Monday, December 12, 2011

Jay Gatsby and rappers such as Jay Z and P.Diddy

Comparisons can be drawn between Jay Gatsby and that of rappers like Jay Z and P.Diddy. Jay Gatsby would throw lavish Jazz age parties and live an extravagant lifestyle, leading everyone to become curious over who he is, what hes done, how he makes his money and what ladies he has in his life. these curiosities are then spurred on further by the fact that he is hardly ever around or hardly ever even makes an appearance at his own parties.

This is much like that of modern day rappers such as Jay Z and P.Diddy who splash out thousands of dollars on throwing massive parties which they sometimes don't ever make appearances, like that of Gatsby. In addition to this like Gatsby, Jay Z and P.Diddy have earned some of their money through doing dodgy deals and shifty illegal occupations.

Another comparison which can be drawn between Gatsby, Jay Z and P.Diddy is all the rumors and speculations which surround them - with Gatsby it is because no one ever sees or talks to him and so don't take the time to find out the truth about who he is or how he has made his money. With Jay Z and P.Diddy its with the press who make up stories and make up relationships about them and other celebrities causing a rift in the celebrity network, who then print these stories in their magazines and papers - spreading the rumors.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Only Way is East Egg

Drawing comparisons from The hit ITV series 'The Only Way Is Essex', in which we see a direct comparison to The Great Gatsby and how the theme of high-society exists today. Like Gatsby, The characters from TOWIE are self-made. They are not born into upper class, however they live an upper class lifestyle. The characters from the series are self involved, notoriously extravagant and party driven. This ties in precisely with the kind of characters from the novel.

The above link explains the kind of lifestyle the characters in the show have. They are superficial and pretentious. This can be compared to the character of Nick, whereby on page 5 he mentions 'I lived at West Egg, the - well, the less fashionable of the two' we are immediately introduced to a distinctive difference of districts and how one is preferred over the other. An exact parallel to Essex and the attitude which surrounds the residents. The friendships in the show are known for breaking down regularly due to rumours and cheating. This can be seen to exist in the Jazz Age when the book was set, in The Great Gatsby, Tom cheats on Daisy with Myrtle, who by the affair is cheating on her husband and similarly, Daisy cheats on Tom with Gatsby. We can see an intertwined relationship disaster, just as in the show.

Other than cheating, there are shallow attitudes within the plot of the novel, which ring true to the show. The characters in the show are known for talking about each other behind their backs and do not hold much respect for one another. Just as when Gatsby dies, no-one other than Nick and Gatsby's father show up for the funeral, none of Gatsby's 'so called' friends attend. It provides a chilling response to the attitude high society have towards relationships.

In fact, the part in the novel whereby Nick goes to meet Daisy for the first time in years, Tom is described as having 'arrogant eyes' and when Nick makes his way to the garden, after being shown around the house, Jordan and Daisy are both said to be 'wearing white'. Jordan seems very condescending, as if she is looking down on everyone by 'balancing something on her chin'. The scene set by Fitzgerald mimics the type of scene you are likely to see on the ITV series. And so we see a relation of The Great Gatsby existing today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Great Gatsby -Society and Class

The Great Gatsby is set among wealthy, educated people, who have lots of leisure time and little
concern about people who are not in their social milieu. Nobody’s concerned about politics or spiritual matters but everybody cares about how they are perceived socially. Those who do come from other classes seek and envy the glamour and lifestyle that they see in the elite. Jay Gatsby, the protagonist, is able to attain a certain amount of wealth, but he cannot fake education or social behaviors that only come with "old money." The novel’s two main locales, West Egg and East Egg, are distinguished also by class. East Egg represents "old money" while West Egg represents the nouveau riche. East Eggers consistently look down on West Eggers for precisely this fact. Class and wealth are virtually indistinguishable from each other, but if a person lacks education, then he is clearly not part of the upper echelon.
These different worlds can almost be seen in the reality- drama series 'Made in Chelsea' and 'T.O.W.I.E'. Made In Chelsea is meant to represent East Egg (old money) whilst Jersey Shore would be West Egg (new money)
Made In Chelsea
The Made in Chelsea cast are meant to represent the privileged, rich, glamorous cast. Some of the characters have gone to private school, spend most of their lives livivng in Chelsea and Kensington where most have shopped in Sloane Street. Others are portayed as living off their 'parents money' as some parents and ancestors invented the Jaffa Cake, Digestive and Rich Tea
biscuits but also created Topshop.
Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore is a hit MTV reality show that premiered in the summer of 2009. The show follows the lives of eight Italian ''guidos'' and ''guidettes'' as they drink and party. There fake tan ways have lead them to be a phenom that many people spend their weeks watching. This has lead the once average Joes to now start thier own empires revolving around cosmetics, star in talk shows and DJ in the most exotic parts of the world. Not only are they making money off people watching them but they are now considered to be celebrities as they are 'paparazzi-ed' every where they go and each have thousands of followers on twitter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

American Socialites and the Great Gatsby

One of the main themes of The Great Gatsby is the sociology of wealth; mainly, those who have recently risen to riches without any connections and therefore know nothing of subtle social signals. Fitzgerald portrays them as not possessing the elegance, taste and subtly that those born into money do –instead they are greedy, graceless and vulgar.

You can argue this applies within society similarly today. It’s for this reason I decided to research and write on American Socialites today in relation to the socialites in The Great Gatsby . Those who grow up with wealth do not feel the need to tastelessly show it off – at least to the same extent those new to it do – whereas those who are new to the socialite scene just superficially spend and show off their money in hopes of rising within the circle. A good example of this would be the (possibly “old”) Hollywood ‘IT’ crowd. While most were born into a wealthy family, if they are introduced to fame they suddenly become greedy for more and need to find ways of attracting it instead of working for it. The best example would be Kim Kardashian.

Introduced by Paris Hilton to the socialite scene, she didn’t become known until she released a sex tape, and then scored a reality TV show with E! a few months later. As she doesn’t really “work” (sex tape and reality TV show don't really count...) to earn her money and fame, she has to come up with new ways of gaining the public’s attention and “love” (or hate, which ever gets her attention) and has to out do herself each time. In contrast, often children born to "stars" usually don't choose a silimar life - those who have a brush with the police or try to follow their parents' legand might gain attention - and choose to keep privacy and use their inherited money wisely. Trying to bring up a good example is hard as they are hardy ever in the media once they're 10 or over.

