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Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category

By Jhansher Khan

I would like to touch base with the idea of how we choose to communicate with each other and our general topics of interest. Basically, what happens here is that we take certain ideas that the “Elite” class has established for us and we base our thoughts and opinions on that. Therefore, we don’t have much in the way of freedom of thoughts. For example, we may discuss an episode of “Lost” that premiered last night or some other program that was on Television the night before. We basically are starting to find more in common with each other based on external media forces we all tend to consume. This just further amplifying the effect of the media on us, it extends towards our personal lives as well or what we choose to talk about when we interact with others.

According to the most quoted living theorist, Noam Chomsky, we speaks of how the media enacts a type of propaganda on the rest of society. This propaganda is enacted by the “Elite Class” as I mentioned before. The majority of people in society fit under the category of “mass opinion.” However, before the Elite reach us, they must go through a “Mass Media Filter.” If I were to generally lay this out in a diagram it would look like this:

Elite——–>Mass Media Filter———> Mass (public) Opinion

Therefore the idea I’m getting at, is that the way we think, our opinions are very much shaped by the Elite class in society. Our thoughts are losing their distinctness and we are slowly losing our individuality, as we are forced in a unitary mode of thinking, thoughts and ideas.

Chomsky looks at the corporate world through the lens of the “economic” point of view. The main group of people that are effected are called the “Unwashed class”, which generally means the working class. With regards to the media, they are mainly subjected to distraction and entertainment. So basically they are distracted from the main issues in the media, unaware that they are being manipulated by this idea of propaganda that Chomsky proposes.

Most of us are unaware of how manipulated we truly are and Chomsky was one of the theorists that looked more at media and the economic sphere. Therefore, those with wealth are the few “Elites” in society, the rest of us are just followers of what ever they decide to put forth in society.

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By Jhansher Khan

I would like to talk about the voices we have on the internet. Do we really have a way to voice our opinions over the corporate sector? It is true that most of what we hear from the media is filtered through institutions. This may include magazine companies for example. According to Dr.Strangelove’s CMN 2160 class, we are all generally obsessed with celebrity life and billions of dollars are invested in celebrity related content in the media. Why are we so obsessed with celebrity culture? We somehow believe that celebrity culture is an ideal cultural background to follow. We want to be like celebrities, we want to behave like celebrities, we even want to use the same products as celebrities. Our love for the world of celebrities is just feeding the corporate system.

A blogger by the name of Perez Hilton (http://www.perezhilton.com/) , as Dr.Strangelove brought up in class, is feeding the corporate world more and more by feeding us more celebrity gossip, celebrity life and celebrity culture. He has become more of a media outlet of information, than institutions that sell celebrity life based magazines. Is he a threat to the corporate world since he is so successful in “turning heads” in his direction? Of course not, he is actually a benefit to the corporate world since he is feeding the mass population exactly what the corporations want.

According to an article called, “Celebrity Culture” by Kristine Harmon, she states that The technological and media changes that have occurred so quickly with such force, that have given birth to our celebrity culture in a relatively short period of time, are for many disheartening.” ( http://www.iasc-culture.org/HHR_Archives/Celebrity/ ) This is absolutely true, technology has given us more access than ever to celebrity culture, as it actually contributed to the uprise in celebrity culture more than ever before.

This isn't a Real Advertisement, this just displays how far the Corporate World can take Celebrity Advertising

Therefore, since society loves celebrity culture so much, why not use the actual celebrities to sell our products in the corporate world? Since they are already consuming celebrity culture, why not sell our products as well? Think about it, its a win-win situation, both celebrity culture and the corporate culture would benefit. Also, the corporations who produce these products would gain a great profit from this marketing strategy as well.

