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    Macalester College
  Feb 22, 2018
College Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LING 103 - Advertising and Propaganda

North Americans on the whole are far more exposed to commercial advertising, arguably the most sophisticated propaganda in human history, than to the cruder versions we imbibe in church and school, or associate with Nazi Germany or Orwell’s 1984. On this subject, we are jaded experts: hip to the “white noise” on TV, on the internet, and in glossy magazines. Yet even with TiVo, we are unable to tune it out completely. The main purpose of this course is to apply the concepts and techniques of linguistic semantics to the analysis of advertising and the ideology which it both nurtures and reflects. What is the semiotic function of Ronald MacDonald? Why did so many otherwise rational Americans once believe that the person most likely to blow up the world was Muammar (Who?) Khaddafy? What are the propaganda consequences of the collapse of the Evil Empire? Why are we fascinated by Brad Pitt and bored by Cesar (Who?) Chavez? What is the role of propaganda in creating the cult of beauty? Why are advertisements which make fun of themselves so effective? Why is war propaganda almost always more effective than anti-war propaganda? Alternate years. (4 Credits)