Last Blog Entry

I just wanted to write one last blog for everyone, and a little reflection on the class as a whole as it winds down to the end of the semester. Because this is my last semester at the University and I will be graduating in a matter of weeks, I just want to say that this was one class that I will probably never forget. The things that I learned in this class were completely insightful, and I wanted to just express that I really enjoyed the class conversations among everyone. I learned a lot in taking this course. The subject matter was really interesting and I feel like I learned things that I will carry on with me forever. I am someone who is always questioning things about our culture in general. I almost always feel like there is never a straight up answer to anything especially when it comes to propaganda, and I was constantly leaving class and thinking about subject matters we talked about in class. Some of the projects that we had to do for class were really cool because other wise I may have never engaged myself in the material. I really enjoyed the 3rd analysis we had to do about watching a movie of propaganda and in particular the movie I watched.

The other day in class Seth made a really remarkable comment about conservative views vs. post modern views. It pretty much answered the reasoning in my head while in this class through out the whole semester. I guess I just think of things from a post modern stand point. I am always questioning things for one, and I do like the satisfaction of having answers for now, but always leaving things open for interpretation and always subject to change as an outlook.

Disney and Propaganda

I thought that this video was a different out look from the Dr. Seuss propaganda images we looked at in class one day. It’s disturbing to think that things like Disney and Dr. Seuss are supposed to be happy children entertainment can be so twisted and disturbing.

Propaganda In Art

I am an English Major, but my minor is in Art History. When I was looking on youtube for some videos and propaganda I found this one about propaganda and art, so I immediately watched it because art is something I love and I thought I could possibly learn something. It was interesting to watch. He said somethings that made me question his credibility to make such claims about art, but it got me thinking. He raised to question as to why as a culture do we value art like we do, for example Van Gough. The video itself is a pretty big form of propaganda, but it was ok to watch. Kinda of hokey but I can’t get those minutes of my life back now.

Funny Propaganda Poster/Image

I really don’t feel like I need to comment much on this, but I find this insight-fully hilarious.

Images of Propaganda

I know at the beginning of the semester we did a lot of analyzing propaganda posters and I really enjoyed that. It really got me thinking about propaganda more so than I have ever before. For my homework assignment I sent this to Seth, but we never got a chance to talk about it in class. This image in particular is very powerful for me. The big words “Patriotism Means No Questions!” really disturbs me because as an American and living in this time of war I have SO many questions. I don’t necessarily consider myself all that patriotic, but I do appreciate where I come from. It bothers me to see that this poster implies that to be a good American you shouldn’t ask questions as to why we’re at war. In my eyes I don’t want to be completely ignorant, I want a reason a sense of truth to get me through the day as I wonder why so many men and women are dying for nothing over a war. For that matter dying in a war that many people don’t know anything about. People are enlisting in the army and not asking questions, they get persuaded by army recruiters, and before they know it they’re brain washed and it’s too late to turn back. They have to fight this fight whether they like it or not.

Interesting things about this poster that I want to point out and think about:

“No Questions” highlighted in red

“A message from the Ministry of Homeland Security”

blue, white, red vs. not red, white, blue?

Analysis #3: Reaction of “No Impact Man” as a Film of Proganda

I came across No Impact Man on my Netflix, which is pretty awesome to have, when looking through documentaries do to my analysis on. The basis of this film was to document a NYC writer and his family has they experienced going green for a whole year. They didn’t go completely green at first buy by the end of his project they had no electricity and a bunch of other stuff that didn’t sound to glamorizing. I think that going green is a great way to help the environment and I’m all about that, but to be completely green like this writer did kind of made me ask questions as to how completely “earthy” can you be with out completely changing your lifestyle from what you’ve always known. It was an interesting documentary and the film maker did  great job displaying the happiness of this family as they went green.

Here’s my analysis:

Did “No Impact Man” have an Impact?

No Impact Man is a documentary about a writer living in New York City who wanted to make a difference through his writing. The idea of “going green” has been a popular trend in American culture for a couple of years now, and Colin Beavan the main character in documentary comes up with the idea that he and his family are going to have no bad environmental impact on the world for a year. The idea behind all of this was to see if he and his family could have a good life with out wasting so much. They gave up as much as they could such as electricity, using public transportation, driving, eating out in restaurants, buying material things, TV, and more. All of these things were apart of their daily life and are apart of every American’s life on a daily basis. Beavan documented his life over a year’s time to see what it was like to live a life with out all of the things we as Americans depend on everyday.

