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Corporate America, Or, Everything you believe has been sold to you

Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Finally, I find it fucking surreal that so many here are acting like there is some megacorp out there who can control all information. And the baffling assertion that the blogosphere is an insignficant political force in the face of *gasp* the guy who controls $15MM worth of banner ads. This bullhorn analogy is completely out of touch. What are we doing here? Debating politics? Do you see any ads on the screen? We're living in a time of unprecedented access to opinions, information, and where suddenly the proverbial 15 minutes has become literal. Even the big operators like the CNN and Fox Web sties now have a list a mile long of commentors on every article they publish. The bullhorn can't drown everyone out anymore, it can't possibly. Why do you think legislation has been proposed to require a journalist's license or else be barred from blogging, or to require political parity on talk radio? The same reasons being put forth in this thread - we are afraid of what the unwashed masses will believe, so we must control what they will hear. You might be right. I'm not being sarcastic there. But there is scant basis for that kind of regulation in our system of government.
There is a separate debate here about whether or not corporations "drown out" everyone else, and, by implication, if the government has a compelling interest to remedy such a thing. That debate so far has been full of as everyone tries to convince me that the Internet has had no meaningful effect on political messages and isn't likely to in the future, because people who buy ads on Web sites control the Internet, or because everyone just does what TV ads tell them. In other words, it's fucking absurd. Sure, paid ads are still a huge factor, the hugest maybe, but in today's media, no corporation can come within a light year of "drowning out everyone else." We are drowned in everyone else at this point.

So reading some choice quotes over at the Supreme Court Allows Corporations to Buy Politicians, and a general skepticism that this will do anything at all, led me to instantly recall what I thought was an amazing introduction to Corporate America and how generally disgusting and subtly dangerous our situation is. if you want to know WHY people are so up in arms over this decision to allow unchecked funding in the American political system, it all stems back to the things outlined here. Also if you're a big fan of Metal Gear Solid I guess, you'll be happy to realize that world exists today! It's just at such a refined point you barely even notice it.

This is pulled from SomethingAwful word for word, for your reading pleasure. Do enjoy.



Mass media is far more than a tool for entertainment, information, and selling products. Those are only secondary functions. The primary social purpose of mass media is selling you your own society and culture, to the exclusion of dissent. Let's examine how it's done.

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When you think of propaganda, what do you think of? Posters, imploring beleaguered wartime families to buy war bonds? Hitler, shouting at the podium in Triumph of the Will? As soon as communications technologies are capable of reaching masses, they are deployed to serve a specific agenda.

Traditionally, when we think of propaganda, we think of a political agenda, particularly a wartime one. However, propaganda is used far beyond warmongering, to encompass a vast political and marketing strategy. A man named Edward Bernays, nephew to Sigmund Freud, was so impressed and disturbed by WWII propaganda, so convinced that the masses could be easily manipulated, he helped corporations employ his uncle’s theories to form the new field known as public relations. Mass marketing, with the specific agenda of not only selling products but creating the needs and desires for these products, was born.

Make no mistake; advertising agencies have psychologists on staff (even child psychologists when focusing on children) for a reason: to manipulate and create desires and emotions in the most effective way. There is nothing innocuous about it. The very human need for social interaction is tugged to sell TVs. Sex drive, a psychological force if there ever was one, is twisted to sell beer. Sense of humor is manipulated to sell videogame consoles. The basic function of the advertisement is to create a sense of inadequacy: an artificial need that can only be filled by the act of consumption.

Products aren’t the only things being sold. The most powerful parts of our society, the idea that those in power deserve to be in power, the idea of the American dream and a just world, all of these things are being sold to you as well. Powerful interests control the production and distribution of the media. It is in the interests of the powerful elite to control the masses, to keep them docile and distracted. Mass media performs this manipulation.

