The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Brilliant Piece of Campaigning

 Ben Wildner

Research has shown that negative campaign ads positively effect elections for those that issue them, yet almost all voters say they detest such ads. It's a conundrum during every election season, but during the 2010 midterms in which the primary motivator is anger at incumbents the decision to rely on fire hoses of mud is dominant. In the California gubernatorial campaign, Democratic Candidate Jerry Brown takes advantage of this tendency among the voters by hinting at the failings of the previous administration (Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger's), but focusing on his own successes during his two terms as Governor of California in the late 70's and early 80's (He is able to run for a third term because the 2 term limit does not apply to public officials who served prior to 1990). The ad opens with his opponent Meg Whitman saying that "30 years ago anything was possible in this state" later she says "I mean its why I came to California all those years ago." It's an incredibly convenient statement for Brown who was governor of California at 30 years ago giving his staff the opportunity to use the Republicans' tactic of taking America back to its strongest time and use it to promote him- a Democrat. The irony is strong enough to actually be funny.

The ad claims that when Mr. Brown was Governor of California he cut waste and balanced the budget, he made 4 billion dollars in tax cuts while maintaining a world class education system, promoting clean energy, and created 1.9 million new jobs. I don't know how truthful these statements are, but Brown's platform during the 1980 Democratic Presidential Primary emphasized the balanced budget amendment and solar power in the wake of the oil crisis and the 3-Mile Island accident. The 1.9 million number is probably skewed a bit too because the US economy did very poorly in the first few years of the 80's. That economic crisis may have led to Brown's failure to gain the California senate seat after he ran for that office instead of a third term as governor. I'm sure Brown was not the perfect governor; however, any bad decisions he made during that time have dimmed in the public memory and a large percentage of voters can't remember them at all.

In most performances (which a commercial is) the audience tends to remember the last thing they see best, and then the first thing they saw, followed by everything else. Seemingly acknowledging this point Mr. Brown's campaign staff go after the issue that every voter is concerned with: jobs. They end with the vocal statement "Jerry Brown, knowledge and know-how to get California working again" and the words "Let's get California working again" on the screen. If they can convince voters that Brown is the candidate with the best chance to bring California out of the recession there is no doubt that he will win.

The advertisement is the most brilliant I've seen this campaign season, combining the public's tendency to like candidates more if they avoid negative mud-slinging and also very subtly using the best tool of 2010: the perceived failings of the preceding administration. The best part of the ad is the ability to take his primary opponents words and instead of making her sound either evil or stupid as many candidates have done this year; he makes her support him. It's to bad such opportunities don't present themselves to often as many voters would prefer to be pounded day and night with this thirty second piece than with most of the ads we're seeing this year,which are making the the personal injury attorneys seem rather less slimy by comparison. This ad is hardly doing poorly for Mr. Brown who leads in the polls according to Rasmussen 49% to 45%.

Grassley Works for Us

            Chuck Grassley is an all-around hard working citizen and family farmer who represents Iowa in the senate. Chuck Grassley not only illustrates himself as an American citizen but a true Iowan who is just like one of us. This entire commercial is a model of how we should be living our lives, representing not only our country but also our state.
            Barbara Grassley, Chuck’s wife, was speaking throughout the entire commercial. She spoke about how Chuck Grassley is a family man, farmer, member of the senate, works on an assembly line, hardworking, and has the longest consecutive voting record out of all the senators (6000 straight votes). In this campaign ad the conversation of Barbara Grassley didn’t make it powerful, the visual aspect did. This commercial visually portrayed Chuck Grassley as a true Iowan on his farm as a family man while driving his old beat up car down a dirt road. On the flip side we saw the senator side of Grassley, with his suit and tie on interacting with many people.
            The clips shown of Grassley on a farm, in jeans and a shirt, with his old car on a dirt road reveal the message of an American citizen, even more so an Iowan. These images of Grassley make him more relatable as a candidate and it shows the voters that he is just one of us. By showing his supporters American images it demonstrates that Grassley does truly support America and his American citizenship. The jeans and a button up shirt that Grassley is wearing while working on his farm is the typical “American style” that most people wear and it also shows what most people think of Iowa, it is all farms. Also the car that he is driving down the dirt road in the beginning of the campaign ad is an American brand car, Chuck Grassley supports America.
            The second visual appeal of this commercial is Grassley’s interaction with people. Whether it’s a visual of Grassley on the farm, in an assembly line, or in the senate’s office he is always interacting with someone. He is someone who is always there to help and when helping will have a smile on his face. His interaction with people displays the assumption that Grassley is a kind, friendly man that is willing to work with others. The interaction with people also conveys a sense of citizenship and how we should be willing to live our lives because citizens should work together as one and be happy to help anyone, as Grassley is.
One main element that is carried throughout this commercial is about Grassley’s hard work and the diversity he shows throughout his working experience. By being a farmer, member of the senate, and an assembly line worker he shows variety and that he is a hard worker within his jobs. Grassley is an active man and knows how the American working system operates; you need to know how to work in many different job types. The ultimate citizen knows they have to work hard in many different types of jobs because that is honestly how America is run today. Hard work is one aspect that conveys how we as Americans should be living our lives, but diversity amplifies that idea. Diversity and hard work define a true American citizen.
            When thinking about the upcoming election, senators may concern is getting reelected. The campaign ads and portraying American citizenship is all in work to get reelected and become a senator again. With Grassley having the longest consecutive voting record out of any senator and having 6,000 straight votes in office, he knows his campaign ads are doing the job. Grassley knows he is a true American citizen and even more so an Iowan which allows other citizens to believe the same. This commercial offers Chuck Grassley as the perfect citizen with the characteristics he has; hard work, farmer, family man, and diversity. Grassley’s commercial is a perfect example of how we should be living our lives as American citizens; hard working, family oriented, diverse, with dedication.

