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Propaganda: Propagating Webs of Lies

October 3, 2010

I was at a birthday party today for one of the girls I tutor. It was her family and tutor, I guess. Barring the awkwardness for being the only non-relative, I was still able to meet some nice people and enjoy myself there.

The men were watching football so we were all sitting on the couch, talking and watching football. I don’t know anything about football except for the world cup! Oh, wait, wrong football.

One thing that caught my eye though was a political commercial on a proposition. And while I try to veer away from talking about politics in this blog, I feel this one transcends the realm of politics and into the realm of “Are you seriously going to believe that?”

The commercial was one bashing Proposition 23, which they called the “Dirty Air Proposition.” Hm. They said some stuff after that, but after hearing them call the proposition the “Dirty Air Act,” there was really not much to listen to afterward.

Let me ask you. Do you want to breathe dirty air? Of course not! When provided with the choice, would you vote in favor of making our air dirty or keeping the air clean? That answer’s obvious. You’d vote for the one that keeps the air clean. So when someone asks you, “Will you vote for or against the Dirty Air Proposition?” If your answer is anything that isn’t “Against!” you risk looking like an idiot who wants to breathe through a gas mask for the rest of your life.

And that’s what the people who made this commercial tried to do. They are trying to make the supporters of Prop 23 look like idiots who want to breathe through gas masks for the rest of their lives, thus harming the credibility of the supporters of Prop 23 and making the naysayers get more votes. Hm.

Now, how many people actually go and research the propositions? Non-partisan research. And perhaps looking at what supporters and naysayers have to say about the proposition. I’d imagine not many people would actually research. They just watch the commercials and whichever one has the more convincing argument is the one they’d side with. Not a good way to determine the future of our state.

The people who make political ads know that most people don’t really care enough about our state to do research on the propositions, so they do the research for them, and of course omit everything that would nullify their argument. And then they think up of cool catch-phrases and names that will ensure that they become the enemy of their opposition. And the enemy of their enemy is a friend!

On both sides we get people who twist facts around and then make it look like a bad thing. Sometimes it is a bad thing. Sometimes its just an innocent fact hanging around and the people nab it and turn it into a BAD FACT.

Sadly, that seems to be how politics is nowadays. It’s just a numbers game.

Now, I’m not for or against Prop 23. Heck, you can look at some stuff on Prop 23 right here. Make your own judgment. I just think it’s childish to call the Proposition the “Dirty Energy Proposition.” If I told everyone that Proposition 8 from a while ago was the “Homophobia and Bigotry Proposition” then most people would vote against it. Or if I called it the “Family Values Proposition” then people would vote for it. But these names are all misleading and should not be used in an argument for or against the proposition. I haven’t seen any commercial in support of Prop 23, but they probably call it the “California Jobs Initiative.” Misleading, again.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, for one, don’t be a drone to propaganda. Secondly, don’t believe everything you see on TV. Yes, that includes Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Believe it or not, that shows full of BS. It was an entertaining show for sure (though everything was entertaining back then at my age of 10) but Wikipedia is more reliable than that show. Go wiki!

Advertisements for products are always going to be misleading in some way, but that’s just the nature of advertising. No one product will ever be the best product. So when you see “dramatization” under the detergent that can make your stains disappear within seconds, and the other one looks dirtier than it started, they dramatized it. That’s normal, you always need to justify why your brand is more expensive than the other. (Hint: you’re often better off buying the cheaper soap).

But it sort of irks me when I see an advertisement for cereal and you have this gorgeous girl in a bikini eating that cereal, as if to say, “If you eat this cereal, you can look like this girl!” Or for you folks with a bit more testosterone, “Eating this cereal will make girls who look like this fall in love with you.” What the hell does that have to do with my Corn Flakes? I understand that sex sells, but if your product has nothing to do with sex, keep sex out of your ads!

Since this is a post about propaganda, you get to hear my rant about propaganda!

As referenced by the title, propaganda is pretty much just a bunch of lies disguised by TV. I wondered why I stopped watching TV, and after watching a few commercials, I remembered why. Because it’s a bunch of garbage.

Most advertisements aired are not for kids. They contain nudity (covered by a skimpy amount of clothes or a person’s arms), profanity (usually bleeped out but the child can still put two and two together), and violence (without the blood, because violence without blood is apparently A-OK!). Now I’m not a parent, nor am I a soccer mom, but when we look at society’s kids nowadays and wonder why more and more children are being “diagnosed” with ADHD and ADD and are becoming more and more violent and irritable, we sort of have the TV (and videogames) to blame. The sad thing is that advertisers will bid on a certain airing time of their commercial, and the TV station will accept the highest bidder, no matter what the content. Except during special times, such as Nick Jr on Nick and Playhouse Disney on the Disney Channel (those have very few commercials) because sensible parents will boycott those channels if there were so much as a thigh in a commercial.

Of course, when an advertiser pays a lot of money for an ad, they put as much things that will sell as possible. Whether it be skewed statistics or half-naked women, whatever tactics their market research team tell them to employ, they will be employed.

What’s that mean?

Well, we’re in a media war. I’ve never really seen a beneficial commercial before. I usually saw negative commercials back when I watched TV. I saw nothing beneficial. That’s why my family stopped watching TV. When I watch TV in a hotel or something, I’d watch Cartoon Network or Nick, because cartoons are awesome!

But media war? Well, remember my post on a dream bigger than yourself? Well, if all these corporations are spending millions of dollars for a one minute ad… what if I spent a few millions of dollars on a one-minute ad? A one-minute ad that will affect watchers positively. That will perhaps move them from the couch to something a bit more productive. To something positively addicting (when you’re hungry for knowledge, you don’t stop until you see pigs fly). Something that isn’t about “BUY MY PRODUCT” or “VOTE FOR RASHEED FOR PRESIDENT! (I’m Rasheed Bustamam and I approve of this message),” but something that’s more along the lines of… well, my blog, for instance!

What if I hired a market researcher to find marketing techniques to market beneficial products? Products that help someone make more money, save more money, get more time, save more time, have a better relationship with their family, and encourage them to stick to their moral values and do something with their lives?

Well, obviously I can’t do any of that without money. So first things first: make money! Money to fight a good cause! That sounds good. I’m sure you all agree.

I think I’ve ranted enough in this post. Feel free to rant back at me in the comments.

Until then, to your success!

Rasheed

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. khernandez permalink
    October 3, 2010 9:08 pm

    if passed, it would totally make it legal for some company in texas to build a power plant almost right next to my college in hayward that would supply energy to san francisco… shady, much?

    too bad there is an equal number of people who don’t care AND people who are too lazy to do research for themselves. yep. 2012 here we come!

    • October 3, 2010 9:34 pm

      Yeah, I understand that part. But that doesn’t make it okay to resort to name-calling. I was just talking about that particular proposition and name because that was the one I saw an ad for. Either way, it’s propaganda. A better marketing strategy would be something like, “Proposition 23: You deserve to know!” Or something like that. Because in as many debates as I’ve been in, once you resort to slandering the other side, a) your argument loses credibility and b) people lose respect for you. It’s not professional and shouldn’t be used.

      Education is what people need. Not mindless following. 😦 That’s why we need people to change this!

  2. October 5, 2010 6:21 am

    Good day!This was a really superb post!
    I come from itlay, I was luck to find your subject in wordpress
    Also I learn much in your blog really thank your very much i will come again

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