This documentary promotes the “going green” life style and exposes to the viewers what it would be like if they were to have no bad environmental impact on the world. For the most part the movie was very uplifting and positive. There were moments during the film where negative things happened, but Beavan always stressed the positive impact this project was having on his life, and how he was able to not focus on the negative. The positive moments out weighed the negative moments, and the negative aspects of his project went almost unnoticed by the end. With this being said, it only really showed the viewers the upside of the project. It rarely showed the down fall of having no electricity, having a compost pile in his apartment that probably smelled, and not being able to eat what you wanted. He and his wife rarely ever fought through out the film, and as a viewer it conveyed a happy life. Almost like saying, “Hey go green! The environment will be happy, and so will your family! Life is great this way!”

Some key moments happened through out the documentary that I want to point out because they really struck me as important things to bring to attention. The first instance that I would like to point out is when Colin’s wife Michelle meets with an environmental blogger about the project. At the very end of their meeting the blogger says to Michelle, “This is being a good American.” Tying this quote into what I said earlier about how “going green” has become a trendy thing in American culture lately really supports a new American ideology of being environmentally conscious that they strive for through out the film. Not only does the documentary document Beavan’s “going green” life style, it shows you ways how you can change your lifestyle as well. The movie is meant to inspire people who watch it to want to “go green” themselves and make a difference in their own life and for our environment. Be a good American!

One of my favorite parts of the documentary is when Colin befriends a man who owns a garden in the middle to of the city, and right off the bat you stereotype him as being this old hippie man how Colin puts faith in to have some sort of answers to the work he is doing. Colin asks the man if he believes in human kind or is skeptical. And the man responds saying that he is 50/50 on the matter. Saying that he believes in peoples want to save the environment, but speaking of Colin’s project he said there are always going to be unforeseen results. He also says that he has a problem with the type of work that Beavan is doing because people who might view this documentary might change their light bulb and recycle things, but as long as people keep doing these things no politician will ever pick it up. Beavan agrees with him on this point, and says that there is something to be said about how you stand politically and enforcing that in the way you live. The man soon rebuttals in a very nice way and brings up how Beavan’s wife writes for Newsweek who cuts down millions of trees to print papers everyday and the propaganda they support of corporate capitalism, and if you are saying that in making up for that is her walking up five stories and saving elevator electricity you must be delusional. Beavan is completely speechless. He now sees this different view of the work that he is doing. The man reveals that this whole idea and project of him supporting “going green” is a product of corporate capitalism and that he wouldn’t be getting all of the coverage that he was getting if they weren’t behind it in the first place. The scene that then follows shows Beavan being interviewed on the Today’s Show and by Diane Sawyer; all major news corporations that millions of American’s watch everyday. For me this was a pivotal chapter in the documentary because it exposes Beavan for being ignorant of him supporting corporate capitalism even though he strives not to with the whole “going green” lifestyle. He is getting lots of money for going on these news segments and so forth. It answered a lot of questions I had about why “going green” is so trendy. The news and almost all other forms of media through this idea at us to “GO GREEN” everyday, and this documentary is just another form of that propaganda.

Analysis #2 : Furthur examining Propaganda in JFK by Oliver Stone

After watching the film JFK by Oliver Stone, I was really interested in doing some greater thinking because I really felt that it was a piece of propaganda set forth by Stone.  Here you can read my 2nd analysis paper:

JFK. Dir. Oliver Stone. Perfs. Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Laurie Metclaf, Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon, John Candy, Jack Lemmon. DVD. Warner Bros. 1991.

Investigating Propaganda in Oliver Stone’s Film JFK

            Oliver Stone’s film JFK is based off of Jim Garrison’s investigation into John F. Kennedy’s assignation. This non-fictionally based film is an example of propagandistic text. Theorist Hayden White says that when you try document a non fictional event in terms of a film you automatically turn it into a work of fiction because when you convey your interpretation of such events it in turn becomes less factual. This is what Oliver Stone does in JFK. Even though this isn’t a documentary it is based on a true story. The assignation of JFK is one of the biggest government conspiracy theories that exist today.  The theory basically states that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the lone assassin in the killing and that he could have been set up as the patsy. The conspiracy believes that there was more than one assassin.

            Oliver Stone has a reputation of making very long films and normally depicted actual events. JFK is a very long, but Stone does this because in order to explain everything about the assassination’s conspiracy. Stone does a great job right off the bat by authenticating the beginning of the film by using real news footage. The use of this footage sets up the viewer to believe that this story is based off of truthful events and not fiction. The movie really starts to take off when Garrison starts reading the Warren Reports and realizes that it presents falsities.  From here on out Garrison thrives to come to the bottom of this conspiracy and speak the truth behind Kennedy’s assassination. Garrison comes to believe that the government, the CIA in particular, is behind Kennedy’s assassination.

