Media Literacy – “The Merchants of Cool”

Here is the link to the PBS documentary and study questions assigned in class this week.

Please feel free to watch again on your own time if that will help you with these questions.


PBS Frontline: “The Merchants of Cool”

Please answer as many questions as you can on a separate piece of paper.

  1. What did you think of this documentary?
  1. What was the filmmakers point of view?  Do you think that this was a biased documentary?
  1. What was the filmmakers’ main argument?
  1. Was there anything that you think the film got wrong?
  1. Do cool-hunters exploit teens or help them (or both)?
  1. Britney Spears is a walking ad for Pepsi; are there other groups or celebrities that you associate with products?  If so, what do you think of them?
  1. What is “anti-marketing marketing”?  Do you think that many people ‘fall’ for this?
  1. What were/are the trends that you have seen in your lifetime?  Do/did you follow them?  How were those trends dictated to you?
  1. Merchants of Cool argues that advertising has changed from sponsoring culture to Becoming culture (eg., Sprite no longer merely sponsors a concert, but makes itself integral to hip hop culture—like Adidas did when it sponsored Run DMC).  What does this mean?
  1. Do you think that marketers/corporations are concerned with the well-being of teenagers?
  1. Do you listen to any music that’s not heard on the radio?  That is not released by the major labels?
  1. What do you do for fun that does not involve consuming things made by large corporations, Hollywood, video games, TV, music, shopping, etc.?
  1. Phil Knight, CEO of Nike, has said: “One of the effects of branding is to make you feel as if you are part of a community.”  What does he mean by that?  Do you think it’s true?  Does wearing Nikes (or some other brand) make you feel part of a community of Nike users?
  1. Media critic Mark Crispin Miller says, “Kids feel frustrated and lonely today because they are encouraged to feel that way. You know, advertising has always sold anxiety and it certainly sells anxiety to the young. It’s always telling them that they are not thin enough, they’re not pretty enough, they don’t have the right friends, or they have no friends…they’re losers unless they’re cool. But I don’t think anybody, deep down, really feels cool enough, ever.”

Do you agree with Miller?  Why or why not?  Explain.


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ECM 12 – Media and Communication

Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day.

Forms of media include:

1. Television

2. Advertisements

3. Movies

4. Radio

5. Internet

Five Core Concepts:

1. All media messages are constructed.

2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

3. Different people experience the same messages differently.

4. Media have embedded values and points of view.

5. Media messages are constructed to gain profit and/or power.

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“Animal Farm” Movie 1999 and “The Wave” Movie 1981

Recently in class we watched the movies that accompany the novels we have just finished reading.

If for some reason you missed part or any of these classes, or would simply just like to watch the films again, they can be found at the following links:

“Animal Farm”

“The Wave”

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Class Notes April 30, 2012

ECM 12 – “Animal Farm” Test Wednesday May 9

ECM 11 – “The Wave” Test Thursday May 10

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ECM 11 – “The Wave” by Todd Strasser

“The Wave” is a 1981 novel written by Todd Strasser.  It is a novelization of a teleplay by Johnny Dawkins for the movie The Wave, a fictionalized account of the “Third Wave” teaching experiment by Ron Jones that took place in a Cubberley High School history class in Palo Alto, California. When students asked Ron Jones how the majority of German’s could stand by and watch what was happening by the Nazi’s during World War II and do nothing, Jones, realizing he didn’t have the answer, decided to show the students for themselves.

For in-depth break down of the novel and the real life experiment, please see the following link:

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ECM 12 – “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

Grade 12s are starting to read the novel “Animal Farm”.  “Animal Farm” is an allegory (a written work that uses symbolism to convey a point) and shows Orwell’s opinion of the political upheaval during the Russian Revolution, and the entry into Communism.

For a break down of background, character, and plot please see the following links:

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Persuasive Letters

The final draft for your Persuasive Letters are due on Thursday April 5, 2012

Please make sure that they are written as formal letters using the proper spacing and information (name, address, date, etc.) Remember you are addressing the letters to me, and you are trying to persuade me that your opinion is the right one.

Good luck! :D

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Persuasive Writing

In the next couple of weeks we will be looking at writing persuasive letters.  Students in both classes are asked to pick a topic that they would like to convince me on and write a formal letter, stating their case.

The first step in writing a persuasive letter is organizing your argument.  The link below is a Persuasion Map that will help you do just that.

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English Communications 11 and 12

4 reading response journals are due on Friday March 23, 2012

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Independent Novel Study Project

The Independent Novel Study Project for both ECM 12 and ECM 11  is due on Thursday March 22, 2012

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