Good Evening! While reading through some of your blog posts, I felt compelled to play devil's advocate and discuss the pros and cons of the VW ad we were so pleasantly presented with in class on Wednesday. First, may you care or not, I do not see this ad as racist. However, I am white, with my own white girl problems. Second, I openly try not to generate major stereotypes based on small samples of the big picture, but then again, we are all human- and regardless of how much we try, generalizations are a natural part of our species. I believe a huge part of this class is going to be analyzing textual elements that surround us every day, and finding a way to grow impervious, yet still perceptive of our environment. Moving onward, if we were to listen to this VW commercial rather than watch it, I am sure that no one would have as issue, since there is nothing uncouth about language that they use. Just good ole' German, Jamaican, American fun. One the other hand, when we watch the commercial and see that the main character is a middle aged white male, many of you raised a brow to the absurdity of the theme. So, if we break it down, we see that the Jamaican culture is portrayed as free living, happy, nonchalant. Insert this picture into a serious, predominantly white, blue collar building, and suddenly the juxtaposition almost makes us think that Jamaican culture doesn't take real life seriously. With this idea in mind, yes. I can totally see where people are coming from. However, many people watch this and think, "It's just a car commercial, what's the big deal?" Many of these people are either not included in the stereotype, or simply just feel that subjects like these are looked at too heavily. Our problem is that our society works so hard at selling to us, that now the element of surprise is the only element that gets attention these days. Our society is constantly pushing the envelope, saying good-bye to playing it safe, and throwing our domestic and international neighbors under the bus. Advertising and marketing has become an unstoppable force. Now, it is up to us to learn and achieve a moral standpoint in the world that is rightfully ours.
January 2013 Archives
We covered a lot this week and I think we have a lot to uncover. I was pleased with our discussion on Wednesday while evaluating our advertisements in relation to the Media Literacy reading. The idea of never truly being objective especially resonated with me, as I have never thought of objectivity in that way before. I mean, I've had discussions in various classes about being objective, but I hadn't thought of it in terms of unachievable. We come from different backgrounds, with different biases which will influence our opinions about nearly every every topic we encounter. No matter how hard we try to ignore our preconceptions, they will ultimately creep into and affect our opinions. As for the Media Literacy reading, I was intrigued as to how oblivious the public is/can be to the intentional messages advertisers place in their campaigns. After pondering their strategies it became clear in how effective their messages can be in such subtle ways! I'm learning more ways to decode media and better understand the world of advertising.
The concept from this week that I found to be the most interesting is the idea that we can never be truly objective when analyzing media and positionality. Our group discussed that we had to be able to be aware that our backgrounds are what mold us to view media in different ways from others. I discussed that i would view media from a white, upper middle class, female and higher educated point of view. When groups talked about Swiffer commercials as their example for where we can differ in views and the ways that media only further stereotypes. I hadn't really even considered the fact that these commercials only show women in order to advertise. This was only reinstating the idea that women belong in the home doing the cleaning. As a female, 20 year old consumer I feel like I should of been more aware to the ideals that these ads were portraying and been a more literate consumer.
Also in regards to what we learned in the "introduction to media literacy text" I found that I was interested again in the idea that everyone interprets messages in different ways. Although the text may be the same, and te subtext should be relatively the same for each commercial people can still get different thins from it. An example of this that was brought to the was the VW commercial that viewed a white collar, white male with a thick jamaican accent. The feud was: "is this racist." An argument was that it was racist because it furthered the idea that the white male is what you see in the work place. Also by attaching the accent to the Jamaican culture it was reinstating the idea that Jamaicans are the ones being viewed as too happy and carefree and the jokes of the office. But another counter argument was that it was just relying to be funny and if anything it painted the Jamaican lifestyle in a positive way making them seem happy in life and then tying that to the VW. I find that i don't know which side I fall on. I think it was clearly done in good taste and they were careful about not insulting anyone, but i can understand why it could be viewed that was. I also happen to think it is incredibly funny which I think was their ultimate goal. This exercise re-instilled the idea of objectivity even more and was the first big take home idea this week.
I found the discussion on Wednesday to be very engaging and was disappointed to not have had more time to argue what I thought or argue simply to create debate. I would argue that this commercial isn't "racist" so to speak, but more of a major group generalization. Our mostly Northern American understandings and impressions of Jamaican culture and ways of life (through television and music, mainly) is that they are easy-going, don't worry, and smoke a joint every now and then. If this is our understanding, and clearly this ad knows this as well, it is merely satire. At one point in the commercial, someone says, "Isn't he from Minnesota?" so they are not trying to perceive him as actually being Jamaican, but rather trying to perpetuate the 'good feelings' associated with the Jamaican people, as being the same kind of feeling if you ride in their VW car. So, yes, this commercial reinforces a stereotype- but I would not say it's racist. On a different note, I actually enjoyed the second reading for this class, Introduction to Media Literacy. I'm already familiar with some of the concepts introduced, so it was reassuring to read something for class and not feel completely lost. One of the most frustrating things about media (p.286) are that people without power, privilege, and money often don't have access to media, can't often contribute, and often turns these people invisible. I agree that our media system needs to change, so that these groups of people are not left out. Because when there is this type of imbalance economically, the issue of equality will not be addressed, and therefore never get better. Everyone deserves to be a functioning member or society with equal access to media.
So basically when thinking about the topics discussed in class this week, we have the Berube piece about white gayness, and also the controversial ad for volkswagen. The thing i've thought out if for myself (as a white middle class male) it's extremely difficult for me to put myself in either of those situations. Where I grew up in school it's been pretty diverse with classmates and population that I haven't felt any of that isolation from myself, or an isolation of others due to always being in open environments. If I thought long and hard maybe I'd be able to come up with certain groups or things where there was, but at least from basic day to day life it's felt pretty diverse, and obviously going to the U is no exception. This, along with discussing if the ad is racist, I stated in class as my own opinion I don't see the racial problem with it, because it's not degrading them or showing Jamaican's in a negative manner. However, as I feel open to my own opinion in this class, I realize it is hard for me to judge because I've never been in that situation where I've felt isolated, or put down. Sure there are probably many Minnesotan White Male stereotypes, especially with a Minnesotan accent, but at least me, I find that not offensive at all, Also because I don't find many offensive things period. The main point of my post is, with the discussion of discrimination or isolation, it's hard to fully understand the meaning of it when you're not in that position to understand the feeling.
I found the Berube article to be interesting because I did not realize that there are that many issues that with gay white men in society. Because I come from a different background it was difficult to understand what "whiteness" meant. I like the fact that he had little stories to help explain the situations that he was going through as a gay white man. The best example from the reading that help me understand this issue better was the about night club that was asking for three forms of ID and he had to decide if he wanted to help his fellow gay males or not.
I thought the "Introduction to Media Literacy" article was very interesting. I think that we are all surrounded by media and we should learn to analyze media. I think it is important to understand some of these media so we can have a better understanding of what it means. One concept that works well when media are trying to get the viewer's attention is by operating on emotional level. An example that I used for class was about a commercial about quitting smoking. The media knows that if its targeted audience are smoking parents with children then the focus is to put kids in the commercial and hopefully they feel the same when the see the child crying in the commercial. This week was very interesting I look forward to the followings weeks.
I found the Introduction to Media Literacy article incredibly interesting. I have soem experience with the topic from previous classes where we just grazed the surface of the subject, but we never really went too in-depth with it. The biggest thing that interests me as a consumer of media is the different persuasion techniques used to try and sell us on a product, idea, show, or even a character. For the most part the persuasion techniques listed were fairly straightforward and I was immediately able to recall certain ads or television shows that used these very same techniques. While some were obvious and had little effect, some are extremely subtle. One of the biggest examples I could think of as a media text that has affected me a great deal was the relationship between Jim and Pam on The Office. After reading the article I attempted to identify the different techniques the show used to market them as the couple everyone wants to be a part of and how they marketed them individually as that ideal guy/girl-next-door. The first thing that comes to mind is the use of the "Beautiful People" technique. They are obviously both attractive young people and audience don't say no to that. They also use the "Warm and Fuzzy" technique to elicit a response from their audience anytime something good happens to Jim and Pam. However, I believe the biggest and most effective technique they use a combination of the "Plain Folk" technique and the characterization of the two of them that makes them seem so familiar to who we might be or to someone we all have met in our lives. By creating these characters in this way, The Office was essentially forcing us to root for them. Not in a way that was against our control, but in a way that made it hard to root against them. Now I know these persuasion techniques are generally only used in advertisements, but in the case of The Office and many other TV shows, media persuasion techniques can be used for just about anything.
