Historical Advertisements

When it was first introduced to the drug market, there were several issues that affected the sale and advertisement of the birth control pill. There was significant debate over the safety as well as the morality of oral contraceptive usage for years after its FDA approval in 1960. The pill was not marketed directly to consumers in its early stages of sale, but instead it was advertised to doctors who would then prescribe it to women. Because of these issues there are not substantial amounts of advertisements that can be found from the early decades of sale.

One of the few early advertisements is for Envoid, the first brand of the pill to be sold. It is marketed toward doctors rather than the women who will use the product. The ad is rather simple, containing a small drawing of a women, the product name and slogan, and descriptive information regarding the function and benefits for the doctor’s patients. The creators of this advertisement perhaps had in mind that their customers were doctors with their own existing knowledge about birth control methods, and who would most likely not be using the product themselves. Therefore, in order to be persuasive, logos and ethos are more prevalent than pathos in the ad. The logos exists in the description of how the regulation of menstruation is beneficial to women, and the ethos in the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of Envoid. There is an element of pathos when the ad tells physicians that their patients will be grateful if they are to be prescribed this product. But there is a lack of visual pathos hat might be evident in an ad directed at the women who use the product.

What is interesting to note about this ad is that it does not promote the contraceptive aspects of the pill, but instead focuses solely on the fact that it can delay menstruation for the purpose of “convenience” and “peace of mind.” The ad completely ignores the primary purpose of the pill, possibly due to the large number of people who were against the prevention of pregnancy in its early stages. Doctors of the early 60s who had strong moral views about birth control would have been difficult to persuade into prescribing Envoid using the rhetoric surrounding pregnancy prevention. While this ad provides a limited amount of insight into the actual function of the product, it does provide insight into the social context surrounding the introduction of the birth control pill. There existed stigma against the pill and marketers had to find ways around that to successfully promote their products.

The advertisement that came up most frequently in searches is for Ortho-Novum. This ran in 1993, decades after the first sales of the pill, yet still one of the earliest ads directed at women that were easily found in records. The focal point of the ad is a photograph of pills laid out in a circle next to the line, “We’ve come full circle since 1960.” This acts both as a way to grab the attention of the audience as well a form of ethos. The circle of pills is a recognizable image because it resembles the way that these pills are packaged in the circle that tells women when to take the pill. This also establishes ethos for the company by saying that it continues to consistently what it did in 1960, which is provide an effective form of birth control that also provides additional health benefits. The differences between this early 90s ad and the 1960 ad are quite noticeable. With the change audience, there is a change in the rhetoric and the method of marketing. The Ortho-Novum ad includes no discussion of the chemicals, the dosage, or the scientific explanation of how the pill works. It instead advocates for the benefits that this pill has to offer women and presents in a way that would be easy for any non-physician to understand.

What this advertisement also accomplishes is a look into how the social contexts of the 90s was different from that of the 60s regarding the pill. The Ortho-Novum ad is able to discuss the contraceptive benefits primarily because the stigma against birth control had a less overwhelming presence socially. From the beginning the 1993 ad mentions that the pill “changed women’s lives” and gave them “reproductive control.” By the 90s, women had for some time been speaking out and using language such as reproductive control to fight the legal and social battle over birth control. The advertisers are using language that will resonate emotionally with women who can relate to the idea that they deserve to have control over their own bodies.

A third ad, from 1996, also contains both visual and verbal elements that act as pathos directed at women. This ad for Ortho Tri-Cyclen contains the headline “A birth control pill that’s in tune with your body.” It also features a painting of a bouquet of flowers the covers a large portion of the page. This can be interpreted as an appeal to women’s belief in their right to reproductive control. The product is promoted as a pill that is in tune with a woman’s body, as opposed to those who are against birth control who are not in tune and do not show respect toward a woman’s body. The flower seems to be an attempt to represent nature and promote the idea that this product is natural, rather than a drug made in a lab, and works naturally and safely with the body to prevent pregnancy. This ad reaches out to women by exploiting what women are most drawn to when it comes to birth control using pathos.

