Advertising and Popular Culture: 3. Flagrant Criticisms

Advertising and Popular Culture by Jib Fowles

3. Flagrant Criticisms


Word definition( Collins English Dictionary)
Personal Note
Page Number
Other peoples References & theories

‘The critique of Popular Culture’ (p53-60)

Philosopher Heraclitus wrote in ancient greek times “For what mind or sense do they have? They follow the bards and use the multitude as their teacher, not realising that their are many bad but few good. For the best choose one thing above all others, immortal glory among mortals, while many are glutted like beasts” (quoted in Bratlinger, 1983, p. 54) p.54
multitude = large number
glutted = supplied beyond capacity/ full up.

This chapter is full of interesting critiques, my favourite being that of macodnalds. However critiquing popular culture isn’t what I aim to do. I feel the critique of advertising section will be more helpful.

‘The Critique of Advertising’ (p60-66)

“Richard Polley (1986) advertising promotes, materialism, cynicism, debased language, perpetual dissatisfaction, conformity, envy, anxiety, disrespect for tradition and authorty, and sexual preoccupation (p. 23).” p.62

Judith Williamson supports marxist theory “Advertisements obscure and avoid the real issues of society, those relating to work: to jobs and wages and who works for whom. They create systems of social differentiation which are a veneer on the basic class structure of our society” (p.47) p.64

Goldman 1992 claims: “Whether or not advertising screws us up as individual personalities, its ‘disolving’ influence on culture may be advertising’s most significant and haunting historical consequence” (p.8)” p.65

“In retrospect, it is surprising on how many points the non-Marxist and the Marxist critiques of advertising concur: that advertising manipulates consumers and instills false values, that it extols a materialistic and consumerist ethic, that it deals in emotions and irrationality, that it leads people to buy unnecessary and overvalued items.” p.65

‘Analysing the critiques’ (p66-75)

“Marxists are supposed to be viewing the world from the bottom up, so to speak, with the interests of the underclass in mind.” p.67 Not particularly relevant to my symposium but after studying Marxism for 2 years in school this is the first wording that makes their position clear.

Feminist scholar – Tania Modleski (1986) … “I want to show how our ways of thinking and feeling about mass culture are so intricately bound up with notion of the feminine that the need for a feminist critique becomes obvious at every level of debate” p.71

If anything this chapter is a great example of how to appropriate other peoples work, pick it to pieces then reconstruct it with your own intentions/ views.


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