Propaganda Tactics used in “The Dancer Upstairs”

The Dancer Upstairs

Movie Poster

Propaganda Tactics used in The Dancer Upstairs

From the Original Post written by Dr. D.E. Clark:

This film, directed by John Malkovich, demonstrate propaganda tactics that are typically unethical communication practices with a very rich and robust history!

Historically, mediated propaganda dates back to the first penny press newspapers of the late 1800s and then formative and famous propaganda communication research of the 1920s and on…that focused on war rhetoric and propaganda employed by the USA and Hitler. The bulk of the research was led by Walter Lippman regarding the effects of mediated propaganda…they concluded that mediated propaganda had limited effects regarding behavior modification.

However, this led to the diverse body of research studies we still write and publish about today. Due to concerns about propaganda tactics and previous mediated disasters…ready the history, and because the USA had the First Amendment, news producers and editors are self-regulated. The propaganda studies led to the news formats we see practiced today with delineated sections for specific news stories so as not to confuse or mislead the reader. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutchins_Commission)

Choose an example or incident (ONE) from either movie that illustrates one of the propaganda tactics and explain how this type of communication can lead to terrorist acts as demonstrated in both films. (Terrorist acts are broadly defined and can be overt, or subtle…I will leave it up to you all, via what you learned from your readings and what you now know about propaganda to decide.)

In your comment, be clear about the propaganda tactic you are discussing and the terroristic act you are discussing. To further elaborate your point, bring in a recent news event (anywhere in the world) that is similar to the point you are making.

There are four aspects/parts to your blog comment. Try to go in order of what is being asked so the following students can follow and we can all read different opinions and information is similar formats.

My Response

The Dancer Upstairs has examples of communication practices that make viewers question the messages ethical value. The film’s ideologies follow the fascist bourgeois government who are opposed by fanatical marxist rebels. Both sides are violent and use propaganda to further their causes. Historically, this communication device has been used to by political entities to foster their causes and gain support (Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda on March 27, 2014).

PROPAGANDA TACTICS

According to the psychology wiki on wikia.com, propaganda’s aim is to influence people’s opinions actively, rather than to merely communicate the facts about something. The subtle and emotional aspects of the message of propaganda is what make it influential. There are numerous tactics in the creation of propaganda. The message, method and volume are all important aspects of a propaganda agenda. One persuasive device involves oversimplification; or using generalities to provide simple answers to complex problems. This tactic explains the terrorist’s use of message and method through the film. The terms are defined below:

TERRORIST ACT DEPICTING TACTICS

The simplest act of using a dead dog’s is explained by one of the investigator. “In China, a dead dog is symbolic to a tyrant, condemned to death by his people.” The messages on display with the dogs are oversimplified give a farther reach. The first dog seen in the film has a sign that reads: “The point of the next century will be for man to rediscover his god. Long live President Ezequiel.” The another dead dog has a sign that reads” Equal Strategy: only two things fill me with wonder. Stars in the sky and moral law in my land.” Using these simple messages gives the propaganda a longer reach.

CORRESPONDING RECENT NEWS EVENT

In Pakistan, there is a war on terrorism and they are calling it the Irregular War. This is because there is no uniformed enemy or specifically drawn battlelines. The country is using an inter-agency three pillar framework to keep control based on Security, Political and Economic. This counterinsurgency (COIN) theory of oversimplification is helping keep control. This three pillar framework is “a brutal oversimplification of an infinitely complex reality” (Haider, E. Irregular War. Retrieved from http://newsweekpakistan.com/irregular-war/ on March 27, 2014).

Oversimplification has it’s place in propaganda in that complex issues are made easy to understand; giving the message a better chance at reaching the targeted audience.

“Babel”: The ties that tie us to terrorism rhetorically… Cross-Post

babel movie poster

Movie Poster

Original Post on Blogger.com

Blog Instructions

After carefully watching Babel and taking insightful notes on the film’s context, differing ideologies and political infra-structures (hegemonic influences), please list only one example from the film of a particular cultural stereotype. Then, discuss how this example you chose might have (potentially) been received by an American audience versus the actual same ethnic/culture audience the incident took place (in the film).

..

My response

Babel’s plot is dispersed among several countries and portrays the characters in a way that illustrates how global communications is flattening our world.This film is truly an international work, from the production people to the writer and the cast.This film examines the varying perspectives of the characters in the aftermath of a tragic accidental shooting. I will focus on the Japanese character, Chieko. She is the daughter of the hunter, who gave the rifle to his former guide in Morocco. The emotionally challenged deaf/mute teenager has recently lost her mother to suicide. This character expresses her grief through extreme sexual acting-out. Another frustration relates to hegemonic attitudes of the hearing teenage boys that hang out where she does. I will focus on the scene in which she enters the disco with her girlfriends and the new acquaintances.

These new acquaintances have fed the girls whiskey and mind-altering substances. This forges instant friendships. Chieko feels accepted in this group. One of this guys, Haruki, shows an instant attraction to her. The sequence leading to the entrance of the disco shows the fast pace of Japanese culture through fast-moving citizens, subway, wide-shot of the busy streets and her drug-induced enjoyment of the simple things in life, like swinging and playing with the boys in the water. For once in the movie, Chieko is enjoying life. Haruki has his arm around her and she can sign with him.

The Japanese teenager enjoying herself.

The Japanese teenager enjoying herself.

The scene’s music transition before they enter. Shot of the subway, travelers, and the chaotic motion of the traffic segue into the bright lights, lasers, smoke and the mass of bodies dancing. Haruki takes her purse and stuffs it into a locker and drags her to the dance floor. September/The Joker by Fatboy Slim is moving the crowd. The audience hear what she hears intermittently. NOTHING. At first she seems overwhelmed but finally she smiles. She observes the people around her. She feels the energy and starts mimicking the movements of dancers. The audience can see her self-confidence and she laughs for the first time in the film. Unfortunately, this feeling does not last long.

The composition of the shots range from extreme close-ups of Chieko, unfocused features giving the effect of the drug wearing off and the crowd enjoying themselves. As the song changes, Bootsy Collins can be heard making the statement, THE JUNGLE S GETTING WILD, BABY. This is the counterpoint of the scene. The music speeds up, the composition of the shots get weirder and she shuts her eyes closed for awhile. When she opens them, she notices her girlfriend and Haruki making out.Her smile disappears and she stops dancing. Once again the audience experiences her auditory POV, no sound. She waves and leaves. From my experience, I can say that she was more depressed and confused than before she took the drugs.

 I believe that Chieko represents a stereotypical teenager, in either America or Japan culture. I understand these two cultures are different. In my opinion, all teenagers want acceptance from their peers and feel self-confident.

As far as audience reception of this scene, I believe that the impact has to do with experiencing the disco through her perspective of silence. I would guess that most of the audience, either Japanese or American, have not experienced a silent disco.

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“Don’t Make Me Think” Reaction Paper I

September 18, 2014DMMTR cover 77x99

Steve Krug‘s book title, “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability“, means users do not want to take time to learn or invest in abstract design on the web. It is just common sense when you think how simple it is to design for the audience, ha. Krug differentiates between the actual design and the reality of the user on the web. The first time I heard the title of his book, I laughed. It is a funny title but it gets attention and draws in the reader.

The first edition of the book was published in 2000. I read the book in 2004. I recently purchased the third edition which includes mobile website usability. I found enjoyment reading the other chapters but found the assignment focused on the Chapter Two, How We Really Use the Web: Scanning, Satisficing and Muddling Through. I like Kruger’s methods. They are easy to understand because reasonings of “why the user does what he does” is give.

 Krug covers three fact of “real-world” web use. The first “fact of life” is that we don’t read web pages; we scan and we’re good at it. A learned behavior is that we don’t need to read everything. “Fact of life” number two is that we suffice and find the first reasonable choice and go with that. The remaining “fact of life” is that web users will muddle through without learning how things work. Understanding is not as important as finding what you’re looking for.

 He goes on to explain why this happens he states that it’s not important to the audience or they find something that works and they just use that over and over. On the other hand if the user understand what’s going on there’s a better chance of finding what they are searching for which is a win-win if they understand the full range of what is offered and just not parts they stumble across.  Also having them understand gives you a better chance of steering them to the parts of the site they want to see and so both feel smarter and more control when using the site. The rest of the book goes on to explain how to get to this point and different ways of doing it

 Brings us to the bottom line which means that we need to design as if we were on the “super information highway”. Krug’s closing tells us that “if your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboards, than design great billboards” this is true and I have learned a lot from reading his book I have enjoyed it again.

 Krug is a genius. He has taken usability and brought to the forefront of design and building web sites. I look forward to reading the rest of the Third Edition, which includes the following new chapters:

  • Mobile: It’s not just a city in Alabama anymore
  • Usability as common courtesy
  • Accessibility and you
  • Guide for the perplexed
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