Friday, September 19, 2008

Everyone please post! Politics and American Myth

Please look on YouTube at a few political advertisements from this presidential campaign.  In your post please provide the link to the advertisement that most interests you.  In light of the readings we've done during this sequence, about American "myths" of educational empowerment, please discuss how the ad you've chosen addresses some of the same themes.  If possible, mention the essay that the advertisements reminds you of.   Do these ads, in general, promote American myths or refute them and declare selected myths "bankrupt"?  How so?


John said...

In the ad that i found (, McCain refers to the existing public school system as a "monopoly," and claims that Obama would simply leave it the way it is. He also claims that Obama's education policy is morally wrong because the "only" mark he's made on education was a legislation to teach sex-ed to kindergarteners.
McCain uses some scare tactics to enforce his view. He uses the fear of parents for their children against Obama, and on the whole, he re-enforces the view that Obama is inexperienced and would attempt to keep the status quo.
This ad reminded me somewhat of Michael Moore's essay. In that, Moore stated that our nation was prizing and solidifying in the minds of the youth the wrong kind of information. i.e. The whole sex-ed thing for kindergarteners.
I believe these ads attempt to strengthen the view that the government is trying to help education, implying that the education system is in fact, broken.

Sam O. said...

Ed in 08 is a political group trying to raise the issue of the education in this years election. Ed in 08 is very careful not to use the normal political attach dog ad that is filled with ad hominem attacks and dramatization of issues. Although Ed in 08 is not below using false authorities to capture their message. In the ad that I chose Kanye West is used to present the issue of the failing American system of public schools as a false authority on the issue. The ad also relies on the fear that we are producing an undereducated work force that well someday fail us as a country.

Dunte said...

Obama on Education:

In very short, his final point being the one addressed, Obama notes that the failure of the modern educational system is that no value is placed on the system itself- only on outside components. The key constituents of the system are so unattended and disrespected that benefits of education, in general, are lost to the concessions made to endure it.

The outline of this speech suggests that he does believe the system is broken- or rather, that he believes it is seriously flawed, but not inherently flawed, such that it can be repaired.

The reference to the "Corridor of Shame" leads thoughts slightly to Kozol's descriptions of inner city schools. In general, however, Obama doesn't make references direct enough that a particular article is called to mind.

However, he presents IDEAS toward improvement of the system, as so many candidates do. No plan could be expressed specifically, but I like how one thing was said- "No one can promise equal results. We all know that some will work harder, that some will be gifted."

I love that he acknowledges that raising the general standard, so long as oppressive means aren't applied to do so, should in no way stifle the growth of more mature students.

mp93 said...

This ad refutes the myth of educational empowerment for women. John McCain is accused of dismissing the wage gap in this ad. He is quoted as saying women just "need education and training" to earn as much as men. This ad reminds me of Rozol's essay "Still Separate, Still Unequal" because it shows how people tend to deny issues of modern day prejudice.

jon s said...

The clip that i watched was on Obama's view of education. He talked a lot about how our educational system is failing to adequately prepare students for careers later on in life, but would not lay out a plan for what he would change. He made it very clear that it was time to stop shifting the blame onto the students for not working hard enough or just being dumb. It would appear that he wants to dramatically change our current system, but he does not give any specific plans for what that would look like.

This clip seemed to say that education does help with the American dream, but that the educational system now in place is not giving equal opportunity for everyone to realize this dream. So I think that it promotes the myth of success and education, it just says that the system is not perfect at present.

roryrowley said...

The ad i selected is a negative ad bashing Senator Obama's supposed views on education, generally stating he has no interest in education or is incompetent in helping in education based on statements made from other forms of press. The ad specifically targets and states that Obama only has interest in changing the way sex education is taught to students, specifying he wishes to teach it to children in kindergarten.

To a person who hasn't done any research on either parties, this ad may appear to be very impressionable, after all not many people would see it as being beneficial to "teach children about sex before they know how to read." I believe McCain is specifically targeting people who being only abstinence should be taught to students, something that has shown not to hold well with students, many whom do not abstain from sex before marriage as the McCain ballot suggests they should be taught.

I feel this most relations to something Michael Moore would consider "idiot" behavior, believing bashing campaigns used only to bash the candidate of the opposite party. Instead, people, as well as candidates should focus on the positive sides of their own campaigns, show all the good they have done for todays society, instead of appearing as young "idiots" name calling. Their time could be better used on doing things much more productive, like improving schools or atleast providing toilet paper to students instead of wasting money on commercials.

Rory Rowley

roryrowley said...

I forgot to leave the url:

tim said...

In the video, Senator Obama addresses a rather interesting point: the escalating cost of college tuition. The idea of the college education represents a vital part of the myth of the American dream. It is a chance to better oneself and reap greater rewards in the future in exchange for taking a risk in the present. Unfortunately, this risk, the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other various fees, is becoming too great for many people to afford.

One of the themes that I believe is prevalent in the piece, albeit implicitly, is the existence of a caste system in modern America. So, in some ways, this video echoes some of the ideas in Anyon's "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work." Basically, only those that can reasonably afford to attend higher level education institutions do so, with the less fortunate either out in the cold or drowned in debt. This type of behavior definitely lends itself to increases in economic gaps between the various classes, only further strengthening the cast system while hindering the ability of American citizens to move up and down the social ladder.

By stating that college costs could be better mitigated by the government, Senator Obama is implying that higher education is indeed broken, or at least not working quite as well as it could be. While the dream of a better life through college may not be a myth, accessibility to higher education for the masses may be.


While the video is in the form of an interview, it certainly has many of the same literary characteristics of a political advertisement. If it walks like a duck...

Obama on Education(1 of 2)

Alex said...

The video I found is
This is a McCain video from some time in November, and in this video McCain is discussing increasing the number of student loan programs, and lowering the interest rate on those programs which reminds me of Anyon's essay, in which those that could afford the better education will get the better education. With more student loans, and a decrease in the interest rate, it will be more attainable for lower class level students to get into those better schools. He was also saying that he would like to make education affordable to everyone, what I like though is that he says that the student doesn't have to take those opportunities, that they just have to be there. It gives the students or families in question a feeling of choice. Which is better than not having a choice at all.

Vicky said...

The ad, says that Obama sees the key to strengthening America economically is through education. It goes on to give statistics on McCain voting to cut education funding and his opposition to accountability standards. It also says that McCain proposed abolishing the department of Education and that McCain’s economic plan will use monies that could go be used for public education and give it to special interest groups.

This ad could have easily been used to highlight not only the fact that Senator Obama is wise enough to see how important educational reform is to America’s future economy, but to give us some insight in his ideas on how his goals can be achieved.

Both political parties consistently bash one another. If I were a politician, I would be afraid to give details of what my specific ideas for reform would be also. The minute that a claim is made, the opposing party attacks. Michael Moore’s refers to our nation as an “idiot” nation because of the foolish choices we make. In this case, our nation’s candidates have become nonspecific. Rather than giving us hard, honest goals to base our voting decisions on, the choose to attack one another with half truths and innuendo.