FRANCE GALOP / Agency : H, Paris / AD : Julien Doucet
WILKINSON / Agency : JWT, Paris / AD : Laurent Escoffier
ANGELINE MAGAZINE / Natural skin care product
PERSONAL WORK / Morocco 1
PERSONAL WORK / Tenerife 1
PERSONAL WORK / Cigarette
PERSONAL WORK / Iceland 1
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN / Lookbook 2010
PERSONAL WORK / Toilet Paper 3
PERSONAL WORK / Sunflower 1
PERSONAL WORK / Camera 1
Directed by Thomas Traum
Music by Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor – 04 – IV
from WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:
Here’s a tape which found it’s way into my collection some years ago, featuring a broadcast of an interview with Edward Hunter, featuring discussions of both his background and his knowledge of brainwashing. It appears that his he really was, as he claims here, the person who first brought the word “Brainwashing” to the English language. Although he is presented here as an author, a few online sites state that he may have actually been a CIA operative at this time.
This interview was broadcast on WJW, Cleveland, no doubt sometime in the mid 1960’s, based on the content of the interview. A decade earlier, WJW had been the home of Alan Freed, and, a bit later, of Casey Kasum, but by the time of this broadcast, had become a news/talk station.
I find this recording to be both peculiar (mostly because of Mr. Hunter’s accent – which is of a type I can’t say I’ve heard before – and manner of speaking) and fascinating, as an historical document. I also get a kick out of the name of this program – “The Important Show”.
The very start of this interview has the unmistakable sound of someone having made an attempt at bulk erasing this tape. Thankfully, the effort failed, but there is an annoying fading in-and-out at first. This becomes less noticeable after the first couple of minutes, and disappears completely not long after that.
Edward Hunter Interview on Brainwashing (MP3)
via Bob Purse | WFMU
Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read
Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.
But it is the “big six” that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don’t call it “programming” for nothing.
Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….
In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].
–Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), pp. xx—xxi
Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest. Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com. The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….
Home Box Office (HBO)
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
ABC Television Network
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Country Music Television (CMT)
Nick at Nite
The Movie Channel
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CW Network (50% ownership)
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Television Network
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video
These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people. Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.
These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.
Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.
That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years. The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.
via Before It’s News
There is a pattern typical of these end-phase periods, when an artistic movement ossifies. At such times there is exaggeration and multiplication instead of development. A once new armoury of artistic concepts, processes, techniques and themes becomes an archive of formulae, quotations or paraphrasings, ultimately assuming the mode of self-parody.
Over the last decade, not only conceptualism—perhaps the dominant movement of the past three decades—but the entire modernist project has been going through a similar process. Of course, some important and inspired artists have made important and inspired work in recent years—from famous photographers like Andreas Gursky and painters like Luc Tuymans to lesser-known video artists like Lindsay Seers and Anri Sala. But there is something more fundamentally wrong with much of this century’s famous art than its absurd market value.
I believe that this decline shares four aesthetic and ideological characteristics with the end-phases of previous grand styles: formulae for the creation of art; a narcissistic, self-reinforcing cult that elevates art and the artist over actual subjects and ideas; the return of sentiment; and the alibi of cynicism.
But in order clearly to see what is in front of our eyes, we must acknowledge that much of the last decade’s most famous work has been unimaginative, repetitious, formulaic, cynical, mercenary. Why wait for future generations to dismiss this art of celebrity, grandiosity and big money? To paraphrase Trotsky, let us turn to these artists, their billionaire patrons and toadying curators and say: “You are pitiful, isolated individuals. You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of art history!”
Read the article:
Why is so much contemporary art awful? We’re living through the death throes of the modernist project—and this isn’t the first time that greatness has collapsed into decadence
Art by John Campbell via Comics Alliance
An exclusive excerpt from Douglas Coupland’s biography of Marshall McLuhan
“I knew going into it that this wasn’t going to be a straight biography,” says Douglas Coupland about his new study of Marshall McLuhan. What the Vancouver-based author has concocted instead is a historical mosaic that borrows heavily from McLuhan’s inimitable riffing style—that is, to dance non-linearly around ideas as a means of forming a distinct theory. Coupland also adds a healthy dose of his own literary signature to the mix—asides, like copies of online user-reviews of McLuhan’s works that appear in between chapters, seem at first glance peripheral to the subject at hand but later turn out to speak a distinct truth about it.
To be sure, this is still a biographical work. It’s just that, for Coupland, the things people already know about McLuhan—his famous phrases “global village” and “the medium is the message,” plus his cameo in Annie Hall—aren’t as interesting as, say, the great thinker’s biological and genetic makeup. And so, instead of analyzing McLuhan’s 1962 masterwork The Gutenberg Galaxy, Coupland investigates the brain that composed it.
Marshall McLuhan’s brain was fuelled by fresh blood from the heart through not one but two arteries at the base of his skull, a trait in the mammalian world found mostly in cats and rarely in human beings. As well, people in Marshall’s family tended to die of strokes. Marshall himself had countless small strokes during his lifetime—sometimes in front of a classroom of students, where he’d suddenly gap out for a few minutes and then return to the world.
Why mention this medical information? To establish that Marshall was not merely different but very different, and it wasn’t simply in the way he thought; rather, it was because of the biological mechanisms that made and allowed him to think what he thought.
Marshall exhibited throughout his life a certain sense of obliviousness about the physical world—he was the epitome of the absent-minded professor. He couldn’t drive a car. He tuned in and out of conversations with friends and strangers, and during classes he would ramble, seemingly unaware of those around him, clicking in and out of reality. Many people, when describing their encounters with him, say that with Marshall you had a few seconds to say your hellos or make your point, and after that he was back on Planet Marshall. And this is not to confuse obliviousness with cluelessness. Marshall had created a rich inner life. Why leave it if he didn’t have to?
Perhaps this disassociation, along with others of Marshall’s traits, should be placed on an autistic spectrum. For example, there was Marshall’s hypersensitivity to noise and sounds—loud and/or sudden and/or unwanted. The man disliked disruption of daily patterns. He disliked being touched or jostled. He loved ritual. He punned (punning is a form of disinhibition related to neural wiring in the brain’s limbic system). Marshall was also obsessed with words and memorization, and he was, it has been said, oblivious—not cripplingly so, but it did alter his ability to communicate in person in a way that, if nothing else, probably didn’t help him. Older people interpreted his obliviousness as arrogance; young people interpreted it as cool.
This is not to say that Marshall was autistic, or even a high-functioning Asperger syndrome autistic. But if he had any specific psychopathology, that would be the direction in which to look. He wasn’t depressive. He wasn’t schizophrenic. He wasn’t addicted to alcohol or anything else. He was, to an admirable degree, a happy man with a great family and career. But he did tend to be curiously and creatively oblivious. As his biographer Philip Marchand says, if he had a weakness, it was his inability to listen to speakers less forceful than he was. His forte, on the other hand, was talking tirelessly not only in brilliantly articulate sentences but whole paragraphs—a form of communication he much preferred to writing.
As Marshall aged, his eccentricities became more common and more pronounced. He had a massive collection of jokes and cartoons and loved sharing them with almost anyone in almost any situation—the sorts of corny things your parents email you that have a half-dozen FWD tags in the header. Marshall began his classes and his paid speeches with jokes and bad puns, partly because punning is a pathology and partly because starting an event this way unsettled the audience. Who is this guy? Is he for real? Is he on drugs? Oh, good God, these are the worst jokes I’ve ever heard. That pun was atrocious. This guy is nuts. And then he’d hit them with a wall of ideas, forcing them to challenge their basic assumptions, often alienating them, frequently disturbing them, and always leaving in his wake lots to talk about at the dinner table.
The hope for the future consists in the understanding of this fact; namely, that we shall always be ruled by those who rule symbols, which will lead to scientific researches in the field of symbolism and s.r. (semantic reactions : reactions bound to the use of words at the emotional, biological colloïdal, etc., levels) ). We would then demand that our rulers should be enlightened and carefully selected. Paradoxical as it may seem, such researches as the present work attempts, will ultimately do more for the stabilization of human affairs than legions of policemen with machine guns, and bombs, and jails, and asylums for the maladjusted.
A complete list of our rulers is difficult to give; yet, a few classes of them are quite obvious. Bankers, priests, lawyers and politicians constitute one class and work together. They do not produce any value, but manipulate values produced by others, and often pass signs for no values at all. Scientists and teachers also compose a ruling class. They produce the main values mankind has, but at present, they do not realize this. They are, in the main, themselves ruled by the cunning methods of the first class.
In this analysis the ‘philosophers” have been omitted. This is because they require a special treatment. As an historical fact, many ‘philosophers’ have played an important and, to be frank, sinister role in history. At the bottom of any historical trend, we find a certain ‘philosophy’, a structural implication cleverly formulated by some ‘philosophers’ gamble on multiordinal and el (elementalist ) terms, which have no definite single (one-valued)meaning, and so, by cleverness in twisting , can be made to appear to mean anything desired. It is now no mystery that some quite influential ‘philosopher’ were ‘mentally’ ill. Some ‘mentally’ ill persons are tremendously clever in the manipulation of words and can sometimes deceive even trained specialists. Among the clever concoctions which appear in history as ‘philosophic’ systems, we can find flatly opposing doctrines. Therefore, it has not been difficult at any period for the rulers to select a cleverly constructed doctrine perfectly fitting the ends the desired.
One of the main characteristics of such ‘philosophers’ is found in the delusion of grandeur, the ‘Jehovah complex’. Their problem have appeared to them to be above criticism or assistance by other human beings, and the correct procedure known only to super-men like themselves. So quite naturally they have usually refused to make enquiries. They have refused even to be informed about scientific researches carried on outside the realms of their ‘philosophy’. Because of the ignorance, they have, in the main, not even suspected the importance of the problems of structure.
In all fairness, it must be said that not all so-called ‘philosophy’ represents an episode of semantic illness, and that a few ‘philosophers’ really do important work. This applies to the so-called ‘critical philosophy’ and to the theory of knowledge or epistemology. This class of workers I call epistemologists, to avoid the disagreeable implications of the term ‘philosopher’. Unfortunately, epistemological researches are most difficult, owing mainly to the lack of scientific psycho-logics, general semantics, and investigations of structure and s.r. We find only a very few men doing this work, which, in the main, is still little known and unapplied. It must be granted that their works fo not make easy reading. They do not command headlines; nor are they aided and stimulated by public interest and help.
It must be emphasized again that as long as we remain humans, (which means a symbolic class of life), the rulers of symbols will rule us, and that no amount of revolution will ever change this. But what mankind has a right to ask – and the sooner the better – is that our rulers should not be so shamelessly ignorant and, therefore, pathological in their reactions. If a psychiatrical and scientific inquiry were to be made upon our rulers, mankind would be appalled at the disclosures.
We have been speaking bout ‘symbols’, but we have not yet discovered any general theory concerning symbols and symbolism. Usually, we take terms lightly and never ‘think’ what kind of implication and s.r. one single important term may involve. ‘Symbol’ is one of those important terms, weighty in meanings. If we use the term ‘food’, for instance, the presupposition is that we take for granted the existence of living beings able to eat; and, similarly, the term ‘symbol’ implies the existence of intelligent beings. The solution of the problem of symbolism, therefore, presupposes the solution of the problem of ‘intelligence’ and structure. So, we see that the issues are not only serious and difficult, but also, that we must investigate a semantic field in which very little has been done.
In the rough, a symbol is defined as a sign which stands for something. Any sign is not necessarily a symbol. If it stands for something, it becomes a symbol for this something. If it does not stand for something, then it becomes not a symbol but a meaningless sign. This applies to words just as it does to bank cheques. If one has a zero balance in the bank, but still has a cheque-book and issues a cheque, he issues a sign but not a symbol, because it does not stand for anything. The penalty for such use of these particular signs as symbols is usually jailing. This analogy applies to the oral noises we make, which occasionally become symbols and at other times do not; as yet, no penalty is exacted for such a fraud.
Before a noise., may become a symbol, something must exist for the symbol to symbolize. So the first problem of symbolism should be to investigate the problem of ‘existence’. To define ‘existence’, we have to state the standards by which we judge existence. At present, the use of this term is not uniform and is largely a matter of convenience. Of late, mathematicians have discovered a great deal about this term. For our present purposes, we may accept two kinds of existence : (1) the physical existence, roughly connected with our ‘senses’ and persistence, and (2) ‘logical ‘ existence. The new researches in the foundations of mathematics, originated by Brouwer and Weyl, seem to lead to a curtailment of the meaning of ‘logical’ existence in quite a sound direction; but we may provisionally accept the most general meaning, as introduced by Poincaré. He defines ‘logical’ existence as a statement free from self-contradictions. Thus, we may say that a ‘thought’ to be a ‘thought’ must not be self-contradictory. A self-contradictory statement is meaningless; we can argue either way without reaching any valid results. We say, then, that a self- contradictory statement has no ‘logical’ existence. As an example, let us take a statement about a square circle. This is called a contradiction in terms, a non-sense, a meaningless statement, which has no ‘logical’ existence. Let us label this ‘word salad’ by a special noise – let us say, ‘blah-blah’. Will such a noise become a word, a symbol ? Obviously not – it stands for nothing; it remains a mere noise., no matter if volumes should be written about it.
It is extremely important, semantically, to notice that not all the noises., we humans make should be considered as symbols or valid words. Such empty noises., can occur not only in direct ‘statements’, but also in ‘questions’. Quite obviously, ‘questions’ which employ noises., instead of words, are not significant questions. They ask nothing, and cannot be answered. They are, perhaps, best treated by ‘mental’ pathologists as symptoms of delusion, illusion, or hallucinations. In asylums the noises., patients make are predominant meaningless, as far as the external world is concerned, but become symbols in the illness of the patient…..
An important aspect of the problem of existence can be made clear by some examples. Let us recall that a noise or written sign, to become a symbol, must stand for something. Let us imagine that you, my reader, and myself are engaged in an argument. Before us, on the table, lies something which we usually call a box of matches : you argue that there are matches in this box; I say that there are no matches in it. Our argument can be settled. We open the box and look, and both become convinced. It must be noticed that in our argument we used words, because they stood for something; so when we began to argue, the argument could be solved to our mutual satisfaction, since there was a third factor, the object, which corresponds to the symbol used, and this settled he dispute. A third factor was present, and agreement became possible. Let us take another example. Let us try to settle the problem : ‘Is blah-blah a case of tra-tra ?’ Let us assume that you say ‘yes’, and that I say ‘no’. Can we reach any agreement ? It is a real tragedy, of which life is full, that such an argument cannot be solved at all. We used noises, not words. Here was no third factor for which these noises stood as symbols, and so we could argue endlessly without any possibility of agreement. That the noises may have stood for some semantic disturbance is quite a different problem, and in such a case a psycho-pathologist should be consulted, but arguments should stop. The reader will have no difficulty in gathering from daily life other example many of them of highly tragic character.
Science & Sanity Ch. VI – ON SYMBOLISM (p. 76-82)
By Alfred Korzybski
A collection of posters from various expositions held in Japan in the 1920s to 1940s.
Experimental epidemiology: The work of Chip Heath by Hugo Mercier
The aim of the post is to bring to the attention of experimentally minded anthropologists the work of Chip Heath and his collaborators. A professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Heath describes his research as examinining “why certain ideas – ranging from urban legends to folk medical cures, from Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to business strategy myths – survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas.” Heath has a knack for fun psychology experiments that test broader concepts of cultural transmission. In chronological order, here are some examples from his recent publications–I’ll bet that many of you will find stuff that is relevant to your own research or ideas for how to test your own hypotheses.
Bangerter, A., & Heath, C. (2004). The Mozart effect: Tracking the evolution of a scientific legend. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43(4), 605-623.
In this paper, the authors look at the “Mozart effect”, the belief that listening to classical music increases IQ. Among their many findings, they show that this effect spread more in states that had more education problems: anxiety regarding the ability to teach kids made people more receptive to such solutions.
