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Media log entries of Clare Angelou R. Ordoñez for ENGLCOM - RVLC A54A.

Prof. Cookie Maronilla

5th Entry: MEDIA and RELIGION 

Facebook has been a vital source of communication for different ideals, thoughts and beliefs. It has been a ground to express as is the whole internet but the thing is, expression reflects the people who utter (in any case or point of medium) what kind of principles or standards they have in terms of thinking and understanding concepts be it of the teachings drilled to them by society or how they shaped these ideas to their acquired personality and set of morals. Facebook allows users to create pages that cater to their expression of like and those they admire. The pages most have titles of phrases that unite people that think the same to know they are not alone in their weird act of waking up by throwing the alarm clock up until their broken-hearted stories. Most o f the pages are of shallow ideals or content as they imply nothing serious; admins and the likers alike know that everything is just for fun as most of the pages are quotes or whatnots. But the thing that irritates those of sense would be posts that are challenging users to profess their beliefs by liking/sharing a certain picture to really be identified as a believer or else be considered against the topic by ignoring the post. Albert Einsten was quoted saying: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – and most of the religious posts in Facebook can attest to this certain line. How can one single click reduce every inch of a person, every belief he have and every ideal he holds? Professing one’s faith can be done in a million of ways that reflects intelligence; a knowing that despite logical facts and scientific evidences, belief is still there. Good devotion does not come from an ignorant mind or can be proven by shallow and nonsense acts because worth is not ultimately determined by the shell of the clam but the quality of pearl it managed to create. God, if he even exist (just to be objective and not to be biased), would surely not want to be offered of commitment that roots from such error of reasoning.  People that gave in to such acts might understand it differently from what I’m pointing out, they may take doing what the post commands as something that is harmless which I counter as they should really rethink their actions. If such little things not count, no whole can be created. People are not defined (as is their ideals) by what they do, it’s their understanding of what they do that defines them.  A single click made on the basis that wouldn’t hurt anyone nor bring the 3rd world war is important- important in the fact that a person did such act, a shallow act that reflects how deep that person was or how aware s/he is the consequences of what s/he is, and the fact that hurt and wars are caused by people. As Facebook is the leading social network in the world, it gives us a brief overview of what the world has become. Though conclusions cannot be derived from such one source factor but considering billions of people that think and act on a one-dimensional, small-minded perspective makes those outside the category box reflect of what the future will become if the breeding of ignorance and carelessness does not stop any sooner as time expands. 

 “For the majority of people, exposure to advertising is as normal as breathing, eating or sleeping. It is a bit like living near a main road, eventually you learn to block out the noise. The same applies to advertising, except that it is not only noise, but a constant visual reminder of how we should look, feel and live. For example, we are now exposed to an estimated 3500 advertising images a day. We tend to block out the majority of images because they become background noise – but they still have an impact on us.” (Zoubkov, et al, 2004)

 

Consumerism! The Musical by White Stone Motion Pictures is a satire and celebration of the culture we live in.’ It talks about how the  majority of the population live their lives these days projecting extravagance by buying unnecessary products and services sugarcoated by media much like dangling a bone to a pack of hungry dogs. Consumerism is an economic and societal norm that encourages the purchase of products and services into greater amounts than necessary. Even when they know better, as depicted by the serious ending of the video, consumers are prone to lavish on materialism to fill voids in their life; luxuries are turned into needs and needs are developed in areas devoid of it before (Shah, 2008). The sarcastic tone, from the lyrics to the actual shots, drew me to feature the musical as an entry for it reflects the consumer that we have become over the years: superficial beings molded by the impact of media in our lives. We breathe advertisements like air and eat commercial taglines for meals. Material products are not the only ones sold by the media for consumption but also vision and dreams- who wouldn’t want to be a high fashion model that gets paid for walking the runway? We don’t need to mention being materialized and degraded into a mannequin that breathes- those are hidden under the carpet, blurred by the lure of the spotlight the media glamorized. Consumerism also projects the notion in the same spectrum as ‘freedom’- that as consumers we have dominance over the fluctuating market (ie. Society imposed trends) much as we have over our ‘will’ but do we really? Consumers are products too. Chomsky (1997) pointed out that by consumers being fitted into demographics- portions of populations that is the basis of statistics- they are being ‘sold’ to the advertisers by the number they make up; statistics are what advertisers need to function and advertisements keep media companies alive thus, creating a vicious cycle that materializes consumers on the same level as ‘money’ in the corporate world. The musical represented a bird’s-eye-view of the current lifestyles and values people have nowadays and it never failed to prick those it can with the choice of words and the nonchalance of the character embodying the current consumer. Different people might shrug these thoughts off as being technical to terms but we should be aware that as we snuggle into the comfort of ignorance and shallowness of, ironic as it is, modern thinking- we should be aware of the choker it strategically wraps around our neck by every button we push on the remote or every unnecessary purchase we make. A message with such content is being sent for the awareness of the box we caged ourselves into- consumerism can only get so far unless one has finally the sense to think outside the box. 