Sources:

http://www.iasc-culture.org/HHR_Archives/Celebrity/7.1LBibliography.pdf

http://www.perezhilton.com

http://www.coolavenues.com/know/mktg/bhawna_1.php3

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By Jhansher Khan

Who is really in charge of corporations? What types of members of society do they choose to marginalize? Typically people who are in charge of corporations for the most part are “white males,” who lead the patriarchal society. Those who become marginalized are typically women or non-white members of society. This statement may seem too general and I’m probably not speaking out for some “exceptions”, but for the most part this is the case in the corporate world. Basically, all the products we buy, television programming, and the creators of media culture are male for the most part. Advertising is just a way to give us that taste of what they have in store for us. In simpler terms, “look what we have for you” or “don’t miss out on this awesome deal” or “program.”

In reality, we just feed these corporations and their certain ideas of who should be represented in the media and who shouldn’t be represented in the media. Yes, there are networks on television that represent these minority groups and that represent women. One example of these types of channels is the “women’s network.” This program is geared primarily towards women and their tastes in television. However, the network is still bombarded with advertisements, which advertise products geared towards women. Therefore, women can be used as a marketable segment of society. These advertisements are primarily generated by men, therefore isn’t that defeating the purpose of having a distinct women’s network?

It is obvious that these “white male” dominated media firms are our primary sources of information, as it makes up the majority of what we view in the media. According to a site displaying statistics within the states regarding journalists, “According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 11.5 per cent of the 54,700 journalists working at newspapers across the U.S. are visible minorities. That’s about 6290 journalists, compared to 6100 in the previous two years.” ( http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/) This number is significant since it represents how few people in the media are hired that are classified as “visible minorities.” Therefore, what is the media trying to prove regarding hiring so few “visible minorities?” Are they trying to make a claim that they accept minorities working in the media? However, it is clear that there is still misrepresentation, regardless of this small number of “visible minorities” working in the corporate world.

Sources:

( http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/research_documents/statistics/minority_representation/minority_representation.cfm )

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By Jhansher Khan

I’d like to look at the issue between “Corporate Culture” and “Open culture.” I found this area to be significant, as we covered this in Dr.Strangelove’s CMN 2160 class. The idea of the Corporate Culture trying to destroy our own “open culture” created through the realm of the social internet is so prevalent. As Dr.Strangelove stated, that certain countries are banning the use of video hosting programs such as “YouTube.” Apparently voicing our own opinions is a negative aspect? I personally believe this to be ridiculous. In the case of Italy for example, these sites are generally being banned from use and even posting a video up, it has to go through multiple procedures put forth by the “Corporate Culture.” In an article called, “Italy Preparing to Hold Youtube,” it states, “The move toward regulation continues with a new policy that could force sites like YouTube to obtain TV licenses from the Italian government. Such sites could also be fully liable for copyright infringement and libelous or illegal material posted by users.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) Is society supposed to be this regulated, aren’t people being marginalized with regards to free speech and opinion. What makes us human is to be opinionated and to voice those opinions. Therefore we are losing aspects of ourselves that make us “human,” to the corporate world.

This is honestly a type of Tyranny, but what kind of threat do Italian citizens pose by posting up their own media material? Will it destroy the corporate world if citizens voice their opinions and other citizens watch this user generated content? This is basically a “dominant” model of media, meaning no alternative media what so ever. These types of laws are not as prevalent in North America, but certain policies may take a turn for the worse if this type of “censoring” trend continues.

According to the article, “Sites that allow video uploads would be responsible both for copyrighted content posted by users and for libelous material in uploaded videos.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) Therefore, its not only the citizens who post up videos who are to blame, its also the sites that allow them too that will suffer from this policy as well. I personally believe that this is a type of “internet” fascism in a way, since the corporate world wants to almost control citizens entirely. In the past, it used to be control through the political world. However, now its the corporate world that has its grasp on society.

“Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is one of the country’s biggest media barons, and his properties are directly affected by infringement on sites like YouTube.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) This indicates a mixture between corporate and the political world. Since Berlusconi owns both the corporate world and the political world, he has found a way to implement policies in corporation’s best interests.

Will all of this control increase as time goes on? Corporate Culture seems to be taking more of an effect on us and it seems that the main purpose of the corporate world is to gain profit, as well as to be the only unitary voice in society that everyone must turn to.

Sources:

(http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/02/italy-preparing-to-hold-youtube-others-liable-for-uploads.ars)

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By Jhansher Khan

Yes we can structure our own self image, yes we can have our own opinions and yes we can follow any lifestyle we choose to. However, are our ideas of originality really OUR ideas? Not likely. Much of how we perceive the world and even the way we choose to communicate with others verbally or in a non verbal fashion is shaped by our wonderful media system. Whether you are trying to shape your own body image, the way you present yourself or just your general way of thinking, are all likely shaped by the media world around us. Therefore, we aren’t staying true to our own beliefs to a full extent. However, we do to some extent. For example, women in the media are often portrayed as being dominated by men and as sexual objects or figures. In modern society, many women are strongly opposed to women being represented in that way and believe it is morally wrong. There are multiple feminist groups that strongly advocate for feminine rights and gender equality. The media is one of the sources of enrichment that women would like to address, since the media tends to structure our perceptions about the “outside world.”

I call it the “outside world” since the media generally represents a fantasy-like world in my opinion. The “outside world” would be the world that we choose to make our own decisions as a result, which reflects how much the media has impacted our own decisions. Going back to the topic of women in the media, many women in society often contradict their own beliefs about “gender equality” and it results in them following the media’s beliefs. This may include, behaving in a way that belongs to their “gender” (which is supported by the media). By this I mean, communicating with others in a very passive way and not being too outspoken just as an example. Also, wearing revealing clothing,which completely destroys the idea of equality since they are feeding the media system ruled by men. There are other examples, but these are just a few. As an article called, found at “Media Portrayals of Girls and Women: Introduction,” states “We all know the stereotypes—the femme fatale, the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber.”(http://www.media-awareness.ca) This basically outlines the different “models” of women in the media, which are sadly still followed in society. The article states, “Female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day.” (http://www.media-awareness.ca) Obviously, the consumption of these female stereotypes will cause people to act out these stereotypes as a result.

How are most of these stereotypes delivered to society? Well through advertising of course! Through fashion magazines, which portray how to be a perfect and ideal female. Through television, where celebrities show you have to dress like them, how to structure your own lifestyle based on their lifestyles and how to behave like them. Through posters, through music, through any other platform you can think of. Women are probably the most manipulated members of society. In the same article mentioned earlier, “It looks at the economic interests behind the objectification and eroticization of females by the media as well as efforts to counter negative stereotyping.” (http://www.media-awareness.ca) This idea is completely true, since the media destroys any idea of “individuality” of women in society. Women are now as dependent on the media than ever, as a gateway to the “outside world”, as I mentioned before.

Sources:

(http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/)

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By Marcus Ray

Today in class we spoke of a theory created by Harold Innis. This theory stated that capitalism and its systems create a dysfunctional society. Advertising is one of the main reasons the society becomes dysfunctional. The relentless competition between products that no one should care about becomes a part of our regular day.

As everyone knows, capitalism is about the money before the people. It is unforgiving to the idea of what men and women are, and glorifies what they ought to be. The competition creates so many different products that each one has to be sexualized, glorified, or unique in some way or another that doesn’t necessarily make a difference to the actual function of the product itself. It is the importance of being different than everyone else through representing different products that matters now. What matters even more is that each product that I own becomes a part of who I am. What matters even more is that I am what they want me to be, and that is because they sold me on their warm branded jacked, or their sleek MP3 player, or even their cell phone that can obtain almost any piece of knowledge I could ever acquire. NO. WRONG.

These features that you love, or “need”, are there simply because at first, the opposition doesn’t have it. It’s another selling point that will make the consumers interested.

“The birth of modern industrial economies was not a pretty picture–considering the human and environmental exploitation that accompanied it” (www.amedianysf.com). Exploitation in advertisements creates an almost utopian idea in the consumers head. “If I buy this, then this will happen because the advertisement says it will.” It isn’t this simple in everyday situations, but for products that people think they really need, it is easier for decisions to be swayed.

The competition that capitalism causes creates new products at fast paces. The amount of new products creates the need to advertise in ways that will most effectively capture the audience.

