April 6 - PS102 - THE MEDIA
We will start material from today that will begin the process for the next exam. On Thursday, if you will remember to bring with you the questionnaire, that is the green packet. If anybody needs another green packet I have extra ones in my office, so you can take care of that.
Procedurally, I do have a new word list to provide you with. What's my first rule of writing essay questions? Read the question. 90% answered a different question. 90%! Now, that meant that the numbers in class, despite their knowledge, were really bad because they didn't answer the question. The question I thought was fairly easy, and asked specifically about, it was a quote from the textbook. Pretty much that democracy has to protect from abuse of power and so what safeguards are available in a democracy to prevent the abuse of power? Now it sounds easy. I thought in the sense, but of course the mistake that 90% made was what? Why they didn't answer my question. They didn't define democracy? Well, no, that was part of it. That would be a mistake in reading the question. That would be a mistake in answering. -- you know what was really funny? The first thing I have to do is define democracy in that question, and they never did. Where am I here? So I'm sure that's nerves. But, you know, we can forget those things. I'm talking about answering a question I didn't ask. The question was what are the safeguards for a democracy basically to avoid abuse of power? See. The answer of the mistake in a sense answering the wrong question. They were dealt with safeguards in the United States. Specifically.
They never touched on the question is democracy it doesn't ask about our Bill of Rights. It doesn't ask about our Congress, and it doesn't ask about the legislative, executive, judicial branch; why? Because those are specific to the United States. Does it mean you would have used the United States as an example? Yeah, if you stated so later on in developing it, but that would have entailed the use of the chart. Obviously conditions of a Democratic government in the involvement.
I do this to you because maybe your question didn't have a, you know, mistake like that. I don't know yet. I hope not, but please, please think about those things for the final. Which will be your final chance to get a grade. Because it is very important to answer a question that I can grade. I can't grade a question on safeguards in the United States since that was not my question. Okay? Do you understand that? I hope. Now again it's not a criticism in this class.
What was your questions? The one about the farmers or how civil rights and civil liberties both tied to democracy. Both in with democracy. Like you said, that you believe in democracy and civil rights have a lot to do with that. Why would civil rights have to do with that?
Basically how would they be -- that one pretty much was similar to the one in the textbook that says how does civil liberties go to the heart of the democratic process? Again, going to civil liberties and civil rights, if you dealt with the United States as the basis of the question instead of using it as an example, which is two different things. Taking the question as the United States rather than simply taking, I don't remember the exact words offhand, but if it was general then the question has to be generic with the example of the United States. It's a question specifically applying to the United States, then, you know, you deal with the U.S. In a more specific way. Okay? So I mean, you can get a feel.
What was the other question in this class? I tried to do with one on civil liberties/civil rights. What's the other one? It was something in the textbook. You took a quote from the textbook dealing with the nationalization with the Bill of Rights, i.e., incorporation. I think it was why democracies operate so slowly. And again United States could have been an example here. Because I try, as you know, to make up absolutely different questions for each class within the same context. So each class might wind up with an easier question and it's always hard for me to judge.
Dealing with the safeguards of democracy sounds simple to me, yet it turned out to be extremely difficult for students to answer. So bear with me. I try to be fair. I hope I am in the questions. It's just that you can't always judge and that's why I tried to emphasize the need for specifically asking me clarifications if you're not sure what the question asks. I don't want to trick you. It is not my intent to trick you. That's not what I try to do. Although I think sometimes people believe I'm attempting to do that. No, I'm not.
The review material certainly worked very, very well for the short answers in that class. They did very well there and so the grades weren't extremely low despite the essays because it became obvious in that class. They did study the words and that of course is 50% of the list and therefore even getting a poor grade on the essay means that they didn't necessarily wind up with zeros or 5 or 10 points, which I've had in the past. So that's a good sign and I know that a number of students took advantage of the fact that we got the review up on the Internet right away so that this class's review helped the classes generally.
Anything else? The next exam will have the same format. Part one and part two. Short identification, and choice of one out of two essays. One trying to get sort of a quote from the text, one or more for the lectures. They're 50 points a piece. The questions will be different of course. The intent is to have you be used to the kind of exam that I give you. Okay? So if the format threw you off for the first exam, at least you'll be more familiar with the second exam. Any questions about the final at this point?
