Monthly Archives: November 2010

Chip may be a little slow on social trends but he certainly gets the ideology.

“The Born Loser” comic strip is Chip Sansom’s often funny take on living in a Rodney Dangerfield world in which the main character never gets any respect. Yesterday’s strip, carried in hundreds if not thousands of newspapers, is a sweetly

Et tu, Frank. So dies an accurate history of the last election.

In Shakespeare’s version of the Julius Caesar story, Caesar struggles against his assassins in the Senate chambers until he sees his good friend and protégé Brutus draw his knife, at which point Caesar whimpers, “Et tu, Brute, so fall Caesar.” “Et

They say the devil is in the details, and all too often, so is the propaganda.

The old expression, “the devil is in the details,” certainly applies to propaganda.  Writers, editors, publishers, photographers, filmmakers and illustrators often will pretend to be objective in their communication while loading up the details with images, statements and facts that

Some examples of how to control the outcome by controlling the selection of the facts or options.

This weekend brought two classic examples of controlling the outcome by controlling what facts are selected for consideration or what options are available for action. The first example began a week ago, when The New York Times presented readers with

Study shows that Americans vote against their basic beliefs but no one cares because no one finds out.

Professors from Duke and Harvard recently completed a study of Americans’ knowledge of and attitudes towards the unequal distribution of wealth that has developed in the United States since about 1980. Professors Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely find that

Parade Magazine asks 3 celebrity chefs to plan a Sunday dinner that raises cholesterol and pads tummies.

In its latest issue, Parade Magazine features an interview of three female celebrity chefs, Daisy Martinez, Lidia Bastianich and Paula Deen, on how to make Sunday dinner more meaningful for the family.  Just in case we didn’t notice, the article

Debt panel more interested in cutting the taxes of the wealthy than in balancing the budget.

Last Friday, I analyzed the tax proposals that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform put in the outline of the plan it presented last week.  As it turns out, I was among the first but not the only

Debt Commission plan: Everyone gets less, middle class pay more, wealthy pay less, poor come out even.

I’ve taken a look at the plan outline that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released yesterday.  The final plan will include a lot of details that may change my view of it, but the plan looks to me

American Express steps into the deep fertilizer big-time by making outrageous claims for a savings account.

Yesterday, I analyzed an ad in which, by selecting the value to attach to its product, Home Depot communicates the ideological American imperative of mindless over-consumption. Let’s turn now to a print ad by American Express that tries to fit

Advertisements try to sell values that enhance products, but do they reflect the market’s values or shape them?

Most advertising, no matter what the medium, tries to attach a value beyond the inherent value of the product or service being shilled.  According to standard ad theory, you do research to find out what values are of importance to