“Learn from Las Vegas: Spectacular Vernacular” by Stephen Duncombe
When I first started to read this particular essay, I didn’t really understand the point that Duncombe was trying to convey. After re-reading the essay, I began to come to a realization that made me think about Postman’s “The medium is the metaphor,” when he begins to discuss McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” and explains that the way a message is conveyed n the most important thing rather than what the actual message is. When I read “Learn from Las Vegas,” I began to see connections between Duncombe’s concept of “Spectacle” to a form of communicating a certain message. Using a particular spectacle in order to convey a message is what matters to the people obtaining the message. On page 45, Duncombe gives an example of this when he quotes Andrew Boyd describing the “Billionaires for Bush club.” Boyd describes two different types of protesters: a group of protesters who were supporting the club, dressed in tuxedos, top hats, and formal attire, giving the illusion of sophistication and money. These protesters handed out printed pamphlets supporting the message they were trying to convey and they were allowed next to people at the fundraiser who were dressed in a similar way. The other group of protesters were dressed differently and relaying their message differently from the first group described. This group of protesters were not wearing matching attire like the first group, there messages were hand written on signs rather than printed out. These protesters were quarantined to a particular spot away from the fundraiser they were protesting against, unlike the first group. This example displays that the way people appear to be conveying their message (their medium) makes their message much more significant; like Postman explains the medium of the message is the most important part of getting a message out to the people. Therefore, Duncombe’s piece about Las Vegas using spectacle to attract more people relates to postman’s concept about the medium being the most important thing about a message because the medium creates an illusion or distraction which is why people are so fascinated by it rather than the message itself.
“Why Johnny Can’t Dissent”-Thomas Frank
While reading this piece, I saw many connections to the world and society in which I currently live in, which was both very interesting and scary. The most interesting concept in the essay was Frank’s explanation about how capitalism has changed in the same way that people and society has changed. Capitalism is no longer forcing society to conform to its products, it realizes that the more they force society to conform the more they will rebel therefore, they make products that influence the people’s rebellion by making people feeling like they need those particular products. This concept made me think about the film The Corporation because the film discusses the mindset of corporate America and the way in which they use the ides of guerrilla advertising in order to make a profit off of society. This essay also made realize certain connections to Postman’s essay “Technopoly,” because as society has began to change and rebel instead of conform, the corporate business has also began to change and rebel in their own ideology. The products that the corporation produces in comparison with their new ideology, also changes the ideology of the individual who buys their product or particular technology because that product has the ability is to change an individual’s choices, thoughts, and way of living especially if its a technological advancement. Therefore, in Postman’s terms, the technology and products that are manufactured are changing society’s perspective and their ideology in the same way that new technologies changed the ideologies of a tool-using culture and a technocracy.
Direction for Exploratory paper:
For my exploratory paper, I have picked my three different topics and I am still searching for good sources that support my specific topics. After finding all of my sources correctly, I will then think about the topic that I am the most invested in, the topic that I feel that I can write profoundly about. After choosing that particular topic, I will do more research on it to make sure that I have all of the correct information and knowledge about my social issue. I will continue to find valid sources that inform me of different solutions to my social issue and elimination any sources that do not pertain to the concept that I want to discuss in my paper. After completing my extensive research, I will then gather all of the necessary information in order to start drafting my paper, rewriting and revising, and finally coming up with the final product.