Now I did say that it is not cumulative. It will start with today's material, but that does not mean that some of the material that was previous to today couldn't be usable. I want essay question. And when I distribute this word list which I will do in a minute, you will know that at least a few words will repeat themselves on the list for the final but not a lot. Any other questions about the exam?
The word list has been done at the request of students. I would not have given it out originally if students hadn't bugged me about it, so you can blame them, but not me. I mean my attitude is I'd rather do it so that you panic by listening and getting it on your own. However, this time what happens is the word list becomes an emphasis and people start looking up the words ahead of time. Which in this case is somewhat ridiculous. I'll explain why and then they start giving me dictionary definitions. But the other request I got from students is that they needed space to write them in. I know some of you don't use the word list and it wasn't my intent to have you write the answers in the list, but to look them up and put in a notebook, but once again if I think the students have a legitimate request then I comply. So, yes, this does have more space. It also takes more paper, and now that there's more money in the community college system I don't feel as guilty about wasting "paper". No, it's true. I really cut down a lot of the paper awhile back because I was trying to save money for the school. Not that they would appreciate it. The point was that I felt that I could do it.
Now obviously, the no screaming issue was your feeling when you saw the list because it's quite obvious that it is more extensive, to say the least, from the previous word list. There are probably about 70 extra words comparatively in number to this list. However, although it won't ease your souls. I might not -- that not all of these words will be required like on the last list because I do cut about 50 words from the list. The last study day when I found out or find out that I haven't covered them in all my classes so there will be about 50 words cut out of this list and as I recall we cut only one. And that they were all covered. Now the reason that they're not all covered is because we do with institutions and at times I approach it differently. Depending on the semester, depending on what's in the news. When I say the institution of government, specifically I am referring to the three branches: The executive, judicial, and legislative.
Translation; the material is more structured maybe in what's being presented to you, or more boring, I suppose depends on how you look at it, or detailed more specific. There's also another problem that I need to warn you about. That is that a lot of these words don't appear in my textbook or the other book. Not a lot, but a number of them - last time I think you could almost find most of them somewhere in my text. So it becomes more important for you to listen carefully in class to when I started repeating words and going over them again. Perhaps more important to come to class to pick up on words that are not in the book for the purpose of at least that 50 points on the exam. Again, it's partial. Which means that there will be words in the chapters that are not on the list that you're required and there may be some words they'll place on the exam like I do on one of the exams I don't know if it was yours or if it wasn't yours. I had Kosovo on the exam. Because we've talked about it. So something that might be appearing in the classroom in the news that we've discussed a number of times in class you are certainly responsible for. Keep that in mind as well.
Okay? Any questions about the word list?
There were a couple of words that I got out of the answers from the classes I graded not too many this time. I'm always happy when I get words -- I don't have any words to put up on the Internet for my fun site where I laugh at people because of their answers. Although it's a little disappointing because I like adding to it. I do have this time it was interesting because on one exam I had 1787, one of the words. What -- did I put a date on yours? No? You didn't get a date? Did you get 666? Yeah. I usually try to put one number on one of the exams. And on the other exam I had 1791. And I got answers in both exams that it was when our declaration of independence was on one it specifically said on 1787 on July fourth of this day we declared our independence from Britain. Now, I could understand that if it were a foreign student who may have just arrived in the United States, but it is shocking to me when I use that one rule when I said please do not assume -- do not --remember the instructor is stupid? I cannot assume you know this stuff? How do I know it wasn't a foreign student? By the handwriting, basically. Most of our foreign students have different handwriting because they write their own language in a different script and so that script often carries over to where I can identify even if their structure is fairly good that they have come from a foreign nation. Not in every case. But in many of the cases.
