Presentation on theme: "Aesthetics, Emotion, and Argument. We tried to shoot a few, and missed both of them. Unbeknownst to me, the [animal wrangler] broke the next rabbits leg,"— Presentation transcript:
Aesthetics, Emotion, and Argument
We tried to shoot a few, and missed both of them. Unbeknownst to me, the [animal wrangler] broke the next rabbits leg, so it couldnt run. So we got one. On the next take, they then asked, Should we break its leg again?... the DP [director of photography] was sitting there, saying No, Im sure you wouldnt want to do it, but nodding his head yes. I made the decision, let them break it. I regret it. It eats me up every day. I can sort of rationalize this, that it might be killed by a natural predator. But for us to inflict pain to get a better shot was the wrong thing to do. -- Quoted in Aufderheide, Jaszi, and Chandra (2009)
A. Logical fallacies: Use faulty logic (the claims may be true or false, but their logic cant tell us). Common ones include 1.Appeal to authority: Most problematic if the authority is no more expert than we are. Examples: Ongoing squabble over Susan B. Anthonys views on abortion, Log Cabin Republicans, the Dixie Chicks on American foreign policy, Ben Stein on Teaching Evolution, etc.
Example: Most foundational religious arguments God Must Exist Because the Bible Says So Because the Bible is Gods Word (…Which Presupposes That…) Why Should I Believe That? How Do I Know the Bible is Correct?
Chomsky: a principle familiar to propagandists is that the doctrine to be instilled in the target audience should not be articulated: that would only expose them to reflection, inquiry, and, very likely, ridicule. The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse.
Criticizes the person making the claim rather than the claim itself. Frequently attacks hypocrisy (a character flaw) rather than the evidence presented. Examples: Attacking the Wall Street bailout because the CEOs were arrogant, attacking Michael Moore for being fat, attacking climate change researchers for flying to conferences, attacking free-trade advocates for seeking protection for their firms. Note that attacking a relevant characteristic (expertise in the case of someone rendering an expert judgment or being nominated for office) is not necessarily fallacious.
Reducing an issue to only two sides, where other opinions may exist, and/or presenting any counter-argument as an argument in favor of the other side Very common in material labeled propaganda (reduces number of views being presented) Example: Either youre with us, or youre with the terrorists. (Omits options of being against both or for both – the first being more plausible than the second)
Comparison with something dissimilar. Long-time favorites in foreign policy discussions: Pearl Harbor, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam (now joined by 9/11 and Iraq). Problem: Reasoning by analogy is almost always fallacious because no two events/processes are the same. But analogies are one of the most powerful tools of persuasion and one of the most common tools of analysis. The entire subfield of Comparative Government was founded on analogies between pairs of countries.
Substituting a weaker for a stronger argument, then defeating the weak argument and ignoring the strong one. Traditional politicians trick: Answer the question you wish had been asked rather than the one that was asked. Examples: Pro-lifers refute the pro-abortion argument (ignoring the stronger pro-choice position that promotion of birth control will reduce abortions more than a ban) Pro-choicers refute the anti-choice argument (portraying opponents as anti-woman or pro-government control, even though the stronger pro-life argument is based on rights arguments applied to human life and includes support for poor mothers) Almost everyone tries this one if they can get away with it
1. Red Herrings: Using an unrelated issue to derail the discussion. Examples: Responding to complaints about Obamas health care plan with Bush started an unending war based on lies (tu quoque) If you cared so much about poor people, you would focus on helping Haitians, not poor Americans. (True: Poverty in Haiti is Worse. Assumed without Proof: Should not tackle poverty in US). Arguments about womens rights At least you dont live in Saudi Arabia.
2. Bandwagoning: It is universally accepted or overwhelmingly supported by the people and therefore you should support it. 3. Card stacking: Omits factual details in order to misrepresent a product, idea, or cause. It intentionally gives only part of the truth 4. Transfer creates an association between a product, idea, or cause with a symbol or image that has positive or negative values
Example: Transfer and Greenwashing This GE ad targets environmental sympathies. What is the message of the ad?
