Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Kieran Reynolds Xbox advert

This is an advert for Xbox 360 Kinect a new motion sensing gadget for the Xbox 360 games console by American electronics giant Microsoft. The advert seems to focus on two main things. Innovation and family values. Family values are a big part of the 'American way' and appears to be a big part of Microsoft's marketing strategy for Kinect. The idea that a family will gather around the Xbox 360 and use Kinect together. There is also a focus on innovation which leads to another strong American value. Trying to better yourself and improve. In this advert Microsoft have made it clear that this is something new and different and is seen as a progression in video gaming.

Ragged Dick

Horatio Alger was the writer of the rags to riches tale Ragged Dick. A story that is seen as a typical rags to riches tale and has supposedly influenced many such stories. Ragged Dick follows it's main characters rise from a poor and difficult life to one of success. Its influence is visible in contemporary media. His stories tell a strong message and give faith in the American dream. The Horatio Alger association was set up in 1947 to reestablish faith in the American dream when morale was low after the second world war. It is still going strong today.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Consumer Item - Dolce and Gabbana - The One


The Dolce and Gabbana commercial for the male fragrance "The One" tries to entice the male viewer into buying the product using a number of different techniques. By beginning the commercial with Matthew McConaughey getting out of a nice car, the man is meant to believe that "he has a nice car and he wears The One", secondly the photographers are following McConaughey around and constantly taking photographs of him, this is meant to lead the male viewer to think that "if I wear The One then everyone will always be watching me", lastly when McConaughey gets in to his bedroom, obvious sexual connotations are emphasized when he removes his jacket and undoes his shirt. At this point the sound of multiple camera flashes flare up accompanied by repetitive flashes of light and continue until the shot fades out. This final point is meant to lead the male to believe that if he wears The One then he will essentially "become" Matthew McConaughey and have everything that has just been shown. The sexual aspect and the handsome actor present in the commercial will mainly be aimed at any women watching the commercial making them also think that if their man wears The One then he will "become" Matthew McConaughey. Looking closely at commercials shows us just how outlandish the creators are when it comes to how the viewer is meant to think, however we must ask ourselves .. After watching the commercial of a product, why do we then go and buy it ??

Ragged Dick


Horatio Alger was a Unitarian Minister between 1860 - 1866 after which he resigned and decided to move to New York City in order to study and later write about street children (such as those in his tale Ragged Dick). Alger is considered most "famous" in the 1900's and the 1920's. He was seen as very good at symbolizing the American Dream within his writings but he was virtually forgotten by the time that he died in 1899. Alger was trying to portray across two different messages, one for juveniles and another for adult readers. For the juveniles he was saying that they should grasp the opportunities capitalist society offers whilst telling adults that homeless children need the adults' help in order to get anywhere.


After studying street children in New York City, Alger published a series of stories about a boy referred to as "Ragged Dick" which were published in a children's magazine "STUDENT AND SCHOOLMATE" in monthly installments. Many of the characters which were used in his series of tales were based upon real boys he had observed on the New York streets. Later Alger's Ragged Dick tales were published in to a singular book of Dick's story. This novel "reasserts moral ethical core self which is successful". This basically means that throughout the story Ragged Dick is seen to always remain true to his morals and because of this and trying hard he is able to grow up more "'spectible" than he would have if he didn't stick to them. By adding in other characters such as Frank, Mickey McGuire and Edward, Ragged Dick's good nature and "pure-ness" is emphasized even more.


When comparing Johnny Nolan to Ragged Dick, we notice quite a few significant differences. Ragged Dick is willing to work and try hard to get a better life by working on his education, setting up a bank account, saving his money, improving his reading and writing, not sending his hard-earned money on treats such as the theatre or gambling, and throughout the tale he always helps others that he sees to be even less fortunate than himself and sticks to his idea that he will never result to stealing as it is against his morals. Johnny on the other hand is lazy, unwilling to try to better himself, will steal and cheat people out of their money and yet still complains or seems envious when Ragged Dick has more money than him. Even though the boys both come from similar situations, the situation being that they have both lived on the streets and had to look after themselves from a young age (Ragged Dick being only 7 years-old when his father had gone to sea and his mother then die). Alger instals characters within the tale like Johnny Nolan to show us, the reader, how different Ragged Dick could be as well as re-enforcing the ideal of The American Dream.

Guns - Pro-Control and Anti-Control

"When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly .... When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it."
[Bill Clinton]


This site does not have a lot of text however it does talk about exactly what I was interested in hearing about, "Pro-Gun Control". It starts by actually talking of the laws relating to gun control and then goes on to Arguments For Gun Control. An important point that the site makes is:

"Even though there are several reasons for gun control implementation, almost all of them revolve around the single basic concept - safety of individuals. Those in favor of gun control are of the opinion that implementing it would reduce the number of firearms related accidents. A look at gun control facts reveals that approximately 10,000 people bear the brunt of firearm related accidents annually in United States alone".

This point basically sums up the entire Pro-Gun Control "fight". It is showing us the magnitude of gun-related accidents with figures (aprox 10,000 people) in the United States alone. This figure shows us that gun control is needed and, more importantly, needs to be better enforced. The number may not be as high as it could be but it definitely could be even lower.

" ... the right to defend one's home and one's person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law."
[Martin Luther King]


This website debates whether or not gun control is a positive or negative thing but mainly focuses on being against gun control. It is argued that everyone has the right to posses fire-arms as it was written in the Bill Of Rights as the "right to bear arms". This "right" has caused many arguments and much conflict in the world of guns and warfare. The above site is very interesting and useful in the discussion of anti-gun control as it is to-the-point by only saying what is needing to be said about the subject matter as well as posing rhetorical questions to the reader which causes the reader to even think about it in more detail and come up with their own ideas. A useful point that the site raises is the fact that:

"in the enforcement of gun control regulations, this right is infringed upon and that we the American people are entitled to it."


"One common argument is that we should be able to protect ourselves with guns. True enough, handguns do offer a sense of security unlike any other. Handguns allow us to arm ourselves and make us less vulnerable to crime. This argument against gun control is often the double edged sword that is the revolving premise of this debate. One question often answers the other. However that answer is often posed as another question."

This website also asks the two main questions that the majority of anti-gun control believers ask:

"Should we be allowed to protect ourselves?"


"Should we be allowed to protect our families?"

These are the two most important questions and the main reason for people to even think of questioning gun control.

Apple - iPAD

This ofcourse is the IPAD. Created by possibly the biggest technological company on the planet, some argue this franchise has even surpassed that of Microsoft. Apple is iconic for its innovate culture and some of the worlds hottest gadgets. The latest Apple sensation is the Ipad. The Ipad is described as being 'A Magical and Revolutionary product at an unbelievable price, starting at $400'. From this sentence alone Apple has described the product as no other by branding it revolutionary. To be revolutionary this product has to be like no other has to do what nothing else can, but it could be argued to be just a larger scale of their bigger hit the iphone. Apple also cliams that this product is cheap 'only $400', this in itself is insulting to the avarage consumer as im sure we all know the $400 is a very lot of money. What the sentence is saying is that for that price consumers get the newest product available that has revolutionized its market so for the fee its very worth it. However America is a very capitalist country and on the contrary Apple are carging nearly an extra $350 just for the name of the product at least. By claiming that this revolutionary product is also is the apsoloute best way to surf the web, its telling consumers that they will not experience this technology unless they are willing to pay for it.

Horatio Alger

Horatio Alger, Jr. (1834-99) was a prolific writer of dime novel stories for boys. From the debut of his first novel, Ragged Dick, in 1867, Alger was instrumental in establishing a new genre of dime novels known as the 'city story.' The genre arose out of the wide-spread urbanization that followed the Civil War and paralleled the rise of industrialism. Alger's stories heroicized the young street urchins living in poverty among large, urban centers such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. With uncommon courage and moral fortitude, Alger's youths struggle against adversity to achieve great wealth and acclaim. These rags to riches stories were enormously popular with the public and flourished in the decades from 1870 to 1890.

Slaves Classed As "other" - History of Slavery in American Colonies


After looking across a range of different historic websites relating to slavery I chose this site to be one of the best. This is mainly due to its extensive collection of links to different sections. I chose to look closer at slaves being classed as "outside the ideological norm of the mainstream" because the reason that they were even slaves in the first place is because they were different to the "norm" of society due to race, skin colour and cultural beliefs.

The initial page that pops up when the above address is entered has a brilliant introductory paragraph which gives us our first insight in to slavery:

"From the beginnings of slavery in British North America around 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony at Jamestown, nearly 240 years passed until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially ended slavery in 1865. This section of the site is devoted to an in-depth investigation of those years from many angles; from looking at the lives and cultures of the oppressed before they were enslaved, to understanding the ways in which those enslaved survived and ultimately triumphed over the institution of slavery. The first of the original essays and lesson plans based on the latest scholarship on slavery in America is offered below."

We are then given multiple choices of different sub-headings which all focus on "Creating Slavery", beginning with Essays to go to in order to get a deeper understanding of slavery and it's history with pages to look at such as:
  • Historical Overview.
  • Overview of African Place Names in the United States.
  • Slavery and Sanctuary in Colonial Florida.
  • African-American Names.
  • Slavery in New Jersey.
  • Slavery and Native Americans in British North America and the United States : 1600 to 1865.
The site then has lists of Lesson Plans, which shows that it can be a site useful for both teachers and students alike, then moves on to Maps:
  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
  • Slavery and Abolition States.
  • Slave Ports.
These are all very good for giving us a visual aid as to just how far the trade of slavery went across the United States.

The maps are followed by more visual aid in the form of Image Collections:
  • Political Cartoons of Slavery: The Defense of Slavery.
  • Sugar and Cotton: The Paintings of Steele Burden.
  • Johnnie Mae Maberry-Gilbert Collection.
These are all different collections of images which help show us slavery at an even greater depth.

Next we are shown multiple other links to pages which all go in to more depth about "Surviving Slavery" once again starting with Essays (such as Historical Overview, African Crops and Slave Cuisine, The Black Press in Antebellum America, The Press and the Hemings-Jefferson Story from 1802 to 2001), then moving on to Lesson Plans and proceeding to Maps:
  • Slave Populations in the Southern States c. 1860.
  • Slave Populations in Virginia c. 1860.
  • Slave Populations in Mississippi c. 1860.
Then progressing on to links to a mixture of Biographies and Narratives relating to Surviving Slavery by:
  • Solomon Northrup.
  • Lavina Bell.
  • Harriet Jacobs.
  • Ella Belle Ramsey.
  • Mary Kincheon Edwards.
  • Susan Merrick.
(The site even has an Interactive Exhibit "Melrose Interactive Slavery Environment").

We are then shown numerous links to pages about "Resisting Slavery" with a range of Essays (Historical Overview, Insurrection On Board Slave Ships, Slavery in New Jersey), Lesson Plans, Maps (Slavery and Abolition States c. 1860, Slave Insurrections), Biography (Lily Ann Granderson) and Image Collection (Political Cartoons of Slavery: Antislavery). These sub-headings continue through "Escaping Slavery", "Transcending Slavery" and "Transition to Jim Crow : Legacy of Slavery".

This site helps show us a multitude of different resources that are easily accessible and highly useful for gathering a better understanding and more personal relations of slavery when considered as a "other".

A Settler's Account -- Henry Spelman of Jamestown

Henry Spelman lived approximately between 1595 and 1623, although the date of his death is just speculation. Spelman was an English adventurer, soldier and author who left for Virginia Colony on the ship "Unity" at the young age of 14 years-old. A mere 2 weeks after his arrival to Jamestown, he was invited to go with Captain John Smith on an expedition which would take them up the James River to the Native-Indian town of Powhatan. When they arrived in Powhatan Captain Smith traded Henry's bonded servitude in exchange for a village son. Due to this exchange, Henry Spelman became an interpreter and served as a messenger between the two different cultures. It is not fully clear what ended up happening to Henry Spelman. Some say that he died in an ambush on the Powhatan tribe whilst others speculate that he was kidnapped during the ambush and is classed as having gone missing. During the years Spelman spent living and growing-up amongst the Powhatan tribe, he wrote of his studies of the people. These studies help in giving us an insight in to the lives of the Powhatan villagers. I wish to focus upon a few of the more interesting things which Henry Spelman discovered of the people he was now growing up in the company of.

"How They Name Their Children - After the mother is delivered of hir child with in sum feaw dayes after the kinsfolke and neyburs beinge intreated ther unto, cums unto ye house: wher beinge assembled the father, takes the child in his armes: and declares that his name shall be, as he then calls him, so his name is, which dunn ye rest of ye day is spent in feastinge and dauncinge." --> Essentially this means that a few days after the child is born, the neighbors and family of the child assemble and the father of the child holds the new-born and names it. The rest of the day and evening then is filled with celebration and feasting.

"The Manor Of Execution - THos that be convicted of capitall offences are brought into a playne place before ye Kinges house when then he laye, which was at Pomunkeye the chefest house he hath wher one or tow apoynted by the Kinge did bind them hand and foote, which being dunn a great fier was made, Then cam the officer to thos that should dye, and with a shell cutt of[f] ther long locke, which they weare on the leaft side of ther heade, and hangeth that on a bowe before the Kings house Then thos for murther wear Beaten with staves till ther bonns weare broken and beinge alive weare flounge into the fier, the other for robbinge was knockt on ye heade and beinge deade his bodye was burnt." --> This means, in short, that the person who has committed an offense more serious than robbery would have their hair cut off, which would then be nailed to the front of the King of the tribe's house. The offender would then be beaten by staves until their bones broke. They would then be flung onto a fire, still alive. If they were being executed for robbery then they would be beaten over the head until they died and flung on to the fire dead.

"The Settinge At Meat - THey sett on matts round about ye howse ye men by them selves and ye weomen by ther selves ye weomen bringe to every one a dish of meat for the better sort never eates togither in one dish, when he hath eaten what he will, or that which was given him, for he looks for no [meat] second corse he setts doune his dish by him and mum[b]leth ceartayne words to himself in maner of [a saying grace] givinge thankes, if any leaft ye weomen gather it up & ether keeps it till ye next meall, or gives it to ye porer sort, if any be ther." --> This basically just says that the men-folk eat first with the women bringing the food. The men will either eat until they are full or until there is no more food. If any left-overs then the women remove them and keep them for another occasion. It also says of how they say grace before eating. Any left over food can also be given to people poorer than themselves if they wish it.

"The Differences Amounge Them - THe King is not know by any differenc[e] from other of ye [better] chefe sort in ye cuntry but only when he cums to any of ther howses they present him with copper Beads or Vitall, and shew much reverence to him. The preest[s] are shaven on ye right side of ther head close to the scull only a litle locke leaft at ye eare and sum of thes have beards But ye common people have no beards at all for they pull away ther hares as fast as it growes. And they also cutt ye heares on ye right side of ther heade that it might not hinder them by flappinge about ther bow stringe, when they draw it to shoott, But on ye other side they lett it grow & have a long locke hanginge doune ther shoulder." --> This is a very useful account as it tells us everything about the appearances of the Powhatan people as well as distinguishing between the different tribesmen and their statuses.

"The Pastimes - WHen they meet at feasts or otherwise they use sprorts much like to our heare in England as ther daunsinge, which is like our darbysher Hornepipe a man first and then a woman, and so through them all, hanging all in a round, ther is one which stand in the midest with a pipe and a rattell with which when he beginns to make a noyes all the rest Gigetts about wriinge ther neckes and stampinge on ye ground. They use beside football play, which wemen and young boyes doe much play at. The men never They make ther Gooles as ours only they never fight nor pull one another doune. The men play with a litel balle lettinge it fall out of ther hand and striketh it with the tope of his foot, and he that can strike the ball furthest winns that they play for." --> This extract really just explains the different traditions of the Powhatan tribe and just how fascinating they are.

These different extracts all assist one another in describing the Powhatan tribe and their cultural beliefs.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ragged Dick Presentation

Text of Ragged Dick

·       “Ragged Dick” was contributed as a serial story to the pages of ‘Schoolmate’, a well-known juvenile magazine, during the year 1867.
·       It was published as a text in 1868 and has been rewritten and enlarged and is now presented to the public as a first volume of a series.
·       Intended to illustrate the life and experiences of the lonely and homeless children on the streets of New York and to be used as somewhat of a guide of how to survive.
·       Information about the boys in the text was mainly gathered from personal observations and conversations with the boys themselves, by the author Horatio Alger, Jr.
·       As well as information provided by the Newsboys’ Lodging which provided useful facts and information that were of use to the author.

Ragged Dick

·       The audience is first introduce to Ragged Dick when he is awoken after spending a night on the streets.
·       Straight away the reader gets a sense of the character Ragged Dick, he is a young boy living on the streets of New York, with little or no money to his name and no shelter to live under.
·       His appearance is described in the text as “His pants were torn in several places, and had apparently belonged in the first instance to a boy two sizes larger than himself. He wore a vest, all the bottoms of which were gone except two, out of which peeped a shirt which looked as if it had been worn a month. To complete his costume he wore a coat too long for him, dating back, if one might judge from its general appearance, to a remote antiquity”.
·       His character is portrayed to be cheeky and quick witted, but also very resourceful and kind hearted.


·       The text first introduces Frank when Dick overhears his conversation with his uncle about wanting to look around New York and see the sights, but he does not have any knowledge of the area.
·       Dick sees this as an opportunity and offers his services to Frank and his uncle, thus the two characters meet.
·       Frank is said to be about thirteen-fourteen and quite a privileged young man, for it is Frank that gives Dick his first proper suit, as well as the rest of his old clothes he no longer needs.
·       Although Frank is quite privileged, he is fascinated by Dick and how well he knows the streets of New York, so much so that he sometimes comes across jealous that he doesn’t get to live there himself.
·       He is a kind young man who is worried for the well being of Dick, he wants to take care of him and ensure he is treated well.

Dick and Frank

·       The two characters come from two different worlds, but both are intrigued by what the other has learnt along the way.
·       The leading role between them varies through out their time together, starting off with Dick being all knowledgeable and offering to show Frank around the city he knows so well.
·       Then it is Frank who seems the bigger person as he offers Dick his old clothes that he does not wish to take to boarding school with him.
·       As Dick shows Frank around the streets of New York it is him that seems to know more and have all the answers.
·       However, through out their initial time together, you do sense the seperation between them both as it is Frank who pays for their adventures around New York, yet it is Dick that keeps them out of harms way.


·       Firstly, both characters are around the same age and seem to share the same sense of humor and adventure.
·       Both have a drive to want to do well and succeed in building a good life for themselves, just that each has a different way of accomplishing this.
·       Both boys have a kind heart, not wanting to cheat people or be cruel, although Dick does like to have a laugh and a joke.
·       Both characters seem to lack somewhere that they can call home, although Frank has somewhere to live he is off to boarding school and will not have somewhere particular to feel at home.


·       The most obvious difference is the appearance of the two boys when they first meet, Dick is wearing an old, worn suit that is too big for him and Frank is dressed smartly.
·       Another clear difference between the two characters is that Dick has no money and Frank does not need to worry about money, for it is given to him.
·       Dick lives on the streets with just an empty alley way for a bed, where as Frank has a roof to live under.
·       Dick has no education, where as Frank grew up attending school and is due to attend a boarding school in Connecticut.
·       Dick has street knowledge, while Frank has general knowledge of the world and the education he has earned through his young years.


·       As the two characters part Frank’s uncle says to Dick; “I hope, my lad, you will prosper and rise in the world.” He then hands Dick a five dollar bill, which at first Dick refuses to take but then Frank’s uncle says to him; “but I give it to you because I remember my own friendless youth. I hope it may be of service to you. Sometime when you are a prosperous man, you can repay it in the form of aid to some poor boy, who is struggling upward as you are now.”
·       Dick and Frank cross paths again in the text in chapter twenty four, Dick receives a letter from Frank via an advertised letter in the Newspaper.
·       The letter reads about Frank’s life since he left Dick and recalls on their adventures, however because Frank does not know of Dicks new lease of life he still thinks he is the same goofy, uneducated boy he once knew.


·       Dick is pleased with this letter as he has so few friends and certainly none that would go to the trouble of writing him a letter, or had the skills to write a letter.
·       This gives Dick the opportunity to write his very first letter, to show his old friend that he is now very literate and tell him of his new life he has made for himself.
·       At this point in the text the two boys are more similar then when they first met, Dick now has a room, he is well dressed, educated and still learning and has money to his name.
However, the two boys are still very much from two different worlds and their lives are heading in two separate directions. But, they are still friends and they will always have that one day together to remember forever.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lizzie Buwu : Ragged Dick

Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Jnr

•As the reader is introduced to Richard Hunter, immediately he is referred to as Ragged Dick. This is quite significant as it gives us an idea of Dick’s appearance and the huge contrast between him and characters such as Frank.

•Although the two boys are worlds apart, as more is revealed about Frank and Dick’s characters, there are a lot of similarities between the two boys. Both boys are generous. In the beginning, even though Frank’s generosity is spurred on by the will to preserve his gentlemanly image, it still echoes the moral of kindness and and giving back to those less fortunate. Dick, although he isn’t in the best place in life, also manages to display acts of generosity. On more than one occasion he buys his fellow bootblacks food to eat.

•Both boys are honest which they learn is quite rewarding especially for Dick.

•Dick... “...always ready to joke.” takes his misfortunes in good stride and is always looking for opportunities, and if not chances, to create an opportunity for himself in comparison to Johnny Nolan, whom Dick thinks “...has no ambition.” Dick’s big dreams are shown through his constant association with important figures such as George Washington, The Mayor of New York, Horace Greeley, Peter Cooper etc.

• Dick’s attitude is surprisingly good for someone in his circumstances and doesn’t embody the mentality of the world owing him for a bad start in life. Frank describes him as always being “ good spirits.” and Mr Whitney goes on to say “You know in this free country poverty in early life is no bar to a man’s advancement.” this line, I think echoes the idealism and the hope that the American Dream stands for and Alger includes encouragement such as this and uses Dick’s life as a microcosm of what society has to offer if you work hard.

•Although Dick has big ambitions it is Frank who ultimately equips Dick with the belief of the reward that comes if you struggle upward, no matter how short changed Dick is. “You may rise in some other way, a good many distinguished men have once been poor boys, there’s hope for you Dick if you’ll try.”

•“I needn’t have been Ragged Dick so long..” Dick’s realisation illustrates a universal message that many American’s believe. You don’t have to entertain a life that you’re not happy with or that’s not fulfilling.

Lizzie Buwu : Images Of America

The picture I picked was a picture of a little American Muslim girl. I found it quite positive. Although the image doesn’t immediately shout America at readers or people looking at it, I feel it represents a New America. The presence of a little girl with an American flag and a head scarf suggests the new American generation’s face has no religion. The term muslim in America is normally met with negative connotation to a certain extent. But this picture represents an America that allows you to be muslim and American, and it doesn’t only stop at religious identity but the message I feel transcends through to race, gender, sexuality etc. It doesn’t matter what background you might have America is for all.

The other image I chose that signifies America to me negatively, is a picture of a man with a body placard that reads The American Dream is over. Which I thought was quite significant as it placed an expiry date on a timeless American ideal. The idea of an American Dream is that its never too late and anyone from anywhere can make a good life for themselves. The fact that there is no face in the picture appeared quite sinister to me, but it suggested the message is relatable to any American.


Lizzie Buwu : Interesting Map

Geography is destiny”

I found this map quite interesting as it illustrated how the world would look if land distribution was arranged according to population. Although this isn’t a map of America,I felt it spoke volumes about the present attitude Americans have towards their nation. The fact that in this map America (along with 3 other countries) doesn’t move, echoes views dating back to Abraham Lincoln times. Views such as the United States is “God’s chosen nation...the last best hope on earth.” The map to an extent supports the image America has as a big power geographically suggesting it is a preordained nation almost, which fits in nicely with idealistic American views of their great country. While other countries are disorientated by the hypothetical geographical swaps, America’s role in the world seems steady, unmoved. Predestined.

Lizzie Buwu : Gin Salesman Of The Year

Lizzie Buwu : Pro and Anti-Gun Control

The coalition to stop gun violence is a Pro-gun control website that aims to maintain a slipping freedom, from gun violence. It outlines many problems in the system and highlights issues such as the Gun Show Loophole, which enables anyone to purchase guns from unlicensed dealers without background checks. This means just about anyone can get a hold of a firearm easily. CGSV want tougher gun laws and a stricter grip on gun owners in America and furthermore to give politicians confidence to speak up against anti-gun control organisations such as the NRA

Gun Owner’s of America is a anti gun control website which argues that along with the ownership of a gun comes freedom. Like many other anti- gun control groups I looked at on the internet, this website pointed out how their cause was to protect the interests of the 2nd Amendment and had a “ NO COMPROMISE!” policy. They like a lot of gun enthusiasts who follow them believe the American people’s rights are threatened if their right to ownership is taken from them. What’s evident from just looking at the website is republican presence and how highly involved they are in the government politics surrounding their cause. The GOA boasts a “...board of directors who bring over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics.” Unlike the pro-gun control
The GOA website’s approach to their campaign against gun control is quite politically tactical and calls on people to use their voting power to voice and undermine legislation that goes against their cause. For instance on the website they have drawn up action plans for members to take or send to their Senators. Unlike the pro gun control websites who appeal to people’s hearts with their shocking statistics, e.g “...a person dies from gun violence every 17 minutes in America...but without easy access to guns it would be a lot harder.”

I think the pro gun control website had a stronger argument, was better presented and well supported by statistical evidence which would make many think twice. The anti-gun control argument had a very limited argument I felt, and it had no concern of how some of the rights they are fighting for, at times fatally affect normal Americans.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Converse Advertisement

I have chosen to look at an advert for Converse shoes, this is a photograph I found on the internet advertising the American shoe/trainer. I chose this product advertisement because I think converse as a product represents the change throughout the years of how the material culture of a product can change dramatically. Converse for example have gone from being seen as a rebellious youth accessory to a popular fashion statement, they are still heavily worn by youths but now, as time has past they are viewed as more fashionable not just a hard-wearing shoe. Today the average age of people wearing converse I would say is between 16-29, they represent freedom and are seen as cool to be wearing.

In this advertisement, it represents the cheeky side to converse, the playfulness they can provide to everyone, hence the messy table and the guy and girl playing with their food. Also by having a guy and a girl in the advert it shows that the product is for both men and women and is very diverse. Although the advert is in black and white and quite vintage with the old style diner booths and cutlery it is very modern, in that this type of fashion and style is now back in trend. This advert shows that Converse are very much in style at the moment and have in a way been re-invented from their original style. Although the basic shoe is the same, there are now various different styles, not just in the form of different colours but length and actual shoe type. This product is a good example of how a product has changed over time due to material culture.         

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


I have chosen the TV programme ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ as a modern example of Horatio Alger, Jr’s text ‘Ragged Dick’. This is an American television sitcom that starred a young Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy relatives in their Bel-Air mansion. The programme follows him as he has to adjust to a new lifestyle and starts to leave his old life behind.
In the TV programme, Will starts off as a fresh, young man who comes from the streets, he has a place to call home but the neighbourhood he lives in very dangerous. Very much like Dick, although he actually lives on the streets, they both have street knowledge and know how to take care of themselves. Another comparison between the two is that once both are introduced to a world of wealth and privilege they don’t want to go back to their old lifestyle. They feel ashamed to go back to their old life, what they used to wear and where they used to be seen. Both characters are heavily influenced by money, not to take it of others but to earn money and live well. However, Dick is more in favour of saving for his future and working hard to be able to have a roof over his head and food to eat. However, when Will moves in with his wealthy relatives he is given a place to live and does not have to worry about earning money to live off. However, money does still play a very large part in his life as he is always chasing it and looking for a way to make a quick buck.

Despite some differences between the two characters and their situations, I think this example of 'the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' is fairly accurate in relation to 'Ragged Dick' because they both show two guys starting off from the streets and when they come in to money their lives begin to change. Their outlook on life changes and in particular the way they treat money changes. Their characters change slightly in that they find it hard to imagine how they lived before but their personalities stay the same.