Monday, 10 December 2012

Materialism The Great Gatsby

Materialism is a powerful element, within the novel and in a sense symbolized Gatsby Interpretation of the American Dream. Which involves the idea of pursuing daisy through finding away for him to enable to receive theses materialism things by throwing parties and inviting guest of high status.

In materialistic Society it shows that people want things and they want it now the more materialistic things they have determines their social status. However what is very humorous about the American dream within this novel suggests that people who want the american dream is after  the materialism side of having a big house, money, things that you couldn't buy if you was poor eg. name brand designers. socializing with people they feel are highly respectable in society because of the size of their wallet.

Materialism and social status is still relevance within America today especially shown within celebrity culture. For instance with Kim kardashian wedding the need to publicize her wedding day, the need to buy a very large cake, shows the materialism side, When a  wedding day should just be about a man and women getting married not showing the guest how much her wedding cost. The social side comes into only celebrities with  status in the celebrity culture could attend her wedding even though she probably talked to them once.

This relates back to Gatsby party guest. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Week 12: Scheduling Steps Towards Achieving Success Within America

Today, everywhere you look, particularly towards the people who have become successful in America and have essentially achieved the American Dream,k there seems to be a secret to their success. Behind these secrets a few of them have acknowledge this is because of their commitment to following steps in order to achieve success in business, work, life and even happiness. Therefore there has been an influx in the publication of 'self-help' books, with this genre become one of the biggest sections in libraries.
Therefore I saw a correlation between success in America and the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Source: Lawrence, C. 2012. Operation Hennessey. Word Press 

The schedule that Jay Gatsby wrote as a young adult shown by his father to Nick Carraway in chapter nine shows just how much Gatsby is willing to do and how determined he is in order for himself to succeed in what he sets his mind to. The timetable that Gatsby constructed is an early indication of his willingness to better himself through self control and structure. On the other hand general resolves, which include such items as "Be better to parents," provide evidence that he is always trying to improve his well being so that he will become a better person and succeed as an respectable adult.

Continually this theme of stages to achieve success are becoming even more popular in the current era. In relation to a post a couple of weeks ago on whether the American Dream still alive or not, the focus was on an interview with sports memorabilia CEO; Brandon Steiner and how he has in effect achieved the American Dream. He is also a product of using six stages to become successful in business ("6 truths of business") and as he calls them his 'guiding principles'.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Week 11 Blog Post (for Week 12)

I chose this video and article to represent the idea that today, spiritual fulfillment is as important as money (if not more so) in the new American Dream.

The Great Gatsby is essentially, a story about the American Dream failing because it is morally bankrupt. People like Jim Carey have risen for rags to riches and are living the american dream, but it seems almost required nowadays for there to be a spiritual, moral element to their success.

This article was written in 2010, riding the Occupy wave and the economic crash - this is reminiscent of the Great Depression that occurred right after the Great Gatsby. The feeling that the New money in America (stock brokers/bankers) are immoral are recurring themes.

In the book, an actress is featured at the new money party at Gatsby's, and I think that, although they may not be considered to be less moral compared to the Old money in America these days, the brand of the actor is considered to be important. This is why actors need to be squeaky clean, and have to push their moral, spiritual side. Jim Carrey therefore, is one of many actors who publicly come out in favour of self-help gurus.

Self-help books and seminars are so prevalent that it is clear that people still yearn for the American Dream.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Week 10 post

Nike's commercial is trying to show the American consumer that from birth, a dream that you may have can become a reality with their products. This is very much in tune with the idea of the American Dream, which this commercial plays on to reach to an audience and enable their products to be seen as a necessity to become what you want to become.

This commercial is effective to young boys as they can think that if they want that life then they can have it with Nike's products.

Nike's Leave Nothing Campaign "captures the true essence of pouring heart and soul into every play and every game" as it states in Nike's website;

This commercial is one of Nike's Leave Nothing Campaign which has been running in the USA in the football seasons, the other one is posted below.

Link to other commercial:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

America Funniest Super Bowl Commercials of 2012!

All these Super Bowl commercials shows different aspects of American cultural first starting with the "American dream" when talked about Success, new thinking and new ideas which will benefit American society and keep them on top. Especially the idea of Americans wanted to be the first country to produce new ways of life through technology etc, and also continuously developing new ideas.

Moving on this video also emphasis that america has the most talent with first year winner X factor USA contest portraying her talent through singing to royalty which could suggests that Americans are better than the British within talent. However it relates back to the american revolution with the quote "Pepsi for all" which implies Freedom for all. It has that historical context to it. Throughout each commereical identifies an american products with its major theme relating to cars, but also introducing products that can be identified as american consumers such as movies, food, the landscape e.g the wild west. etc

This video overall shows what america has accomplished and that they will continue to develope new ideas and be the first country to invent those new ideas, also shows how pretentious americans are especially in the last commercial. 

Week 11: Advertising for the American consumer

Chrysler Superbowl Commercial

This particular advert was aired during the 2012 Super Bowl demonstrating halftime in America, narrated by an American icon; Clint Eastwood.
The husky words that are spoken from the outset speak of the hardship in America, with reference to people being out of work and wondering how they are going to make a comeback. Typical of the United States; you can say they never want to be left behind, never forgotten and always ready to fight. Hence the Clint Eastwood express that 'This isn't a game'.

 By picturing the city flag of Detroit and referring to their history whereby the city was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1805. It gives a sense of pride and endurance, especially when the American flag is shown straight after, confirming the importance of national unity, reiterated in Eastwood saying we find our way through hard times'.

The images of the industrial industry throughout Detroit and expressing that by all pulling together they start to fight again. On the other hand showing the industrial industry literally is a representation of the city and state being part of the rust belt in America.

As the advert goes on it shows images of protest and states with it that with blame, division and discord in America that they had become unfocused therefore making it hard to see what's ahead; 'It seems we've lost our heart at times'. Thereby showing pictures of different nationalities it denotes that America is changing it history and diversifying themselves throughout it's population. Thus holding an important American value of equality and freedom for all.

Nonetheless this advert doesn't necessarily have a positive message, for example by saying 'if we can't find a way, then we'll make one'.  But also making sure they can win; 'How do we come together , How do we win?'. This can just be seen as aggressive and hot headed which has got them into trouble in the past, most notably their involvement in the Vietnam War.

In all this advert's message is about American morale and how they won't be discouraged no matter what may be thrown at them. They are a powerful nation and how the world will know just how powerful they can be.  This country cannot be knocked out with one punch'....'we get right back up and when we do the worlds going to hear the roar of our engines'. and how end of the advert can be seen as motivation for America to prove this with Clint Eastwood saying 'Our second half is about to begin'. 

American commercial

The commercial posted above is an advert attempting to promote and sell a new car; more specifically, the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette. The advert features images of scientists building the first successful space craft that  landed men on the moon back in 1969.

The commercial begins with an image of JFK, the iconic president, that was largely seen as the main reason for the successful landing of man on the moon. It paints America in a light that they were the only ones daring enough, and their science developed enough to allow them to land man on the moon before any other nation. It then goes on to show some scientific experiments being done in a laboratory in order to build the rocket that would perform the mission. The lab scenes again show how America was so advanced in it's technology and scientific information that they were able to build such a device. The commercial goes on to mention that America no longer make rockets (due to the space program decommissioning these types of mission), and has now changed it's priorities into building this car. It compares the new Chevrolet (in it's importance) to that of the building of the space shuttle that successfully landed man on the moon (which is ridiculous).

The car model barely features in the advert, except for the last few seconds. It shows the viewer that this car has become America's new 'rocket', which every American would like to have, due to it's significance and how it relates to the fact that their country was the first one to land on the moon. It shows me that America is very materialistic if they are supposed to believe that this car is in any way related to the building of a space shuttle.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Week 10 Blog Post (For Week 11)

Published on Aug 27, 2012
The new GMC TV commercial titled "Home" featuring the 2012 GMC Denali line-up. This commercial features the 2012 GMC Yukon, Sierra, Terrain and Acadia as they play respective roles throughout the construction of a new home. Because, after all, everyone has a job to do and we build a GMC for everyone.

This advert shows hardworking Americans working to build a house for a family to live in.

For every stage, there is a GMC truck, for the surveyor, to builder to Realtor. Each level is equal.

The messages of building a better future, through wind or shine, of over coming nature and of working together, that all men are equal who work are extremely powerful.

Success is guaranteed (the estate agent sells the home with no problem - unlikely in these times!) if you drive a GMC. The whole thing works like clockwork.

There is very much a frontiersman attitude to the way the house is built with the car being the rock around which everything else flows. It is interesting to note that the workers are clearly focused on whereas the family that moves in (clearly not a blue collar family!) are kept in the distance and just the sound of children laughing is heard from them.

It is the American Dream. The idea of owning (not renting!) your own house, and it features De Crevecoeurs imagery of the community coming together to build the new family a home. The landscape even looks like the  mid-west.

The names of the trucks are interesting. Sierra is Spanish, Yukon is a place in Canada, Acadia includes Quebec - while each sounds fairly frontiers like and native American (not necessarily native meaning Indian) they actually seem to appeal more to Canadians. But the range of GMC's are called the Denali which is Alaska so GMC may be just picking up National Parks in rural areas?

I don't think any analysis of the advert is complete without looking at the song.

It is "Two Story House" George Jones. The name could be analysed to within an inch of its life - Two story as in, there are two stories of America, those that build and those that buy the fruits of the labour? The advert maybe a thinly veiled dig at the White Collar city worker.

George Jones is a very famous and very prolific country and western singer. The fact they chose a country song says a lot about the target market - southern and rural American communities maybe, although that seems a little at odds with the names of the trucks? Two Story House was not a hit of his as far as I can tell, it doesn't even seem to be one his as most of the youtube videos show him singing it with Tammy Wynette, so why they left her out is interesting. I suspect it may be to offset the meaning of the song which is NOT really that great for encouraging people to buy a car:

The song's lyrics – a couple buying a "two-story house" are a metaphor for a failed marriage. Here, a young couple reflects on working hard to achieve the dream of owning a large, two-story house. However, in working to achieve the goal, the couple rarely is able to spend time together to consummate their love. When it comes time to make the move, the couple becomes the envy of their neighbours, and the house is quickly filled with such things as rare antiques, marble floors, chandeliers and more ... but the most important element – love between the couple – is missing.
Wikipeadia -

So the actual house is going to break up the white collar family which moves in. There is definitely some anti city worker meaning within this advert!

I would like to know how many GMC trucks are sold to blue collar workers as opposed to office workers!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

"The American Dream"

"Traditionally, Americans have sought to realize the American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work. However, the industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries began to erode the dream, replacing it with a philosophy of "get rich quick". A variety of seductive but elusive strategies have evolved, and today the three leading ways to instant wealth are large-prize television game shows, big-jackpot state lotteries and compensation lawsuits. In this article, Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, examines why so many Americans are persuaded to seek these easy ways to their dream."  Matthew Warshauer.

This quote describes the changes to the American Dream that have occurred across different generations. The change to the American Dream, in this case, is described as negative. As expressed in 'Ragged Dick', the American dream for Dick was to obtain a position of employment that was middle-classed and respectable. He did not wish for fame, or fortune; rather the opportunity to earn an honest living, through hard work, honesty and kindness (not stealing etc). 

The article describes how the current generation no longer have to work hard or dedicate themselves to something in order to achieve, highlighted by the examples of winning the lottery, television shows and law suits. This method of 'making it' was not available to Dick, as he was working/living in a time before television; although he does mention some situations where people were run over by carriages and then received a pay-out for damages evoked upon them. It shows how the 'American Dream' was once something people could strive for and obtain with hard-work and dedication, albeit with a little luck (such as Dick, by meeting the right gentlemen) and also with saving money in the right way (creating a bank account, spending wisely; not spending on gambling, alcohol and trips to the theater every evening). It has changed in today's generation to an 'American Dream' that is easily attainable without the presence of hard work or dedication, instead relying on luck (lottery, TV show winnings) and cheating/stealing from others in an effort to make money, and this 'make it'.

The definition of 'making it' has also changed from a time where earning an honest wage through employment (Dick) was considered 'making it', as he had stability and a respectable job to an age where 'making it' is all about how large your house is, what type of car you drive, and what your wage is; basically materialistic things; the more you have, the more you are considered to have 'made it'.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Week 10: Is the American Dream still alive?

The American Dream Is Alive

Source: Korn, M. The American Dream Is Alive, But It Doesn't Come Easy: Sports Memorabilia CEO. The Daily Ticker. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012

This was a fairly recent article on an interview with Brandon Steiner he talks about how he is living the American Dream in this decade but it doesn't come without hard work, dedication, perseverance and what is interesting is that he goes on to say how having a passion about what you do will inevitably separate the winners from the losers.

A similar representation of an earlier story of achieving the American Dream stems from Horatio Alger Jr. book, Ragged Dick. Whereby both Ragged Dick himself and Steiner didn't come from any type of privileged background at all all but both grew up poor. Therefore they both compliment one another in the way they work during their own era in order to earn a living growing up, by boot shining for Ragged Dick which is typical for the 19th Century and Steiner who hustled for money; both living in New York. Also they both had a lot of responsibility at a young age.

The idea that success isn't achieved overnight is a common theme present in Ragged Dick and the interview with Brandon Steiner expressing that he believes as the article states 'the American Dream is still "alive" but notes that overnight success rarely happens, if ever'. Thus relating to the way Steiner talks about "If you're really committed to something, just be prepared to put in 12 to 15 years doing it".... "If you want to have something very starts with commitment,".
Ragged Dick is an earlier product of this with the collection and saving of money in Dick's case showing that he had commitment along with him trying to learn how to read and write in order to become successful and achieve his dream.

As a result, both Ragged Dick and this interview are  depictions of how the American Dream is still 'alive' throughout America but in different decades. And yet the idea that hard work, commitment and being passionate about what you are doing will inevitably help you in becoming a successful person, is still a key foundation on how to achieve and live the American Dream.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Week 9 Blog Post (for Week 10)

The intro says it all:

A new Pew Research survey shows that the number of Americans who consider themselves “lower class” has climbed dramatically in President Obama’s America. More importantly, a full 77 percent of Americans thought it was harder to get ahead now than it was 10 years ago; just 51 percent said hard work bring success.

