Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Apart from watching a great episode of Madmen and wanting to watch more of it I noticed several things… One of the things that happened during the episode wasn’t really an ‘eye catcher’ it’s almost considered as a norm when it comes to media advertising. As soon as Don Draper uttered the words “We have six identical companies making six identical products. We can say anything we want” Anything we want? Media has always offered us opportunities to manipulate, deceive and fabricate all kinds of information that have been given to us. But if this is what the population wants and this is what they want to hear; what does that say about the population? Like Don Draper said “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing… it’s okay. You are okay” So is it really manipulation if it’s a way of reassuring us what we want to hear? Are we just manipulating ourselves? If it really is the media’s fault for manipulating us then shouldn’t we be rejecting it? Well we aren’t. So what does that tell you?
On the other hand.. This can be seen as american commercialism in association to the declaration of independence’s promise of pursuit of happiness! Whatever you may find in evil corporations and bad businesses with selling ideas such as these, things like having a new car, having a new house, freedom of fear are amazing things to have. So why complain? If America is founded in part on its citizen’s desires and needs and if America can sometimes deliver it to them, isn’t that just fantastic? 

 

Reel Bad Arabs

What people don’t know scares them. That is one of the biggest problems with the portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood. The director alluded to the American public stereotyping Arabs and Muslims as a whole bc of a few extreme fundamentalists. As he said, should all Christians be seen to act like the Klu Klux Klan?
It is this ignorance of the majority that perpetuates the stereotype and has allowed for Hollywood to get away with the racist portrayal of Arabs for over fifty years. That in turn allows for such radical misconceptions to surface constantly in all aspects of media, including the news which is supposed to be monitored and based on facts. When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, as egregious as that was, the initial report from news outlets was that it was an act of Muslim/Arab terrorism.
Another blatant example of racism the director speaks about is the inhumane treatment the prisoners of Abu Ghraib prison were subjected to. These despicable actions were not only acceptable in the facility, but in some cases even encouraged. Only when the horrendous treatment was pushed into the headlines were the perpetrators punished, and only a select few who the pictures happened to have captured their faces.
These atrocities have unfortunately become a staple of how Arabs/Muslims are treated because of the way Hollywood has vilified them. An entire population or religion are suffering at the hands of media, and there are no signs of it decreasing. Just last week yet another atrocious act of racism occurred and was subsequently swept under the rug.
As the first bomb went off in Boston, one of the bystanders was injured, just like everyone else close to the site. He was also worried about a second explosion happening, just like everyone else. He was running away to safety, just like everyone else. And he called out religious phrases, just like everyone else. The only difference is that this person was young, dark skinned, and called out his religious phrases in Arabic. This caused several bystanders to run after him and tackle him to the ground, rather than offer him help, just like everyone else.
After he was finally given aid, upon arriving at the hospital he was immediately detained and questioned, and local as well as federal police agencies were sent to his house to go through his belongings for signs of bomb making material. He was unjustly profiled and detained and treated as a criminal, all because in a time of fear and panic he uttered the wrong language.