Art, Ideology & Propaganda

Posted: November 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 10.39.57 During the Cold War, the U.S. government promoted modern art as a way of highlighting American creativity in contrast to static Soviet communist culture. While the artists themselves were not aware of CIA involvement in promoting their works for propaganda purposes, the Abstract Expressionism movement swept the world in the 1950s — at the heigh of the Cold War — with a boost from powerful players in the US government.

See this article about how the CIA enlisted modern American art to win the Cold War: “Modern art was a CIA weapon“. This BBC article investigates the role of the CIA in propagating abstract expressionism: “Was modern art a weapon of the CIA?”

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Propaganda: First World War

Posted: November 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

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The First World War (1914-18), also known as the “Great War”, was the first military conflict that was recorded extensively by motion pictures. Coverage of the war was subject to censorship and propaganda on both sides.

Capture d’écran 2013-02-23 à 18.29.10Hollywood stars such as Charlie Chaplin raised “victory bonds”, while films and posters portrayed the German Kaiser as a “beast”. Hollywood made ant-German movies with titles such as “The Kaiser: Beast of Berlin” and “To Hell With the Kaiser“. Even popular songs like “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “Oh It’s a Lovely War” were propaganda instruments. Much of the film footage from the front lines of the war was shot by official military personnel and reporters were largely “embedded” with armies. German newspapers and posters were also filled with the same kind of propaganda.

For the use of propaganda in the war, see this article on American “Domestic Propaganda During the First World War” and this U.S. Library of Congress link, “Covering the War: American Propaganda in the Pictorial Sections“. Here is a collection of British propaganda posters from the war. Both the British and American governments had official propaganda departments during the war, in the UK through the Ministry of Information and in the United States through the Creel Committee. A

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Some claim selfie culture has become a social pathology in a new era of narcissism. Others argue that our power to represent ourselves is a healthy reflex. See this article on the ‘selfie paradox’: “The Psychology of Selfies”. See also “Why selfies can be a force for social good”. 

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Many believe that Instagram has created anxiety due to constant self-comparisons with pictures of the perfect lives of others. See this article, “The Age of Envy: how to be happy when everyone else looks perfect”.  See also “How self-love got out of control”. 

Symbols and Meaning

Posted: October 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

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Many argue that social media are creating anxieties about body image, especially among young people. So you agree? See this article, “I feel pretty, and the rise of beauty standard denialism“. Also see, “Social media and celebrity culture harming young people.”

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Many argue that, thanks to Netflix, HBO and other streaming services, we are living in a “golden age” of television. But will it last? See this article, “Watch it while it lasts: our golden age of television”.