Sierra Riasati

Russ Feingold’s TV ad “For Us” provides a model of citizenship based around the idea of nationalism and loyalty to the country, specifically to our veterans and how they have been ignored. The ad contains a series of veterans telling their stories of how Russ Feingold has helped them and other veterans during his time in the Senate. It features veterans from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Storm and as far back as Vietnam. It is an affective ad that is positive in nature, containing no reference to Feingold’s opponent.

The main focus of the ad is an appeal to the loyalty of the American people to our country, especially to our veterans. In the ad, veterans remind us that they are often ignored by both the American people and the American government when they return from duty. This is definitely supposed to bring about guilt in the watcher about the fact that our veterans are sometimes poor or homeless after they leave the military due to being unable to work because of injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The inclusion of a veteran from Vietnam may also remind the viewer how the American people have mistreated veterans in the past.

The point of all of this guilt is then to then bring in the veterans talking about how much Russ Feingold has done for them and other veterans. The veteran from Vietnam talks about how Feingold spearheaded an attempt to build five new veteran clinics in Wisconsin. Another veteran tells how Feingold attempted to improve education and healthcare benefits for veterans. The ad also contains two woman veterans, which is assuredly an attempt to appeal to woman voters with this ad too.
As for how this ad provides a model of citizenship, the model in the ad is Russ Feingold himself. Feingold is a model of an essential part of citizenship, patriotism, by showing his support for veterans and not forgetting about them after they finish their tours of duty. This makes viewers of this ad feel more like they should emulate Feingold to support the veterans. This would in turn make viewers more likely to vote for Feingold. The sense of patriotism is readily apparent in the last line of the ad by the veterans: “We were proud to stand up for this country, and we returned home, Russ stood up for us”.
- Lucas Oshman

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Iowa's "Choice"

When most Iowans turn on the television, commercials are not something they enjoy watching, especially political commercials. Often these consist of opponents bashing each other’s campaigns and preaching about their successes. In the race for Governor of Iowa there are no exceptions. Chet Culver is campaigning against Terry Branstad for this position in 2010. Culver, a Democrat, is running for reelection while Branstad, a Republican, is looking to reclaim his previous position.  Each candidate runs television ads, holds rallies, and other promotional events to win other the votes of Iowans. As a native Iowan, I’ve heard and seen these politicians for years and have also witnessed their campaigns in the past (although I’m not politically intelligent at all). In the ad “Choice” released from the Culver campaign, Governor Culver talks about education, renewable energy, and medical research. It is obvious who he target audience is, the white, middle class, average American family. He touches on each of these subjects for reasons including the sense of nationalism and the overall message he states.
                Throughout the commercial Culver refers to Branstad and each of his views compared to the views of Culver and his campaign. He uses these to transition into how his views are better and that we, as Iowans and Americans, should agree with him. In each of the scenes in the commercial Culver use common scenes found all over Iowa and the Midwest. He begins in an elementary classroom with a teacher in the background helping students then switches to an outdoor landscape that pans over wind turbine equipment and a bright green grassy field. A classroom is something many people connect directly to families with small children and an emphasis on the future of our country and the leaders we create in these schools. A sense of nationalism is connected with future generations and how our nation as a whole will benefit from bettering public schooling. Not only is nationalism portrayed in the classroom scene but also when looking at the renewable resources that Iowa has available. Wind turbines can be seen all over the state and have been in the spotlight over the last decade as an important part of this growing market. When people see gas prices skyrocket and oil companies making millions and traveling in private jets all over the country, it fuels a desire to change where we import energy and resources from. Nationalism is again obvious as people see this as a way to become more independent and better the environment as well. Our culture often revolves around moving and finding the next big product, renewable energy sources are a great way to fuel that in an innovative and eco-friendly way, which middle class Americans like. In between bashing Branstad and showing scenes of pre-school students learning, Culver relays his message and call to action.
Medical stem cell research is something he emphasizes that as Americans we should support. The scene is filmed in a laboratory that may or may not be related to medical research at all. In one sense this approach could work on the people that are or have been affected by stem cell research. One the other hand, those that oppose stem cell research could be turned away from this statement alone. He talks about what the viewer should or shouldn’t support again when he brings up the subject of moving forward as a state and community. Making advances in research, school systems, and the job market are appealing subjects to middle class citizens. Culver makes sure to touch on each and show scenes that almost everyone in the Midwest can easily relate to and probably seen on a daily basis. Not only does he appeal to city dwellers but also to rural families and farmers.
The name says it all, “Choice”. We have the power to change the direction of the state and influence the nation as a whole during these elections. Culver uses his thirty seconds of commercial space to spread his message to common voters in Iowa. By utilizing their sense of nationalism and telling voters to get out there and support his causes because that’s what he believes will benefit the most people. He also implies that what he believes is what is always right and what Branstad will do will take our state in the wrong direction.

