Monday, May 10, 2010

Summer Break, Back in September

Global media never stops, but we do! School's out for summer.
We will return in September...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Royalty in European Advertising

by Caroline Waters

Allianz Fund. Advertisement. Staudinger Franke.

Allegory, consumerism, and metonymy via direct and indirect advertising have become so normalized and unnoticeable that the presence of royalty ideology in modern European advertising is overshadowed by its goal: to sell a product. The ideology behind advertising is the same behind circulated images of royalty; there is an insurmountable gap between royalty or models and a consumer, but the more their images become idealized via metonymy and allegory, the closer a consumer perceives to be in closing that gap, the closer a consumer perceives to having power.

Bvlgari. Advertisement. Vogue Feb 2010: 25-26. Print.

What greater manifestation of Debord’s words is there than the depiction of royalty in modern advertising, be it direct or indirect? It seems as though modern ad creative departments are taunting uneducated mass consumers. Fully aware that “the most modern aspect of the spectacle,” (power) is “also the most archaic,” they glorify the power associated with kingship, a governmental ideology that can be dated back to the African and Asian warrior-priests of the Neolithic period and more firmly established in European history (Debord).

OLT. Advertisement. “Charter.” OLT. 2008. Web. 10 April 2010.

Simply by knowing how much power they have, advertisers are free to do with it as they please. Thus, consumers are left with a question: What happens if absolute power transforms into absolute horror? Or, better yet, what if it already has? The fact that mass consumers have no understanding of an advertiser’s kinglike status nor their own meager role as a silent court, passively adhering to the spectacle’s tenacious production of social hierarchy, is certainly most frightening of all.

The royal stance in Le Look Chemise de Stella McCartney. Editorial. Vogue Feb 2010: 207. Print.

Canal+ and French Film

by Alex Goldman

Now that television has switched over from primarily ad-driven sponsorship to pay-per-view sponsorship, there is an increase in a new kind of TV viewer; one that does not care to sit through ads, and craves smarter, more personalized content. “…television audiences, particularly pay-TV audiences, have become increasingly complex and fragmented, demanding greater choice and control over the types of programmes they watch…As thematic channels have increased their market appeal, many digital operators appear to accommodate them in their digital offering” (Papathanassopoulous, 153). With the start of HBO in the United States, followed by the popularity of French network Canal Plus, edgier content, independent films, and backstage access have helped to revive the U.S. and European television landscape. Like the launch of HBO did for the U.S. in 1972, Canal Plus raised expectations for French television and brought the French film industry to new heights with generous financial support since its beginning 12 years later.

Canal +'s Love Me if You Dare, 2003

Vogue Paris & Vogue Italia

by Sara Klausing

Vogue Paris, February 2010

Published by Condé Nast in 19 different countries, Vogue is a network of magazines recognized throughout the fashion world. Every month the magazine is assembled and distributed by a Vogue team in its respective country, each with its own content produced for a worldwide audience. The French and Italian editions of the magazine, Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia, are no exceptions. Regarded as some of the most influential magazines in the fashion industry, they are tangible self-representations of national feminine identity. This concept, portrayed through editorials established French femininity with newly embraced Muslim subculture and the presence of English text.

Vogue Paris’ title of the February editorial, “Vogue-à-Porter”, wholly expresses its role today: the magazine maintains a balance between the creative exuberance of today’s generation and the reassurance of a timeless French elegance. Known for its political parallelism, Vogue Paris integrates the Muslim headscarf into the world of high fashion and French feminism, thus progressing the term as we know if today. While English loan words appear, author Philip Thody suggests that while the French language has “impenetrable ” grammatical systems, the vocabulary comes in and out of style almost as much as the clothing in the magazine itself. This attribution shapes evolves the French woman as worldly and gives an idea of “social prestige”.

Vogue Italia, February 2010

Similar to the relationship with Carine Roitfeld and Vogue Paris, editor-in-chief Franca Sozzanni plays a powerful role in determining the magazine’s final product. Despite that there are various articles pertaining to Italian culture, editorials clearly dominate the content of the magazine. Vogue Italia seems to give more importance to the role of the photographer, particularly Steven Miesel. Unlike Vogue Paris that began with French couture houses, Italy’s edition of Vogue is much younger and began with Italian prêt-a-porter designers. The short history of Vogue Italia is reflected in its content: it lacks a conventional tradition to balance with more contemporary perspective. While Paris embodies a “less is more” perception, Vogue Italia does just the opposite. When the images in Vogue Paris know how to be daring enough to create a boundary of “too much”, Vogue Italia eagerly crosses it. . Femininity in Italia pushes Paris’ limits of what is considered “too much”, and is accordingly celebrated for it’s over the top daringness. Thus, the “competition” between Roitfeld and Sozzanni is seen as “stimulating” and provides an incentive for each magazine to evolve each month.

A Close Look at Celebrity Culture through its Media in France

by Isabella E Isbiroglu

“I am at the barber's, and a copy of Paris-Match is offered to me. On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so- called oppressors.” – Roland Barthes

photo Isabella E Isbiroglu

As I admire the glistening sun on my stroll through the Paris streets, I stop by a vendor to pick up some magazines to read in the Luxembourg Gardens. Because I am interested in public relations I always pick up magazines with celebrities on every inch of the cover. As I try to find a magazine on the hottest French starlets my eyes can only find the faces of Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johansson. Where are the French celebrities? My eyes scan the magazines and I decide to pick up Paris Match. I started to question the transformation of celebrities in the media in France. Has it purely shifted to American faces? But Barthes says, “France is a Great Empire.” I could not imagine that it would really fall to American culture and let go of its own. As I skim through Paris Match my ideas start to shift, but there is clearly a difference in representation of information.

The new and old formats, March 2010 issues of Envy & Paris Match, photo author

It may not be that French culture does not recognize their celebrities through the media, but instead don’t find the need to make it a main focus on of their media. These new publications find an easy way to make money by selling cheaper American content because it is juicy and lets be honest, scandal sells, even if it is from a different culture. Because of French law every one has the right to their privacy, which is not a bad thing. So when French celebrities are acknowledged by the media it is for something specific; and that person has given them the right to publish that information. When reading Paris Match, celebrities are definitely present but placed in the same category as all affairs in a tasteful manner. French celebrities are present in celebrity magazines, it just depends which magazine you pick up. The newer celebrity magazines are not trying to place less importance on their own culture, rather they are just trying to sell scandalous information that French celebrities won’t provide.

Foreign Music on French Radio

by Katherine Hom

Music is a universal language. I’m sure we are all familiar with this phrase and truly it is impossible to say that music does not have the ability to transcend boundaries. But along with the notes themselves, music brings with it cultural traces. By studying foreign music presence on two popular French radio stations, NRJ Radio and Radio Nova, as well as speaking to French people I hope to gain a better understanding of how foreign music is influencing French culture.

This study really harkens back to John Tomlinson's idea of cultural and media imperialism that we discussed, that media, as it spreads from western capitalistic societies carries culturally specific values along with it which are promoted and become dominant. Since the United States exports the most media goods in the world, and France is a fully developed and advanced society, the main and most obvious cultural difference between the two is language. The Académie Française is in charge of protecting French culture, language and heritage.

In analyzing the playlist for a 24 hour period I found that NRJ, the top popular music station played 309 songs. Of these songs 111 were by American artists, 53 were by UK artists, 57 were by French artists, and 88 were by other artists of assorted origin. See fig. 1.

On Radio Nova, the trendy non-mainstream world music station 292 songs were played. 141.5 were by American artists, 55 by UK artists, 30.5 by French artists, and 65 by artists of assorted origin. See fig 2.

While Nova seems skewed towards American artists with less focus on French music the breadth in artist selection was much greater than NRJ’s. They represented a wider range of lesser-known artists. To illustrate the difference in artist breath, of NRJ’s playlist, 57 French songs were written by only 15 artists, while 26 different artists wrote the 30.5 songs on Radio Nova. Still, the majority of music played was by American artists. And while NRK purportedly plays “hit music only” it seems that American artists are the hit-makers.

I spoke with some French youth to try to get some insight on how this large amount of foreign, American and English speaking music, is experienced. In their experience most popular radio stations don’t play French artists that often and most music is foreign. These foreign artists then are more popular while there is less focus on French artists and a general aversion towards using French language in creating songs. English is becoming increasingly normalized in music. Antonin Pierre also known as “T”, of the French pop band Pony Pony Run Run said that “ [foreign music] influenced everything, the way we make music, we've been listening so much English and American bands, that it seemed natural to sing in English...we learned the language that way, translating every lyrics, our ears are shaped by those foreign bands. We didn't and don't listen much to French speaking music.”

While France is concerned with maintaining its national identity and language in the sphere of music and radio, it seems that foreign music and the English language is unavoidable. The practice of playing more foreign artists on the radio propagates the idea that French artists are typically not the best and to be successful you must sing in English. This in turn influences the tastes and preference of young musicians towards using English in their songs. It seems like this is an unbreakable cycle that to change, would require an intense overhaul of media systems and individual mindsets, which would really be impossible. Whether it is through slang or song, English seems to be slowly creeping into French life, no matter how hard the French language guardians try to hinder its advance.

Media Coverage of Carla Bruni

by Emily Kearns

Carla Bruni as guest editor of Madame Figaro in March 2010

Long before she was the first lady of France, Carla Bruni was a popular figure in the French media. However, her media presence in France and globally has skyrocketed since her 2007 marriage to French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Like many first ladies, Bruni is often depicted carrying out the duties of a president’s wife. Unlike many first ladies, her celebrity is the result of a sometimes scandalous past, not simply her marriage to a powerful figure. To gain a better understanding of the media coverage of Carla Bruni in France, I give a brief overview of Bruni’s media portrayal and will examine two specific magazines’ portrayals of the first lady.

Grazia and Madame Figaro are two magazines with different audiences- one younger and one older and more conservative- that offer decidedly different portrayals of Carla Bruni. The French edition of Grazia began publication in August 2009 and is a style and gossip magazine. It caters towards a younger audience. Madame Figaro is an offshoot of conservative French newspaperLe Figaro and has an older, more conservative audience. Both magazines write about Bruni in fashion and trend stories. However, they differ in the coverage of her personal life, specifically her marriage to Sarkozy. Grazia often covers her personal life, while Madame Figaro does not.

Watch more on Bruni and Madame Figaro here.

Jean Sarkozy: Political Power Player or Modern Day Dauphin?

by Samantha Goodman

Profile Picture. Photograph. Facebook Fan Page, Jean Sarkozy. Facebook. 20 Oct. 2009. Web. 11 Apr. 2010.

Neuilly-sur-Seine is a tranquil Parisian suburb with dozens of beautifully groomed parks and stately private homes. Walking down the streets, one is confronted with all of the makings of a French Pleasantville: mothers walk hand in hand with their young daughters in matching outfits down tree-lined streets as fathers play games of catch with their sons, and elderly couples hold hands on sunny park benches. Yes, Neuilly-sur-Seine is most certainly a beautiful place to live (see Figures 1 -4, appendix). But there is another side to this idyllic town, one steeped in business and politics: Neuilly-sur-Seine was the launching pad for current French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s political career, and is now the site of his twenty-three year old son, Jean Sarkozy’s, political beginnings. As the younger Sarkozy becomes more politically active as the conseil général des Hauts-de-Seine for Neuilly-sur-Seine and now as a board member of EPAD, the governing body of the near-by Parisian business district La Defense, questions regarding inherited power, nepotism, and qualifications become more common in French media and everyday conversation. This paper seeks to examine the political climb of Jean Sarkozy and answer the question of whether or not he is capable of successfully managing a career in politics at such a young age. A brief history of French politics and the current political climate, as well as a biography of Sarkozy junior are important factors in understanding his aspirations and capabilities.

Spectacle Des Résidents De L’association Notre-Dame. 2010. Photograph. Facebook Fan Page, Jean Sarkozy. Facebook. 24 Nov. 2009. Web. 11 Apr. 2010.

BBC & France 24

by Jenny Seo

Contemporary European Entertainment News Distribution and Reporting: The BBC and France 24 Compared in The Case Study of the Berlinale 2010

The European News system began with the Roman posting of flyers. The news system has come a long distance since that practice. Contemporary Europe now has both nation and language specific news. Europe has many major media centers, which include major cities such as Brussels, Strasbourg, Geneva, London, and Paris. London is the leader in global news and also the center for the Foreign Press Association. Paris claims the largest number of foreign news correspondents in all of Europe. The BBC News is a classic major media news outlet based in London, United Kingdom, as France 24 News is a recent, modernistic major media news outlet based in Paris, France. The BBC and France 24 both offer a wide-range of European news and have English speaking sectors. In today’s progressive society, journalism and entertainment have been coinciding very analogously as each major media news outlet has a segment solely devoted to the entertainment domain. The BBC and France 24 cover many similar entertainment news events, but there are different opinions and attitudes conveyed, as both outlets have different infrastructures and reputations.

In recent news, Berlinale, The Berlin International Film Festival, celebrated its 60th anniversary in February 2010, with the BBC and France 24 both extensively covering the news press of the prime entertainment event. While both media outlets covered the cardinal function, each emphasized different elements of the film festival highlighting the contrast in news distribution and reporting.

Turkish Tourism Media

by Simone Miller

photo by Simone Miller

With ties to both the Middle East and Europe, Turkey has an intertwined national identity. On a visit to Kusadasi, Turkey during August 2008, I witnessed this duality in its full effect. My tour guide told me that Turkish people consider themselves to be European and most Turkish businesses and merchants had signs proclaiming proudly that they accept euros (Turkish lira are the official currency of Turkey). Though Turkey is predominantly Muslim, one would not know it from the Westernized styles of dress. Still, the country is also heavily influenced by the Middle East, from the mosques to the intricate and brightly colored rugs to the food.

The country currently has neighborhood status with the European Union and put in a bid to become a full member in 1999. In 2010, Turkey still has not been accepted into the European Union as a full member. Turkey's primary trade is with the European Union but also has substantial trade with several Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern influenced countries and governments such as Georgia, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority and Syria ("Trade: Turkey"). Because tourism media is about creating a destination's image and branding it, it is necessary to consider Turkey's standing in the world when considering its tourism media. More specifically, what aspects of Turkey are emphasized in tourism media and how, if at all, do they reflect Turkey's aspirations of joining the European Union?

French Children's Books

by Sarah Fox

Illustration by Rebecca Dautremer

Upon walking into a children’s book section in Paris, one of the first observations is the recognition of popular American characters—Disney princesses abound, along with Eric Carle’s uniquely illustrated tales, such Une si Petite Graine (The Tiny Seed), and Maurice Sendak’sMax et les Maximonstres (Where the Wild Things Are). But hidden in the shelves, less visible, sit internationally renowned French novelties such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince (1943) and Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar (1931). But what about contemporary French children’s writers? Where are the French Sendaks hiding? In this paper I examine the answers to this question by looking at the history of French children’s literature, as well as the content of current books and the influence of American children’s literature on the French market.

Illustration by Tomi Ungerer