Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lucinda's Reading Challenge: Short Detour

Black Mass is dense enough to have its
own gravity field - which is my speak for
"I'm having to read it s-l-o-w-l-y".
I shall be reporting back shortly...but
for some lighter Philosophical relief, I
have been dipping into Roland Barthes'
Mythologies, a selection of essays written
in the middle of the 20th century. The
spotlight is thrown onto a diverse selection
of icons, signs and behaviours surrounding
the development of mass culture. The essays are
succinct, thought provoking and often witty. My
favourite thus far is his observation of how a margarine
advertising campaign worked by appearing to slate the
product, before adding a resounding 'but' right at the end.
Barthes shows how the same strategy can be used to create
positive feeling towards institutions like the French Army.
And then you get to thinking that this idea of appearing to 'tell it like it is' to promote something is actually ubiquitous in our media heavy culture. It's always refreshing to be given a new view of the world and its workings and I can certainly recommend Barthes as
an entertaining guide. Right, now back to the serious stuff.

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