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It's time to take action ... DO something. [Feb. 17th, 2008|11:24 am]
criticism and analysis of advertisements


Write or call your senator and tell him to vote NO on S-1959. If not, we no longer have freedom of speech.
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"We had such hopes." [Jun. 21st, 2007|03:06 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements


Image from Belvedere
, CORY YOUNG, Tulsa World, OK

This image was taken from autoblog.com

OKLAHOMA CENTENNIAL, Centennial Time Capsule Car Found Ruined

A brand-new shiny car buried half a century ago in a time capsule was revealed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Oklahoma's statehood. They hoped to find a pristine, gold '57 Plymouth Belvedere. Instead they discovered a rust covered relic. The capsule had been infiltrated by water and the car was ruined, keys rusted in the ignition.

I have followed the coverage of this story closely in major news outlets and on blogs. It is generally presented as something as a fluff piece, which isn't really surprising. Except for the fact that this imagery, ought to raise bigger questions. As Aaron Donovan, writer for streetsblog.com, points out in his piece An Old Car Interred:

What was an asset in 1957 has become an enormous national liability. Fifty years ago, the oil fields of Oklahoma were awash with ever increasing amounts of oil and the United States produced more oil than any other nation in the world. We didn't have to import a drop. Nobody had ever heard of the terms global warming or climate change.

To my knowledge, none of the major news outlets has made this connection. But, perhaps the people and the images have made the connection. In the image above a yellow wreath serves as a memorial for the spot where the car was buried. It's odd to ascribe mourning to a material object like a car, but perhaps not so odd to do so when this once futuristic vehicle is a symbol for the American way of life. The yellow color reminds me of the yellow ribbons once ubiquitous
during gulf wars. Where have those ribbons gone? Have they been transferred to our failed hopes for a continuation of cities and lives organized around the car? In 1957 the United States was a leader in industry and technology globally without all of the complications of globalization.

On blogs focused on classic cars these images elicit tremendous longing for what once was based on the comments of the readers. The most moving image is that of the rusted car amid blazing colored lights "unveiled" to the public. Here we have our high expectations juxtaposed with the reality of raising gas prices and the increased danger and international conflict our insatiable hunger for fuel has brought home.

What do you see in these images?
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I Am A Devil?! [Sep. 29th, 2006|09:42 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

I understand Adiddas bought Reebok, so this is kinda old. We can view it now to compare the changes of their new campaign.

Racizm in Reebok
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United 93 [Apr. 20th, 2006|02:22 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

I saw a commercial for this movie this morning.
Coming out April 28th. I really want to see it.

I think this flash piece does a really great job at setting the mood and feeling for what I might see in the theatre.
The music, the scattered feelings of confusion, the small sound effects - this is good design.

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Rally to End Genocide [Apr. 19th, 2006|04:55 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

What: Rally to End Genocide
When: Sunday, April 30th 1pm-4pm
Where: Washington D.C., National Mall
Who: YOU
This rally, which is taking place at the National Mall is being organized by the Save Dafur Coalition to put pressure on Bush and the rest of the world to take more decisive action on the genocide in Sudan. For more information about the genocide and the rally, go to savedarfur.org/rally.
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(no subject) [Apr. 16th, 2006|10:11 am]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

In 1971 OPEC had a meeting at which they decide that whereever oil is bought or sold, it may only be bought or sold in US dollars. This means that Mexico selling oil to China has to be sold in US dollars, Holland trading with Morrocco has to be done in US dollars, etc etc. What this means is for anyone to trade oil, they have to buy dollars. This is how the US can owe more money than any country in the history of the world, but doesn't have to pay anything back because since 1971, thanks to this OPEC agreement, the US effectively has a magic chequebook.

Imagine you're maxed out past your overdraft limit in every bank in the world, and have been for decades, but it doesn't matter because everyone still accepts your cheques and they never come back to the bank.

So what could possibly happen to the magic chequebook of the US dollar to bring all of that money back to chase Washington on Wall Street? Well, it almost happened.

On 30/10/2000, when a switch was made to a deposit account in the Wall Street branch of a French bank. This was the account handling the 2.3 million barrells of oil sold per day by Iraq under the "oil for food" scheme. The Iraqis said that they wanted to switch the account from being a dollars denominated account to a euro denominated account. The UN couldn't stop them, but it looked like a stupid thing to do at the time because the euro was only worth eighty cents to the dollar. They'd lose money on every barrell they sold. They'd bankrupt their country within a year. The Iraqis didn't care, they hated America so much that they didn't want to trade in their currency.

In 2001, the euro gained 25% against the dollar. The Iranians then decided to switch their central bank's reserve funds from dollars to euros too. This makes them member number two on the axis of evil list, with number one being the Iraqis who started the trend.

7/12/2002, North Korea declares that it's going to do ALL of it's trading in euros. Not just oil, but everything. They're quickly branded "Axis of evil" member number three.

