Propaganda

PROPAGANDA

There are many ways in which information, ideas and news can be imparted to and within society. Propaganda is a manner of communication that spreads particular ideas throughout society and employs manipulation to persuade individuals and groups to adopt given principles and to subsequently align their behaviour with them. The Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia says that the propagandist will “emphasize the elements of information that support their position and deemphasize or exclude those that do not.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2011: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/478875/propaganda)

EFFECT ON CITIZENS

The promulgation of one-sided messages seldom serves the common interests of communities, provinces or nation-states. Propaganda, in most instances benefits a particular organization, governing body or functioning entity rather than the individual groups to which it is aimed. (Nicotra 2009: 331) Ultimately, overt verbal and non-verbal audience responses, attitudes and behavioural patterns regarding such forms of action as voting; joining organizations; fighting for causes and so on are altered to fulfil the objectives of the propagandist. (Jowett 1992: 34)

MEDIA’S ROLE REGARDING PROPAGANDA

The media is the primary medium through which propaganda is propagated. Between the late 19th and 20th centuries the world experienced an explosion in mass communication that saw an increase in the efficient dissemination of information flows across geographical distances. (Jowett 1992: 79)

In the mid-1930s, the word in the air (literally, thanks to the advent of radio)—as well as in the papers, weekly news magazines, and academic journals alike—was ‘‘propaganda.’’ (Burton 2009: 91)

 The war against terror that America and Britain has declared has been justified by their claims that Iraq is a threat to the world. The civilians of the world’s countries have been sceptical about the validity of these claims therefore, “The challenge, for these two countries, has been to wage and win a propaganda war to convince citizens that action is needed urgently.” (Global Issues 2003: http://www.globalissues.org/article/400/media-propaganda-and-iraq) This would be impossible without the mass media as means to this end.

PROPAGANDA’S MOST EFFECTIVE MEDIUM

The most effective medium through which propaganda can be disseminated is radio, through short- and medium wave broadcasting.

Despite the inroads made by television viewing in leisure-time activities in most industrial countries, there is no indication of any decline in the use of radio…and large sums of money are spent on the worldwide dissemination of information from a variety of political ideologies. (Jowett 1992: 101)

Radio transmitted messages are short, simple and usually available in the preferred language of the listener. For these reasons, the intake of audio information require very little or no participation and effort from audiences and makes for more effective absorption and internalization of information. Contrary to what one might think or opine before appropriate research of the question: “television, electronic tape recordings, and sound motion pictures are [only] the second most effective means of communication available” (Psywarrior: http://www.psywarrior.com/FM33-1.html)

21st CENTURY PROPAGADA

There has been an unprecedented increase in the diffusion and use of unqualified propaganda in the 21st century. We can see this in the way that the United States of America constantly bombards us with images and sounds that promote views that the Arabs are the enemy of the world and that it is up to America to annihilate this enemy. America used propaganda in the form of a reaction to the events of September 11to justify its pursuit of Iran; while sceptics would opine that the real reason behind the US’s attack on Iran is it’s pursuit of the oil in Iran. The events of September 11 were a perfect excuse to hide behind because Americans wanted justice to be served for the losses that occurred because of the terrorist attack on the twin towers. The world was in shock and could easily be fooled to sympathise with America rather than see through its true selfish intentions for the acquiring and retention of their own wealth.  Furthermore,

Given that the United States is the sole superpower, few, if any, adversaries will attempt to fight the US military conventionally on the battlefield. Therefore, adversaries will use propaganda and deception, especially altered images, in an attempt to level the battlefield or to win a war against the United States without even having to fight militarily.

So, in conclusion, propaganda is still used today and will be used more in the future.

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Burton, St. John III. 2009. ‘Journalism’s Counterinsurgency against “Free Space”: The ANPA Publicity Bulletin’, Journalism History, Vol 35, pp. 92-97.
  2. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/478875/propaganda [Accessed 1 March 2010]
  3. Global Issues. 2003. http://www.globalissues.org/article/400/media-propaganda-and-iraq [Accessed 5 March 2010]
  4. Jowett, Garth S. 1992. Propaganda and Persuasion. United States of America: SAGE Publications.
  5. Nicotra, J. 2009. ‘Dancing Attitudes in Wartime: Kenneth Burke and General Semantics’, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol 29, October, pp. 331-352.
  6. Psywarrior. 2003. http://www.psywarrior.com/FM33-1.html [Accessed 01 March 2011]

Media Matters

INTRODUCTION

The world and human life within it, is a complex cocktail of fascinating events, controversial issues and a myriad of mysteries and philosophies. Social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, economics, philosophy and politics scientifically study this world and the interactions of the components that comprise it. The media is the vehicle that collects and delivers news and all sorts of information to and from the households and firms within society.