            Since we live in such a high media driven society, it was hard for people around this time to believe the conspiracy that Garrison was trying to set forth to the public. At this time the news was telling the world that Lee Harvey Oswald was the killer and the whole country believed it. Since this film was produced years later in 1991, it was able to raise questions to young people and people who have forgotten the significance of JFK’s assassination. Stone could want to target a younger crowd to raise questions in their minds because they might have never been exposed to this conspiracy before because history books state the Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. Raising the question of him not being the lone assassin, and making a three hour long movie about this conspiracy, proves that Stone is trying to persuade this audience that this conspiracy makes complete sense, and raises questions as to why are we believing the government and the media that Oswald killed JFK? Stone wants us to believe that the government killed Kennedy because they are money hungry savages and wanted to go to war and Kennedy didn’t, so they made up an assassination plan to kill Kennedy and set up Oswald to be the patsy.

Our text quotes Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “This is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it” (Pratkanis 87). This is exactly what Stone does in JFK. He completely immerses the audience in Garrison quest to find the truth of Kennedy’s assassination. He makes the movie over three hours long and interviews a number of different people that tie back to the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald isn’t the lone assassin of JFK’s murder and the claims that the Warren Reports make are false and can be proven. Everyone who was on Garrison’s investigating team believed everything that he believed and they were all trying to exploit the truth as well. Stone shows Garrison’s obsession to get the truth of the assassination and focuses the whole movie around it. Even through out the movie Stone uses real footage from news on TV again to authenticate his claim to exploit the government. Because this is a movie it is hard to tell what it real and what isn’t real because again Stone is giving his own interpretation of Garrison’s story and in turn can make some of the non fictional events fictional because of his interpretation. “The mass media may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about . . . The world will look different to different people, depending . . . on the map that is drawn for them by writers, editors, and publishers of the papers we read” (Pratkanis 87). Stone does a great job at raising questions to his viewers and giving them something to think about. He makes them look at the situation differently to different people due to the screenwriting and editing. Although this quote from the book is talking about newspapers, this film as a text in itself proves this quote to be true, that now JFK’s assassination will look differently to you because of who the story is presented by stone through its screenwriting and editing.

As if the movie wasn’t trying to persuade us that this conspiracy theory is right already. Stone concludes the movie with paragraphs at the end showing the audience that although Garrison lost the case, in years to come it can be re-opened. Stone encourages young people to investigate more into this story to try to find the real truth of Kennedy’s assassination. After he builds up to the climax of the movie, the audience is already realizing that this is a serious problem if this could all prove to be true. It heavily provokes people who believe what Stone is trying to say about this conspiracy and act upon it to exploit the lies of the government.

“JFK” directed by Oliver Stone

This semester for one of my ENG 400 seminars, I am taking Post Modern Film with Dr. Maltby. In the class we watch a variety of post modern films, and the film that I watched for this week was JFK directed by Oliver Stone. Beware this movie is over 3 hours long and I sat very uncomfortably in the library because the film was on reserve.

In Maltby’s class today we talked about a theory by Hayden White on the subject of documentaries. His idea was that in documenting non fictional events with your interpretation makes it in turn fictional because you’re portraying your vision to try to persuade people to see what you see. This theory immediately got my thinking about WRH 315 propaganda, power, and politics. It got me thinking that documentaries can be seen as types of propaganda. In taking that knowledge of class discussion today and watching the film JFK I immediately connected Stone’s interpretation as a form of propaganda. And after watching this film I am completely convinced that Kennedy’s murder was a huge conspiracy with the American government.

Just to give you a brief history with out completely confusing you if you never saw the film, it tells the story of Jim Garrison’s investigation into Kennedy’s assassination to prove that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the killer and framed to cover up other shooters tied to Kennedy’s death. After doing a lot of investigation and forming a case he presents it in court, only to be let down when Clay Shaw is found not guilty in the connection to Kennedy’s murder. Garrison states in the film that it is an impossible task to try to exploit the government for the liars that they are. He wants to find the truth for the American people and justice for John F. Kennedy. At the very end Stone writes a couple of paragraphs telling what happened after the case in hopes that this film will evoke young people in years to come to fight the fight that Garrison fought and to find the real truth behind the Kennedy assassination.

