Historical Ad Study

I found this assignment to be particularly difficult. Finding originally advertisements for the early American typewriting machine proved to be fruitless until I began using the Duke University Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts service. Even using Duke’s website I still had to narrow my search to a specific company. I thought of one of the most famous typewriter companies in the world, Underwood. Underwood typewriter’s are world famous and so are many of their advertisements. For the purpose of this assignment, however, I searched for the oldest typewriter advertisements I could find. The era I ended up in was the 1930s and the advertisements that I was able to find would be commonly seen on billboards throughout the United States. While I do not find these advertisements to be persuasive to 21st century consumers, by looking at these advertisements through the lens of a 1930s shopping young urban professional I can see how these advertisements were effective.

The first advertisement that I analyzed was titled “Quiet! Underwood Noiseless Typewriter” and was very cute. The advertisement has in bold letters the word quiet.Playing on the assumption that everyone appreciates silence when they are working, this advertisement gets the attention of consumers through this effective appeal to the consumers preferences. When describing a typewriter, quiet is critical. Remember how annoying it is when the person next to you in class is constantly tapping their pencil on their desk, well imagine that tenfold when an office is filled with people type away on typewriters. It sounds like a hive of angry bees are about to attack. For people purchasing a new typewriter, quietness was definitely an attribute that people looked out for. The advertisement has a small mouse scurrying across the page. The mouse is used to emphasize the quiet pitter patter of the letters typing on paper. Even though mice are repulsing to many people, it was well known in the 1930s that mice are quiet animals. With this knowledge, it was very smart for the ad to make use of a mouse to emphasize how quiet the typewriter is. Also the advertisement is very simple, clear, and does not need anything flashy to encourage consumers to buy their typewriter.

The second advertisement I found is titled “Underwood Portable Typewriters”. Most typewriters were incredible heavy and could not be easily transported from place to place. By portraying a young woman easily carrying her Underwood typewriter along with her little purse, was an effective way of telling consumers, “It’s so easy a little lady could carry it!”. The advertisement makes use of the archaic assumption that women are the weaker sex, and gives the Underwood typewriter credibility that men can carry the typewriter easily too. Women commonly worked as secretaries and other positions where their work consisted of a considerable amount of typing. As well as showing how light the typewriter is, the advertisement effectively emphasizes that this typewriter is perfect for the working women who is shuffling back and forth from work and home. While the advertisement looks like it is be marketed for young women, it reaches a much wider audience of all consumers who have to type immensely and need their typewriters at home and at work. The typewriter in the advertisement looks wrapped up like a gift, which is telling consumers that the Underwood typewriter would make a wonderful gift. I think the ad effectively does this by showing how happy the woman in the advertisement is to have a brand new portable Underwood typewriter.

The third advertisement I found is titled “-nice going! Underwood Portable”. I did not find this advertisement to be effective at encouraging the average consumer of the 1930s to purchase the Underwood typewriter. The advertisement has a young boy using the typewriter and saying “nice going”. If I was a consumer in the 1930s, I would think that Underwood was giving themselves a pat on the back for their product. This advertisement does not add any credibility to the functionality of the typewriter at all. I also do not see the connection between a young boy saying nice going and how portable a typewriter is. Maybe if the boy was holding the typewriter as if it were very light the advertisement would make more sense. I also considered that the boy was congratulating people for purchasing the Underwood typewriter because he thought it was a good product. Still, the advertisement is overall confusing and does not achieve the goal of peaking consumer interest in the Underwood typewriter.

The first two advertisements I discussed were great examples of successful advertisements from the 1930s because they clearly explained why Underwood typewriters were more desirable than other typewriters. With the combination of the “Quiet” and “Portable” advertisements, I am confident that Underwood collected a considerable amount of business. Even though the third advertisement I introduced was not persuasive to me, I think that the individuals responsible for making the Underwood typewriter advertisements had a good understand of American society in the 1930s. This assignment made me realize how advertisements really target widely perceived stereotypes in order to coax consumers to purchase their products. For example, I think having a child carry the portable typewriter in the second advertisement, “Underwood Portable Typewriters”, as opposed to a woman would have expressed the idea that the typewriter is light and would not portray women as weak while doing so. Ultimately, I think it is important to be in touch with the way people are reacting to advertisements in order to see how effective advertising campaigns are. I do not have the statistics on Underwood typewriter sales were in the 1930s in response to their advertisements, but if I was to continue my research that is definitely something I would be interested in seeing.
Underwood. “Quiet! Underwood Noiseless Typewriter”. 1930s. outdoor advertising.Duke U.Rare Book and Manuscript Lib. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/oaaaarchives_BBB6037/
Underwood. “Underwood Portable Typewriters”. 1930s. outdoor advertising. Duke U.Rare Book and Manuscript Lib. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/oaaaarchives_BBB6094/
Underwood. “-nice going! Underwood Portable”. 1936. outdoor advertising. Duke U.Rare Book and Manuscript Lib. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/sizes/oaaaarchives_BBB6473/