The other one that was fun was the word oligarchy. Now I don't know if you had oligarchy on your exam? Every now and then they reappear on the exams. Obviously I was looking for government by the few, and you may have put down by the few and that generally is the wealthy, the well-born. Something of that nature. However, in this case the person put down oligarchy is rule by a woman; a queen. But in reality the men have the final say. Well that's any government. I just want to be clear. So, I know why that person screwed up on that question because if you remember on an earlier interface, I had placed that question where you had to identify the government and it was a woman ruling where the men have the final say, and we did say that it would have been an oligarchy. As well as a monarchy. A woman inherited her rule -- and so the person used that as the definition. So at least they did their interfaces. Which I hope you did.
You know, we all have several chapters in my textbook that way final more enjoyable. By the way, you know as I said, I did the textbook for the pictures. I got my check last night. As I was up here in the evening, I guess it came in the afternoon mail, for my years' worth of sales. So, I got my royalties for my year last night. It came to $1,397. So I want to thank you all for having participated in giving me a little extra money yesterday.
There is a photo in there, only one photo, that I didn't take and that's of Sister Boom Boom. Of course every time they have the Easter parade in San Francisco with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and it causes quite a stir. If you follow the news like I've asked to you to do, the fact is that I think of that photograph. It's such a good photograph, of the picture of Ronald Reagan that I am, --I really begged the guy to let me use it. He really didn't have any conflict with it. We actually had a bet. He was an interesting kind of a student, mother I knew well, and a sister. He was one of those students who was brilliant but never completed a course. He took the self-pace western civ course from me and I bet him that he wouldn't complete it. The bet was if he didn't, I get to use this photo free. He didn't complete it. Some people aren't completers. For whatever reason, although he's finally graduated college after 20 years. He's going into teaching, which is scary when people who have that kind of an a person enter teaching, but at least he's bright, you know. It's more frightening to me somebody who finishes school in 4 years has a C average and decides to be a teacher because then the knowledge that they present in the classroom is at a C level and so students get an A for knowing C work because that's all they can present. I'm definitely an elitist when it comes to teaching. How good a teacher they are.
The Catholic church is quite upset with that march, the demonstration on Sunday because of making fun of the nuns and of course pope and everything else and tens of thousands of people who were there. The media of course loves that kind of conflict. It plays with it all the time. Of course when we talk about the media, what does that word mean? What do we mean by media?
Q TV, magazine?
A How would you define it? I don't know if I do in my book or not, but it's anything that decimates information about usually politics or the news. So anything that will decimate, give you information. I should add that's inanimate. Because a person really isn't media, although I know some inanimate people. One of the questions that used to be on in other interface in this section in this chapter that I took out only because I had to take out some interfaces when I added my new chapter was what in your house is media, that is to say decimates political information? So in your house what gives you political information? Newspaper. Yeah, if you have newspapers. TV is one. Certainly, watching the news, well what about regular TV shows? Forgetting the news, do they give you political information? Many of them do. Well not just the jokes, but even the sit-coms often deal with or developed around the news stories that have occurred. Shows like Hill Street Blues. And even shows that are as strange as Star Trek go back and bring the news that are going on from certain periods of time as they go back from history and so there is a currency to many of the programs who also deal with hot political issue from time to time.
For example, many organizations especially nonprofit ones have lobbyists not just in Sacramento or Washington.
Q What's a lobbyist?
A Somebody who's paid to influence government.
Q Yeah somebody who's paid to influence or oversee government and it's in a sense influence it. By the way, lobbyists make very good money. Generally, the beginning salary for most lobbyists in small organizations is $100,000 a year; major organization lobbyists make over a million a year in salary. That's not their expense account. Their expense account are far more than that.
Q They're paid to influence government?
A Yes. By whom? Their group. It's seldom that individuals have a lobbyist. Usually they're businesses or organizations. In other words, Bill Gates doesn't hire a personal lobbyist. He might have hired a press secretary. That is a little different. But Micro Soft hires lobbyists, especially now with the suit the government is pursuing based on arguing that they have been a monopoly controlling and influencing, trying to force their browser with the Internet explorer on everything to destroy any other browser, such as Net Scape. Lobbyists have interesting personalities generally. They're usually not very dynamic lecturers, speakers. They're not the charismatic kind of person that you think of who stands in front of an audience or walks in front of a room. They are usually low keyed because they tend to be ones who work one on one. They are able to influence people to get into an office. Sit down, and talk with the person. I'm the kind of person that needs a large audience. I do well in a big crowd. The more, the better. It's like, you know, I do my stand-up routine, and I enjoy it. I am very, very bad when it comes to one on one relations. I don't do well sitting, talking to somebody individually to persuade them. I don't enjoy it as much. I couldn't be a lobbyist. So personalities make a fact.