I thought this was an interest quote when taken in relation to Ragged Dick, because of how the term "lower class" seems to signify failure. 

In Ragged Dick, the Boot-blacks were considered amongst the lowest classes, but Dick and Henry still had the opportunity to make money, go to church and learn to read and write in order to begin to better themselves. Their class was not the hindrance to their success, it was his education and his presentation. Once he put on new clothes he was automatically taken more seriously and then working hard to learn to write helped him obtain a respectable job. 

But that didn't mean he didn't work hard as a bootblack. 

The quote (and indeed the article) above suggests that people in America today don't believe they have the same opportunities that Ragged Dick had, even though they are in regular employment (or at least have welfare checks to live off) and ready access to some of the best free education (up until college) in the world. 

So even though people in America have never had it so easy, the definition of what it means to be a success (note that is "success" and not "respect" that people want now) has shifted. 

Although both the book and the quote state that hard work is essential, the book believes in giving 100% no matter what your goals, it is just how one should be at work, and then working smarter (less gambling, more reading) in order to progress. The article seems to imply that people believe today that hard work in only useful in getting a promotion, and if there isn't one available then why bother. 

I believe that it is representative of new TV shows which set an unrealistic bench mark for being "successful" - things like expensive clothes, cars, a big are a nobody until you have a pool...and showing a lot of young, beautiful people living the high life who have never had to work for their lifestyle. With the economic crisis making that upper class (because that's what it is really, not even middle class is good enough) smaller and less stable, people don't have anyway of being able to reach the goal of buying a Ferrari. 

Ragged Dick just wanted a middle management job to be happy...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

American Dream Survives  

"if you can’t dream the Dream, I feel sorry for you, but that doesn’t mean the Dream is dead. And as I go out to listen to the songs and watch the fireworks I will remember those who bought for me the “possibility” to dream the great Dream. Thanks, and I’ll carry it on from here."
 by Ron Garnett, Corvallis

The idea of the American Dream and the ideas still survives today in Contemporary America through the idea if your willing to try you can make it in america, in which has been developed from the ideas within ragged dick when Mr. Whitney on page 49 says to dick "determine to be somebody." and on page 50 "Your future position depends mainly upon yourself, and that it will be high or low as you choose to make it." which implies that if your willing to try to put in all you can then you will benefit within the long run and will see the outcome of what hard work can bring.

"You can make it here in America if you're willing to try."  (President Obama,2012 victory speech) 

This is a perfect example of how strong the american dream survives today especially with President Barack Obama being elected president twice in a row, even though when ragged dick was published black people would never have try ed or imagined to be president . However people like martin Luther king and Rosa park interpretation of the american dream has path ed the way to make people like Obama even think of working hard to one day be president in which he implies in his re -elected victory speech. 

Below is a useful video to show how people has interpreted the american dream from when it was introduced

Monday, 19 November 2012

Pro Gun Control and Anti Gun Control

Pro Gun Control

The Brady Campaign is used to stop violence due to guns all across America. In their mission statement they state that they try to "reform the gun industry by enacting and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry."

The Brady Campaign tries to make guns safe for American's, by creating laws to increase criminal background checks they allow guns to only be used in a controlled environment, they also try to make it harder for people to own guns which would help stop a number of cases that arise due to people obtaining them without permits or safe background checks.

Anti Gun Control

The NRA wants to protect Americans rights to bear arms, which effectively means that they want to allow more people in the US to own guns. this can easily lead to an increase in gun violence if they are in the wrong hands.

The NRA has set up training for Americans who want to learn how to use a gun, as well as teaching children about gun safety if they were ever in that situation. However the NRA still believe that the gun laws should not be increased to make it harder to aquire a gun.

These two websites obtain two very different points of view, however they both believe that it is an Americans right to be able to bear arms. The difference is that the Brady Campaign fights to make it more difficult for anyone to buy one without a background check and
more than one gun already owned whilst the NRA fights to allow everyone in the US to have one for their protection

Sunday, 18 November 2012



CCRKBA - Citizens Committee for the right to keep and bear arms.

They are a committee who fight to sustain Americans keep and bear arms right, They are not just a committee saying that we should be able to access guns just because it is written in the Constitution as part of our right and freedom but in there mission statement they emphases that their ROLE is to EDUCATE like minded people the importance of the second amendment. By educating the importance of the amendment they define that guns save lives for instance self defense. they ask for donation to help with funds which is used to run ads on the radio and also to print media to gain support from their campaign.There website has been running since 1997 and is still active today.