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Soylet Movie Idea

After the wide success of films such as The Social Network and Jobs, I have no difficulty at all with imagining a film being produced about the development of Soylent made by Rob Rhinehart. The whole history of how the idea was started by Rhinehart while drudging through overwhelming amounts of work could make for an exciting and comedic film. The whole history of the rise of Soylent from just an idea to save time, save money, and live a healthy life to a brilliant company is fascinating and inspiring. Americans love movies about how a struggling young individual takes an idea about wanting help people live better and then succeeds in developing a company that does that while making money.

Of course certain aspects would need to be fictionalized. Maybe Rhinehart’s journey to develop Soylet was extremely difficult and he personally had to overcome some sorts adversity, but ultimately every single struggle would have to be enhanced in order to engage audiences. Nobody goes out to the theater to see an average movie. Everyone wants to see heightened drama and high stakes. As a drama student, I have learned through my studies and experience that a play or film focuses on the extraordinary moments of everyday life. The average does not change anything externally or internally for people.

If I were to produce a film about Rhinehart’s creation of Soylet and its success, I would probably model off of The Social Network, but I would try and emphasize Rhinehart’s main point. The foods that most people world wide are not healthy for us and we really need to rethink the way and what we eat. I imagine this incredible monologue using lines from Rhinehart’s interview with New Yorker reporter, Lizzie Widdicombe, saying “You need amino acids and lipids, not milk itself. You need carbohydrates, not bread. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, but they’re “mostly water.” The goal is to make people realize that there a components of many different foods that we need for daily bodily and mental functioning and we can optimize their benefits by using those necessary components and leaving out all the extra parts of food that either hurt or do nothing for us.

While I am unsure as to whether Soylet, the company, will actually exist in 10 years, Rhinehart’s story of problem solving and his unique solution is tale worth telling. I believe that Soylet has a long way to go when it comes to advertising and becoming a main stream source of nutrition. With that said, I think that allowing a film to be made about the progress that Rhinehart and his cohorts have made would exponentially increase Soylet’s popularity. Soylet could easily become part of the average American’s diet. The next step that has to be taken by Soylet is product placement and making Soylet’s presence known to the world, not just D.Y.I. nuts and avid reddit users. Soylet has a place amongst working class and lower class Americans as well as wealthier Americans and as soon as Soylet becomes popular “The End Of Food” can begin.

Widdicombe, Lizzie. “The End of Food.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 12 May 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Spiders aren’t that “creepy”

Why are people frightened of spiders? I have come to the conclusion that being afraid of spiders is an irrational fear. I do, however, understand how this fear arose. Through the long process of evolution, humans developed certain survival instincts. For example, we do not learn to be afraid of brown bears, we are born knowing that certain things can hurt or kill us. The brown bear is a giant clawed creature that could tear you apart with its teeth and paws. When we happen across a brown bear in its natural habitat, our instinct tells us to run away as fast as we can.

Spiders also spark the same survival instinct within many people. The spider has a bad reputation for being a venomous evil creature, but people are actually mistaken. The majority of spiders in the world are not venomous. Yes, you can get bitten by many, but the most severe result may be an itchy bite mark that lasts a couple days. Spiders are also couple with the word “creepy”. It is also true that spiders look weird when compared to puppies and other cute animals. Eight furry legs, tons of tiny beady black eyes, fangs, and webs are all alien to anything human. Spiders are creepy. They instant a spider begins to crawl on someone’s arm and catch a sight of this frightening foreign creature survival mode takes over and a flailing and screaming dance ensues.

I argue that the best way to deal with a spider is in a calm and collected manner. By slowly flicking a spider off your arm or leg, you are much less likely to be bitten then flailing uncontrollably. If a spider feels trapped or in danger, it will bite. A dog or a cat would do the same thing. So the important thing to remember is that even though spiders look “creepy”, you must fight the instinct to be afraid of them. If you can remember that most spiders are harmless and that they actually act as a natural pest control, then you can deal with your next spider interaction in a more positive way.

Reshetiloff, Kathy. “Despite Their Reputations, Most Spiders Are Harmless.” Bay Journal RSS. Bay Journal, 01 Nov. 2006. Web. 31 Oct. 2014.

Sherlock met my expectations

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is definitely a piece of literature that I would expect to read in school. When a professor assigns a reading for a class, I like to believe that the assigned reading offers some enlightening or provocative idea. The concept of deductive reasoning was not necessarily a new or groundbreaking idea, however, to many of the people reading Sherlock this was their first exposure to this form of logical reasoning. Sherlock’s escapades, for example, show deductive reasoning at its best. There are many lessons to learn from Sherlock’s character and about being more observant.

While “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” was a relatively short story, it gave a very clear understanding of how to approach solving a problem through deductive reasoning. The literature that professors typically require do not need to be long. To me, length is irrelevant. The pieces that are assigned are as long as they need to be in order to explain a concept. “Clue” by Carlo Ginzburg, is an example of an academic essay that carries on too long. There are some very significant points made about the importance of paying attention to the most minute details in order to discover anomalies and solve a mystery, but overall the piece is overly dry and moves on at a sluggish pace. Carlo Ginzburg could have easily made is points more concisely.

It is important to distinguish the difference between the Sherlock story and Ginzburg’s essay. Sherlock had an exciting story to tell in contrast with Ginzburg, who was attempting to make an academic observation. Both pieces fall within my expectations of academic literature. I think reason that “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” and “Clue” meet my expectations of academic literature is because I learned something from both of them. For this class, I am focusing on the “senses”. With that in mind, I try and look for the connection between the required readings and my senses. Therefore I am expecting there to be something that can enhance my understanding of how I use my everyday senses.

I struggle with keeping a wide lens when judging literature. I always ask, “why is this important” or “what is this trying to make me aware of”. I then have to relate reading to the particular class I am taking. All of the readings for this class have met my expectations about literature. I think the reason for that lies is the careful selection of the readings in conduction with this classes theme. “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” is absolutely aligned my expectations for the literature I would be reading for this class.

Ethos Tweet

“Listen, I’ve taken three classes with Professor ____, you do not want to try a be a brown noser. He unrelentingly called on me once he figured out my name. If I could give you any advice, it would be to just sit in the back and keep your head down!”

The above speaker establishes ethos, by establishing his familiarity with a specific professor. Through this particular student’s “3 classes” taken with this professor, the student can now speak about his experiences to others. After taking three classes, others can safely assume that this student is quite familiar with this professor. By first establishing his first-hand experiences about being “unrelentingly called on”, the student’s argument about being discrete in the professor’s class appear credible. Therefore we trust this student’s advice to other students who might take this professor’s class.

Socially Awkward Men

Women are mystifying to men. Freud once suggested that women appear peculiar to men because they look like men that have been castrated. That argument is a bit of an exaggeration, however, certain men struggle when they must converse and interact with women. What Freud touches on in his theories though, is the idea that after some traumatic incident certain individuals lack the ability to partake in “normal” relationships with friends and sexual partners in society. Both the film Her and the short story “Sandman”, written by Hoffman, explore the struggles of 2 men and their relationships with “uncanny” women and their disassociation from society.

While Theodore, the leading man character in Her, and Nathaneal, the main character in “Sandman”, share attractions for women that are not human, there are significant reasons as to why they are not attracted to real women. In Theodore’s case, he had recently been dumped by his wife. In Nathaneal’s case, Nathaneal witness the death of his father at the hands of a notorious man. Both of these instances paralyzed Theodore and Nathaneal with overwhelming fear. Fear holds back Theodore and Nathaneal from having healthy relationships in society. Relationships require trusting a stranger and becoming committed to that individual, with the possibility of being abandoned and broken by the person that had become so involved with. For Nathaneal and Theodore, their fear and knowledge of the consequences from the fallout of a relationship keep them wary of human relationships. Instead both men find comfort and feasibility in connections with non-human human, which the men naively believe they will not be hurt.

As well as being incapable of intimate sexual relationships with women, Theodore and Nathaneal becomes estranged from society and are unable function in social events. These men find greater comfort being solitary rather than amongst festivities. In the writings that both men develop, audiences can ascertain an examples of Theodore and Nathaneals’ social inequities. In Theodore’s profession he composes passionate personal letters for relatives and loved ones who themselves cannot or are too lazy to write. The fact that Theodore can write about and be so immersed in others’ relationships, but not form his own shows a heart wrenching fact. Theodore is capable of beautiful human emotion, but his overwhelming fear of intimate relationships does not allow him to reveals his talent to other humans. Nathaneal attempts to impress others with his writings, but actually does the opposite. His writings repel a woman his tries to court, and identified to a greater extent as peculiar. Theodore and Nathaneal are the embodied of the archetypal conflict of man versus society.

Even though Theodore and Nathaneal find normality and comfort with their “uncanny” women, these unnatural relationships serve nothing more than a delay to their awareness that they do not have a place in society. After comparing Theodore’s and Nathaneal’s misadventures, it is illuminating to see how impactful past events play in an individuals ability to function in society. Her and “Sandman” serve to explain that the inability to have intimate relationships and interact in society make individuals more vulnerable to unhealthy relationships that thrust them further away from connecting with humanity.

Works Cited:
Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. By Spike Jonze. Perf. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. 2013. Film.
Hoffman. E.T.A. “The Sandman”. United Kingdom. Dodo Press. 2008. Print
Freud. Sigmund. “The Uncanny”. New York. Penguin Classics. 2003. Print.

Revision of Pillow Talk Essay

Argument: Pillow Talk furthers the patriarchal structure of American Society. Putting women below men, but also emphasizing the role that men should    be in.

Since the 1950s release of the film Pillow Talk, the role of women in society has evolved. During the 1950s and before, women were perceived to only be able to carry out domestic roles (housekeeping and motherly duties). Now society is more aware that women are capable of much more than household duties and can perform the same jobs as men. Due to this old misconception about what a woman could achieve, there was a strong push for women to simply get married and have babies. This distorted view of a woman’s place and society was ingrained in American culture. The popular film, Pillow Talk, furthered the stereotype of portraying women as weak and short sighted in their life goals. Even though getting married and having children are still objectives for Americans, Pillow Talk is a degrading snapshot of Americas vision of the ideal women in a patriarchal society.

During the beginning of Pillow Talk audiences quickly learn that Jan Marrow (the leading lady played by Dorris Day) is a headstrong and determined woman that has put her career ahead of having intimate relationships with men. This makes Jan stick out, because other women her age are either already married with kids or at least striving too. Not even 15 minutes into the movie, Jan is portrayed as a social peoria and criticized for wanting to have a career before she gets married and has children. Jan is constantly pushed to find a nice husband and have kids, since this is the ideology of the 1950s and the message that the film wishes to encourage. In fact when Jan tries to obtain a private phone line, because of friction between the man she shares her line with, the manager of the phone company explains that only an emergency would permit her to gain a personal line. One such emergency is being pregnant. This examples furthers the preconceived notion that women are limited only to motherly position and that they will only be rewarded for submitting to this societal law.

Even though Jan ultimately ends up happily married at the end of the film, the movie seems to express that women are to bend to the will and desires of men. Throughout the movie, Jan is courted by a man, Brad (played by the famous Rock Hudson), who uses deceit in order to gain Jan’s favor. Eventually Brad’s con falls apart and Jan sees Brad for the lier he is. Jan makes her negative feelings clear to Brad, yet he persistently pursues Jan. Brad continues to enamor Jan and does so by unrelenting acts of devotion. Somehow Brad succeeds in winning Jan’s affection, leaving me dumbfounded. The fact that Jan changes her opinion of Brad is completely out of her character and appears to be simply a “cutesy” way of ending the film. The ending of Pillow Talk seems to say, “if a man loves a woman, the woman should drop all her desires in life for his”.

While Pillow Talk is a comedy, the movie explains a great deal about gender roles in the 1950s. One of the most significant points that I found troubling was that women were to submit to getting married and have children. By reviewing the dated opinions of a woman’s role in society in the 1950’s it is almost laughable that it took so long for women to gain the respect needed to be seen as individuals instead of dependents. Pillow Talk highlighted some of the more outrageous opinions of how women were to behave in America during the 1950’s. A last point to consider is how popular culture today drives how Americans are to behave. It is easy to critique the past, but the biggest struggle to come is how we strive to make society more equitable and hospitable to peoples’ goals in life.
Citations:
Pillow Talk. Dir. Michael Gordon. Perf. Doris Day, Rock Hudson, 1959. Film.