I think the reading for this week does a good job at outlining the basics of media literacy. As you stated in class, we are all surrounded by media each and every day, there is no escaping it. Looking on pages 288-294 and going through the forms of persuasion, we can see just how deceptive the media can be. It is as if they assume most of us are all fickle minded people, and they have complete control over us. Take the ad I showed in class yesterday, most of us were divided on how we thought about the ad. There is arguments for both sides of the debate and we were only able to hear a few. The ad used humor to try and bring people together to buy their cars, probably not caring too much about if people thought the ad was wrong in some sort of way. I'm not here to argue whether it was or not, but I think page 295 could be used to help you answer that question for yourself. It doesn't matter if it's racist or not, at least we were knowledgable enough to think about it and decide for ourselves. Many people out there, especially youth, wouldn't even think twice about that ad. I think media literacy is a skill we all should learn. I'm looking forward to seeing more examples of ads next week!
With this being my first Communication Studies class, I knew that I would have a lot to learn in the first few weeks, if not the whole semester. I would have to say that in the course of the first full week, I have taken to analyzing advertisements as well as other types of media outlets such as the news or even television shows in a different manner. Prior to this class, I usually only noticed faults in the media when it came to women's roles seeing as I've taken multiple Gender, Women, and Sexuality classes. After this first week, especially after I read Bérubé's piece as well as the Media Literacy Project, I have noticed a lot more of how advertisements focus in on specific groups and don't tell the entire story or truth behind their product or people who want to buy their products.
I learned a lot more about how the experiences of people influence how each person understands their world and how advertisers take this idea of a person's positionality and use it to shape what a person's understanding of the world is. In Bérubé's piece, the idea of changing the way people think about gay men (or even gay people) is a way to change how people see their world. By taking away the connotations of the "HIV negative", gay, upper class man, the way people see their world as well as how they see people in their world changes. With this, I thought of how in recent years, many advertisements on television or in magazines have been changing to fit what people expect to see in the world. Last year when JC Penny featured a same sex marriage of females for their Mother's Day ad, they went against what so many people saw as 'regular' or 'normal'. Prior to this class, I would have thought of the ad to be used as a shock factor, or just the statement of how JC Penny felt towards gay marriage, yet after this past week, I saw that the advertisers at JC Penny used the same sex couple as a way to challenge the positionality of what people thought to be 'normal'.
As far as what I chose for a media example for Wednesday's class, I can definitely say that the magazine I chose only ran ads that fulfilled the reader's positionality. I chose an ad from Yoga Journal, the audience to which is primarily female. In the entire magazine, only one ad had a man displaying the product. Even then, he was with a woman I could guess to be his wife. From what I learned this past week, I will now take a look at what the audience expects to see in multiple areas before thinking critically about what I see for particular advertisements. This way of thinking will also let me know who the advertisements are aimed for.
The first full week of class brought a few of things to the table, but I will be addressing our reading over the introduction to media literacy, and the video example that we watched on Wednesday. First of all, the article that we read on the intro to media literacy was very interesting. Some topics were review, like the idea of text and subtext, and many of the persuasion techniques. But some of the article was new and interesting for me to read. The segments on basic, intermediate, and advanced media literacy concepts were fun to read, and the parts I found most interesting were that media effects are subtle and complex. This means that media effects are not immediate, and may not even affect us directly. For instance, a McDonald's ad may be seen, and hours later you may crave a big mac. Or perhaps your friend sees the ad and they are the one with the craving, but they still bring you to eat.
In class we also began to address our own media examples and their messages. We began by looking at the new Volkswagen commercial. I think the problem with American views is that it's either racist or not racist. This is a terrible way to view things, and everything in this world could be set into a racist point of view. This ad did not intend to be racist, and many Jamaicans are saying that this ad is not offensive to them at all. Also many Jamaicans are in fact white, so this guy is not "impersonating black people" and especially not in a degrading manner. I actually think it's racist to say that all Jamaican people are black! Jamaica has many black people, but they also have many Spanish, British, West African, Middle Eastern, and quite a large Chinese population. The man speaks of happiness! I think the whole argument is a little absurd.
