Watching my little sister interact with the world made me realize the Tide-like brainwashing power of the media. As a Communications major, McLuhan and Co.’s theories are an assumed reality; but deep down I had to believe the media’s stranglehold on youth — and adults — was more relevant in the classroom than on the city streets. I was wrong. That said, I figure media literacy is imperative. Seeing as how it is rarely taught in classrooms — sadly — I might as well take matters in to my own hands. Therefore, I’ll highlight an ad a day — to keep the doctors away. Imitation is suicide, and in a world of mass media immersion we are all programmed to fit the mediated mold.
First up, the ad that made me shake my head — full of my own natural human hair.
There is not much to decipher here. It is all blatantly on display. The sheer stereotypical representation of black women is beyond comprehension. I’m not shocked — as Madonna so simply put “Those who are shocked easily, should be shocked more often,” thus spoke the pop icon of the desensitized world in which we currently live, I digress. I’m not surprised at all that the Knowledge Generation Bureau would generate such ignorance — irony is only the chicest form of humor next to passive irreverence. I’m not surprised that this commercial made it from a brainstorming session, back and forth between KGB and their ad agency, to the production studio, to the air without rejection. I’m not surprised that the black women — real black women, because blackface would be downright racist — in this commercial agreed to the script; after all, Nia Long spoke straight truth when she said while the quantity of available roles for black women is undoubtedly increasing and expanding, the quality is undoubtedly diminishing. A paycheck is a paycheck, a role is a role — except the role that gets your foot in the door, and the role that is the career-killer (yes you Elizabeth Berkley from Showgirls); and it’s not like Saturday Night Live is casting black women — though Kenan in girls’ clothes is becoming quite a drag. I’m not surprised either that this was the first KGB commercial with any black speakers, much less the commercial pitched to the black demographic.
Nah, I’m not shocked; life’s too short. For everyone that is shocked though, good — I’m glad. Don’t let that shock paralyze you, use that jolt to generate your own knowledge — bureau or not.
Watch this space: Media literacy is at the core of understanding the world around you; there is more in between the lines than there is on the lines — it’s okay to settle in the subtext every now and then.