book review part 4 - Style and the Consumption Ethic...

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Unformatted text preview: Style and the Consumption Ethic 1. The Color Explosion  Boosted competition that was previously based on price alone (120).  Utilitarian goods became fashion goods.  Stress theme of personal indulgence. 2. Classical and Modern Art Imagery  Classical: persuade nouveau riche that products exemplified mature taste and high art.  Modern: associate products with progress.  Ads provide lessons in art and taste. 3. Characteristics borrowed from modern art:  Diagonal line  Off ­center layout  Deliberate discontinuities  Expressive distortion (especially women)  Simplicity 4. The Idea of the Ensemble  Promoted sense of product obsolescence. – Solve problem of overproduction (156).  Consumers encouraged to buy to create “harmonious whole.” – Examples?  Increase average size of consumer buys. 5. Contradictions (138)  Cultural uplift: – Education in good taste – Defense against social disapproval  Conformist standards.  Personalization of modern life. 6. Contradictions (158, 162)  Consumption ethic = feminine, self ­indulgent, emotional, decorative, wasteful.  Production ethic = masculine, efficient, self ­controlled, rational, practical, thrifty.  Ad men saw sold consumption ethic but believed in production ethic.  More consumption = more work Ads as Social Tableaux 1. What were tableaux vivants?  Ads show people’s relations to one another or to a larger social structure.  Slice of life settings with stereotypical people.  Ads = mirrors of what people want to be. 2. Women in Ads  GPA: general purchasing agent or business manager for home.  Separate Spheres Theme: Home = feminine sphere, refuge from work and public urban world.  Homemaking = career 3. 4. 5. 6.  Leisure pursuits = new forms of individual self ­expression.  Products can create leisure.  Watchful, judgmental eyes outside home: – Manage home efficiently, keep up with husband. – Ongoing beauty contest of life.  Fisher Body Girl  Modern woman: sleek, elongated, thin.  Housewife: softer, shorter, more rounded. Gendered Bodies  Women: off ­balance, leaning, dependent on man for stability.  Men: solid, firmly planted, straight, self ­reliant. Every man is a businessman  Middle ­class protagonists.  Always white, mainly Anglo ­American.  Functional and practical. – Not decorative, like women. Ethnic Minorities  Not presented as modern or upper class.  Absent from crowd scenes.  Implicit message: assimilate into the “Melting Pot” of the white American mainstream (193).  No Asians.  No modern Native Americans.  African Americans: – Working class – Servants to leading lady and man. Social Aristocracy  Ads depicted opulent, exclusive, and clearly defined elite class.  Like veneration for titled nobility in feudal societies. – Is this appropriate in a democracy? – “Fastidious” wealthy presented as people with cultural capital. ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2012 for the course ADV 865 taught by Professor Dr.thomashove during the Spring '11 term at Michigan State University.

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