After reading through Bérubé and the Media Literacy Project, I know how a much better understanding of how I can apply positionality and self-reflexivity to my life. Bérubé's paper got me thinking of how sometimes I fail to recognize my past experiences and just how much they have shaped my view of the world. The Media Literacy Project has brought concepts, methods of persuasion, and ways I can deconstruct the media messages that I see everyday. This post will cover a personal reaction and similarities to Bérubé's writing and an example of deconstructing a media message that I have experienced this week.
After reading Bérubé's, "How Gay Stays White and What Kind of White it Stays" I couldn't help but think of my own personal self-reflexivity and positionality, as Bérubé does in his paper. Within his paper he tells numerous experiences about how being white has affected him within his work and organizations that he is involved with. Many of the groups that I am involved in such as the Student Athlete Advisory Commission, Volunteer Tax Assistant Program and a Bible study are also filled with all white people. In terms of my own positionality, I grew up in a basically all-white rich Minneapolis suburb in which I associated with relatively the same groups of people. I could not believe how similar my experiences were in terms of being apart of all white groups and failing to really recognize this until now.
The media example that I brought in to class on Wednesday was of a make up ad made by Walmart saying, "Do you really love your make up?" and below stating "STOP ANIMAL TESTING." The picture has a barbie-like girl crying with the make up from her tears running down her cheek and in the background a cute puppy inside of a kennel looking scared for its life. By deconstructing this message we came to a group conclusion that the target audience is meant to be towards activist women, hippie and Eco-friendly women, and also younger girls who may be buying make-up for the first time. The last type of target audience, I think looks beyond the basic deconstruction questions because you really have to take in account the depth of this ad. The depth of this ad meaning that it is such a horrible sight that not only will it attract those who already are aware of animal testing but it will particularly stand out to younger women who may be shopping for make up for the first time. Now after the younger women seeing this ad it could lead them to believe that all other brands of make up besides Walmart test animals in a horrific way. This is my example on how deconstructing a media message has lead me to a more thoughtful insight and reaction to one of Walmart's controversial ads.
One thing brought up in the class lecture today was how the media sometimes perpetuates harmful norms and ideologies. This made me think of violent movies and video games and how they normalize violence and are still intensely marketed. Another question raised was "How does the political economy of media (that is media ownership and profit imperatives) impact what content gets produced, which audiences 'count' as valuable consumers, and how media policy gets made (and whom this policy favors)?" Two audiences that are targeted a lot in movies are teenage girls/college-age women and young men. Many of the movies with these groups as a target audience are lacking in substance and insult a large part of the audience they try to target (college-age men and women) by assuming that the average person in that group only wants to see sophomoric comedies.
The Media Literacy Project reading mentioned how "most media are controlled by commercial interests." For the most part, media companies do not care if the public is "well-informed." They are concerned with appealing to us on an "emotional level" (which according to page 285 of our book is when media is most powerful) to persuade us to buy their products so they can make money. Another good point that this reading makes is that "[o]ur media system produces lots of negative, demeaning imagery, values and ideas. It renders many people invisible." While it is rendering these people invisible, it does the same to the ideas that these people have, ignoring them if they will not contribute to the financial success of the company. Also, on page 286 number 19 states that people without money, privilege, influence, and power "are often shut out of the media system." This makes the ideas and struggles of the less privileged classes more obscure to the general public. That these ideas and struggles are not articulated in mainstream media can result in a lack of interest or ignorance of these things among the general public.