“In this high tech socio-economic setting, the dividing line between information, advertising and art is fading fast. We now have cop documentaries with superb production values and cop shows with jiggly camerawork, Geraldo Rivera-style, audience interactive, talk shows with local dramas more fascinating than soaps and newspapers and newscasts as colorful as ads. Advertising, in turn, is borrowing from political imagery or avant-garde art, as in the recent Benetton, Absolut Vodka or Coca-Cola campaigns” (www.amedianysf.com). These large scale companies create epic paintings of their procucts to make a glorified image of an everyday object. Commercials become short cinematics creating the notion of products as assets. Theres only so much one can do with a bottle of coke. Or is there? “Advertising cannot help but inch towards more honesty and art, simply to compete with news and culture for our attention” (www.amedianysf.com).

“Why would I want to go to the National Art Gallery if I could just walk through the Rideau Centre? I might even find a couple things I want while I’m in there.” I can only hope that no one has ever thought anything remotely close this. It is one of the major threats capitalism has to offer, and every day it seems to be getting nearer.

As advertising has become such a large part of our culture, it has become a large influence as well.

Sources:

http://www.amedianysf.com/historyofadvertising.html

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By Jhansher Khan

It is pretty obvious we see the media everywhere and advertisements that corporations reach out to us with (I mentioned this in previous articles). One thing that I found astounding is that not only are we indulged in a world of mass consumption, we are actually being controlled in terms of our behaviour and attitudes as well. According to what the media advertises generally, this in turn influences us to conform as a result. However, you may think that it was the state that had all of its dominant control on us, but it is in fact the “Marketplace” that shapes our lives as individuals.

I’ll just use one example that I am aware of in the case of mass consumption. Take the iPod for instance, do we really need one? Sure it can store a lot of memory and has a friendly user interface, but do we need to buy a new one every few years since the newer ones have more features and more space for songs? Well, you earn money, but why are you keeping all of this money? Why can’t you spend it on entertainment? The Marketplace has geared us into a mode of thinking and effectively uses this tactic in order to influence us to consume constantly.

This is mainly what you call a “dominance” in society, those who are the heads of corporations. The majority of us in society are passive viewers and are largely dependent on media outlets. As a result, this causes a type of social order in society, whereas everyone conforms and gives into new technology. Advertisements work as a bridge to essentially “hook” consumers, therefore its just a mere tool at the corporation’s disposal.

I know that Marx is one of the most quoted individuals in history, but this situations is very much like the class struggle between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie in society. During Marx’s time, the rich Bourgeoisie class consisted of private factory owners who owned the “means of production.” In the 21st century, corporations actually own the “means of production.” It is the capitalist system, but without the cheap manual labour that existed in the past. However, by consuming we basically give feedback back to these large corporations. So in a way, we are generally working in their best interest. Sure we have our own jobs and we do not work directly for the corporations themselves, but by consuming the products created by corporations, we are in fact aiding in expanding this “consumption empire.” Therefore, the control over us is being asserted even more since these corporations are expanding their enterprises to large degrees. If you draw the same type of model now and compare it to the days of Marx, they both do in fact strongly correlate with each other. One of the major differences is that the “means of production,” have changed according to technology. We are living in the exact same system with a few tweaked aspects!

Not only are corporations controlling our consumption habits, they also play a “cultural” role as well. Yes, they are going far beyond what they originally set out to be. I’ll use the iPod example once again. We are generally listening to and consuming even more music than ever before in the past. With all of this easy access and availability of music, music has become an even more important part of our lives. We did in fact have mp3 players before the iPod’s release, however, the iPod revolutionized mp3 players and stood out to consumers. This lead to heavy consumerism in the music industry as a result. Even in popular culture, the iPod is always depicted as an ideal mp3 player that stands far beyond others and due to popular cultural beliefs, consumers feel as if they need iPods.

It is questionable how much more of a grasp corporations will have on us in the future. The idea of control is always feared, but how much control do we really have to fear? Should we be worried?

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