Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This is the 2004 Pepsi advert featuring Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink and Enrique Iglesias. It has used the theme of Gladiators with Enrique as the Emperor and Britney, Beyonce and Pink as the gladiators.
The whole video shows strength and power. The three gladiators were at the time of making and showing this advert probably the most powerful and well known singers around in the world and are all also American. All three females have powerful voices which is shown in the advert as they sing a cover of Queen's 'We will rock you' and they are also dressed and ready to fight which is another example of power and strength. At the end with purely the power of their voices and the, they crowd manage to over power the Emperor and make him fall into the arena and face a tiger.
Everything aspect of this film draws me to think that the idea behind the video is to make people think that drinking Pepsi will some how make you strong and powerful like Britney Spears and Beyonce and Pink. Also, the fact that the three female Gladiators where able to over power the Emperor may have been used to appeal to women to drink Pepsi and they might get the same feeling of power over men and any sort of ruler that they have over them. If you looked further into it, it is three American women over powering a Spanish man, which might appeal to America because of the power over another nation.
The above advertisement is for Nike and shows two of the best American Football players in Shawne Merriman and Steven Jackson competing in different weather conditions easily beating their opponents. The advert makes them look like they are constantly playing as after each tackle they are shown in a new stadium against a new team, which gives the impression that if you purchase something made by Nike you will always be at your best and ready to go. The different weather conditions show that with Nike sportswear you will be able to succeed in any conditions as it won’t let you down, be it in bright sunlight or severe snowstorms. Also as the advert features two of the best American football players at the time, it sends the message that Nike “made” these athletes, and the reason that they are performing well in the advert, and in real life matches is because they are wearing footwear and clothing that Nike has made, and if you purchase items from Nike you will be able to perform at their level as well. This leads to the notion that the reason that the opponents of the two players in the advert are unable to stop them is because they are not wearing Nike, and that is why they are made out to be ordinary compared to the “Nike superstars.” The music adds to the advert, with the beats being in time with each tackle, making it look and sound more dramatic, especially at the end, where the music sounds “victorious” as a result of Steven Jackson scoring a touchdown while overspowering five men which displays the success you can achieve with the help of Nike sportswear.
To conclude the whole advert displays a great symbolic value for Nike sportswear, as buying it’s cheaper rivals may save you money, but you won’t be wearing clothing or footwear that NFL players such as Merriman or Jackson wear, meaning that if you do buy from Nike you will be able to put yourself in the same league as those great American football players.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The advert above is for an American car- the Dodge Challenger.
The advertisement contains many typically 'American' values of freedom and liberty, making reference to the war of independence, with the ideology behind it summarised by 'America got two things right; Cars and freedom'. The message behind the ad is that if you buy the car it will set you free and make you independent, allow you to drive in comfort anywhere, pushing forward the American notion of exploration and freedom through driving and being on the open road. Though a road is not shown, the backdrop to the ad has mountains or large hillside and forest- signifying wilderness, and hinting and exploration.
Most Americans see the Independence of American from Britain as a positive thing, the car is shown to be vs the British, so it is implied that if Americans still believe in the value of American freedom they believe in the product- the car. If they rejected the advert they would be saying that the British should have won. The ad is trying to 'retain' American values of freedom and target those who believe in that, the setting is unsettled (no houses, town) meaning that the car would allow you to truly be free and go back to the days of simple unsettled wilderness- a want/desire of many Americans- advocated by followers of the teaparty.
The ad is meant to stir up patriotism and notions of American freedom, the American flag being featured on the cars themselves (it also makes them look almost presidential and important- the brave travel in these cars) and the American flag fades in the ending to a flag of the Dodge logo, representing that the car is part of the American ideal and that it is setting America free. Possibly George Washington type figure at the end??
'"Shine!" is an original musical comedy based on characters and situations found in the works of Horatio Alger, particularly Ragged Dick and Silas Snobden's Office Boy... we stuck with Alger's pervasive theme: that in America one could begin with nothing, and with the right attitude, hard work, application, and a little bit of luck, dream a dream and chart a course on which to achieve it. '
The formulation of the ideas and situations in Ragged Dick being turned into a play shows how influential the ideas and values that Alger wrote of are, even years on. His message is seen as a truly 'American' one, an early pioneer of the American Dream. The content of the book is optimistic and uplifting- making it perfect for a musical. It shows that many Americans must still value Alger's hard work ethic and idea that 'any one can make it', and believe in the 'dream' to be drawn to a play of this kind.
The play is spreading Alger's uplifting message to further generations, though his ideas have been challenged (Michael Moore 'Horatio Alger must die') ideas of American exceptionism live on, which is essentially part of what Alger's myth is. Any one can make it in America with hard work education and dreams because America is 'exceptional'. This patriotism and pride is unlikely to go away any time soon, meaning Alger's myth is only embraced, accepted and spread further. Recently American politicians criticised Obama for not believing America is 'exceptional' proving it is still an important concept to many Americans; who would therefore agree with Alger's' exceptionalist' notions and buy into Alger 'inspired' things such as this play.
Pop-tarts are the perfect treat for any child. They come in a foil wrapper and are not likely to spoil. You can eat them cold or heat them up. You can toast them and dunk them in nice warm hot chocolate if you choose. So Pop-Tarts really are a versatile food. Having eaten only one pop-tart in my life, I paid a visit to the web site (poptarts.com) and found there is very little information about Pop-tarts. The video reflects the website, and opens with a short video advising children to get outside and play. This suggests that the Pop-tart people feel guilty due to the increasing number of children becoming obese thanks to the growing number of sweet and calorific treats on offer at supermarkets. The commercial appeals to children as a colourful setting, glamorising Pop-tarts as a tasty snack. What it neglects to tell you is that is packed with e-numbers and will give your child a chronic sugar rush and could set them on the path to diabetes.
Having found a lack of information on the Pop-tarts website, I went to the makers of the treat: http://www2.kelloggs.com/ProductBrand.aspx?id=202 which has a happy promotional logo: "Great-tasting Kellogg's® Pop-Tarts® toaster pastries are fully baked and ready to eat right from the box, or you can warm them in the toaster. And many varieties are exceptionally delicious frozen. Pop-Tarts provide seven essential vitamins and minerals. They contain zero grams of trans fat, and they are available in a variety of favorite flavors. When you're on the go, take along Go-Tarts™snack bars - everything you love about Pop-Tarts, now in a bar." The website boasts over 40 flavours, and the company has also introduced other calorific treats packed with fat and other unheard of ingredients they conveniently leave out. It would seem that the company keep dishing out more and more products similar to the tasty Pop-tarts to tempt children when really it is advertising like the Pop-tart commercial that are one of four commercials on day time and prime-time television devoted to food and drinks and beg questions about the part television plays in obesity. Out of 5,724 commercials recorded, 1,162 were food-related, with 91.2% of food promotions in English, and 8.7% in Spanish. Only 1 commercial was bilingual. Overall, nearly 1 in 5 advertisements was for a food or nutrition-related product, with 5.2 food advertisements presented every hour. Fast-food restaurants, sugary food, chips/crackers, and sugar-added beverages collectively accounted for more than 70% of food commercials; 34% were for ''food on the run,'' fast-food restaurants and convenience food. Commercials on the children’s networks are predominately for sugary cereals and sweets, high fat food, convenience of fast food restaurant food, and chips and crackers. For the child consumer, they are exposed to 76% more food commercials per hour than any other of the general audience networks. During the Saturday morning slot from 7 till 10 am the food commercials mainly consist of more saturated food and approximately 7 commercials per hour appear in programming on children’s networks, which is roughly 1 food commercial every 8 minutes.
The website I have chosen isn’t a support group or society, it is an article about a picture being sold of Lindsay Lohan for a ridiculous amount of money. Within the article the lady who took the photo was offered a quarter of a million dollars of Lindsay Lohan walking out of a gas station and why shouldn’t she receive the money? She is potentially being offered enough to support her family in luxury for the next few years and the writer states, “Isn't that the American dream? This is the Horatio Alger story of our times, isn't it?” I believe that Ragged Dick could be compared to the lady as being in the right place at the right time and being offered something you cannot refuse. The lady could be living in poverty and through receiving this money she could be underlining the notion of the American Dream. However, Alger’s dream is unique and highlights morality and respectability rather than wealth and power. Alger portrays kindness and sincerity and ambition to be crucial to the advancement of Dick. The lady in Bryan Young’s article had no struggle snapping the photo, and given the circumstances this could be seen as the notion of the American dream; there was no effort in taking the photo and there certainly wasn’t effort in selling the photo.
The article can be seen as a modernised article of Horatio Alger’s story – the money could be seen as a blessing on the lady’s behalf, she could be a single mother with hospital bills to pay and children to raise. The character of Mr Grayson gave a helping hand to Dick and gave him the opportunity to change his life around for the better.
This Christmas advert from 1997 sells the image of Christmas loved by Americans. The video begins with a man reading to a small boy. Magically, dreamlike, a brightly lit Coca Cola truck bursts into the room. A boy outside rings a church bell to summon everyone into a winter wonderland with bright lights, a parade, Christmas trees and an unending stream of illuminated trucks. Everyone is excited and the musical mantra of 'holidays are coming..holidays are coming' adds to the expectation. At the end of the video, the boy who rang the bell receives a bottle of coke conjured into his hands and waves at an image of Santa on the back of the departing truck, who salutes him with a bottle of coke, which he the drinks.
This advert speaks to the widely treasured images of Christmas, to middle American values and ideology, with a strong emphasis on family and children. The long string of trucks confirms that Coca Cola can 'deliver' to everyone wherever and whoever they are. The words of the jingle talk of loving, sharing, emotion, and the implied hope of families getting together at the festive season. There is also a feeling of nostalgia and a product that has been around for a long time. This means it is in the consciousness of all generations. Coke's functional characteristic is of course that it quenches your thirst
A bottle of coke is just a tasty soft drink that quenches your thirst, but because it is affordable by everyone, so well known and widely enjoyed, it is elevated to another level and becomes - 'The real thing'.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Horatio Association of Distinguished Americans was founded in 1947 and strives to encourage the young to pursue economic opportunity afforded them through the American free enterprise system. The Association presents awards to create Horatio Alger 'heroes' by awarding need-based scholarships.
One of these Distinguished Americans is Dennis Franklin Holt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the US International Media, California.
He says "never let the good people out of your life because they will forever turn on that next light for you."
This made me think of the character in my presentation, Henry Fosdick. If Dick attained success later in life, he would have surely cited Henry as one of the people who helped him along the way.
The son of a Swedish immigrant, Holt was born at the end of the depression in rural Minnesota. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1939 where his father worked as a labourer in the shipyard. His father suffered a heart attack which meant he couldn't work again. The family lived in a boarding house. Their diet consisted of milk, toast and canned spaghetti most of the week. The low motivation and low self esteem his father suffered from led Dennis to pin motivational sayings on his bedroom wall. He taught himself three new words a day to expand his vocabulary.
He was helped by a actor friend into a job on a film set and later landed bit acting parts and so eventually he was able to get his family out of the boarding house. After graduating from high school, his father told him he should move out and become independent. Through hard work he eventually got a job with RKO in San Francisco and later New York. He went from strength to strength and became very successful.
He states his philosophy as hard work making you luckier, and that it is important to always do the right thing and never lie.
Certainly Horatio Alger and his Ragged Dick would have agreed with the working hard and never lying.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This link is for the Horatio Alger society which aims to encourage people to strive and succeed in life. The society raises money to provide a scholarship for a few high school graduates every year with the means to 'strive and succeed'. The people chosen are those who have overcome significant adversity in their lives.
The reason that the society gives for this society is that they feel it carries on the land of opportunities that was around during Horatio Alger's time. This land of opportunities was that through hard work and some luck anyone can become economically sound and respectable. This is shown in Ragged Dick as it is through Dick's hard work and a few chance meetings, one being the meeting with Frank and his uncle which gave him a smart clean set of clothes and advice on money and a financial start of $5 which lead Dick to rent accommodation and work his way up to becoming economically better and which you can assume meant Dick carried on working his way up in the world.
The link above gives information about the Horatio Alger Association Scholarship which helps students attend college who wouldn’t normally be able to.
On the webpage it reads that “The Horatio Alger Association seeks to assist students who have
• demonstrated integrity,
• perseverance in overcoming adversity,
• strength of character,
• financial need,
• a good academic record,
• commitment to pursue a college education,
• and a desire to contribute to society.”
The list above, which is a guideline for the type of person the Horatio Alger Association gives scholarships to, also reads as a list of qualities the character of Ragged Dick in Horatio Alger’s novel displays. Dick demonstrates integrity by not stealing even when he has the opportunity, and overcomes adversity by being able to survive even though he has lived on the streets of New York for most of his life. His living on the streets also shows his strength of character, as well as the financial need he needed in the novel to get himself a room of his own. Finally Dick showed a commitment to pursue education by allowed Fosdick to teach him about reading and writing instead of spending his free time by going to the theatre and gambling.
Therefore the scholarship the Horatio Alger Association gives to students is a modern day version of the novel Ragged Dick, where people who have the same qualities as the fictional boy are giving a chance to go to college. In this way the Horatio Alger association could be seen as the Mr Grayson or Mr Whitney characters, which helped give Dick the help he needed to change his life.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This website is in favour of the 2nd amendment and guns, and strangely protecting the original constitution and its values rather than protecting human life. Interestingly there is a link to the tea party, anti Obama images, and has pictures of pink guns signifying that it is indeed a female website. The idea of women and guns has become a very popular one in the last few years, and this can be seen through this website. On the website there are many links to other sites, and many articles written on the subject of the 2nd amendment. The mission statement and the language it uses is quite tough, serious and aggressive. This can be seen with many other pro-gun sites, all of which seem to have a certain idea that defending the 2nd
Amendment is some sort of war. As I already mentioned, the site is affiliated with the Tea Party, and their ideas of defending the original constitution are quite similar.
The anti-gun website I have chosen is closely affiliated with the very influential Brady Campaign, and is called the Million Mom March. The original MMM took place in 2000, and was in protest of the ease of purchasing guns and ammunition in America, with particular attention paid to keeping guns away from minors. Interesting the original website for the march has since been taken over by the Brady Campaign, and now when one tries to access the MMM.org site it immediately redirects to the Brady campaign site. The Brady Campaign is not opposed to the ownership of guns but to the selling of guns to just anyone, and it campaigns for much tougher restrictions. This is a view I share, I believe that if it is absolutely necessary to have possession then so be it but only in the hands of someone who has a legitimate license.
The main differences I have found between the sites are the difference in ideals- the pro gun community all seem to discuss the effect of taking away guns as though it is an affront to the original constitution, whereas groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March are more concerned with the human effects of guns in local communities, and the effects it has on children.
"'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' is a coalition of more than 500 mayors from big cities and small towns who are dedicated to advancing policies at the national, state, and local levels that prevent criminals from illegally obtaining guns." The coalition has produced the video below- found on youtube, advocating that background checks need done at gun shows- preventing criminals from purchasing guns:
It is true that both boys involved in the Columbine shootings had criminal records, however it is known that most- if not all, of the guns used were bought legally by others for the boys. The video is professional and to the point, targeting its audience through the emotional reminder of the Columbine High School Massacre. It is easy to understand ('logical') why background checks on gun purchases are important, and easy to sympathise with this view. However the counter argument is that no rational minded criminal would bother going to a gun shop to purchase guns- though they might if they knew for certain- at say a gun show, that they definately wouldn't be checked. 'Closing the loophole' would end that.
Anti Gun Control-
This video is a response to the video above, made by the 'National Association for Gun Rights':
The video focuses on the fact idea that if the 'Gun show loophole' was closed by what would be a major gun-control legislation, a 'domino effect' of further gun control legislation and bans would follow. I don't think the argument is very convincing, it seems too unlikely that the government would or could 'shut down all private sales'.
The advert hinges on an (unrealistic) fear, and then spends the last minute of the video asking for money and contributions towards the cause- which seems to 'cheapen' and take away the genuine-concern element of the message. Those in favour of the possession of legal guns usually support the idea of checks to ensure that only legal citizens can own them, however it does contradict the ideas of 'freedom'. This organisation clearly does not want the government involved in any kind of gun regulation, and doesn't see the benefit of background checks.
An interesting site on gun control: http://www.armedfemalesofamerica.com/
which explores the relationship between women and guns. Like many other anti-gun control websites it uses the 2nd amendment as a justification of the views represented. The group is extreme- it is in favour of no control what so ever: "AFA has taken a NO-COMPROMISE position by calling for the repeal of ALL gun laws back to and including the National Firearms Act of 1934". What makes it convincing is that one of the main members lost a son to gun violence, (http://www.armedfemalesofamerica.com/afanews/joey.htm) and yet she still supports de-regulation: "My son was the victim of an evil heart and a demented mind; he is not a poster boy for “gun control”. Gun control advocates have successfully diverted the focus from the vicious perpetrator- to the gun. A killer took my son’s life, not a gun!". The womans experience makes the beliefs seem more justified and rational. In the UK the closest issue we have to gun-crime is knife-crime, yet every one keeps kitchen knives at home in an unlocked draw, we don't pick up a knife and instantly think of using it to kill. If desired, almost any object can be used as a weapon. The argument that the gun itself is not the problem is a rational and understandable argument.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Above is the website for the Brady campaign, which is “devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities”. It is named after Jim Brady who is partially paralysed as a result of a gunshot wound to the head which he received on March 30 1981.
The website is full of facts about guns in America and even includes a counter in the top right hand corner of every page showing how many people have been shot that day in America and in the entire year. This makes sure that visitors to the site understand the damage that the weapons are causing in America. The blogs and links which the site contains means that there is no lack of information on the gun problems America has, which would make it hard for any pro gun campaigner visiting the site not to think strongly about the idea of gun control.
To conclude the site makes the idea of gun control very convincing, as a result of all the evidence and information it has, and after looking at this website, I found it hard to think why anyone would be anti-gun control in the United States.
"KeepAndBearArms.com is a grassroots movement of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is a call to action, a call for self-education, and a 21 gun salute to the many good men and women who fought and died to bring America into being. This web site is about helping lawful people maintain their abilities to protect themselves and the people they love effectively from anyone who would do them harm - through legal, private ownership and use of guns. We also stand for the repealing of all gun laws which infringe on the civil rights of peaceable women and men to defend their own lives and property."
The text above was taken from the “about us” page, I also read on the website that their aim after preserving America’s right to keep guns will be to then help the entire world defeat gun control, which shows that the people who run the website may not fully understand the differences between the views of America, and the views of other countries on the topic of guns.
Similar to the Brady campaign website, this website contains information supporting their point of view, however although some of the documents are genuine articles from newspapers in America etc, a lot of the sources which keepandbeararms.com contains seems to be documents which other “gun nuts” have written, which although do support the websites view, are not official like the Brady Campaign information, and do not take into account the point of view of pro gun control campaigners which could harm the respectability of the site.
Although this site does help support those who are anti-gun control in America, they lack the official facts or documents which would help their cause, and the fact that they refer to pro gun control campaigners as “misguided” and “gun grabbers” shows that they don’t take an opposing point of view seriously therefore I find the Bradycampaign.org to be more convincing. However I feel that if the people who own keepandbeararms.com did more research into the gun control topic and made their site look more professional it would help produce a stronger argument.
From the Anti Gun Control lobby
The following is a video made by the NRA singing out their message of using the Constitution to reiterate the rights within it with regard to liberty, the right to bear arms and identifying their opponents. They warn against the possibility of their right to own guns being taken away and the urgent need to get on board with them to fight it.
From the Pro Gun Control campaigners.
Here is a second video by a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, pushing for the importance of background checks to keep America safe. He travelled round to gun shows in Dayton Ohio, Forest Lake MN, Richmond Virginia and San Antonio, Texas to illustrate how easy it is to purchase firearms.
The common sense attitude of the pro gun control video is compelling, but coming to grips with how passionate the gun owning fraternity obviously is about their rights under the Constitution to own firearms, some empathy emerges for their cause. The perfect solution would be restrictions which calmed the fears of those who feel the widespread ownership of guns is very dangerous coupled with a recognition of the feelings of the gun owners and some assurance to them that they were not going to be denied gun ownership across the board. It is hard to be against some degree of concern.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This video is from a moderate republican who believes the extremist tea party members are hurting the republican party's chances of appealing to swing voters and winning back the house of representitive in the November mid term election. He is also critical of the tea party and what they stand for, or rather that they haven't outlined what they stand for. He believes that the tea party are hiding under the guise of the tea party to push special interests. He states that there is a rift among the republican party over the tea party and feels moderate republicans are being pushed out by the extremist tea party members.
This is interesting as the criticism is coming from a republican rather than a democrate. He mentions the republican candidates are fearful of criticising the tea party through fear of criticising their fan base and gives an example that moderate republicans have been dodging questions on the tea party.
I have chosen to write how the video gives voice to the Tea Party, from an interview by Jim Demint.
He is one of the Senate’s most conservative members, and is the junior U.S Senator from South Carolina. His political action committee, Senate Conservatives Fund, backs 11 Senate Republican challengers.
In the video DeMint states that the tea party movement is the “most positive thing to happen to this country in a while.”
"I think the tea party movement is much more than a political party and it certainly shouldn't join any political party," he told moderator John Dickerson from the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington.
DeMint believes that successive US administrations may have been slowly undermining the Constitution and slated Obama for not making health care more available for everyone. DeMint makes a point of underlining the fact that Obama is asking too much from the federal government, and that the courses of action Obama has proposed are just asking too much.
He criticizes Obama because he likens Obama politics to the sort of politics that have failed in socialist countries round the world. He highlights hard working Americans who are against the democrats and that America must stop this slide into socialism; the American people aren’t generally socialists. DeMint wants to see the American people come out onto the street to express their concern over the mass of problems that have left the government in a mess. He wants them to work together to reduce debt, stop the borrowing crisis and other economic problems caused by the government and big businesses. The voice of the tea party is the people taking back their country.
What Obama is doing to America; DeMint believes may even be a threat to the constitution. The Constitution provides a common ground for the American people, without it there is nothing to bind the American people together. Obama and his government are going outside this with policies like their economic stimulus and taking over the health care which are much more geared to a socialist agenda and surely not the American way. He also doesn’t believe that Obama is capable of delivering the health care reforms anyway.
He stresses that The Tea Party is more than just a political party, it is the people of America demanding accountability of the government and elected candidates. It must take back the government for the people.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This highly romanticised patriotic Tea Party video of American history interestingly leaves out any images from the nineteenth century. The background music is very stirring.
Had trouble embedding this first time round so couldn't resist getting it onto the blog!
I found this video interesting as it discusses how the Tea Party would be viewed and treated if they were black. It is taken from a Russian news channel and suggests that the Tea Party are only being allowed to portray their views and take part in rallies without fear of physical retaliation because they are mostly white and that groups such as the Black Panther or the civil rights movement were feared and attacked even though they took part in peaceful marches. At the beginning of the video it focuses on the words of a Tea Party supporter who stated that it was the “first time ordinary Americans have stood up for their rights since the civil war.” Discounting the civil rights movement which were black Americans standing up for their rights.Although the people in the video never say that the Tea Party is a racist movement, they say that as the Tea Party is mostly made up of White people they are not viewed as a threat and are treated differently than if a group of Black or Latino Americans were attempting to do a similar thing.
Overall this video criticises the Tea Party mostly on the point that they are only getting support and becoming widespread across America because it is made up of mostly white people and that their views are not being taken into account. The fact that some supporters are racist is also targeted, this is as a result of claims by many that “Obama should go back to Kenya.” Finally the video also criticises the party by stating the supporters don’t understand what the party means or stands for. This is shown in the video by the statement that the Tea Party supporters ““have no idea what they are talking about” and that they are angry just because “people have told them that they should be angry but without knowing the reasons why”.
This video is a criticism of the Tea Party Movement, by a a group called 'Mock the Dummy'. I can't find out much about who is 'officially' behind it, they claim their purpose is to "combat idiocy with satire". They offer puppet videos that criticise the Tea Party movement predominantly, and some general Republican criticisms. The video below is about how the organisation is not really a 'grass roots movement' along with several other criticisms.