Megan Fisher

Friday, October 29, 2010

Education and Hard Work: Roy Blunt a Prime Example for Americans

Hadley Jennings
Roy Blunt is a Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri. He is a Missouri Congressman and came to the United States House of Representatives in 1997. He is currently running for a Senate seat in the 2010 election on November 2.
In this advertisement above, it talks about how Roy Blunt grew up a dairy farm, became the first to graduate from college in his family, how he became a high school teacher and later a University President at Southwest Missouri Baptist University. This advertisement is a model for citizenship in many ways. First, you can model or put yourself in the mindset similar to Roy Blunt. If you are in a family where you are the first to attend college, graduate and become the first person in your family to succeed. This is a model for nationalism and work ethic. In a way that is described as this, when you graduate college and become the first to do so in your family you display persistent work ethic and devotion to your family and in all your nation. If you devote yourself to a college or university for however long and move on to a job in the United States it displays your intense work ethic to achieve your goals and it displays in some ways nationalism. Nationalism has many meanings such as it being a movement in which you conquer you dreams and aspirations in regards to the nation.
 That theme of work ethic  ties directly into the second model for citizenship that Mr. Blunt gives us which is, if you have a dream of becoming a teacher, businessman, or whatever you aspire to be follow those dreams and aspirations. He followed the example set to him by his grandmothers as school teachers. That shows that he values education and hard work to achieve your education and that is something America is drawing more and more towards the value of your education. More Americans are furthering their education by college degrees and some do not stop there they attend Graduate school after college.  This all requires hard work. Without hard work, instilled in him through his parents growing up on a dairy farm and from his grandmothers through schooling, Roy Blunt would not have gotten to where he is today. Mr. Blunt was not just happy settling with the idea of being a school teacher he moved onto a high role as an educator of American people. Roy Blunt assumed the position as a University President at Missouri Baptist University. This shows he encourages higher education, not only through Southwest Missouri Baptist University but through colleges and universities everywhere.
This advertisement not only shows how he models citizenship by his accomplishment but by his views. He wants the children of America to be able to make the same decisions about education as he did and have the dreams of modeling themselves after inspirational people in their lives. If America keeps on the path it is going on, jobs will be harder and harder to find and keep and in result children will see their stressed parents in their jobs and not exactly want to be what their parents are. They will find themselves being forced into higher education with no dream of what they want to be and especially a turn off view towards what their parents are. They could find themselves undecided on what to do with their lives because they are focusing on desired jobs and that could possibly force them into undesired majors and unhappy futures. Roy Blunt in this advertisement shows how he cares about that scary, realistic view of the children of America’s future.
I may be reading too much into this advertisement for the purpose of validating my point, but to make the point short and sweet Roy Blunt exemplifies just what the title of this advertisement is: Education and Hard work. Though one voice from Missouri cannot change the face of America through laws, one voice can speak loudly to a group of people that group of people is myself and others as Missourians.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grassley. A True American

Zac Stevens
If this commercial doesn’t make you want to be the all around true American citizen then this country might not be right for you. Chuck Grassley exemplifies in many ways how he is not only true American citizen but also a true Iowan. He includes himself as well as many other people, from young to old, men and women, to show his all around citizenship.
            The entire video he is showing images and video clips of things that are American. He starts the ad with him driving an old, what seems to be, Oldsmobile down a dirt road. The car he is driving, the Oldsmobile, is one of the oldest American brands of cars that still exist and definitely a traditional American car. With the recent downfall that the automobile industry had one of the main things preached to Americans was buy American produced products, especially cars. Grassley shows not only that he supports America but also he gives the idea that he is a middle class citizen by the car being at least twenty years old. In this commercial Grassley shows us that the ideal citizen supports the U.S. economy by buying American products.
            A main component that Grassley carries throughout this commercial about his all around citizenship is how hard and diverse of a worker his is. He has shown diversity and hard work in his jobs through being a farmer, an assembly line worker, and a union member the commercial says. This also shows that he is an active man and knows the ways of the American working system in many different categories. The commercial shows the ideal citizenship consist of working hard in many different types of jobs so you can know how America is truly run. The ideal citizen also displays dedication by showing that Grassley runs at 5:15 in the morning. It is not just the working aspect that needs hard work put into it but also you need to invest in yourself in order to be an ideal citizen.
            The commercial also has the visual appeal of all of the smiling faces. Whether it is a clip of Grassley smiling or a person talking about him, most of them have a smile on there face, which gives the idea that he is a nice friendly man. They want the idea that the ideal citizen is nice and gets along well with other people. In other clips of the video they show him shaking hands people and they show him working on the farm with another person to achieve one goal. It is important for people not only to get along but also be able to work with one another. American citizenship is built on the concept that citizens help other people to achieve their goals but also the common goals. Grassley shows that he does this not only well but also with a smile on his face that conveys that he is happy to help anyone.
            Freedom and the ability to vote is one of the most common attributes that people think of when they think of a United States citizen. Grassley shows that he will never pass up an opportunity to vote with the stat that he has had nearly 6,000 straight senatorial votes in office. He is a man that understands what citizenship is about, says the commercial, and he will not downplay the importance of his voice as a U.S. citizen.
            The commercial presents Chuck Grassley as the ideal citizenship with all of the characteristics he has, from hard work and dedication with a smile to always making his voice heard. The commercial tries to convey a perfect citizen so that we can see how to like our lives and hopefully model Grassley to be such.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Face of Anguish

One of the most tragically defining moments of the twentieth century was World War Two, in which all rationality and diplomacy seemed to degenerate in favor of imperialism and global conquest. German troops stormed into Paris on 14 June 1940, making their demands well known: surrender unconditionally, or perish. Parisians looked on in horror as all hope of an Allied victory at this juncture faded into the darkness.

One does not need to scrutinize this photograph to see the anguish and fear in this man’s eyes, as if he had seen the imminent fate of his country and its citizens. This is what sets him apart from the stark, emotionless crowd. Although the subject of this photograph holds an aura of hopelessness, his upright stance personifies his patriotism and love for his country. This patriotism and with powerlessness against a dominant force are conflicting within the subject of this image—although it isn’t necessarily symbolic of the French people only. This photograph stands for the hardships of all nations forced under the yoke of the tyranny that plagued Europe during WWII.

As one of the most iconic photographs of the WWII era, this image personified the suffering of the ordinary citizens of every country that was drawn into war. To nations that hadn’t yet been drawn into the global conflict (as of 1940), such as the United States, images like this made it clear that something had to be done to put an end to the inhumane treatment that war naturally brings about. The names of the citizens in this photograph are not what matters. What matters is that they were subjected to a cruel regime that did not care about the citizens’ individual values. Human suffering has no race, ethnicity, gender, or age. However, if ever it had a face, this would be it.

This was one of many photographs of WWII that exemplified the extremes human beings will reach to attain their personal goals, often times at the expense of one person, several people, or an entire ethnic group. These images have changed the way we view warfare and have also strengthened our will to prevent it. Perhaps we can owe it to these photographs depicting terror, anguish, and suffering as one of the factors inhibiting another global conflict like the Second World War from ever happening in the future.

- Nikki Edmiston

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mission Complete


Most people have probably never thought about what it would be like to live for 69 days trapped in a hole underground. Without sunlight and fresh air, it sounds a lot like torture. This was the reality for 33 miners in Chile for the past two months. 32 Chileans and 1 Bolivian man are being strategically pulled up and out of the death trap below as I am writing this. Tremendous joy and relief were experienced around the world as the first man, Florencio Avalos, was lifted out and embraced his family and then President Sebastian Pinera. The emotions of family members in the background reflect the emotions of millions that watched the rescue unfold over live television. Rescuers saved the men months ahead of schedule, having told the press that the rescue would not take place until December. This image demonstrates the very intense personal triumphs of the 33 miners as well as the efforts of a nation to save them.

Each miner will undergo immediate medical and psychological examination as soon as they are pulled free. It’s a record amount of time to be trapped in a mine and come out alive.  The personal battles each man endured will probably never be known. Many said they had turned to their religion for strength and faith during those long days. Viewers can relate to this struggle by imagining what it would be like go through a similar experience. Although it seems hard to relate to such an extreme event, some parts, for example missing family members and friends, are common occurrences for regular people. It’s easy to know what reuniting with family members after a long absence feels like. Thousands of soldiers share this feeling each year after returning from fighting over seas. Not only the feeling of missing family members and friends, but the feeling of hopelessness and fear must have overcome the miners as they sat and waited for the good news of a solution. An unimaginable 17 days without contact, food, and water would take an incredible toll on each man. The group survived on a 2 day supply by sipping water and taking small bites of tuna until rescuers could reach them with supplies. Some people have never gone even a few days without food and water so it would be hard to identify with this aspect of the story. As millions of people can relate to this photo personally in some way, a nation of people can also relate to the feelings Chile was experiencing as a whole.

The media views this as a great triumph for the country of Chile to be able to band together and safely free the miners. Although this is a great accomplishment, there is another side to the story.  It brings up the controversy of mining and mining safety. Along with the joy felt was the feeling of anger by some that it was wrong for the men to be put in such danger. This is a fact that most people don’t care about or realize until an accident like this happens. This photo can also be considered a call to action.  The media focus right now is on the safety concerns of each man, but afterwards will the country see a political movement for safer working conditions in mines like this one? The mine the men were trapped in has been in operation since 1885. The depth of the rescue shaft was 2,041 and took 20 minutes for each trip to the surface. The meticulous rescue has been in the making since the men were discovered to be alive after 17 days of uncertainty. Mining contributes about 40% of Chiles state earnings and is absolutely necessary for economic survival. With that, Chile and the world have banded together to save these men and return them home to their families. The people of Chile are said to have seen this as a positive step for the government and government responsibility. Having rescued the men early than first announced, President Pinera receives political and personal approval from Chile’s citizens. By also being very involved and shown at the scene of the rescue, President Pinera receives a purely political boost. The metonymy of this photo includes the ability for viewers to relate to this photo and the struggles of each family and also the view of a nation behind this miracle rescue and survival.

Megan Fisher

One Girl's Struggle


           I’m assuming most of you probably recognize this image—it’s in just about every American history textbook there is.  But I’m also assuming most of you don’t know the story behind it.  Will Counts took this photograph on September 4, 1957 as a fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford was trying to enter Little Rock Central High School.  Eckford was one of a group of students, now referred to as the Little Rock Nine, who were registered by the NAACP to attend Little Rock Central after the Brown v. Board of Education decision had been declared.  But even though she was registered to attend school, getting in was not quite as easy.  Eckford was blockaded from the school by hundreds of angry protestors threatening to lynch and assault members of the Little Rock Nine.  After the scene, a reporter found Eckford sitting on a bench, crying her eyes out over the events that had taken place.  Even after President Eisenhower sent U.S. army troops to protect the students, the cruelty only continued as incidents of violence continued to occur. 

As touching and emotional as this story is though, it is clearly not necessary to know the whole turn of events to be emotionally impacted by the photograph.  Even more so, the viewer most likely will instantly side with Eckford without knowing anything about her story.  Why is this picture able to rally people so effectively towards the desegregation movement?  It is because Eckford acts as a metonymy in this photograph—she alone is able to represent all the African American students in the south attempting to go to “white” high schools.  Will Counts’ photograph of Elizabeth Eckford is able to use its power as an individuated aggregate to evoke a strong emotional response in its viewers, leading them to change their views of desegregation in the South.

            At first viewing, the emotion of the image is readily apparent.  In fact, a powerful juxtaposition between the appearance of Eckford and her onlookers exists.  The woman behind Eckford is livid with emotion, screaming (what are presumably expletives) at Eckford.  The look of hate and disgust on her face is matched by many of the other white onlookers.  Eckford, on the other hand, wears a stoic look of strength on her face—a look of a girl more mature than your average 15-year-old.  The union of these two opposites causes the viewer to pity Eckford and the unnecessary struggles she is facing at such a young age.  The fact that she carriers a folder in one hand also heightens our emotional response.  The folder acts as a semiotic transcription of school, reminding us what’s actually taking place in the photograph: Eckford is simply trying to get an education, but isn’t able to because of all the angry protestors.