Not mentioned in the ad: is they only produced 20,000 of these cars a year, while continuing to produce almost 80,000 F-series trucks per month!
1. The Glittering Generality: Vague words that sound nice but contain little informational content. Common in politicians public addresses (yes, your side too – all politicians speeches start to sound the same after a while) 2. Delete the agent of a sentence – obscures responsibility. Instead of US declared war, War was declared. 3. Delete experiencerimputes a harder fact. Instead of journalists estimated 10,000 at the demonstration, say 10,000 hit the streets. 4. Renaming: Orwells Ministry of Truth. See also: Pro-abortion instead of pro-choice and anti-choice (or even anti-abortion) instead of pro-life. HANDOUT
a. Euphemisms: New words for old (discredited) concepts. Examples: Slum depressed socioeconomic area Invasion reinforced protective reaction strike Nuclear Accident: incident or event Heated Argument full and frank discussion Rebels terrorists or freedom fighters Water cure ( ) torture and war crimes (WW II, Korea, Vietnam/Cambodia) waterboarding (2002?-present) Torture enhanced Interrogation Techniques Massacre collateral damage All-Out Nuclear War strategic exchange
Words which have an innocuous definition, but tap into associated non-innocuous concepts or stereotypes Racially loaded words: food stamps or welfare recipient (even though most are white), gang member, street thug, urban, quota, states rights, our folks, articulate, etc. Ethnically-loaded terms: real America(n), Founding Fathers, bilingual, etc. Gender-loaded terms: hysterical, worker, homemaker, queen
Words (euphemisms) used to signal one group without alarming others who may be listening Dred Scott and abortion Christian as a subtype of Christian Strict Constructionism for Judicial Conservatism May use words that are disproportionately loaded for one group Gingrich: Obama the most successful food stamp president in American history
Pretending to be someone we are not Plain Folks Strategy Misleadingly bolsters ethos of speaker Examples: Michael Moore in Roger & Me
Nicely annotated and illustrated version available at e/classes/33d/33dTexts/SontagFascinFascis m75.htm e/classes/33d/33dTexts/SontagFascinFascis m75.htm
1. Fiction: The mountain films a.Contrast strong mountains and those who can conquer them with weak valley people b.Mountains seen as mysterious or even magical (climb represents spiritual ascent through strength and purity) c.Riefenstahls own film The Blue Light opposes the creative spirituality of the heroine with the rationalism of outsiders and the hate of those who envy her ability
a. Victory of the Faith (1933) – Focuses on mass rallies and marches but flawed b. Triumph of the Will (1935) – Full of symbols: classical architecture, physical strength, ideal bodies, mysterious leader, spiritual devotion to the leader, identification of essence of the people c. Day of Freedom (1935) – Short film.
Again shows the body perfect – the only flaws are from exertion itself Notable: Race is less relevant than build Actual performance less important than idealized performance (e.g. diving scenes)
Another film contrasting mountain purity with lowland/valley corruption
a. Riefenstahl picked them because of looks b. Old and disabled not filmed or photographed (not part of essentialized authentic Nuba society) c. Emphasis on purity (especially sexual purity) as the containment of vitality d. Sontag: The Last of the Nuba is about a primitivist ideal: a portrait of a people subsisting in a pure harmony with their environment, untouched by civilization.
the contrast between the clean and the impure, the incorruptible and the defiled, the physical and the mental, the joyful and the critical contempt for all that is reflective, critical, and pluralistic PurityCorruption BeautifulUgly PhysicalMental ReverentCritical SpiritualRational RuralUrban
On book burning: The age of extreme Jewish intellectualism has now ended, and the success of the German revolution has again given the right of way to the German spirit.
Fascist aesthetics…flow from (and justify) a preoccupation with situations of control, submissive behavior, extravagant effort, and the endurance of pain... The relations of domination and enslavement take the form of a characteristic pageantry: the massing of groups of people; the turning of people into things; the multiplication or replication of things; and the grouping of people/things around an all-powerful, hypnotic leader-figure or force. … Fascist art glorifies surrender, it exalts mindlessness, it glamorizes death.
A bundle of rods (often accompanied by an axe, which symbolized power over life- and-death) carried by Roman officials as a symbol of authority. htm
he Lincoln Memorial (1922) uses the image of fasces are sculpted in the front of his seat, beneath his hands.
Entarte Kunst means degenerate art. Art work that adopted from primitive forms, or in otherways could cause a degeneration in the (so-called) Aryan spirit. This is contrasted with the Nazis preferred Volkische art (populist, or of the people). Ironically, the show was exceptionally popular, with 3 million people viewing it.
In 1941, the exhibit appeared in 13 cities in Germany and Austria.
The exhibit purposefully used poor lighting. On the walls were slogans such as: Nature as seen by sick minds. Incompetents and charlatans.
Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister and an art lover, visited the show.
The work of Kirchner, a German Expressionist, was included in the exhibit as an example of the type of art the Nazis considered degenerate.
Ironically, Kirchners Bathers: was initially approved of by Joseph Goebbels because of its anti- modernist aesthetic. However it fails to promote Aryan beauty.
Beckmann, another German Expressionist, also was presented in the exhibit.
Another degenerate style was abstract art. Kandinsky, who taught at the Bauhaus from – 1933 (when the Nazis closed it) created a series of Compositions prior to WWI. The first 3 Compositions were confiscated and displayed in the exhibit. They were later destroyed along with many other works from the exhibition.
The Nazis were also concerned about degenerate music. Notice the stereotyping of the black jazz musician, including the Jewish Star of David on his lapel..
This is a classic example of good Nazi art. The composition is classically structured, the figures are strong and masculine, and a heroic golden light shines from the rowers. Note that 1936 was the year the Olympics were held in Berlin, and Janisch seems to represent that event, in which the Nazis hoped to prove their racial superiority.
Wissel portrays another favored theme of Nazi painting, the good German farm family. Families were vital to producing more soldiers and workers for the Reich, and farms had the honored and critical role of feeding the nations warriors. The painting also reflects the Nazis mythicization of rural, primitive (non-modern) life. The re-generation takes them back to a more idyllic, pastoral, time.
Junghanns also presents the classic Nazi vision of a re- generation as a return to the soil. The romantic (anti- modernist, anti-rational, anti-intellectual) vision of the Nazis is displayed in the old-fashioned method of plowing the earth. (Unlike Soviet paintings, which frequently feature tractors, to emphasize the Communists industrial advances over the Czars). Oddly, the Nazis were in fact committed to maximized efficiency through machine labor. Their public image and private reality were very different.
The Nazis had a very sexualized political ideology, which fused with their vision of superior Aryan beauty. Images which emphasized the beauty of German women (and German men, such as Water Sport), especially when done in a classical style, are emblematic of Nazi art.
The Nazis also prized sculpture. Typically, Nazi sculpture mimics classical styles, and treats its subjects as heroic figures (as befits a master race). Relay Runners is one of the many poorly executed pieces created quickly to fill the empty exhibition space left by the confiscation and destruction of degenerate works.
Brekers sculptural works were of higher quality, and so, in a disquieting way, successfully reinforce the Nazi image of German superiority. (click for two more Breker works) Preparedness The Warrior Departs The Guard
1. Exercise: For each of the following, classify it as fascist or degenerate based on the fascist aesthetic
Star Wars: Compare to Triumph of the WillTriumph of the Will 300 LOTR: Helms Deep and Pelennor Fields Starship Troopers Rocky IV
Is a fascist aesthetic inherent in coverage of some topics? Is it fascist? Beware affirming the consequent: Fascists art style, but does Art style Fascism? To what extent do nonvisual elements undercut or reinforce such an aesthetic? What are the multiple messages sent by such imagery?
Example: Prelude to WarPrelude to War The first casualty when war comes is Truth ~ U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917
1. Usual features a. Promotes the negative image of the enemy b. Reinforces it with rhetoric about the righteousness of own cause c. War is sold as best for everyone except evil people (enemy leaders, enemies as zombies, etc) 2. War propaganda usually intellectually dishonest: principles used to demonize the other are not used to judge the self
1. The crisis: The reporting of a crisis which negotiations appear unable to resolve. Politicians, while calling for diplomacy, warn of military retaliation. The media reports this as Were on the brink of war, or War is inevitable, etc.
2. The demonization of the enemys leader: Comparing the leader with Hitler is a good start because of the instant images that Hitlers name provokes.
3. The demonization of the enemy as individuals. For example, to suggest the enemy is insane. 4. Atrocities: Even making up stories to whip up and strengthen emotional reactions.
Ottosen identifies several key stages of a military campaign to soften up public opinion through the media in preparation for an armed intervention.
The Preliminary Stageduring which the country concerned comes to the news, portrayed as a cause for mounting concern because of poverty/dictatorship/anarchy; The Justification Stageduring which big news is produced to lend urgency to the case for armed intervention to bring about a rapid restitution of normality;
The Implementation Stagewhen pooling and censorship provide control of coverage; The Aftermathduring which normality is portrayed as returning to the region, before it once again drops down the news agenda.
In the 1991 Gulf War, a U.S. public relations firm got a Kuwaiti Ambassadors daughter to pose as a nurse claiming she saw Iraqi troops killing babies in hospitals. The purpose of this was to create arousal and demonize Iraq so war was more acceptable. More information: dleEast/Iraq.asp
Military control of information during war time is also a major contributing factor to propaganda, especially when the media go along with it without question. The military recognizes the values of media and information control very well.
Overloading the media with information Ideological appeals Spinning information Withholding information Co-option and Collusion
Sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly make a decision to be biased in their reporting, in favor of the Coalition troops. They travel with the forces; its a way to get cooperation
Journalists need the military for information and protection Journalists are supposed to objectively report on the military A journalist without information is an unemployed journalist
1. Decontextualizing violence: focusing on the irrational without looking at the reasons for unresolved conflicts and polarization. By drawing attention to one short but bloody outburst of violence, an outburst that is cast and investigated as unusual, other periods may implicitly be rendered normal. – quote from a Palestinian page on the Gaza conflict of 2006
1. Decontextualizing violence: focusing on the irrational without looking at the reasons for unresolved conflicts and polarization. Another example: Rwandan genocide as ethnic conflict.
2. Dualism: reducing the number of parties in a conflict to two, when often more are involved. (Form of either/or fallacy). Such stories ignore internal populations of civilians who may not support either side, the differences within each side, and such outside or external forces as foreign governments and transnational companies.
3. Manicheanism: portraying one side as good and demonizing the other as evil. Examples: Post-genocide writing dismissed the notion of Tutsi massacres of Hutus and ignored the Tutsi-on-Hutu genocide of 1972 in Burundi. Rebels against tyrannical regimes often portrayed as heroes, despite legitimate concerns about them (Darfur, Libya, Afghanistans Mujahideen, Communists, etc)
3. Manicheanism: portraying one side as good and demonizing the other as evil. 4. Armageddon: presenting violence as inevitable, omitting alternatives. Example: Christians/Jews and Muslims have been fighting for a thousand years, so they (the other or both sides) only understand force.
5. Focusing on individual acts of violence while avoiding structural causes, like poverty, government neglect and military or police repression. Structural Violence 6. Confusion: focusing only on the conflict arena (i.e., the battlefield or location of violent incidents) but not on the forces and factors that influence the violence.
7. Excluding and omitting the bereaved, thus never explaining why there are acts of revenge and spirals of violence. 8. Failure to explore the causes of escalation and the impact of media coverage itself.
9. Failure to explore the goals of outside interventionists, especially big powers. 10. Failure to explore peace proposals and offer images of peaceful outcomes. 11. Confusing cease-fires and negotiations with actual peace.
12. Omitting reconciliation: conflicts tend to reemerge if attention is not paid to efforts to heal fractured societies. Omission reinforces fatalism and security dilemmas (perceived impossibility of cooperation)