompose immediately in the aftermath of World War II."

To support his argument Bodnar went on to explore the historical context before WWII, using examples such as Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" declaration and the Office of War Information's impact over Hollywood to prove that during the 40s, "Patriotic sacrifice was contingent on assurances of a more democratic society and world" (806).

Bodnar goes on to compare and contrast several wartime films such as "The Sands of Iwo Jima" and "Home of the Brave", by examining their "narrative of heroism, patriotism, and democracy" in each film, and ultimately how war was remembered in each film to provide evidence of the change after WWII. Bodnar specifically zeros in on "Saving Private Ryan throughout his essay to support his thesis. Ultimately Bodnar believes that while "Saving Private Ryan" was able to depict the harsh realities of war, it focused to much on the individual, thus forgetting about "Democratic ideals such as the quest for equality, a just capitalism, or citizen participation in political life" (817).

Whether or not one agrees with Bodnar, his essay touches on multiple issues we have discussed in class such as the "Sahara", film noir, and the atomic bomb to name just a few. Bodnar also discusses the Holocaust, the Cold War, the Office of War Information, and most obvious the aftermath of WWII.

For example, he examines the large influence that the OWI had over Hollywood in regards to wartime films and how they were to shed war in a positive light, promoting a "people's war" (806). Later, Bodnar uses the film we viewed in class, "Sahara" as an example of "ethnic cooperation and the hatred for authoritarian regimes" (812). Bodnar also discusses film noir and its negative effects on the souls of Americans during the 1940s (812). Also discussed in this essay is the build up of technology, specifically the Cold War and the rise of the atomic bomb. Mentioned are the effects it had on American citizens such as anxiety and fear of possible yet unimaginable brutality (809).

Thus, this article examined many aspects discussed in class, specifically the aftermath of WWII (build up of nuclear weapons, the end of the holocaust, etc.) which produced evidence for Bodnar's thesis, stating that after WWII, postwar memory in American was altered in a negative way and the democratic ideals fostered in the 1940s had faded.