Sunday, December 11, 2011

American Doubt

The idea of the American Dream is defined in The Great Gatsby by the lack of ambition and determination as the 1920’s were based on the material gains that were accessible at this time. This in some ways is very relevant to the lack of belief in the American Dream in today society however for the alternative reason. Many have lost faith in the fact that their political leaders they feel are untrustworthy through the main issue that the economy has become so weak.

Both The Great Gatsby and this article talk about the large class divide in having much to do with the lack of faith in the American Dream. We immediately see the article as cynical from its first words “The American Dream was probably more of a political concoction to prove our way was better than the Soviet way, but when it worked, boy did it work well” this creates the idea that is seen in The Great Gatsby through the lack of belief in terms of Gatsby’s criminal activities for example. The theme of criminal activities likens with today's accusations that banks and governments had worked corruptly and therefore forced us into the economic situation of today.

The article portrays the realities of the lack of faith in the American Dream whereas The Great Gatsby even in its time of release could be questioned as many were not in the position portrayed by Fitzgerald although still in good circumstances. Therefore it is hard to relate to this rather than the fact stated in this article which many if not most would associate with.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

25 Symbols in The Great Gatsby: The American dream gone wrong

Through searching, I have found something quite interesting, it is called "The Twenty Five Symbols in the Great Gatsby"

It states various points of the story as a specific colour and what each colour symbolises, in reference to the story. It refers to symbolism of people and topics.

Color Symbolisms:

1) Gray is the color for dreariness. It symbolizes the lack of life and/or spirit. It is the place of no hope, no future. In the book this place is called the valley of ashes where everything is covered in gray dust-even the people. This would not be a place where you would want to be.

2) White is the color that has the deeper meaning of false purity or goodness. Daisy and Jordan are always seen in white. Also, Gatsby, when he wanted to meet Daisy again for the first time in 5 years, he wore a white suit as if to show that he was good and pure.

3) Green represents so many things in this novel. One thing is that it means is something to hope for, to reach out for, and a hope of new.Like the green light that is at the end of Daisy and Tom’s dock. In the first chapter Gatsby is reaching out for the light. He is reaching out for his hope of Daisy and a life with her It also represents wealth and prosperity. And both of these meanings correlate with each other because in the book, wealth is something to hope for and to reach out for.

4) Red represents blood and death, as in the bloody death of Myrtle.

5) Yellow is in many facets of the book. Yellow in general means corruptness and things that go bad. –Yellow leaves represent decay and corruptness. –The yellow of Gatsby’s car represents corrupt dishonesty and deception.

7) Gold represents wealth, but, more so, the show of wealth. Gatsby tried to win Daisy back by his parties and the show of wealth.

Symbolism of people

8) Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, epitomizes the idea of a shrub that supports life, vitality. Because she is full of life, and makes spontaneous descisions.

9) Daisy embodies a fragile flower, because she is a fragile person who can’t make up her own mind.

10) Tom represents power, but mostly the abuse of the power that he has been given.

11) Nick is someone who stands to the side. He has his own opinion, but he doesn’t always express it. However he was one of the main people who connected Gatsby to Daisy, which turned out to be a really bad thing. He was like the un-innocent bystander.

12) Gatsby represents the result of a dream deferred. He overestimated what it would be like with Daisy, so much that she could never in all her life live up to his expectations. The more that the hope did not come alive, the more he dreamed, and that made it all the worse for him and Daisy.

13) There is a character that we hardly ever see, and we do not even know his true name, however he is truly imperative to the book. He is called Owl-eyes. He is someone who appears to be all knowing and/or all seeing. And he is there for Gatsby when nearly no one else would be. He is like God in this book, or the twisted twenties version of him.

14) Also, There is a correlation between three people. These three people are Gatsby, Myrtle, and Wilson. They were the only people to ever have truly loved, and they were the only three people who died in that whole time of deception.

Miscellaneous Symbolisms

Besides the colors and people there are many things that add to the meaning and the depth of the book.

There is he billboard with T.J. Eckelburg. The billboard is right over the valley of ashes. The billboard consists of really big eyes and even bigger spectacles. There is a plethora of meanings behind this billboard:

15) There is the meaning that he watches over everything that goes on around in the valley.

16) Also, his glasses have yellow rims which symbolize corruptness in two different ways. (1) That all he sees is corruptness, and,(2) he sees through the eyes of someone who is corrupt.

17) The empty face represents the hollowness of people and their materialistic values.

18) The empty face also represents an empty, unresponding, and dead God.

19) The season of summer is hot, and it represents the heat and boiling point of the story and or conflict.

20) Cars are a status symbol and can also represent carelessness and/or recklessness.

21) Spring represents a new beginning, a clean slate to mess up all over again.

22) Another big symbol that is exemplified throughout the book is eggs. The East and West eggs are where they live, and there is always drama going on. An egg is white on the outside, and yellow on the inside. So on both sides of the spectrum there is deception everywhere. An egg symbolizes a false show of purity on the outside, but rotten and corrupt on the inside.

23) Also the east egg represents old money that has been passed down from generation to generation.

24) The west egg represents new money that the people who live inside there have earned.

25) There is always constant bickering between the eggs because the west eggers are rowdy and don’t know how to handle themselves amongst the continually wealthy people.

The reason why I chose to write about this is because I thought it would be interesting to break the story down and analyse each point in a different way. The colour symbolism is particularly interesting.

Great Gatsby's 'american dream'

The Great Gatsby has put doubt into the american dream, from this novel the 'dream' seems less achievable in a law abiding manner and more achievable through corruption. The 'american dream' has always based its priorities itself made success, however in the Great Gatsby, the success seen has all come from exterior help, for example; inheritance from family of friends. This novel promotes the only way a man/women can self make their own success or achieve this 'dream' is through crime, as did Jay Gatsby (although we are unsure of exact crime). Another reason for Jay's success is that he was given inheritance, this would start him on the road to riches.

This climb to riches only takes Gatsby a couple of years, which is seen as impossible nowadays without exterior help, the Great Gatsby gives a hard boiled version of the 'american dream' but not appropriate or saint like. This can be seen as the only way to achieve riches today, therefore showing how the american dream has changed through centuries. If we look at Ragged Dick, the rise to success is more righteous as Dick doesn't commit crime or offends anyone, however he does not reach the same riches as Jay Gatsby, showing that in order to accomplish high riches, you must do it through controversy.

“If Gatsby is the novel’s representation of the American dream, however, the dream must be a corrupt one, for Gatsby achieves it only through criminal activities, a fact that severely deflates the image of the honest, hardworking man that the dream is supposed to foster.” (Tyson, 2006)

Friday, December 9, 2011

'The Great Gatsby' in today's America

Fitzgerald writes about the times of The Jazz Age, an age of excess and indulgence. After WW1, America began to feel differently about how they should (and could) act. The 1920s brought with it a gaudiness that the upper middles class were more than willing to flaunt. The distribution of wealth at the time was staggering, with a rise in income for America as a whole at 9%, whereas the top 1% of the population saw a rise of 75%. This time also saw the birth of a new consumer economy, meaning that Americans had more money from higher wages, and more time to spend it due to the creation of weekends.

Also with this financial liberation came the liberation of women when they were awarded the vote in 1920. Women now had more choice, not only in the political arena, but in fashion as well. Flapper Girls were all the rage, with their short skirts and suggestive dancing, and smoking was now seen as an acceptable past time for women.

Technology was also advancing at an unprecedented rate when the first solo flight across the atlantic was completed by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Overall, it's fair to suggest that the 20s represented an era of great change that produced excitement amongst the American citizens. The boom had brought a false sense of security, and the Wall Street crash in 1929 came as a startling wake up call for those under the spell of the American Dream.

Because of this, I believe that The Great Gatsby is still relevant today, even more so than ever before due to the state of the American economy. Another boom was experienced in recent years, and victory in the Gulf War could have attributed to the disillusionment of the American population, but now they are experiencing the bust. It is possible, therefore, for Americans to look at The Great Gatsby in hindsight and perhaps it is easier to do so now because it is set in a different era. Because of this, it's easier for people to take an outsider's view, and to see similarities that are easier to accept as it has already happened.
If there is a so-called American dream, it is in this constant turning over, in the belief that we can outrun time (and the ultimate destruction of death, as evidenced by our love of young celebrity) by forever attaching ourselves to the new. This is what Nick realizes in the book's mockingly bitter conclusion: "the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther."
Alexander Nazaryan, Daily News Staff Writer, (March 2011).
The thoughts and feelings of Fitzgerald are now reminiscent of those in America who have been let down by the American Dream. 9/11 woke America up, and now they are willing to listen to their previous mistakes, even though they may seem bittersweet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


This is a recent advert by KFC.
The song they use is called "We Got Family" and this is used to highlight family values and imply that KFC brings the family together.
The video further emphasises this by showing family and neighbours all coming together around a big makeshift table eating KFC.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Coca-Cola -Christmas Ad

The advert I chose to use is the Christmas coca -cola TV advert. Coca-cola has been around since 1886. There have been many different versions of it made along with hundreds of various adverts shown on TV.
One specific one that I can think of is the Christmas coke advert.

Throughout the 1 minute clip we don't actually see the entire length of the trucks on screen we just see parts of it through the trees as it moves.

As the various trucks move through the city, passes trees, houses and buildings which all then light up - this would create a festive feel in the ad and make it appealing to its audience especially young children.

At the end as the truck moves away an animation/graphic of Santa is shown drinking the product this would be the most important part that centres the advert because it promotes the product in an effective way.

This advert clearly promotes the product well, as well as making it appealing and festive to its viewers.

The Christmas music fits perfectly with the topic and the season too.

BMW Commercial

Adverts are used to sell an organisation's product, however what this advert does so well, is the fact that the advert is selling and advertising the whole company not just one product. It states how they can make this perfect driving machine which all the best features, however they claim that these features are already relevant to present car models being sold and used today. this advert is a great marketing tool as it illustrating all of BMW car's strengths, promoting how they are a leading class in not just executive cars, but all cars in general.

There are problems with this advert however, as most adverts do, this one tells the audience that the cars run on some "electric energy", how it is "built from lightweight materials" and how it uses "fuel intelligently", although it never specifies what these features are. you can't say the uses fuel intelligently without backing this idea up, for example; saying how many miles to the gallon an average BMW does. what this advert lacks is precise details of common feature, whether this is because they are ashamed of stats and figures or they didn't have enough advert time to put all that information in. This advert is a prime example of great marketing, as it offers the audience the perfect experience if you buy one of their cars, it only represents the strengths of the company, which is what will sell to many customers.

The advert itself comes across as being well thought through and well funded, the tunnel scene seems very cinematic and well edited. The voice over tells the audience the minimal but exact amount of information needed to be explained in order to entice watchers. The music used comes across peacefully or calmly, this helps the audience believe that buying one of these cars will enable a calm and tranquil experience. Another things that this advert does so well, is that it doesn't promote itself to a specific group or audience, this advert can be shown to males or females of any ages or race.

Friday, December 2, 2011

American Consumerism

Nike has always had very iconic and memorable commercials and this 2011 one includes the same values seen in all. The message seems to portray the idea that Nike products empower consumers. Its use of multiple well known sports stars. They also use many ethnicities throughout the commercial signifying that sports can unite, erasing race or nationality when participating in sports. It also advertises the range of products they produce by portraying the fact they are suppliers and sponsors for all these athletes. It is important I feel for them to cover the many sports available and not just those that are the most popular including those sports with female role models. We are made to believe we too can become as good as those included in the advert.

The music I feel is very important to the visual as it encourages aggression and confidence needed to establish a correct mental attitude to participate in professional sports. The use of the slogan “just do it” at the end of the commercial finally connects the audience with the commercial as it’s something everyone can relate to and associate with.

I think it is significant that throughout the advert they do not focus on the products themselves but rather the athletes involved. It promotes a view of never giving up which has always been very closely attached to the attitudes of America.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

McDonalds- We Do Happy

This McDonald's advert is of interest for three main reasons:
  1. Its target audience
  2. The values it claims to embody
  3. The lack of product.
Advertising a Happy Meal, it's obvious why McDonalds have chosen to include so many children within their advert. The 'Happy Box' seems to incarnate feelings of joy and curiosity amongst those in the commercial. There are many different versions of the box, all with the symbolic colours of red and yellow, all of which encourage the children to play and laugh with their parents as they enjoy the box, almost as if it's a game. This could be problematic because of the appeal created for children of a fun experience included with the meal as the food inside the box isn't a part of a healthy, nutritional lifestyle. Interestingly, it could be argued that this advert is aimed as much at the parents as it is their children.
The campaign is designed to re-ignite parents' latent love for McDonald's as a family destination, by reminding them of the joy and fun of the Happy Meal family experience.
- Leo Burnett, McDonald's Happy Box.
Secondly, it's important to note the choice of music used within the advert. The use of the song "Glad All Over" makes the commercial upbeat and the repetitions of the lyrics "I'll make you happy" makes it easy to argue that the purpose of this advert is to suggest that Happy Meals create happiness. The joyous nature of the song, along with the images of several excited children, having a fun time with their families and friends, all connect to create an overall sense of fulfilment. This Happy Meal will not only fill their stomachs, but it will fill the void in family life which has come about due to modern living. Again, this raises issue of guilt for parents who feel they have failed their children, and puts blame on them for having unhappy family lives, suggesting that a Happy Meal could fix all of that.

Lastly, I find it interesting that there is never a single product shown in the advert, aside from the box. However, McDonald's isn't selling a red and yellow cardboard box, they are selling the food that comes inside it, and the experience achieved when consuming. As Julia Galeota mentions in her article, it is because of McDonald's iconic images that it is not necessary for them to include anything other than what they have; the audience knows what is being sold to them without needing to be told.
... the ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald's are now, according to Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, "more widely known that the Christian cross."
- Julia Galeota, 'Cultural Imperialism: An American Tradition', in The Humanist, (2004), p. 22
The word "McDonalds" never appears in the advert, instead it is represented by its logo. The fact that it can do that is enough to suggest that the company has established itself enough world wide (because the lack of any spoken language makes it an international advert) and can continue to claim values of happiness in its portrayals.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Horatio Alger Myth

The Horatio Alger Myth gives an unrealistic view regarding the American Dream. Harlan Dalton believe's this is socially destructive as it suggests that "(1) each of us is judged solely on her or his own merits; (2) we each have a fair opportunity to develop those merits; and (3) Each of them is, to be charitable, problematic. In this form, the Horatio Alger myth suggests that success in life has nothing to do with pedigree, race, class background, gender, national origin, sexual orientation—in short, with anything beyond our individual control."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Horatio Alger Myth

"In many ways the Horation Alger myth is the basis for classic Hollywood narrative form, in which white male heroes with consistent pluck and determination overcome hardship or villainy and obtain (economic) success."

This was a quote I found that says its is pretty much that easy to make something of yourself if you try hard enough. In relation to what I have read, Ragged Dick was exactly one of these people, a young boy who had very little and gradually made himself into a successful young man with a business with a positive attitude. This quote also relates to The American Dream saying that in America anything is achievable if you try and it doesn't matter what other people think.

Sonja Maier on the Alger Myth

This is book about criticism of the american dream, and how it cannot be achieved and yet it is still promoted. There is a certain chapter within the book that discusses Horatio Alger Jr.'s myth, this chapter gives me a general disagreement to the myth in saying that it is not possible to achieve today stating that it is a 'myth of the american dream'. The author tries to gain popularity over Alger, by describing the author's allegations over pedophilia, she not only wants the reader to disagree with Alger's work, but also as a person as well.

Sonja explores how Alger's stories has their flaws in dealing with the 'dream', saying that his novels 'ignores factors like gender, race, class background, national origin and sexual behavior that determine our social position'. In other words Sonja illustrates how Alger has not specified how everyone can achieve their goals, and only describes how a young white male will cope in society. Sonja feels that today, working class young white males are not the group that will benefit from this 'dream'.

Sonja's text also includes the views on Hunter S. Thompson (an american journalist and author of the book The Rum Diary) and Harlon L. Dalton (professor of Law at Yale university), the latter
agreeing with Maier's analysis, stating "there is a fundamental between the promise of opportunity enshrined by Alger myth and the realities of a racial caste system". On relflection of these views I feel they have a poignant issue in saying how Alger's myth only applies to a certain typecast, rather than promoting to a wider audience. This is true in my opinion, however we must take into account that these novels were made for a particular social group, therefore there would be no need for external characters.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Moore vs Alger

Face it, you'll never be rich, Michael Moore (2003)

Although this article is 8 years old, I believe that it rings true today, especially considering the dramatic event happening with the Occupy Movement across America. Michael Moore is against capitalism, a system which exploits the majority so that the rich can gain more, and he makes it clear within his article criticising the portrayal of the American Dream. He references Horatio Alger as being a driving force behind such strong belief in a 'rags-to-riches' story.

We've been force-fed some mighty powerful "drugs" to keep us quiet... One of these drugs is called fear and the other is called Horatio Alger... It is first prescribed to us as children in the form of a fairy tale - but a fairy tale that can actually come true! It is the Horatio Alger myth... The message was that anyone can make it in America, and make it big.

Interestingly, Moore compares Alger's stories, which were intended for children, as being fairytales that adults still cling onto in this day and age. Comparing Ragged Dick as such makes it appear laughable that anyone could believe in the American Dream, especially the youth, for they are the generation growing up in a struggling economy where finding a job is a challenge to say the least. How is it possible for someone to believe that being honest and hard working is enough to gain you a living when those who are making it big are as (if not more) corrupt than criminals in prison?

... it's because we're still addicted to the Horatio Alger fantasy drug. Despite all the damage and all the evidence to the contrary, the average American still wants to hang on to this belief that maybe, just maybe, he or she (mostly he) just might make it big after all. So don't attack the rich man, because one day that rich man may be me!

The fact that big CEOs do not get punished for their crimes completely contradicts the Alger Myth and as such shows that a teenage boy living in New York City could not survive on the kindness of others, live a completely honest life, and end up feeling that their American Dream has been fulfilled, as is the case in Ragged Dick.

Criticism of Michael Moore's opinion has been highlighted more recently because of the protests he has attended as part of the Occupy Movement. Moore responds to these arguments by posting about Life Among the 1% (2011) on his blog. Within it, he states some ideas that are reminiscent of the older men within Ragged Dick.

"How can you claim to be for the poor when you are the opposite of poor?!" It's like asking: "You've never had sex with another man -- how can you be for gay marriage?!" I guess the same way that an all-male Congress voted to give women the vote, or scores of white people marched with Martin Luther Ling, Jr. (I can hear these righties yelling back through history: "Hey! You're not black! You're not being lynched! Why are you with the blacks?!").
Essentially, Moore is asking for his taxes to be raised because he can afford to give more for the good of the many. Similarily, Frank's Uncle within Ragged Dick gives money to Dick to help him in his life. However, Moore is not arguing for more hand outs to be given. He does not believe that by donating money to the poor, they will achieve a radical change in lifestyle, what he does believe, however, is that by lowering their taxes, and raising the rich's, that they will be able to live a comfortable life. Alger conveys the same message when he asks people to donate to children's charities, a message that tells his audience that it is not fair for people to struggle when a simple change in a system could enrich their lives.

The Alger Myth cannot be considered as truthful to a contemporary audience because it is very, very rare for anyone to become substantially rich, and it is even unlikely to believe in Alger's message of a respectable person will have a respectable living because the American Dream has failed for so many.

Success and Improvement

Mark Twain, Poor Little Stephen Girard

This short story by Mark Twain mocks the ideas introduced in Horatio Alger’s novels including Ragged Dick of “rags to riches”. The story implies that the wondrous tales of luck we are told are unrealistic. The idea that a boy collecting pins outside a bank can by chance be taken in and simply have everything handed to him is just not going to happen. Everything Alger depicts in his novel Ragged Dick is just stumbled upon and almost “meant to be”. For example he just happened to meet Fosdick who was able to educate him and because of this we cannot use Ragged Dick as a basis for life.

The clever description of the Alger occurrence of events and the realistic ways in which events would occur define what the “Horatio Alger myth” has established. In reality we would assume that in modern terms the latter would almost certainly happen and he’d never be able to succeed in achieving the dreams of “rags to riches” or even “rags to respectability”. Hard work does not always mean rewards as Alger falsely created. Furthermore the ideas of Alger contradict themselves in many ways as he wanted to encourage young children of the importance of hard, honest work however Ragged Dick we can admit has worked hard all his life but he is ultimately not the honest human being children should wish to impersonate.

Alger has provided a false hope for many which Twain here disposes of for the truth. Twain does however contradict his negativity for Alger myth “I guess the daughter was a son” almost making excuses as to why it didn’t happen for him as it cannot be that the bank man was incapable of helping the boy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Liberty and Freedom

Coalition to stop Gun Violence vs. Gun Owners of America

The CSGV organisation argues that associations like the NRA argue that possessing a gun ensures their freedom however they argue that by fighting so aggressively for the rights of gun owners in America they destroy the freedom of many others , for example their personal safety is jeopardised by their possession of a gun. The ideology of organisations such as the NRA they refer to as “insurrectionism” meaning they oppose the control of the government. This they argue “degrades” the freedom provided by the government. Around two out of every five of guns sold in America are sold without a background check. This means that no background check is undertaken before allowing someone to acquire a gun including criminals and those already convicted of gun related crime. This surprises me as many unnecessary deaths are caused because of this and effect many lives dramatically. It also becomes very difficult to establish who owns a gun from state to state as state laws on background checks differ greatly. For example only 6 states (CA, CO, IL, NY, OR, RI) require universal background checks which means that people are able to commit crimes outside the USA and still obtain a gun within America resulting in major consequences in many cases.

The GOA again start with the main issue of maintaining their freedom and relates heavily back to the Second Amendment. Their arguments in favour of gun ownership always seem to stem from anti-government ideas, they firstly say on the issue of background checks that people are made to “prove their innocence” to the government therefore giving unnecessary power to the government. This however I would have to disagree with as there are many situations where innocent people are made to prove their innocence for example airport security this is just the society we live in today. They state that many honest citizens have had their licenses denied or revoked due to their political beliefs, if someone to seen to have views that relate to anti-government issues then they are unable to obtain a licence.

I believe that the most convincing is the Coalition to stop gun violence as they create an idea of a very dangerous and unstable society where many avoidable deaths are caused every year due to gun possession. The issues stated by both these websites lie in the fact of government opinion. The GOA website establishes most of its arguments on the government and the need for freedom this creates to me a bitter and unstable argument. It is difficult to have guns legalised without the issue of criminal and illegal actions surrounding it. The facts are clear when you look at the amount of gun related not only crimes but massacres occurring in America.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence VS. Armed Females Of America

I have chosen to compare the following two websites, one of which is an anti-gun website and the other is a pro- gun website. They are: Pro gun: Armed Females Of America. Which is all for guns being used as a type of protection. The other is Anti Gun: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Firstly both these websites are each created by one individual person. I will first talk about the Armed Females of America website.

This website has a female representative for Texas which to me is different from other gun related websites as men see and use guns as a form of defense and weaponry and not as to protect themselves in a harmless way. This first websites point of view is that "They will not compromise with anybody over what they believe is right and what they stand for". They also believe that it is a God given gift to be armed and own a gun. These rights should not be taken lightly.

The second website Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. is completely the opposite, it is run by a male who believes that gun violence and being armed with a gun is not the answer, he says that :" The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy." This shows that the website is all about making the US a much calmer and safer country without the use of guns.

I found it quite unusual that it was a male that had bought this issue up, as I thought that owning a gun would be more of a male action than a woman's because it seemed to be more masculine and dominating.

Which is more convincing?
I found the Armed Females of America website to be more convincing because it shows another side to the argument; it isn't just men wanting to own a gun in order to come across as masculine and 'in control' of a situation. This website shows how women want to be able to protect themselves and be in control.

Britain needs guns versus The Brady Campaign

Britain Needs guns, is a pro gun site based on allowing the use of guns in Britain, they believe that firearms certificates should be issued by an accountable national body, instead of the police. The person would then have to get a fit person's certificate and
certificate of competence. The fit person's certificate allows the following:

  • Join any shooting club that will accept him.
  • Take any firearms training course available to him.
  • Borrow guns from existing Firearms Certificate holders to use under their supervision.
  • Carry non-lethal weapons (pepper spray, stun guns etc) in public for his personal protection.

Binding that they have adequate storage arrangements and the two certificates, you can then acquire a firearms certificate, although you must have completed courses and training in
defensive use. These certificates can be suspended or evoked by
the law if they feel the grounds that the holder represents a danger to public safety or the peace. This Website puts across their views and ideas for gun control, saying that it will benefit the British people, they are not wanting free exercise of gun use, they wants regulation and restrictions to firearm usage.

The Brady Campaign is a website based on gun control, wanting tighter laws from the government in order to protect their people. This website has many videos suggesting new ways of prevention, stories of gun related deaths, manly studies and reports of gun violence in the

USA. The website also has a link to where you can add your own opinion to the subject, allowing citizens to express there views, because the matter of the fact is, that they are the people affected by this violence.

The website also asks for donations and demands for people to take action, this can be seen in a quite aggressive manner, as if they are pushing the matters on to people. Including the victims page, gives the reader a sense of guilt if they do not sign up or commit to gun control, this websites seems be a protest rather than a website, asking for change, wanting support and pursuing their almost impossible objectives.

What's more convincing?
Out of the two websites, i feel that the British pro guns site is more convincing, they haven't just
said that guns should be legalized for everyone, but they wish for certain rules and regulations.
This website also is focusing on making the
country a better place, unlike the Anti-guns site which focuses on the result of guns and past events. Also the anti-guns site is more aggressive in approach, they seem to be asking for a response and want action, where as the pro guns wants to know what people think. The British website also is very interesting as they also have a page based on deaths per year in America in correspondence to firearms. This can be seen as a deterrence of firearms but instead it is meant to say that with the laws they wish to put on firearms, then most of these deaths would be avoided, apart from legal intervention.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Brady Campaign vs The NRA

When thinking about gun control, the National Rifle Association (NRA) were an obvious choice for analysing an American's right to bear arms. At a glance, their website could be considered as being very militant, not only in the colour scheme but also in the images it presents, often representing iconography of American connotations such as the bald eagle. Interestingly, the array of pictures they choose to scroll as a part of digital network are often bold and in your face, but there is also a constant theme of protection and family when it comes to images of women. Most notable is the article on a new book called "Chicks with Guns" which raises issues because of the condescending attitudes towards women, while trying to include them with other articles on how having a gun is an essential right in order to protect their loved ones.

A scrolling news reel at the bottom informs us of recent NRA news, often stating victories for anti-gun control groups and laws, but also of threats to the second amendment and what the government is planning to do. This helps to inspire hatred toward the current party in office while also celebrating the perceived freedom that they are gaining across the country.

In particular, I found this article to be interesting. They begin by belittling Ms Alex Wagner from the title, stating that the comments she has made are the "outrage of the week". They say her response to a question is "ridiculous and naive", and finish the article by stating:

The U.S. Supreme Court and a majority of the American people would disagree with Wagner. History has shown us that the right of self-defense makes up the foundation of liberty.

This thus reminds the reader of the historical aspect of the constitution and refers back to the idea of having a gun equals freedom by using words such as "liberty".

In comparison, The Brady Campaign appears to be a calmer website. It still represents iconography of America by using the colours red, white and blue, but its approach reflects their attitude of prevention of gun violence.

Currently, the main story is that of Gabby Giffords, the democratic politician shot in the head 10 months ago. Given a 10% chance of survival, Giffords still supports gun rights. However, the fact that she has chosen to appear on the Brady Campaign's website sends a distinct message. The Brady Campaign isn't attempting to ban all guns in America, but to simply control them better.

In contrast to the NRA's scrolling news feed, the Brady Campaign has a counter in their banner, stating how many people have been shot in America in a year, and on today's date. Clicking on the statistics leads you to a link where it's possible to get the facts about guns. The website urges you to "arm yourself with knowledge" and offer a test on gun laws.

Interestingly, their mission statement talks about Americans as people, offering information on how they wish to educate and raise awareness of gun violence. They also say that they fight to represent the victims of gun crimes. In comparison to the NRA, there is a similar theme of protection of loved ones:

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

It's essential to note how, on this point, the two websites essentially use the same argument but interpret it in different ways. The NRA believes themselves to be safer for having no gun control, but the Brady Campaign believes they'd be safer with gun control. By realising that they are using the same points for and against, it is clear to understand why this debate has been a forefront of American society for so long.

In conclusion, it's possible to argue that the Brady Campaign has the stronger website, as it offers facts and statistics and urges its readers to educate and make an informed decision of where they stand on gun control issues. The NRA appears to take the bullying tactics of degrading oppositions and demonising them in order to fuel paranoia about the government having too much control. The fact that both the right to bear arms and the right to overthrow an undesired government are both in the Bill of Rights reinforces the fact that Americans are reluctant to change and therefore it is hard to adapt certain laws when people receive them in such a black and white manner.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Emi, Aiken, Freya, Grace, Hannah

We need to decide who does what presentation - Ragged Dick Wk 9 or The Great Gatsby Wk11

Looking for two or three volunteers for Ragged Dick, or else I will draw lots on Monday.

Let me know asap

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Continental Army

File:The March to Valley Forge William Trego.png
This image depicts George Washington leading the Continental Army to Valley Forge in 1777.
The Continental Army was formed during the war to win independence from Great Britain. It was formed of colonists and militias form other independent countries. All 13 original states contributed soldiers to the army. Interestingly the enlistment age was only 16yrs (15yrs with parental consent!) The army’s base was Valley Forge where the army is shown to be heading in picture. After the Treaty of Paris (1783) the army was disbanded due to the war being won, however it is possible that the remains of the continental army may have formed the beginning of the United States Army.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sitting Bull

Painted in 1885 by D.F Barry, this picture of Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) the Native American Sioux chief, represents some one who is powerful and someone who could take charge. I chose this image because he was a leader of a tribe that still exists today.

In the image, Sitting Bull is in a dominant pose. He also has a stern expression which could indicate sorrow of a deceased loved one or anger too.
He is dressed simply indicating that he is not a materialistic person but on the other hand the feather does represent value of his culture and tradition.

His whole personality from this particular picture is seen as weather- beaten.

What I personally like about this image is who he was is shown in the image - strong powerful and wise.

Sitting Bull was seen as one of the most well known and iconic Native Americans of the 19th century.

Manifest Destiny

The Ghost Dance of the Sioux Indians in North America. Based on sketch by Amedee Forestier. 1891
The Ghost Dance portrays a time in which the Natives would dance until they collapsed and received messages from the Great Spirit or talk to their deceased relatives. The use of black and white in this example of woodcutting hinders our understanding of this slightly however we still get a sense of the traditional native attire. The idea of the feathers in the hair of the main individual portrays the customs of this particular community. It appears to me that this is a gathering of many Native American groups as there appears to be a large amount of people attending this gathering. It appears from first impressions that there is a negative and aggressive event taking place however on further inspection we see that they are simply following tradition. It appears that many of them are holding what appearing to be weaponry however we could see that this may be to defend themselves from sin. The two people in the forefront of the image are the elderly member of this community observing the other taking part in the Ghost Dance as they are too old and respected by the other members. There appears to be mainly men in this image however towards the back of the image we see one woman, this may be as it’s from the prospective of a male or that the tribes are mainly controlled by the males while the females are the less significant figures in the group.
It was created at a time when the Natives felt they were losing touch with their traditions and being influenced by the white settlers. They were beginning to fall into the habits of alcohol and a breakdown of family and community spirits.

Regis-Francois Gignoux 1816-1882

This image was painted during a very snowy 19thC winter in New Jersey. The artist Regis has portrayed this particular town through the season of winter, he has shown the town to be almost angelic in appearance, with children skating on the frozen lake and beams of light peering through the clouds. I feel that this painting was made to show a Sunday afternoon, as the children are watched closely by adults, who only had Sunday to spend in their spare time, or a day of rest.

When I first saw this painting I presumed it was of an English town not American, this shows that this painting is unusual, the desolate trees are a common icon of the British winter. We would presume that an American winter would be all about Christmas and more eccentric, showing towns coming together singing carols and standing around a huge Christmas tree.

Regis-Francois Gignoux (French-born American) Painting of Elizabethtown, N.J. 1816-1882

This painting would appeal and intrigue many British citizens in settling in America.There is a horse and carriage, wooden shack with free roaming chicken, as well as the smoking chimney of a stand alone house. These ideals suggest lots of land and almost 'living off the land', where people can live the american dream, emphasising this further is the flying crock of birds above that could suggest freedom not only to nature but to the people.

There is one part of this painting that interests me the most, with all the children in the background playing and having fun, there is also an African American in the bottom right corner. He is shown to be happy, he has his hands in his pockets and seems not to be enjoying himself, whilst children and adults are having fun in the background, he stands alone, as if he has been sent away, on his own on the other side of the bridge. This intrigued me as I believed African Americans were not shown in many iconic images of America at this time, they were segregated from whites. A reason for this maybe as a result of the fact that the painter is not 'all' American, he was French and they were seen to be more tolerant of race at the time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Timothy O'Sullivan, 1873.

Apache Lake in the Sierra Blanca Range in Arizona. Two Apache scouts in the foreground. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian (Wheeler Survey, 1873 Expedition).

I found this image to be interesting because not only does it document a couple of native peoples, it also shows them in the context of their homeland, their American landscape. The two Apache scouts in the foreground appear to be at one with the environment, in relaxed poses, and although they are carrying weapons, there is no sense of threat coming from them. The calm of the lake helps to emphasise this feeling.

Led by first Lieutenant George Wheeler, the Wheeler Survey was compromised of several expeditions as the survey was carried out in order to determine what America was like across the continent. Pushing further west, their main goal was to make topographic maps of the South Western United States.

Although it may appear that the photograph has been taken to document life, the natural world, and the terrain of the unsettled parts of America, it can also be argued that the reason for the Wheeler Survey was to establish understanding of the people who lived there, how many of them there were, and also how densely populated the area was. Therefore, I think it's safe to assume that although O'Sullivan may have been taken on the expedition because of his photographical skills, and his eagerness to travel with a mobile darkroom, it is more likely than not that his purpose was to bring back evidence. The Wheeler Survey, and the expeditions that formed it, was concerned with Manifest Destiny and how the settlers could achieve it.

It could be argued that because of their mission to gather as much information as possible, these photographs were taken in their natural environment. O'Sullivan appears to have captured the scene as he found it in order to convey a realistic representation of what was out there on the other side of the continent. This is interesting because previously, reports of America have always depicted the land as being kind, and that the settlements made would be simple. O'Sullivan, however, has shown the landscape as it is. The people in the frame are vastly overshadowed by the wilderness, but the native Americans are comfortable within it.

The Apache scouts were not under imminent threat when this picture was taken, but we, with the benefit of hindsight, know that the sense of calm and beauty portrayed in the photograph did not last for long.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Tea Party

Our Philosophy
Tea Party Patriots as an organization believes in the Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets. Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers. We recognize and support the strength of grassroots organization powered by activism and civic responsibility at a local level. We hold that the United States is a republic conceived by its architects as a nation whose people were granted "unalienable rights" by our Creator. Chiefly among these are the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Tea Party Patriots stand with our founders, as heirs to the republic, to claim our rights and duties which preserve their legacy and our own. We hold, as did the founders, that there exists an inherent benefit to our country when private property and prosperity are secured by natural law and the rights of the individual.

I found this on the Official Home of the American Tea Party Movement and too me it shows how obsessed they are with returning America to how it was to begin with. It talks of the ‘architects’ and ‘founders’ of America in a way that almost suggests they would agree with The Tea Party’s beliefs. They also mention God or the ‘creator’ in the Philosophy. Obviously with America being so religiously orientated this holds sway there, were in other countries it would not. God, Immigration and the Government are bought up frequently in the news articles and forum posts that swamp their home page. This heavy use of media is in my opinion used to provide the impression that there are many, many people in America with the same beliefs, thereby making it more popular then it necessarily is. And therefore attracting more followers.

Tea Party Patriots

The website I have chosen to look at is called "Tea Party Patriots". It is a forum oriented site with people from the genera public - not anyone specific posting various political topics about America. The website says it is the official home of the American Tea Party Movement.

The websites slogan stands out to me the most: "A community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!"
This says to me that even though they are a small group of people they are really proud of their country and want to keep it as a place to be proud of.

One of the forum posts is regarding the Constitution of the United States of America. it talks about constitutional issues and information.

With regards to the sites layout, the site has its own mission to solve, it reads: Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets. The site also has Core Values which are as follows:

• Fiscal Responsibility

Constitutionally Limited Government

• Free Markets

Later throughout the site I came across a sentence that said "Free people carry guns but slaves don't".

To me this sentence says a lot in terms of slaves being treated so badly and cant do anything about it and yet there are people on the streets that commit crimes and get put into jail making America seem a negative and criticized place - which is what the members of this site are trying to prevent.

Tea Party Patriots

Week 5 - De Crevecouer - The New American

I have chosen to post about a chapter called Charles - Town: Thoughts on Slavery and Physical Evil. pg 151-153

After reading just the first few pages, I have already discovered that this place is a very grand and rich town- built by slaves! De Crevecouer's description of the towns slaves is very sad and descriptive. He says such things as "Many of these West Indians I have seen, at thirty, loaded with infirmities of old age". This indicates that the slaves worked in big groups that consisted of older men.

De Crevecouer writes that in these rich countries slaves having a normal life taken away from them was nothing new at all. While Charles-town is known as a beautiful and wealthy country it is the slaves that do end up suffering. De Crevecouer says further on that the high temperatures and poor conditions are unbearable for slaves but they continue to work for very little, sometimes the conditions are so bad that some slaves do die.

Finally De Crevecouer says that certain races are picked out from the same group of people and treated better than others. he says "The chosen race eat, drink, and live happily while others grubs up the ground or husks the rice without the support of good food and drink".

On one side DeCrevecouer says "we have people who are treated like kings with a pleasurable life while other died working in unbearable conditions for literally nothing''.

DeCrevecouer has described what he has seen and said he was too afraid to say anything about in case it caused problems.

Week 4 - Early Settler account

I have found an account from an early settler, a widow from Boston called Sarah Kemble Knight, tells her story of a five month trip round journey to New York, through a diary. she stops in Connecticut. She was dealing with family business after the death of her brother: I will pick out and post some points I think are important to the topic and that I think are interesting. The three most interesting points are as follows:

"They are Govern’d by the same Laws as we in Boston (or little differing) throughout this whole Colony

of Connecticut, And much the same way of Church Government, and many of them good, Sociable

people, and I hope Religious too: but a little too much Independent in their principles, and, as I have been

told, were formerly in their Zeal very Rigid in their Administrations towards such as their Laws made

Offenders, even to a harmless Kiss or Innocent merriment among Young people."

This was interesting to me because it says that their laws in Connecticut are similar to those in Boston but not exactly the same. She said was pleased that they practiced different types of religion as she thought this was a very big part of her life.

Next she says:

"Whipping being a frequent and counted an easy Punishment, about which as other Crimes, the Judges were absolute in their Sentences."

It may be short but, this sentence say a lot about sentences people received from committing a crime.

The primary punishment being whipping. She goes on to tell the story of a theft she was told about and how the criminal was teased in the court room and how he was angry by the way he was treated. It seems that in those days people who crimes were made fun of - a lot!

The final quote I found that I thought was relevant was this which refers to 'Training days' like the olympics:

"They generally marry very young: the males oftener as I am told under twenty than above; they generally make public weddings, and have a way something singular (as they say) in some of them, viz. [such as] Just before Joining hands the Bridegroom quits the place, who is soon followed by the Bridesmen, and as it were, dragg’d back to duty being the

reverse to the former practice among us, to steal ms. Pride."

This is the quote that seemed most important to me because back in those days women did marry very young and then,from what I can understand in the quote they must both go back to work soon after getting married.

Overall from the quotes that I have read and posted, I have discovered that this travelers experience was very different to what she expected but in some parts pleasant and shocking.