Thursday, November 28, 2013

News, Trust, and “Truthiness"

           Last week I wrote about the satirical news.  I discussed its importance in society and whether or not it could replace the real news.  In wrote that while it is much more entertaining, they are limited to what headlines they could joke about.  After reading several of my classmates blogs it seems most are in agreement with my opinion.
            In Rachel Disney’s blog, she also discussed whether satirical news could replace the real news, in her opinion, she said that it was popular in the entertainment industry, but it would never replace the news due to the lack of accuracy.   “Of course the presentation of news this way is appealing and more entertaining to viewers, but is it worth it, when it’s not all that accurate? No, it certainly is not.”
            In Adam Tusim’s blog, he said that the satirical news would be able to replace the real news if they weren’t restricted to the content.  He said the only problem with satirical news was that if they tried to joke about a touchy subject, they would be subjected to incredible criticism and poor ratings.  He said; “…These late night television hosts may address sensitive topics such as a natural disaster or the death of an individual(s) in a condescending or inappropriate manner. Making a joke about serious issues such as these can give the viewer a bad impression of the way this type of media presents itself.”

            In Tyler Nakamura’s blog, he also agreed that the only downside to the alternative news is the restriction to talk about major serious issues.  He said; “The TV shows may bring up a touchy topic and try to make a joke of it but do it in the wrong way and this may offend people, or give other people an unintended message.”
Based on the blogs I have read it is agreed that the fake news or satirical news can never replace the real news.  So why are there still so many satirical programs?  It’s because it is a nice compliment entertainment-wise to the real news.  This conclusion leads me to believe that there will always be satirical news.
Rachel Disney’s blog:
Adam Tusim’s blog:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is the Fake News the Real News?

            Comedy is a large and forever-growing part of the entertainment industry.  The demand for new jokes and material is increasing every year.  Comedians and writers are always looking for new jokes.  One way for comedians to come up with jokes is to watch the news and make jokes based on current headlines and stories.  This is a form of ‘culture jamming’ which is: A form of media activism that subverts and reworks the intended meaning of existing media texts, or parodies major corporations, public figures, and their media images.” (Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012, 213).  This type of comedy is successful because the audience is able to relate to it, the material is fresh in their minds, and the headlines the joke is based off of it easily accessible.  The success of the comedy is well known within the industry and there is a surge of TV shows and websites that use this to their advantage.

Some people, including myself, use this as their source for news.  I am more inclined to watch it because watching the regular 6 o’clock news can get extremely boring and with the satirical shows I get a laugh while still getting caught up to date with the news.  However, if you’re someone who likes to know everything, then ‘fake news’ may not be the right option for you. 

The problem with the fake news is that there’s only a certain amount of news you can joke about, some stories are just off limits, terrorism, war and death wont be talked about on these shows.  Advertisements have also been poked fun at and this sometimes upsets the companies producing these ads.  In some cases, these companies take legal action, “There can be serious legal implications.  Culture jammers can be sued for brand tarnishment, brand infringement, copyright violation, and even defamation.” (p.224).

            There are many satirical shows currently being aired in North America, such as Canada’s Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Royal Canadian Air Farce, and the United States’ Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert, SNL and SNL’s Weekend Update hosted by Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong.  Adding to the list of fake news is the magazine The Onion.

            I’ve noticed the public responds to jokes more positively if they are able to relate to it, know what the joke is based off of, and if the story is fresh in their mind.  When a news story is popular, it’s almost impossible not to hear about it.  Take the (multiple) Rob Ford scandal(s) for example, it was all over the news, and if you didn’t see it on the news, you saw your friends on social media talking about it.  After hearing all the rage you knew you had to check it out, so you did and you couldn’t believe some of the thing he said. Time passes and now it is nighttime, the late shows were starting to come on, and you knew they had something to say about Rob Ford. All of these shows use the same formatting for jokes; they introduce the topic as if it they were actually delivering the news; they do this because they know the audience will enjoy it more if they understood what it was based off of, and at the end they add a joke or punch line that makes it funny. So they showed a clip of Rob Ford’s media interview and then the host makes a joke about it.  They gained such positive reviews and feedback because the story was fresh in their minds.

 O’Shaughnessy, M., & Stadler, J.. (2012). Media and Society. 5th Ed. South Melbourne,            Oxford University Press.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Demonstrable Demographics

           Companies nowadays do an incredible job reaching their target audience through advertising.  After reading several of my fellow male classmates blogs I noticed a common theme within the majority of the blogs.  They talked about how the companies exploit the insecurities of the young male population.  They recognize the mass desire among the demographic to be a ‘manly man’ and use manly men in their advertisements to exploit these insecurities.  This tactic is called hypermasculinity.

            In Tyler Nakamura’s blog, He compared an ad produced by the National Hockey League to an ad produced by Nintendo, the creators of the video game Joanna Dark.  The tagline for the video game was; “Are you man enough for Joanna Dark?”  Tyler said,  “In the case of the ad for Nintendo they questioned the manhood of the people that played the Tomb Raider game and not theirs.”  This quotation perfectly describes hypermasculinty.  Nintendo recognizes the desire to be manly and they use that to their advantage.

            In Adam Tusin’s blog, he reviewed the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad produced by Old Spice.  Adam discussed the aspect of hypermasculinity used within the ad. He said,  “Throughout the entire duration of the ad a comparison is being made by how he (the model) presents himself in such a glorified fashion, while the consumer (myself) is just referenced as an Average Joe.”  What Adam meant was that during the ad, the model continued to build himself up as such a manly man while at the same time putting the viewer down so their insecurity will grow. 

