- What was it like taking a walk when you were actually paying attention to ads?
- In French culture, they call a “city walker who admires their surroundings” a flâneur or flâneuse. I studied in Paris my freshman year of college and had a beautiful flânerie experience. Being a flâneuse in Downtown Los Angeles was quite different. It was more difficult to physically walk while paying attention to the ads. People here live a much faster lifestyle and tend to want to get from one place to the other in no time. It was hard to look at ads and fully understand the concept behind them. I think the reason why there were so many billboards and lots of wall installations is because of the fast LA lifestyle. Also, my neighborhood is quite busy because it is in DTLA; perhaps, this exercise would have been different in a suburban neighborhood (lack of ads and more walk time).
- 2) Reflect on the advertising you saw the most of.
- I saw many ads about the new television show Santa Clarita Diet and was truly shocked with how many advertisements and billboards there were. There’s a massive installation of this ad on Figueroa. Seeing it so much that day made me want to see the new Netflix show because of how many times I saw it.
3) The main themes of the ads
- The main themes of the ads were appeals to pathos, appeals to ethos (lots of ads by bus stops with facts regarding car crashes etc), sex, food, and violence. There were also some advertisements which presented gory elements (like Santa Clarita Diet) but intermingled this with a food theme — which is perfect for LA foodies.
4) What did the ads say about the neighborhood?
- The advertisements said a lot about the neighborhood in a sense where I could finally understand the demographics of Downtown L.A. The sprawling and booming city is being reborn at the moment. A lot of hipster crowds and rich executives tend to live in DTLA apartments. Their likes and dislikes definitely matter and I noticed how these were taken into account through the ways in which the ads were placed, especially around Figueroa.
5) How did the ads make you feel about the products and services they were advertising?
– Some television advertisements made me want to watch the show they were advertising. There are other advertisements that serve as a reminder of an already loved brand. For example, there is a huge Coca-Cola bottle advertised on the JW Marriott hotel’s building. It reminded me of wanting to grab a Coke during my walk due to the unusually hot weather that day. Moreover, car crash advertisements are a staple to LA’s car and driving culture. They present a real problem in Los Angeles while also reminding and informing audiences of this unfortunate circumstances.
- Were the ads effective in persuading you?
- Some ads were effective in persuading me to understand the message they were trying to convey of their company. I think that due to the recent controversies under Trump America, companies have tried to either be neutral about political matters. However, their audiences demand more from them and want people of their power to stand up to the recent presidential executive orders. For example, the lack of Nike commercials was shocking to me — especially for a sporting event. I also believe that most Super Bowl advertisements, for me, are purely comical (i.e. famous Doritos and Taco Bell commercials).
b ) Which brands stood out the most and why?
- 84 Lumber and Audi’s commercials stood out to me due to the boldness of their advertisements. The concept that Trump is able to demean or even devalue a business through a Tweet is particularly terrifying, most especially for large businesses like Audi and 84 Lumber. Personally, I’ve never heard of the latter, but their commercial was the best one this year (in my humble opinion).
c) Which ones did you pay less attention to or ignore?
- I ignored some of the Taco Bell commercials because they weren’t selling the product, but just the stupidity of the characters.
d ) Why do you think these brands chose a football game to advertise in? e) What surprised you?
- I think they chose a football game to advertise in because of the millions of viewers which would then increase exposure knowledge of the brand and their products. The Mr. Clean commercials surprised me — only because they were unlike past commercials. I thought it was a bold (and funny) move for the company.
f ) Which brand was most successful and why?
– In my opinion, the 84 lumber advertisement was the most successful because it showed that empathy, compassion and love could really “trump” all. It presented a different side of illegal immigration that many Americans do not know of. It was really about time for a company to set their foot down on this issue and show what their products can do to help. I thought it was a bold and solid move for the company, and I would not be surprised if their stock prices or even ROI increases exponentially in the next few years.
Reader: Have you started to believe in this mayhem? Has the dust settled for you?
America, founded on democracy, has elected a bigot, a chauvinist, a xenophobe to be the President of the United States of America.
Isn’t it a shame?
I am now starting to become tired of describing Mr. Trump as the adjectives which I have described him as up above. America has become a laughingstock, an entertainment train chugging through the world’s mayhem. It has become an international reality show; a surrealist nightmare.
Published on November 9th, 2016, this video presents John Green discussing the outcome of the 2016 election, “the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, the astonishing and beautiful persistence of hope among humans, and attempts to offer somewhat lost thoughts on where to go now” (John Green, YouTube caption).
Even here, John Green, a profound mind of the 21st century, is a lost as to where the country is going to go now.
I watched the world crash down in front of me as I watched the election results in a building filled with my fellow university students. Initially, the night was hopeful — there was popcorn, pizza and drinks to pre-celebrate the night which was to come. Supposedly, the night which would then become a night to remember: the night when America voted a woman to be the President of the United States of America. Throughout the night, I saw my fellow students eventually break down, laugh hysterically, bawl in public — any which way one can cope with the terrible news that Donald Trump won.
Perhaps, I am still in shock. Perhaps, I still do not believe that these fair states could do this to the country and to the world. Perhaps, I still refuse to confront this humiliation to women, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community.
I think that for now, I am willing to help our society by calling out bigotry, misogyny and racism. I will not stand for anything less than good, than fair.
On November 8, 2016, an Internet troll became the President of the United States of America.
His name is Donald J. Trump; he is a corrupt businessman who antagonized minorities, LGBTQ+ and women (among others) and used it as fuel to drive his tumultuous presidential campaign. He is now preparing to sit in the Oval Office — this past week, President Obama invited him to the White House.
This stuff-of-nightmares pricks me.
For alt-right supporters and Steve Bannon, a white man in the White House means that we are making America great again.
For many Americans, a bigoted, chauvinistic, misogynistic man in the White House means— let us make America grieve again.
According to Swiss-born psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are six stages of grief:
As part of the disenfranchised population, I am sorrily stuck on Stage 3. To cope with the news, I am staying proactive at school, on social media and looking out for my friends in case they need comfort and support. For some, raising hell through violent riots is how they cope. For others, peaceful protests are the way to go.
And for the Internet population, taking a selfie with a safety pin is the norm. It is apparently how we as humans show virtual support and solidarity for fellow Americans and “illegal aliens” who feel lost, angry and afraid.
At first, I thought it was cute. And then I became furious.
To quote Christopher Keelty, “Dear white people, your safety pins are embarrassing.”
I am an Asian woman and naturalized citizen of these great states. I am not racist. Having been bullied extensively growing up due to my skin color, I vowed not to add more animosity upon the world. When I first heard the news that Trump won the presidential campaign, it was like my heart was an open wound being poured on by endless amounts of rubbing alcohol.
It hurt; it burned; it stung.
In Nell Irvin Painter’s New York Times article “What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era” he states that, “Donald J. Trump campaigned on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” a phrase whose “great” was widely heard as “white.”
The slogan itself is ensnared with white nationalism. We cannot simply wear safety pins to show that we are allies with disenfranchised people.
Marginalized populations remember the extensive history of white people claiming themselves allies while in turn doing absolutely nothing to help.
Now, I understand that not all Trump supporters are racist, sexist or homophobic.
Don’t believe me? Van Jones, an African-American CNN political commentator, interviewed several white Trump supporters in Gettysburg, PA — where naturally the Battle of Gettysburg and then President Lincoln’s well-known Gettysburg Address both occurred.
As far as the episodes went, the interviewees seemed genuine with their opinions. They unanimously agreed upon one subject: they voted for Trump because they wanted change.
Truth is, I’m all for change. I’m a millennial, for Pete’s sake.
But how can one look past the debauchery, acrimonious rhetoric and racially charged actions that this white nationalist demagogue has done?
With great assumption, Trump supporters will naturally counter my argument with calling Hillary Clinton a liar, a cheat, a woman who should be in jail. All points taken.
However, the truth is, if you voted for Trump, then you decided that racism isn’t a deal breaker. And that, my friends, is a deal breaker for me.
By voting for Trump, you chose to extend a long arduous fight that dates back to whence it began: Blumenbach’s five categories of race, Caucasian being the utmost best. The historic fetishization of white beauty is strongly affiliated with the power of the white man. It took the world centuries to trump this idea and find a happy medium between races. Though imperfect, the Western world certainly found a way for many races to live together.
If you voted for Trump, then you chose to invalidate battles, fights, wars against racism —one of the most important social causes of our time. You chose to invalidate the lives of millions who fought their way for us to get here.
I do not know if America, or the world in general, will be able to extenuate that.
On his take of the election votes, an emotional Van Jones helplessly asked the viewers, “How do I explain this to my children?” He then blamed President-elect Trump’s win on a “whitelash.”
The term “whitelash” seemed too harsh, too truthful for many Americans. In retrospect, Van Jones was simply stating a fact.
A whitelash cannot simply be broken by conveniently hitting two birds with one stone: stroking one’s egoism and posting a weekly selfie while wearing a safety pin, along with a wannabe empowering caption.
You cannot wear safety pins to show total support for your fellow Americans when in fact you voted for the person whose campaign rhetoric is the reason why they — we — are all in this predicament.
I am speaking to all —most specifically white Trump supporters.
You are not allowed to convenience yourself by wearing a safety pin. Your safety pins do not absolve the sins of your fellow racial cohort. Your safety pins do not allow you to assuage the guilt and say “I am one of the good ones.”
Just as equally as the fact that none of us are allowed to eschew Trump’s racist, sexist and homophobic remarks. Most importantly if one helped in creating Trump’s stairway to blinding white heaven through voting him to office —then one must be aware that in doing so, one helped to create the disenfranchised people’s stairway to hell.
This Thanksgiving, I plead with you — if you hear of your aunt’s annual racial commentary about i.e. a Chinese woman who runs her laundromat, please stop her. Stop her. Call her out. Inform her. Do all that you can to show her what you see. Because if what you see is good, and she sees that as well — then we have hope.
Do not wear a safety pin when your words and your actions can act as a safeguard to everyone — including yourself.
Perhaps the result of the 2016 presidential elections is not the result we hoped for. And perhaps the Trumpocalypse is upon us.
But I offer this idea to you — it’s beautiful, isn’t it?
How it hurts, how it burns, how it stings — but we never give up.
Social media came to full fruition in the middle of the 21st century. It began with ancient websites like Friendster, AOL and Myspace — both of which, at the time, were powerhouse websites whose goals were to connect. The concept behind each website was to connect each other, to connect people from all over the world, the idea that a 16 year old girl from Cincinnati, Ohio could chat with a 40 year old woman from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam about anything and everything about Vietnam was a huge ‘mind-blown’ moment for humankind.
At the time, it was one of the most exciting and life-changing idea to be able to speak to someone from across the globe. In 2016, we have the ability to speak to anyone and everyone, in any nook and cranny of the world, in any medium we want. Applications like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage are all wonderful pieces of technology with which we are able to speak, talk, and converse with someone. We not only speak with them, we are able to see them personally, eye to eye, as if they were there.
For my 80 year old grandmother, telegrams, letters and phones were mind-blowing. The idea that today, she is hooked to her Nook is beyond belief. She knows how to use the device as well as anyone I know can. That is the beauty and danger of social media — anyone and everyone will one day learn how to use it.
However, social media was a baby born out of a set of very finicky parents — the Internet and the creation of the computer. The computer came first, at a time where people did not think anyone would be able to touch or see a screen lit up for more than an hour or two. The Internet came second, a revelation to humankind — which later became an accessory, an accumulation of knowledge, something we definitely take for granted. And when the Internet and computer both decided that Google was not the only way we can find out about one’s whereabouts — there came social media, the prodigal son.
And our lives were forever changed.
According to Kate Lonczak’s article, “Vine Shut Down — Is Twitter Next?”, “Vine, the video sharing social media outlet, officially ended its four year run earlier this week. Twitter owned Vine and announced the termination of the six-second video sharing service after it severely declined in popularity over the past year.”
A once behemoth of an application, the Vine app recently announced that its services would be terminated since its participation and popularity has decline over the past year.
That is the past year. As in 12 months. In colloquial terms: if you ain’t got no popularity, then you out.
The danger of social media is that it is dynamic, it is ever-changing, and if you do not change and innovate with it, then you will be terminated and you will see your app (and your job’s) demise. Its danger is also its beauty — the concept that we do not have to read through 16 pages of newspaper and waste 2-3 hours of our time looking for something ‘juicy’ is long gone. We can find something extremely entertaining on all social media sites.
The fruit of social media is definitely ripened and most importantly — juicy and always changing.
Facebook Check-In: Standing Rock, ND
It is currently post-midterms and pre-Thanksgiving season, and as a college student, you should either be exhausted, on the verge of having your fourth nervous breakdown of the week, or watching Netflix instead of editing your paper. Instead of doing your lengthy readings, you are scrolling through Facebook in hopes of eschewing the daunting truth that there are only five weeks of school left and you must get your grade up.
I have a Facebook friend whose primary objective in her digital life is to inspire her followers to vote for Hillary Clinton. Her posts are usually leftist, outspoken and liberal, and refreshingly entertaining. I was really banking on her sense of humor during a study break, so I decided to scroll through her Facebook page and lo and behold — my Facebook friend checked into the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. I was very much confused; I had just seen her on campus a few days ago. Maybe she had flown to protest? Maybe she wanted to take a trip to North Dakota? I had no idea and was thoroughly puzzled.
Are you also wondering why your Facebook friends are sporadically checking into the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota?
As of today, there have been over 1 million people who have checked into Standing Rock, North Dakota through Facebook in an attempt to confuse the police. Supporters are believing lawmakers and police officers are using social media as a tool to track down protesters. The “checking-in” feature is usually used to check-in to restaurants, tourist spots, etc. In this case, the feature is utilized in a show of support for the tribe that has been rallying against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Most “visitors” are not actually in North Dakota at the protest camp; however, through checking into the reservation, they are showing their support for the tribe and the sacred land they are fighting for. According to an NPR article, the planned route crosses the Missouri River just upstream of the reservation, and the tribe says it may have the ability to contaminate drinking water and defile sacred land.
People are using the checking in tool as a tactic to confuse the police. According to The Guardian, “Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check-in at Standing Rock, ND to overwhelm and confuse them.”
However, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department posted on their Facebook page on Monday that “it does not follow Facebook check-ins for the protest camp or any location.” Regarding the report, they claimed that it was “absolutely false.”
Whether or not the Sheriff’s Department is checking Facebook to track down protestors, they are, however, inflicting unnecessary brutality towards the Water Protectors and other supporters.
The tactic of using social media as a tool to exhort audiences to fight against injustice is a 21st century protesting tactic — and in my opinion, it is extremely smart and savvy. Social media is free, relatively easy to use and practically everyone within the ages of 9-70 will have some type of social media account. Facebook is a universal, familiar and widely-used social media site whose platform is almost perfect for the amalgamation of media, politics, opinions, and funny memes. Furthermore, the affinity between “Facebook friends” is something companies and organizations bank on when it comes to digital analysis towards a brand, product or restaurant/company/start-up location — in this case, the location happens to be the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
Six days ago, world-renowned actress Shailene Woodley published an article on Time magazine regarding the truth behind her alleged arrest. The actress was part of a blockade for the North Dakota Access Pipeline. She was charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot.
The young actress was arrested on Oct. 10, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday where “America is meant to celebrate the indigenous people of North America.” (Time) Woodley is an avid activist, a feminist and advocate for equal rights. She states in the article, “I was in North Dakota, standing in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors, people who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
The actress tackles a huge atrocity in North American history: the forgotten culture and respect for Indigenous Peoples. Reflecting upon the actress’ actions, I can relate to her adamancy towards finding respect for the Indigenous Peoples. These forgotten acts of targeted killings due to racism is comparable to the Nazis of World War II. In Europe, there are laws against Holocaust denial, and the European Union established and approved legislation in 2007 that would essentially make denying the Holocaust punishable by being sentenced to jail.
America is behind the times; we are a people who pride ourselves in being open to a ‘melting pot’ of cultures, but we are still in denial of our history with Indigenous Peoples.
In the article, the actress states, “We wear their heritage, their sacred totems, as decoration and in fashion trends, failing to honor their culture. Headdresses, feathers, arrows. Moccasins, sage, beadwork. You know what I’m talking about, Coachella. Walking around the flea market this weekend, I can’t even tell you how many native references I saw being used in a way that feeds our western narrative.”
I wholeheartedly agree with the actress. Western culture seems to adapt their taste to native culture and use the culture to embellish their tastes. Coachella is a great example for this; it seems to me that every year the music festival occurs, more and more people ignorantly disrespect native culture. The worst part is that they pretend they know what their actions are involved in, but they have never really delved into the culture since 99% of the time, if you are American and you studied in American schools, you were not taught to delve into native culture. Only the great Sacagawea and perhaps Pocahontas, and maybe a little paragraph regarding The Trail of Tears are allowed within the curriculum.
I remember reading about The Trail of Tears in my fourth grade history book and wondered what was this event. I further read through the very small, very insignificant paragraph compared to the concept of “Manifest Destiny”.
Shailene Woodley’s arrest definitely enlightened America with current issues regarding Indigenous Peoples and the denial of their targeted killings.
‘It took me, a white non-native woman being arrested… to bring this cause to many people’s attention’ – Shailene Woodley