The example of Kim Kardashian is true to The Great Gatsby painting of the new generation and newly rich kids being materialistic, vulgar and simplistic; while this is not true for not of them, it remains a growing fashion for alot of American Society and is now the American Dream for alot of American kids.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coca-Cola Christmas Adverts

The brand Coca-Cola has been around since 1886, and since its creation and aggressive promotion has become a household name, even when in the 1970's the brand went on to connect Coca-Cola with fun, friends and good times.
The iconic Coca-Cola Christmas advertisements started in 1971 when the company made the decision to associate their products with Christmas and Santa Claus to remind customers that Coca-Cola could be drunk all year round and not just in the summer. Since then Coca-Cola's Christmas advertisements have always drawn consumers attention to the fact that it is a family suitable brand, this is due to the image of Santa Claus draws in children and the Christmas season making Coca-Cola suitable for all ages. The recurring image of a jolly, kind old man with rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes is the most popular view of Santa Claus which is known today world wide - making the brand bring together various different countries into the season of Christmas.
Today it is known by many people that once they have seen the Coca-Cola Christmas advertisement - they know that Christmas is here which provides proof that it is such a well known and traditional family product which focuses on the values of family and bringing everyone together all around the world for the Christmas season.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Apple Mac Advert

The link above, is an animated Christmas TV advert, advertising the Apple Mac featuring the Mac’s rival, the pc. Two people are representing each, computer, the Mac represented by a a man who looks to be in his early twenties who is interested in putting his differences aside for the holiday season, and the PC who is represented by a much older man who displays bitterness towards the Mac in the advert.
In the advert both ‘PC’ and ‘Mac’stand either side of Santa Claus, which appeals to the public as it is a festive advert. They are also singing a rendition of ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ however ‘PC’ spoils the song by slipping in a sales pitch towards the end. The key intention I got from this was to portray the PC as only being interested in selling, whereas the Mac is portrayed as possessing Christmas spirit, through wanting to get along with PC and not mentioning his product, representing the image of a happy community who are interested in the ‘real’ meaning of Christmas and not the consumer side.
I think the significance of the PC being represented as an older figure is interesting, as it enhances the Mac character as young and vibrant, introducing the image of the Mac being the ‘ultimate upgrade’ a newer and exciting product. The fact that PC is bitter towards the Mac and feels the need to deliver a sales pitch, suggests perhaps the financial worry the PC possesses of the Mac overtaking it, in the consumer world. Apple tries to appeal to the public in a clever way, as it at no point promotes itself having a better product but instead uses the PC’s supposed arrogance and bitterness to portray itself as the better and most honest party.

Another advert I came across was this alternative advert in which PC asks Mac “Do you know why I love this time of year?” to which Mac replies “Because it’s the season of peace on earth?”, which ties in with the Mac representing the true meaning of Christmas to appeal to the public. PC instead replies “No it’s because we can be animated, and we can do anything”, and he proceeds to show Mac what he can do which could represent the arrogance of the company. Towards the end of the advert, a rabbit says he is going to the apple store to pick up some last minute gifts, to which PC pushes a snowman on to the rabbit. This could represent how the company wish to sabotage Apple, and don’t believe in an honest way of selling which in result gives Mac a honest and reliable image which the public would prefer.
I think the advert is effective as its main value is to promote its own product to sell, which it achieves. It does this in a clever way as through the PC character trying to promote itself at every opportunity we instead are attracted to the MAC who appears to value the public as people, rather than just for their money. This is ironic as the Apple Company have created this perhaps untrue bitter and money obsessed image for the PC, to shift opinions in their own favour. Through the portrayal of the PC character, Mac have managed to make all PC users into a stereotype, by using an old business man in a brown suit, which also creates the image of a mundane, everyday product. This contrasted against the Mac character who is described in the Mac vs. PC article as an '20-something, self satisfied hipster' poses the question who would you most want to be like?'.

Not So Old Spice

The Link will take you to an advert for 'Old Spice'. Old Spice began in 1937 with it's first product called, Early American Old Spice.

The brand is now aimed directly at women for men, dominated by shaving soap and aftershave lotion. What's interesting is that the advert has applied to the changing statistics, that women make the majority population. It has found a way of attracting women to encourage men to purchase the product. What's resonant in the advert is that it is in keeping with American ideology. Giving a direct example to what women expect from men in society; handfuls of
diamonds and owning a horse and boat. What it shows is not only that your man should be like
this, but what every man should be like and it gives an example of what constitutes an attractive lifestyle from a woman's expectation.

Comparatively the kind of advert shown in the 30's is as below...

The interesting thing about the ideology shift is, as mentioned, this advert now attracts the females market. Arguably the 1930's advert above does the same thing, however the emerging 'consumer culture' has introduced a link to lifestyles even when the advertising for this company first began. Again we see links to success in American culture, men with important roles in society use this aftershave and everyone should want to be successful. There is a constant notion throughout the American lifestyle that success by sense of virtue is manifested in all area's, whether it be The Bill of Rights, Horatio Alger Myth or in the above example, not so Old Spice.

iPod Touch Ad - "Share the Fun"

The advert's title tells yous straight away that the ad is going to convey the notions of friendship, sharing, diversity and fun. You can tell the advert is modern by all the effects used, to pass the iPod and connect the people onscreen. Apple is a fairly modern company, and despite being founded in 1976-77, has gained really gained increased popularity in the last ten years - since the invention of the iPod. Since gaining popularity the company feels the constant need to update it's self and follow the technological demands of the world that we live in. This is shown by the fact the iPod now has a touch screen and more of the interesting apps shown in the advert.

To appeal to wide audiences, the Advert shows the American need for diversity - in both the apps shown and the people modelling the device. Firstly, music isn't actually shown on the iPod until the end of the advert. Before we see it's main use, we see new games, the camera, some form of I-Messaging, social networking apps and other functional uses the iPod now contains that can connect you not only your friends but the rest of the world. This also shown in the advert at around 18 seconds in - when the girl starts off by herself on screen, and is then joined by four friends; all of whom are connected to her via the iPod.

The advert also shows diversity by the models/commercial actors featured. Not all are white Americans; there are some African-Americans, Asian-American, and Hispanic. This is partly to show and connect with the world wide audience that Apple has, and the sense of equality that America likes to think it has and portray in it's media.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Smirnoff Vodka Advert

Smirnoff Vodka

"SMIRNOFF is the world's number-one premium vodka brand, and it's important for us to communicate that in everything we do. In our continuous effort to assess our appeal, we recognized the need to update the SMIRNOFF image to make a contemporary statement about our portfolio of quality products. Consumers are more interested in premium brand attributes and our research reveals that our new look communicates to them this all important 'style' and 'quality' distinction."- Sharon Lichten, Smirnoff Brand Director.