            When this photograph was taken in 1957, racism was common thread throughout the South, and much of America as a whole.  But this photograph, along with many other images of the civil rights movement, was able to start to change this sentiment.  There were many Americans who didn’t agree with the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the idea of desegregation, but many of them probably still felt pity for Eckford.  And this pity acted as a catalyst for social change.  To the Americans sitting on the fence between segregation and desegregation, this photo helped them realize that African Americans are just trying to get an equal education, and that it is was many white people in the South that were actually full of hate and were acting illogical.  I mean, I doubt most Americans would see this photo and feel any ill will towards Eckford, especially not to the level that the angry onlookers do.  Even though racism still can be found in the United States today, this photograph helped the average white American to see the struggles of African American citizens in the middle of the 20th century, and pushed them to change their own views as well as the views of their fellow Americans.

--Zach Kadow
 For Americans we may not see soccer like the rest of the world does. Having football, baseball, and basketball overshadowing soccer in the U.S. makes it very difficult to appreciate the beautiful game of soccer and really see the impact the world cup had on the world. For countries with soccer as there main competitive sport it is not just a sport but it is there life. My old english coach always told me and my teammates that kids in England were born with a soccer ball at there feet.

          The 2010 FIFA World Cup was much more then just a tournament or regular sporting event. This month long event that comes only every four years brings  countries together. Together, to participate in the greatest sporting event on earth.  It is a time of peace and unity. You may ask yourself how can a simple game bring peace and unity? For a month countries stop almost everything they are doing to watch and cheer for there nations colors to shine on the biggest stage.    
Max Duncan

Day After Christmas

The day after christmas 2004 was not as ordinary for people living in the far east regions of are planet as it was for Americans coming off this exciting time. I remember awaking that morning to the news of large waves ripping through most if not all of southeast Asia. The pictures that came from this event sent shock waves through the nation. The news coverage of this event went through months and months of clean up and health responses to the tsunami. The where many good and bad things that came from this tsunami. I believe though that the pictures that came from it made people realize the importance of prior warning system in third world countries.

The way that this inspired people was that it was during the season of compassion an caring. I believe as Americans we took the time of the year to realize the true importance of people and in the christmas spirit donated million of dollars to help these people. The picture also allowed us to realize the importance of human life and how it can be taken from the earth. I think that this picture also showed us our inability to control mother nature.

The destructive force of this tsunami had no numbered scale to be measured by. This was something that was an awe inspiring phenomena and created a recognition of the forces of nature. It also allowed many people to realize the true potential for energy there was in the ocean. The people harmed by this where half way around the world, but people gave what they could. The cultures of many different people where shown and we saw that the emotion of suffering and hurt is the same throughout the world. This picture not only inspired Americans, but inspired the world to respond to situations that are not what they would usually respond to.

Carson Klug

"Flower Power"

This is a picture of a man placing a flower in the barrel of soldier’s gun was taken by Bernie Boston in 1967.  This photograph was named “flower power.”  This photo was said to be possibly one of the most iconic photos of the 1960s.  It is of a young man placing flowers in the barrel of a soldier’s gun at an anti-war demonstration. 
                I believe the photo represents and is a symbol for people who promote peace.  I found the photo to be iconic because the two main objects in the picture, the flower and gun, are two complete opposites.  The gun can represent violence, death, pain, and suffering, while a flower can represent peace, love, beauty, etc.   I think this shows how ideas and beliefs can be promoted in a nonviolent ways.
 I found the photo to be very ironic because the soldiers seem rather tense with guns pointed and ready while the man putting the flower in the barrel and the man putting the flower in the barrel seems so laid back and calm. 
This represents the many in the U.S. who despise war and strive for peace.  I believe this photo can also relate to today with all the people who did not believe in the Iraq war.  
By: Alex Kaster

Anne Frank

Anne Frank was more than just a girl, she was a symbol for the Jewish hope for good and truth.  On March 13, 1933 Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party won office in Germany.  Anti-Semitic demonstrations occurred almost spontaneously making many Jewish families fear for their life. The Frank’s were one of the 300,000 Jews who fled Germany in the period between 1933 and 1939. On 1935 Nuremberg Laws were made law; laws that main goal was to discriminate against Jews. On May 1940, Germany invaded Netherland and the new government began discriminating and prosecuting Jews trough the implementation of restrictive and prejudice laws. By 1941 Jews were required to always wear the Star of David, and Germany began deporting Jews.  As long with deportation of the Jews, the German government began making Ghettos, a small town where Jews were concentrated in.  By June of 1941 German SS police (mobile killing units) began massive extermination operations of the Jewish people. By July of 1941 Hitler’s SS Chief Heinrich Himmler implemented the “Final Solution” so Germany could more efficiently deal with the Jewish problem.   In fear for their life the Frank family went into hiding on July 6, 1942 in a tiny apartment building that they shared with another family.  Anne Frank, just 13 years old at the time wrote almost every day ranging from her emotions, to what she ate that day.  On August 7, 1944 after two years of hiding Anne Frank and her family was captured by the SS police.  A couple of weeks before the British liberated the camp on April 15, 1945 Typhus swept through the camp with Anne Frank one of the victims.  Anne Frank is buried in a mass grave somewhere in Europe.