Where do lobbyists get their positions? What kind of back grounds do they have? I mean that was a little off the subject, but it goes ahead to a different subject, but as long as I was start on it. Where do lobbyists --?
A Probably they have a law background. A good percentage of them have law backgrounds or political backgrounds. Many of them actually are trained in law. Why would lobbyists be trained in law? Politics deals with law. Well it's more than that. Lobbyist are often involved in creating the legislation. They actually write it and give it. Legislation for their company. They actually introduce it at times. To a legislature to introduce. So a law background is useful besides the knowledge of having political background.
Lobbyist are also often involved politically because they have connections. But there's another whole range of lobbyist. Retired civil servants in military. Because a number of companies realize that people from the military have men and people know them and they know who to contact.
So often people leave government. There are new regulations that have been instituted in the last few years. For example, nobody who worked for the president can lobby government until 2 years after they've left their White House job. There have been some charges filed -- who left because of that. From the Reagan administration to the Clinton administration because they did not adhere to the 2 years. They tried to work around it. One of biggest lobbying firms in the world is run by Henry Kissinger who was our former Secretary of State because of his contacts internationally. Interestingly. I don't know why my mind flips as you know from space to space, but you've heard that the 2 individuals who were being accused of having blown up the flight 103, was it Pan Am 103? Have been turned over to Holland to the Dutch where they will be tried with Scottish judges. Because it occurred over Scotland. Did you read who was responsible for finally convincing after ten years? Khadaffi to turn them over. These people get involved even afterwards but in this case it wasn't a hired situation. It was more of a friendship. It was Mandella. From south Africa.
Because of the support that Khadaffi gave to his liberation movement while he was in prison, Mandella, never never follow the west demand for him to condemn Khadaffi and was able to go in and function internationally as a diplomat finally working out the -- to trust the west. Khadaffi refused to trust the west trials, of course the real issues were these two individuals agents of the Libyan government when they blew up the plane. Of course 10 years ago Libya was our enemy, nobody even knows about Libiya, Khadaffi, anymore because we have new enemies today.
So, lobbying of course becomes an important factor in the creation of legislation, and more so even in TV and radio programs. It's hard to believe. I'm not talking about paid advertising. Most of us know and I'm sure it was where she would hold up a case during the TV you know, most of the products if not all of them that are shown in the movies when you see the names they're paid for. They pay for those ads. To help fund the film. So if you see a package of Wheaties sitting there, that Wheaties is sitting there because they pay. Of course the biggest mistake ever made was M & M. What am I talking about? E.T. For those that may not be aware of it, M & Ms were used to fund the dropping of M & Ms as a trail most of you have seen E.T. at some point. Even now. Who has not seen E.T.? You've all seen it? Serious? Well there's a scene in there where to find his way, he drops the M & Ms. Well they weren't M & Ms, and they were expecting M & M to pay for it. So Reeses Pieces picked up the bit and Reeses Pieces went sky high and even outsold M & Ms because of that film. The scary part maybe scary, is that now with digitalization, however you say it, apparently as these films are being reproduced for DVD or reproduced for reshowing in the theaters, they have an ability to change the ad. And they are now going out and talking to M & Ms to repickup if Reeses Pieces doesn't meet their price. So that it may in the future be M & Ms.
Reality isn't what it used to be. The past isn't what it used to be. The digitalization has become so it's hard to know reality. I'm dealing with the subject. Did Fred Astaire really dance with a vacuum cleaner? Looks so real, doesn't it? I mean, or was Forrest Gump real? I mean there are many people today who believe that there really was a Forrest Gump. Well he looks real. They cut him in and it's beautiful, shaking hands with the president. The biggest stink recently about being cut into the film was by Clinton in Contact. Because they put him right into the film and used these news casts to make the film more believable. He was really upset because of all the -- of the president's now with digitalization he has been cut into numerous films and since he is copyright free because he is a public figure, there's very little they can do in the White House about it unless of course they should defame him in some fashion, I suppose.
Again, the changes in technology are changing what reality is because sometimes it's difficult to know and what I was alluded to is that we now have a word for programs that provide us information through entertainment. It's called infotainment. Is it in my book? Which sometimes creates our reality. The movie JFK introduced people who never existed. They made people up in the story, but these people became real. They become real as the story becomes real because that's the way many young people learn about history.
Who is the real Amy Fisher? Will the real Amy Fisher please stand up? She shot somebody's wife. Yeah, she's Mary Joe Buttafuoco. Did you hear? Yeah, that's why -- she is getting out of prison after 7 years. She's now 24. She was having an affair with this guy at 16 and she wanted to free him so he could marry her, and so she shot his wife at the head. But she survived. Amy went to prison. The wife wrote a letter to the D.A.'s office saying that, you know, she was a little cracked and broke under the pressure and she didn't blame her anymore and she forgave her and asked the D.A. to release her. And so they're moving to let her out of prison for this attempted murder.
But at the point that the story broke, all three television networks did Amy Fisher movies. And they did the Nancy Carrigan/Tanya Harding reunion. They get like a hundred grand each. Amy Fisher -- and that's what they think. Because the Buttafuoco's are having money problems that's what it said on the TV the other night. They were going to have them meet like Tanya Harding and Nancy Carrigan. They should have Springer oversee it. There's a new form of prostitution, folks; the media. Why? Because a hundred thousand is nothing. I mean, God, the biggest prostitute's name is Monica Lewinsky. Well she's getting a lot of the money. There's not one prostitute, even Heidi Fleiss, who's pleased a lot of people. The fact is that if your name appears in the media under those circumstances for strange reasons, those stories sell because -- not because the media just wants the publicity, but the media makes its money through the advertiser. And so the infotainment becomes important because people will watch it.
What are we talking about? Anywhere at the lowest range from $300,000 to the highest range of one million point six for the super bowl for any thirty second spot. 1.6 million dollars for a 30-second spot. That's a lot of money. Didn't they say that the brand of lipstick Monica Lewinsky wore sold out all over the nation? People couldn't get it because people loved her lipstick. well it's good enough for the president. President staff approved. Well, she didn't wear it at that point. I don't think. Yeah, it was funny. One of my students said that Tipper Gore, Al Gore's wife, looked like a blond Monica Lewinsky. And I looked at her I saw what she was talking about. So you -- I don't know. All right. I guess you have to have a certain look to look at politics.
Did you see at the academy awards winner for best actor invited Monica Lewinsky to join him in England? In England he was going to take her out. I don't know if I told you this story. We were in Tahoe and we took a trip to Virginia City on the bus. We were looking for something to do. And the bus stopped off at this house of prostitution ranch whatever it was called, it wasn't the Mustang Ranch. It's the one where John Wayne Bobbit works. And they got this whole big sign. He's the entertainment there. He is the bartender at this particular ranch. Of course, isn't he the one who all of a sudden found Christ? No, he wants her back. After she beat up her mother? He wants to take another stab at it. Jerry Springer -- she wants. She cut him off well. Bad lines. I mean you almost say to yourself is it worth working.
Many people believe the old work ethic which I deal with in my 8th chapter that hard work -- God rewards you. And that people who were good are the ones who get the money and many people in America feel that way. We go to Las Vegas or Reno and we lose money and we think that God hates us. We think that we're evil, but when we win, God was on my side. I feel fulfilled and now of course you know the whole issue of morality and makes the money is very much depended upon the media. I mean it's always been to some extent that way on a minor level, but the stakes are so high especially during sweeps week. That these perhaps are produced specifically to grab attention so that they can get their station to get the better advertising. And that includes the news broadcast. We've seen the stories to the fact that news broadcasters are more entertainment and they really are reporters and those kinds of changes really taken place.
Certainly they argue continuously that they present us the material because we're willing to watch it. So we run to the scene of an accident to view it and they present it because of that basis. The question is responsibility. Is that really what they should be doing in leadership? Should she be playing with our weaknesses? With our inability to maintain our quote unquote base or instincts and of course the other question that I touch on in my book is that when the media plays with our base instincts, does it reduce our resistance so that our instincts become more base? Translation, desensitized. But more so, not just desensitized and I touch on desensatization, I talk about resistance. All of us who were healthy, knock wood, I'm healthy, have resistance. It's hard sometimes. I got on my E-mail yesterday. This, you know, real nice ad for this pornographic site. Now I'm perverted enough that I want to go up there, but I dumped it. You know, get rid of this and I made sure to get it in my trash, fast so my resistance would be dune. However, what happens when we make these things more acceptable by showing them? Translation, when we see violence does it bring down your resistance?
Probably not. We all have strange emotion, kill your brother, murder your sister, marry your mother, you know, screw the priest, whatever it is. These things at times go through our heads. However, the hell this person pushes them aside and blocks them. And gets upset sometimes and guilty that they even think with it. The Jefferey Dahlmer's and others become unhealthy. This because they can't resist.
What happens when we see the ads on TV emphasizing sadomasochism or emphasizing violence against women in some fashion? Does that therefore breakdown our resistance and make us tend to believe that these things are acceptable? When pornography shows rape, women being raped as something they enjoy, does that open the door to the rapist? Does it make somebody a rapist? No, not you or I into a rapist, but that ten percent or fifteen percent who were borderline. What happens to their resistance in society? And therefore doesn't become the responsibility of the media to try and cut these things. We hear about it all time but where do you draw the line?
For example, obviously not everybody watching Taxi was going to turn into an attempted assassination to please Jodi Foster as happened. But do you show, as occurred awhile back, a TV show where a woman gets raped, a girl gets raped in the shower with a broom stick, and it's all identified and then the next day some kids try it? Some 12 year olds do it to another 12 year old girl? Why? Well okay. Maybe, but do you show it at 7:00 in the evening when kids are up? Do you at least put parental warning? Is there anything wrong with V chips so that in some extent there can be certain resistance and those are the kinds of questions that need to be posed when it comes to this whole issue of the media.
Most people in their chapters dealing with the media tend to raise questions that I don't think are as dangerous to society. Some people do. Does the media control our political philosophy? Does the government control the media? Do we control the media? Does the media control government? Is it the wealthy who were really controlling what we're thinking through the media? The whole sense of controlling media and that it means and those issues, the number of newspaper the editorials, the liberalism, or the conservatism, those are debates that appear in political science text, but from my perspective there's a far more important issue of our ability to critically think of media.
What could I mean by critical thinking? I define it in my book. Two ways that I thought were easy. Somebody want to give me one of the definitions for critical thinking? No? you should have read the book and certainly doing the interfaces at least I'm hoping that you did this. How do I define critical thinking? They're pretty easy. Thinking about what you think while you're thinking. Good. Thank you, Karen. Thinking about what you're thinking while you're thinking. Does anybody remember the other one?
Which probably applies more to the media. Reading between the lines. And that is the major emphasis of my chapter. but let's return a little back to where we started those things in the household that provides you information about politics. We mention television. We mention newspaper. We mention the radio. What else? Movies, video games. Videos. Most people have VCRs or DVDs. Yeah the DVD I suspect is especially good for deaf students in the sense that they have good caption. How about family friends? Well, I said that those are animate only. I'm talking about inanimate. What else is in the household that provides you with information? Computer. How? The web pages that they have. The web pages certainly. E-mails.
Jokes. Yeah a lot of political jokes. Half the jokes I get are political onea. In fact, more than half. I don't read most of them. I get this load of stuff from people at times. That seems to be the biggest thing of E-mail are the stupid jokes that have been going around for 60 years. They just keep repeating themselves. I get the same joke from 12 people. I'm not one for canned memorized jokes. I like the humor that is spontaneous. He always gets upset with me because I never laugh at the jokes he tells me. I laugh at him. He's funny though. Individually he's very funny that's the point when he make his comments spontaneously, they are hysterical but I don't find stuff where somebody repeats some story joke that everybody else has told is very funny. They're just not. It's not like the same thing where you're being -- and using your own sense of humor. I'd rather he used his own sense of humor because it's much greater. It's not hard when it comes to him. He's great. Mr. Santa Clause. Yes I've had an office next to him since I got here. Does he scream the same words in his office as he does in his class? No. He does that for impact obviously. In fact he probably curses less than I do, candidly, out of the class.
What else? E-mail, chat rooms, but you know also with the computer CD roms. Time magazine -- there's a lot of things on CD-ROM today and some of them are sent to you providing you with information. So politicians give you their E-mail addresses to contact them. Politicians appear in chat room situations. Often many politics are brought onto AOL or other kind of servers where they allow people to raise questions and ask questions during that time. Probably most politicians today, including locally, have web sites where they will respond to you. Well not necessarily in that sense but before you where you can get information even if it's succinct about their points of view, their position, where they stand, what issues they're pushing, or what bills they've introduced.
Information is so readily available. Sometimes I hate going on-line and doing it if you've got a computer that's on-line all the time, but I was looking all over my house in calendars for the date for Easter next year. And I could not find it. I couldn't find my world almanac. I'm looking all over the place. My calendars just didn't have it. Even my calendar on my computer. So I went up on-line. I went to search and I put in Easter dates and it was there instantaneously. Late April 23rd the year 2000. I needed it because when I was going to run my tournament again for the chess. So the Internet does provide instantaneous information and myself is political science professor if I need to know certain things like who is the present whip of the Republicans in the senate, that stuff was very hard to get hold of. I'd write to my senator years ago and you know I'd wait for an answer or I'd buy a book that would take a couple of weeks to come that I carry with me. Now you go up to the web site and it's there. I just go up to the congressional web site all of the listing of all of the individuals that are now there.
It is constantly updated. I find it's pretty nice. I went to Pete Stark's web site last night to look up some of his views on certain issues and you can instantly access. They have summaries of all his views on it and that's the kind of stuff that is there. You can actually tell what your politicians will do within limitations. But yes, you can get a feel for what they're doing whether you agree with it or not and of course it is summarized, but of course it is there and that's important. And cheap. A lot cheaper than the mailings that they used to do. To try and influence us with that information. They still use -- well that's right before an election. You'd have to wait often before the election to -- yes they do use their privileges and what is Franking, (word list) that's the right to free mail?
Franking privilege gives politicians the right to send these out free through the U.S. mail. If it pertains to their role in office. It's usually campaign purposes. Well they often do it for campaign purposes. In fact, he was sued, Pete Stark, because when his activity was switched he started sending out the material to what was then Don Edwards because he knew that was the district that was voting for him and he was fined for that because it wasn't his district and he was using his Franking privilege for somebody else's district because that will be his district.
So, yes. It is often done for that reason. Franking comes from the first post master general of the colonies Benjamin Franklin. His name carries on with the franking. His shape carries on with another invention; the pot belly stove. I'm just kidding, but he was responsible for the development of the pot belly stove. And the other invention that he is well known for besides lightening hitting the key of the kite -- libraries and hospitals too, but no. One that's even more important at least from my perspective; bifocals. He was the first one to put together glasses that you could see both distance and close.
What else? Well you just gave me one that nobody mentioned. The mail. U.S. Mail provides us with information in the household. What else can provide us with political information? Telephone. The telephone. Yeah. There's no doubt that people call up to provide you with information, sometimes in the form of a questionnaire. A survey, but, yes, not many times most of us don't get those calls, but I have received them and anybody else ever receive a political call or asking them to vote for somebody? It happens, granted not as often as some of the others.
So there are lots of things around the home that help us to identify what we mean by the term media and it's influence on us. I'd like to go back to that theme of my chapter; critical thinking. I mention two things -- desensitization was sort of the implied. I didn't define it. The breaking down of resistance. If that's a real word. Is it on the word list? Desensitization? No.
