Final Paper

The Cultural Aesthetic of Greece

Diandra Gordon

COMM 380 – Visual Media in a Cultural Context

Key words: rational, low density, economy, Ancient Greece

Introduction:

The Greek culture will forever be associated with its historical importance in Ancient History and involvement with many evolutionary ways of thinking that have come to shape the modern world. However important the contributions of the Classical world of ancient Greece were, they are not an accurate representation of the culture that is found there today. The Roman, Byzantine, British, and Ottoman Empire’s have shaped the Greek culture since then, among other influences. Greece also has a complex history the Turkish people because of an enormous population exchange as a result of World War I. The people of Greece temporarily established a republic in 1924 only to be bombarded with fascist and communist monarchies during and after the World War II era, and has only been a stable democratic nation since 1975. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Greece’s economy skyrocketed because of investments in industry and heavy infrastructure, improvements that had a significant enough impact to raise its standard of living enough to be the host of the host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.

All of this rich information as reference to what Greece is represented as today is overshadowed by its debt crisis following the recent recession, and the impact on European and global economic stability. A lot of the scholarship on Greece that I found supported the idea that it has become known for its economic problems and the effects that they are having on the rest of Europe. It seems like with the economy in crisis the sense of national identity is also in crisis. The standard of living and identity as modern comparable to the rest of western Europe that Greece was used to after their economy took off is now in conflict with the reality of the country as a poor problematic place with no financial stability. This was also demonstrated in my analysis of Greek Websites and print advertisements, while the movies didn’t seem to reflect inner conflict of the Greek people in relation to modernity.

The primary aspects of the Greek cultural aesthetic apparent from the web analysis and print ad hunt included the use of warm, natural colors, a low density, and a rational attitude. Greek film showed both a historical side, and a modern sexualized side of the culture. The books and articles on Greek culture have supporting evidence of this visual aesthetic and reasons for why the culture prefers certain ways of organizing and seeing images. The way the people of Greece experience their own culture and the current debt crisis is by not blaming themselves, and continuing to enjoy living how they want including a lot of social gatherings, casual drinking, and refusing to be in a rush. Instead Greeks relax and enjoy their daily lives.

Review of the Literature:

Beaton and Ricks discuss the events that led to modern Greece, and the characteristics of the culture that have lasted into modern day. Their explanation of Hellenism and the Greek intellectuals of the eighteen hundreds impacting national identity today is also related to Detienne and Vernant when they talk about Greek myths and stories playing an important role in modern culture. Beaton and Rick’s conclude that the Greeks had an intense desire to, “re-establish a direct connection with both ancient Greek culture and the culture of modern Europe.” (Beaton and Ricks 2009) The, “readings of myth and political philosophy,” (Ditienne and Vernant 1991) are ways that the Greeks have always used to make their identity and look at themselves in relation to the rest of the world. These authors also talk about the rational attitude that drives their interpretations of the past, and help to shape the modern culture. Vernant also has a book published called The Greeks that gives detailed explanations of Greek social lives, and citizen concerns like how to be a citizen, how to grow up, and the importance of economic ability.

In Greece in the Twentieth Century, Coulumbis, Kariotis, and Bellou examine Greek culture through the lenses of politics, economics, technology, media, language, and gender. One of the things they found was that, “two conflicting trends, a ‘modern’ and a ‘traditional’, clashed over the suitable criteria for defining the new nation and the identity of its members.” (Coulumbis, Kariotis, Bellou 2003) They go on to explain how Greeks fail to operate in a modern global economic system either because they do not feel the need to compare themselves with what other countries are doing or when they do they consider the other place less important because of the impacts of ancient Greece that helped human kind to advance. The information about Greek culture Curtis’s research also supports Coulumbis, Kariotis, and Bellou’s points about beliefs and values being shaped by cultural factors. He writes that the Greeks are most interested in common interests, origins of their society, and their, “attitudes toward each other and toward their social system and political order.” (Curtis 1995) This shows that the society is at least talking about the different influences on culture, but also how entrenched they are in their country’s contributions in the past. The cultural aesthetic that was mentioned the most the rational attitude and the need for things to be logical and in a sense low density even when it comes to classical architecture, patterns that are also shown by the analysis of Greek websites.

