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Archive for May, 2011

There's No Way Like The American Way

During the great depression America’s morale was low in the best of cases. Propaganda was dispersed to try and raise the zeitgeist (spirit of the time) like the billboard “There is no way like the American way.” This billboard was created by Arthur Rothstein in February of 1937 (Picture History) and displayed in Kentucky (Abagonds). Not only was this billboard displayed during the Great Depression but it was also displayed during the aftermath of the Louisville flood (Abagonds). According to the National Weather Service the flood caused over seventy percent of Louisville to be submerged under river flood waters. Of course, this seventy percent of land submerged was a low income area and displaced about 175,000 people (National Weather Service).

The billboard displays the proud claim that America has the “World’s highest standards of living” and has a smiling family glowing with American Pride to support this claim. The family in Rothstien’s work is a white family driving in a brand new car. Father is driving the car and mother is happily sitting next to him with perfect makeup decorating her slender face. The couple has two children: a boy and a girl. The children share the back seat of the automobile with their medium sized dog who is happily sticking his head out of the window. Everyone is happy and content. The people in this image represent the perfect nuclear American family and the ideal for American life.

The photographer Margaret Bourke-White took a photo during the aftermath of the flood in 1937 that captures the truth of American life for many people (Women in History). White’s photo shows a long line of flood refugees waiting for rations. The people in line are real Americans standing underneath the dominating billboard of the ideal nuclear white American family. The people in line are all African Americans who are bundled up in layers of clothing to protect against the cold, they are hungry, they are probably going without showers, and are living with the heavy weight of having lost everything to the flood and with the Great Depression threatening that what was lost will be near impossible to regain.

White’s image represents a huge disparity between reality and propaganda. Rothstein’s image shows the ideal American family and therefore exposing the prevailing ideology of the time. There are clear racial, economic, and political ideologies being portrayed by Rothstein and White’s photo points these out. One ideological subtext to these images that isn’t as obvious but there are gender ideologies as well. The same year as the creation of the billboard and the flood “FDR delivered his second inaugural address: ‘I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished,’” acknowledging the fact that the ideal was not the reality (America’s great Depression). “There is no way like the American Way” shows racial, economic, gender rolls, and political ideologies. My final ideological assignment will explore the ideologies that White’s and Rothstein’s images display.

Abagonds

http://abagond.tumblr.com/post/2682894450/theres-no-way-like-the-american-way-margaret

America’s Great Depression

http://www.amatecon.com/gd/gdtimeline.html

National Weather Service:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=flood_37

Picture History

http://www.picturehistory.com/product/id/12751

Women in History

http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/bour-mar.htm

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What’s the JTTF? Click the link to find out.

http://portland.fbi.gov/partners.htm

The JTTF story, is one relates to the threat of terror in Portland Oregon. I was one of those people who had the attitude that terror was never something that would happen here because it happens other places. As many may recall, in late November of 2010 there was an attempted terrorist bombing in the heart of our dear city and the holiday tree lighting ceremony (for those of you who need a refresher). Oregon live covered it in their blog as well as in traditional reports:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/print.html?entry=/2011/04/portland_commissioner_randy_le_6.html

and

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/03/jttf_debate_captures_portlands.html

Many other news sources covered the story like: http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/?a=346719&c=52750

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/406363.shtml

http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/04/28/in-or-out-on-jttf-well-were-more-in-than-we-were

http://www.katu.com/news/politics/120924894.html

and many more. All of these articles try and be objective about the reports. Many report the same facts some focusing more on certain aspects then others (like the history of the JTTF or the future of it).

The comments by users on the Debates Captures Portland’s Idiosyncratic Attitude seemed to be a breeding ground for anti-Portland soap boxes. Many comments seemed to paint Portland in an anti-Patriotic light. For an example of a mild comment: RalphCramden posted “Portland should stay out of the JTTF. The rest of the nation would suffer if Portland got involved,” (Katu News). However, seem to offer good information. Such as this video of the event on Youtube which is linked in one comment from the Oregon Live blog post: http://www.youtube.com/user/zebra334#p/u/3/vIOS3WlvJjE

Another good youtube recording of the event offers a look at the protest that the traditional sources do not cover.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0blYSB-Zrr8

This shows how security and the representatives react when protestors try and deliver the petition. The security guard would only allow 5 individuals into the “empty City Hall.” The video is actually very interesting to watch. I suggest it. It really does enhance a person’s understanding of the JTTF debate by highlighting the opposition when many articles highlight the benefits the Mayor is hoping to achieve by reworking the contract. Before looking at the new forms of media I didn’t even know what the downsides could be.

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“Magic Knight Rayearth” is a series of manga from Clamp. “Magic Knight Rayearth” is a series of six manga, also known as Japanese comic books, that follows three girls from Japan as they are sucked into another universe in desperate need of saving. The world, Cephiro, is supported by one person’s existence. This person sacrifices everything to better the world and keep it prosperous. In an ideological sense this is very much a utilitarian approach to things. Utilitarianism is the concept that there should be “the greatest good for the greatest number” no matter what the cost.

The heroines also must work together in order to gain strength and be successful guardians of Cephiro. Along with the help from close friends they meet they are able to eventually save the world and renew it. The fact that Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi have to work together reflects a socialist ideology. Socialist ideology is that the society is only as good as the amount each individual put into it.

Another important aspect of “Magic Knight Rayearth” is that women are the people with power. The “pillar” (who holds the world together) of the world Cephiro is a woman (Princess Emeraude and eventually Hikaru), the knights are all women, and even the one who makes the knights’ weapons is a woman. Men play supporting roles like teaching them magic, protecting them before they master their power, and helping them believe in themselves. Women dominate not only the world of “Magic Knight Rayearth” but also in many other Clamp series.

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