automobiles

The Mouth-Piece of Cultural Falsification

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August  2010

If measured by square inch of screen surface or by total minutes aired, car commercials may hold the largest presence throughout contemporary broadcast television.  New creations of automobile seduction appear at almost every commercial break and are often made by the smartest ad agencies with the biggest budgets and most skilled production teams.  By definition then, in order to create and maintain viewer desire, both car and commercial makers must exact the newest, most sophisticated rhetoric and seductive production techniques available.  Thus, car commercials offer an excellent opportunity to critically examine TV production at its most tactical effectiveness... in short, these advertisements offer excellent opportunities to examine cultural fabrication.




Below are links to 80 car commercials.  From them we can glean an enormous amount of information... except real information about the cars themselves, for instance, actual price or miles per gallon.  For Cultural Farming, however, the concern here is not about how much consumer information is left out, rather it is about how much information is included.  Each of these commercials is brilliantly crafted, perfectly tuned, and visually gripping.  Each is a story that communicates, primarily through intentional ”cultural shorthand” editing techniques, offering a cornucopia of social and corporate insight.  Of course, each story ends with exactly the same conclusion: “buy this car”.  But through a wide variety of perfected production techniques, we receive each story as a unique, personally crafted seduction.  Seductions we must watch; seductions we must buy.  Seductions which are, in fact, illogical audio-visual lies of media production.


By the time you view all 80 commercials, you will hopefully come to see just how potent and inescapable these constructed cultural stories are, and just how much they “inform” all of contemporary TV production, whether or not we even retain the corporate brand attached.  Indeed, these techniques of production spiral throughout all media, from political ads, to news and information, to your very own personal media-making practice.  This is the language of TV.  And this will remain the primary language we recognize and use until we we decide to spend less of our energies repeating convenient critiques of “THE media”, and instead get down to examining actual content creation, and challenge the humans who anonymously build our media today. 


Without learning to proficiently -- and critically -- read and write a culture’s particular means of communication, we simply cannot fully evaluate the culture employing it.  Likewise, for healthier tele-visual discourse we must purposefully understand and master the methodologies and methods of contemporary media production techniques... and then critically RESPOND TO ITS MAKERS.  After all, language is mankind’s first technology (McLuhan)... and automobiles are but another form of television.

 


HOLLAND WILDE:

An American, living

in Canada, now spending his life experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography.

 

typical unedited broadcast

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