"The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is dedicated to protecting your firearms rights. Our role is to educate grass root activists, the public, legislators and the media. Our programs are designed to help all Americans understand the importance of the Second Amendment and its role in keeping Americans free."


MAIG - Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

They are an initial group of 15 mayors since 2006 and has developed to more than 725 mayors who are against legal guns in america stating that "30,000 Americans are killed every year as a result of gun violence, destroying families and harming communities." There principles are to: punish any criminals to the extent of the law that poses or traffic illegal guns. Also to Target gun dealers who break the law, also more is accessible on their website.

However i feel that the Citizens Committee For The Right To Bear Arms seems more convincing because there aim is to educate people about that amendment and the right way to interpret it within contrast to the M.A.I.G group who are stating rules and principles on how to punish "criminals " who posses an illegal weapon without educating them the importance and value owning or receiving a firearm means.

Gun control websites.

Gun owners of America website is a website promoting the use and possession of guns by the population of America in order to keep themselves safe. The site is mainly a place with up to date news stories of how possessing guns has helped a certain individual in defending themselves or others from harm with the intervention of their very own gun. Their main aim is to defend and preserve the nation's right to bear arms in accordance with the 2nd amendment.

The website also has news of events that have occurred in which the right to keep and bear arms has come into question, see;, ability to email straight to the US senate =, joining the campaign to help prevent the injustice of the government taking away their guns. The website is set up in a way where it makes the individuals that own guns seem as if they are being given a hard time and being forced into giving up their rights. It makes the individuals attempting to change/limit gun control laws as the bad men that are attempting to infringe upon their 2nd amendment rights.

Coalition to stop gun violence. This website is obviously against the ownership of guns for the people of America. The website aims to secure individuals into the mindset that the ownership and usage of guns in homes, public etc is far worse for the country and the people involved (death rates) than it would be if nobody owned a gun except the relevant authorities. There are pages that encourage donations to the cause, and also a direct link to email elected officials in your state, in order to tell them of the negatives of gun ownershpi/current law, stating that telling people about the problem will encourage them to change the laws involving gun ownership/control. The website, to me, is less convincing than that of the pro-gun control website; although it still brings up some good points. The media section involves current debated topics surrounding the negativity involved with the use of guns (assault weapons readily available in 35 states). The website also does not state ways in which the change to gun laws would help the population, rather they focus on the negatives that the current gun laws have on the population as the main source for all their arguments, rather than finding ways to improve the current situation.

Week 9: Pro vs Anti - Gun Control

Anti- Gun Control

Image from WAGV Pinterest site:

This website is called 'Women Against Gun Violence' (WAGV) and their aim is to inform the public and the media about the human, financial and public health consequences that follows gun violence  they also want to encourage local communities to take crucial action against the dangers of firearms. With their principles they state that the program takes into hand the issues of  'today' whilst focusing on 'tomorrow'.
Interestingly that all those who make up the WAGV are made up of people who have lost a loved one to gun violence or have actually survived a gun shot wound themselves.
What's most important to this organisation is that they acknowledge and are hugely concerned with the number of billboards with advertisements along with bus stop poster's that portray and glamorise gun violence. Unfortunately this type of advertising is setting a bad example for the younger generation, WAGV have identified this with the many billboards and posters situated near primary schools, high schools as well as in neighbourhoods where violent gangs are known. Thus the marketing of guns and gun violence attaining to an accessible audience.

This video is similar to that of the anti-gun website above as Eric Holder a US attorney talks about how gun control should be advertised to promote the negatives that accompany guns. He quotes that the country needs to be 'brainwashed' into thinking differently about the way they look at guns and the seriousness of them.

Pro-Gun Control

ThinkProgress. (2009, November 23). Gun Lobby Mobilizes Against Health Reform By Claiming Obama Administration Will Issue ‘No Guns’ Decree. Retrieved November 2012, from Think Progress:

Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit organisation who's intention is to preserve and defend the Second Amendment whereby the public have the right to own a gun. GOA consider that firearm ownership is an act of freedom. Therefore they quote "Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and WE WANT THEM BACK! ". This can be seen as possibly a bit fervent but to this organisation their rights have truly been threatened and they are willing to fight to protect what they believe as rightfully there's, mostly from who they call the overzealous government anti-gun bureaucrats.

This video can be viewed along with the GOA as an extremist viewer who is deeply passionate about gun control in America. Stating in a heated discussion and quite crassly points out that "anybody who wants to disarm me; can drop dead!". 

So who wins?

On my part I don't believe there will be a unanimous winner on whether people should be pro or anti- gun control; with both debates equally compelling. However personally the side that is more valuable and promotes the most vital argument that will in effect benefit the wider population would be that of the anti-gun debate supported by the Women Against Gun Violence. For the reason that the media does indeed glorify guns and in this ever growing day of age where children are getting younger and becoming more susceptible to the harsh world and just how ruthless it is, therefore there needs to be restrictions on what they can see in terms of violence in order to protect their innocence.

