Alice Goffman: How we’re priming some kids for college — and others for prison

Such an important issue and presented so well. Deserved that standing ovation at the end.

Leading by Example

I hadn’t heard of Sister Souljah before, but simply had to look her up after seeing this clip that was shared by one of my friends on Facebook. According to Wikipedia, she is an author, activist, recording artist, and film producer who also has a very eloquent way with words…

Sister Souljah’s words are not only powerful themselves, but she speaks with an authority that is extremely attractive for those looking for a figure to follow. Listening to her made me think of why having strong leadership is so important. Having one or two people as the face of  a movement can be extremely instrumental in boosting morale and rallying the troops, so to speak.

The We Are All Khalid Said page didn’t identify with a single leader, but still had a single administrator whose voice became the spokesperson for the views of the majority. On the other hand, the Occupy movement was much more decentralized and this has been attributed as one of the causes of its failure to bring about concrete change. Even though democracy is seen as the most desired form of government worldwide, most countries still elect prime ministers or presidents that embody the ideals of democracy themselves.

Is it human nature to want to look up to one or two key figures that lead the charge or can we ever move to a truly leaderless society? Can the equalizing power of technology change the way we choose those in power or does it only lend itself to the further emergence of pioneers and innovators that seem to separate themselves from the crowd?

Advertising Happiness

I came across this Coke ad about a year ago, and shared it on my personal Facebook page because I thought it was powerful and moving. It basically shows the installation of a new Coca Cola telephone booth that allows workers to pay for calls home using bottle caps instead of money.

As a resident of Dubai, I have seen and heard first hand of how difficult the lives of constructions workers here are.  Regardless of the ulterior motives and/or image building focus of this initiative, I think such ads are ultimately a good thing and do have a positive impact in the lives of the workers we see in the ad.

I don’t know how many of these machines have been installed, and that is quite an important factor to keep in mind, but I would much rather see ads like this that prompt viewers to think of the hardships others face rather than brainwash viewers into singing the catchy jingles repeated by affluent, “ideal” families onscreen. I know advertising will never stop, and I would much rather support unique and innovate ads that can support social causes as well as consumer brands over those that just encourage the wealthy to increase their wealthiness further.


Gun Violence Near You

I came across this great site titled “How Many People Have Been Shot in Your Neighborhood This Year?” It’s an invaluable resource that reminded me of many of the principles and techniques our class used to create our group projects. Please do check it out – you will undoubtedly be surprised, and probably not in a good way. This is an amazing example of the impact media can have when its makers co-opt causes and push for change in their own, unique ways.

Here’s a short excerpt from the site as well;

“Public opinion polls show that Americans are concerned about gun violence in general and dramatically under- or misinformed about its specific consequences. Asked in an October Washington Post/ABC News survey, 46 percent of Americans called new laws to reduce gun violence a priority. Those queried separately by the Huffington Post that same month grossly underestimated the number of Americans who died by guns, with the median guess coming in at 5,000 per year, less than a sixth of the actual total.

The interactive map included in this article is the result of a collaboration between Slate and the Trace, employing the aforementioned Gun Violence Archive data. It represents an attempt to close the gap between awareness and understanding. When shooting deaths and injuries are laid out geographically, one is able to assess first the sweeping reach of gun violence, and then its pernicious patterns, the dots growing ever denser as the reader scans from the countryside to the suburbs to the inner city. Finally, mapping gun violence this way makes it possible to see how often it has played out in your own neighborhood, town or city, and state—and how close it has come to touching the routes you travel in your own life, as well as those of your family members, friends, and co-workers.”

Interesting advertising

I know this is a little late, but I finally found this interesting ad campaign I have been looking for to show you guys. We discussed in class about different forms of advertising and this one that I saw a few years ago really stuck out in my mind. It is an advertisement for “Feed South Africa”, where an image of a child is in the bottom of your grocery cart. Their hands are outreached, so every time you put a food item into your cart, it is as if you’re handing it to a child. It is meant to show how easy it is to help feed someone.



Designer illustrate our harsh reality

I found this post on Facebook and thought it was interesting after we talked about different types of innovative ads.
looking at these pictures makes me question our life style and how social media has really taken over our lives.


Update: Barbie and gender roles

As I was reading through the old posts of  this blog, I thought is there anything new with Barbie?? And there was! last month, Barbie made a commercial with a first boy star.
Barbie is “Gradually “(emphasizing because its really slow) starting to challenge the gender roles.

“Pharma Bro” Strikes Again

Martin Shkreli (aka the guy who tried to raise the price of a drug used in treating AIDS from $13.50 to $750 earlier this year) has been in the news a lot lately. Just today, reports surfaced that he had been arrested for conducting some sort of Ponzi scheme at one of his old jobs, and he is now in the custody of the FBI. However, another article that I came across also reported that, just as he tried to do with the AIDS drug, Shkreli is once again attempting to profit off of the misfortune of others by hiking up the price of another important drug treatment–this time, a disease that mainly targets immigrants from Latin America.

I find it so deplorable that making money off drug treatments–not to mention ones that are especially needed by low income patients–is such a profitable market. In this instance though, as has been seen before in history, particular groups are being targeted through their inability to pay for a treatment that affects large populations of similar people. Drug treatments are already expensive in America, and, to quote from the article,“Chagas [the disease that this treatment is for] is a disease of the poor. It’s not a disease where people have access if prices are high.”

This is just another case of the very rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, and, combined with the racial connotations of this particular disease, this issue moves beyond one that is purely about morals, and instead raises questions of racial motivations and prejudice that should definitely be investigated, especially considering the fact that Shkreli specifically targeted the AIDS community in his last use of this disgusting business model.

Subtlety of Prejudice

I was inspired to share this video I just came across by a video that Bobby posted earlier this week. This video below outlines 70 instances (of what I can only assume is a small fraction of all the blatantly problematic things they say) of Fox News allowing sexist contributors or content to permeate the network. Here’s the video for reference:

While I’m not surprised to see that a majority of these comments are made by white men, I was disappointed to see so many females making comments like these. Even more worrisome is that, as we all know, a large population of this country gets their news from this channel, and the sexist (not to mention racist, as we have seen in other examples in class) content embedded within the programs themselves only perpetuates these ideas further, especially since they aren’t always blatantly sexist.

Another thing to consider is the vilification of Fox News as being the only problematic network on television. I’m sure similar reels of frustrating anchors saying really hurtful things could be assembled from any one of the other main networks: we even saw some in class. But, as their reputation proceeds them, I think Fox usually gets the blame for being the worst network on TV, but, in reality, it is the even subtler instances of these kinds of comments that can be found on more liberal news networks that is doing much of the damage to the general public.

Consumerism as “Activism”

Today on my Facebook newsfeed an article popped up about the most popular fake viral images of this year, and one particular example, seen here, stood out to me. This advertising campaign is packaged as a form of activist commentary on the state of public health/food consumption in America, and to make matters worse, the pictures of school lunches from other countries are made up and pretty misleading. I don’t know that SweetGreen was directly harming anyone with this campaign but it’s still kind of revealing to me how this sort of commentary was being harvested to market food.