I am always interested in stories like this one with a conspiracy theory behind it. Personally I don’t believe in a lot of what the media says about the war in Iraq because I truely believe there is always something the government is not telling the media to tell us. Basically making them write certain things to get us to believe what they want us to. I remember when Obama was running for president and advocating that he wanted to bring truth to the American people and many compared him to a modern day version of John F. Kennedy. Now that we are pulling troops slowly out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, when are we going to be totally free of this war? It makes me think the our government is a vicious cycle of power and war. Something that Stone’s film emphasized that war and power drives our country and the fact that Kennedy wanted to pull us out of Vietnam  threatened what the government wanted. In turn they formed a huge conspiracy to kill JFK and to get what they wanted in the end. The film displays a great claim to exploit the American government and its system with war.

If you have seen this film and want to comment please do because I found it very enlightening.

Critical Analysis #1

This paper is an analysis of the history of cigarette advertising that was published in TIME magazine a couple of years ago. My main claim through this analysis focused on how subliminal messaging took place in cigarette advertising. After thinking about my own addiction as a smoker I believed that I was greatly influenced by my peers, but neglected the idea that advertising might have had something to do with it as well. Taking claims from our text and applying it to the article made me realize that advertising wasn’t something to factor out in my own addiction of smoking. At the very end of the article they make a claim about Obama being an ex smoker which kind of throw me for a loop considering the article was entitled “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising.” Here is a pasted version of what I wrote:

Olstad, Scott. (2009, Jun. 15). “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising.” Time. Web. 5 Feb. 2010.

Critical Analysis I

People for years have been addicted to smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet my real grandfather because he died of lung cancer before I was born. He was a smoker for many years and it was safe to say that his addiction caused his early death. Despite this sob story, I am a smoker myself. I started smoking my junior year of high school as a leisure activity with friends; riding around in our cars, listening to music, and having a “social cig.” For me it wasn’t cigarette advertising that made me start smoking. It was the constant exposure to people around me at parties drinking and smoking that got me addicted, not necessarily cigarette advertising, or so I think. Although after reading into the purpose behind advertising, I could have been effected with out even knowing.

After reading “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising,” I learned that the FDA planned to get a bill passed allowing them to implement strict regulations on cigarette advertising. Sorry to say, I didn’t do any follow up research on this topic to see if it actually got passed. Although, the idea of this bill was to enable the FDA to enforce making warning labels larger and to eliminate “light” or “mild” on cigarette packs. And regulate where cigarette where being placed around communities. In earlier decades tobacco companies had full range on what they could do with their advertising. The article states that this was all before the general public knew the bad health effect of smoking. In the late 1800’s cigarette manufacturing went from hand rolling 40,000 cigarettes a day, to inventing a machine that could produce 4 million cigarettes daily (Olstad). Color lithography also contributed to cigarette advertising. They were able to revolutionize packaging and advertising. Different brands of cigarettes were now able to distinguish themselves from other brands. In some cigarette packs you would get trading cards depicting movie stars, famous athletes, and Indian Chiefs (Olstad). This is also found in advertising today, using a celebrity to sell a product because a lot of people idolize them. Cigarette advertising was also being endorsed by dentists, doctors, and babies. What is ironic about that is the effects of smoking are bad for your teeth, your health, and little kids. So having these main figures in ads sends us the message that dentists, doctors, and babies say its okay to smoke.

In our book the section entitled “Mindless Propaganda, Thoughtful Persuasion” clearly paints the picture that most advertising affects us in mindless states. After reading into this section it really made me realize that a lot decisions I do make when I buy things may not be really thought out. Though, I have been persuaded after seeing many food commercials on TV to go out and buy that product because it caught me at a time I was hungry. And I have to give it to the oxy clean guy; he really sold me on that and a lot of other people as well. But what this section made clear was if you ask someone why they bought a certain item they might not respond in saying that they were influenced by the advertising.

As the article continues, a statement was made saying that Joe Camel was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. To me this is a very bold statement, and a great use of propaganda within the article. What really made me chuckle at the end of reading this article was this statement, “President Obama (who has struggled with his own nicotine addiction) lauded the bill, saying in a statement that its passage ‘truly defines change in Washington.’” I think our country has bigger problems, and cigarette advertising by no means, in my eyes, defines change in Washington. Ironically that statement ended the article.

As I continue learning in this class, I realize more and more that were are mind warped everyday to so many things that it is inevitable to escape types of persuasion. Propaganda is doing just that. Persuading us to pick sides on this subject or that subject; in matters of the article I read; we are constantly being persuaded by cigarette advertising. Or was the message of this article saying that passing such a bill is something that truly defines change in Washington, quoting our president who is an ex-smoker?

Feel free to comment. Here is also a link to the article if you want to read it:,8599,1904624,00.html

Blog Intentions

My intentions for this blog is to discuss different types of propaganda around us everyday. Feel free to express your ideas and thoughts any way you want. I don’t judge, speak up and be heard!

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