The Performance of Advertisements

While driving through Hollywood on my way to work, I was prompted to take this photo (while stopped in bumper to bumper traffic of course) because it triggered my memory of several important theorists that we have studied in this course. Goffman, Marx and Marcuse all came to mind as I watched these proletariats hanging off the side of a skyscraper on a rickety scaffold to replace the enormous advertisement from Activate Water to TV Land. This advertisement will likely generate money for TV Land, the actress displayed on the front, the owner of the building, and anyone else involved in the production of the show. I’m not sure how much these workers are paid but considering how much revenue is likely generated, I’m guessing they are not being paid nearly enough for all the risks that are involved in the work. Hence, it’s a great example of Marx’s theory on the exploitation of the worker to ensure that the capitalist makes a profit and the consumer continues fueling the vicious cycle of capitalism. 

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Don’T Worry, CVS Has Hundreds of Items You NEED

I found this sign at the local CVS store and found it to be absolutely ridiculous. First of all, it claims that there are hundreds of items within the store that you NEED. And secondly, that the advertising made it appear that CVS was doing a public service by cutting the prices of life’s necessities. This sign coincides well with Marx’s concept of the all-powerful Capitalist society. Marx argues that the economy is the basis of all of society, and everything else, including religion, art, ideas, culture, and the state are the mere superstructure. Therefore, the economy rules everything within society, meaning that those who own the means of production hold all of the power. In this case, the CEO of CVS holds power over the shoppers and utilizes advertising such as this to inspire the shoppers to buy more and more to further buffer his wealth.

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Hey Jesus!

I found this picture in a newspaper from Portland and found it to be hilarious and terrifying at the same time. As you can see, the picture shows Jesus with a Portland twist, not only is he wearing a Blazers jersey but he has a doughnut halo. The most shocking thing about this picture is that Jesus is holding money, which serves as a commentary on the commodification of religion. In a Marxian perspective, religion has become focused almost exclusively on money, which has changed the whole nature of the church as a public good. Marx discusses the power of the Capitalist economy as it has assumed all power as the base of civil society. Therefore, money is the basis of everything within society. In this case, the image of Jesus has even been plagued with money as he is shown pointing at money as if it were holy.

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Frankfurt School

This is a cartoon depiction of four important theorists involved in the Frankfurt School of Social Theory. (Clockwise from top right: Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Felix Weil). Those affiliated with the Frankfurt School thought that some Marxist followers took too much of a narrow view on Marxist ideology. They believed some Marxist ideas could not explain aspects of contemporary capitalist societies. As a result, they theorized about ways to transcend ideas of capitalism and socialism to form a new hypothesis about how contemporary societies function.

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