Over the week, I learned a lot about debating and defining media literacy through class readings and discussions. One of the strongest discussions we had this week was about positionality and self-reflexivity in relation to the Allen Berube article. As Berube was reflecting on his own positionality with the white, well-educated gay population, he realized that within his activist groups, there was its own lack of reflexivity, This led him to argue how this was leading this gay population to limitations in their possibilities for the social equality they aspire for. They were excluded themselves, even though they did not see it. I think this same realization can occur in many activist groups like Berube's. In today's society, I think that it is key that we become self-reflexive in order to truly understand and apply our knowledge not only into our activism and beliefs, but also into the media and personal lives. We all are naturally objective towards our own viewpoints, which are shaped by our race, class, gender, experiences, and more. This positionality can not be changed or altered, as it is a nature part of our lives and shaped as we age and learn. I think it is important to understand our positionality clearly in order to sufficiently defend our values and viewpoints. It is important for media producers to take into account their audience's positionalities when creating media texts. If consumers feel a personal connection to a media text, a greater and more influential message will be transcribed. In the "Introduction to Media Literacy" article, many media literacy concepts and persuasion techniques are discussed, This are important for media producers to use in order to persuade and interest their audience effectively. In addition, understanding the text and subtext, as discussed on pg. 5, helps media makers enhance their messages. It can be easy to understand the written text and pictures and create a message. However, the more important meaning comes from the interpretation of a piece of media in the subtext. The subtext can be hard to solidify an exact meaning from piece to piece, as all consumers interrupt and find different meanings within the same media text. A media message becomes the strongest when a media maker can create subtexts that are geared towards their audiences experiences and values.
The readings, class discussion and lecture has given me more knowledge in the area's of positionality and self-reflexivity. I now analyze my role and and how I make sense of the media I am consumed with. The way that I interpret certain things is different then how someone else seeing the same thing may interpret it. For example the discussion/debate that we had in class today about the ad that VW plans to use during the super bowl brought up several different perceptions. We all have a positionality when it comes to consuming the ad. In the class there were a few people who could see that ad as being racist, and others who did not associate racism with the ad. Personally after seeing the ad and hearing what people had to say about it, my reaction was similar to a lot of students. I think that the ad was not racist, people are quick to jump to the racism card when thats not the intention VW had when putting out the ad. To me its an add using a white man to speak like a black Jamaican man, which makes it amusing to watch. I associate Jamaicans being care free, easy going, happy people. If you buy their car you too can be like that. People are different, some things that offend me, might not offend the person next to me, not everyone can be pleased.
In the Berube reading, he examines his whiteness and self-reflexivity. He wants to examine the stereotype of the "classic" gay man; white, well to do and of middle to upper class (235). Race and class are not talked about amongst his fellow white gay friends. He has privileges being in this position as other gay men of different races and classes do not have. Berube was misunderstood by his fellow group members of the HIV Negative group that he wanted it to be exclusively white. Showing interpretations are not all the same.
I found this week's readings of Bérubé and the Media Literacy Project, as well as class discussions useful in understanding the concepts of positionality and self-reflexivity, and the tools for deconstructing persuasive mechanisms active in the media. This post focuses on the Bérubé reading, and the self-reflexivity that he demonstrates in discussing his position within his communities, and how that influences his work as a writer, historian, and activist.
In Bérubé's "How Gay Stays White and What Kind of White it Stays", he talks about his desires and practices of "examining", "talking through", "challenging" his activist communities' whiteness, which is to say that accepting responsibility for his/their position within the power structures of race, class and sexuality only greater equips them in their goals as a movement of gay white men. I see this as living through one's position, wherever that position may lie on the continuum of humanity.
Bérubé writes about his experience of joining a picket line outside his favorite nightclub. The protest was challenging that the club's ID policy for entry was an effort to keep the club a white, upper-middle class establishment by not allowing minorities who could not show multiple forms of ID in - an action he calls a "gay whitening practice". His choice of activism is an example of Bérubé recognizing the power structure of the situation, and that his whiteness could be used constructively to ally with a group less powerful than he. In this instance he talks about his choice to protest as being a privilege of his whiteness, but also acknowledges his fear of not being let back into the club because of this choice. This is within Bérubé's practice of self-reflexivity. He understands the terms by which he is acting, the positive impact that his actions may have, and the potential consequences his actions may hold.
Please post discussion questions on Judith WIlliamson's "Decoding Advertisements," below. As you read, think through the following questions:
1. Williamson explains that the sign is made up of a signifier and a signified and operates with respect to a referent system. How does she define the sign? The signifier? The signified? The referent system?
2. How does Williamson define ideology? Why does this matter when decoding advertisements?
3. Why does Williamson find these concepts useful when decoding advertisements? How can they be useful to us?
4. What are some examples of advertisements that could be productively analyzed in this way?
The student below me posted an important topic about the Super Bowl ads. I think it will be interesting to see how we look at the ads differently, even after reading only this one chapter. One commercial has already come under scrutiny, and I think that's going to be my example tomorrow. From the chapter, I also think that emotion is probably the best form of persuasion for advertisers. This is most noticeable in the political ads that were shown on TV during the election last year. One that sticks out to me was the "When Mitt Romney came to town" ad. They focused on a man who had lost his wife to an illness. She died because they were afraid to go to the hospital due to the cost of medical care. When he finally took his wife to the hospital, it was too late, she was going to die no matter what the doctors did. You might be wondering what this has to do with Mitt Romney? He shut down the plant that the husband worked for, so he lost his medical coverage.
It's a very sad ad, and you can't help but feel for this individual, but you have to wonder what exactly that ad has to do with politics? My question is, how far are people going to go to use emotion as a tool of persuasion? Is publicizing a man's dead wife not taking things a little bit too far? The ad just kind of made me feel uncomfortable.
I found the Introduction to Media Literacy article very relevant to society and this class. It was hard not to relate each concept to a media text today. One media literacy concept that I could relate to was on page 285, which stated that Media texts are most powerful when they operate on an emotional level. I instantly thought of the Hallmark advertisements that are on TV during the holidays. The advertisements use the warm and fuzzy sentiment of family to directly sell their cards and holiday decorations. The fictional families are happy and relaxing by the fireside, giving a direct emotional appeal, which consequently leds viewers to express strong emotions in relation to their family interactions. This can go two ways though. A viewer can feel sentimental, as the commercials are a direct reflection of their own family life. However, it could also create sadness for someone who has lost family directly or indirectly, in which the advertisements express grief from the memories. In addition, I think one of the most powerful persuasion methods is Humor, found on page 290. With the Superbowl coming up, I can't remember a strong Superbowl advertisement that didn't connect to humor and laughter. From Betty White in the Snickers advertisement or the Magic Fridge for Bud Light, humor in commercials is a very strong attention grabber and memory builder. The day after the Superbowl, everyone is talking about the most humorous advertisements. However, are these commercials actually helping the sales of their products, or are they just for pure entertainment?
After reading Media Literacy, the first thought that stuck out to me was the first basic Media Literacy Concept (pg 284), "Media constructs our culture." This makes me feel about how I spend my time with my close friends, and co-workers. Basically, the text states how our society and culture is shaped by the information we receive from the media. I would agree with this statement for most people, or at least for me when it comes to my daily life. At work we always talk about new things we've seen on reddit, or a new video on YouTube. Even this last weekend playing Halo 4 and I was chatting with a coworker and the whole time we are talking, we are using references to funny songs, or things we've experienced together from the media. When my best friends and I have discussions we use a lot of references to songs and videos that we are all familiar with. I thought it was interesting that this was listed as first because I have never realized how much the media has affected my attitude and the way I talk and act around my friends and coworkers.
Perfect example I can think of is this video that is a literal sense of what I was talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ogJtX-Z7Xs
One thing that came to mind while I was reading "Introduction to Media Literacy" is how amazing it is that the persuasion techniques used in media today still work. Our society is so saturated with media messages that it seems as though most people would be cynical about what media forms are trying to sell us simply because it is everywhere we look. It is important for consumers to recognize the persuasion techniques utilized in media. My question is "Is the majority of the public today really persuaded by the traditional techniques used by advertisers?" A couple of years ago, cosmetic companies were criticized in England for giving a false impression of how the products will work. This clip discusses the issue.
After reading the "Introduction to Media Literacy" Article for this week I had a few things that I was still confused about. My first thought was the process of desensitization in media, advertisements specifically, plays a huge role in how we interpret media. Take for example the commercials with Sarah McLachlan. I am no longer affected by those commercials because I have become desensitized and now ignore them. My question is how does the media prevent desensitization and how can we as consumers of media learn to pick and choose what we are affected by? My only other question was about one of the intermediate persuasion techniques. I have trouble believing that a "Big Lie" is believed more than a "Small Lie" and I was wondering if we could get some clarification on that?