Pillow Talk Gender Roles

Since the 1950s release of the film Pillow Talk, the role of women in society has evolved. During the 1950s and before, women were perceived to only be able to carry out domestic roles (housekeeping and motherly duties). Now society is more aware that women are capable of much more than household duties and can perform the same jobs as men. Due to this old misconception about what a woman could achieve, there was a strong push for a woman to simply get married and have babies. Baby making was the ultimate goal during the baby boom in America. While being fertile and reproducing has always played a role throughout the ages, it is emphasized and tremendously in Pillow Talk.

During the beginning of Pillow Talk audiences quickly learn that Jan Marrow (the leading lady played by Dorris Day) is a headstrong and determined woman who does not need a man. This makes Jan stick out, as she is at a prime baby making stage in her life. A reoccurring dilemma that is introduce in the movie declares that if Jan waits much longer to settle down, she will not be able to find a proper mate. Jan is constantly pushed to find a nice husband and have kids, as having kids is seen to be a woman’s main role in life. In fact when Jan tries to obtain a private phone line, because of friction between the man she shares her line with and herself, a manager for the phone company explains that only an emergency would permit her to gain a personal line. One such emergency is being pregnant. This examples furthers the preconceived idea of the period that women are to strictly be in a motherly position and if the follow their societal role they will be rewarded (ie. receive quick installation of a private line).

A more humorous example that explores the role of genders appears when Brad (played by Rock Hudson) accidentally makes a gynecologist believe that he is pregnant. The doctor is baffled and wishes to study Brad. The reason doctor is so intrigued to study Bard, while it may come across as obvious, is because men cannot get pregnant. Men are (according to this time anyway) supposed to be strong and wild spirits that are to be tamed by women. The roles of men were to performed outside the house and they were not expected to tend to familial duties. The concept of a man having a child is so absurd to audiences and the doctor in the movie, which cements the idea of set gender roles in society. Men work and women have babies.

While Pillow Talk is a comedy, the movie explains a great deal about gender roles in the 1950s. One of the most significant points that I found troubling was that women were to bend to their instinct to have children. The movie end with Jan falling in love with Brad and having his baby. It is sad that all the hard work Jan worked for in her career falls to societal pressure for her to be a wife and mother.

Hats Off

After reading about code switching I took a moment to reflect on the many ways I address different people. It did not take me long to realize I wear many hats and with each hat comes a unique voice. Let us explore a few of the voices Cameron Frostbaum uses.

Mama’s Boy – I am, as every good son should be, close with my mother. Why shouldn’t I be? There is no one in the world who loves me more than my mother does. I have the greatest mom in the universe and after you try her world famous chocolate milk, you will agree. No matter how hard I fight this particular code switch, the way I talk when I am on the phone with my mom evolves into an conversation between mama and her baby boy. The reason for this transformation probably lies in the absolute security my mother provides me. All the defenses I put up to fight my mother’s effect on me melt away and my most innocent self appears. While the sound that comes out of my mouth strikes people as a bit strange, to my mother, this is the boy she knows best and any problem or need I have is immediately cared for.

New York Jew – After watching any Woody Allen film or spending time with my family (all of which either live in New York or are from there), I end up sounding like a fussy old man from Manhattan. I complain excessively and every word has this nasally sound that is almost comedic, if it was not so pathetic. I doubt anyone actually thinks I am from New York, as the accent I produce is absolutely horrendous, but I slip into one of Allen’s characters or a distant relative. I normally snap out of this “kvetching” trance after getting strange looks from people.

Artsy Thespian – Let me begin with saying I do not like musicals. I am not a fan of the genre, yet, when I am around theater kids I literally unload knowledge about shows and songs from some dark, scary part of my mind. Even though musicals often dominate conversations, my true passion are spoken word dramas. I take on this pretentious, philosophical persona when discussing the meanings of Tom Stoppard’s, a post modernist playwright, plays. I like to believe I am not a stuck up individual and that something inside is just trying to compensate for the fact that I am still a novice striving to become an experienced professional.

I have only explored a few instances in which I code switch. It is illuminating to investigate the way I interact with different people. Perhaps by analyzing the way I behave and speak around others I can try to find a truer form of myself. Even though I am still “Cameron” with various groups, I adjust the way I act in order to meet what I perceive to be other’s standards. This year at Emory I will attempt to find a way to float in various bubbles, while still carrying over personal values and characteristics that I believe are my strongest traits.