Monday, December 04, 2006

Jack Bauer vs. Paquita

We're all familiar with the so called "reality shows" on TV. Despite their name they have nothing to do with reality, they are more into surrealism. Altough communications media is important and they serve moslty just for entertainment, there are other elements hidden or embeded into their messages. Barthes discusses a similar example in "mythologies". Anyway, it is clear that there are many signifying practices arround those shows (as in many other shows)... but what is disturbing, is that we are getting those messages in a sort of "subliminal propaganda". We see those shows just for entertainment and what we get is an overdose of subliminal propaganda... which is somehow sweet and adictive!

There must be a very large taxonomy of all diferent kinds of ideology propaganda: political, racist, classist, etc. I've always disliked TV shows or movies with a strong political agenda, or those which are offensive to specific groups, in order to make them look like "the bad guys" or "the poor defenseless ones that need to be saved from evil", etc... labeling a group of people, or a country, or a religion, or anyone, just to suit a specific political ideology is not necessary for having a good entertaining story from my point of view. It has nothing to do with reality... in fact, it is a manipulation of meanings. I prefer "el Santo contra las momias de Guanajuato" rather than Jack Bauer against the "Islamic communist neonazi mexican terrorist drugdealers". Nobody would expect a real life military strike against those poor mummies, but then again, nobody expects the spanish inquisition.

Propaganda is a very powerful tool. Manipulation is a cultural-political-social weapon. And we are almost defenseless against such brain wash. Once an idea is embedded into the people, they will act according to that brain-wash-ideology programation as if it is normal behavoir. Well, maybe it is "normal", remember that culture is a construct. So, we act according to the things we learn: what we learn at home, at school, and what we learn from the media.

Inside the box of cereals we buy, there's a "kid's newsletter". A couple of months ago I saw this in one of their newsletters:

Cicero, the Roman statesman and philosopher wrote some 2000 years ago: The six mistakes of man

  • The delusion that personal gain is made by crushing others
  • The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed
  • Insising that something is impossible because we cannot accomplish it
  • Refusing to set aside trivial preferences
  • Neglecting development and refinement of the mind, and not acquiring the habit of reading and studying
  • Attemping to compel others to live and believe as we do.
Well... we haven't changed or learned much in all this time.

After the US invasion of Iraq, I saw a news headline like: The first sign of civilization brought into Iraq by the american soldiers, was when they shared their thanksgiving meal with the Iraqi people. OK. Then there's "iraqi idol" (iraq star) and "extreme makeover home edition" for bombarded houses... Is there really the need to have a pop singing idol? I wonder if one of the judges is as critic as Simon. Mexico is not that far away in terms of surrealism... I don't know if I prefer Paquita la del Barrio or Yuridia. Which one is your favourite pop-star super-hero? Don't even get me started on how amateurish are reality shows in NZ... that could fill a whole blog about it! One thing is to make the show look like real life and other is shooting with an amateur videocamera! So, once again we are devaluating the meaning of words, by imposing new (manipulated) signifying meanings.

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Anonymous hooper said...

Ah!... sweet talk, too bad Paquita la del barrio is a criminal and ended up in the slammer.

Then again, nobody epects the SAT inquisition!

Saludos ^_^

9:09 PM  
Blogger Fernando Vallejo said...

Exhibit N.1 we still live in the middle ages: yes those guys from IRS, SAT, SHCP or Pinkcome Taxes are eeeevil!


12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Fernando Vallejo said...

You see... despite word verification, there are still spammers posting their promotional sites. I don't know whether to delete that message permanently, or leave it for the record...


1:36 AM  

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