Archive for the 'Advertising' Category
Posted by David Foster on 14th January 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
(I originally posted this in late 2007…I was reminded of it by the recent story about the Obama administration’s propaganda video game featuring space aliens, global warming, and gender issues)
My post today is inspired by In the Beginning was the Command Line, by Neal Stephenson, a strange little book that will probably be found in the “computers” section of your local bookstore. While the book does deal with human interfaces to computer systems, its deeper subject is the impact of media and metaphors on thought processes and on work.
Stephenson contrasts the explicit word-based interface with the graphical or sensorial interface. The first (which I’ll call the textual interface) can be found in a basic UNIX system or in an old-style PC DOS system or timesharing terminal. The second (the sensorial interface) can be found in Windows and Mac systems and in their respective application programs.
As a very different example of a sensorial interface, Stephenson uses something he saw at Disney World–a hypothetical stone-by-stone reconstruction of a ruin in the jungles of India. It is supposed to have been built by a local rajah in the sixteenth century, but since fallen into disrepair.
The place looks more like what I have just described than any actual building you might find in India. All the stones in the broken walls are weathered as if monsoon rains had been trickling down them for centuries, the paint on the gorgeous murals is flaked and faded just so, and Bengal tigers loll among stumps of broken columns. Where modern repairs have been made to the ancient structure, they’ve been done, not as Disney’s engineers would do them, but as thrifty Indian janitors would–with hunks of bamboo and rust-spotted hunks of rebar.
In one place, you walk along a stone wall and view some panels of art that tell a story.
…a broad jagged crack runs across a panel or two, but the story is still readable: first, primordial chaos leads to a flourishing of many animal species. Next, we see the Tree of Life surrounded by diverse animals…an obvious allusion (or, in showbiz lingo, a tie-in) to the gigantic Tree of Life that dominates the center of Disney’s Animal Kingdom…But it’s rendered in historically correct style and could probably fool anyone who didn’t have a PhD in Indian art history.
The next panel shows a mustacioed H. sapiens chopping down the Tree of Life with a scimitar, and the animals fleeing every which way. The one after that shows the misguided human getting walloped by a tidal wave, part of a latter-day Deluge presumably brought on by his stupidity.
The final panel, then, portrays the Sapling of Life beginning to grow back, but now man has ditched the edged weapon and joined the other animals in standing around to adore and praise it.
Clearly, this exhibit communicates a specific worldview, and it strongly implies that this worldview is consistent with traditional Indian religion and culture. Most viewers will assume the connection without doing further research as to its correctness or lack thereof.
I’d observe that as a general matter, the sensorial interface is less open to challenge than the textual interface. It doesn’t argue–doesn’t present you with a chain of facts and logic that let you sit back and say, “Hey, wait a minute–I’m not so sure about that.” It just sucks you into its own point of view.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Academia, Advertising, Media, Politics, Tech | 9 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 2nd December 2012 (All posts by Jonathan)
It’s already underway and will only get worse. J.E. Dyer’s analysis is worth reading:
It’s one thing when advertisers seek to drive emotional connections with lite beer, pick-up trucks, and air fresheners. It’s something else when the government hires advertisers to drive emotional connections with government policies and institutions. This goes far beyond the old-fashioned “good government” idea of providing information to citizens. In its essence, it differs not at all from a Stalin-era poster hyping the Soviet government’s policies to a beleaguered Russian people.
Advertising is a dangerous thing in the hands of the armed state. I am no more in favor of Republican administrations spending a lot of money on it than of Democrats doing so. With Obamacare, we have reached the fork in the road. A government with the powers conferred by Obamacare cannot, on principle, be trusted to “advertise” its policies to us. The inevitable descent into untrustworthy propaganda has already begun. Until Obamacare is repealed, it will continue to get worse.
Posted in Advertising, Bioethics, Health Care, Media, Medicine, Obama, Politics, Rhetoric | 22 Comments »
Posted by Ginny on 24th September 2012 (All posts by Ginny)
“Third party payer systems are always inflationary.” Steyn points to one of those truisms Obama seems to have never understood. Subsidiarity is another. Someone from Romney’s background knows that – knows efficiency, responsibility, community – with every fiber of his being because this is his life – as Shannon so solidly summarizes below. It isn’t just that Obama doesn’t take care of his blood relations and Romney has long stretched that responsibility out to increasingly large communities. He knows what fulfills him and what works. He probably also thinks it is good. What are we doing with a president that can’t even imagine such responsibilities?