Work Cited

G.D Searle & Company. “Envoid.” Advertisement. Obstetrics and Gynecology 16 Nov. 1960. PubMed. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation. “Ortho-Novum 777.” Advertisement. Vogue 1 Mar. 1993: 266. Proquest Historical Newspapers. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation. “Ortho Tri-Cyclen.” Advertisement. Vogue 1 Nov. 1996: 210. Proquest Historical Newspapers. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Watkins, Elizabeth Siegel. “How the Pill Became a Lifestyle Drug: The Pharmaceutical Industry and Birth Control in the United States Since 1960.” American Journal of Public Health 102.8 (2012): 1462-472. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Vital Organs

One of the object that caught my eye on Sara Hendren’s blog was the “suit of armor for you internal organs.” While not a real object that has been invented, the concept and the design pictured on the bog offer much to be discussed. The blog shows some of the body’s most vital organs–the heart, lungs, and brain–encased in a metallic protective suit. The encased organs now appear silver, shiny, and seemingly indestructible I would assume that they feel very smooth, cold, but also very hard.. Each appears almost as if it were a sculpture of some kind that has been carefully chiseled into the precise shape and size of our body parts. If these objects actually existed, I would certainly like to see them have the design pictured on Abler. Just by looking at the objects, you can tell that they are very strong and could be relied on to protect vital organs. The sleek metallic look would definitely be a selling point were this something on the market. If scientists told me that these suits of armor could protect my organs, I would believe them right away. The problem is, I don;t think that this is a practical solution to the need for protecting organs from damage, disease, etc. Certainly the armor would keep the organs safe from physical damage, but how could the organ continue its normal function in the body. Our bodies are not made to function with large foreign objects inside, nor are we humans strong enough to get around with heavy metal in our chests.

Despite the unrealistic nature of this imaginary invention, It raises an interesting question regarding using technology to fix the natural, biological problem that arise in our bodies. Can we create enough technology to protect ourselves from harmful diseases, physical injury. Our bodies have natural mechanisms to combat these problems but there are of course always things that we can’t fix on our own. The armor suits for organs represent a possible direction that technological innovation is headed. We are now able use 3D printing to replace organs and other important parts of the body and we continue to come up with increasingly advanced solutions, We have thus far used technology to improve nearly every aspect of human lives. There is no reason why we can;t use our ability to develop new technology to further strengthen our bodies against natural forces. Perhaps we are not on our way to having robot-like insides, but maybe we are coming steps closer to being able to protect our insides via new technology,

Musical Research

I have a habit of getting really interested in something and trying to learn everything there is to know about it. I get easily obsessed with a subject that I don’t know much about and the next thing I know I’m on a long chain off Google searches and Wikipedia pages until I feel like I am adequately informed. It’s as if once I am aware of a topic, If I don’t go and learn all about it I feel like I am missing out on something that could potentially change the way I think or feel. I always feel obligated to achieve as much understanding of the world that exists outside of my own life as possible. I do this with current events, historical events, entertainment, or anything else that I am often hearing other people mentioning or discussing.

An area that I’ve recently found myself trying to learn more about is music. I grew up listening almost exclusively to R&B that my parents introduced me to, and as I got older mostly hip-hop or any Top 40 pop music that my group of friends was interested in. I spent a long time feeling like there was a certain type of music that I was supposed to like and other kinds I was not. One day it just hit me that maybe I didn’t like a wide variety of music because I hadn’t really exposed myself to anything new. I wanted to learn more about alternative, country, and electronic music to name a few and understand the genres that different songs and artists would fall into. I started asking people who I wouldn’t normally ask to suggest bands or songs to me. Once I realized I liked a lot of the songs, I couldn’t stop trying to learn more. I started researching the history of musical genres and how and when the various sub-genres were formed. I thought that it would be important to know the history so I could understand how all of these different genres are connected to each other. I was also really interested the various elements of a song that classifies it into a certain category. Then I started picking specific genres and looking up the most popular bands in each one so I could listen to their songs. My most helpful resources throughout the process were the ITunes store, Wikipedia, various articles about music history that I could find.

At the time, once I had an understanding of how the genre classification works I felt satisfied with the amount that I learned. However, learning about new music is still an ongoing activity that I will do when I’m bored or I hear about a new song or artist from a friend and with every new thing I learn, it opens up a whole new set of things to research. Becoming more open to a variety of music has allowed me to get a view of new parts of culture and appreciate other people’s musical tastes so I can connect with them on a different level. I’ve learned that when it comes music, or really the arts in general, likes and dislikes are often based on the amount of exposure or understanding that someone has of the subject. Once you really learn about something it becomes so much easier to appreciate it for what it is.

Literature

When I think of the literature that would be studied in school, there is a specific type of work that comes to mind. It seems that whenever literature is studied in a class, the goal is to analyze the storyline and the characters and try to discern some sort of greater meaning. In class you read a text and pick apart the little details that may lead to conclusions that can be drawn about characters, treating them as though they are real people to whom we can relate. We search for a character’s motivation to do what they do in the story, and we generally search for the “so what” aspect of the story. Because of this, when I think of literature read for a class, I think of a story that has multi-dimensional characters, and a plotline that contains themes and symbols that can be analyzed to uncover a deeper meaning.

When I read “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” it did not exactly fit my description of literature. This story has a clear plot line, but the overall plot is rather straightforward and it is hard to see what the reader is supposed to take away from reading the story. The story contains the events and the dialogue that lead to the discovery of the crime and how Holmes is able to solve it. It is not easy to take ideas in the story and relate them to anything larger than what they literally represent. At the beginning of the story the reader gets to see Watson’s descriptions of Holmes, as well as the setting. There is also a long exchange between Watson and Holmes in which Holmes uses his deduction skills to essentially read Watson’s mind. These aspects of the story set up Holmes and Watson’s characters, but throughout the rest of the story there are not a lot of moments that add depth to the elements of each character.

The story ends with a description of how the crime was committed and then some short dialogue from Holmes. He asks questions wondering what a crime like this means to the universe. He ponders that deeper meaning that is often found in the type of literature I would expect to be read in class. But, in accordance with the straightforward nature of the story, these questions are thrown directly at the reader rather than incorporated throughout parts of the story. The story also does not seem to include details that could help answer to these questions of deeper meaning.

Despite these discrepancies between my personal idea of literature and “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,” it is likely that the definition of literature is much broader than what I originally thought. Doyle has simply written a type of literature that serves a purpose other than use in a class. Because of the type of texts that I am accustomed to reading in school, I haven’t put significant thought into the other characteristics of a story that might also classify it as literature.

Beautiful Handwritten Letters

In Spike Jonze’s Her, there are several parallels that can be drawn between Theodore’s job and Samantha’s artificial intelligence. These similarities provide insight into the message that movie tries to convey as well as the reaction that the creators of the film expect from the audience. Theodore’s job involves writing letters on behalf of others so that they can then send them on as if they had in fact written them. The letters are supposed to be heartfelt, meaningful, emotion-driven messages and Theodore finds joy in the fact that he can make someone happy or help a relationship with his letters. In one scene Theodore tells Samantha about specific details he added into one of his love letters that seemingly only the man sending the letter would be able to know. Theodore uses clues and bits of information that he has gathered over his time writing for this specific relationship in order to make his letters seem more genuine over time. What Theodore does at work is very similar to the way in which Samantha is able to simulate human speech, emotions, and intelligence. Samantha was created by humans who have programmed her to respond appropriately during human interaction. She has the ability to collect data from her interactions with humans such as Theodore and “learn” more and more about how to replicate the human brain.

Both of these examples involve taking emotions and thoughts from an outside source and giving the impression that they are genuinely coming from the computer, or the person sending the letter. Jonze creates two scenarios that are meant strike the film’s audience as uncanny and to upset them. People are used to having to deal with real human emotions every day. This is never an easy thing as people are so complex and it is difficult to try and understand how others are feeling and to communicate your own feelings to them. In the film, the people who Theodore writes for do not have to deal with the complexity of human emotions because they have hired an outside source to interpret them on their behalf. Theodore also avoids the struggles of dealing with the human mind as he claims to be in love with the operating system of his computer. Just as Theodore’s ex-wife is angered when she discovers that Theodore is in a relationship with his computer, the audience of Her is expected to be upset as they see people try to feel the pleasure of loving relationships without having to endure the difficulty of communicating and interpreting real emotions. Toward the end of the film, Theodore speaks to one of his co-workers who often praises his ability to write heartfelt letters. Theodore responds to him by saying, “They’re just other people’s letters” (Her). By this point in the film, Theodore has realized that he cannot really take credit for the emotions that he puts into his letters because they are not his. Similarly he cannot consider his connection to Samantha to be genuine because the “emotions” that she shows him are really not hers. The film as a whole attempts to show its audience the despite the vast capabilities of technology, it will never be able be as advanced the minds that created it.

 

Works Cited

Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Warner Bros., 2013. Film.

Facebook (Revised)

What does Facebook mean to my generation? My parents, my aunts, my uncles, my teachers, all have Facebook accounts. But in the eyes of someone my age—a college student—many of Facebook’s older users certainly don’t use the site the “right” way. There are no official rules for how to use the Facebook site; however it seems like my generation, containing the site’s primary users, has built its own etiquette for how to use Facebook and the role that it should play in an individual’s life. My generation has essentially grown up with the site and has helped shape it into what is today. The website itself has changed a great deal overtime in response to how we users have chosen to use it. The website has become dramatically “smarter” overtime, evident in the way that it can collect data from what we post, who we interact with, and what we “like,” in order to give us the experience it thinks we want each time we log on. The person whose profile you have checked multiple times will show up more in your timeline, as well as people you have a lot of conversations with in your messages, or someone who has tagged you in a lot of photos. If a photo of one of your friends gets a lot of likes, it continuously appear in you timeline as if Facebook is peer pressuring you into contributing another like. In this way, Facebook has moved from a simple form of connecting and sharing with friends online to a mode of receiving validation via the phenomenon that is the like. This is what sets my generation’s usage of Facebook apart from say my parents’ generation. They care most about sharing their lives, while we care most about building the perfect image of ourselves.

The way my parents use Facebook really has not changed since they began to use it. They post the occasional family picture, an interesting article, or a status update letting their small amount of Facebook friends know what they are up to these days. But the way that I, and many of my peer, use our Facebook profiles has changed a great deal over the years. When I first got a Facebook in 7th grade, I was Facebook friends with people from my school, and maybe some family. I would post any pictures I had of me and my friends and the occasional status update along the lines of “ugh, school is soo annoying.” My profile picture would be whatever picture of me that I had on my computer and I would pay little attention to the 4 likes that it might have gotten. But now it’s quite different. I block my parents and other family members from viewing some of the things I post to my friends. I’ve deleted all of the old photos of me that I don’t think look good. I don’t make daily updates about what I’m up to, but instead I make an occasional post about something that is really important to me. I think about what I want to like and what I don’t because I know Facebook will tell my friends what I liked. My profile pictures are carefully chosen photos that I think represent me at my best, show me with the most significant people in my life, or represent an important event in my life. Now when I choose a new profile picture, cover photo, or post a link to an interesting article, I probably do this subconsciously on the basis of how many likes I think it’s going to get, as if that represents how much my peers approve of me and what I think. I can remember back to when I posted about my college decision to attend Emory and it was a crazy next couple of hours. There was a like notification popping up on my screen every ten seconds it seemed until there were nearly 300 total. It’s a giant influx of validation that, though I really don’t need it to feel secure and confident in myself, I can’t help but enjoy the feeling. I don’t think most people, myself included, post to Facebook and Instagram in search of validation via likes. But I do think it is part of what makes us keep posting, whether we like it or not.