In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, the elected president, gains chainmanship of OPEC. He calls a meeting in Spain, in April of 2003 and on the table is the proposal that every single OPEC member stops trading in dollars and starts trading in euros. If that happened, that would be the federal reserve's worst nightmare because then every single central bank in every single country in the world has to abandon the dollar and start trading in euros. Such is the need for oil. All the dollars in those banks would be flushed out, the market would be awash with dollars and it would become a worthless currency. Worth less than toilet roll. The US would be back in it's 1920s and 1930s depression and this time they wouldn't have the Nazi party to invest in to save themselves.
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Signs of the times... [Apr. 12th, 2006|05:52 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

I was jogging down Delancey Street this evening when I saw this poster near a parking garage. I stopped and stared at it for a long moment mesmerized by this enormous, presumably expensive, yet childish house-car perched impossibly on a mountain peak. Trapped with no safe way to back out or drive forward. Would it fall forward or slide back? Could it snap in two? I imagined the image idling under a clear blue sky and found more horror than comedy in the thought of people moving frantically inside. Somehow this image resonated deep deep in my subconscious. That's good advertising. The appeal or power of an image is dependent on the image's ability to resonate—not only on the literal level, I have described, but at a deeper level where our greatest desires and fear reside.

Then I read the text. Robin Williams in a film about an RV? Hell no. That sounds like a tramatic movigoing expereince. Another bad "family movie" about what we've been taught to picture as the typical American family. Love will save the day. Love is all you need. Not gas. Or, god forbid money and an economy that actually manufactures something besides bad movies.

Nonetheless as I ran home I contemplated the image further. I had seen that image some place before. …

Yes here!

Graph of Japan land values bears no relation whatsoever to the United States housing market. None at all. Source is Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis. Hat tip to The Oil Drum.

Ah— So perhaps this poster is a metaphor for the American Empire, for the real esate bubble and it's inevitable collapse—for the present precarious state of our luxurious gas guzzling civilization.

I used to think that the jet plane was the ideal symbol of the American Empire— (a fragile egg supported by air carrying immense wealth powered by the most energy packed fuel ever burned) but now I feel that the RV is the real symbol. As both a gas guzzler and a home, it encapsulates the highway-focused way of life and the real estate economy in one delicious icon. It also captures the domesticity—perhaps the inhabitants of this home with wheels are not panicked at all. Perhaps they are seated at a little table serving pancakes from a hot griddle, watching television, oblivious to the danger and natural beauty around them. Yes! This is America.

The only question that remains is if the creators of the movie's ad campaign consciously picked an image with such a dark subtext for what presumably is a comedy.

Or of this is just a coincidence?
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Women & the Media Online Community [Mar. 4th, 2006|07:18 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

Hey Everyone,
for one of my courses we are doing a collective project where we need to raise awareness about a certain issue related to women and politics. my group has decided to create an online community and discuss women and the media.

here is the link: http://community.livejournal.com/womenandmedia/

you are free to post anything related to the topic - i.e. magazine articles, advertisements, etc.

Extra Info:
The purpose of this community is to unite both men and women on the issue of the media and its use of women's images as commodities through objectifying and sexualizing her character. The community will allow people to comment and voice concerns on particular advertisements and other media sources. As stated above, since popular culture puts pressure on females to fit a particular mold, her confidence is diminished. This site will give self-assurance to women who feel inadequate next to the images being portrayed by voicing and reading commentary on these depictions.

Thank you for your time :) And if you can, pass this link along to your friends

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Criminalizing Katrina's Black Victims [Feb. 16th, 2006|02:58 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

Did anybody catch this story that ran in the New York Post on Tuesday?

The text of the articleCollapse )

Two things:

1) While the majority of Katrina's victims were Black, it's not like the hurricane took a left a white people's residencies and leap frogged over the Asian and Latino communities in the Gulf Coast.  

2) One must question why the editors at the New York Post decided that the pictures that accompany this article ought to be a black man with a young girl and a Black woman. White, Asian, and Latino people also received relief money. Nothing in the story indicates that the identities of those who took misused the money were available to the media, yet the editors at the New York Post have no problem assuming it was Black people. Notice also that none of the white hotel owners or CEOs are pictured. This harkens back to the racist, stereotypical caricature of the Black welfare queen. Shame on the New York Post for criminalizing Katrina's Black victims.

There are probably people who don't think this is a big deal. Racist stereotypes, beliefs, and behaviors, as with Rome, weren't built in a day. Not everything is as blatant as burning crosses and graffiti swastikas. Subtle propaganda such as the Post article has a wider audience and plants images of Black moral inferiority in the subconsciousness. So the next time you, or somebody else ponders why Americans fear and hate Black people so much, here is part of the answer- because of bullshit like this.

To contact the post, go to www.nypost.com
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An Update On The Danish Cartoons [Feb. 8th, 2006|04:30 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

From the Brussels Journal. Here are the relevant parts:

Norway can fortunately take pride in some of its media. On Tuesday the Christian newspaper Magazinet published 12 cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Magazinet did so to support the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published the cartoons [see them here] last September, but has since received terrorist threats and huge international criticism, including pressure from organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union. Now Magazinet has received threats via e-mail from around the world. One of these, sent anonymously through a popular e-mail service in the Middle East, was mailed to the editor, Vebjørn Selbekk, simply stating: “You’re a dead man!” Other staff members have also received threats. Selbekk said it looked as if the newspaper’s e-mail addresses were being distributed in an organized campaign. One of the e-mails Selbekk received contains a couple of pictures showing a burnt body, sent through an e-mail address in France.

Giving in to the threats, Magazinet decided today to remove the cartoons from its webiste. “The e-mail with the pictures of the burnt body is the most frightening. But I am not afraid. This is of course unpleasant, especially for a family man. But I cannot go around being afraid,” Selbekk told the Norwegian daily Dagbladet which also published the cartoons on its website last Tuesday. However, a number of other Norwegian newspaper editors have said they do not intend to follow the two newspapers’ example, claiming it to be an unnecessary provocation. Arab newspapers around the world have also reacted sharply to the publication of the cartoons. Selbekk, however, said the purpose for his decision was not to provoke anyone, but to highlight the status of freedom of expression in Norway.

Magazinet also interviewed two leading Norwegian cartoonists: Finn Graff and Morten M. Kristiansen. Graff, who was known in the 1960s and ’70s for his satirical drawings of Jesus Christ, said that he does not draw pictures mocking Muhammad. He does so out of fear for Muslims, and also “out of respect.” Muslims, he said, are very sensitive about their religion and their prophet, which is something one has to take into account and one has to respect. Kristiansen said he had received many protest letters in the past whenever he mocked Christ. The same applies to cartoons about Muhammad, but lately the protest letters from Muslims had increasingly become threats, including death threats in e-mails from places such as Iran. Unlike Graff, Kristiansen said he will not change his behaviour because of these threats because it is important to defend the right to freedom of expression.

Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands Posten, the Danish paper which published the cartoons first, told Magazinet that he does not regret that decision. “We cannot regret it. We live in a country where freedom of expression is recognized and we live and work in Denmark under Danish laws. The nature of the reactions has shown how necessary this debate is.” Juste said.

Asked if Jyllands-Posten had received any support from the Danish media after the decision to publish the cartoons Juste said at first there was not much support. Most of them believed this was something Jyllands-Posten did just to provoke. But after all the arbitrary demands that the newspaper apologize for the publication their attitude began to change. “Fortunately most people now realize this is an important issue about freedom of expression and, as a consequence, we have been getting more and more support.” He added that support has come from all over the world, but, unfortunately, threats, too.

Meanwhile, the Danish tabloid Extra Bladet got hold of a 43-page report that Danish Muslim leaders and imams, on a tour of the Islamic world are handing out to their contacts to “explain” how offensive the cartoons are. The report contains 15 pictures instead of 12. The first of the three additional pictures, which are of dismal quality, shows Muhammad as a pedophile deamon [see it here], the second shows the prophet with a pigsnout [here] and the third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog [here]. Apparently, the 12 original pictures were not deemed bad enough to convince other Muslims that Muslims in Denmark are the victims of a campaign of religious hatred.

Akhmad Akkari, spokesman of the 21 Danish Muslim organizations which organized the tour, explained that the three drawings had been added to “give an insight in how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims.” Akkari claimed he does not know the origin of the three pictures. He said they had been sent anonymously to Danish Muslims. However, when Ekstra Bladet asked if it could talk to these Muslims, Akkari refused to reveal their identity.

So it seems there's an active group of Muslims trying to drum up hatred and racial tensions. Doesn't surprise me. It explains why cartoons that have been around since September could motivate people to such violence. The three added cartoons are particularly telling of the propaganda machine currently going on.

Newspaperindex.com's blog reported this:

Responding to a complaint by the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) over twelve caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September, Louise Arbour - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - has appointed two UN experts on racism to carry out a detailed investigation into what Arbour characterizes as a “disrespect for belief.”

Why did Jyllands-Posten publish the cartoons? The Copenhagen Post explains: “Jyllands-Posten called for and printed the cartoons by various Danish illustrators, after reports that artists were refusing to illustrate works about Islam, out of fear of fundamentalist retribution. The newspaper said it printed the cartoons as a test of whether Muslim fundamentalists had begun affecting the freedom of expression in Denmark.”

What do you think? Should hate speech be protected, and does the UN have the right to limit free speech in a similar manner to Britain? Is punishing hate speech is a dangerous precedent, or necessary for a safe society?
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