A Classic Drawing Book: Everything is Political!


All Mass Media contain values, beliefs & ideologies. They convey intended and unintended messages that construct a reality based on the values & beliefs. In the process they re-enforce a set of expectations and related ideology. This can be presented in a advertisement, packaging, comic book or even a Figure drawing, as is pointed out in Jacob Russell’s Magic Names…..




yukon AD_Analysis

Originally posted on Jacob Russell's Magic Names:


You can find telling social information in places where you might not expect it–though for Andrew Loomis, who worked as a commercial artist, it shouldn’t be surprising. I downloaded a PDF of his Figure Drawing for All it’s Worth–first published in the 30’s, out of curiosity, because I remembered it from my uncle–who also was a comercial artist, and whose drawing always bore the mark of that style.
What struck me as I read the text and looked at these highly idealized figures, was how uncritically this was presented. No indication of awareness of the social and political impact–the unrealistically idealized figures, in proportion–their nordic whiteness, the not entirely implicit marginalization and exclusion of anything outside of those lines. One comparitive set of figures is partiularly telling. From the “heroic” 9 1/2 head tall figure on the right, to the 8 1/2 head ‘fashion’ figure, the “normal-ideal” 8 head figure…

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10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens | BLACK WESTCHESTER

10,000 people from across the country peacefully protested in Baltimore in support of the seeking of justice of the death of Freddie Gray. Despite the fact that 100 of the 10,000 acted up and approximately 35 people were arrested after the peaceful protest, (that’s about 1%), much of the mainstream media used attention grabbing words in their headlines like ‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website BreitBart.com’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.

The truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray. While the numbers vary, 100 or so were the ones you saw acting up on the news and the 35 persons who were arrested were the ones you read about. But reporting that won’t bring in the ratings that attract a heavy advertising revenue.

AJ Woodson’s   excellent reporting of news biases  demonstrates the basic  Mass Media Principles using recent examples from the American news media’s accounts of the Baltimore Protest Rally. News reporting is a business that has a specific target audience.  It constructs a reality to re-enforce  the values, beliefs & ideologies  of that target audience.  In doing so, it also shapes others’ beliefs & expectations by presenting factual information that is  wrapped in a distortion of emotional hype and visual hyperbole.

Since most people in America & Canada  take in the news in a visual form, as opposed to detailed textual analysis,  emphasis is put on action and emotion.  Scenes of action & emotion are more easily conveyed, but they leave out  cause, effect and linear process that extends into the past in any detail.  Responses to the information increase the tendency towards  quick action based on emotions not rational informed dialogue.

Read the full article for Woodson’s full analysis.


via 10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens | BLACK WESTCHESTER.

via 10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens | BLACK WESTCHESTER.

Cheeky Humour of Vintage Canadian Tire Catalogues « O’ Canada

SEE: Cheeky Humor of Vintage Canadian Tire Catalogues « O’ Canada.


While visiting  O’ Canada (Reflections on Canadian Culture  from Below the Border), I came across this post on Vintage Canadian Tire Catalogues. I am a bit too young to remember these specific ones, I have vague memories of the Old Gent featured on the cover.

The covers speak to a different time, with a different set of values, beliefs and ideologies. The target audience is definitely men. Even as a boy, I remember entering the local Canadian Tire and smell of rubber, metal and various merchandise said masculine territory – women & girls go to the clothing store next door to “shop”.

The activities presented on the covers of these catalogues, home & vehicle maintenance, outdoor recreation are presented as male-centric. The young Pretty Blonde in sweater or swimsuit catches the eye of old & young.  Note that gardening is acceptable women’s activity as shown in the second image ( Spring and Summer 1958).

The second image also plays on Canada’a Two Solitudes in a cheeky way.  The Pretty Blonde is on the other side of the white picket fence and the Parlez-Vous Francais is positioned to catch the eye and emphasize the stereotypical view of French culture. 

Of course all the characters are white because Canada was a “white” nation – the reality is that this was never the case, but the socioeconomic  narrative of the political & business power structure said otherwise . Characters is a very apt term. In a way these covers function somewhere between a postcard and serialized cartoon-strip. Elements of Gasoline Alley can be detected in the characterization and the humour & foibles of mundane life.

Unlike Gasoline Ally, the characters of the Canadian Tire Catalogue have seen their day. The catalogue in the age of online shopping and digital text has been replaced by flyers (print & e-mail), and specialty  magazines and tabloid style seasonal reports on the latest products & sales.

Canadian Tire - DriverAll the intentional humour has dissipated. Obviously Canada now recognizes itself as a diverse country of many cultural, ethnic & racial backgrounds. Gender biases are a thing of the past,…….. maybe the humour is more subtle & ironic now. Maybe……..

Canadian Tire - Destination Spring….the more things change…

Canadian Tire - Destination Spring 2

… the more we see echoes of past beliefs  & tropes.  The Old Gent has disappeared and children, including one or two of different racial backgrounds have shown up. Girls play, but not “real” sports.  Young white couples without children in the pools socialize, without a nudge or sly wink.

Canadian Tire - Destination Spring 3

Responsible young parents turn Spring Cleaning into Family Fun – note tips on how to work efficiently and safely. No Laurel & Hardy slapstick antics here. Do not want to send the wrong message – might be held legally responsible if accidents should occur.

Canadian Tire - Destination Spring 4

….. A different time and place, where values, beliefs and ideologies are slowly, subtly changing. Mom wears jeans now like Dad, just a bit more leg showing at the ankle.

Miss that Old Gent and the Pretty Blonde – cheeky fun and an attempt to market by way of familiar entertainment tropes …… now the entertainment & characters are saved for the television/online commercials.

As they say, the humour is a “guy thing”.


Babies as young as six months using mobile media — ScienceDaily

More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by 1 year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a study to be presented Saturday, April 25 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.

via Babies as young as six months using mobile media — ScienceDaily.

babes in phone land 1

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age 2. Little is known, however, when youngsters actually start using mobile devices.

Researchers developed a 20-item survey to find out when young children are first exposed to mobile media and how they use devices. The questionnaire was adapted from the “Zero to Eight” Common Sense Media national survey on media use in children.

Parents of children ages 6 months to 4 years old who were at a hospital-based pediatric clinic that serves a low-income, minority community were recruited to fill out the survey. Participants were asked about what types of media devices they have in their household, children’s age at initial exposure to mobile media, frequency of use, types of activities and if their pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

Results from 370 parents showed that 74 percent were African-American, 14 percent were Hispanic and 13 percent had less than a high school education. Media devices were ubiquitous, with 97 percent having TVs, 83 percent having tablets, 77 percent having smartphones and 59 percent having Internet access.

Children younger than 1 year of age were exposed to media devices in surprisingly large numbers: 52 percent had watched TV shows, 36 percent had touched or scrolled a screen, 24 percent had called someone, 15 percent used apps and 12 percent played video games.

By 2 years of age, most children were using mobile devices.

Lead author Hilda Kabali, MD, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network, said the results surprised her.

“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of 6 months,” she said. “Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”

Results also showed 73 percent of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60 percent while running errands, 65 percent to calm a child and 29 percent to put a child to sleep.

babes in phone land  RL


Time spent on devices increased with age, with 26 percent of 2-year-olds and 38 percent of 4-year-olds using devices for at least an hour a day.

Finally, only 30 percent of parents said their child’s pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Babies as young as six months using mobile media.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150425215621.htm>.