In summary, the criticisms are as followed:
The Tea Party Movement (TPM) is afraid- represented through their hiding in an underground nuclear bunker. They are quite literally dummies, who believe in Armageddon... 'any day now the messiah will come', believe Obama is the 'most radical president in history', fear Socialism and Healthcare for All. The video mocks sarcastically the idea that the TPM is a Grass roots movement, 'Not a professionally organised PR effort... founded by king media group'. The video portrays the movement as dumb, with Americans 'coming out to show their creativity' (showing a shirt written with 'say no to socilism' (socialism spelt wrong). A recurring mock of the party is their inability to spell! They are represented as homophobic: 'Ahh, I'm infected by the gay agenda' & as believing that Obama is a 'Muslim terrorist with no birth certificate, who plans to take your guns, put you in internment camp, and rape your sons and daughters'
The general/overall theme is that the movement is literally 'dumb' and the followers are unrealistically afraid. They are presented as very right-wing: fearing socialism and healthcare reforms, embracing homophobia and christianity,and supporting lack of gun control. Other videos by the group are equaly as full of satire, 'How to Recruit Dummies for your Tea Party or Suicide Mission' compares them to Al Queda & terrorists, 'Why Dummies Want to Forget the Tea Party Ancestry' compares the movement to Confererate Slave owners, The Klu Klux Klan, Anti-civil rights protesters/those against desegregation and those against African Americans Voting.
I think you get the jist! All the videos are really funny, but they do a good job of not just poking fun, but pointing out flaws and extreme views in the 'Tea Party Message'.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Rudy Moise was a Democrat congress candidate for Florida, he came 2nd in the elections. The video above is awful! But interesting in its style- Moise is a Haitian-American & the video (though it claims he will represent 'everyone') represents minority groups predominantly. The music video style reflects that he is targeting young Americans who like rap-style music, there is a focus on him as a representitive of the black/hispanic community, and in many of his speechs/campaign work he has compared himself to Obama. The auto-tuning of voices is clearly an attempt to make it sound like more of a catchy song, but its so annoying! Moise is a rich candidate, with an estimated 10x more money that the other candidates for Congress in his district of Florida. He's an interesting candidate, hes a doctor, with his own clinic, served in the airforce & been in movies- this campaign ad clearly being his best yet. The discussed idea that these ads are played over and over during commercials drumming messages in works well with this video- the literal repetition of his name means that those who go to vote & are unsure of which candidate to pick will have atleast remembered his name, but it wasn't quite enough!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sorry for the length of the video I have chosen, but I thought it was worth it. The video is a campaign advert for Chuck DeVore, who ran against Barbara Boxer in the Republican Primary for the Senator in California. He lost, coming third with only 19.3% of the vote. I find this video very interesting, mainly because of its sheer ridiculousness. I think all the parts about his military life are true but I’m not sure. The fact that he has chosen to base his campaign on the slogan “what would Jack (Bauer) do?” is so absurd. Jack Bauer is a fictional character from the T.V series “24”. In which he repeatedly, singlehandedly saves the world from various different terrorists within the space of 24 hours, using often very extreme methods. He is clearly trying to appeal to the far right voters, assuming that if Jack Bauer were a real person, he would be very right wing. To be honest Jack Bauer probably would vote for him, but the fact that he believes the people of California will see this as reason enough to vote for him puts his fate in the popularity of a T.V show. The policies he puts forward are very vague, and seem to be more just doing the opposite of Barabara Boxer, rather than thinking of any himself. Other reasons he states to vote for him are the fact that he likes Guantanamo bay, he mows his own lawn and he is good at throwing hand grenades. I can’t help but think that if he had spent more time explaining some of his policies he may have done far better. Also the heavy rock guitar riffs that are played over the advert just go to add to DeVore’s image as the all American tough guy, again appealing to the more radical voters out there. Although I guess for a state which elected the Terminator himself it’s clearly not a bad image to go for.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Linda McMahon is a Republican who ran against the Democrat Richard Blumenthal for the Connecticut Senate seat in 2010
I found this campaign video interesting as it didn’t put forward any of the views Linda McMahon has, instead it seems to be created just to discredit her opponent. It shows two women talking during a car journey, about how both candidates said that they wouldn’t take any money from special interests, yet Linda McMahon was true to her word but her opponent apparently lied and did take money although the advert shows no proof that he did. The ending is particularly interesting as it shows one of the women sarcastically saying that she was shocked that Richard Blumenthal lied and the other woman jokingly saying that she knew that she would be. This is to try and convince voters that he is a serial liar as opposed to Linda McMahon who is “true to her word.”The fact that there is no mention of Linda’s policies means that this advert isn’t focused on getting people to vote for Linda specifically, it is just trying to stop people voting for her opponent. The style of the advert seems almost childish, and makes it feel that Linda McMahon doesn’t think she can beat Richard Blumenthal on policies and instead will try and attack his character. This is a very different type of advert to what we are used to seeing in British politics.
Linda McMahon got only 43% of the vote compared to Richard Blumenthal’s 55%
his interview is with Christine Amanpour who asked Mr Paul to give her a specific cut he would advocate. He replied that he would make them across the board. She suggested that he couldn't just keep sayin they would be across the board. He assured her that he could and that he was going to look at every program. He would freeze federal hiring and perhaps reduce the number of federal employees by 10% and also reduce the remaining government employees' wages by 10%.
Monday, November 8, 2010
ABC News reporting
Republican Rand Paul won the seat as Senator of Kentucky against the Democrat candidate Jack Conway. Mr Paul (a Tea Party leader) said that he would look to make cuts in government spending and reduce the borrowing from China. The commentator asked him about the big government deficit. The Senator said raising taxes was not the way. He classed himself as a reasonable nice sort of guy and talked of wanting to work with President Obama.
Reporter Amanda Van Benschoten of the Kentucky and Cincinnati Enquirer said that when Rand Paul and his team arrived at the airport in Kentucky, there were about fifty people waiting to greet him, whereas when the Democratic candidate Jack Conway and his people arrived about four hours later, there were only six supporters there. She said the Democratic party was almost non-existent in the US Senate race, and commented that the contrast in numbers of supporters at the airport told you everything you needed to know about the state of the Democratic party in Kentucky - that they were demoralised and disorganised.
The campaign advert I have chosen is aired on behalf of Harry Reid, the Democratic candidate in the US Senate election for the state of Nevada which took place on November 2, 2010. Reid had won four terms already and was seeking a fifth term. He was up against the Republican candidate for the post, one of the most popular and out spoken nominees of the Tea Party, Sharron Angle. Most political commentators thought Angle would win and achieve a historic victory for the emerging Tea Party but Reid surprised a lot of people and held on to his seat. The results for the Democrats were 50.6% and for the Republicans 44.6%.
I think this campaign advert helped him win for the following reasons: it is short, simple, and to the point because it reminds the voters in Nevada what he has achieved for them while he has been their senator.
It is titled the ‘Right Direction’ and tells Nevadans that he will continue to take Nevada in the right direction. There is a quiet but confident tone that aims to reassure the voters. He focuses on keeping Nevada’s leading position in providing clean and green energy for the state and for the country. He notes Nevada has everything it needs to lead in alternative energy because of its geographical position; it is well placed to provide solar power (Nevada is very hot) and energy & resources from its underground heat reserves and water resource from rivers (Colorado River) etc. He stresses that this energy also fuels Nevada jobs, which is so important in the recession; he promises that 41,000 energy related jobs will be created.
The advert underlines that Harry Reid has been personally responsible for programs and investment that have brought money into the state to develop energy and he has lobbied in the senate to fast track key programs that have benefited the people who he has wanted to vote for him. He has also brought in millions of dollars of tax credits to further encourage investment to bring prosperity and business for the people of his state. He demonstrates that he has a safe pair of hands that will continue to bring prosperity to Nevada. The advert says success and it is also quietly patriotic.
The tagline of the advert “determination makes a difference” is message is he believes Nevadans will want to hear and it concludes his softly spoken but confident sales pitch.
Find, post and comment on any recent US campaign video made by a candidate in the 2008 or 2010 elections. Your first choice should not be Obama or McCain - try to find a campaign video in support of a Senator or a Congressman. They do not have to be the winner, but make sure you know what the result was. Also make sure you comment both on its content and on its style.
If you don't know how to embed Youtube videos, now is the time to learn. If you look under any video you will see a bar which includes the word "Embed". Click on it and it will highlight a code which you can then copy and paste into your blog post. The video should then appear directly in your post - no link required. Try it.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I have chosen the website of a group calling themselves the “new black panthers”. They were started in 1989 and are now run by a man called Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz. They claim to be carrying on the work of the original ‘Black Panthers’, “The New Black Panther Party understands that the organizing tactics and strategies of the Black Panther Party were relevant and revolutionary and can be applied in the 21st Century to great success in our community”, “With the rise of the Tea Party, the white-right and other racist forces. With gun sales nationwide at an all time high amongst whites, with a mood that is more anti-Black than any time recent, it is imperative that we organize our forces, pool our resources and prepare for war!” He seems to openly favour the militancy of the original black panthers, or of Malcolm X. There have been various allegations in the American media that the new black panthers allegedly intimidated voters at a polling station in Philadelphia using batons, and preventing them from voting. The new black panthers deny that they stopped, or attempted to stop anyone from voting. Yet it seems the American media seems to be trying very hard to discredit this group. Quotes from American websites describe Dr. Shabazz as a “radical, anti-Semitic, and racist”. However, on an interview in this website; http://www.nathanielturner.com/malikzulushabazznewblackpantherchairman.htm
Which is a website for African American art and literature, he is described as a “freedom fighter/activist/attorney”. I find it interesting that the civil rights movement is still going on 50 years later, and clearly people such as the new black panthers think they have much more still to fight for. The question is whether the tactics of the black panthers are still relevant today. It’s clear from this interview on Fox news that they think not; http://bigjournalism.com/fross/2010/07/12/live-on-fox-geraldo-rivera-takes-apart-malik-zulu-shabazz/
Even the surviving members of the original Black Panther party condemn the new Black Panther party, saying they have no claim on the party’s name, and saying that they “denigrate the Party's name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded.” http://www.blackpanther.org/newsalert.htm Although they do state that they believe African Americans to be in a worse position now, than they were when the party was originally formed in 1966.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Above is a link to an article written by Dennis J. Stauffer, a Vietnam veteran, about the Washington DC memorial to the war, which he feels is the deserved 'homecoming' veterans never received:
"I left Vietnam nearly 14 year sago and tried to put that phase of my life behind. I kept my experiences private, as did many Vietnam veterans, to avoid the pain of that war. I also kept quiet because the war was not a welcome topic outside the walls of veterans clubs. The Viet vet became a scapegoat for our country’s involvement in an unpopular war. We faced rejection and verbal, sometimes physical assault. That’s why many veterans quickly discarded their uniforms after returning home; it was easier than facing humiliation in public places.
Last month, Vietnam live again for me and for thousands of Viet vets with the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. I learned about the memorial over a year ago and knew immediately I had to participate in its dedication, if for no other reason than to fill a void left by the Vietnam War. It touched my life and me generation deeply. Of the four male children on our fatherless family (my father died while still a comparatively young man), three of us were of age during the Vietnam Era.
Two of us had tours of duty in Vietnam. I returned home alive. My brother did not. Also, both of my sister’s husbands saw duty in Vietnam. Consequently, I felt a vested interest in that black granite wall being built in the city of monuments. But there was a stronger reason compelling me to make this journey. It was to be a homecoming long denied veterans of the black period in our nations history."
The account above reflects upon how Veterans from the Vietnam war were mistreated when they returned home in the 60's and 70's. Public discontent with the war was taken out upon the Veterans, deemed to doing the governments 'dirty work'. Horror stories of Vietnamese civilians mistreatment and rape, as well as the widely publicised My Lai Massacre fulled the general public snub of the veterans. As Stauffer explains, Veterans became a 'scapegoat' and faced 'rejection', which led to homelessness, serve mental illnesses- such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide. Veterans have been seen as 'outside the ideological norm of the mainstream' because of their involvement with war, but also because of their physical and mental health issues.
This is not an issue that only relates to Vietnam veterans, in 2007 it was estimated that 1/4 of those homeless were veterans. There has been rejection of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and the government has been criticised for not giving enough financial aid to those who have returned home mentally or physically disabled/harmed. The Journal of the American Medical Association claims 1/3 of Iraq veterans have needed mental health treatment. Members of society with disability or mental illnesses are stigmatised and seen as 'other' to many, and so many veterans are ostracised for reasons besides their service.
Mass American society feels the need to place blame on war and violence, as it is 'un-American'. If it is not the government that is blamed, it is usually some type of 'other' or subculture: The Columbine massacre, blame was placed on goth-culture; Muslims, Jews and 'other' [non Christan] religions have been blamed for the rise of terrorism etc. It seems as though some members of American society feel the veterans personally are to blame for the war, however it is more a lack of support from the government than the public that veterans today face. Vietnam veterans today are widely accepted and respected now that the impact and sensitivity of the war has died down, however the future of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is yet to be seen.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The website I have chosen to discuss is the Trinity University site in San Antonio, Texas which analyses gender through history, education, family, media, and work.
The website notes that a woman’s role within society is influenced by a diversity of factors. These factors range from culture, religion, region, living values and experiences. Women have found it difficult to find their place in the world, and their role in society is often questioned or even marginalised. The world we live in is predominately controlled by men and in many cultures, for example tribal or where strict religion is in force (Amish, Islam) women have struggled to be anything but second class citizens by Western industrialised standards. Historically our society has made it almost impossible for women to achieve and desires in life. Women are made to feel as though their place is in the kitchen and are not worthy for a job. The sex of a person should not determine what type of responsibilities or what kind of a career a person will have. Society shouldn’t shape and determine what a person does in their life.
The website shows that as the female education rises so fertility, infant and child mortality fall. The increase in girls’ secondary school enrolment is linked with increases in the females’ participation in the labour force and their contributions to household and national income. An educated woman’s political awareness is more exercised and they are more informed about their legal rights and how to apply them. The role of women within the family has always been fairly stereotypical. The link from the website shows you a chart displaying the percentage of what chores women do in comparison to men.
In today’s world of mass media and instant communications, media coverage that often displays women in a stereotypical way. There is also a focus on superficial beauty and sexual discrimination against women. During the 1990s, newspapers would devote three quarters of the front page to men and two thirds of the front page pictures as well. Printed media and electronic in many countries display women in a negative way and do not offer a balanced picture of a female’s diverse life and contribution to society. Additionally, violent pornographic media especially some computer games adversely portrays women and their role in society.
In our society today women are able to balance their career with looking after their children and husband. The website points out that work put women on the historical record, to enable women’s voices to be heard, to listen to their voices and to show their points of view. The website does an excellent job of pointing out females can be seen as second class citizens through many aspects of life. The class of the female may not matter as much; neither does the employment, media or home strategies, the world we live in today is still male dominant. Feminists have steadily made a difference but men have too much power and control in our society.