            In Simon Turkel’s blog, he analyzed a commercial created by Gillette.  He observed that throughout the commercial there were half-naked, and muscular men socializing with recognizable female celebrities.  He said, “The commercial ends with the head honcho actor saying “the night is yours”.  That last statement relates to the masculinity discourse, that all masculine men can conquer the world, be successful, be strong and tough, party all night and get any woman he so desires.”  In other words, Simon was talking about how manly men can do and get whatever they desire, and that by Gillette is saying if you use their product, you’ll be well on your way to manhood.

            Hypermasculinity is such an effective advertising tactic. The insecurities of the male population are well known by the advertisers and they use that to their advantage.  They target the males by using overly manly men in their advertisements, and by saying that their product is the first step in becoming a man, and it works.  I know it works because the aspect of hypermasculinity has been used time and time again in advertisements and will continue to be used.

Blog URLs:
Tyler’s Blog:
Adam’s Blog:

Simon’s Blog:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What The Hail?

What The Hail?
Our society today is filled with corporations surrounding the people with their products through advertisements.  With so many ads, it is impossible for people to process or remember them all.  The challenge for corporations is to make an advertisement that stands out in the audiences mind, and stays there. 

            In 2010, Snickers produced an advertisement for the Super Bowl that stood out in the minds of many people.  The tagline at the end of the commercial was, “you’re not you when you’re hungry.”  The ad proved to be effective through the use of an iconic actress, humour, hypermasculinity, tagline and a relation to the target audience by addressing a need.

            Having a celebrity icon in a commercial immediately grabs the attention of the viewer, especially when that icon is as universally loved as Betty White is.  At the time of the advertisement, Betty White was seemly everywhere; she reeled in high ratings for Saturday Night Live when she hosted, winning an Emmy for her performance.  She was the star of the new sitcom Hot in Cleveland.  All of Betty White’s success in turn helped the commercial to be successful.

            Another effective way for corporations to increase the awareness of their advertisements is to instill humour.  Humour is arguably the most important piece of what makes an advertisement memorable.  The benefit of humour in advertising is that when something is funny, it is talked about and shared on social media.  These corporations have their ads viewed without having to pay for extra television airtime.  During the Snickers commercial, on multiple occasions, I exhibited sidesplitting laughter.  During the 30-second ad it displayed multiple funny ideas.  The first was Betty White running the route at turtle speed.  The second was Betty getting absolutely crushed by an opposing player into the mud.  The third was a sexual comment.  We see sexual comments in almost everything, but when it came from the mouth of a 90-year-old woman, it was truly hilarious. The fourth was the overall premise; a never-done-before sketch is always funny.  The fifth was how they used an old lady in an ad targeted at younger men and was still funny.

            A tactic corporations use to produce an effective ad is sadly exploitation.  They have their target audience and they pinpoint their insecurities.  “In our identity we internalize particular ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, we take on a relation to identity” (Barthes 1973, pp. 65-6).  Snickers use the concept of hypermasculinty to appeal to the common man.  In today’s society, men aren’t feeling like real men because of corporations using overly manly men in their ads to make the audience think if they use the product they will become a real man.  “Advertisements exist as a means of selling products by creating an association between a brand a desirable lifestyle or identity.” (O’Shaughnessy, M., Stadler, J. 2012, p. 162).  In the Snickers commercial, it uses hypermasculinity to perfection as it implies that you will play like an old lady without eating Snickers.

            A catchy tagline or slogan also contributes to a successful ad.  In the Snickers commercial, the tagline is “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”

            The commercial also addresses a need.  All men have experience hunger while playing sports, and we’ve all felt drowsy and subpar.  Snickers brilliantly addresses this issue and says if you eat their product, you can be yourself and play to your full potential.

            Through the use of an iconic actress, humour, hypermaculinity, tagline and the addressing of a need, The Snickers commercial was extremely successful and won the award for best super bowl ad.


Barthes, R 1973, Mythologies, Paladin, London

O’Shaughnessy, M., & Stadler, J.. (2012). Media and Society. 5th Ed. South Melbourne,             Oxford University Press.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wanted: The Media That We Need

           There are many media opportunities available to the public today.  In we live in an “I need it now and I want it now” society.  Luckily for us, it is easier than ever to access up-to-the-minute news from all over the world.

In my last blog I talked about the popular question; “Do we get the media we want or do we want the media we get?” and I wrote in favour of us wanting the media we get.  But after reading several of my classmate’s blogs it seems many disagreed with my stance and said that we get the media we want.  I am not surprised with the amount in disagreement as if it weren’t a widely disputed topic it wouldn’t be still talked about.  My classmate’s raised some very convincing points.

            In Shannon McGinnis’ blog, she sided in favour of us getting the media we want.  She spoke about television shows and how shows are being made to please the audience and speak to their wants.  She wrote, “Television and movie producers are constantly trying to accommodate to their viewers needs”.  She also went to say that the success of television shows is solely based off of viewer satisfaction and ratings.

            In Tyler Nakamura’s blog, he talked about the mass volume of media available to us; this was the point in his blog that convinced me.  He wrote, “Clearly we have the media we want, because I don’t see how someone could ask more from their media resources.”

            In Sam Dixon’s blog, he agrees with my stance on the issue.  His main argument point was our reliance on the media is inconceivably high.  “We want what the media is giving us and that we could no longer function without it.” Which is an extreme way of saying that we want the media we get.  Although it is extreme, it is true, we would be entirely lost without the media surrounding us constantly.

            Despite very convincing blogs from Shannon and Tyler, I still feel we want the media we get.  It is an interesting topic and will continue to be widely disputed for the for-seeable future.
Blog URL’s
Shannon McGinnis’ Blog: