Monday, March 22, 2004

Hi. It's Anna writing about "Breaking Up America." I was really drawn in by this book. Although I felt like Turow was a little repetitive, the media/marketing relationship he describes is fascinating and something I hadn't given much thought to previously.
And now, the questions....
1. Turow again and again states that marketers are going to target Caucasians with disposable income; therefore, these are the people portrayed in mass marketing-type advertisements. On the flip-side, minorities and people living in poverty are not found in commercial advertisements. I wonder how much this contributes to the digital divide. Do technology adopters and people on-line tend to use these types of media because they are told to through advertisements? And are people whose lives are entirely off-line living this way because they don't see themselves in any part of an on-line community? If this is partially true, it demonstrates the power and subliminality of images. How else are we divided so blatantly?

2. On page 192, Turow remarks that advertisers never want to make their target audience feel uncomfortable and that part of this is avoiding images of people/lifestyles outside of their worlds. This brings me back to the danger I find in the selectivity of on-line communities and interactions. Both media narrow our interactions to the point that we are not challenged by diversity (of people, opinions, hairstyles, you name it) and lose or never gain the skills needed to acknowledge the unfamiliar. Then what happens when situations arise where confronting diversity is unavoidable? One of my favorite quotes is "The good is in plurality" from Paul Shepard. Isn't our society losing the possibilities for plurality to exist? Will this lead to more animosity?

3. Currently, multiculturalism is viewed as a virtue. Go into many elementary schools and you will likely see some sort of celebration of global cultures. I was at the elementary school where my mother teachers art last week and there was a hallway display about Hispanic culture and the Spanish language made by students. This is in Green Bay, the same town where the local paper's editorial section encourages sending Mexicans back to Mexico and gushes over Mel Gibson's "Passion.". It is not a multicultural haven, but perhaps the community it raising children with a more multicultural perspective. Will this impact marketing as some form of backlash against homogeneity? Or is marketing getting into children's brains so early that they won't go beyond the boundaries of their safe world?

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