HEMA (originally an acronym for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, “Dutch Standard Prices Company Amsterdam”) is a Dutch discount retail chain that started life as a dime store. The chain is characterized by relative low pricing of generic house wares, which are mostly made by and for the chain itself, often combined with original design. Originally, as a price-point retailer at prime locations in town centers, goods were sold using standard prices (hence its name) though after World War ll the standard pricing system was abandoned (but as of 2010, reintroduced) and a period of rapid expansion followed: now almost every town of importance in the Netherlands has a HEMA, making it a household name in the country. HEMA not only prides itself of developing much of its articles but also of their products’ relatively high quality standard which was greatly highlighted during their ‘Mega Push-Up Bra’ lingerie advertisement campaign last 2011.

Before anything else, I ask the reader to look at the set and try to decipher the message sent by the advertisement. No unnecessary taglines, no elaborate backgrounds, not even the product (push-up bra) in sight; just a gorgeous model with classy garments posing with come-hither looks. And yet, it left a huge impact to those who were aware and even a smirk of salute to HEMA for the brilliance of idea. It is creative as it is marvelous in terms of showcasing products to their full genuine potential and should be what the market pattern to tease the dollar out of consumers while staying true to what they can offer. Before any confusion, it should be said that this ad cannot be as brilliant and remarkable as it is without Andrej Pejić, the sultry model featured in this advert.

He is a man.

Andrej (born 28 August 1991 in Tuzla, SR Bosnia-Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia) is an Australian androgynous model of Bosnian and Croat background that has the fashion industry wrapped around his little finger the moment he walked for Jean Paul Gaultier for his Haute Couture Spring 2011 Fashion Show at Paris Fashion Week elegantly dressed in the designer’s wedding gown. He has been making waves in the fashion industry for walking in both men’s and women’s shows of internationally-acclaimed designers and appearing on the cover of Serbian Elle magazine while also being ranked no. 98 in FHM magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011 (though being removed and apologized for it was criticized of its hostile tone to transgender individuals) to name a few. He is tagged as the ‘model of the moment’ by various international magazines and has been a sought-after to walk and breath high fashion in every medium; even having a word, the 'Andrej Pejic effect, referring to men who use make-up, coined for him after the androgynous supermodel openly discussed his use of cosmetics.

The ad attracted my attention greatly because of the fact that I have been following Andrej Pejić for months and seeing the photos, applaud the over-all brilliance and creativity the advert possessed. The product’s credibility is solidified by the very irony of Andrej’s flat chest as seen by his magazine features and catwalk outfits while looking all ‘endowed’ as featured in the campaign. The message sent by HEMA was clear: you’ll get the push you’re looking for. It also promotes ‘healthy advertising’ by being conservative of the way they sell their product while being smart of the way they present it so as to not lose to those who bank on the usual ‘pleasure’ technique to hook consumers. The ad plays on the notion of giving the men who view almost naked women through ‘legitimized’ means (ie. Advertisement campaigns) a dash of their own medicine after finding out who they’re lusting for. The advertisement is revolutionary in itself and a breath of fresh air, so to say, as it summarized, in a brief and concise manner, what HEMA can offer. Though the brilliance is lost mostly because of the consumer’s ignorance of the supermodel, it cannot be denied that it was a clever, clever way of pointing out what underwears are actually supposed to do: make you look good dressed and not just undressed.

With those said, this campaign is befitting of this entry for it talks of how a man can blur the boundaries when it comes to the body image the media had defined for both sexes. The advertisement speaks for itself of how we cannot really say what makes a man, a man and a woman, a woman. Is it our features that define who we are? But most did not question the model’s gender. Is it the body that we have? Andrej donned wrapped dresses but no one pointed out he shouldn’t have. The advert can be interpreted in a way that inspires one to look at one’s self with the door open rather than the peephole of categories the media imposed over the years. Limitation should just be but a word and not something that can cage us into our very minds, holding us back from trying to experience what the world can offer no matter if we are biologically categorized into one sex or sized bigger than the norm. We should learn how to be flexible and unafraid. Media should just be a source of information and nothing more than a ‘push’ to what we’re looking for. 


Credits:
Agency: Doom & Dickson
Concept: John de Vries, Rene Verbong
Art director: John de Vries
Account: Frieda Ulsamer de Waard, Karin van Dalen
Photographer: Wendelien Daan, Unit
Client: Rosa Arents, Caroline Turennout (HEMA)

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Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization that has the longest history and broadest name recognition when it comes to international human rights movements. They have campaigned and released advertisements through different mediums with messages of what they’re fighting for and had been supported by its member population of over 3 million worldwide and counting. The reason this commercial was brought to my attention after watching countless of videos for this particular entry was how the commercial cleverly used irony. Shock is a usual advertisement tactic and it never fails most of the time, but the thing that makes it less than irony is that it is passing; passing in the sense that not every moment in our life we are treated to gasping and bewilderment, and like its very nature, it is easily forgotten- shock can also only go so far until one already has the sense to expect it. What makes irony a valuable factor for timeless commercials like the one featured on this entry is because life is ironic as it is and that irony is something oblivious to most of us just like how we treat everything obvious thus, when a thought hidden within the folds of our consciousness is brought to our very senses, not only are we shocked of the idea but we cringe of how it can happen to us, in real life. It shouldn’t be taken as it is, that something as drastic as the one portrayed can happen to us if we badmouth someone, but it should be noted that anything can happen and anyone (regardless of ‘race’) can be there when that happens and the fact that we don’t know who will be there at that moment does not mean we should give phony concern for other thinking that we might need then but we should treat everyone as equals because we will never know who ends up on the sharp side. The very moment we are aware is the very moment the message penetrated our senses and run into our system, embedding itself to the very core of our consciousness, constantly being a reminder of what could take place thus, giving birth to impact – a factor that creates the notion of timelessness. In my opinion, this commercial cleverly summed up all the words that could define racism in 37 seconds. The message sent was clear: respect and equality. For the most part, I do not believe in the notion of race for the word itself set forth divisions that categorizes nationalities in a way that is offensive for most and is a word that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but this commercial addressed that certain raised issue in a smart way that reflected the message clearly with just one climatic event then again, it used a ‘white’ (to use category words) actor as the antihero and that of a ‘black’ actor to portray the ‘savior’ or deliver the impact of the whole campaign thus, the balance is biased to the latter and disdain is thrown to the former which diminish a bit of the point considering the commercial is campaigning for equality and respect. Different people might incur the latter point of view but then the message is clear and concise, delivered almost perfectly to the viewer that is why most would probably understand that the commercial is a call for peace and deference rather than the incurrence of bias it can imply. The prejudice of nationality or what is commonly called “racism” has been an issue far longer than the coining of the word and is a profoundly difficult one to address for the very issue lies with the mind and no one is in hold of the mass’s consciousness where the matter thrive thus messages that could penetrate such abstract barriers that could invade the senses and inject the idea for an equal world or the respect for all walks of life are being sent.





   


   