WHY MEDIA MATTERS?

It is important for the people within society to be aware of the events and issues that are happening within their local and international surroundings. Without this knowledge, people are unable to “act in a public capacity” (Greer 2008: 20) and exercise their human rights as citizens of their countries. The media provides a platform for “freedom and diversity” (Castells 2004: 317) of public opinion and the accurate and truthful recording of events and issues affecting public life.

 The media is the frame in which “open social, [cultural] and political processes” (2004: 370) and communication is captured for public viewing, analysing and debating. The media is very powerful because of its ability to influence and even change the thoughts and actions of the individuals and groups that take in the diverse information that it delivers in words and images. (Greer. 2008)

In the past, governments censored the information that the public could view, read and listen to; but this changed between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s; allowing more independent, broad and credible broadcasting and printing in the media industry. (Castells. 2004) This means that everyone has the opportunity to be empowered by easily accessible information flows that are relevant, accurate free. Greer writes, “I will nail my colours to the mast (an idiom meaning “I will make my opinion public”)” reiterating the possibilities of free expression in society.

There has been a huge growth in local media markets all over the world “[moving in] parallel to the globalization of the media” (2004: 319). This growth is taking place primarily in the broadcasting spheres of television and radio where standardized views of mass media” (2004: 319) are being avoided and powerful bonds are being forged between the media and audiences. (Castells. 2004)

 Working in the media industry allows one to play a very important role in revealing the truth about matters that are important to human beings so that people can make informed decisions about how to perceive matters and how to behave accordingly. For example: the media’s exposure of the South African president, Jacob Zuma’s extra-marital affair with his friend’s daughter and the platform that it gave the public to express their views of the matter is powerful. The public was galvanized in a way that erased tribal and racial boundaries; which is rare in South Africa’s new democracy allowing people to come stand together for what is morally right and not for what is black, white or even Zulu.

 CONCLUSION

Media matters because it underpins how societies respond to the problems they face. This makes media not only relevant to the most urgent problems of [society] –it makes it critical to the solutions designed to address them. (BBC WST. 2011)

Being exposed to the media in its multi-facetted forms feeds and frees ones mind and allows for liberated and open-minded thinking and acting. Becoming a professional within the media industry not only allows one to lend a finger to the hand that feeds information to the public but it also allows one to satiate ones own hunger in the matters that are most important to human existence.

Life-long learning is one of the most meaningful ways of living, fruitful growing and developing oneself in all possible directions and being a successful professional in media requires it of just that. There are a few things in this world that are more personally gratifying and fulfilling than the aforementioned; thus this paper asks, why NOT media?

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Castells, M. 2004. The Power of Identity. USA, UK and Australia: Blackwell Publishing.
  2. Greer, G. 2008. Introducing Journalism and Media Studies. Cape Town: Juta & Co Ltd.
  3. The BBC World Service Trust. 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/whatwedo/media/

[Accessed 17 February 2011].

The Power of Music

INTRODUCTION

The nature of our world and the meaning of our existence within it is a constantly changing and complex system of mysterious events, plural perceptions and controversial interpretations. This has inspired a multiplicity of socio-scientific thought, research and theory throughout history; in an attempt to explain the world and define human beings purposefully within it and in relation to it. The media is and has been the collection and delivery vehicle that transports mounds of such information as well as the inherent myriad of meanings and experiences to and from the interacting components.

This paper presents a brief introduction and discussion about the media culture with the regards to its characteristic capacity to mass communicate a vast array of encoded messages that stimulate miscellaneous nuances in the social norms and cultural constructs within contemporary society.

THE MASS MEDIA COMMUNICATION CULTURE

The media is the frame in which “open social, cultural and political processes” (Castells 2004: 370) and communication is captured for public intake, interpretation and internalizing and/or discarding. Between the late 19th and 20th centuries the world experienced an explosion in mass communication that saw an increase in the efficient dissemination of information flows across geographical distances.  This means that the media is a powerful source of social as well as cultural expression. Furthermore, it oppositely an equally makes the mass communication culture a powerful tool of socialization because of its typical ability to alter and influence the very thoughts and subsequent actions of global recipients and in fact producers of information (Greer 2008: 22).

THE MEDIA’S EFFECTS ON AUDIENCES

Music has the power to connect families, communities and nations by bringing them together through a shared experience and consciousness of life. It also allows for new social relationships to be formed across cultural boundaries where new hybrid interrelations and identities are formed and reinforced (Cohen 2007: 39).

It provides the means for previously excluded minority or marginalized groups to re-define themselves and form sub-cultures with their own legitimate styles and identities (Real 1996: 27).

Finnegan mentions the “unspoken but shared assumption among listeners…that there was something that was not to be found in our daily activities at play…that music plays a far larger part in the experience and fulfillment of human beings and the patterning of society that is usually allowed by social scientists, musicologists or the conventional wisdom on the subject.

THE MOST EFFECTIVE CULTURAL TOOL

The media’s most effective cultural tool is music. Unlike other tools of expression, like print, films, art and so on which employ a limited amount of communication forms; music makes use of a larger number and it stimulates all the senses that a human being has. Music makes use of visual, verbal and non-verbal sensory codes and evokes, through is tones, lyrics, audio-visual content; a vivid spectrum of sensory thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

 Music has the ability to transcend culture, class, race and other elements of social stratification. It is also very powerful because it is a universal language. One need not be able to read or write or be educated in any way to understand and appreciate the sentiments that it may express. However, the emergence of print media undermined the significance and pervasive recognition of non-literal music. According to Michael Real in “Exploring Media Culture” 1996, “Print contributed to “mental” appreciation of music, detaching music from the kinetic, expressive forms of tribal music.” (Real 1996: 16).

Music has been a powerful revolutionary instrument throughout the ages. During apartheid, the oppressed black South Africans sang “struggle songs” that expressed their shared experiences, interpretations and sentiments about the political atmosphere in which they were incarcerated. Music was useful in galvanizing black South Africans despite their ethnical or tribal differences and mobilized and unified them in the realization of a new single identity that outlined the shared role that they had to play in liberating themselves. Music therefore influences social interactions and behavior in contemporary society (Cohen 1996: 23).

CONCLUSION

Music as a cultural tool is very powerful in so many different ways and it can mobilize masses in the most intense and profound ways more so, than any other cultural tool.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Castells, M. 2004. The Power of Identity. MA, Oxford and Victoria: Blackwell Publishing.
  2. Cohen, S. 2007. Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
  3. Greer, G. 2008. Introducing Journalism and Media Studies. Cape Town: Juta & Co Ltd.
  4. Real, M.R. 1996. Exploring Media Culture: A Guide.

I Have Music in Me

I have music in me

Can’t you hear the rhapsody slip from my lips?

I have a mouth-piece like flute

That spills polyphonic harmony

That flows and fills out like harp strings

Beware not to be dazzled by my spell

I have music in me

Can’t you see the scores in my head?

Rushing through my network system

Like bands of timbre form a colour spectrum.

Every twinkle in my eye is a virtuoso piece

It leaves you beaming within from the joy it brings 

I have music in me

Can’t you taste the berry-sweet melodies?

Like deep rose-coloured wine on a rainy summer’s day to the palate

Like giant stawberry symphonies accompanied by melting chocolate

Like a decidous fruit or playing ebony and ivory

My music rises as it falls like cold  milk and warm honey.

I have music in me

Can’t you smell the exotic aromas?

Drifting like radiant smoke released by my lips

Resonating in sympathy with your heart strings when I sing

Alluring and enticing like the legendary seductive Sirens

Recalling your memories like a kaleidoscope of scented violins.

I have music in me

Can’t you feel the BEAT in my feet?

My firm meter and steady rhythm keeps me alive

When I walk I sway my body to it like supple grass dancing in the breeze

My truth, hope and above all these my LOVE for that’s what God is

The core of my existence!

I have music in me

Can you sense it?

Controversial Dora Nginza stresses mothers-to-be

Picture by: Hazel Salaze

Pregnant women in Nelson Mandela Bay fear for their lives and the lives of their unborn babies because of the poor health care available to them.
Dora Nginza Hospital is infamous for its high infant mortality rates and has lawsuits of over R100 million piled against them said The Times. These lawsuits are from mothers whose babies are disabled or have died because of lazy or negligent staff.
This is Port Elizabeth’s most controversial health care institution according to an article published in The Herald last week: Dora’s maternity unit has an alarming 30% higher than the national average infant mortality and caesarean rate. The same article shows a picture taken by Eugene Coetzee with the caption: “SLEEPING SOUNDLY … A nurse at the Dora Nginza maternity unit keeps watch over a newborn.
Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex Clinical Governance Head, Aydin Vehbi says the abnormally high infant mortality rates at Dora are justifiable because “We are the only institution which does state caesarian sections in the region. Anything that’s complicated comes to us”.