I want to hear my president talk and to have a sense that he doesn’t see
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Elections, Obama | 24 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 8th September 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
Via Maggie’s Farm and Dinocrat, here’s a Bob Newhart skit from 1970. Bob plays the role of an 1890s-style venture capitalist, talking on the phone with inventor Herman Hollerith, who is trying to explain the merits of punched card technology.
Related: Father, Son & Co., the biography of long-time IBM CEO Thomas Watson Jr, is the best business autobiography I’ve read. I reviewed it here.
Posted in Advertising, Book Notes, Business, History, Media, Tech | 5 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 24th August 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
Originally posted 3/4/2004
There’s always a steady steam of books and articles offering advice to people who are beginning, or about to begin, their business careers. In the current crop of such publications, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on “taking care of yourself’–negotiating hard about starting salary, being insistent about raises and promotions, making sure you get full credit for the things you accomplish, etc etc. This general theme seems particularly pronounced right now in advice directed at women.
Within limits, it’s common sense. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you’re going to get run over. And, in an era of (at least perceived) insecurity, it’s natural that people would be increasingly focused on career self-protection.
But. Note the qualifier, “within limits.”
Readers of the afforementioned publications need to also read a little article that appeared in Investor’s Business Daily (2/23), under the title “Opportunists are Trouble.” Opportunists:
..avoid assignments that carry high risk of failure–even when such situations also present a great opportunity for success. They shirk responsibility for the actions of their subordinates…And while opportunists might seem highly intelligent, it’s often not the case…They master the art of appearance, but have very little depth.
The article quotes the author of “Staying There,” Thomas Schweich:
If you are going to be an executive with staying power, you must value ambition, destroy opportunism and be adept at telling the diference between the two…(Wise) executives search for small, tangible signs in those they are evaluating.
Earl Graves, founder & publisher of the magazine Black Enterprise, offers some advice as to how to detect an opportunist. One clue is an excessive preoccupation with perks–company credit cards, tickets to sports events, etc–and particularly, a focus on perks during the first few days on the job. And Mike Sears, previously CFO at Boeing, advises executives to look out for the “spotlight” mentality. People with this personality trait will “be charming when the spotlight is on, but turn irritable and condescending when they think “no one of importance” is watching.”
Another clue to an opportunist–and this one should be obvious–is excessive use of the words “I” and “me” when discussing positive outcomes. And then there’s the “should be” flag. Let’s say you ask your subordinate about the status of an assignment, and his response is that “it should be done.”
“(It) says that you think I am too stupid to figure out that you do not know the answer,” (said a senior Justice Department official). (And it) “says you are ready to blame someone else if the job hasn’t been done. You are pre-distancing yourself from the failure.”
It seems to me that many of the current practices in our educational system–grade inflation, excessive focus on unearned self-esteem–contribute to the development of the personality pattern referenced here under the name “opportunism.” And the problem with the kind of business advice that I mentioned at the beginning is that it tends to reinforce these tendencies, rather than causing the individual to reflect on them and balance them out. I worry that some of this advice could cause people who could have been successful to adopt behavior patterns that will destroy or limit their careers. Some, of course, will succeed despite their behavior (or even because of it, in unhealthy organizations), and they can then do damage that is sometimes on a very large scale.
A worthwhile article, and Schweich’s book sounds very interesting.
8/24/2012: I was reminded of this post by Bill Waddell’s post here.
Posted in Advertising, Business, Human Behavior, Management, USA | 4 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 1st August 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
The daughter unit was working today, so we waited and had late-lunch, early dinner. The local Chick-fil-A nearest us was jammed, even more than it was last Saturday, and the line of cars for the drive-through window went around the building, through the parking lot of the business next to it, out to the access road through the shopping center, down the access road to the highway access road. The cashier told us that at lunch today, the line went all the way to the Costco, about a third of a mile away.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Americas, North America, Photos, Tea Party | 21 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 30th July 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
Yep – when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro … Here we are, shaking our heads in amazed disbelief that now a fast-food chain purveying tasty chicken entrees, distinguished among other fast-food outlets only for a corporate policy of being closed on Sunday and a rather witty advertising series featuring illiterate cows urging us to eat chicken … is the hill to be defended in the culture war. That would be the newly-vicious cultural war between the forces of tolerant political correctness and those conservative and libertarian defenders of free-market principles as well as the freedom of belief and expression. Most of us of that persuasion are actually rather stunned at how suddenly Chick-Fil-A is now the demon that must be defeated! And defeated by any means, fair, foul, shrill or underhanded as is required by the mission, naturally. Is there some PC target of the week decided upon? Last time I looked around it was the Koch Brothers who were the Goldstein o’the Week. One can hardly keep up without a scorecard.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Americas, Business, Conservatism, Diversions, North America, Society, USA | 16 Comments »
Posted by L. C. Rees on 3rd July 2012 (All posts by L. C. Rees)
I don’t remember why I took Debate 101 my sophomore year of high school. I’m not an enthusiastic public speaker nor was I inclined to become one. Perhaps I was interested in learning advanced debating techniques. Then I’d be ever triumphant in the important debates of daily life:
“You think you deserve that last piece of pizza? Let me tell you why you don’t.”