Psomiades and Thomadakis claim problems with Greece as a culture and a country are influenced by their interpretation of ancient times. In Greek Civilization and Character by Toynbee, his intent to explore the historical context of, “a Greece that, in his opinion, reflects the socioeconomic problems of the present day.” (1953) The authors of both of these books agree on the fact that Greek culture has a history of instability from ancient problems of class warfare to the current debt issue and the failure to impose and enforce taxes because of “structural weakness (Psomiades, Thimadakis (1993)” in the government. Both examples also show how the views of how ancient Greeks used to be are preventing them from a culture that fits in with the modern world. Psomiades and Thomadakis also claim that Greece’s failure to adjust to the changes in the country and around the world is detrimental to the economies of other European countries.

Findings:

Color Palette: The color palette most used in Greek culture is warm and vibrant which matched the natural landscape, especially in print media including the magazine cover and the red and yellow of Gordon’s Gin. Some of the websites like the National Bank of Greece also use nationalistic colors of blue and white, and others use earth tones and greenish blues. The use of colors that they find in everyday life is an example of the rational nature of the Greek culture. The fact that a lot of the natural colors were also preferred in ancient Greece confirms Detienne and Vernant’s suggestion that Greeks desire to, “re-establish a direct connection with ancient Greek culture.” (Detienne, Vernant 1991) The need to associate color with something practical is also clear in The Greeks when Vernant talks about the concern of the culture to be a proper citizen and represent the most idyllic Greek person. The feeling among the people that This their ancestors were superior and they must try to live up to ancient rules of culture is more proof of “two conflicting trends” (Coulumbis, Kariotis, Bellou 2003) of the past and the present. The tension between tradition and modernity is also made worse by the failing economy.

Content: The content of Greek websites usually included images and words, but used more visuals. Even with almost a 75% visual modality a lot of the websites still relied on the small amount of text to communicate the important information. This distinction and the low density are both a representations of the rational attitude in Greek culture. Even with more visuals the images that are use are not complex, and lack of text adds to the low density of the websites. The print ads showed the same thing, and is evidence of the attachment to, “readings of myth and political philosophy,” (Beaton, Ricks 2009) that get reproduced by culture in the form of media. The wide margins and use of a lot of blank or negative space also provides an example of Greek interest in attitudes, “toward their system of culture” (Curtis 1995) within the society itself.

Attitude: Greek films were the most helpful in understanding the rational attitude of the people and it’s connection to traditional Ancient Greece. This logical mindset is best displayed in the documentary film Debtocracy. The organization of the film includes hosts narrating and asking questions, followed by tangible evidence of their position, and finally footage of interviews and testimonials for reassurance. This very methodical process reflects the rational cultural attitude that produces a, “clash over the suitable criteria for defining the new nation and the identity of its members.” (Coulumbis, Kariotis, Bellou 2003) The other Greek film appealed more to emotion but because of the context of the plot focusing on a rock band and the nightlife that comes with it. In light of an absence of rationality in Alter Ego, the lack of responsibility and inward look at culture relates to the problem of focusing too much on, “attitudes toward each other,” (Curtis 1995) and not on what is happening with the rest of the world that needs to be reformed. The ad that reads, “Greek sun. Not in Crisis is an example of the use of a serious issue to advertize for a relaxing vacation.

Chronicity: The cultural orientation toward time according to the website analysis seemed to be monochronic in the sense that they prefer to do one thing as opposed to multiple tasks at once. Evidence of this was in the low density and static nature of the websites. The navigation on national and local websites limited the options to very specific tasks or information, and there was not a lot of use of flash player, except for the national museum website. The Greek print ads portrayed an individualistic culture because of advertisings relationship with commercial interests of capitalism. In the movies I noticed that people seem to do things more slowly than I expected especially when interacting or talk to a stranger. This presentation of a slow pace is one of the aspects of traditional Greek culture that does not meet the modern, “suitable criteria for defining the new nation and the identity of its members.” (Coulumbis, Kariotis, Bellou 2003)

Conclusion:

The cultural aesthetic of Greece according to the literature had characteristics of logic, intelligence, and pride in the countries ancient history. It was represented visually through patterns of low density, slow pace, and a rational attitude. Even though the modality of visual media is mostly images, the important information is still conveyed with what few words are used. The major tension in present day Greek culture is between the value of connection to ancient times and the struggle find a place in the modern world by stabilizing the economy. The Greeks refusal to accept blame for their lifestyle is characteristic of how deeply they believe they are not expected to compare to with the rest of the world. The denial of fault with the excuse of classic contributions and a dedication to preserving culture is also supported by research on Greeks interaction with ancient and modern culture.