Smirnoff Vodka is an iconic brand as many people all over the World recognise not only the brand but have tasted their drinks. Smirnoff has revamped the image of this iconic brand to reflect both the brand's Russian heritage and modern successes. The bottle is very creative and can almost be seen as being fashionable as the bottles features reflect broad shoulders something that is very much current in fashion design. The sharp colours used to represent all the different flavours and the logo draw inspiration from awards bestowed upon Pierre Smirnoff as an Official Purveyor of the Imperial Russian Court in the late 1880s.

“We see different people from different cultures not simply enjoying great nights-they're making them. From New York to Johannesburg to Bangkok, from intimate gatherings to concert halls, we've turned our camera on creative people around the world-hip hop artists, dancers, friends-creating extraordinary nights.”

These campaigns are interesting as they show case adults who are unique and different who enjoy dancing, signing showing off their talents no matter whom and what they are. The thing that joins them together is Smirnoff Vodka. The fact there are so many diverse people in this advert could represent the different flavours Smirnoff have to offer. Another way to look at the advert is that you need Smirnoff to have ‘An Extraordinary Night’ that you will never forget. Smirnoff Vodka is the choice of adults whether they are young or old enjoy socialising out with friends or at home having a quiet drink.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Horatio Alger Myth

In this link the writer talks about how the myth of working hard to achieve what a person wants in life and going from 'rags to riches' became so popular. This was mainly due to the fact that back when Horatio Alger released his range of novels about his various rags to riches stories was at a time when anyone in society had an equal chance that if they worked hard then they would eventually make it to where they want to be in life. For example in the time when there was an industrial boom in America - this created many opportunities for practically anyone to become a businessman and so a very rich person because of this - having achieved the so called American Dream and proving the Horatio Alger myth right.

However this link ( talks about how the American Dream has changed throughout the years, and the phrase 'pluck and luck' which Horatio was known for can be seen in this link in the sense that through the years the American Dream has changed and the 'luck' of winning things like the lottery, compensation lawsuits or taking part in big time game shows has replaced the sense of the Horatio Alger myth in the sense that the social divide between the rich and the poor has become to large for this myth to still exist and has been replaced with get more get rich quick sqhemes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snap, Crackle, & Pop Culture: The American Dream in American Chopper

"It is such a romantic idea; going from dirt poor broke to rich and famous by working hard at doing what you love... This plot is often referred to the Horatio Alger myth and many theorists argue that this is a form of propaganda implemented to make individuals look past social issues at hand"

This article at first talks about Teutul's rise to success (star of American Choppers) and his rags to riches tale. The author was inspired by another article that offered 'different critiques of the show' and got 'the vibe that this show reinforces the American Dream'. And so the writer links this to the Horatio Alger myth, and quotes Michael Moore:

"The message was that anyone can make it in America, and make it big. We are addicted to this happy rags-to-riches myth in this country. People in other industrialised democracies are content to make a good enough living to pay their bills and raise their families. Few have a cutthroat desire to strike it rich. . .So, here’s my question: after fleecing the American public and destroying the American dream for most working people, how is it that, instead of being drawn and quartered and hung at dawn at the city gates, the rich got a big wet kiss from Congress in the form of a record tax break, and no one says a word? How can that be? I think it’s because we’re still addicted to the Horatio Alger fantasy drug."

I thought that was interesting. I'd never seen this idea as some sort of cover-up from the government. The author then goes onto write about how "you get graded in school based on “how hard you work,” so in general students with higher grades generally have more opportunities in life because people buy in to this good work ethic idea". However, you're not actually graded on this... Alone. The author then quotes that despite the Horatio Myth says that it doesn't matter what you're born with/as you can still make it - actually in school it does matter what you're born with. You're race, class background, gender, national origin, sexual orientation do matter in real life. It's then linked to TV - American TV is full of these tell 'stories of everyday men and women who succeed against all odds due to their hard work and perseverance.' It provides an escape and hope, but in reality is not so easy for the average joe.

In contrast to Ragged Dick, I think that we all now see the rags-to-riches tale as poor-to-billionaires. For someone to simply say they got out of school without any qualifications and now run a nice little business or how someone finally has a four bedroom house instead of a tiny bungalow, we wouldn't see it as the Horatio Alger myth coming true. Perhaps the only way the myth can be denied is that our standards have changed since then.

Horatio Alger and the American Dream

The American Dream can be considered as a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. The American Dream is symbolised as life being better and richer and fuller, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or how you were born.
Alger's stories including ‘Ragged Dick’ have inspired generations of people to strive for greatness, no matter the odds. The young adolescent ‘Richard Hunter’ struggles against poverty and adversity to rise to success through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty.

The website I have looked at focuses on people who have had simple or hard early childhood problems but have not let them use these as permanent deterrents in their lives. This website reinforces the myth and strengthens the saying that ‘it’s not how you start but how you finish, that counts’. The writer also suggests that young people need to remember Horatio Alger stories as they provide hope but also freedom and that their dreams if they work hard enough can relate into reality. ‘Through hard work, perseverance, and character.’ All characteristics that help ‘Ragged Dick' empower himself. The writer Daniel McLaughlin, clearly believes in the Horatio Myth as he declares that he has seen it happen as he writes about his own personal account of someone who turned their life from ‘rag’s to riches’.

However, an interesting point to make it that Horatio Alger American dream consisted of ‘Ragged Dick’ getting an education, getting a job that pays enough for him to support himself, something that everyday people achieve. The Horatio myth can be seen to have changed as Daniel McLaughlin views it as only being reserved for people who now make millions or billions people like the guy who owns Microsoft, KFC and Tiger Woods.

'The Horatio Alger Myth is Alive and Well in American Culture'

The Horatio Alger myth apparently rings true to society today according to the following link -
This article claims that the way in which you work hard is only 'slightly different' to the way suggested by Alger, in that the work is different, not the attitude. The writer claims that they key to success is still with education. It is true that this is how 'Ragged Dick' made his way to success. Even though his interviewer was obliged to give him a job, as Dick saved his son, Dick was still questioned on his arithmetic ability and was asked to demonstrate that he could write his name.
The problems facing today's society in question to the Horatio Alger myth and hence the restricted success of Algers other Novels, is with regard to the Majority population, the female's place in the working world.
The writer claims that success is capped almost by 'a glass ceiling' in the female working society, which Alger does not depict in 'Ragged Dick' for obvious reasons that feminism had not came into place when it was set. The writer mentions that females in todays settings are finding it 'difficult to advance through the ranks' of occupations previously dominated by men.
It could be argued that opportunity is still being given by chance to other races. An interesting point made in the article is that current Universities are obliged to give spaces to black students, when in fact the University may not even be best suited to the academic record of the individual. There is a definite sense of descrimation, through 'affirmative action' of giving people opportunity, which defines even now a definate struggle for individuals to succeed and a definite sense of chance which comes their way.
There are parallels from this article to 'Ragged Dick', in that, yes education gives you better opportunity to succeed. However, the biggest critiscism I have with what was sat about being able to work hard and succeed in America, is that this is rare. Mark Zuckerberg is a common beacon of the Horatio Alger Myth, noting that not even Dick reached his kind of success. Mark does not represent the majority, it may be that not enough people try hard enough to demonstarte the possibility of the ethic, however it more than likely demonstrating the impossibility to acheive in todays standards, by the restriction set out in the article linked above. Sexism being a comparitve devlopment of today, providing reason to question the myth

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Horatio Alger Myth

The ‘Horatio Alger myth’ is a criticism of the ‘rags to riches’ message throughout Alger’s books, which is the idea that someone from a poor background can achieve success through hard work and determination.