            Anne Frank, a 15 year old girl was forced to hide for two years of her life, tortured and kept in captivity for 6 months, all to die and be buried in a mass grave weeks before the Concentration Camp was taken over by the British.  Anne had normal teenage problems that she wrote about in her diary.  She serves as an individual aggregate to all Jewish kids who were forced into hiding, as she is unbiased, truthful, and open in her writing. It gives that horrific period of time a face and a voice.  It is one thing to see pictures, and videos; it is another to read a first hand eyewitness account from a 13 year-old girl. Having an eyewitness account allows the reader to connect emotionally with the writer.  Seeing pictures can cause emotion, but when someone reads a diary of a brave, intelligent, and optimistic young girl it brings the emotion to a whole new level.  Anne Frank provided a face to 1.5 million Jewish children exterminated during the Holocaust simply because of their religion.
-Jake Wasserman

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Navajo Codetalkers

By: Katie Getting

            The first thing you notice when looking at this picture is the radio that the man is talking into.  Without further knowledge, you may have no idea that the radio is actually used to communicate orders between different army units during World War II.  You also may notice the army uniform that tells us that the man is perhaps actually participating in war.  But again, this doesn’t tell us the real significance behind the image.  His facial expression shows great concentration like he’s trying very hard not to mess up and to keep his concentration.  What is he focusing on with so much effort?  Finally, you might notice his skin color and that it’s darker than the usual American soldier’s skin tone.  This is when the question of what his racial background is may come into play.  That is in fact the most important observation one should make about this image.
The person in this photo is a Native American from the Navajo tribe, and he is giving orders into a radio during World War II.  He is an individual aggregate of the Native American population and specifically of the Navajo Nation; he is being a representative for all the Navajo codetalkers that chose to help the American army in the war.  Navajos were one of the United States’ secret weapons during the war because they had a language that was virtually impossible to break.  Just because the language used was their native language does not mean that they didn’t need to concentrate and work very hard to decipher it.  Their job was by no means an easy task and that further illustrates how hard they worked to help the Americans succeed in the war.  This fact made it possible for different American units to communicate their locations and their orders without the enemies ever finding anything out.  The fact that Indian groups were accepted into the army and that they were willing to fight for our country was a giant step because of our ill treatment towards them upon arriving in the Americas.  I think their ability to play a significant part in our winning a world war shows their greatness and the gratitude that we owe them.
            The main concept, in my opinion, we should think of when we see this picture is the ability to overcome past disputes for the greater good.  The Navajo could have chosen not to help the Americans in the war with the use of their language, but they didn’t.  Even though these Indians were not always treated with respect, they still knew when their country needed them, and they were ready and willing to respond in any way they could help.  Would we as Americans have been as willing to come to the rescue of the nations that had caused us so many problems?  Or would we have left them to fend for themselves?  Personally, I think we would have held grievances against the wrong doers and wouldn’t have come to their rescue or that we would’ve come to their rescue but not in as willing of a manor.
            There were many issues with the Navajo involvement in WWII most of which centered on the fact that they were commonly mistaken for Japanese soldiers and killed off.  Even though many of their own died, they continued to translate for the United States and even returned to help the United States again during the Korean War.  It was not until early in the Vietnam War that they were finally retired and returned to their reservations after having fulfilled their duty to their country.  This just reiterates the fact that they put the past behind them.  Men fighting on their same side killed them, but they still fought for the United States and never abandoned us.  They truly are the essence of a people of a greater good.

Blatant Messages to Society

On May 8th, 2010 at 9:20 in the morning, the Staten Island Ferry crashed into the Staten Island St. George Terminal.  Despite the 252 rush hour commuters that were on board, a mere 35 people needed to be brought to the hospital and only 37 total people were injured.  The photograph above, boldly illustrates the results of the ferry accident and how the crash impacted lives of the public.  It shows the power that a single individual photo can have on a society at large.   Specifically, it presents a vision of passion and unity.

In times of hardship, communities often band together to try and solve a problem or to simply get through the tragedy before them.  During the May 2010 ferry crash, this exact kind of moment happened on the shore of Staten Island.  The photograph above is centered on an emergency rescue worker leaning over an injured ferry rider.  The woman’s pain and distress depicted upon her face is skillfully countered by the rescue worker’s calming and confident demeanor.  His body language suggests that he is skilled in his profession and that he takes pride in the work that he does.  Even though his job is to provide a necessary lifesaving service for other people, the picture clearly shows that his work is more than just a job to him.  The careful placement of his hands as he leans in to hear the woman demonstrates his true desire to make her feel cared for and secure.  This photo makes a serious and blatant statement to the public of America.  It “provides a model for negotiating the tension between individuality and collectivity” (Hariman and Lucaites 88).  The rescue worker is proof that one individual can actually make a difference in another person’s life.  This single rescue worker is making the woman’s awful experience just a little more bearable.  The photograph encourages the general public to be more open to lending a hand to simply help another person out.

Furthermore, the picture encourages people to take pride in what they are doing.  So many people in America do only enough to scrape by.  For instance, most students only complete the minimum amount of work required in their classes.  Many employees only carry out the tasks that their bosses require them to do.  The mentality of society seems to be that a person should not strive to exert more effort than necessary when a minimum is considered satisfactory.  The man in this photograph goes against this common mentality.  Even though the woman is already effectively strapped in to the stretcher and is ready for transport, he remains with her.  He is not physically needed anymore; however, he stays with the woman because he knows that it is the right action to execute.  He is going that extra mile, and does not even appear overworked or annoyed for deciding to do so.  This individual picture proves that as a collective group, Americans can afford to put their best effort into situation that they have the ability to impact.

Just as the United States is widely known as the “melting pot” in society, New York City and surrounding areas provide the perfect example of that notion.  This single snapshot portrays an African American rescue worker effectively distributing aid to an injured Asian woman.  When in an emergency situation, very few people care about race, sex, or culture.  Race plays no role in the rescue worker’s ability to provide aid to the woman.  The injured woman goes on to recover after being taken to a local hospital, which further demonstrates the rescue worker’s ability at administering care.  This image provides a single snapshot in how society currently views race, and how they should continue to view it.  In the past, where you were from and the color of your skin meant everything.  Now, race does not matter nearly as much as it used to.  Society has learned that an African American man is just as capable as saving a woman’s life as a Caucasian man is.  The public understands that skin color does not equate to your mental intellect or physical capabilities.  This photograph is the link between societal views and displaying them in action to the world.
Mary Rometti

The End of an Era in Baseball and in America


            This photograph was taken on Monday shortly after the Atlanta Braves had lost to the San Francisco Giants 3-2 and lost the NLDS 3-1. This game was a lot different than others. It represented an end of an era. This was the final time number 6 was going to be in the clubhouse managing the Atlanta Braves. This was the final time the man wearing the black aviators, and the shoes with the baseball spikes, despite not playing baseball since 1969 wouldn't be getting ejected supporting his players. The man in this picture is Bobby Cox. After my Braves lost to the Giants on Monday, I had to choke back the tears along with the thousands of Braves fans at Turner Field and thousands of Braves fans in America. The sadness wasn't because the Braves lost. The sadness is attributed to the fact that Bobby wasn't going to be managing anymore. 