The wide margins and blank space of the websites can be traced to the Greek visual aesthetic for clarity and logic, but scholarly sources prove that the reliance on their historical relevance exemplifies inward thinking. The denial of blame for the economic crisis is an example of the arrogance and sense of entitlement that restrains their involvement with international market economies. In addition to the low density, the print media utilized a warm natural colors found in Greek landscape and culture. The careful consideration of the right contextual color also represents the Greek tendency of having a rational attitude. The evidence in Greek media supporting claims made by researchers proves that the idiosyncrasies in any culture have a culturally relevant reason.  Continued research of web, print, and film media in Greece will continue to be relevant to the history and tradition found in culture, and the patters of visual media will be essential to understanding the cultural context.

References:

Beaton, R., Ricks, D. (2009). The Making of Modern Greece: Nationalism, romanticism, and the uses of the past. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate Publishing Group. 

Couloumbis, T., Kariotis, T., Bellou, F. (2003). Greece in the Twentieth Century. Portland, Oregon: Frank Cass Publishers. 

Curtis, G. (1995). Greece: a country study. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.

Detienne, M., Vernant, J.P. (1991). Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society. Chicago: University press.

Psomiades, H., Thomadakis, S. (1993). Greece, the new Europe, and the changing international order. New York: Pella Publishing Company.

Roudometof, V., Makrides, V. (2010). Orthodox Christianity in 21st Century Greece: The role of religion in culture, ethnicity, and politics. Farnham, Surrey, GBR.

Toynbee, A. (1953). Greek Civilization and Character. New York: The New American Library Inc. 

Vernant, J. P. (1995). The Greeks. Chicago: University Press

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Web Hunt

News City (National) – http://www.newscity1.net/

Color Palette: Warm. Dark background, blue, white, green, red.

Content: Image based modality. Text used for navigational tabs.

Audience Involvement: Interactive, links to news stories and advertisements. 80% Image to text ratio with a low density.

Time: Polychronic, flash player, daily updates. The pace isn’t slow or fast.

Imagery: No people at all, weird for a news website. Images of individuals when the flash player changes.

Context: Low. Wide margins and a lot of blank space.

Attitude: Emotional. There is a heart as the first news story and warm vibrant colors as well as using mostly images.

Value Orientation: Materialistic. The sites stories about popular culture and current events in Greece are nationalistic and aimed toward the economy.

Olympic Air – http://www.olympicair.com/256-el-gr.cmt

Color Palette: Blue and White. Contextual because planes fly in the blue cloudy sky and also nationalistic. There is also yellow red and green in the rings logo.

Content: Use of text for the important information, but about the same ratio of image and text because there is so much empty space.

Audience Participation: Interactive to book flights but static other than that. Most of the information is navigational.

Time: Monochronic because airline industries are only succesful if they are generally on time. The pace of the website is fast and to the point, the blank space makes you feel like you can go as slow as you want.

Imagery: None

Context: Low. Sky surrounding the boarder, and blue throughout the whole background.

Attitude: Rational. Very direct and clear but again because its an airline.

Value Orientation: Materialistic just because there are no images of families let alone people at all so it must be mostly for business.

International School of Athens – http://www.isa.edu.gr/

Color Palette: White and Blue, nationalistic. Red and yellow is contextual to the school.

Content: More image than text to communicate the important information. 75% Image. Low density.

Audience Participation: Interactive and informational.

Time: Monochronic based on the school year, but the pace seemed slower and more relaxed.

Imagery: Images of individuals and groups of kids. Collectivist because of the context of a school.

Context: Low context, even less information when you click on a link.

Attitude: Rational and Emotional. The website shows the academic side and the relationship building side of school.

Value Orientation: Quality of life. They promote a fun friendly learning environment.

Spondi Restaurant – http://www.spondi.gr/gr/navigation.htm

Color Palette: Olive, green, white, blue. Natural colors of the landscape.

Content: Mostly images. 75% image to convey information. The density wasn’t high or low. There was a lot of information in the middle but margins too.

Audience Participation: Interactive. Complicated flash player and navigation links.

Time: Monochronic. Classical music plays when you open the page.

Imagery: Collectivist. Images of people sitting down together to eat.

Context: High context a lot of information from both visual and text and music. With a lot of flash player there is a lot going on.