The explanation may be much simpler:
- my experience suggests that teenagers aren’t terribly bright
- my later experience as a junior and senior suggests that sophomores aren’t terribly bright either
Entering Debate 1000, I was 1) a teenager and 2) a sophomore. That evidence, however circumstantial, is sufficient to convict.
If I was interested in learning debate technique, I was disappointed: the debate class wasn’t designed to systematically instruct students to taking apart their own position, reassemble it into a stronger position, and then use their new strong position to destroy their opponent’s position. This debate class was designed to cull skilled debaters out of the general student body who would then go on and compete in regional and state debate competitions. Some technique was dispensed in miserly bursts but mostly it was one instruction-free speaking assignment after another. Those with innate debating instinct went on to join the school team with all the glory that bestowed (not much). The rest of the class had to live with disappointment (again, not much).
One debate format we were taught, Lincoln-Douglas (LD), was roughly similar to this format laid out by Wikipedia:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, That's NOT Funny | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ginny on 25th March 2012 (All posts by Ginny)
ALDaily has a questionnaire up. If you don’t check it out regularly, give it a look. We’re on their blog roll, so keep us in mind. Just saying. And don’t be put off by Chronicle ownership – this may indicate changes to come, but under the late Dutton, it was remarkably open to all viewpoints, though reflecting his interests in evolutionary art criticism (examples too rare to notice unless you knew Dutton’s work).
Posted in Academia, Advertising | Comments Off
Posted by Ralf Goergens on 2nd February 2012 (All posts by Ralf Goergens)
The cover of a trade catalog about the practice of graining, which was common in the 19th century.
To make sure that past designs and practices aren’t forgotten, the people at the Internet Archive have founded a collection called the Building Technology Heritage Library:
The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is primarily a collection of American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides. Trade catalogs are an important primary source to document past design and construction practices. These materials can aid in the preservation and conservation of older structures as well as other research goals.
The BTHL contains materials from various private and institutional collections. These materials are rarely available in most architectural and professional libraries. The first major architectural trade catalog collection is that of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which encompasses more that 4,000 catalogs from the early 19th century through 1963. In addition to the architectural trade catalogs, the initial contributions include a large number of house plan catalogs, which will be of great interest to owners of older homes. The future growth of the Building Technology Heritage Library will also include contemporary materials on building conservation.
Posted in Advertising, Architecture, History | 2 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 20th November 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
For those who are interested – below the fold… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Arts & Letters, Book Notes | 3 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 18th November 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
The Daughter Unit is, as I have mentioned before, the absolute queen of yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales. She views each possible venue as a rich hunting ground – and regularly emerges triumphantly flaunting a high-quality and originally expensive item bought for a relative pittance. She also has a soft spot for old books, especially the ones which look as if they have had better days. She says they appeal to her rather like a kind of abandoned pet, the elderly animal left behind when the owner dies.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Anglosphere, Recipes | 10 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 2nd October 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
Posted in Advertising, Americas, Diversions, Photos | 9 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 25th September 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
There was a lot of discussion earlier this year and in a great many different writing and general interest venues regarding the success of indy writer Amanda Hocking - which, however you slice it, remains a self-published and e-book success story. Candidly, I think that we need another zombie-werewolf-vampire saga like Custer needed another Indian, but hey- that’s just me. Not my cuppa, but if it floats yer boat . . . To paraphrase the lyrics of a certain old pop song – I can barely run my own life, why the hell should I want to run yours? Yeah – Sunshine, go away and get those kids off my lawn!
Anyway – as an indy-POD-author, untrammeled by the shackles of the literary-industrial complex, I had to give the Ms. Hocking all kinds of mad respect, for writing savvy, plus marketing skills and the sheer neck to go out and just do it. 450,000 copies of nine books, each at a price of .99-2.99 and the author getting 30-70% in royalties . . . is . . . a . . . a lot of turnips.*
I’m an English major, dammit! But I appreciate the business aspects of it all.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Diversions, Internet, Miscellaneous | 4 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 28th August 2011 (All posts by David Foster)
A fascinating look at the electric car industry of the early 20th century and specifically the attempt to position these vehicles as particularly appropriate for women: Femininity and the Electric Car.
Lots of other interesting content on the web site on which this article appears, The Automobile in American Life and Society.
Posted in Advertising, Business, History, Tech, Transportation, USA | 9 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 12th August 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
… unfortunate urban signage, below the fold. Almost as funny as the juxtaposition on Grand Avenue in Escondido that my daughter and I spotted about ten years ago: a sushi restaurant right next door to a tropical fish emporium…
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Humor, North America, Photos | 5 Comments »
Posted by onparkstreet on 31st July 2011 (All posts by onparkstreet)
Wandering around a soon-to-be-closed Borders bookstore, I run across a glossy magazine dedicated to the G8 summit in Deauville-France (May 2011). The above is a cell phone photo of the cover. I have no idea who publishes the magazine. There are ads inside for airlines, hotels, cars, public policy institutes and various international businesses and governmental agencies. The US Chamber of Commerce and Eurochambers/The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry are two such examples. Turns out that some of the articles are pretty interesting.
The cover makes me laugh, though. It’s an illustration of various national leaders and their relative small size contrasts with the large conference table. Individual nations, suboordinate yourselves to the glory of the international collective of business and governmental interests!
Maybe I’m getting a tiny bit carried away here. I’ve always had an active imagination thanks to the reading of novels and, well, an inherently busy mind. Yoga, music, meditation, book reading: all of it calms me down. Modern urban – or semi-urban – life is filled with irritating sounds and sirens and sitting in traffic and noisy trains with vaguely scary looking passengers….
So I am going to miss browsing Borders, getting a coffee, and shaking my head at the variety of periodicals. A magazine for everyone and everything. A Special Forces magazine sits right up front along with Mother Jones, Foreign Policy and the Hudson Review. Wait a minute, shouldn’t that one be in the back row?
What do you suppose the existence of a G8 magazine says about our society? Nothing remotely reassuring, I imagine. If debt ceiling drama seems incomprehensible, it’s likely because a certain percentage (not all, to be fair) of our politicos spend considerable amounts of time skimming vapid briefs and dopey position papers while flipping through G8 Magazines as they jet between constituent meetings, summits, conferences and hearings. And that’s their body of knowledge on a given subject.
Posted in Advertising, Big Government, Business, Civil Society, Diversions, Economics & Finance, Europe, France, International Affairs, Personal Narrative | 2 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 13th June 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Liberty Jane left a comment saying you can now get 2012 Rattlesnake stuff, which she was up into the wee hours putting together. Mighty fist bump to her for jumping on this so fast.
The link is here.
The stuff looks cool.
Here is a nice bumper sticker.
(I ordered one, and I will report on the service and quality.)
I look forward to other people working with this image, or variants including words, etc.
Disclaimer. Neither I nor the ChicagoBoyz blog get any money from any sale of Liberty Jane’s stuff. We are not partners or professionally associated in any way. I don’t know her and I never heard of her until she left her comments here.
Posted in Advertising, Elections, Obama, Politics | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 23rd May 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit -- AQ tech savvy, impact of visuals ]
Jarret Brachman told us a while back:
Jihadi movement participants, he [al-Awlaki] argues, should also use computers, CD-ROMs, and DVDs to circulate large quantities of jihadi information—in the form of books, essays, brochures, photographs, and videos—in a highly compressed fashion.
I know that in theory, it doesn’t surprise me too much — but visuals like these bring it home to me in a way that reading words never will:
Merchandise — CDs and DVDs, the coin of the info-realm.
BTW, that Brachman article, High-Tech Terror: Al-Qaeda’s Use of New Technology, will be familiar to some who read here, but is worth reading if you don’t already know it.
Posted in Advertising, Islam, Media, National Security, Tech, Terrorism | Comments Off
Posted by Shannon Love on 23rd February 2011 (All posts by Shannon Love)
Every once in a while you hit a phrase that condenses an issue with such precise concision that it sticks in your mind and keeps your attention like a glass shard in your eye.
Here’s one such phrase.
While the media are kvelling about “freedom” in Egypt (“protesters” having finally persuaded Mubarak it was high time to am-scray), it behooves us to take a deep breath and consider this: the Egyptians are not like us. The Egyptian concept of “freedom” is an Islamic–not a Western–one. They still hate Jews/Israelis like poison. And you’re talking about a country that is essentially a clitoris-free zone (9 out of 10 women in Egypt being the victims of Female Genital Mutilation).[emp added]
It’s hard to read “clitoris-free zone” without wincing and you should be wincing when contemplating that particular barbaric practice.
And he is correct that too many people forget that Egyptians do have a radically different culture and thus radically different political expectations than we do. A democracy they create will not make the same decisions that our democracy makes. For some reason, the people who scream the loudest about the virtues of multiculturalism seem the least able to grasp this idea.
[hat tip path: Instapundit-->Althouse-->shoutingthomas-->scaramouchee]
Posted in Advertising, Middle East | Comments Off
Posted by Charles Cameron on 20th February 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ by Charles Cameron -- cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
It’s riveting to follow the tweets on protests in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya or Iran on Mibazaar in real-time to be sure — but mash that capability up with the one Shloky found and Zen just mentioned with video…
As Zen says, I mean, “automatic face-recognition and social media aggregation raises serious concerns about the potential dangers of living under a panopticon state”.
Two dots, two data-points, two apps connected.
Posted in Advertising, Civil Society, Media, Middle East, Miscellaneous, Tech | 4 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 24th January 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
I am, admittedly, very interested in religion, and Christianity has been the mother-lode for me of the imagery, gestures and profound words that can move heart, soul, mind and imagination into a greater depth.
Advertising, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that the best of it plays on imagination, too, but it is generally more of an intrusion upon – via billboards on landscapes, via commercials in movies, or via irritating jingles and catch phrases that subvert my best attempts at quieting the mind – than an experience of the kind of depth that religion at its best can offer.
But if you are interested in religion, and click online in enough of the right places, advertising that has “religious” content will be targeted to you.
And so it is that I went online this morning to check out something about al-Awlaki on Islamic Awakening, an American jihadist forum, and found myself invited to consider, instead, wearing some “bold Christian clothing”.
This was while I was researching al-Awlaki, right? the Muslim jihadist preacher?
a site with its own curious graphics…
And looking closer at that logo, isn’t that some sort of triumphalist armored vehicle I see?
Well, never averse to a pretty girl, and noticing the one in the Bold Christian ad, I thought I’d taker a look at Bold Christian Clothing to find out what sort of fashion sense was popular among the younger Christian set just now, and found I could obtain t-shirts with such comforting images as these…
– this one’s symbolic of our relatively new century, I guess…
which I am praeternaturally fond of since my online moniker is hipbone, with its veiled reference to the Valley of the Dry Bones in that very same chapter 37 of Ezekiel…
and then there’s this masterfully supremacist rendering of a part of the Lord’s Prayer:
which I must admit isn’t the image of Thy Kingdom Come that springs to mind when I personally hope and pray for heaven on earth.
What exactly is it, you may ask? According to the manufacturer, it’s
The Lord’s Prayer — “Thy Kingdom Come” with an Angel holding the cross, Horses, skulls under the horses, and palm trees (with Shield and Pacific Oracle cross logo added)
It’s also “the softest, smoothest shirt we sell” … “made from combed cotton for your added comfort” and gives “a flattering and stylish fit to virtually any body type”.
I on the other hand think it looks more like a photoshopped variant of the Quadringa statue in London that celebrates Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at Waterloo:
In light of all this, I do believe I’ll just wear white – although even that could be misinterpreted, I guess.
Posted in Advertising, Britain, Christianity, Islam, Religion, Rhetoric, Style | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 3rd January 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
Posted in Advertising, Announcements, Christianity, History, International Affairs, Middle East, Miscellaneous, Predictions, Religion, Rhetoric, Society, USA | 3 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 4th December 2010 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
A great many people will have seen (or designed) some variant of the “coexist” bumper-sticker / tee-shirt design:
– the first of which can be found on acsapple‘s photobucket — and hey, the “aum” sign for “oe” is a brilliant bit of graphic substitution! – while I nabbed the second here.
What with a thousand flowers blooming, the importance of preserving memetic variations, peaceful coexistence and all, it’s only natural that some will have different takes on the matter –
– the first of these comes from the blog of a gun-toting political refugee from the People’s Progressive Republic of Massachusetts, while the second is a tee-shirt design by Matt Lussier, and you can get your tee-shirt here…
As for myself, I have fond memories of India, and was accordingly heartened to see this on an Indian Muslim site…
which is what set me thinking about “coexistence” graphics in the first place.
Did I ever tell you about the sign I saw over a shop in Delhi, advertising the sale of mythelated spirits?
I frequently feel just a tad mythelated myself.
Posted in Advertising, India, Islam, Judaism, Religion | 23 Comments »
Posted by James R. Rummel on 11th August 2010 (All posts by James R. Rummel)
I was doing some work in my basement when I came across the following, tucked away out of sight behind a girder.
It is an old grocery flyer from a nearby store. How old is it?
Okay, so it lists the prices from 1979. But how do those prices stack up against the cost of similar items that can be found on the shelves today?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Advertising, Economics & Finance, History, Personal Finance | 38 Comments »