Every significant sector of media, whether it is entertainment, news, or advertising, all push a mainstream ideal that quells and neuters dissenting opinion.

akvmts.jpg

The idea of a “liberal media” is largely a myth. Every media outlet is beholden to their advertisers, and a news vehicle where entertainment (and the production of profit) are the primary goals will diligently avoid criticisms of major advertisers, of certain government actions or capitalism, criticisms that would, in a different world, be the responsibility of the news. You can probably remember how enthusiastically major news outlets “sold” the Iraq war when it first began, the gleeful presentation of the bombing of Baghdad in nearly video-game like settings, how white house memos were being reprinted directly without question, how “embedded” reporters had to follow very strict guidelines to be allowed to report. This was a coordinated strategy, an attempt to avoid the unfiltered violence that appeared on television during the Vietnam war. Sometimes the manipulation is a vast PR campaign, explicitly constructed to promote an agenda. Often, however, the manipulation is simply an aggregate of systemic forces, a general bias against dissent, against significant social change.

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One of the key elements in an effective media propaganda machine is a paucity of alternatives. Having the loudest voice is important if you want to be effective, and the fewer voices competing against you, the better. It’s no happy accident that most of the mass media you consume is controlled by a handful of major corporations.

What happened? Well, since the Reagan era, there has been a coordinated effort to deregulate the media industry. Previously, legislators and regulators concerned about the potential impact on free speech limited the number of properties (tv/radio stations, newspapers, etc) that a corporation could own in a single market. The idea was that media owners were public trustees- granted limited broadcast bandwidth and one of a limited number of outlets for public voices, it was the obligation of the government to ensure that speech was not being monopolized. Over the course of a few decades, this concept was all but discarded in favor of viewing media markets as any other markets, which means there is little to nothing stopping major media conglomerates from eating up independent, minority-owned, and other broadcast stations. And eat, they did.

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Since the change in the regulatory trade winds, the number of media corporations has dwindled to six, count ‘em six companies: NewsCorp,

General Electric, Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, and CBS Corporation.

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(this graph doesn’t seem to count Viacom, which holds few U.S. broadcast properties)

You may recognize Time Warner’s monopolizing habits if you’ve ever cursed your internet service and the strange paucity of alternatives. These corporate mega-media giants control nearly every entertainment and news outlet you could possibly be exposed to. Here’s a truncated chart of their holdings:

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click for big

This stranglehold provides an environment where there may be dissent and conflict that ranges from, say, John Stewart to Sean Hannity, but this range of opinions and ideas remains relatively narrow and easily controlled. Programs are highly unlikely to challenge their corporate owners or their advertisers. The internet has provided some relief from this monopoly of expression, but even now Internet Service Provider owners are fighting for the right to control content that they provide to users. The most popular and accessible sites with widest distribution, particularly in news, tend to be anchored and owned by the same media corporations that own everything else. The internet is no safe haven from the massive monopolization of the ability to express ideas.

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Mass media is one of the primary ways that our culture is produced. Our concepts, our preconceptions, our ways of seeing the world and understanding it are influenced a tremendous amount by the media we consume. It’s one of the primary modes of socialization, and it starts in very young children.

Meaning isn’t a direct line from the artist to the viewer: it goes through a variety of filters, both social and economic, that greatly influence the meaning of the end product. How much access people have to a message, how often it is repeated, is often far more important than the message itself.

vmudd2.jpg

Popular culture is where the pedagogy- the learning- forms. It has a profound impact on our ways of examining the world and ourselves, and this includes attitudes about sex and violence. Media tells us what is normal and what is deviant, what sort of person you should be according to which category you fit into. Understanding media is important because it’s one of the primary ways that we set the norms: it’s where concepts of masculinity and femininity are fomented, of race and class, of all the various categories both positive and negative that influence our lives. It’s how our own culture is sold to us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftdYpFC5Go0

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The act of selling our society is sometimes a coordinated propaganda effort, but more often than not it happens unconsciously, implicitly – popular media producers are interested, above all else, in drawing audiences and making money. You don’t accomplish this by rocking the boat, by presenting things that will make people uncomfortable or challenge their views of the world. Instead, you sell them their own worldview– a worldview that unfortunately renders many groups of people invisible, enemies, or objects. Truth doesn’t matter. If enough people repeat something, it becomes commonly accepted as true. Repetition, and people’s tendencies to consume media they already agree with entrenches lies, makes them “common sense,” puts them beyond question to the layperson.

