Archive for December, 2008

Tyler, in Response to Pat

December 15, 2008

Apparently, Tyler’s also having trouble posting to the blog.  Here’s his bit, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood blog-wallah…

This clip hits on the last thing we talked about in class, the affects of advertising on society. It’s a scene from Fight Club where the main character Tyler gives an inspirational spill on modern society. I want to apologize for the language but overall this clip really does give you something to think about. If the clip doesn’t work here’s the url,


Pat Hunt’s Response to ‘Let’s Make It Magical’

December 12, 2008

Apparently, Pat had some problems posting this on the blog, so he forwarded it to me and I’m posting it.  Hey, those of you who weren’t able to post before on ‘doing’ gender:  now that you know how to do it (enter your username for both ‘username’ and ‘password’), how ’bout posting those old HW assignments?  Anyway, here’s Pat’s comment without any further ado:

I think the biggest difference between going to college now compared to 30 years ago is that people used to go to college to learn and people now go to college to make money. The suggestions proposed in the article would only hurt the institute of higher learning. The purpose of going to college is not entertainment but education. Over the break my uncle told me young people don’t appreciate and that a college education and college is wasted on us. But this is a result of our culture. In today’s society with the innovation of technology we are accustomed to laziness and become bored easily. Colleges do not need to find ways to attract more students, they need to focus on increasing the quality of education. Colleges need to get students interested in the curriculum itself, and not in fancy buildings or new technology.


December 11, 2008

I agree with some of the earlier posts. There has been an “attack” on advertisement which i feel is not completely right. It is true that some ads deceive the viewers. However, we need to acknowledge the importance of advertisements to both the individual and the society. To begin with, i believe that ads have played a critical role in America’s success. This country is powerful because of its large market base. We need to remember that advertisements make up the market. A nation with no ads will end up having a bad market and subsequently, a bad economy.
Besides, without ads most T.V programs would not have been aired. This because ads serve  as a bulk of  the media houses’ revenues. If there were no ads, you and i would not have been able to see the program we love; even the Davidson vs West Virginia game.
Adverts also play a huge role in the individuals life. How were you going to here about the new cell phone if there were no ads; what about the new iPod, or laptop or movie.
Despite some criticisms of today’s adverts, i believe they are very necessary for a society.

Re: Propaganda Video & Advertising

December 9, 2008


After watching the “Davidson Propaganda Video” previously posted and discussed, and in talking about advertising in class, I was reminded of a lesson I learned in my American Politics class. For about two weeks our class focused on campaign ads and why they are effective. We read a book titled “Campaigning for Hearts and Minds,” and it discussed all the important aspects of ads that we may not realize and what makes them successful. It shocked me to find how important music, visual images, and the use of powerful language are to an effective ad. The book discussed how sometimes the message of an ad has little to no effect on the viewer. Instead, it is the way an ad appeals to the viewers emotions through music, words and images that creates a lasting effect and will ultimately form the persons opinion of a product, store, person, ect.

As I watched the propaganda ad on Davidson, I couldn’t help but notice these three elements of advertising at work. The background music creates a positive feeling to the ad and of Davidson, the many beautiful images of the campus make it seem like the most attractive school in the country, and the powerful words used by the interviewees makes the ad sound very important and official. Although all these aspects may or may not hold true about the ad and Davidson, the 3 elements of an ad I mentioned make Davidson seem like the most perfect place in the world.

Similarly, T.V. ads and commercials utilize these techniques and often brainwash the viewer. As we discussed the prominence of advertising in America, it made me realize how that many of the things we see and hear may not be as good as it appears on T.V. It’s like seeing that awesome remote control airplane on T.V. doing flips and turns along with the exciting background music and thinking it’s the coolest thing in the world. You tell your parents how amazing it looks and that you want it for Christmas. However, when you open it up on Christmas day it barely flies, and once you do get it of the ground it will never do the cool flips.

The class discussions on advertising have made me realize how much it is taking over our nation. Whether or not a product is good, ads will make them seem amazing and they will sell. Maybe it is time for Americans to realize the propaganda being instilled into them and rebel against this excessive advertising in our country. Just a thought.


Davidson Propaganda Video

December 8, 2008





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Davidson Propaganda Video
( This is the link. It for some reason only opens with Real Player).

This is one of Davidson’s first propaganda videos. When Dr.
Murray read out the section from the Boston College pamphlet, it reminded me of
this video. If you watch just the first minute and a half, you can get a general
idea of the video. Notice the images of the sky, bells, pillars correspond with
the “higher calling” that Davidson evokes. There is also a sense that your time
Davidson will forever stay with you. Some questions you may ask are: What is the
goal of the video? Or is this an accurate portrayal of Davidson? (Not saying that it isn’t, but it’s open to interpretation).

Thanks to Dr. Miller, my English Prof., for this video.

Modernity and Magic

December 8, 2008

Originally, I wanted to post this video because I think it’s hilarious and quite brilliant but I thought about it and it does allude to sociology.

In this video, a man dances to the new Beyonce song “Single Ladies”. The objective of the video is to show the youtube audience of this man’s talent and he successfully does so, meanwhile topping Beyonce’s performance. Many viewers comment on his dancing skills but there are an equal amount of comments concerning his sexuality.  He is obviously (stereotypically speaking) not heterosexual – but what does that matter?  
Today in class we talked about our desire to ‘connect the dots’ and our need for answers/explanations. We think everything is explicable to a point where we want to explain irrelevant little details like the sexuality of this random man on the internet. It’s unfortunate that we cannot appreciate something without looking ‘below the surface’ for additional answers.
Here’s the video:

December 8, 2008

Just to juxtapose Brendan’s comments about how much time we spend watching television commercials with some other numbers, did you know it costs $2.4 million for a thirty second spot in the Super Bowl? And that brand loyalty starts at age 2, and that young children apparently cannot distinguish between a commercial and an actual program on TV? This just shows how early we are exposed to advertising and how much they influence us and our lives. It has become such an enormous industry that people will pay over 2 million just to have their product shown for thirty seconds. If somebody gave a thirty second presentation in class, probably nobody would remember much of it, but big companies are willing to throw out ridiculous sums of money for the same type of thing

Scary Facts

December 7, 2008

Some of the points we talked about in class on Friday were really disturbing.  The one that stuck out to me the most was the fact that the average American spends about three years of their lives watching television commericials.  THREE YEARS.  That’s 75% percent of your college career.  About 1/6 or 1/7 of our entire lives so far.  Imagine being on your death bed, thinking of all the things you wished you could’ve done but never got the chance to do, and someone tells you that you probably wasted a large portion of your life watching TV advertisements.  It’s a scary thought.  Some might take that fact to heart, and rid TV from there lives entirely.  I think I’ll take the easy way out though, and spend a few extra bucks a month for TiVo.  I’ll just have to start watching The Office at 9:20 instead of 9:00, commercial free.

The scariest thing about advertising being directed at children…

December 7, 2008

In class on Friday we discussed how adertising is eveywhere in our society and how it is most often directed at children as they are seen as “the future consumers of America.” Over the weekend, I came across an artilce from the American Physchological Association that stated that ‘research shows that children under the age of eight are unable to critically comprehend and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased’ which makes them easy targets for commercial persuasion. As I said in class on Friday, this  is scary becuase advertisers essentially have the power to brainwash children and serve as the foundation for children’s lifestyle and value choices (especially for children with negligent parents). This particular article reported that its possible that television advertising leads to unhealthy easy habits in children. Maybe the explosion of television advertising in our society is the reason the United States has become one of the world’s fattest nations.

Re: The Disenchantment of Modern Life

December 7, 2008

One interesting thing about Weber’s article is that it overlooks the fact that the entire world has not yet reached this stage of “modern life” that he describes. I think that it is easy from our perspective/knowledge of the world to assume that the entire world is like our country, completely modernized.

But what about the civilizations and countries that remain undeveloped or underdeveloped? What can we learn from them? And how does this modernization in other countries affect them? Are they better or worse off because of their pre-modernized states?

I think that these questions are important though they are not considered by Weber in his short piece.

Having lived in a remote village in Nepal last year I had a firsthand experience of a culture completely different from anything in the Western world. And I came out of the experience realizing that there are elements of what we perhaps hastily consider an “antiquated” society that are unique and missing in our new, modern societies. It is easy to laugh at spiritual practices that we write off with science, but this is the result of misunderstanding and stereotyping a culture we do not know well enough to talk about. And fundamental parts of Nepali life and culture– human connections,strong sense of self, culture, family, and the meaning of life, joy in simple things, spirituality– seem to be more and more absent in our busy, technology-ridden lives. These are also a people who are intimately connected with the natural world and its workings because it affects their lives.

One of the things that is scary I think is that people tend to assume that those living in these countries must be unhappy and would be better off if they had the luxuries of wealthier, more modernized societies. This is not necessarily true. At this point, we can and SHOULD start learning from these cultures, rather than going into the country and giving them material goods  or dictating how to “better” run their societies.

This doesn’t mean that modernization is all bad or a problem, nor does it mean that we should not help people in need get their fundamental needs (food, medicine, etc.) met, but I don’t necessarily think that modernization of the entire world is something to be strived for. There is so much to be learned from other cultures, and “enchantment” still to be found.