I really enjoyed reading through the introduction to the Media Literacy Project. I have taken a few journalism classes and I feel that it does a great job of explaining all of the different concepts that deal with analyzing the media. I personally am very interested in political media and scapegoating was listed under persuasion techniques. Scapegoating is used quite often in political speech and is one of the reasons why so many people do like politics. It is a way of placing blame on another person or group. Whether we like it or not politics is a huge part of our lives and we have to deal with men and women in office making decisions that for the most part directly affect all of us.
One example of scapegoating that I believe is relevant would be the Democratic Party blaming the bad economy on the fact that the rich do not pay enough in taxes. This has been a message that we see in newspapers, magazines, on television, and in many political ads. However, this is scapegoating because while it may or may not be one of the causes for the federal debt and he bad economy; there is more than one issue attributing to the debt and economy. This is why it is so important for youth and adults to be informed when they are voting for political candidates. Absent-mindedly watching political advertisements is not enough to be able to make educated decisions when going to the voting booth. It is important for the future of our country that the youth be able to decipher the messages that political parties are sending out to them and where these messages are coming from.
One of the media literacy concepts that I found to be the most interesting is the idea that we process time-based media differently than static media. I found this interesting, because while it is definitely something that I have noticed in the past, with things such as television and movies and not always being able to immediately sit down and "integrate the information rationally" whereas if I was reading a book you can stop, think and re-read to get a better understanding of the text. This is useful because in the case of the news, if you are reading the newspaper article where a politician is quoted and something about the quote seems odd you can take the time to try to figure out what they are trying to get across, where if a politician is speaking on television the thought process of trying to decode what they are trying to say can be interrupted by what the fact that their speech or the conversation continues without giving the listener or viewer time to rationally respond to what was said. My question is wondering whether or not advancements in technology are changing this. Do products such as DVR's allow us to change the way that we process media on the television, making it a more static media than in the past?
I am interested in the section on creating counter ads as an exercise for learning and applying the concepts covered in the Media Literacy Project reading. By utilizing the same tools of persuasion that are operative in a media text to create a parody, a useful and entertaining didactic is made possible by inverting the original aim of the media text, and ultimately subverting the authority held by the institution that created it. Parody is widely used in sketch comedy such as Saturday Night Live, and fake news sources like Jon Stewart and the Onion as a means of political commentary.
Parody can also be used to deconstruct the texts and subtexts present in an advertisement, a movie, or a music video. In the music video parody, "YOLO", produced as a digital short for Saturday Night Live, the producers look at the tropes active within the music video vocabulary to communicate the dangers of a "you only live once" attitude by grossly exaggerating the potential effects of such behaviors. The result is a self-reflexive media text that looks at a popular neologism, and is marketed at the audience who consumes the products that it criticizes.
Music videos are perhaps the ultimate in time-based media, combining fast moving images and music designed to operate on an emotional level. The "YOLO" music video comments on the "fantasy world" concept [p284] from the reading by constructing images of playful, recreational activities gone awry. Music videos employ filmic techniques such as quick cuts, specific lighting and staging, and exaggerated framing and camera angles to manipulate the emotions of the viewer. This specific video uses beautiful people, celebrities, repetition, and humor to be persuasive.
What are some of the texts and subtexts present in this video?
After finish reading "Introduction to Media Literacy" and going through all of the Media Literacy Concepts and persuasion techniques, I could almost instantly think of every possible example of each but there is one I could give an example of just by what we see every day. An interesting concept I'd like to mention is number eight, fear; fear by intended audience to promote a solution according to page 290. A simple example of this is the famous commercial for Old Spice where we have the main character exaggerating how every man should look like; big, muscular, large pecks, deep "male" voice, you name it! ( and for some reason every man wears a towel wherever they go). This ad is presenting fear of masculinity for guys and presents the product in a way that if you don't by their products, you will not be considered a "real" man or at least you won't smell like one. I find this technique for advertisement interesting and effective because it's funny, random, grabs the attention of both male and female groups, runs fast, is quick and simple. It just gets right to the point! However it does have its misleading message by projecting the ideal "male image"; the fear of not being "masculine". But Old Spice is known for being humorous. And people in general like humor especially when we don't see it often in commercial advertisement. For example, Old Spice's last year's facebook post saying "If you don't have an idea for the big Halloween costume contest yet, why not consider putting on some Old Spice and go as a man". After reading the post, I had bought one as a gift for a friend curious of why everyone is talking about the product (also an example of Group Dynamics number 36 and Timing number 40). The post itself is humorous, clever and effective, it brought a lot more media attention toward male consumers especially within only the last few years.
When I finished reading the Media Literacy concepts in the course packet there were things that stuck out to me and had me questioning why it was the way it was. I want to begin with the concept discussed on page 284, "media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes and actions." Which I find is very true, but at the same time as I agree with this statement I wonder why. We know especially in our digital society today that not all things we read, see on TV or internet are true but yet somethings still influence us to believe certain things. This reminds me of the latest drama going on in the media about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that occurred on December 14th. There are a number of things out there on the web and in print right now accusing the media and government of hiding and exaggerating the shooting massacre, in other words conspiracy theories. I have seen several videos posted on social media about why there are conspiracies surrounding the shootings, I think a large number of people are influenced by this and their attitudes towards the government. Another concept that stuck out to me was the power dynamics in the media. The concept discussed on page 286, "our media system reflects the power dynamics in our society." This effects the things we see and hear about and as well as the things we don't see or hear about. Which reminds me of the "invisible danger," that I learned about in another media class. The danger of relying on one source and not knowing other important things that could effect you because there "invisible" through that media outlet. I think about small towns who only rely on local news and local newspaper for their news, and nothing national or international.
While reading through "Introduction to Media Literacy" from in our course packet, I found some of the ideas quite interesting. The idea on pg. 284 that media constructs fantasy worlds is so interesting to me. The fact that our minds can fantasize so quickly and inspire us so easily is intriguing, yet dangerous. Video games, for example, transport you to a different dimension, but can also raise the question of whether or not it may influence our realities. On the other hand, pg. 285 points out that the human brain is much more apt to processing images more effectively than words. I believe, since our generation has been blessed with the advent of smart phones and iPads, that we are more vulnerable to these messages. If you truly think about it, we associate App icons, badges, contact pictures, and logos with words rather than the former. For example, the symbol for apple.inc is as simple as a white background with a gray, 1/2 bitten apple on it. Yet, because of this company's popularity and their genius marketing schemes, this ordinary fruit represents a conglomerate of devices that countless people use on a daily basis.
Please post your discussion questions to the Media Literacy Project's "Introduction to Media Literacy" (starts on p. 283 in the course pack), below.
Your discussion question should:
(a) reflect on the usefulness of one or more of the concepts put forth and demonstrate this usefulness by pointing to a particular example from media or (b) pull out a concept/s that you found surprising or confusing and relate it/them to a specific example from media.
Remember to bring an example from media (a link to a video, an example from print media, etc.) to class for our group discussion.
Hey everyone! I'm Morgen and I'm a senior this semester. I'm an English major and I'm on a track to get licensed to teach secondary school in about two years (if all goes well). I'm looking forward to this class and this semester!
Hi everyone, this is Kate! I'm a senior, majoring in Nutrition with a minor in Communications. Have a great weekend!
This is Matt. I'm 23 and a Junior here at the U. I'm a journalism major and thinking about doing a comm minor. When I graduate I would like to work in the sports journalism field.
Hi Everyone! My name is Kelly Malia and I am a comm major at the U! Good luck to all this semester!
Hello, everyone! My name is Ashley. I'm a Junior in Political Science & Communication Studies at the U.
Hey I hope this is working correctly. This is Chad (CT) Thompson (I go by either), and I'm in my last semester here as a Communications major!
Hello, all! My name is Kyle Prahl, and I'm a Junior in Communication Studies. Although, that title is a bit misleading -- the last 2.5 years of my life here at the U has been spent as a Biochemistry major, and this is the first semester of my switch to Communication Studies.
Hi, this is Marisa and I am a comm major here at the U!
Hello, this is John.
Please post a brief introduction below