Propaganda and PR: The Image Men

Posted: February 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Modern propaganda, PR and advertising is roughly a century, stretching back to propaganda in the First World War and the subsequent birth of “public relations”.

On the role of the First World War, see “Was World War I propaganda the birth of spin?” In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson also launched a major propaganda campaign during the First World War. See this article, “How Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda machine changed American journalism.”

On the birth of PR, see this article in The Economist on the public relations industry: “The Image Men”. One of the pioneers of modern PR was Ivy Lee, called “Poison Ivy” by his detractors. See this excerpt from the book Behind the Spin: “Poison Ivy Lee and Propaganda”.

Below is part I of a documentary on the birth of PR, titled “The Century of the Self”.



Rich Kids of Instagram

Posted: February 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

History of Beauty Images

Posted: January 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

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See this article on the “Cheerlebrities of Instagram“. Also, see this essay, “Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy”. 

Brand Semiology: Christian Dior

Posted: January 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


On the semiology of brands, see this article on the positioning of the Dior brand: “Representations of women and brand positioning at Christian Dior“. For the author referenced in the article, see Laura Oswald’s book “Marketing Semiotics: Signs, Strategies and Brand Value”. 

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Our obsession with taking selfies is often blamed for what is described as a culture of narcissism. On selfie culture, see “Smug shots and selfless: the rise of Internet self-obsession“. Also see this article in the New York Times, “What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves“.

Digital social class cultures, such as the “Rich Kids of Instagram“, have emerged online. See “Why the Internet hates the Rich Kids of Instagram”.  See also “Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram”.  Also see this article on the “Cheerlebrities of Instagram“.

Also, a new hashtag is #aftersex — selfies taken right after sex. On that trend see this article in the Guardian, The #aftersex selfie is a betrayal of intimacy and in the Telegraph, “After sex selfies? Showing off just got a whole lot dirtier.” People area also taking selfies at funerals. There is a Tumblr called Selfies at Funerals. On that subject, see “A third of mourners admit to taking selfies at funerals“. People are getting killed taking selfies in dangerous situations. See this article in Mashable, “More People Die Taking Selfies Than From Shark Attacks“.

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Artist Amalia Ulman (photo above) has transformed her photo spoofs of selfie culture into art — and her work had a show at the Tate Modern in London. See, “Tate Modern Taps Amalia Ulman for New Show.” Finally, see this essay, “Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy”. 

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