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We’re all vulnerable to the compelling power of the message, and yet we all have mechanisms for defending against it. Just as few people are totally willing to believe everything they hear, no one is immune to the powerful compulsion of marketers and other media forces. This concept is called “agency,” the individual power of the media consumer. People tend to consume media that conforms to their worldview, which in turn amplifies their beliefs. If you consume media that conflicts with your worldview, you will develop methods of subversion and resistance. This is particularly true if you find yourself an outsider of society, someone whose image is pushed to the margins, made to be a side character, an object, or an enemy.

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The people who have traditionally found themselves in this role (the role of the “other”) include women, people of color, Muslims, non-Americans, essentially everyone who is not a heterosexual white American male. Their perspective is ignored, sidelined, or omitted entirely. We are all interested in stories about ourselves, but they are more likely than not to receive distorted, insulting stories, if they exist at all. That is where theories of viewership such as the “male gaze” originate from- that our ways of seeing, themselves, are defined by specific power hierarchies.

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The exceptions to these trends generally occur within “ghettoized” or “narrowcast” media, from when marketers discovered that if they produce media for a specific subgroup, they can sell products to them. While this has provided space for stories where marginalized people can come to the forefront, its penetration into the mainstream is meager, and it does little to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions. Even spaces that are carved out for underrepresented groups can be problematic, challenging some stereotypes while reinforcing others, for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXbcaVY8FQ0

Deviation can produce wonderful spaces for people ignored by the mainstream to carve out or create their own stories, but the more marginal they are, the less likely they will reach the mass audience that more harmful (to the status quo) narratives can reach. The primary failure of political correctness, a excellent media movement that was borne from a recognition of the power of images in media, is that it only addresses surface expressions of bigotry while often leaving the underlying concepts undisturbed.

The more challenging a story is to the mainstream narrative, to capitalism and to the racial, gendered, and class hierarchies that make up our society, the less likely it is to receive a mass audience. This doesn’t mean, however, that the mass media is a monolithic entity. Dissent does happen. Because of the marginal profitability of providing alternative perspectives, there will always be spaces for Michael Moore or alternative comics, for black leads and depictions of meaningful relationships between women. Producers will create dissenting media if it can be profitable, and audiences will carve out their own stories from the mainstream when it’s not.

Nonetheless, the space for dissent and deviance is endlessly being encroached upon by a mainstream ideal that seeks to sell you a very specific message, a very specific idea about your world and those around you. The question is, are you buying it?


Videos:

As it turns out, there is a lot of media about media! There are a variety of documentaries on this subject, many much more capable of explaining these issues than I am. If you’re interested, please check some of them out:

Century of the Self: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8953172273825999151#

The Celluloid Closet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDnPU9qprb0

Manufacturing Consent: Google Video or
Hulu

Class Dismissed: http://www.youtube.com/user/bifutake#g/c/9027E6ADEAB91C95

Cultural Criticism and Transformation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLMVqnyTo_0

Bamboozled: (clip) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C45g3YP7JOk&feature=related

Target Women: http://current.com/sarah-haskins/

Consuming Kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCT7h-jwCWA

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1pfuy_mediaopoly_shortfilms


FAQ: Any frequently asked questions will show up here.
what do we do? Seriously, what the fuck can feasibly be done to stop what you've described in detail from happening? Literally the only thing I can think of is an armed revolt to actually even begin to tip the power hierarchy.

An armed revolt would certainly do the trick (although nascent regimes do have a tendency to want to tightly control media, as well)! More realistically, the key problem here is that we have an ideologically closed society- for all our deifying of freedom, there is little commitment to the actual preservation of a complex discourse with multiple perspectives.

You can, as some posters have suggested, seize the media narrative: newsmakers have short attention spans, but they do pay attention to the sensational. People with more access to the spotlight can use that access to spread information about issues and causes that rarely sees the light of day.

On the government side, promote re-regulation and demonopolization of media holdings. This is less an individual action and more a legislative one, but if enough of a voting bloc is concerned about media freedom, it can turn the tide against even the most powerful oligopoly. It may be as simple as a community effort to prevent a local radio or tv station from being taken over or as widespread as a nationwide campaign for diversity in ownership.

Remember, the current state of affairs is a recent effort by a relatively small group of ideologues and thinktanks determined to end discord in the national discourse. It is not an unstoppable historical force.

On the individual level? Think more about the media you consume. Become critical of the ideas, products, and wars that are sold to you. Understand that most of the information you receive comes through an ideological filter that favors the status quo, and communicate this information to others.

Every person who understands how power propagates itself through propaganda weakens that function a little bit more.

SteamID- Enders || SC2 ID - BurningCrome.721 || Blogging - Laputan Machine
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Posts

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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    The Crowing One on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This is an epic OP, but -- like the great heroes of Greek drama -- its hubris will be its undoing.

    which is to say

    tl;dr

    Hachface on
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    Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    If this is too long for the people of D&D, then there is no hope. It's actually fairly short omitting pictures and is effortless in its language.

    tl;dr: you probably shouldn't be thinking about this stuff anyway then you silly goose

    Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo on
    SteamID- Enders || SC2 ID - BurningCrome.721 || Blogging - Laputan Machine
    1385396-1.png
    Orikae! |RS| : why is everyone yelling 'enders is dead go'
    When I say pop it that means pop it
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    It reeks of Adorno.

    And Adorno is dreamy.

    The Crowing One on
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    It reeks of Adorno.

    And Adorno is dreamy.

    What's funny is that I was reading it and was all like "you know, bell hooks makes a statement about... oh, oh shit, no way!"

    You're right though, Adorno is dreamy.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Also if it's too long to read get some popcorn and watch some silly goosin' videos, there's plenty to choose from

    Start at the Century of the Self and go down from there until you're ready to put a shotgun in your mouth

    Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo on
    SteamID- Enders || SC2 ID - BurningCrome.721 || Blogging - Laputan Machine
    1385396-1.png
    Orikae! |RS| : why is everyone yelling 'enders is dead go'
    When I say pop it that means pop it
    heavy.gif
  • Options
    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    It reeks of Adorno.

    And Adorno is dreamy.

    What's funny is that I was reading it and was all like "you know, bell hooks makes a statement about... oh, oh shit, no way!"

    You're right though, Adorno is dreamy.

    You're good people, Unity.

    This is for you.

    The Crowing One on
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    YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Good thread.

    My answer to the "what can we do" question concerns a relatively narrow realm (politics) compared to the scope of the OP, but it's IMO the best combination of doable and effective if done: campaign finance reform. I won't try to explain it all here, but that's my vote.

    Edit: my problem with century of the self is that it connects these tactics with Freud. They're not necessarily Freudian, and many of Freud's theories have been largely discredited. From a psychological standpoint they're closer to classical conditioning IMO

    Yougottawanna on
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    It reeks of Adorno.

    And Adorno is dreamy.

    What's funny is that I was reading it and was all like "you know, bell hooks makes a statement about... oh, oh shit, no way!"

    You're right though, Adorno is dreamy.

    You're good people, Unity.

    This is for you.

    This is, like, long and stuff. (I will read this tomorrow when my students are writing essays in class.)

    LoveIsUnity on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This OP is the most in line with my politics and views I have ever seen on PA.

    It's also immensely well thought and correct.

    It reeks of Adorno.

    And Adorno is dreamy.

    What's funny is that I was reading it and was all like "you know, bell hooks makes a statement about... oh, oh shit, no way!"

    You're right though, Adorno is dreamy.

    You're good people, Unity.

    This is for you.

    This is, like, long and stuff. (I will read this tomorrow when my students are writing essays in class.)

    There's a printable version that is very, very digestible. It isn't that long.

    I find the critique of modern, political postmodernism most worthwhile.

    The Crowing One on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    French?

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
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    YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I don't care for that article so far either. And "why are you threatened by complexity" is an insulting, presumptuous question.

    Yougottawanna on
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    To further complicate the question that was posed above, I would like to note that part of the process of propaganda and indoctrination lies with those receiving and interpreting the messages. In effect, we become a self-policing society that serves to reify and reinforce dominant notions and ideologies of power. Like the OP mentions above, it is important that people question the values and ideologies underpinning what we consume.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    French?

    Damn, I guessed based on Barcelona. Though it being from a French author makes a lot of sense. :P

    EDIT: God, I need more sleep: error quoted forever below. I suck.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    French?

    Damn, I guessed based on Barcelona. Though it being from a French other makes a lot of sense. :P

    It's a quick 'n dirty translation, no argument.

    The ideas (from partial other translations) come across clear.

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    The "simplification of language" and questions of "accessibility" are exactly the issues that crop up when you're dealing with a consumption society on the mass scale of spectacle that we exist within.

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    Political theory. Needless obfuscation of your ideas is destructive in politics. In English I can understand the belief that it sucks. (his writing is serviceable, but not great stylistically).

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    Political theory. Needless obfuscation of your ideas is destructive in politics. In English I can understand the belief that it sucks. (his writing is serviceable, but not great stylistically).

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    Political theory. Needless obfuscation of your ideas is destructive in politics. In English I can understand the belief that it sucks. (his writing is serviceable, but not great stylistically).

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

    You're arguing specifics, I'm saying his general theme is the most important thing written about politics in the 20th Century. Yeah, Orwell was a bit of a prissy asshole. Whatever. It's the theme that matters.

    Second is Eichmann in Jerusalem, I think.

    Weber is up there too though.

    Anyway, as to the thread: duh. The question is is there quality alternative media? I think TPM is pretty good, but they still fall into the Beltway bullshit a little too frequently for my taste.

    Also, Air America announced they can't continue losing as much money as they are today and thus will be shutting down.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That article reads like the greeting card robot from Futurama, only if it was an obnoxious grad student who feels the need to show off their vocabulary.

    I hate bad writing.

    The OP is good.

    Not the same article. And why are you so threatened by complexity?

    It's bad writing! Complexity is fine, but "Politics and the English Language" is the masterwork of political theory and people who don't listen to it drive me nuts.

    And yeah, I posted that in the wrong thread first. Marx is fine, and actually a decent writer (though I think he's full of shit). That crap was just... crap. Maybe it sounded better in its original Spanish?

    As someone currently teaching English at the college level and a huge fan of linguistics, this could not be further from the truth. A lot of what Orwell says has some merit, but he's simplifying writing to something that is almost unusable while simultaneously supporting his own silly biases as to what constitutes "appropriate" language. He is little more than a prescriptivist bully.

    Political theory. Needless obfuscation of your ideas is destructive in politics. In English I can understand the belief that it sucks. (his writing is serviceable, but not great stylistically).

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

    You're arguing specifics, I'm saying his general theme is the most important thing written about politics in the 20th Century. Yeah, Orwell was a bit of a prissy asshole. Whatever. It's the theme that matters.

    Second is Eichmann in Jerusalem, I think.

    Weber is up there too though.

    Anyway, as to the thread: duh. The question is is there quality alternative media? I think TPM is pretty good, but they still fall into the Beltway bullshit a little too frequently for my taste.

    Also, Air America announced they can't continue losing as much money as they are today and thus will be shutting down.

    I can agree that it's important, but I don't think it's the most important. I'm more than willing to let this tangent go though since I could argue about Orwell for hours.

    George Lakoff has written a lot of good stuff about politics and language. A quick google search came up with this interview, which is definitely worth people's time if they're interested in how language affects and informs political and media processes.

    Similarly, U Penn's linguistics department has a blog that often times discusses these types of issues. It can be found here. They don't always discuss politics, as it's a general pop culture and linguistics blog, but it's almost always insightful and well thought out.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    This is an awesome thread and makes me wish I could go into marketing without being evil.

    *shotgun to face*

    SkyGheNe on
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    silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That was an excellent OP, an enlightening read, and I thank you for taking the time to put it together.

    silence1186 on
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    GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited January 2010

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

    No, all language is inherently social and transformational. It is not inherently political.

    Goumindong on
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

    No, all language is inherently social and transformational. It is not inherently political.

    I think we may have different definitions as to what constitutes "political." I would argue that language is inherently political by virtue of being social. It's getting late, and I need to sleep, but I will return to this thread tomorrow to better explain my position.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »

    I understand what you're saying, but language is inherently political. Like I said, some of his suggestions are valuable. We should try to articulate our ideas as clearly as possible. We should try to avoid needlessly confusing phrasing. However, a lot of the phrases he claims to take to task in the piece are perfectly acceptable and come across as incredibly petty. I have a copy of it around here somewhere if we're going to pursue this, but I will grant you that the core idea of what you're saying is correct. I just disagree with the importance you give it.

    No, all language is inherently social and transformational. It is not inherently political.

    I think we may have different definitions as to what constitutes "political." I would argue that language is inherently political by virtue of being social. It's getting late, and I need to sleep, but I will return to this thread tomorrow to better explain my position.

    There's a branch of science called "Political Ecology" that you might want to look into as well. Really fascinating stuff that presents incredibly useful ways of thinking, and really tears into a lot of the environmental science we take for granted.

    Robman on
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    Fatty McBeardoFatty McBeardo Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    How many others here work in corporate america?

    I will briefly relate my own experience: I have worked in Corporate America for about 10 years. I have worked for some very recognizable names, including 3 of the largest media conglomerates.

    The stuff described in the OP is so true.

    Do not think for a moment that there is anything that separates Air America and Rush Limbaugh. This is a show. Bread and circus. The WWE for your mind.

    Fatty McBeardo on
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    CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    I'm reading the OP now.

    But please, think of our H-scrolls! One of those pictures is huge.

    CycloneRanger on
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    nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Do not think for a moment that there is anything that separates Air America and Rush Limbaugh. This is a show. Bread and circus. The WWE for your mind.

    The distinction that Rush Limbaugh deals in anti-human atavistic evil while Air America eats peace and rainbows and shits carebears and love is nothing to the fact that both are entertainment programs.

    nescientist on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Well, also one is highly profitable and the other went broke and died.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    That's an epic OP, and it's going to take me a while to reflect on it and give a proper response. But first I'd like to quibble with this bit:
    "The people who have traditionally found themselves in this role (the role of the “other”) include women, people of color, Muslims, non-Americans, essentially everyone who is not a heterosexual white American male. Their perspective is ignored, sidelined, or omitted entirely. We are all interested in stories about ourselves, but they are more likely than not to receive distorted, insulting stories, if they exist at all. That is where theories of viewership such as the “male gaze” originate from- that our ways of seeing, themselves, are defined by specific power hierarchies."

    I'm a white, heterosexual middle-class American male. And yet, I still feel like mainstream media doesn't reflect my life at ALL, or the lives of anyone I know. I feel like TV shows, movies, music, and commercials is actually some fantasy version of society, which has nothing to do with real life. Instead it's some sort of ideal that everyone feels bad for not living up to. I guess what I'm saying is, noone is completely "normal", everyone is an outsider in some way.

    Pi-r8 on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I'm a white, heterosexual middle-class American male. And yet, I still feel like mainstream media doesn't reflect my life at ALL, or the lives of anyone I know. I feel like TV shows, movies, music, and commercials is actually some fantasy version of society, which has nothing to do with real life. Instead it's some sort of ideal that everyone feels bad for not living up to. I guess what I'm saying is, noone is completely "normal", everyone is an outsider in some way.

    Yes I am sure that you feel voiceless in society.
    If you were not a white, heterosexual, middle-class American male, you'd feel worse.

    Hachface on
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I'm a white, heterosexual middle-class American male. And yet, I still feel like mainstream media doesn't reflect my life at ALL, or the lives of anyone I know. I feel like TV shows, movies, music, and commercials is actually some fantasy version of society, which has nothing to do with real life. Instead it's some sort of ideal that everyone feels bad for not living up to. I guess what I'm saying is, noone is completely "normal", everyone is an outsider in some way.

    Yes I am sure that you feel voiceless in society.
    If you were not a white, heterosexual, middle-class American male, you'd feel worse.
    I'm sure others have it worse than me. I just think it's simplistic to divide society into people like me, and everybody else.

    Pi-r8 on
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I'm a white, heterosexual middle-class American male. And yet, I still feel like mainstream media doesn't reflect my life at ALL, or the lives of anyone I know. I feel like TV shows, movies, music, and commercials is actually some fantasy version of society, which has nothing to do with real life. Instead it's some sort of ideal that everyone feels bad for not living up to. I guess what I'm saying is, noone is completely "normal", everyone is an outsider in some way.

    Yes I am sure that you feel voiceless in society.
    If you were not a white, heterosexual, middle-class American male, you'd feel worse.
    I'm sure others have it worse than me. I just think it's simplistic to divide society into people like me, and everybody else.

    You are the one who is perceiving a simplistic division here.

    It's in the damn paragraph that I quoted.

    Pi-r8 on
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    GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Majored in marketing myself.

    My thought's always been that the same marketing tools that get used for evil can be used for good as well. You just have to know what you're doing. I mean, yes, you have a whole bunch of really powerful corporations that shit more money than you'll ever see in your life, but... I keep coming back to the 'macaca' moment. All it took was one random guy with a camera at the right place at the right time, one posting to YouTube or wherever, to bring down a Presidential candidate.

    Marketing can be done with squat for resources. Effective marketing. And for constructive purposes too- people keep disparaging the concept of spectacle, but what do you think Mythbusters trades on? The explosions and the spectacle hide some pretty good education on topics they know for a fact people want to know about because the fans submit a bunch of the myths in the first place. Dirty Jobs works the same way.

    And bad marketing can be subverted. Anyone remember McDonald's "Double Cheeseburger? I'd Hit It" ad? Chevy did a contest for the Tahoe where people could write their own text into a Tahoe ad, and a lot of people wrote some pretty disparaging text. Using Chevy's own resources, people effectively made anti-Tahoe ads.

    It's not exactly EASY, but just because they're trying to drown you out doesn't mean you can't go around back and short out the amps.

    Gosling on
    I have a new soccer blog The Minnow Tank. Reading it psychically kicks Sepp Blatter in the bean bag.
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    AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I'm a white, heterosexual middle-class American male. And yet, I still feel like mainstream media doesn't reflect my life at ALL, or the lives of anyone I know. I feel like TV shows, movies, music, and commercials is actually some fantasy version of society, which has nothing to do with real life. Instead it's some sort of ideal that everyone feels bad for not living up to. I guess what I'm saying is, noone is completely "normal", everyone is an outsider in some way.

    Yes I am sure that you feel voiceless in society.
    If you were not a white, heterosexual, middle-class American male, you'd feel worse.
    I'm sure others have it worse than me. I just think it's simplistic to divide society into people like me, and everybody else.

    We don't - hence why we say things like "the patriarchy hurts men too". The fact is that the status quo of the country is designed to, in many ways, stratify the people in it, and pit the lower tiers against one another, in order to prevent those in the lower tiers from realizing that they have more in common with each other than with the people at the top. The fact that society is more normalized to you than to say someone of a different race or gender is in fact part of that strategy, as it gives you a bit more, and causes you to try to protect that little more you have.

    In short, it's all divide and conquer, my friend.

    AngelHedgie on
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