         The Atlanta Braves are the Atlanta Braves because of Bobby Cox. Fourteen division titles, two NL pennants, one world series, and some of the greatest pitching staffs of all time. Since June 22, 1990, when Bobby Cox began managing the Braves, there have been 106 different managers in just the national league. The Braves have had one. In what would become his final game, Bobby came into the locker room and addressed the team. The emotions of this being the end had caught up. It took everything for a man built on composure to hold back the tears. He told his players thank you. Not a single player in that room had dry eyes. After the game was over, Cox addressed the media for the last time, and had to fight back the tears when he started to talk about addressing his players for the last time as their manager. He pulled his cap down and tried hiding his eyes as he muttered, "A grown man shouldn't do this." It was painful to watch. Bobby didn't want it to be the end. Yet he knew that it was for the best. He told his players that he was proud of them. Yet no words can console the players, Braves fans, and fans of the game anywhere. 

          The Braves will play 162 games next year. Fredi Gonzalez will be managing the team and is very capable and very familiar with the organization. Yet things will not be the same. The Tomahawk Chop won't feel the same. It won't feel the same watching another manager congratulate the players or walk out before the game and hand the lineup card to the umpire. Baseball will not be the same without Bobby Cox. Cox built a legacy that will never be replaced or changed. A legacy in which players deserved a second chance and were given one despite not getting a chance from other teams. So many players have come and gone in Atlanta and have revived their careers along the way. Some players have come to Atlanta and left for more money, but their careers inevitably suffered because of it. There was something about the Braves and Bobby Cox that was special and better than anything else, despite the results not always showing.  

           This picture is very important, because it represents the United States of America we live in today. As Bobby waves goodbye, it represents waving goodbye to an era in which the United States was a global power everyone wanted to be like. Sure America still has the best military and one of the largest economies, yet things are different now. America used to represent strength. America represented resilience. A picture of America sixty years ago would display all of the efforts that each and every American put into a job to make sure it was done right. America used to be the land of opportunity. People looking for a second chance came to America. Players looking for a second chance came to the Atlanta Braves and Bobby Cox. Sure people still come to America looking for a second chance but is the American Dream what it used to be? As you read this and think about the American Dream do you still believe it exists when we live in a country run by McDonalds, Microsoft, and the major oil companies? The fans in the background of this image are clapping. However, if one saw the game, many of these fans were crying and looking at the field and the dugout wondering what next. 

           In 2008 we looked at Barack Obama wondering what next. Obama preaches inherently the same message most Presidents preach. The same I will fix the economy speech, and bring back jobs speech. As Bobby Cox waves goodbye to the fans and his players, he has a look of doubt on his face. The same look of doubt most Americans have when looking at the nation and how it is run today. The economy is still a mess, our jobs are overseas, and we still have a huge unemployment rate. America will never be the same after this recession. All great things come to end at some point right? Just as the era of Bobby Cox has come to an end in Atlanta, the end of an era of continued American dominance has come to an end as well. Sure we may have the biggest economy. We may even get a surplus again. But it won't feel the same. Just as Fredi Gonzalez has the job of filling the void left by Bobby Cox, Barack Obama has the task of restoring America. Fredi Gonzalez will never be Bobby Cox. He will never replace Bobby Cox nor will he be as beloved as Bobby Cox, even if he wins the world series next year. Barack Obama will never restore America to what it once was, even if he fixes all of America's problems. Yet if there is one thing we as Americans do well, its rise from adversity and make the most out of the opportunities given to us. Just as the Atlanta Braves will play 162 games next year without Bobby Cox, America will take each day at a time as our President guides us through the adversity that faces us. All we can do is look back on what once was and smile but remember its the past. We have to move back to the present and pray everything works out. Thanks for the memories Bobby, and good luck Mr. Obama, America and myself have faith in you, whether the polls represent it or not. 

-Caleb Copley 

A Letter From Home

In this photo U.S. Marine LCpl. Stephen Plumer is reading a letter from home. While most of his face is obscured it’s easy to assume he is pleased about his letter. For some soldiers these letters are the only part of home they have and they cherish every one. This photo really  speaks for itself. It could easily become an iconic image for 
America because it has many traits of an iconic photo. 
By glancing at this photo there are some things that I think make it a strong enough photo for political use. The soldier is crouched down and centered giving the illusion of strength and power. His arms are in an open position saying that he is laid back and relaxed at that moment. The fact that his face is partially covered makes it easier to put yourself in his shoes and imagine fighting for our country. This is sort of similar to the Migrant Woman missing the male authority figure which makes it easier for people to relate by taking his role. The camouflage he’s wearing and the flag in his helmet make it clear to the viewer that he is an American soldier and someone that we should be supporting.
This photo could be used for political expediency in many ways for many different viewpoints. It could be used as a photo asking people to support our troops by supporting the war. Or it could be used to ask people to support our troops and oppose the war. This picture could just be to simply remember all of the soldiers fighting for the U.S.  
-Lauren Oliver
Photo credit: Raedle/Getty Images, Joe. Remembering What Home Was Like. 2003. Photograph. Life. See Your World, LLC., 30 Mar. 2003. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. < gallery/26872/words-of-comfort-wartime-letters>.

