Are public service announcements effective?

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Blog post # 1 India Addington-White

I am very interested in working with visual media in the future, and I am currently taking production classes at the U of M, and in the process of producing a PSA for a charity against human trafficking . As a result, I thought it would be neat to write about and analyze the visual and audio aspects of artifacts such as commercials, public service announcements, instead of editorials or written artifacts. For this first blog post I found a PSA made by a group in Minneapolis called Rebuilding Together Minneapolis, which, according to their website, is a group "that focuses on providing critical home repairs for homeowners in need, ensuring they can live independently in safe and healthy homes". They released a PSA on YouTube about two months ago, and I will be evaluating its main arguments.
I found that the PSA for Rebuilding Together Minneapolis, was effective in communicating the argument that the group was trying to make and provided the information about the group in a clear and concise manner. Overall the main argument the PSA was trying to make was to persuade the public to volunteer or donate to the group, and to convince the public that it is a worthy cause. I thought the PSA did a good job of this because through out it there were pathos, ethos, and logos appeals that helped to persuade the audience effectively. The PSA showed many diverse groups of people working on the projects, which helped create a feeling of community and openness to everyone, a good way of using pathos to make an argument. They also included shots of people working together happily and emotional shots of those whose lives had been changed for the better because of the group. Along with the shots of many people working on projects, the PSA included factual information (logos) to help further push their point across and to legitimize the group in the audience's mind, while also making statements about the group's experience and history, which helped with the ethos of the group from the audience's point of view. By making ethos, logos, and pathos appeals the PSA effectively draws the audience in and I think it definitely works. The music choices also help add to the PSA and by playing uplifting music, it appeals to the emotions of the audience and helps to push them to feel a certain way.
I think this PSA was effective and made sound arguments. It is a good example of how one can use ethos, pathos, and logos when trying to make a point, and it was interesting seeing how pathos, ethos, and logos, can be used visually and audibly, not just in writing, such as the song choices or the shot choices that this PSA made. Do you all think that PSA's are effective ways of getting an argument across, or do you think that people just see them as commercials? Also, recently very dramatic, and graphic PSA's about texting and driving and teen pregnancy have been released. Do you think this method of using PSA's to "scare" people against doing something harmful is effective? Or do you think people get resentful about being told what to do? The PSA I watched can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsrMlzmU3iw One of the graphic PSA's I am referring to can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0LCmStIw9E

No Makeup Selfies

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The main argument this article is trying to make is that the newest Facebook and Instagram trend, "No Make-up Selfies", is extremely offensive to the women it is trying to support. Celebrities and regular women all over the world are posting a photo of themselves without makeup on in order to raise awareness for cancer patients/survivors. This is also supposed to empower the cancer patients, to show them that we are all brave and willing to post our bare faces to make them feel more beautiful. "The problem is, to a woman at the height of a chemotherapy regime who barely recognises the reflection that greets her in the mirror, these images are not unattractive at all." These faces are still more beautiful and attractive than the cancer patient will ever be again in her own eyes.
I think that this article has some excellent points. This is not an act of bravery. The fact that a woman is so terrified to post a photo of herself without make-up on, that she has to attach a disclaimer that she is "doing it to raise awareness for cancer" is very sad to me. I work as a makeup artist when I am not in class, but none of my peers would know that by looking at me, as I choose to leave my face mostly bare on my days off. I fully understand the benefits of make-up, and I feel a million times more attractive with it on, but I am not so ashamed of my appearance that I can't show the world what I look like without it. I would also never make my clients feel like they aren't beautiful without my product on their faces, as my goal is to enhance their beauty, not make them feel like they aren't attractive without it.
I can also see how it would be offensive to the people going through chemo, its almost like saying, "I look like I am sick without make-up on". I know no female is trying to be cruel in any way. Their hearts are in the right place. They are trying to help. But posting a photo of themselves without makeup on is not helping. Trying to raise awareness isn't going to help, because like the article says, who isn't aware of cancer? Posting a link to the celebrities (or regular woman's) favorite donation site in the caption of this "no make-up selfie" might be a more useful way to make this trend benefit others.
If I was going through chemotherapy and I lost my full head of hair and eyelashes, I would be mortified. When I take a photograph and my barely there eyebrows disappear because of the flash, I refuse to let anyone upload the photograph. I think I look terrible and I don't want anyone to see that. If my best friend decided to post a picture to "raise awareness" while I was going through that, I would look at her bare, healthy face and be furious that she thinks it was making me feel any better. This article really made me think about the women who are struggling through treatment, much more than any no-makeup selfie ever has.

Link To Article:
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/theres-no-bravery-in-no-makeup-selfies-20140327-35lyx.html

February Blog Post: Fight Club

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The movie Fight Club released in 1999 stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. I love this movie for its message and its ability to be timeless. Released over a decade ago, the message is still as meaningful and current as the day it was released. Although the movie has many messages and some more deep than the one I choose, I believe mine holds much more weight in current society and the battles we hold with consumerism. The message I pulled out of the movie is the notion that society creates ideals in our mind of what to expect when we grow up. It tells us what it expects of us, who we need to be in order to matter in the world, to be happy, to have meaning in our life. Not only who we need to be, but what we need to own, and to buy to achieve that happiness. Tyler, one of the main characters in the movie, played by Pitt, says a quote which encompasses everything I took away from the movie. While Tyler is addressing a group of men about to start the fight, he proclaims:

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

This quote is awesome because it really highlights the idea of advertisement and the control it has on people in modern society. I myself am guilty of buying things I don't need and falling under the influence of consumerism. Tyler's ideals about society really resonate with me because of the traveling I have done. I have been lucky enough to travel to many places and experience tons of different cultures. In 2007 I went to Tanzania, Africa where I camped with a Hadza tribe. The Hadza are a nomadic hunting and gathering tribe located in central Tanzania. This means they move locations as soon as there is no more food left. Due to their high mobility rate, they barely have any belongings. All they carry is the clothes on their back, a small food reserve, and their tools/weapons. During those 14 days, I have never met a happier/more generous community in my life. At the time I was still very young and in high school and it really opened my eyes to the society we live in here in America. It amazed me that a group of people with basically nothing were by far the nicest and happiest people I have yet to come into contact with. This experience really solidified the idea that what we are fed as consumers is a lie and just a ploy to get you to buy things. The things that truly matter in life are health and the people you surround yourself with. Those are the things that will bring you true happiness, and nothing you would ever be able to buy at a Target.


Do you guys feel as if you can buy happiness? If you have traveled, do you find this message is common in other cultures or mainly perpetuated by Americans?

Legalization of Marijuana and the Turning Tides

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This article published in Fox business online outlines why the tides are turning in regards to marijuana in our country. The author states how economic benefits, cultural attitudes, entrepreneurial spirit, and even fairness should dictate how the country's government should react to the legalization of marijuana. The beauty of this article is that it is written by someone who is trying to legalize it because they want to get high more and how this article was able to combine a snippet of different types of benefits of legalizing weed. The second aspect especially resonates with me because who really wants to read page long articles about the tax benefits of the move? If people aren't that concerned about the tax topic, they would probably skip over this article. With the broad approach taken by the author, I feel like he is able to increase his readership base and then eventually gain more supporters or followers to his cause. Another aspect that I enjoyed about this article was his different approach to describing the current reality of the marijuana issue. Most articles would note that users are going to use whether it's legal or not but this article took a little different approach. This article took the approach of describe the black market situation that the dealers engage with each day. He notes how entrepreneurs will find a way to make money regardless of the legality of the means. Referring to the marijuana drug trade as a group of entrepreneurs is a different approach than what most authors do. He then makes the obvious comment that Colorado and Washington are just being intelligent about the situation and taxing these business people so that they can contribute to the overall betterment of society, just like all other legally operating businesses. This was a good article to read, I liked how it came from fox business that usually has a more conservative base that doesn't support the marijuana legalization movement as much as other groups of people. I felt like the author took a chance with this piece, given his audience, and hopefully picks up supporters along the way.

Louis Hates Phones

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http://youtu.be/5HbYScltf1c

My artefact was Louis C.K.'s viral commentary on children with cell phones. Louis makes several arguments about the negative effects of cell phones on Conan's late night show.
Kids should be an example, but parents want their kids to fit in. This includes buying children the latest technology, but technology is not inherently beneficial. As a society, we approve of technology as inherently progressive tools. Kids with cell phones don't look at people when they talk to them. This argument is obvious. Cell phones physically absorb a child's attention. They can do so in any place. Kids with cell phones don't build empathy. We have seen a new type of bullying in cyberspace. As Louis C.K. points out it is difficult to build empathy when one does not confront a person they attack. Cell phones allow kids to attack one another and satisfy their aggression without seeing the other kid's reaction.
Kids need to build an ability to not be doing something. We approve of the fast lifestyle in America. As college students we can't deny we feel proud when we multitask. If we aren't doing, we become anxious. We don't value reflection. We hate reflection because it involves confronting our sadness. Kids need to feel sadness. As Louis points out, the only way to fully enjoy life is to feel the sadness that is countered by true happiness. In order for kids to develop maturely and completely they must learn to live without phones.

Do you own a smart phone?
Do you feel shame in your cell phone use?

Minimum Wage

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Colton Stopperan
Blog Post 2
3/30/2014
http://www.aei.org/article/economics/fiscal-policy/labor/now-is-not-the-time-to-raise-the-minimum-wage/

Not Raising the Minimum Wage Raising the minimum wage has been and most likely always be a debate in our society. Recently the debated was sparked again when President Obama conducted a speech on the topic. The article I read is against raising the minimum wage and is in response to Obama's stance on the debate. The author of the article, Michael Strain, uses mostly a logical approach to his argument. Based on the topic of the debate, that approach seems best. His main arguments against are, the US is having a labor market crisis which is more important than the fiscal problem, raising the minimum wage would actually hurt lower wage workers, and it will have long term effects on everyone. Though it's a reasonably short article, he cites his sources and writes in a professional matter. I have researched and written a few papers on the topic and I myself am against raising the minimum wage. Many studies have shown, like the ones Strain provided in his argument, that say raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy and the ones it is supposed to help. Most minimum wage workers are actually part-time/seasonal workers consisting of teenagers and are not the primary income maker in a household. Raising the minimum wage, studies show, would decreases the amount job available because employers cannot afford to pay the same amount of workers more. Strain focuses mostly on Barak Obama's points and writing about how creating jobs should be the main focus. I agree with that statement, the unemployment rate is still high. The longer people are employed, the harder it becomes for those to get a job. Employers start to wonder why other employers are passing up on them. The article doesn't provide any counter arguments and seems to be politically driven. What are your guys arguments on this topic whether for or against? Would you be for raising the minimum wage if that meant finding a job would be much harder?

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Evangelical Culture War

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http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/31/how-evangelicals-won-a-culture-war-and-lost-a-generation/?hpt=hp_t4


This is an interesting article, as it discusses more in-depth issues in evangelical circles. I think the author's main argument is that in the case of World Vision's decision and reversal of the decision to employ people who are married to the same sex showed that many evangelicals have their priorities wrong. She says that in this case, evangelicals were willing to sacrifice their sponsored children in order to make a statement against gay marriage. She shows that this is inconsistent with evangelicalism, as it places politics over caring for the impoverished. The author also raises a valid point that this type of political fixation may detract people from the church and be counterproductive.

As an evangelical, I think she makes a valid point. I think a lot of evangelicals become too upset about politics and neglect the things that Jesus deemed important. I think that the issue of gay marriage is important, but it should not be a reason for people to be unfaithful in alleviating poverty and loving every type of person. Though I would personally question World Vision's decision to employ people of same-sex marriages, I think that the main issue is the motivation behind this decision. It is also true that evangelicals can be insensitive to issues of homosexuality, when they should welcome such people, as Jesus would have done. I can understand where this is coming from, as much of the culture is totally in favor of same-sex marriage when it is clearly unbiblical. I think many leaders and evangelicals are trying to overcompensate for this fact. I wonder if many millennials are cynical about Christianity because of political battles like this or if it is just their perception. Why are people cynical about Christianity? Is it because of their perception of the church or is it because they do not believe in a God at all?

Are College Athletes Employees?

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In this very recent article posted March 27, Ian Crouch from The New Yorker discussed the discrepancies around March Madness and college athletes. Crouch's main argument addressed the issues surrounding "so-called amateur student athletes" and their lack of advocacy and freedom.

This week the Chicago district office of the National Labor Relations Board found that Northwestern students with football scholarships were employees of the school. This gives them a right to form a union - which only applies to private schools. Though Northwestern is said to appeal it, the issue questions the N.C.A.A.'s motives and policies. The N.L.R.B. backed up their findings by plainly stating the definition of an employee - which matches that of college athletes. With that said, Northwestern scholarship players must follow intense stipulations and are basically controlled by the coaches and school. These scholarships in turn create large revenue for the school (two-hundred and thirty-five million dollars from 2003-2012) The other issue is that all scholarships are capped and treated equally, regardless of playing time and abilities. The scholarships only cover so much, leaving out major college expenses. The N.C.A.A. also forbids players to enter into their own endorsement deals or profit whatsoever from their success.

The N.C.A.A. is failing to acknowledge the incredible demands placed on college athletes, and the fact that there is no sort of compensation. This excludes medical expenses and other preventive injury care.

Ivan Maisel of ESPN did argue that there might be a potential problem of scope.
The article argues the N.L.R.B.'s emphasis on college football and not other sports, especially in places where revenue is just as copious. The N.L.R.B. also only covers men, not women athletes.

There should also be recognition made to those athletes who are not only incredibly talented, brining in revenue to the school, but athletes who are working full-time jobs and getting a college degree. Thus far this is not happening.

Are college athletes students or athletes first?

Do you think something needs to change with college sports and the involvement of the N.C.A.A.?

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2014/03/are-college-athletes-employees.html

Misrepresentation of Women in War

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We hear of the stories and experiences of war all the time in our lives. Those of us who do not experience it first hand are able to understand what it may be like to be in one ourselves. There are many movies and book dedicated to providing their reader with a picture of what it would be like to serve in the military. Although these incredible stories may vary incredibly from one another one thing remains the same- a male hero. Cara Hoffman argues in her article "The Things She Carried" in the New York Times that females are not represented, acknowledged or appreciated equally as their male counterparts and that they deserve more.
Personally this issue never crossed my mind but Hoffman has made me realize the unjust way the media portrays war. The image of women in the war is not something that comes to mind for me and I believe this is the same for most. Our image of war is created by the media, so why do they not show the role women have in fighting for our country? Pop-culture has created a false image of our military.
I think it is important to remember that the women who serve in the military come home from tours with the same problems as the men who serve. For example rates of PTSD and suicide are higher in both men and women returning from war. Do females receive the same amount of outreach and help as males do? I question this why Hoffman tells us the story of the woman who has served who was asked while she was at the V.A if she was waiting for her husband. It has also never occurred to me how domestic expectations would make coming home for war very challenging for any women. Women are expected to raise a family and take care of their children. Post-war stressors and challenges can interfere with this. I truly believe that women would be seen in a worse way if she was unable to take care of her children in comparison to a father.
In conclusion our images of the military are skewed because of the misrepresentation of the women who serve. What can we do to fix this? I believe it is important to recognize women who serve by showing them that you appreciate them. Media sources need to represent women more.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/opinion/the-things-she-carried.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

How Young is too Young to Travel?

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In an article by Katia Hetter, she prompts the question if there is an age that's too young for children to travel. She says that it really depends on the child and their parents. For some, it can be a mind broadening experience, and for others, just the trip to the destination is hell. Hetter quotes Dr. Kevin Leman who is the author of parenting books. Leman says that if the parent cannot control the child on the ground, then how can they control them in the air. A child throwing a tantrum can lead for an unpleasant trip, but Hetter suggests that there are benefits to traveling with children. It can open up there minds and globalize their viewpoints. You should prepare your child for such experiences though. Such as talking about it with your child, buying books to educate your child on the destination. Bringing a child with on travels can open the opportunity up to new experiences that you may not have been able to experience otherwise.

Hetter then addresses the question of when a child is ready to travel. The question is addressed by answering that it's based on the child's temperament and how the parent handles the child. Therefore, there isn't a specific age that may determine this.
Hetter says some travel chaos is brought on by the parents. Such as a parent waking a young child up at 4am to catch a 6am flight. Her suggestion is to drive whenever possible as opposed to flying.

Hetter towards the end of her article mentions that children aren't the only ones prone to tantrums. Adults get upset over the simplest things and raise their voices and argue with flight attendants. Grown adults can get just as audibly loud as children.

Hetter concludes her article without actually giving a specific age but rather says that children can travel at all ages depending on the parent and child. It's really dependent on behavior and situation management.

Hetter, Katia. "How Young Is Too Young to Travel?" CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/31/travel/irpt-young-children-traveling/index.html?hpt=tr_c1

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