Breaking down resistance. Another term that I think is important dealing with my chapter is the issue of moral indignation. And a couple of other things that tie to this whole issue from my perspective are the question of creative and nation without critical thinking because of what happens through desensatization. Where to start?
Let's start with moral indignation. We live in a world today of advertising. Advertising attempts to prevent us from critical thinking because they want to sell us on base emotions, wants us to buy products and of course that is carried over to the political atmosphere because most politicians today hire advertising agencies, the higher they go in politics the more likely they are to hire actually an advertising agency who engages both in -- not just PR men.
Not just individuals whose job it is to support. Not just spin doctors. I use the term spin doctors, but actual advertising and the agencies often use psychological testing and control testing to sell their product. And politicians today are doing tests in ads. And certainly they know the kind of tests being used. Perhaps the most popular ad that's often shown is an emotional impact. That impact was one that helped Lyndon Johnson get elected. Against Harry Goldwater in 1964. I almost said -- in 1984. I got to get my dates right here. The ad had a little blond girl sitting there picking a flower and an atomic bomb going off destroying everything. The reason? Because he was accusing Goldwater of being a war monger and trying to get us into Vietnam and the danger. Nothing had to be said -- people knew.
Or another brilliant campaign by an agency, when George Bush ran against Michael Dukakis they never mentioned the fear of racism, but they showed a man name Willie Worton, a black man who had been released on a furlough program in Massachusetts when Dukakis was governor, although he didn't do the releasing in the furlow. The fact is that he then went and killed, committed murder, he was allowed out and was going to go back and so it played on the fears of white Americans which the republicans were appealing to about black crimes. The study showed it dramatically. They never said it. They never said racism, but the implications were quite obvious and those become classics of what an advertising agency can do. Of course the danger is both sides can do it. We lose the ability to think about what the issue really mean unless we critically think. We lose the ability, we stop thinking - what positions are there. What do I mean by moral indignation? We get pissed off at the wrong thing and we become deceived when words have no meaning. We blame the wrong issues. We lose the meaning for words. Most recently it pissed me off as a critical thinker as I constantly hear politicians, the president, imply if not say, that Milosovic and the Serbians are committing genocide. Genocide is the intentional elimination of a whole race of people. They are clearing the Albanians out; granted some people are being murdered. It is a human tragedy, but it is not genocide. It is not the intentional of concentration death camps where every Jew was placed into gas chambers or lined up and shot and pushed into lime pits. This is a different -- but the word creates emotion and reduces the meaning of genocide. In a sense, it kills the indignation.
A Well I was going to say how also how advertising gets involved in the media because I know the Albanians hired one of best PR firms to represent their side of the story.
Q Interesting. That's why if you -- the Croatians always did it with the Serbs are stupid and stubborn. Well you know who found himself in the same position? Bill Gates. He had spent very little on advertising, very little on PR people. He had maybe one lobbyist now he's got 200 ever since they filed charges. And he was not giving campaign contributions. What a change. So yeah I did not know that because it does not surprise me. Thank you for that input. , again, it does show what we're talking about. The kind of media implications that can be done through -- shall we say an advertising certain politically and then we use the words. I get into that we call double speak. Or Washington speak or Watergate speak. How words become meaning -- so we didn't become indignant. They didn't mean anything to us.
People aren't murdered anymore; they're neutralized. It's just like we don't lose jobs, we are not fired; we are not unemployed; we are downsized. You don't even buy used cars anymore; preowned. Our words change. Our impressions visualization changes. Tucson doesn't have pot holes; it has pavement deficiencies. We don't have budget deficits; we have short falls. We didn't destroy documents; we deep sixed them. We didn't break and enter; we entered surreptitiously for political expediency. And we didn't invade the island of Granada where the military force the Caribbean peace force; it's always now a peace keeping force, had an early morning vertical inversion. Now how can anybody -- to an early morning vertical inversion.
A I have those every once in awhile.
Q You're hoping. We're talking about dreams, you know, right now. In fact, sad to say the indignation and gets us into another type of thing. The fact is that because today things are totally shown, we lose the ability of creativity and that's what I want to get into next time and talk about your wet dreams. We'll see -- remind me what I'm starting with on Thursday.