Glitter re-visited (deadly and disembodied)

Image Credit: Norton

H / T to my mom for sending me the video in response to last week's post

Last week on Viz I posted about glitter as an undermining agent in images of solemnity.  In this commercial for Norton security software, the glitter use results in deadly (and delightful) consequences.

All that glitters is not gold... or in good taste

9/11 glitter icon

Image Credit: posted by "Hellen Killer" on Regresty, originating from

H/T to  Megan Eatman for sending me the blog

As recent Twilight films have demonstrated, sparkling is one of the few things that doesn't translate well into new media.  It also makes it hard to take anything seriously - regardless of authorial intention or gravity of subject matter.

Satire Sandwiches: Stephen Colbert's Thought for Food

Image Credit: screen capture from

Food policy can be pretty disheartening stuff: anything that combines environmentalism, worker's rights and public health in a single topic is likely to include bad-to-terrible news pretty much every day. With the Senate underfunding the Child Nutrition Act, bluefin tuna set to go extinct and Dirt! The Movie preparing to air on PBS, even my fairly-high tolerance for crisis fatigue was wearing thin this week. Thankfully, Stephen Colbert was there to talk me off the ledge. As is often the case, Colbert managed to make life livable with his pringle-and-whipped-cream-like blend of irony and humor-- two remarkable human capacities that are often undervalued because they elude satisfactory explanation by rhetorical, literary or philosophical models. While even Jon Stewart's comedic analysis of politicians and pundits can often be as depressing as it is amusing, Colbert's satiric send-ups consistently manage to wink their way through all kinds of maddening news stories and leave me with a crisp, clean finish. His new "Thought for Food" segment lives up to those expectations. Rather than attempting (and almost certainly failing) to explain the jokes, I thought I'd share a few videos and comment as needed. More on Colbert, corn-surpluses, advertising and unholy sandwiches after the break.

Advertising in America

screen shot

Image credit: screen shot of Emergence of Advertising in America database 

On March 26th  Noel will be leading our workshop on Best Practices for Digital Images here at the DWRL and in preparation for that meeting many of us at viz. are compiling several blog postings on image databases.  This week Rachel posted about Radical Software—a database that provides access to work done in the ‘seventies with the creation of and theorizing about digital and video media.  I’d like to take us back even further to a database dedicated to making available early advertising images from the mid-nineteenth century through to the 1920s.  I found Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920 to be extremely entertaining to browse and can easily imagine integrating it into my classroom practice.


Mechanized Spectacle: Lo-Fi Effects for Viral Content

Screenshot from OK Go video for "This Too Shall Pass"

Image Credit:  Screenshot from YouTube

H/T:  Hampton Finger

Lucky for you and me that before I started working on my blog post today that my friend Hampton asked me if I’d seen the new OK Go video for “This Too Shall Pass,” and thus I stumbled onto a much more interesting debate than any engaged in by any Texas Republicans running for the governorship.

Knockout Ads: Sexism and the Super Bowl

Wear the Pants Dockers ad

Image Credit:  Screenshot from Youtube

Since almost everybody else on the Internet is commenting on this year’s Super Bowl ads, I couldn’t resist offering my take.  The obvious issue with the Super Bowl ads this year is their fairly blatant sexism.

The Glee Effect: New Media Marketing for Old Institutions

Happy to be back!

Screenshot Credit: YouTube

Zounds!  After Noel’s heartwarming welcome-back posting, I feel reinvigorated and ready to begin posting again here at viz.  I did rest my blogging muscles over the break, but managed to take a few notes for what will hopefully be more piquant posts on pop culture.

Recently, my friends have helpfully provided me with such a deluge of musical material that I don’t know what to do with it all.  My friend Cate Blouke forwarded me the NPR story about HOPE: The Obama Musical, which delights me to no end—but I was a little more intrigued by a video my friend Meghan Andrews brought to my attention—a short-form musical YouTube video that doubles as a Yale advertisement called “That’s Why I Chose Yale.”


Gossip Girl Advertisement:  "Very Bad For You"

Image Credit:  Gossip Girl Insider

Having returned back to Austin from an enchanting trip to St. Louis for the Midwest Modern Language Association conference, I thought I’d talk a little bit about “OMFGG: Advertising Class Mobility and Ambivalent Spectatorship in the CW's Gossip Girl,” the paper my friend Sarah Orem and I co-delivered there.

Gays in Advertising

Hat tip to Seth Stevenson at's "Ad Report Card" for first calling my attention to this ad; I haven't actually seen it on TV:

Stevenson wonders (with others) if the ad depicts a gay couple; Progressive says it wasn't intended to, but when people started to ask questions, Stevenson notes, they began running the ad on LOGO, the cable channel aimed at LGBTQ audiences. My thoughts after the jump.

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