The face of women's soccer

In the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Norway in the semifinals and China in the finals to become the best soccer team in the world. Mia Hamm was a member of this gold medal winning U.S. Women's National Team and led the team in points with 19 goals and 18 assists. She later became the MVP of the Women’s World Cup. Mia Hamm was the youngest women ever to play with the U.S. National Team at the age of 15; she was known for her famous goal scoring and the ability to beat defenders. This shot was taken after Mia Hamm scored the equalizing goal against Norway in the semifinals to later become a goal medalist. This picture brought marvelous celebration to the team, the United States as a Nation, Mia Hamm’s hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but it also transported a message of hope to women athletes wanting to pursue their dream.

                Mia Hamm has been the face of women’s soccer and still is today because of her tremendous statistics as a member of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the Women’s U.S. National Team. With the success Mia Hamm faced through her first two years at the University of North Carolina she could have surpassed her last two years of college and played full time with the Women’s U.S. National team. Instead Mia Hamm decided to finish out her college days; she became a member of the four time NCAA champion University of North Carolina, first ever three time U.S. soccer athlete of the year between 1994-1996 among both men and women, and was the all-time leading scorer in her conference. Mia Hamm finished her college career with 103 goals, 72 assists, and 278 points. The University of North Carolina retired her number (#19) in 1994. Yet, Mia Hamm didn’t go through a rough patch throughout her college and U.S.  Women’s National Team career there was still a reason to rejoice and display that much emotion. Mia Hamm was doing this for all the women athletes because women weren’t appreciated when it came to athletics. The emotion is shown through her entire body and stance. Her passion starts with her stance, after scoring a goal the typical celebration position for a soccer player is what Mia Hamm is displaying in this photo. Soccer players always celebrate their goal with their team by sliding in this position to show their emotion. Another aspect of this photo that shows emotion is Mia Hamm’s facial expression; it expresses the delight she is feeling after working hard for 6 years.  Mia Hamm’s facial expression also illustrates the excitement of the fans, the nation, the team, and her hometown. Even though this picture stands for Mia Hamm’s soccer lifetime it portrays much more. This photo portrays hard work, strength, dignity, and passion for the game.

                Knowingly, Mia Hamm was the best soccer player in the world at that time and is still praised today. Throughout her college years she could have left to go support the U.S. National team, but instead she decided to finish out her college life at the University of North Carolina. Mia Hamm wanted what was best for the tar heels at the time and wanted to continue to grow and develop as a soccer player so she could impact the U.S National Team. She not only pushed herself to get better, she pushed the team to get better. Mia Hamm showed dedication and hard work through her passion and efforts on the soccer field; she was known for displaying her talents. The joy and excitement in this photo can be portrayed as motivation to other athletes trying to achieve their goal.

                This photo of Mia Hamm is metonymy because it represents the success people have each day when giving it their all at what they desire, it embraces more than the success of professional athletes playing the world’s game. It also stands for teamwork. Yes, professional athletes play for themselves, to get better, and to make the most money possible, but the world cup means more. The world cup brings together many nations to answer one question: who is better at soccer? It means more than playing for yourself; it’s playing for a nation that believes in you.  Soccer is one event most nations have in common, poor or rich, so playing for their nation and their supporters is what they do best. This sliding pose by Mia Hamm represents the nation’s joy and the world’s desire for the game.

Sierra Riasati

East and West

     In the sudden aftermath of the Second World War the leaders of the victorious allied forces met at Yalta to discuss the post war situation in Europe. It produced one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. For the entire war the US and UK had been allied with the Soviet Union. World War 2 was closing and the Nazi regime was almost collapsed. It was a pivotal moment in the 20th century for the entire world. The leaders of the free world were rejoicing as almost a decade of conflict and tribulation were finally completed. When the powers were finally ready to discuss the after effects of the conflict and the split up of post war Germany, they met up in Yalta. They all came in with different expectation of each other and of what they wanted out of this new post war Europe.
     The US and the Soviet Union governed very different powers. On the one hand the US had our democracy. On the other hand the USSR had a very different government, a totalitarian power under the guise of a communist state. The main proponent of this conference was to make sure the post war Germany was kept in the hand of the west. Many people were afraid of the "flow of the Red amoeba into Europe” as stated by the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William Christian Bullitt, Jr. However, President Roosevelt thought the opposite way stating that Stalin “is not that kind of a man. ... I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Though these thoughts proved to be false, at the time they were common allies fighting the Nazi enemies. However, as seen in the photograph, the leaders were unsure of the future of this now failing country.
     In the actual photograph at Yalta, there are very subtle sues that can be taken from the leaders sitting together, surrounded by their generals and officials. You see two unsettling smiles from the two men on the right. On the left, Churchill offers a skeptical look at the two men to the right, a sign of the mistrust between him and Stalin. Roosevelt had a different approach to this. He was trusting of Stalin, believing that a mutual agreement could be made between the east and the west. Stalin looks jolly and carefree; he has the look of a man who can get what he wants. This picture has grown to be the representation of the worried time of the cold war. These now friends quickly turn to bitter enemies as the ashes of the Nazi empire settle and the second half of the 20th century comes into the light. An interesting coincidence in the picture is the placement of the leaders. Stalin, on the right would come to preside over that side of Germany. The two leaders, although not in power by the end of the war, their countries would inherit the side of Germany in which they are sitting. The picture shows the nervous looming of a conquest, both sides not trusting of each other, unsure of what the other side will do next.
     The conference of Yalta represents the unease of the Cold War. It was a time of East vs. West. A time of uncertainty for everyone involved. These leaders were there, together in the biggest uncertainty of our time. This picture is the ultimate representation of the uneasy friendship between the east and the west. -Travis Ormsby