Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Living Room Candidate

I learned about The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952-2004 from an article in the July 1, 2004 New York Times Online.

The site is hosted by the American Museum of the Moving Image. You can look over commercials by campaign year, type (biographical, attack, response, and so on), and issues. Commercials include a transcript, so the text can looked at.

Useful exercises might include looking at the role candidates' wives play in commercials, looking at the visual rhetoric of attack ads, defining an attack ad, how issues are framed, or the role of the political advertisements in civic discourse to name a few ideas.

This WWW site would make a good compliment to the Photoshop exercise outlined in today's earlier post.

Photoshopping of the President

Salon has an article on how people are using Photoshop to do homemade
political satire and commentary. Here's the URL for the story:

You need to sit through a short ad to see it, but it's
worth a look if you're thinking about using the election or civic
literacy or pop culture or multimedia composing or technology in your
courses this summer or fall.

It would certainly be a fun exercise: ask students to do their own
Photoshop parody, and (this is inspired by a chat yesterday w/ Kristin
Arola and Cheryl Ball, have students write a short piece (it can be
essay, or blog entry, or the kind of thing you see in some art
galleries that go w/ a painting, or email post, or threaded discussion
message -- so many technologies, so little time) about the decisions
that went into the parody and what they're commenting upon. Or you can
just choose to let the image stand on its own.

But writing about their Photoshopped parodies might include a discussion of whether the parody is accurate or silly; what argument it makes; who the audience for the argument is (does it seek to persuade others or confirm what people who've made up their mind already believe?), and other things satirists need to consider.

Anyway, it looks like fun stuff and certainly a good entry level
multimedia composing idea for instructors who want to start using
technology in someway but aren't sure where or how to begin. And if
you don't have Photoshop, you can find freeware/shareware that lets
you do similar things at

This is one of those things too where if an instructor hasn't used
Photoshop style software, chances are half the students have and they
can help the other half, so that the instructor isn't stuck being the
tech expert and can spend his or her time responding to student