Archive for January, 2011

The Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

 In Journalism this week we discussed rhetoric and metaphor. Both can be used by a speaker or writer to sway people’s opinions. Rhetoric is often used as a very  subtle use of propaganda. It might be used without anyone realizing it. Metaphors are openly used in a sincere attempt to help others understand what you’re trying to say.

           In Woodstock , Ritchie Havens did an unbelievable time killer ( waiting for next group ) with his ad-lib version of FREEDOM mixed with his rendition of “ Motherless Child “. It was a very stirring moment.

           I personally love any news from the more southern reaches of the world, in this case, the Dominican Republic. Professor Silverbrand’s interest in these people is one of his qualities that has delivered me to his class.

           All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned much, thanks to Professor Silverbrand’s tutelage.

Dennis Ryan

Meaning of the Metaphor

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The discussion on symbolism in media communication is a topic that the public is simultaneously aware of and not aware of. What I mean by this is that a lot of symbolism that is being used or displayed is familiar to the American culture. This is true especially of symbols that reflect family values like images of children, infants, homes with white picket fences, and parents playing with or spending time with their children. Religious symbols like the church and patriotic symbols like the flag are also used frequently and are familiar to the American culture. These images that reflect the American way of life are what the professor means by “cultural” symbols or cultural metaphors.While the public can associate with cultural metaphors they see in advertisement and commercials, they may not be consciously aware of them. Thus my statement that the public is both aware and unaware of the messages they see on television or print media. I believe it is important to discern and filter out information that could potentially mislead to a wrong conclusion. The example that was given in class was the phrase “all natural.” Generally speaking the phrase “all natural” is associated with something being healthy, pure, and uncompromised – something we can trust. However, an example of using “all natural” paired with the product of vitamins could be very misleading as the ingredients in vitamins and the product itself is not regulated by the FDA.Another example where “symbolism” could be misused is when there is a lack of understanding of what certain symbols mean in different cultures, customs and countries. For example, white colored garments in certain cultures could represent innocence and are used in weddings, whereas in some cultures it is the color people wear when they are grieving the death of a loved one.It is important to train the eye and the mind to recognize the hidden messages and then to be able to critically think what the overall communication is all about before automatically coming to an assumption or conclusion. Souk Chiang



Word-up — A lesson in language

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Rhetoric and metaphor are used pervasively in the media to persuade and represent a point of view.  This effective use of language allows the writer or broadcaster to set the stage and formulate the proper backdrop for the audience to receive the news or opinion in its desired frame.    Rhetoric can be more insidious in its aim to influence the thought and conduct of an audience whereas metaphor is utilized more to translate a story or represent current events through cultural symbols and comparative thinking (in my opinion).  The Richie Havens Woodstock song “Freedom” uses “a motherless child” as a metaphor for freedom (in my opinion).  Freedom is portrayed as an orphan, has no one to guide and protect it, and is always in a precarious situation, under constant threat of attack and of not surviving.The short film “Black and White” was more of a direct use of rhetoric by the Soviet propaganda to influence thought about the American way of life and how brutal our form of government is by allowing such prejudice and abuse among our peoples. Dave Silverbrand’s documentary on the Dominican Republic uses baseball as a metaphor of that country’s hope for a better life.  As of 2010 approximately 10% of all major league baseball players are from the Dominican Republic.  It is their way out and in a way their religion. 

Some cultural symbols come to represent different things than they once did transpiring in the media as events unfold over time.  On his recent visit to America, Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Obama agreed to an extension on the American lease of two Chinese Panda Bears.  Once a symbol of friendship between nations, the Panda now sadly represents the only issue the two greatest powers on earth can somewhat agree about.  Human and religious freedoms; be damned, currency rates and trade agreements; forget it.  Political prisoners and democracy; no chance.   But at least Washington gets the Pandas for 5 more years.  They wanted 10.

 David Exley