Fragale, A. R., & Heath, C. (2004). Evolving informational credentials: The (mis) attribution of believable facts to credible sources. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(2), 225.
In an interesting variation on the source memory experiments, the authors demonstrate a nice example of ‘motivated’ source attribution. For instance, “When participants believed a particular suspect to be guilty, they misattributed evidence incriminating that suspect to the high-credibility source.”
Berger, J. A., & Heath, C. (2005). Idea habitats: How the prevalence of environmental cues influences the success of ideas. Cognitive Science, 29(2), 195-221.
In a series of experiment, the authors show that the success of different cultural items (catchphrases, proverbs, etc.) will be strongly linked to their ‘habitat’: the contexts in which they are relevant. Thus, they show that the success of ideas shrinks or increases with fluctuations in the prevalence of their natural habitat, and that those ideas that have a wider habitat are more successful.
Berger, J., & Heath, C. (2007). Where consumers diverge from others: Identity signaling and product domains. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(2), 121-134.
Berger, J., & Heath, C. (2008). Who drives divergence? Identity-signaling, outgroup dissimilarity, and the abandonment of cultural tastes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(3), 593-607.
Berger, J., Heath, C., & Ho, B. (2008). Divergence in cultural practices: Tastes as Signals of Identity. Manuscript in preparation.
In this set of papers, the authors show that our tastes are influenced not only by who we want to be like, but also by who we want to not be like. They develop an interesting model of taste as a form of signaling, predicting that we change our tastes when the signal they convey shifts or becomes noisy.
Fast, N. J., Heath, C., & Wu, G. (2009). Common Ground and Cultural Prominence: How Conversation Reinforces Culture. Psychological Science, 20(7), 904-911.
When people start interacting with people they don’t know, they will try to find some common ground. This process (among others) maintains the prominence of some cultural products. For instance, people who are already famous for some reason are more likely to be talked about than other people with similar accomplishment because they make for better common ground.
Loewenstein, J., & Heath, C. (2009). The Repetition-Break Plot Structure: A Cognitive Influence on Selection in the Marketplace of Ideas. Cognitive Science, 33(1), 1-19.
People form predictions based on a succession of samples very easily. Violations of these predictions typically carry an extra relevance. This papers show that this basic cognitive phenomenon can explain the success of jokes and folktales that have a pattern of “repetition-break”, as in the following (stolen from the paper):
A rabbit is hopping happily through the forest. On his way, he meets a giraffe who is about to smoke marijuana. The rabbit says to the giraffe, ‘‘Giraffe, you shouldn’t pollute your neck and hurt your lungs inhaling that harmful stuff! Let’s breathe in the fresh air as we jog through the forest.” The giraffe pauses, drops the marijuana, and follows the rabbit.
A little further through the forest, they meet an elephant about to snort cocaine. The rabbit says to the elephant, ‘‘Elephant, why do you want to ruin your precious trunk with that sinful powder? Sniff the spring flowers instead. Come jog with us and enjoy Mother Nature.” The elephant spills out the cocaine and jogs with the rabbit and giraffe.
Then they meet a lion who is about to use heroin. The rabbit says to the lion, ‘‘Lion, you’re the king of the forest! Isn’t that enough of a ‘‘high” for you? Join us for an invigorating jog together through the beautiful forest.”
The lion puts down the heroin and punches the rabbit on the nose. The giraffe and the elephant exclaim, ‘‘Why do you beat him? He is so nice.” The lion answers angrily, ‘‘Such a hooligan rabbit. Every time he takes Ecstasy, he convinces me to run with him in the forest like an idiot.”
Wiltermuth, S. S., & Heath, C. (2009). Synchrony and cooperation. Psychological Science, 20(1), 1-5.
This paper is a first stab at explaining the prevalence of goose-stepping and why it can create bonds among those who take part in it. The authors observed that people who had had to act in synchrony were more likely to cooperate, even at a potential cost to themselves (in public-goods game for instance).
Some of these papers can be found here, and others here.
Photo: Woman ‘s Thoughts AkA,=,/,or, ; ) Complex Memetics by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE