Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I quickly want to point my attention to Psychological warfare. It is amazing how much media thrives on making individuals insecure. It is if almost every add in regards to body make you question your ability to be uniquely beautiful, handsome etc. I know this is planned and is not by any means a coincidence. My problem does not lie with those who are able to accurately dissect these media messages but it is with the target audience media company's choose to target to potentially bully. I know i sound like someone out of touch and oblivious to the fact that media also hails images and messages toward me, but I would still like to for a moment look at this.
     in urban communities the need to be someone important is manifested and shown in several ways but differently then it would in suburban and upper elite affluent homes. I bring this up because I want to bring into question who receives the most damage from media messages intended to make someone insecure as to buy a product. I argue it is those in lower socio-economic back grounds.
I love how Kanye West says "She couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexis." All im trying to say is that we must be mindful not only of how media effects us, but as well as the people around us and those we love that may be trying to find meaning and self worth in the wrong places such as media messages. I was sucked into this. I loved Jay Z and Kanye west. I felt i could not be important unless I was famous, with the same charisma as both of them alongside being rich. Clearly this is not my perception now, as I was a sophmore in high school. I gotta run but I wanted to quickly put this out there!

The Face Off

    The concept of the Face Off Masculinity by Bordo is an interesting way of describing the relationship of men and their representation in the media. Bordo describes the face off in which men are literally battling the camera as to gain dominance and ownership of one's own manliness within the frame. Through out history we have seen men in America represented as the classic, hard nose iron worker persona as displayed through the rockers effect. In contrast, recent years have shown some men through the lens of the lean, which is similar to the way in which women are displayed through media as a symbols to be objectified as they are portrayed as helpless limp dolls with no purpose at all but to be objectified. Although the men may be rockers or leaners the face off is still a symbol of dominance when displayed through the media. It has many elements of narcissism and physiological warfare, in which men are challenged by these face offs although they are still images. The challenge comes from the insecurity intended for the viewer to feel to illicit some response usually to a product.
       Personally I think Bordo does a fine job discussing the ruthlessness within the male media industry as it pertains to modeling and other forms of entertainment. I would like to inform you all a bit more in regards to the shallowness within the modeling industry and how much subjectification is really seen even in male modeling. This is not meant to slam the modeling industry in any way but to shed light on things that may go unseen. I’ll be discussing attention to weight loss and consumption with self derived from external pressures.
       Weight loss is a huge issue for male models. About 25 to 30 pounds ago I modeled for Nike GQ, in fact the same magazine that one of our classmates showed for her media share. I modeled for Men’s Warehouse, Kohl’s, Jc Pennies, Macy’s and many more. With this said, I was constantly worried about my weight. At one point I weighed 166 pounds at 6-foot 1and a ½. Lets just say this is really skinny. I was doing fit modeling for Levi’s at the time and one of the sellers looked at me tapped my leg and asked if I had been working out because the pants were tight on me. Please realize the jeans were “skinnies” intended to be tight on any male with a 32 waist. At that time I was a 31 one waist. Never the less these things make an impression on you because you get paid by a lot of money by these idiots and you begin to put yourself worth in the jobs and money you get while loosing sight of who you are. At 19 I made 88,000 dollars doing all of this, but it was whack because I compromised the elements of humanity that shouldn’t be commoditized. I’m saying this because weight messes with your head if your job is to look a certain way. I will make this bold statement. If you are a successful male model, you have some form of an eating disorder. Like it or not, I’ve never had a friend who was a successful, working, well known model in the industry that did not completely get consumed with image and self consumption. I’ll stop ranting. By the way, same with girls. Many of my girl friends that I shot with that made twice if not three times as much money as me would never say that have an eating disorder. But it behind the vanity is a blank canvass, people looking for acceptance in a place that is willing to offer it, although shallow and fleeting. I’m done. Thanks, holla.

John Gilchrist

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't forget to bring food donations for extra credit!

Remember, if you bring two cans or boxes of healthy food to the exam (or to Professor Retzinger's office), you'll receive extra credit on the final exam. As the video we played in class tried to remind you, PLEASE don't be that person that brings in total garbage as an afterthought... you won't get credit for a few packages of Top Ramen!

Here's the official "shopping list" provided by the Alameda County Food Bank.

I'm not getting extra credit, but I still think it's a great idea! Here's my proof:

New UC logo: Corporate or Innovative?

Have you all seen this article on the UC logo rebranding? What do you think of this before and after? I admit, I'm rather attached to the old one.

New U.C. logo: A sad sign for higher education

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advertising: The Replacement for Religion

      I found the arguments Jhally asserts in his chapter entitled, Advertising as Religion: The Dialectic of Technology and Magic, to be not only informative and convincing but also thought provoking. He addresses the history of not only advertising, but also of human beings in general. The historical information presented is vital for understanding how various meanings have been given to products in present day (and since the beginning of our capitalist industrial society). Jhally claims that in traditional societies [that did not have market economies] people had a direct connection to the production process of the goods that were part of their lives. Goods were the communicators of social relations, and when making a good that person was putting a part of themselves into it. However, with capatilsm came the establishment of markets. Markets eliminated the opportunity for people to see where (or who) the goods they were purchasing came from, and thus the goods lost their meaning. The shift to capitalism was also a period of emotional transition and unrest. Whereas previously people had a experienced strong religious influences and a sense of stability and community in their simple agricultural lives; urbanization led to secularization and many changes in lifestyle. It was at this time that advertisers saw their opportunity.

      Since people needed meanings for goods, and products had lost their meaning when they went to the marketplace, advertising played a role of injecting new social meanings into them. Although religion was weakening, people still yearned for the things it had long provided them with. Advertisers strategically looked to the transcendental realm as a model. Their goal was to give the public something new to enhance their lives. Since then, advertising has evolved to keep up with the times, but despite is varying approaches, people continue to look to it for guidance. Although advertising has no moral core or central system of beliefs, the industry acts to tell people not only what they should buy- but also what they should or should not do, how to do these things and creates consumption communities (much like religious communities).

Call for Papers: NEW Undergraduate Conference sponsored by Society for Cinema and Media Studies

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) is one of the preeminent organizations for film studies and media studies academics (I'll be presenting at this year's professional conference in Chicago, March 2013). There's a new initiative for undergraduates (announcement below), which sounds like a great opportunity if you're interested in this field, further study, and taking the time to craft a strong proposal.


The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is proud to announce its support for a new venture, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference. Previously conducted under the title of the Midwest Undergraduate Film and Television Conference and held only at the University of Notre Dame, this new incarnation will rotate across multiple universities on an annual basis, so as to enable wider access to students across North America. It will carry the SCMS imprimatur to reflect the organization’s strong support for undergraduate education in cinema and media studies.

We ask that you tell your best undergraduate students about the First Annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference. It will be once again held at the University of Notre Dame on April 11-12, 2013. Next year it will move to the University of Oklahoma.

Undergraduate students are invited to propose papers appropriate for a 20-minute presentation on any aspect of cinema and media history, criticism, or theory. Interested students must submit a proposal form, which can be found at

Completed proposals should be sent by email to at the University of Notre Dame. Please write "SCMS Undergrad Conference 2013" in the subject heading.

The deadline for proposals is Midnight EST on Monday, February 4, 2013. Questions about the conference should be directed to Christine Becker at

Advertisement as our Religion

Throughout my whole life I have been exposed to countless amounts advertisements and will continue to be exposed to millions of ads until the day I die. Though this might sound a like a generalized melodramatic exaggeration it really isn’t, most of us will have been exposed to thousands, if not millions of ads before we are the age of sixty.
 As a person fascinated by media of all kinds I always found ads to be very interesting. This might the creative person in me, but believe it or not it, I would always think of creative ways to advertise things when I was little, but after a few college courses on advertising, a couple of good books and two years of experience as a retail sales person, I’ve learned a lot about the insides and outs’ of advertisements; from the technical aspects of commercials to the psychological purpose behind their message. Yet, I still would not call myself and expert and worst of all, I dare not to say that I am immune to these messages.  But personal interest aside, what I am really trying to get at is that ads are mediums that appeal to us through emotional leverage.
Jhally makes a lot of interesting points regarding advertisements in relation to society. He argues that products lose their social meaning when they ceased to be produced by individuals who specialize in building or creating that good. Industrialization, which sustains capitalism, strips goods from any personal meaning its makers  might have with their creation; consequently, the job of advertisements it to create one in order to sell it.
He says “it’s[advertising] power comes from the fact that it works it’s magic on a blank slate” (221).  For example, now a days we often value hand made things, they usually sell for more and are made by small companies which don’t utilize ads as much; however, these companies succeed because by just creating something handmade they already put in a part of their own personal value into it which customers can relate too, this is why they continue to purchase them and value them as something different. This doesn’t happen, when we go to the store and buy one shirt out of fifty sitting on clothing rack.
Another one of his arguments is that advertisements have taken the place of religion for some people in society. He believes, institutions that often provided meaning to peoples emotions and concerns have weakened.  Instead, ads suggest consumption as a mean of personal realization and success. Creating a false idea that the more we have, the more we are worth, and the more successful we are. He goes as far as to explain that advertisements often use “radiant beams”, lights similar to the one assimilated with religious backgrounds and “spiritual overtones” consequently suggesting an invisible relationship with success (223).
I can quickly relate this message to the way in this advertisements influence my life, and I often also find a release by doing so. For example, sometimes I find myself relieved after shopping spree and justify spending more money than I should by thinking that I will look good in my new clothes and therefore gain status; which leads me to have more happiness because I find a superficial solution to my own internal insecurities. We often hear the phrase “Shop till you drop” as a way to justify large amounts of unnecessary consumption.
The depth roots of advertisements have affected the way we utilize and satisfy emotional appeals through products. In the United States some women have been diagnosed as “shopaholics”, addicted to spending money on shopping in order to avoid uncomfortable emotional states.  

An example of a women utilizing shopping as form of release and relating it to happiness: