pseudo-events

Lecture 1B Notes

Pseuo-events EXAMPLES

  1. ►Balloon hoax . Family creates false story about child trapped in balloon floating through sky in order to get fame and become a celebrity.
  2. ►Koran-burning: 2010 Florida Pastor Terry Jones announced plans to burn Korans. “As pseudo-events go, this was a landmark – not for Jones’ abhorrent prejudice… but for the outsized reaction to one obscure gadfly desperately seeking publicity” David Sirota, “Synthetic Novelty vs. the Occupation of Two Islamic Countries” Commondreams.org, September 17, 2010 [posted on Web-CT]. Sirota argues that the media was complicit in helping to create Jones’s pseudo-event.
  3. ►Gordon Brown ‘bigotgate’ - Brown leaves with his microphone on. Sky news reported everything Brown said when he called one of the voters a “bigoted woman”. They record Brown, Then play it back to the woman. Then take the woman’s reaction and plays it back to Brown on a radio show and records Brown’s reaction. The whole event shows the feedback loop between media and politics.

  4. ►Shirley Sherrod ‘racism’ scandal – forced to resign as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the US Department of Agriculture – after a (highly edited) video was circulated on the web and publicized by Fox News, which appeared to show her making discriminatory remarks. It later emerg

  5. ►Award ceremonies e.g. Oscars
  6. ►Photo opportunities/ political stage management: Mission Accomplished (May 1,
    2003): President Bush’s May 1, 2003 ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech aboard USS
    Abraham Lincoln. Bush arrived on the carrier in a military jet and greeted the crew while
    wearing a military flight suit. He declared that major combat operations in Iraq were
    over, speaking in front a banner with the words ‘Mission Accomplished’

  7. ► Celebrity scandals: OJ, Michael Jackson, Tiger Wood 

  8. ►Public relations = making pseudo-events?
    Edward Bernays – pioneer of public relations (PR) – and nephew of Sigmund Freud. “Bernays’s great opportunity came with the outbreak of the first world war. President Woodrow Wilson realized the government needed to bring on board the many doubters who saw it as a capitalist’s war that their country should shun. Bernays and other leading PR men were recruited to a new Committee on Public Information (CPI), a vast propaganda operation. They were to put into practice one of Bernays’s main findings from the studies of mass psychology by Uncle Sigmund and others: that thepublic’s first impulse is usually to follow a trusted leader rather than consider the facts for itself. In small towns across the country the CPI recruited bank managers and other local authority-figures as ‘four-minute men’. They gave brief, supposedly impromptu,speeches in cinemas and other public places. Many made the bogus claims that antiwar sentiment was being fomented by German agents, and that America risked being overrun by Prussians.

http://alannaghb.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/pseudo-events/

Bringing up a topic, such as animal cruelty, can fall under Daniel Boorstin’s pseudo events. Making a grand or lavish entrance at an award show brings more attention to something non related to the actual ceremony.

Defining A Pseudo-Event

“(1) It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted, or incited it. Typically, it is not a train wreck or an earthquake, but an interview.

”(2) It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced. Therefore, its occurrence is arranged for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media. Its success is measured by how widely it is reported…

“(3) Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous. Its interest arises largely from this very ambiguity. Concerning a pseudo-event the question, ‘What does it mean?’ has a new dimension. While the news interest in a train wreck is in what happened and in the real consequences, the interest in an interview is always, in a sense, in whether it really happened and in what might have been the motives. Did the statement really mean what it said? Without some of this ambiguity a pseudo-event cannot be very interest.

”(4) Usually it is intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The hotel’s thirtieth-anniversary celebration, by saying that the hotel is a distinguished institution, actually makes it one.“

http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Pseudo-Events%20&%20Extravagances.htm

:: matt white

TRUTH, FANTASY OR FICTION research1

1.Truth Claim

The truth claim of photography is the term used by Tom Gunning to describe the prevalent belief that traditional photographs accurately depict reality. He states that the truth claim relies upon both the indexicality and visual accuracy of photographs.

David Croteau and William Hoynes suggest that the prevalence of photographic images has blurred the distinction between image and reality, referring to ‘pseudo-events’, in Danieel Borrstin’s words - such as press conferences, televised political debates, or ‘photo opportunities’, that exist only to create images.

Further, Neil Postman argues that the photograph has redefined society’s understanding of information and truth:”truth is in the seeing, not in the thinking”. Postman suggests that the proliferation of photography led to the replacement of language with images as ‘our dominant means for constructing, understanding, and testing reality.’

2. My understanding of the theme

Personally I don’t think photography is necessarily a record of truth or reality, even before the techniques such as photoshop exists, people could manipulate photos through changing angles and lighting.

Here are the two simplest examples of the false representation of ‘truth’, they show that sometimes truth can be twisted easily, with out any techniques or editing.

Nowadays with the development of different photo editing software, the manipulation of truth is even much easier, and also because of social media is getting more and more popular, people’s needs of manipulating truth is more than before.

3. The truth behind Instagram photos

http://www.boredpanda.com/truth-behind-instagram-photos-cropping-chompoo-baritone/

Every day, thousands of people on Instagram snap pictures meant to invent a new identity for themselves. That is the message behind this wonderful photo series by Chompoo Baritone, a photographer in Bangkok, Thailand who shows just how fake Instagram photos can be.
Numerous artists, like the anonymous photographer behind Hipster Barbie, have criticized the way people use Instagram to make their lives seem more amazing than they are and to set unrealistic standards for their followers. Careful cropping and filtering can make mundane situations seem extraordinary. Tilda Lindam, a model with an excellent sense of humor, also emphasized the vanity inherent in creating photos like those that Baritone also spoofs.
Baritone studied photography at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in Thailand, so we hope this isn’t the last brilliant social commentary project that she’s got up her sleeve!

This group of photos show that people only need to crop the photos and add a filter, they can present something completely different with the truth. Although the photographer created these photos in order to criticised the people who make their lives seem more amazing on Instagram, i think it is not wrong to do that. Everyone is trying to present a better self in daily life, and also in social media. 

In addition, this group of photos makes me feel that there is no clear distinction among truth, fantasy and fiction. For example, if a photographer works on themes such fairy tales and myths, some people may consider them as fantasy or fiction. However,

Lecture 1B Notes
  • media in our current capitalistic/democratic society, shapes our the view of the kind of world we live in. what is the good life
  • tv shows, movies shape our views societal values in subtle ways
  • the good life is the life of acquisition. the more you have the better off you are. the more you have the better you are.“You are what you have” is the consistent message across all advertising
  • if you look at how these messages are presented to the public, they reassure the people, theycaters to soothe and they tell us what we want to believe,
  • VIDEO: youtube Restoring Honor -  Glenn at the Washington Monument
  • Listen to the rhetoric of media messages. these rhetoric are couched in the american past. 
  • POLITICS TODAY DEPENDS ON THE MANIPULATION OF IMAGES. and presenting the image is in a sense more important than the reality on the ground Ex) bush’s statement, landing on the aircraft carrier dressed in fighter pilot attire announcing the endo f the war in iraq is symbolic. mission accomplished. The whole event was created for the media. and the media dutifully reported it. and the event became news. This is entirely a theatrical spectacle. A pseudo-event.

Pseudo-event -  coined term by Boorstin

  • its not spontaneous. someone has planned it and crafted it
  • an interview w/ a celebrity a pseudo event. how the person represents themselves is reported

Characteristics of a pseudo-event: 

  • “(1) It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted, or incited it. Typically, it is not a train wreck or an earthquake, but an interview.
  • (2) It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced. Therefore, its occurrence is arranged for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media. Its success is measured by how widely it is reported. Time relations in it are commonly fictitious or factitious; the announcement is given out in advance ‘for future release’ and written as if the event had occurred in the past. The question, ‘Is it real?’ is less important than, ‘Is it newsworthy?’
  • (3) Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous. Its interest arises 
  • largely from this very ambiguity. Concerning a pseudo-event the question, ‘What does it mean?’ has a new dimension. While the news interest in a train wreck is in what happened and in the real consequences, the interest in an interview is always, in a sense, in whether it really happened and in what might have been the motives. Did the statement 2 really mean what itsaid? Withoutsome of this ambiguity a pseudo-event cannot be very interesting.
  • (4) Usually it is intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The hotel’s thirtieth anniversary celebration, by saying that the hotel is a distinguished institution, actually makes it one” (Daniel Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America [Antheneum: New 
  • York, 1967], pp. 11-12).

Theres always a sneaky feeling that youre being mislead in a way. Pseudo events intended to be a self fulfilling prophecy

As the public become increasingly attuned to creating reality through media. The media instills these ideas that success can come with being seen, being recognized.

Pseudo Events examples  (see here)

Style vs. Substance

What does the media choose to focus on?

►US Presidential election 2000 debates

  • “In the postmodern politics of promotion, candidates are packaged as commodities, marketed as a brand name, and sold as a bill of goods. In a presidential race, campaigns are dominated by image consultants, advertising mavens, spin doctors, and political operatives who concoct daily photo opportunities that make the candidates look virtuous, ‘messages’ that sound appealing, and ‘events’ that present the campaigns in an attractive format. Such campaigns are, of course, expensive and require tremendous budgets that make competing impossible for candidates without access to the megafortunes needed to run a media campaign. In turn, such megaspectacles render politicians beholden to those who cough up the millions of dollars to pay for the extravaganzas and for the vast apparatus of producers, spinners, and operatives to create and distributethem.

  • Cultural historians make distinctions between ‘character,’ based on one’s moral fiber and history of behavior, and ‘personality’, which has to do with how one presents oneself to others. The new culture of personality, emphasizes charm, likeability,
    attractiveness, and the ability to present oneself positively. Bush was clearly Mr. Personality, instantly likeable, a hail-fellow-well-met and friendly glad-hander who was able to charm audience

  • It was very indicitiave when the 2008 obama campaign was given an award by the advertising industry for pioneering of new advertising techniques. 
  • They are selling us fantasies tied to political ideals.The post racial america that  is falsified by the oppression of blacks in america by economy. The campaign would sell people an image that people wanted to believe. And its one of the best advertising campaigns in history