I looked at the website which was a short news article written by Adam Price, looking at the ‘Horatio Alger Myth’ and used it in relation to the story of ‘Ragged Dick’, which portrays Dick, a young bootblack, and his story to success.

The article supported the idea of ‘rags to riches’ which can be shown through the quote ‘Many poor and working class Americans did achieve a better way of life, buying a house and sending their children to college’. However it seems Price does not agree with the concept behind this of ‘luck and pluck’ which drives the characters in stories such as ‘Ragged Dick’ to succeed stating that the American Public’s success ‘had less to do with luck and a wealthy patron’. This can be seen in ‘Ragged Dick’ which contains many scenarios which appear to be due to ‘luck’, in particular where the character of Dick stumbles upon Mr Whitney in the first chapter by chance who gives him new clothes and money. Mr Whitby stirred a change in Dick as he took his advice, which led him to stop spending his money and to open a savings account, without this event perhaps Dick would have continued spending his money and stayed in the same position for most of his life, supporting the idea of luck having a positive effect on the ‘rags to riches’ idea. Price believes the success of the public had more to do with the strength of unions who forced businesses to pay a living way and the expansion of public colleges and universities rather than this idea.

I think it is hard to relate to the stories of Horatio Alger today due to the high standards of the public. Gaining a job as a clerk for $10 an hour as Dick does in ‘Ragged Dick’ would not be considered as a success in the modern world today, as the character has not become ‘rich’ as the phrase ‘rags to riches’ suggests, he has merely secured a low-level job in a company. With evidence shown in the article such as ‘Only 10% of less educated poor fathers have very successful sons’ it supports the idea of ‘Rags to riches’ idea no longer existing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

For and Against Gun Control

Pro-Gun Control:
The American Gun Culture Report is a magazine who are "dedicated to expanding gun culture beyond it's stereotypical social confines". In order to do this the AGCR post articles in their magazine and on their website to break down the barriers which prevent their wider acceptance of firearm ownership.
I thought this was a good website as although it looks slightly agressive, it isnt't trying to push or scare people into running out and buying a gun. This is primarily because the AGCR are more about informing and educating people on gaining a healthier attitude into respecting the reasons behind why people own guns - providing honest views on other political subjects focusing around gun ownership. "AGCR doenst suggest everyone should go out and buy a gun, but only that this journal may help in making better educated choices, whether you decide to live your life armed or unarmed. In addition to this this webiste is differnt to alot of the other pro-gun websites as it doesn't mainly focus on only the 2nd ammendment to the Bill of Rights but the whole of it.
Anti-Gun Control:
Stop Handgun Violence is a non-profit organisation who are commited to preventing gun violence through education, public awareness, effective law enforcement and common sense gun laws. This website is alot better layed out than the last as straight aware you can see and tell who the organisation are and what they are trying to achieve.
This organisation uses more of the shock factor and gun violence facts rather than personal opinions to gain peoples attention. (eg. - the flashing texts on the main page of the website which are mostly about how many peope lare killed by guns everyday).
Compared to the pro-gun website I liked this one more as it's facts can shock you into the actual realisation of what guns can do on an every day basis. I also preferred this website as it even mentiona that "we are not calling for restrictions to our Constitutional Rights, but just common sense legislation that will help save lives".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gun Posts

Pro-Gun Control

It was really hard trying to find a website that was dedicated towards gun control but I did manage to find one.

This was one of the best websites I found as it was quite interesting as the website kind of convinces you to buy a gun. It does this by listing all these questions and you have a multiple choice answers but the one you pick or choose are the ones that make owing a gun sound more appealing. For example: Given a choice, I would prefer to defend myself with...

· my bare hands
· an ineffective weapon, such as pepper spray
· an effective weapon, such as a firearm
Of course most people if not everyone would pick option 3. This website is very simple as anyone would be able to answer the questions and it plays on people’s emotions to protest themselves, families and love ones. The site doesn’t list any clear facts about owning a gun but outlines all the negative things that could happen if you didn’t have a gun. Another interesting positive thing about this website as it doesn't confront you with the 2 Amendment and doesn't talk about the Constitution, something very different form all the other Pro- Gun control websites.

Anti-Gun Control
This video was made by International action network on small arms

This video starts out really interesting as it’s a bullet being fired at all these random food and drink objects, when the bullet makes contact with the object they make all these different and exciting shapes. This could represent the beginning time when someone buys a gun, its new very
powerful can destroy anything and you want to try it out. The objects being shot at are weak and have no chance of surviving their original shape. However, the tone of the video starts to change when the next object is a child. The watcher then realises that a gun is not a toy and that it can have serious consequences. The end of the video reminds me of horror school shootings; where
innocent school children die because someone managed to easily obtain a gun and takes out their frustration on school mates and teachers.

Comparing the Websites…

At first the Pro Gun control website made me realise that owing a gun might not be that bad however, watching the video made me see sense and that ultimately owing a gun is dangerous and has the potential to kill innocent victims. It then made me think that the Pro Gun control website doesn’t take into consideration of when gun usage has gone terribly wrong. Even though many people when first owning a gun wouldn’t think of hurting innocent people and they would still remain a peaceful person. However, you are more likely to kill or injure your own family member than a criminal.

Websites on Gun Control

Anti-Gun Control

The following link contains some interesting arguments from one individual. It claims that the second amendment is dated and doesn't apply to today. It also argues that British crime rate has gone down since the gun ban. However, it is not as official as some other sites and a lot is to be questioned about the validity of the sources. One of the points made though, involving the phrase 'Guns don't kill people, people do', the websites says, why then doesn't the government send soldiers to war without guns. There is a long list of 30 reasons to oppose gun control, overall though in comparison, the website seems too subjective.

Pro-Gun Control

This website is much more of an accurate argument, it's facts are clearer and well set out. The website looks at both sides of the argument but it was so well arranged, I considered it worth mentioning. The pro points are well argued, one of them says that criminals are much less likely to attack their victim if they believe they are in possession of a fire arm. Something quite interesting is that the website mentioned since the presidency of Barack Obama, who is known to be anti-gun control, according to the previous year Ohio saw a 67% increase in gun permits. The website argues that people were worried he would change legislation and sort of impulse purchased more guns.

In all honesty I can see both reasons why gun control should and shouldn't be legislated, however from the examples given, the website showing both arguments, but particularly Pro- gun control, seemed to be well argued. There are some fantastic cases and pdf's worth looking at in the second site and it stand better on it's own. I genuinely believe from the websites that gun ownership in America is mostly nothing more than a response to compensate for the safety, which citizens feel the government do not provide.

Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun

Anti-Gun Control:

Armed Females of America is a site and organization that encourages the rights of guns for everyone.

"AS ARMED FEMALES, our mission is to proudly represent all patriotic, strong, intelligent people..."

They believe in the right to 'keep and bear arms' and that it's a 'god-given right' for them to do so, and therefore cannot be 'legislated'. They do not believe that IDs should be needed for buying Guns, nor should you register once owning a gun, as that destroys 'our rights as free Americans'. Despite what message this might send and bring to mind (my first thought was; are they crazy?), The women believe that Gun-Control in America is an embarrassment, and a 'colossial' failure. They want to prove there are 'well-educated, thinking' women out there who need a gun to protect their families.

The site itself holds a little information about how you can get involved, and about their mission. The site is in the patriotic red, white and blue, and holds gun-edited classic feminist pictures [such as the one below] and images of pink guns to get across their message and encourage females.

On another interesting note, the site links to "Tea Party Patriots" [you can make of that what you will].

Pro-Gun Control

I was surprised by how few sites were Pro-Gun Control... There was lots of articles or news clips but hardly any solely dedicated websites! I came across 2!

The Brady Campaign site is also red, white and blue, but looks far more polished, like a Presidential Campaign site than the Anti-Gun control site. Their mission statement is for stricter laws on guns, and to raise more of an awareness 'through grass-roots activism'. The campaign was started after James Brady was left permanently disabled - and almost dead - after an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. (James Brady was his former assistant and White House Press Secretary).

The site is very factual, features lots of videos and holds links for those wishing to get involved. The site honestly reminded me of Michelle Bachman's site in many ways... with the patriotic colours, videos, layout, links and connection to social networking sites like facebook.

Comparing the Two...

I think I prefer the latter!

The Anti-Gun Control site looking amateurish, messy and the text was hypocritical. The latter was clear, slightly more modern, and more factual in it's approach to encouraging people, I found this was important as the first seemed to rely on the reader already holding Anti-Gun Control feelings instead of telling them facts and trying to persuade the reader.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gun Control In America

Anti Gun Control

The link above is the website Gun Owners of America (GOA) a non profit organisation formed in 1975 interested in preserving and defending the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

The website relies heavily on the support of the public shown through the headings such as ‘Take Action’, ‘Join GOA’ and mentioning the public as having a ‘central role’ driving the point of ‘the united voice’ in order to get results. It contains news reports, a radio station and a store where the public can buy various GOA merchandise such as t-shirts to show their support.

The feature I liked most about the website was the Source Studies page, which detailed studies that support the use of guns, which I thought was important as it actually provided reliable evidence, rather than just opinions. One I found particularly interesting was the ‘International Crime Victim Study’, which declared Britain as having the worst crime rate of all major countries, following a near total ban on civilian ownership on firearms. This shows the public the potentially bad effect it could have on America. I think the GOA website provided a sufficient amount of information as to why it is important to defend the rights of gun owners, through persuasion.

Pro Gun Control

The link above is the website run by the Brady Campaign whose aim is to prevent gun violence allowing the nation to feel safe in their communities. The Campaign is interested in reforming the gun industry by enforcing sensible regulations and increasing public awareness of gun violence.

The website tries its best to influence the public through bold writing such as ‘Enough is Enough’ and facts at the top of each page such as the one below, creating the feeling of urgency.

Similar to GOA, the website also contained facts and figures supporting their cause for example States with higher gun ownership and weaker gun laws were found to have more gun deaths than those with strong gun laws and households with less guns. A thing I found particularly striking was in the right hand corner of the homepage it displayed how many people have died from guns this year and also today in America. When seeing something such as this in numbers, it drives home the point of why gun control is needed in America.

I thought both websites displayed a good amount of information and used persuasive techniques in order to draw the public in to their way of thinking mostly backed up with facts and figures. I found that the Brady Campaign was the most convincing as it displayed a lot more emotive statistics such as the significantly high deaths in America compared to other countries. Although I originally found the GOA website to have valid points that were successfully backed up, these points were only to protect the second amendment and the use of guns. I found the Brady Campaign instantly more important as it was protecting human life and seemed to be in the best interest of Americans.


Ragged Dick - Hannah and Stephen Wk9

The Great Gatsby - Holly, Serina, Georgia Wk11. However if ONE of you three wants to do Ragged Dick as well, we can split the topics that way instead. Let me know by email asap - first come, first served.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

A civilian burial party and U.S. Army officers pose over a mass grave trench with bodies of Native American Lakota Sioux killed at Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. 1890

This picture was taken by North-western Photographic Co. at the end of the Battle of Wounded Knee, it shows just how catastrophic the battle was for many Native Americans as over 200 Sioux Indians were killed. The Indians were being held there by soldiers because they believed that the Native Indians were preparing for an armed rebellion. Shooting started when a Sioux Indian resisted surrendering his weapon to the army. In a struggle with several soldiers his gun fired turning a tense situation into chaotic fighting. Many out of control soldiers shot at unarmed and retreating Indians such as women and children who tried to flee the scene. The burial pit is quite deep reinforcing the view that Wounded Knee was more of a Massacre than a battle where a whole Tribe was almost wiped out. The picture shows many soldiers standing over the grave looking at the camera, posing for the picture emphasising their lack of respect towards many Natives and showing that they viewed them as savages or dogs that had to be ‘put down’. There is no remorse or guilt on their faces reinforcing the idea that many American people felt the need to get rid of the Natives as they had no place, did not belong and were only in the way of western expansion. The dead bodies are also just placed in one big dump reinforcing the fact that the army just doesn't care.

The fact that so many Natives where killed compared to the troopers suggests that the Native Americans where at a real disadvantage the picture reflects this as all the troopers have guns and weapons in their hands. Furthermore, the Natives didn’t really stand a chance against the soldiers as they were all men, whereas in the Native American tribe there were a number of innocent women and children.

Native American by Charles Erskine Scott Wood

White Crane Cayuse Indian 1891 Charles Erskine Scott Wood (19th C.) Watercolor & pencil The Huntington Library, Art Collections, & Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Californ

This painting is a very plain painting of a Native American - there is no background other than a block of colour of earthy brown - and because of this, it makes the subject the painting instantly the main focus. The subject of the painting is also plain; wearing just a plain brown shirt with his hair loose down his back. It's hard to tell what the painting is trying to tell us about Native Americans. While it is not a negative image, it's not exactly a positive one. My first thoughts were that for a start, the man isn't wearing anything Native - just a shirt (which while Native Americans wore shirts, they weren't fashioned so). While American settlers wore shirts, they would rarely wear just that. Cowboys would add at least a neck-tie and/or waistcoat. The shirt is also has a loose front creating an effect that seems too casual for the 1890's. On the other hand, the shirt is still a western piece of fashion.

Upon more research of the artist and his other drawings/paintings of Native Americans, it seemed to me that they were just sketches he'd draw on observing them. They all are wearing shirts - one with a belt [see below for reference!] and the other was entitled "
Untitled Study of a Native American". Perhaps all we can really tell from this photos is an honest image (in comparison to some around this time), in which the Indians are more westernised than they were before the settlers.

The Battle of Tippecanoe 1811

This painting was painted by Alonzo Chappel (1828-1887) who is known for painting events from the American Revolution and early 19th Century American history. This particular painting is called The Battle of Tippecanoe and shows a battle between white settlers (Governor William Henry Harrison and his men) and the Native American Ohio River Valley's Shawnee Tribe.
Without knowing the history of this painting it shows the white settlers going in for battle against the natives and that the natives are turning and running from them in order to stand a chance. However the absence of any native women or children indicates that this is a sort of pre-arranged attack on a battle field, and so the white settlers haven't actually invaded the natives home tribe. From looking at the picture it seems that it was the native Americans who were the ones to start this particular conflict as the central native in the red looks as if he has gone ahead, attempted to spy on the white settlers and then retreated. As well as this it seems that they both have arrived in a potential space to battle as the white settlers are lined up along the left and the natives lined up along the right ready to fight.
However it seems that the natives wern't expecting so many white settlers and for them to have such advanced weaponry - and so once they realised that they didn't stand much of a chance - Begin to run in retreat. It looks like the white settlers are very calm and confident with their numbers and weaponry and so don't actually look like they are putting much strategy into the battle itself as they can already predict the outcome. Whereas the natives look like they've been taken by surprise by the confidence of the white settlers and are instead turning and running from them rather than continuing with the fight. At this point in the conflict they have one casualty east although looking further into the picture the army of white settlers seem to be more organised and look as if they are in battle formation, with a soldier in the centre of the picture looks like hes about to kill another native.
The painting above was created in the 1860's by George Catlin, and shows the artist himself painting a portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa, a Mandan chief, while members of the tribe watch him work.
The painting very much centres on the chief and the act of painting by Catlin, potrayed by the glow the figure of the chief and the canvas seem to give off. This can be contrasted to the dull colour of the tribe which causes them to almost blend into one other. Catlin's european clothing is starkly contrasted with the elaborate clothing of the chief, which is very detailed unlike that of Catlin and also the tribe around him. Most of the tribe are sitting down or potrayed as stooping, causing the effect of the chief to appear as the tallest. He is also central to the painting and potrayed in a noble stance, suggesting importance. Many members of the tribe are displayed with open mouths and most seem to be watching Catlin closely suggesting they are in awe of the activity. This represents the simplicity of the Native American way of life who would not have watched an activity such as this and would have found this experience entirely new.
Many members of the tribe are displayed with weapons, Catlin is surrounded by people with bows and arrows and the chief is holding a spear. Although weaponry is primarily linked to violence, the painting gives off a sense of serenity and comfort. Catlin is clearly at ease with the tribe, and they are the same with him. This shows that the Native Americans were not always the savage and fierce characters they were often depicted to be.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Native American Man

The following visual interpretation was taken from The Library of Congress. It dates from 1859.

For a few reasons it seems difficult to accept much accuracy from this image. The connotations it brings are quite important though. In terms of it's accuracy, the clothes seem to be far too bright in colour. They seem to have been enhanced and as a consequence, are more European, or British even. His clothes are royal blue and red in colour, when they would much more likely to be a beige. Wi Jun Jon by George Catlin demonstrated more clearly what the attire specifically looked like. This is most definitely, an interpretation.

So why is he made more appealing to the eyes of the British? It may be so that they have a better level of understanding or empathy even, the artist may be trying to draw on this. He has his weapon in his left hand, as it was known at the time, archers would hold their bow in their left hand as well. It may be that the artist is attempting to gain respect from the viewer, by making him seem more civil, more European, more like them. The Native American man looks desolate and he is viewing the rest of the land around him in sorrow. He is also stood in quite a noble and territorial stance. If you look to the background, the village people are being assaulted. Why is the Native American man not doing anything?

He looks proud and noble but the overall feelings is that he does not wish to do anything about it. He does not look as though he is angry, worried or panicking. He actually looks calm and sad, its as though the message the image is giving is that; we, the Native Americans are being made to move on or die and fine, we will not fight against this. An image like this, where the focus is of comparatively less violence than the image by John Gast, American Progress for example, can actually provide a larger impact on the viewer and a greater feeling of empathy. I believe this is why the image of the man has been interpreted in the way it has.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Tea Party

The website I have chosen is quite interesting, factual and different as it is an actual video from the Tea Party explaining their core beliefs. It explains who they are, why people should support them and tries to defend itself against anti media prints. What’s interesting about the website logo is that it clearly states ‘America Rising’ suggesting that whoever has created this page views the Tea Party as a political organisation that can bring America to great fortune and heights. This is reinforced in the introduction where it reads ‘Bill Whittle explains… what exactly us open-mouth breathing, knuckle-draggin’ moos actually believe…’
From looking at the first video the Tea Parties main belief is small government and free enterprise however, when looking at the video Whittle seems to be almost condemning the government and how it works and almost misguiding people.

The Tea Party believes, that a small government that has checks and balances to prevent a small number of people having too much power is a successful government and the video persuades watchers to believe this when comparing it to a soviet or communist government. Whittle lists example of poor governed countries that have failed to change real human nature, introduce communism and socialism as having been unsuccessful, for example the Russian Rev. Britain in the 60s-70s, the French Rev, Cuban communism and many more. This persuades watchers to believe and support the Tea Party but this view is biased as he doesn’t list countries that have
been successful in other political ideologies.

Also Whittle suggests that in reality human nature can’t change as people will always be motivated by self interest nevertheless, this is a generalization as not everyone acts like this as more people can be seen as becoming publicly involved and less self indulgent. This leads on to the Tea Party second core belief, free enterprise. Once again when making his point Whittle assumes the government projects and services as being useless, a disappointment and generally a pain in people lives. Instead he ‘glams up’ private business as being ‘faster, friendlier and having better services’ as it can be seen as being a ‘miracle.’ This assumption is misleading as what’s to say you won’t get a good customer service in post office and a poor service with FedEx. Also The Tea party paints the government as being controlling as they suggest the government can ‘take your many at gun point’ whilst private business is the way forward and better for
everyday people.

The Tea Party Movement

The above link takes us to something a bit different to what the rest of the group have chosen. It is clear from the links that other members of the group have chosen sites which show a very ardent illustration of patriotism, aimed towards a conservative, American demographic. This website, above, is of course English. It provides a very good explanation from an outsider opinion of what the Tea Party is all about and it is short and sweet, put best.

'There are arguments among the faithful about whether the movement's name was taken from the anti-colonial Boston Tea Party in 1773, or from banners at early demonstrations which read "Taxed Enough Already".'

This shows the historical significance and summary of the movement in my opinion, the acronym that the website tells us, is that 'TEA' stands for 'Taxed Enough Already'. It clearly tells us that members of this party don't wish to pay out anymore money to it's country.

To get a good grasp of what this movement is really about, I previously looked closely at the website detailed by Georgia.

In fact to get good insight, I became a member. Which involved a registration process, something which rings true to how serious the conservatives take this website and the opinion of their Facebook followers, all 800,000 of them. The website is strictly pro The Tea Party, it can provide forums and photo's to support its views.

coming back to the telegraph site; there are related links, one especially...

Which tells us that the rise of the tea party is resulting in extreme legislation changes. It seems to be a massive historical and current movement, which there is a lot of information about online. Something which has a lot of influence on the current decisions of the government. The point I'm making about these website's is that although movement started in the mid 18th Century, it is still a big part of a lot of American's lives, it is not to be underestimated.

I chose as I thought it looked the most professional and contained a vast amount of information on what the Tea Party is actually about, who the people of The Tea Party are and what they are striving for.

The main feature of the site that I was first drawn to was how patriotic it is with the red, white and blue colour scheme with the stars and stripes in the main banner background. In the video clips, they use phrases like 'we the people' and how they are fighting and trying to preserve their sense of freedom. After the colours on the site you are drawn to this main video clip - where all around it there are links to sign up and donate/contribute to the Tea Party which is mainly what the website has been set up to achieve

Along the right hand side of the page are many additional links including - About us ( organisation), Join the Movement, Who to Vote For, Tea Party Calender, Forum etc - which all offer a wide range of information on what the are trying to achieve and how others can get involved in their cause.

The site itself is very easy to navigate and is very user friendly - it makes it easy for anyone to find out about the Tea Party movement and how they could get involved if they wanted, as well as a forum where others are able to express their views and opinions with other like minded people. is also a good web page as it offers a range of different media features (eg - videos, text, pictures etc) and so will be able to attract a wider audience as their messages are very easy to get across to everyone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Website

"Michele Bachmann is a principled reformer who holds an unwavering commitment to the conservative values that helped her succeed as a small business ..."

I choose as Michele Bachmann is one of the most well-recognised members of the Tea Party movement and is running for Presidency. As soon as you enter her site she tells you this straight away and asks you to donate to her campaign. The thing that stands out the most is in the background [the American flag] and colour scheme - red, white and blue. It's very American - very patriotic. There's a lot of buttons and links encouraging you to get involved and donate money in various different ways and video clips of her latest talks along with small examples of her latest news and involvements in the latest political events.

There's also a lot of advertising for facebook on her page; to connect with a wider social demographic and use a more cost effective promotional strategy. It makes it very modern and easy to find out more and how you can help promote her if you share her opinions and are in favour of the Tea Party Movement.

Among her site there is also the option to easily view her "solution" to America's "Issues". She lists her solution is an easy to-do-list form, to appeal to those who may not understand political jargon.

The site is easy to use, and makes it easy to understand what Bachmann is running for and what she strongly believes in. It's easy to see why the site would appeal to Americans (even if they don't share her views) with it's colour scheme and writing style, and how the site shows support from different states under the "In Your State" section.

Tea Party website.

I chose the website as I felt it contained the most succesful amount of information about the Tea Party, in order to form a fair opinion and analysis.

On first clicking on the website i was immedietly drawn to the recurring image of the 'stars and stripes' which I felt encouraged a sense of patriotism, through the image of the Tea Party representing the country. I thought patriotism was a good aspect to use as it is a vital and natural part of the american way of life and by using it in this way presents the Tea Party as the 'natural' path to America's improvement, thus appealing to the public. The phrase displayed on the left hand side of the website and repeated on other pages throughout, further enhances this idea,

'A community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!'

The word 'Protect' stood out for me the most as it implied that America needed to be saved and it is viewed as currently being in danger. The sentence contains inclusive words such as 'Our' and 'We' and the phrase 'Standing together, shoulder to shoulder' to reiterate the patriotism and coming together of the nation, to appeal to the public as it causes them to want to be a part of something. I also found the phrase 'The constitution upson which we were founded!' interesting as it shows us that the Tea Party value the old system and want less governmental control favouring a 'simplier' more natural approach.

Scrolling down the page I was met with bold headings such as Forum, Groups, Blog Posts and Events indicating that it was a social website where views were regularly discussed and a lot of information could be displayed and accessed. People could freely start and engage in discussions with generally like minded people making them feel that what they have to say is important and valued by others, and creates a 'community' atmosphere.

As a visitor to the site you are encouraged to join the website, and its facebook equilivant, 'Join almost 800,000 fellow Patriots on our Facebook page'. This is a continued theme throughout the site showing that the main aim behind it is to gain more support in order to achieve the change they want in America. This can also be seen in the presence of the radio showing us how they are using the media to reach the nation and gather more support.

Overall I found the website informative and east to access. The main aspect of the website was the community feel to it and the patriotic nature which made the site inviting and intriguing rather than my initial view of the party being intimidating and guilty of pushing their views on others.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Crevecoeur's book he talks about how anyone could make something of themselves and make twice as much money doing it in America compared to anywhere else. No matter what your background or your past, you could go to America and experience a 'new' beginning, in the sense that you would be met with a warm welcome, be hired, earn a high amount of money and develop yourself into anything you want to be, for example Crevecoeur mentions in his book (page 56) - "there is room for everyone in America" "he need not go many miles, nor recieve many information before he will be hired, well fed at the table of his employers, and paid four or five times more"

This is shown in the success of Hugh Laurie who is hugely talented as he is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist and director and so is hugely successful in both England and America. Since 2010 Hugh has been the highest paid actor in a drama series on US television and has also been listed in 2012 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid actor in a TV Drama where he earns around $700,000 per episode he does in the US drama House. Providing evidence to Crevecoeur's view that anyone can go to America, can start afresh and earn four or five times more money.

Another example of this is Mark Zuckerberg (co-creater of the social networking site Facebook) who although is from America, is only 27 and yet at such a young age his estimated personal worth is $17.5 billion. Giving the impression that America provides all the neccessary oportunites for anyone to do what ever they want from this reep the benefits very quickly, earning much more then they would be able to anywhere else.

Barack Obama

Crevecoeur’s ‘Letters from an American Farmer’ puts forward the ideas that if you work hard and to the best of you’re ability, you can achieve great things in America. You undergo great change that would be not possible in Europe and can reach your full potential. In particular in Letter III What is an American? Pg 59, Crevecouer writes, ‘From nothing, to start into being; from a servent, to the rank of a master; from being the slave of some despotic prince to become a free man, invested with lands to which every municipal blessing in annexed! What a change indeed!’. This portrays America as the place of transformation, the place where you make something of yourself through hard work and dedication. This ties in with the contempary example I have chosen to use of Barack Obama the current US President who came from humble beginnings and through hard work and determination made a name for himself. ‘I was raised mostly by a single mom and my grandparents. And Michelle, she had sort of a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ perfect family,” he said to laughter. 'She did. They were wonderful… By the time we graduated from law school, we had between us, about $120,000 worth of debt. We combined and got poorer together. So, we combined our liabilities. Not our assets.’

I think the phrase on pg 44 ‘The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions’, made me think instantly of Obama. Obama I feel, represents the new vision of America we experience today through his campaign for change and the fact he is the first black president publically overcoming slavery and segregation once and for all.

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”

Here, Obama appreciates the hard work from the past and preaches how the nation has to work together to achieve the change in America today. Obama said in a speech during his campaign, ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek’. I think these quotes from Obama both tie in with the idea that Crevecoeur represents in particular on pg 44 Crevecoer says, ‘Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world’. This shows that he believed people produced change in America through their own hard work and dedication. It also has strong significance to equality shown through people of all nations coming together to create a new race 'the american', which can be related to the overcoming of racism in America through the positive action of a black president.

Crevecoeur and America's Next Top Model

'He is Arrived on a new continent: a modern society offers itself to his contemplation, different from what he had hitherto seen.'

Crevecoeur mentions that 'This country will flourish in it's turn', meaning that it exists as it's own and will form it's own proud existence, more importantly however is the idea that America is new and that 'a modern society' exists today as much as it did then, which brings me to my reference, when we think of new and modern we think of the youth and America's fashion industry certainly demonstrates this, especially given the success.

This is a controversial link which shows supermodel and presenter of the show America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks shouting at a contestant for their bad attitude. The presenter no doubt has diva tendencies which can prove quite comical. The bigger issue however is that this is unlikely to be the kind of response made within other countries in Europe. We can take from this clip, America's attitude to fashion is to work hard and get far. This notion exists within the Letters from an American Farmer, however fashion is exceptionally profound in America and the multi-million dollar industry has made way for some massively successful American designers, detailed in the link below,

Tyra banks demonstrates clearly what America is all about, working hard and being passionate and proud. It is common knowledge that if you want to be a successful actor or model, you go to Hollywood. America is leading the way for film and fashion, the clip demonstrates its serious attitude to stay exceptional, the same point Crevecoeur makes about America in the 1700's.

De Crevecouer in Today

Cheryl Cole Moving to America
“I think any artist would like to break America. If you break there, you can break anywhere. It's a big, big deal and a lot different to us. I'd like the success of breaking in America”

Talking to Glamour magazine, the pop starlet revealed that the Californian sunshine has made her "feel alive".

De Crevecoeur writes about America being the land of new opportunities a land of promise for those who are willing to work hard ‘search for the subterranean riches it no doubt contains’ ( p16); they will ultimately live a better life than in their previous homeland. Cheryl Cole can be seen as falling into his trap as she decided to up root her successful life in London and move to L.A. The main reason she left was to kick start her singing and popularity career believing that America held that promise. To this day many singers who have once conquered the U.K look to states as their next goal, believing that they will achieve more fame, more money living a better life (Tine Tempah and Adele). Another reason why Cheryl Cole fits in with De Crevecoeur would be because she changed who she was so she would be more appreciated and welcomed by American Society almost becoming American, she had many speech lessons to try and change her Geordie accent.

"I kind of have to change the way I speak. I used to hear British people and think, 'Ugh, why are you saying 'take out the trash'? But I had this thing the other day because I'd said 'quarter past one' and they didn't get it.’’

Looking at the picture Cheryl shows an unbelievable similarity as an American actress, gone is
the sleek hair and mini-dress, in their place is a huge bouffant hairdo and purple flares. Cheryl Cole tried to reinvent herself as something new and improved something the American people would try and accept and like. De Crevecoeur writes that the new people who come and settle
in America will become a new born American, thinking like Americans. ‘An American who leaving behind him all his antient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode he has embraced…The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions.’

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Acceptance and America

In the news release with “Dhaka Dust” Ms. Ahmed poses a question that is not often asked: “What does it mean to be a Philadelphia-born Bangladeshi-American woman, a writer of color with a Muslim surname raised in small Midwestern towns?” “Dhaka Dust,” winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for poetry, is her attempt at an answer. Though she’s American, Ms. Ahmed makes it clear that she’s been honed and haunted by her ghost homeland, Bangladesh. But that knowledge offers small solace, only dual exile:

My sister hisses, they know

by your walk you aren’t

from here, never mind

your dark hair, your skin.

(in “Dhaka Bazaar before Departure).

She understands that she’s dust, not unlike the Depression-era Okie dust of Woody Guthrie’s “Dust Bowl Ballads”: She’s dust whipped across continents to land in, of all places, Ohio; dark-skinned dust to be spurned, shunned or boot-heeled; immigrant Muslim dust that is feared but also fears.

There are many ways America can be "new" and "exceptional" in contrast to other countries, but the one it prides itself on the most is it's liberal acceptance of all peoples. It doesn't matter what you were in the past or where you're from - you are going to be equally accepted as a new person once you're American. De Crevecouer states in Letters from an American farmer his vision that he will be accepted by the Americans, and "be adopted soon after our arrival". America still prides itself on this today, and are proud to have an African-American president to show the equality. However, despite what America as a whole claims - a lot of the people don't see and treat their neighbours equally within American towns and cities. It is not as "new", "exceptional" and as liberal as it claims it is and as the vision most likely soon disappears. On the other hand, The Media and Hollywood also still promotes equality and idealistic liberal ideas to American Citizens causing the vision to be there in the first place to those outside of America, still making America "new" and "exceptional" to others, and those who live in it and believe it.