среда, 13. април 2011.

Rhetorical Analysis

While looking for an appropriate cartoon to analyse on www.politicalcartoons.com I managed to find one that was quite interesting for me. Since I read online newspaper daily I actually wanted to find a cartoon that portrays the situation that is currently going on in Libya.

The cartoon shows a map of North Africa and Libya in its center. There are three men standing besides the map and one of them  is telling the other two "as you can see, a no-fly zone can protect all the innocent oil, er - I mean people!!". The man who is telling this is in a suit and is probably someone from the United States Cabinet and he is telling this to two army men who will probably be the ones who will execute the order to also bomb Libya. The USA influenced the United Nations and on March 17, 2011 a no-fly zone resolution was imposed on Libya. Soon after this the bombing of Libya started in which US, UK and France were involved but on March 25, the NATO took over everything. 

This cartoon shows the obvious hypocrisy of the American policy which is supposedly worried for the civilians and thats why they imposed the no-fly policy and are bombing the country. However, many around the world argue whether the USA is doing all this in order to protect the Libyan people and many actually claim that the Americans are doing this in order to get the oil. After all, the Americans already this sort of thing with Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

In my opinion, John Drakow hit the right place by drawing this cartoon. He wrote what majority of people all around the world is thinking and that is that the USA is using excuses to dictate its own policy and its showing itself as a peacemaker but is actually a big bully.

Cultural Analysis

Every time a company is ready to launch a new product they also have to think about the way in which they would appeal to the public and pursuade the people to buy their products. There are many ways in which an ad can influence the public and get the desired goal - selling the product. Emotions, gender issues, class, sex - all of these can have the effect of buying a certain product. For this assignment I decided to compare two ad campaignes from two worldwide known brands: Chanel and Dior. These two ads have two things in common: they are both ads for perfumes and both parfumes are advertised by a celebrity.

Chanel, a French fashion house founded by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel who herself said: "simplicity is the key of all true elegance" had Nicole Kidman for this campaign as a spokesperson and simplicity is what defines this ad campaign. Only Nicole Kidman is in the ad and she wears a black dress and LBD or little black dress is basically a trade mark of this fashion house. The ad itself is actually quite modest as Nicole turned her back and is not even watching us. The dress has a low cut on the back and we can see a necklace which has a Chanel pendant. The ad, of course, includes the famous inscription for Chanel No. 5 and a picture of the bottle.

On the other hand, Dior, another French high-fashion company has a completely different approach for their ad campaign. Dior tries to appeal to the public through sex and by doing this the saying "sex sells" really does make sense. In this ad, Chalize Theron, who was named sexiest woman alive by Esquire Magazine in 2007, is looking at us seductively and while doing that she is showing a lot of skin. In fact, with one hand, she is taking of an earing while with the other she is about to strip down her dress. We can also see the memorable "j'adore Dior" inscription and there is, just as in the Chanel ad, a picture of the perfume bottle.

Even though these ads have a different approach they both send the same message: "buy our parfume because Nicole Kidman/Charlize Theron uses it". Many companies use this approach, they use a celebrity to advertise their products and it seems that this is the best approach because, hey, everybody wants to either be Charlize or be with her and apparently, you can to it by buying the perfume she uses.

четвртак, 17. март 2011.

Doug Marlette's cartoon and article

Thanks to the First Amendment everyone who lives in the USA has the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press and Doug Marlette clearly believes in this. Soon after the terorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 his cartoon "What Would Mohammed Drive?" depicting an Arab driving a Ryder truck which has a bomb in the truck was published in The Tallahassee Democrat, the cartoon was seen as very controvesial and different reactions came from different communities.
The Arab community saw the cartoon as an insult and many were enraged because the cartoon in their eyes presented every Arab as a terrorist. On the other hand, some Americans saw this as a funny cartoon while in some it caused fear because some of them do associate every Arab with terrorism. After receiving death threats Marlette wrote an article "I Was a Tool of Satan" in order to clarify the meaning of his cartoon. Marlette explained in this article that he was actually ridiculing the attitude the Americans have towards the Muslims.
In this article Marlette also tells that a journalists right and job is to tell the truth and he is justifying by reminding the readers of the First Amendment. In my opinion, Marlette is trying to say through this cartoon: "There is one fanatic but that does not mean that he is representing a whole nation and religion". Marlette also states that he has ridiculed other religions in the past and that: "No one is less tolerant than those demanding tolerance" and I absolutely agree with this statement. Everyone says that they believe in the freedom of speech but the moment you tell something that is not in accordance with their beliefs it is blasphemy. Marlette's goal was to provoke people, that is his job as a jounalists and obviously he did his job just right.

среда, 16. март 2011.

Samuel P. Huntington's editorial vs. Gary Markstein's cartoon

Both Hutington and Markstein deal with controversal yet legitimate question about one line in the Pledge of Allegience which states "under God". Every now and then we can hear a statement "America is a free country" which means that there are people of different races and religions who are free to live their lives as they wish. The Pledge of Allegience itself also states "with librety" so isn't it a bit hypocritical to say "you are free to do what ever you want as long as you are faithful to America but you also have to believe in one God"
Markstein deals with this question through a cartoon which can be analyzed in different ways. We can see kids of different races which recite the Pledge but instead of saying "under God" they say "under nothing in particular". First we have to ask ourselves whether or not they are Christians. It is quite possible that they are raised as Muslims or Jews so why would they even have to pledge allegience "under God" and wouldn't that just confuse them. Yes, America probably is the country with the hightest precentage of religious people but that does not mean that all people who live there believe in God the Christians believe in. We can also see the attitude of the author of this cartoon. The students say "under nothing in particular" and the teacher thinks "God help us...". The author is obviously concered for the young people and the future of the country.
Huntington on the other hand states that Americans who are atheists or of other religion feel like "outsiders" because of those words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegience. Again through this article we see the hypocrusy. America is a secular country and because of the First Amendment everyone is allowed to believe in what they want but on every bill and in every courtroom there are words "In God we trust" and this is actually the motto of the USA. Huntington does not take sides in this article. He actually gives solution to atheists by telling them that they do not have to recite the pledge, but he also states that the atheists don't have the right to impose their beliefs to those who do believe in God.
To conclude, I think both authors have reasonable arguments. On one hand Markstein is concerned for the future of his country but he does not see the point of having kids of different nations pledging to the "flag". Huntington believes that everyone has the freedom of choice whether they be believers or atheists. I think tolerance and respect is what it really matters and if one does not sing the national anthem or recite the plegde it does not make him the enemy of the state.

Creative practice

Since we live in a consumer society we are being bombarded with advertisements every day, or should I say every hour of every day. Internet, television, radio, billboards, posters, fliers - where does it end?
I  almost always have my TV on, even when I'm getting ready to leave the house there is something playing in the background. I usually find a show like CSI or something to watch while getting ready but the moment the commercials start I change the channel to VH1 which plays only music. So I change the channel to avoid commercials but when I leave my appartment and go downstairs what do I find? My mailbox filled with ads. Pizzeria, beauty parlor, "learn Enlish in 20 days" all shoved to my mailbox and what do I do, throw them in the trash of course.
I am on my way to my grandmother's place and I have to go past the Synagogue where there are posters informing the public about the future concerts and happenings. I look if there is anything interesing for me and continue my route. As I go down the street, on my left side there are clothing stores which have inscriptions about sales in their windows, fast food restaurants and bakeries which have inscriptions about what they have to offer. On my right side there are trees and lampposts on which various ads are attached. You can see ads for cheap maths lessons, transportation to a concert, rooms for rent during EXIT festival (even though it was more then a year ago)...
As I go along the boulevard I can see billboards promoting Carnex, McDonald's, Mango, Zara... Of course there are also posters glued on the walls which promote various parties in the clubs. When I finally get to the building where my grandmother lives what do I see? Her mailbox stuffed with flyers and the Idea catalogue. Luckily someone put a trash bin right beside the elevatore so that I can throw that trash there. As I enter the elevator I see other advertisements on the walls, most of them are about cheap repairs with huge letters saying "dolazim po pozivu!". However, there is one ad that I find most interesing, its about food delivery but for some reason there are big letters saying "cuvajmo nase liftove!". As I enter my grandmother's appartment I, of course, hear commercials from the TV.
It is impossible to avoid commercials nowadays. Even as we walk down a street there is usually someone there who will shove a flyer in our hands whether we like it or not. As if it's not enough that we have to watch commercials at home, get ads from our maliboxes but now we actually get them pushed in our hands just so that we don't miss getting informed about a sale, cheap lessons or other trivial matter.

среда, 09. март 2011.

Television commercials

Definition

Television commercials are

  1. a way of conveying a message to the public
  2. seen as a very persuasive type of advertising
  3. a source of funding for television networks
  4. found annoying by majority of people
  5. ranging in lenght from a few seconds to several minutes
Examplification

  1. New products are being created every day and manufacturers use television to inform the public about their products or services.
  2. This type of advertising is seen as most persuasive and most successful because it has both audio and visual components. A good commercial will have striking characters or catchy tunes which will stick in the mind of a viewer.
  3. Majority of television networks are financed by advertising, that is by selling blocks of broadcast time to advertisers.
  4. Majority of people like to watch movies or tv shows without being interrupted and commercials which are shown every 10-15 minutes make it impossible to do so. Also, usually the commercials have catchy tunes which people find annoying, especially when they can't get the tune out of their heads.
  5. The length of the commercials can vary from just one picture with a strong message to a completely unconvincing dialog, from catch-phrases to funny jingles.
Comparison

Television with commercials: a way of finding out about new stores, products, services; a chance to do the dishes without having to miss an important part of the movie/show.
Television without commercials: not having to put up with commercials about detergents, cosmodisk or Bozen cosmetics; no interruption just when you are about to find out who the killer is or when the boy is about to tell the girl that he loves her.

Causality

Television commercials are successful because they are informative - they tell you what to buy, why, where and for what price. Television commercials are persuasive because they are usually finny with cute jingles or emotional so that they can make you think or change your mind about something.


Effects

Manufacturers use television to make the people aware of their new product and to convice them to buy it. Catchy tunes actually persuade you to buy something just so that you can try it (remember "noblice, noblice" commercial). Even though most of the people are annoyed when their favourite show is interrupted and will change to channel while the commercials are on, it is inevitable to see an interesting commercial that will persuade us to go to some travel agency, to buy this or that fabric softener or to get a bank credit.