        Page 27 of Life magazine’s August 27, 1945 issue; their black and white image of a spontaneous kiss that took place in Times Square back in Aug. 14, 1945 defined the historic event of Japan surrendering to end WWII. This photograph captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor and a nurse (both were believed to be George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedmanbased from the documentary book, ”The Kissing Sailor” by George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria) who, with a simple lip lock, became an icon of celebration of the excitement of a war ending and has been described as a timeless, mesmerizing capture of the joy felt the moment the announcement was made. As much as the picture portrays a lovely couple greeting the start of a new beginning after the war, they were neither a couple nor was it a picture of love. They were strangers in every sense of the word. In fact, the sailor’s date (who would later on become his wife of 66 years and counting) can be seen at the upper left part of the photo smiling and not minding at all what was happening. It was a time of euphoria and that alone might haven caused the blurring of details (though Mendonsa admits that he ‘popped quite a few drinks’ before walking out and seeing a woman in a nurse’s uniform- grabbed her and it was history) but bloggers at CratesandRibbons.com linked the act to the blindness of sexual harassment and condensation of these acts into normalcy. They argued that it was not a matter of when the picture was taken but the fact that a picture depicting a kiss of forced nature is an icon to be reveled of even in our modern papers and that Greta’s words on the non-consent act is watered down even though it was clear that she was simply grabbed, an irony due to the fact that it created an illusion of romance for those who don’t know the real story behind. I personally feel that the picture was criticized in a way that it wasn’t supposed to be taken; though the kiss was forced, the sailor out of it and the whole affair was taken at the right time with the right pose just not with the right people, in my opinion, this should just be treated as it is, an icon. No hidden or attached meanings. Just a photo that symbolizes a moment in time. It is not because I am one to side with harassment and promote it as something normal because it isn’t.  I’m pointing out the notion that maybe, they’re just looking too much into it. There is a tendency to defy the main stream these days or look into everything with suspicion and malice; to chain everything with subtexts and read the lines between which in the first place, doesn’t even exist. Engaging as the arguments presented are, criticism should only go so far. They should be bounded on solid grounds and with evidence that such notions (harassment or discrimination) are kept under the carpet because after all, though Greta said the kiss was out-of-the-blue, forced even, never once did she state that it was offensive and was appalled; it was a part of her (and the nation’s) past and she hadn’t said anymore than remembering the strong grip of the man that kissed her. The above photo is iconic as historic the day it was captured and giving meaning to every single thing ruins a bit of its essence much like mixing too many colors at once. Majority of the masses saw this photograph as a symbol of joy, a sigh of relief that the war has ended and a token of romance, and though they might have been proven wrong at some points when the story behind the kiss resurfaced, still, it is a timeless photograph of those times and should be kept that way after all, the moment was a time to celebrate the end of a bloodshed and not an occasion to intentionally discriminate. Joy was overflowing the moment the shutter captured this, not prejudice. 

   

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        Page 27 of Life magazine’s August 27, 1945 issue; their black and white image of a spontaneous kiss that took place in Times Square back in Aug. 14, 1945 defined the historic event of Japan surrendering to end WWII. This photograph captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor and a nurse (both were believed to be George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedmanbased from the documentary book, ”The Kissing Sailor” by George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria) who, with a simple lip lock, became an icon of celebration of the excitement of a war ending and has been described as a timeless, mesmerizing capture of the joy felt the moment the announcement was made. As much as the picture portrays a lovely couple greeting the start of a new beginning after the war, they were neither a couple nor was it a picture of love. They were strangers in every sense of the word. In fact, the sailor’s date (who would later on become his wife of 66 years and counting) can be seen at the upper left part of the photo smiling and not minding at all what was happening. It was a time of euphoria and that alone might haven caused the blurring of details (though Mendonsa admits that he ‘popped quite a few drinks’ before walking out and seeing a woman in a nurse’s uniform- grabbed her and it was history) but bloggers at CratesandRibbons.com linked the act to the blindness of sexual harassment and condensation of these acts into normalcy. They argued that it was not a matter of when the picture was taken but the fact that a picture depicting a kiss of forced nature is an icon to be reveled of even in our modern papers and that Greta’s words on the non-consent act is watered down even though it was clear that she was simply grabbed, an irony due to the fact that it created an illusion of romance for those who don’t know the real story behind. I personally feel that the picture was criticized in a way that it wasn’t supposed to be taken; though the kiss was forced, the sailor out of it and the whole affair was taken at the right time with the right pose just not with the right people, in my opinion, this should just be treated as it is, an icon. No hidden or attached meanings. Just a photo that symbolizes a moment in time. It is not because I am one to side with harassment and promote it as something normal because it isn’t.  I’m pointing out the notion that maybe, they’re just looking too much into it. There is a tendency to defy the main stream these days or look into everything with suspicion and malice; to chain everything with subtexts and read the lines between which in the first place, doesn’t even exist. Engaging as the arguments presented are, criticism should only go so far. They should be bounded on solid grounds and with evidence that such notions (harassment or discrimination) are kept under the carpet because after all, though Greta said the kiss was out-of-the-blue, forced even, never once did she state that it was offensive and was appalled; it was a part of her (and the nation’s) past and she hadn’t said anymore than remembering the strong grip of the man that kissed her. The above photo is iconic as historic the day it was captured and giving meaning to every single thing ruins a bit of its essence much like mixing too many colors at once. Majority of the masses saw this photograph as a symbol of joy, a sigh of relief that the war has ended and a token of romance, and though they might have been proven wrong at some points when the story behind the kiss resurfaced, still, it is a timeless photograph of those times and should be kept that way after all, the moment was a time to celebrate the end of a bloodshed and not an occasion to intentionally discriminate. Joy was overflowing the moment the shutter captured this, not prejudice.