Teaching Sociability

As social creatures, sociability is an idea that will always be relevant and fundamental to the daily lives of human beings. For this and other reasons, companies have been able to profit from advertising campaign that focus on defining, and teaching sociability so that their target market will feel compelled to consume the company’s product. For instance, companies that sell alcoholic beverages often try to highlight the social implications of alcohol in their advertisements. In many alcohol commercials, the subjects of the ad are often shown surrounded by friends and having a lot of fun to try and show the viewer that this is what happens when they consume the product. Depending on the type of drink, these commercials are often targeted at different demographics. Many beer commercials are targeted at men in their twenties or thirties and try to depict these men doing what men are “supposed” to do when drinking beer. Watching football, picking up women at the bar, or just hanging out with friends are common activities that are shown in commercials as a way to teach sociability so that men will want to buy that beer. More expensive and fancier drinks are targeted at perhaps older men and depict them in positions of power and influence, while women are often depicted in a sexual manner. This promotes the idea that luxury alcoholic beverages are a sign of power for men and create a path toward sexual satisfaction. All of these are examples of how alcoholic beverage companies have attempted to define how alcohol should affect sociability and make it seem like it can help people to be more successful socially. When it comes to companies that sell alcohol, these types of sociability ads seem to prove very successful and are abundant across a variety of media.

This example of teaching sociability is similar to the case outlined in Claude S. Fischer’s “Touch Someone.” Fischer discusses how telephone companies discovered that teaching and selling sociability would be a profitable advertisement strategy. For instance an ad from 1929 target at parents said “No girl wants to be a wallflower” (44). In this case the company seems to be trying to tell parents that they should by a phone for their daughter so that she doesn’t have to feel socially isolated, which according to the company is bad thing. The company has created a problem so that they can then say that their product is the solution. The case of alcohol advertising uses less direct language and more indirect implications to get its point across to viewers while many of the telephone ads aimed to directly tell the viewer how the product could help their sociability. Despite this, the two cases are based on the same basic idea. These companies try to create and teach the viewers of their ads a convention about sociability that would earn the company a lot of profit if it were to become mainstream.

Code-Switching

I would say my brother and my mom are two of the most noticeable code-switchers in my life. My brother will do it consciously while it seems as though my mom does it without really knowing. My brother is quite the crowd-pleaser, so his code-switching serves to help him interact with a lot of different types of people in his life. Around his friends he will act as cool as he can, keeping up with all of the new popular phrases and being sure to always be the funniest guy in the room. He will use swear words and act like he is trying to be next up and coming rapper, because that is what his friends think is funny. I can remember specific times when I first entered high school, he was a junior, and I would see him talk to some of his friends at school for the first time. I was surprised by just how different he would act and speak around them compared to how he speaks to me and our family. My brother’s code-switch with me comes from how protective of me he is as his younger sister. Around me he completely censors himself, as if at 18 months younger I am still not old enough to hear certain words. He will never discuss what he does when he goes out with his friends, even though I have been thoroughly exposed to those types of things by this age. He tries to be somewhat of a role-model when he is around me and that is reflected in the way he speaks. Around my parents he still has the same crazy, outgoing, fun personality, but he tries his best to show off his intelligence as we have some pretty insightful conversations over family dinner. Similarly he is very good at impressing professors, employers, or other people requiring a more formal tone. He is the kind of person who can go into any social interaction and feel like he can find a way to not just fit in, but manage to be the center of attention and please whatever crowd he may be in. He knows how to change the way he speaks so that he can entertain, connect with, or charm whoever he is with.

My mother often code-switches without realizing it. When she talks to my brother and I, she will add in phrases that she has heard us say, or that she heard on TV or in a movie. She will make references to popular culture that she doesn’t really quite understand, all in a subconscious effort to connect with us on our level. I often have to stop her and tell her that she is using a phrase completely wrong, or saying the wrong name of a celebrity. It’s then that she realizes what she’s doing and that it is quite noticeable. Another instance of code-switching occurs when she talks to people with heavy accents of any kind. If I listen to one these conversations I can easily hear her start to imitate certain parts of the accent. Afterward I tell her about it and she has no idea.