Monthly Archives: October 2014

Propaganda Campaign

Group six decided make a propaganda campaign for the movie Equilibrium, a dystopian science fiction film. The movie is set in a futuristic society (it takes place in 2072) named Libria, where citizens take a drug called Prozium to suppress their emotions and foster obedience to the totalitarian regime. The regime incinerates contraband items that have the potential to stimulate emotion such as music, art, and literature. Citizens who possess contraband and do not take Prozium are known as Sense Offenders. The law enforcement, called the Grammaton Clerics, destroy contraband and execute Sense Offenders.

Our group chose to create visual forms of propaganda to reflect the complexity of Librian governmental control. Visual propaganda is almost inherently a form of art because it has an aesthetic specific to its creators. Since art is banned in Libria, we faced the challenge of deciding what images were acceptable to be displayed. This ambiguity was compounded by the fact that Libria is set in a digital age where photography could easily be considered a form of art. Because images are so integral to visual propaganda, we decided to primarily use photographs to convey the messages. We chose dark images that fit the artistic style of the movie. These images fit the perspective of the regime: they portray the arts and individuality as dangerous and destructive. The darkness of the images suggests that the denial of emotion coupled with duty and obedience to the regime are the only ways that humans can continue to survive in a world that would otherwise be ripped apart by emotion. Our posters seek to accomplish the goals of the regime by influencing citizen’s perceptions and controlling their behaviors. They use scare tactics to deter citizens from using contraband while flag-waving encourages them to take Prozium and report Sense Offenders.

Likewise, the propaganda video relies on disturbing historical images and darkness to visually convey the dangers of human emotion. We chose to make the film silent since the regime banned music. We also decided against having sound effects or a voiceover, instead allowing the full weight of the words and images to sink into the viewer. The pressure created by darkness and solemnity of the white words on the black background resolves with the appearance of the national flag at the end of the video. The patriotic flag conveys the authority of the government with the assurance that those who submit to the regime and its use of Prozium will survive. The ad nauseum repetition of the video and the posters seeks to make the citizens accept the fact that emotions and emotional stimuli will destroy their society.


We used quotes and screencaps from the movie to make our video.


Movie Citation:

Equilibrium. DVD. Directed by Kurt Wimmer. 2002; New York City, NY :Dimension Films, 2003.


Image Sources:

“Book Burning.” Wikipedia. (accessed October 29, 2014).

C., Radford. “Christian Bale in Equilibrium (Video).” Lazy Tech Guys. (accessed October 29, 2014).

Cello and Strings. (accessed October 29, 2014).

Emrick, LeeAnne. “Old Poetry Books.” Redbubble. (accessed October 29, 2014).

Enck, Denise. “Self-publishing Your Poetry Book or Broadside.” Empty Mirror. (accessed October 29, 2014).

Jain, Anurag. “Life of Conformity in a Free Society.” Neev Forum For Integral Living. (accessed October 29, 2014).

“Saving Private Ryan.” Fanpop. (accessed October 29, 2014).

“Separating parents forced to attend custody classes so they realize damage to children.” Daily Mail, September 25, 2010. (accessed October 29, 2014).

“Violin, musical instrument, bow, sheet wallpaper.” (accessed October 29, 2014).

Woollaston, Victoria. “Forget brain training: Playing a musical instrument can sharpen your thoughts – and help ward off depression and dementia.” Daily Mail, September 27, 2013.–help-ward-depression-dementia.html (accessed October 29, 2014).

Equilibrium CHAOSEquilibrium Cleric Equilibrium Family Equilibrium Individuality

Equilibrium Piano Equilibrium Poetry Equilibrium Violin

Equilibrium Book Equilibrium Burning Books Equilibrium cello

Coding Web 1.0 versus 2.0

I decided to interview my mom about what she thought of coding webpages for Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0. She was an IT specialist for the government. She said, ” the old fashioned coder had to interview the customer to find out what the requirements were and then use creativity to design the page in their mind or on paper. The coder had to use their technical skills and understanding of html to produce the website. Coding forced you to use your memory, have a tremendous focus on detail to make sure all your tags were there, and an enormous amount of cross-checking to make sure that everything worked. It was costly, time consuming, and laborious, but I really enjoyed the thrill of success when I could find, diagnose, and correct problems. Overall, it was a tremendously creative process. I’m sure having software that does it for you is cheaper, quicker, and obviously more productive. It also probably has better and more interactive features than what I worked on. There are good things, but I can’t help but wonder if present creators of webpages haven’t lost the thrill of succeeding from building from a totally blank, text document to a dynamic webpage. That thrill is the thrill that programmers have, not application users.”

I found my mom’s thoughts an interesting reflection of the Web accessibility that we discussed in class. Her comments reflect the exclusivity of Web 1.0, but they also touch on the more widespread accessibility of Web 2.0. I especially find her comments on the creativity and skill of coders thought provoking because they parallel so many other trends created by improved technology such as people losing their ability to read maps because of GPS devices. Nowadays, people like me can create webpages without knowing how to code. However, as an application user, I can’t even comprehend the technical skill required to visualize the design for a webpage inside of my head. I just don’t have that level of mastery.

Live Tweeting Entries from Lucy Rebecca Buck’s Civil War Diary

I chose to live tweet entries from Shadows on My Heart: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Rebecca Buck of Virginia for this assignment. Lucy was 19 at the time she wrote the entries that I covered. She was a member of the small planter class in Front Royal, Virginia where she lived at her family’s plantation, Bel Air. Since Lucy’s entries in her diary from exactly 150 to 153 years ago were too sparse for me to effectively cover given the time constraints, I decided to live tweet her entries from January 27 to February 5, 1862. This section of her diary provided me with close to a daily supply of entries.

I started with Lucy’s entry from January 27 because it provides a fascinating window into Lucy’s ambivalence towards gender standards. In this entry, Lucy was caught up in the tensions created by social understandings of gender.  Her two male guests hotly debated female education, which Lucy was a proponent of. As a hostess, Lucy chose to follow social conventions by changing the subject instead of defending female education and gaining a reputation as a free-thinking, unfeminine, young woman. The next two entries demonstrated the profound impact of a lack of accessible communication technology on Lucy. Both entries were filled with an undertone of anxiety because she had not heard from her brothers in the Confederate army. Writing letters was the only available form of communication between Lucy and her brothers. I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of this protracted apprehension over a lack of communication with the instantaneousness  of Twitter as a modern communication technology. The next several entries revealed Lucy’s emotional ambivalence characteristic of those who remained on the home front during the war: she was overjoyed at having her brothers home while simultaneously feeling melancholy about them having to leave again. The final entry returns to Lucy’s feelings of anxiety for her brothers since she has no quick way of communicating with them to find out where they are or what they are doing –a feeling almost foreign to us today with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, text messaging, etc.

I tried to capture the overall topics and emotions of Lucy’s diary entries. However, I chose to write the tweets using informal, contemporary language including hashtags. I also modernized Lucy’s spelling and tweeted using my account instead of creating one for Lucy. I included the dates of Lucy’s entries in my tweets to provide additional structure and clarification against the dates of my tweets on Twitter. I did these things as a creative exercise in an attempt to imagine myself as Lucy, tweeting about her American Civil War experiences in 2014.



Buck, Lucy Rebecca. Shadows on My Heart: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Rebecca Buck of             Virginia. Southern Voices from the Past. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1997.

“Lucy and Nellie Buck.” Photograph. Front Royal, Virginia: Warren Heritage Society, c 1860. From Head Quarters 13th Regt. Rifles, Mass. Vol. , To Front Royal and Back. (accessed October 15, 2014).


Other sources that have influenced my thinking about Lucy:

Clinton, Catherine. Tara Revisited: Women, War & the Plantation Legend. 1st ed. New York:   Abbeville Press, 1995.

Edwards, Laura F. Scarlett Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Southern Women in the Civil War Era. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Faust, Drew Gilpin, and NetLibrary, Inc. Mothers of Invention Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. Within the Plantation Household. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.

Groh, Mary Lou. “Maria “Belle” Boyd.” The Civil War Trust. (accessed April 16, 2014).

Ott, Victoria E. Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age During the Civil War. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2008.

Rable, George C. Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Roberts, Giselle. The Confederate Belle. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003.


Living Under a Rock: Film

Time for some more infoage14 therapy. I cringe at saying this, but I REALLY don’t like movies. I especially HATE going to movie theaters. I actually do not like the immersive experience of going to the movies. It might sound funny, but movies are too intense for me, even in home theaters. The sounds and the images just create too much emotion for me to enjoy watching movies. Add vibrations, a large screen, and a crowd of people silently watching in the dark, and going to the movie theater becomes a stressful experience for me. So I just don’t go to the movies. On occasion, my boyfriend can persuade me to watch a movie on Netflix. So what does this mean besides me being side-lined for class discussions about the cultural and social experiences of going to the movies?

I have incredibly large gaps in my cultural knowledge. I’d never seen any of the movies my group was given to act out in charades during class. But I’m not completely alone. Perhaps I’m the only one in class, but there is a significant minority of people in the United States who have gaps in their cultural knowledge because they don’t see movies for religious, cultural, economic, or personal reasons. I found it interesting how assumptions about common experiences dominated class discussion when the definition of such a mainstream experience as watching movies could be challenged demographically. Maybe the mostly white, female, middle-class infoage14 class shares common experiences and cultural knowledge, but are these experiences shared across the United States? -They certainly weren’t at my demographically diverse high school.

So what have I gained from not watching movies? I guess you could say a different perspective on both the films and the cultural experiences of watching them.