Attitude: Rational.

Value Orientation: Quality of Life and Materialistic. Its a fancy restaurant but it still promotes people coming to have a good time and enjoy each others company over some food.

McDonald’s (multinational) – http://www.mcdonalds.gr/

Color Palette: Warm. Reds oranges and yellows. The colors of McDonald’s but different warmer shades.

Content: 75% image. Visuals are used for the important information like meal types and links.

Audience Participation: Very interactive. A lot of navigation, information, and decoration.

Time: Monochronic, but with a slow pace even with the way the tabs slide out.

Imagery: No images of people.

Context: High context. A lot of information with both visual and text, and some information repeated in more than one spot.

Attitude: Rational. Pictures and text for the food but no people or emotions are involved.

Value Orientation: Not sure. Both because its an transnational corporation but McDonald’s wants to promote quality of life with good food.

Disney (multinational) – http://www.disney.gr/

Color Palette: A lot of colors. Cool in the background and the main theme of the page but warm on the images with links to other pages.

Content: All images and very little text. 90% visual because of the younger audience. There is also a lot of flash player and pretty high density on a lot of the pages.

Audience Participation: Extremely Interactive with games, shows, trailers and more.

Time: Not really either mono or poly chronic it can go as slow or as fast as you want to navigate the site.

Imagery: Collectivist. Groups of people and characters are shown together. Sometimes there is an individual character alone who is the hero.

Context: High. Sound, games, flash player, and lots of links.

Attitude: Emotional.

Value Orientation: Materialistic. Merchandising and advertising are promoted a lot as well as trips to disney and memberships to the site.

Coca-Cola (multinational) – http://www.coca-cola.gr/

Color Palette: Grey, red, white, green. Company colors and soccer colors.

Content: More image than text. 75% image, but some of the words are important information too. The site has a low density.

Audience Participation: Interactive and navigational, but not as much information as I expected for a company like Coca-Cola.

Time: Monochronic, follow the soccer schedule.

Imagery: Individualistic. Soccer is a team sport but the image on the main page is of one soccer player on a team versus one other player on another team.

Context: Low context. Images used to convey most of the information and they aren’t busy images.

Attitude: Emotional. Calls on the nationalism of the country to support their team.

Value Orientation: Materialistic. All about the game and modernity.

Presidency Greece – http://www.presidency.gr/

Color Palette: Cool pale blue, white, dark blue. Nationalistic colors.

Content: Text is used to communicate the important information. More blank space and images than text 60% image or blank space.

Audience Participation: Static. The main news for the site is on the main page and there aren’t a lot of things to click on or any external links.

Time: Monochronic. Focused on important political dates and current policies.

Imagery: Collectivist. Images of groups of politicians, and also images of individuals.

Context: Low Context, wide margins, blank space.

Attitude: Rational and text based, not emotional at all. Nationalistic.

Value Orientation: Quality of Life. They claim they are focused on fixing the current economic issues.

National Bank of Greece – http://www.nbg.gr/

Color Palette: Warm. Green, blue, orange, white, grey margins.

Content: 50-50 Image and Visuals but low density. Images and visuals are used to express important information.

Audience Participation: Static. The homepage is useful but if you have an account there are probably more options.

Time: Monochronic.

Imagery: Individualistic.

Context: Low. Some areas of a lot of information but still a noticeable amount of blank space and margins.

Attitude: Rational.

Value Orientation: Materialistic in the sense that they promote opening an account and investing in the bank. Quality of life because they are trying to help people get better control of their financial lives.

National Museum of Greece – http://www.namuseum.gr/index.html

Color Palette: Rustic. Grey, green brown, bronze. Earthy colors.

Content: Image dominant. 75% of important information is communicated with images and flash players. The site has a low density.

Audience Participation: Interactive and forces you to participate with the site right from the homepage. A lot of possibilities for navigation.

Time: Monochronic.

Imagery: Individualistic. Images of statues and visuals of famous people in history, as well as a lot of architecture.

Context: Low Context. Images to explain the different aspects of the museum. Headings, and maybe one explanation paragraph.

Attitude: Rational in terms of what the things at the museum represent. Emotion with the fact that it comes from traditions of their ancestors in ancient times.

Value Orientation: Quality of Life. They try to show where we’ve come from and how much it took for humanity to get this far.

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Picture This Pg. 494 Final Movie Poster

El Greco is a film about a Greek painter named Domenicos Theotokopoulos. He is born on the island of Crete and was influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. After traveling to Venice he is imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition. As he writes his story while awaiting execution the movie flashes back to the parts of his life in Crete when he fell in love a girl named Francesca, the rebellion that caused him to leave, and the famous painter that mentors him. The script was written based on a biographical novel titled El Greco: the Painter of God. The film was directed by Yannis Smaragdis and released in 2007.

The visual aspects in the film that represented the cultural pattern language of the Greek visual aesthetic I found included a warm color palette, bold nationalistic colors of Venice at the time, and a strong emphasis on relationships. The warm colors included warmer blues and greens, and many shades of red in Venice with religious garments because of the context of the times. The fact that decisions are made by El Greco based on relationship’s both with his father and his lover is an example of a polychronic culture. The characters in the film appealed to both emotional and rational attitudes, but it was all mostly limited by what was happening in history with the Spanish inquisition.

For the poster I tried to incorporate the warm color palette from the film with a screenshot that had both warm reds and greens. The photo below is from a painting done by the actual El Greco that also has warm red and yellow. I tried to emphasize the importance of relationships with the choice of the image on the bottom, but I also wanted to have an image that depicted the role religion plays in the film. As far as the requirements for a text like a movie poster I tried not to use too much text. The name of the movie, the director, a star rating, and a few of the main actors and actresses names that I found using Greek text. I also found an image of El Greco’s real name written in Greek and put it at the bottom next to the painting of him to balance the image to text ratio. I chose white text and a black background so that the warmer color palette would show up even more.

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Film Hunt # 2

Alter Ego is a film by Village Roadshow Films in Greece and was released in 2007. It was directed by Nicholas Dimitropoulos. It was one of the most successful Greek movies of all time because of the debut film of Greek superstar Sakis Rouvas. It is also the most expensive Greek production ever made. It is a drama about the frontman and guitarist of a rock band called Alter Ego. The fame and success come with a lot of drama and tension that Stefoano’s did not foresee when he became a rockstar.

Color: Warm colors. Reds, blues, purple at the club scene, black, yellows. The clothing the Stephano wears is mostly grey and black but other people are brightly dressed and the lights at the clubs and rock shows are all different colors.

Content: Images are used to communicate the important information. Most of the movie is interaction between the main character Stephano and the people he spends time as each of his egos.

Time: Polychronic, but because of the context. The life of a rock star with an alter ego is very unaware of time and he parties and sleeps with women all the time. The pace is very fast because of his lifestyle and the nightlife scene.

Context: High. It is a busy and overwhelming because there is tension between Stefano and a band member who sleep with each others girls on top of a lifestyle that switches between the bar and the concert scene.

Attitude: Emotion controls the actions of many of characters, especially when they are intoxicated. The movie is very sexual, and based on a the complications of fame and fortune.

Value Orientation: Materialistic. The band, the groupies, and everyone at the bars drink and do drugs. Money is one of the attractions for a lot of the women that want to sleep with Stefano throughout the movie.

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Film Hunt # 1

Debtocracy is a documentary film produced in 2011 by Kostas Efimeros and dirrected by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou. It highlights the reasons for Greece’s debt crisis and offers possible solutions by comparing to the Argentina and Ecuador crisis’. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are examined and criticized. Even though it’s a documentary there were a lot of visual aspects of the culture in the film. A lot of column’s and statues of people were the most obvious things.

Color Palette: Warm blues and greens, natural colors on buildings, black, white, and blue in the host backgrounds. Some nationalistic colors when they are talking about the history of the country.

Content: The documentary used images and words. They showed close ups of documents and quotes from politicians to back up their points. There was a lot of dialogue between the two host’s and narration as well. There was a lot of information being communicated in the film but it was still pretty low density especially when showing an image instead of video.

Time: It seems like Greece is set up to be a monochronic culture, but they really like to relax and blow things off as well. In some ways they are polychronic because they aren’t motivated by commercialism and consumer culture. The pace of the Greek culture seems slow, with even the Prime Minister admitting on television that his people are not very determined.

Imagery: A lot of images of one person when they are giving a background or introducing someone new, but there are also videos of groups of people and big crowds at a couple of points in the movie. The Greek people seem Individualistic in the sense of their whole country, but still enjoy company and relationships a great deal.

Context: Low context with everything explained as thoroughly as possible. Text and pictures were used but not in an overwhelming way, and the host’s seemed to prefer to talk in order to explain his points.

Attitude: An emotional culture that is very clear about how they want to live, and make no excuse’s even though some blame the Greek people for the collapse of the economy.

Value Orientation: Quality of life. The Greek people like to take their time with whatever task they are doing. One of the things that is mentioned is that the lack of motivation for Greeks to stimulate the economy is due to their cultural need for a relaxed tranquil lifestyle.

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Print Hunt

1. BMW

Color Black, White, Blond, Skin

Content Visual. One phrase in small size text, but it makes the image.

Imagery Individual, Sexual

Context Low. Here gaze, the fact that she is naked, and the phrase are all that’s needed.

Attitude Emotional in the sense that it uses sexual appeal, Rational in that a luxurious car should somehow represent a luxurious woman.

Value orientation Materialistic. The phrases, “You know you’re not the first, but do you really care?” signals an independent consumer capable of make their own decisions even if it’s a bad one.

2. Gordon’s London Dry Gin

Color Red, Black, White, Yellow, Blue

Content Mostly Image. One four word phrase.

Imagery Individualistic. One guy playing the accordion for no one while looking at a bottle of gin.

Context Low. Even the background image of the city fades into a white background.

Attitude Rationale with the text in the sense that “This is the Spirit” with a play on words, but emotional as well.

Value orientation Quality of Life. The emotion of happiness and the need for music and culture is apparent on his face.

3. Gatorade

Color Black, Blue, Red

Content mostly image with some text. “Athens. Where it all began.”

Imagery Individualistic.

Context Low. Plain black background.

Attitude Rational. Appealing to history. Emotional, appealing to tradition.

Value Orientation Quality of Life. Calling upon the physical prowess of Greek warriors.

4. Greece Football ad for http://www.sportnet.gr

Color Black, Red, White, Yellow

Content Mostly image. Just a few sentences of text.

Imagery Individualistic. He is on a team but you can’t see any of their heads and only one person is the focus.

Context Low.

Attitude Rational. Appealing to the importance of men covering themselves during direct kicks. Emotional, nationalistic sport.

Value Orientation Neither. It is not promoting a product just a sports news website.

5. Greek Sun, Not in Crisis Weekly Magazine Ad

Color Red, Orange, Yellow, White, Black, Blue

Content Half image Half text, but only 5 words.

Imagery None.

Context Low, sunset landscape and the name of the magazine.

Attitude Rational, the weather is nice so coming to Greece has no drawbacks.

Value Orientation Quality of Life. Focus on relaxing and vacationing.

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Movie Posts

Baraka: This film was filled with different cultural aesthetics. Even though there was no dialogue, the director did a good job portraying the different places. All of the people waiting to cross the street together in an Asian culture represent the collectivism and how natural it is to stand and walk so close to one another. Another culture that I noticed was the Aborigines in Australia because of the paint on their face and the fact that they used colors found in the natural landscape there. I knew when I was in India because of the way people dressed and the red bead on their foreheads. There was also an Amazon culture with big holes in their ears that I recognized because of the rain forests. I also noticed the United States in the city with so many cabs and American flags on all of the buildings.

Lost in Translation: The cultural visuals that I noticed right away included the use of bright lights on almost every building or store. When Bill Murray is riding in the cab for the first time to his hotel the high context neon signs and Japanese advertising are put on display. There were a lot of people in the ads and when they went out to the Karaoke bar all of the Japanese people were so welcoming and nice to Bill Murray’s character, which represents the collectivism of the culture. It is also clear that they are in a city area that has modern technology. The miscommunication during the first photo shoot when the director was trying to get a “Roger Moore” pose showed the language barrier and the difference in meanings of facial expressions across cultures.

Eat Drink Man Woman: The film is all about how important family life is. All of the daughters want to be there for their father and support him even though he is losing his taste. The focus on family represents Taiwanese values of relationships and respect for the elders, even though each of the girls ends up finding their own men. Food is another important cultural thing that was used by the producer a lot in the film. Every table in the movie was practically filled with traditional Taiwanese dishes. Food and family end up coming up again at the end when the father remarries and the family dynamic changes again.

Yesterday: The film Yesterday shows the lack of education in the Zulu culture. There are schools, but even Yesterday cannot understand the disease that is killing her when she is at the doctors. The hardship she had to go through each time just to get to the doctor shows how rural the culture is, and the way her husband is banished shows how hard it is for a culture to deal with a disease that they do not fully understand. The materials that their huts were made of showed the poverty that is present in a lot of Sub Saharan Africa.

Il Postino: The postman had a lot to do with the fact that it took place on an island. There wasn’t much modern technology or opportunities to get an education because of how clueless the postman is when it comes to writing poems and metaphors. The island life is more about the water and the fishing industry. It seemed like a very small community where everyone knew each other. The main form of communication other than talking was writing letters, although there was also a radio and a recording device. The postman’s disappointment when his friend didn’t write to him right away is an example of how important relationships are in a place that is so small where everyone is dependent on one another to do a job.

Babettes Feast: The visuals in Babettes Feast that I noticed included the style of clothing and the strong role that religion played in Denmark. The way that the sisters found men who were a cavalry officer and a baritone opera singer show how proper and traditional the Danish culture is. Babette’s decision to spend her 10,000 francs on a real French Dinner for 12 people with caviar and expensive champagne show her understanding of how humble and hospitable Danish culture is in such a formal way, and also how French culture is extremely involved with food.

Howls moving Castle: This movie was the first real anime that I have ever seen. It was interesting how Americanized some of the aspects of the characters were. The magic and fantasy elements are characteristic of anime and Japanese culture. I can see why people say that anime is the Disney of Japan, and its global reach makes it equally as popular as American cartoons and animations. The fact that Sophie was turned from an young girl into an old woman by a witch’s spell shows the importance of youth in Japanese culture, and at first she is horrified by it.

Children of Heaven: The landscape in the film was a culturally visual thing that I picked up on in the fact that it was very flat, dry, and obviously in the Middle East where buildings are all made from clay bricks. The way the children are looked after so loosely and how Ali is always late to class shows their determination to be kids. Their clothes and the colors also express Iranian culture. The little girl always wears a head scarf, and usually something red, while his vest was purple with a brown shirt.

Whale Rider: The visual representations of culture included the importance of lineage in the tribe. The patriarchal tradition was dismissed by Pai’s father and grandfather even though she could accomplish the tasks that the other boys could not and was the last on in the blood line. The respect for nature and the surroundings it clear with the whale tooth test, and the efforts made to save the beached whales. The connection to nature and the giant canoe at the end of the movie also demonstrate aspects of the Maori culture, and their acceptance of her as a leader also reflects tradition of appointing the most deserving person to be cheif if there are no more sons.

An Everlasting Piece: The Irish cultural aesthetic that I found in the film was confusing because of the war and religious battle going on. The tendency to talk in a very sarcastic way and antagonize was clear when Colm was trying to sell wigs. There was definitely a sense of humor in the film with the dogs chewing up the hairpiece when Colm escaped from the man who refused to pay for the wig. There are also a lot of cigarettes being smoked in the movie. The premise of them trying to get rich from selling wigs is comical in the first place, and then they actually do find government contract for wigs wanted by soldiers with Alopecia.

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Snapshot Pg. 396

The images in local real estate ads try to make the argument that each home is the best one for you. They accentuate the good parts and try to avoid any negatives about the home. Depending on where they are and what size the advertisements sometimes talk about a particular kind of buyer like a single family home. It is important that the image is a good one and gets the audiences attention right away because I find myself skipping over the homes that have photos taken from far away or a bad angle. The words must go along perfectly with the visual to make the argument the most persuasive, and the argument has to be of importance to whoever the audience is.

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I plan to argue visually that this home has everything to offer at a price that is practically a steal. It is an oceanfront home built only five years ago. The audience for this home would want to know when it was built because of how new and clean it looks in the photo. They care about the quality of the home because if it has all of their requirements and is a good price then they will purchase it. To make the argument visually I chose a photograph of a modern house that has a lot to offer by looking at it. There is custom siding on the outside, a nice porch, and a tower room. The grass and the shingles on the roof even look meticulously new and perfect. In order to make the visual argument fully effective words are necessary to explain the details of the visual persuasiveness. The location, price, description of the inside are what will really sell the home after the visual argument gets the audience interested.

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Focus and Respond Pg. 408

King Leopold’s Ghost

 

If Sullivan did not use the photo of the Congolese children behind Leopold’s face then the audience would have no idea what King Leopold was important for. If there is connection to the story behind the picture then people will be less likely to want to buy it based on the cover. If it were only a portrait of King Leopold then consumers would not be persuaded to learn more about this man. The job of a book cover is to convince us that we want to read what’s in the book.

The argument that is made on the cover of this book seems like it did a good job trying to describe what was inside. The joke of the cover is making fun of how we see and what we see by showing a man with water in the background holding a picture of a boat also in the water. The design appeals to both the students and the instructor. What makes me read the design of the cover the way I do is the idea of what we really see when we look at things and why we see it that way.

From looking at the designs of the two covers in the middle I would expect the book to be geared toward the female audience. The use of the color pink and the image of the woman with a pearl necklace are what make it visually targeted toward girls. The title “becoming a woman in many uneasy lessons” reflects an argument that would expect me to think of the book as a memoir about a girl’s story of growing up and turning into a woman. The cover reminds me of Marilyn Monroe and there is a man with a suit behind her, which makes me think that the book will also be about her relationships with men.

The first design of Edward Carey’s book cover conveys a sense that it is about the weird things that are in this mans life. Glasses, an apple, a light bulb, beer, scissors, a rattrap, a chess piece, a razor, a spoon, and a bent nail among other things represent the book as very strange and weird. The way all of these things are arranged in boxes on the page make me confused and do not convince me that it is an interesting book worth reading. The white background is also too plain and just makes all the weird things even more obvious and annoying. The second design of the cover does a better job representing the “disturbing content” of the book simply by making the background black. It looks like a chalkboard drawing, which is also makes it look like it was hand drawn. The freaky images are organized differently with glasses, a wine glass, rubber gloves, and a ruler as the main drawings. Even though it is different form the first cover design the second one still does not want to make interesting and feeling like I want to find out more about the book. It does a better job of telling people about the disturbing content of the book and helps make it not look so modern and clean like the first one.

The book Cover I chose to redesign is “Confessions of a Shopaholic” because I do not think that they convey what I believe is the central argument of the book. This is a book for young women who love to go shopping. The three book covers that I found online, but only one of gives readers a better idea of what the books about. The idea that I had was to display more clothes and bags in a woman’s hands, and also to have her in a walk in closet that was overwhelmingly full of clothes. The audience for this book wants to see more designer clothes on the cover instead of just an image of one bag or a blank white background. The features that I would use to communicate to this particular kind of shopaholic reader include a walk in closet with shoes and tops and dress all arranged by color. The woman overwhelmed with her mouth open not knowing what to wear would still work for my new cover.

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Focus and Respond 5

The Man Who Makes the Pictures Perfect 351

The retouches that Dangin claims are the way things are and should be in the digital age are actually dangerous. He is changing the way people look with computer programs and then passing it off as a real person. It is not a good message to be sending to young kids in this digital age who feel enough pressure from everything else. It was scary to hear the quote by Dangin when he said, “This world is not reality” because he does not realize some people do not know how extensive the retouching is and how out of control its getting. The fashion industry is constructing a reality that is impossible for people to reach while at the same time continuously telling us that we can get there, even though there isn’t even a real place to get. Photographs have been manipulated for a long time, but when it is done to every single picture so that you will never see anything else you start to believe in Dangin’s fake creations.

I think it is a problem that there is not a clear line to be drawn for what photos should be allowed to be retouched in major newspapers. If only fashion related photos are allowed to be retouched then people will just find ways to relate their photos to fashion somehow even if that isn’t what they are really about. Every person wears clothes in almost every picture, which can be considered a fashion statement, so that means that any photograph in a newspaper with a person in it has an excuse to be changed. Soon altering photos will become such a common thing to do that no one will really ever see an accurate representation of reality in any images.

The connection between fashion images and eating disorders is clear when you look at pictures of fashion models who are already skinny that have been retouched to look even more impossibly thin. They promote these images of body’s that no woman can achieve and glorify them so it drives girls to want to be like them. The images below show how models are inspiring girls to become so malnourished and have almost no muscle definition because they want to be considered skinny enough for high fashion.

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Men are also trying to live up to an image that its hard for many of them to reach. Men’s body’s are always shown as cut with muscles that are more than toned and washboard abs with an big chest and skinny waist. The tips for men in health magazines are to work out almost every day of the week and to always take some kind of supplement with your work out plan. Men don’t have the same problem as women because they need to eat more to gain muscle, but they are definitely judged against that impossible standard when they are to either too skinny with no muscle or overweight.

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