Clara Buyi who lives Kwa-Zakhele not far from the hospital warns, “EDora sana thandaza uba ungasiwa eDora.
If you’re taken to Dora you must not make too much noise as if you’re the only one in pain otherwise those nurses will cut you buy force. They will make you sign forms bazok’sika.”
Oddete Olivier, a Child Bearing assistant, peer and breast feeding counsillor at Provincial Hospital’s Maternal Obstetric Unit (MOU) said, to a group of women receiving antenatal care on Tues this week: “if you go into premature labour you will be sent to Dora” where you can be treated by gynaecologists and doctors . They have an excellent maternity unit” and that “you will be well taken care of in good hands.”
Pregnancy complications are common for HIV positive patients because they are twice as vulnerable to them as HIV negative women are. An article in Mamas and Papas magazine says, “AIDS is now the most common form of maternal death in South Africa” and it accounts for 43.7% of the 20% increase in maternal deaths occurring from 2002- 2004 to 2005- 2007.
A third of all pregnancies admitted at Dora Nginza are HIV positive, says Vehbi.
Health Department Spokesman, Sizwe Kupelo insists that the number of lawsuits and mortality figures alone do not accurately measure the standards of the maternity unit’s functioning or indicate that there is a problem.
Aiden Peters another Childbearing Assistant at Provincial Hospital (MOU) who also works as a doula at Dora Nginza sometimes encouraged the Bay’s expectant mothers not to be afraid should they have to go to Dora, “I can assure Dora is not as bad as it’s made out to be.”

The Fall: Norah Jones

What is Norah talking about when she entitles her 2007 album, “The Fall”? The title lends itself to myriad interpretations of the metaphor. Could it be referring to the mildness of autumn waned from hot and happy summer on one pole to the epoch of a new set cold and melancholy conditions; characteristic on the opposite pole, of winter? Or, could it be a metaphor to reflect and describe a dark and difficult time in her life? The ambiguities and possible interpretations of this piece are endless, but all sensually conjure up images and ideas that fit together in some mysterious way to denote the prevalence of some powerful and omniscient quality or personality.

With the images of dried up and quietly falling brown leaves as a symptom of the melting away of fruity and fresh summer days and signal of the end of warm-honey summer nights; The Fall is an evocative and surreal impressionistic album that evokes and satisfies all human senses. This album seems to gradually progress in a mellow and gently melancholy way yet strangely empowered and open at the same time; picking up and resonating sympathetically with the lulling moods and sentiments of Not too late, her previous album.

However, simultaneously, this album is poignantly different from her traditional, ‘folky’ style. Abandoning her usual country style, Jones concocts a new and distinct sound that incorporates rock, blues and jazz even reggae elements with prominent bass guitar and drum lines as with Even Though and Chasing Pirates; while still retaining subtle hints of her traditional country feel. She experiments with very colourful and unusual combinations of authentic and synthetic timbres and genres conjuring the echoing sounds and mysterious illusions of hollow yet ironically intricate places like in I Would’nt Need You.

The Fall has a deeply moving selection of beautifully written memoir-like lyrics; sonorous, sincere and deep in meaning. The meanings are emphasized and amplified against a luminous and spacious background of weighty chords and polyphonic harmonies of electric and acoustic string instruments. The meter and seasoned sentiments of each track are carefully formulated and pronounced through the clever use of scansion and eloquently outlined phrases and intimately tailored rhythms.

The most pertinent manifestation of this is in the internal structure and form of Light as a Feather; which radiates excruciating exquisiteness and profound depth through an interaction between iambic tetrameter (to create the feeling of rounded thought and reflection) and iambic trimeter (to contrastingly delineate decisiveness in spite of-).

Juxtapositions and stark antitheses in the heavy lyrics are carried by the intriguing and unusual use of- and shifts between time signatures and unresolved keys. Flowing and fluid melodies sing, consonant harmonies fill out, ring through and out and are holistically woven together to deliver a rich and romantic expression of emotions and experience that leaves a lingering impression that reaches to and stays in the very nest of one’s existence.

This is a truly remarkable album that appeals pleasantly to the human senses and all lovers of literature, art and music.

Sonnet for Doomed Humour

Richard was a midget from the Orange Free State.  

He bought himself a ticket to the rugby one day.

Richard had a daughter who had lost both her legs.

Lona’s what kids called her cause she had nil friends.

On the day of the rugby he  left Lona home alone.

To drink draughts watching Cheetahs score tries on the lawn.

In the dim with a candle Lona slept all alone.

Cause her dad was a midget and her legs were both gone.

Late that night, little Richard stumbled into the room

Tripping over a cricket as he fell to his doom.

Lona woke from her sleep breathing smoke and black  fumes.

Lona choked then she died from the smoke she consumed.

[Don’t forget to kill the candle ‘fore you lie down to snooze

Lest your father is short and he comes home boozed.]

Jokes, it doesn’t end like that! This is how it ends:

Don’t forget to kill the candle ‘fore you lie down to snooze

Don’t forget to kill the candle else your life’s what you’ll lose.

Hehe;)

Where “We” Be

We exist in spaces within the realm of time where seconds and minutes make the hours arranged like a flower. Like 60 petals to the same power, comprising the single units of 24 flowers we live within the realm of time. Bed time, good time, bad time, school time right time, false time, perfect timing, time out, time off, time away.

There is a time for every action, every feeling, every instant and situation. Time is the metronome that sets the tempo of the way we live in our home; of the way things come and the way things will go. It is the rate at which green grass grows; frozen flood flows; the future becomes known. Time is the manouvre and compass of our existence.

Don’t! (You)

Hey! Don’t you point your red-inked finger at me

as your tongue and red lips mock me

and your bloody fangs laugh at me

as you try to deform my dreams.

You tend to lie to me… a lot… in fact, incessantly. You tend to make me laugh a lot actually. Like, the way you tend to hide truth from me that speaking truely, you yourself are unable to truthfuly see; hoping (in vain and quite stupidly) that I’ll follow blindly as you blindly lead.

Don’t you analyze what you see as me

as you look past my feathers and beak at me

able, only, to see a roasted chicken and speak at me

trying to convince me that

you “actually” know me better that I know me.

Tee hee, hee hee! You will not succeed!

You must feel very threatened by me, you “JUST. CAN’T. put your fingers around me. You must really hate the sight of me because no matter how much you poke and pick at me with your like dirty teeth, I “JUST. WONT. FFIT” into those perfect little pretty shapes you’ve constructed and put aside for every human being.  Shame, don’t hate me silly, just try to understand me then you surely love me.

Don’t you dare try to redirect me with your red narrow-eyed glare when I choose to walk on a dirt path and not there, on that perfect little paved road you’ve constructred. For me? You must be crazy Society! Don’t try to redefine me; draw a perfect little line for me; “see me” if you please but only as you please. 

You’re really silly to think the dirty names you now call me will control my actions; alter my being-state; delete my identity. You must be afraid of me because no matter what you do, your box JUST CAN’T contain me and your big red stamp JUST WON’T stick to me.

Don’t! You can’t package or post me; you’ll fail, dismally.

Your little lines mean nothing to me. I walk a path I have chosen for me and I won’t change or part from it to please or suit you.  Despite what you foolishly tend to believe, the truth is that the power to change(me) does not lie in your fingers. So do yourself a favour and just leave me be me.

Life is long

I’ve often heard people say that life is short, like a trolley dash without a time frame. They reckon that the survival tactic is living every moment as if it were your last. Gather all your goodies of life with an unapologetic gluttony. Then hate your overexposed participation and obese state of being and be left wondering what went wrong, when and how; because it all happened too fast. Well, the truth is that life is long because the decisions you make today are yet to shape the way that the future will unfold.

There is a xhosa idiom that says, “inyawo alina mpumlo”, which when loosely translated means that the foot has no nose. This idiom is similar to the one about not burning one’s bridges because you will never know when you might need them. The foot has no nose, in the sense that it does not smell or rather cannot foresee its encounters in life unless it is the foot of a time traveller because it is only time that will tell the truth about how the fate of the same feet that trampled all over you yesterday by virtue of being donned with the latest Nike’s can one day find themselves outside your doorstep begging for bread; donning the same Nike’s. Although, now they would have been ravaged by time, because life is long.

Two other prominent xhosa idioms say, “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu” and “Izandla ziya hlambana” translate into English saying, “I am, because you are” and “Hands wash each other”. These idioms carry the spiritually healthy prescription of doing unto others as you would them do unto you because life is not short, it is long and the way that you treat others determines how others will treat you. Ask any convicted criminal and they will tell you how hard it is to endure the punishment received for an error they could have avoided. Or, ask any divorced couple about making the right decisions at the right time.

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