Week 8 Blog Post

This was the only Anti-gun website I could actually find on Google, which was a bit worrying!

The Brady Campaign was set up originally as The National Council to Control Handguns in response to the attempted murder and robbery of its founder in 1974.

It is an in depth website which argues for tighter legislation and its mission statement states that they want to reduce gun violence rather than ban them outright.

The focus appears to be on education, with many sections detailing facts about gun ownership and use in America throughout history. They have a lot of history and educational resources, they cite their sources and although they use rhetoric, it is considered and concise (They have a bipartisan petition). Their arguments in fact, could possibly use a bit more passion as their position is not clear (it doesn't state what the petition is actually in favour of).

The site does not come out and overtly state they are against guns, or gun ownership, only gun crime. In modern America, this may be the best way to get through to the population as a whole, since few people can argue FOR gun crime.

Overall, the site is well sourced, well written and has an appropriate number of banners with shocking statistics (such as a "shot today" counter) to be effective at educating people. From our point of view may seem a bit weak and one wonders why there is a need for "grass roots activism" to uphold federal laws, but this is probably the best way of getting gun crime down in a largely pro-gun society like America.

This is an example of a pro-gun website, of which there were literally millions. This site is not unusual in that it  mentions gun ownership as a god given right and quotes the Second Amendment numerous times.

There doesn't appear to be any actual message on this beyond the constitutional message that are allowed, but the site is made up of links to a number of personal/editorial articles and blogs.

No facts or figures are given and no sources are cited to support their basic mission, which is the repeal of every gun control law since the 1930's.

They are a group of women, who believe that guns protect them and their children from the evils. But beyond these vagaries it was tough to see what the point of this site was. However, I suspect that the main meat of the site would be in forums - either online or at rallies - where members meet and discuss their views and plan grass root activism (like the Brady Campaign) to get their message across.

I feel that if you are a woman of a certain intelligence (and that doesn't mean stupid as these women appear fairly articulate), who has been a victim or fears becoming a victim of crime then the rhetoric in the articles would really play to you. They tap into the fears of the unknown, the foreign and the government keeping tabs on you.

As to which site is more effective, the answer to that is fairly easy because the Brady Campaign is still going where as the AFA stopped accepting new members in 2005. For my point of view, I need evidence as the sources of the Brady site make me favour that website more. But from the point of view of the average American who holds freedom and constitutional rights to be sacrosanct then I fear the AFA type site is more effective.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Week 8: Obama vs Romney the 2012 Election

The results were in and the people of America had decided that Democrat President Barrack Obama would lead their county for a second term! Winning against his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

However this electoral contest didn't go without criticism for both parties, thus being banded one of the most tightly run race seen in years. With neither party being hailed as a definite front runner right up until the day that counted on 7th November 2012.

Obama was able to win under many reasons for example people thought the economy was actually getting better rather than it getting worse in parts, such as unemployment not actually getting any higher than 8% although most voters concentrated on the fact housing and consumer sentiment was steadily recovering.

Most importantly was that Obama ably won the so called 'swing states' that vitally gave him the electoral votes he need to ensure is presidency for a second term. Statistics show that Obama won these states because he has much more offices, volunteers and voters than Mitt Romney, despite the fact they both campaign immensely particularly in Florida, Iowa and Ohio.

A great website to see the breakdown of electoral results and percentages for each state is:

Despite losing this presidential race Mitt Romney has won in other sectors of the government, in terms of the House of Representatives the Republicans have 233 seats compared to 194 for the Democrats. This can prove dangerous for President Obama as the federal legislations will now be in the republican favour thus possibly proving difficult for President Obama and so he needs to negotiate policies that fit everyone's best interest.

This is the New America

This election and the results shows how america has changed!!!

I feel that this election has now justified what Obama said in his victory speech. 

"I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love (ph). It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. (Cheers, applause.) You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try."

You acknowledge that america is not how it was 100 years ago you can see the contrast within the change of society, the government and especially the people, in which has been reflected in Obama being re-elected back into office from the amazing support of the Latinos and other minorities. 

Obama received votes from the Latinos who voted at a higher rate than in 2008 also African-american, Asian Americans young people and women.

However in contrast with Mitt Romney who got more votes from the older generation shows that some parts in America still value the old ideas. 

Which therefore suggests that the Country is divided along racial lines. 

Week 8 Blog Post


This years election was neck and neck for some short time, with both Obama and Romney switching the majority of votes, as usual the Democrats focused on minority voters. Women, racial and ethnic minorities and many working class people voted for Obama whereas 88% of whites voted for Romney.

Swing states like Ohio were pushed for from both candidates, which Democrats won. Obama's Administration Labour Initiative won over these voters as 'more than 783,000 Ohio residents, 15.5% of all workers in the state, are members of labor unions, the 6th highest state population of union workers.'

By these results I can see that American politics can work in favour of those who are classed as a minority in their country, even though the election was very close, by trying to keep the progress that Obama achieved in his first term, voters were swayed by the chance to keep progressing.
In Obama's victory speech he stated that, 'I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.'
'That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.' Obama's victory speech 2012

2012 election.

What the democrats stand for.

As the current President of the United States, Obama is part of the Democratic party. Democratic supporting states are most strongly supported on the coasts of America, whilst the republican party is notoriously strongest in the most major rural areas of America (fly over country). The democratic party has also begun to dominate some southern states (usually republic) such as New Mexico, due to the influx of Hispanic migrants from across the border. The democrats took into the election, the idea of progressive taxation (higher tax rates for higher income brackets). The voting for Obama also suggests the increased acceptance and support of same-sex marriage, which has become legal in certain states. The support for gay marriage is strongest on both the east and west coasts of the country, again explaining the popularity of the democratic party in those areas. Same-sex marriage is banned in many of the most rural areas (republican states), again explaining both the support for the republicans in those states (against gay marriage) and against the democrats, who support it. []

Republicans: Prefer increasing military spending and have a more hard line stance against countries like Iran, with a higher tendency to deploy the military option.

Democrats: Prefer lower increases in military spending and are comparatively more reluctant to using military force against countries like Iran, Syria and Libya.

Democrats are also in stronger support for the maintenance and control of gun laws in the country, while the republicans favor attempting to abolish these laws, in favor of the 2nd amendment.

The general opinion now that Obama has been reelected, is the increasing support for the Democratic party. It shows that the population of the United States is changing into believing and supporting different aspects of life. It shows the increase of Hispanic and minorities in certain states, increasing support for the Democrats. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Week 7 Blog Post

The outcome for the 2012 Election shows an interesting shift in the makeup of america's voters and what values they hold to be important in the modern age.

Traditionally, the Democrats target the poor, the minorities and the higher educated while the Republicans appeal to white males of a lower education in rural areas. These generally mean that the East and West are Democrat and the South and Mid-West are Republican.

However, in the 2012 election, some breakaway states in the South shifted position to vote for Obama instead of Romney. This is, probably, because of the increase in the Latino population in the areas close to the border.

What is noticeable about this election is the lack of real policies - Obama only released his manifesto two weeks before the election. This is probably due to the main issues being unsolvable. The financial crisis requires bipartisan agreement, regardless of who wins, due to the Bush spending cuts coming to an end in January without Congressional intervention - called the Fiscal Cliff.
Because of this, the two parties will probably have to work close together, especially as Republicans control the senate.

Romney should appeal to certain religious sections of the population but according to other Mormons, he is not a good practitioner. The current feelings against the super rich also played against him whereas in previous years (Bush for example) it hasn't been a problem.

The Sandy Storm probably contributed also, with hammering home to many Americans that climate change is at their front door and needs to be investigated.

Other factors include Obama's bail out loans to the car industry, which helped many in Ohio keep their job and his proven record in foreign policy (with capturing Bin Laden). Also the republicans constantly making upsetting the female vote took away their support.

Ultimately, it appears that as America ages and becomes more multinational, its industry based on young, progressive companies instead of "old money" and traditional values of security with wealth are shown to be flawed, the country is voting to become more liberal and it is clear that the republican party will need to change.

This is an interesting site which shows that it wasn't all about race, sex and wealth -

19 Century Painting

This Painting symbolises native Americans way of life, in which the buffalo's is an essential part. 

Buffalo hunt under the wolf - skin mask, 1832 - 33 oil 

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Before they acquired horses in the eighteenth century, Indians developed ingenious methods to hunt buffalo on foot. One method was the stealthy approach in disguise. Since more than half the calves born each year died, bison tolerated the packs of wolves that took care of the carcasses. Buffalo were unprepared, however, for Indians in wolves' clothing, who approached "within a few rods of the unsuspecting group, and easily [shot] down the fattest of the throng."

This painting depicts methods, of how Americans captured buffalo's on foot before being introduced to horses. One method was to dress up in buffalo skin and make crying baby sounds, and when one buffalo left the herd to help save the crying baby the Indians, would kill the animals with spears and arrows. This suggests that the buffaloes where native Americans essential for survival  in the sense that these buffalo were used to make things essential things  like cups, spoons, candles, decorations, used as religious alters, shovels, knives the list is endless.
furthermore the symbolic meaning of the buffalo for the native Americans symbolised.

Representation - "Something that represents."
Provision- "The act of supplying".
Gratitude - "The quality of being thankful."
Abundance- "A very large quality of something."
Consistency - "The achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over."
Strength - " The quality or state of being strong."
Stability- " The state of being stable."
Blessing- " God's favour and protection."
Prosperity-"The state of being prosperous."

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Week 6: A Painting of the Native People

This painting is depicted from 1899 whereby the US cavalry are chasing the Native Americans, however the artist for this particular piece is unknown.

There is minimal imagery painted within the painting, nonetheless there is a vast amount of ideas that can be deduced from this image, those that are most obvious derive from it's forefront. What can be seen is the US cavalry or otherwise called 'white' Americans are chasing away the Native Americans from the land; the direction in which they are being chased is onto the west which historically is where the indigenous people kept on being forced towards; beyond the Mississippi River.

In comparison of the two sides, the Native Americans are painted with minimal clothing and riding bare back. This can been seen as them being less evolved in terms of manufacturing equipment and clothing or they are simply more naturalistic in the way they live. Similarly is the type of weapons that can be seen, the Natives hold man-made weapons whereas the US cavalry hold welded guns. 

Looking deeper into the painting the backdrop in which the artist has used reinforces the idea of open land, untouched thus it is there for the taking especially amongst the open plains situated in the mid-west of America, by which this was an ideology of the US government as well as many white American settlers.

In all this painting is a wonderful representation of the 19th Century and the historical relevance it has to show the disharmony over land between these two separate colonists.


19th Century painting.

This is a painting from Robert S. Duncanson, an African-American artist who was described in the mid 1860's as 'the greatest landscape painter in the west'. The painting is titled: 'Land of the lotus Eaters', and was painted between the years 1860-1861.

The painting depicts the landscape of America further west than the original settlements along the east coast. It shows a mountainous region, possible showing the Rocky mountains in the distance. The surrounding hilly country shows the viewer of a different landscape to what they have seen in the more eastern regions of America. It gives a sense of wonder, that a land can hold such enormous, natural wonders in a land that they do not know. The picture also shows vegetation and trees around these hills, giving the impression of fertility; that the land can be used to set up farms, in order to provide people with their own source of sustenance.

The main body of the painting is devoted to a river, and a lagoon of some sort. The flowing water gives a sense of peace and tranquility to the viewer, something which they may not be used to, coming from the  bustling and busy ports over to the east. It again shows that the land is fertile, and would be a good place for individuals or family looking to start a new life somewhere that has land that can be used to procure a harvest for them and their family.

Along both sides of the river are two bodies of people. They appear to be native Americans on either side of the river. Although it is difficult to tell what they are actually doing (swimming? to the other side), I have an inclination to what this could show about America during this time (hidden idea). The native Americans appear to be moving from the right side of the river to the left. I believe this relates to the fact that more settlers from the east coast of America are beginning to move west, towards the majority of the land of the native American's. It's almost as if the settlers moving across the land from east to west, are forcing the native Americans to move out from their home, as shown in the painting, as running away from the oncoming number of settlers attempting to migrate out west.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Week 6 Blog Post

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)
The Oregon Trail
Oil on canvas, 1869

Albert Bierstadt was a painter and photographer who accompanied a party surveying a new waggon route. They were also charged with negotiating with the Indian Americans who would be affected by the new route. 

This picture shows several interesting points - in the background you can see the native American in their natural setting, underneath a radiant (or luminous) sun and next to the Rocky mountains. The mountains are exaggerated to look reminiscent of the Alps in Europe, helping to sell the idea of travelling west because its bountiful but yet familiar too. However, they are also shear and unforgiving, there is a sense of danger and foreboding.

One idea for the meaning behind this painting is that it was to make the landscape look magical and wondrous in order to sell the settlers on the idea of western expansion, so you can see there are many edible animals running around and they are all fat and healthy. No one is having to run after or hunt these animals either, they are just walking amongst the people, so either they are herded with the train or they are impossibly tame, both of which portray the area as full of food and bounty. The trail is smooth and easy like a road designed just for the waggon train. 

However the native American settlement is cast is an angry orange glow to make it seem like a constant possible threat on the horizon (on the other side of the river) The Luminism of the work is its main feature and the dusk (or dawn) sky show either journey beginning (the start of a new life, a new day full of possibilities) or the arrival at their destination (the promised land, the end of the day where one can finally set up home and lay down his head). An alternative view is that the camp should have been set up by sundown but because of the threat of the native Americans they have to keep pushing on. 

There are many other small details within this picture that someone familiar to the work of Bierstadt or the Realism movement would be able to pick up on - such as the bones near the bottom of the picture and a broken stove which show the failure of those came before.

Finally, this image is the stereotype of the emigrating frontiersman, a stereotype that been around for centuries, but appears to be based in fact looking at this painting (since the artist was there.) However, there is some dispute over whether Bierstadt was even in America when he painted this work but since the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, thus making the waggon train a thing of the past, it has been said that he painted this out of nostalgia rather than fact.